March 17th [1856]

MS University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign: Letter 8.

My dear Mrs Blackburn,
I condole with you on the loss of your chicken and hope the other will not follow it at the critical moment of putting out the wing feathers. I am afraid the Empress has no such good amusement, and probably the Imperial prince is much too grand a personage for her to be allowed to touch him.1 I never read anything more absurd than the account of his 144 garments of every description. I wonder whether he will really be kept in white and blue till seven years old.

I hope you have your Daisy Chain which I desired to be sent to you, but young Mr Parker being abroad, and his father having the gout, I don’t feel as sure as usual of such things being attended to. If you have not received it, I will send you one, it is a great big book, and I think you will like Harry and the Doctor, but you will find more sick folk than you approve.

Don’t you think there are two sorts of girls by nature as well as by art – boy-girls, and girl-girls – the boy-girls shouting, tearing frocks, hating needles, and being ultra boys till such time as the feminine instinct begins, the girl-girls always being thorough women in gentle tastes. I don’t think education makes the two natures transferable, though it comes to much the same in the end; As it does with boys – whom I have generally seen more timid than girls though more blustering, when small. Indeed I have only met with one boy under 9 who was not an arrant coward at heart, which has persuaded me that courage is chiefly strength in boys, while in girls, I believe much is a latent consciousness that womanhood is a protection at least from anger.

I never told you how much I like Dorothy, there is something very live about her, and Lance is very good as much as there is of him.2 I don’t think the Colonel could have married her at his own gate; but it is a pretty bright book.

I hope you are out in the world again – how lucky you are to have been laid up now rather than in an available time of year. How does the Palissy pottery get on?

Yours sincerely
C M Yonge

1Eugénie Marie de Montijo (1826-1920) married Napoleon III in 1853, the year after the Second Empire was declared. Their son, Eugène Louis John Joseph Bonaparte, was born on 16 March 1856. the day before this letter was written.
2Dorothy: A Tale (1856) was the first novel of Margaret Agnes Colvile (1829-1905), first cousin of Jemima (Wedderburn) Blackburn. Their fathers, Andrew Colvile Wedderburn (1779-1856) and James Wedderburn (1782-1822) were brothers.
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/3080/to-jemima-blackburn-8

One Comment
  1. Ellen Jordan says:

    “How does the Palissy pottery get on?” The pottery of Bernard Palissy (c. 1510 – c. 1589) was the inspiration for Mintons Ltd’s Victorian majolica, which was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 under the name “Palissy ware”. This may have been of particular interest to Jemima Blackburn because Palissy was best known for pottery decorated with modelled or applied reliefs of reptiles and sea creatures coloured naturalistically with glazes and enamels.

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