- "You will eat it, won't you? Please."
"I don't know what the doctor would say, but really - I almost feel as if I could."
- ―Digory and Mabel Kirke [src]
Little is known about her life, but she was known to love to sing, and may have also played the piano.
At some point, she married Mr. Kirke, a wealthy man who worked overseas. After their marriage, they lived in a spacious estate in the country, and had one son, named Digory.
During the middle of her life, when Digory was around twelve, Mabel contracted a chronic illness. Because Mr. Kirke had to work abroad in India, Mabel and her son temporarily moved back to London, to live with Mabel's sister, Letitia. It was expected that Mabel would soon die.
- "What lovely grapes! I'm sure if anything could do her good these would. But poor, dear little Mabel! I'm afraid it would need fruit from the land of youth to help her now. Nothing in this world will do much."
- ―Letitia Ketterley [src]
In the summer of 1900, however, Mabel was mysteriously healed.
While bedridden, her son Digory had brought her a magical apple from the world of Narnia, which proved to do more for her than all her medicine.
Because she had been feeling so weak at the time, Digory had to cut the apple into little pieces, and feed her one at a time. No sooner had she eaten it, though, she fell into a peaceful sleep, and the next day, when her doctor came round for his usual visit, he declared her recovery to be a miracle.
Over the course of just one month, it became certain that she had recovered, as she was able to sit out in the garden, and had her sister do all the things that she had liked before her illness. From drawing back the curtains and opening the windows, to bringing in fresh flowers and having nicer things to eat. She even had the piano tuned, began singing again, and played games with her son and his friend, Polly Plummer.
Shortly thereafter, her husband returned home from India, as he had inherited a large estate from his late uncle, and was able to retire. They then all went to live in their new home in the country, together with Mabel's brother Andrew.
She died many years later.
- Mrs. Kirke's story was based partially on the story of C.S. Lewis' own mother, who died when he was only a boy. Lewis was grief-stricken at her death, but in writing The Magician's Nephew, Lewis was able to retell his own story, giving it a happy ending. Coincidentally, his own stepsons drew comfort from the same story when their mother (Lewis' wife) died of cancer years later.