TUCKER, CHARLOTTE MARIA (1821–1893), known by the pseudonym ‘A. L. O. E.,’ i.e. A Lady Of England, writer for children, born at Friern Hatch, Barnet, on 8 May 1821, was the sixth child and third daughter of Henry St. George Tucker [q. v.] and his wife Jane, daughter of Robert Boswell of Edinburgh, a writer to the signet, who was nearly related to Johnson's biographer. In 1822 the Tucker family settled in London at 3 Upper Portland Place. Charlotte was educated at home, and as a girl was fond of writing verses and plays. In her father's house she saw much society; among her father's friends were the Duke of Wellington, Lord Metcalfe, Lord Glenelg, and Sir Henry Pottinger. Throughout life Charlotte was particularly devoted to a younger sister, Dorothea Laura, who married, on 19 Oct. 1852, Otho Hamilton.
About 1849 Miss Tucker commenced visiting the Marylebone workhouse, but it was not until after the death of her father on 14 June 1851 that she began her literary career. Her first book, ‘Claremont Tales,’ was published in 1852, and from that date until her death scarcely a year passed without one or more productions from her pen. She devoted the proceeds of her books to charitable purposes.
On the death of Mrs. Tucker in July 1869, the London house was given up, and for the next six years Charlotte lived with her brother St. George at Bracknell, Windlesham, and Binfield. For some time Miss Tucker had thought of undertaking missionary work in India, and finding herself in 1875 without home ties, and with sufficient means to render her independent of missionary funds, she set to work at the age of fifty-four to study Hindustani. But, although she learned the grammar and construction with ease, she never mastered any Indian language colloquially. She went to India as an independent member of the Church of England Zenana Society in October 1875. From Bombay she went to Allahabad, and thence to Amritsar, which she reached on 1 Nov. 1875. In December 1876 she moved to Batala, a populous city to the north-east of Lahore, which was thenceforth the centre of her missionary work. In 1878 the Baring High School for native Christian boys was permanently established at Batala, and under its shadow Miss Tucker resided, taking great interest in the pupils. At times she was the only Englishwoman within twenty miles. She helped by her liberality to found a ‘plough’ school for Indian boys not yet Christians, who as soon as they became converts were drafted into the high school.
Miss Tucker's work consisted in zenana visiting and in writing booklets—allegories and parables—for translation into the vernacular dialects of India. Many of her books were published by the Christian Literary Society and the Punjaub Religious Book Society, and sold more widely than almost any other of their productions. At the end of 1885 Miss Tucker had a serious illness, and never fully recovered. In 1893 she fell ill again, and she died at Amritsar on 2 Dec. 1893. She was buried at Batala on 5 Dec., in accordance with the terms of her will, without a coffin, at a cost not exceeding five rupees. There is an inscription to her memory in the Uran dialect in the church at Batala, and a memorial brass was placed in Lahore Cathedral.
Miss Tucker was a woman of tireless energy and stern determination; but her sociable temperament endeared her to all with whom she came in contact in India, both natives and English. Her industry was unceasing. The British Museum ‘Catalogue’ has 142 separate entries of books published by her between 1854 and 1893. Some are short tales written for the series of simple story books issued by Nelson, the Glasgow publisher; others, like ‘Wings and Stings’ (1855), ‘The Rambles of a Rat’ (1854), and ‘Old Friends with New Faces’ (1858), are of a more ambitious character. A few of her productions reached two, or in rare cases three, editions. Most of the tales are allegorical in form, with an obtrusive moral.
[Agnes Giberne's A Lady of England; the Life and Letters of Charlotte Maria Tucker, 1895. A very slight criticism of A. L. O. E. as a writer by Mrs. Marshall appears in Women Novelists of Queen Victoria's Reign, 1897, pp. 293–7; Allibone's Dict.]
CHARLOTTE MARIA TUCKER (1821–1883) was born in Barnet, England. Her father, Henry St. George Tucker, was chairman of the East India Company. Henry was against girls going to school, so Charlotte was educated at home. Henry discouraged writing so nothing was published before his death. Charlotte was full of energy, vitality and was very generous. She was a deep thinker, seemingly always religious. She had talent in music, drawing, writing, acting and teaching. She lived at No. 3 Upper Portland Place, her childhood home, for 49 years. Her brothers moved to India, but she took care of her mother until she died in 1869. Afterwards, being financially successful and free of caring for her mother, she took up the study of Hindustani. In 1875, she felt a divine call and traveled to India for 18 years and carried on missionary work until her death. She continued to write stories in India.
A theme of her life was teaching: whether it was teaching Bible Classes in the Boys School in India, or teaching women in Indian Zenanas (segregated rooms for Indian women in the purdah system), or writing stories with an instructional purpose for English children or writing booklets especially for Indian children. Her pen name was A.L.O.E. (A Lady of England) which she kept even though she was "A Lady of India" for the last 18 years of her life. Early in her life, she wrote and acted in plays for home amusement. Her earliest story is "The Claremont Tales," illustrates the Beatitudes. Many stories were printed in "The Children's Paper." A popular story was "Rambles of a Rat" which is about household rodents talking of their adventures.
- The Duke of Wellington attended one of their parties.
- Batala had aloe hedges which people made jokes about because it was the same name as the author ALOE.
- In India, Miss Tucker lived a life of rigid simplicity with few belongings even though she could afford more.
- Father – Henry St. George Tucker, (his middle name from an island in Bermuda where he was born.) He worked for East India Company 1786-1815; during 1815-1826 he lived in England; he was Director of the East India Company 1826-1851. He was also a writer.
- Mother – Jane Boswell- married Henry in 1811.
- Brother – Henry Carre Tucker, British civil servant in India. Commissioner at Benares. (1st )
- Sister – Sibella Jane, married Rev. Frederick Hamilton. (2nd)
- Sister – Frances Anne (3rd)
- Brother – George William (died in infancy). (4th)
- Brother – Robert Tudor Tucker – Died in the Indian Mutiny of 1857. (5th)
- Herself – Charlotte Maria. (6th)
- Brother – St. George, Mirzapore, India. (7th)
- Sister – Dorothea Laura, married Otho Hamilton, Frederick's older brother. (8th)
- Brother – William Tucker. (9th)
- Brother – Charleton. (10th)
- Sister – Clara. (11th)
Cutt, Margaret Nancy. Ministering Angels. Dorset: The Blackmore Press, 1979
Giberne, Agnes. A Lady of England: The Life and Letters of Charlotte Maria Tucker. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1896.