Sunday, April 28, 2013

The little girl who inspired Lucy


In a yawning, book-lined drawing room in Marylebone, central London, I am left to browse a file of letters written during the war years by CS Lewis to "My dear June". The "June" referred to is Jill Freud, the now 78-year-old wife of Sir Clement, who has disappeared into the kitchen to make a pot of tea.
In 1944, she was June Flewett, a London convent girl who had been evacuated to Lewis's house in Oxford to escape the Blitz. She was also the inspiration for Lucy Pevensie, the girl who walks through the wardrobe full of fur coats and into the snowflakes of Narnia.
I was actually looking up Mrs. Moore, the mysterious adopted "mother" and or lover of the young CS Lewis.

Lots of people merely quote Warren's acidic view of Mrs. Moore, but he didn't move in until 15 years after the affair started, and presumably she was in the early stages of Alzheimer's, with a mild paranoia/rigidity of customs starting.

I have a book that includes a short essay by Lewis' gardener, who describes her as kind and one who all the hobos knew they could find a bit to eat, even in the early days when they were poor.

So although the nasty see her portrayed as the picky mother of Screwtape Letters, others point out she is the woman in the Great Divorce, who was hated by her husband but who was a mother to all those around her.


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