December 8 [1871]

MS location unknown. Printed in Coleridge, Life 268-9

My dearest Fanny,
Somehow I did not feel as if I could write to you before I heard from May how you and Joan were, and till I had in a measure realised the crush to one’s feelings on the one side, and the glorious crown upon the other. 1

There was something in the set-apart life, and the freedom from all our common heats and strifes and turmoils that seemed to remove him into the world where such things are. You know I had only twice seen him, once at our stay at Feniton, and once when he dined at Deerpark from Alfington, and so he has always seemed to me like the saintliness one believes in and gives thanks for. I don’t mean that knowing him more intimately at home would have made this less, I believe it would more, but it would have been more mixed up with common life. I can only think of

His spirit calmed the storm to meet,
Feeling the Rock beneath his feet,
And tracing through the cloud the eternal cause.2

Such a life does seem truly to meet its appropriate close in that witness which above all wins the white robe and crown and palm. How little we thought who after Archbishop Darboy was to be the martyred Bishop. 3 It cannot be but that you personally both of you feel the present light of joy and interest gone out of your lives, but how perfect the radiance when you look up! I think if prayers – as of course they do- do cause comfort, much must be wafted to you and Joan, so many must be praying for you.

The Mission Field went at me to do a short notice, and as I knew I could not do it for that, I wrote (to get off) one that I could do from my heart of those vague In Memoriam things for the Literary Churchman. Things ought not to be done when all is so fresh, but people will crave, and will ask, and one gives into them. I hope you will not dislike anything in this paper, at least it came from my heart.

With much love to Joan.
Your affectionate
C. M. Yonge

1Joanna Patteson (1818/9-1884) was the elder half-sister of Fanny Patteson and of Bishop Patteson. The news of the latter's murder on 20 September 1871 reached England in December.

2John Keble, ‘Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity’, ll. 28-30, from The Christian Year.

3Georges Darboy (1813-1871), Archbishop of Paris, taken hostage and shot by the Paris Commune in May.

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/2425/to-frances-sophia-coleridge-patteson-6

One Comment
  1. Ellen Jordan says:

    “The news of the latter’s murder … reached England in December.” A footnote to the previous letter says the death “was reported in The Times, 28 November 1871, 9e.”

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