Letters to my Governess



! ! ! Governess07a

The correspondence began here.

Dear Amelia,

Thank you so much for your letter and for passing on my recent correspondence to the Comptons. I have now heard from Sir John and Lady Eugenia and matters are now in hand. More of which I will write in due course.

As to the other matter you raised, that of married women and women of marriageable age. I have already spoken of one such case, but this was by no means the only case. Most however were temporary engagements to guide new brides through the transition of running their own households, especially those who had not had benefit of an appropriate upbringing.

As to independent ladies that is entirely a different story. It is far more common than you might suppose and there are many reasons and varied arrangements for this. I know of at least three cases where a single woman has been brought to heel due to the legacy of a will. Indeed two such cases directly involved myself.

More common are those ladies of the middling sort who have gone out into the world to pursue a career only to fall foul of either the law or some predatory man. Cases concerning the former often include court appointed supervision for women permitted their liberty rather than prison.

The latter sort are often brought back to the family home and firmly retrained whilst some suitable match can be made for them to save the family honour.

There have been, on occasion, such girls who having inherited the family fortune and finding themselves without family are at such a loss that they have engaged my services as a mentor. These arrangements are highly varied in their situations and would take time to describe.

As for widows, that is an interesting idea. I myself have little experience of such situations, but one imagines that the principles are the same, especially where the widow is without other family and very young. One thinks of someone such as yourself for instance.


Jane Carlisle


My Dearest Miss Carlisle,

I apologise whole heartedly for the tardiness of my response.

First to the matter in hand, yes I have heard from Eugenia that they have indeed directly discussed with you the situation regarding their daughter and are very much looking forward to meeting you to finalise the arrangements.

As for the rest of your delightful correspondence, you may not realise it, but many of the situations you describe are much closer to my own than you might guess. I must also confess that I was quite distracted by the many possibilities and intriguing arrangements you have hinted at, but have yet to describe. I do hope that I can count on you to do so at our next meeting.

A thousand questions are pressing at my lips about that which you described. Do these ladies go about with natural lives, but secretly guided by you? Are they confined to accommodations you allow and do you ever live in, so to speak? How old is the oldest of these ladies? How old is too old?

I wonder how it would be if someone found out about what, I can only guess. Do you really chastise young women who have long outgrown the nursery? Do you really think your guidance is suitable for a widow and a woman or independent means?

The other day I reread your book as I pondered how to reply to your missive. I quite had to sit down and fan myself vigorously until there was nothing for it but a long walk in the grounds. In the end I took a bath and then bed in a vain effort to still my racing thoughts. As I lay in the dark I was assailed by feelings more intense than any I ever had with my late husband and it was all I could do not to imagine him with me. Other women of my acquaintance have hinted at certain massages to assuage these feelings, or even a robust horse ride whilst sitting astride as a man. The latter would be a scandal I am sure, and I have no inkling how it would help matters.

I cannot now look upon a comely woman, even those above thirty, and wonder when a rod or even a stern hand last addressed their lower person. The other day a young blue-stocking sat awkwardly in the tea room and did not settle at all. No doubt some simple women’s troubles or lumbago, but I could not help but ponder the matter and think of you.

I can scarcely think on much that you have said as it applies to others, let alone contemplate certain things for myself. I know you will be vexed with me for my tethered pen and my failure to be clear, but I pray you will take my meaning here and advise me when next we meet?

Yours most humbly,


To be continued

2 Responses to “Letters to my Governess”

  1. 1 Denise

    This is such a long slow beautiful and exquisite tease! Loving these letters ❤

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