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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion Releases for 30 November and 1 December.

2000AD Prog 2009
Judge Dredd: Cube Root of Evil by Arthur Wyatt (w), Jake Lynch (a), John Charles (c), Annie Parkhouse (l)
Savage: The Marze Murderer by Pat Mills (w), Patrick Goddard (a), Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hunted by Gordon Rennie (w), PJ Holden (a), Len O'Grady (c), Simon Bowland (l)
Future Shocks: Return of the Revolutionaries by Rory McConville (w), Eoin Coveney (a), Ellie De Ville (l)
Flesh: Gorehead by Pat Mills (w), Clint Langley (a), Ellie De Ville (l)

Fink Angel: Legacy by John Wagner, Alan Grant, Mick McMahon, Peter Doherty, Carlos Ezquerra, Tiernen Trevallion
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08497-7, 1 December 2016, £14.99. Available from Amazon.
THE ANGEL GANG ARE THE MEANEST, MOST DERANGED VILLAINS EVER to come out of the Cursed Earth. The all-male family of psychopathic criminal hillbillies first encountered Mega-City One’s greatest lawman Judge Dredd when he was on a quest to find the Judge Child. Having despatched Pa, Link, Junior and Mean, Dredd later came face to face with Fink Angel, the eldest sibling of the clan who visited Mega-City One in search of vengeance for his fallen kin folk. The latest member of the Angel Gang is Fink’s son Ratfink – a Cursed Earth-dwelling fiend who preys on passing helltrekkers. Just like his father, Ratfink has a love of poisons, rodents and mayhem…

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 28
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08433-5, 1 December 2016, £19.99. Available from Amazon.
THE BAD AND THE MAD IN MEGA-CITY ONE! Mega-City One is plagued by a group of rebelling Jimmy Dean clones, underground murder clubs, a Sexmek serial killer and a revenge-filled taxidermist, back from the grave and looking for justice!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Martin Aitchison (1919-2016)

The obituary for Martin Aitchison appeared in the Saturday edition of The Guardian (26 November 2016). For those of you who missed it:

If you're like me and your eyesight isn't as good as it used to be, you can read the text online here at the Guardian website, where it appeared back on 10 November.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Bungle Brothers

Working on the Valiant index means trying to nail down a lot of artists that were still unidentified when I did the original version back in 1994. I'm rather poor on humour artists, but I know there are experts out there who may be able to help. If you know someone who might be able to help, send them a link to this post. I'll be eternally grateful.

I'm reposting the "Tatty-Mane" column, which you'll find if you scroll down. Here we take a brief look at "The Bungle Brothers", which first appeared in Valiant on 18 November 1972 and ran, with a few gaps, until 10 March 1973.

But who was the artist?

(* The Bungle Brothers © Rebellion Publishing Ltd.)

Tatty-Mane King of the Jungle

The funny animal strip was no stranger to Valiant by 1966. The paper had, after all, been running ''The Crows' since its first issue. Most of the humour strips in Valiant were by recognisable names (the mighty Roy Wilson even had a strip in early issues), but one or two names have eluded me.

Who, for instance, was the artist for 'Tatty-Mane King of the Jungle', which ran for almost two years in Valiant in 1966-68. It could be one of the Spanish artists who began filling the pages of British comics with slickly drawn humour strips in around 1960, most notably Angel Nadal who drew 'The Nutts' for Valiant for almost a decade and Martz Schmidt who, I believe, drew a couple of early Valiant strips.

Here are a few early strips featuring Tatty... hopefully someone will be able to identify the artist.

(* 'Tatty-Mane' © Time Inc. (UK).)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Comic Cuts - 25 November 2016

I'm happy to report that the trip to see James Acaster – trailed in last week's column – was hugely and hilariously successful. He has a very dry wit that will dart off on some very unexpected tangents, as anyone who has seen him on Mock the Week and other shows will have gathered.

As far as I can recall, I first heard him on the Josh Widdicombe radio show, which feels like a very long time ago, but which can only be three years, four at most. He's a storyteller, with loosely threaded themes running through the show – in this instance a desire to be able to reset ones life back to some earlier point, whether by time travel or being relocated into witness protection.

Fast forward to Tuesday, and we're in the same venue for a very different show: Alex Horne and the Horne Section, which had a far higher energy and was equally as utterly daft and surreal in places. I've had to use a photo from the Horne Section website as I only snapped a couple of the backdrop and neither of them were in focus. I've stopped taking photos when people are on the stage – I used to with my old camera, but with the new camera the bright light used to focus is very obvious to the person on stage. Hence the lack of photos from my recent reviews. The above will give you just a hint of what the show was like. All I'll say is that the whole audience was dancing at the end.

The rest of the week has been relatively quiet. I binge watched a series called Sense8 over the weekend, which is the perfect way to watch that particular show. Compared to most terrestrial TV it's a very slow-burning tale; by offering it to download via Netflix, you can watch multiple episodes at a sitting (these days two is my limit before I need to get up, stretch and do something else... I used to watch 24 four episodes at a time and then I only stopped because the DVD needed changing!). I managed to watch all 12 episodes of the first season over four days.

As a fan of both the Wachowskis – although they vary from utterly brilliant (Bound, The Matrix) to utterly awful (The Matrix Revolutions, Jupiter Ascending) – and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, lots of comics), I had high hopes for the show. And I wasn't let down. The story is about eight people from around the globe who find themselves developing a psychic connection which allows them to see, then feel and then interact with each other. This 'sensate' power makes them targets for a mysterious figure known as Whispers.

I don't want to spoil it, so I'll say no more. It tackles gender politics and there are some quite graphic scenes (childbirth and some of a sexual nature), so it won't be for everyone. But I enjoyed it.

I've also dipped into science fiction at the other extreme. We've been rather spoiled of late with big-budget SF drama (we're also watching Westworld), so I chose this week to start watching (or re-watching) BUGS, the BBC series from the mid- to late-1990s. Oh, boy, does it look cheap! It was a bit of a guilty pleasure even when it first appeared, but I'm watching it now thinking, "Why is there no security in that supposedly super-secure building?" Seriously, the lead characters just walk into anywhere they want and sit down at a computer... which is running something that wasn't even top of the range in 1995. And there's a countdown every few minutes. You'd swear the scriptwriters wrote (URGENTLY) "You only have..." fifteen times and then tried to figure out what to put in between in order to link to the next bit of dialogue without spending too much cash.

Anyway, in honour of Alex Horne, I've tried to create my own "horn section" in today's random scans. To start with, there's the C. S. Forester cover gallery featuring many a Hornblower novel.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 23 November.

2000AD Prog 2008
Judge Dredd: Cube Root of Evil by Arthur Wyatt (w), Jake Lynch (a), John Charles (c), Annie Parkhouse (l)
Savage: The Marze Murderer by Pat Mills (w), Patrick Goddard (a), Annie Parkhouse (l)
Hunted by Gordon Rennie (w), PJ Holden (a), Len O'Grady (c), Simon Bowland (l)
Counterfeit Girl by Peter Milligan (w), Rufus Dayglo (a), Dom Regan (c), Ellie De Ville (l)
Flesh: Gorehead by Pat Mills (w), Clint Langley (a), Ellie De Ville (l)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Spaceship Away #40 (Autumn 2016)

Spaceship Away completes its 13th year of publication with issue 40. Also coming to a close is Tim Booth's 'Mercury Revenant' after 8 issues and 18 episodes. One of the earliest episodes was set around Christmas, and the tale ends on a similar festive note. Sandwiched in-between has been one of Dan's hottest adventures on the surface of Mercury and a very satisfying old-school Dan Dare yarn it has been, too.

Tim Booth is also responsible for the longer-running 'Parsecular Tales', with episodes 26 and 27 appearing here. In all Booth has produced over 80 episodes of various stories and he's definitely Starship Away's star discovery. One hopes that he can keep up the pace in 2017 and beyond.

Concluding this issue are Jet Morgan's latest reprint from Express Weekly – or, in this instance, one of the annuals – and Nick Hazard's previously unpublished adventure 'Planet of Doom', based on an old 1950s Vargo Statten paperback yarn.

David Ashford leads off a trio of articles this issue with a look at a long-forgotten space hero drawn by Syd Jordan. Hal Starr first appeared (drawn by other hands) in a obscure series of comics published in the 1950s to promote body-building. Syd drew some schoolboy adventures featuring one Dick Hercules before jetting off into space with Starr. He drew only seven stories, although he revived the name for a series reprinted in Spaceship Away issues 8-15, originally published as John Stark in the Dutch weekly Eppo Wordt Vervolgd in 1987-88.

Next up, Jeremy Briggs introduces the people behind the scenes at the new B7 Media's Dan Dare recordings that are soon to be released on CD. As well as meeting the actors and production staff, we get a look at the various stories that are being adapted – the first set of three stories (released in December) are the first three that appeared in Eagle, but the second set (released February 2017) are stories eight, four and five.

Busy Jeremy is also behind an interview with Dave Gibbons who discusses his time drawing Dan Dare in 2000AD, strips recently reprinted by Rebellion. It's a good, insightful interview and I never knew that Dave met Frank Hampson... but you'll have to buy the issue to find out how that went.

You can find out more about the magazine, buy back issues and subscribe to the latest issues at the Spaceship Away website.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Space Ace volume 7

Ron Turner's Space Ace returns with a new serial story from the pages of Lone Star that was originally curtailed in favour of a rather more action-packed yarn: "Trouble on Titan" ran for only three episodes before Turner, feeling nervous that SF was on the downturn, decided to increase the emphasis on Ace's Space Patrol activities, just in case, and wrapped up the 6-part storyline with a new direction for part four and a new 2-part conclusion, "Slaves of the Zirkons".

Turner had nothing to worry about, as the strip would run for quite a few years. However, it means that this is a somewhat fragmented story, with the disappearance of the research ship Pandora from Saturn's moon, Titan, resolved with no real explanation.

But it's the artwork that most will be buying the magazine for, and that doesn't disappoint. Turner's designs for the Titan natives and wildlife is up to his usual high standards and while the story is slight (and you can easily see the point where Turner gave up on the original storyline), it is engaging enough to carry you through to the end.

This issue also contains a back-up tale from Lone Star Annual in which Space Ace and Bill track down a time-travelling inventor who has found himself trapped in the past with an invading alien race.

As always, the original black & white strips are enhanced by John Ridgway's colours, which take full advantage of what modern computer colouring can do whilst retaining the spirit of Turner's own colour palette.

You can get hold of this latest volume for £8.95 (UK) or £12.50 (Europe) and £14.50 (International) including p&p — and that's pretty much at cost, I can assure you — with payments through Paypal via spaceace.54 AT or by cheque or postal order to John Lawrence, 39 Carterweys, Dunstable, Beds. LU5 4RB.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Comic Cuts - 18 November 2016

What a mixed week it has been. There has been moments of hilarity and one or two of agony, and times where I think I'm doing pretty well and one major moment of idiocy. On the plus side, there have been some nice surprises along the way.

Let's untangle this. The research on the Valiant index is going well. I completed another lengthy trawl through copies of the paper to check where some strips appeared or dropped out, completed my checklist of The Crows reprints – somebody had to compile one... turns out that poor sod was me – and I'm now working my way through Captain Hurricane. For the latter I now have a reprint index, and I'm working alongside David Roach and David Slinn trying to spot who was doing fill-in art on some episodes. It's quite a long haul but more fun than I expected. Roylance, Captain Hurricane's main artist, wasn't one of my favourites even as a kid, but I'm starting to appreciate the effort he put into the strip.

So the good news is that Rebellion have already started work on collecting some of the material they've recently bought from Egmont, and one of the first books out of the gate will be a collection of One-Eyed Jack from the very pages of Valiant that I was flicking through over the weekend. The book will be out next July and that's the promo art for it at the top of the column.

More good stuff: We went to see Gary Delaney at the Arts Centre on Tuesday. He's an incredible joker, a master of the one-liner, as you can see from this little snapshot from his twitter feed:

I'm not the greatest fan of one-liner comedians, and whilst we have seen (and I've thoroughly enjoyed) Milton Jones and Stewart Francis in the past, I tend to prefer something a little more structured. However, by breaking his stride so it's not pun after pun, Delaney managed to hold everyone's attention for a full hour, making good use of a Mac and a big screen to show off some funny photos and Wikipedia trolling, and a clipboard or two of new jokes that he was trying on the audience (well, that's what he told us).

This week's big surprise came on Wednesday night when Mel announced that we'd managed to secure tickets to see James Acaster on Thursday. We were caught out by how quickly his gig sold out earlier in the year, but had our names down for any returned tickets. And it worked. Was it worth it? You'll have to wait until next week to find out as I'm writing this before we go so it can be lined up for posting first thing in the morning.

On the negative side... my feet hurt. Or specifically my left foot hurts. I thought it was just wear and tear on one shoe that was causing it to rub, perhaps, but the problem wasn't solved by insoles, switching back to an old pair of shoes with which I'd never had any problems, or even buying new shoes, which, if I'm honest, I needed to do anyway.

As the problem hasn't gone away I finally took a trip down to see our GP, where the problem was diagnosed as Morton's Neuroma. This turns out to be a bit of a misnomer as it is not a neuroma (a non-cancerous tumour); what it is is a thickening and swelling around the nerve that runs between the bones of the foot and toes.. Nobody's 100% certain what causes it, but it appears that pressure on the nerve plays a part.

I'm hoping the new shoes will help, although I was walking for roughly 14 months in the previous pair without any signs of a problem; I'm using high-impact insoles and also a pad which is, hopefully, relieving the pressure on the nerve. It doesn't seem to have had much effect so far, but I'll keep using it.

I'm still able to take my daily walks, which, as it's the only exercise I get these days, I don't want to give up on. I did get a bit of a run on Wednesday as, half way around my walk, at about ten past eight, I suddenly remembered that I had a dental appointment at nine. I was 15 minutes from home and the bus takes 25 minutes to get into town, plus it's a 10 minute walk to the dentist. Add that up and I realised there was a chance I could actually make it in time – or not long after.

I checked in at three minutes past nine!

And there I had my teeth cleaned without an anaesthetic and a small filling, so I was aching at both ends by the time I left.

Guess what the subject for this week's random scans is going to be...

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Commando issues 4967-4970

Commando issues on sale 17th November 2016.

Commando – 4967 – Goulash Grenadiers
Wrong time, wrong place and wrong soldiers. Mistaken for S.A.S., Abe, Cyril and Mike were in trouble. Being captured behind enemy lines was a nightmare for any British Soldier. But these men weren’t just any kind of soldiers…they were cooks.
    Pressed working alongside Wehrmacht cooks, Abe, Cyril and Mike were left in a sticky situation. Tensions were close to boiling point until the power of Yorkshire puddings helped six men, enemies by war, become friends in catering.

Story: George Low
Art: Keith Page
Cover: Keith Page

Commando – 4968 – Hoodoo Ship
At long last, Sub-lieutenant Roy Palmer and merchant captain Brian Miller had found the island supply base from which U-boat packs slipped anchor to attack Allied convoys in the South Atlantic.
But, only after they’d been adrift for days with two boatloads of tired, unarmed men. They didn’t even have a radio to pass on the vital news.
    What could they do? Not much at all it seemed, until Roy found an ancient cannon and remembered a tale about red hot cannonballs…

Powell’s thrilling storytelling, coupled with the unusual title of this issue, makes Hoodoo Ship an exciting and rambunctious read!
     Playing on the classic trope of a suspicious seaman, Powell invokes the tense atmosphere of a ship with more than a little hoodoo going on. Objects go missing, the boilers are sabotaged and the crew is attacked by an unseen, ghostly assailant…or so it seems.
    The star of the script is Powell’s perfect villain, Oberleutnant Franz Von Reitz. He’s unforgiving, merciless and calculating – everything you love to hate in a Commando villain. He keeps our hero on his toes and makes Hoodoo Ship a truly bewitching book!—The Commando Team

Story: Powell
Art: C.T. Rigby
Cover: Ken Barr
Hoodoo Ship, originally Commando No 255 (April 1967)

Commando - 4969 – Yuri: On the Run
Yuri Murayev, ex-Spetznaz Commando, thought that his troubles were behind him. But he hadn’t reckoned on Anatoly Speck, the sinister Russian billionaire who had made it his business to destroy the former commando.
    Framed for murder, and on the run, Yuri finds himself in a deadly cat and mouse game, wanted by both the Russian underworld and his old friends in the S.A.S. With bullets flying, and the casualties mounting, it’s up to Yuri to clear his name before it’s too late!

Story: Stephen Walsh
Art: Manuel Benet
Cover: Manuel Benet

Commando - 4970 – The Diamond Smugglers
When you want an agent to penetrate an enemy-occupied country and stay free long enough to do a tricky job, you ned someone who’s used to getting around without attracting attention. Who beeter than a man who smuggled diamonds in and out of that very country for years?
    But there’s a difference between peace-time and war. Before, the worst that could happen to him was to be put in jail. Now, if he was caught, he faced certain death!

This brilliant adventure follows two friends divided and reunited by war and adversary shapes us, and is brought to life with stunning visuals by classic interior artist, Llops. For our heroes, Jan and Tom, the Second World War offers them a restored friendship, and a renewed sense of heroism and purpose. For ferocious Nazi officer Driebrick (another brilliantly drawn, snarling Commando villain), however, the war is a gateway to greater treachery.
    Add to this thrilling rivalry and riveting artwork, another atmospheric cover from master artist Ian Kennedy, and you have a recipe for a truly gripping yarn!—The Commando Team

Story: Bernard Gregg
Art: Llops
Cover: Ian Kennedy
The Diamond Smugglers, originally Commando No 1138 (June 1977), reissued as No 2468 (May 1991)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion releases for 16 November 2016.

2000AD Prog 2007
In this issue: Judge Dredd: Cube Root by Arthur Wyatt (w), Jake Lynch (a), John Charles (c), Annie Parkhouse (l); Savage: The Marze Murderer by Pat Mills (w), Patrick Goddard (a), Annie Parkhouse (l); Hunted by Gordon Rennie (w), PJ Holden (a), Len O'Grady (c), Simon Bowland (l); Counterfeit Girl by Peter Milligan (w), Rufus Dayglo (a), Dom Regan (c), Ellie De Ville (l); Flesh: Gorehead by Pat Mills (w), Clint Langley (a), Ellie De Ville (l).

Judge Dredd Megazine 378
In this issue: Judge Dredd: Psicho by Peter Milligan (w) Jake Lynch (a) Tiernen Trevallion (c) Annie Parkhouse (l); Blunt by TC Eglington (w) Boo Cook (a) Simon Bowland (l); Angelic: Home is The Hunter by Gordon Rennie (w) Lee Carter (a) Simon Bowland (l); Anderson: The Deep End by Alec Worley (w) Paul Davidson (a) Len O'Grady (c) Ellie De Ville (l). Features: interview with Glyn Dillon, obituary of Steve Dillon, Thrill-power Overload. Bagged reprint: Sinister Dexter: Pros and Cons.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Phyllis Campbell and the Angels of Mons

In 1901, Phyllis Campbell was a boarder at a small school for girls at 45 Mount Park Road, Ealing, run by Ellen Deere and Anna Rayson, while her mother lived nearby with her cousin, Jessie M. Campbell. Her age was given as 8 and she had aged only 9 years over the next decade when she was to be found living with her mother in a flat in Bickenhall Mansions, off Baker Street in St. Marylebone.

Phyllis – or Phillis Frances Campbell, to give her full name – was born in Brisbane, Queensland, on 21 August 1891, the daughter of Howard Douglas Campbell and Frances Cyril Vivian Campbell (nee Dean-Morgan), according to the Australian Birth Index.

She was the second of their third child, although Mrs. Campbell acknowledged only two on her 1911 census return and acknowledged only her daughter during her 1912 court case. Phillis's siblings both met tragic ends, Lorne Douglas Campbell dying at the age of 10 months, and Yorke Douglas confined to a mental hospital, where he died at the age of 22.

A very brief sketch of her life appeared in a Queensland newspaper in 1915 which recorded:
Miss Campbell was born in Australia twenty-one years ago. She is a cousin of Lady Archibald Campbell, and with her parents came to England at the age of seven. A few  years later she went to school at Passy, in France, and since then has lived in Paris and at Roscoff, in Britany, with her mother.
The trip from Queensland to London took place in early 1899, when she was indeed seven. The family connection to Lady Archibald Campbell was a little tortuous: Janey Sevilla Campbell was the daughter of James Henry Callander and his first wife, the Hon. Jane Plumer Erskine. Orphaned by the deaths of her mother (1846), her stepmother (1849) and her father (1851), she was raised by the Duke of Argyll and went on to marry his second son, Lord Archibald Campbell (1846-1913).

A family connection to the Dukes of Argyll was often mentioned, although the closest connection I have been able to establish, working back through the line of Mrs. Campbell's husband Howard Douglas Campbell's family connection to the House of Lochnell. John Campbell, the first Laird of Lochnell, who died at the Battle of Langside in 1568, was the son of the 3rd Earl of Argyll (c.1486-1529). Any later connection has yet to be established.

A close family connection must have been established very soon after her arrival, as Mrs. Campbell attended the wedding of  Miss Blanche Elizabeth Campbell Balfour, daughter of Lady Frances, third daughter of the then recently deceased 8th Duke of Argyll. Reports of her marriage to Edgar Trevellyan Stratford Dugdale on 18 November 1902 noted the glittering array of guests ("all that is most distinguished in society") including Princess Louise, the Duke of Argyll, the American Ambassador and his daughter, Lord and Lady Knutsford, Lord and Lady Rayleigh, the Duke of Northumberland and Lady Cranborne. A cast one might expect at the marriage of the Prime Minister's niece. Thankfully one paper (The Queenslander, 3 January 1903) had room to note:
One of the guests was a pretty little Queensland girl, Miss Phyllis Campbell, the granddaughter of Admiral Donald Campbell of Barbreck, who came with her mother.
Phyllis would have been 11 at the time and still attending school at Ealing before heading to Passy, a suburb of Paris, which was home to the Collège de Passy, originally founded by Les Frères des Ecoles Chrétiennes in 1839. Secular laws forced the brothers to move lock, stock and students to Froyennes in Belgium in 1905, but the original school was maintained by parents and later became known as Saint-Jean-de-Passy.

Miss P. Campbell was listed among the guests at the marriage of Herbert Asquith and the Hon. Cynthia Charteris on 28 July 1910 but her most notable appearance in newspapers occurred two years later when she gave evidence in court during her mother's court case against the Prince Line relating to the conditions on the Carib Prince during their Mediterranean trip between July and September 1911. Phyllis backed up her mother's evidence about falling ill on the trip and the poor conditions, but judgement in the case was eventually found for the defendants.

If we are to believe the 1915 brief biography, Phyllis and and her mother moved to France, and were lived in Roscoff, in Britany, north-western France. In 1913, she began writing for Occult Review – as had Lady Archibald Campbell – with "Some French Ghost Stories" (Jan 1914) and "Some More French Ghost Stories" (Apr 1914), which appeared under the pen-name Phil Campbell. In the January 1915 issue, appeared the following:
I made an appeal last month on behalf of the Red Cross Hospital (auxiliary) at Saint Germain-en-Laye, where Miss Phyllis Campbell, an occasional but valued contributor to the Occult Review, has been nursing since the commencement of the war. I gave no particulars last month, which doubtless partly accounts for the rather scanty response of my readers. To-day I am making good this omission, and I much hope that those who are regular readers and can afford at least half-a-crown will be kind enough to lend a helping hand ... I append two hospital photographs, giving convalescents, nurses and the doctor of "Salle C," where Miss Campbell is nursing.
It was Campbell's next contribution that made her name famous. "The Angelic Leaders" appeared in the August 1915 issue with little fanfare, but the phenomenon described – almost immediately dubbed the Angels of Mons – took hold of the public imagination, thanks to the widespread appearance of stories in national and provincial newspapers.

Ralph Shirley, editor of Occult Review, immediately wrote The Angel Warriors at Mons – which he described as a "penny pamphlet (post free, 1½d.)" – dealing with the subject and giving various historical parallels. "The evidence in detail is not yet as strong as one could wish, but it is so strong cumulatively that one cannot help feeling that a plausible case has been made out for the occurrence of these phenomena," he wrote in the September issue. At the same time he reprinted (in small type) Miss Phyllis Campbell's article as the great demand for the previous issue meant many potential readers were unable to obtain copies.

Campbell had another article in the same issue on "Omens and Warning of the War" in which she described a number of odd occurrences relating to the war, including one that begins
A friend of mine is the last living representative of an ancient and semi-royal French family. In the time of Henri Quatre, the then head of the house was the intimate companion of that indomitable fighter. The present Comte de —–  has known my youngest sister since she was a small child, and a pretty and romantic friendship has always existed between them. In January 1914, she went to Germany to finish her education—she was not very happy there, and wrote frequently asking to be brought home to Paris.
Although Phyllis Campbell had no younger sister, named Joan in the story, she continues her story, relating how the Comte de —–  dreamed of a dead relative and became so convinced that war was imminent that he persuaded Margaret, an elder sister of Phyllis who also did not exist, to travel to Germany to bring back her non-existent sister who, Campbell claims, was the only girl out of thirteen to escape Germany unmolested.

This was her last contribution to the magazine, as she concentrated her efforts on a biographical book entitled Back of the Front, which was published by George Newnes in October 1915. The book was positively reviewed in Occult Review (December 1915), as one might expect:
Under the title of Back of the Front, Miss Campbell has given us a very vivid narrative of her experiences in France at the time of the commencement of the Great War. The phenomena of the angels of Mons naturally fill a place in her volume, but not a conspicuous one. The book is rather a picturesque narrative of the experiences of an observant girl who happened to be in France at one of the most dramatic periods of France's history, and who did her part in nursing the wounded soldiers during the first stirring months of the campaign at a hospital which was at one moment within an ace of being overrun by the advance guard of the victorious Germans. That narrative is so freshly and dramatically told that it constitutes in effect a series of pen pictures of various characteristic incidents of those early days and gives to the reader the feeling of living among the scenes and people of whom it is written. The French attitude to the German invaders, and the intensity of their loathing and contempt towards their relentless foe, is vividly portrayed.
The Aberdeen Journal (2 November 1915) noted Campbell's praise of the Highland regiments. "She writes proudly of their splendid appearance and of the enthusiastic praise of the French—especially of the French women." It, too, noted that Campbell had not made the Angels of Mons phenomena central to the book, it being covered in two chapters. W. L. Courtney, who wrote the book's introduction, describes how he had...
... been shown the various documents which prove that she was an accredited nurse with the French Red Cross. I have seen her photographs, her medals, her diploma and the insignia of her office. Above all, I have read some of the numerous letters which she has received (and still receives) from her grateful patients in which the tale is told of a nurse's devotion and of her exceeding great reward. It is the more necessary for me to give this testimony, because I understand that some doubts have been expressed as to the credibility of a narrative which to my mind carries conviction from its first page to its last, and in reality requires no external proof. Of course it may be difficult in some cases to distinguish between memoranda taken at the time and the results of mere memory. But in the book before us the authoress very evidently gives a picture of the impressions she gathered at the time—very vivid and unforgettable impressions, printed on a retentive brain during months of poignant suffering and strenuous and self-sacrificing service.
    Frankly I do not know what to say about the "visions" which wounded soldiers narrated to Miss Campbell, as they have done also to other witnesses. She only tells the tales as they were told to her, and carefully avoids expressing any judgment on their merits or their veracity.
In another book on the subject, On the Side of the Angels, the author Harold Begbie describes Phyllis Campbell as "extremely pretty, childlike and sensitive," and defended her accounts. Others took a different view both at the time and as the years passed, yet Phyllis Campbell wrote nothing more on the subject and, in fact, seems to have written nothing further on the subject of her wartime experiences.

In 1918, Arthur Machen (whose The Bowmen had popularised the legend of the Angels of Mons) wrote to Vincent Starrett that "Phyllis Campbell ... became involved a little later in a scandal in which an officer was also concerned; I believe her to have become a conscious liar in the matter." (The Strange Case of "The Angels of Mons": Arthur Machen's World War I Story by Richard J. Bleiler, quoting Starrett vs. Machen: A Record of Discovery and Correspondence, St. Louis, MO, Autolycus Press, 1977)

After the Armistace Phyllis Campbell turned to writing novels, publishing two light romances through Mills & Boon. The first, dedicated "To Charles Moore with my love" appeared in early 1920 to almost absolute silence; I have found no mention of the book being received by libraries, let alone any reviews. It can only be found in Britain's five copyright libraries in the UK, which tends to be a sure sign of poor distribution.

The story begins with two rich men, one a dying man who entrusts the protection of his daughter, Jan Macgregor, to the other. But dark forces have combined to try and discover what old Shamus Macgregor had done with his millions, of which there is no trace. Jan moves into a cheap hotel in a back street off Portman Square. Young Dwight Kenyon still loves her: he wants the girl not the money, but the girl refuses until she can earn herself a decent living, which will not be easy and she turns to the stage.

Small clues confirm that this is the same Phyllis Campbell—the quoting of a Moorish proverb; a description of a desperate one-armed boy who had almost lost his life in France during the war; and kind doctors and nurses look after our heroine's aunt when she falls ill. It was a somewhat cliched story but enjoyable.

The White Hen followed in October, which was rather more widely reviewed, although the reviews were not overwhelmingly good. The Australasian (12 February 1921), for instance:
To pass the time one might ask for nothing better, than a story which; concerns an impoverished noble family of France, the ducal head of which, who was crippled badly in the war, manages to keep the wolf from the door by the sale of dainty little figures and animal studies modelled in clay, the while he dreams of becoming one day a famous sculptor; an American millionaire of the accepted hero type, "young, tall, lean, sinewy, sunbrowned, and weather-beaten, with piercing grey-green eyes, a straight haughty nose, and a firm-lipped, yet humorous, mouth," who masquerades as a chauffeur; the mysterious loss of a diamond of fabulous worth, the sale of which was to provide the "dot" of the beautiful young daughter of the aforementioned ducal house; a mad duchess with a pet hen; various more or less successful attempts at theft and murder; and the essential love interest and happy ending.
    With all these ingredients to her hand Miss Phyllis Campbell, in her latest novel, “The White Hen” (London: Mills and Boon), does not achieve, perhaps, all that she might have achieved, but she has written an entertaining  study, the first chapters of which are good fun, with little human touches that lift it rather above the average. The chief fault of the book lies in its length. For a light novel of this type to be really successful it should not be possible for the reader, with a slight feeling of boredom, to skip a page here and there when only a little more than halfway through the book.
The Age (22 January 1921) was more scathing still: "The main idea is preposterous, 'the situations are artificial, the humor forced." Perhaps for this reason Phyllis Campbell's career as a novelist appears to have ended almost as soon as it had begun.

No more was heard of Phyllis Campbell, who disappeared as thoroughly as her mother had before her, although Richard Bleiler (in The Strange Case of "The Angels of Mons": Arthur Machen's World War I Story) believes he has spotted a later tale. "She may have been the writer of "The Hand of Thais," a ghost story that was read over  the English radio on 23 December 1937; if so, this appears to be her last identifiable publication." But, bar that possible sighting, nothing more was heard from Phyllis after 1920.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mrs Frances Campbell part 3

Mrs. Frances Campbell, 1905
The days passed like a dream of Genesis. We rose in the pearl of dawn, and were on the road before 'the enemy,' as the Moors call the sun. was high in the blue. Now we were climbing some high, craggy range, now we were climbing down again, through the pleasant valleys, over great rich plains, over low hills covered with grey lavender and gum eistus and wild olive.
    The fever had firm hold of me by now, and I could not eat, so that Bobelli's first request when we came to our camp was always, 'Milk for the Bashadaw lady.' Once he stood salaaming at my tent door, and a lovely, soft-eyed Moorish girl beside him. She might have been fourteen — ivory-skinned, gazelle-eyed, and with braided hair, caught up over her thin ears, and enormous pearl-hung earrings.
    'Forgive me, senora,' begged Bobelli, 'but this woman is a fool! She will give me no milk unless I let her see you.'
    He stood aside, and the girl came in, stepping like a princess. She was the Kaid's daughter, and had removed her veil, forgetting Bobelli in her eagerness to see us, the only Europeans that had ever come to that remote place.
    'Allah!' she cried, in amazement, fingering our buttons and rings— Kathleen's bangles and my old necklace most moved her; but as she watched me slip off my veil, and saw my hair, she almost wept
with compassion. 'Allah be merciful!' she prayed. 'What a misfortune to have hair like that! You will never obtain a husband!'
    Kathleen assured her my destiny had been accomplished, and she glanced from her to me greatly concerned.
    'Verily,' she remarked at length, 'It Is easy to the Nazrini to lie — who would wed a woman with hair like that?'
    Bobelli, in spite of convention, laughed outright, and she indignantly retired.
    The Moors will condone red hair, but light hair of any shade is looked upon as a kind of disgrace. The little lady, however, sent me a jar of rich milk and some eggs, for which I was very thankful.
Under the title "A Woman's Ride to Fez", the Daily Mail introduced their readers to the remarkable story of Mrs. Frances Campbell and the "Secret Ways of Morocco". During 1905-06, an international crisis had developed (known today as the First Moroccan Crisis) begun when the Kaiser of Germany visited and declared his support for the sovereignty of the Sultan. This challenge to French influence in the country escalated until France had moved troops to the German border and Germany began calling up reserve units. Eventually, Germany backed down in the face of unified support from other European countries, Russia and the United States.

However, Morocco became a country to keep an eye on and a report in the Daily Graphic in January 1907 was typical, reporting the assurance of German authorities that all was well in the country. To prove the point, they noted that during a recent German expedition to Fez, an officer had met an Englishwoman touring alone. This fearless lady proved to be Mrs. Frances Campbell, travelling across Morocco on horseback with only a few servants.

In truth, the trip was undertaken with another adventurous traveller, Mrs. Kathleen Mansel-Pleydell, daughter of Sir Thomas Grove and wife to Edmund Mansel-Pleydell. Originally, a large party had been planned but articles in The Times about the unsettled state of the country, induced the majority to abandon their plans. However, after interviewing E. F. Carleton, the English Consul at El Kazar, the two ladies had started out a fortnight earlier than the planned time for departure, and made their way to the Court of the Sultan of Morocco at Fez without a guard.

This was unprecedented in a country where even the Moorish merchants travelled with soldiers for protection against bandits. The two plucky ladies were treated with great kindness and courtesy, and passed from village to village as the friends of Mulai Hummet—the Kaid of Zeenut.
    The Kaid himself rode up immediately after on a pacing mule, a priceless animal, with seven saddlecloths, all different tints. A wealthy Kaid, evidently, wearing a magnificent sulham of fine Manchester cloth over immaculate white. He was one of the handsomest men I have ever seen, over six feet, fair-skinned and hazel-eyed, with a simple dignity that was very charming. He welcomed us as if we were his oldest friends, gave us barley, for the horses, water, bread, and a guard.
Mrs Mansel-Pleydell was persuaded to write Sketches of Life in Morocco for Digby, Long & Co. (1907), which she dedicated to "Frances Campbell without whose valued praise and encouragement this volume would not have been written."

Meanwhile, Mrs. Campbell was writing various sketches of her own for Westminster Gazette about her travels and meetings with the Moors of all classes. She also penned the novel A Shepherd of the Stars, which combined travel description interwoven with narrative that related how a lady and her two charming nieces—Pickle, an irresistible young tomboy, the Felicia, gentle, beautiful and marriageable to the stalwart Duke of Drumore—pay a visit to Tangier. According to the London Daily News (23 May 1907):
Mrs. Frances Campbell makes no attempt to disguise the feminine note in her work, which is conventional and prettily sentimental. The naïve surprise of the amiable chaperon who tells the story, when she discovers that the strong silent lover of her pretty charge is no less a personage than a Duke, is almost too good to be true, but Mrs. Campbell is incapable of cynicism. There could be no better antidote to the problem novel than this bundle of impressions of Morocco, loosely strung together with a thread of sentiment. Mrs. Campbell has the gift of description, and we do not like her pictures any the less because she sees the world through rose-coloured glasses.
Campbell introduced a number of native characters to the story, but most reviewers honed in on her portrait of Raisuli (Mulai Ahmed er Raisuni), the real-life bandit who, when the author was in Morocco, had been dismissed as Pasha of Tangier and Governor of the Jibala province. He promptly kidnapped General Sir Harry (Kaid) Maclean, a military aid to the Sultan, and demanded £20,000 from the British government.

Campbell thought him a modern Robin Hood with all the virtues of the British folk hero and none of the failings, describing him as "a very handsome, distinguished man, with thin, clear-cut features, high and determined, a complexion like ivory, jet-black hair and brows, over the most wonderful, piercing, imperative eyes."

"The author has the happiest possible touch in description," said the reviewer for the Illustrated London News (20 July 1907). "She can put before us a bit of landscape or a native incident—Tangier, where the leper body is hid in the trailing garments of the night; or the café described in the admirable chapter “Music and Indian Hemp”—as pleasantly as vividly. And in the moments of particularly high spirits she tells of the Rape of the Wheel, and our appreciation expresses itself in a hearty guffaw." The latter incident refers to an episode in the book in which Colonel Nimrod (who, with Lady Diana, is accompanying the children) has a tooth removed.

A Shepherd of the Stars was Mrs. Campbell's last known novel, originally published as a series of Moorish sketches in Westminster Gazette. Her stories had appeared in Vanity Fair, Country Life and was a great friend of W. T. Stead, and was employed by him on the Review of Reviews; she was to reveal a few years later that she was earning £500 a year from her writing. But at the beginning of 1908 she gave up and was subsequently "engaged on other business of a somewhat confidential character in which she had been associated with the late Mr. Stead." Her only known movement during the next two years was a 1910 voyage in the city of Khios. She would not speak of the work, even in court where she said she was bound not to speak of it to anyone. There was nothing wrong in the work, but it might hurt her and other people if its nature was disclosed.

In 1911, at the time of the census, she was sharing a flat at 6A Bickenhall Mansions, Bickenhall Street (off Baker Street), with her daughter and a servant. She also gave "Portman Square" as a postal address. The following year she became involved in a widely-reported court case against The Prince Line Ltd., owners of a line of steamships.

As plaintiff, Mrs. Frances Vivian Campbell (as her name was given), hoped to recover damages for alleged breach of contract and negligence. The case was that, in June 1911, she was asked by Mr. Stead to do some journalistic work in Greece and Asia Minor. Mrs. Campbell had written to the defendants saying she desired to visit various ports in the Mediterranean and on the Syrian coast. She paid a visit to their agents, Messrs. Kaye and Son, to inquire about the times of sailing and about the ships, and was told that the food was excellent, that the cabins were spacious and airy and the cargo carried was clean and unoffensive. An experienced stewardess would be on board to look after her and her friends.

The description given was for the Merchant Prince, although the boat on which she eventually sailed, the Carib Prince, was said to be even more comfortable. She was also informed by letter from the defendants' managing director that the ship was a very suitable one that he was sure the plaintiff would be comfortable on board.

Assured, Mrs. Campbell booked passages for herself, her daughter, and her cousin, Miss Moore, and they embarked at Manchester on July 29. The trip was a catalogue of disasters: the crew were not expecting them and they were shown to "the worst cabins in the ship." She refused to sleep there and they were given others near the bows which had more portholes. They were filthy and smelt badly, and when Mrs. Campbell uncovered her birth she found it swarming with hundreds of cockroaches. The stewardess, ill and constantly coughing, told her they would not hurt and were to found on all ships.

Nothing was done about the situation and the passengers were offered no dinner, although they had joined the officers for tea. As they were hungry, they were given mutton sandwiches and lemonade. The meat seemed hard and stringy and possibly had not been properly thawed. Other meals consisted of puddings made with water and a little condensed milk, and vegetables, usually cabbage, that was swimming in water. On the first day there was a cockroach in the cabbage. They lived on potatoes, apples and salad and, even after arriving at Tunis, things did not improve.

They arrived at Malta on August 10 and then at Alexandria on the 14th, where Mrs. Campbell complained to the ship's agent, Mr Smith. The stewardess left and a Mrs. Barlow replaced her. It took Mrs. Barlow a week to clean the cabins and free the berths of cockroaches. The food had not improved as they travelled from Alexandria to Beirut, where the cook and Mrs. Barlow were both very ill.

Back at Alexandria in September, the boat had taken on board 100,000 quails. The ship set sail for Malta on September 16, but after two days many of the birds were dead and began to smell. It permeated everything and could be tasted in everything; the passengers were forced to spend their time on deck.

In Malta meat exposed to the full heat of the sun was brought on board. At Gibraltar on September 26 they were given some veal cutlets in batter, and with food having been scarce during the trip, they had all partaken. All three began to feel ill-effects by the evening. Mrs. Campbell's daughter was seized with violent pains and the next morning Mrs. Campbell was taken with the same symptoms, but in a more serious degree. She had to be helped to her berth and later to the deck.

They arrived at Manchester on October 3 and took the train to London. On October 4 she wrote a letter of complaint to the defendants' agents; on the 5th she was seen by Dr. Bott. Her eyes became worse and on October 16 she saw Dr. Ettles because her left eye was now quite blind and her right had periods of blankness during which she could see nothing. It was eventually found to be suffering from ptomaine poisoning.

Arguments were made by the defendants that Mrs. Campbell did not complain to the captain about certain things (although she argued that it would have been pointless as the captain and the steward were intimate friends). She had also been given opportunities to leave the ship. In Alexandria she was offered a berth aboard the Italian Prince but refused, saying that she knew the Carib Prince but did not know the other ship.

During the taking of evidence, another reason was revealed: she was being paid £300 by W. T. Stead to take this particular trip and she had been asked by Stead to take a package to a certain destination; it would involve some risk to herself and she was to go out if possible unobserved and to return by the same boat as that in which she went. It was, she said, the same kind of work as she had done at Fez for the Daily Mail. She was to meet a person who would give her something, the destination of which did not rest with her. She received it at Mersyn on the Syrian Coast, at the corner of the Street of Bootmakers. She hid the package in her stays and, when bathing, in her bag.

Asked why the package could not have been collected by anybody, Mrs. Campbell replied: "I suppose a certain kind of person was required, such as myself. I was told that the matter was political."

Evidence for the defence was given by the captain, the steward and others, in which it was denied that the berths offered to Mrs. Campbell were filthy and filled with cockroaches; she had made no complaints about the food, which was not putrid; that Mrs. Campbell had taken a dislike to Miss Carrodus, the stewardess during the first part of the voyage and would ring her to pick up her slippers when they were within easy reach, and had insulted Miss Fletcher, a fellow passenger.

Medical evidence showed that her eye condition was a case of retro-bulbar neuritis—an inflammation of the optic nerve—and there had never been a case of it being caused by ptomaine poisoning, the most common causes being trouble with teeth, cattarrhal causes and exposure to cold and wet. Rheumatic and gouty people were prone to it, and it had followed influenza. Another medical witness said that the state of the plaintiff's eye could have been caused by a chill.

In its closing speech, the defence stated that the notion that Mrs. Campbell was on a mission to collect a package in Mersyn had been proven to be a lie. The Carib Prince was not due to visit that port and there were no plans to go beyond Beirut. It was only at the suggestion of the captain to the agent that as they had plenty of time, they could go along the coast and visit, among other places, Mersyn, in order that the ladies could see more of the Syrian coast.

On the charges of breach of contract and negligence, the jury found for the defendants.

The case left a lot unanswered. Was the mission for W. T. Stead a complete hoax? Stead had died on the Titanic a few months earlier and could not be asked. The evidence suggested that Mrs. Campbell was lying. As Mr. F. E. Smith (for the defence) said: "At first she surrounded herself in a sphinx-like atmosphere of mystery and would not tell them the nature of that journalistic work. When it was made clear to her by his Lordship that not much attention would be paid to her evidence if she did not give some explanation, she told the cock-and-bull story about receiving a package and bringing it back to Mr. Stead in return for a sum of money amounting to nearly £300—a package which could easily have been sent by parcel post."

This was not the only odd claim to come out of the trial. The defendants' agent from Alexandria,  Mr. Percy Smith, had written a letter to the defendants in which he had mentioned that Mrs. Campbell was "a lady in high position, the widow of a former Governor of Queensland, and was related in some curious manner to both Lord Charles Beresford and the Harmsworths"—a comment that solicited laughter in the court—"and that she wrote for the Daily Mail." Presumably he was repeating information given to him by Mrs. Campbell.

Another oddity was that almost every provincial paper reporting the case gave an address for the plaintiff. The Essex Chronicle, to take just one instance, reported the case on 14 June 1912 under the headline "Cockroach & Cabbage" "Essex Lady's Experience" "Remarkable case from Ongar" "Action pending against the plaintiff". The plaintiff was named as Mrs. Frances Vivian Campbell, a widow, residing at Toot Hill, Ongar, a town in the Epping Forest region of Essex.

This resulted in a response to the Editor the following week:
Sir.—Will you kindly contradict in your largely circulated Essex papers that I am Mrs. Frances Vivian Campbell, of the "Cockroach cabbage" case? It has come to my ears that several people are under this impression. I have never been to the Mediterranean in my life.
Toot Hill, Ongar
Miss Jessie M. Campbell was an unmarried 45-year-old woman, born in Warley, Essex, living on private meets at Wealds Farm, Toot Hill, Ongar. She was living with her 28-year-old niece, Jessie M. Moore and a servant at the time of the 1911 census, and clearly was not Frances Vivian Campbell, who was living in London with her daughter at that time.

However, she was being a little disingenuous, because she was her cousin and in the 1901 census, Jessie M. Campbell and Francis Campbell could be found living together at 31 Lammas Park Road, Ealing, the home of Jessie's mother.

The court case is the last sighting we have of Frances Vivian Campbell. What happened to her afterwards is unknown, although it was not the last that would be heard of the Campbell family.

Mrs Frances Campbell part 4

This episode is something of a postscript to our journey to date through the life of Mrs. Frances Vivian Campbell. During her lifetime she made various claims of how she was related to various people, most notably the Duke of Argyll. There is some evidence that they were related, although I've yet to discover at what distance.

However, given that Mrs. Campbell lived for some while in 1901 with a Jessie Campbell, it is worth seeing how they are related.

Mrs. Campbell was married to Howard Douglas Campbell, son of Captain Howard Douglas Campbell (1821-1857) of the 78th Highlanders. He was the younger brother of Donald Cochrane Campbell, M.D. (1819-1884) who was married to Jessie Euphremia Copland (1834-1909), the daughter of Charles Copland (sometimes spelled Copeland). They were, in fact, married twice: on 6 March 1853 at Old Machar, Aberdeen, Scotland, and again on 15 March 1853 in Monkstown, Dublin, Ireland.

Donald Cochrane Campbell had a number of children, as far as I can trace:
  (1) Donald Campbell (1854- ), who married Ada Johnston;
  (2) Annie McLeod Campbell (1857?-1884), who married George Kenrick Moore, youngest surviving son of William Moore, Esq., Moore Fort, Country Antrim, on 20 June 1882 at Westminster;
  (3) Charles Copland Campbell (1859-1880);
  (4) Euphemia Isabella Campbell (1861-1884);
  (5) Jessie Malvenia Campbell (1865?-1917).

It is the last of these that we are interested in. Donald Cochrane Campbell was a well-respected doctor who worked for many years as Superintendent of the County Lunatic Asylum at Brentwood, Essex, an appointment he had held since the Asylum opened in September 1853. He had previously been a superintendent of an asylum in Scotland.

Campbell's family life was rather tragic. His son Charles died at Port Stanley, South Africa, of typhoid fever on 10 April 1880 at the age of 20. Campbell was particularly struck by the death, after a short illness, of his daughter, Euphemia, in April 1884; already having suffered from ill-health for two or three years, more or less confined to his room from the previous September, his workload taken on by the senior medical assistant Mr. G. Amsden, who also attended him. Her death had a depressing effect on him and he was too ill to attend her funeral. He went to Hastings for a change of air, but after three months returned, his health no better. He died on 8 August 1884.

Within a matter of months, his daughter, Annie McLeod Campbell, was also dead. She was living with her husband, a captain in the Army Pay Department stationed at Barracks at Brecon, Brecknock, where she died on 7 December 1884, aged 27. She was survived by her husband and a daughter, Jessie Mary Shuldham Hill Moore, born on 5 November 1883 and baptized at St. Mary, Brecon, on 6 December 1883.

It was Jessie who travelled with Mrs. Frances Campbell and her daughter Phyllis to the Mediterranean in 1912 which resulted in the court case. Jessie's father, George Kenrick Moore, continued to serve in the army, eventually gaining the rank of Major before he died in Hong Kong on 20 October 1896, aged 39. Jessie, moved in with Donald Cochrane Campbell's widow, also Jessie, who was living in Sussex in the 1890s but had moved to 31 Lammas Park Road, Ealing by 1901, where the house was shared with Jessie's youngest daughter (yet another Jessie) and with Frances Campbell, her niece, who had been living in England for a year and who had just lost her husband to suicide.

Jessie Euphremia Campbell died in 1909 and her daughter, Jessie Malvenia Campbell, moved to Toot Hill, Ongar, with Jessie Mary Moore in tow. Jessie Malvenia died in 1917, a year after Jessie Mary married George Phillips Voss. The only notable thing I've found about the Voss family is that they had twins born on 17 July 1921, which George Voss , a solicitor's managing clerk, tried to claim upon in his tax returns, arguing that the children were 'living' at the beginning of the tax year on 6 April, although not yet 'born'. The case went before the King's Bench Division where Mr. Justice Rowlatt found in favour of H.M. Inspector of Taxes, W. S. Jackson. Jessie Mary Voss eventually died in 1953.

I'll leave you with one final note. The Queensland State Archives hold numerous passenger records that have been digitized in recent years. As Mrs. Frances Campbell spent eleven years of her life in Queensland, one might expect her to show up in the Registers of Immigrant Ships' Arrivals. And maybe she does, under the name Frances Morgan who, aged 26, sailed from London on 25 August 1888 and arrived in Brisbane aboard the Jumna on 13 October 1888, just in time for the marriage of "Frances Cyril Vivian Dean Morgan" to Howard Douglas Campbell on 30 October 1888.

The passenger record does not give a great deal of information, but it does give the country or county of origin for the passengers, which in Frances Morgan's case is County Down, in Ireland. As, according to her 1911 census return, Mrs. Campbell was uncertain of her place of birth, we cannot rule out Frances Morgan. And a birth around 1861/62 appears far more likely as it narrows a rather wide difference in the ages between Frances and her husband, who was born in 1853.

In the absence of any other evidence, I'm very tempted to say that Mrs. Campbell was born in c.1862, not, as she later claimed, in c.1871 or c.1874.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Mrs Frances Campbell part 2

When Howard Douglas Campbell committed suicide, a number of mysteries remained unsolved. For instance, he asked the cab driver to take him to 3 Priory-gardens, Kilburn—an address that, in fact, did not exist. For the past month, Campbell had been living at a boarding house at 55 Princes-square, Bayswater. He was generally of a cheerful disposition and was said to have been a favourite with all his numerous acquaintances. He dined at Frascati's every day.

His body was identified at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, late the following day by his sister. Reports elsewhere revealed that Campbell had for a time acted as secretary to the late Duke of Argyll, to whom he was remotely related.

Campbell was born in Bornbery, Poonah, India, on 2 September 1853. He was the second son of Captain Howard Douglas Campbell (1821-1857) of the 78th Highlander, who was married to Ann Jane Davidson on 14 October 1849. They had four children, including elder son Donald Archibald Campbell (1850-1901), who served as a Lieutenant-Colonel with the Inniskilling Fusiliers before retiring to Cheltenham.

Mrs. Campbell, widowed on 19 November 1857, and with four children—one of them only eight months old—lived in Ayr. Howard earned his certificate of competency to serve as a Second Mate in 1877 and was in the Merchant Service, rising from Conway Cadet to 2nd Officer; he later served on the staff of the British India Shipping Company in Brisbane and, when he sailed back to the UK, was described as a merchant's assistant.

The inquest was held at Paddington Coroner's Court by Dr. Danford Thomas. Donald Archibald Campbell gave evidence to say that his younger brother followed no occupation and he had last seen him in April 1899 at a hospital near the Zoological Gardens. The deceased had lately been in high hopes of getting a certain appointment but he never showed any tendency to suicide, although a later witness said that there had been some concerns regarding Campbell's mental condition expressed by a Dr. Morris of Bognor in a letter addressed to Mrs. Campbell.

The Coroner read out the following letter, which had been found in Campbell's pocket:
To the Coroner:—
Dear Sir,—There need be no mystery about my death. My father was Captain Howard Douglas Campbell, in the old 78th Highlanders. Ten years ago I was in the service in Queensland, and one night I had a very heavy fall, when besides cuts and bruises, I ruptured an artery in my chest, and the doctor almost gave me up for dying. I unfortunately had a stroke of paralysis three years ago, and I was sent home. I find I am not gaining strength, so I am to slip my moorings. Some think it cowardly what I an going to do, but I was brought up by a good lady, my mother. She was a member of the Church of Scotland, and very religious, so I know that after death comes judgment.—(Signed) Howard Douglas Campbell.
Dr. Paget, of St. Mary's Hospital, stated that death was caused by a bullet wound and the jury returned a verdict of suicide during temporary insanity.

It was not the only tragedy to befall Frances Campbell, who was notably absent from reports about her husband's death, although the St James's Gazette (28 March 1901) did note that "He is married and has one child." (sic)

On 22 May 1918, her son, known now as Douglas York Campbell, although born Yorke Douglas Campbell in 1895, died at Netherne Asylum at the age of 22 and was buried at the Netherne Asylum Cemetary in Coulsdon, Surrey.

Shortly after her husband's suicide, on 9 July 1901, a letter was published in the Social column of the Australian Woman's World magazine:
It is always a pleasure to note the success of our colonial friends when they launch their literary ventures in the big mart of the world—London. The Queensland friends of Mrs. Frances Campbell have reason to congratulate her continued success in the literary world ever since her departure from Brisbane. In a private letter received yesterday, Mrs. Campbell writes :— “I have just sold my last story, a novel of which the scene is laid in Brisbane, to Digby, Long and Co. I got very good terms indeed, and in that respect am more fortunate than many who have actually made a name. Mr. George Alexander told me that many are obliged at present to publish at their own expense, so that I may congratulate myself on having been asked for a book, and paid for it when finished. I have been very busy for the magazines, and am on the staff of one of the London weeklies, so have enough to do, and, as you will understand, it takes it all to provide for my little ones.”
It is thought that the staff position was with the Westminster Gazette, where she published regularly for at least the next eight or so years, with some of the material widely syndicated and even gathered together in book form. Over the next few years most of her work received generous praise, with stories and features appearing in The Pall Mall Magazine, Temple Bar, Free Lance, The Fortnightly Review, The Queen, Westminster Budget, Morning Post, The Throne, Good Housekeeping, and the Daily Mail, in the 1900s.

Her first novel appeared in 1900 and was generally well-reviewed. A typical example appeared in Western Mail (4 May 1900):
An interesting book enough, which gives a little insight into the lives of certain individuals on board a steamer homeward bound from Australia. The heroine, Angela Vivian, who has the misfortune to be tied to a brutal and drunken husband, is a type of woman of whom we do not see many examples nowadays—tender, clinging, and affectionate, full of a religious fervour which characterises all her actions, and, consequently, upright and honourable, determined to do her duty by her husband, even if it cost her her own life. Mrs. Tredwin is a delightful person, with a very soft heart and a very sharp tongue, and there is something touching in her tender protection of the oppressed and insulted wife. Harry Vivian is a most repellent character, a victim of intemperance, and one can only feel relieved at the catastrophe which results in his death, when Angela is free to marry a man who loves her honourably and well. All the other characters are well depicted.
 Mrs. Campbell's follow-up, Love the Atonement, also drew on her experiences in Queensland and was well-liked by the reviewer at The Brisbane Courier (7 September 1901):
She has not been so long gone from amongst us that Brisbane has forgotten Mrs. Frances Campbell, and, remembering, it is with genuine pleasure that one welcomes the work of a woman who, though expatriated now, has still love enough left for the country of her adoption to look at its people and its places through rose-tinted glasses, and write of them in the appreciative, approving way that has marked her two novels. For Mrs. Campbell has now been fairly launched on her literary career in London. Her first book, "For Three Moons," aroused Interest and anticipation,  and those who were her friends recognised in her qualities of imagination and creation that, given favourable conditions, might go far. In "Love the Atonement" she has safely passed that Charybdis of a second book in which so many promising novelists have before now been engulfed, and, has indubitably proved her claim, not only to be considered the legitimate successor of Mrs. Campbell Praed, as far as choice of environment goes at any rate, but also a writer whose books will earn no inconsiderable reputation in the near future.
    Her story is a quaint mixture of Celtic mysticism and ordinary social life—a tragedy overlaid with the comedy of vice-regal existence in Queensland, but showing here and there the grim lines of a soul's unhappiness. For the plot one goes to the mysticism, for the Incidents to the comedy, and both are so agreeably interwoven that the book leaves an enduring good impression. Mrs. Campbell writes well and fluently, has cultivated the knack of smart dialogue, and displays everywhere a surprising facility in the handling of character—especially those of women. There is a poetical touch in her arranging of the fates of her principal dramatis personae, and her descriptions of Brisbane scenery and society lack nothing either in artistic merit or in point of realism. And putting aside the higher idealistic aspect of the novel, which, be it said, is far the most attractive, one is interested also in her sketches of Brisbane men and women—sketches that sometimes are rather thinly disguised. To Brisbane readers this will give additional point to the romance, but it is safe to say that to the world at large Mrs. Campbell's novel will be well received for its intrinsic merits. It is a book that will decidedly make its mark, and its author's name has, in its publication, insured a popularity which, will last. Brisbane should be grateful to Mrs. Campbell that she has represented it so worthily.
The Queensland connection was also much apparent in her next book, which gathered together material originally published in the Westminster Gazette. The following review was syndicated widely in numerous provincial papers around the UK, taken here from the Mid-Sussex Times (8 November 1904), which was perhaps a little too gushing in its praise:
It is very delightful in these days of alternation between the commonplace and the erotic in expensively advertised fiction, to come across, in the natural way, a book penned by a new hand, the cunning of which is convincing to the cultivated. Such, however, is assuredly the case with “Two Queenslanders and their Friends,” a work issued by the De La More Press, in chaste typography, and written by Frances Campbell, a new star in the firmament authorial, born to indubitable fame and glory. Mimi and Joe, the wee wean heroine and hero of the chain of stories, charm the reader by their naïve naturalness right away, irresistibly carry him or her along to the finale by their appealing acts, human always, defiant of cramping convention, wholesome to watch and sympathise with . Frances Campbell is a poetess and a seer, though the chastest of picturesque prose be her medium, and one hour of her under the Southern Cross is worth a cycle of circumambulation in the cloudland of the Corellis. What Lindsay Gordon has done in lilting verse for alluring Antipodean scenes, Frances Campbell does as prettily without the adventitious aid of rhythm, and gives us besides lots of live and lovable people to animate the landscape. The glint of burnished humour scintillates all through these Queensland stories, and one knows and loves the characters with full and undying affection, all because of the subtle strength of their pen portraiture. Delightfully fresh are each and all, in smiles and in tears, so unspoiled and so uplifting that one would dearly like at once to settle up one’s business, and migrate to the Queensland of Frances Campbell, and graduate with Mimi and Joe, the “Boss,” the “Lady,” the Bush Bishop, and “Brownie”—the always enchanting teller of the tale—for a permanent place in the ethereal realms beyond the bounds of the laughing land of “Never Never.” Of course Frances Campbell must be encored heartily for this altogether-admirable literary performance, that—nemine contradicente—will be the verdict of the discriminate.
As the book concerns Australia and Australians, it is interesting to take a look at a review from the Adelaide newspaper, The Advertiser (17 December 1904):
Few people are in doubt to-day as to the possibilities of a colonial literature, but those who remain sceptics should certainly read Frances Campbell's "Two Queenslanders and Their Friends" just published by the De la More Press. They form a charming idyll of the bush, and the two dominant characters, Joe and Mimi, are among the most delightful children I have met with in fiction. Their questions to their elders are, like their adventures, unique. In some things they remind us of those precocious, yet altogether lovable, youngsters Budge and Toddie in "Helen's Babies." The writer possesses a style of her own, which promises even better things. She is permeated by nature-love, love of animals, and of humanity. Her two baby stories—"The Brown Baby” and “Sunshine and Shadow”—are almost too pathetic. Character sketches, which are worthy of amplification, include one of a colonial bishop, and others of Chiney Tong, the Chinese cook, and his wife. One has some doubts as to the dialect of the children, which seems occasionally a little strained. An example is Mimi's query, "Mummie, did God make centipedes?" When told that "God made everything," she replies, "Not evvyfing; 'E didn't mate we's beds 'is morning. Biddy did." But the faults are few and the merits many, and Miss (or is it Mrs.?) Campbell is to he heartily congratulated on her addition to Australian literature. 
Her next novel did not receive such universal praise, with a division between the hemispheres. Whilst well-liked in the UK, it earned a drubbing in some Australian papers. The Age (2 December 1905) took a particular dislike to it, as we shall see below. But first, the Western Daily Press (16 October 1905) found it most agreeable:
In “A Pillar of Dust,” published by Mr J. W. Arrowsmith, Frances Campbell supplies a readable story in which most of the incidents occur in the far-distant colony of Queensland. The story opens in the old country, and then the scenes change. It occurs in this way: Terence, the self-sacrificing hero, is on his trial for forgery. The reader will be impressed with his personality in the dock. His appearance favours the impression that he might be innocent of the serious charge brought against him, but the jury are bound by the evidence, and he is found guilty and sentenced to twenty years’ transportation to the penal settlement in Queensland. Julian, his twin brother, who is in court, is also a strikingly handsome man, but of the effeminate description Then the reader follows poor Terence, and, singularly enough, most of the essential characters to the story, to Queensland, where the principal developments take place. This part of the novel enables the authoress, who is evidently thoroughly familiar with the country, to give an excellent idea of the rough times experienced in the earlier days of the colony, the chapters being strong in local “colour.” For a time Terence, like his fellow-convicts, roughs it with heroic fortitude, but eventually incidents of a surprising, and certainly exciting, nature occur, affecting, it is not surprising to find, the well-being of several of the principals, among whom is a young lady who takes more than a casual interest in Terence. Even the “settlement” itself is involved, and it meets with a singular metamorphosis. Something occurs, too, calculated to confirm impressions that will doubtless have been formed by the reader: it is sufficient to say that truth and justice, in accordance with immemorial precedent, prevail. “A Pillar of Dust” furnishes very entertaining reading. 
Not so, said The Age:
The most remarkable thing about Mrs.Frances Campbell's novel is the amount of inaccuracy, historical, social and topographical, it contains. She sets her story — a melodramatic one with London journal trimmings — in the "Moreton Bay Settlement" of the late fifties, among convicts and all the paraphernalia of the system. A school primer would have told her that Brisbane had ceased to be a convict prison quite fifteen years before that, and that Dr. Leichhardt had vanished into the unknown ten years or more before she makes him medical officer of the town. This ignorance might have been passed over, but she adds to it a variety of exaggerated and wholly mistaken descriptions regarding the town and the surrounding country — mistakes that are quite inexcusable in one who poses in London as an Australian authoress, and who indeed lived many years in the very place the salient features of which she has distorted so absurdly.
The Western Mail (Perth, WA) (9 December 1905) offered a mixed review: clearly-written but weakly plotted, several weak episodes and one or two strong ones that redeem the book; The Register (Adelaide, SA) (2 January 1906) thought it full of stirring incident and local colour... but "Any attempt at fixing a date, however, is doomed to failure." As they explain: "Moreton Bay convict settlement was founded in 1825, and there was no colony of Queensland, Moreton Bay being in New South Wales till the separation in 1859. Meanwhile the convict settlement had been abandoned in 1840, yet we have a new ship load of exiles arriving between Dr. Leichhardt's first and second expeditions – which would be about 1845. Taken with the cheerful mention of the Crimea and the Indian mutiny (1854-1857) as contemporary, if not previous to the time of the story, this is enough to make the judicious reader give it up."

© National Portrait Gallery, London
Mrs. Frances Campbell's next title was a second collection of essays which she described as "spiritual adventures" – originally published in Westminster Gazette. The book was dedicated to Lady Archibald Campbell (Janey Sevilla, née Callander, 1846-1923), the wife of Lord Archibald Campbell (1846-1913) and sister-in-law to the 9th Duke of Argyll (1845-1914). 

Although her late husband was related distantly, his immediate family, were the Campbells of Achanduin, according to History of the Campbell Family by Henry Lee (1920), "a branch of the family of Lochnell. Archibald Campbell, first of Achanduin, was third son of Colin Campbell, fifth of Lochnell."

Of the book, the Manchester Courier (22 March 1906) said:
The series of delightful sketches which Frances Campbell has published under the title “The Measure of Life” reminds one of nothing so much as a portfolio of impressions, and contains the best work of an artist—the brilliant fancy and sure expression and the elusory qualities rarely, if ever, transferred to more elaborate pictures. Within the covers of the book there are over thirty numbers diverse in subject and execution, yet all touched with imagination and wrought to admiration. It is not a volume to be read through, but to be kept at hand and to be dipped into frequently, for the reader must, indeed, be hard to please who does not find there something to his liking, be his mood what it may. Mrs. Campbell is to be congratulated on an achievement as beautiful as her “Two Queenslanders,” though absolutely different in kind.
The book had an American edition published by E. P. Dutton.

Her next title was a change of pace: Dearlove is about an 11-year-old girl whose insistent demands are met by her family who chose to "grow down" to her level for the summer holidays and comport themselves as children. They extract a great deal of fun from this and begin to attract recruits to their growing band of make-believers. The whims of Dearlove herself were described with a good deal of gaiety and humour and found good favour with reviewers:
Daily Telegraph: “Mrs Frances Campbell’s new book gives a delightful series of pictures. Her little heroine, the girl Dearlove, is a fascinating person, who should win her way to the hearts of readers, even as a certain Little Lord Fauntleroy did some years ago. Sweet and dainty from beginning to end Mrs. Campbell’s latest book should serve to make her work known to a wide circle of readers.”

Pall Mall Gazette: “A very perfect little rhapsody of charm and affection is this study of a child and her surroundings. The frontispiece portrait of ‘Dearlove’ is all that words have made her, and would add conviction, if that were necessary, to her sweet prattle and all the revelations of her adorable self. This is a book to be commended rather than described, and, in spite of its genuine quality, it seems born with claims upon a wide popularity.”
Before her next book, Mrs. Campbell was to go on an expedition that would earn her even more headlines around the world.