Diary

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THE STORY OF THE LADY AND THE TIGER

Was this Lady Chatterley? The picture to the right is of Lady Ottoline Morrell, lover of Bertrand Russell and a key figure of the Bloomsbury era. She was D H Lawrence's model for Hermione Roddice in Women in Love; now material unearthed by the novelist Miranda Seymour suggests she also inspired Lawrence's most notorious heroine. Lady Ottoline's journals, long kept secret by her descendants, tell plainly of her love for Lionel, a young stonemason who worked on the Morrell estate, Garsington, in Oxfordshire. The affair started in 1921, when Lady Ottoline was 48 and her husband, the Liberal MP Philip Morrell, was mentally unstable - just as Lady Chatterley's husband was physically incapable. Morrell had told Lady Ottoline on their wedding night that he was unwilling to satisfy her sexually. Lionel the stonemason, called 'Tiger' by Lady Ottoline and her confidants, appears to have been her lover until 1922, when he died of a brain haemorrhage, cradled in her arms in the Garsington stable yard. The following day, Leonard and Virginia Woolf arrived: 'Ottoline,' they remarked, 'seemed a little quiet.' The novel ends more hopefully: Lady Chatterley and Mellors (the name, incidentally, of Lady Ottoline's parents' gamekeeper) seek divorce from their respective spouses. Lady Ottoline's friends Mark Gertler and Dorothy Brett both knew the details of the affair, and they, deduces Seymour, passed the information to Lawrence, a frequent guest at Garsington. She will argue this theory further in her biography of Lady Ottoline, Life on a Grand Scale, to be published by Hodder & Stoughton in October. But the journals, at any rate, leave little doubt as to the temperature of Lady Ottoline's 'simple love'. 'Conventions exist for the world. . .,' she wrote. 'It is not an easy thing to have met across the great gulf of the world's conventions, but I jumped and he jumped and now we both stand on an island of the soul.'

(Photograph omitted)

IT WAS with great (well, some) regret that we learnt of the death last week of Jeff Porcaro, the drummer for the American rock band Toto, of an allergic reaction to weedkiller while mowing his lawn in Los Angeles. His demise was both sad and spooky: you may remember that John 'Stumpy' Pepys, who was one of the many metabolically challenged drummers of the archetypal British band Spinal Tap, met his end in a 'bizarre gardening accident'.

MAJOR JINX

The curse of John Major thrives. Chelsea football fans have begged him to stay away from the club's matches because they always lose whenever he turns up. And last Thursday, he looked on at the Oval as England lost seven wickets for 25 runs - one of their worst batting collapses ever. And now here's John (First Horseman of the Apocalypse) Major in the summer edition of BP's magazine Shield, visiting an oil plant in one of those hard hats favoured by politicians on photo-opportunities. BP has, of course, just announced a pounds 717m loss for the six months to July and 1,500 job losses.

ACTUALLY, Mr Major could learn a thing or two about packaging doom and gloom from BP. The sacking of staff is now painlessly referred to internally as 'downsizing', while finding contractors to do the work is known as 'outsourcing'.

DON'T TEL US AGAIN

You thought, and so did we, that the BBC had downsized itself a bit by removing Terry Wogan (to make way for Eldorado). But in the autumn the corporation is to bring him back with 'a lively new late evening show'. Meanwhile, and tragically, in the foyer of BBC Television Centre, you can buy a Wogan biro, reduced to clear,

for 30p.

OOOH] Here's a copy of Best Cartoons of the Year, a book from the Cartoonists' Club of Great Britain and Berol, the pen makers, crammed with amusing jokes. Of course, you'll want to know what the 'Best Joke' in the 'Cartoonists' Oscars' was. A drawing by Anthony Hutchings of three grinning men watching as a girl with large breasts and a low-cut dress coughs. 'Cough] Cough]' she goes. 'Stand back,' says one of the men. 'Give 'em room to pop out.'

A DAY LIKE THIS

11 August 1963 Noel Coward writes in his diary: 'I've just finished reading T E Lawrence's The Mint. It really is glorious writing. All the four-letter words are singularly unshocking because of his taste. It is obviously a profoundly true picture of the Air Force at that time. What is extraordinary is that he wished to endure all that abusive bullying by sergeants and corporals and all that hideous discomfort. Obviously he had a strong streak of masochism, despised his own body, and subconsciously, or perhaps consciously, loved the better bodies of other younger men close to him and in his vision. I rather doubt whether or not in his whole life he ever did anything actively homosexual. I wish now that I had probed a bit deeper when I knew him.'

Comments