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He was very violent about this, but apologised when he found it was “My dear May”. He used very bad language, and made suggestions to her of an offensive kind. 13, 1902, the respondent wrote: “I will mend my ways. I was due at the theatre, so I opened the window and called to a cabman.Mrs Curzon found evidences of infidelity, and a solicitor was consulted. Then he let me go, and somehow or other I just got through my part at the theatre that night.”Had Ellis not had money and connections, it might not have been so easy for her to divorce her bad-tempered aristocrat.Had Ellis already put someone ‘on the case’ to supply her with the firm evidence she needed to push ahead?Shortly after her application* to instigate divorce proceedings on the grounds of adultery and cruelty (denied by Curzon), she supplied a supplementary petition which stated that: Your petitioner is at present unable to give any further or better particulars of the acts of adultery herein alleged but she relies upon a verbal confession of adultery made to her by the said Honorable Frederick Graham Curzon and also upon a similar confession made by the said Honorable Frederick Graham Curzon from Elizabeth Anne Jeffreys.Mr Curzon began to behave badly, said counsel, soon after the marriage, but things went fairly well until August, 1899. He flew into a violent rage, followed me upstairs, hit me, and knocked me down.“I called my maid, and got away down-stairs.Then he found a letter written by Mrs Curzon, which he thought began “My dear Man”. He followed me to the dining-room, put his back to the door, and refused to let me out.Great actresses and great artists may reach tremendous climaxes, but in the details of society life I do not think a woman lacking in refinement can ever convince an audience of the realness of the part she is playing.
Ellis obviously had an astute lawyer who most likely urged her to prepare to give an exact account of her husband’s adultery, which in those days had more legal weight than the domestic violence aspect.
The divorce proceedings note that this was in fact at Brazilian Cottage – the house next door to Herbert Sleath’s residence (Latimore House) in the North Town area of Maidenhead.
The Quite a number of well-known theatrical people have been about the vicinity of Boulter’s Lock Maidenhead, lately, either on the river or in motor cars, a great many motor cars being on the river front in the evening.
7 Devonport Street and has refused to further cohabit with him and your petitioner’s health has greatly suffered by reason of his aforesaid conduct.) Without wishing to belittle Ellis’s awful predicament, it did strike me as rather ironic that all these shenanigans were taking place at some of the most upmarket addresses in London – or perhaps that is not so unexpected, given the louche and tangled lives that many of the aristocracy appeared to lead at that time.
It also did not escape my attention that the court reporter mentioned Ellis taking the children with her to live in Maidenhead in 1902.