Sharland 1912

From Whiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sharland, E. Cruwys. "Richard Crashaw and Mary Collett." (1912)

Little Academy -- Mary first known as "Cheife," then "Mother"

Sharland puts much more emphasis on Mary's involvement from the beginning:

"Crashaw's letter reveals, for the first time, the interesting fact that he was actually a member of this community, one who had vowed allegiance to its gentle mother, and had been admitted by adoption to all the privileges which that sonship conferred. Mary Collet's early training had well fitted her for the important position which she was destied to occupy in her grandmother's house at Little Gidding. 'Brought up from her cradle' (so Mr. Ferrar senior stated in his will) by her grandparents as their adopted daughter, she assumed the surname of Ferrar by their desire, and spent the first twenty-four years of her life in London in the midst of much society, her grandfather being a merchant of repute, who entertained freely. In his great parlour the Council of Virginia were wont to hold their meetings, his sons, John and Nicholas, being both important members of the same. Five years after the death of Mr. Ferrar, which had occurred in 1620, Mrs. Ferrar, Nicholas, and Mary were drive from London by the plague, and retired to Little Gidding, in Huntingdonshire." (362)

description of founding of Little Academy (363)

Sharland's emphasis on Mary running all the proceedings, "even when the company included her grandmother, father, mother, and uncles" (364)

Mrs. Ferrar (NF's mother) "having resolved to resign the cares and responsibilitie which so large a family involved, Her granddaughter and namesake, Mary, was unanimously elected to succeed her, and to be thenceorth styled 'Mother' of the Community." (368) -- this was 1632

God will give her gifts needed for the position -- "whether it be of wisedome or of Authoritie there shall be no lack" (370)

Mary wore gray friar's gown thereafter, all other women wore black

Mary met Crashaw possibly around the same time

"In such a home the MOther of the Little Academy pursued her daily avocations, instructing the children, tending the sick, and with her own hands administering relief. In the Great Room she was foremost amongst the compilers of the Gospel-Harmonies and other works planned by Mr. Nicholas Ferrar. In bookbinding, also, Mary Collet was an adept, many a beautiful book-cover being designed and executed by herself and her sisters, of which specimens may be seen at the British Museum and elsewhere. At the meetings held in that room, for storying and discussion, she was the chief speaker." (371)

Crashaw was tutor to Ferrar Collet at Peterhouse in 1636

after NF's death "the work of the Community was still carried on by Mary Collet and her uncle, Mr. John Ferrar" (372)

letter from Crashaw -- addressed to either John Ferrar or Mary's father Mr. Collet, "and the grief which Crashaw felt at being prevented by an uncle of the Collets, with whom Mary was then staying, from holding free communication with his best friend, was evidently the most severe trial that had yet befallen him" (373)

"There is no doubt that [Crashaw's] self-dedication had been considerably fostered by constant intercourse with the Little Gidding family in general, and with Mary Collet in particular." (383)

"The position of Mary Collet at this juncture was a very trying one. She lived in an age when opposition to an uncle's will would have been considered, even from a woman of her mature years, rank heresy. On the other hand, for more than ten years she had been the recipient of the implicit confidence of the members of her Community, and to be thus suddenly bidden to refrain altogether from conferring with one of them must have aroused within her a severe conflict between two duties. This interference, followed immediately by a more desperate state of affairs at Cambridge, hastened Crashaw's decision, and the Mother was deprived of her son; the Roman Catholic authorities in the interests of their Church (and rightly, from their point of view), henceforth put an end to an intimacy that might endanger Crashaw's constancy to his newly adopted Faith." (384)