Download e-book for kindle: Betjeman: A Life by A. N. Wilson

By A. N. Wilson

John Betjeman used to be through a long way the preferred poet of the 20th century; his accumulated poems bought greater than million copies. As poet laureate of britain, he turned a countrywide icon, yet at the back of the general public guy have been doubts and demons. The poet most sensible recognized for writing hymns of compliment to athletic middle-class ladies at the tennis courts led a tempestuous emotional existence. for a lot of his fifty-year marriage to Penelope Chetwode, the daughter of a box marshal, Betjeman had a courting with Elizabeth Cavendish, the daughter of the Duke of Devonshire and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. Betjeman, a religious Anglican, was once laid low with guilt concerning the storms this emotional triangle caused.

Betjeman, released to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the poet's delivery, is the 1st to exploit absolutely the enormous archive of private fabric on the subject of his inner most lifestyles, together with actually thousands of letters written by way of his spouse approximately their existence jointly and aside. right here too are chronicled his many friendships, starting from "Bosie" Douglas to the younger satirists of personal Eye, from the Mitford sisters to the loopy Gang. it is a party of a much-loved poet, a courageous campaigner for structure in danger, and a hugely renowned public performer. Betjeman used to be the vintage instance of the depression clown, whose disappointment came upon its ideal temper track within the hymns of a poignant Anglicanism.

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Think of her receiving a letter fill’d with every gross, disgusting indecency that the most deprav’d imagination could suggest—worse, indeed, than any thing I ever heard, saw, read, or could imagine among the lowest Class of the most abandon’d wretches. It is what I am quite convinc’d you could not believe possible, even supposing it addressed to some of the women in the street: think, then, of writing thus to a Girl! She luckily only read the first few lines, when she was so shock’d that she flew to me and gave me the horrid letter, which the writer (lest the coarseness of his language should prevent her understanding) had taken care to add explanations to.

73 Caroline apparently returned Hart’s affection and sought to protect the vulnerable child. She loved him in the way she loved her little brother Willy and her “lanky curs”— artlessly. Hart told Lady Caroline that he would marry her some day. For Lady Bessborough’s health, the family spent the autumn of 1798 at Margate in a large furnished house with a panoramic view of the sea where Harriet delighted in giving dinner parties and Caroline in riding and roving. There they celebrated Caroline’s thirteenth birthday before they returned to Roehampton.

In honor of the birth of George Lamb, Peniston Senior was named Viscount Melbourne and took a seat in the House of Lords. Though Caroline and William were obviously smitten, the likelihood of a match stood low. William had no prospects, and, in any case, the déclassé Lambs made the Bessboroughs and Devonshires wrinkle their noses. Four days of the Lambs’ wisecracks and rude noises was, according to Harryo, a surfeit. The vigilant Selina Trimmer had not failed to notice Caroline’s attention to William, and she reported it to Lady Spencer, who unwisely remarked upon it to her daughters, unwittingly revealing the source of her information.

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