Memoirs of a Highland Lady
“On looking back I find little essential to regret and much, Oh so much, to be thankful for”. This is the last line of Elizabeth Grant’s memoir. The reader also has much to be thankful for in this work. It is the first time that a more complete version has appeared in print, earlier efforts having been edited for different times and different reasons.
Elizabeth Grant was born in Edinburgh in 1797, living most of her childhood in London, with the summer months spent on the family estate in her beloved Rothiemurchus (“no other place ever replaced it, no other scenery surpassed it”), which, in the early 1800s, travelling just 30 miles a day from London, was quite a journey! Later, Elizabeth moved to India, where her father was appointed a judge. After her marriage to Colonel Henry Smith, she settled in Ireland. Elizabeth’s memories of childhood are vividly written, and her memoir is full of finely observed descriptions, incidents and conversations, including her visit to Windsor during the first of George III’s bouts of porphyria.
This is not a sugary puff of a life. The author does not shrink from writing about just how difficult her mother was or how unreliable her father was in financial matters. For those wanting to capture a flavour of the times and events or its manner of recording, this is a fascinating book. For those interested in reading the life of another person, it is equally enthralling and can be read in stages or all together according to taste.