This picture is similar to one I took in the library, but it turned out better than mine…click on the picture and follow the link for a more scholarly post on a trip to the Armitt Museum!
As promised, my next few posts will be excerpts that I copied out from various sources that I stumbled across in the Charlotte Mason Archives.
Don’t know if anyone will catch the literary reference in the title (loved that book as a child!) but it is quite appropriate. Had I not made prior contact, I never would have seen the archives because the Armitt Museum is closed in order that the Charlotte Mason Archives, as well as some other archival materials, could be sorted and organized (or “organised”, which looks so much prettier in print, don’t you think?). I overheard snippets of conversations betwixt two of the staff while I sat at a table and busily scribbled out all the “nuggets of treasure” I could manage to write in three hours’ time, and it seems that things are in quite a mess of confusion.
However, there was a skeletal kind of index that gave us an idea of which numbered boxes held which materials.
It was Dr. Coombs who pulled out this letter and showed it to me:
(This letter was copied by hand and then re-typed. There may be typographical or copy errors. Shared with permission from the Armitt Museum, Ambleside, Cumbria, UK)
This letter was sent to Miss Mason’s good friend, Mrs. Franklin, and concerned her daughter Madge, who was around 9 years old at the time.
I almost cried after reading this…some of it reminded me so much of my own struggles with a “difficult” child…I nearly laughed out loud in the quiet, still library when I read “Handwork, so far, we have not managed”…!! I was struck by Miss Mason’s gentle confidence…I could almost visualize her smiling and softly laughing as she thought and wrote about this unique and apparently vibrant young girl.
Other observations, random in nature:
Did they eat ALL the time? Maybe “second breakfast” isn’t unique to Hobbits after all!
Many things can be accomplished in small pockets of time…quarters of an hour to learn an instrument or a language, and to think of starting at 8 am and still managing such a full yet delightful schedule, including a rest, and wrapping up by 7 or 8 in the evening. So often I feel so pressed for time, as if the clock is my enemy, and as though time for “school” has been squeezed out of my day by the tyranny of the urgent. Granted, Charlotte Mason lived at a school where there was a staff for such things as cleaning and cooking. But I have some “servants” as well, in the form of a dishwasher, microwave, and my fabulous washer and dryer. Have I ever mentioned my washer and dryer??? Oh…I digress…
Some children thrive on activity and adventure. I was not surprised to read that Madge was “radiant with happiness” after a long drive and a 6 mile walk. My own “active one” would be just as radiant were he to have such a holiday outing. That being said, not all of my other children would react similarly. There are times when we “divide and conquer” and one or some have an “adventure” with Dad or Grandma and Grandpa, and others remain at home.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this personal letter as much as I did!