Saturday, 25 October 2008

Siegfried Sassoon's and my mother's landlord (again)


5 Comments:

At 28 October 2008 at 04:57 , Blogger Gondal-girl said...

What a fabulously horrible letter from Speed! Hats off to your Mum, who obviously had superior pluck....Are you writing this all into a book Henri? I do hope so....

 
At 29 October 2008 at 18:38 , Blogger Henri Llewelyn Davies said...

Hi gondal-girl, Thanks so much. Yes, I'm pondering the book of the blog, type of thing.

By the way, talking about babies, I remember you're a fellow Virgo - Virgos when babies are very often viewed as little angels - v. good babies! - by adults...

 
At 29 October 2008 at 23:49 , Blogger Gondal-girl said...

Sounds like you could fill volumes!

Yes, placid was the word used to describe me while I was a virgo in a shell when small, now, I doubt that my halo still shines....

the letter dated in your post is my actual birthday

 
At 1 November 2008 at 03:32 , Blogger oxford-reader said...

What a letter to write to someone who has just given birth. Well done to your mother for not letting it get the better of her.

And how facinating, too, to learn that the du Maurier's judged so much on looks!

 
At 1 November 2008 at 11:34 , Blogger Henri Llewelyn Davies said...

gondal-girl: what could be more delightful (for relatives) than a 'placid' baby - you were clearly a little Virgo angel, as mentioned, i.e. viz a most considerate person, even in your cradle.... well, okay, us perfectionists/perfect specimens of babyhood may get a little bit tainted by the world shortly after infancy - we can't be expected to be perfect always when living in an imperfect world, blah blah, etc etc! (c.f. the poem 'Animula' by T.S. Eliot - who come to think of it was actually a Libran...)

oxford-reader: many thanks - I'm pretty impressed by my mother's stubborn sang-froid at the time.

Yes, many du Mauriers, I'd say, were almost notoriously looksist.
A random report of this, amongst many: Denis Mackail, who wrote the first biography of J.M. Barrie, wrote that Sylvia du Maurier's mother was for a long while opposed to her daughter's marriage to struggling barrister Arthur Llewelyn Davies, even though "as he was tall and good-looking he obviously had two of the qualities which for the rest of the family were of extreme importance." (Mrs du M., Sylvia's mother, wasn't a du M. by birth of course - she married in!)

My grandmother married my grandfather when she was nineteen. Young, shy and tongue-tied as she said she was then (not at all the Grannie I knew!), she seemed to think that she was accepted in her husband Jack Ll.D's sophisticated family circle only because they thought she was rather beautiful.

 

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