New Portraits – Happy 2014!

January 1, 2014 at 10:47 am (books, chutes of the vyne, estates, history, jane austen, people, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , , )

A quick post today, to give readers a taste of a couple new portraits that have been found on the internet.

terrys of dummer

Here are husband and wife, Stephen Terry and Frances Terry, of Dummer, Hampshire — readers of Jane Austen’s letters will be familiar with Stephen Terry. The Chutes of The Vyne and the Bramstons of Oakley Hall were also neighbors. The portraits, by Thomas Hudson, pop up online as notice of an October 1998 sale through Sotheby’s.

Another *find*, posted a short bit ago, is a portrait of Edward Odell of Carriglea in Ireland. Odell was Drummond Smith’s travelling companion (along with Lord Ossory) to Italy and Sicily in 1832. Possessing both a journal and some letters written by Drummond on this last trip from which he never returned, as well as the private diary and later-published travel memoir of Lord Ossory (later 2nd Marquess of Ormonde), finding this most tangible evidence of Edward Odell himself was a surprise and a great THRILL!

Two past posts about that fateful trip abroad, and Mr Odell:

Last minute addition: How could I forget coming across a photograph of James Edward Austen Leigh, during all the news of the Sotheby’s sale of the Jane Austen portrait?!? (has anyone learned the identity of the purchaser??)

Best wishes to all for a bright & happy 2014!

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Edward Odell’s Writing Box

July 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm (books, diaries, europe, history, people, research, travel) (, , , , , , )

As I neared the end of Lord Ossory’s diary — he has reached home (Kilkenny, Ireland) and returned to the bosom of his family, but now writes some thoughts about his impressions of the trip, especially the well-explored Island of Sicily (which he will later publish about) — I came across this rather shocking passage:

We left London at night on Tuesday

for Wednesdays packet. At Maidenhead we

had the pleasure of finding that some [brute?]

youth had put his hand into the hind

seat of the carriage, & bagged our two writing boxes.

We had unfortunately left Benelli {Odell’s servant} behind,

instead of taking him down to Bristol.

Odell lost a good many things of value in his.

I luckily had not left any thing very precious

in mine, but it was provoking

losing it after it had travelled so far

without damage. It was full of letters.

I have a great recollection of Odell meeting with Mamma Smith (more than once?), after his return to England in January 1833, and went to re-look up those winter events. In Emma’s journal, there is this entry for 8 February 1833:

Read Mr Odell’s journal of Drummond’s illness

Of course even at the time of transcribing that particular passage my heart skipped a beat: Odell had kept a journal!

That makes sense, though: Drummond had kept a journal; Ossory had kept a journal; Odell had hoped to publish about the trip – so why wouldn’t he have kept a journal.

Having now TWO of the three journals at my disposal, thoughts turned to, ‘Wonder where Odell’s journal might be? with family? in an Irish archive? lost to posterity?’

So last night I turned to the letters, so see what else was written around this time period — and began my reading with Drummond’s own letters written in the spring of 1832. Mamma, displeased that he had said nothing about wanting to go abroad with Odell, had quite evidently shown her displeasure. What exists (in copy) are two letters Drummond wrote, in response, confessing to a long-standing (since their Harrow days!) desire to travel together; that he would never think to ask anyone for money for such a trip but Mamma; that he never concealed a trip from her, only never had anything concrete to ask her consent about.

Poor Mamma! how she must have been beating herself over ever giving this permission.

And yet, Drummond was such a favorite – and he made a good case, by saying that he had been at Cambridge for three years (his eldest brother Charles had only done two years, and then took a lengthy trip abroad — though Drummond recognized that as eldest son, Charles had more money!) and was about to take his examinations. How could Mamma have ever hardened her heart and made him stay home.

Only 20 years old, Drummond was the youngest of the three travellers. Mamma – from what you read in Ossory’s diary of Drummond’s illness – would not have left him to fend so much for himself, and probably would have had him treated quite differently, and by different medical men. I think she would have removed him from Sicily far in advance of his lowest days, and I do wonder how much had the (in)actions of Ossory and Odell contributed to Drummond’s death.

Ossory’s diary rather exposes an indifference; what would Odell — a close friend to Drummond — have written in his journal at the time everything was unfolding?

Now, a “brute hand” may indeed have removed the evidence! If Odell’s journal was in his writing box.

At the same time, would the Smiths have been satisfied with merely reading Odell’s journal; or would one of the industrious sisters have copied it out?! Time will tell if more (letters and/or diaries) turn up regarding Sicily – November 1832 – Drummond Smith – Edward Odell of Carriglea – Lord Ossory of Kilkenny.

regency writing box

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Etna Erupts: Lord Ossory’s diary for 1832

July 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm (books, diaries, europe, history, news, people, research, travel) (, , , , , , , , , )

These last few weeks I have had the pleasure of transcribing TWO diaries — thanks to Kildare and Pat. The miracle is that both came to me within days, and both cover the same 1832 trip take by Drummond Smith (Emma’s youngest brother), Lord Ossory (John Butler, later: the 2nd Marquess of Ormonde), and Edward Odell (of Carriglea).

I’ve written about this trip before, because Odell seemed to be confessing to a friend that he — and “Smith” — had determined to continue travelling, going on to Egypt, Asia Minor and Persia! DID MAMMA SMITH KNOW? was my burning question. Alas, she never got the chance to permit (or not) further travels: Drummond died in Palermo, aged only 20.

ormonde_sicily

Among the last scenery Drummond witnessed?

For a later post, will be the mystery of WHO transcribed Drummond’s 1832 journal and letters; the handwriting is not his – and seems to match none of his siblings either.

For this post, though, because I’ve been transcribing Lord Ossory’s fascinating account of being at Etna’s 1832 eruption, only days after it began (and that was on All Souls Day, November 2; Drummond died three days later, on the 5th of November), I wanted to take a look at his book account of the same.

* READ Lord Ossory’s published account, An Autumn in Sicily (1850)

I include here a handful of pages, comprising Ossory’s reaction to visiting the scene of Etna (click on the photos):
ormonde1
ormonde2ormonde3ormonde4ormonde5
*
Now, I’m not going to include everything Ossory wrote in the midst (or aftermath) of seeing Etna erupt; but I will give readers a glimpse of the immediacy of the journal, even compared to the same incident he later covered in his book. This is most of the entry for Saturday, 17 November 1832:

  Well might the place be called the Fondaco della {Nacilla?}, for I never was so tormented by fleas in all my life, or more glad to get up at ½ past 5. After eating some breakfast we got off at ¼ to 7. I walked the first part of the way. We got on very slowly on a most infernal road for four hours, up hill all the way, and to add to our pleasure we were enveloped in a thick mist, & small rain. It was extremely cold. We passed thro a Bosco of some of the only good trees I saw in Sicily. Oak. Ash & Beech. We could hear the gunning from Etna very distinctly Exactly like the previous day. Having forded the river Alcantara about ½ a dozen times, we got to Randazzo at 1 passing thro the small village of S. Domenico on the top of the hill. We went to the Fondaco  got some thing to eat and as carriages were to be got – the beasts were tired we unloaded  got into a thing drawn by three horses & rattled off to Bronte. The road was very good & we got on well. About 3 miles from Bronte we saw the lava running, & the trees on fire  The noise was very great. We performed the 12 miles in about two hours, & got there at 4. The inn had only one room about 12 feet by 9. They said they could put 4 or 5 beds into it if we wished. We only wished them good morning, & got a private house next door. the room was very clean but unfurnished the man having secured his goods in case of accidents.   We got a guide & set off to the Lava. An old stream reaches to within half a mile of Bronte. We walked over this for nearly 3 miles where the new lava was. The sight was a most extraordinary & fearful one. The stream was semicircular of about a mile in breadth, and advancing rapidly. The pace depends naturally on the lie of the ground but it is sure to get over every thing. It appeared to be about from 30 to 50 feet in depth. I do not know exactly how to describe the appearance of it. Perhaps the best idea may be formed by imagining a hill of about the height I have mentioned. The top of which is continually falling to the bottom & as constantly replaced. The lava is not liquid, but rolls down in large masses, & tho the outside is blackish, yet every stone that falls leaves a fiery trail behind for the moment. The noise of the falling lava resembled water. One block fell close to where we stood. It could not have weighed less than a ton. We lit segars from it. The stream advanced principally in two directions North & West. From the first no danger was apprehended but the second had its head straight for Bronte. We heard that several hundred people were employed at a sort of bastion to arrest it, but did not see it. I doubt if human means could resist it. The principal pattern of the whole was the idea that it gave  of irresistible force. It did not come on fast except comparatively. we went close to it & pushed out hot bits with our sticks but still on it came changing the whole face of the country. Making hills were [sic: where] valleys had been, changing the face of the country and overwhelming all the works of man, leaving all behind one black rough mass of hard & barren lava. The Borea whence it issued was not visible from the stream of Lava. Before leaving it, I took some observations as to the positions of trees to be able to judge of the process of it. As we returned to the town the appearance of the lava in the dark was beautiful. It had advanced already 10 miles from the Crater.

Oh, for Drummond’s thoughts on this same scene… I was rather of two minds about Lord Ossory, even before reading his Drummond-deathbed-account: Ossory erased Drummond Smith from his published account, making mention only of one travel companion, Edward Odell. I’d love to know if Emma or Maria, Fanny even, or Eliza — and most especially Spencer Smith, who caught up with Ossory & Odell in early December 1832 — ever came across An Autumn in Sicily.
*
special thanks
To Ann in Ireland, for first glimpse of Ossory’s diary
To Kildare, for Lord Ossory’s diary
To Pat

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Shocking Discovery! Did Mamma Know?

October 23, 2010 at 9:47 am (news, people) (, , , , , , , , , )

An incredible “find”!!!!

Thanks to Jacky, I have been on the lookout for information on or about or by EDWARD ODELL. In the diaries and letters everyone merely mentioned him as “Mr Odell” or just plain “Odell”. I hadn’t even had a first name! Mary even wrote of him as Mr Odall!

But thanks to Jacky’s incredible letter, from Catherine Odell to Maria Smith – concerning Mrs Odell’s son EDWARD – I figured I had found not only the first name of the elusive Mr Odell, but also a “family” for him. It all fit: Drummond’s constant remarks about Ireland (Catherine’s letter was headed “YOUGHAL”); the family conferences after Odell returned from Sicily — but Drummond did not; the pleading of Mrs Odell for Maria to consider her son Edward as a suitor. And the seeming silence (though note: this letter was retained!).

So I was searching and searching for information on some Edward Odell in the Youghal region. Little did I at first realize the one (and only) Edward Odell I stumbled upon was THE MAN: Edward Odell of Carriglea, near Dungarvan, Ireland.

Because Drummond was a Cambridgeman, I kept trying to locate Odell in the Alumni Cantabrigienses. Drummond himself, once I read through some of his letters (first transcribed about two years ago; all beginning in the 1820s and going on into the early 1830s; they end before his fateful trip to Italy with Mr Odell), made me realize the obvious: Odell may have been at Harrow with Drummond, but he was now at OXFORD! Of course he was quite easily located in the Alumni Oxonienses.

But I located this citation only after this extraordinary “find”: A Publication with a letter written by Odell and containing news about the death of “a friend of mine named Smith”. My Drummond!!

Read for yourself [my comments, as I typed the letter from a snippet view of the book, are included in green; I have paragraphed it, to make it easier to read online]:

Carriglea [that name!], Dungarvan, Ireland

Feb. 21, 1833

Dear Giles

I was much annoyed to find by your letter which I received two days since that I have been so long in your debt, and regret that you did not sooner write to inform me of it. But it can hardly be said to have been my own fault as I will explain to you. The very day on which you left Oxford I called at your room to discharge my debt and was informed by the porter that you had been gone I believe only an hour. As I then intended to have resided the next term I thought no more of it, but the Fates had decreed otherwise, and long before the term began I was on my way to Italy.

Previous to my departure however I left a sum of money with Lord Ossory with a memorandum of how he was to dispose of it, which done I discharged my mind of the whole business. In September of the following year when at Venice I received a letter from him saying that he had lost the list which I gave him, but that he believed he had paid all that I desired him and had lodged the remainder at my banker’s. In this opinion I very naturally coincided, when after a length of time I heard nothing to the contrary. This I hope will convince you that I was not to blame, and before long it will be in my power to make all straight between us.

I say before long because I have returned from my wanderings like the prodigal son, and could not raise as many pence till my next quarter becomes due. I am sorry that you have left Oxford as I have some intention of keeping my Master’s term in the summer, that is to say if I am well enough, for at present I am in rather a seedy state.

I had been ill last spring in London & like a fool set off to travel before I had recovered my strength, in consequence of which I eventually became again so unwell that independent of other causes the object of my leaving England would have been disappointed. [IS this Drummond?:] Lord Ossory and a friend of mine named Smith [!] whom Toogood remembers at Harrow were with me – the former intending to return to England at the end of the year, but Smith and I were going to Egypt [no, can’t be Drummond…] and Asia Minor and from there into Persia.” We accordingly proceeded through Germany, down Italy and to Sicily which was all beaten ground to me.

Till then I had got on tolerably well but the knocking about in the latter country and sleeping in the open air floored me completely. We were three weeks at one spell without entering a house & living in a tent. [my God! I swear this IS Drummond] Our design was after leaving that to have gone to Malta and sailed from thence to Egypt. But everything went wrong.

Bad as I was I was better than Smith who [gotta be HIM!] seemed quite unequal to standing the vicissitudes of climate and weather. At last he got a fever against which he had not strength to bear up & at the end of eleven days he breathed his last. This as you may imagine was a complete extinction to any further pleasure, and at once determined me on returning with Lord Ossory to England. In fact being now without a companion and in the wretched state of health in which I myself was it would have been preposterous had I persisted in my design of going to the East. We therefore made our way back to Italy and from thence home as fast as we could, and here I have now been for a month nursing myself. I have by no means abandoned my intention of visiting the countries which I have mentioned, but I shall wait till the beginning of next year [! it’s a letter SIGNED by Edward Odell!!!!!!]. Perhaps before that something may take you to Oxford and that we may meet. Pray remember me to Toogood who I hope is flourishing, and believe me dear Giles

your’s very truly

Edward Odell

OH–MY–GOSH!

What’s so “shocking” about this letter, other than the fact that it’s the first time I’ve seen ANYTHING from Odell himself describing this trip? As mentioned, Drummond’s letter book (lent to Rob Petre for photographing by Prof. Jeremy Catto; I am grateful to them both) is that it ends with the very letters where Drummond pleads with Mamma Smith to be allowed to accompany Odell on this trip (me thinks Mamma was NEVER very pleased; I know she grudgingly gave consent…); yet there are NO letters — and Drummond would have sent a steady stream of correspondence home! — during the trip abroad. (A loss; for I had hoped they spanned up to the time of his death.)

What Odell reveals here is the shocker: “Our design was after leaving [Sicily] to have gone to Malta and sailed from thence to Egypt” and  “Smith and I were going to Egypt and Asia Minor and from there into Persia.” EGYPT! ASIA MINOR! PERSIA!?

Mamma Smith didn’t want to consent to Drummond’s travelling to Italy — and yet the pair contemplated Egypt, Asia Minor, and Persia?! So my question: Did Mamma know? If Drummond had lived, would he one day have sent a letter dated “Egypt,” stating his intention of remaining by Odell’s side through this fantastically far-flung trip?

There was precedent: Mamma herself, in July 1822, left the younger children home: Spencer, Drummond, Charlotte and Maria. Emma wrote Aunt about their decision to remain in ROME during the winter of 1822/23, and advised Aunt “Mamma wishes you not to tell this to the poor children unless you think that by very gentle degrees, & hints, it would be advisable to let them know”…

Would Mamma have been “hoisted by her own petard”? We’ll never know; Drummond died November 5, 1832, in Sicily.

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