To the query as to the name of the pseudonymous woman writer
"mentored" by Dickens, we have had a few responses but only one, I
believe, may quite satisfy.
Miriam Margolys suggests Mary Ann Evans, who of course wrote as
George Eliot. "Thelma" of the Philadelphia Fellowship brings up Evans's
name as well but only to dismiss her. "It is true," she says, "that he
was the first to say, on reading her _Scenes of Clerical Life_ that "he
was convinced that "George Eliot" was a woman, and he used to visit her
and George Lewes with whom she lived as his wife." [The grandmother of an
friend of mine, typical of many Victorians, visited her only after she
married J. W. Cross.] "But, Thelma concludes, "he was hardly her mentor."
Pat Vinci, of the same Fellowship, suggests the novelist
Georgiana Marion Craik, 1831(?)-95, who contributed to _Household
Words_ as early as 1851. (She is not to be confused with Dinah Maria Craik
(born, Mulock) 1826--87.) But so far as I know, she did not publish under
Peter Oakley, again of the same Fellowship, suggests "Hesba
Stretton = Sarah Smith (27 July 1832 - 8 October 1911), who contributed
to _The Haunted House_ which Dickens edited and partly wrote." He
believes--and he is right--that she contributed to _Household Words_ (but
only one piece). Annie Lohrli, in her invaluable book on _Household
Words_ says that "Dickens's letters to W. H. Wills occasionally mention
Miss Smith's _All the Year Round_ contributions and suggest what she
should do to improve certain papers that she intended to collect and
publish in book form.
Sarah Smith then appears to be fit the conditions of the question,
but there may be other woman writers who wrote under pseudonyms who also
Editor, Dickens Forum
P.S. A note of thanks is due to the always helpful Herb Moskovitz for
passing on materials from the Philadelphia Fellowship.