A compilations of A Return To Loveliness posts from A Delight Life.

noun – ‘an experiment or period of serene and carefree happiness, usually in beautiful surroundings and often in the context of a romantic relationship

‘…long ago…a little girl used to wake on Sunday morning feeling that a whole life of happiness lay before her in that day.’ Three Houses Angela Thirkell 1931 memoirs

You are aware once you've awaken…there’s no other place on earth you’d rather be than this tranquil room.
The weekend morning belongs to you - to inhabit completely, this day is a longed-for serenity surrounded by the pleasures of a summer weekend.

Frank Weston Benson - The Reader -  A Summer Idyll

(definition continued) a short work in verse or prose, a painting, or a piece of music depicting simple pastoral or rural scenes and the life of country folk, often in idealized terms

oh, the freedom of the day that yielded no rule or time..” Diane Ackerman, Searching for the Comet

Summer weekends are special in that you write the script of your day. There are no alarm clocks, no rushing or schedules, no someplace you have to be. You can rise with the first rays of the sun or you can linger-snuggle down into the softness of the goose-down topped bed.

Breakfast can be a leisurely affair taking in the fragrances and textures of the first day’s meal. Conversation is light and comforting – words wrapped round one’s heart in love and contentment.

(definition continued) a scene or event characterized by tranquility, simple beauty, and innocent charm, usually in a rural setting

The day can be filled however you wish – 

follow your passions, of art, book, garden or strolling through delightsome shops.

A picnic lunch underneath the trees invites one to laugh, linger and perhaps take an afternoon siesta.

 ‘This day has a felling in my picture of warmth and light breezes and sunshine and afternoons that stretch to eternity and mornings full of far-off bells’ A Pale Golden Sunday Angela Thirkell 1931 memoir

The evening falls with golden and rosy shades filling the sky. The air dips and the light breeze caresses – not too chilly. The fireflies begin their dance in the air making one believe in little garden fairies once again. 

Watching the rise of the moon in the evening velvet sky and as the stars make their appearance – bejeweling your view,
you know…this place, this day is your Idyll – your perfect peace.

Wishing you a most Delightsome week,

The Secret Garden

In 'The Secret Garden', we find hurt and neglected souls finding new life and joy in the miracle of rebirth.
Mary Lennox was not loved by her parents and grew to be an obstinate, angry young girl. The reflection of this lack of affection was seen in her sallow, thin appearance topped by a solemn expression causing other children to chant, ‘Mary, Mary quite contrary….’

Following the death of her parents, Mary is shipped off to an unfamiliar land – from hot and dry India to cold and rainy England. There, she is met by the kindhearted Martha, a housemaid tasked to look after Mary, who first begins to reach the untilled soil of Mary’s heart. Mary finds herself off alone exploring in a large estate with a vast garden. Martha’s mother, Mrs. Sowersby, in an inspired moment, purchases a jumping rope – to encourage the child to get healthy exercise in the fresh outdoors.
As spring arrives, Mary learns of a secret – locked garden that no one has entered in ten years. She knew somewhere there was the key and the only occupant was a sweet red-breasted Robin.

Miracles and Magic begin to occur when following the Robin, she finds the key to the garden and later finds the door behind swaying and draping vines.
Inside this forlorn garden, Mary finds the hope of life in the shape of crocus pocking through the grass-covered soil.

Mary’s discovery and softening heart leads to the unraveling of tangled vines that choked the life and love out of a disillusioned father and an angry-bewildered child.
A lost love – causes a man, Archibald Craven, to shut his heart to the world he knew and to his new born infant, Colin, – he becomes a wanderer in beautiful lands and the serenity and peace is lost to him because of his broken heart.

Neglected and thought ill and cripple, Colin’s heart and temper are at the mercy of a household filled with staff, a doctor to care for him without the loving-tender arms of a mother or approval of a father. Depths of despair and loneliness cause this young boy to express himself in fits of temper.
Three hearts broken by life’s unfortunate circumstances find rebirth and hope in the Miracle and Magic of renewed life in a secret garden – a space once the center of love, laughter and beauty.
One small key opened the door to the Magic and Miracle of redemption, love and joy in the lives of the characters found in the novel written by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s story, 'The Secret Garden'.
My 'tea' today is in honor of Martha's and Dickon's mother, Mrs. Sowerby,- in her thoughtful gift of fresh milk and buns to encourage the young children
to eat well and keep their secret...

 My favorite character is Dickon's and Martha's mother - who is seen as a wonderful example of an intuitive, loving mother. In 'The Secret Garden' and now I am reading 'Little Lord Fauntleroy',

 I hear the voice love a loving mother. Frances wrote out of necessity to provide for her family and greatly loved her sons who at different times were both ill - one losing his life. Yet, in these books you find the heart of a woman who loved children, understood the need for nurturing, laughter and love as well as the joy found in the wonder of living as demonstrated in the beauty of the garden.
Frances' own garden is said to have been the inspiration for the story as well as her love for her ill son.

Maytham Hall

 Francis' life and story is honored by a statue of Mary and Dickon in Central Park's Conservatory Garden, New York. 

statue created by Besse Potter Vonnoh 1936

Little Lord Fauntleroy

 Today, there is a light rain outdoors – perfect weather to curl up with a good book. Last week I shared with you the delightsome story, ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It is such a lovely story – three lives changed through hope, love and redemption.
 Frances Hodgson Burnett had the singular ability to understand the heart of a child, the importance of a loving and nurturing parent and what could happen in the life of one who is encouraged to be of good character, to be kind and to be giving.

Little Lord Fauntleroy was her first story, which was originally written in installments. There was some controversy at the time to which Frances had to seek legal avenues to retain control of authorship of her story in play form.

I was completely enchanted reading Little Lord Fauntleroy because we are terrific fans of the 1936 film version of this story starring Freddie Bartholomew as Cedric Errol – Little Lord Fauntleroy. We have four, maybe five copies of this movie – you have often heard me refer to my husband as ‘Dearest’. It was this story that prompted that – something very special between us.

Where The Secret Garden demonstrated the Miracle and Magic of a garden, friendship and hope in redemption, Little Lord Fauntleroy demonstrates how faith, character and selfless giving could uplift sad burdened hearts transforming the lives of others through goodness and kindness.

Little Ceddie was an idyllic child from a very early age. His father Captain Cedric Erroll died when Ceddie was quite young and by the example he saw between his parents – he took on the role of caring for his mother and calling her ‘Dearest’. Ceddie was of such delightful character – childlike honesty and likeability - that all who met him became greatly fond of him. Ceddie was also a very handsome young child – reflecting the best of both his parents.

 Captain Erroll was the third son to a tyrannical, mean-spirited father – Earl of Dorincourt who was known for being unkind and cruel. Captain Errol’s two eldest brothers were crude and selfish – great disappointments to their father. The Earl did see potential good in his youngest son, but this caused him to dislike him all the more because these characteristics lacked in his eldest son – the heir to the title and property of Dorincourt. Captain Errol further incurred the wrath of the Earl by marrying an American woman – causing the Earl in a rage to declare that he would never have any more to do with the Captain.
Unfortunately, the Earl’s two eldest sons died and subsequently so did the Captain from an illness – this left the line of inheritance to fall upon the Captain’s son – Ceddie – living in America with his despised American mother.

The Earl sends his lawyer, Havisham to America to fetch his heir to England to raise him in the manner he would see fit to inherit the title and the property as future Earl of Dorincourt – thereby giving Ceddie the title – Little Lord Fauntleroy.
Expecting the worse from his parentage and American upbringing, the Earl was surprised and enchanted by the loving child-like faith he found in Ceddie, who thought his grandfather to be the kindest, greatest man alive. Over time, the Earl’s heart was melted by Ceddie’s acts of love, faith and philanthropy causing the Earl to finally ‘love another human being’. The Earl was also not able to break the strong connection of deep affection between Ceddie and his mother through bribery of toys or even a pony causing a sense of jealousy toward the mother.

Unexpected circumstances threaten Ceddie’s inheritance causing the Earl to see clearly his thoughtless rejection of the Captain’s wife as a tragic mistake. The story concludes with such delight in the importance of honest faith, love and giving to your family and to your fellow man.
Throughout reading the story and dialogue I was enchanted to recognize that the 1936 movie followed faithfully in the pure intent of the story written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I related this to my husband that he would love the story and recognize a great deal of the favorite lines from the movie we so love.

Gentle Lessons

Over the years, the Editors of Victoria Magazine have captured the many facets of the beauty of and the celebration of woman. The magazine became like a prism held up to the light to shine in rainbow hued colors the many and complicated sides to womanhood.

this little teacup and saucer are new finds Micasa - Petit Point

I appreciate these thoughts and reminders over the years – the treasuring of appreciating the precious things in life.
I am particularly drawn to an article today in the 1993 May issue of Victoria – an issue specifically dedicated to ‘the feminine touch’.

A photographic contributor to Victoria Magazine and author, Starr Ockenga was shared in her book, ‘On Women and Friendship’ –

 a look at Victorian Women who paid tribute in the loving ties they shared in things such as through beautiful paintings and bookmarks embroidered, ‘forget me not’.

A collector  of albums, needlework, paintings and poems of the Victorian era, Starr offered a look at those keepsakes in  – which illuminated the friendship of those Victorian women’s lives so many years ago.

Starr was drawn to friendship albums filled with words and sketches shared between Victorian women , ‘I read the words from the past, from a way of life with a different pace, words from one woman to another about the meaning and importance of friendship. The women wrote of friendship as the staple of their life’.

I was blessed to find one such album at an Estate sale several years back
Starr collected volumes of albums and emphemera revealing sentiments shared by Victorian women – she ‘found a thread that unted this ephemera: They all represent facets of women’s regard for one another, expressing what she calls ‘a gentle but strong communion’.

I find, that through modern technology – we have continued in our own way this gentle lesson of connecting – to celebrate the art and the beauty of womanhood – to relate as Kindred Spirits –

I am thankful to Starr for pursuing this collection – for sharing these women’s thoughts and sentiments. I plan to take a moment or two with my daughters – to teach them the beauty and the wonder of cultivating friendship with like-minded women – 

to honor and to cherish one another – perhaps they too can find friendships in the words left by these Victorian women as Starr described, ‘tender document of connections and feelings, as delicate and fragile as their braided hair wreaths’. 

Delightsome Gift

Blogging has been rewarding in so very many ways. One of the best rewards is to meet beautiful and gracious people.

Last week I received a sweet note from Gail with these two books –
Victoria Bath and Beauty
Victoria The Heart of England

I was so deeply moved. Sharing my love and admiration for Victoria magazine has been such a blessing – to connect with Kindred Spirits – uplifts my heart.

But, to include this with those who share faith in God and joy for living is all the more better.

Today, I sit to tea drinking in the beauty of these lovely books

Thank you Gail, you are a true blessing and I know based upon our faith we are sisters and will definitely meet one day.