Elderfield, Otterbourne, Winchester.
March 25th 1865

MS British Library Add MSS 54920: 71-72

My dear Mr Macmillan,
This is a quick fire upon a busy man, but there are two or three things to say, and first that Mme de Witt has written to say that the Christian Names have not reached her, and asking whether you have sent them through any Paris bibliothèque where they could be enquired for. I also enclose a direction to which I should like to send a copy of the Golden Deeds. It is in fact to the little Princess Marguérite of Savoy, a child of 13, the niece of Victor Emmanuel – but it is etiquette to give it to the Governess instead of herself. She has been writing a poem on the Gascon Squire in the Lances of Lynwood!

If I did not know about her and the governess through Miss Sewell and some friends of hers I should think it a hoax, as I really did the first proposal to translate a book of mine which came on April 1st

Here is the 1st chapter of Bethlehem. I have had a young friend here, and so have been hindered from going further. I think there is scope for a very beautiful illustration here. In the latter part I could take no words but the Bible and Milton.

‘The Debatable Ford’ would be as suitable a title as the Dove &c and perhaps might be the first. I believe my brother would say the Dove &c was ‘flummery’ – but most I have told of it have liked the sound of it, and it tells the story. The length seems to me its chief fault. I had better leave the decision between the Dove and the Debatable Ford to you and Professor Masson.

Do you know if there is a publisher named Ratcliffe at Calcutta -? About three years ago the Calcutta University bought of me an edition of 5000 of my Landmarks /of Ancient History\ for their schools &c and two days ago, I got a letter dated Kyd Street, Calcutta, signed Ratcliffe, and saying the University had published another edition and that he was going to pay me 3d per vol. Whether it is a banking or a publishing firm or a government office, I cannot make out – there is not even the initial of a Christian name.

I’m afraid my Scotch was not rightly original for I wrote the sense in pencil, and sent it to a friend in Edinburgh to translate into good Scotch, or it never would have had such genuine turns.2

I know how great a friend Mrs Gatty considers Mr Bell, and I should hardly have mentioned her, but for her having translated that ‘Bit of Bread’ by special request, I believe, for Messrs Saunders and Otley, so that I concluded there was some understanding about her taking individual bits of work for individual purposes. But of course I would say nothing to her. I should like to see a very choice volume on Creation, and the book of nature, if one could only find a person with the head and the heart and the perseverance all united as in Dr George Wilson or Hugh Millar.2

Yours sincerely
C M Yonge

1In fact the letter was from James Sutcliffe, principal of the Hindu College, Calcutta.
2In The Clever Woman of the Family. The “friend” was probably Anne Mackenzie, (1813-1877), with whom CMY had stayed in Edinburgh in July 1862.
2 Macmillan's Magazine I (1860) 199-203 had carried an obituary by John Cairns of the chemist, museum director and popular science writer George Wilson (1818-1859).
Cite this letter

The Letters of Charlotte Mary Yonge(1823-1901) edited by Charlotte Mitchell, Ellen Jordan and Helen Schinske.

URL to this Letter is: https://c21ch.newcastle.edu.au/yonge/2014/to-alexander-macmillan-37

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.