Part III.
The Children's Tribute.


I suppose the thoughts uppermost in our minds are of gratitude for the great and loving friend who has left us--for a serene and joyous spirit, a wonderful intellect, her effectiveness and great achievements, the beauty of her soul and the gracious beauty of her person.

Miss Mason had been ill a few weeks and, on her birthday, her bed was brought down to the drawing room where, surrounded by books and beautiful pictures, she had been wont to see friends and students at work, lying on a couch near French windows that looked on to the garden with its lawns and trees and birds and mountain views. There was always a cocoa-nut hanging from the window for the tits.

She was 81 on New Year's Day, but, in spite of a frail body--which, indeed, had grown a little stronger of late years--she seemed to have perennial youth, and the keenness and vigour of her mind were unimpaired. She was at work on Friday and had lately drawn up the term's programmes for the P.U.S. Early Saturday morning, after speaking of the beauty of the starlit sky, with a jesting word to the nurse, she fell into a quiet sleep which lasted until she died, very peacefully, at noon on Tuesday, January 16th.


She was buried yesterday (January 19th) in the quiet churchyard at Ambleside. The Rev. H. Costley-White, chairman of the P.N.E.U. Executive, read the service, and was assisted by her friend, the Rev. F. Lewis and the Rev. J. Bolland, the vicar of Ambleside. The sky was leaden and it rained during the funeral--some think the Lake District looks its best under a grey sky. The coffin was covered with flowers, and flowers (including those sent by the Students' Association) were carried in procession by her friends and colleagues, the staff at Scale How, past and present students and the children of the practicing school. One felt that thousands, all over the world, were thinking of her that day, and tributes of love and gratitude were sent by hundreds, including many who had never seen her but whom she had helped and inspired--such as children of an elementary school, a preparatory school for boys "in the name of all who have passed through the school," pupils of girls secondary and private schools and home schoolrooms.

Miss Mason achieved great fame. Her writings and the P.N.E.U. which she founded 36 years ago have spread far and wide, she trained some 400 students, and (including those in about 200 elementary and 100 secondary schools) there are some 40,000 children--many of them living in distant lands--actually working in the P.U.S. at the present time, her pupils, whose work she followed with the greatest interest.

Besides her own organisations she inspired the work of others. Even where her work is not known the influence of her ideas has permeated modern education, and much that was new when she first taught it is now accepted everywhere. But in many things she is still far ahead and it is only when used as a balanced whole that P.N.E.U. methods give their best results.

Miss Mason was loved by all who saw her and had many dear and intimate friends. She had the power of seeing and bringing out the good in everyone, but I think she loved little children best of all. "For the Children's Sake" is the motto of the House of Education, and it was


for the children's sake that she lived and worked. She provided them with an education which is "an atmosphere, a discipline, a life," she reverenced them as "persons" and recognised their need for mental food in order that they might grow. She gave them living books, a love of literature, art, nature, craftsmanship, joy in learning and full lives. She never allowed the methods which she evolved or, as she preferred to say, "chanced to find"--to be called by her name; they were always "P.N.E.U." Her work will go on, not only because it is to be administered by those whom she has chosen and trained for this high responsibility, but because of its intrinsic vitality and truth.


My first impression of Miss Mason was when I used to see her out driving. She had a smile and a wave for everyone whom she knew, and it was with a feeling of pleasure and exultation that one passed on after her greeting.

How wonderful to think that the great founder of the P.U.S. and P.N.E.U. had actually waved and smiled at an insignificant person like oneself. For nearly a year I used to see her in this way, as I was fortunate enough to have lessons in the P.N.E.U. system near Ambleside.

One summer I had the great privilege of being asked to a party at Scale How. All the guests were greeted by Miss Mason in her beautiful drawing-room. She made one feel at home straight away by her sweet and gentle welcome. She watched all the games and races which were part of the afternoon's entertainment, and when tea-time came she went to a table where the little ones were sitting and had her tea with them.

It had been arranged that I was to go to the Practising School of the H.O.E. the following term.

That term began on a Saturday in late September. On the Sunday we went up to see Miss Mason. I can remember how sweetly she kissed us all as one by one we filed into the drawing-room where she was lying on her couch.


 She then spoke to us about our work for the term and dismissed us with a nod and a smile.

After that we saw her out constantly driving, at Criticism lessons or on our visits to College. One thing I shall always remember was when after the Member's Conference we were summoned to Miss Mason, who thanked us for our part in the Conference. Little had she to thank us for. It was our part to thank her for the liberal education and books she had put before us.

At our Drawing-room evening when we had to play to Miss Mason, there was always a charming smile and a few words to encourage us.

Whenever I think of Miss Mason I always see that same beautiful smile which made one love, and respect her more each time one saw her.


I am sensible of the honour of being asked to write a few of my personal remembrances of Miss Mason; and I know that what I write will have been the experience of many others beside myself. When at the age of twelve, I first came to the Practising School and saw Miss Mason, I had had it carefully explained to me by the other girls that she was a very great and wonderful person: and I was very much awed at seeing a person of such great wisdom and learning, and very surprised to find that she was the sweetest, kindest-looking person whom I had expected to see. And that, I think, was one of the chief charms of Miss Mason--she was so gentle, so quiet, so unassuming, and yet her personality was so dominating that everyone felt when they were with her that they were in the presence of a truly wonderful spirit.

Some of my happiest remembrances of Miss Mason are the almost daily pictures of her that we used to see as she came down the drive when going out in her carriage. One half of the gate was usually closed, and while Barrow


got down to open it, we used to flock to the window to wave to Miss Mason, for she always waved and smiled at us whenever we saw her.

There were certain memorable occasions upon which we used to see Miss Mason, and these were the Musical Drawing room Evenings which we gave up at college once a term. Arrayed in our best frocks we used to go up to Scale How and play the piece we had practised for a whole term before Miss Mason, the staff, and a roomful of students, and it was to us a terrible ordeal.

But how much worse it might have been!

Miss Mason was the gentlest and kindest of critics to us poor nervous children, and she never failed to make some encouraging remark to each of us as we left the piano.

At the beginning of every term we used to go up to College to greet Miss Mason, and she would talk to us of the coming term, and ask about our holidays: she knew each of us by name, and very often would inquire after various relatives of ours whom she had met. At the end of every term we used to go up to say "Good-bye" to her, and she would ask us whether we had liked the exams, and if we thought we had done well, and what we were going to do in the holidays, and many other such questions.

I was specially privileged in being prepared for Confirmation at Ambleside, and once a week the two other candidates from the Practising School and myself used to go up to Miss Mason for a quiet talk. I doubt if we realised the extent of the honour done to us.

At the end of every summer and autumn term Miss Mason gave a party for us, at which, if her health permitted, she was always present. During the tea she would come round and sit for a while at each table, talking and smiling with us all, and presently there would be peals of laughter--Miss Mason had asked a new riddle! She was very fond of riddles and funny stories and always asked for some at the parties, and great was the joy of the girl who could ask Miss Mason a new riddle that she had never heard before.

During last year--my first year at College--I came


into a much more personal touch with Miss Mason, and I marvelled more and more at her wonderful mind, her wonderful personality, and her wonderful vitality. Everybody who knew her, loved her; and all who came in contact with her realised how great her influence was, and when they went from her presence they felt uplifted and inspired to nobler things.

When looking at that sweet, grey haired old lady, it was strange to think that she held in her hands the workings of schools all over the world and that she had brought parents, teachers and children into one happy land of love, work and service.

It has often been said by ex-students of the House of Education that the two years spent there were two of the happiest of their lives, and it is true--I know I shall say it when I leave--and it is mainly because of the spirit of the place, everyone is happy and loves everybody else, and this will always be so because Miss Mason's spirit will always be there and her memory faithfully and lovingly cherished.


Miss Mason was one of the great ones of this earth, and so I feel most unworthy to write about her, but as I have had the great privilege of having known her as a student, I think some of those who never saw her may like to hear a few personal recollections.

Miss Mason was not only the beloved Founder and benefactor but also the friend of every child brought up in the P.U.S. Those of us who came up to Ambleside as students after our P.U.S. training, had the honour of knowing her in a very special way, but all those thousands of P.U.S. children she never saw were her friends. I shall never forget the first time I saw her and what she said to me. I went up to Ambleside a fortnight after term had begun, and felt most shy and forlorn, not knowing a single soul. When I went into the drawing-room, to see her, she held out both hands and said: "Isn't it funny to think


we are such old friends and yet, this is the first time we have seen each other!"

We did not see very much of Miss Mason during the day, but her influence was felt in a most remarkable way throughout the house, whether she were actually in the room or not. That influence must have been entirely spiritual so we may assuredly believe and know that it still reigns throughout Scale. How, perhaps in a more real way than it ever did before. And not only is it felt at Scale How, but throughout the world wherever her teaching has spread.

Miss Mason always used to have luncheon with us when she felt well enough, and it was one of the senior students' privileges to sit at her table--and it was a privilege to sit next to her and talk with her. She always tried to get our thoughts and views on subjects before she gave us her own. If our views did not quite coincide with hers, she simply gently told us what she thought about it and left us to think it over. And after thinking it over somehow we always realised that she was right and we were wrong.

How she loved books! That is to say real living books. She used to talk to us about them in such a loving way as if they were personal friends. Often as not, I fear, we students had not read the particular books, but she always left us with a desire to read them.

What a sense of humour she had too! "Punch" was such a favourite with her, and at lunch time on Wednesdays she was generally full of choice little ancedotes from him.

At 4:15 on Sunday afternoons we used to go into the drawing room for "meditations" with Miss Mason. We used to read passages of the Bible to her and then she would discuss the passage, giving her thoughts and trying to get ours on the subject. The various volumes of "The Saviour of the World" were really the outcome of "meditations" with former students. It was during that hour that we saw more clearly than at any other time how closely she lived with God. Yet withal she was so human and humble, one of her favourite quotations being, "how


very hard it is to be a Christian." I think of all the "Meds" at which I was present, I appreciated her talks at Whitsuntide most of all. She was so full of the Holy Ghost herself that her very words seemed to have been inspired.

Her parting present to leaving students was always "The Cloud of Witness," edited by Mrs. Gell. This makes one of the many bonds which bind all ex-students together. It is good to think of her now as one of the "Cloud of Witness" herself.
Ex-Student and P.U.S. Pupil.


Miss Mason gave her whole life to children, both rich and poor, in fact she took for her motto "For the Children's Sake," and this idea she kept before her through her whole life-time. Everyone loved her,especially the children, and no one could help being affected by her influence although they did not always realize it. Although she was so clever I don't think that anyone could feel uncomfortable in her presence, and there was not one of us who would mind telling her anything if we were in trouble of any kind.

She always took an interest in everyone and everything, however small or insignificant, and she took a great pride in knowing how all the children in the Parents' Union School were progressing even when she was so very ill.

Many people knew her by correspondence, and others by reading her books, but whether one only saw her once or twice or perhaps not at all, one could not help knowing and admiring her.

Although she was all this, she was very human and could sympathise and understand anybody, in fact I have never known anyone who could understand the feelings of everyone so thoroughly.

But I am quite sure that all who knew Miss Mason, although perhaps they never saw her, will continue and carry on her work in the way she would have wished.
Veronica Whitwell.



I HAVE been asked to write something of my early recollection of Miss Mason, because it has been my privilege to have known her since I was quite young. It is difficult to separate childhood memories from her very vivid personality rather than outstanding incidents.

She used to stay at our home on her way to her annual Journey to Nauheim, and her visits were delightful for us, although, as an invalid, she had to be spared fatigue and noise and we could only visit her bedroom separately and at special times. I can, however, recall one occasion when she was well enough to stay with us in the country and to take part in family life and country drives. It was here that Rudyard Kipling came to see her--probably to hear about her methods--and the "Jungle Book" was a great favourite with us. It must have been then, or soon after, that I read "Mowgli" to Miss Mason, most likely sitting by her bed, but that I cannot quite remember.

Reading to Miss Mason was a great pleasure, for she entered so genuinely into the spirit of the book, even if it was only a children's story, provided it had some literary value.

Once at school (not P.N.E.U) a companion laid a challenge that she and I should each read the whole of Wordworth's "Prelude" during the week end. It took all one's spare time, but Miss Mason was staying in the house and in reading it to her and listening to her occasional comments, I soon forgot in enjoyment of the poem the urgency of the self-imposed "task." I felt quite sorry when my friend, who had to read to herself and had less time, confessed that she felt too hurried to appreciate it.

Miss Mason had a nice sense of precision in the use of words and did not like them to be applied loosely or incorrectly or to be mispronounced. She seldom interrupted the child reader by criticism, but she had a keen sense of how a passage should be rendered, and gave us a most valuable course of reading lessons when I was a student. Her fine literary judgment has been diffused through her choice of books for the school.


Miss Mason had, of course, great sympathy with children, and she always seemed genuinely pleased to see one and never pre-occupied. She radiated affection and gaiety and showed a quick interest in many things; such as nature, plants and flowers, people, books, household and school affairs, and (I nearly said most of all) in anything amusing. She had a splendid sense of fun and loved to hear or tell a good story. She often invented special names for her friends and liked to chaff the "dear people" around her, but never in a way that left the least sting.

I think children appreciated the serene happiness of her temperament. She never seemed to have "moods" and, although her cares and responsibilities must have been great, one never saw her in the least depressed.

I am afraid I have said very little--there is much that cannot be written down and other things that seem trivial on paper when separated from the atmosphere in which they occurred. Like thousands of others I owe a great debt to Miss Mason's teaching, although I was but a few years in the P.U.S.

Miss Mason has shown her love, respect and understanding of children in her work. The seclusion which her health exacted prevented her from seeing them as much as she would have liked but she always took pleasure in contact with a child and read the children's examination papers with real enjoyment. The spread of her pupils from the home schoolrooms to private and secondary schools and especially to the public elementary schools brought her great happiness. She took a warm interest in the recently formed Association of old pupils, and herself set the syllabus for the reading course and gave a cordial welcome to the magazine the Association has started for the children of the school.


"In as much, as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my children, ye have done it unto Me."

A great heart has ceased to beat, a great spirit has gone on, the memory remains.


I have been privileged to know Miss Mason. All of us in the P.U.S. were "friends," yet I enjoyed the thing I account one of the greatest of my possessions, the special joy of being personally known to her. Every year nearly, she used to send me a book--"From his Ambleside Friend, C.M.M." Even this last Christmas, when her health was declining, she remembered and ordered a Wordsworth to be sent to me. Therefore anything I can add to the beautiful words that have been said about her must be of a very personal nature.

She was always so thoughtful of everyone near her. When I last had the joy of staying under her roof, she saw me a boy just in his Oxford examination, and said "Now would not he like to dance, all young men like dancing," and in a few minutes she was able to see her students dancing in the class-room with desks pushed back, and she was glad we were amusing ourselves. How many elderly people are annoyed by noise of any kind, especially when they are ill.

She was such a perfect hostess. On the same occasion she had arranged for us to drive to see the Langdale Pikes, and as we went she stopped the carriage at good view points, pointed out gardens, showed us birds, asking Barrow's opinion of their names. Arrived beneath the Pikes, she made Barrow and me climb up to look at the falls, and when we came back there was tea waiting in a private room at a inn, and the window was wide open, "So that we can think we were outside."

My mother read to her I remember, but, what remains fixed is her shining face, lit up by the sun from within and the sun from without, and the joy of nature in her and the kindness of soul. Like Henley, her infirmity counted as so little; her personality, the poetry of her mind, for so much.

She seemed to me always to be smiling. Just as when one looks at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, perhaps the greatest picture of a smile ever painted, one begins to smile oneself, one felt in her presence constrained to smile-her smile was indeed infectious. She had a huge sense of humor and fun. I had made a few verses upon the P.N.E.U. at a

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Student's Confrence in London. Miss Mason had heard about it, and made me repeat them to her, and she laughed right merrily at the jokes. Truly she might be called "La Joconde."

One little book she gave me has been a real and great joy; a little anthology called "English Landscape." It is small enough to go into my waistcoat pocket, yet in are all one's favorite poems. I have read from it in Venice in a gondola, and on the top of mountains in the Savoyan Alps, with the snow around me and the sun shining on the wild rhododendrons and soldanella and gentians, and through the pages came the vision always of its donor--a frail little lady with the biggest heart in the world and the finest brain and the most marvellous energy that has ever come into my life.

From her teaching I have got--everything. I found in France lately, that the keenness for flowers which had been received in the P.U.S., but had not been cultivated since my leaving it, was a possession for always, and I kept a flower-list and a nature-note-book in the Alps. The same with pictures in Italy and with literature. Nothing I have intellectually has not its roots in the P.U.S. teaching.

One might say that one would have got this from any other method. I believe that one might have got the one thing or the other, but I do not believe that any other method has all that men could want in its teaching; it is an anthology of the best in education. Miss Mason used to say that everything that was good in itself, should be given to children.

Her machinery was so perfect that I imagine--and this is very beautiful--that those of us who have not known her, yet have come under her influence, will hardly realise that she has gone. This means that the thing Miss Mason discovered was good in itself and was not only efficient because of a dominating personality behind it. The machine has been set in motion; it is for each one of us to keep it going.

In Miss Mason's letters she had the art of appearing to understand and be in sympathy with one, a kindred spirit, a


sharer in one's joys and interests. When I was going in for an Oxford examination, she wrote so encouragingly, so helpfully, so personally. "Yes, MacKail's 'William Morris,'" she writes, "is deeply interesting. I hope not just too much so for your ardent mind just now when you are so anxious to concentrate on that "key" to Oxford. I hope you will conquer all obstacles in March and make your friends happy--Do!" Such sweet and helpful sympathy; and then when I managed to pass the examination, "The good news of your success has made me very happy this lovely morning."

Then the desire, "I wish I could be with you and your beloved Mother to drink in Florence and much besides,"--in her own handwriting and it must have been a great trouble for her to write.

I always felt that Miss Mason had something of the fairy, of the Robin Goodfellow, of "Lob" in "Dear Brutus." She was so young and so whimsical in her (to me) never changed body of the elderly lady.

There is much in the letter to me at the time of my confirmation too private to quote but such a phrase as "I think it is a happy thing to be a boy at a time when the air is full of great thoughts and great purposes" is such a beautiful thought and gives one an insight into her character.

I have had the great privilege of seeing elementary school-children doing the same work as we did at school, loving the same books, the same pictures; here indeed is an example of the "good that she did to little children"; here indeed are those whose lives have been brightened by the light of her wisdom, here indeed is the visible result of her service to mankind and to God.

I should like here to pay my tribute to those who have so longed helped Miss Mason, each according to their might, in her work and its interpretation. It is, of course, to them that her loss comes as the greatest sorrow. I should like them to feel that we are grateful to them; both those at Ambleside who tended her and helped her, and those in London who made her work and the spreading of it possible. Just as God could not have made Stradivarius' violins


without Stradivarius, so Charlotte Mason could not have made the P.N.E.U. without her helpers and disciples.

Miss Mason, as is known, was responsible for much that to-day is in almost every educational system; script writing, musical appreciation, scouting, literary evenings. She has made thousands of homes happier, thousands of children brighter. To her students she seemed to impart something of her self. I have always said that we pupils could invariably tell a P.N.E.U. governess; she has always something that others have not.

"I am, I can, I ought, I will." This was the motto she gave us. I am a human being, one of God's children; I can do right by my fellowmen and by myself; I ought so to do and God help me, I will so do. Is this not a great message she has given us?

Her students chose for the badge of her teaching, showing the humbleness of mind diffused through the College and Miss Mason's desire for no honour for herself, the "Humble Plant" or "L'humile Pianta."

She herself was a "humble plant." She was frail and the wind passed over her and she was gone, but her spirit lives, to-day and while her children live, so shall her spirit be green and fresh and so shall her word go forth from mouth to mouth.

And as she was humble, let us be humble--for she never thought her way was the way but only a way--as she was strong and upright, so let us be strong and upright and let us remember her as a teacher, a philosopher and a friend.
Michael A. E. Franklin.


Hers was a Beauty rare and comforting--
A strength to stem the tide of discontent
And yet to sow new seed.
Give us, O Time, to learn what she would teach;
To stay upon the instant, there to find
God's measure of our need.

Go to Part IV.