Let Her Speak for Herself: Nineteenth-Century Women Writing on the Women of Genesis

By Marion Ann Taylor; Heather E. Weir | Go to book overview
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§12 Charlotte Maria Tucker (A.L.O.E.)
(1821–1893)

Charlotte Maria Tucker was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, the sixth child of Henry St. George Tucker, and his wife, Jane Boswell. The year after Tucker's birth, the family moved to London. Henry Tucker was the chairman of the East India Company, and the family was wealthy and well connected. Tucker's father disapproved of women working, so Tucker only began to publish her writing after his death in 1851.30 She did not need to earn a living because of her family's wealth, but wanted to instruct others in the Christian faith. In addition to writing, Tucker energetically engaged in volunteer work in London. After her mother's death in 1869, she moved to India as a self-supporting missionary. She spent the last part of her life working in schools in India, first a normal school, then a boys' high school. Tucker died and was buried in India.31

Tucker wrote under the pseudonym A.L.O.E. (A Lady of England). She directed her stories and books to children with the intention of teaching them about the Christian faith. The selection below, "Forbidden Fruit," comes from House Beautiful; or, The Bible Museum (1868). Tucker named the book after the House Beautiful in Pilgrim's Progress;32 in the preface to the book, she explained that she was going to write about objects mentioned in scripture, so the book was like a museum. Tucker explained to her readers that they could gain instruction from each of the objects described in this book. From the "Forbidden Fruit" chapter readers learned about Eve's and Adam's fall, and the ways that they could be tempted like Eve.

Like Barton and Mortimer, Tucker's audience was children. Tucker approached the subject of sin and the fall from a different perspective than either Barton or Mortimer. Like Barton, Tucker argued that her audience would have fallen as Eve did; like Mortimer, Tucker presented the consequences of sin. Tucker, however, focused on the words of the serpent, "Thou shalt not surely die," and asked her readers to think about the excuses they

30 Tucker was a prolific writer. Her works included The Young Pilgrim: a tale illustrative of
"The Pilgrim's Progress"
(1860), A.L.O.E.'s Sunday Picture Book: illustrating the life of the Lord
Christ: in a series of short poems
(1871), and Pride and his Prisoners (1876).

31 Source: Kimberly Reynolds, "Tucker, Charlotte Maria "pseud. A.L.O.E."," in The Oxford
Dictionary of National Biography
55:494–95.

32 See the description of the house in John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress, ed. with intro.
by Roger Sharrock (London: Penguin Books, 1987), 89–101. While staying at this house,
Christian was shown a variety of objects and learned lessons from them.

-69-

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