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Notes on the Geography of Sri Lanka: Colombo: Photo 15

world pictures Sri Lanka: Colombo

One of the biggest, oldest, and certainly most verbose stones.  It dates to 1814, the year before the British conquered the highland kingdom of Kandy, and it may be the reverse side of a Dutch tombstone.

"Here lie deposited the mortal remains of the Right Hon'ble Lady Louisa Rodney, daughter of John, Earl of Aldborough.  She was born December 3rd, 1778, married October the 19th, 1799, the Hon. John Rodney.  She departed this life December 2nd, 1814.  A few days before her death she was seen in this place apparently in health joining with unaffected piety in the public worship of her Maker, one who was felt to be the life, the ornament of the limited society of Colombo.  The pious daughter, the faithful wife, the affectionate mother, had too well discharged her various duties, not to feel a firm reliance on the mercy of the Creator.  To those with whom those relations existed, who shall speak earthly comfort?  Who shall replace to her parents the pride of their noble house?  Who shall soften the affliction of the beloved partner of so many of her happiest years?  Who shall calculate the loss of such a mother to the poor infants surrounding their sorrowing father, unconscious of their common calamity, and wondering at the change which had converted the happiest dwelling into a house of mourning?  Before her native dignity and easy condescension, restraint and ceremony alike retired, and while our social circles were enlived by her cheerful temper, the sorrows of the unfortunate were sooth'd by her prompt bounty.  Such was the kind, the good, the warm-hearted friend whom all deplored [sic].  Such was she who has left a void in our society not to be filled up, and now is her earthly form, which beamed the very spirit of benevolence, the tenant of a cold and silent grave.  For such a loss it is fair to indulge in the grief, which we feel to be universal, the best affections of our hearts demanded, and cold must be that heart, knowing as we know, would not sorrow for the amiable Lady Louisa Rodney.  And now, O Lord, in whose hands are the issues of life and death, not my will, but Thine be done."

Whew! From an obituary : "The funeral, which took place on Saturday, was attended by an immense concourse of persons of every description in the neighborhood of Colombo.... Never was witnessed a scene of sincerer grief than the Church of Colombo exhibited while the funeral service proceeded.... We use no figurative phrase in saying that the death of Lady Louisa Rodney has cast a general gloom of sadness over this Settlement." 

Her husband was Chief Secretary  and continued in Ceylon until his retirement in 1832.  He died in France in 1847, aged 82, by which time he had fathered 18 children from three wives--Louisa being the middle one.

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