[From Manx Recollections, 1894]
AT the death of Mrs. Elliott some of her relatives expressed a wish that I should undertake a work such as the following; but I could not then see my way to comply. Years have passed, and I have left the Isle of Man, and distance has made the heart grow fonder of the old home, and its sacred memories. Thoughts and~desires revived, and grew stronger, until at last I began to write, and the result is the volume I now present to the public.
The title indicates that I scarcely consider it a biography purely. It is, in one sense, a biography and more. It is an attempt to describe Mrs. Elliott in her surroundings, which, of course, embraced many persons and things. This, it is hoped, widens the interest, and, at the same time, reflects the personality of Mrs. Elliott.
My purpose is to show how a private but powerful Christian life and character, in its hidden influences and operations, and as a centre of moral and spiritual force, is worthy of record. Such lives, for the most part, are lived, and their memory is allowed to fade away; but surely it were well that some exceptions were made to this rule. To accomplish this, the great difficulty is to blend utility with popular interest. To deduce lessons from a well-known, and from an unknown hero is not the same thing, at least in arresting the attention of men. This has made my naturally pleasant and easy work a somewhat anxious effort.
The sources of information have been, chiefly, the Diaryof Mrs. Weatherell, the mother of Mrs. Elliott, Mrs. Elliott's letters, and those of her friends, together with my own experience of her character and the experience of her relatives and acquaintances.
The two chapters, " Faded Flowers " and " The Seraphim," need a word of explanation. They do indeed break the narrative, but they serve an essential end in furnishing by examples a definition of the style and capacity of Mrs. Elliott for literary work at a comparatively early period of her life.
It is quite possible that my information on some points may need correction; some things may seem even irrelevant; but I trust that none of these probable faults are so great as to affect the purpose of the work. I have striven to offend no one, and to refer kindly to all, and to seek on all sides such aids as were deemed by me necessary to illustrate my subject.
K. A. FORREST.
FRASERBURGH, June 1893.