OTT & Encounters with the COTERIE

 On her 1st Visit to MELLS- with Edward Horner

 Ottoline writes of her 1st visit to Edward Horner's MELLS in THE EARLY Memoirs. It is an interesting and telling-retelling of the visit she made with her husband Philip-a Liberal MP to the Conservative territory of MELLS. The visit preceded the first WAR- when the Coterie -(See LITTLE AUGURY today here)

She was filled with dread at the thought of the Horner's politics along with the family's  thoughts on Art & Literature. Remember- OTTOLINE was the daughter of the heir to the title -Duke of Portland & her step brother ultimately inherited the title, becoming the 6th Duke. Ottoline had grown up at Welbeck, was well traveled and by this time- 1909-she had met & mingled with many notables of the day.

  another weekend with the ASQUITHS-1913

We were "WAYFARERS IN LIFE-OUTSIDERS & I felt rebellious against their cynical political views...They had the power  of making those who had not as yet public approval; they had the power of making those  who were not of their intimate circle feel the pain of sheepish inferiority."
OTTOLINE said her curiosity triumphed and packed her best dresses that suddenly seemed like 'Picturesque Rags '& she claims to have been quite self conscious about them.
(I'm surprised-though it does show us the vulnerabilities of  Our OTT. Surely she was always conscious of her deficiencies in  education-but never one would think her wardrobe!)
She was however-as it seems on most occasions- Camera Ready, and would photograph Katherine Asquith time and again over the years. Ultimately the Ladies must have connected despite Ottoline's misgivings and forged a friendship.

"I see ourselves sitting in the loggia talking... a brave effort to transpose myself  to their key"

"Across our path would come Lady Horner's son, Edward, who at that moment had the dazzling beauty of a Greek athlete. His beauty was indeed too perfect to be more than transient.

 It was fated never to fade, for early in the war he was one of its thousands of victims, He & Raymond Asquith, whom I can still see sitting in the loggia, in a long basket-chair, reading D. H. Lawrences' novel The White Peacock, which he admired."

OTTOLINE remembered him a having "a streak of charming gentleness & tenderness, but it was not easy to find the way to it through the armour of skeptical cleverness that had been hardened & polished by Oxford & the smart set in London who flattered & admired him...Whatever Raymond thought & did was followed by the other young Olympians-the Grenfell Brothers, Patrick Shaw Stewart, Edward Horner and others. He drove the foremost chariot...LIFE was 'too gloriously happy' to see that... hideous creature... that came into our very presence.. & it... appeared to those Young Men as one clad in bright armour, radiant & beautiful, beckoning them to come to new adventure-'to a glorious picnic', as one of them described it.

images are from the NPG collection here


  1. AnonymousMay 15, 2012

    This is a wonderful website---Raymond Asquith, Edward Horner and their entire generation are almost forgotten now.

  2. thank you- Not nearly enough about this fascinating Lost Generation. Hope to explore more of these personalities as we go. pgt

  3. Hello, again. Would you believe that, tired of Vita Sackville-West's excellent but debilitating account (Chapter One) in "Portrait of A Marriage," I reached into the To Read shelf & came up with "Ottoline, The Life of Lady Ottoline Morrell," by Sandra Darroch (1975) --- & was most pleasantly surprised by the author's brisk narrative & sly wit?

    While I'm here, I should say that, naturally, after saying everything was all set for the Little Augury horoscope, I realized that I did not have your location (i.e., "New York City"). Don't (do not) divulge the exact town from which you post these chapters - the nearest largest (over 75,000 population) will do (for a chart of a non-human entity, that is).

    I'm certain that you've seen & read "England, My England," which has just been ordered; as a break from the Saga of Bad-Breath Bertrand (Russell, one of Ottoline's less illustrious romances!), I started re-reading Macdonell's "Napoleon's Marshals," which is unrivalled as a showcase of an author's sense of humor.

    (I have been forewarned to skim over the descriptions of the cricket games; reassured that even those blessed with the intelligence of a Violet Asquith found the rules of game incomprehensible, I will do exactly that.)

    As they once said, "this hasty heygate note" concludes.


    1. Don, Ottoline provides a Wealth of material. I've been a little remiss with this blog this year-but hope to rededicate some time to it in 2014. No one could be as entertaining as the one and only Ottoline in her memoirs-rich rich and more than rich. As I say the LAST true Original! By the By the blog was "conceived" in NC- North of Durham NC, just along the Virginia border (have to keep my readers guessing a little bit!!! pgt