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Sarah Maria (A.A.Milne) Heginbotham

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Category: Literature
Reference No: 3261
Status: Available
Price: £65.00
  Sarah Maria (A.A.Milne) Heginbotham  Sarah Maria (A.A.Milne) Heginbotham

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Mother of the author A.A.Milne.

Known as Maria, she married John Vine Milne on 27th August 1878 and gave birth to Alan Alexander Milne in 1882. Milne’s father had said that the three boys they had were extremely close to their mother, going to her with their troubles before seeing him and constantly spending time with her. A.A.Milne had a different opinion:

I don't think I ever really knew her. When I was a child I neither experienced, nor felt the need of, that mother-love of which one reads so much...She may...have felt that Papa was so good at playing with a child, and amusing a child, and making a child love him, that she oughtn't to interfere there...She was restfully aloof.” (Autobiography, 37)

This is a very rare survival, a handwritten letter on three pages (Shallcross Cottage, November 30th). There is no year on the letter but a contemporary note in pencil dates it to 1876 (perhaps from an envelope which is no longer present), or two years before her marriage to A.A.Milne's father, John.

The letter content indicates that at that time Sarah was running a school with her mother and her sister.

It reads (in part):

My dear Miss Shallard,

We feel very happy thta you have decided to entrust the children to our care and you may rest assured your confidence will not be abused. You are quite right when you understand that we undertake the board, lodging, washing, education and entire charge of their wardrobes for £8.7.0 per month, with an advance in twelve months, if, as you say, all is well; and also that your brother shall enjoy the society of his dear children as often as he chooses to. We are removing on Wednesday and hope to be ready to receive our little charges some day in the week following, The exact day we cannot name - at present, but (will) write you again shortly.

Mamma wishes me to say that you need not trouble about the children's wardrobes being in perfect order before they come as we will attend to that.

I propose writing to Mr Shallard by tonight's post. You will think it strange Mamma never writes to you about these matters but "she does not see the necessity when she has two great girls"

The final part of the letter is rendered a little more difficult to read by the Victorian habit of cross-writing, but appear to be an explanation of why Mamma "never thinks of touching a pen" - she is busy with the basic running of the establishment. She ends by signing as "S.M.Heginbotham".

Condition is very good. VERY RARE.