Mother Grey's Apples
t the time I was a little girl,--you will not, I am sure be ungallant enough to inquire when that was, when I tell you I am now a woman-- I remember that the nursery maid, whose duty it was to wait upon myself and sisters, invariably said, if she found us out of temper--"So, so! young ladies, you are in the sulks, eh? Well sulk away; you'll be like 'Mother Grey's Apples', you'll be sure to come round again." We often inquired, on the return of fine weather, who Mother Grey was, and what were the peculiar circumstances of the apples coming round? --questions, however, which were always evaded. Now, as the servant was a Cambridge girl, and had a brother a gyp, or bedmaker at one of the colleges, besides her uncle keeping the tennis court there, I have often thought there must have been some college legend or tradition in Alma Mater, of Mother Grey and her apples. Will any of your learned correspondents, should it happen to fall within their knowledge, take pity on the natural curiosity of the sex, by furnishing its details?
-from Notes and Queries Vol 2 (36) July 6, 1850, p.88.