Vortex of Misery


Submitted 2 years ago

Oh dear, be careful who you fall in love with! We just bought a little booklet with a dire warning: Miss Eliza Rossell: A Tale of the Unfortunate-Female, written by "a Friend." Poor Miss Eliza made an unfortunate decision in life. She was wooed by a rake, Mr. Seldon. He had a little property, but as Eliza's wise father noted, it was not from "his own hard earnings." Only after she eloped did she learn he was nothing less than a cutthroat highwayman. 

He is killed in a robbery attempt, and Eliza returned home in a fever with her children. She made a full confession to her family then promptly passed out. Her family feared her dead, but then she stirred:

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Looking around in amazement, she said, "oh, what a pleasant dream I have had! I thought I had made my confession to you and you had all forgiven me, and were going to take care of my poor, fatherless children"

Her father (not only wise, but just) reassured her that it was not a dream, and that all had been forgiven. After a bit more melodrama, poor Eliza died. The moral of the story is clear:

Thus we see the end of one who, early in life, bid fair to prosper and be happy; but who, by one false step, in disregarding the advice of her friends, was plunged into a vortex of misery, from which no human efforts could deliver her.

You can wallow in Eliza's misfortunes by asking for 1926 Coll M577.

*****

Rauner Special Collections Library houses rare books, manuscripts, and Dartmouth College Archives for the Dartmouth College Library. We think it is one of the coolest places on campus: besides a great exhibits program, the reading room is open to the public. Where else can you see a first edition of Pride and Prejudice or a copy of the James Audubon double elephant folio Birds of America in the Upper Valley? The Rauner blog is a great way to get acquainted with the collections, or go to Instagram if you have a shorter attention span.

Rauner Special Collections Library is located in Webster Hall on the Green in Hanover. Find current hours and the latest exhibit.

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