Thursday, 27 March 2014

A Hidden Power

Non-fiction ~ review
Published in The Spectator, 13th September 1934
1,370 words
(Read 27/03/2014)

Being a review of The Journal and Letters of Reginald Viscount Esher, Volume I, edited by his son Maurice V. Brett.  I'd never heard of Esher (1852-1930); nor do I particularly care to hear of him ever again.  He was, apparently, the hidden power behind at least two thrones.
The only vaguely instructive things to be had from the article are these: Benson is keen to point out, and I'm sure I was very reassured to learn that
[...] he had a personal charm of a feminine though emphatically not of an effeminate quality.
However, I was less reassured by this:
The last half of this fascinating book consists chiefly of extracts from Lord Esher's letters to his younger son Maurice.  They are like the eager notes of a lover to his beloved [...]  He writes to him about the passionate friendships of schooldays and the beauty of the love that inspires them.
Lord Arthur Somerset
I wouldn't normally do this but I'll let Wikipedia have the last word on the subject:
Although married with children, Esher had homosexual inclinations, but his flirtations with young men were regarded with tolerant amusement in polite society. He was evidently sufficiently discreet to avoid becoming entangled in the Cleveland Street Scandal, unlike his friend Lord Arthur Somerset.
'Nuff said.  The article is available online here.

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