Apropos my post yesterday about Jane Austen's "noble" neighbor, Lord Portsmouth....
....Derrick Leigh posted this morning the following description of Lord Portsmouth:
"On the question of unsoundness of mind, there was a very wide variation of opinion in the expert witnesses who had known Lord Portsmouth over many years. He could read and write and do arithmetic, but was universally described as being "of weak mind". He was not allowed money or to make managerial decisions about servants by his first wife. This marriage was arranged in 1979 after the death of his father, but while his mother was still alive. Some doctors took the view that his condition of limited intellect had existed since birth. Others proposed a differential diagnosis after the death of his first wife. Clearly his first marriage provided a great deal of social support, to the extent that he could attend everyday social functions, where most people would only notice some degree of eccentricity. In the normal course of events, his childless marriage would result eventually in the peerage passing to his brother's children. His tragedy was that when his wife died, and recognising the importance of the right marriage to his own wellbeing, he went to the person he ought to have been able to trust, his own solicitor, and was very cruelly betrayed."
To which my reply was, simply:
Sir Walter, Sir Walter, Sir Walter!
As I have been maintaining since 2006, I am certain that the character of Sir Walter Elliot is based in no small part upon the real life Lord Portsmouth.
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