By Olwen Claire Niessen
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Extra info for Aristocracy, Temperance and Social Reform: The Life of Lady Henry Somerset (Library of Victorian Studies)
There is no reason to believe that Isabel and Adeline were so unmanageable that their behaviour alone prompted the departure of their various parent substitutes. Adeline was an exemplary child, and though Isabel showed ‘occasional traces of the “enfant terrible”’, exhibiting ill temper and, occasionally, outright disobedience, these lapses in behaviour were of the kind associated with normal childhood rebelliousness. On one occasion Isabel was captured by the camera ‘in her sulkiest mood, . . furious that she had not been allowed to put on her prettiest dress’.
55 Lord Somers harboured several concerns with regard to the marriage. He acknowledged Lord Henry’s impeccable character but was disturbed by his predilection for Roman Catholicism. Having only the slightest of acquaintanceships with his prospective son-inlaw, he had little information upon which to assess Lord Henry’s suitability as a husband. His overwhelming concern was for his daughter’s future financial stability. Given that Lord Henry would not inherit the Beaufort estates, Isabel’s father was anxious to procure her continued comfort and security56 and no doubt also wished to assure himself that her suitor’s feelings for her sprang from the heart and not from the pocket.
At Eastnor, guests were entertained at early summer parties and again for shooting in the autumn. Now a married woman and a mother, she was free to enjoy the attention and companionship of selected male friends without incurring the public adoration that had dogged her prior to her marriage. 16 Charles Somers’ cousin, artist Sir Coutts Lindsay, was a constant companion of both Virginia and her husband and became her devoted admirer and confidant. For over twenty years she was the dominant influence in his life, even in selecting his bride, an incident that gossips suggested was a ploy to mask an affair.
Aristocracy, Temperance and Social Reform: The Life of Lady Henry Somerset (Library of Victorian Studies) by Olwen Claire Niessen