Monday, 4 August 2014

4th August 1914-2014

This framed "In Memoriam" was salvaged from the Schiff home when it was closed in the early 1980's along with the marble bust of Sir Ernest Schiff. M.N .Schiff was Martin Noel Schiff, son of Charles,who fell at Ypres. F.E .Storrs is Francis Storrs who died in the influenza epidemic at the end of the war leaving his wife, Catherine, pregnant with her younger son Basil. Macarthur was the name of Sir Ernest's executor and business partner(?), his son perhaps. A.S.B. Schiff was Alfred Sydney Borlase Schiff, son of Ernest Wilton Schiff.

I thought it appropriate today to recall those members of my family who lost their lives in the First World War. These included:

1.Martin Noel SCHIFF, 2nd Lieutenant, 1st Battalion Scots Guards.
Died Belgium, 17 June, 1916.
Memorial on the Menin Gate at Ypres.
Second cousin to my grandfather, Giulio Cesare Schiff.*

2. Riccardo FINZI, Tenente, 24th Vicenza Light Cavalry.
Died Sagrado, 1916.
Memorial at Redipuglia.
Maternal uncle to my grandfather, Giulio Cesare Schiff.

Siamo al termine della II^ battaglia dell'Isonzo cominciata il 18 Luglio 1915, dopo numerosi attacchi svolti nei veri settori del fronte carsico, e con scarse conquiste degli obbiettivi previsti, le operazioni stanno volgendo alla fine, nel settore della 19^ Divisione a est di Castelnuovo , si trovava in linea  la  il 142° reggimento della Brigata Catanzaro che unitamente ai reggimenti 124° alla destra e il 155° (22^ Divisione) sulla sinistra presidiava la linea conquistata nei giorni precedenti Data la scarsità di mitragliatrici operanti e in dotazione ai reggimenti di fanteria a inizio guerra  i quali  avevano solo una sezione per reggimento, furono aggregate le sezioni mitragliatrici dei reggimenti di Cavalleria. Alla Brigata Catanzaro e più precisamente al 142°. Il giorno 1 Agosto come descrive il Diario storico della Brigata, in mattinata la 3^ sezione fu assegnata al 142°, quella dei Cavalleggeri di Vicenza, che però risultò indisponibile perchè il bravo Tenente Finzi (Zinzi sul diario storico) che la comandava nell'eseguire una ricognizione nel settore di Castelnuovo del carso ), alle ore 6 e dieci fu ferito da un proiettile di fucile alla gola dove poi muore. Nella giornata stessa il comando di tale sezione venne assunto dal maresciallo ad essa addetto.

Il Tenente FINZI Riccardo dopo la sua morte fu sepolto nel cimitero di Sagrado  e prima di essere sepolto al Sacrario di Redipuglia riposava nel cimitero di Sdraussina . Da notare l'errato reparto indicato nel loculo (Cavalleggeri Foggia) foto sopra.

3. Alfred Sydney Borlase SCHIFF, 2nd Lieutenant, 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade.
Died Belgium,  9 April, 1917.
Buried at Brown's Copse Cemetery, Roeux.
Third cousin to my grandfather, Giulio Cesare Schiff.

Lieutenant, Rifle BrigadeBorn: November 27th 1897Died: April 9th 1917Age at Death: 19Killed in action, France, April 9th 1917R.M.C. Sandhurst Rifle Brigade (Second Lieutenant 1916)Son of Ernest Wilton Schiff.A DONATION TO THE MEMORIAL STATUE HAS BEEN MADE IN HONOUR OF THIS SOLDIER BY A FELLOW OLD BRIGHTONIAN AND 2015 LEAVER.Obituary Brightonian XV April, 1917Schiff entered the School House in May, 1912. He distinguished himself as a cricketer at the College, getting his Junior XI. colours in 1912, Second XI. in 1914, and First XI. in 1915. The following extract from a letter of a senior officer will interest all O.B.'s who knew him:- "It will bea great comfort to know what a splendidly gallant end his was. Our objective on Monday was - Redoubt, some 6,000 yards behind the German lines. We had been practising for the attack ever since he joined us, and he was keener than any one. We soon knew the order of battle and my Company was leading. We attacked on a two platoon front - his platoon was on the right and directed the whole battalion in the attack. Ours was the furthermost objective on the first day. We had seen aeroplane photos of the Redoubt. There was a trench leading east away from the Redoubt towards the Germans. We were always talking about the attack of course, discussing what to do and all about it. Your son's job was to go straight across the Redoubt, consolidate strong points on the other side and put up a barricade in this trench. He was always talking about this barricade, and what a jolly good one he was going to make. The right hand corner of this triangular Redoubt was called 'Schiff's Corner', this being the corner which would probably be reached first and which his platoon would go over. He had the map reference on the back of his identity disc. On Monday, the battalion started from camp about 6.20 a.m., and marched to their first assembly position. Our attack did not start until 3 in the afternoon. The battalion went through the objectives gained by other divisions. The attack went off just as we had practised it - No.11 platoon leading and directing. They kicked their football right into the Redoubt, advanced over it and started consolidating. He made his barricade. One of his Lewis gunners was firing at some retreating Germans, but that was not enough for him. He seized the Lewis gun and started firing it himself, when he was shot through the heart by a German sniper. It must have been quite instantaneous. He died having done his job and done it splendidly, and you can well be proud of him. He is a very great loss to the battalion, and the company won't be the same without him. He was always so immensely cheery and keen and we were all so fond of him. All his men loved him, and on the night before the attack, when I was going round wishing them all good luck, many of them told me that would follow him anywhere."

15, Sloane Court, Chelsea
Brown's Copse Cemetery, Rouex, France

The Battle of Arras
This was a series of offensives by the British Army between 9th April 1917 and 16th May 1917. It had been planned in conjunction with the French who would attack in Artois and between them the Allies would force the Germans out of the large salient they had held since the line of trenches was first established. But the Germans had spoiled this plan by falling back to the new and very strong Hindenburg Line in January 1917 and the salient no longer existed.  For the want of an alternative plan the attack went ahead anyway. It all started well for the British who made substantial gains on the first two days but then the offensive ground to a halt and by the end British losses amounted to over 150,000.

The First Battle of the Scarpe
On 9th April 19174th Division attacked the German line between Fampoux and Gavrelle. Other divisions had made the initial assault and it was the task of 4th Division to pass through them and attack the 4th German trench system. 1st Somerset and 1st Hampshire led 11Brigade’s advance with 1st East Lancashires in support. The role of 1st Rifle Bigade was to pass through to capture and consolidate Hyderabad Redoubt. As they came over the ridge in front of this they met the German artillery barrage but it was not a heavy nor sustained  shelling and very few casualties were incurred at this stage. However the German wire, 40 feet deep in places was still intact. The British barrage had completely failed to cut it. Luckily for the advancing 1st Rifle Brigade the Germans were demoralised and were more eager to give themselves up than fight. Corporal Bancroft kicked a football forward and the Redoubt was rushed and taken. But by now fresh German troops had been brought up and those troops still out in the open, such as patrols, outposts and consolidating parties came under heavy fire.  All troops were hurriedly withdrawn into the Redoubt where they fought off a number of German counter attacks until they were relieved the next day.
 See more at:

4. Max TEGLIO, 2nd Lieutenant, Devonshire Regiment, attached to Worcestershire Regiment.
Died Iraq, 11 April, 1917.
Buried at Baghdad North Gate Cemetery.
Cousin to my grandfather, Giulio Cesare Schiff.

5. Maria Madriz, nee Pintar
Civilian casualty Gorizia.
Died Laibach/Ljubljana date unknown.
Mother of my grandmother, Caterina Schiff.

*There is a fictionalised account of his relationship with his uncle, Sir Ernest Schiff, at

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Process of Assimilation of the Schiff Family

Samuel Schiff, né Schwalbach, was undoubtedly Jewish and married a Jewish wife, Augusta Fuld at the end of the eighteenth century. Of his children, we know that Leopold and his younger brother Samson, my great great great grandfather, also married Jewish wives. In Samson’s case both his wives were Jewish. Samson is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Milan. We do not know if their brothers Adolph and Salomon married. Their sisters Hänge and Fanny both married Jewish men.

Of Leopold’s many children, we know that the two daughters who married took Jewish husbands, but whose tie with their Jewish faith was weak. Emma married Dr Lazarus of Hamburg, but her own burial took place in a non-Jewish cemetery, as did the burials of her two unmarried sisters Jenny and Virginia. Of the brothers, Ernest never married, and was buried at Brookwood cemetery in the same grave as his brother Alfred. Alfred and Charles both married non-Jewish wives. Their sister Justina married Julius Rodenberg, né Levy. Their daughter Alice converted to Protestantism. Of the two youngest children, Ottavia we know nothing of, and Eduardo became a renowned physician in Vienna but died unmarried and having abjured his Jewish faith: like his sisters and brothers he was "konfessionslos"..

Of Samson’s eight children, the first, Wilhelm, child of his first wife, married an Istrian woman who bore him two daughters, neither of whom married. Friederike died in childhood in Trieste, Octavia suffered the same fate of anonymity as her cousin and near namesake Ottavia; Auguste, Ludwig and Albert we know absolutely nothing of. The other daughter, Pauline, married a non-Jew and does not appear to have had any children, though it is possible, owing to the dual meaning of the Italian word nipotina signifying both a niece and a granddaughter. The other child of Samson, Friedrich, my great great grandfather, took a Jewish bride, Adele Cohen, in the synagogue in Trieste, and is himself buried in the Jewish cemetery at Gradisca.

Friedrich’s only son by his first marriage, Silvio, did take a Jewish bride, Emilia Finzi, but after her death and his marriage to a Christian woman, he too ceased to observe the Jewish faith his son, my grandfather, although totally Jewish by descent, received no Jewish upbringing at all. His half brothers and sister were naturally raised as Roman Catholics.

Since then the path of assimilation has continued. My grandfather’s first wife was Roman Catholic, his second wife an Egyptian Muslim. Jewishness resides in the preservation of the surname Schiff, in a pride in Jewish heritage, a difficult but remaining loyalty to Israel, but very little more. As far as I know I am the only descendant of the family to have returned to my Jewish roots, to have taken a Jewish wife, and to have brought up my three children as Jews. Names survive: my mother’s half cousin Valerio Schiff has named his son Federico, as has my cousin Caterina in Brazil. My cousin Giulio also has a pride in his Jewish origins, and has named his son Samuel, the name of our first-known Jewish forebear, Samuel Schiff né Schwalbach of Hanau and Mannheim.

Sunday, 27 July 2014


"Concessions" was Sydney Schiff's first novel, and the only one to bear his real name, rather than his pseudonym Stephen Hudson. It was published in 1913, and bears the dedication "To Violet". This was Violet Beddington, whom he had married in 1911, following his divorce from his first wife, Marion Fulton Canine. 
I have made the following brief notes when reading the book looking for insights into the author's sources and inspirations:

Peter Blake
John Cooper-Saunderson
Grace: "hopeless epileptic"
Dr. Paoli: “Paoli is a Jew, she is a Jewess. They understand each other."
Stefan was an Albanian...
Douglas Mackenzie
Miss Zillah Lopez
Madame Cadajos Countess Apponiowsky
And Peter knew and had good cause for knowing that umtil now his life had been a failure, not the less complete for the absence of any particular demerit.
When Peter and his mother found themselves surrounded by people, they adopted a mixture of tongues. Changing swiftly and alternately to French, German, Spanish or Italian, they could talk in almost any circle of strangers without being understood.

Peter Blake appears to be an alter ego for Sydney Schiff.
The author's understanding of epilepsy is quite distasteful to a modern reader and shows a complete lack of understanding of the nature of the condition.
There are quite subtle references to Jewishness in the novel. Schiff appears to be writing about psychology in its infancy. Paoli seems to be a Jewish psychiatrist.
The Schiffs had a manservant who was caricatured by Wyndham Lewis in his novel "The Apes of Wrath" under the name of Hassan.
Violet's second name was Zillah. She came from a Jewish family: her father ha changed his surname from Moses.
Schwalbach was the original family name of the Schiff family; it was changed by Sydney's grandfather in about 1810. It may be a complete coincidence that Sydney Schiff chose it.
Sydney Schiff felt his life to be a failure, certainly in the eyes of his own family. This changed after his meeting with and marriage to Violet.
Sydney Schiff's family was cosmopolitan. He himself was proficient in French and German. His father and uncles were fluent in several languages. Sydney Schiff's mother  was born in Vienna to English parents. He was devoted to his mother but estranged from her by his marriage to his first wife.

"Tony": the Death of Ernest Wilton Schiff

Here is the account of his death, firstly as written by Sydney Schiff in his novel, and then a collection of newspaper cuttings that recorded the case in 1919. The version in "Tony" appears to follow very exactly what really happened, and was recorded in the coroner's and assize's proceedings. Ernest was very badly served: the Police Sergeant positively encouraged Albert Nicholls to take the law into his own hands and brutally attack Ernest. I doubt if modern forensic science would allow such blatant lies to be perpetrated: it looks as though Albert Nicholls brutally attacked Ernest and kicked him ferociously. The alleged knuckleduster was never produced, nor were any of the letters that purported to prove that Ernest was attempting to seduce the daughter and take her to London as a prostitute. 
I wonder who the artist was who was producing the portrait, and I wonder where the portrait is now.
"Trixie" was in real life Selina Moxon.
I have found quite a lot of information about the Nicholls family which I shall place here soon.

"Tony", by Stephen Hudson; first published 1924.

p. 231
Trixie had been awfully good. There had been no pretence between us of romance or passion, we were just good pals. When the blow fell, she did her best for me, when I was ill, she nursed me, while I was hard up, she stuck to me. What more could she do? She was the only living creature who had a claim on me and she never made it. It was I who proposed it but she wouldn't decide until I had consulted you and Myrtle. She said she didn't mean to have it said that she had dragged me down. Awful nonsense, of course, and equally of course you two thought I was right to marry her if Nancy was willing to divorce. So the matter was settled.
The Tinners' Arms at Zennor
'Cyril': Sydney Ernest Borlase Schiff

Some time before, I had commissioned Stanford to do a posthumous portrait of Cyril from photographs. I wanted him to sit during those last months and got him to Stanford's studio several times but there were so many things the darling boy wanted to do when he came up on leave, I hadn't the heart to persuade him to give up hours of it to sittings and so the picture was never painted. But Stanford had seen a good deal of him as I often asked him to come out with Cyril and me which the good, gentle creature thought the most exciting thing in the world. It was Stanford's idea to go down to a village he knew of on the Cornish coast where he could paint the portrait at his ease and I could watch it and make suggestions. That suited Trixie and me all right, our intention being to stay there a few weeks and then go to France until the divorce was a fait accompli. So she chucked her engagement at the Lyric and we went down to Portherrack and took the whole inn. It was a cosy little place high up on the rocky cliff with a view straight out to sea. The windows opened into a garden at the back where there was a shed which Stanford made into a studio, and we three settled down comfortably. I was happier and more at peace than I had ever hoped to be, walking along the cliffs with Trixie, reading a bit and watching the picture grow. I knew you didn't think much of Stanford as an artist but he was fond of the boy and I knew he'd do his damnedest. And he did. From the first strokes, it was an amazing likeness. After he'd painted the face, I made him stand the easel in my bedroom so that I could see it the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. I was nearly always awake when the sun rose over the cliffs; I could see the waves sparkling as the rays fell on them and in a few minutes they touched the boy's hair and powdered it with gold. When they got lower and reached the face, I got out of bed and turned the easel round so that the canvas should be in shadow because the paint marks showed up blotchy. But I thought he looked best in the evening time just before it got dark. I used to have a look at him after we finished our early supper, before we went for our stroll. He smiled at me as though he was saying "Go on and have your walk, daddy, enjoy your cigar. I'll see you when you come in." And I always made the others turn back in time for me to see him again before it got dark. I didn't tell them why and sometimes they wanted to go on.
The days got a little shorter and, one beautiful evening, they were so disappointed at my wanting to go back that I made them continue their walk and came back alone. When I got to the inn, there wasn't a soul about. Drink couldn't be served in the little bar after eight and the widow who kept the place was out, gossiping with some neighbour I suppose. I went into my bedroom, impatient to have my usual look at the picture and I shut the door behind me, before I noticed, sitting on my bed, the little maid who served our meals and took her turn at the bar. I'd often thought how pretty and sweet she was and in her Cornish peasant way remarkably refined, with her dark eyes and hair and fresh milk-white skin. But, strange to say, in site of my rakish habits, I hadn't paid much attention to her. It may have been because my mind was too full of the boy and it may have simply been because she was so young that I regarded her as a child. But when I came upon her, unexpectedly like that, sitting on my bed with her face outlined against the evening light, gazing at the portrait, I was suddenly struck by her prettiness. She jumped up and began apologising in a confused way. "I couldn't help sitting and looking at him. He's so lovely."

What else do you who know me consider I could have done than I did do? I sat down on the bed myself and pulled her down beside me, out my arm round her and kissed her. "Just you sit here with me. We'll look at him together," I said.

And when, without the slightest sign of resentment, or embarrassment, quite naturally and sweetly, she did sit there beside me, when indeed, she went further and put her arm around my shoulder, I kissed her again on the neck, where her soft hair waved upwards behind her ears. The smell of her hair and of her skin mounted to my head like wine, her unabashed simplicity intoxicated me, I kissed her again and again, I held her firm young body to me, I buried my head in her neck, I smothered her with kisses. A door slammed. I had just sense enough to free her. She put her two hands to her head and tidied her hair before she went, softly and quite unconcernedly, out of the room.

I needn't say much more about her. What came after that was inevitable, once the desire for her took hold. It was an almost rainless July; every evening we three started for our walk and every evening I returned alone. I could count with almost complete certainty on an hour or more alone with Delia.
Zennor Cove

At last the weather changed, there was a thunderstorm. It cleared after supper, but I insisted on our not missing our walk and I set the pace so that we should get as far as possible. When I turned back as usual, some heavy drops began to fall, I had some difficulty in persuading Trixie not to come with me. I had to pretend I wanted to be alone and told her not to hurry back, to take shelter if it came down hard. I knew Stanford was getting spoony, that he was flirting with her in his harmless, sentimental way; I could count on his keeping her back as long as he could. And I ran back through the rain as fast as my cracked old lungs would let me.
A guest room at the Tinners' Arms. Zennor

Delia had always waited for me in my room, which it was one of her duties to prepare for the night, but that evening, as I passed through the bar, there were two men there, and Mrs. Tregenion behind the counter. She had abandoned her usual visits to neighbours on account of the weather and was probably supplying surreptitious pints to them instead. I cursed her as I went into the bedroom. Everything had been done but no Delia of course. I went back to the sitting-room and flung myself on to the rickety sofa, which gave way under me. Any excuse was good enough. I went into the passage and yelled "Delia, Delia."
She came at once, closing the door behind her and put her fingers on her lips. "Daddy's in the bar," she said.

We propped up the sofa and I kissed her, I was on fire to possess her again but it was utterly impossible.

I went into the bar. I had no difficulty in persuading Mrs. Tregenion to break the licensing laws. I stood "daddy" and his friends drinks. They were both copper miners, thick, hunky men with muscles of steel. When Trixie and Stanford came back, I was still carousing with them. Mrs. Tregenion had had several glasses of what she called port and was pretty well on. Trixie and Stanford went into the sitting-room where the harmless flirtation could continue: I heard the sofa go down with a smash a few minutes after they'd been  in there. I'd had enough whiskey to enjoy the joke hugely when I ran in and saw them looking at each other in shamefaced dismay. I consoled them and went back to the bar.
At midnight "daddy" and his friend reeled out and I helped Mrs. Tregenion lock up. I also helped her to her room. I pretended to think the door on the other side of the passage was hers and opened it clumsily. A little figure in white called "Who's that?" and I closed it as the fat landlady said "No, this is mine" and stumbled in through the opposite door. When I came down, the others had gone to bed. I undressed and crept upstairs again. She was expecting me.

How it got about I don't know. One can never tell in country villages what the people see or say or think, but especually not in Cornwall, where they are more clannish than Scots. I was pretty self-protective, experience had taught me to be, but I got reckless. I fancy Mrs.Tregenion began to suspect something after a while. I certainly had reason not only to suspect her but to know that "daddy's" chum found comfortable night-quarters at the Trevelyan Arms and I supposed, probably quite wrongly, what with that and my being a profitable customer, that she'd keep her mouth shut.

I asked Delia what her father would do if he knew. "Oh Daddy wouldn't care s'long as I didn't get into trouble," was her answer.

"Daddy" was often in the bar and whenever I saw him, we had a drink together. He was a taciturn sort of chap but he always seemed pleased to see me and shook hands heartily enough. Once I saw him outside another and inferior pub; he seemed to have been drinking and there were several young men around him. When I nodded to him, he turned his head away. I attached no importance to that, I suposed he was embarrassed at my seeing him at what Mrs. Treganion disparagingly called "The Tap." Even when he came in that afternoon and asked to see me, I didn't suspect anything. It wasn't till he refused a drink that the faintest shadow crossed my mind, but when he said "I want to have a word outside" I looked at him and I looked at Mrs. Tregenion on the other side of the counter. I noticed she turned her head away. It flashed through my brain to ask him to wait and to go to my room and slip my revolver into my pocket. But something prevented me, some feeling that if he intended to go for me, I should make matters worse if I used it.

We walked on down the cliff path side by side without speaking. When we got to the little open space called Dinas Hole, he faced round at me. Then I knew I was in for it and I clenched my fists. He just called me some name and hit out at me. I dodged that blow easily enough but I knew the game was up. If I tried to bolt, his pals would be waiting to round me up. I was a flabby, untrained, middle-aged man, I had never been a boxer and I could make no more impression on that hulk of solid bone and muscle, on that mask of tanned leather stuffed like a cricket ball, than if I hit a dummy. He punched me and then he took hold of me round the waist and got me down. When I was on the ground he kicked me several times in the ribs with his huge hob-nailed miner's boots. When I heard them crack, I knew he'd done me in.
Albert John Nicholls

I  wasn't angry. I knew the poor ignorant blighter had been worked up to the job and had to finish it. He didn't want to do it. His pals had made him think he would be a skunk if he didn't lay me out. So there it was. I don't know how long I lay there. I didn't suffer much but I couldn't move without agony. Someone found me at last and they carried me back. Trixie got a doctor and wired you to come with a nurse. You were just in time to hear all I had to say--"I asked for it."


27th March, 1919
Officer's Fight with Miner.
Verdict of Manslaughter.

An inquest was held a Carbis Bay, Cornwall, yesterday on ERNEST FREDERICK WILTON SCHIFF, 48, a retired captain in the Royal Sussex Regiment and formerly a jobber on the Stock Exchange, who died from injuries which--in the words of the jury's verdict--he suffered in a combat with Albert John Nicholls, a tin miner.
Schiff had stayed at the Tinners' Arms, Zennor, and afterwards went to live at Carbis Bay. Nicholls' daughter, a girl of 17, was employed at the Tinner's Arms, and Nicholls went to see Schiff with regard to his conduct to her. Nicholls' evidence was that they went together down the cliff pathway and had words. Schiff struck him two blows, and in return he struck Schiff half-a-dozen times. He left Schiff sitting by the side of the path and went and told the police.
A doctor who attended Schiff afterwards found that his nose was broken, his face considerably battered, and three ribs were fractured. Death was due to internal hemorrhage. Schiff told the doctor that a man had set upon him and that he had cause for doing so. The CORONER said the jury's verdict was one of 'Manslaughter' and he committed Nicholls to the Assizes, but allowed bail. A solicitor, representing the family of Schiff, said they had no vindictive feelings towards Nicholls.


10th June, 1919
The Advertiser, Adelaide




LONDON, June 8.

A sensational case in which "the unwritten law"' was pleaded, has been tried at Bodmin (Cornwall). Mr. Nicholls, a miner was acquitted on a charge of the manslaughter of Captain Schiff, who figured in the Billie Carleton cocaine drugging case. Schiff, who was a notorious profligate, while on a holiday tried to lure the 17-year-oid daughter of Mr. Nicholls to London by means of immoral letters. Nicholls interviewed Schiff, and there was a fight, which resulted in the infliction of such severe injuries that Schiff died.


As the result of a fight on a clifftop between the father of a Cornish girl and an ex-army captain, which had a fatal termination, the former was brought up at Camborne, early in April, to answer a charge of manslaughter. The victim of the encounter was Ernest Frederick William Schiff, who at the time was residing at Grey House, Carbis Bay, near St. Ives. Schiff, a nephew of Sir Ernest Schiff, was a retired captain of the Royal Sussex Regiment. His name was mentioned during the inquest on Miss Billie Carleton, the victim in the famous cocaine case.

At the inquest on Schiff, allegations were made against the ex-captain in connection with the eldest daughter of Albert John Nicholls, a tin miner. When the charge was investigated at Camborne, Captain Schiff’s housekeeper said that Nicholls came to the house on March 20. The captain answered the bell, saying to one of the servants:-"Don't bother to open the door; I will go out." She saw the two go down the pathway together, and shortly afterwards Captain Schiff came back with blood streaming down his face. He was so seriously hurt that he had to be put to bed. He said to her, "Don't worry; I am alright.”

George Ormsby, a retired civil servant who was visiting Carbis Bay at the  time of the tragedy, said that, when walking along the cliff he saw Schiff on the footbath crawling on all fours and trying to rise. His face was covered with blood. The witness asked what had happened, and the captain replied that it did not matter. Afterwards, he said that a man had attacked him

Dr. Tenison said he found Captain Schiff in bed, with two black eyes a broken nose, a cut lip, and fractured ribs. To the doctor’s enquiries he replied, "Someone set on me. He had cause." He further remarked that he would explain later, but did not do so. He died four days later, and an examination revealed that three ribs had been fractured. One splinter had perforated a lung and the heart, death being due to internal hemorrhage.

Police Sergeant Matthews said Nicholls came to him about police enquiries which had been made relative to Captain Schiff’s conduct towards the accused's daughter, aged 17. When the witness told him the result of some of his enquiries the accused said he was going to see the captain and would return and tell him what had happened. A little later Nicholls returned, and said:--"I've seen him and had a scrap with him. I knocked him down, and then said to him, "Now do your best.” Captain Schiff then said "I shan’t do anything in the matter."  

Nicholls who reserved his defence, was committed for trial, bail being allowed    



On March 26 an inquiry was held at Carbis Bay into the death of Ernest Frederick Wilton Schiff, 48, retired army captain, of the Grey House, Carbis Bay. Sydney Schiff, a gentleman of independent means, of London, said deceased was his brother, and was a retired captain of the Royal Sussex Regiment having joined the army during the war. Some years ago he was a jobber on the Stock Exchange. Dr. Temson said he was called to see Captain Schiff. Deceased was in bed in a very collapsed state, his breathing being short and laboured. Both eyes were blackened, the bridge of the nose broken, both lips cut, and there was a bruise of four inches to six inches under the left breast, and three ribs were broken on the left side, one in two places. Witness asked him what had happened, and his reply was: "Someone set upon me: the man had excuse." Witness continued to attend him until death occurred. Death was due to internal hemorrhage. Deceased was a man of fine physique, but he was not in good condition when he saw him. Albert John Nicholls, 39, a tin miner, working at Giew Mine, and living at Towernack, was warned by the Coroner that he need not give evidence. Nicholls expressed a desire to say a few words. He said he was a man with six children, the eldest of whom was a girl 17 years, Nora Kathleen Nicholls. For about two years she had been in service at the Tinner's Arms, at Carbis Bay where Captain Schiff had stayed. On Thursday morning witness went to St. Ives and had a conversation with Police-Sergeant Matthews about deceased's conduct towards his daughter. After that he went to Carbis Bay to have an interview with Captain Schiff. When he (Captain Schiff) came out he said to him: "I am glad you have come: I want to have a talk with you." He (Nicholls) replied. "That is what I have come for, to have a talk with you." and Schiff said:"Let's get away from the house," and they went down the cliff pathway towards the railway station. Witness proceeded: "When we got down the pathway I said 'What do you think of yourself, passing as a gentleman and staying in a quiet little place at Zennor and trying to ruin my daughter?' He said 'No actual harm has happened to your daughter.' I asked him 'What do you call harm? You ruined my daughter's character in addition to all the trouble it have caused the parents and everybody concerned. You were not satisfied with being broomed out of Zennor; you then employed messengers to carry dirty messages to try and lure my daughter away. He said, "You are a d- liar.' I said,'You are a d- liar. You did. I have a note in my pocket which will prove it.' Then he said he would bash my face in and went for me. He made a run at me and struck me twice. Then I went for him." The Coroner: Struck him?-Witness:Yes. How many times?-Half a dozen.-how many times did he strike you?-Twice I remember.-What happened in the end? I knocked him down and left him sitting on the pathway. Police-sergeant Matthews told the Court that he had been to Zennor making inquiries concerning deceased and a daughter of Nicholls. and some of the information he obtained he told Nicholls when the latter came to see him. The Coroner: Was it such as to arouse any natural indignation on the part of Nicholls as a father?-It was, sir. Witness said Nicholls told him he was going over to see the captain. Later in the day Nicholls came back and said, "I have had a scrap with the captain, and left him sitting on the ground. When I knocked him down I told him he could do his best." Schiff looked up and said. "I shall not do anything in the matter." After a short absence the foreman said the jury were unanimous that deceased met his death as the result of a combat between himself and Nicholls, who was under real provocation. The coroner: You do not find that what Nicholls did was entirely in self-defence? The Foreman: We consider we are justified in saying he was under great provocation. The Coroner: That is a verdict of "manslaughter." The Coroner admitted Nicholls to bail, to appear at the Assizes. Mr. Hatt said he desired to say, on behalf of deceased's family, that they felt they had no vindictive feeling against Nicholls, and did not desire to press the charge against him. The Coroner said they were very glad the family looked at it in that way.


The Times, 19th June, 1919

At Bodmin Assizes on Saturday a Cornish miner, named Albert John Nicholls, of Carbis Bay was acquitted on an indictment which charged him with the manslaughter of Captain Ernest Frederick Wilton Schiff, a retired officer of the Royal Sussex Regiment at Carbis Bay on March 20.
Mr. H. L. Murphy, who prosecuted, explained that the dead officer had been staying at the Grey House, Carbis Bay, where a Miss Moxon was acting as his housekeeper. Before that Schiff had stayed at the Tinner's Arms, Zennor, where the prisoner's daughter was employed as a domestic servant. On the day  in question the defendant went by appointment to St. Ives, where Police-Sergeant Matthews gave him certain information regarding his daughter and Captain Schiff. Nicholls became indignant and was full of resentment against Schiff, whom he said he would interview, promising on his return to tell the officer what had transpired. About half an hour after mid-day Miss Moxon saw the two men meet and walk away. The only person who knew what happened during the next 10 minutes was a Mr. Ormsby, a visitor staying at Carbis Bay. That gentleman saw Schiff rising from the ground and staggering towards the steps leading to the Grey House. The bridge of his nose was broken, his lips were cut, and two or three of his ribs were broken. Schiff apparently improved until the following Sunday, when a relapse was  followed by death on the Monday. Noticing on the ground a quantity of blood and a number of articles which had apparently fallen from Schiff's pockets, Mr. Ormsby overtook him and assisted him to the house. A doctor arrived and attended him till death occurred.
In accordance with his promise the defendant returned to St. Ives and told Sergeant Matthews that he had had a fight with Schiff. He said he had told Schiff to "do his best," and Schiff replied, "I shall do nothing in the matter." Evidence was given by several witnesses, including Miss Selina Moxon, who in cross-examination by Mr. Dummett (for the defence) admitted that she had known Schiff for several years, and that she had occupied the same room as he did at the Tinner's Arms. He was not a man of violent character. He had never called her foul names or used violence towards her.
Sergeant Matthews told the Court that he had known Nicholls for some time as a hard-working, respectable man, a good husband, and a good father.
Mr. Dummett--In your opinion was what you told Nicholls ample to justify his going to see Captain Schiff?--Most certainly.
Did you approve of his going to see Captain Schiff?--I did.
And would yo have approved of any father of a girl in the position of Nicholls's daughter going to see him?--He would not be a father if he did not go and see him.

The defendant, who gave evidence on his own behalf, told the jury that in consequence of rumours regarding his daughter and Schiff his wife called on the latter in February. Later Schiff called on him, and he repeated the rumours that he (Schiff) was pursuing his daughter with an improper motive. Afterwards they went and saw a young man named Brooking, who had given him (the defendant) information about Schiff and the girl. Schiff threatened to knock out Brooking's brains with a knuckle-duster. The defendant added that Schiff said he had intended to kill Brooking, but when he saw the photograph of his son on the mantelpiece he had not the heart to do it. Schiff's manner terrified Brooking, and he (the defendant) thought he was the sort of man likely to carry out his threat to kill.
The defendant said he was not satisfied with the interview he had with Schiff, who was eventually turned out of the Tinner's Arms and went to Carbis Bay. It transpired that he was sending messages to Miss Nicholls endeavouring to get her to go to London. When they met on March 20 he (the defendant) asked Schiff what he thought of himself posing as a gentleman, and yet trying to ruin his daughter. Schiff said no harm had taken place. He (the defendant) inquired what he meant by harm, pointing out that the girl's character was ruined, and that her parents and other members of the family had been caused anxiety. The defendant added, "You were not satisfied at being 'drummed out' of Zennor, but employed dirty messengers to try to lure my child away." Schiff declared that the allegations were untrue, but he (the defendant) told him he had a letter in his pocket which had been sent to the girl.
Schiff thereupon threatened to bash his head in, ran towards him, and hit him on the side of the head. Then the fight began.
The JUDGE.--Who struck the first blow?--He did. I went for him then. Knowing he was a desperate man, with knuckledusters, I was afraid he might knock me out.
The witness said he struck Schiff once or twice, and then knocked him down.
Mr Murphy.--From first to last were you in any fear of Captain Schiff? --I was afraid of him from the time I saw him with knuckledusters on.
The prisoner added that he did not know whether he (Schiff) might not have a "shooter" with him.
Mr. Dummett, addressing the jury, said that the jury would realise how righteously indignant a father would be when he realised what the dead man was attempting against his daughter. Schiff was evidently trying to induce the girl to leave her home for the hellish life of a prostitute on the streets of London. The dead man was the worst of profligates from the West-end of London, and, as shown by his correspondence, he had stopped at nothing to corrupt an innocent girl in one of the remotest parts of the country.

MR. JUSTICE LUSH, in summing up, said that of late years there had been made from time to time some suggestion that in England juries were permitted to recognise what by an abuse of language was called the "unwritten law." That meant, that a man who had some just cause of indignation against another for some grossly improper act to a member of his family might take the law into is own hands and punish that other. Although he committed a crime, by some sentimental view of what was right, he was to be allowed to go free of the consequences.
"I can only say," said his Lordship, "that it is an insult to our great system of criminal jurisprudence, of which we always have been and are justly proud, even to speak of such a thing by the name of unwritten law. So far from being entitled to the name of law, written or unwritten, it is lawlessness and crime. To give it any other term is merely to cloak and to hide it." Illustrating the pernicious character of such a doctrine if it ever received sanction, his Lordship pointed out that if once a man were permitted to take the law into his own hands, he would be entitled, on having reasonable cause for indignation, to decide for himself whether the particular individual he intended to punish was guilty  or not. That would be a gross abuse and a lawless and criminal suggestion. Courts of law were open to everybody in this country. If one man did wrong to another or to his relative he could be brought to book for it.
"But," concluded the Judge, "once allow a man, although a wrong may have been committed, to think he can be protected by some sentimental sympathy on the part of the jury, and at once you  will have the doors open for people to form their own conclusions as to the innocence or guilt of the person supposed to have committed the act."
Without leaving their box the jury returned the verdict stated above.


The Daily News, Perth, 18th September, 1919




A drama of the Cornish coast, in which the 'unwritten law' figured, came before Mr. Justice Lush at , the Bodmin Assizes. The chief figures in the story that was unfolded were:—

The late Captain Ernest Frederick Wilton Schiff, formerly of the Royal Sussex Regiment,- aged, 48, of London, who had been living at Grey House, Carbis Bay, Cornwall, for about a year. A friend of the late Miss Billie Carleton, whose memorial service he attended.

Miss Norah Nicholls, the 17 year old village beauty, whom Captain Schiff met at Zennor, a holiday place on the moors, where she was a domestic servant. She is the daughter of

Albert John Nicholls, a miner, charged with the manslaughter of Captain Schiff, concerning whose relations with his daughter a police officer is said to have made a statement to him. There was a crowded Court when Nicholls, a powerful looking man of 39, with reddish hair and a heavy moustache, took his seat in the deck. He replied, "Not guilty," in a loud, firm voice, when asked to plead. He had been on bail since the Police Court proceedings.

Without leaving the box the jury acquitted the accused.

Visit to the Captain

Mr. H. L. Murphy, counsel for the prosecution, explained that Captain Schiff had been living at the Grey House, Carbis Bay, and had previously stayed at the Tinner's Arms, Zennor, where prisoner's daughter was employed as a domestic servant.

On the day of the alleged crime accused went by appointment to St. Ives, where Sergeant Matthews gave him certain information regarding his daughter and Captain Schiff. Nicholls became indignant, and was full of resentment against the captain, whom he said he would interview, promising on his return to tell the sergeant what transpired.

About half an hour after midday Miss Moxon (housekeeper at Grey House) saw the two men meet and walk away. The only person. who knew what happened during the next ten minutes was a Mr. Ormesby, a visitor staying at Carbis Bay, who saw Schiff rising from the ground and struggling towards the steps leading to the Grey House. Noticing a quantity of blood and a number of articles which had apparently fallen from the captain's pocket, he overtook Schiff and assisted him to the house. A doctor arrived and attended him until death occurred.

In accordance with his promise, the accused returned to St. Ives, and told Sergeant Matthews that he had had a fight with Schiff, whom he told to "do his best," and deceased had replied, “I shall do nothing in the matter.”

Information Justified Visit.

Evidence was given by several witnesses, including Miss Selina Moxon, who, in cross-examination by counsel, admitted that she had known the deceased officer for some years. She occupied the same room as he did at theTinner's Arms. He was not a man of violent character. He had never called her foul names or used violence towards her.

Sergeant Matthews told the Court that he had known Nicholls for sometime, as a hard-working, respectable man, a good husband and a good father.

Mr. Dummett (for the defence): In your opinion was what you told Nicholls at your interview with him ample to justify him going to see Captain Schiff ?—Most decidedly.

Did you approve of his going to seeCaptain Schiff ?— I did.

And would, you have approved of any father of a girl in the position of Nicholls' daughter going to see him?—He would not be a father if he did not go and see him.

On the conclusion of the case for the prosecution, Mr. Dummett submitted,there was no case to go to the jury. The Judge ruled that there was a prima facie case.

Father's Own Story.

Nicholls, who was then called, said he was a tin miner and a married man with five daughters and one boy. His eldest daughter, Norah Kathleen, was 17 years of age, and had been in domestic service at the Tinner's Arms, at Zennor, for two years. She had always borne a perfectly good character.

In February he heard rumors in regard to. her and Schiff, and his wife had an interview with the latter. Later, Schiff called upon him, and he repeated the rumor that Schiff was pursuing his daughter for an improper motive. Schiff denied this, and they went to Zennor and saw a young man named Brooking, who had made the statement. Schiff used violent language towards. Brooking, whose brains he threatened to knock out with a knuckleduster he had on his hand.

Accused added that Schiff said he had intended to kill Brooking, but when he looked at the photograph of his own son on the mantelpiece he had not the heart to do it.

Schiff's manner terrified Brooking, and witness thought he (Schiff) was the sort of man likely to carry out his threats to kill.

Witness said he was not satisfied with the interview he had with Schiff, who was violently turned out of the Tinner's Arms and went to Carbis Bay. It was discovered that he was sending messages to witness' daughter, endeavoring to get her to go to London.

Witness, met Schiff on March 20 and asked him what he thought of it now, posing as a gentleman and yet trying to ruin his daughter? Schiff said no harm had taken place. Witness inquired what he meant by “harm,” and pointed out that the girl's character was ruined, and that her parents, and other members of the family had been caused great anxiety.

Witness added: "You were not satisfied with being “broomed" out of Zennor, but employed dirty messengers to try and lure my child away.” Schiff declared the allegation was untrue, but witness told him that he had a letter in his pocket which had been sent to the girl. Schiff thereupon threatened to bash his face in, and sprang, towards him and hit him on the side of the head. Then the fight began.

The Judge: Who struck the first blow?—He did. I went for him then, knowing he was a desperate man, with knuckle-dusters in his possession. I was afraid he might knock me out. Witness added that he struck Schiff a time or two, and then knocked him down.

Counsel for the Prosecution: From first to last you were not in fear of Schiff?— I was afraid of him from the time I saw him with knuckle-dusters on. After that I did not know whether he might not have a shooter on him.

Mr. Dummett (for the defence) said he was certain that the jury would realise how righteously indignant a father would be when he realised what the dead man was attempting agains this daughter. Put it at no lower level, Schiff was evidently trying to induce her to leave her home for the hellish life of a loose woman on the streets of London. The dead man, who was the worst of profligates from the West End of London, as had been shown by his correspondence, had stopped at nothing to corrupt this innocent girl.

The Judge on Unwriten [sic] Law.

The Judge, in summing up, pointed out that the impression has been growing in this country that when a man had been done a wrong by another man it was open to the wronged man to take the law into his own hands. That was familiarly known as the "unwritten law." He must urge upon them to be very careful not to allow their sympathy with the accused to interfere with a proper verdict according to the laws of this country. Chaos would soon obtain if men who might have real grievances against others ignored the laws of the country,and inflicted what punishment they liked without taking the ordinary course of redress. He was not suggesting that in this case the accused had taken the law into his own hands. It was quite possible that he had a good legal defence for what he had done, and he held that in certain circumstances where a fight had taken place the man whose death had followed had been accidentally killed, in this case the evidence showed that the dead man first of all attacked the accused. They were entitled to acquit the accused if they considered he had only done what was necessary in the circumstances.

The jury, without leaving the box, found the accused "Not guilty.”

No Feeling of Regret.

Things which Schiff Told the Cornish Miner's Daughter.

In a statement made after the trial Nicholls said:—

"I would willingly suffer a term of imprisonment rather than that man should have remained alive. I have no feeling of regret for what has happened.”

Immediately after his acquittal he returned to his native village, and was welcomed by his friends as one who had successfully defended his daughter's honour.

"Schiff only got his just deserts.” added Nicholls. 'If you had seen the letters he wrote to my Kathleen you would understand my reason for not pretending to be sorry. He told my little girl if she went away to London, she would be able to earn more money than 'Billie' Carleton, and would be able to wear even prettier dresses.

"My lass said, 'But what about mammy and daddy?’

He told her she need not tell them until she had gone. And then he played upon her feelings by telling her she would be in a position to send plenty of money home to her mammy and daddy.

“After he had turned her head in this way he found he could not have his own way. He got into a fearful rage, and threatened to ‘bash’ my girl’s head in.”

Nora Kathleen Nicholls

Thursday, 12 June 2014

“Tony": Ernest Frederick Wilton Schiff

"Tony": this book covers the life of Ernest Frederick Wilton Schiff, Sydney Schiff's younger brother, from his childhood in the 1870s and up to and including his death in 1919.

Here should be the fictional family tree: it will be eventually.

The Fictional Kurt family

The biggest challenge in writing this book was deciding how to overcome the lack of information about Sydney’s life before he married Violet. Apart from the sketchy documentation noted above, the only significant source material is the provocatively entitled A True Story, a sprawling fictionalised autobiography influenced by Proust, written by Sydney using the pseudonym Stephen Hudson, and edited, perhaps heavily, by Violet, in which Sydney is portrayed as a character called Richard Kurt. It is tantalising because it is rich in detail, but frustrating because there is no way to verify much of it. The Schiff’s nephew, Edward Beddington-Behrens, wrote in his autobiography that with the exception of what he called ‘external details’ everything was true. But there is no way of knowing exactly what he thought was true.
Stephen Klaidman, ‘Sydney and Violet’, 2013.

Sydney Schiff used his earlier books 'Prince Hempseed', 'The Other Side', Elinor Colehouse', 'Richard Kurt' and 'Richard' Myrtle and I' to create his autobiographical saga 'A True Story'. However, his other book, 'Tony', could not fit into this sequence because, unlike the other books that are written from the same viewpoint, that of the author, Sydney Schiff chose to write the account of his brother's life with the voice of his late brother in the first person. As this account ends with 'Tony's sudden death, this does cause some awkwardness: it is as though the nover was written autobiographically but posthumously.

The book is very interesting though as a biography of a very interesting personality. He was undoubtedly a scandalous rogue: expelled from Eton (or whichever public school he did actually attend), a notorious womaniser - in addition to his long-term mistress Seline Moxon ('Trixie' in the novel) he had many other liaisons, including the internationally famous French courtesan Liane de  Pougy. (By a curious coincidence I first came across her as a child: her photograph had been cut out of a magazine in about 1910 by my English great grandfather.)

I have deliberately transcribed sections of the book which seem obviously biographical, and have attempted, where possible, to supplement the account with quotations from contemporary newspapers and archives. So far everything does indeed seem to be true, it really is only names and places that have had their identities changed. 

Frank Gent


p. 6: Childhood Pranks
You ought to have told about my being at St. Vincent’s, you ought to have explained how much we loved each other but that we always quarrelled, mostly because of your jealousy… And you ought to have told how you bullied me—and then were sorry and kissed me—and of how I always thought you were right when we were small… You ought at least to have mentioned my having shared those beastly tutors with you, and about our locking that awful one Whyte into the stable at Craythorne and about our watering the roses with manure-water because the governor wouldn’t let us make a cricket pitch on the lawn; that was my idea. You ought to have brought me in at Heidelberg, when I threw my knapsack out of the train window and queered the governor’s rotten scheme for a walking tour. How we both loathed walking! And how could you help mentioning that it was after our talking it over the whole last night of the holidays that you made up your mind to bolt on your way back to Clive and that when you went off to America, I got the chuck at Eton and they sent me to old Reinhardt at Bonn.

p.8: Hamburg
We hardly ever wrote to each other, I only remember one decent letter from America after the Sullivan-Kilrain fight and I wrote you a long one about Frida just before I left Hamburg. In that letter I gave you an account of the row I got into with Uncle Fred while he was on a visit to the aunts through my bringing a girl into old Jacob’s study…

[ The fight is referred to in Stephen Hudson's autobiographical novel 'The Other Side'. Here is an account of the fight which took place on 8th July, 1889:
Here are some images of the fight:
Henriette Lazarus's husband was Dr Jacob Lazarus of Hamburg; he died in 1881.]

p. 10: Elinor’s Arrival
I wasn’t nineteen then…
[Ernest Frederick Wilton Schiff ('Tony') was born in 1870, thus corroborating the chronology:  Sydney's marriage to Marion Canine Fulton took place in 1889.]

p. 12
By the time I got there you were all having tea. Helen and George Hayes were there and Ada and Olivia. Percy Macfarlane and the two Bulmers had turned up with the girls…
[The sisters were Carrie born 1865, Edith born 1871, Rose born 1874 and Marie born 1877. Carrie, here called Helen, married Sidney Alexander towards the end of 1890.]

p. 14
Afterwards you said mother had told you about Helen’s engagement…

p. 15
She knew mother had lovers as soon as she set eyes on her and that the governor was an old rip.

p. 16
It was then I pulled out the letter the governor wrote after he got the cable which came from that American doctor announcing your marriage.

p. 17
I’d been talking to her about Ada’s affair with Percy and Olivia’s with Hugh Bulmer… I was nineteen and you were twenty-two and married over a year.

What if I had ben sacked from Eton, so were Fitzroy and heaps of other chaps, some of the very best, even some of the cleverest for that matter. And the slip-up at Bonn didn’t weigh on me either. As for the Hamburg row, all I felt was that Uncle Fred had no business to poke his nose into my affairs. What business was it of his if I had pleasant company down below there on the ground floor. Dear old Emma wouldn’t have minded my keeping her husband’s ghost warm; in fact I nearly told her before Uncle Fred came.

[Emma was his father's sister, Henriette Lazarus.]

All the same, I decided for it and tackled the governor the next morning when he was writing his usual Sunday letter to the aunts.
The three sisters lived together in Hanburg: Henriette Lazarus, Jenny and Virginia.]

p. 20
I could speak German about as well as English…

p.22 While the preparations for Helen’s wedding were going on in London, the roof fell in at Copenhagen and back I came. I must say the governor behaved very well over that; whatever their faults were, he and Uncle Fred knew something about women.

[This must have een the summer of 1890.]

p. 25
She sneered at all of us going to the station to see mother off, the arrival at the station in the brougham, the reserved carriage, John and her maid, flowers, the governor, Uncle Fred and Benda escorting her as far as Cannon Street, the old ceremony.

p. 26
Amongst the people who filled up Ennismore Gardens for Helen’s wedding was old Nanny… One evening Nanny suddenly said “I wonder what the master will do about Miss Helen at the register.”
I pricked up my ears. “What d’you mean, Nanny?” I asked.
At first she wouldn’t explain but after a time, and after making me swear I’d never give her away, she told me that Helen was born before mother married the governor and wasn’t his daughter. She said said she didn’t know who her father was...

[This refers to the unknown parentage of Carrie. At the time of her birth her mother, Caroline Scates, was still married to John Scott Cavell, but allegedly neither he nor Alfred Schiff were her father, though I suspect he was.]

About eighteen months later you were in a flat in Hanover Square...

Meanwhile also, mother was moving the family establishment into Mayfair where the governor had been running another, under the rose, for some time.

P. 31
I must say that was an uncommonly cosy flat of yours. I turned up there unannounced one foggy November afternoon and found Elinor with that pretty little witch, Gerty, who had chucked Musical Comedy and was playing it up as Lady John Dunglass. She was fearfully excited about my affair with Liane de Pougy, the trouble was I couldn't keep that simmering without money and where was that to come from?

[I had thought that the affair with Liane de Pougy was that referred to in 'Tony''s bankruptcy, but that wasn't till much later, in 1910. Liane de Pougy was  born in La Fleche in 1869. 'Tony' must have had his  affair with her in about 1891-2, when she was a dancer at the Folies Bergeres.]

P. 32
While I'd been away,  Elinor had made friends with Maggie, the sort of thing women call friendship. The very next day, off she went to her and gave the whole show away without saying a word to me. She got nothing out of Maggie, but our charming cousin promptly blew on her to mother. You know the rest.

p. 33
Mother wasn't soft like you; she knew the sort of woman she had to deal with and the terms were what you know. You were  down and out and in the wilderness until the day of her death.

p. 36
A short time after that you went to Biarritz and I came my first real big mucker. I don't remember how much it cost the governor that time, but the best terms I could make included my beating it to Australia.

[In fact 'Tony' went not to Australia, but to New Zealand. Passenger List records show that he arrived there in the autumn of 1893.]

p. 40
When I came back from Australia with Nancy and the boy you were in the thick of it at Lyncroft.

[He married Esme Clementine Borlase in New Zealand in 1897.]

p. 44
I told you how I met Nancy and made up my mind to marry her and partly because I saw it was the only to make good with the governor after all that had happened.

...she bored my soul out of me, and if you'd ever been in Australia, you'd know that no woman from there could ever be anything but middle-class and provincial. the so-called gentry have got the country parson type of mind and Nancy had the stereotyped, puritanical, hypocritical notions of a nicely brought up vicar's daughter.

[1897/4205: Emma Clementine Borlase and Ernest Frederick Wilton Schiff]

p. 48
He and Uncle Fred had forked out to start you as a sort of country gentleman and me as a stock-jobber, both of us had pretty handsome allowances. Ada was running the establishments in London and the South pretty much as she liked and Olivia was to get a substantial settlement when she married.

p. 60
It was at that dinner that I introduced you to Marguérite. Elinor had persuaded you to take the house in Wilton Place.

p. 62
That was the beginning of your long affair with Marguérite…

p. 67
The boy was getting big and strong and Edie was nearly two, I think, when the governor invited us all to the villa to spend a few weeks of the winter. I was doing pretty well on the Stock Exchange but of course I was spending twice as much as I made…

['Tony''s daughter Esmé was born in 1900, in London.] 

p. 72
The next thing that happened, as far as I can remember, was the Boer War. Another change came over you. You began by making yourself unpleasant to everybody by sympathising with the Boers, going on just as you did at the time of the Wilde case.

p. 79
I’d heard nothing of or from you for months when one morning just as I was leaving for the City, old Uncle Theo rang me up on the telephone and told me you were down with typhoid at Alfredo’s place in Italy and he intended going out there to see you that very day… The governor, he said, didn’t take it so seriously… But I decided then and there to go with Theo and told him I’d meet him at Charing Cross for the night boat. Meanwhile off I put to the City and went straight to W. K. & Co.’s office where Uncle Fred was in no end of a state about you… that night the three of us went off to Coneglio.

['Uncle Theo' was Charles Schiff, also known as Carl Gottlieb and Teofilo.]

p. 80 
The Contessa had prepared a sumptuous breakfast and she, her daughter Zoë, Alfredo and Elinor were waiting for us...
...The Contessa was very handsome; she had a mass of snow-white hair and the kind of sallow skin that looks like yellow ivory. The governor, who, like me, can throw things off, sat on one side of her making himself agreeable and talking about friends they had in common at Trieste where she came from; his reddy grey beard showed up against her black velvet dress and he looked as spick-and-span as though he’d just dressed, although we’d had to sit up in the train for two nights. Uncle Theo sat on the other side of her, looking tousled and tired, the top of his bald head, which he was leaning upon his hand, caught the shine of the candle-light.

p. 92
After we’d been back about ten days, the governor dined with Nancy and me one night and after dinner he said he had something to say to me. I wondered what was up, more or less taking it for granted that there was some trouble brewing with my firm. But it was something very different. The old aunts had, of course, been informed by their brothers of your illness and the poor old things had been very perturbed. They were going to Italy for the winter anyhow but they had hastened their departure to go and see how you were getting on.

p. 95
When one comes to think of it, the governor was very easy really, one could always play upon one or the other of his weaknesses or fads or prejudices. Uncle Fred was always a harder nut, especially when he got wise and I tried him a bit too high at the last.

p. 97
I didn’t tell you that Marguérite had sent her love to you and would be glad to know when you were going tolet her have her half-year’s rent and I didn’t inform you that the call option on Bloemfontein Estates which my firm had bought for you had resulted in a five points profit…

p. 104
About the time I went to see you at Florence, I was by way of working a new partnership deal with Sammy Michaelis. Sammy was all right, he was a pal, and he knew my position. He wanted capital and was on the right side of the old man with whom I always believed he had a pull because of something he’d done for him behind the curtain.

p. 107
You spotted old Theo as being at the bottom of it and he was, in a way, through Elinor’s writing Aunt Kate that you and the Yank girl were living in sin together. You didn’t take that at all in a saintly fashion. On the contrary, you wrote the old chap a stinker, telling him he was suffering from senility, which, as it was jolly near true, hurt his feelings deeply...

p. 117
I was completely flabbergasted when, as I went along the train at Charing Cross to find the governor’s carriage, I caught sight of you standing on the platform. Uncle Fred was too anxious about the old man to think about anyone else, but Leslie, jostling him along with me through the crowd, kept on asking me breathlessly what you’d come for, as though I knew any more than he did.

It was plain to see that the old man was done for, he had to be almost lifted out and if the car hadn’t happened to get close up, I don’t know how we should have got him into it. On the way to Brook Street you told me you’d come on with him because you thought he might die on the road. That would have sounded all right to anyone else but it didn’t convince me if only because all the baggage you had was a handbag and I knew you too well to believe you’d have left without a change of clothes. But it wasn’t only that. I could see your nerves were on edge and that you didn’t know what to say, in fact, you didn’t know where you were. I knew something had happened but there were no twos to put together; I couldn’t get anything out of you.

That was an awful evening at Brook Street. The governor insisted on sitting through dinner and the rest of us had to pretend to carry on as usual. Leslie came in useful, for once, talking about Ascot, It wasn’t until afterwards, when we got the old man into the arm-chair in the library, that we were able to take a pull on ourselves with the help of the old brandy.

You didn’t make much of a job fobbing off Olivia’s questions about how you’d left Elinor and how long you intended staying. You said you’d wait and see how the governor went on but even she saw that you were dodging and, before they went away, Leslie followed me into a corner and began cross-questioning me in that riling way of his. What did I think had happened, etcetera? You looked relieved when they said good night. When Uncle Fred came out of the library with you and told me to go in to the governor, I knew they’d been talking about you and that something was up.

The old man was wonderfully cheery when I went in, said it hadn’t been at all a bad journey and he’d been very glad of your company. It was awful talking to him, he couldn’t utter a word without coughing himself to pieces, and I must say he was tremendously plucky. He asked me how the boy was getting on at school and said he hoped Nancy would bring Edie to see him the next day but he didn’t say anything more about you and presently he asked me to help him sit down at his writing-table. He took a sheet of paper, I knew he was going to write to the aunts and that the first words would be “Meine liebsten.”

Uncle Fred and you didn’t talk long. When you both came back into the library he stood with his legs apart in front of the fireplace as he always did, pulling at his cigar and looking at the ground; we none of us said a word and the governor went on writing and coughing, crumpled up over the table; a ghastly business. You nodded your head at the door and we went into that dreary hall and sat down on two of those comfortless leather chairs; we couldn’t even have a drink because the tray was in the library. Then you suddenly said “I’ve left Elinor for good, they both know it” and dried up with a look on your face as though you’d put on the black cap and were sentencing some poor devil to be hanged…

…No, you had not yet told Elinor you intended leaving her, you were going to write her that night before you went to bed and you wished you had someone to send with the letter and bring you back your clothes. I told you I could lend you Ruggles and you were very much obliged. The next morning he went off with the letter. The morning after, the old man had a haemorrhage and it was all over.

The less said about the next three days the better. I don’t pretend, personally, to have felt it all very deeply. Any sentiment I ever had for the governor had been worn out years before and my mind was almost entirely occupied with speculating as to how much he’d left and in what way he’d left it. I didn’t agree with you when you said it would all be tied up. But you didn’t seem to care one way or the other. You behaved much the same as when mother died, going about with your silk hat brushed the wrong way and looking as if it were your own funeral you were seeing about. I couldn’t understand why you cared so much just at the end considering you and the governor never hit it off. There were moments when he and I understood each other because we were of the same kind in one way, the canaille side of him I mean. But there never was anything of that in you and your both having fussy, meticulous habits couldn’t have brought you much together.

[Schiff, Alfred George aged 68. Chertsey, Surrey 2a 35]

[SCHIFF Alfred George of the Stock Exchange and Warnford Court Throgmorton-street London died 2 August 1908  at Brooklands Weybridge Surrey Probate London 28 October to Ernest Frederick Schiff stockbroker and Basil Henry Williamson solicitor. Effects L576769 4s. 2d.]

[...Alfred George Schiff, of the London Stock Exchange and of Warnford-court, Throgmorton-street, London, Stockbroker, deceased, who died on the 2nd August, 1908, and Brooklands, Weybridge, Surrey...]

p. 122
After the coffin had been lowered into the grave, Uncle Fred stood looking down into it as though he had half a mind to jump in himself.

[According to his will, Alfred requested cremation.]

p. 128
At that time I used to go and see Uncle Fred every morning at the office, partly to ask him if he had any business for my firm but much more because it was important for me to keep on the right side of him. Uncle Fred had become very important to me and what was more he was becoming very important to a good many other people. Since the governor’s death he had taken hold of the business and was running it for all it was worth, and in quite a different way, by cutting down the commission part of it and going in for underwriting and financing on a large scale. He had come to this through realizing the governor’s estate which left him with what he called “the rubbish.” This “rubbish” was the speculative shares which had meanwhile gone up so much that they were worth about half a million more than when the old man died. It was so like Uncle Fred, quietly to sneak that surplus by pretending it wasn’t good enough to keep for the family trust. There’s more to be said about that, a trifle of hundred thousand pounds.
When I went up to see him he was either reading the "Times" or looking over the letters and telegrams. He sat in the same  chair he'd always sat in, no one ever occupied the empty one on the opposite side of the big double writing-table. The only change was a photograph of the governor in an ebony and silver frame beside the inkstand. He never looked up when I came in. When I said good morning, he'd grunt and go on reading. I'd sit down, not in the governor's chair, and wait, twiddling my thumbs and smoking a cigarette till he said "What are so and so?" and when I told him "Buy or sell so many at such a price" or "Keep me informed." Just as I was going out of the door he'd  ask if Nancy and the children were all right and very often "Heard anything of Richard?" When I said I hadn't; "I don't know what he's doing, he came to see me on Sunday mornings  for a time when it suited him but he never told me anything then and I haven't seen him for a month. What's he doing, eh?" And he'd look at me over his glasses. I'd say, "I haven't the least idea." Another grunt. That meant "You're lying. You know, but you won't tell me."

p. 130
At the beginning he seemed to be not exactly broken, but much older, he hardly said a word to anyone. The people at the office especially Kahn and Bellows, were in an awful funk, they were certain he would liquidate the firm. He took no interest in anything. That only lasted a few weeks, the next stage began with the settling up of the estate. As it went on,  he hardened up and as markets improved and stocks rose, he got harder. He didn't talk any more or look any more cheerful but he got keener and keener, came earlier and went later. Kahn and Bellows bucked up; secretive as they tried to be, they admitted that they were doing a big business Old Baron d'Alger [d'Erlinger] was dead and his son, who was head of the firm, was always sitting in the old man's private office brewing up financial schemes. The name of W. K. & Co. was on most of the important prospectuses of new companies and there were comings and goings to Rothschilds, Morgans, Cassel, Speyers and all the big houses. It didn't take me long to see that Uncle Fred was out for the stuff as he'd never been before. He'd made up his mind to run the show in his own way and now he was alone, he could do it.

p. 131
There's another point I must put in here, that is that Uncle Fred cared more about you than about anyone else; he always had, just as you'd always cared about him. What you could find to be fond of in him, I never could understand. The governor did have a good side, at least he liked enjoying himself, gambling, tarts and other things that are human.

p. 134
What concerned me was you were apparently quite unaware that you were horribly ill.

p. 136
I knew you'd had some training under Uncle Theo as a boy and that short innings of yours with W. K. & Co., but that was quite a different sort of thing to this company-promoting stunt you were so at home with.

p. 137
The only person who might be able to do something was Uncle Fred. It was a filthy foggy evening and he was in a filthier temper when I called at Mount Street. The only chance of seeing him was after eight as he always played bridge at the Club till the last moment before dressing time, and then rushed off to take "Auntie" Fullerton to dinner.

p. 142
It was no use my humbugging. "He doesn't know he is," I said. "Richard's a mug. He's got no idea that stuff's dope."
He talked it over and we both came to the conclusion some woman in Paris had put you on to it. It wasn't for some time after that I knew of your affair with Susie. I'd known her with him at his flat in the Rond Point from the first and I knew you went there a good deal though you always were dark about everything that hit you hard. She was just the kind to dope and of course the poor little thing died of it.
Herbert Thal's mistress was in love with you; whether you were with her I don't know and it doesn't affect the result.

p. 147
I didn't care if I never saw the old swine again, but it was a serious matter to quarrel with him. I'd reached a point where thousands would soon be needed to save me from an everlasting smash. I could tide it over a while longer, but if you went down, there was only that vindictive old money-grubber between me and the deluge. As I went down the stairs, I was asking myself whether he would let me go when it came to it; I still had a card that might save the trick. That card was the boy. Whatever I did, I'd always made it a point with Nancy that she should keep on good terms with the governor who thought a lot of her and adored the children. That would have been enough of itself to make the other follow suit. But in addition, since the old man's death, I'd seen to it that Nancy kept it up with Uncle Fred and she took the kids to see him regularly, besides having him to dinner quite often at Northumberland Place, on which occasions I had made a show of being a respectable <pater familias>. I'd also pretended not to notice, and given her strict injunctions to gnore, his little peculiarities. My policy had resulted in his forming the habit of her and the children as I expected he would. In his case habit was a substitute for affection which I always told you he was incapable of feeling. The children, especially the boy, had taken a place in his life, and it was fairly sure that they entered into all his calculations. Someone would have to inherit the millions he was piling up and it would be in keeping with his ideas to tie them up as long as possible. When one considered that the boy was his beloved brother's grandson and the only one of our name in that generation and that under the governior's will he inherited the residue of his estate, what more likely than that old Uncle Fred would let his accumulation follow the lead given by the only human being he had ever been capable of caring for?

p. 155
You said it had come to what you called a parting of the ways, that you'd done your best to make money against every instinct and taste you had, against what you believed were your own interests, but you'd failed and there was an end of it. You'd never try again and she knew now that you'd had enough of that sort of life. Uncle Fred had given you an assurance that if anything happened to you, he'd give her an adequate annuity and she'd have to put up with that and what youcould leave her. The villa and his contents were worth a good bit and your life was insured for a substantial amount.

p. 158
I don't think I saw you again before you went, about a week later. I got a postcard from you from Vienna and one from Constantinople...
...By the time you were in Cairo, I was in Monte Carlo and a couple of months later you were in Paris.
I had a few lines from you from Naples and wired you to come...
.. When first I saw you I thought you looked fitter than you'd been for years; you'd done a lot of riding in the desert while you were at Luxorand the brown hadn't worn off... You'd seen and done all there was to see and do at Vienna, Pesth, Constantinople and in Egypt... You'd kep a sort of journal of your experiences in two big copy-books which you seemed to consider very important documents... After a couple of days you said you'd go back to Naples where you'd felt better than anywhere else...

[The Times, 14/12/1910
An Extravagant Debtor.
The public examination of Mr. Ernest Frederick Wilton Schiff, stockbroker, of Gloucester-place, Portman-square, W., against whose estate a receiving order was made on October 6th, took place yesterday. The statement of the debtor's affairs showed gross liabilities amounting to £48,168 2s. 2d, of which £47,308 2s. 2d. was expected to rank, against assets valued at £40. At the first meeting of creditors, held recently, a resolution was passed accepting the debtor's proposal to pay a composition of 8s. in the pound on his  unsecured liabilities.
In answer to the OFFICIAL RECEIVER the debtor stated that before 1899 he lived on an allowance received from his father. In that year he joined in partnership with Mr. H.S. Mosenthal and Mr. L. Samuelson, and carried on business as jobbers on the Stock Exchange under the style of Mosenthal, Samuelson, and Co. In 1906 Mr Mosenthal retired and a new partnership deed was entered into by  Mr. Sauelson and himself. He then provided a sum of £20,000 as capital,which was lent by his uncle at 5 per cent interest. He took a one-third share of the profits of the new firm, which traded  under the style of Samuelson, Schiff, and Co., at 3, Copthall-buildings, E. C. His share of the profits varied from £4,000 to £8,000 a year.
At the end of 1909 he went for a holiday to the South of France, accompanied by a lady. He bought considerable quantities of jewelry at Nice and Monte Carlo, which he presented to his companion. One of those purchases consisted of a diamond ornament, for which he gave his acceptance for £5,560, and another comprised two strings of pearls and some rings and brooches, for which he gave his acceptance for £6,500. Neither of these acceptanceshad been met, and the jewellers were returned in his statement of affairs as creditors. The holiday lasted about six or eight weeks, and cost him £19,000, including the price of the jewelry. He was well known to the jewellers, who were quite content to take his acceptances. On his return to England he explained his position to his partner, Mr. Samuelson, and in March last the partnership was dissolved. The balance standing to the credit of his capital account was £5,080, which amount he paid over to his uncle on account of the £20,000 lent by him. In addition to his share of the profits of the firm he had received £3,000 a year under his father's will, in respect of an interest which was forfeitable in certain events, including bankruptcy. He was still receiving that sum under the discretionary power of trustees. In May last he went to South Africa, partly with a view to business, but mainly for the trip. Before leaving he consulted his uncle as to his position, and the latter took assignments of some of his debts. His uncle also made payments to creditors, and now appeared in his statement of affairs as a creditor for a large amount. He executed in favour of his uncle a bill  of sale, as security, over the furniture at his (the debtor's) house in Gloucester-place, which was valued at £4,000. In consideration of receiving this bill of sale his uncle was to  make further advances by way of payments to creditors. He only remained in South Africa for one day, and on his return two petitions were put on file against him by moneylenders, alleging as an act of bankruptcy the execution of the bill of sale. He opposed the petitions and they were dismissed, but subsequently these proceedings ensued on the petition of a Mr. Barnett, who claimed commission for introductions to moneylenders. He attributed his failure entirely to extravagance and the expenses of the trip to the South of France. He had for some time been living beyond his means his income having been about £8,000 a year and his expenditure for the last four years at the rate of £10,000 a year. The money required to pay the composition of 8s in the pound was being provided by his uncle.]

p. 162
What happened when you got to London I don't know. It couldn't have been more than two or three weeks later that I got a letter from you telling me that Elinor had started divorce proceedings and that you were going to marry Myrtle.

[Marion started divorce proceedings in 1910.]

p. 164
I stayed the night at Folkestone and we three had a long talk but on my way up to town I realised that it had been nearly all about your and my affairs and that I didn't know her any the better for it. I liked old Mr. Vendramin and his autocratic ways. He reminded me of mother in the way he walked about as though he owned the hotel and behaved as though it was everybody's business to make things easy and comforatble for him.How I laughed over the two fowls he had sent to the hotel daily from Brighton. Why Brighton? I knew the name Vendramin. hey were a numerous and well-known family. One was at Eton with me, one was on the Stock Exchange and another kept some race-horses.

[Myrtle was Violet Zillah Beddington, daughter of the wealthy Yorkshire wool merchant Beddington. His family surname was originally Moses.]

p. 167
The only member of the family you saw regularly was Uncle Fred. You and Myrtle always went to see him on Sundays and now and then I met you there. Myrtle hit it off with him in an extraordinary way.

p. 168
A man in the City who had something to do with the Income Tax told him Frederick Kurt was worth three millions.

p. 169
About the time you came back from your honeymoon in Venice, The Rock founded and endowed The Kurt Home for Incurables to the tune of a hundred and fifty thousand of the best. I knew where that had come from. It was a part and only a small one of that, of about as bare-faced a bit of robbery as even he ever pulled off...

[The Schiff Home of Recovery was founded in 1908 at Cobham Surrey.]

p. 171
Every now and then there would be a note in the paper about the well-known millionaire philanthropist Mr. Frederick Kurt and his Home for Incurables or there would be a snapshot of him at Newmarket or Sandown. I always made a point of cutting them out and sending them to him. And I worked the ladies...

p. 176
You remember, after he failed for the Navy, we talked over what public school he ought to goto. You were against all English public schools and wanted me to send him to France and Germany...

p. 177
The only thing I knew you did regularly was to attend the meetings of the Committee of the Kurt Home for Incurables of which The Rock had made you and Leslie members.

p. 178
Meanwhile you had bought the lease of a house in Barrington Square and had it decorated in a peculiar manner of your own which you considered modern..
I took a fancy to one or two of them, especially to Barry, that Irish painter who killed himself afterwards, poor devil.

p. 184
Though, outwardly, I was living under the same roof as Nancy when she was in London, actually, I was hardly ever with her.

p. 186
He was growing into a splendid youngster, there was hardly a trace of the Kurts in him. Instead of those dark, beady eyes, he had large blue ones, bluest of blue, with long dark lashes and a nose that tilted up instead of down.
At that time I'd almost given up on the Stock Exchange.

p. 187
From every side I heard of his growing wealth and the enormous scale of his deals. He was in syndicates with all the big bugs and had interests in every part of the world. You came back from Switzerland about the same time as we did from Dinard and one of the first things I told you was that he would soon be getting a knighthood or a baronetcy. You laughed at me, but a few weeks later he got his K. C. V. O.

[He was knighted in 1911.]

p. 188
With all his money he never enjoyed himself. He didn't know one of his horses from another and whenever he went racing, he was only thinking about his book. He never knew how to spend monet, even to be comfortable. He had that huge flat and lived in one room of it; the place never looked lived in. He bought old pictures and antique snuff-boxes and miniatures, but as his one idea was to pick up bargains and to buy cheap, most of them were stumers.

p. 189
I met Stanford at your house.He was a gentle creature and I thought, through him, I could get to know something about pictures.
...He told me you had dropped him and taken up with what he called 'Futurists'...

p. 192
You had taken a house on the Wye for the summer. Eugene Hartmann was staying with you and you wrote me that he was very pessimistic about the European situation.He was one of the few old friends of your Elinor days you'd stuck to. I knew he was adiplomat and well informed, but I wasn't in the mood to bother about politics and I hardly looked at the papers. The morning in bed was my usualtime for reading them and the boyhad abolished that by making me go for a swim early and come back to a huge breakfast out of doors. My ignorance didn't last long. A week later, was was declared and I knew Frenchmen well enough to get home sharp.

p.  197
..."When there's a megalomaniac on the throne like the Kaiser---"
He turned the paper over and without looking up, threw at me, "You know nothing about it. You only  repeat the rubbish that you read in the yellow press."

p. 199
You stayed in the country till the end of September partly because old Mr. Vendramin had recently died and you had Myrtle's mother staying with yo. I had got my commission. You were just as much carried off  your feet as anyone at first. You joined the League of Frontiersmen while you were away and though you didn't tell me, I heard you'd been to the O. C. of your old Yeomanry and that he'd turned you down because you were over age.

p. 200
...He said little or  nothing to anybody, just went to the City every  day and from there to the Bentinck to play bridge as he always did. Those were the early days when everyone was repeating that story about thousands of Russians passing through England in trains with th blinds drawn, on their way to surprise the Germans. I had been told the story circumstantially so many times that I fully believed it and when Leslie told me that The Rock was beginning to make himself unpopular at the Club by throwing cold water on the whole thing, it seemed to me typical of his obstinate disbelief in everybody.
Another item of newsfrom Leslie about him was when Sir Edward Field, the K. C. who defended all the big criminals and was supposed to know as much as anyone at the Bentinck about what was  going to happen, said that the war couldn't last more than six months because the Germans wouldn't be able to find the money. The Rock took him up in front of the whole room by remarking that lack of money had never stopped a war yet and never would, and that evidently Sir Edward Field knew very little about the might of the German Empire. That didn't increase his popularity.

[Sir Edward Marshall-Hall KC]

p. 201
I thanked my star he was only just fifteen and well out of it. At the worst, the war couldn't last long enough to mop him up... He kept up a desultory correspondence with Myrtle's twin nephews who were at Charterhouse.

p. 206
...But the casualties kept increasing, more and more of one's friends' sons were among them. Myrtle had a large number of relations in the Army and several had been killed or wounded. Her brother's elder son was at the front, the younger one would soon be going. Our cousin Jack had got his commission in the Scots Guards. The war was getting nearer.
The boy got his cricket colours that summer and he was the youngest in the eleven. You and I went down to see him play against Charterhouse and the twins got  leave and came too.

[He was a fairly good bat and useful change bowler. (Wisden)]

p. 207
By the early winter the twins were gazetted to their regiments. Both were in the R. F. A. but in different batteries. Walter was in the North of England somewhere and Francis on Salisbury Plain.

p. 211
And what riled me more than anything was that you were standing in with that old swine The Rock, who was a notorious pro-German. Everybody made remarks about it.If it had been only what Leslie said, I might have ignored it but I heard the same thing right and left, and what I chiefly minded was the effect it might have upon Cyril's career in the Army. And when I spoke to you seriously about that, you jeered at me. You denied Uncle Fred was pro-German...
...All the same I was sick with you and I got sicker still when there was that row at the Bentinck. He still went there every afternoon to play bridge and it says a great deal for the members that they stood him so long. But when it came to his defending the torpedoing of the Lusitania, it was a bit too much and he had to resign. You said he didn't defend the sinking of the ship. As you weren't there, I don't see how you could know anything about it.  What he said was "They were warned." If that wasn't defending it, I don't know what was. After he had to leave the Bentinck, he took to going to the Cobden again for a time. He was one of the original members there and had subscribed to keep the Club going when it was in low water so they had to stand him for a time, but it didn't last long. I took care of that.

p. 213
That winter, air-raiding began proper... meanwhile poor Jack got killed and it put it out of my head. Nancy had always kept in with the Theo family and had been especially thick with them since the war, so the boy had got fond of Jack and was awfully cut up.At the same time The Rock had one of his periodical attacks which sent him to bed.

He still went to dine at Olivia's, but less often.  I think this was partly because some of Leslie's gossip had reached his ears. The Rock had his knife well into him one evening when I was of the party and I had a notion that a row wasn't  far off. A short time afterwards it came. Olivia telephoned to me: she was dreadfully upset about it. The old man had been dining there the previous night. It so happened that Leslie had heard that afternoon that the Committee of the Cobden had posted a notice that members having any German or Austrian  relatives or connections were requested not to feequent the Club, and that The Rock, regarding this as a personal insult, had sent in his resignation...
...Leslie, stupid as always, thinking the day had come when such an old pro-German would take anything lying down, let off something so blatantly offensive that The Rock got up from the table, kissed Olivia good night and walked out of the house, without another word.

p. 217
The day Cyril was gazetted to his batallion, you got the telegram about poor little Walter.

p. 224
...You were right when you said, if it had to come, it was best it come quickly. Think of it. One short month, no, one fearfully long month, the longest ever lived from the day I saw him into the train at Victoria to the day I got the telegram, the fourth day he was in the firing line, the first time he went over the top. Thank God he was shot dead, that's my one comfort, and only one bullet; he wasn't even disfigured. As he was  at Victoria, head and shoulders out of the window of the train, stretching out his hand for me to hold one second more while I looked for the last time into his dancing blue eyes, so he was when he fell. There's nothing more to say; it was the end of everything for me and I knew it.

[On the 9th April, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. E. Wilton Schiff was killed in action. He was 2nd Lieut. Alfred Sydney Borlase Schiff, of the Rifle Brigade, and his age was 19 years.]

Lieutenant, Rifle Brigade
Born: November 27th 1897
Died: April 9th 1917
Age at Death: 19
Killed in action, France, April 9th 1917
R.M.C. Sandhurst Rifle Brigade (Second Lieutenant 1916)
Son of Ernest Wilton Schiff.
Obituary Brightonian XV April, 1917

Schiff entered the School House in May, 1912. He distinguished himself as a cricketer at the College, getting his Junior XI. colours in 1912, Second XI. in 1914, and First XI. in 1915. The following extract from a letter of a senior officer will interest all O.B.'s who knew him:- "It will be a great comfort to know what a splendidly gallant end his was. Our objective on Monday was - Redoubt, some 6,000 yards behind the German lines. We had been practising for the attack ever since he joined us, and he was keener than any one. We soon knew the order of battle and my Company was leading. We attacked on a two platoon front - his platoon was on the right and directed the whole battalion in the attack. Ours was the furthermost objective on the first day. We had seen aeroplane photos of the Redoubt. There was a trench leading east away from the Redoubt towards the Germans. We were always talking about the attack of course, discussing what to do and all about it. Your son's job was to go straight across the Redoubt, consolidate strong points on the other side and put up a barricade in this trench. He was always talking about this barricade, and what a jolly good one he was going to make. The right hand corner of this triangular Redoubt was called 'Schiff's Corner', this being the corner which would probably be reached first and which his platoon would go over. He had the map reference on the back of his identity disc. On Monday, the battalion started from camp about 6.20 a.m., and marched to their first assembly position. Our attack did not start until 3 in the afternoon. The battalion went through the objectives gained by other divisions. The attack went off just as we had practised it - No.11 platoon leading and directing. They kicked their football right into the Redoubt, advanced over it and started consolidating. He made his barricade. One of his Lewis gunners was firing at some retreating Germans, but that was not enough for him. He seized the Lewis gun and started firing it himself, when he was shot through the heart by a German sniper. It must have been quite instantaneous. He died having done his job and done it splendidly, and you can well be proud of him. He is a very great loss to the battalion, and the company won't be the same without him. He was always so immensely cheery and keen and we were all so fond of him. All his men loved him, and on the night before the attack, when I was going round wishing them all good luck, many of them told me that they would follow him anywhere."

p. 225
...They were all very kind. They were kind when Jack was killed and Walter, and now they were being very kind about Cyril. I stayed on with Trixie at Margate for a day or two and then we went back to Dante Gardens.
...The Rock called upon Nancy regularly; she had taken rooms at a private hotel, and it was there that I saw him first after the boy had been killed. He was looking whiter and older and, though he didn't complain, there was no doubt that his frequent attacks were weakening him.

p. 227
Then I got bronchitis and you came to see me... I had lost my son and I was ill, so he came to see me.

p. 228
The Rock was spending the summer with Aunt Kate in the Isle of Wight and news reached me through Nancy that he was failing fast. My one thought was, what position should I find myself in when he died? Then you heard from Olivia that he was back at Mount Street and you went up to see him. He told you he thought he could see the end of the war, that was what he was living for; to see his sisters once more and to make them comfortable for life...
He lasted throughout the early autumn. The doctors told us he couldn't live more than a few weeks, but he didn't give in. They kept him alive with morphia, and he got up and dressed. He couldn't go to the City but he gave his orders over the telephone and Kahn and Bellows came to make their report morning and evening. Only at the very last, his mind wandered and he spoke constantly about his will, telling everyone a different story about it. He died on the eighth of November. On the eleventh the guns were firing salvos to announce the Armistice as The Rock's coffin was  being lowered into the grave, beside that of the only human being he ever truly loved, his brother's. And the eleventh of November was the governor's birthday.

p. 230
After all, the old man treated me fairly. His fortune was about a third of what it would have been but for the war and of that he bequeathed a tenth to charity, but there was enough for everyone to get a decent share. Mine, as you know, enabled me to pay my debt to the Bank and left a nice little surplus in hard cash.
For some time before The Rock's death, in fact not long after the boy was killed, I had been thinking of getting Nancy to divorce me. We had been nothing to each other for years if we ever were. It took her a long time to discover my infidelities but, once she did, whatever the feeling might be called for me died a natural and painless death.

p. 231
Some time before I had commissioned Stanford to do a posthumous portrait of Cyril from photographs... 
It was Stanford's idea to go down to a Cornish village he knew of on the Cornish coast where he could paint the portrait at his ease and I could watch it and make suggestions.That suited Trixie and me all right, our intention being to stay there a  few weeks and then go to France until the divorce was a fait accompli.So she chucked her engagement at the Lyric and we went down to Portherrack and took the whole inn.