Elizabeth Parker's Sampler

I saw an amazing large (33" x 29") sampler recently in London at the V&A Textile Rooom sewn by Elizabeth Parker of Sussex, sewn sometime in early Victorian England. The sampler is worked in a tiny red cross stitch, forming tiny letters which make up the story of Elizabeth's traumatic life. She was born in 1813 and lived with her parents and her ten brothers and sisters until the age of 13 when she left home for a job as a nurserymaid. She describes what she sees as her own weaknesses and sins, and the trials she had to face from employers who treated her 'with cruelty too horrible to mention', as well as her confession of the temptation to suicide. As the text continues her desperation increases, '..which way can I turn oh whither must I flee to find the Lord wretch wretch that I am …what will become of me ah me what will become of me'.The piece ends hauntingly with the phrase "what will become of my soul"; it is unfinished, and this only serves to make the sampler all the more poignant and heartbreaking. 

To read what became of Elizabeth check out the V&A page: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/s/sampler