Philobiblon: Yes, it is 'Trafalgar Day'

Friday, October 21, 2005

Yes, it is 'Trafalgar Day'

No prizes for guessing who is the subject of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography's daily feature. (That link will only work for a couple of days.)

But I'd like to spare a thought for Nelson's poor wife (while Lady Hamilton gets to swan around in all of the glamorous reflected glory).

...Nelson married Frances Nisbet at Nevis on 11 March 1787. In June the Boreas sailed for home, soon followed by Mrs Nelson in a merchant ship. Nelson and his wife spent the next five years in England on half-pay, much of the time with his father in Norfolk. Frances, who had lived all her life in the West Indies, was severely tried by Norfolk winters in a draughty parsonage ...

[then he was a humble junior naval officer. By the time he was a national hero ...}

...In September [1802] Lady Hamilton had bought for him Merton Place, Surrey, and there he now settled with the Hamiltons. His relatives were frequent visitors, having swiftly deserted Lady Nelson and echoed Emma Hamilton's spiteful remarks about her; only his old father declined to break off relations with her. He died in 1802, and that summer Nelson and the Hamiltons went on a triumphal progress across England and south Wales.


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