Saturday, 19 December 2015

More whimsy (to amuse you).

FROM THE BOOK "Black Diamonds" by Catherine Bailey (Penguin 2008 [UK]. 2014 [USA]

(More about this book later in the week, or after Christmas Day).

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pp 91/2

"The Duke of Portland was one of the richest coal owners in England..  In the 1860's , when construction first began. a miner working at one of his collieries earned around 50 pounds a year..  The Duke's annual income was in the region of 108,000 pounds.  Whimsy, not wages, drove him to burrow underground; an eccentric and a recluse, he could not bear to be seen,

The Duke spent his life wandering his estate at Welbeck. Tenants,labourers and servants were forbidden to speak to him, or even to acknowledge his presence.. If they chanced upon the Duke. their instructions were to pass him by 'as they would a tree'.  The man who dared to touch is hat would be instantly dismissed.  The temptation to stare must have been strong.  Winter or summer, the Duke dressed in the same peculiar fashion.  His trousers were tied inches above the ankle with a piece of string; he wore a sable coat that touched the ground, and an old fashioned wig. On top of the wig, he wore a hat two feet high.  Rain or sunshine he carried an umbrella to hide beneath of anyone passed.  He never mingled in society, and was never seen at court.  When he drove out alone on his estate, it was alone, in a black carriage, drawn by black horses, with the blinds down.

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p 123

In 1911 (or 1912) King George V and Queen Mary made a tour if the industrial north of England following the suggestion of Cosmo Gordon Lang, the Archbishop of York,

In Rotherham (Yorkshire) the Archbishop records overhearing the following conversation:

'Na then, which is t'King'.
'It's that little chap i' the front wi' a billycock hat'
'Nay, he ain't seech a fine man as Teddy [King Edward VII)'
'Well, anyway, he's gotten him a fine oopstanding wife.

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That fine oopstanding wife was Princess Mary of Teck, a.k.a. Queen Mary, a.k.a. the Dowager Queen Mother.

I am old enough to remember when she was alive! We shared a birthday.

She was born on 26 May 1867 – , and died on 24 March 1953.

I was born on 26 May 1944, thus I was just short of ten years of age when she died,

We never met!! 




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