P.L. Travers: Camillus’ Mother (4)

➡️First part
➡️Second part
➡️Third part

In 1939, just four years after the death of Æ (poet George William Russell, editor of the Irish Statesman, the leading literary newspaper of the nascent Irish Free State, her mentor, and more) as she approached forty, Pamela Travers decided that she wanted a child. But not just any baby, it would be a baby with Irish blood and a strong literary lineage. So she went to Ireland and adopted an infant, the grandson of W. B. Yeats’ first biographer and Æ’s publisher. He was named Camillus Hone.

Hone and his wife were raising their many grandchildren who had been dumped into their care but they could not cope.
So they arranged for the two youngest of the brood, six month old twin brothers, to be adopted by a trusted family friend from London: Pamela Lyndon Travers.

The writer however refused to take her twin brother Anthony, too, or any of their other siblings; she had selected Camillus following the advice of her astrologer, consulted to ensure she would make the right selection

Take the two of them,” their grandfather begged, “they’re only small” , but she persisted in refusing his pleas.

The decision to separate those twins in the cradle and create a false reality around Camillus’ origin led to the ruin not of one but of two lives.
Camillus, raised in wealth and privilege, believed he was Travers’s natural son and the only son of a wealthy sugar magnate, who had died at the time of his birth.
He first lived in her Sussex cottage, and then, during the Nazi air-raids, he went for a while to America with his mother.
The boy spent his holidays in Florida or on the Cote d’Azur, was sent to prestigious boarding schools that he hated and that his mother forced him to attend, despite missing him terribly , so that he could join upper class male groups.
At seventeen he won a place at Oxford and at 17, however, as he was going to start University at New College, his world was turned upside down. And his mother’s, as well.

One day Anthony Hone, having learned that he had a twin in England, went to London and knocked on the door of their home in Chelsea. He asked to see his brother but Travers refused and had him thrown out, threatening to call the police. Anthony left but, shortly afterwards. Camillus went looking for him and the twins celebrated their reunion with a ‘three-day drinking binge’ in the local pubs

When Camillus learnt that his twin had grown up poor in Ireland , his relationship with Travers became strained. However he did not start a new fraternal friendship with his twin because the two brothers, who had been raised so differently, had very little in common. Their only apparent bond was the beginning of an excessive fondness for drinking.

While Travers was in Hollywood for the screen adaptation of “Mary Poppins,” her 21-year-old son was in prison in England- He had to stay there for six months for drunk driving without a license. Camillus Hone was becoming a drunkard.

Through Camillus, the writer had three grandchildren, but, according to them, their grandmother died “not loving anyone and nobody loving her”

To be continued

➡️ Prima parte
➡️ Seconda parte
➡️ Terza parte

Nel 1939, appena quattro anni dopo la morte di Æ (il poeta George William Russell, direttore dell’Irish Statesman, il principale giornale letterario del nascente Stato Libero d’Irlanda , suo mentore e altro) avvicinandosi ai quarant’anni, Pamela Travers decise che voleva un figlio. Ma non un bambino qualsiasi, doveva essere un bambino con sangue irlandese e di lignaggio letterario. Andò quindi in Irlanda e adottò un bambino, nipote del primo biografo di W. B. Yeats ed editore di Æ. Si chiamava Camillus Hone.

Hone e sua moglie stavano crescendo i loro molti nipoti che erano stati affidati alle loro cure, ma incontravano notevoli difficoltà.
Così fecero in modo che i due più piccoli della nidiata – gemelli di sei mesi – venissero adottati da un fidato amico di famiglia di Londra: Pamela Lyndon Travers.

La scrittrice tuttavia rifiutò di prendere anche suo fratello gemello, Anthony, o uno qualsiasi degli altri bambini: aveva scelto Camillus seguendo il consiglio del suo astrologo, consultato per assicurarsi che avrebbe fatto la scelta giusta

“Prendili tutti e due”, la implorò il nonno, “sono solo piccoli”. Ma lei si ostinò a rifiutare le sue suppliche.

La decisione di separare quei gemelli nella culla e creare una falsa realtà attorno alle origini di Camillus, portò alla rovina non di una ma di due vite.
Il ragazzo, cresciuto nella ricchezza e nel privilegio, credeva di essere il figlio naturale di Travers e di un ricco magnate dello zucchero, morto al momento della sua nascita.
Dapprima visse nel cottage del Sussex, e poi, durante i bombardamenti nazisti, andò per un certo periodo in America con la madre.
Camullus trascorreva le vacanze in Florida o in Costa Azzurra, frequentava prestigiosi collegi che odiava, che dsua madre lo obbligava a frequentare, nonostante soffrisse per la sua lontananza, perché potesse entrare a far parte di gruppi maschili della classe superiore.
A diciassette venne ammesso a Oxford , ma, al momento di iniziare frequentare l’università, il suo mondo subì uno sconvolgimento. E anche quello di sua madre.

Un giorno Anthony Hone, avendo appreso di avere un gemello in Inghilterra, andò a Londra e bussò alla porta della loro casa a Chelsea. Chiese di vedere suo fratello ma Travers rifiutò e lo fece cacciare, minacciando di chiamare la polizia. Anthony se ne andò ma, poco dopo Camillus andò a cercarlo, lo trovò e i gemelli celebrarono la loro riunione con una “sbronza di tre giorni” nei pub locali.

Quando Camillus scoprì che il suo gemello era cresciuto povero in Irlanda, i suoi rapporti con la Travers divennero tesi. Tuttavia non riuscì neppure a iniziare un amichevole rapporto fraterno con Anthony, perché i due fratelli, che erano stati cresciuti in modo così diverso, avevano ben poco in comune. Il loro unico legame apparente era l’inizio di un’eccessiva predilezione per il bere.

Mentre la Travers era a Hollywood per l’adattamento cinematografico di “Mary Poppins”, il figlio ventunenne era in prigione in Inghilterra, Vi dovette rimanere sei mesi per aver guidato in stato di ebbrezza e senza patente. Camillus Hone stava diventando un ubriacone.

Attraverso Camillo, la scrittrice ebbe tre nipoti, ma, secondo loro, la nonna morì “senza amare nessuno e con nessuno che la amava”.

Continua

Image: Travers and Camillus at Gstaad – 1947 – (it.findagrave.com/memorial/123071779/camillus-travers-hone)

Advertisement

70 thoughts on “P.L. Travers: Camillus’ Mother (4)

  1. Imposing your fantasy world on another seldom ends well. Honesty and love are still the best policies for mental health. How sad for the twins to be separated and how sad P.L. could not allow the truth to be told. Great post Luisa. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I too believe that separating the twins from the cradle was a real cruelty. The desire to satisfy at all costs the desire to have a son turned out to be an act full of selfishness that did not consider the serious consequences that the separation might have on the twins

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Luisa ! I don’t know whether you believe in fate or not . And if you don’t , so much so good . But if you , then fate , I think , is the divine will . You can’t change the divine will at all . No astrologer can change it . And scientists are stopped on this point . Even God can’t change it . Similar thing happened with P.L. Travers . She adopted one of the twins of the Irish origin with this belief that her adopted son would be a great writer like her in future . She separated the twins on a faulty belief of an astrologer despite the fact that the grandfather of the twins was ready to give both the children to P.L. Travers . But she denied and adopted one . She tried to rear the adopted child called Camillus Hone with utmost care . She also tried to give him better education . But he ultimately became a heavy drunkard with the separated other boy of twins called Anthony Hone . And Camillus , the writer had three children , but , according to them , their grandmother died ‘ not loving anyone and nobody loving her ‘. This is called the fate of a great writer like P.L.Travers . She , virtually , tried to interfere in the divine will without knowing its consequences . And result was this . Thanks !

    Like

      1. You know I am finding her totally fascinating actually. She gave the world this amazing character in Mary Poppins AND–not but–her personal life for the times she lived in, was…. well, I want to say ‘not the norm.’ But them I also wonder if we see and say that because she was known so we have a record of her life. Whatever, it is fascinating.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Luisa, I wish to give you a very big hug for such a wonderful, super interesting post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and was more intrigued by Travers’ life. Excellent work. 😊😊😊😘😘😘🌹🌹🌹♥️♥️♥️♥️💐💐💐💐

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Luisa questa parte è sconvolgente!!! Come si possono separare due bambini, due gemelli!!! Questa Pamela Travers , la trovo senza cuore e comincia a piacermi davvero poco. Non riesco a riconoscerla nel bel libro che ha scritto!!! Confido faccia un bel gesto, almeno nel finale della sua vita ! Ari-sono in fiduciosa attesa della prossima puntata!!! Felice sabato sera, cara Luisa!! 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Camillo rimase amareggiato per molto tempo. Ma negli anni successivi si addolcì e visitò di tanto in tanto la madre insieme a sua moglie, figli e nipoti. Si dice che lui non la colpevolizzasse perché non era meravigliosa come Mary Poppins. Riconobbe anche che con lei, ebbe una vita migliore di quella che avrebbero potuto offrigli i suoi genitori o i nonni.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, what an incredible story! I’m kind of deeply shocked and whatever image I formally had of the creator of “Mary Poppins” in my head is completely torn up now! I can’t wait to read the next thrilling instalment. Thank you so much Luisa for writing and sharing these stories about the famous (and infamous!) author, P. L. travers. Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dear Luisa, I am reading your post with my eyes on sticks! The revelations you came up with are like a thriller, and I am riveted beyond words. I would never believe that Pamela could be such a monster! Although I am shocked, I thank you for the facts your genius unearthed.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

      1. In Italy we have a saying: “parenti serpenti” which means that our relatives may be as poisonous as snakes … and I must say that this is also the case in my family 🐍

        Like

  7. You have again furthered my knowledge and I am grateful to you. Reading your post I can’t help but feel the darkness in Pamela Travers’ behaviour. How cruel to split the two twin
    and how tragic for Camillus and Anthony. To do this of the advice of an astrologer. No heart for the boys.
    Dear Luisa, I so hope the next two instalment will show more light. 🌻♥️

    Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Miriam, I think that wanting to separate the twins was the darkest act she ever committed. In the next two parts, things will be less sad, apart from her relationship with Walt Disney which brought her enormous gains, but not always moral joys.
      Thanks a lot for your comment
      Have a lovely Sunday💙❤️💙

      Like

    1. A dire il vero il figlio Camillus in seguito si riavvicinò alla madre e andò di tanto in tanto a visitarla insieme a moglie, figli e infine nipoti. Si dice che lui non la colpevolizzasse perché non era perfetta come Mary Poppins e
      riconobbe che , grazie a lei, ebbe una vita migliore di quella che avrebbero potuto avere nella sua famiglia d’origine

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s