Life in Mexico

Frances Calderón De La Barca
ఠ(Life in Mexico

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Title: Life in Mexico
Author: Frances Calderón De La Barca
Release Date: November, 2005 [EBook #9364] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on September 25, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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Everyman, I will go with thee, and be thy guide, In thy most need to go by thy side.
FRANCES CALDERON DE LA BARCA, born in Edinburgh, 1804, the daughter of William Inglis. After her father's death she settled in America, where she married the Spanish diplomat, Don Angel Calderon de la Barca. She accompanied him on his various appointments to Mexico, Washington, and finally to Madrid, where she was created Marquesa de Calderon de la Barca by Alfonso XII and died in 1882.

First published 1843
In the year 1843, two new books took the American public by storm: one was Prescott's History of the Conquest of Mexico, and the other Life in Mexico by Madame Calderon de la Barca. William Hickling Prescott was already known as an able historian on account of his scholarly Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain which had appeared four years before and elicited praise from all quarters; but his new work outran the former in that the author had succeeded in depicting one of the most stirring episodes of history with the grandeur of an epic and the interest of a novel.
It was therefore natural that a book with Prescott's endorsement should be favourably received by the general public; but Life in Mexico immediately attained wide circulation on its own merits, and was received with unbounded enthusiasm. Soon the slight veil that pretended to hide the author's name was drawn aside and Madame Calderon de la Barca became famous in literary and social circles.
Frances Erskine Inglis was born in Edinburgh in the year 1804. Her father, William Inglis, belonged to a distinguished Scottish family, related to the Earls of Buchan, and was a grandson of a gallant Colonel Gardiner who fell in the battle of Prestonpans, while her mother, a Miss Stern before her marriage, was a celebrated beauty of her time.
Fanny, as Frances was familiarly called, was still very young when her father found himself in financial difficulties and decided to retire with his family to Normandy where living was supposed to be cheaper. But William Inglis died a few years later, and his widow determined to settle in America. In the United States Mrs. Inglis established a private school first in Boston, later in Staten Island, and finally in Baltimore, and her daughter was a great help, for she immediately revealed herself as an excellent teacher. Besides, Fanny became a great friend of Ticknor, Lowell, Longfellow, and especially of Prescott, who thought her "ever lively and spirituelle."
In 1836 a Special Diplomatic Mission from Spain arrived at Washington, and at its head came Don Angel Calderon de la Barca, a gentleman of high social standing and an accomplished man of letters, who, naturally enough, soon established literary relations with William Prescott, then at work on his History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. In this connection he became acquainted with many of Prescott's friends, the Inglis ladies among others, and the result was that he fell in love with the accomplished Fanny, and married her in 1838. Shortly afterwards Don Angel was appointed Isabel II's Minister to Mexico, the first Spanish Envoy to the young Republic that had formerly been the Kingdom of New Spain. The newly married couple, accordingly, started on their journey to Mexico, which was destined to be a long one, even for those days, for they left New York on October 27th and did not reach their destination until the 26th of the following
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