Mary Louisa Molesworth, née Stewart, (1839 – 1921) was born in Rotterdam to English parents. She wrote many books for girls, which were typically Victorian in that they aimed to be amusing but also had a strong sense of morality and duty. Mrs Molesworth was very popular with children in her day and was known as "the Jane Austen of the nursery".
The Rectory Children is about a family of three children who move into the old Rectory in the small town of Seacove, and their new friend Celestina. Bridget, the youngest Rectory girl, is rather naughty and looks like getting into big trouble. However, goodness triumphs and it all ends well.
The book contains 9 illustrations by Walter Crane (1845 –1915) who is considered to be the most influential, and among the most prolific, children's book creators of his generation.
“Seacove, though a small place, was not so out-of-the-way in some respects as many actually larger towns, for it was a seaport, through not a very important one. Ships came in from all parts of the globe, and sailed away again in due course to the far north, and still farther off south; to the great other world of America, too, no doubt, and to the ancient eastern lands. …the queer outlandish-looking sailors who from time to time were to be seen on the wharf or about the Seacove streets.”
A very poetic description from the first pages of the book.