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Kelf, Florence Mabel (1881–1901)

We regret having to record the death of Miss Florence Mabel Kelf, the second daughter of our respected Post and Telegraph Master, Mr. J. Kelf, which sad evont occurred on the 15th inst., at the residence of her aunt, Milson's Point, North Shore, where she was paying a visit. At the age of seven years, the late Miss Kelf, was attacked with very severe illness from which she recovered, only to find that, though her young life had been preserved, she was from that time forth doomed to perpetual darkness—in short, the illness had ruined her eyesight, and she was perfectly blind. This was a source of great grief to her friends, especially as all medical efforts were futile. At the age of eight years the child was sent to the Blind Institution on the Newtown road, Sydney, where her bright and loving disposition and kindness of heart, won her the love of all with whom she came in contact. Her progress, while she remained at the institution, was very great, as, although she was on some occasions attacked by illness, she soon reached the head of the school, where she remained until 16 years of age. A few months before her death she succeeded in passing her musical examination at Singleton with honors, of which she was very deservedly proud. Miss Kelf had the real poetic genius, and during her short life had written many excellent poems. Below we reprint a few of the verses which were written by her at the age of 15, and in which there is undoubtedly a touch of that pathos which pervaded every thought and act of her life. We sincerely sympathise with Mr. Kelf and the other members of the family in this their sad bereavement, but they will be consoled by the knowledge that so pure a soul has gone to the "Mansions of the Blest."

Following is the poem referred to :—

THE THREE WREATHS.

A lady sat in a garden
     With her baby on her knee.
And the little one laughed gaily
     While clapping her hands with glee ;
For her mother to amuse her
     Had made of roses red
A little wreath, and placed it
    Upon her golden head.

And as her childish laughter
     Rang on the summer air,
The mother's heart throbbed quickly,
     And she breathed an earnest prayer
That God would defend her darling
     Throughout the coming years
From all that could cloud her sunshine,
     Or dim her eyes with tears.

She drew a glorious picture
     Of the far-off future days.
Of the joy in store for her baby,
     Of all the love and praise;
Of the heart that thro out her lifetime
     Would as pure and spotless be
As it was that very morniug,
     While she sat upon her knee.

A broken-hearted mother
     Sat in a chamber of gloom,
The blinds were drawn and no sunbeams
     Could steal into the room;
A wreath of fair white roses
     Lay on the coffin lid,
Which from the weeping mother
     Her life's best treasure hid.

She thought of that summer morning,
     When she sat in the garden fair,
And placed the blooming roses
     Upon her darling's hair;
She thought of the dreams she'd indulged in
     Of the hopes she had cherished in vain
And she clasped her hands together
     With a cry of bitter pain.

But God will restore her loved one,
     Some day in tho land of the blest,
Where sorrow and death and heartache
     Never come—but all is rest;
And the little angel baby
     ls crowned in the home on high
With a wreath of immortal roses,
     That ne'er will fade or die.

FLORENCE KELF.

Original publication

Citation details

'Kelf, Florence Mabel (1881–1901)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/kelf-florence-mabel-22876/text32293, accessed 25 October 2021.

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