March 28th [1884]

MS Charlotte Mitchell

Dearest Jay

If you would write to me once a fortnight how delightful it would be for we do let each other drop fearfully, and as long as my poor Gertrude is in her present state I can not go from home unles I can leave Mary Woollcombe here. She is here now, finishing a fortnights stay, during which I have been able to get a few days with the Moberlys. Near as they are, I had not been with them for four years, as they always are away when I go about in August. And the Bishop is 81, and feeble on his feet, though not in essentials. It is odd that we had a great talk about this investigation of ghosts. Did Caroline Trench ever tell you of the wonderful things that her nephew Gilbert saw and heard at Horsepath, near Oxford. It is too long to write here, and she knows all about it. I think Edith Moberly has just that Rip van Winkle feeling you describe about Winchester, especially now that Dr Ridding is leaving it.2

I wish you could have seen the tableaux of the history of Winchester that Lady Laura Ridding and others got up last Christmas, beginning with the Lady Elaine in her boat, then William Rufus brought in his cart, and Cardinal Beaufort hearing the news of Agincourt, Col Fiennes stopping the Roundheads from plundering Wykeham’s shrine was best of all. There were about 20, divided among different families who got them up, for the benefit of a house they have for reforming rough girls, and getting them out to service You ask what Alethea and Helen are about. I believe Alley will be married before the end of the year.3 She has been engaged for rather more than a year to Mr Henry Bowles, who came as a clerical pupil to Mr Brock before being ordained. Lady Chichester who was one of the Chamberlaynes has just got her daughter’s trustees to offer him their family living, Arlington, where they live, close to Barnstaple, over £300 a year, and 420 people, 100 acres of glebe and a good house It is rather wonderful, he being not 25, but though not exactly delicate, I don’t think he could do hard work. He is 6 foot 3. The letter kindly came on a Sunday when he happened to be here helping Mr Brock who had a bad cold and touch of bronchitis so they had all the delight of it together, and he is going to see the place next week.

I am glad those two poor girls are to have a little change, it will be very good for them. I see you did not send me [a line cut out in MS] I see Susan Blunt [word cut out] meetings, and I met Lord Nelson looking very shaggy in the stalls at Salisbury.4

Did you see Mary Morshead’s beautiful verses about poor Mr Merton Smith? Mildred is to be married on St. George’s day. I am afraid Mr Stuart is very delicate. John Pode knew Mr Mercer Coxe in London, and seems to think highly of him.5 I don’t think I have read anything very good lately [line missing cut out] is by Miss Wordsworth, the Bp of Lincoln’s daughter, and how touching poor Professor Palmer’s life is.6

your most loving cousin
C M Yonge

1The Hon. Jane Colborne (1826/7-1919) married (1857) General Alexander George Montgomery Moore (1833-17 January 1919), cr KCB 1900. While staying with them at Dover Castle CMY conceived the idea of her novel The Constable’s Tower, or, The Times of Magna Carta (1891).
2Dr. George Ridding, the headmaster of Winchester College, was consecrated as bishop of Southwell in May 1884. He was the widower of Mary Moberly, eldest daughter of his predecessor Dr. George Moberly (1803-1885), currently Bishop of Salisbury,
3Alethea Yonge and Henry Bowles were married in St. Matthew's Otterbourne on 7 August 1884.
4The 3rd Earl Nelson (1823-1913) and his sister Lady Susan (Nelson) Blunt (d.1900) were related to Alexander Montgomery Moore, whose grandmother, like theirs, was one of Nelson’s sisters.
5The Rev. Merton Smith, Vicar of St. Mary’s. Plympton, had disappeared while on holiday in the Pyrenees and his body had not been found for some time. His parish included Beechwood, Sparkwell, the home of Jane Montgomery Moore's family, the Colbornes. Mary Anderson Morshead's sister Mildred Anderson Morshead was engaged to a Plymouth solicitor, Charles Stewart, whom she married on 25 April 1884. The Rev. Joseph Mercer Cox succeeded Merton Smith as Vicar of St. Mary’s, Plympton.
6The book by Elizabeth Wordsworth CMY recommended here was perhaps her pseudonymous novel Ebb and Flow (1883), and the biography Walter Besant's (1883) life of Edward Henry Palmer, murdered in Egypt in 1882.

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/2788/to-the-hon-mrs-montgomery-moore-3

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