It was really a terrible affliction which led this gifted lady to become a poetess. " During my girlhood days," she once said to the writer, " my greatest desire was to become a musician, but at thirteen years of age a terrible calamity befell me. I became totally deaf as the result of an attack of scarlet fever, and never regained my hearing. Then it was I took to verse writing as another way of making music, for it was the desire to write words for music which, in the first instance, induced me to try the art of rhyming." At the same time, Miss Burnside disclaims the title of poetess. "1 have never called myself anything more ambitious than a verse writer," she says. Miss Burnside is an old lady now - she was born in 1844 - with a face as sweet and a voice as gentle as the messages she sends round the world. She lived for many years at Putney, reading, gardening, and walking in her leisure hours. A prolific worker, Miss Burnside has written four hundred verses a year for the last twenty years, and sometimes as many as eight or ten different poems in one day.
Miss Helen M. Burnside F. Russell