Read e-book online Aristocracy, Temperance and Social Reform: The Life of Lady PDF

By Olwen Claire Niessen

ISBN-10: 1435648757

ISBN-13: 9781435648753

ISBN-10: 1845114841

ISBN-13: 9781845114848

Lady Isabella (Isabel) Caroline Somerset embodied social reform within the 19th century. The failure of her worrying marriage to Lord Henry Charles Somerset after revelation of his gay affairs and resulting child-custody conflict supply history to her metamorphosis from an aristocratic socialite right into a temperance activist, social reformer and women's-rights campaigner, across the world famous and feted for her contributions to society. In her first biography for over eighty years, Olwen Niessen brings to lifestyles girl Somerset's development from a neighborhood temperance employee to management of the British Women's Temperance organization (BWTA) and her transformation of this association, from a reactionary, single-issue entity, into one dedicated to lady emancipation and broader social reform. She offers a desirable perception into Isabel Somerset's participation within the women's suffrage and lab our routine and Liberal politics and her effect upon Anglo-American and overseas reform pursuits, stemming from her shut dating with American temperance and woman's rights icon, Frances Willard.

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Extra info for Aristocracy, Temperance and Social Reform: The Life of Lady Henry Somerset (Library of Victorian Studies)

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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.

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Aristocracy, Temperance and Social Reform: The Life of Lady Henry Somerset (Library of Victorian Studies) by Olwen Claire Niessen


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