Next day the snow began to fall,
large slow flakes drifting on a light wind. The sky was leaden and the
earth crouched beneath it drained of beauty. All the light and
loveliness were in the snow itself, in the movement and glimmer of the
flakes large as wild white roses, in the tide of whiteness flowing
slowly over the dark earth, like moonlight or the surf of a soundless
sea......Mary moved through the day entranced, for this was not only her
first snow at Appleshaw but her first country snow.....When Mary at last
reluctantly drew the curtains she shut herself in with a silence so
living that she moved about the house or sat by the fire as attentive to
it as though she were listening to John talking, or cousin Mary, or to
some other music still just beyond human hearing. Or for some arrival.
Who’s coming? She wondered. There was expectancy in her listening but no
(Scent of Water Elizabeth Goudge 1963)
This picture was kindly donated by
Sylvia Gower. It was given to her by Andrew Harwood and shows Elizabeth Goudge
seated on Froniga's Well in her Garden
at Rose Cottage
Access Button on the top left of this
Editors Letter For December 20012
In August this year, I was
contacted by Christopher Watts who had a wonderful connection with
Elizabeth. His father had been Elizabeth’s parish priest and confessor.
He told me that his father held Elizabeth in high esteem and that they
spent many hours together to their mutual enrichment and satisfaction.
He also had a few letters which his parents had received from Elizabeth
during their friendship.
I was thrilled as always by the
thought of seeing them and the new insight they would offer into
Elizabeth’s private world. I was not disappointed. The letters give an
insight into Elizabeth’s attitude towards the modern Christmas with its
heavy emphasis on the material, and her dread of the round of trivial
jollity one is forced to endure. For her it was a deeply spiritual time
and season, one that filled her with hope and wonder.
The three letters he sent me
range from personal insights into Elizabeth’s life to the spiritual
companions that she made.
(click here to read transcripts)
Elizabeth had an especially close
friendship with Christopher’s mother Kay, the letters are addressed to
Although Christopher was only a
boy, he remembers visiting Rose Cottage and the intriguing fact that
Elizabeth was friends with the novelist and historian Cynthia Harnett,
whose children’s books include The Load of Unicorns, and The Great
House, both filled with her own beautiful illustrations and accurate
Christmas article is set
around Elizabeth’s novel “City of Bells” a semi autobiographical book
set in the Edwardian Wells Elizabeth experienced as a child. It is full
of her friends and neighbours, Henrietta for example being her friend
Dorothy and her own governess not unlike the children’s governess Miss
Elizabeth even felt compelled in
her biography, to correct her portrait of the Dean! “But the Dean made a
great impression on my child’s mind, unfortunately an impression that
was a little too vivid, for as the years passed the originally fine and
slightly theatrical figure became in memory no longer awe inspiring but
merely comic. Could he have been comic? I hardly think so for he had
been headmaster of Rugby before he came to Wells and if headmasters were
comic characters surely they would not last long. And so I mistrust my
memory here. I only know that when I came to write City of Bells
the Dean of that story arrived instantly readymade, tall and handsome
with white mutton-chop whiskers, a high pitched voice and a top hat a
little on one side, a wealthy man who drove his tall dog-cart in a
dashing manner and had an eye for horse-flesh and a pretty woman”
(Goudge Joy of the Snow 1974)
Elizabeth’s father when he read
the story was extremely upset by her portrayal. She felt he was
justified as one of the Deans daughters had been a very kind godmother
to her. She also writes of an incidence of the Deans kindness. He had
let her drive with him in his dog cart on one of those wonderfully
extravagant Edwardian picnics, that were then the fashion, on the
surrounding Mendip hills. She never forgot the thrill of the ride home.
I hope that you enjoy this
Christmas edition of the web site and share with us and Elizabeth the
experiences and the wonder of the season, whatever you are doing to
celebrate and wherever you do so, a very Merry Christmas and a Peaceful
and Happy New Year to you all.
I would like to thank all those
kind people who continue to support the web site, making it possible to
tell others about the work of this remarkable author, who continues to
speak to us and the generations that follow.
Access Button on the top left of this
Goudge Talk is the
part of site where you the visitors and readers can have your say
and ask questions on Elizabeth’s work. We are always looking for
short articles on Elizabeth, and if you have visited somewhere that
Elizabeth wrote about we would love to share your experience and
thoughts. Photographs are welcome too. Please send as an attachment
to your email.
for new articles in future months.
this site for current updates and work in progress.
If you wish to contact me
direct e-mail to me on:
This site is being set up and run with the help
and cooperation of some of the people who have grown to love the
talented shy author of a collection of literary gems, most of which go
unnoticed by the mass of society today. This she would accept with a
humble gratitude, content with the success she achieved in her lifetime.
“This site has been established with the support of the Trustees of
Elizabeth’s Estate. The content of the site is, however, the sole
responsibility of its contributors.” Mark Dutton.
I hope that this
site will to a large extent,
be fan based and led. Let me have any ideas that you have about
what you would like to see on this site.
A glimpse through a window revealing a Rose Cottage interior.