Chapter 23 » 23.99

Friends and state authority

Crime and punishment

There was no weakness or trouble of mind or body which might not safely be unveiled to [Elizabeth Fry]. Whatever various or opposite views, feelings or wishes might be confided to her, all came out again tinged with her own loving, hoping spirit. Bitterness of every kind died; when entrusted to her, it never reappeared. The most favourable construction possible was always put upon every transaction. No doubt her failing lay this way; but did it not give her and her example a wonderful influence? Was it not the very secret of her power with the wretched and degraded prisoners? She always could see hope for everyone; she invariably found or made some point of light. The most abandoned must have felt she did not despair for them, either for this world or another; and this it was that made her irresistible.

Priscilla Buxton, 1847

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