Elderfield, Otterbourne, Winchester,
July 2, 1881.

MS location unknown. Printed in Coleridge, Life, pp. 320-321

My dear Florence-

It is a very good story, but I wish it had not been about an election, for I have another election story which I cannot throw over. It is by my poor old friend Fanny Wilbraham, who is so nearly blind that it is a wonder she has written it at all, and it is really very good. It is the conduct of a Cheshire peasant the other day, but she has put it back 100 years, and considering all things I think you would not wish me to put hers aside. She is so good that I know she would say the same, but somehow 1 think, as she is the oldest and the blindest, and the most broken altogether, I must give her the preference, and I am sure your story will easily get in anywhere, for it is very spirited.

Our new vicar is a total abstainer; he is a capital man and a thorough churchman, and the place is taking to him much. Our poor schoolmaster had been devoted to Mr. Elgee, and died in less than a week after Mr. Brock came; there was illness enough to account for it, but the crisis had come, and it seemed as if he might have lived if he had only had energy to strive for life, and try to take food. But the beauty of his goodness was something remarkable. He came from Clevedon, where Mr. Saxby says he first knew him as a blameless choir-boy always able to quiet disputes among rougher lads. The first gains of his work as a schoolmaster he spent on a little print of the Crucifixion for the choir vestry at Clevedon, and since his death we have found that all his life he gave away a third of all that he had! Our boys were in a very naughty state when he came, but he made them behave better than ever they did before, at home as well as at school. He would have been quite ideal if he had been a little cleverer and brisker, but then he might not have been as good. I think we have a nice youth who came to help while he was ill, and all like.1 I am glad the General is better, and that you are all able to have a change. Gertrude is at Dr. England’s,2 as some repair was wanted in her room, and elsewhere and the house not habitable for her-

Your affectionate

1The schoolmaster who had died was Walter Fisher, and his successor Alfred Rolfe (1859-1918), still schoolmaster in Otterbourne in 1903.
2CRC’s note: Dr. England was the family physician. His son attended Miss Yonge in her last illness.

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/2729/to-florence-wilford-10

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