Proud Maisie – Bertha Thomas


Title: Proud Maisie: A Novel
Author: Bertha Thomas
Sampson Low & Co
Year: 1877

A novel of complicated relationships among five people: “… five lives were at stake—Hilda’s, Jasper’s, Leopold Meredith’s, Sophie’s, and mine” … Hilda was married to Jasper, but was in love with Leopold Meredith. Meredith was married to Sophie, but, without being in love with Hilda, was quite ready to run away with her, merely to disgrace her because she had previously rejected him for a wealthier suitor. Jasper was in love with the heroine, and had found out what a mistake he had made in jilting her when he had married Hilda. The heroine, Proud Maisie, was in love with Jasper, and was watching with a spiteful eye the unhappy life that he and his wife were leading. Besides this a famous old German musician, and a young opera singer who was rising into fame, were both in love with Maisie also.

Bertha Thomas was born in 1845 in Shelsley, Worcestershire, the daughter of Canon John Thomas (d. 1883). She trained as an artist before turning to literature, writing seven novels, many of which were serialized in London Society. From the 1880s, she lived in London, sometimes with her unmarried sister Frances Olivia, a musician. She never married and died in 1918. The hybrid and the outsider are common themes in Thomas’ work but also issues of gender, the role of women and differences between class structures in Wales and England. She has a cultural significance as a feminist and an atypical member of the ‘New Woman’ movement of writers, and for the Anglo-Welsh cultural sensibilities she brought to her works.

Bertha Thomas has cultural significance as a feminist, a “new woman” of the 1890s, whose narratives explore the personal and emotional conflict experienced by people torn between multiple ethnicities or between different social and national groups. Keenly observed her characters have a sharp eye for the humorous and satirical and stories are by turns Gothic, romantic, humorous, fantastic, and satirical, but always engagingly written.

This book is twinned with Levels by Far Awayaa, Sogol Sur and Joe Caplin (pub. 2017) read more about it here.

With the Yacht, Camera, and Cycle in the Mediterranean by Frederick Edward Gould LAMBART, 9th Earl of Cavan

Frederick Edward Gould LAMBART, 9th Earl of Cavan

Frederick Edward Gould LAMBART, 9th Earl of Cavan

Title: With the Yacht, Camera, and Cycle in the Mediterranean. (Illustrated in photomezzotype.)
Author: Frederick Edward Gould LAMBART, 9th Earl of Cavan
Publisher: Sampson Low & Co
Year: 1895

yacht_2aFrederick Edward Gould Lambart, 9th Earl of Cavan KP, PC, DL, JP (21 October 1839 – 14 July 1900) styled Viscount Kilcoursie until 1887, was an Irish soldier and Liberal politician. He served as Vice-Chamberlain of the Household in 1886 in William Ewart Gladstone’s third administration.

The eldest son of Frederick Lambart, 8th Earl of Cavan, and his wife, Caroline Augusta Littleton, daughter of Edward Littleton, 1st Baron Hatherton. He was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and served at the Siege of Sebastopol in 1854/55. He was also at the bombardment of Canton in 1856, and at the attack on Peiho Forts in 1858.

Kilcoursie stood unsuccessfully for parliament for Taunton in February 1882 and for Somerset in February 1884. At the 1885 general election, he was returned for South Somerset, a seat he until he stood down at the 1892 general election. In February 1886 he was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Household in William Ewart Gladstone’s Liberal Government, which he remained until the administration fell in July of the same year. He succeeded in the earldom on the death of his father in 1887. As this was an Irish peerage it did not entitle him to an automatic seat in the House of Lords and he was allowed to remain in the House of Commons. In 1894 he was invested a Knight of St Patrick. Lord Cavan was also a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for Somerset and a Justice of the Peace for Hertfordshire.


Twinned with Kevin Acott’s travel chapbook series (2017) – Read more about them here