Creative Writing Captions: D11298

Drawn from Nature and as Large as Life: Thomas Frye's Fancy Heads

Creative Writing Captions: D11300| D11302 | D11298 | D11289

'Lilian'

I wake too early, hearing the sparrows chirping outside my cracked and dusty pane.
My memories are of swelling songs in woods around my master's hall. It seems so long ago

Footsteps echo in the dank court. I hear the street vendors' cries. I rise up from my poor cot, trying to ease my aching limbs. The light is feeble, my hands grope for my stick to reach the privy in the yard. Old before my time. I am free now, but penury has clipped my wings. In my master's hall I lived betwixt upstairs and down ­ a nursemaid. I dwelt in peace with governess in her parlour. What pets the children were.

Now I am reduced to this ­ a poor dwelling in this all-consuming city. Hobbling to the market past the gin house and dead dogs. I wish I had a son to care. But now I'm left alone.


Greta

Oh, my God, they say the meek shall inherit the earth and each night, dear Lord, you know I do pray, but my great fear is that you no longer listen to such an old woman with nothing but cares in her heart. Please, I beg you send my son, my only son Johnny, back soon to me before I die. Death beckons, I hear his soft sibilant whispers; the counterfeit peace he offers. I hear him now soft-stepping up the stairs, he is just outside, I know his face well. I kiss the scarf, the dark voluptuous scarf my Johnny gave me, his last present three years ago before he set off for the Indies and I yearn to look on his sweet, dear face once more. Oh hearken to my prayer, grant this old woman her last request for there is none but thee to help me.

Patricia W


Old woman leaning on crutch, by Thomas Frye, published 1760 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Old woman leaning on crutch
by Thomas Frye
published 1760
NPG D11298

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