June 1st [?1886]

MS Princeton University, Parrish Collection

My dear Mrs Harrison
Thank you so much for my God daughter’s photograph. Alas! I have been a very bad Godmother to her, never having a chance to come in her way, but I go so little from home and when I do, it is always to my own people in Devon.

I have not been to London even for three years! Unluckily I just missed Mrs Bland when she was staying with the Bakers at Winchester. By the by, my youngest niece, Joanna, spends from Monday to Friday every week under Agnes Baker’s teaching, and very good it is for her.2 How young things do grow up. I have one married niece now- her husband is an excellent young clergyman in Devonshire, and her father and mother are just gone to stay with her, but it does not seem as if there were to be any grand children.3 You must rejoice in beginning again with two sets so near you.4 I have heard Grandparents call it the most delightful relationship in the world- all the pleasure without the responsibility, and I think daughter’s children are more delightful than son’s, because there is less chance of differences of opinion about them!

I had a little correspondence with Mrs De Winton a little while ago about the Mother’s Union Please give my love to dear Margaret Wilcox, and tell her how sorry I am to hear she is such a sufferer.5 There are sad changes in that family since they struck me as all so good, and bright and happy in those years long ago

yours affectionately
C M Yonge

1Sophia Jane (Collinson) (1826-1891), daughter of the Rev. John Collinson, Rector of Boldon, and Amelia King, married (6 Jan 1859), as his second wife, Thomas Elliot Harrison (1808-1888), of Whitburn, Sunderland-on-Wear, a distinguished railway engineer and entrepreneur. They had two sons and four daughters. She herself was one of a large family; Mrs Bland was her sister, and she had had two sisters, Julia and Thomasine, called Mrs de Winton, but the latter is referred to here. CMY’s friendship with the family is chronicled in her autobiography (Coleridge, Life, 31-2), and in her brief essay on the novels of Julia de Winton, later Stretton, ‘Mrs Stretton’ in Women Novelists of Queen Victoria’s Reign (1897), 204-10. The genealogy of the Harrisons and their connexions is exhaustively explored by George H. Graham, ‘The The Thompsons, Shipbuilders of Sunderland’ at http://members.cox.net/ghgraham/
2Probably to be identified as Agnes Baker (b.1863/4), daughter of the Rev. James Baker of Clifton Lodge, Winchester, who is described, like her sister Emily (b. 1858/9) in the 1891 census as a Teacher of Music.
3Alethea Yonge had married (September 1884) the Rev. Henry Bowles.
4Sophia Harrison’s daughter Sophia Agneta married (December 1884) William King, and her daughter Emily Cecilia married (January quarter 1886) James Laing.
5Margaret Wilcox (1836-1887), first cousin of Lewis Carroll, lived at Whitburn near the Harrisons, and was one of the eldest of a family of 13. CMY had a great weakness for such families.
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/2831/to-sophia-jane-harrison-2

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