Saturday, June 4, 2016

Wait For Me!--The Lady

I picked up Deborah Mitford (Cavendish), The Duchess of Devonshire's autobiography "Wait For Me!" last week and I am struck over and over again by the little touches of Neelsism throughout her story. Perhaps it is because the women covered a similar time period (1920-2014).
Here's a little bit from her wiki page:
She married Lord Andrew Cavendish, younger son of the 10th Duke of Devonshire, in 1941. When Cavendish's older brother, William, Marquess of Hartington, was killed in action in 1944, Cavendish became heir to the dukedom and began to use the courtesy title Marquess of Hartington. In 1950, on the death of his father, the Marquess of Hartington became the 11th Duke of Devonshire.[1]
The Duchess was the main public face of Chatsworth for many decades. She wrote several books about Chatsworth, and played a key role in the restoration of the house, the enhancement of the garden and the development of commercial activities such as Chatsworth Farm Shop (which is on a quite different scale from most farm shops, as it employs a hundred people); Chatsworth's other retail and catering operations; and assorted offshoots such as Chatsworth Food, which sells luxury foodstuffs carrying her signature; and Chatsworth Design, which sells image rights to items and designs from the Chatsworth collections. Recognising the commercial imperatives of running a stately home, she took a very active role and was known to man the Chatsworth House ticket office herself.

Manning the ticket office! 
Anyway, I thought it would be fun if I did a running series of posts here and there of portions of the book where the Neels-ishness spills over and has to be posted. Here's the first:
"Grandfather Bowles gave my father a job in the office of The Lady, the magazine he had founded in 1885 specifically for women and which is still famous today for its classified columns advertising for domestic and other help..."
She goes on to tell how her grandfather fell in love with his children's nanny (Tello) but that she had had an affair with a man which produced a child.
"Tello went out of the children's lives for some years after they returned to England. Then one day my mother was walking down Sloane Street when she saw, to her joy, Tello accompanied by four little boys in sailor suits. It transpired that the eldest was the son of the naval officr in Alexandria, but the next three were sired by Grandfather and were my mother's half-brothers. He had forgiven Tello her peccadillo, set her up in a house in London and made her editor of The Lady, a position she held for many years (including those when (Father) was managing director of the magazine). My mother always wondered why he had not married her but guessed it would have been because of the eldest boy. Tello and Muv (Mother) took up their friendship where they had left off..."


  1. What interesting stories! Grandfather Bowles & Tello — these things seem to run in the family. I wonder why he didn't marry her. At least, he was a widower, whereas his own father was a married man when he had an affair. Thomas Gibson Bowles "was the illegitimate offspring of Thomas Milner Gibson and a servant girl named Susannah Bowles."

    Grandfather Gibson's father's wife's father (so no relation, alas) is interesting from a Betty point of view:
    Sir Thomas Gery Cullum, 7th Baronet (30 November 1741 – 8 September 1831) was a medical doctor educated at London Charterhouse and Trinity College, Cambridge,[1] and who later practised surgery at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, where he served as an alderman and DL for Suffolk. Cullum was the son of Sir John Cullum, 5th Baronet, of Hardwick House, Hardwick, Suffolk.
    He was a well-regarded writer on science and on botany and a fellow of the Royal Society, Society of Antiquaries of London and of the Linnaean Society.
    Cullum's credentials as a scholar were such that he was recommended as a fellow of the Royal Society in January 1787 along with his fellow scholar James Smithson, for whom the later Smithsonian Institution would be named.
    Perhaps the highest compliment paid to Cullum was that from Sir James Edward Smith, noted English botanist and founder of the Linnaean Society. Smith dedicated his English Flora of 1824 to Cullum thus: "To Sir Thomas Gery Cullum, Bart., whose knowledge and love of natural science entitle him to the respect of all who follow the same pursuit, this work is inscribed in grateful and affectionate remembrance by the Author."[8] Smith's publications had followed a privately printed flora by Cullum, Floræ Anglicæ Specimen imperfectum et ineditum, 1774, which was based on the Linnean system of classification.

  2. Fascinating! I've just read the first few pages... Have to put it on my wish list!