1. Her Ladyship, Alice, Countess Grey & Her Daughter’s 
    Lady Sybil Grey & Lady Evelyn Alice Jones, née Grey 
    Pose Onboard The Hapag Steamship,  S.S. Vaterland

    Alice, Countess Grey, née Holford, wife of, Albert Henry George Grey, 4th Earl Grey, was the daughter of wealthy landowner, Robert Stayner Holford. Esq. of Westonbirt House and his wife, Mary Anne Lindsay.

    With genealogical roots established both in “trade” and the “aristocracy,” money came from both sides of her family tree, her maternal great grandfather, Sir Coutts Trotter, 1st Baronet, had been a principal partner in Coutt's Bank.

    The countess is pictured with her two youngest surviving daughters, Lady Sybil Grey, who eventually married Lambert William Middleton in 1922, and Lady Evelyn Alice Grey, already married since 1912 to, Sir Lawrence Evelyn Jones, 5th bart. 

    This trio of aristocratic ladies is pictured aboard one of the magnificent Imperator class ocean liners of the Hapag Steamship Company, or Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt Actien Gesellschaft (HAPAG for short), often referred to in English as Hamburg America Line, sometimes also Hamburg-Amerika Line.

    Peering deeper into the picture, one finds many “connections” stemming from the principal sitter of this photograph, all excellent subject fodder for the practice of “portrait archaeology” to feed the esoteric mindset.


    Alice Holford
    ca. 1855 - 22.IX.1944
    Countess Grey
    Vicereine Of Canada

    Alice Holford Was The Daughter Of:

    Robert Stayner Holford
    1808 – 22.II.1892

    Robert Stayner Holford of Westonbirt, in the village of Weston Birt, co. Gloucestershire, MP for East Gloucestershire, was a wealthy landowner, gardening and landscaping enthusiast, and an art collector. With his vast wealth, he rebuilt Westonbirt House from the Georgian mansion erected only decades earlier by his father, and founded the Westonbirt Arboretum after succeeding his uncle and father between 1838 and 1839.

    Holford served as MP for East Gloucestershire from 1854 when he was elected in a bye-election on December 19th upon the death of the member Sir Michael Hicks Beach, 8th Baronet (d. November 22, 1854), and continued in that office for eighteen years. He was re-elected in 1857 with Sir Christopher William Codrington and again in 1859 with Codrington (who died 1864 forcing another bye-election). He was re-elected in 1864 with the new member Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, 9th Bt. (son of the previous MP). In 1872, he vacated the seat.

    Holford was the son of George Peter Holford (d. 1839), himself the second son of Peter Holford (d. 1804) who made an immense fortune by supplying London with fresh water through a canal. The Holfords had been seated at Westonbirt since 1666 when a Holford married the heiress Sarah Crew. Robert inherited Westonbirt in 1838/1839 from his uncle and namesake Robert Holford (d. 1839).

    Holford was a prodigious and cultured Victorian businessman whose extraordinary history and accomplishments have largely been forgotten. Holford was passionate about architecture, and employed Louis Vuilliamy to design and build a fine Italianate palazzo in Park Lane, with the aim of setting a new standard of architecture in London.

    He was a scholarly collector of Old Masters, rare books, manuscripts and was one of the most learned judges of talent in the country at a time when Art was growing into an important part of British cultural identity. RS Holford and his son, Sir George Holford (1860 – 1926) subscribed to international seed and plant collecting  expeditions and were the creators of the world-famous arboretum Westonbirt at  their Gloucestershire residence.

    Although Dorchester House was demolished in 1929 to make way for the new hotel and the Holford’s Art and Library collections were sold in the 1920s, Westonbirt House  and the Arboretum remain a  testament  to the quality of the family’s achievements. Westonbirt House has been a boarding school since 1928 and is regrettably little known to the public.

    Holford married Mary Anne Lindsay, a daughter of Lt. General Sir James Lindsay of Balcarres, himself grandson of James Lindsay, 5th Earl of Balcarres, by his second wife Anne Trotter, daughter of Sir Coutts Trotter, 1st Baronet.  Mary Anne's sister Margaret had married their second cousin Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford. Holford and his wife had the following issue:

    (1) Sir George Lindsay Holford (d. 1926) who married Susannah West Menzies (1865–1943), daughter of Arthur Wilson (shipping) of Tranby Croft, widow of John Graham Menzies (1861–1911), mother of Major-General Sir Stewart Menzies.

    (2) Margaret Holford (d. February 9, 1908) who married June 17, 1876, Albert Parker, 3rd Earl of Morley and had issue, three sons and one daughter. The two elder sons succeeded to the earldom as 4th and 5th Earls, and a third son was father of the 6th and present Earl of Morley. Unfortunately, these collateral successions necessitated death duties and also meant sale of the family estates, including Westonbirt House and eventually Saltram House. Edmund Robert Parker, 4th Earl of Morley (April, 19, 1877- October 10, 1951) who inherited Westonbirt from his maternal uncle and sold the house shortly thereafter. He died unmarried, and was succeeded by his next brother. Montagu Brownlow Parker, 5th Earl of Morley (October 13, 1878 - April 28, 1962), who succeeded his older brother in 1951 and also died unmarried, was succeeded by his nephew. Hon. John Holford Parker (June 22, 1886- February 27, 1955), married the Hon. Marjory Katherine Elizabeth Alexandra St Aubyn, daughter of the Baron St Levan. Their eldest son, John St Aubyn Parker (b. May 29, 1923), became the 6th Earl of Morley, and has one son.

    (3). Alice Holford (d. September 22, 1944) who married on June 9, 1877 Albert Grey, 4th Earl Grey (1851–1917) and had issue, five children, one of whom died in early childhood.  Lady Victoria Mary Sybil Grey (June 9, 1878- February 3, 1907) married Arthur Morton Grenfell in 1901, and left issue,  5th Earl Grey (December 15, 1879- April 2, 1963), who had two daughters by his wife Lady Mabel Laura Georgiana Palmer. The elder daughter Mary (1907–2002) married the 1st Baron Howick of GlendaleLady Sybil Grey (July 15, 1882- June 4, O.B.E. married Lambert William Middleton (1877–1941) of Lowood House, Melrose, Scotland, nephew of Sir Arthur Middleton, 7th Baronet and Frederick Edmund Meredith. She was invested as an Officer, Order of the British Empire in 1918, having served as the Commandant of the Dorchester House Hospital for Officers. She was well known for her work with the Red Cross in Russia during WWI, and for her work with tuberculosis sufferers (founding the Lady Grey Society). She was an amateur photographer and film-maker of note, and recorded village life at Darnick and St. Boswells. After her husband died she sold Lowood House and moved to Burley, Hampshire. They were the parents of a son and a daughter.

    (4).Evelyn Holford (1856–1943) who married the art collector, banker, and art patron Robert Henry Benson (1850–1929), and had issue. Their daughter Margaret Winifred Benson married 1915 Major General Sir Hereward Wake, 13th Bt. and had issue, including the present baronet. The eldest son Guy Holford Benson (1888–1975) married 1921 Lady Violet Elcho (1888–1971), widow of Lord Elcho, and 2nd daughter of the 8th Duke of Rutland, and had issue, three sons. Another son Constantine Evelyn Benson, a financier, married Lady Morvyth Lilian Ward, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Dudley, and had issue including Lady Tompkins (d. 2003).

    Robert Stayner Holford died, February 22,1892.

    Alice Holford Was The Wife Of:

    Albert Henry George Grey
    4th Earl Grey PC GCMG GCVO
    28.XI.1851 – 29.VIII.1917

    Grey was a British nobleman and politician who served as Governor General of Canada, the ninth since Canadian Confederation.

    Grey was born the eldest son of a noble and political family in the United Kingdom and educated at Harrow School before moving on to the University of Cambridge. In 1878, he entered into politics as a member of the Liberal and, after relinquishing a tied vote to his opponent, eventually won a place in the British House of Commons in 1880. In 1894 he inherited the Earldom Grey from his uncle and thereafter took his place in the House of Lords, while simultaneously undertaking business ventures around the British Empire. He was in 1904 appointed as governor general by King Edward VII, on the recommendation of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Arthur Balfour, to replace the Earl of Minto as viceroy and occupied that post until succeeded by Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, in 1911. Grey travelled Canada extensively and was active in Canadian political affairs, including national unity, leaving behind him a number of legacies, the most prominent being the Grey Cup.

    After ceasing to be the king's representative, Grey returned to the United Kingdom and continued to engage in imperial affairs before his death in 1917.

    Grey was the son of General Sir Charles Grey, a younger son of former British prime minister the second Earl Grey and later the private secretary to Prince Albert and later still to Queen Victoria and his wife, Caroline Eliza Farquhar, daughter of Sir Thomas Harvie Farquhar, Bt. Many members of the family had enjoyed successful political careers based on reform, including to colonial policies; Grey's grandfather, while prime minister, championed the Reform Act 1832 and in 1846, Grey's uncle, the third Earl Grey, as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies during the first ministry of the Earl Russell, was the first to suggest that colonies should be self-sustaining and governed for the benefit of their inhabitants, instead of for the benefit of the United Kingdom.

    Grey was educated at Harrow School and then Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, where he studied history and law. After graduating in 1873, Grey became private secretary to Sir Henry Bartle Frere and, as Frere was a member of the Council of India, Grey accompanied Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, on his tour of India. In 1877, Grey married Alice Holford, daughter of Robert Stayner Holford, the Member of Parliament for East Gloucestershire. Together, they had five children, one of whom died in early childhood.

    Grey stood for parliament at South Northumberland in 1878 and polled in the election the same number of votes as his opponent Edward Ridley, but Grey declined a scrutiny and was not returned. It was not until the general election of 1880 that Grey, the Liberal Party candidate, was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for South Northumberland, a seat he held until it was replaced under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 and he moved to be the MP for Tyneside, following the that year's election. Inspired by the theories of Giuseppe Mazzini, Grey became an advocate of imperialism and was one of the founders of the Imperial Federation League, which sought to transform the British Empire into an Imperial Federation. Grey thus split with Prime Minister William Gladstone in 1886 over Irish home rule and became a Liberal Unionist, but the shift was short-lived as Grey failed to win his riding again in the 1886 general election.

    Eight years later, Grey succeeded his uncle as the Earl Grey and returned to parliament when taking his seat in the House of Lords. As a friend of Cecil Rhodes, Grey became one of the first four trustees responsible for the administration of the scholarship funds which established the Rhodes Scholarship and he was invited by Rhodes to be a member of the board of directors and director of the British South Africa Company, coming to serve as the main liaison between Rhodes and Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain in the periods immediately before and after the Jameson Raid on the Transvaal. As the Administrator of Southern Rhodesia, Sir Leander Starr Jameson, was disgraced by the Jameson Raid, the British government, then headed by the Marquess of Salisbury, in 1896 asked Grey to serve as Jameson's immediate replacement, staying in that role until 1897. The following year, Grey was also appointed as Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland and published a brief biography of a young relative, Hubert Hervey, who was killed in the Second Matabele War.

    Grey in the governor general's office at Rideau Hall, Ottawa

    It was in 1904 announced that King Edward VII had, by commission under the royal sign-manual and signet, approved the recommendation of his British prime minister, Arthur Balfour, to appoint Grey as his representative, replacing Grey's brother-in-law, the Earl of Minto. Minto was married to Grey's sister, Mary Caroline Grey. The appointment came at a good time for Grey, as a series of failed investments in South Africa had left him penniless; a gift from his wife's aunt, Lady Wantage, widow of the Lord Wantage, was used to supplement his salary as governor general.

    The time during which Grey occupied the viceregal office was one of increasing immigration, industrialization, and economic development in Canada. A sign of Canada's increasing independence from Britain, Grey was on 16 June 1905 designated as "Governor General of Canada and Commander-in-Chief of the Dominion of Canada," which followed on the passing of the Militia Act in 1904. At the request of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, Grey also undertook the role of Chief Scout of Canada. Further, it was with Grey's granting of Royal Assent to the appropriate Acts of Parliament that Alberta and Saskatchewan joined Canadian Confederation, also in 1905, the Governor General writing to the King at the time: "[each one] a new leaf in Your Majesty's Maple Crown," and he travelled extensively around the ever-growing country. He also journeyed abroad to Newfoundland, then not yet a part of Canada and several times to the United States to visit President Theodore Roosevelt, with whom Grey developed a strong bond.

    Grey with Prince George, Prince of Wales, 
    at the celebrations of the tercentenary of 
    Quebec in Quebec City, 24 July 1908

    Grey often exercised his right, as representative of a constitutional monarch, to advise, encourage, and warn. He desired social reform and cohesion, putting his support behind prison reforms in Canada to provide greater social justice. He also prompted his prime minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, to support the Imperial Federation he had long championed, but Laurier was uninterested. However, Grey's years of urging Laurier to get the Cabinet and parliament to agree to the idea of a Canadian navy proved themselves to be more fruitful. At the Governor General's urging, the Canadian and British governments agreed to have Canada assume control of the former British garrisons at HalifaxNova Scotia, and EsquimaltBritish Columbia, after which the Royal Canadian Navy was created by the Naval Service Act of 1910. The Act was so identified with Grey that, in Quebec, it was referred to as Grey's Bill and opposed by Henri Bourassa and his Ligue nationaliste canadienne. Another of Grey's suggestions was a railway hotel for the federal capital, which eventuated in the Chateau Laurier, completed in 1912.

    Though Grey strongly promoted national unity among French and English Canadians, as well advocating unity within the entire British Empire, his causes frequently raised the ire of Bourassa and the Quebec nationalists. Grey was involved in the planning for the tercentenary of Quebec in 1908, marking the 300th anniversary of the landing of Samuel de Champlain at what later became Quebec City. At Grey's suggestion, the Cabinet agreed to Grey's plan to have the Plains of Abraham designated as a national park; this would be done to coincide with the Quebec celebrations and Grey saw the official ceremony as being an event that would promote Franco-Anglo-American friendship. The government arranged for the attendance of the Prince of Wales, later King George V, American and French warships, and a host of visiting dignitaries. Still, the Ligue saw this as solely a tribute to the Empire; Bourassa and other nationalists complained that Grey had transformed a day intended to celebrate Samuel de Champlain into a celebration of James Wolfe.

    At other times, and unlike future viceroys, the Governor General's influence expanded more blatantly into government policy: Grey opposed the head tax imposed by the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 on Chinese immigrants to Canada and, at one point, was invited to visit the province of British Columbia, but declined in protest of what he thought to be exclusionary measures implemented by the provincial cabinet under premier Richard McBride. Grey also initially supported Asian immigration to Canada, though, following the Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese War, he became concerned about the so-called Yellow Peril and worked with the federal Cabinet to explore alternatives to the head tax as a restriction on Asian immigration. He was nevertheless appalled by the 1907 anti-Asian riots in Vancouver, organized by the Asiatic Exclusion League, and, later in the same year, arranged a visit to Canada by Prince Fushimi Sadanaru of the Empire of Japan.

    Earl & Countess Grey On The Canadian One Dollar Bill

    Throughout his tenure as governor general, Grey supported the arts and, when he departed Canada in 1911, he left behind him the Grey Competition for Music and Drama, first held in 1907. He was also a patron of sport, giving his support to Canadian football and establishing the Grey Cup, to be awarded to the winner of the Senior Amateur Football Championship of Canada. It is today presented to the champions of the Canadian Football League and, in 1963; Grey was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game.

    Grey donated to the Crown a horse-drawn carriage he purchased from the Governor-General of Australia, which is still today used as the state landau, and added a study and conservatory to Rideau Hall, the sovereign's and governor general's Ottawa residence; the latter was torn down in 1924.

    Lord Grey and his wife received many accolades for their work with Canadians and for their championship of social reform. Lord Grey was a very active Governor General. Sir Wilfrid Laurier said Lord Grey gave "his whole heart, his whole soul, and his whole life to Canada."

    Ancestral Seat, Howick Hall

    On leaving office in 1911, Lord Grey and his family returned to England, where he became president of the Royal Colonial Institute (now the Royal Commonwealth Society) in London. Grey died at his family residence in 1917. His son Charles succeeded to the title.

    Alice Holford Grew Up In:

    Westonbirt House is a country house in GloucestershireEngland. It belonged to the Holford family from 1665 until 1926. The first house on the site was an Elizabethan manor house. The Holfords replaced it first with a Georgian house, and then Robert Stayner Holford, who inherited Westonbirt in 1839, replaced that house between 1863 and 1870 with the present mansion which was designed by Lewis Vulliamy. He also remodeled the gardens, diverted the main road and relocated the villagers. The house is constructed of high quality ashlar masonry on a grand scale. The exterior is in an Elizabethan style, with a symmetrical main block and asymmetric wings, one of them containing a conservatory. The interiors are in a sumptuous classical style. The house was fitted with the latest technology such as gas lighting, central heating, fireproof construction and iron roofs. It is now a Grade I listed building.

    Extensive formal terrace gardens were created around the house and 25 acres (100,000 m2) of ornamental woodlands were planted in the 19th century. Since 1928, the house has been occupied by the girls' boarding school, Westonbirt School. Westonbirt House is open to the public twice a year, in October and in June. The gardens are open more frequently, but only on certain dates during the school holidays. The house is also licensed to hold civil ceremonies and is used as a wedding venue.

    Robert was born in 1808 to George Peter Holford and Anne Holford who was the daughter of Reverend Averell Daniell of Lifford, County DonegalIreland. He was the only male born to this couple but he had three sisters. George Peter Holford was a lawyer and a Member of Parliament. He also wrote books which usually related to religion and Christianity. He inherited a mansion at Westonbirt from his father. This house was the original manor which had been erected in the reign of Elizabeth or the early part of the time of James I. This house was demolished by George in 1818 and a new house built in 1823.

    In 1829 at the age of 21, Robert graduated from Oriel College at Oxford University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. In the same year the Arboretum on the Westonbirt Estate commenced and Robert played a significant role in this project. In 1838 he inherited his uncle's fortune of over one million pounds. In the following year his father died and he became the owner of Westonbirt House. He was a keen lover of art and literature and his enormous wealth now allowed him to indulge this interest. He began collecting paintings and books for what was to become the famous "Holdford Collection". To accommodate this collection he built Dorchester House in Park LaneLondon between 1851 and 1853 and employed Lewis Vulliamy as the architect.

    During this time he became a Magistrate for Gloucester and Wilts and in 1843 was the High Sheriff for Wilts. In December 1854 he was first elected as the Member for Gloucestershire East. In August 1854 Robert at the age of 46 married Mary Anne Lindsay who was the 25 year old daughter of Lieutenant-General James Lindsay.

    Over the next five years the Holfords had three daughters - Margaret, Evelyn and Alice. It was not until 1860 that George Holford was born who was to become heir to the family fortune.

    Between 1863 and 1870 Robert built the present Westonbirt house. It was reputed to be one of the most expensive houses constructed in the Victorian era.

    Robert continued his work as a Member of Parliament until 1872 when he retired. He continued to collect plants for the garden at Westonbirt House and also for the Arboretum. George also developed an interest in gardens and plants and assisted his father with this work.

    After Robert's retirement, the couple spent time at both Westonbirt and Dorchester House. In 1875 Charles Gayard, a French diplomat visited Westonbirt and gave an account of his experience as follows.

    "This morning I have lost no time. Sometimes Mrs. Holford, sometimes Evy, took me about the house, which surpasses in magnificence any that you know. There is a hall, a sort of conservatory three stories high, something like the great apartments of Louis XIV. The most original room in the house is the one painted by Mrs. Holford, in a bizarre fanciful style, something between Delacroix landscape and Rouen pottery."

    "After luncheon my friends took me on a pony chaise, across the beauties of the park to the keeper's lodge. I saw conservatories without end, then a lake, a bit of a wild, heaps of rocks that it seems have been newly brought there. And the lake too is a thing of yesterday. The pheasants were so thick we fairly trod on them. At last we reached the Head-keepers’ lodge, and saw a pack of thirty spaniels with legs short enough to make the rabbits dance for joy."

    The garden at Westonbirt House and the Arboretum continued to expand and in 1886 an extensive article was written about it in a notable publication called "The Garden". It said that "Mr. Holford's aim has been to create variety without confusion, informality and picturesqueness without losing sight of that polish in the vicinity of the mansion which must always be regarded as in accordance with correct taste."

    On February 22, 1892 Robert died at Dorchester House in Mayfair.

    Sir George Holford
    Susannah, Lady Holford

    George was the only son of Robert and Mary Holford. In 1873 he went to Eton and was there for four years. At the age of 20 in 1880 George obtained a commission with the 1st Life Guards where he remained for almost 30 years. During this time he was closely associated with royalty and court life. From 1888 to 1892 he was Equerry to Prince Albert, Duke of Clarence.

    From 1892 George was Equerry to Prince Edward. Soon after the Boer War began in 1899, George decided to temporarily relinquish his post of Equerry and rejoin his regiment the 1st Life Guards who were at the front in South Africa. George's departure is mentioned in a publication of the time and he is praised for his decision. It said "it certainly speaks much for the patriotic spirit which is so rife in the country at the present time, when men like Captain Holford volunteer for active service." The "New York Times" also made similar comments saying "Among the latest distinguished men going to South Africa is Captain Holford who is one of the closest friends of the Prince of Wales and his equerry. The Captain sails January 6 to join his regiment, the First Life Guards."

    When King Edward died in 1910, Holford was Equerry-in-Waiting to Queen Alexandra and was Extra Equerry to King George. The photograph of the Royal Party of Edward and Alexandra shows George (far left) in uniform.

    When Robert Holford died in 1892 George inherited Westonbirt House and Arboretum. He also inherited Dorchester House in London and the art and book collection that were housed within it. He did not have his father's interest in art and books but he did have a passion for gardens and orchids so he devoted much of his time to his property at Westonbirt. The Times made the following comment about him.

    "He was indeed, one of the most successful amateur gardeners of the time, and though famous as a grower of orchids, amaryllis and Javanese rhododendrons, his garden and estate show a wide catholicity of taste. The arrangement of the many rare and exotic trees there and the skilful use of evergreen species as background and to provide the shelter so needful in a cold district like the Cotswolds, have rarely been equaled; there is no crowding of the trees; each is able to show its true form and all have been well cared for. On few estates has the autumnal coloring of deciduous tress been so cleverly used by harmony and contrast, as, for instance, in the planting of Norway maples and glaucous Atlantic cedars."

    "Country Life" magazine wrote extensive articles about Westonbirt Gardens and Arboretum in 1905 and again in 1907 when George was the owner of the estate. They outlined in detail the beauty of the gardens and made the comment.

    "Captain Holford has carried on the work in the same spirit and with the same tradition (as his father) and Westonbirt is now more luxuriant and more beautiful than the late Mr. Holford ever knew it. The gardens have been planted not to give an effect for one season only but to be invested with beauty at every time of the year."

    Although he was always considered an eligible bachelor George did not marry until late in life and had no children. In 1912 he married the recently widowed Susannah Menzies. Susannah was the eldest child of Arthur and Mary Wilson. The Wilsons were an extremely wealthy family who had made their money from a shipping line. Susannah's grandfather Thomas foundered the Wilson Shipping Line in about 1840.

    Her childhood appears to have been carefree and filled with the activities of wealthy British families. She was taught to ride and hunt at an early age as her father was very involved in this sport and became later the Master of the Holderness Hunt. She was also involved in amateur dramatic productions.

    Susannah married John Graham Menzies (Jack) in 1887 and they had three sons. Unfortunately their marriage did not appear to be a success. By 1903 Jack had made some disastrous financial investments principally in a diamond mine in South Africa. He also gambled heavily at cards and on the racetrack and was said to be an alcoholic. In 1906 Susannah left him and returned to Tranby Croft. It seems that in reality the marriage was over although there was no divorce or formal separation. In 1911 Jack Menzies died of tuberculosis.

    In 1912 a year after Susannah was widowed she married George in the Chapel Royal, St James. She was 48 and he 52 years old. George V, Queen Mary, Queen Alexandra and Princess Victoria were present. Although they had no children, it seems that George regarded her three adult sons with affection. They frequently stayed at Westonbirt and Stewart Menzies was allowed to use Dorchester House as his London residence. He also left them some money in his will.

    In 1926 George Holford died having suffered for some time with emphysema. As he did not have any heirs his property passed to his blood relatives in accordance with the will of his father Robert Stayner Holford. The main part of the estate went to George's nephew the 4th Earl of Morley. However Susannah was well provided for as George left her his personal goods such as jewellery and furniture and also an annuity of 10,000 pounds sterling per annum which was a very large sum of money at that time.

    Susannah remained at Westonbirt until it was sold in 1927. She then moved to London and lived in a very palatial townhouse in Upper Brook Street in Mayfair until 1940. After that she moved to a large house called Dassett near Woking which still exists today. In 1943 she died at Dassett at the age of 80 and was buried at Brookwood Cemetery. A Memorial service was held for her at St Marks Church, North Audley StreetLondon on 30 December 1943 and another a few days later at Westonbirt Church.

    Westonbirt House in the late 19th century
    Westonbirt House in 2009

    Robert Stayner Holford, the rebuilder of Westonbirt, also founded the Westonbirt Arboretum on former common down land across the road from the house, a mile away. The arboretum was developed over the next few decades by him and his son Sir George Lindsay Holford. Since the younger Holford did not have children, the house and arboretum passed to his eldest sister's son the 4th Earl of Morley, who sold the house by 1928. The family gave the arboretum to the nation in 1956. It is now one of the most important arboreta in the United Kingdom. It is in state ownership and is open to the public on a regular basis.

    Alice Also Lived Here As A Young Girl:

    Dorchester House was a stately mansion in Park LaneLondon built in 1853 by Robert Stayner Holford. It was demolished in 1929 to make way for the present Dorchester Hotel.

    Lewis Vulliamy who was a notable architect of that time was instructed to build a house in which a central staircase was a major feature. The main purpose of the building was to house the extensive collection of paintings that Holford had acquired over many years and at that time were temporarily lodged in a friend's residence in Russell Square.

    A description of the house was provided by a publication of that time:

    "(the staircase) occupies the centre of the house and is lighted from above, and from the gallery round it open that remarkable range of apartments - the Saloon, the Green Drawing Room, the Red Drawing Room, and the State Drawing Room - in which the ceilings and other decorations are from the hands of Italian artists and the beautiful chimney-pieces are by Alfred Stevens, and probably represent the finest work that great artist ever achieved. In these rooms hang some of the notable pictures of the great masters, Titian and Tintoretto, Velasquet and Vandyck and Murillo, Rembrandt and Claude and Cuypt and Ruysdael."

    The grand central staircase of Dorchester House

    Dorchester House was one of the more palatial buildings in London at the turn of the twentieth century and was frequently mentioned in publications of the time. The staircase was a notable feature that received much praise. Guy Cadogan Rothery in his book Staircases and Garden Steps said.

    "The staircase itself is of marble and the steps having broad treads, moderate nosings and very low risers. A flight runs parallel to one side of the gallery to the angle of the wall where there is a landing, and then another flight parallel to the other side to the first floor, with an intermediate landing supported on small open arches. The balustrade is of marble with a broad flat handrail and dwarf pillars with swelling bases"

    Illustration from "The Magazine of Art" 1883 
    showing details of the central staircase of Dorchester House

    The Magazine of Art described it in the following terms:

    "This staircase is one of the most beautiful and interesting portions of house, I shall describe more minutely below. It is noticeable now, as giving a key to the external appearance of the whole. Round three sides of it on the east, south and west the principal rooms are grouped; and the simplicity of the arrangement has enabled the architect to obtain an external effect of considerable grace and dignity."

    The dining room in Dorchester House with the chimneypiece 
    by Alfred Stevens on the left side of the room

    One of the most celebrated inclusions in Dorchester House was the chimneypiece in the dining room sculptured by Alfred Stevens (see picture at right). It was regarded as one of his finest works. The Magazine of Art in 1883 contained the following comment.

    "Here Stevens sought after a massive breadth of effect. There is something of grandeur and repose in the two figures which reminds you in some degree of the work of Michelangelo. It is of no use stopping to inquire whether such a use of the human figure is legitimate. In this particular case the answer comes at once - that it has succeeded"

    Rothery made similar laudatory expressions:

    "In his Dorchester House chimneypiece he has two figures, who are in a crouching position on each side. They belong to the design yet are doing very little absolute work. Possibly here the wonderful sense of harmony is gained by the splendid modeling of practically nude forms, with their evidence of vigor and great dormant strength. In this way too he has managed to utilize the undraped figure without any incongruity for so conspicuous a position in a room for general assembly."

    Even though Stevens was credited with the work, he did not complete it before his death in 1875. The picture below, taken by the Magazine "British Architect" shortly after Stevens' death, shows the incomplete chimneypiece. The Victoria and Albert Museum now have the chimneypiece and according to them it was finished later by Steven's former pupil, James Gamble.

    Left Caryatid in the chimneypiece by Alfred Stevens 1908
    Right Caryatid in the chimneypiece by Alfred Stevens 1908
    The unfinished chimneypiece of Alfred Stevens
    Photo taken shortly after his death in 1875
    The chimneypiece by Alfred Stevens 
    now in the Gamble Room of the 
    Victoria and Albert MuseumLondon

    Other Rooms In Dorchester House

    The Library in Dorchester House circa 1905

    The library was an important room of the house and was specially designed to house Holford's large book collection (see picture right). Morris describes it in the following terms.

    "The library emerged as a magnificent and functional reflection of the superb quality of the books....The walls were covered in green silk damask and the floor with a buff and green Axminster carpet. The glass-enclosed bookcases were of carved and gilded walnut made by Holland and Sons, each center compartment being 13.6 feet high and 8 feet wide."

    Three other rooms in the house were designed to accommodate Holford's famous art collection. The Grand Saloon was frequently mentioned in period publications. It was described by one as "a well-proportioned room. The walls covered with red damask and devoted to pictures. The ceiling a good piece of work of its kind was designed by Mr. G. E Fox and executed by Mr. Alfred Morgan." The other two rooms. known as the green and red drawing rooms, were described by the same author as follows.

    "The green and red drawing-rooms follow in succession from the saloon. The ceilings of both were painted by Signor Anglinatti while the frieze of the latter is a bright bit of work by Sir Coutts Lindsay... The furniture of these drawing-rooms is well worth notice. Every piece is good of its kind and is thoroughly adapted to the style of its surroundings and its individual place."

    The grand saloon of Dorchester House
    The green drawing room of Dorchester House 
    The red drawing room of Dorchester
    House showing the frieze by
    Sir Coutts Lindsay

    After Robert Holford died in 1892 and his son, Sir George Holford, inherited Dorchester House. George did not often occupy the house so in 1905 he rented it to Whitelaw Reid, the American Ambassador. Reid held lavish functions as part of his duties, many of which were mentioned in the newspapers. Of particular note were the Fourth of July celebrations. The New York Times gave the following details of this function held by the Reids at Dorchester House in 1907.

    Whitelaw Reid and Mrs. Reid in the Washington Times in 1910

    "So many Americans attended Ambassador Reid's Fourth of July reception this afternoon that traffic in several squares about Dorchester House was blocked for two hours. Mr. Reid and the ladies of the embassy received the guests. Although admittance was by invitation and only Americans with a few exceptions, were asked to call the crush was as great as at a White House reception.

    A long buffet tent was erected on the north terrace, access to which was obtained by the removal of some windows and the erection of temporary staircases carpeted with crimson cloth. Nearly 4,000 invitations were issued."

    In the same year Reid hosted a function for Mark Twain. The Chancellor of Oxford University wished to confer an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters upon Twain and asked Reid to convey this invitation. Twain accepted and a few days before the Oxford ceremony a dinner was held at Dorchester House for him. Reid invited about forty authors and artists to meet Twain one of whom was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

    Jean Reid, daughter of Ambassador Whitelaw Reid in 1908

    In 1908 the Reids' daughter Jean was married and the reception was held at Dorchester House. The wedding received a great deal of publicity because King Edward and Queen Alexandra attended. One newspaper commented.

    "King Edward was profuse in his congratulations to the bride and the bridegroom and their families. With Queen Alexandra, the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke of Connaught. His majesty remained at Dorchester House for some time mingling freely with the guests of the American Ambassador."

    Another newspaper said.

    "The marriage of Miss Jean Reid, daughter of Whitelaw Reid, American Ambassador to Great Britain, to the Hon. John Hubert Ward took place at the Church Chapel Royal, St. James Palace, this afternoon. Not since the Prince of Wales was married has a wedding ceremony taken place in circumstances of such pomp and majesty. After the wedding a reception was held at Dorchester House, to which all fashionable London and many Americans who could not be accommodated at the chapel were invited."

    In 1910 after the death of King Edward VII, President Theodore Roosevelt came to England to attend the funeral. He stayed at Dorchester house for three weeks. The New York Times outlines the numerous visits from dignitaries from other countries that came to Dorchester house to see Roosevelt during this time.

    "The Roosevelts had just returned to Dorchester House when they received a return call from King Haakon who greeted the Special Ambassador and his wife as old friends. While luncheon was being served the Duke of Connaught and Prince Arthur of Connaught called...The diplomatic representatives of all the powers called at Dorchester House in the course of the day and left cards for Mr. Roosevelt."

    In 1912 Whitelaw Reid died and Dorchester House was no longer used as the American Embassy.

    During World War I many of the stately homes of England became Auxiliary Home Hospitals Dorchester House was also offered as a hospital by George Holford. The New York Times in 1914 contained a story about the House as a hospital.

    "Lieutenant Colonel Sir George Holford, the owner of the house has given it up to wounded officers eighteen of whom are billeted in bedrooms overlooking Hyde Park. Downstairs on the first floor the famous ballroom is being turned into a sitting room for convalescents, and other splendid apartments in which dinners and receptions were held are now filled with beds, screens and big medicine tables and will become dormitories...The famous Velasquez and other masterpieces at Dorchester House have been taken down to a cellar, but the Alfred Stevens decorations are still in place"

    In 1926 Sir George Holford died and his property was put on the market. After several years an acceptable offer was made and Dorchester House was sold. The Times wrote an article on the sale.

    "Lord Morley has sold Dorchester House, Park Lane. A contract was signed yesterday afternoon for the purchase of the property by Gordon Hotels, Limited. Associated in the transaction of purchase being Sir Robert McAlpine and Sons, Limited. The famous mansion will be demolished and the Gordon Hotels Limited intend to proceed at once with the erection of an hotel."

    The Dorchester House

    Dorchester House was demolished in 1929 and the Dorchester Hotel opened in 1931.

    As Stated Above She Sailed On:

    The SS Vaterland, was a sumptuous ocean liner which regularly sailed the North Atlantic briefly in 1914 and from 1917 to 1934 as the S.S. Leviathan. 

    The second of a trio of transatlantic liners built by Germany's Hamburg America Line for the transatlantic passenger service, she would sail as Vaterland for less than a year before her early career was halted by the start of World War I. In 1917, she was seized by the U.S. government and renamed Leviathan. She would become known by this name for the majority of her career, both as a troopship during World War I and later as the flagship of the United States Lines.

    The huge Vaterland in her original HAPAG livery

    SS Vaterland, a 54,282 gross ton passenger liner, was built by Blohm & Voss at HamburgGermany, as the second of a trio of very large ships of Imperator class for the Hamburg-America Line's trans-Atlantic route. She was launched April 13, 1913 and was the largest passenger ship in the world upon her completion, superseding S.S. Imperator, but later being superseded in turn by the last ship of this class, S.S. Bismarck, the later RMS Majestic.

    Vaterland had made only a few trips when, in late July 1914, she arrived at New YorkNY just as World War I broke out. With a safe return to Germany rendered virtually impossible by British dominance of the seas, she was laid up at her HobokenNJ, terminal and remained immobile for nearly three years.

    The USS Leviathan in a dazzle camouflage pattern

    She was seized by the United States Shipping Board when the United States entered World War I, April 6, 1917; turned over to the custody of the U.S. Navy in June 1917; and commissioned July 1917 as the USS Vaterland, Captain Joseph Wallace Oman in command. Redesignated SP-1326 and renamed Leviathan by President Woodrow Wilson on 6 September 1917. The trial cruise to Cuba on November 17, 1917, prompted Captain Oman to order 241 Marines, onboard to relieve a detachment of Marines, to station themselves conspicuously about the upper decks giving the appearance from shore that the great ship was headed overseas to increase American Expeditionary Forces. Upon her return later that month, she reported for duty with the Cruiser and Transport Force. In December she took troops to LiverpoolEngland, but repairs delayed her return to the U.S. until mid-February 1918. A second trip to Liverpool in March was followed by more repairs. At that time she was repainted with the British-type "dazzle" camouflage scheme that she carried for the rest of the war. With the completion of that work, Leviathan began regular passages between the U.S. and BrestFrance, delivering up to 14,000 persons on each trip, carrying over 119,000 fighting men, before the armistice November 11, 1918. After that date Leviathan, repainted grey overall by December 1918, reversed the flow of men as she transported the veterans back to the United States with nine westward crossings ending 8 September 8, 1919. On October 29, 1919, USS Leviathan was decommissioned and turned over to the U.S. Shipping Board and again laid up at Hoboken until plans for her future employment could be determined.

    S.S. Leviathan

    In April 1922 the decision was made about the role of the ship and the Leviathan steamed to Newport NewsVirginia, where she was completely renovated to suit American tastes and post-World War I standards. Her reconditioning completed in June 1923, the Board turned her over to the United States Lines to operate on their behalf as the U.S. Flag ocean liner Leviathan.

    As S.S. Leviathan, she was the "queen" of the United States' merchant fleet, and operated in the trans-Atlantic trade into the early 1930s. Dubbed "Levi Nathan", the ship was reasonably popular, but because of her American registry she had to sail as a "dry ship" under Prohibition and many American travelers preferred European liners which were permitted to serve alcohol once they were in international waters. Despite this handicap, Leviathan in 1927 was the #1 ship on the Atlantic in terms of average passengers carried per crossing. The Great Depression hit passenger shipping hard and Leviathan, like other big liners of the time, began to lose money. She was laid up in 1933 and, with the exception of several months of additional service in 1934, was inactive until December 10, 1937, when she was sold to a British firm and made her final Atlantic crossing to RosythScotland shortly thereafter, where she was broken up over the next two years.


    © 2010 The Esoteric Curiosa
  2. Jane Allen Campbell
    25.VI.1865 – 23.VI.1938
    Princess di San Faustino

    Jane Allen Campbell, who was born on June 25, 1865 in Montclair New York, was the daughter of George W. Campbell of New York City and his wife Virginia, née Watson.

    In 1895, she accompanied her widowed mother and maternal aunt, Baroness de Westenberg on a grand tour of Europe.  Mrs. Campbell and her sister the Baroness were famous for their good looks and were known as the “beautiful Watson sisters from Florida.” Jane’s aunt, Baroness de Westenberg was first married to a certain Mr. Birkhead and sadly stood helplessly on the beach at Westhampton, unable to assist, watching her only child, a son, drown before her eyes. Sadly, a Mr. Post also perished while trying to save the little boy.

    After she was widowed, she married the Baron de Westenberg, who was the Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United States before assuming the same post in Rome.  There his wife and later his widow, assumed an important social position and was particularly favored by Queen Margherita.  She settled her large inheritance on her niece and introduced Jane to the Italian court.  The spirited young woman married in Geneva on June 7, 1897 to Carlo Bourbon del Monte, 3rd Principe di San Faustino, Marquis del Monte Santa Maria.  Her groom who was four years her junior was a descendant of an old Roman noble family, and had succeeded his father in the family titles in 1892.

    Queen Margherita Of Italy

    In 1902, she was accused by a maid of having beaten her so badly that she needed ten days to heal.  Jane put herself in danger in 1908 when during student riots outside the Austrian embassy in Rome, she and a friend stepped onto the balcony of the embassy and laughed at the rioting students below.

    Jane was well known for shocking society for more than forty years in Rome by ignoring established social traditions.  At one of her first functions as hostess in Rome, she discovered just before the guests were to arrive that the punch to be served was lemonade instead of the champagne which she desired.  Her husband refused to give her the keys to the wine cellar and she had insufficient cash to purchase champagne.  She immediately pawned an heirloom gold necklace and the guests were served champagne.  At one of her dinners, she had a Foreign Office expert arrange seating according to rank.  When the guests arrived she had mistakenly reversed left from right and all the guests were seated incorrectly.  Sir Oswald Mosley wrote of her salon as “a university of charm, where a young man could encounter a refinement of sophistication whose acquisition could be some permanent passport in a varied and variable world.  If he could stand up to the salon of Princess Jane, he could face much.”

    Barbara Hutton

    She was particularly helpful to the young Barbara Hutton in establishing social connections in Venice.  In fact, of all the social connections that Barbara established in Venice, none was to prove more valuable that her friendship with the Princess Jane, by this time a seventyish widow. One of Hutton’s biographers C. David Heymann, however, adjudged Princess Jane’s influence in Venice “as the first and last word on who rated and who did not, and her judgments in such matters were not only final but frequently cruel.” At first Barbara found the princess an almost frightening apparition.  “She would sit in her cabana and play backgammon for hours on end, sipping Amaretto and cream, talking a mile a minute about any subject that popped into her mind, interrupting herself to screech at servants and complain that the Italians were the slowest, dumbest, laziest people on earth. A moment later, she would proclaim the Italians the true master race, the greatest artists the most noble civilization."

    Hutton wrote in her own diary that Princess Jane “was a wonderful juggler!" "She could keep numerous activities going at once, planning a dinner party while listening to a conversation, while playing backgammon, while reading a book, while knitting a sweater, while berating the cabana boy, while recounting the latest gossip…and in the middle of it all she insisted that Barbara tell her life story and ‘don’t leave out any intimate details.’She loved unsavory details, loved dirt.  If you paused, she grew impatient. ‘Go on go on, I am listening!’ The instant she picked up on the thread, she returned to her torrid pace of activity. But she took it all in, because when we were alone she asked pertinent questions about certain very minor details I had mentioned in passing. When I asked how she did it, she said she had peripheral hearing and more than a one track mind.”

    A rumored great beauty in her younger days, Princess Jane wore deep mourning after her husband’s death, always in white or black, for more than twenty years. Persistent rumors of their impending divorce were met with strong denials although she admitted later in life that, had her husband been American, she probably would have divorced him soon after their marriage.  The “Widow Bourbon Del Monte” is remembered variously by other observers of the Roman expatriate social scene in the 1920’s but never as a wallflower.  “She was an absolute terror,” although “very charming,” according to Flora Tower, who met her on a visit to her friend Katherine Sage, Jane’s first daughter-in-law.  “I can remember her wearing black and with a black head garment, like Mary, Queen of Scots, that came down to a point on her forehead, above but between her eyes, and bordered by a white piece underneath.  It was really an incredible outfit.  She was very formidable, very imposing.”

    Her granddaughter, Susanna Agnelli, seems to have been amused and horrified, in about equal portions. In her 1975 memoir, We Always Wore Sailor Suits, as a child, Agnelli recalled that her grandmother, whom she called, “'Princess Jane', adored people and parties and gossip and the strange mix ups of life.  She said atrocious things at which people trembled, but she could make anyone’s life fun if she decided to look after them.”

    Acclaimed historical biographer Hugo Vickers, wrote that Jane was “noted for her boundless hospitality, wit and humor,” while the Duchess of Sermoneta said that she  “collects human beings as others collect postage stamps or moths.” In 1929 she received the Red Cross Gold Medal for her charitable work for a sun cure colony for tubercular children.  At the time it was the highest award ever given to a woman for such work in Italy.

    Just before her death, she wrote her memoirs that were published serially in a weekly newspaper.  She and her husband had a son, Don Ranieri, and a daughter Donna Virginia.  The son succeeded as the 4th Principe di San Faustino, like his father before him he married brides from America,  Catherine Sage and Lydia Bodrero Macy.  His son by his second wife is the current title holder.

    Virginia Agnelli, née Bourbon Del Monte

    Virginia, daughter of Jane and the prince, married Edoardo Agnelli, an heir to the Fiat fortune, and was the mother of famed playboy Gianni Agnelli, the eventual Chairman of Fiat.

    Jane died of pneumonia in Rome on June 23, 1938.


    The New York Times
    June 13, 1897

    When it was announced from Rome a few weeks ago that the engagement of the young Italian, Prince di San Faustino, and Miss Jane Campbell, had been broken, and that the Prince had departed, sorrowing, to Paris, and Miss Campbell to Nice, it was freely predicted by those New Yorkers who know Miss Campbell, that it would not be long before news of her marriage to the Prince would arrive.  This prediction was verified on Wednesday, when Miss Campbell became the Princess di San Faustino, on neutral ground at GenevaSwitzerland.  The details of the romantic affair, which will probably arrive by the next foreign mails, are now awaited with some curiosity.  The new Princess will, from the standpoint of beauty, be a decided acquisition to Roman society. She was a picturesque young woman when she left here, two years ago, and was greatly admired during her brief career in New York society.  New Yorkers who have recently returned from Rome, where Miss Campbell has been living with her mother, the widow of Mr. George W. Campbell of this city, and her aunt, Mme. De Westerberg, during the past two years, report that she has developed into a magnificently handsome woman.  The new Princess has a small fortune left her by her father, and is looked upon as the heiress of her aunt Mme. De Westenberg, who is a woman of large wealth. 


    Daniel de Leon

    The Daily People
    September 9, 1902

    THE upper crust of Italian society in Rome has just suffered a great shock. It is thoroughly scandalized. Nothing less horrid has happened than the sight of one of its own choice limbs, the Princess di San Faustino, picked out and dragged before  the  courts  by  the  plebeian  hands  of  her  serving  maid  upon  a  charge  {of} “beating.”

    Whatever the vices of so-called aristocracy, vulgarity, such as is implied by a lady’s indulgence in violence, is not among them. Much of the traits or accompaniments of socalled aristocracy, is the just aspiration of the Labor Movement in behalf of the Working Class. One of  these desirable  traits  is  self-restraint,  that poise  that comes  from a  life freed  from  the arduous animal  struggle  for existence. Civilization having reached  the point  that ample wealth  is producible  for all,  the Labor Movement aims  to  raise  the whole  of  humanity  to  that  point  now  enjoyed  by  so-called  aristocracy  only,  which consists in the “gentlemanly” or “lady-like” conduct, possible only upon a ground-work of easy circumstances. The “strenuous life” is hostile to such conduct. No wonder that a manifestation of “strenuous  life” amid their midst has shocked Roman society. Is that society degenerating from its one admirable feature? No; therein lies the lesson and the humor of the occurrence.

    The  nursery  tale  tells  of  the  cat  that,  having  been  converted  by  a witch  into  a Princess, was dazzling with her charms  the noble  ladies and gentlemen among whom she appeared at a ball. Unexpectedly the spell was broken. A mouse happened to cross the  floor.  The  cat  instinct  immediately  asserted  itself; and  {the}  witch’s  spell  was broken; the Princess,  suddenly  reconverted  into a  cat,  sprang across  the  floor at  the mouse. This is substantially what has happened in Rome.

    “Princess di San Faustino”  is but  the witch’s  trappings with which  an American female bourgeois, named Jane Campbell, was artificially transformed  into a  lady. The witch in this case is the capitalist system of production, which, set in operation by her immediate ancestry, enabled her to purchase and deck herself with the external finery of “wife  of  the  Prince  Carlo  Bourbon  del Monte  Santa Maria  di  San  Faustino,”  direct descendent  of  Henry  IV.  of  France.  The  “strenuous  life”  of  vulgar  acquisitiveness practised upon the working class of America so as to enable Jane Campbell to become an heiress could not as a matter of course be wiped out by the mere title of “Princess di San Faustino”—no more than the hereditary cat-traits could be wiped out of the cat in the story by the external show of human refinement. As in the instance of the cat in the story,  true  characteristics  asserted  themselves despite  filigrees. The  cat-princess  fell back with the true cat at the sight of a mouse; the bourgeois-princess relapsed into the vulgarity of her “strenuous life” extraction at sight of her maid—a representative of the class her breed had hunted.

    Prince’s Cruise

    TIME Magazine
    August 22, 1932

    For more years than she likes to remember, the undisputed leader of the Anglo-U. S. set in Italy has been gracious grey-haired Principessa San Faustino, formerly Jane Campbell of New York. The Princess Jane has a palace in Rome and one in Venice. She used to give tremendous dinners, balls and routs that were faithfully reported by the smartcharts of four countries. Knowing visitors to Italy placed an introduction to Princess Jane beside a visit to the Catacombs and a gondola ride by moonlight as items not to be missed.

    To Italy three years ago came flashing dark-eyed Mrs. John Work Garrett, wife of the U. S. Ambassador. Younger and richer than Princess Jane, she eclipsed her with even bigger parties and never charged admission, even for charity.

    Last week came Princess Jane's chance to stage a comeback. Down to Venice flew two old friends, the most eligible bachelors in Europe. Edward of Wales and Prince George on their way to review the British Mediterranean fleet at Corfu. Because of Depression her Venetian palace is closed, but Princess Jane gave a large dinner for the Princes at the Grand Hotel. The Prince of Wales did not bother to dress. He wore gray flannels, brown suede shoes. After dinner Princess Jane ferried her guests out to the ornate pink brick Excelsior Palace at the Lido for a dance.

    To this dance was invited one Cecile Kraus, a shapely 25-year-old widow from Turin, described by the Associated Press as "partly of Hungarian ancestry." Right under the eyes of the Princess Jane, the Widow Kraus removed the Prince of Wales. They danced four dances in succession, two foxtrots and two tangos. Then they went out on the terrace and down to the beach. They remained out 45 minutes by Princess Jane's wristwatch after which H. R. H. returned to the bar, calling for beer. At this point Princess Jane went home to bed without pausing to say goodnight to her royal guests. Next morning the Widow Kraus swam with the Princes, waved goodbye as they boarded a plane for Corfu where they were received by the ship's company of H. M. S. Queen Elizabeth.

    Wales At The Lido

    TIME Magazine
    October 10, 1932


    After reading the account of the Prince of Wales's cruise, which appeared under Italy in your Aug. 22 number 1 begin to be a little doubtful. . . .

    In the first place, Principessa Jane di San Faustino (born Miss Jane Campbell) never stays in a palace in Venice, but has had an apartment in the Excelsior-Palace Hotel. Lido, for many years, holding court in front of her capanna on the beach daily, where (even during the era of knee-length frocks) she has been a well-marked figure with her white hair and her long simple white gowns.

    In the second place, the Princess, far from being an "old friend.'' had never met the Prince of Wales. She was ill on the day of Their Royal Highnesses' arrival, but, on being invited to dine at the Grand Hotel by Captain and Mrs. Alistair Mackintosh (Mrs. Mackintosh is another American, having been Miss Lela Emery of New York), she pulled herself together and went. The dinner was quite small, only eight covers. and took place informally on the terrace of the Grand Hotel, no one dressing, and none of the guests in the hotel apparently being aware of the presence of royalty.

    After dinner the Prince went for a gondola ride with the younger members of the party and, later, returned to the Lido to the "ornate pink brick Excelsior Palace" where he was staying. He and his party rejoined the Princess Jane who presented a Signora Cecile Kraus with whom she was talking with a special word for her ability as a dancer. The Prince took the young widow from Milan out on the floor of Chez Vous. an open-air cabaret at the Excelsior and danced several times. It is quite true that he danced only with her. but this may be explained by the fact that it was after one o'clock when he arrived, and that the music at Chez Vous was fairly continuous so that, stopping king before two. his devotion was probably more accidental than anything else. That they went down to the beach later was not remarkable, as many people do so after dancing, for the cooling breezes, and the beach is patrolled all night long.

    The implication that the Princess Jane was in any way annoyed is absurd as she never dances and. after a delightful dinner, with "the most charming young man she had ever met" her only interest was in seeing that the two Princes enjoyed themselves.

    The next morning the two Princes, coming down to the beach for a swim before leaving, saw the Signora Kraus with her mother and asked her to join them for a swim which she did. As she is an excellent swimmer she rather outpaced both the Princes much to their amusement.

    If I go into detail in this way it is because this young woman who has been living at the Lido the entire summer quietly and respectably with her mother has been very much upset by the notoriety arising from the incident. 

    REBEKAH W. ELLIOT Venice, Italy

    ‘Neither Rich, Nor Beautiful’
     By Jerome Beatty

    The North American Review
    September 1937

    Although the world is rather well dotted with Princesses, few of them have a life story as exciting as Rome’s recently deceased Princess Jane di San Faustino, once of Bernardsville, New Jersey, and New York city. Born Jane Campbell, she went to Rome forty-four years ago and without much money – became the ringmaster of society in the Eternal City.  By her death this June, the career of the most colorful Princess ever heard of, came to an end at the ripe age of seventy-five.

    Before the depression took most of her income she ruled from an antique Roman palace.  Then proving that you don’t have to be rich to be popular, she moved to a five room flat that she rented for seventy-five dollars a month.  But people came to her just the same.  Nobility, Royalty, itself! Nearly every afternoon in her modest salon, sipping good but inexpensive wine, playing bridge and backgammon, could be found the former King of Spain, Prince Christopher of Greece, and Conte Jose Visconti, intimate friend of the King and Queen of Italy.  When American multi-millionaires arrived in Rome, they set out forthwith to call upon Princess Jane and, if possible, to charm her, for unless she found them interesting they were nobodies.

    White-haired, tall and slender, she stood among her guests like an aged Queen – a Queen charged with thoroughbred vitality.  She dressed simply, always in pure white or dead black; her hat usually was a peaked black Mary Stuart hood, with trailing veil.  Her only jewels were a diamond comb (which she never wore) a pearl necklace and an iron wedding ring which took the place of the gold ring that, like all Italian wives, she gave to Italy.  She never smoked and for fifteen years did not taste alcohol.

    When Princess Jane spoke, it was like firecrackers exploding.  She interrupted Kings and Ambassadors, took charge of the conversation in any group she entered, and leapt nimbly from subject to subject like Eliza crossing the ice, abandoning a topic instantly when the talk began to be dull.  She loved to say ‘Hell’s bells,’ and startle listeners with mild profanity.  She made fun of herself and her close friends – but never behind their backs.

    To those beneath her in the social scale she was always kind.  Her maid and butler were with her for more that twenty-five years and rejected dozens of offers to leave her, at higher wages.

    She was a Princess for forty-two years but never reached the point of taking it for granted.  Somebody asked her one day, ‘Were you pleased when you became a Princess?’

    ‘Pleased?’ she snapped.  ‘Pleased! Good lord, Madame! The first time I was called Your Excellency I jumped right through the ceiling!’

    One afternoon in her home, Princess Jane took the arm of a young American girl who seemed to be having a dull time.  ‘Come on,’ she said, leading her to the small anteroom in which a bridge game was in progress in front of a fireplace, ‘let’s watch the King of Spain play bridge.’

    The former King looked up from his cards and smiled.  ‘We won’t learn anything about bridge,’ she told the girl, ‘but it’s fun to look at a King.’

    A few minutes later a workman arrived to repair the fireplace.  She had asked him to come that afternoon, and quite in character, had forgotten that guests would be there.  Most hostesses would have told the workman to come another day.  Not Princess Jane.

    ‘Come, come,’ she said quickly to the bridge players.  ‘This man’s time is valuable.  You’ll have to move your table.’

    So they moved back and the former King and three other titled gentlemen continued their bridge while the workman dragged in his tools, and almost under their feet, hammered iron and bricks until the job was finished.

    In Rome, diplomatic and social and social precedent is of supreme importance, but Princess Jane couldn’t be bothered with it.  When she gave her first formal dinner to the diplomatic set she called in a Secretary of the Italian Foreign Office to arrange the seating.  When he finished she looked over the cards and said, ‘Good Lord! What a dull table! Nobody’s sitting next to anybody he’d like to talk to.’  Whereupon she rearranged the cards to suit herself! It was a great party and there were no complaints. If any other hostess in Rome had dared ignore precedent she would have received frigid telephone calls next day from the insulted Embassies warning her never to commit such a sin again, else the diplomats wouldn’t come to her dinners any more.  But they kept on coming to Princess Jane’s.

    She was the first in Rome to provide bridge and backgammon for her guests.  Tradition had it that gambling should take place only in clubs.  She seldom played herself but liked to make side bets.  Her bridge was rather bad and she shocked any player at her table who made an error, including herself or her opponents.  Ely Culbertson often played bridge there at five cents a point, and gossip is that her titled guests could match him. 

    Princess Jane loved Roman history and was astonished one day when an American diplomat didn’t know that Michelangelo had painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  She organized a series of lectures for the new residents of Rome, particularly Americans, and made the meetings important social events for several winters, because she sponsored them.

    Jane Campbell was born in New Jersey in 1863.  Her family was not in ‘society,’ but her mother knew Ward McAllister, the New York social leader.  When she was eighteen, Jane had made up her mind that she was to be like Mrs. Astor and teased her father until he moved to New York City.  She quickly became popular with the younger set; but though often a bridesmaid she was never a bride.  Not pretty, she was much too clever and dominating, and at the age of twenty-four was not yet engaged.  Her ambition to become a society leader and to secure a rich husband was unfulfilled in New York.

    So Jane went to Rome to visit her aunt, and discovered that Roman society was so formal that nobody ever had a good time at a party.  Quite soundly, Jane believed that a few sparkling parties of the kind she gave in New York might impress Rome, and establish her as a public benefactor.

    When her father died she went to Rome to begin her campaign at the age of thirty-one.  Her mother was afraid of Italians and always carried a pot of pepper to throw in the coachman’s eyes if he attacked her.  In Rome were more than a dozen wives of American millionaires who had tried to climb into Italian society and failed.  Jane had an income that probably was less than twenty thousand dollars a year.  This will buy a lot of potatoes but won’t go far if you’re trying to impress Italian aristocrats.

    She didn’t try to act like a great lady.  She was just herself, Jane Campbell, an American.  The millionaires who wanted to break into Rome society were too stupid to realize that a witty and lovable nature will make more friends than a five thousand dollar orchestra and a ton of terrapin.

    Almost at once she met Dr. Axel Munthe, who years later, wrote ‘The Story of San Michele.’ They were close companions and he had a profound effect upon her life.  She spent many hours each day with him in the squalid slums of Rome, where she saw hundreds of children dying of tuberculosis, mothers bearing children in filth, men whose typhus sickbeds were the earthen floor, and families whose week’s food was a handful of bread crusts.

    She had guessed that there were poor people in this world, but never dreamed that such horrors existed.  She gave them clothing, sold jewels to buy them food, and helped Dr. Munthe nurse them.  Then realizing that her desultory charities were not very effective she went to the Italian Red Cross and asked what she could do, particularly for tubercular children.  They told her Rome needed a sanatorium where poor children with tuberculosis could have proper food and be entirely cured.  For ten thousand dollars a good start could be made. She threw herself into the job of whipping Roman society into taking part in a charity bazaar.  She gave charity balls and card parties.  She collected thousand lire notes from dinner partners and raised twelve thousand five hundred dollars with which the Red Cross bought a house and garden for the children.  Eighty children now go to school in a spic and span sanatorium where they have proper food, exercise and medical care.  The home is called ‘The Italian Red Cross Prophylactic Colony of the Princess Jane di San Faustino.’ Before her death the Princess raised more than two hundred thousand dollars for it, and the Red Cross gave her a gold medal.

    In 1913, after the earthquake of Avezzano which drove thousands of homeless refugees into Rome, she housed and fed in her apartment more than a hundred men, women and children through the winter.  During the War she directed a soup kitchen and put most of Rome’s society girls to work in it.

    Meanwhile she had completely conquered Roman society.  She could afford to give only small parties but they were the talk of Rome because instead of letting her guests stand around bored, she kept things bouncing.  Prince d’Avella once told her, ‘You have no conventions; we have been governed by them for centuries. It is because we never know what you are going to do that you have us at your feet.’

    Her daring made Rome gasp! At a painfully formal British Embassy costume ball the guests were to come dressed as their ancestors.  The sons and daughters of the great families of Italy dug beautiful Renaissance costumes out of their attics and arrived in solemn splendour.  Jane came as a sea monster.  She was in long green scaly robes and on her head was a dragon like mask with electric eyes that flashed when she pushed a button. She went around saying ‘Boo!’ to Royalty.

    When she was thirty-three she me Prince Carlo di San Faustino, handsome, athletic and pursued by many; he was four years younger than Jane.  Short of a spirited polo pony, he never had met anything like her.  Three weeks later he proposed and she accepted just as soon as she could get her breath.

    The Prince’s family tried to prevent the match with this practically penniless American.  The engagement was on and off half a dozen times; at last Jane arranged for them to meet in Switzerland and they were married.

    She immediately set out to carry on the social tradition of the Prince’s family – in an American manner.  The first thing for a bride to do was to give a big party.  The rule was to serve only cakes, ice cream and lemonade.  She wanted champagne.  Carlo forbade it; he said she was disgracing the family name.

    So the Prince and Princess at once went into the first of hundreds of quarrels that were to electrify their lives.  The polo pony and was never to be broken. Carlo went to bed and wouldn’t get up.  He sent word to her that he was dying.  And the party was only a few hours away!  Carlo had the key to the wine cellar.  The Princess had no money, so she sold one of her gold chains and bought champagne.

    The guests arrived.  The furious bridegroom stayed in bed, and the Princess, at her first big party, received her guests alone, explaining through clenched teeth that her dear Carlo suddenly had taken ill.  The guests stayed just long enough to drink up all the champagne!  Some of them were indignant at the antics of this ‘wild Indian from America.’  But they all came to her next party.

    Princess Jane never lost her New Jersey ideas.  She never had lovers, which made a good many Italians lift their eyebrows in shocked disapproval.  Most of her quarrels with Carlo were about his women friends.  In Italy, when a man has a mistress, his wife is no more concerned than an American woman is about her husband’s secretary.  Until the end, the Italian point of view was beyond Jane’s conception; she truly loved Carlo – the father of her son and daughter.  When she was fifty-one she was overwhelmed with a desire to see Carlo’s mistress.  She learned that he was to dine with her and she threw a shawl over her head, and drove to the Colonna restaurant.  It was a rainy night and she stood outside on the pavement for an hour staring at the beautiful girl, through the window, noting bitterly that Carlo was gayer than she ever had seen him.  She went home and cried herself to sleep.

    Italian wives who heard about the episode were dumbfounded.  They thought her social and moral upbringing must have been quite improper.  Some called her ‘Crazy Jane.’

    When Princess Jane was fifty-six her husband died in a hospital! His mistress telephoned the Princess and asked permission to see the body before it was brought home to lie in state.  She sent her maid to take the girl there quickly before Carlo’s family would arrive at the hospital and keep her out.  The Italians were dumbfounded at that too.

    ‘I’m a sentimentalist,’ was the only explanation she ever gave.

    Then, always eager to turn a serious situation into a light one, she chuckled, ‘That’s why I have trouble remembering the names of married people, but never forget the names of those with whom they’re in love.’

    Italy was good to Princess Jane, it gave her a position that she probably would never have attained in America.  But America always was home to her.  A short time before her death she said quietly to some close American friends, ‘When I died I want Americans, none but Americans around me.’ Then, seemingly ashamed of her softness, she turned it into a joke.  ‘Because,’ she added smiling, I never would be able to die in Italian. I’d get the wrong verb forms in my farewell speech and instead of saying something heroic, it would only be silly.’


    © 2010 The Esoteric Curiosa
  3. John Brown
    8.XII.1826 – 27.III.1883

    John Brown was a Scottish personal servant and favorite of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom for many years. He was appreciated by many, including the Queen, for his competence and companionship, and resented by others for his influence and informal manner. The exact nature of his relationship with Victoria was the subject of great speculation by contemporaries, and continues to be controversial today.

    Brown was born in Crathie, Aberdeenshire, to John Brown and Margaret Leys, and went to work as an outdoor servant, in Scots ghillie or gillie, at Balmoral Castle which Queen Victoria and Prince Albert purchased in 1853.

    After Albert died in 1861, Brown became Victoria's personal servant. She was so grateful for his service and his manner toward her, which was much less formal than that of her other servants, though extremely protective of her, that she awarded him medals and had portrait paintings and statues made of him.

    A Young John Brown, Sketched By Queen Victoria

    Victoria's children and ministers resented the high regard she had for Brown, and, inevitably, stories circulated that there was something improper about their relationship. The Queen's daughters joked that Brown was "Mama's Lover," while Edward Stanley,15th Earl of Derby wrote in his diary that Brown and Victoria slept in adjoining rooms "contrary to etiquette and even decency."

    The diaries of Lewis Harcourt contain a report that one of the Queen's chaplains, Rev. Norman Macleod, made a deathbed confession repenting of his action in presiding over Queen Victoria's marriage to John Brown. Debate continues over what credence to give this report. It should be emphasized that Harcourt did not receive the confession directly, he was nine at the time that Macleod died, but that it passed (if it did) from Macleod's sister to the wife of Henry Ponsonby, the Queen's private secretary, and thence to Harcourt's father, the then Home Secretary. The elder Harcourt served as Home Secretary in the final three years of Brown's life. While it is true that some widowed monarchs, including Louis XIV of France and Queen Regent Maria Christina of Spain have contracted private marriages with their servants, there is little evidence that Victoria married Brown.

    Perhaps the most compelling evidence of the depth of Victoria and Brown's relationship comes from the pen of the Queen herself. A recently discovered letter written by Victoria shortly after Brown's death, to Viscount Cranbrook, reveals the true extent of the loss:

    'Perhaps never in history was there so strong and true an attachment, so warm and loving a friendship between the sovereign and servant ... Strength of character as well as power of frame - the most fearless uprightness, kindness, sense of justice, honesty, independence and unselfishness combined with a tender, warm heart ... made him one of the most remarkable men. The Queen feels that life for the second time is become most trying and sad to bear deprived of all she so needs ... the blow has fallen too heavily not to be very heavily felt...'

    The phrase 'life for the second time' relates to the death of her husband Prince Albert. The historian who discovered the letter believed that it suggested that Victoria, in her mind, equated Brown's death with Albert's, and that she therefore viewed him as more than a servant. Whether Brown and Victoria were actual lovers, however, is impossible to prove.

    Those who believe that the Queen saw Brown as little more than a servant point to the fact that after his death she became similarly attached to an Indian servant, Abdul Karim (the Munshi), one of two who had come to work for her in late June 1887. She called him the Munshi, and he came to be hated more fiercely than John Brown had been, and for the same reason: the warm regard she had for him.

    Tony Rennell's book Last Days of Glory: The Death of Queen Victoria reveals that Victoria ordered her doctor to place a lock of Brown's hair, his photograph, and a ring worn by Brown's mother and given to her by Brown, in her coffin, along with several of his letters.

    The statues and private memorials that Victoria had created for Brown were destroyed or discarded at the order of her son, Edward VII, with whom Brown had often clashed.

    Queen Victoria's 'Secret Marriage'

    Raymond Lamont-Brown

    Contemporary Review

    Dec, 2003

    FROM time to time the British media is set in a frenzy when private papers figure on the auction circuit, or are re-discovered, appearing to 'prove' yet again that Queen Victoria contracted a secret marriage after the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert in 1861. The usual postulated groom is her Highland Servant John Brown, depicted from tabloid newssheet to film screen as a cross between a drunken Scottish Rasputin and a rude, uncultured Caledonian Stud.

    Recently such a collection has come on the scene in the form of published extracts of 74 leather-bound gossip-laden diaries of Lewis--'Loulou' to his intimates--Harcourt (1863-1922), 1st Viscount Harcourt, sometime Liberal MP for the Rossendale division of Lancashire. Today Lewis Harcourt's diaries are held in the Bodleian Library, and were the subject of an article by Patrick Jackson in the newly issued The British Diarist (Vol. 1, Issue 1, pp. 22-30). International interest was engendered by the diary entry for 17 February 1885 where Harcourt averred that Mary Elizabeth, Lady Ponsonby, had told the Home Secretary (i.e., Harcourt's father, Sir William Harcourt 1827-1904) that one Miss Macleod had said that her brother the Revd Dr Norman Macleod (1812-72), chaplain to Queen Victoria 1857-72, had declared on his deathbed that he had conducted a marriage ceremony between John Brown and Queen Victoria. Miss Macleod added that her expiring brother said that he had always repented of his actions.

    Harcourt noted that Miss Macleod would be likely to be innocent of concocting such a story, and that because of its source those who heard it would be 'almost inclined to believe it, improbable and disgraceful as it sounds'.

    Mary Ponsonby

    Undoubtedly Mary Ponsonby was in a privileged position to hear and recycle court gossip. She had been a royal Maid of Honour from 1853 and her marriage had brought her closer to the throne. Yet, where the truth of this marriage gossip was concerned she was an unreliable witness. She had agnostical views and was a supporter of radical ideas, behind which lurked republicanism, and the Queen knew it. This was a reason why--despite her husband Henry Ponsonby's position--Mary Ponsonby was not invited to court junketings or to meet royal members of Victoria's extended continental family. This rankled with Mary Ponsonby, and encouraged her tongue as a royal gossip. Her husband, Sir Henry Ponsonby, was the Queen's talented and tactful secretary.

    Gold locket said to have been given by Queen Victoria to John Brown 

    As far as historians are concerned, Harcourt's diary entry is--as John Brown would term it--'cauld kail' (i.e., cold cabbage soup). Yet as the story has a continuing life of its own, how did it arise, and what factual truth might there be in it?

    John Brown's life is well documented. He was born at Crathienaird, Crathie parish, Aberdeenshire, on 8 December 1826, the second of the eleven children of tenant farmer John Brown and his wife Margaret Leys. Variously a farm labourer, and ostler's assistant, Brown became a stable boy on Sir Robert Gordon's estate at Balmoral in 1842. On Gordon's death the Royal Family acquired the tenancy and Queen Victoria visited Balmoral for the first time on 8 September 1848. The Queen's earliest mention of Brown is in her Journal entry for 11 September 1849 describing a visit to Dhu Loch, listing the gillies in attendance; by 1851 John Brown took on the permanent role of leader of Queen Victoria's pony on Prince Albert's instigation. The next year the Royal Family bought the 17,400-acre Balmoral for 30,000 guineas, and in 1858 John Brown took Archibald Frazer Macdonald's place as personal gillie to Prince Albert. A 'gillie', by the by, was originally an attendant on a Highland chief, but by the nineteenth century was a sportsman's attendant.

    It is well known too, that on Prince Albert's death in 1861, Queen Victoria suffered great distress. During the summer of 1864, concerned at the Queen's permanent brooding and lack of animation, her daughter Princess Alice, wife of Prince Louis IV, Grand-Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, discussed the problem with the Keeper of the Privy Purse, Sir Charles Phipps. She opined the Queen had always been happy at Balmoral, particularly enjoying her pony cart rides. Could these be introduced to Windsor and Osborne? And could not that handsome 'Johnny Brown' be brought down to lead the pony as he did at Balmoral? The idea was put to the Queen, who agreed, and in December 1864 John Brown entered her permanent service becoming 'indefatigable in his attendance and care' wrote Queen Victoria in her Journal.

    'Loulou' Harcourt

    Soon John Brown's ubiquitous attendance on Queen Victoria was causing gossip. No servant had ever been so attentive as he. No servant had ever got away with the often brusqueness with which he dealt with the Queen. No servant had ever ridden as roughshod over royal protocol as Brown, while the queen smiled indulgently. On June 30, 1866 Punch ridiculed John Brown in its columns, a story picked up by the John o'Groats Journal; and in May 1867 the journal Tomahawk gave John Brown's relationship with the Queen more oxygen of publicity. In 1866, though, a more serious libel had been promoted in the Swiss publication Gazette de Lausanne. An anonymous hand penned that the Queen had cancelled diary appointments because of her pregnancy by John Brown to whom she 'has been morganatically married ... for a long time?'

    At Berne, the British Minister Plenipotentiary, The Hon. E. A. J. Harris, made an official complaint to the Swiss Federal Council. They did nothing. But Harris's intervention gave the gossip a wide audience from Berlin to Paris where the cafe society hummed with salacious and crude gossip about the Queen and her Scots servant. The gossip now gave John Brown an international profile and gained a momentum that has lasted to the present day.

    The fact that Queen Victoria wished to write and publish a biography of John Brown on his death in 1883--an idea thwarted by such as the Dean of Windsor, Randall Thomas Davidson--had his portrait painted for her private collection, and distributed trinkets bearing his image, all added to the Queen's apparent obsession with her 'lover'. There was more to titillate gossips; Queen Victoria instructed those servants so entrusted to place a lock of John Brown's hair and his photograph in her coffin at her death in 1901. Her royal doctor, Sir James Reid, also knew that into her coffin went John Brown's mother's wedding ring that the Queen had regularly worn. Had the Queen not called John Brown 'darling' in a letter of October 1874? And in a letter to his brother Hugh, had not Queen Victoria said of Brown that 'no one loved him more than I did'. The fact that Queen Victoria had also sent Valentine cards and addressed Benjamin Disraeli as 'darling one', and that to the Victorians the expression 'love' meant serious friendship only, is ignored by the John Brown--Queen Victoria marriage theorists.

    Sir Henry Frederick Ponsonby

    The man who probably knew more about Queen Victoria's private life than any other, Sir Henry Frederick Ponsonby (1825-95), the Queen's private secretary for 25 years, always strongly refuted the royal marriage slander. He said that the Queen would never have contemplated marrying a servant let alone have a sexual relationship. Again Queen Victoria would not have contemplated endangering and compromising the monarchy in such a relationship. And as to Royal Chaplain, the Revd Dr MacLeod, carrying out a marriage ceremony, what is known about the clergyman's honesty and integrity would have made such an act unthinkable.

    Yet the marriage rumours persist even today. Totally unsubstantiated by verifiable facts--as we are seeing yet again in the recent absurd gossip about Prince Charles--how did the Brown rumours begin? There were plenty who would wish to slight John Brown and Queen Victoria. The press were constantly picking at the Queen for her supposed neglect of royal duties; the antimonarchists in the republican movements, like the Communards and the Fenians, as well as a part of the Liberal parliamentarians carried on sniping; the anti-British factions on the Continent kept the gossip going internationally; and there was an anti-Scots undercurrent in political and social circles. Within the court itself, the Prince of Wales's cadre promoted the Prince's hatred for John Brown's influence over the Queen--and all of these factions promoted the marriage libel. There were, of course, others with a personal grudge.

    Perhaps the most sustained and vituperative grudge was that of one Alexander Robertson of Dunkeld, Scotland. His promotion of the marriage libel was in such detail that he is likely to have been the main source of gossip from the late 1860s. A Scottish socialist republican nationalist, Alexander Robertson, published the following curious pamphlet: John Brown, A Correspondence with the Lord Chancellor, Regarding a Charge of Fraud Against His Grace the Duke of Athole K T. This was published from 37a Clerkenwell Gardens, London, in 1873. Back in 1809 the then Duke of Athole and his family had been the major funders of a seven-arched bridge across the River Tay at Dunkeld. To cross it passengers and traffic had to pay a toll which Robertson and his supporters considered to be 'fraudulent'.

    In Robertson's sights was the then Duke of Athole (contemporary spelling, Atholl), George Murray, the 6th Duke since 1846, and his wife Duchess Anne. Both were good friends of Queen Victoria and members of her court; the Duchess being Mistress of the Robes. Queen Victoria visited their seat of Blair Atholl, Perthshire, four times. In his pamphlet Robertson added libel to his years of slander by quoting one Charles Christie, whom he identifies as 'House Steward to the Dowager Duchess of Athole at Dunkeld House'; Duchess Anne had become a widow in 1864.

    Robertson said that John Brown obtained regular 'admittance' to the Queen's bedroom when 'the house was quiet'. Warming to his subject Robertson noted that Duchess Anne was in Lausanne in 1868 and in that place stood witness to Queen Victoria's marriage to John Brown. Queen Victoria was in Switzerland at that time, but at Lucerne, not Lausanne. When later quizzed on the matter the Duchess vehemently denied that any such event took place.

    To crown all, Robertson said that John Brown had made the Queen pregnant. This time he quoted John McGregor, Chief Wood Manager on the Atholl estate. The child, went on Robertson, was born in Switzerland (the 1868 trip?) and Duchess Anne acted as howdie ('midwife').

    As Robertson circulated his pamphlet where he could, the matter was a serious libel. The addressee, the Lord Chancellor, and the Foreign Secretary, George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville, discussed the matter, as Home Office Papers for 1873 show, but Robertson was never prosecuted for his slander and libel. Robertson's assertions though have a curious life of their own and are repeated almost verbatim in the twenty-first century, even though their source is long forgotten.


    Just as this article was going to press yet another tale appeared in a Sunday newspaper claiming that the distinguished historian, Sir Steven Runciman, while 'rummaging' in the Royal Archives 'found' the marriage certificate of Queen Victoria and Brown. Runciman then supposedly showed it to the Queen Mother who grabbed it and flung it into a blazing fire. The story is absurd: no one 'rummages' in the Archives which are stored in the Round Tower in Windsor Castle. Any historian has to ask for specific documents and why would Sir Steven, a medieval expert, be going through Victorian manuscripts. Of course it is helpful that both Sir Steven and the Queen Mother are no longer alive.

    John Brown never married anyone. However, a rumour went the rounds in November 1870 that he had recently married. Writing to his wife Mary from Balmoral, Sir Henry Ponsonby, replied to her asking if the gossip had any foundation: 'I would believe the story unfounded, if I did not think that everything, especially here, may always have a foundation'.

    There is no confirming marriage record for such an event at The General Register Office for Scotland at Edinburgh, nor the Office for National Statistics, London. Yet there is the possibility of an engagement, whether official or unofficial for John Brown. Around the time of the Ponsonby letter John Brown's name was linked with that of Miss Louisa Ocklee, dresser to Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Beatrice. Records show that Miss Ocklee married in 1873, one Edward Lawley, 1st Clerk to the Kitchen at Windsor.

    Letter From Queen Victoria Points
    To Affair With Brown

    Stephen Bates

    The Guardian
    December 16, 2004

    A newly discovered letter from Queen Victoria, revealing her innermost feelings for her Highland servant John Brown, reignited speculation yesterday that their relationship was more than platonic.

    The handwritten note, uncovered by accident by a PhD student in the family archives of Lord Cranbrook, one of Queen Victoria's ministers, in the Suffolk record office indicates just how distraught she was when Brown died unexpectedly in March 1883.

    The letter was revealed in an article in History Today magazine by Bendor Grosvenor, its discoverer. It is not the magazine's first royal scoop - it revealed how the royal doctor hastened the death of George V in 1936 so that it could be announced in the morning papers.

    Queen Victoria wrote - characteristically in the third person - to Cranbrook two days after the former ghillie's death: "The Queen has let her pen run on ... The Queen is not ill, but terribly shaken and quite unable to walk ... missing more than ever her dear faithful friend's strong arm."

    The letter is written in the queen's nearly indecipherable scrawl on black-bordered note paper and speaks of her "present, unbounded grief for the loss of the best, most devoted of servants and truest and dearest of friends."

    Speculation about Queen Victoria's 20 year relationship with Brown, following the early death of her husband Albert in 1861, started in court circles almost as soon as the unlikely friendship itself did when the queen was in her mid-forties.

    Victoria's daughters joked about "Mama's lover", and the then Duke of Edinburgh (the queen's second son) claimed he had been evicted from Buckingham Palace because he refused to shake the servant's hand.

    A court source, probably the dean of Windsor, told Lord Derby, foreign secretary, that Brown had taken to sleeping in the room adjoining the queen's bedroom, "contrary to etiquette and even decency."

    The queen's letter reads: "Perhaps never in history was there so strong and true an attachment, so warm and loving a friendship between the sovereign and servant ... Strength of character as well as power of frame - the most fearless uprightness, kindness, sense of justice, honesty, independence and unselfishness combined with a tender, warm heart ... made him one of the most remarkable men."

    "The Queen feels that life for the second time is become most trying and sad to bear deprived of all she so needs ... the blow has fallen too heavily not to be very heavily felt.."

    While the letter does not conclusively reveal whether the pair were lovers in the modern sense - the heightened sentiment was not unknown in the queen's correspondence - it does show a strength of feeling that was disguised when her diaries were edited by her daughter Beatrice after Victoria's death.

    Grosvenor believes the friendship was more than platonic. "The similarities between Victoria's treatment of Albert and Brown in death are too numerous to ignore," he writes.

    When the queen died, she left instructions that a lock of Brown's hair, his photograph, a handkerchief and some letters should be placed in her coffin alongside mementoes of Albert. Any secrets in the letters will presumably remain firmly in the Queen's mausoleum.


    © 2010 The Esoteric Curiosa
  4. Hon. Jane Savage
    d. 15.IV.1631
    Marchioness Of Winchester

    An Epitaph On The Marchioness Of Winchester

    John Milton

    THis rich Marble doth enterr
    The honour'd Wife of Winchester,
    A Vicounts daughter, an Earls heir,
    Besides what her vertues fair
    Added to her noble birth, [ 5 ]
    More then she could own from Earth.
    Summers three times eight save one
    She had told, alas too soon,
    After so short time of breath,
    To house with darknes, and with death. [ 10 ]
    Yet had the number of her days
    Bin as compleat as was her praise,
    Nature and fate had had no strife
    In giving limit to her life.
    Her high birth, and her graces sweet, [ 15 ]
    Quickly found a lover meet;
    The Virgin quire for her request
    The God that sits at marriage feast;
    He at their invoking came
    But with a scarce-wel-lighted flame; [ 20 ]
    And in his Garland as he stood,
    Ye might discern a Cipress bud.
    Once had the early Matrons run
    To greet her of a lovely son,
    And now with second hope she goes, [ 25 ]
    And calls Lucina to her throws;
    But whether by mischance or blame
    Atropos for Lucina came;
    And with remorsles cruelty,
    Spoil'd at once both fruit and tree: [ 30 ]
    The haples Babe before his birth
    Had burial, yet not laid in earth,
    And the languisht Mothers Womb
    Was not long a living Tomb.
    So have I seen som tender slip [ 35 ]
    Sav'd with care from Winters nip,
    The pride of her carnation train,
    Pluck't up by som unheedy swain,
    Who onely thought to crop the flowr
    New shot up from vernall showr; [ 40 ]
    But the fair blossom hangs the head
    Side-ways as on a dying bed,
    And those Pearls of dew she wears,
    Prove to be presaging tears
    Which the sad morn had let fall [ 45 ]
    On her hast'ning funerall.
    Gentle Lady may thy grave
    Peace and quiet ever have;
    After this thy travail sore
    Sweet rest sease thee evermore, [ 50 ]
    That to give the world encrease,
    Shortned hast thy own lives lease,
    Here besides the sorrowing
    That thy noble House doth bring,
    Here be tears of perfect moan [ 55 ]
    Weept for thee in Helicon,
    And som Flowers, and som Bays,
    For thy Hears to strew the ways,
    Sent thee from the banks of Came,
    Devoted to thy vertuous name; [ 60 ]
    Whilst thou bright Saint high sit'st in glory,
    Next her much like to thee in story,
    That fair Syrian Shepherdess,
    Who after yeers of barrennes
    The highly favour'd Joseph bore [ 65 ]
    To him that serv'd for her before,
    And at her next birth much like thee,
    Through pangs fled to felicity,
    Far within the boosom bright
    Of blazing Majesty and Light, [ 70 ]
    There with thee, new welcom Saint,
    Like fortunes may her soul acquaint,
    With thee there clad in radiant sheen,
    No Marchioness, but now a Queen.

    This epitaph commemorates the death of Jane Paulet, the Marchioness (the wife of the Marquis) of Winchester. She died on April 15, 1631 giving birth to a son, who also perished. She was twenty-three years old. At the time of her death, John Milton was twenty-two and a student at Cambridge. This poem was written some time shortly after Jane Paulet's death, and first published in 1645. The copytext is from the 1645 Poems. "An Epitaph on the Marchioness of Winchester" is composed of rhyming couplets of iambic tetrameter.

    Ancestry Of
    Hon. Jane Savage
    Marchioness Of Winchester

    1 - Hon. Jane Savage.  d. 15.IV.1631


    2 – Sir Thomas Savage, Viscount Savage.
    3 – Elizabeth Darcy, Countess Rivers.


    4 – Sir John Savage, 1st bart.
         d. 1615
    5 – Mary Alington.

    6 – Thomas Darcy, 1st Earl Rivers, 3rd Baron Darcy.
         d. 1640
    7 – Mary Kytson.  d. 1644

    Great Grandparents

    8 – Sir John Savage.  d. 1597
    9 – Lady Elizabeth Manners.

    10 – Richard Alington.
    11 – Joan Cordell.

    12 – John Darcy, 2nd Baron Darcy.
           d. 1581
    13 – Frances Rich.

    14 – Sir Thomas Kytson.  d. 1540
    15 – Elizabeth Cornwallis.  d. 1628

    Great Great Grandparents

    16 – Sir John Savage.
    17 – Lady Elizabeth Somerset.  d. 1545

    18 – Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland.
           d. 1543
    19 – Eleanor Paston.  d. 1551

    20 – Sir Giles Alington.  1500-1586
    21 – Alice Myddelton.  1500-1563

    22 – John Cordell.
    23 – Untraced.

    24 – Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy.
    25 – Lady Elizabeth de Vere.  1511-

    26 – Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich.
          d. 1567
    27 – Elizabeth Jenks.
          d. 1558

    28 – Sir Thomas Kytson.  1485-1540
    29 – Margaret Donington.  1509-1561

    30 – Sir Thomas Cornwallis.  d. 1604
    31 – Anne Jerningham.  d. 1581


    © 2010 The Esoteric Curiosa
  5. Laura Mae Whitrock
    2.I.1879 – 28.I.1948
    Mrs. Duncan MacMartin
    Mrs. James Corrigan

    Most social climbing successes pale before the climb achieved without any claims to beauty, or rapier wit, then of the one and only Mrs. Laura Mae Corrigan, late of Cleveland, later of New York and lastly of all, London.  For hers was based on pure cold hard cash and unbridled chutzpah!

    Variously called “America’s Salon Queen” and “London’s Social General,” she was born Laura Mae Whitrock, on January 2, 1879,  the daughter of Charles Whitrock a handyman in Waupaca, Wisconsin and his wife Emma Sitherwood.

    In her teens she moved to Chicago and became a waitress, but she soon tired of this pedestrian existence and moved on to something bigger and better.  Always ambitious and with a “come-thither” way about her, she walked into a Chicago newspaper office and talked her way into a job as a Society reporter.  From that moment, her climb was rarely equaled in the history of Social climbers, let alone that of Society reporters.  First of all, however, she lost her job; then, saddened and down on her luck, she met the hotel doctor at the Hotel Blackstone, a Canadian physician by the name of Duncan R. MacMartin.  They were shortly married, and though Dr. MacMartin was not rich, he soon was persuaded by his wife to take his vacations at least among the right people.

    Corrigan Dry Island Residence

    Mrs. MacMartin’s life was changed permanently in 1913 by a party given by James Corrigan, son of the steelman “Captain Corrigan” at his Dry Island home in the Thousand Islands.  The MacMartins stayed at the party until dawn, and in after years Laura was want to say that it was “love at first light,” later also, she wrote a book entitled The Dry Fable Of A Dry Crown At Dry Island, one of her very few achievements, which was published privately.  Young Corrigan had established quite a reputation for himself as a playboy and had just passed through a sensational breach of promise suit brought by a Pittsburgh girl.  To him the matter of Laura’s divorce from MacMartin and then her secret, “no scandal!” marriage to him, was easily arranged on December 2, 1916.  His wedding present to his bride was, however, no secret, it was a $15,000.00 Rolls Royce, complete with a former chauffeur and footman of Jay Gould. 

    But when the Corrigans, Mr. and Mrs., descended on Cleveland, it was a different story.  The Shaker Heights Set stayed away in droves from the Corrigan’s Wickliffe estate, ironically called, “Nagirroc,” or Corrigan spelled backwards.  Even business friends seemed to take their cue from Jimmy’s mother, who frankly spoke of her son’s marriage as a mésalliance and did not even ask her daughter-in-law to tea.  At this juncture, too, the Senior Corrigan died and left his steel company, not directly to his son but in trust, and with one of Mrs. Corrigan’s mortal enemies, Price McKinney, as chief trustee.

    Here Laura Corrigan showed the same resolution and spirit which would later enable her to come back for more after almost incredible social snubs and insults in New York and London.  Traveling to New Jersey, she went to work on the heirs of the Corrigan Senior’s third partner, Stevenson Burke, after her persuasion, they agreed to sell their interest in the Corrigan-McKinney Company for $5,000,000.00.  And, when Laura’s husband told her he didn’t have that much, she herself went out and pawning her jewelry, begging and borrowing from banks, managed to raise it.  Finally, in 1925, she had the pleasure of having her husband walk into a stockbrokers meeting which had been called to oust him and having him instead oust the ousters.  A year later her rival, Price McKinney, entered the bathroom of his Cleveland mansion and shot himself.  Then, in 1928, Laura’s husband suffered a heart attack and dropped dead in the doorway of the Cleveland Athletic Club.


    Special to the New York Times.
    January 24, 1928

    "CLEVELAND, Jan 23 - James W. Corrigan, Cleveland multimillionaire whose dramatic denunciations of Europe's playgrounds of luxury and entry into the steel business three years ago caused a sensation, died suddenly tonight at the entrance of the Cleveland Athletic Club. He had walked from his suite in the Hollenden Hotel to the club, intending to dine there. His age was 47. Associates in the Corrigan, McKinney Steel Company were stunned at the death of their President. In 1925 they had received a shock owing to the suicide of Price McKinney, shortly after he had been ousted as head of the new company by the son of his former partner and friend. James C. Corrigan, father of James W. Corrigan, placed control of the plant in the hands of McKinney, believing his son was not prepared to take charge of so vast an enterprise. After the father's death, James W. Corrigan spent some time at Europe's playgrounds and then came home and took the reins of the company. McKinney thereupon isolated himself in his palatial home at Wickliffe and later took his own life. With Price McKinney Mr. Corrigan established the Wickliffe Stable, and on his partner's retirement he took over the whole enterprise, including the Kingston stud. All the horses that ran in the colors of the Wickliffe Stable were bred by their owners. The Kingston stud was formed on a nucleus of fine horses that once belonged to the late James R. Keene of New York, among them Colin, Delhi and Ultimus. Two years ago Corrigan won the Clark Handicap at Louisville with Sanutan. Mrs. James W. Corrigan is believed to be in London."

    Now, with an income of some $800,000.00 a year in relatively taxless times, Laura Corrigan was ready for the big push.  After the MacMartin affair, literally all doors in Cleveland were barred to her, so she herself locked the doors of “Nagirroc” and set out to conquer New York.  Here, although she lived in a hotel in the belief that she would have a better chance of meeting people than in a house or an apartment, she found the going hard.  Still undaunted, she hired an “aristocratic lady” to sponsor her, once again failure dogged her.  “The people she met,” Maury Paul said stoutly, “just weren’t interested in her.”

    Maury Paul

    Again Laura Corrigan appeared downed.  But, as so often in her life, it was darkest before the dawn.  Suddenly giving up New York, she took off for London, and, as had been the case with so many American social careers from Pocahontas to Wallis Warfield, the success denied in this country came in full measure in England.  Just why this happened so often baffled many social historians; it was perhaps the most sarcastically explained, in 1937, by Fortune magazine:

    "The technique of climbing is much the same, except that the transatlantic method has recently been perfected by the discovery that British Society is much more quickly and directly purchasable by Americans (not by their own kind) than is New York.  The reason is that the British cannot take seriously the fantastic idea that an American (or any other Colonial, including the Australian Bushman) could have a social position.  They regard Americans as simple hearted savages with a penchant for providing free lunch for their betters.  So at the outset avoiding New York, our transatlantic climber opens a London house, begins giving big dinners for the proper people, and within a year is established as a London hostess.  She can then invite her new friends to an American tour at her expense, loading them on the Queen Mary, the first class bulging with barons, earls protruding from the portholes, dukes squatting hopefully on the lifeboats, and the scuppers awash with mere knights, all of them warmly anticipatory of several months’ free board, room and laundry.  And as she leads Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage down the gangplank the guide on this British safari can be sure that New York, which formerly snubbed her, will fall flatly and reverentially forward on their collective abdomens, and that henceforth all Café Society doors will open to her, and she will definitely be in."

    Laura Corrigan’s career was close to a textbook example of this, except that being Laura she could not resist, at the time of her first return to America, a shipboard interview.  “The trouble with many Americans who visit London,” she said, “is that they come home elated over the fact that they have met Duchess so and so. The truth of the matter is that there are duchesses and duchesses.” Then, explaining further to the American barbarians, she added, “I have two homes, one in London and one in Paris.  At my English home everything is English.  In my Paris home everything is French.  At the London home nothing but English is spoken and in the Paris house nothing but French."

    All of this was certainly clear enough.  One thing on which Laura Corrigan did not elaborate, however, was the way her career in London had started.  Mayfair Society, engaged in making as much sport of her as had the Americans, started as a prank the rumor that Prince George was going to attend her very first party, the prank backfired when the Prince, hearing of the rumor, crossed up the pranksters by walking in on the party.  At this, Laura was so overjoyed that she stood on her head, thereafter, accompanied by a roll of drums, this became a regular feature of parties.  Not only were her parties fun, with elaborate cabarets, lotteries and tombolas, as well as solid-gold prizes, but Laura herself was shrewd.  She cultivated Princess Marina of Greece long before her marriage to the Duke of Kent, sent her a mink for a wedding present, and generally bet on them as the future social leaders.  Events proved her correct.  They so proved her also when she refused to “take up” her fellow climber, Wallis Warfield, a gesture which caused her to take a back seat during the short reign of Edward VIII, but soon put her back on the inside track with the accession of George VI and Elizabeth.  And, despite the various malapropisms which invariably accompanied stories of her, only once was she ever stopped for any answer at all.  This occurred when at a luncheon the writer, George Moore, turned to her and remarked, apropos of nothing. “You know, Mrs. Corrigan, I always think that of all the sexual abnormalties, abstinence is by far the most revolting, don’t you?”

    H.R.H. The Duke & Duchess Of Kent

    During the war, although she remained a civilian, Laura nonetheless designed a uniform for herself, one far handsomer than the government issue, and proudly she wore it everywhere.  Again, just when people were beginning to laugh her into oblivion, she turned about and did such excellent war work for France that even Maury Paul, on one of her returns, for the first time in his career, apologized publicly.  “I predicted Laura Corrigan NEVER would make the social grade,” he wrote.  “I was wrong, and I hereby eat humble pie.” Also, many years before her death, Laura took care to square matters with her home town.  She organized a safari to Africa, one which for pure comfort amid tropical rigors, has perhaps never bee equaled. She took with her, in three airplanes, a newspaper man, a photographer, a movie cameraman, two secretaries, two maids, a doctor, a nurse, two cooks, three waiters, a hairdresser, a manicurist and a dressmaker.  On this safari she scoured the Dark Continent for fourteen animals of varying degrees of rarity.  These she did not shoot, but captured them and, with infinite tact, sent them, along with a check for $5,000.00 for their food, back to the Cleveland Zoo.

    During the war, the U.S. State Dept. allowed her only $500/month, so she sold her jewelry, tapestries, and furniture to finance her activities. After the war, she received the Croix de Guerre, Legion of Honor, and Croix de Combattant from the French government, and the King's Medal from the British government.

    Time Magazine
    October 5, 1942

    "Laura Mae Corrigan, 60, wealthy U.S. expatriate who became known as "the American Angel" for her war relief in France, finally had to abandon her work for lack of funds. A Cleveland steelmaker's widow who had been one of London's most spectacular hostesses for more than two decades, she plunged into the job of helping feed, clothe, doctor, and amuse soldiers and war prisoners in France three years ago, sent aid to thousands of men in French prisons and camps, took to selling her jewels and clothing when her money began to run out. Last week she had sold the last of her jewels, the last of her furs, prepared to return to London."

    Obituary for Laura Mae Corrigan

    The New York Times
    January 24, 1948

    "Mrs. Laura Mae Corrigan, widow of James W. Corrigan, Cleveland steel company head, died on Thursday at Post Graduate Hospital here. Mrs. Corrigan was one of England's best known social leaders during the period after the First World War and in the recent war had won many decorations for her work in behalf of soldiers and refugees. She arrived in this country from Paris on Christmas Eve to visit her sister, Mrs. David Armstrong-Taylor of San Francisco. The two sisters had been staying at the Plaza Hotel since then. Mrs. Corrigan became ill on Wednesday and was taken to the hospital. FABULOUS SOCIETY STORY - The story of Laura Mae Corrigan was a fabulous one in the annals of international society. She was born in Wisconsin. Her father was said to have been an "odd jobs" man and she, herself, to have once been a waitress in Chicago. These stories, despite the lack of any stigma pertaining to them, caused her exclusion from Cleveland society after her marriage to Mr. Corrigan, who was president of the Corrigan-McKinney Steel Company and a son of the founder of the business. Snubbed on Euclid Avenue, the Corrigans came to New York, but met the same treatment here. According to the society writers of the period immediately after the First World War, Mrs. Corrigan vainly spent "hundreds of thousands" of dollars in attempts to get into Gotham's social swim. Shortly after the war she and her husband went to London, where in the course of time she met Mrs. George Keppel, famous as having been King Edward VII's favorite hostess. Mrs. Corrigan rented Mrs. Keppel's mansion on Grosvenor Street, which had been the scene of many a lavish party for the haute monde. She learned the secrets of success in entertaining royalty and was reputed to have hired Mrs. Keppel's coterie of butlers, footmen and other servants, whose drawing room manners were unmatched anywhere in the world. MECCA FOR PRINCES, DUKES - Soon the Corrigan mansion was the Mecca of princes, ambassadors and dukes. By 1923, Mrs. Corrigan was virtually London's prime social arbiter. The only element lacking, strangely enough, was "the Knickerbocker crowd." No Astors, Vanderbilts or others bearing old New York - or Cleveland - names were ever invited. The climax came when the phenomenally wealthy prince of India turned down a previous invitation to attend a party at the home of a leading American family of the "Knickerbocker" set in order to accept one at Mrs. Corrigan's. When the Corrigans returned here, society columnists tried to make up to them by declaring in print that they "had not been deserted" by their friends here and had really just gone abroad to amuse themselves. But the breach with Cleveland society was never patched up. Euclid Avenue had become afraid of the Corrigans and Mrs. Corrigan no longer cared. Mr. Corrigan died on Jan. 22, 1928, exactly twenty years before his wife. He was then 47 years old. Later Mrs. Corrigan went abroad again and once more shone in London society, although she had a clash with the Mountbattens and once committed the error of showing the door to an uninvited guest, who, she afterwards discovered was a member of the British royal household. ORGANIZED "LA BIENVENUE" - Before the outbreak of the recent war, she went to France and immediately upon the commencement of hostilities organized a group of French and other Allied women into "La Bienvenue," a group dedicated to supplying comforts for the soldiers. Her outstanding work in this respect led her to be later decorated with the "Croix du Combattant" by the French Government - one of the very few women ever so decorated because the award is only given for work in the front lines. After the Nazi victory of 1940 she went to Unoccupied France, where she specialized in work for refugees. She was afterwards decorated with the Croix de Guerre and made a member of the Legion of Honor for this work, in pursuit of which she liquidated much of her personal fortune, including her jewelry. Eventually escaping through Portugal, she turned up in London in 1944, where she organized the "Wings Club," which became a famous as a haven for Allied aviators. It was established in the former mansion of Lord Moyne, and the Duchess of Kent was chief patroness. The King's Medal was bestowed upon her by Britain for her work. Besides her sister, Mrs. Corrigan leaves a nephew, Duncan Armstrong-Taylor."


    © 2010 The Esoteric Curiosa
  6. RMS Aquitania

    RMS Aquitania was a Cunard Line ocean liner built by John Brown & Company in Clydebank, Scotland. She was launched on April 21, 1913 and sailed on her maiden voyage to New York on May 30, 1914. Aquitania was the third in Cunard Line's "grand trio" of express liners, preceded by the RMS Mauretania and RMS Lusitania, and was the last surviving four funneled ocean liner. Widely considered one of the most attractive ships of her time, Aquitania earned the nickname "Ship Beautiful". This despite criticism of her looks; having too many cowl ventilators and the forward funnel being as close to her bridge as it was is an interesting concept.

    Owner:  Cunard Line
    Port of registry:  United Kingdom
    Ordered:  December 8, 1910
    Builder:  John Brown & Company, Clydebank, Scotland
    Yard number:   409
    Laid down:   December 1910
    Launched:   April 21, 1913
    Christened:  April 21, 1913 by the Countess of Derby
    Maiden voyage:  May 30, 1914
    Fate:  Scrapped at Faslane, Scotland in 1950

    General Characteristics

    Class and type: Ocean liner
    Tonnage:  45,647 gross tons
    Length:  901 feet (275.2 m)
    Beam:  97 feet (29.6 m)
    Draft: 36 feet
    Installed power:    
    Direct drive Parsons steam turbines in triple expansion configuration i.e. 1x HP (Port shaft),1 x IP (Stb shaft) and 2x LP turbines (inner shafts)
    59,000 shp
    PropulsionFour shafts, Four propellers
    Speed23 knots service speed, 24 knots maximum
    1914 Capacity3,230
    618 1st class passengers
    614 2nd class passengers
    1,998 3rd class passengers
    1926 Capacity: 2,200
    610 1st class passengers
    950 2nd class passengers
    640 tourist class passengers
    Crew: 972

    In her 36 years of service, Aquitania survived military duty in both world wars and was returned to passenger service after each war. Aquitania's record for the longest service career of any 20th century express liner stood until 2004, when the Queen Elizabeth 2 (ultimate career service of 40 years) became the longest-serving liner.

    The origins of Aquitania lay in the rivalry between the White Star Line and Cunard, Britain's two leading shipping companies. White Star's Olympic and Titanic were larger than the latest Cunard ships Mauretania and Lusitania by 15,000 gross tons. The Cunard duo were significantly faster than the White Star ships, while White Star's ships were seen as more luxurious. Cunard needed another liner for its weekly transatlantic express service, and elected to follow White Star with a larger, slower, but more luxurious ship.

    The Aquitania shortly before her launch

    The Aquitania was designed by Cunard naval architect Leonard Peskett. Peskett drew up plans for larger and wider vessel than his two previous large Cunard ships Lusitania and Mauretania. With her four large smokestacks she would resemble the famous speed duo but also Peskett designed her superstructure with "glassed in" touches from the smaller Carmania, a ship he also designed. Another design feature from Carmania was the addition of two tall forward deck ventilator cowlings. With Aquitania's keel being laid down at the end of 1910, the experienced Peskett took a voyage on the rival Olympic in 1911 so as to experience the feel of a ship reaching nearly 50,000 tons as well as to copy pointers for his company's new vessel. Though the Aquitania was built solely with Cunard funds, Peskett nevertheless designed her to strict Admiralty specifications "just in case of a war"

    Aquitania was built in the John Brown and Company yards in Clydebank, Scotland, where the majority of the Cunard ships were built. Her keel was laid in the same plot that had famously served building Lusitania and that would later be used for building Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth & the QE2. In the wake of the Titanic disaster, Aquitania was one of the first ships to carry enough lifeboats for all passengers and crew. Two of these lifeboats were motorized launches with Marconi wireless equipment. As required by the British Admiralty, she was designed to be converted into an armed merchant cruiser, and was reinforced to mount guns for service in that role. Aquitania was launched on April 21, 1913 after being christened by Alice Stanley, the Countess of Derby, and fitted out over the next thirteen months. In May 1914 she was tested in her sea trials and steamed at one full knot over the expected speed.

    Although the Aquitania lacked the lean, yacht-like appearance of her running mates—the Mauretania and Lusitania—her greater length and wider beam allowed for grander and more spacious public rooms. Her public spaces were designed by the British architect Arthur Joseph Davis of the interior decorating firm Mewès and Davis. This firm had overseen the construction and decoration of the Ritz Hotel in London and Davis himself had designed several banks in the capital. His partner in the firm, Charles Mewès, had designed the interiors of the Paris Ritz and had been commissioned by Albert Ballin, head of Germany's Hamburg-Amerika Line (HAPAG), to decorate the interiors of the company's new liner, the Amerika in 1905. In the years prior to the First World War, Mewès was charged with the decoration of HAPAG's trio of giant new ships, the SS Imperator, SS Vaterland and SS Bismarck, while Davis was awarded the contract for the Aquitania. In a curious arrangement between the rival Cunard and Hamburg-Amerika Lines, Mewès and Davis would work apart—in Germany and England respectively and exclusively—with neither partner being able to disclose details of his work to the other. Although this arrangement was almost certainly violated, the interiors of the Aquitania were largely the work of Davis. The Louis XVI dining saloon owed much to Mewès' work on the HAPAG liners, but it is likely that having worked so closely together for many years the two designers' work had become almost interchangeable. Indeed, Davis must be given credit for the Carolean smoking room and the Palladian lounge; a faithful interpretation of the style of the architect John Webb.

    May 30, 1914 saw the Aquitania sail on her maiden voyage under the command of Captain William Turner. This momentous event was however overshadowed by the sinking of the RMS Empress of Ireland in Quebec the previous day on May 29th with over a thousand drowned. The following month the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated and the world was plunged into World War I, interrupting Aquitania's civilian career. After only three round trips she was taken over for military use. At first she was converted into an armed merchant cruiser, for which provision had been made in her design. However, the Admiralty found that large liners were too profligate in their use of fuel to serve as cruisers, so Aquitania did not serve long in that role. After being idle for a time, in the spring of 1915 she was converted into a trooper, and made voyages to the Dardanelles. She then was converted into a hospital ship, and served in that role in the Dardanelles campaign. In 1916, she was returned to the trooping front, and then in 1917 was again laid up. In 1918, she was back on the high seas in troopship service, conveying North American troops to Britain. Many of these departures were from the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia where her spectacular dazzle paint scheme was captured by artists and photographers, namely Antonio Jacobsen. On one occasion she transported over 8,000 men.

    In June 1919, she ran a Cunard "austerity service" between Southampton and New York. In December of that year Aquitania was docked at the Armstrong Whitworth yards in Newcastle to be refitted for post-war service. She was converted from coal burner to oil-fired, which greatly reduced the number of crew needed in her engine room. (One crew member was killed in an explosion in her engine room during her conversion work), Her original fittings and art pieces were brought out of storage and reinstalled.

    The Big Three

    During the 1920s Aquitania became one of the most popular liners on the North Atlantic route. She sailed with the Cunarders Mauretania and Berengaria in a trio known as "The Big Three." As times grew better, Aquitania grew into the role of being one of the most profitable ocean liners ever. The American restriction on immigration in the early Twenties ended the age of mass emigration from Europe, but as ocean travel was the only means of transportation between the continents, the ocean liners survived and even surpassed old records. Some of the big money now came in from movie stars and royalty, other aristocracy and politicians. Aquitania became their favorite, as the 1920s became one of the most profitable ages in ocean travel history.

    However following the stock market crash of 1929 many ships were affected by the devastating consequences. Aquitania found herself in a tough position. Only a few could afford expensive passage on her now, so Cunard sent Aquitania on cheap cruises to the Mediterranean. These were successful, especially for Americans who went on "booze cruises," tired of their country's prohibition. On April 10, 1935 Aquitania went hard aground near Thorne Knoll on the River Test outside Southampton, England but with the aid of ten tugboats and the next high tide she was freed.

    As time went on Aquitania grew older and was scheduled to be replaced by RMS Queen Elizabeth in 1940. This plan was shattered with the coming of World War II. In 1940 Aquitania was in New York awaiting further orders. For a time she was tied up alongside RMS Queen Mary, the Queen Elizabeth, and the Normandie and the four ships made an impressive sight amongst large liners. Shortly after Aquitania sailed for Sydney, Australia, in her Cunard colors, to become a troop transport. Aquitania served valiantly as a troop transport, just as she had in World War I. Later in 1940 Aquitania, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, SS Ile de France and other ships sailed in a magnificent convoy out of Sydney, Australia. In November 1941 Aquitania was in Singapore (then still a British colony) now repainted in battleship grey set sail to take part indirectly in the loss of the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney. The Sydney had engaged in battle with the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran. There has been much unsubstantiated speculation that Kormoran was expecting Aquitania, after spies in Singapore had notified Kormoran's crew of the liner's sailing, and planned to ambush her in the Indian Ocean west of Perth but instead encountered Sydney on 19 November. Both ships were lost after a fierce battle and a short time later Aquitania arrived on the scene to pick up survivors of the German ship, the captain going against orders not to stop for survivors of sinkings. There were no survivors from the Sydney. In her eight years of further military work, Aquitania sailed more than 500,000 miles, and carried nearly 400,000 soldiers, to and from places as far afield as New Zealand, Australia, the South Pacific, Greece and the Indian Ocean.

    "Ship Beautiful"

    After completing troopship service, she was handed back to Cunard in 1946, who used her to transport war brides and their children to Canada under charter from the Canadian government. This final service created a special fondness for Aquitania in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the port of disembarkation for these immigration voyages. On completion of that task in December 1949, she was taken out of service when her Board of Trade certificate was not renewed as the condition of the ship had reached a stage where she was too old to be economical and brought in to line with safety standards of the day. By 1949 as mentioned in Cunard commodores Harry Grattidge's autobiography "Captains of the Queens" that the ship had deteriorated considerably with age and her decks leaked in foul weather and a piano had fallen through the roof of one of the dining rooms during a corporate luncheon being held on the ship from the deck above. This truly signaled the end of Aquitania's operational life. The vessel was retired and scrapped in 1950 in Scotland, thus ending an illustrious career which included steaming 3 million miles in 450 voyages. Aquitania carried 1.2 million passengers over a career that spanned nearly 36 years, making her the longest serving Express Liner of the 20th Century. She was the only major liner to serve in both World Wars, and she was scrapped as the last four funneled passenger ship. Her wheel and a detailed scale model of Aquitania may be seen in the Cunard exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax.

    "The Floating Country House"
    First Class Dining Salon
    First Class Restaurant
    First Class Drawing Room
    First Class Grill Room
    First Class Garden Lounge
    First Class Main Staircase
    First Class Swimming Bath
    First Class Salon
    First Class Palladian Lounge
    The Long Gallery
    First Class Smoking Room
    Second Cabin Smoking Room
    Second Cabin Drawing Room


    © 2010 The Esoteric Curiosa

  7. NR

    © 2010 The Esoteric Curiosa

  8. The Esoteric Serial:

    As with most who are esoterically inclined, rare and out of print books are a staple to our esoteric nature.  That being said, it is to our advantage to root out any such books that pertain to a specific esoteric interest.

    In some instances our esoteric appetite becomes so pronounced that it is crucial if not imperative that we have that book in hand, so that we may feast our eyes on the required information to feed our esoteric souls.

    In spite of the tremendous strides made with the internet on which many long forgotten tomes are more readily available, there are still many which remain elusive. Perhaps they are much prized inclusions within a collectors stock and therefore not available, to pricey to obtain, or in some instances the print run was so limited that there is only a handful still in existence collecting dust on some remote shelf, or perhaps lost altogether and therefore forgotten or not available at all.
    In an effort to do my part for my fellow esoteric’s, I shall be doing installments of said books, reproduced as they were first written.  I hope you enjoy the selections made for The Esoteric Serial; perhaps you might be surprised with the inclusion of some coveted title you thought out of reach, or pleasantly exposed to a new subject that tingles you to your cockles.


    Astolphe-Louis-Léonor, Marquis de Custine
    18.III.1790 – 18.X.1857

    Astolphe was a French aristocrat and writer who is best known for his travel writing, in particular his account of his visit to Russia in 1839 Empire of the Czar: A Journey Through Eternal Russia. This work documents not only Custine's travels through the Russian empire, but also the social fabric, economy, and way of life during the reign of Nicholas I.

    Louise Delphine Clémence Marie Louise Eléonore de Sabran
    Marquise de Custine

    Astolphe de Custine was born in NidervillerLorraine, of French nobility, son of Armand, Marquis de Custine. His father's family had possessed the title marquis since the early 18th century and owned a famous porcelain works. His mother, Delphine de Sabran, also came from a prestigious family and was known for her intelligence and great beauty.

    Custine's father and grandfather both sympathized with the French Revolution but were both guillotined. Custine's mother barely escaped the same fate. It was to be the beginning of a difficult life for Astolphe Custine.

    Adam, Comte de Custine, Seigneur de Roussy
    Astolphe's grandfather

    Custine was raised by his strong-willed mother and saw a lot of the writer Chateaubriand, who was his mother's lover. Custine was given an excellent education and seemed to be headed towards a life in society. He spent time in the diplomatic service, attending the Congress of Vienna, and even accepted a military commission. In the early 1820s, Custine went along with a marriage arranged by his mother. The Marquis, later to admit his homosexuality and to live openly with a male lover, was genuinely fond of his wife and had a son with her, but she died after only a few years of marriage. Still, during the marriage he met and established a romantic relationship with an Englishman, Edward Saint-Barbe, who remained his life companion.

    On October 28, 1824, after his wife had died, Custine's life was irrevocably changed. That night, Custine's unconscious body was found in the mud outside of Paris, stripped to the waist, beaten, and robbed. The attack had been carried out by a group of soldiers with one of whom Custine allegedly had attempted to have a sexual encounter. The exact reason for the attack was never proven. Nevertheless, news of the incident quickly spread around France — “From this time on to the end of his life Custine would figure, in the cruel gossip of the day, primarily as France's most distinguished and notorious homosexual.” Even though the literary salons, as opposed to the society salons, remained open to Custine, many people who were friendly with him sneered at him behind his back. His diplomatic career was also cut short by this incident. That same year, several family friends would die, Custine's infant son by his late wife, and his mother. In the years after this tragedy, Custine became very pious.

    Custine gravitated toward the Romantic movement and spent the next few years writing poetry and novels. Custine wrote one play and purchased a theater to produce it, but the play closed after three performances. None of his literary works received much attention. Heinrich Heine called Custine “un demi-homme des lettres.”

    Custine eventually discovered that his knack was for travel writing. He wrote a decently received account of a trip to Spain and was encouraged by Honoré de Balzac to write accounts of other “half-European” parts of Europe, like southern Italy and Russia. In the late 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America appeared, whose last chapter contained the prophecy that the future belonged to Russia and America. With that, Custine decided that Russia would be his next writing effort. Custine was later dubbed by some historians "the de Tocqueville of Russia".

    Custine visited Russia in 1839, spending most of his time in St. Petersburg, but also visiting Moscow and Yaroslavl. A political reactionary in his own country, fearful that democracy would inevitably lead to mob rule, he went to Russia looking for arguments against representative government, but he was appalled by autocracy as practiced in Russia, and equally by the Russian people's apparent collaboration in their own oppression. He attributed this state of affairs to what he saw as the backwardness of the Russian Orthodox Church, combined with the baleful effects of the Mongol invasion of medieval Russia, and the policies of Peter the Great. He mocked contemporary Russia for its veneer of European civilisation hiding an Asiatic soul. Custine criticized St. Petersburg for being the creation of one man and not the result of spontaneous historical forces. Custine, however, loved Moscow architecture and said Russia would be a great power if its capital were ever moved back to the older city.

    Most of Custine's mocking was reserved for the Russian nobility and Nicholas I. Custine said Russia's aristocracy had "just enough of the gloss of European civilization to be 'spoiled as savages' but not enough to become cultivated men. They were like 'trained bears who made you long for the wild ones.'"

    Custine criticizes Nicholas for the constant spying he ordered and for repressing Poland. Custine had more than one conversation with the Tsar and concluded it was possible that the Tsar only behaved as he did because he felt he had to. "If the Emperor has no more of mercy in his heart than he reveals in his policies, then I pity Russia; if, on the other hand, his true sentiments are really superior to his acts, then I pity the Emperor." (Kennan, 76)

    Kennan describes Russia as a horrible domain of obsequious flattery of the Tsar and spying. Custine said the air felt freer the moment one crossed into Prussia. In the middle 20th century, many saw predictions of Stalin in Custine's description of Nicholas I.

    La Russie en 1839 went through six printings and was widely read in EnglandFrance, and Germany, but banned in Russia. Nevertheless some books printed in France proliferated and made an impact on Russian society. In 1890—1891, fragments of the book were published in Russian journals. Badly abridged versions of the book were published in 1910 and in 1930 in the USSR. Finally, an unabridged version was published in 1996.

    Several Russian authors published works critical on Custine's La Russie en 1839, among them «Un mot sur l’ouvrage de M. de Custine, intitulé: La Russie en 1839» by Xavier Labensky (Jean Polonius) and «Examen de l’ouvrage de M. le marquis de Custine intitulé «La Russie en 1839»» (Paris, 1844) by Nicolas Gretch.

    The Marquis de Custine may also be known to contemporary audiences as the European visitor in the 2002 film Russian Ark, whose conversations with the time-traveling narrator reflect Russia's continued struggle for identity with regards to Europe.

    De Custine Quotations

    "Russia is a nation of mutes; some magician has changed sixty million men into automatons."

    "Nations have always good reasons for being what they are, and the best of all is that they cannot be otherwise."

    "The love of their country is with them only a mode of flattering its master; as soon as they think that master can no longer hear, they speak of everything with a frankness which is the more startling because those who listen to it become responsible."

    "I came here to see a country, but what I find is a theater... The names are the same as everywhere else... In appearances everything happens as it does everywhere else. There is no difference except in the very foundation of things."

    "I don't reproach the Russians for being what they are; what I blame them for is their desire to appear to be what we [Europeans] are... They are much less interested in being civilized than in making us believe them so... They would be quite content to be in effect more awful and barbaric than they actually are, if only others could thereby be made to believe them better and more civilized."

    RUSSIA IN 1839



    "Respect especially foreigners, of whatever quality, of whatever rank, and if you are not able to fill them with gifts, lavish them at least marks of kindness, because of how they are treated in a country depends on good and evil they say by returning their own. "

    (Excerpt from Vladimir Monomakh advice to his children in 1126. History of the Russian Empire , by Karamsin, II, p. 205.)





    The love of travel has never been a fad for me, I brought it at birth, and I've met since my early youth. We are all vaguely tormented need to know a world that seems a dungeon, because we did not choose to remain, it seems to me that I could leave in peace in this narrow universe, if I had tried navigate and explore my prison. More and more I examine it grows and becomes more beautiful in my eyes. See to know : is the motto of the traveler, it's mine and I have not taken, the nature to me given.

    Compare the various modes of existence of the nations of the earth, to study the thinking and feeling of the people who inhabit it, appreciate the relationship that God has placed in their history, their habits and appearance; travel in one word: it is an inexhaustible food delivered to my curiosity, an eternal activity through my thoughts help to travel the world, it would have been treating me as a scholar to whom we hid the key to his library.

    But if curiosity takes me, an attachment that holds me back family affections. I then summarize my comments, and I choose my booty among the ideas that I think is most useful to spread.

    During my stay in Russia, as in all my other races, two thoughts, feelings, or rather two have continued to dominate my heart: love of France, which makes me severe in judgments that I wear on foreigners and on the French themselves, for no passionate love is forgiving, and love of humanity. Striking a balance between these two terms of our affections here below, the homeland and mankind is the highest vocation of every soul. Religion alone can solve such a problem, I do not flatter myself to have achieved that goal, but I can and I must say I have never ceased to strive with all my efforts, without regard to changes in mode. With my religious views, I crossed a generation indifferent, and now I see, not without a sweet surprise, these same ideas preoccupy young minds of the new generation.

    I am not of those who look to Christianity as a sacred veil that reason, in its infinite progress, would tear a day. Religion is veiled, but the veil is not religion, if Christianity is enveloped in symbols, not because truth is obscure, because it is too bright, and that eye is weak: if the view is strengthened, it will reach even further, but nothing will be changed at the bottom of things, the clouds are not on the objects, they are upon us.

    Outside of Christianity, men remain in isolation, or they combine it to form political societies, that is to say to make war with other men. Christianity alone has found the secret of peaceful assembly and freedom, because only he has shown that it is freedom. Christianity always govern and regulate more closely the earth by the application of ever more accurate with his divine moral human transactions. Until the Christian world was busiest mystique of religion as its political side: A new era for Christianity, perhaps our descendants will they see the gospel use hase to public policy.

    But there would be impiety to believe that this was the only goal of the divine legislator, this is only his way ...

    The supernatural light can be gained for mankind by the union of souls beyond and above all temporal governments: spiritual society, a society without limits: such is the hope, that is the world's future.

    I hear that this goal is now achieved without the help of our religion that Christianity is built on a foundation ruinous, original sin, has had its day, and that to accomplish his true vocation unknown to this day Man needs only to obey the laws of nature.

    The ambitious of a higher order that warm these old doctrines by their eloquence, always new, are forced to add, to be consistent, that good and evil exist only in human thought and that the man who created these ghosts are free to destroy them.

    Evidence, supposedly they give me new, I am not satisfied, but they were clearer than the day, what would be changed in me? ... Let him be deposed by sin, or it is the place where nature has wanted to put the man is a soldier conscripted against his will from his birth, and who emerges as the dead, and even then, the Christian believer that switch links. Prisoner of God, work, effort, such is his act and his life seemed cowardly suicide, doubt is his punishment, his hope of victory, his repose faith, obedience glory.

    Such is the man of all times and all countries, but this is especially civilized man by the religion of Jesus Christ.

    Good and evil are human inventions, you say? But if man creates by its nature so stubborn ghosts, then who will save him from himself? and how does he escape this malignant power of inner creation, falsehood, if you like, is and remains in him, despite himself, and in spite of you since the world began?

    As long as you do not turn your peace of conscience instead of the agitations of mine, you'll do anything for me ... Peace! ... No, if you're daring, you dare you assign! ! ... And yet ... note this point, Peace, the law is the duty of the creature endowed with reason, for without peace, it falls below the brute, but, oh mystery ! mystery to all, a mystery for you and me, this goal, we will not ever reach us: because, whatever you may say, all nature is insufficient to bring peace to a soul.

    So when you would have forced him to drop you agree with all your bold assertions, that you would provide me with further evidence of the need for a physician of souls, of a Redeemer to address the inevitable hallucinations of a creature so vicious that it brings forth incessantly, inevitably in itself the struggle and contradiction, and that its nature it is leaking the rest she can not do without, spreading the name of peace around the war it with illusion, confusion and unhappiness.

    Yet the need of the Redeemer once recognized, you will forgive me if I prefer to speak to Jesus Christ to you! ...

    Here we touch the root of evil! It is the pride of the mind subsides, and reason to recognize its insufficiency. The source of reasoning dried up, that of feeling flows freely, the soul becomes powerful when it confesses its impotence: it no longer commands, requests, and the man moves towards his goal, falling on his knees.

    But when all will be slaughtered, when all kiss the dust, which will remain standing on earth? What power will remain on the ashes of the world? ... What remains is a priest in a church ...

    If this Church, daughter of Christ and mother of Christianity, saw the rebellion come out of it, the fault was his priests: because the priests were men. But it will regain its unity, because all these men are obsolete they are nonetheless the direct successors of the Apostles, ordained from age to age by bishops who themselves received as a bishop a bishop under the imposition of hands, going back to St. Peter and Jesus Christ, the infusion of the Holy Spirit with the authority to communicate this through the regenerated world.

    Imagine ... all is it not possible for God ... Suppose that the human race wants to become a serious Christian, he will reapply for a book on Christianity? no, he asked him to men who explain this book. So always an authority, even the preachers of independence, and that they arbitrarily chose not worth that found established for eighteen centuries.

    Do you think the Emperor of Russia is better visible head of the Church that the bishop of Rome? The Russians should believe, but believe they? Do you think they believe? Yet such is the religious truth they preach today the Poles!

    Do you pride yourself accordingly, and you reject all other authority stubbornly than individual reason? you perpetuate the war because the government of reason nourishes pride, and pride begets division. Ah! Christians do not know what a treasure they have deliberately deprived the day they talked over how we could have national churches ... If every church in the world had become national, that is to say, Protestant or schismatic, he there would be no Christianity today: there would be systems of theology before the humane policy that would change at will, depending on the circumstances and localities.

    To sum up: I am a Christian, because the destiny of man are not accomplished on earth: I am a Catholic, because out of the Catholic Church, Christianity deteriorates and dies.

    After traveling most of the civilized world, after I applied all my strength during these various races to discover some of the hidden springs which made the game of life Empires behold, according to my careful observations, the future we can predict the world.

    From a human perspective: the universal dispersal of minds with contempt for the only legitimate authority in matters of faith: that is to say, the abolition of Christianity, not as a system of morals and philosophy, but as a religion ... and this is enough to force my argument. From the perspective of the supernatural: the triumph of Christianity by the meeting of all churches in the mother church in this church shaken, but indestructible, which expands every century doors for them to return everything that came out. Must again become the world pagan or catholic pagan paganism more or less refined, with nature to the temple, meaning to minister, and the reason idol, or with Catholic priests, including a number at least sincerely put into practice before preaching the commandment of their master: "My kingdom is not of this world."

    That is the dilemma which the human mind can never escape. Beyond that, there is one side that rogue, the other illusion.

    This result appeared to me since I think, however, the ideas of the century were so far from my thoughts, not that I lacked faith, but boldness, I felt all the impotence of isolation I nevertheless continued to protest with all my strength for my belief. But today it has become popular in parts of Christendom, now that the great interests which agitate the world are those who have always been the heart beat today, finally, that the future, The future of Europe is next big problem which I have stopped looking for the solution in my darkness I acknowledge that I belong in this world, I feel supported, if not in my country still loving this philosophy of destruction, philosophy narrow backward that holds much of modern France out of the fray of great human interest: at least in Christian Europe. It was this support that allowed me to define more clearly my ideas in many parts of this book, and draw the last consequences.

    Wherever I set foot on earth, from Morocco to the borders of Siberia, I felt the fire smolder religious wars, no longer perhaps we should hope, from war to hand army, least of all decisive, but the war of ideas ... God alone knows the secret of events, but every man who observes and thinks that may provide some of the issues to be resolved by the future: these are all issues religious. The attitude of France will take over the world as a Catholic power depend on his political influence. As revolutionary spirits away from her Catholic hearts are close. In this, the nature of things so dominates men, a king, supremely tolerant, and a Protestant minister, became the world's most zealous defenders of Catholicism only because they are French.

    Such were the constant object of my meditation and my concern for the long pilgrimage which we will read the story, the story changed as the wandering life of the passenger, but which still bore patriotism combined with more general ideas.

    However, how controversial they are not subject these ideas that shake the world today, in a civilization long numb too materialistic?

    Recognize the divinity of Jesus Christ is probably much, it's more than do most Protestants, however, not be born again Christianity. The pagans would they not erect temples to him who had come to demolish their temples? ... When offered the apostles to Jesus Christ among their gods, were they Christians for that?

    A Christian is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ. However, this church is a unique and has its visible head, and she asked about the faith of each man as much as his actions, because it governs the mind.

    The Church deplores the abuse that was strange these days the word Christian tolerance in favor of philosophical indifference. Make tolerance a dogma, and substitute this dogma to all human dogmas divine religion is to destroy the pretext of making it amiable. From the perspective of the Catholic Church, practicing the virtue of tolerance, does not compromise on principles: it is protest against violence, and put prayer, patience, gentleness and persuasion in the service of the eternal truth that is not the modern tolerance! This creed of indifference, now for over a century the basis of the new theology, loses his right to the esteem of Christians in proportion to the power it takes away from the faith of true tolerance, enclosed within the tolerance limits of piety, is not the normal state of the soul, religion is the remedy that a charitable and wise policy opposed to diseases of the mind.

    What is meant by this characterization still recently invented: the néocatholicisme? Catholicism can not be moved without ceasing to be.

    There may be, there are undoubtedly many minds, tired to let it grow to the wind of doctrine, and who take refuge in the sanctuary shelter against the storm of the century ideas and can give these new néocatholiques converted the name, but we can not speak of néocatholicisme without violating the essence of religion, because that word implies a contradiction.

    Nothing less ambiguous than our faith is not a system of philosophy that everyone can take or reject as he pleases. It is quite Catholic, or it is not at all, it can not be half, or a new way. A néocatholicisme would abjure a cult disguised that soon the error to return to the bosom of the Church, under pain of being condemned by it, concerned that it is rightly of the need to preserve the purity of the faith, rather than the ambition to grow the number apparently doubtful of its equivocal children. When the world sincerely adopt Christianity, although he will take it where it is. The bottom line is that the sacred deposit remains pure alloy.

    Nevertheless the Catholic Church can reform itself as to morals, discipline of clergy, and even as to doctrine, to points that do not touch the foundation of faith, what do I say? his history, his life is a perpetual reform but this reform is legitimate and not interrupted, can not take place only under the supervision of ecclesiastical authority and according to canon law.

    The more I traveled the world, the more I watched the various races and various states, and the more I am convinced that truth is immutable: it was defended with barbarism by men in barbarous barbarous ages, and will be defended with more humanity into the future, but its purity can not be altered either by the prism of error, which are dazzled his opponents, nor the crimes of its champions.

    I'd like to send to Russia all non-Catholic Christians to show them what can become our religion taught in a church national , performed under the discipline of clergy National .

    The spectacle of the degradation into which the priesthood can fall in a country where the Church is only a matter of state, would therefore reduce any Protestant. A national church, a national clergy: these words should never ally, the Church is inherently superior to any human society, leaving the universal Church to enter a church any policy is no longer wander in faith is to deny the faith, fall from heaven to earth.

    But how many honest men, good men, the cause of Protestantism, believed to purify their faith by adopting new doctrines, and have only narrow mind! ... Since then the indifference and glorified hidden under the beautiful name of tolerance, has perpetuated the error ...

    That makes Russia the state of the world's most curious to observe today is that we are faced with extreme savagery favored by the enslavement of the Church and civilization imported from the extreme foreign country by a government eclectic. To learn how the rest or immobility may arise less from the shock of diverse elements, follow the traveler into the heart of this singular country.

    The method I use to paint the scene and to define the characters seems to me, if not the most favorable to the writer, at least as reassuring to the reader, that I force myself to follow, and I realize itself J. Development of the ideas suggested to the traveler.

    Coming in a new country without prejudice other than those which no man can defend themselves: those we give the conscientious study of history. I look at things, I observe the facts and allowing people to innocently daily experience changed my views. Few exclusive ideas in politics annoy me in this spontaneous labor when religion is my only immutable rule; even this rule may be rejected by the reader that the narrative of the facts and legal consequences that flow from being drawn into the disapproval that I might and I want to incur the eyes of unbelievers.

    We can accuse me of prejudice, we do not reproach me never knowingly conceal the truth.

    When I describe what I saw, I'm on the scene, and when I said what I heard was that night that I note my memories of the day. Thus, the conversations of the Emperor, reproduced word for word in my letters, can not miss a kind of interest, that of accuracy. They will, I hope to be familiar with this prince felt so differently from us and the rest of Europe.

    The letters which follow were not all aimed at groups, were among the first pure confidences tired of writing, but not traveling, I planned out this time without method, and keep my descriptions to my friends; we'll see in the course of the book, the reasons I decided to print everything.

    The main reason is that each day I felt my ideas were modified by the review that I submitted a company absolutely new to me. It seemed to me that telling the truth about Russia, I'd do something new and bold: so far the fear and interest dictated exaggerated praise, hatred has published slander: I fear neither the one nor the other obstacle.

    I went to Russia to search for arguments against representative government, I return partisan of constitutions. The mixed government is not the most conducive to action, but in their old age, people have less need to act, this government is that which helps to produce more, and that gives men the most good being and wealth, it is mostly the one who gives the most activity at the thought in the sphere of practical ideas: he finally makes the independent citizen, not by the elevation of feelings, but by the action laws: Certainly, these are great compensations are major disadvantages.

    As I learned the terrible and strange government regulated, if not founded by Peter I, I better understood the importance of the mission that fate had given me.

    The extreme curiosity that inspired my work with the Russians, obviously concerned about the subject of my speech, made me think at first that I had more power than I were assigned, I became careful and prudent for I soon discovered the danger which could expose me my sincerity. Daring to send my letters through the mail, I keep them all, and kept them hidden with extreme care, such as papers suspects in this way on my return to France, my trip was written, and it was entirely in my hands. But three years I hesitated to publish it: the time it took me for granted, in the privacy of my conscience, I'm having the recognition and truth! It prevails because it finally seems of interest to my country. I can not forget that I write for France first, and I feel it my duty to reveal useful facts and serious.

    I look like the master of judging, even severely, if my conscience requires it, a country where I have friends, to analyze without falling in offensive personalities, the character of public men, to quote the words of the people policies, beginning with those of the greatest figure of the state, to tell their shares, and pushing up their last consequences the reflections that this review may I suggest, provided, however capriciously in following the course of my ideas I do give my opinions to others just for the value they have in my own eyes: this is what I think what we may call the integrity of the writer.

    But by assigning the duty, I met, I hope at least, all the proprieties, for I contend that there is a convenient way of telling hard truths: this way is to talk only after his conviction resisting the suggestions of vanity.

    Moreover, with greatly admired in Russia, I had to mix a lot of praise to my descriptions.

    The Russians will not be satisfied; self-love is it ever? But nobody was more impressed than I am of the greatness of their nation and its political importance. The high destiny of the people, the latest entrant into the old theater in the world, I was worrying all the time of my stay with him. The Russians seemed to me great weight even in their vices more shocking; isolated, they struck me as kind, I found an interesting character to the people: these flattering truths should be enough this seems to offset other less pleasant. But so far the Russians have been treated like spoiled children by most travelers.

    If the discrepancies that can not help noticing in their current society, if the spirit of their government, essentially opposed to my ideas and my habits, I was torn reproaches, and as the cries of outrage my praise, also involuntary, only have more range.

    But these men of the East, they are accustomed to breathe and to provide the most direct incense, standing always believable when they praise each other, will become significant only blame. Any dissent seems to them a betrayal, they describe lie hard truth: they will not see all that is delicate in my criticism apparent admiration, regret, and in some respects, of sympathy in my remarks the most severe.

    If I was not converted to their religion (they have several, among them religion and politics is not less intolerant), if, instead, they changed my ideas monarchical despotism in opposite directions and conducive to representative government, they will be offended by the mere fact that I am not of their opinion. It is a regret for me, but I prefer regret to remorse.

    If I were resigned to their injustice, I do not print these letters. Moreover, they can complain to me in words, but they m'absoudront in their consciousness that testimony enough for me. All Russian good faith would agree that if I made any errors of detail due to time to correct my illusions, I usually painted Russia as it is. They keep me the difficulties I had to overcome, and am pleased with the happiness and the promptness with which I was able to seize advantageous features of their primitive character as political mask that disfigures so many centuries.

    The facts which I witnessed were reported by me as they passed before my eyes told me that they are reproduced as I've gathered, I have not tried to mislead the reader by substituting for me people I consulted. If I failed, not only to name these, but designate them in any way, my discretion is likely to be appreciated and is a further guarantee of the confidence that deserve the enlightened minds that I thought able to clear my address certain facts that I could not see for myself. It is superfluous to add that I have mentioned only those which the nature and position of men of whom I am gave me a stamp of indisputable authenticity.

    Thanks to my scrupulous good faith, the reader may judge for himself the degree of authority that must be attributed to these secondary facts, which also occupy a very small place in my narrative.


    Arrival of the hereditary Grand Duke of Russia Ems.-special character of courtiers russes.-difference in their ways when the master is present or absent.-Portrait of the Grand-duc. His countenance, his air-souffrant. His father and his uncle at the same age.-His-cars. Crews négligés.-Bad-keeping domestiques. Superiority of England in things matérielles.-Sunset on the River-Rhin. more beautiful than its bords.-Excessive heat .

    Ems, this June 5, 1839.

    Yesterday I started my journey in Russia as the hereditary Grand Duke arrived at Ems, preceded by ten or twelve cars and followed by a numerous court.

    What struck me at first sight, seeing the Russian courtiers at work is that they do their job with great lords bid extraordinary is a kind of superior slaves. But as soon as the prince has disappeared, they take an easy tone, manners, decided, deliberate airs, contrasting with a very pleasant way with the complete abnegation of themselves that they affected the moment before; In short, he reigned throughout the suite of the heir to the imperial throne a habit of domesticity whose masters were no more exempt than the servants. It was not just the label, such as that which governs other courses in which compliance official, the size of the charge more than the individual, role have finally produce boredom and sometimes ridiculous; was more than that: it was free of servility and involuntary did not exclude the arrogance, he seemed to hear them say: "Since this can not be otherwise, I'm glad." This mixture of pride and humiliation, I did not like me and do not prejudiced in favor of the country I'll go.

    Grand Duke Alexander Nikolaievich Of Russia

    I found myself among the crowd of sightseers, next to the Grand Duke, when he descended from car before entering it stopped long at the door of the bathhouse, to talk in public with a Russian lady, Countess *** so I could examine it at leisure. He is twenty years is the age that he would give her figure is high, but it seemed a little too big for a young man, his features were fine without the puffiness of her face that clears countenance, his round face is rather German than Russian, it is reminiscent of what should be the emperor Alexander at the same age, but did not recall any way the type Kalmuck. This face will go through many phases before taking his final; it denotes the usual mood today is sweet and caring, yet there is between the young smiling eyes and the constant contraction of the mouth, discrepancy that heralds little franchise, and maybe some inner pain. The grief of youth, the age when happiness is due to man, is a best kept secret as it is an inexplicable mystery even to him who feels. The expression of the eyes of the young prince is kindness, his gait is graceful, light and noble, it is really a prince, he looks slightly without shyness, for which he is grateful, the embarrassment of big is so embarrassing for everyone, we think that their ease of affability, it is quite real. When they think of pagodas, they are embarrassed by their opinion of themselves and they do not hope to share with others.

    This concern does silly point the Grand Duke, his presence is above all the impression of a man perfectly well bred, if ever reign is through the inherent appeal to the grace that will obey, not by terror, unless the requirements attached to the office of Emperor of Russia will change its nature by changing its position.

    ( Continued from the previous letter .)

    The next day June 6 in the evening.

    I saw the Grand Duke, I have looked longer, and very closely and he had left his uniform on emissions, and makes him look inflated, the ordinary dress suits her better, I appears: it has a nice twist, a noble approach without any military stiffness, and the kind of grace that distinguishes it recalls the charm attached to the Slav race. This is not the vivacity of passion for hot countries, this is not the coldness men impassive North and is a blend of simplicity, ease and the southern Scandinavian melancholy. The Slavs are Arabs blonde and the Grand Duke is more than half German, but in Mecklenburg and in some parts of Holstein and Russia, there are Slavic Germans.

    Catherine The Great

    The face of the prince, despite his youth, is not as acceptable as its size, and his complexion is fresher: we see that he suffers, his eyelids lowered on the outside corner of the eye with a melancholy which already betrays the concerns of a later age, her mouth gently graceful is not without his Greek profile reminiscent of antique medals and portraits of the Empress Catherine, but through the air of kindness are almost always the beauty, youth and especially the German blood, one can not help but recognize this power of concealment scary in a very young man. This trait is probably the seal of fate, I believe that this prince is called to ascend the throne. It has the sound of melodious voice, which is rare in his family is a gift he has received, it is said, of his mother.

    He shines among the young people of his society, without knowing what you notice is the distance between them, if not perfect grace of his person. Grace always denotes a kind of mind: there is so much soul in the process, the expression of the face in the attitudes of a man! ... This is both impressive and enjoyable. The Russians announced travelers me her beauty as a phenomenon without exaggeration that I should have been more impressed, and besides I remembered the air of romance, the archangel figure of his father and uncle, the great Duke Michael, in 1815, when they came to Paris, where they were dubbed the Northern Lights and I became severe because I had been deceived. As the Grand Duke of Russia still seems to me the most beautiful models I have ever met Prince.

    I was struck by the elegance of his little cars, the disorder of his luggage and holding people overlooked service that accompany it. When comparing the imperial procession to the beautiful simplicity of English cars, and special care that the servants have all things English, we see that it is not enough to make his crew in London saddlers, reaching the material perfection which ensures the dominance of England in an age like ours positive.

    Yesterday I went to see the sun set on the Rhine is a great show. What I find most beautiful in this country, too famous yet, this is not the riverside ruins with their monotonous, with arid their vineyards, and, for your viewing pleasure, take too much space in the landscape; I also found banks more impressive, more varied, more smiling, more beautiful forests, vegetation strongest, most picturesque sites, most amazing, but what I think is wonderful is the river itself, especially contemplated edge. This huge ice slide of a movement always equal throughout the country it illuminates, reflects and gives life to me reveals a creative power that confuses my mind. By measuring this movement, I compare myself to the doctor questioning the pulse of a man known for his strength: the rivers are the arteries of our planet, and in this manifestation of the universal life, I remain awestruck and I feel in the presence of my master, I see eternity, I think I touch the infinite, it is a mystery sublime in nature, I do not understand, I admire him, and my ignorance hides in worship. That is why science needed me less than disgruntled spirits.

    We die of heat to the letter many years ago that the air still choking Valley Ems is mounted at that temperature; last night, coming back from the Rhine, I saw in the wood a light rain fly; was ladies lucciole Italy I had never met outside of the tropics.

    I leave in two days in Berlin and St. Petersburg.


    © 2010 The Esoteric Curiosa
  9. Hon. Nancy Freeman-Mitford, CBE
    28.IX.1904 – 30.VI.1973
    Hon. Mrs. Peter Rodd

    She is best remembered for her series of novels about upper-class life in England and France, particularly the four published after 1945; but she also wrote four well-received, well-researched popular biographies of Louis XIV, Madame de Pompadour, Voltaire, and Frederick the Great. She was one of the noted Mitford sisters and the first to publicise the extraordinary family life of her very English and very eccentric family, giving rise to a "Mitford industry" which continues. 

    Nancy Mitford's gift as a comic writer and her humour are evident throughout her novels and also in the many articles which she wrote for the London Sunday Times. In the 1950s and 1960s these articles made her appear to be England's expert on aspects of life across Europe. In 1986 her niece by marriage Charlotte Mosley edited some of these works in: A Talent to Annoy; Essays, Journalism and Reviews 1929–1968. She was a noted letter-writer and her correspondence has been edited by her niece as: Love from Nancy: The Letters of Nancy Mitford (1993) and in The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh (1996); also The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street: Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952–73 (2004). Her letters and essays are notable for their humour, irony and cultural and social breadth.

    Politically a moderate socialist, she somehow kept on good terms most of the time with her sisters, despite the extreme political views of Diana, Jessica and Unity, mainly by deploying her acerbic wit. Some of their letters are republished in The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters (2007).

    A Pen Tinged With A Sagacious & Rapier Wit

    "I love children, especially when they cry, for then someone takes them away."
    — Nancy Mitford

    "I think housework is far more tiring and frightening than hunting is, no comparison, and yet after hunting we had eggs for tea and were made to rest for hours, but after housework people expect one to go on just as if nothing special had happened."
    — Nancy Mitford

    "The trouble is that people seem to expect happiness in life. I can't imagine why; but they do. They are unhappy before they marry, and they imagine to themselves that the reason of their unhappiness will be removed when they are married. When it isn't they blame the other person, which is clearly absurd. I believe that is what generally starts the trouble."
    — Nancy Mitford (Christmas Pudding)

    "If I had a girl I should say to her, 'Marry for love if you can, it won't last, but it is a very interesting experience and makes a good beginning in life. Later on, when you marry for money, for heaven's sake let it be big money. There are no other possible reasons for marrying at all."
    — Nancy Mitford (Christmas Pudding)

    "Twice in her life she had mistaken something else for it; it was like seeing somebody in the street who you think is a friend, you whistle and wave and run after him, and it is not only not the friend, but not even very like him. A few minutes later the real friend appears in view, and then you can't imagine how you ever mistook that other person for him. Linda was now looking upon the authentic face of love, and she knew it, but it frightened her. That it should come so casually, so much by a series of accidents, was frightening."
    — Nancy Mitford (The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate)

    "always either on a peak of happiness or drowning in black waters of despair they loved or they loathed, they lived in a world of superlatives"
    — Nancy Mitford (The Pursuit of Love)

    "I love childen, especially when they cry, for then someone takes them away."
    — Nancy Mitford

    "You've no idea how long life goes on and how many, many changes it brings. Young people seem to imagine that it's over in a flash, that they do this thing, or that thing, and then die, but I can assure you they are quite wrong."
    — Nancy Mitford (Love in a Cold Climate)

    "Oh dear... it really is rather disillusioning. When one's friends marry for money they are wretched, when they marry for love it is worse. What is the proper thing to marry for, I should like to know?"
    — Nancy Mitford (Christmas Pudding)

    "Do you always laugh when you make love?' said Fabrice. I hadn't thought about it, but I suppose I do. I generally laugh when I'm happy and cry when I'm not. Do you find it odd?"
    — Nancy Mitford

    "I have only ever read one book in my life, and that is White Fang. It's so frightfully good I've never bothered to read another."
    — Nancy Mitford

    "Oh! How like a woman," Davey said. "Sex, my dear Sadie, is not a sovereign cure for everything, you know. I only wish it were."
    — Nancy Mitford (The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate)

    "But I think she would have been happy with Fabrice,' I said. 'He was the great love of her life, you know.'

    Oh, dulling,' said my mother, sadly. 'One always thinks that. Every, every time."
    — Nancy Mitford (The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate)

    "Life itself, she thought, as she went upstairs to dress for dinner, was stranger than dreams and far, far more disordered."
    — Nancy Mitford (Christmas Pudding)

    "To fall in love you have to be in the state of mind for it to take, like a disease."
    — Nancy Mitford

    "The worst of being a Communist is the parties you may go to are - well - awfully funny and touching but not very gay...I don't see the point of sad parties, do you? And Left-wing people are always sad because they mind dreadfully about their causes, and the causes are always going so badly."
    — Nancy Mitford (The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate)

    "Sun, silence, and happiness."
    — Nancy Mitford (The Pursuit of Love)

    "... it is quite funny really when you think that probably I would have married him if he'd been at all clever about it. But instead of putting it to me as a sensible business proposition he would drag in all this talk about love the whole time, and I simply can't bear those showerings of sentimentality. Otherwise I should most likely have married him ages ago."
    — Nancy Mitford (Christmas Pudding)

    "The people welcome a new da yas if they were certain of liking it, the shopkeepers pull up their blinds serene in the expectation of good trade, the workers go happily to their work, the people who have sat up all night in night clubs go happily to their rest, the orchestra of motor-car horns, of clanking trams, of whistling policemen tunes up for the daily symphony, and everywhere is joy."
    — Nancy Mitford (The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate)

    "Spring came late, but when it came it was hand-in-hand with summer, and almost at once everything was baking and warm, and in the villages the people danced every night on concrete dancing floors under the plane trees..."
    — Nancy Mitford (The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate)

    "Mother, of course, takes a lot of exercise, walks and so on. And every morning she puts on a pair of black silk drawers and a sweater and makes indelicate gestures on the lawn. That's called Building the Body Beautiful. She's mad about it."
    — Nancy Mitford (Christmas Pudding)

    "...indeed, with the Radletts, you never could tell. Why, for instance, would Victoria bellow like a bull and half kill Jassy whenever Jassy said, in a certain tone of voice, pointing her finger with a certain look, "Fancy?" I think they hardly knew why, themselves." 
        Nancy Mitford (Love in a Cold Climate)


    © 2010 The Esoteric Curiosa. All Rights Reserved

  10. The Esoteric Serial:

    As with most who are esoterically inclined, rare and out of print books are a staple to our esoteric nature.  That being said, it is to our advantage to root out any such books that pertain to a specific esoteric interest.

    In some instances our esoteric appetite becomes so pronounced that it is crucial if not imperative that we have that book in hand, so that we may feast our eyes on the required information to feed our esoteric souls.

    In spite of the tremendous strides made with the internet on which many long forgotten tomes are more readily available, there are still many which remain elusive. Perhaps they are much prized inclusions within a collectors stock and therefore not available, to pricey to obtain, or in some instances the print run was so limited that there is only a handful still in existence collecting dust on some remote shelf, or perhaps lost altogether and therefore forgotten or not available at all.
    In an effort to do my part for my fellow esoteric’s, I shall be doing installments of said books, reproduced as they were first written.  I hope you enjoy the selections made for The Esoteric Serial; perhaps you might be surprised with the inclusion of some coveted title you thought out of reach, or pleasantly exposed to a new subject that tingles you to your cockles.


    Thomas Hardy, OM
    2.VI.1840 – 11.I.1928

    Hardy was an English novelist and poet. While his works typically belong to the Naturalism movement, several poems display elements of the previous Romantic and Enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural.

    While he regarded himself primarily as a poet who composed novels mainly for financial gain, during his lifetime he was much better known for his novels, such as Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd, which earned him a reputation as a great novelist. The bulk of his fictional works, initially published as serials in magazines, were set in the semi-fictional land of Wessex (based on the Dorchester region where he grew up) and explored tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances.

    Hardy's poetry, first published in his fifties, has come to be as well regarded as his novels and has had a significant influence over modern English poetry, especially after The Movement poets of the 1950s and 1960s cited Hardy as a major figure.

    Childhood Home

    Thomas Hardy was born at Higher Bockhampton, a hamlet in the parish of Stinsford to the east of Dorchester in DorsetEngland. His father (Thomas) worked as a stonemason and local builder. His mother Jemima was well-read and educated Thomas until he went to his first school at Bockhampton at age eight. For several years he attended a school run by a Mr. Last. Here he learned Latin and demonstrated academic potential. However, a family of Hardy's social position lacked the means for a university education, and his formal education ended at the age of 16 when he became apprenticed to John Hicks, a local architect. Hardy trained as an architect in Dorchester before moving to London in 1862; there he enrolled as a student at King's College, London. He won prizes from the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architectural Association. Hardy never felt at home in London. He was acutely conscious of class divisions and his social inferiority. However, he was interested in social reform and was familiar with the works of John Stuart Mill. He was also introduced to the works of Charles Fourier and Auguste Comte during this period by his Dorset friend Horace Moule. Five years later, concerned about his health, he returned to Dorset and decided to dedicate himself to writing.

    In 1870, while on an architectural mission to restore the parish church of St Juliot in Cornwall, Hardy met and fell in love with Emma Lavinia Gifford, whom he married in 1874. Although he later became estranged from his wife, who died in 1912, her death had a traumatic effect on him. After her death, Hardy made a trip to Cornwall to revisit places linked with their courtship, and his Poems 1912–13 reflect upon her passing. In 1914, Hardy married his secretary Florence Emily Dugdale, who was 39 years his junior. However, he remained preoccupied with his first wife's death and tried to overcome his remorse by writing poetry.

    Hardy became ill with pleurisy in December 1927 and died at Max Gate just after 9 p.m. on January 11, 1928, having dictated his final poem to his wife on his deathbed; the cause of death was cited, on his death certificate, as "cardiac syncope", with "old age" given as a contributory factor. His funeral was on January 16 at Westminster Abbey, and it proved a controversial occasion because Hardy and his family and friends had wished for his body to be interred at Stinsford in the same grave as his first wife, Emma. However, his executor, Sir Sydney Carlyle Cockerell, insisted that he be placed in the abbey's famous Poets' Corner. A compromise was reached whereby his heart was buried at Stinsford with Emma, and his ashes in Poets' Corner.

    Shortly after Hardy's death, the executors of his estate burnt his letters and notebooks. Twelve records survived, one of them containing notes and extracts of newspaper stories from the 1820s. Research into these provided insight into how Hardy kept track of them and how he used them in his later work. In the year of his death Mrs. Hardy published The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, 1841–1891: compiled largely from contemporary notes, letters, diaries, and biographical memoranda, as well as from oral information in conversations extending over many years.

    Hardy's work was admired by many authors including D. H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. In his autobiography Goodbye to All That, Robert Graves recalls meeting Hardy in Dorset in the early 1920s. Hardy received him and his new wife warmly, and was encouraging about his work.

    In 1910, Hardy was awarded the Order of Merit.

    Max Gate

    Hardy's cottage at Bockhampton and Max Gate in Dorchester are owned by the National Trust.

    Hardy's family was Anglican, but not especially devout. He was baptized at the age of five weeks and attended church, where his father and uncle contributed to music. However, he did not attend the local Church of England school, instead being sent to Mr. Last's school, three miles away. As a young adult, he befriended Henry R. Bastow, a Plymouth Brethren man), who also worked as a pupil architect, and who was preparing for adult baptism in the Baptist Church. Hardy flirted with conversion, but decided against it. Bastow went to Australia and maintained a long correspondence with Hardy, but eventually Hardy tired of these exchanges and the correspondence ceased. This concluded Hardy's links with the Baptists.

    Hardy’s idea of fate in life gave way to his philosophical struggle with God. Although Hardy’s faith remained intact, the irony and struggles of life led him to question the traditional Christian view of God:

    “        The Christian god — the external personality — has been replaced by the intelligence of the First Cause…the replacement of the old concept of God as all-powerful by a new concept of universal consciousness. The 'tribal god, man-shaped, fiery-faced and tyrannous' is replaced by the 'unconscious will of the Universe' which progressively grows aware of itself and 'ultimately, it is to be hoped, sympathetic'.”

    Hardy's religious life seems to have mixed agnosticism, deism, and spiritism. Once, when asked in correspondence by a clergyman about the question of reconciling the horrors of pain with the goodness of a loving God, Hardy replied,

    “        Mr. Hardy regrets that he is unable to offer any hypothesis which would reconcile the existence of such evils as Dr. Grosart describes with the idea of omnipotent goodness. Perhaps Dr. Grosart might be helped to a provisional view of the universe by the recently published Life of Darwin, and the works of Herbert Spencer, and other agnostics. ”

    Nevertheless, Hardy frequently conceived of and wrote about supernatural forces that control the universe, more through indifference or caprice than any firm will. Also, Hardy showed in his writing some degree of fascination with ghosts and spirits. Despite these sentiments, Hardy retained a strong emotional attachment to the Christian liturgy and church rituals, particularly as manifested in rural communities, that had been such a formative influence in his early years, and Biblical references can be found woven throughout many of Hardy's novels.

    Hardy's friends during his apprenticeship to John Hicks included Horace Moule (one of the eight sons of Henry Moule) and the poet William Barnes, both ministers of religion. Moule remained a close friend of Hardy's for the rest of his life, and introduced him to new scientific findings that cast doubt on literal interpretations of the Bible, such as those of Gideon Mantell. Moule gave Hardy a copy of Mantell's book The Wonders of Geology (1848) in 1858, and Adelene Buckland has suggested that there are "compelling similarities" between the "cliffhanger" section from A Pair of Blue Eyes and Mantell's geological descriptions. It has also been suggested that the character of Henry Knight in A Pair of Blue Eyes was based on Horace Moule.

    Hardy's first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, finished by 1867, failed to find a publisher and Hardy destroyed the manuscript so only parts of the novel remain. He was encouraged to try again by his mentor and friend, Victorian poet and novelist George Meredith. Desperate Remedies (1871) and Under the Greenwood Tree (1872) were published anonymously. In 1873 A Pair of Blue Eyes, a novel drawing on Hardy's courtship of his first wife, was published under his own name. The term "cliffhanger" is considered to have originated with the serialized version of this story (which was published in Tinsley's Magazine between September 1872 and July 1873) in which Henry Knight, one of the protagonists, is left literally hanging off a cliff.

    Hardy said that he first introduced Wessex in Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), his next novel. It was successful enough for Hardy to give up architectural work and pursue a literary career. Over the next twenty-five years Hardy produced ten more novels.

    The Hardys moved from London to Yeovil and then to Sturminster Newton, where he wrote The Return of the Native (1878). In 1885, they moved for a last time, to Max Gate, a house outside Dorchester designed by Hardy and built by his brother. There he wrote The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), The Woodlanders (1887), and Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), the last of which attracted criticism for its sympathetic portrayal of a "fallen woman" and was initially refused publication. Its subtitle, A Pure Woman: Faithfully Presented was intended to raise the eyebrows of the Victorian middle-classes.

    Jude the Obscure, published in 1895, met with even stronger negative outcries from the Victorian public for its frank treatment of sex, and was often referred to as "Jude the Obscene". Heavily criticized for its apparent attack on the institution of marriage through the presentation of such concepts as erotolepsy, the book caused further strain on Hardy's already difficult marriage because Emma Hardy was concerned that Jude the Obscure would be read as autobiographical. Some booksellers sold the novel in brown paper bags, and the Bishop of Wakefield is reputed to have burnt his copy. In his postscript of 1912, Hardy humorously referred to this incident as part of the career of the book: "After these [hostile] verdicts from the press its next misfortune was to be burnt by a bishop — probably in his despair at not being able to burn me".

    Despite this criticism, Hardy had become a celebrity in English literature by the 1900s, with several highly successful novels behind him, yet he felt disgust at the public reception of two of his greatest works and gave up writing fiction altogether. Other novels written by Hardy include Two on a Tower, a romance story set in the world of Astronomy.

    Hardy critiques certain social constraints that hindered the lives of those living in the 19th century. Considered a Victorian Realist writer, Hardy examines the social constraints that are part of the Victorian status quo, suggesting these rules hinder the lives of all involved and ultimately lead to unhappiness. In Two on a Tower, Hardy seeks to take a stand against these rules and sets up a story against the backdrop of social structure by creating a story of love that crosses the boundaries of class. The reader is forced to consider disposing of the conventions set up for love. Nineteenth-century society enforces these conventions, and societal pressure ensures conformity. Swithin St Cleeve's idealism pits him against contemporary social constraints. He is a self-willed individual set up against the coercive strictures of social rules and mores.

    “        In a novel structured around contrasts, the main opposition is between Swithin St Cleeve and Lady Viviette Constantine, who are presented as binary figures in a series of ways: aristocratic and lower class, youthful and mature, single and married, fair and dark, religious and agnostic…she [Lady Viviette Constantine] is also deeply conventional, absurdly wishing to conceal their marriage until Swithin has achieved social status through his scientific work, which gives rise to uncontrolled ironies and tragic-comic misunderstandings (Harvey 108). ”

    Hardy’s stories take into consideration the events of life and their effects. Fate plays a significant role as the thematic basis for many of his novels. Characters are constantly encountering crossroads, which are symbolic of a point of opportunity and transition. Far From the Madding Crowd tells a tale of lives that are constructed by chance. “Had Bathsheba not sent the valentine, had Fanny not missed her wedding, for example, the story would have taken an entirely different path.” Once things have been put into motion, they will play out. Hardy's characters are in the grips of an overwhelming fate.

    In 1898 Hardy published his first volume of poetry, Wessex Poems, a collection of poems written over 30 years. Hardy claimed poetry as his first love, and after a great amount of negative criticism erupted after the publication of his novel Jude The Obscure, Hardy decided to give up writing novels permanently and to focus his literary efforts on writing poetry. After giving up the novel form, Hardy continued to publish poetry collections until his death in 1928. Although he did publish one last novel in 1897, that novel, The Well-Beloved, had actually been written prior to Jude the Obscure.

    Although his poems were not initially as well received by his contemporaries as his novels were, Hardy is now recognized as one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. His verse had a profound influence on later writers, notably Philip Larkin, who included many of Hardy's poems in the edition of the Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse that Larkin edited in 1973.

    In a recent biography on Hardy, Claire Tomalin argues that Hardy became a truly great English poet after the death of his first wife, Emma, beginning with the elegies he wrote in her memory, calling these poems, "one of the finest and strangest celebrations of the dead in English poetry."

    Most of his poems such as "Neutral Tones'", deal with themes of disappointment in love and life, and mankind's long struggle against indifference to human suffering. Some, like "The Darkling Thrush" and "An August Midnight", appear as poems about writing poetry, because the nature mentioned in them gives Hardy the inspiration to write. A vein of regret tinges his often seemingly banal themes. His compositions range in style from the three-volume epic closet drama The Dynasts to smaller, and often hopeful or even cheerful ballads of the moment such as the little-known "The Children and Sir Nameless", a comic poem inspired by the tombs of the Martyns, builders of Athelhampton. A particularly strong theme in the Wessex Poems is the long shadow that the Napoleonic Wars cast over the nineteenth century, for example, in "The Sergeant's Song" and "Leipzig".

    A few of Hardy's poems, such as "The Blinded Bird" (a melancholy polemic against the sport of vinkenzetting), display his love of the natural world and his firm stance against animal cruelty, exhibited in his antivivisectionist views and his membership in the RSPCA.

    A number of notable composers, including Gerald Finzi, Benjamin Britten, and Gustav Holst, have set poems by Hardy to music.


    The pedigrees of our county families, arranged in diagrams on the pages of county histories, mostly appear at first sight to be as barren of any touch of nature as a table of logarithms. But given a clue - the faintest tradition of what went on behind the scenes, and this dryness as of dust may be transformed into a palpitating drama. More the careful comparison of dates alone that of birth with marriage, of marriage with death, of one marriage, birth, or death with a kindred marriage, birth, or death-will often effect the same transformation, and anybody practiced in raising images from such genealogies finds himself unconsciously filling into the framework the motives, passions, and personal qualities which would appear to be the single explanation possible of some extraordinary conjunction in times, events, and personages that occasionally marks these reticent family records. Out of such pedigrees and supplementary material most of the following stories have arisen and taken shape. I would make this preface an opportunity of expressing my sense of the courtesy and kindness of several bright-eyed Noble Dames yet in the flesh, who, since the first publication of these tales in periodicals, six or seven years ago, have given me interesting comments and conjectures on such of the narratives as they have recognized to be connected with their own families, residences, or traditions; in which they have shown a truly philosophic absence of prejudice in their regard of those incidents whose relation has tended more distinctly to dramatize than to eulogize their ancestors. The outlines they have also given of other singular events in their, family histories for use in a second 'Group of Noble Dames' will, I fear, never reach the printing-press through me; but I shall store them up in memory of my informants' good nature. The tales were first collected and published in their present form in 1891.

    Thomas Hardy June 1896

    Ten short stories are ranged from a 'store of ladies, whose bright eyes rain influence - LAllegro'.

    In 'A Group of Noble Dames' Hardy plumbs the hidden depths of country families and reveals what went on behind the scenes transferring half-remembered incidents into absorbing dramas. They are an interesting group for all their different reasons. They have strong characters, their love lives are complicated, and they show bravery and loyalty. The whole is wrapped around as a portmanteau story with the conceit of each being told by a member of the Wessex Field and Antiquarian Club. This was an activity in which Hardy had a great deal of interest, and it was his digging into archives that inspired this book and some other short stories.

    With his acute observation to detail, so familiar from his main classic novels, and with the subtlest of irony, he brings his unique vitality to the subjects.

    The group of friends from the Wessex Field and Antiquarian Club are each encouraged to recount the stories of ten memorable ladies.

    Part First - Before Dinner

    Dame The First

    The First Countess of Wessex
    By The Local Historian

    Author: Thomas Hardy

    King's-Hintock Court (said the narrator, turning over his memoranda for reference)--King's-Hintock Court is, as we know, one of the most imposing of the mansions that overlook our beautiful Blackmoor or Blakemore Vale. On the particular occasion of which I have to speak this building stood, as it had often stood before, in the perfect silence of a calm clear night, lighted only by the cold shine of the stars. The season was winter, in days long ago, the last century having run but little more than a third of its length. North, south, and west, not a casement was unfastened, not a curtain undrawn; eastward, one window on the upper floor was open, and a girl of twelve or thirteen was leaning over the sill. That she had not taken up the position for purposes of observation was apparent at a glance, for she kept her eyes covered with her hands.

    The room occupied by the girl was an inner one of a suite, to be reached only by passing through a large bedchamber adjoining. From this apartment voices in altercation were audible, everything else in the building being so still. It was to avoid listening to these voices that the girl had left her little cot, thrown a cloak round her head and shoulders, and stretched into the night air.

    But she could not escape the conversation, try as she would. The words reached her in all their painfulness, one sentence in masculine tones, those of her father, being repeated many times.

    'I tell 'ee there shall be no such betrothal! I tell 'ee there sha'n't! A child like her!'

    She knew the subject of dispute to be herself. A cool feminine voice, her mother's, replied:

    'Have done with you, and be wise. He is willing to wait a good five or six years before the marriage takes place, and there's not a man in the county to compare with him.'

    'It shall not be! He is over thirty. It is wickedness.'

    'He is just thirty, and the best and finest man alive--a perfect match for her.'

    'He is poor!'

    'But his father and elder brothers are made much of at Court--none so constantly at the palace as they; and with her fortune, who knows? He may be able to get a barony.'

    'I believe you are in love with en yourself!'

    'How can you insult me so, Thomas! And is it not monstrous for you to talk of my wickedness when you have a like scheme in your own head? You know you have. Some bumpkin of your own choosing--some petty gentleman who lives down at that outlandish place of yours, Falls-Park--one of your pot-companions' sons--'

    There was an outburst of imprecation on the part of her husband in lieu of further argument. As soon as he could utter a connected sentence he said: 'You crow and you domineer, mistress, because you are heiress-general here. You are in your own house; you are on your own land. But let me tell 'ee that if I did come here to you instead of taking you to me, it was done at the dictates of convenience merely. H---! I'm no beggar! Ha'n't I a place of my own? Ha'n't I an avenue as long as thine? Ha'n't I beeches that will more than match thy oaks? I should have lived in my own quiet house and land, contented, if you had not called me off with your airs and graces. Faith, I'll go back there; I'll not stay with thee longer! If it had not been for our Betty I should have gone long ago!'

    After this there were no more words; but presently, hearing the sound of a door opening and shutting below, the girl again looked from the window. Footsteps crunched on the gravel-walk, and a shape in a drab greatcoat, easily distinguishable as her father, withdrew from the house. He moved to the left, and she watched him diminish down the long east front till he had turned the corner and vanished. He must have gone round to the stables.

    She closed the window and shrank into bed, where she cried herself to sleep. This child, their only one, Betty, beloved ambitiously by her mother, and with uncalculating passionateness by her father, was frequently made wretched by such episodes as this; though she was too young to care very deeply, for her own sake, whether her mother betrothed her to the gentleman discussed or not.

    The Squire had often gone out of the house in this manner, declaring that he would never return, but he had always reappeared in the morning. The present occasion, however, was different in the issue: next day she was told that her father had ridden to his estate at Falls-Park early in the morning on business with his agent, and might not come back for some days.

    Falls-Park was over twenty miles from King's-Hintock Court, and was altogether a more modest centre-piece to a more modest possession than the latter. But as Squire Dornell came in view of it that February morning, he thought that he had been a fool ever to leave it, though it was for the sake of the greatest heiress in Wessex. Its classic front, of the period of the second Charles, derived from its regular features a dignity which the great, battlemented, heterogeneous mansion of his wife could not eclipse. Altogether he was sick at heart, and the gloom which the densely-timbered park threw over the scene did not tend to remove the depression of this rubicund man of eight-and-forty, who sat so heavily upon his gelding. The child, his darling Betty: there lay the root of his trouble. He was unhappy when near his wife, he was unhappy when away from his little girl; and from this dilemma there was no practicable escape. As a consequence he indulged rather freely in the pleasures of the table, became what was called a three bottle man, and, in his wife's estimation, less and less presentable to her polite friends from town.

    He was received by the two or three old servants who were in charge of the lonely place, where a few rooms only were kept habitable for his use or that of his friends when hunting; and during the morning he was made more comfortable by the arrival of his faithful servant Tupcombe from King's-Hintock. But after a day or two spent here in solitude he began to feel that he had made a mistake in coming. By leaving King's-Hintock in his anger he had thrown away his best opportunity of counteracting his wife's preposterous notion of promising his poor little Betty's hand to a man she had hardly seen. To protect her from such a repugnant bargain he should have remained on the spot. He felt it almost as a misfortune that the child would inherit so much wealth. She would be a mark for all the adventurers in the kingdom. Had she been only the heiress to his own unassuming little place at Falls, how much better would have been her chances of happiness!

    His wife had divined truly when she insinuated that he himself had a lover in view for this pet child. The son of a dear deceased friend of his, who lived not two miles from where the Squire now was, a lad a couple of years his daughter's senior, seemed in her father's opinion the one person in the world likely to make her happy. But as to breathing such a scheme to either of the young people with the indecent haste that his wife had shown, he would not dream of it; years hence would be soon enough for that. They had already seen each other, and the Squire fancied that he noticed a tenderness on the youth's part which promised well. He was strongly tempted to profit by his wife's example, and forestall her match-making by throwing the two young people together there at Falls. The girl, though marriageable in the views of those days, was too young to be in love, but the lad was fifteen, and already felt an interest in her.

    Still better than keeping watch over her at King's Hintock, where she was necessarily much under her mother's influence, would it be to get the child to stay with him at Falls for a time, under his exclusive control. But how accomplish this without using main force? The only possible chance was that his wife might, for appearance' sake, as she had done before, consent to Betty paying him a day's visit, when he might find means of detaining her till Reynard, the suitor whom his wife favored, had gone abroad, which he was expected to do the following week. Squire Dornell determined to return to King's-Hintock and attempt the enterprise. If he were refused, it was almost in him to pick up Betty bodily and carry her off.

    The journey back, vague and quixotic as were his intentions, was performed with a far lighter heart than his setting forth. He would see Betty, and talk to her, come what might of his plan.

    So he rode along the dead level which stretches between the hills skirting Falls-Park and those bounding the town of Ivell, trotted through that borough, and out by the King's-Hintock highway, till, passing the villages he entered the mile-long drive through the park to the Court. The drive being open, without an avenue, the Squire could discern the north front and door of the Court a long way off, and was himself visible from the windows on that side; for which reason he hoped that Betty might perceive him coming, as she sometimes did on his return from an outing, and run to the door or wave her handkerchief.

    But there was no sign. He inquired for his wife as soon as he set foot to earth.

    'Mistress is away. She was called to London, sir.'

    'And Mistress Betty?' said the Squire blankly.

    'Gone likewise, sir, for a little change. Mistress has left a letter for you.'

    The note explained nothing, merely stating that she had posted to London on her own affairs, and had taken the child to give her a holiday. On the fly-leaf were some words from Betty herself to the same effect, evidently written in a state of high jubilation at the idea of her jaunt. Squire Dornell murmured a few expletives, and submitted to his disappointment. How long his wife meant to stay in town she did not say; but on investigation he found that the carriage had been packed with sufficient luggage for a sojourn of two or three weeks.

    King's-Hintock Court was in consequence as gloomy as Falls-Park had been. He had lost all zest for hunting of late, and had hardly attended a meet that season. Dornell read and re-read Betty's scrawl, and hunted up some other such notes of hers to look over, this seeming to be the only pleasure there was left for him. That they were really in London he learnt in a few days by another letter from Mrs. Dornell, in which she explained that they hoped to be home in about a week, and that she had had no idea he was coming back to King's-Hintock so soon, or she would not have gone away without telling him.

    Squire Dornell wondered if, in going or returning, it had been her plan to call at the Reynards' place near Melchester, through which city their journey lay. It was possible that she might do this in furtherance of her project, and the sense that his own might become the losing game was harassing.

    He did not know how to dispose of himself, till it occurred to him that, to get rid of his intolerable heaviness, he would invite some friends to dinner and drown his cares in grog and wine. No sooner was the carouse decided upon than he put it in hand; those invited being mostly neighboring landholders, all smaller men than himself, members of the hunt; also the doctor from Evershead, and the like--some of them rollicking blades whose presence his wife would not have countenanced had she been at home. 'When the cat's away--!' said the Squire.

    They arrived, and there were indications in their manner that they meant to make a night of it. Baxby of Sherton Castle was late, and they waited a quarter of an hour for him, he being one of the liveliest of Dornell's friends; without whose presence no such dinner as this would be considered complete, and, it may be added, with whose presence no dinner which included both sexes could be conducted with strict propriety. He had just returned from London, and the Squire was anxious to talk to him--for no definite reason; but he had lately breathed the atmosphere in which Betty was.

    At length they heard Baxby driving up to the door, whereupon the host and the rest of his guests crossed over to the dining-room. In a moment Baxby came hastily in at their heels, apologizing for his lateness.

    'I only came back last night, you know,' he said; 'and the truth o't is, I had as much as I could carry.' He turned to the Squire. 'Well, Dornell--so cunning Reynard has stolen your little ewe lamb? Ha, ha!'

    'What?' said Squire Dornell vacantly, across the dining-table, round which they were all standing, the cold March sunlight streaming in upon his full-clean shaven face.

    'Surely th'st know what all the town knows?--you've had a letter by this time?--that Stephen Reynard has married your Betty? Yes, as I'm a living man. It was a carefully-arranged thing: they parted at once, and are not to meet for five or six years. But, Lord, you must know!'

    A thud on the floor was the only reply of the Squire. They quickly turned. He had fallen down like a log behind the table, and lay motionless on the oak boards.

    Those at hand hastily bent over him, and the whole group was in confusion. They found him to be quite unconscious, though puffing and panting like a blacksmith's bellows. His face was livid, his veins swollen, and beads of perspiration stood upon his brow.

    'What's happened to him?' said several.

    'An apoplectic fit,' said the doctor from Evershead, gravely.

    He was only called in at the Court for small ailments, as a rule, and felt the importance of the situation. He lifted the Squire's head, loosened his cravat and clothing, and rang for the servants, who took the Squire upstairs.

    There he lay as if in a drugged sleep. The surgeon drew a basin-full of blood from him, but it was nearly six o'clock before he came to himself. The dinner was completely disorganized, and some had gone home long ago; but two or three remained.

    'Bless my soul,' Baxby kept repeating, 'I didn't know things had come to this pass between Dornell and his lady! I thought the feast he was spreading to-day was in honor of the event, though privately kept for the present! His little maid married without his knowledge!'

    As soon as the Squire recovered consciousness he gasped: ''Tis abduction! 'Tis a capital felony! He can be hung! Where is Baxby? I am very well now. What items have ye heard, Baxby?'

    The bearer of the untoward news was extremely unwilling to agitate Dornell further, and would say little more at first. But an hour after, when the Squire had partially recovered and was sitting up, Baxby told as much as he knew, the most important particular being that Betty's mother was present at the marriage, and showed every mark of approval. 'Everything appeared to have been done so regularly that I, of course, thought you knew all about it,' he said.

    'I knew no more than the underground dead that such a step was in the wind! A child not yet thirteen! How Sue hath outwitted me! Did Reynard go up to Lon'on with 'em, d'ye know?'

    'I can't say. All I know is that your lady and daughter were walking along the street, with the footman behind 'em; that they entered a jeweler’s shop, where Reynard was standing; and that there, in the presence o' the shopkeeper and your man, who was called in on purpose, your Betty said to Reynard--so the story goes: 'pon my soul I don't vouch for the truth of it--she said, "Will you marry me?" or, "I want to marry you: will you have me--now or never?" she said.'

    'What she said means nothing,' murmured the Squire, with wet eyes. 'Her mother put the words into her mouth to avoid the serious consequences that would attach to any suspicion of force. The words be not the child's: she didn't dream of marriage--how should she, poor little maid! Go on.'

    'Well, be that as it will, they were all agreed apparently. They bought the ring on the spot, and the marriage took place at the nearest church within half-an-hour.'

    A day or two later there came a letter from Mrs. Dornell to her husband, written before she knew of his stroke. She related the circumstances of the marriage in the gentlest manner, and gave cogent reasons and excuses for consenting to the premature union, which was now an accomplished fact indeed. She had no idea, till sudden pressure was put upon her, that the contract was expected to be carried out so soon, but being taken half unawares, she had consented, having learned that Stephen Reynard, now their son-in-law, was becoming a great favorite at Court, and that he would in all likelihood have a title granted him before long. No harm could come to their dear daughter by this early marriage-contract, seeing that her life would be continued under their own eyes, exactly as before, for some years. In fine, she had felt that no other such fair opportunity for a good marriage with a shrewd courtier and wise man of the world, who was at the same time noted for his excellent personal qualities, was within the range of probability, owing to the rusticated lives they led at King's-Hintock. Hence she had yielded to Stephen's solicitation, and hoped her husband would forgive her. She wrote, in short, like a woman who, having had her way as to the deed, is prepared to make any concession as to words and subsequent behavior.

    All this Dornell took at its true value, or rather, perhaps, at less than its true value. As his life depended upon his not getting into a passion, he controlled his perturbed emotions as well as he was able, going about the house sadly and utterly unlike his former self. He took every precaution to prevent his wife knowing of the incidents of his sudden illness, from a sense of shame at having a heart so tender; a ridiculous quality, no doubt, in her eyes, now that she had become so imbued with town ideas. But rumors of his seizure somehow reached her, and she let him know that she was about to return to nurse him. He thereupon packed up and went off to his own place at Falls-Park.

    Here he lived the life of a recluse for some time. He was still too unwell to entertain company, or to ride to hounds or else whither; but more than this, his aversion to the faces of strangers and acquaintances, who knew by that time of the trick his wife had played him, operated to hold him aloof.

    Nothing could influence him to censure Betty for her share in the exploit. He never once believed that she had acted voluntarily. Anxious to know how she was getting on, he dispatched the trusty servant Tupcombe to Evershead village, close to King's-Hintock, timing his journey so that he should reach the place under cover of dark. The emissary arrived without notice, being out of livery, and took a seat in the chimney-corner of the Sow-and-Acorn.

    The conversation of the droppers-in was always of the nine days' wonder--the recent marriage. The smoking listener learnt that Mrs. Dornell and the girl had returned to King's-Hintock for a day or two, that Reynard had set out for the Continent, and that Betty had since been packed off to school. She did not realize her position as Reynard's child-wife--so the story went--and though somewhat awe-stricken at first by the ceremony, she had soon recovered her spirits on finding that her freedom was in no way to be interfered with.

    After that, formal messages began to pass between Dornell and his wife, the latter being now as persistently conciliating as she was formerly masterful. But her rustic, simple, blustering husband still held personally aloof. Her wish to be reconciled--to win his forgiveness for her stratagem--moreover, a genuine tenderness and desire to soothe his sorrow, which welled up in her at times, brought her at last to his door at Falls-Park one day.

    They had not met since that night of altercation, before her departure for London and his subsequent illness. She was shocked at the change in him. His face had become expressionless, as blank as that of a puppet, and what troubled her still more was that she found him living in one room, and indulging freely in stimulants, in absolute disobedience to the physician's order. The fact was obvious that he could no longer be allowed to live thus uncouthly.

    So she sympathized, and begged his pardon, and coaxed. But though after this date there was no longer such a complete estrangement as before, they only occasionally saw each other, Dornell for the most part making Falls his headquarters still.

    Three or four years passed thus. Then she came one day, with more animation in her manner, and at once moved him by the simple statement that Betty's schooling had ended; she had returned, and was grieved because he was away. She had sent a message to him in these words: 'Ask father to come home to his dear Betty.'

    'Ah! Then she is very unhappy!' said Squire Dornell.

    His wife was silent.

    ''Tis that accursed marriage!' continued the Squire.

    Still his wife would not dispute with him. 'She is outside in the carriage,' said Mrs. Dornell gently.



    'Why didn't you tell me?' Dornell rushed out, and there was the girl awaiting his forgiveness, for she supposed herself, no less than her mother, to be under his displeasure.

    Yes, Betty had left school, and had returned to King's-Hintock. She was nearly seventeen, and had developed to quite a young woman. She looked not less a member of the household for her early marriage-contract, which she seemed, indeed, to have almost forgotten. It was like a dream to her; that clear cold March day, the London church, with its gorgeous pews, and green-baize linings, and the great organ in the west gallery--so different from their own little church in the shrubbery of King's-Hintock Court--the man of thirty, to whose face she had looked up with so much awe, and with a sense that he was rather ugly and formidable; the man whom, though they corresponded politely, she had never seen since; one to whose existence she was now so indifferent that if informed of his death, and that she would never see him more, she would merely have replied, 'Indeed!' Betty's passions as yet still slept.

    'Hast heard from thy husband lately?' said Squire Dornell, when they were indoors, with an ironical laugh of fondness which demanded no answer.

    The girl winced, and he noticed that his wife looked appealingly at him. As the conversation went on, and there were signs that Dornell would express sentiments that might do harm to a position which they could not alter, Mrs. Dornell suggested that Betty should leave the room till her father and herself had finished their private conversation; and this Betty obediently did.

    Dornell renewed his animadversions freely. 'Did you see how the sound of his name frightened her?' he presently added. 'If you didn't, I did. Zounds! What a future is in store for that poor little unfortunate wench o' mine! I tell 'ee, Sue, 'twas not a marriage at all, in morality, and if I were a woman in such a position, I shouldn't feel it as one. She might, without a sign of sin, love a man of her choice as well now as if she were chained up to no other at all. There, that's my mind, and I can't help it. Ah, Sue, my man was best! He'd ha' suited her.'

    'I don't believe it,' she replied incredulously.

    'You should see him; then you would. He's growing up a fine fellow, I can tell 'ee.'

    'Hush! not so loud!' she answered, rising from her seat and going to the door of the next room, whither her daughter had betaken herself. To Mrs. Dornell's alarm, there sat Betty in a reverie, her round eyes fixed on vacancy, musing so deeply that she did not perceive her mother's entrance. She had heard every word, and was digesting the new knowledge.

    Her mother felt that Falls-Park was dangerous ground for a young girl of the susceptible age, and in Betty's peculiar position, while Dornell talked and reasoned thus. She called Betty to her, and they took leave. The Squire would not clearly promise to return and make King's-Hintock Court his permanent abode; but Betty's presence there, as at former times, was sufficient to make him agree to pay them a visit soon.

    All the way home Betty remained preoccupied and silent. It was too plain to her anxious mother that Squire Dornell's free views had been a sort of awakening to the girl.

    The interval before Dornell redeemed his pledge to come and see them was unexpectedly short. He arrived one morning about twelve o'clock, driving his own pair of black-bays in the curricle-phaeton with yellow panels and red wheels, just as he had used to do, and his faithful old Tupcombe on horseback behind. A young man sat beside the Squire in the carriage, and Mrs. Dornell's consternation could scarcely be concealed when, abruptly entering with his companion, the Squire announced him as his friend Phelipson of Elm-Cranlynch.

    Dornell passed on to Betty in the background and tenderly kissed her. 'Sting your mother's conscience, my maid!' he whispered. 'Sting her conscience by pretending you are struck with Phelipson, and would ha' loved him, as your old father's choice, much more than him she has forced upon 'ee.'

    The simple-souled speaker fondly imagined that it as entirely in obedience to this direction that Betty's eyes stole interested glances at the frank and impulsive Phelipson that day at dinner, and he laughed grimly within himself to see how this joke of his, as he imagined it to be, was disturbing the peace of mind of the lady of the house. 'Now Sue sees what a mistake she has made!' said he.

    Mrs. Dornell was verily greatly alarmed, and as soon as she could speak a word with him alone she upbraided him. 'You ought not to have brought him here. Oh Thomas, how could you be so thoughtless! Lord, don't you see, dear, that what is done cannot be undone, and how all this foolery jeopardizes her happiness with her husband? Until you interfered, and spoke in her hearing about this Phelipson, she was as patient and as willing as a lamb, and looked forward to Mr. Reynard's return with real pleasure. Since her visit to Falls-Park she has been monstrous close- mouthed and busy with her own thoughts. What mischief will you do? How will it end?'

    'Own, then, that my man was best suited to her. I only brought him to convince you.'

    'Yes, yes; I do admit it. But oh! do take him back again at once! Don't keep him here! I fear she is even attracted by him already.'

    'Nonsense, Sue. 'Tis only a little trick to tease 'ee!'

    Nevertheless her motherly eye was not so likely to be deceived as his, and if Betty were really only playing at being love-struck that day, she played at it with the perfection of a Rosalind, and would have deceived the best professors into a belief that it was no counterfeit. The Squire, having obtained his victory, was quite ready to take back the too attractive youth, and early in the afternoon they set out on their return journey.

    A silent figure who rode behind them was as interested as Dornell in that day's experiment. It was the staunch Tupcombe, who, with his eyes on the Squire's and young Phelipson's backs, thought how well the latter would have suited Betty, and how greatly the former had changed for the worse during these last two or three years. He cursed his mistress as the cause of the change.

    After this memorable visit to prove his point, the lives of the Dornell couple flowed on quietly enough for the space of a twelvemonth, the Squire for the most part remaining at Falls, and Betty passing and repassing between them now and then, once or twice alarming her mother by not driving home from her father's house till midnight.

    The repose of King's-Hintock was broken by the arrival of a special messenger. Squire Dornell had had an access of gout so violent as to be serious. He wished to see Betty again: why had she not come for so long?

    Mrs. Dornell was extremely reluctant to take Betty in that direction too frequently; but the girl was so anxious to go, her interests latterly seeming to be so entirely bound up in Falls-Park and its neighborhood, that there was nothing to be done but to let her set out and accompany her.

    Squire Dornell had been impatiently awaiting her arrival. They found him very ill and irritable. It had been his habit to take powerful medicines to drive away his enemy, and they had failed in their effect on this occasion.

    The presence of his daughter, as usual, calmed him much, even while, as usual too, it saddened him; for he could never forget that she had disposed of herself for life in opposition to his wishes, though she had secretly assured him that she would never have consented had she been as old as she was now.

    As on a former occasion, his wife wished to speak to him alone about the girl's future, the time now drawing nigh at which Reynard was expected to come and claim her. He would have done so already, but he had been put off by the earnest request of the young woman herself, which accorded with that of her parents, on the score of her youth. Reynard had deferentially submitted to their wishes in this respect, the understanding between them having been that he would not visit her before she was eighteen, except by the mutual consent of all parties. But this could not go on much longer, and there was no doubt, from the tenor of his last letter, that he would soon take possession of her whether or no.

    To be out of the sound of this delicate discussion Betty was accordingly sent downstairs, and they soon saw her walking away into the shrubberies, looking very pretty in her sweeping green gown, and flapping broad-brimmed hat overhung with a feather.

    On returning to the subject, Mrs. Dornell found her husband's reluctance to reply in the affirmative to Reynard's letter to be as great as ever.

    'She is three months short of eighteen!' he exclaimed. ''Tis too soon. I won't hear of it! If I have to keep him off sword in hand, he shall not have her yet.'

    'But, my dear Thomas,' she expostulated, 'consider if anything should happen to you or to me, how much better it would be that she should be settled in her home with him!'

    'I say it is too soon!' he argued, the veins of his forehead beginning to swell. 'If he gets her this side o' Candlemas I'll challenge en--I'll take my oath on't! I'll be back to King's-Hintock in two or three days, and I'll not lose sight of her day or night!'

    She feared to agitate him further, and gave way, assuring him, in obedience to his demand, that if Reynard should write again before he got back, to fix a time for joining Betty, she would put the letter in her husband's hands, and he should do as he chose. This was all that required discussion privately, and Mrs. Dornell went to call in Betty, hoping that she had not heard her father's loud tones.

    She had certainly not done so this time. Mrs. Dornell followed the path along which she had seen Betty wandering, but went a considerable distance without perceiving anything of her. The Squire's wife then turned round to proceed to the other side of the house by a short cut across the grass, when, to her surprise and consternation, she beheld the object of her search sitting on the horizontal bough of a cedar, beside her being a young man, whose arm was round her waist. He moved a little, and she recognized him as young Phelipson.

    Alas, then, she was right. The so-called counterfeit love was real. What Mrs. Dornell called her husband at that moment, for his folly in originally throwing the young people together, it is not necessary to mention. She decided in a moment not to let the lovers know that she had seen them. She accordingly retreated, reached the front of the house by another route, and called at the top of her voice from a window, 'Betty!'

    For the first time since her strategic marriage of the child, Susan Dornell doubted the wisdom of that step.

    Her husband had, as it were, been assisted by destiny to make his objection, originally trivial, a valid one. She saw the outlines of trouble in the future. Why had Dornell interfered? Why had he insisted upon producing his man? This, then, accounted for Betty's pleading for postponement whenever the subject of her husband's return was broached; this accounted for her attachment to Falls-Park. Possibly this very meeting that she had witnessed had been arranged by letter.

    Perhaps the girl's thoughts would never have strayed for a moment if her father had not filled her head with ideas of repugnance to her early union, on the ground that she had been coerced into it before she knew her own mind; and she might have rushed to meet her husband with open arms on the appointed day.

    Betty at length appeared in the distance in answer to the call, and came up pale, but looking innocent of having seen a living soul. Mrs. Dornell groaned in spirit at such duplicity in the child of her bosom. This was the simple creature for whose development into womanhood they had all been so tenderly waiting--a forward minx, old enough not only to have a lover, but to conceal his existence as adroitly as any woman of the world! Bitterly did the Squire's lady regret that Stephen Reynard had not been allowed to come to claim her at the time he first proposed.

    The two sat beside each other almost in silence on their journey back to King's-Hintock. Such words as were spoken came mainly from Betty, and their formality indicated how much her mind and heart were occupied with other things.

    Mrs. Dornell was far too astute a mother to openly attack Betty on the matter. That would be only fanning flame. The indispensable course seemed to her to be that of keeping the treacherous girl under lock and key till her husband came to take her off her mother's hands. That he would disregard Dornell's opposition, and come soon, was her devout wish.

    It seemed, therefore, a fortunate coincidence that on her arrival at King's-Hintock a letter from Reynard was put into Mrs. Dornell's hands. It was addressed to both her and her husband, and courteously informed them that the writer had landed at Bristol, and proposed to come on to King's-Hintock in a few days, at last to meet and carry off his darling Betty, if she and her parents saw no objection.

    Betty had also received a letter of the same tenor. Her mother had only to look at her face to see how the girl received the information. She was as pale as a sheet.

    'You must do your best to welcome him this time, my dear Betty,' her mother said gently.


    'You are a woman now,' added her mother severely, 'and these postponements must come to an end.'

    'But my father--oh, I am sure he will not allow this! I am not ready. If he could only wait a year longer--if he could only wait a few months longer! Oh, I wish--I wish my dear father were here! I will send to him instantly.' She broke off abruptly, and falling upon her mother's neck, burst into tears, saying, 'O my mother, have mercy upon me--I do not love this man, my husband!'

    The agonized appeal went too straight to Mrs. Dornell's heart for her to hear it unmoved. Yet, things having come to this pass, what could she do? She was distracted, and for a moment was on Betty's side. Her original thought had been to write an affirmative reply to Reynard, allow him to come on to King's-Hintock, and keep her husband in ignorance of the whole proceeding till he should arrive from Falls on some fine day after his recovery, and find everything settled, and Reynard and Betty living together in harmony. But the events of the day, and her daughter's sudden outburst of feeling, had overthrown this intention. Betty was sure to do as she had threatened, and communicate instantly with her father, possibly attempt to fly to him. Moreover, Reynard's letter was addressed to Mr. Dornell and herself conjointly, and she could not in conscience keep it from her husband.

    'I will send the letter on to your father instantly,' she replied soothingly. 'He shall act entirely as he chooses, and you know that will not be in opposition to your wishes. He would ruin you rather than thwart you. I only hope he may be well enough to bear the agitation of this news. Do you agree to this?'

    Poor Betty agreed, on condition that she should actually witness the dispatch of the letter. Her mother had no objection to offer to this; but as soon as the horseman had cantered down the drive toward the highway, Mrs. Dornell's sympathy with Betty's recalcitration began to die out. The girl's secret affection for young Phelipson could not possibly be condoned. Betty might communicate with him, might even try to reach him. Ruin lay that way. Stephen Reynard must be speedily installed in his proper place by Betty's side.

    She sat down and penned a private letter to Reynard, which threw light upon her plan.

    'It is Necessary that I should now tell you,' she said, 'what I have never Mentioned before--indeed I may have signified the Contrary--that her Father's Objection to your joining her has not as yet been overcome. As I personally wish to delay you no longer--am indeed as anxious for your Arrival as you can be yourself, having the good of my Daughter at Heart--no course is left open to me but to assist your Cause without my Husband's Knowledge. He, I am sorry to say, is at present ill at Falls- Park, but I felt it my Duty to forward him your Letter. He will therefore be like to reply with a peremptory Command to you to go back again, for some Months, whence you came, till the Time he originally stipulated has expir'd. My Advice is, if you get such a Letter, to take no Notice of it, but to come on hither as you had proposed, letting me know the Day and Hour (after dark, if possible) at which we may expect you. Dear Betty is with me, and I warrant ye that she shall be in the House when you arrive.'

    Mrs. Dornell, having sent away this epistle unsuspected of anybody, next took steps to prevent her daughter leaving the Court, avoiding if possible to excite the girl's suspicions that she was under restraint. But, as if by divination, Betty had seemed to read the husband's approach in the aspect of her mother's face.

    'He is coming!' exclaimed the maiden.

    'Not for a week,' her mother assured her.

    'He is then--for certain?'

    'Well, yes.'

    Betty hastily retired to her room, and would not be seen.

    To lock her up, and hand over the key to Reynard when he should appear in the hall, was a plan charming in its simplicity, till her mother found, on trying the door of the girl's chamber softly, that Betty had already locked and bolted it on the inside, and had given directions to have her meals served where she was, by leaving them on a dumb-waiter outside the door.

    Thereupon Mrs. Dornell noiselessly sat down in her boudoir, which, as well as her bed-chamber, was a passage-room to the girl's apartment, and she resolved not to vacate her post night or day till her daughter's husband should appear, to which end she too arranged to breakfast, dine, and sup on the spot. It was impossible now that Betty should escape without her knowledge, even if she had wished, there being no other door to the chamber, except one admitting to a small inner dressing-room inaccessible by any second way.

    But it was plain that the young girl had no thought of escape. Her ideas ran rather in the direction of entrenchment: she was prepared to stand a siege, but scorned flight. This, at any rate, rendered her secure. As to how Reynard would contrive a meeting with her coy daughter while in such a defensive humor, that, thought her mother, must be left to his own ingenuity to discover.

    Betty had looked so wild and pale at the announcement of her husband's approaching visit that Mrs. Dornell, somewhat uneasy, could not leave her to herself. She peeped through the keyhole an hour later. Betty lay on the sofa, staring listlessly at the ceiling.

    'You are looking ill, child,' cried her mother. 'You've not taken the air lately. Come with me for a drive.'

    Betty made no objection. Soon they drove through the park towards the village, the daughter still in the strained, strung-up silence that had fallen upon her. They left the park to return by another route, and on the open road passed a cottage.

    Betty's eye fell upon the cottage-window. Within it she saw a young girl about her own age, which she knew by sight, sitting in a chair and propped by a pillow. The girl's face was covered with scales, which glistened in the sun. She was a convalescent from smallpox--a disease whose prevalence at that period was a terror of which we at present can hardly form a conception.

    An idea suddenly energized Betty's apathetic features. She glanced at her mother; Mrs. Dornell had been looking in the opposite direction. Betty said that she wished to go back to the cottage for a moment to speak to a girl in whom she took an interest. Mrs. Dornell appeared suspicious, but observing that the cottage had no back-door, and that Betty could not escape without being seen, she allowed the carriage to be stopped. Betty ran back and entered the cottage, emerging again in about a minute, and resuming her seat in the carriage. As they drove on she fixed her eyes upon her mother and said, 'There, I have done it now!' Her pale face was stormy, and her eyes full of waiting tears.

    'What have you done?' said Mrs. Dornell.

    'Nanny Priddle is sick of the smallpox, and I saw her at the window, and I went in and kissed her, so that I might take it; and now I shall have it, and he won't be able to come near me!'

    'Wicked girl!' cries her mother. 'Oh, what am I to do! What--bring distemper on yourself, and usurp the sacred prerogative of God, because you can't palate the man you've wedded!'

    The alarmed woman gave orders to drive home as rapidly as possible, and on arriving, Betty, who was by this time also somewhat frightened at her own enormity, was put into a bath, and fumigated, and treated in every way that could be thought of to ward off the dreadful malady that in a rash moment she had tried to acquire.

    There was now a double reason for isolating the rebellious daughter and wife in her own chamber, and there she accordingly remained for the rest of the day and the days that followed; till no ill results seemed likely to arise from her willfulness.

    Meanwhile the first letter from Reynard, announcing to Mrs. Dornell and her husband jointly that he was coming in a few days, had sped on its way to Falls-Park. It was directed under cover to Tupcombe, the confidential servant, with instructions not to put it into his master's hands till he had been refreshed by a good long sleep. Tupcombe much regretted his commission, letters sent in this way always disturbing the Squire; but guessing that it would be infinitely worse in the end to withhold the news than to reveal it, he chose his time, which was early the next morning, and delivered the missive.

    The utmost effect that Mrs. Dornell had anticipated from the message was a peremptory order from her husband to Reynard to hold aloof a few months longer. What the Squire really did was to declare that he would go himself and confront Reynard at Bristol, and have it out with him there by word of mouth.

    'But, master,' said Tupcombe, 'you can't. You cannot get out of bed.'

    'You leave the room, Tupcombe, and don't say "can't" before me! Have Jerry saddled in an hour.'

    The long-tried Tupcombe thought his employer demented, so utterly helpless was his appearance just then, and he went out reluctantly. No sooner was he gone than the Squire, with great difficulty, stretched himself over to a cabinet by the bedside, unlocked it, and took out a small bottle. It contained a gout specific, against whose use he had been repeatedly warned by his regular physician, but whose warning he now cast to the winds.

    He took a double dose, and waited half an hour. It seemed to produce no effect. He then poured out a treble dose, swallowed it, leant back upon his pillow, and waited. The miracle he anticipated had been worked at last. It seemed as though the second draught had not only operated with its own strength, but had kindled into power the latent forces of the first. He put away the bottle, and rang up Tupcombe.

    Less than an hour later one of the housemaids, who of course was quite aware that the Squire's illness was serious, was surprised to hear a bold and decided step descending the stairs from the direction of Mr. Dornell's room, accompanied by the humming of a tune. She knew that the doctor had not paid a visit that morning, and that it was too heavy to be the valet or any other man-servant. Looking up, she saw Squire Dornell fully dressed, descending toward her in his drab caped riding-coat and boots, with the swinging easy movement of his prime. Her face expressed her amazement.

    'What the devil beest looking at?' said the Squire. 'Did you never see a man walk out of his house before, wench?'

    Resuming his humming--which was of a defiant sort--he proceeded to the library, rang the bell, asked if the horses were ready, and directed them to be brought round. Ten minutes later he rode away in the direction of Bristol, Tupcombe behind him, trembling at what these movements might portend.

    They rode on through the pleasant woodlands and the monotonous straight lanes at an equal pace. The distance traversed might have been about fifteen miles when Tupcombe could perceive that the Squire was getting tired--as weary as he would have been after riding three times the distance ten years before. However, they reached Bristol without any mishap, and put up at the Squire's accustomed inn. Dornell almost immediately proceeded on foot to the inn which Reynard had given as his address, it being now about four o'clock.

    Reynard had already dined--for people dined early then--and he was staying indoors. He had already received Mrs. Dornell's reply to his letter; but before acting upon her advice and starting for King's-Hintock he made up his mind to wait another day, that Betty's father might at least have time to write to him if so minded. The returned traveler much desired to obtain the Squire's assent, as well as his wife's, to the proposed visit to his bride, that nothing might seem harsh or forced in his method of taking his position as one of the family. But though he anticipated some sort of objection from his father-in-law, in consequence of Mrs. Dornell's warning, he was surprised at the announcement of the Squire in person.

    Stephen Reynard formed the completest of possible contrasts to Dornell as they stood confronting each other in the best parlor of the Bristol tavern. The Squire, hot-tempered, gouty, impulsive, generous, reckless; the younger man, pale, tall, sedate, self-possessed--a man of the world, fully bearing out at least one couplet in his epitaph, still extant in King's-Hintock church, which places in the inventory of his good qualities.

    'Engaging Manners, cultivated Mind, Adorn'd by Letters, and in Courts refin'd.'

    He was at this time about five-and-thirty, though careful living and an even, unemotional temperament caused him to look much younger than his years.

    Squire Dornell plunged into his errand without much ceremony or preface.

    'I am your humble servant, sir,' he said. 'I have read your letter writ to my wife and myself, and considered that the best way to answer it would be to do so in person.'

    'I am vastly honored by your visit, sir,' said Mr. Stephen Reynard, bowing.

    'Well, what's done can't be undone,' said Dornell, 'though it was mighty early, and was no doing of mine. She's your wife; and there's an end on't. But in brief, sir, she's too young for you to claim yet; we mustn't reckon by years; we must reckon by nature. She's still a girl; 'tis onpolite of 'ee to come yet; next year will be full soon enough for you to take her to you.'

    Now, courteous as Reynard could be, he was a little obstinate when his resolution had once been formed. She had been promised him by her eighteenth birthday at latest--sooner if she were in robust health. Her mother had fixed the time on her own judgment, without a word of interference on his part. He had been hanging about foreign courts till he was weary. Betty was now as woman, if she would ever be one, and there was not, in his mind, the shadow of an excuse for putting him off longer. Therefore, fortified as he was by the support of her mother, he blandly but firmly told the Squire that he had been willing to waive his rights, out of deference to her parents, to any reasonable extent, but must now, in justice to himself and her insist on maintaining them. He therefore, since she had not come to meet him, should proceed to King's- Hintock in a few days to fetch her.

    This announcement, in spite of the urbanity with which it was delivered, set Dornell in a passion.

    'Oh dammy, sir; you talk about rights, you do, after stealing her away, a mere child, against my will and knowledge! If we'd begged and prayed 'ee to take her, you could say no more.'

    'Upon my honor, your charge is quite baseless, sir,' said his son-in- law. 'You must know by this time--or if you do not, it has been a monstrous cruel injustice to me that I should have been allowed to remain in your mind with such a stain upon my character--you must know that I used no seductiveness or temptation of any kind. Her mother assented; she assented. I took them at their word. That you was really opposed to the marriage was not known to me till afterwards.'

    Dornell professed to believe not a word of it. 'You sha'n't have her till she's dree sixes full--no maid ought to be married till she's dree sixes!--and my daughter sha'n't be treated out of nater!' So he stormed on till Tupcombe, who had been alarmedly listening in the next room, entered suddenly, declaring to Reynard that his master's life was in danger if the interview were prolonged, he being subject to apoplectic strokes at these crises. Reynard immediately said that he would be the last to wish to injure Squire Dornell, and left the room, and as soon as the Squire had recovered breath and equanimity, he went out of the inn, leaning on the arm of Tupcombe.

    Tupcombe was for sleeping in Bristol that night, but Dornell, whose energy seemed as invincible as it was sudden, insisted upon mounting and getting back as far as Falls-Park, to continue the journey to King's-Hintock on the following day. At five they started, and took the southern road toward the Mendip Hills. The evening was dry and windy, and, excepting that the sun did not shine, strongly reminded Tupcombe of the evening of that March month, nearly five years earlier, when news had been brought to King's-Hintock Court of the child Betty's marriage in London--news which had produced upon Dornell such a marked effect for the worse ever since, and indirectly upon the household of which he was the head. Before that time the winters were lively at Falls-Park, as well as at King's-Hintock, although the Squire had ceased to make it his regular residence. Hunting-guests and shooting-guests came and went, and open house was kept. Tupcombe disliked the clever courtier who had put a stop to this by taking away from the Squire the only treasure he valued.

    It grew darker with their progress along the lanes, and Tupcombe discovered from Mr. Dornell's manner of riding that his strength was giving way; and spurring his own horse close alongside, he asked him how he felt.

    'Oh, bad; damn bad, Tupcombe! I can hardly keep my seat. I shall never be any better, I fear! Have we passed Three-Man-Gibbet yet?'

    'Not yet by a long ways, sir.'

    'I wish we had. I can hardly hold on.' The Squire could not repress a groan now and then, and Tupcombe knew he was in great pain. 'I wish I was underground--that's the place for such fools as I! I'd gladly be there if it were not for Mistress Betty. He's coming on to King's-Hintock to-morrow--he won't put it off any longer; he'll set out and reach there to-morrow night, without stopping at Falls; and he'll take her unawares, and I want to be there before him.'

    'I hope you may be well enough to do it, sir. But really--'

    'I _must_, Tupcombe! You don't know what my trouble is; it is not so much that she is married to this man without my agreeing--for, after all, there's nothing to say against him, so far as I know; but that she don't take to him at all, seems to fear him--in fact, cares nothing about him; and if he comes forcing himself into the house upon her, why, 'twill be rank cruelty. Would to the Lord something would happen to prevent him!'

    How they reached home that night Tupcombe hardly knew. The Squire was in such pain that he was obliged to recline upon his horse, and Tupcombe was afraid every moment lest he would fall into the road. But they did reach home at last, and Mr. Dornell was instantly assisted to bed.

    Next morning it was obvious that he could not possibly go to King's-Hintock for several days at least, and there on the bed he lay, cursing his inability to proceed on an errand so personal and so delicate that no emissary could perform it. What he wished to do was to ascertain from Betty's own lips if her aversion to Reynard was so strong that his presence would be positively distasteful to her. Were that the case, he would have borne her away bodily on the saddle behind him.

    But all that was hindered now, and he repeated a hundred times in Tupcombe's hearing, and in that of the nurse and other servants, 'I wish to God something would happen to him!'

    This sentiment, reiterated by the Squire as he tossed in the agony induced by the powerful drugs of the day before, entered sharply into the soul of Tupcombe and of all who were attached to the house of Dornell, as distinct from the house of his wife at King's-Hintock. Tupcombe, who was an excitable man, was hardly less disquieted by the thought of Reynard's return than the Squire himself was. As the week drew on, and the afternoon advanced at which Reynard would in all probability be passing near Falls on his way to the Court, the Squire's feelings became acuter, and the responsive Tupcombe could hardly bear to come near him. Having left him in the hands of the doctor, the former went out upon the lawn, for he could hardly breathe in the contagion of excitement caught from the employer who had virtually made him his confidant. He had lived with the Dornells from his boyhood, had been born under the shadow of their walls; his whole life was annexed and welded to the life of the family in a degree which has no counterpart in these latter days.

    He was summoned indoors, and learnt that it had been decided to send for Mrs. Dornell: her husband was in great danger. There were two or three who could have acted as messenger, but Dornell wished Tupcombe to go, the reason showing itself when, Tupcombe being ready to start, Squire Dornell summoned him to his chamber and leaned down so that he could whisper in his ear:

    'Put Peggy along smart, Tupcombe, and get there before him, you know--before him. This is the day he fixed. He has not passed Falls cross-roads yet. If you can do that you will be able to get Betty to come--d'ye see?--after her mother has started; she'll have a reason for not waiting for him. Bring her by the lower road--he'll go by the upper. Your business is to make 'em miss each other--d'ye see?--but that's a thing I couldn't write down.'

    Five minutes after, Tupcombe was astride the horse and on his way--the way he had followed so many times since his master, a florid young countryman, had first gone wooing to King's-Hintock Court. As soon as he had crossed the hills in the immediate neighborhood of the manor, the road lay over a plain, where it ran in long straight stretches for several miles. In the best of times, when all had been gay in the united houses, that part of the road had seemed tedious. It was gloomy in the extreme now that he pursued it, at night and alone, on such an errand.

    He rode and brooded. If the Squire were to die, he, Tupcombe, would be alone in the world and friendless, for he was no favorite with Mrs. Dornell; and to find himself baffled, after all, in what he had set his mind on, would probably kill the Squire. Thinking thus, Tupcombe stopped his horse every now and then, and listened for the coming husband. The time was drawing on to the moment when Reynard might be expected to pass along this very route. He had watched the road well during the afternoon, and had inquired of the tavern-keepers as he came up to each, and he was convinced that the premature descent of the stranger-husband upon his young mistress had not been made by this highway as yet.

    Besides the girl's mother, Tupcombe was the only member of the household who suspected Betty's tender feelings towards young Phelipson, so unhappily generated on her return from school; and he could therefore imagine, even better than her fond father, what would be her emotions on the sudden announcement of Reynard's advent that evening at King's-Hintock Court.

    So he rode and rode, desponding and hopeful by turns. He felt assured that, unless in the unfortunate event of the almost immediate arrival of her son-in law at his own heels, Mrs. Dornell would not be able to hinder Betty's departure for her father's bedside.

    It was about nine o'clock that, having put twenty miles of country behind him, he turned in at the lodge-gate nearest to Ivell and King's-Hintock village, and pursued the long north drive--itself much like a turnpike road--which led thence through the park to the Court. Though there were so many trees in King's-Hintock park, few bordered the carriage roadway; he could see it stretching ahead in the pale night light like an unrolled deal shaving. Presently the irregular frontage of the house came in view, of great extent, but low, except where it rose into the outlines of a broad square tower.

    As Tupcombe approached he rode aside upon the grass, to make sure, if possible, that he was the first comer, before letting his presence be known. The Court was dark and sleepy, in no respect as if a bridegroom were about to arrive.

    While pausing he distinctly heard the tread of a horse upon the track behind him, and for a moment despaired of arriving in time: here, surely, was Reynard! Pulling up closer to the densest tree at hand he waited, and found he had retreated nothing too soon, for the second rider avoided the gravel also, and passed quite close to him. In the profile he recognized young Phelipson.

    Before Tupcombe could think what to do, Phelipson had gone on; but not to the door of the house. Swerving to the left, he passed round to the east angle, where, as Tupcombe knew, were situated Betty's apartments. Dismounting, he left the horse tethered to a hanging bough, and walked on to the house.

    Suddenly his eye caught sight of an object which explained the position immediately. It was a ladder stretching from beneath the trees, which there came pretty close to the house, up to a first-floor window--one which lighted Miss Betty's rooms. Yes, it was Betty's chamber; he knew every room in the house well.

    The young horseman who had passed him, having evidently left his steed somewhere under the trees also, was perceptible at the top of the ladder, immediately outside Betty's window. While Tupcombe watched, a cloaked female figure stepped timidly over the sill, and the two cautiously descended, one before the other, the young man's arms enclosing the young woman between his grasp of the ladder, so that she could not fall. As soon as they reached the bottom, young Phelipson quickly removed the ladder and hid it under the bushes. The pair disappeared; till, in a few minutes, Tupcombe could discern a horse emerging from a remoter part of the umbrage. The horse carried double, the girl being on a pillion behind her lover.

    Tupcombe hardly knew what to do or think; yet, though this was not exactly the kind of flight that had been intended, she had certainly escaped. He went back to his own animal, and rode round to the servants' door, where he delivered the letter for Mrs. Dornell. To leave a verbal message for Betty was now impossible.

    The Court servants desired him to stay over the night, but he would not do so, desiring to get back to the Squire as soon as possible and tell what he had seen. Whether he ought not to have intercepted the young people, and carried off Betty himself to her father, he did not know. However, it was too late to think of that now, and without wetting his lips or swallowing a crumb, Tupcombe turned his back upon King's-Hintock Court.

    It was not till he had advanced a considerable distance on his way homeward that, halting under the lantern of a roadside-inn while the horse was watered, there came a traveler from the opposite direction in a hired coach; the lantern lit the stranger's face as he passed along and dropped into the shade. Tupcombe exulted for the moment, though he could hardly have justified his exultation. The belated traveler was Reynard; and another had stepped in before him.

    You may now be willing to know of the fortunes of Miss Betty. Left much to herself through the intervening days, she had ample time to brood over her desperate attempt at the stratagem of infection--thwarted, apparently, by her mother's promptitude. In what other way to gain time she could not think. Thus drew on the day and the hour of the evening on which her husband was expected to announce himself.

    At some period after dark, when she could not tell, a tap at the window, twice and thrice repeated, became audible. It caused her to start up, for the only visitant in her mind was the one whose advances she had so feared as to risk health and life to repel them. She crept to the window, and heard a whisper without.

    'It is I--Charley,' said the voice.

    Betty's face fired with excitement. She had latterly begun to doubt her admirer's staunchness, fancying his love to be going off in mere attentions which neither committed him nor herself very deeply. She opened the window, saying in a joyous whisper, 'Oh Charley; I thought you had deserted me quite!'

    He assured her he had not done that, and that he had a horse in waiting, if she would ride off with him. 'You must come quickly,' he said; 'for Reynard's on the way!'

    To throw a cloak round herself was the work of a moment, and assuring herself that her door was locked against a surprise, she climbed over the window-sill and descended with him as we have seen.

    Her mother meanwhile, having received Tupcombe's note, found the news of her husband's illness so serious, as to displace her thoughts of the coming son-in-law, and she hastened to tell her daughter of the Squire's dangerous condition, thinking it might be desirable to take her to her father's bedside. On trying the door of the girl's room, she found it still locked. Mrs. Dornell called, but there was no answer. Full of misgivings, she privately fetched the old house-steward and bade him burst open the door--an order by no means easy to execute, the joinery of the Court being massively constructed. However, the lock sprang open at last, and she entered Betty's chamber only to find the window unfastened and the bird flown.

    For a moment Mrs. Dornell was staggered. Then it occurred to her that Betty might have privately obtained from Tupcombe the news of her father's serious illness, and, fearing she might be kept back to meet her husband, have gone off with that obstinate and biassed servitor to Falls- Park. The more she thought it over the more probable did the supposition appear; and binding her own head-man to secrecy as to Betty's movements, whether as she conjectured, or otherwise, Mrs. Dornell herself prepared to set out.

    She had no suspicion how seriously her husband's malady had been aggravated by his ride to Bristol, and thought more of Betty's affairs than of her own. That Betty's husband should arrive by some other road to-night, and find neither wife nor mother-in-law to receive him, and no explanation of their absence, was possible; but never forgetting chances, Mrs. Dornell as she journeyed kept her eyes fixed upon the highway on the off-side, where, before she had reached the town of Ivell, the hired coach containing Stephen Reynard flashed into the lamplight of her own carriage.

    Mrs. Dornell's coachman pulled up, in obedience to a direction she had given him at starting; the other coach was hailed, a few words passed, and Reynard alighted and came to Mrs. Dornell's carriage-window.

    'Come inside,' says she. 'I want to speak privately to you. Why are you so late?'

    'One hindrance and another,' says he. 'I meant to be at the Court by eight at latest. My gratitude for your letter. I hope--'

    'You must not try to see Betty yet,' said she. 'There be far other and newer reasons against your seeing her now than there were when I wrote.'

    The circumstances were such that Mrs. Dornell could not possibly conceal them entirely; nothing short of knowing some of the facts would prevent his blindly acting in a manner which might be fatal to the future. Moreover, there are times when deeper intriguers than Mrs. Dornell feel that they must let out a few truths, if only in self-indulgence. So she told so much of recent surprises as that Betty's heart had been attracted by another image than his, and that his insisting on visiting her now might drive the girl to desperation. 'Betty has, in fact, rushed off to her father to avoid you,' she said. 'But if you wait she will soon forget this young man, and you will have nothing to fear.'

    As a woman and a mother she could go no further, and Betty's desperate attempt to infect herself the week before as a means of repelling him, together with the alarming possibility that, after all, she had not gone to her father but to her lover, was not revealed.

    'Well,' sighed the diplomatist, in a tone unexpectedly quiet, 'such things have been known before. After all, she may prefer me to him some day, when she reflects how very differently I might have acted than I am going to act towards her. But I'll say no more about that now. I can have a bed at your house for to-night?'

    'To-night, certainly. And you leave to-morrow morning early?' She spoke anxiously, for on no account did she wish him to make further discoveries. 'My husband is so seriously ill,' she continued, 'that my absence and Betty's on your arrival is naturally accounted for.'

    He promised to leave early, and to write to her soon. 'And when I think the time is ripe,' he said, 'I'll write to her. I may have something to tell her that will bring her to graciousness.'

    It was about one o'clock in the morning when Mrs. Dornell reached Falls- Park. A double blow awaited her there. Betty had not arrived; her flight had been else whither; and her stricken mother divined with whom. She ascended to the bedside of her husband, where to her concern she found that the physician had given up all hope. The Squire was sinking, and his extreme weakness had almost changed his character, except in the particular that his old obstinacy sustained him in a refusal to see a clergyman. He shed tears at the least word, and sobbed at the sight of his wife. He asked for Betty, and it was with a heavy heart that Mrs. Dornell told him that the girl had not accompanied her.

    'He is not keeping her away?'

    'No, no. He is going back--he is not coming to her for some time.'

    'Then what is detaining her--cruel, neglectful maid!'

    'No, no, Thomas; she is-- She could not come.'

    'How's that?'

    Somehow the solemnity of these last moments of his gave him inquisitorial power, and the too cold wife could not conceal from him the flight which had taken place from King's-Hintock that night.

    To her amazement, the effect upon him was electrical.

    'What--Betty--a trump after all? Hurrah! She's her father's own maid! She's game! She knew he was her father's own choice! She vowed that my man should win! Well done, Bet!--haw! haw! Hurrah!'

    He had raised himself in bed by starts as he spoke, and now fell back exhausted. He never uttered another word, and died before the dawn. People said there had not been such an ungenteel death in a good county family for years.

    Now I will go back to the time of Betty's riding off on the pillion behind her lover. They left the park by an obscure gate to the east, and presently found themselves in the lonely and solitary length of the old Roman road now called Long-Ash Lane.

    By this time they were rather alarmed at their own performance, for they were both young and inexperienced. Hence they proceeded almost in silence till they came to a mean roadside inn which was not yet closed; when Betty, who had held on to him with much misgiving all this while, felt dreadfully unwell, and said she thought she would like to get down.

    They accordingly dismounted from the jaded animal that had brought them, and were shown into a small dark parlor, where they stood side by side awkwardly, like the fugitives they were. A light was brought, and when they were left alone Betty threw off the cloak which had enveloped her. No sooner did young Phelipson see her face than he uttered an alarmed exclamation.

    'Why, Lord, Lord, you are sickening for the small-pox!' he cried.

    'Oh--I forgot!' faltered Betty. And then she informed him that, on hearing of her husband's approach the week before, in a desperate attempt to keep him from her side, she had tried to imbibe the infection--an act which till this moment she had supposed to have been ineffectual, imagining her feverishness to be the result of her excitement.

    The effect of this discovery upon young Phelipson was overwhelming. Better-seasoned men than he would not have been proof against it, and he was only a little over her own age. 'And you've been holding on to me!' he said. 'And suppose you get worse, and we both have it, what shall we do? Won't you be a fright in a month or two, poor, poor Betty!'

    In his horror he attempted to laugh, but the laugh ended in a weakly giggle. She was more woman than girl by this time, and realized his feeling.

    'What--in trying to keep off him, I keep off you?' she said miserably. 'Do you hate me because I am going to be ugly and ill?'

    'Oh--no, no!' he said soothingly. 'But I--I am thinking if it is quite right for us to do this. You see, dear Betty, if you was not married it would be different. You are not in honor married to him we've often said; still you are his by law, and you can't be mine whilst he's alive. And with this terrible sickness coming on, perhaps you had better let me take you back, and--climb in at the window again.'

    'Is _this_ your love?' said Betty reproachfully. 'Oh, if you was sickening for the plague itself, and going to be as ugly as the Ooser in the church-vestry, I wouldn't--'

    'No, no, you mistake, upon my soul!'

    But Betty with a swollen heart had rewrapped herself and gone out of the door. The horse was still standing there. She mounted by the help of the upping-stock, and when he had followed her she said, 'Do not come near me, Charley; but please lead the horse, so that if you've not caught anything already you'll not catch it going back. After all, what keeps off you may keep off him. Now onward.'

    He did not resist her command, and back they went by the way they had come, Betty shedding bitter tears at the retribution she had already brought upon herself; for though she had reproached Phelipson, she was staunch enough not to blame him in her secret heart for showing that his love was only skin-deep. The horse was stopped in the plantation, and they walked silently to the lawn, reaching the bushes wherein the ladder still lay.

    'Will you put it up for me?' she asked mournfully.

    He re-erected the ladder without a word; but when she approached to ascend he said, 'Good-bye, Betty!'

    'Good-bye!' said she; and involuntarily turned her face towards his. He hung back from imprinting the expected kiss: at which Betty started as if she had received a poignant wound. She moved away so suddenly that he hardly had time to follow her up the ladder to prevent her falling.

    'Tell your mother to get the doctor at once!' he said anxiously.

    She stepped in without looking behind; he descended, withdrew the ladder, and went away.

    Alone in her chamber, Betty flung herself upon her face on the bed, and burst into shaking sobs. Yet she would not admit to herself that her lover's conduct was unreasonable; only that her rash act of the previous week had been wrong. No one had heard her enter, and she was too worn out, in body and mind, to think or care about medical aid. In an hour or so she felt yet more unwell, positively ill; and nobody coming to her at the usual bedtime, she looked towards the door. Marks of the lock having been forced were visible, and this made her chary of summoning a servant. She opened the door cautiously and sallied forth downstairs.

    In the dining-parlor, as it was called, the now sick and sorry Betty was startled to see at that late hour not her mother, but a man sitting, calmly finishing his supper. There was no servant in the room. He turned, and she recognized her husband.

    'Where's my mamma?' she demanded without preface.

    'Gone to your father's. Is that--' He stopped, aghast.

    'Yes, sir. This spotted object is your wife! I've done it because I don't want you to come near me!'

    He was sixteen years her senior; old enough to be compassionate. 'My poor child, you must get to bed directly! Don't be afraid of me--I'll carry you upstairs, and send for a doctor instantly.'

    'Ah, you don't know what I am!' she cried. 'I had a lover once; but now he's gone! 'Twasn't I who deserted him. He has deserted me; because I am ill he wouldn't kiss me, though I wanted him to!'

    'Wouldn't he? Then he was a very poor slack-twisted sort of fellow. Betty, _I've_ never kissed you since you stood beside me as my little wife, twelve years and a half old! May I kiss you now?'

    Though Betty by no means desired his kisses, she had enough of the spirit of Cunigonde in Schiller's ballad to test his daring. 'If you have courage to venture, yes sir!' said she. 'But you may die for it, mind!'

    He came up to her and imprinted a deliberate kiss full upon her mouth, saying, 'May many others follow!'

    She shook her head, and hastily withdrew, though secretly pleased at his hardihood. The excitement had supported her for the few minutes she had passed in his presence, and she could hardly drag herself back to her room. Her husband summoned the servants, and, sending them to her assistance, went off himself for a doctor.

    The next morning Reynard waited at the Court till he had learnt from the medical man that Betty's attack promised to be a very light one--or, as it was expressed, 'very fine'; and in taking his leave sent up a note to her:

    'Now I must be Gone. I promised your Mother I would not see You yet, and she may be anger'd if she finds me here. Promise to see me as Soon as you are well?'

    He was of all men then living one of the best able to cope with such an untimely situation as this. A contriving, sagacious, gentle-mannered man, a philosopher who saw that the only constant attribute of life is change, he held that, as long as she lives, there is nothing finite in the most impassioned attitude a woman may take up. In twelve months his girl-wife's recent infatuation might be as distasteful to her mind as it was now to his own. In a few years her very flesh would change--so said the scientific;--her spirit, so much more ephemeral, was capable of changing in one. Betty was his, and it became a mere question of means how to effect that change.

    During the day Mrs. Dornell, having closed her husband's eyes, returned to the Court. She was truly relieved to find Betty there, even though on a bed of sickness. The disease ran its course, and in due time Betty became convalescent, without having suffered deeply for her rashness, one little speck beneath her ear, and one beneath her chin, being all the marks she retained.

    The Squire's body was not brought back to King's-Hintock. Where he was born, and where he had lived before wedding his Sue, there he had wished to be buried. No sooner had she lost him than Mrs. Dornell, like certain other wives, though she had never shown any great affection for him while he lived, awoke suddenly to his many virtues, and zealously embraced his opinion about delaying Betty's union with her husband, which she had formerly combated strenuously. 'Poor man! how right he was, and how wrong was I!' Eighteen was certainly the lowest age at which Mr. Reynard should claim her child--nay, it was too low! Far too low!

    So desirous was she of honoring her lamented husband's sentiments in this respect, that she wrote to her son-in-law suggesting that, partly on account of Betty's sorrow for her father's loss, and out of consideration for his known wishes for delay, Betty should not be taken from her till her nineteenth birthday.

    However much or little Stephen Reynard might have been to blame in his marriage, the patient man now almost deserved to be pitied. First Betty's skittishness; now her mother's remorseful _volte-face_: it was enough to exasperate anybody; and he wrote to the widow in a tone which led to a little coolness between those hitherto firm friends. However, knowing that he had a wife not to claim but to win, and that young Phelipson had been packed off to sea by his parents, Stephen was complaisant to a degree, returning to London, and holding quite aloof from Betty and her mother, who remained for the present in the country. In town he had a mild visitation of the distemper he had taken from Betty, and in writing to her he took care not to dwell upon its mildness. It was now that Betty began to pity him for what she had inflicted upon him by the kiss, and her correspondence acquired a distinct flavor of kindness thenceforward.

    Owing to his rebuffs, Reynard had grown to be truly in love with Betty in his mild, placid, durable way--in that way which perhaps, upon the whole, tends most generally to the woman's comfort under the institution of marriage, if not particularly to her ecstasy. Mrs. Dornell's exaggeration of her husband's wish for delay in their living together was inconvenient, but he would not openly infringe it. He wrote tenderly to Betty, and soon announced that he had a little surprise in store for her. The secret was that the King had been graciously pleased to inform him privately, through a relation, that His Majesty was about to offer him a Barony. Would she like the title to be Ivell? Moreover, he had reason for knowing that in a few years the dignity would be raised to that of an Earl, for which creation he thought the title of Wessex would be eminently suitable, considering the position of much of their property. As Lady Ivell, therefore, and future Countess of Wessex, he should beg leave to offer her his heart a third time.

    He did not add, as he might have added, how greatly the consideration of the enormous estates at King's-Hintock and elsewhere which Betty would inherit, and her children after her, had conduced to this desirable honor.

    Whether the impending titles had really any effect upon Betty's regard for him I cannot state, for she was one of those close characters who never let their minds be known upon anything. That such honor was absolutely unexpected by her from such a quarter is, however, certain; and she could not deny that Stephen had shown her kindness, forbearance, even magnanimity; had forgiven her for an errant passion which he might with some reason have denounced, notwithstanding her cruel position as a child entrapped into marriage ere able to understand its bearings.

    Her mother, in her grief and remorse for the loveless life she had led with her rough, though open-hearted, husband, made now a creed of his merest whim; and continued to insist that, out of respect to his known desire, her son-in-law should not reside with Betty till the girl's father had been dead a year at least, at which time the girl would still be under nineteen. Letters must suffice for Stephen till then.

    'It is rather long for him to wait,' Betty hesitatingly said one day.

    'What!' said her mother. 'From _you_? not to respect your dear father--'

    'Of course it is quite proper,' said Betty hastily. 'I don't gainsay it. I was but thinking that--that--'

    In the long slow months of the stipulated interval her mother tended and trained Betty carefully for her duties. Fully awake now to the many virtues of her dear departed one, she, among other acts of pious devotion to his memory, rebuilt the church of King's-Hintock village, and established valuable charities in all the villages of that name, as far as to Little-Hintock, several miles eastward.

    In superintending these works, particularly that of the church-building, her daughter Betty was her constant companion, and the incidents of their execution were doubtless not without a soothing effect upon the young creature's heart. She had sprung from girl to woman by a sudden bound, and few would have recognized in the thoughtful face of Betty now the same person who, the year before, had seemed to have absolutely no idea whatever of responsibility, moral or other. Time passed thus till the Squire had been nearly a year in his vault; and Mrs. Dornell was duly asked by letter by the patient Reynard if she were willing for him to come soon. He did not wish to take Betty away if her mother's sense of loneliness would be too great, but would willingly live at King's-Hintock awhile with them.

    Before the widow had replied to this communication, she one day happened to observe Betty walking on the south terrace in the full sunlight, without hat or mantle, and was struck by her child's figure. Mrs. Dornell called her in, and said suddenly: 'Have you seen your husband since the time of your poor father's death?'

    'Well--yes, mamma,' says Betty, coloring.

    'What--against my wishes and those of your dear father! I am shocked at your disobedience!'

    'But my father said eighteen, ma'am, and you made it much longer--'

    'Why, of course--out of consideration for you! When have ye seen him?'

    'Well,' stammered Betty, 'in the course of his letters to me he said that I belonged to him, and if nobody knew that we met it would make no difference. And that I need not hurt your feelings by telling you.'


    'So I went to Casterbridge that time you went to London about five months ago--'

    'And met him there? When did you come back?'

    'Dear mamma, it grew very late, and he said it was safer not to go back till next day, as the roads were bad; and as you were away from home--'

    'I don't want to hear any more! This is your respect for your father's memory,' groaned the widow. 'When did you meet him again?'

    'Oh--not for more than a fortnight.'

    'A fortnight! How many times have ye seen him altogether?'

    'I'm sure, mamma; I've not seen him altogether a dozen times.'

    'A dozen! And eighteen and a half years old barely!'

    'Twice we met by accident,' pleaded Betty. 'Once at Abbot's-Cernel, and another time at the Red Lion, Melchester.'

    'O thou deceitful girl!' cried Mrs. Dornell. 'An accident took you to the Red Lion whilst I was staying at the White Hart! I remember--you came in at twelve o'clock at night and said you'd been to see the cathedral by the light o' the moon!'

    'My ever-honored mamma, so I had! I only went to the Red Lion with him afterwards.'

    'Oh Betty, Betty! That my child should have deceived me even in my widowed days!'

    'But, my dearest mamma, you made me marry him!' says Betty with spirit, 'and of course I've to obey him more than you now!'

    Mrs. Dornell sighed. 'All I have to say is, that you'd better get your husband to join you as soon as possible,' she remarked. 'To go on playing the maiden like this--I'm ashamed to see you!'

    She wrote instantly to Stephen Reynard: 'I wash my hands of the whole matter as between you two; though I should advise you to _openly_ join each other as soon as you can--if you wish to avoid scandal.'

    He came, though not till the promised title had been granted, and he could call Betty archly 'My Lady.'

    People said in after years that she and her husband were very happy. However that may be, they had a numerous family; and she became in due course first Countess of Wessex, as he had foretold.

    The little white frock in which she had been married to him at the tender age of twelve was carefully preserved among the relics at King's-Hintock Court, where it may still be seen by the curious--a yellowing, pathetic testimony to the small count taken of the happiness of an innocent child in the social strategy of those days, which might have led, but providentially did not lead, to great unhappiness.

    When the Earl died Betty wrote him an epitaph, in which she described him as the best of husbands, fathers, and friends, and called herself his disconsolate widow.

    Such is woman; or rather (not to give offence by so sweeping an assertion), such was Betty Dornell.

    It was at a meeting of one of the Wessex Field and Antiquarian Clubs that the foregoing story, partly told, partly read from a manuscript, was made to do duty for the regulation papers on deformed butterflies, fossil ox- horns, prehistoric dung-mixens, and such like, that usually occupied the more serious attention of the members.

    This Club was of an inclusive and intersocial character; to a degree, indeed, remarkable for the part of England in which it had its being--dear, delightful Wessex, whose statuesque dynasties are even now only just beginning to feel the shaking of the new and strange spirit without, like that which entered the lonely valley of Ezekiel's vision and made the dry bones move: where the honest squires, tradesmen, parsons, clerks, and people still praise the Lord with one voice for His best of all possible worlds.

    The present meeting, which was to extend over two days, had opened its proceedings at the museum of the town whose buildings and environs were to be visited by the members. Lunch had ended, and the afternoon excursion had been about to be undertaken, when the rain came down in an obstinate spatter, which revealed no sign of cessation. As the members waited they grew chilly, although it was only autumn, and a fire was lighted, which threw a cheerful shine upon the varnished skulls, urns, penates, tesserae, costumes, coats of mail, weapons, and missals, animated the fossilized ichthyosaurus and iguanodon; while the dead eyes of the stuffed birds--those never-absent familiars in such collections, though murdered to extinction out of doors--flashed as they had flashed to the rising sun above the neighboring moors on the fatal morning when the trigger was pulled which ended their little flight. It was then that the historian produced his manuscript, which he had prepared, he said, with a view to publication. His delivery of the story having concluded as aforesaid, the speaker expressed his hope that the constraint of the weather, and the paucity of more scientific papers, would excuse any inappropriateness in his subject.

    Several members observed that a storm-bound club could not presume to be selective, and they were all very much obliged to him for such a curious chapter from the domestic histories of the county.

    The President looked gloomily from the window at the descending rain, and broke a short silence by saying that though the Club had met, there seemed little probability of its being able to visit the objects of interest set down among the _agenda_.

    The Treasurer observed that they had at least a roof over their heads; and they had also a second day before them.

    A sentimental member, leaning back in his chair, declared that he was in no hurry to go out, and that nothing would please him so much as another county story, with or without manuscript.

    The Colonel added that the subject should be a lady, like the former, to which a gentleman known as the Spark said 'Hear, hear!'

    Though these had spoken in jest, a rural dean who was present observed blandly that there was no lack of materials. Many, indeed, were the legends and traditions of gentle and noble dames, renowned in times past in that part of England, whose actions and passions were now, but for men's memories, buried under the brief inscription on a tomb or an entry of dates in a dry pedigree.

    Another member, an old surgeon, a somewhat grim though sociable personage, was quite of the speaker's opinion, and felt quite sure that the memory of the reverend gentleman must abound with such curious tales of fair dames, of their loves and hates, their joys and their misfortunes, their beauty and their fate.

    The parson, a trifle confused, retorted that their friend the surgeon, the son of a surgeon, seemed to him, as a man who had seen much and heard more during the long course of his own and his father's practice, the member of all others most likely to be acquainted with such lore.

    The bookworm, the Colonel, the historian, the Vice-president, the churchwarden, the two curates, the gentleman-tradesman, the sentimental member, the crimson maltster, the quiet gentleman, the man of family, the Spark, and several others, quite agreed, and begged that he would recall something of the kind. The old surgeon said that, though a meeting of the Mid-Wessex Field and Antiquarian Club was the last place at which he should have expected to be called upon in this way, he had no objection; and the parson said he would come next. The surgeon then reflected, and decided to relate the history of a lady named Barbara, who lived towards the end of the last century, apologizing for his tale as being perhaps a little too professional. The crimson maltster winked to the Spark at hearing the nature of the apology, and the surgeon began.

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