Friday, August 19, 2016

Wait for Me! -- A Broken Engagement

A continuing series of Neels-ian excerpts from the autobiography ("Wait for Me!") of Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire:

A London wedding was planned. The dining room was filled with presents--in those days the merest acquaintence sent something--and an oyster-colored silk trousseau had been ordered. But as the day grew closer it became obvious that Togo would not go through with it. To Pam's disappointment, he broke off the engagement and the piles of presents had to be packed up and returned. My mother, who realized that Togo would not have made Pam happy, was relieved--better to make the break before than after the marriage.

Sounds like Pam is ripe for a job on the continent, looking after the niece and nephew of an acerbic professor.


  1. She's had a narrow escape then, and thankfully Togo did not have the professor's set of ethics. - And you know he could not have been Mr Right with a name like Togo. ;o)

    My mother, who realized that (hyphenated first name) would not have made my sister happy, was relieved--better to make the break before than after the marriage.
    Engagement presents had to be returned, the wedding dinner had to be canceled. But, best of all, it was my sister who broke off the engagement, though perhaps not as close to the un-happy event as in Pam's case.

  2. Ah, his mom is to blame for his name:

    Oliver Vernon Watney
    Born 22 Oct 1902 in St. Georges, Hanover Square, London, Eng.

    Known to his family as "Togo", being so named
    after a Spanish child his mother met, as she thought he looked

    Remembered by his niece Ruth for his kind ways.

    Educated at Eton and Christ Church Oxford
    Director of Watney Combe Reid & Co 1926
    Master Brewer 1934

    Used to call his dogs after famous musicians ie Bruno (Walter), Arthur (Rubenstein).

    See the biography of Nancy Mitford by Selina Hastings, (Card from Ann Gifford-Mead W202), on page 41 AND IN 1922 A BOY CALLED Togo Watney was to be invited to a dance. And on page 44 "There were dances at the houses of local families: the Watneys......"

    Togo's page on Oliver Vernon Watney

    Larger but fuzzy image

    Togo got married in 1934: Kirsty Watney
    born: Christina Margaret Nelson, 3 Juli, 1905, Edinburgh, Scotland

  3. Portrait of Pamela Freeman-Mitford, second of the six Mitford sisters, pictured in The Sketch at the time of her engagement to Oliver Watney, from the famous brewing family. The engagement was later broken off.

  4. The Watney’s RBD-worthy vast family home, Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, bought in 1901 by Togo’s father Vernon J. Watney:

    Cornbury Park Estate

    Historic England