Untold lives blog

82 posts categorized "Domestic life"

27 March 2014

A truly original Richard III

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To celebrate World Theatre Day we have the story of an East India Company sea captain performing the title role in Richard III at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 17 January 1803. 

Captain James Peter Fearon was born in London on 17 February 1773, the son of two well-known actors, James Fearon and his wife Mary. James Fearon died at Richmond aged 43 on 30 September 1789, leaving a widow and eight children between the ages of sixteen and nearly one.   Benefit performances were held in theatres to raise money for the family, with the Duke of Clarence contributing 20 guineas.

Eldest son James Peter was serving as a midshipman on the East India Company ship Queen at the time of his father’s death.  Perhaps an influential patron with whom his father had come into contact had helped to place the boy in a potentially lucrative career?  James Peter progressed steadily upwards through the ranks of ship’s officer, and was appointed captain of the East Indiaman Belvedere for her voyage to China from May 1801 to September 1802. 

His brothers also secured positions with the East India Company. Peter Fearon was appointed an officer cadet in the Bombay Army in 1799, and John Douglas Fearon was a cadet for Madras in 1807.  Two of his sisters became the wives of Company men and a third married a Royal Army officer in India.

 Richard III 03080653
David Garrick (1717-1774) as Richard III Images Online  Noc

Captain Fearon’s theatrical debut as Richard III was well-received by the large number of sailors in the audience and by the press.  He gave the performance twice more in January.  The Monthly Mirror believed that he could have a stage career as there was ‘much genius’ in his performance notwithstanding the blemishes. His voice was described as ‘uncommonly powerful, but not so melodious’ and he was praised for his ‘freedom of deportment, confidence, feeling, and unabating spirit’. However Fearon was criticised for hurrying through many of the most significant soliloquies as if he did not understand their meaning: ‘He appears, throughout, to be running a race with the character, and frequently gets the start of it’. The Morning Post wrote that the Captain’s face was capable of very little variety of expression, yet he had the great recommendation of being no imitator but a truly original Richard.

This triumph was followed on 9 February 1803 with Fearon’s appearance at Drury Lane as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.  Sadly this performance to a meagre audience was not well received. His portrayal of ‘deep and gloomy malignancy’ was described as feeble.

Captain Fearon was facing financial ruin as he trod the boards. He was declared bankrupt in February 1803. He was subsequently licensed as a free mariner by the East India Company and sailed for Bombay in 1807.  In another change of career Fearon purchased the Bombay Gazette in 1810, but this appears to have been an unsuccessful venture.  James Peter Fearon was living as a mariner in Calcutta when he died at sea in 1821. His will was proved in India, leaving his property to be divided between his mother and sisters.

Margaret Makepeace
Curator, East India Company Records  Cc-by

Further reading:

British Newspaper Archive - for example Morning Post 18 January 1803 and 29 January 1803

The Monthly Mirror vol XV (1803)

Philip H. Highfill, Kalman A. Burnim, and Edward A. Langhans, A biographical dictionary of actors, actresses musicians, dancers, managers and other stage personnel in London, 1660-1800 (1973-1993)

Find my Past for the Fearon family in India -

Cadet Papers of Peter Fearon IOR/L/MIL/9/110 f.401

Cadet Papers of John Douglas Fearon L/MIL/9/108 ff.562-63

Estate papers of James Peter Fearon IOR/L/AG/34/29/33 p.1057; IOR/L/AG/34/27/76 p. 982

24 March 2014

Meet the Benthams: an extraordinary Georgian family

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The British Library has joined the Transcribe Bentham initiative, and needs your help to uncover the secret life of Jeremy Bentham, philosopher, reformer, and Georgian gentleman.  Transcribe Bentham, an online scholarly crowdsourcing project, invites members of the public to explore and transcribe the manuscripts of Jeremy Bentham.  Since its launch in 2010, Transcribe Bentham’s online volunteers have made important discoveries in UCL’s collection of digitised Bentham manuscripts, for instance in relation to his most famous invention—the Panopticon prison.

The British Library is digitising its own collection of Bentham papers and these are now being made available on Transcribe Bentham to complement UCL’s own on-going digitisation programme, virtually reuniting the two Bentham collections for the first time since Bentham’s death.  Volunteers do not need any specialist equipment or expert knowledge to begin participating—just a willingness to get to grips with 18th and 19th century handwriting and to type what they read into a text box using a specially-adapted transcription toolbar.  

  Bentham 33537_294_001
NocPseudo-Voltaire (John Lind) to Jeremy Bentham, sent in 1774 (British Library Add MS 33537 f.294r)

Whilst the UCL collection contains mainly philosophical writings, in the British Library collection there is potential to uncover Bentham’s more personal side, as it contains thousands of letters.  Bentham was described by Jose del Valle, the Guatemalan politician, as the ‘Legislator of the world’ and such a title is certainly justified by the sheer number of nationally and internationally important figures with whom he corresponded.  Within the British Library’s collection are letters from the French general Lafayette, the English abolitionist William Wilberforce, and Alexander I, Emperor of Russia.  But the collection also contains a great deal of personal correspondence, and volunteers will encounter Jeremy’s extended family: his mother, Alicia; his step-mother, Sarah; his brother, Samuel, the renowned naval architect; his step-brother Charles Abbot, later 1st Baron Colchester, Speaker of the House of Commons; his nephew George, the famous botanist; and the patriarch of the family, Jeremiah Bentham.  There is even a letter from Jeremiah to Jeremy’s headmaster at Westminster School, complaining about the alleged plundering of his son’s book case by some older ‘lads’.  

   Bentham 33537_037_001

Jeremiah Bentham’s letter to Mr Cooper, complaining about the theft of little Jeremy’s school books (British Library Add MS 33537 f. 37r)  Noc

Because some of this correspondence has not been read since its original composition, discoveries made by volunteers have the potential to fundamentally shape and illuminate our understanding of Bentham’s life and relationships (the definitive biography of Bentham still remains unwritten).  Once completed, transcripts are presented alongside the original manuscript image in a digital repository, freely accessible to anyone interested in researching Bentham.  In addition, any volunteers who produce transcripts that are subsequently used in the new edition of Bentham’s Collected Works, currently being prepared by the Bentham Project at UCL and published by Oxford University Press, will receive full credit for their contribution in the particular volume’s acknowledgements.

Kris Grint
Research Associate, Bentham Project, Faculty of Laws, UCL   Cc-by

Visit the Transcribe Bentham  Transcription Desk today

Follow Transcribe Bentham on Twitter @TranscriBentham

Further reading:

Jeremy Bentham, Selected Writings, ed. by Stephen Engelmann (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011)

Philip Schofield, Bentham: A Guide for the Perplexed (London: Continuum, 2009)

05 March 2014

‘Our hero is a sportsman’: British domestic interiors in 19th century India

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The British public first glimpsed the domestic interiors established by East India Company men and women in India through portraits. Although many artists situated their subjects in verandahs or out in Indian gardens, some painters chose interior settings.  These early peeks soon became unsatisfactory as greater numbers of Britons (including women) embarked for India in the early 19th century. At this point, demand grew for information about life in India.

While early books relied on text to enlarge on topics as diverse as the prevalence of white ants and the dangers posed by tigers, in the 1810s they also came to include images. In 1842, for instance, William Tayler published Sketches Illustrating the Manners & Customs of the Indians and Anglo-Indians.  His employment in the Company allowed Tayler to claim particular knowledge of Anglo-Indian life in Bengal. His images and descriptions aimed to instruct British audiences at home but also contained inherent tensions, depicting both a desire to conform to British norms and a separate Anglo-Indian way of life.  They also hinted at the ways in which men and women might perform that Anglo-Indian identity differently.

Young civilian's toilet
‘The Young Civilians Toilet’, William Tayler, Sketches Illustrating the Manners & Customs of the Indians and Anglo-Indians (1842)  Noc

In response to the ‘nabob controversy’ of the late eighteenth century, East India Company officials resident in India sought to justify their seemingly luxurious lifestyle. They explained their large retinues of servants by arguing that this was the best means by which they could enact their growing governance roles.  ‘The Young Civilians Toilet’ shows a domestic space with multiple Indian servants performing different tasks and a range of distinctively ‘British’ objects. Riding boots, saddle, gun case and ‘racquette’ remind us that ‘our hero is a sportsman’. A bill for jewellery suggests at his ‘matrimonial intentions’. Despite the rich sensuality of his present life, his affections are clearly suitably bestowed on the greyhound by his side, his beloved depicted in a portrait on the wall and his ‘favourite’ horse in a separate (but more central) portrait beside her.

Young lady's toilet
 ‘The Young Lady’s Toilet’, William Tayler, Sketches Illustrating the Manners & Customs of the Indians and Anglo-Indians (1842) Noc

Tayler’s next image is of the young woman at the centre (or near centre) of ‘our hero’s’ affections. Again much attention is given to the servants waiting upon her.  Yet the objects in the room fail to assert a predominantly British character. While a portrait of a British soldier takes pride of place above her dressing table, the foreground is claimed by a fan and shawl.  A parrot sits in front of a Chinese lacquer screen, a reminder of the intra-Asian trade. Indian landscapes are referenced in a painting rather than homely scenes of Britain. A large punkah and a ‘striped cloth Purdah’ also hang in the room.

Tayler is commenting on the material strategies young Britons could use to continue to perform their national identities whilst highlighting their confident engagement with Indian practices. Yet it seems that their different genders presuppose different relationships with India and China. The objects in each room suggest that while the young man remains wedded to Britain, the young woman is in danger of becoming thoroughly entangled with Indian Ocean world. Tayler resolves this problem in a third engraving showing the pair married and sat at the breakfast table. British accoutrements safely surround the woman. Most significantly she now has a dog by her side – no doubt a gift from ‘our hero’. 

 India - Europeans breakfasting compressed  D40087-35Noc ‘The Breakfast’, William Tayler, Sketches Illustrating the Manners & Customs of the Indians and Anglo-Indians (1842) Images Online


Kate Smith
Research Fellow, History, UCL


Further reading:

Thomas Williamson, The East India Vade-Mecum (London: Black, Parry and Kingsbury, 1810)

Charles D’Oyly, The Costume and Customs of Modern India (London: E. Orme, 1813)

William Tayler, Sketches Illustrating the Manners & Customs of the Indians & Anglo Indians (London: Thomas McLean, 1842)

Prasannajit de Silva, ‘Representing Home Life Abroad: British Domestic Life in Early-Nineteenth-Century India’, Visual Culture in Britain, 12:3 (2011)

E. M. Collingham, Imperial Bodies: The Physical Experience of the Raj, c.1800-1947 (Malden, MA and Cambridge: Polity, 2001)

David Porter, The Chinese taste in eighteenth-century England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)


28 February 2014

Treating the Kaiser’s Withered Arm

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On 27 January 1859 in the Kronprinzenpalais in Berlin, Prince Friedrich Victor Wilhelm Albert Hohenzollern – Queen Victoria’s first grandchild– was born with his left arm around his neck.  It took three days for anyone to notice the arm had been damaged, but it was a problem which the future Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia would spend the rest of his life trying to conceal.

Prince Wilhelm was left with Erb’s Palsy after a protracted breech birth during which the two attending doctors were hamstrung by royal etiquette forcing them to work beneath the mother’s skirts, and the message summoning Berlin’s foremost obstetrician got lost.  Permanent withering of the arm was probably caused by damage done to the nerves in his arm and neck by the forceps which dragged him out.  Born blue, he was initially presumed dead and only brought round by vigorous rubbing which probably only made the nerve damage worse.  It has often been speculated that oxygen deprivation at birth also left him with minor brain damage, a theory which certainly would explain the unstable personality for which he would become infamous.

In early infancy, it became clear that the young Prince’s left arm was not growing properly.  His left hand was a claw and the arm a shrunken dead weight. Physical prowess was prized amongst the Prussian royals, so from the age of six months the Prince began to undergo arcane but undeniably imaginative treatments intended to fix his damaged arm.  Some treatments were inoffensively useless – the arm was sprayed with seawater, massaged and wrapped in cold compresses – but others were more macabre.  The practice of weekly “animal baths”, which essentially required the arm to be shoved inside the carcass of a freshly killed animal so that the heat might galvanise the shrivelled tissue, was thought by Queen Victoria to be revolting and idiotic.  The method of binding the young Prince’s good arm to his body so that his left arm would “have to work” did little except compromise his balance, whilst drastic electric shock therapy was administered when he was barely a year old.  At the age of four, he was placed in a body-stretching machine akin to a medieval rack to correct the various muscular problems that had developed in his neck and shoulders.

Kaiser 079161Noc
'The Kaiser and Prince Henry of Prussia arrive to-day'. Report for Thursday 19 May 1910. Image taken from Daily SketchImages Online 

As an adult, the Kaiser was semi-successful in hiding the withered arm.  In formal pictures, he typically posed with his left hand resting on his sword with the right on top, and with gloves to provide distraction. His clothes were tailored with higher pockets to disguise the length of his left arm and he grew adept at shooting and riding with his right arm.  Historical videos show passable movement in his left arm and a 1915 edition of the Toronto World even claimed that  “a series of string and cords, acting like muscles…connected with the good muscles of the shoulder most adroitly, enable him to impart to it movements that are almost life-like”.  The Kaiser’s physical deficiency has often been identified as the key to his lust for military and imperial power and it is interesting to speculate on the course European history might have taken had he not had such a traumatic entry into the world.

Julia Armfield
Former Intern, Printed Historical Sources

Further Reading

Miranda Carter, The Three Emperors (London, 2009)

World War One on the British Library website


24 February 2014

The age of the train - British Railways ephemera

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Much has been written about the history of rail travel and British Railways in particular, with transport-dedicated bookshops still existing when conventional booksellers have gone out of business.  After nationalisation of the lines in 1948, rail was promoted in various ways and, fortunately, British Railways made sure that the resulting ephemera were deposited with the British Museum (as the British Library was until 1974).  The leaflets generally thrown away by the public were preserved here at the Library (shelfmark WP14515) and they reveal how society has changed in terms of mobility, demographics, and family life.

  British Railways - spread of leaflets A jpg



The BR pamphlets started out in the 1950s as a way to convey basic information.  Timetables aside, they were a means to announce technical improvements such as electrification, which would of course derail the age of steam trains.  By the 1960s, the Government-run system started to describe itself as more than a practicality of life, re-inventing the service as one offering possibilities to anyone with the correct fare. 

There were a variety of ways that the united rail service promoted itself, appealing to both the single and the married, the holidaymakers and shoppers, the football fans keen to follow their teams in person, and those who could be induced by bargain fares.  Group outings were encouraged, school trips for the children and conferences for adults. 

Although mystery tours are nowadays often themed as outings-on-foot, to see architecture or ‘ghosts’, or organised by niche holiday companies, modern railways seem to have abandoned the pitch.  But there was a time when people paid for rail journeys not quite knowing where they’d be going!

Occasionally, BR printed non-trendy leaflets, such as a self-congratulatory one announcing the very first automatic level crossing barriers (1961), and an apology for “teething troubles” with the new diesel service (1960).  And the company needed staff and so in the early 1960s printed leaflets such as Girls, Look Ahead and There’s a Job Here for You!

It’s easy to be fooled by old prices.  Travelling from Leeds to Burnley for a football match cost just £1 return in 1974, but that special price would be about £18 today.  A return journey from Newcastle-Sunderland to London was only £16 back in 1981, which translates to £126 today. 

And for particular schedules, the Library has retained many, from branch lines to major routes.  As British Railways reminded the public, This is the age of the train.

Andy Simons
Curator, Printed Historical Sources  Cc-by

21 February 2014

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

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Wills are a wonderful resource for researching individuals and families.   They can reveal places of residence and birth, occupations, family relationships, friendship groups, property, and personal possessions.  Dark secrets concealed for many years may come to light through an urge to resolve matters once and for all at death.

A large collection of wills and estate papers for British India has recently been put online by find my past. Spanning a 250- year period, they include wills written by civil, military and maritime employees of the East India Company and India Office, as well as private individuals such as merchants and planters, and women.


  Cooke will_L-AG-34-29-27_00629
IOR/L/AG/34/29/27 f.629  Noc

One of the wills which has been digitised is that of William Cooke, a surgeon on the East India Company’s Bengal establishment.  The document reveals a great deal about Cooke and his family, and provides many clues for further research.  When he wrote the will on 24 March 1808, Cooke was living in London at Gerrard Street Soho, but he formerly lived in Barnstaple Devon. There are details of the marriage settlement made for the benefit of his wife Jane and any children they might have together. Cooke made arrangements for a pension to be paid for the maintenance of Bebee Nancy of Monghier in the East Indies.  Bebee Nancy is described as nurse to Cooke’s ‘reputed natural son’ Charles Cooke, otherwise known as William Henry Cooke.  Cooke also made provision for three other natural children ‘begot in India’: Eliza Douglas Cooke, Henry Cooke (now in Bengal), and Susan Cooke. Other family members in England are mentioned, including Cooke’s sister Susan who was married to Philip Peard, an attorney at law residing at Ely Place, London.  At the time of making his will, William Cooke was about to sail to Bengal with his daughters Eliza and Susan on board the Sovereign, Captain Alexander Campbell.

A codicil made at Cawnpore on 18 August 1809 makes specific bequests of a number of William Cooke’s personal possessions. His wearing apparel, jewels, trinkets and ornaments, books and a piano forte were to be shared by his daughters Eliza and Susan.  His son Charles was to receive a fowling piece, a silver gilt snuff box, and a pair of sleeve buttons. His son in England, William Owen Cooke, was to have the seal which was a gift from the Nawab of Oudh, a small cornelian ring, and a mourning ring of his dead parents.

By the time Cooke wrote a second codicil on 2 April 1813, his son Henry was dead, and both daughters had married. Eliza was the wife of John McDowell a Captain in the East India Company Artillery, and Susan was now called Chadwick.  Probate of the will was granted to Eliza in November 1815 after William Cooke died in India.

There are many leads to follow up: William’s marriage to Jane; the baptisms of the children in India and England; the voyage to India; Henry and William’s deaths; Eliza and Susan’s marriages.  So where there is a will, there often is a way to make progress with your family history research!

Margaret Makepeace
Curator, East India Company Records  Cc-by

Further reading

Will of William Cooke IOR/L/AG/34/29/27 f.629 one of 2.5 million records digitised by find my past

Bear’s grease, bonnets, bellows, biscuits and Bibles – an inventory of a Simla merchant’s possessions at death

17 February 2014

Fanny Murray, Fair and Reigning Toast

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A unique illustrated broadside in the British Library’s collections shows the courtesan Fanny Murray (1729-1778) in two guises. In one woodcut she appears ‘in her primitive innocence’, which in this case means a fashionable gown designed to demurely cover her charms. She holds a sheet of music in her hand and a fan and a book lie on the table before her.  This is an image of a genteel and accomplished young lady.

Fanny Murray HS741659-1A Fanny Murray ‘in her primitive innocence’  Noc

 The woodcut is accompanied by verses which point a moral. Above the picture the lines refer to youthful, happy love. Below, they describe Fanny’s haughty disdain towards would-be lovers and how as she ages and loses her beauty they desert her, until she is forced to turn ‘monstrously devout’.  The stomacher and fichu of her dress appear to be English in style. They resemble those in her well-known mezzotint portrait, which must have had a wide circulation given Fanny Murray’s undoubted celebrity.

In the other woodcut, titled the ‘Careless Maid’ she is dressed en deshabille and has her skirt hitched up to adjust her garter. Her neckline is low and she shows a great deal of leg. She is, apparently, standing before her dressing table. This is an image of the courtesan preparing for work.

Fanny Murray HS741659-2A
 ‘The Careless Maid’  Noc

The text below compares and contrasts the fashions of English and French women. ‘Elegant Shapes have always been reckoned the peculiar Perfections of English women’, it begins. French ladies ‘invented a Dress to disguise the Shape’ in a bid ‘to hide the Defects of Nature’. Neatness, shown by ‘good Linen, and a great deal of it about their Persons’ is among the excellences of English women. French ladies, on the other hand, favour the latest fashions ‘dingy Gauze, taudry Ribbons, Peten-lairs, Negligees, Sacks, Half-Sacks, and Bed-Gowns’. Miss Murray appears to be dressed in the French style, with a ‘Peten-lair’, a short jacket with a sack-back, over a ‘Negligee’ if not a ‘Bed-Gown’.

She must also be advocating the advice in the text on how to become a ‘compleat’ French lady. ‘

1st. The free Privilege of receiving in their Beds all Visits, as well from their Male as Female Acquaintance.

2dly. A sufficient Number of Male Bedmakers and Valet de Chambres, for their own personal and particular Service.

3dly. The Right of lolling upon Fellows without Controul, nay of kissing ‘em, chucking them under the Chin, and fingering them as much in publick as they please.

4thly. The free Liberty of talking aloud in publick Places of, and laughing at, the Amours of Men, and more particularly those of their own Husbands.

5thly. The full Privilege of openly gartering up their stockings in all publick Assemblies, without being so much as obliged to turn about towards the Wall.’

And 6thly. The free use of the Jordan in all mixed Companies whatever.’

Fanny Murray was definitely in the forefront of fashion, both in her dress and her behaviour.

Moira Goff
Curator Printed Historical Sources 1501-1800  Cc-by

Visit our exhibition Georgians Revealed

Further reading:

E.J. Burford. Wits, Wenchers and Wantons. London’s Low Life: Covent Garden in the Eighteenth Century. London, 1986.

Memoirs of the celebrated Miss Fanny M-. 2nd edition. London, 1759.

07 February 2014

Who wants to be a millionaire? Angela Burdett-Coutts and the man who wouldn’t go away

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Being the richest woman in Victorian England had its drawbacks.  In Anthony Trollope’s novel Doctor Thorne (1858), Miss Dunstable, with a fortune of £200,000, has to fend off marriage proposals from a horde of ambitious young men-about-town.  She soon learns the art of saying no.  As Trollope beautifully puts it: ‘she was already quite accustomed to being the target at which spendthrifts and the needy rich might shoot their arrows: accustomed to being so shot at, and tolerably accustomed to protect herself’.

Angela Burdett-Coutts from Wikimedia Commons

Angela Burdett-Coutts, heiress to the Coutts banking fortune of £1.8 million, also had her full share of unwanted proposals.  She and her companion Hannah Browne quickly developed a routine for dealing with them: ‘Mrs Browne went into the next room and left the door open, and then the proposal took place, and immediately it was done Miss Coutts coughed, and Mrs Browne came in again.’  But some suitors could not be shaken off so easily.  Richard Dunn, a bankrupt Irish barrister, stalked her obsessively, pursuing her all over England and even breaking into her house.

The British Library acquired Angela Burdett-Coutts’s archive in 2006, and we have now acquired a further file of papers containing some of the marriage proposals that made her life a misery.  ‘My Dearest and Most Beloved Miss A.B. Coutts’, writes John Mullinix in 1843, ‘I am a respectable Creditable young Gentleman of Estated Property, hoping you will consent to accept of my Hand and Heart .. Your reply shall have my best attention’.  Another suitor writes in 1846 with admirable brevity: ‘Being desirous of getting married, will you do me the very great happiness of accepting of my hand and heart, who shall love you night and day long’.

The threat of legal action was generally enough to send these young hopefuls packing.  But some continued to buzz around Miss Coutts like flies circling around a honeypot. The most persistent of all was Evan Harris Greene, who kept up an interminable stream of letters and poems professing his undying love and declaring that he was ‘headstrong as a thunderbolt’.  ‘No anxiety distresses me nor does a single doubt perplex my mind.  Should it be in reserve for me to enjoy such unspeakable happiness, I would have no hesitation in confiding to your pure and chaste bosom the inmost secrets of my heart.’

Burdett Coutts Greene letter

Add MS 89032 Letter from E.H. Greene, 23 Jan 1850

Like an annoying fly, Greene simply would not be swatted away.  When his letters were returned to him unopened, he sent them to the Duke of Wellington asking him to forward them to Miss Coutts.  Wellington sent them back with a testy letter: ‘The Duke is not Miss Coutts’s Private Secretary; nor is he the Post Man; nor has he any Relation with the General Post Office!’  Undeterred, Greene wrote back thanking Wellington for ‘the highly distinguished honor and advantage of His Grace’s notice’.  There is a brief glimmer of self-awareness in a letter of 1851, when Greene admitted that ‘the statement of my belief only causes it to be considered I am half witted.’  But it took another twelve years, and two legal actions, before he finally abandoned his pursuit.

As for Angela Burdett-Coutts, she remained unmarried until 1881 – and then, at the age of sixty-six, married a man less than half her age.  The marriage caused a scandal in Victorian society; Queen Victoria called it ‘the mad marriage’.  But perhaps these letters give us a glimpse of her motives.  Having been pestered all her life by men promising her their hand and heart, she can have had few illusions about romantic love.  Like Trollope’s Miss Dunstable when she finally contemplates matrimony in Framley Parsonage, perhaps she was ready to settle for friendship instead.

Arnold Hunt
Curator, Modern Historical Manuscripts