Miss Martha Mary Crawford Author:Catherine Marchant In the closing weeks of 1879 Miss Martha Mary Crawford had not yet reached her twentieth birthday, but she shouldered a burden of care and responsibility heavy enough to daunt a much older woman. From the time her mother had died four years before, she had functioned both as mother to her siblings and as mistress of The Habitation, the Crawford... more » property close to the banks of the River Tyne in rural Northumberland.
It was a formidabe task. The Habitation was badly run down and, with their fortunes in rapid decline, the Crawfords were being forced to live in increasingly faded gentility. And yet when her widowed father died, Martha Mary discovered to her horror that he had wasted even this meager family substance upon a mistress, and that now the family was in virtual penury.
In that implacable moment she also learned certain things about herself, chiefly that, just as she had already sacrificed her young girlhood, she was now in danger of sacrificing her entire life to The Habitation.« less