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Topics - andrew

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Davies Family / JMB's letters to George ...
« on: September 06, 2020, 03:20:15 PM »
I've finally started uploading all of Barrie's letters to George Llewelyn Davies that survive - some of the finest that he ever wrote to anyone, though we'll never know about the ones written to Michael. Peter included many of these JMB-George letters in his Morgue, together with his illuminating comments. However Nico had a number of others that must have passed Peter by; these are presumably now in the Beinecke collection, but before giving them to GOSH, I scanned them all. Deciphering Barrie's handwriting prior to 1917 (when he switched from right to left) is never easy, and where I couldn't read a word I've put [???] - so if anyone out there can do better than me, please feel free to add your best-guess in the comments window.

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JMBarrie / Barrie's Notebooks
« on: January 29, 2020, 04:16:26 PM »
I'm gradually uploading my 1976 selected transcripts from Barrie's notebooks. I say selected because I was initially only looking for good lines that I might be able to fillet into my Lost Boys scripts, but I became so engrossed and intrigued that I found it hard to resist typing up more and more, particularly as I became increasingly familiar with his scrawl. The notes are IMHO among his most pleasurable writings, a wonderful mix of canny observations, witticisms, characters and storylines. Of course those familiar with Barrie's novels and plays will derive additional pleasure in spotting their gradual evolution, but even if you've never read a single line of his other than Peter Pan, these notes are a treasure-trove of delights ...
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Davies Family / Mary Hodgson
« on: December 02, 2019, 02:08:30 PM »
For those interested in knowing a little more about Mary Hodgson, here's a brief account written at my request by her niece, Mary Hill, in 1976:

Mary Hodgson (Dadge to her family) was born on 16 October 1875 and died in December 1962. She was the fifth daughter and eighth child of Thomas and Mary Hodgson (Wilson) of K[irby] Lonsdale, Westmoreland. Thomas was a stonemason and sculptor of lettering on memorials. He died at the age of 42, leaving a widow with eight children. The two eldest had died in infancy.
Any plans for the future of the younger children had to be abandoned, my grandmother insisting that there was to be no favouritism.
My aunt could remember little of her father, and all her life had a very close attachment with her mother, as did all the family. In Mary's case, particularly so, for throughout her life, when in doubt she turned to her mother for advice.
The eldest brother emigrated to Australia and was later joined by a younger one. My aunt was corresponding with the family until her death.
On leaving the local school, she went as nursemaid in the family of Maurice Llewelyn Davies, and after five years became under-nurse and then nurse in the family of Arthur, the youngest brother. At this time the Rev Llewelyn Davies was the vicar of K. Lonsdale; my grandfather had been a sidesman at his church and the boys in the family were all choristers.
At the time she joined the Arthur Llewelyn Davies family there were three boys, George (who lost his life in the early part of the 1914-18 war) Jack and Peter, to be followed by Michael and Nicolas.
It was Grandma du Maurier, the boys’ maternal grandmother, who introduced my aunt to the family library and advised her on what books to read. My aunt's expression was that she was “taken under her wing". At one point in her time off, she became involved in a meeting addressed by Mrs Pankhurst. This did not meet with Mrs du Maurier's approval, or my grandmother’s.
The early and tragic death of the boys’ father shocked her deeply, and when it was followed by the mother's death, she was deeply distressed.
When the boys were quite small, JMB came into the picture and walks with the children in Kensington Gardens less pleasurable. She did not like her charges being taken over by a strange little man. Later she came to look upon him as an intrusion in the life of the family, and this she met with disapproval.
When it was made known that JMB had been made the children's guardian, she was very upset. She had taken it that the guardianship would be in the family.
She now was not only the children's nurse, but was also in charge of the complete household, including staff, and responsible to JMB. This latter she did not enjoy. The thing that she disapproved of most of all was the subsequent divided loyalties forced upon the boys, JMB fulfilling their every wish, every request been granted. This she considered was a bad thing. Boys should find life a challenge and be trained to meet it. To be given everything was not accepted as a character building effort.
Naturally, as Nicolas was the youngest member of the family and "my baby", she was particularly attached to him, and he to her. Eventually the time arrived when she considered that the boys should be handed over to the sole charge of JMB, and this was done. Nevertheless, she joined in their holidays, being once again responsible for the organisation of the household and for the family and their guests. Organisation it had to be, especially when the house taken by JMB was out in the wilds of Scotland.
Mrs Churchill's mother had always been a welcome guest at the Llewelyn Davies family and in the nursery, and at the time when JMB took over the boys, this was put to good use. Through JMB and at his suggestion, contact was made with Winston Churchill – my aunt had decided that she should go into the munitions factory and help to win the [First World] war. This was not possible as in a personal letter to my aunt, he stated that in the factories he required big strong women, and to train others was a waste of time and effort. My aunt was certainly not big and strong in that sense.
Now she applied to Queen Charlotte’s, to train as a pupil midwife. Here she was again in difficulty – she was 40 years of age, and her years as a children's nurse were considered a handicap rather than an asset. Determination was called for, and eventually she was accepted.
In 1916 the fees for training were demanding on her purse: £35 for a six month course for pupil midwives, £25 for a twelve month course – a limited number only. £1 registration fee.
That her daughter should take up midwifery was an affront to my grandmother, who considered that married women, widows, and possibly wives of clergyman should be in this occupation. This distressed my aunt greatly, because my grandmother refused to take any interest in her work for a very long time. It was not until a Kirby Lonsdale woman died in childbirth, in circumstances that were beyond my grandmother's comprehension and that my aunt could explain, that the situation was eased.
When at Queen Charlotte’s, my aunt had worked mostly in the very poor areas when on the district and had a great admiration for her "ladies" as she called them. Their courage and the camaraderie of the people always amazed her. In her experience she found that whatever was missing from home that was an absolute necessity could always be willingly provided by a neighbour, be it pail, or kettle of boiling water or even clean newspaper. Very occasionally after a “misunderstanding” with a neighbour, it was essential that the request was made by the midwife in person. She also learned that there were areas in London where on a “night-call” her uniform was considered a safe entry, more so than a police escort. On asking a policeman for escort in a particularly down and out area, her reply was – you'll be better without me.
After some time at Queen Charlotte’s, she was asked by two of her friends there to go into partnership in a nursing home, the greater part of the financing of it to be taken over by the two friends in the initial stages. This they did and the nursing home [at] 17 Balcombe Street was in the names of MacAndrew, Heron and Hodgson. The nursing home was in some way connected with the local council. There were always pupil-nurses in training there, by arrangement with the council.
The Second World War was at hand and 17 Balcombe St. was on the list for evacuation. This was done with reluctance, and after some delay. Eventually the police would wait no longer and many journeys were made by bus and ambulance to take the patients to safety. The work completed, the friends separated. Almost immediately the home suffered bomb damage and Miss Heron, the youngest partner travelled to Balcombe St. to see what damage been done. Before she could achieve this, the house was hit by an oil-bomb and almost everything was lost, my aunt having the least to lose. The one loss that distressed her the most of all was an under-the-bed wardrobe – and the article in it that caused her such grief was a dress – unworn – that had been made for her. The reason she had not worn it was a set of unusual circumstances at the home that made it impossible for her to attend the wedding of Nicholas, except in her nurse’s uniform. When I expressed surprise that she had been allowed into the service by the usher, her reply was – They knew me, I just slipped in and out and no one was the wiser.
My aunt then went to live at Halkyn, North Wales, sharing a cottage with her two sisters, which they had purchased for retirement some years earlier. Miss MacAndrew of the Balcombe St. partnership was to join her there and she died there.
My aunt eventually sold the cottage and lived with her youngest brother and his family in Morecambe. On his death she came to my home in Leeds. My two daughters loved her very much and spent many happy hours in her company. Her stories of the Llewelyn Davies family and especially her own childhood days always fascinated them.
To open Helen Bradley's "And Miss Carter Wore Pink" is to see absolute corroboration of the stories she told. The funeral scene is almost word for word.
My aunt's favourite reading, having daily perused the Daily Telegraph and Yorkshire Post was a Book of Friendship given to her by Emily du Maurier in 1909 and the Epistles of St Paul.
She expressed great admiration for (1) Sylvester Horne, the father of Kenneth Horne - she attended many of his services. (2) For General [William] Booth [founder of the Salvation Army] and his sister, for their devotion to the poor. (3) Dr Rendel, who attended the [Llewelyn Davies] family. (4) Dr Alex Bourne at Queen Charlotte’s, and for Dr Roche Lyne, the pathologist.
I am of the opinion that the "Hudson Back Walk" mentioned by my sister Joan was a legacy from walks in Kensington Gardens.

*****
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Davies Family / Jack's letters to Gerrie
« on: November 20, 2019, 12:12:30 PM »
In slowly sorting through my mass of research material with a view to uploading the best of it to the new website, I came across my transcriptions of Jack's early letters to (his later wife) Gerrie. When I visited Gerrie in Cornwall in 1976, she lent me a whole stash of his letters, but I only had time to read through the ones prior to their marriage before returning them. The extracts I made were not at that stage for my book - I hadn't even thought of writing one - but for my TV trilogy, The Lost Boys, hence some were with a view to utilising Jack's wonderfully period language as dialogue, as well as touching on his character - and his attitude towards Barrie.

I imagine that when Gerrie died, her grand-daughter Henrietta would have inherited all the original letters, but what became of them after Henrietta's death I know not.

All these letters were written aboard H.M.S. Octavia, based in the Firth of Forth, addressed to Miss Gerrie Gibb at 7 Western Terrace, Edinburgh. Most of the envelopes were stamped "Passed by Censor", though some were evidently delivered by hand. In all his letters, Jack signs himself 'John', not 'Jack'.


19 March 1917:

Gerrie dear, you really are a very sweet person to forgive me as you have. … I suppose there are occasions when one goes slightly mad & does things like that. But honestly, I never dreamt it would distress you so much. I know you said "Forget it all" but I simply couldn't let it go without one word more of very abject apology. Honest Injun Gerrie, I am very very sorry & I'll never do it again.


21 March 1917:

Did you get my letter all right? I nearly forgot to post it, I was so bucked by what you told me. … It was so utterly beastly at sea today. I haven't been so sick and miserable for ages. I don't believe I'll ever get over being seasick.


22 March 1917:

I hope you've been really mad in your letter & will be even madder in the next one. I hate serious people. Life's far too short to worry. The Captain tries to make me serious sometimes. Grizly failure. […] Will you go and have yourself photographed & tell them to send me the bill as you say you're broke? I simply must have one or two, otherwise with all this going to sea I might forget whether you're lovely or merely pretty! Wouldn't that be awful? […] I loathe the Navy & all that therein is, when it keeps me away from you. […]  One thing, we're pretty certain to get Sunday off. That's a damnably long time, isn't it? Still, war is war, and the sooner it's over the better I'll be pleased. I loathe it more every day, don't you?


25 March 1917:

I can honestly hardly believe my stupendous luck. Fancy being engaged to you! […] By the way, in your letter you say you're not worth it. Don't say that again, darling, it's such hopeless rot when you come to think of it. You not worth it! Ye Gods, then who is? Answer me that, Madame! […] Tonight at dinner we're going to break a bottle to the future Mrs Davies. (Note the 'e' in Davies! You've been leaving it out!) [...] Je t'adore ma mie saperlipopette* comme je t'adore! (* Good word that) But even French, the most adorable of all languages, is no use. There's no language Gerrie that has ever been invented that really gives one a chance of expressing oneself. I just want to be with you and holding onto you & the words aren't necessary. Nothing's necessary but you. Are you happy, my best beloved? Cause l am nearly delirious with sheer unadulterated joy. Nothing else matters. England, Scotland, Czar or Spud – they can all go hang, and you’re still mine. Let the Germans win – you’re mine. Let the ship go down - I should be alright – you’re mine. Let Bottomley be Prime Minister (and that really would be the end of the world) – you’re mine. By Jove, I just can't get over it! […] Your very good health has been drunk in bubbly & your man is feeling a bit tipsy! Fizz always makes me feel rather dazed! […]
Why on earth a wonderful person like you should see fit to be kind to a bloke like me beats me all of a heap. Still, you do! You are a child Gerrie aren't you. 19 - ye heavens, what an absurd age! You make me feel 40.  [...]
I think the prospect of being with you tomorrow seems rosy. It's a deadly game being photographed. There's a heaven-sent place in town - the Gainsborough Studios in Oxford Street - that I've always been taken at, where they don't say 'smile' & then paint out what they don’t like in it. […]
I cannot see the point of being engaged for years & years can you? It seems such unutterable waste of very good time. Perhaps (your word is law) you think otherwise in which case yours so very humbly has only to be told. But, bien aimée, & these loathsome details have to be faced, my Guardian has to be talked to gently on the everlasting question of dibs. Lord but it is unseemly to mix up filthy lucre in a question of any sort, but it has to be done, doesn't it, & knowing the dear little man as well as I do this sort of question has somewhat naturally never cropped up before & I'm hanged if I know what he'll say. He's infernally wealthy himself but knows me - or rather knew me before I met you - & so knows my wonderful incapacity for keeping money. Still I shall see him this next visit to town & as I know so well he's one of God's own I have the highest hopes. Of course it's been done before now on far less than it's my luck to have now but - the more the merrier! Thank heavens I've got that off my chest to you. I'm still so shy of you Gerrie & there's always something horrible to me in pounds shillings & pence. […]
You're my sweetheart Gerrie. Do you realise that? I think sweetheart the prettiest word we poor English have ever thought of. I don't think many people do. Most people associate it with 'Arry and 'Arriet. It's awfully hackneyed & made a bêtise of I know, but it's a delicious word. […]
We've a house in London that no one lives in now as we're all away, but you'll simply revel in it. It's quite small but my mother did it all & it's most wonderful inside. Personally I couldn't wish for anything more heavenly and I'm perfectly certain you'll fall down and worship too. It's near Notting Hill Gate - do you know it? - to me one of the most attractive places in London. Guardy lives in a beautiful flat just off the Strand looking over the one & only river, but I'd sooner be in our house. I wonder will it be OURS one day? As a sailor one has such a mighty small use for a house in London - still it's for one of the family Davies so why not us? Do you mind being family Davies, Gerrie? The family will fight for you if I know anything of them. My particular pal is Nicholas - the youngest whose smile you liked in my cabin. He's a bird & will ask to take you straight to his heart. George, John, Peter, Michael & Nicholas, we're all saints. Poor old George was killed in France. He was a wonderful person. That really was a case of "They whom the Gods love." Peter is one of God's own. Michael is at present rather trying, but he'll get over it. Just 16 & full of Eton you know, but withal a good fellow, & Nico. He'll never be trying. Forgive all this about my family Gerrie, but I know so well you won't mind. Mother you really would have adored. Everyone did. Father died when I was 12 & Mother never really got better. They were wonderful people, I suppose really rather too perfect to go on. But I should so have loved to go to Mother & say, "Here's a daughter for you at last." She always longed for a daughter but never had one. She was so lovely herself that it seems a great pity she hadn't a daughter like her. There are so very few people darling I can ever talk to about this sort of thing that I know you'll forgive me.


26 March 1917:

I'm so anxious about my poor dear soul who's going to have a baby. .... She always used to write practically every other day so I fear me she must be very bad. You'd love her Gerrie no mistake about that. I've often heard it put down as fatal to praise one woman to another, but I fancy I know my Gerrie. And this woman has been amazingly good to me always you see. I can't possibly help loving her in quite a different way. Once I thought it was in the one & only really important way & told her so which was rotten of me. But she was heavenly about it & pointed out what a pity it was we couldn't go on in the same jolly good friendship & I saw the error of my ways. […]
Yes, pen & ink is the only possible outlet for silent people like you and me. I too find myself extraordinarily tongue-tied. Come to think of it I never even kissed you today. I do so hope that didn't worry you beloved, but I'm not a great hand at it & I'm so stupidly & superbly happy anyhow, & I'm really kissing you all the time in spirit. [...] Feeble thing life was before I met you. Lord how I do realise that now, although bar one or two tragedies, my life has been a very happy one. […] Ye Gods, but it's a grizly thought! [...]
This is a case of 'Till Death us do part' & personally I feel mighty certain the old fellow has no use for us two for centuries yet. He's an obliging old Devil if you really are quite firm with him & shew him he's not wanted. He has no terrors for me personally. If one has to die one has to die and there's an end of it. You see I'm rather a fatalist Gerrie - it's the only possible thing I think & I've more or less cultivated it for years now. Specially in wartime one must be when you hear of all your pals being killed right, left and centre.
Personally I find the Navy a very safe job here. It had its dangerous moments in the Dardanelles, but seems to have none here. They'll never come out to fight us again I don't think, & if they do then yours truly is hot-foot after a medal to present to his Gerrie. But I’m not one of those brave people I'm afraid. Quite ordinary. Quite frankly it frightens me to be shot at, and personally I think it does 99% of blokes. Anyone who says he likes it is either a liar or a freak. I imagine I can bear it as well as most, but it makes my knees very weak. I've seen whole rows of men - proven brave men - Anzacs - ducking like one man - including me - at the whistle of a shell overhead. It was really very comic. You see in the Army you can usually get behind something, but in a destroyer one's only cover is one's uniform which at times seems abnormally thin. However I've meandered off into talking sense, & this will never do! […] I usually have been a lucky sort of bird, but this caps everything! […] If I thought it would hurt you to see me smoking then I'd chuck the lot sooner than go on, but please allow me a few Gerrie. […]
Four days more & I shall see you every day. And pray the Gods by that time properly & openly engaged to you. I don't mean that properly, though. You're engaged to me now, no matter what anyone says, aren't you, bien-aimée? No-one on earth can possibly stop that!

 
27 March 1917:

Personally I don't care a tinker's curse who sees or what they think or know or anything [about their engagement], but I suppose I ought to wait till I've asked your father. And I'm waiting for that till I know how I stand with Guardy. […] I always said in those humorous days before I met you (!) that my wife must dance and play the piano.


28 March
I've been thinking over my proposal to you. It really was a wonderful effort - so was your saying "Yes." I don't mind betting not a soul in the place realised that one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened took place then. Do you know darling I really expected you to say "No," & that I had been far too quick with you. […] Are you happy darling to know that someday you'll be Mrs John Llewelyn Davies herself. To me it's so wonderful I'm beaten all of a heap!



[more to follow]
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Davies Family / Peter's notes on Michael
« on: September 16, 2019, 12:11:02 PM »
I've just added Peter's notes on Michael to the database, which Peter must have made prior to embarking on "Some Davies Letters and Papers" (aka The Morgue) in 1946. If anyone can read the (to me) illegible words, please let us know. Here's my transcription:

M[ichael]. Cleverest. Misery at Eton. Pop XI Field. Scholarship [decreased?]. Influence of JMB over him and vice versa. Strong likeness early photographs of Father. Spoilt - came out all right. Oxford. Poems. Better than much in the anthologies. Boothby stayed with him one night a fortnight before his death. No sign of melancholy. Deep sense of family loss. Hugh Macnaghten - He's all right now. (Shades of Uncle Harry). Friendship with [admirable? adorable??] Rupert Buxton. Death at {left blank}. Body in morgue. Cause unknown. R. a better swimmer than M. hence theory of R. trying to save him. Quite unproved. Some belief in suicide. Perfectly possible but entirely unproven. Last [point?] blow to J.M.B.; never so close to any of the 3 survivors as to the dead ones. [Step?] [mother?] story [supervenes?]. La vie est vaine. [Life is futile]
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Peter Pan / Barrie's 1903 "Fairy" notes for Peter Pan
« on: September 14, 2019, 05:56:07 PM »
Transcribed and uploaded at last: Barrie's first 466 "Fairy" notes (believed lost for 60 years!) for the play that was to become Peter Pan. I've written a longish introduction, so I won't waffle on here, except to say that I believe them to be essential reading to anyone interested in the evolution of "that terrible masterpiece".

Pour yourself a glass of whatever, search for "fairy notes" in the database - and marvel!
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Davies Family / George and Mrs Anthony Hope ...
« on: September 13, 2019, 11:42:22 AM »
You may remember that during Barrie's lavish holiday at Amhuinnsuidh Castle in the Outer Hebrides in the summer of 1912, George took a shine to the wife of the writer Sir Anthony Hope, aka Betty Hawkins. Peter speculated in his Morgue, "not that their dalliance amounted to anything ..."  but George's great friend Sir Roger Chance told us a different story when we visited him in 1976. I just found the tape, and will upload it by and by, but for the moment you can savour a bit of tittle-tattle by searching for "George Anthony Hope" in the database ...
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Davies Family / Clive Burt remembering Michael
« on: September 11, 2019, 11:17:10 AM »
At Nico's recommendation, Sharon and I visited his friend Clive Burt in 1976: "Used to be a magistrate, exact contemporary Eton & Oxford, close friend at any rate at Eton ... a very attractive chap."

Well, we visited him. His memory was a bit rusty, but he had some good stories. I remember recording him although I seem to have lost the audio tape, but I found Sharon's notes, and in light of the on-going speculation re Michael's possible suicide:

We got off to a good start with him asking “Where does George come into it? Who was killed in the navy?”

"I don't recollect having any correspondence really with Michael, I may have done but my association with him was in the last year of the war. ... At Oxford I didn't come across him much although I knew Rupert Buxton years before ...”

Hugh Macnaghten [M'tutor at Eton]: “great sentimentalist“ – “a very great man, he eventually committed suicide very sadly.”

"I knew Michael more through playing football — I was the captain then, field as they called it — only because all the others had gone off to the war. Apart from being in sixth form – top 24 people in the school –  we were also the top people in Pop and athletics and that sort of thing, but apart from that my recollection of him is awfully bad.”

(Not much recollection of South of France holiday with Senhouse, Boothby and Michael — climbing trees!)

He used to stay with the Buxtons at Essex. Can't think why Boothby refused to speak to Michael because of Buxton. “Bob [Boothby] I knew quite well at Oxford, much more than Michael, went to stay with him in Scotland.”

“I know Rupert Buxton was a great admirer of Shelley — not a very bad thing to be! He was musical, very good boy cricketer, a strong character.”

[Re Boothby's comments about Buxton:] "There were a lot of people I knew at Oxford who were 'saturnine'!”

Did Buxton strike you as being a particularly melancholy person? “No, I wouldn't have thought so."

Did you, at the time of Michael's death, hear anyone suggest that it might have been anything other than an accident?

“Well, you know what people are like, it’s possible, that sort of thing, I never pay any attention to it.  A number of people committed suicide when I was at Oxford, but that was largely due to examination nerves and that sort of thing. No, I never heard anything of that kind. Sandford Weir is a dangerous place to bathe and anything can happen, get pulled down or whatever.”

(Clive agreed with Sebastian Earl rather than Boothby)

“I was not very introspective and never thought of these things ...”

Was it possible that Michael was ‘going through a homosexual phase’?”

“I would have thought quite definitely not. ... As I say, when he and I were prowling round Choral (?) Street, in the neighbourhood of the great philanthropists of Bloomsbury, it had nothing to do with homosexuality, I can assure you — other troubles! ... I'm sure that as far as the time at Eton was concerned there was nothing of the kind at all — and if there hadn't been then I can't have seen it developing later.”

Michael’s character?  “I would say rather reserved, not a seeker after popularity or great friendships I should have thought.”

(Would have thought the relationship between Michael & Seb. Earl a distant one other than writing up of [Eton College] Chronicle itself.)

(Starts remembering bits of S. of France holiday — being hoisted up the tree; nowhere to stay in Paris, Bob Boothby's uncle “well known” at the Meurice [hotel] but they got summarily ejected; retired to a Turkish bath; eventually got a prostitute’s type room in which a couple could sleep while the other 2 had to walk the streets ... ”I knew him very well, but I would say not intimately.”)

Attitude to war? — "Lemmings.” He wasn't called up either.

Did you ever meet Barrie? — “Yes, Michael took me to lunch there one day ... It was a rather late lunch. I can't remember whether Bernard Shaw was there or not but it was not a very great entertainment for me. I was shy and had never met the chap before.”

Did Michael give you any warning beforehand of what Barrie might be like?  “No. He [Barrie] was was quiet, but all I can remember is that we were hanging around for lunch.”

“I would have thought that he was not in the least sentimental, Michael.  When we were leaving Eton, you sometimes swapped photographs with people. I said to Michael, ‘Well I'd like a photograph of you, and on it he wrote  “Spill not thy seed upon the ground. Michael.”’

“Michael reserved if you like, not cynical, not sentimental, but as for his other emotional moods I wouldn’t have the faintest idea.”

During the time you knew him can you remember him ever having a girlfriend? “No I don’t.”

Relationship between Michael and Barrie? “He was obviously devoted to him and admired him very much and I think he was doing me a great turn by asking me to go and meet the little man.”

Didn’t know that Michael and Barrie wrote to each other every day.

Peter he knew for a short time at Eton, better later in the Isle of Wight with [his wife] P. “A gentle and friendly character.” Wouldn’t have thought him being in College would’ve made much difference between him and his brothers. “Michael was a much more reserved character”.

Nico? “Entirely different character, rather rough-tough I would say. I should think his humour was entirely different to Michael’s – he’s a great laugh, Nico – Michael was much more reserved. Nico would be more the comedian and less the wit.”

Got no impression from Michael what he wanted to do in later life.

How widespread in 1918/19 was the disillusionment with the War?

“Well I don’t think it had percolated quite frankly. We had one or two friends who were sensible and conscientious objectors, but apart from that everyone was involved in it … I think everyone was keen to go.”

Were you aware that Michael’s first 2 years at Eton were miserable?  “No.”

On Michael: “Certainly there was a reserved part which was not for public exposure. He was a cat who walked alone a bit.”
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Davies Family / Nico's letters
« on: August 23, 2019, 05:07:03 PM »
I'm gradually - very gradually - continuing to transcribe Nico's letters from where I left off some years ago. In order for them to make full sense, I'm also uploading extracts from my own letters to Nico, stuffed to the gills with questions, many of which he answers in his next letter ...

The best way to find them in the database is to search for "Nico Andrew" and then click on the "Letters" option.
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JMBarrie / Barrie and Churchill
« on: January 26, 2014, 10:41:28 AM »
I've been reading "Speaking for Themselves", being the personal letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill, and came across this characteristic exchange:

Winston to Clemmie, 25 June 1911:  ""At luncheon Barrie arrived - but I am v[er]y sorry to say that he went off again unexpectedly this afternoon without my ever having a talk with him. I am vexed at this because I am sure I like him - and always something crops up to prevent my getting to know him."

Clemmie replied the following day: ""As soon as I come back we will entice Barrie to luncheon or dinner but he is dreadfully shy & has to be much coaxed. We must have him alone or with only one other choice person as he is always silent when invited to perform."

Clemmie knew the Llewelyn Davies family as they were near neighbours in Berkhamsted, and came to know Barrie on his frequent visits to Egerton House. Churchill subsequently met Barrie several times. In 1924 he proposed a toast to "Sir James Barrie, Literature and the Press" at the Printers' Pension Corporation dinner, and in 1932 was among the guests at a lunch-party in Barrie's Adelphi flat, given to celebrate Lord (formerly Sir Edward) Grey's 70th birthday. Nico remembered meeting Churchill at the flat in the early 30s - "unsurprisingly, he and Uncle Jim got on like a house on fire!"  Although to my knowledge no photograph exists of the two men together, there is one of Churchill and Peter Pan - taken in 1958 when his daughter Sarah played Peter.
 
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Davies Family / Mary Hodgson, by her niece Mary Hill
« on: September 16, 2013, 07:55:55 PM »
While researching The Lost Boys, I visited Mary Hodgson's niece, then living in retirement near Nottingham. At my request she wrote a short memoir, from which I briefly quoted in my biography. Here is the full text, which may be of particular interest to those who have read the lengthy correspondence between Mary Hodgson and Nico in the database. Here is Mary Hill's text in full, written in November 1976:

Mary Hodgson (Dadge to her family) was born on 16 October 1875 and died in December 1962. She was the fifth daughter and eighth child of Thomas and Mary Hodgson (Wilson) of K[irby] Lonsdale, Westmoreland. Thomas was a stonemason and sculptor of lettering on memorials. He died at the age of 42, leaving a widow with eight children. The two eldest had died in infancy.
Any plans for the future of the younger children had to be abandoned, my grandmother insisting that that was to be no favouritism.
My aunt could remember little of her father, and all her life had a very close attachment with her mother, as did all the family. In Mary's case, particularly so, for throughout her life, when in doubt she turned to her mother for advice.
The eldest brother emigrated to Australia and was later joined by a younger one. My aunt was corresponding with the family until her death.
On leaving the local school, she went as nursemaid in the family of Maurice Llewelyn Davies, and after five years became under-nurse and then nurse in the family of Arthur, the youngest brother. At this time the Rev Llewelyn Davies was the vicar of K. Lonsdale; my grandfather had been a sidesman at his church and the boys in the family were all choristers.
At the time she joined the Arthur Llewelyn Davies family there were three boys, George (who lost his life in the early part of the 1914-18 war) Jack and Peter, to be followed by Michael and Nicolas.
It was Grandma du Maurier, the boys’ maternal grandmother, who introduced my aunt to the family library and advised her on what books to read. My aunt's expression was that she was “taken under her wing". At one point in her time off, she became involved in a meeting addressed by Mrs Pankhurst. This did not meet with Mrs du Maurier's approval, or my grandmother’s.
The early and tragic death of the boys’ father shocked her deeply, and when it was followed by the mother's death, she was deeply distressed.
When the boys were quite small, JMB came into the picture and walks with the children in Kensington Gardens less pleasurable. She did not like her charges being taken over by a strange little man. Later she came to look upon him as an intrusion in the life of the family, and this she met with disapproval.
When it was made known that JMB had been made the children's guardian, she was very upset. She had taken it that the guardianship would be in the family.
She now was not only the children's nurse, but was also in charge of the complete household, including staff, and responsible to JMB. This latter she did not enjoy. The thing that she disapproved of most of all was the subsequent divided loyalties forced upon the boys, JMB fulfilling their every wish, every request been granted. This she considered was a bad thing. Boys should find life a challenge and be trained to meet it. To be given everything was not accepted as a character building effort.
Naturally, as Nicolas was the youngest member of the family and "my baby", she was particularly attached to him, and he to her. Eventually the time arrived when she considered that the boys should be handed over to the sole charge of JMB, and this was done. Nevertheless, she joined in their holidays, being once again responsible for the organisation of the household and for the family and their guests. Organisation it had to be, especially when the house taken by JMB was out in the wilds of Scotland.
Mrs Churchill's mother had always been a welcome guest at the Llewelyn Davies family and in the nursery, and at the time when JMB took over the boys, this was put to good use. Through JMB and at his suggestion, contact was made with Winston Churchill – my aunt had decided that she should go into the munitions factory and help to win the war. This was not possible as in a personal letter to my aunt, he stated that in the factories he required big strong women, and to train others was a waste of time and effort. My aunt was certainly not big and strong in that sense.
Now she applied to Queen Charlotte’s, to train as a pupil midwife. Here she was again in difficulty – she was 40 years of age, and her years as a children's nurse were considered a handicap rather than an asset. Determination was called for, and eventually she was accepted.
In 1916 the fees for training word demanding on her purse: £35 for a six month course for pupil midwives, £25 for a twelve month course – a limited number only. £1 registration fee.
That her daughter should take up midwifery was an affront to my grandmother, who considered that married women, widows, and possibly wives of clergyman should be in this occupation. This distressed my aunt greatly, because my grandmother refused to take any interest in her work for a very long time. It was not until a Kirby Lonsdale woman died in childbirth, in circumstances that were beyond my grandmother's comprehension and that my aunt could explain, that the situation was eased.
When at Queen Charlotte’s, my aunt had worked mostly in the very poor areas when on the district and had a great admiration for her "ladies" as she called them. Their courage and the camaraderie of the people always amazed her. In her experience she found that whatever was missing from home that was an absolute necessity could always be willingly provided by a neighbour, be it pail, or kettle of boiling water or even clean newspaper. Very occasionally after a “misunderstanding” with a neighbour, it was essential that the request was made by the midwife in person. She also learned that there were areas in London where on a “night-call” her uniform was considered a safe entry, more so than a police escort. On asking a policeman for escort in a particularly down and out area, her reply was – you'll be better without me.
After some time at Queen Charlotte’s, she was asked by two of her friends there to go into partnership in a nursing home, the greater part of the financing of it to be taken over by the two friends in the initial stages. This they did and the nursing home [at] 17 Balcombe Street was in the names of MacAndrew, Heron and Hodgson. The nursing home was in some way connected with the local council. There were always pupil-nurses in training there, by arrangement with the council.
The Second World War was at hand and 17 Balcombe St. was on the list for evacuation. This was done with reluctance, and after some delay. Eventually the police would wait no longer and many journeys were made by bus and ambulance to take the patients to safety. The work completed, the friends separated. Almost immediately the home suffered bomb damage and Miss Heron, the youngest partner travelled to Balcombe St. to see what damage been done. Before she could achieve this, the house was hit by an oil-bomb and almost everything was lost, my aunt having the least to lose. The one loss that distressed her the most of all was an under-the-bed wardrobe – and the article in it that caused her such grief was a dress – unworn – that had been made for her. The reason she had not worn it was a set of unusual circumstances at the home that made it impossible for her to attend the wedding of Nicholas, except in her nurse’s uniform. When I expressed surprise that she had been allowed into the service by the usher, her reply was – They knew me, I just slipped in and out and no one was the wiser.
My aunt then went to live at Halkyn, North Wales, sharing a cottage with her two sisters, which they had purchased for retirement some years earlier. Miss MacAndrew of the Balcombe St. partnership was to join her there and she died there.
My aunt eventually sold the cottage and lived with her youngest brother and his family in Morecambe. On his death she came to my home in Leeds. My two daughters loved her very much and spent many happy hours in her company. Her stories of the Llewelyn Davies family and especially her own childhood days always fascinated them.
To open Helen Bradley's And Miss Carter Wore Pink is to see absolute corroboration of the stories she told. The funeral scene is almost word for word.
My aunt's favourite reading, having daily perused the Daily Telegraph and Yorkshire Post was A Book of Friendship given to her by Emily du Maurier in 1909 and The Epistles of St Paul.
She expressed great admiration for (1) Sylvester Horne, the father of Kenneth Horne - she attended many of his services. (2) For General [William] Booth [founder of the Salvation Army] and his sister, for their devotion to the poor. (3) Dr Rendel, who attended the [Llewelyn Davies] family. (4) Dr Alex Bourne at Queen Charlotte’s, and for Dr Roche Lyne, the pathologist.
I am of the opinion that the "Hudson Back Walk" mentioned by my sister Joan was a legacy from walks in Kensington Gardens.

12
Davies Family / Medina Lewis remembers
« on: October 19, 2011, 09:30:25 PM »
For no particular reason I've started sifting through the several hundred letters I received during the writing of "The Lost Boys", starting in 1976. Among them I found a dozen or more from the wonderful Medina Lewis, then in her 80s. 

Sharon Goode and I met Medina and her sister Eiluned at the suggestion of Nico; they - and their brother Peter - were the so-called "Welsh Lewises", whose home - Glan Hafren, on the banks of the Severn - had provided a haven for Barrie, Michael and Nico during the school holidays throughout the First World War. In 1912, Mrs Lewis had sent Barrie a drawing by her then 4-year old son Peter after listening to "The Little White Bird"; intrigued, Barrie tracked her down, and so began a relationship that lasted for the rest of their respective lives (see page 208, 253 etc in my book, page 438 in Mackail for further info).

Eiluned was the more sophisticated of the two sisters - she was an authoress of some repute and wrote regularly for "Country Life" - while her elder sister Medina was more self-effacing but an absolute charmer, and a formidable adventurer to boot. After having met them both for dinner, I began a correspondence with Medina (Eiluned being busy on a project). Her first letter to me (13 Feb 1976) was typically generous:


Dear Andrew,

 It was so nice to have a word with you on the phone last night. I live alone in a cottage in my brother’s garden, so if you fail to get an answer here you might try him. ... I am so glad you are doing this programme; I feel you will give a true picture of JMB and his boys which has not appeared before. ...

No, Eiluned and I never knew Peter. JMB brought him to stay at our home on his first visit here, but Eiluned and I were both away at boarding school at the time, and thereafter Peter was always fighting in France except for short leaves.  After the war, JMB once asked my mother if Peter could come and stay with us, but for some reason (illness of one of the family I believe) she had to refuse & she always deeply regretted it, for about that time Peter “took up” with a married woman a good deal older than himself [Vera Willoughby] and went to stay with her. This was a great worry to JMB. My mother always felt it was probably rather a mother and son relationship. This may be quite wrong: Nico will know. I should think Peter was probably the one of the boys who felt the loss of his mother most acutely. This is only surmise on my part, but he would have been old enough to appreciate the tragedy of her death, and young enough to miss her physical presence deeply, but you know much more about all this from Nico than I can tell you. JMB once told my mother that when he broke the news of his mother’s death to Michael, the small boy broke into a rage, stamping his feet with fury. Nico I imagine must have been too small to take it in at all.

 After the war, as you will know, Peter opened an antique shop for a time. My father went to see him there and was shocked to find how thin and ill he looked. As Nico says, he seems somehow to have been doomed. I fancy his wife cannot have been very much help. I know Nico told Eiluned how much better his Mary would have been under the circumstances. ...

 That first visit of JMB and Peter to our house was evidently a success as JMB said afterwards in a letter that they talked of it so much that Michael expressed a desire to come too. Up to then, Michael’s one idea of a holiday seems to have been fishing in Scotland. ... I think that these holiday visits, which meant such an enormous amount to us, were also welcome to the boys, for as Eiluned has said they provided a background of family life, complete with sisters of their own age, which the boys had not known before. It was wartime, so many of the large country houses, in which they were later welcome guests, were being used as Red Cross hospitals, or were so depleted in staff that all normal life had more or less ceased. Our home, on the other hand, being of a much humbler type, continued more or less unimpaired. Our coachman and gardeners were old, so not called up, and there were no munition works at hand to absorb our few maids. We had kept our horses and carriages, and were still able to get about, while so many other households - with only cars – were immobile. We did not farm but kept cows, chickens and pigs for our own use, so food was never short. So many young people at that time were rather hungry; I remember how hungry Eiluned and I were in term time at our boarding school near London.  My mother was an excellent housekeeper and always managed to give the boys their favourite dishes, and though it was quite plain wartime fare really, I think it was more interesting than what Mary, their nurse, produced for them at home, and they enjoyed it.
 
 My father was a very charming man, with a boyish side, and he would enter into all sorts of jokes and nonsense with the boys, which JMB with all his wit could never do.
 I remember one incident, when we had been down to Eton with JMB and Nico, to see Michael play in some house match. Coming back, and walking up the Paddington exit, my mother and JMB were in front, his perpetual cough was worse than usual, and she was very concerned. We young ones were loitering behind at the end of a long hot day, and my father and Nico, one each side of the street, were making faces at each other like a couple of school boys. A taxi came along, JMB hailed it and got in, followed by Nico. My father, as a parting shot, made a “long nose” at Nico, who responded by acting “the death of the Fat Boy” over the back of the open taxi, JMB still coughing and ignorant of the antics going on beside him. “The Death of the Fat Boy” was a wonderful invention of Nico’s, in which with puffed out cheeks and rolling, squinting eyes he gave a life-like representation of an apoplectic fit.* The road was practically empty at the time, but I can still see the puzzled, disapproving expression of one lady passing by.
 
 The contact with JMB and the boys meant an enormous amount to us in our quiet country life, broken only by boarding school. Of course to them, with their far wider circle, it meant much, much less. After the war the boys’ horizons widened, with more friends and other types of holiday available, and we saw less of them, and after the death of Michael and my father, the visits to our home ceased altogether, tho’ we always kept in touch with JMB.
 
 Young people did not grow up so fast in those days, and though we were in our young teens, the modern idea of “boyfriend” and “girl friend” never entered our heads; we just larked around and played our games. I remember I had a rather nice blue cardigan with a sash to which Michael had a fancy, and would appropriate and wear whenever he got a chance until he was pursued and had it forcibly removed from him. My mother told me years later that watching us on the lawn one day JMB had remarked, “It is so innocent, it almost hurts,” and on another occasion said, “They mean so much to us, and we mean so little to them.” My mother had replied, “well, that is right, isn’t it? You surely would not have it otherwise.”

 Perhaps his affection for the boys may have been rather intense, but I do not think they found it at all over-powering, except perhaps Michael towards the end, when he realised what hopes and expectations were centered on him.
 
 I shall be so intensely interested to see how the whole relationship strikes you when you have made all the contacts. I feel you will get it right. Janet Dunbar did not, in spite of having access to so much from Peter, who I feel was clearest sighted over the whole situation. Mackail I feel was little more than conscientiously documentary. ...

====

Medina and I kept in regular contact throughout the writing and filming of "The Lost Boys", as well as the subsequent book. Later, while I was working with Francis Ford Coppola on his abortive film of "Peter Pan" (ah, that would have been something!), Medina dropped by Zoetrope Studios in the course of her round-the-world voyage (aged 88 - so very typical of her vivacity). Coppola gave her a guided tour of the studio, and received in return perhaps the last living memories of JMB...

* Type in "fat boy" in the database. For other photos of the Lewises, try "Glan Hafren". For a fascinating article about the Lewis family, go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/mid/sites/bookshelf/pages/eiluned_lewis.shtml?








13
Peter Pan / Peter Pan, edited by Anne Hiebert Alton
« on: August 02, 2011, 10:58:49 PM »
A really fabulous new book has just been published by Broadview Editions in Canada, being a compilation of virtually all of Barrie's various and scattered Peter Pan texts within a single scholarly volume. As such it is an absolute gift to all P Pan devotees, containing not only the more obvious primary source material, but also a transcription of the 1904 production script (an absolute joy to read) along with numerous contemporary reviews for both play and novel.

The compiler/editor is Anne Hiebert Alton, who has added judicious footnotes to the text as well as a lengthy introduction. Amazing to relate, Ms Alton and her publishers not only acknowledge the use of our database, but have been generous enough to make a $100 donation to the website!

For more info, visit www.broadviewpress.com ...   
14
Bugs and Errors / Forum bugs...
« on: January 24, 2010, 07:46:38 PM »
As many may have noticed, the forum is suffering from some server-related problems. Fear not, says Dafydd, nothing's been lost, and it will hopefully all be restored early next week.
15
Peter Pan / Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Hated Mothers
« on: January 08, 2010, 03:32:56 PM »
Entirely thanks to the efforts of Céline-Albin Faivre, who runs the highly individual French website sirjmbarrie.com, an adaptation I made of "Peter Pan" some years ago - "Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Hated Mothers" - is opening in Marseilles next month - in French!

Although I call it "my" adaptation, virtually every word of dialogue is Barrie's, culled from the various drafts of the play, novel and screenplay that exist - so it's really just the choices that are mine, including of course the cuts. The title is Barrie's too, albeit one that was swiftly axed, as is the idea of having Hook played by the actress cast as Mrs Darling.

For anyone who's interested, the theatre's website is:

http://www.lestheatres.net/IMG/pdf/DOSSIER_DE_PRESSE_-_PETER_PAN.pdf

Come rain or shine in terms of the production, I am of course immeasurably grateful to Céline for not only translating my adaptation, but finding a theatre and director willing to mount it.  She is truly devoted to Barrie, and has already translated "The Little White Bird" and "Margaret Ogilvy" into French, with others on the way. Hopefully she will join me on stage in Kirriemuir come May....
 
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