From the pages of the Student Journal from Easter Term 1923:
January 12th: Today brought us back to Scale How. We were very pleased to be back, but felt rather overwhelmed by the thirty juniors. The Dragon is complete and very splendid; what a dance floor! The Millet Room has become a dormitory and six juniors are to sleep there. The usual number of juniors are at Fairfield, and the seven X’s are at Dr. Allue’s. We just fit in. We were disappointed that Miss Mason was not able to see us. She had been ill during the holidays and was not able to greet us as usual.
January 14th: We are all very anxious about Miss Mason. Whe is unconscious now, and is hardly expected to last the night.
January 15th: We are all much more hopeful. Miss Parish told us that Miss Mason had a good night.
Tonight we were less hopeful again. Miss Mason has never regained consciousness, and we were afraid that she could not last long. She has had two nurses. Mrs. Franklin and Miss Williams arrived tonight.
January 16th: This morning at about mid-day, while we were doing exams, Miss Williams, Miss Parish and Miss Kitching came into the classroom and told us that Miss Mason had passed away peacefully in her sleep. We stood for five minutes for prayer.
Dr. Hugh came this evening to talk to us about Miss Mason. The school children came up to hear him. We sang two of Miss Mason’s favourite hymns and Dr. Hugh read some prayers.
January 17th: Those who wished were allowed to go into the drawing room and see Miss Mason. She looked perfectly beautiful and much younger. Her face was so restful, and the lines had gone.
Mrs. Franklin talked to us about Miss Mason this afternoon.
January 19th: Miss Mason’s funeral was at 2:15 pm. There were lovely flowers and beautiful wreaths, several students carried some.
I sat at the long table in that tiny library sifting and sorting through yellowed documents and photos and old journals and record books with worn and crumbling covers…these words from a journal kept by the students at the Teacher’s College were found amongst such a pile. How touching to read them in a hand written by a young woman who had been molded and shaped by Miss Mason’s teaching and instruction. Yet how odd it felt to sit there and read it…I almost felt like I was intruding on something sacred. I wonder if that young lady had any idea that one day a mother, whose own teaching has been molded and shaped by Miss Mason, would sit and read the account of those January days and feel herself carried back in time to the moments and events so briefly and succinctly described on the page. For a moment I shared in her sorrow, I felt myself moved and touched, as if I stood amongst those teachers during their five minutes of silent prayer, reviewing in my mind all the ways I have been blessed by the life of Charlotte Mason.
The journal entry was one of the last of the archives that I reviewed and recorded for my personal use, and appropriately so. We spent our last moments in the library chatting with Margaret and taking a quick look at the collection of Beatrix Potter’s watercolour paintings on display at the museum. Then we stepped out into the drizzle to snap some pictures of the buildings on campus and wander around Ambleside, exploring it’s shop-lined streets and odd corners and alleys.
We made our way home along the shore of Lake Windermere…I tried to call my mother, as it was her birthday and such a fun idea to call her from Ambleside! She was out, so we instead called the children and chatted with them on our rainy drive back to the cottage. I threw together a quick dinner of salmon and some fine beans (early, thin green beans). A steaming pot of tea and a warm bowl of sticky toffee pudding topped off the night.
Wednesday was a funny day…we knew we were to expect heavy rain. We slept in late and regaled ourselves with our “usual” large English breakfast. I braved the rain to duck in and out of village shops, collecting delightful treasures for loved ones. We wandered over to the Priory in the afternoon for an interesting tour led by one of the village “locals”, a member of the parish. A quick “tea” to hold us over, and an hour or two of lounging and reading. Then we decided to leave early to head off to our dinner reservations, so we could walk around and explore before going in for dinner. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend The Punch Bowl!
Lovely dining room. Delicious gastropub dinner. Incredible dessert. I literally wanted to ask if they had an opening for the following night…even after paying the bill!
We made our way back “home” and prepared for the next day, our last full day in the Lake District.