Sunday, 29 May 2011

if any of them turn out to be males...

I did not know that EF Benson, whose Mapp and Lucia books are fantastic, was the son of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who proposed to his wife Mary when Mary was 12 and he was 23, and who married her when she was 18.

I know it now, because my friend Lisa Gee reviewed a book about Mary, which I am now very keen to read. My favourite fact: the Benson children called their guinea pigs Atahualpa, Ixlitchochitl* and Edith Mitchinson.*

* Presumably the father of the famous "poet-king" Nezahualcoyotl, who witnessed Ixlitchochitl's death from the branches of a nearby tree.

** In these letters from Maggie, one of the children, we see her describing Edith Mitchinson (named after a Lincoln school friend):

Edith Mitchinson has had 3 more.

I shall call these guinea-pigs Lady Victoria,
Lady Blanche, and Lady Edith. If any of them
turn out to be males I shall call them Lord Victoria,
etc.

2 comments:

becca.wickens said...

And even more interestingly, Mary Benson was a lesbian who, after her husband's death, ended up in a relationship with the previous Archbishop of Canterbury's daughter. And I think all her children were gay, too.

Robert Hudson said...

I knew she was a lesbian. I did not know the rest, though I always assumed that the womenfolk of the ABCs stuck together. I will follow it up.