This week is a “day job” week so it’s just a quick hello from me before I disappear to lovely Liverpool. However, I wanted to share a momentous insight with you. Recently I read a couple of biographies about ancient worthies of this land and their families.
In one, the biography of Charles Waterton, a notable but lovable eccentric, we learn that on his death his only son completely obliterated, trashed and destroyed his father’s life work and burned his papers. Why? Was he scarred so deeply in some way by the admittedly odd behaviour that his pater displayed from time to time? Was his old man so tight-fisted his son had to go without the latest in horse and carriage? Who knows – but there seems to be something more than the typical father-son edgy relationship that is often seen.
Then take the wonderful Fitzwilliam family, made fabulously wealthy through “black diamonds” – in other words the coal fields they owned in South Yorkshire. (Black Diamonds is also the title of the family biography). At different times down the generations they hide away and exile to Canada (no offence dear Canadian readers) the epileptic heir to the estate; then there are the claims that the next heir is actually a changeling – a boy child substituted for the baby girl actually born to his lordship;later down the family line a mother disowns her son for marrying someone of whom she disapproved and sets in motion a huge and costly lawsuit.
These are not isolated incidents in the lives of the so-called great and good. History gives us untold examples of dysfunctional families in the upper echelons of British society. How is it they could get it so wrong? You would think that with all they had going for them materially, economically and with the privileges they took for granted, they could have made a better fist of it as families instead of tearing themselves apart.
But back to my revealing insight. Yesterday whilst shuffling dutifully on a tour around one of these weird family’s ancient pads, (now a true seat of learning) it dawned on me that I too was probably a victim of a changeling plot. It came to me in the duchess’ boudoir. There was something so familiar about the delicately painted gilded ceiling, the rich curtain hangings, the soft ankle-deep carpet. It was as though I had come home; as though I knew the place just as if it were my own. It has convinced me that breeding will out. I was never intended to get on my hands and knees to mop up the spill on the kitchen floor, nor wield an iron so ferocious that I give myself a facial sauna. So now, I am on a quest to take my rightful place in society, preferably with the £2m income (in today’s money) the Fitzwilliam family enjoyed. I will have justice.
Now where’s the bell? I must ring for tea.
Have a good week y’all.