It was Mr. Balfour who once said that this brilliant lady novelist is the only Englishwoman who knows anything about real India. Nor is this at all surprising when it is mentioned that the first forty years of her life were spent in that portion of the Empire, twenty-five of them being as Inspectress of Government Schools in the Punjab. Mrs. Steel, who was born at Harrow in 1847, became an author in a rather curious way. She took to writing first to help a very hard-worked editor of an Indian newspaper during the very deadly hot weather, when he was continually down with fever. At that time she was only twenty-seven, but it frequently happened that a whole issue - leaders and all - came from her pen. It may not be generally known that her first success was not a novel, but a volume called " The Complete Cook and Housekeeper," which in India has become a standard treatise. Mrs. Steel, who lives at Talgarth Hall, Machynlleth, North Wales, contributes an interesting link with the past, and has mentioned that her grandmother used to boast that her grandfather was twelve years old when Charles I. was beheaded. Among the best known of Mrs. Steel's wonderful Indian novels are, "From the Five Rivers," "The Potter's Thumb," "On the Face of the Waters." "Voices in the Night," and "The Hosts of the Lord."
Mrs. Flora Annie Steel Elliott & Fry