Lady Hamilton & Horatio Nelson: Sir William (part 28)

Sir William and Emma stayed in London, with baby Horatia secretly lodged near them, in the care of Mrs Gibson, who lived in Little Titchfield Street. Hamilton seemed to accept the daughter of his wife and her lover with polite discretion, which could also mean approval of their relationship. Or he was really so blind that he didn’t realize the situation?

At this point Nelson, who did not want to continue living in the Hamiltons’ house, asked Emma to find a suitable house in the English countryside, in which they could live together with their child.

In September she found a house with some land in Surrey called Merton Place, just outside today’s Wimbledon and the two made enthusiastic plans to renovate and furnish it sumptuously.
Emma immediately set about modifying the building, while also trying to maintain social appearances by hosting lavish parties or attending others’ homes.
Merton became Nelson’s home when he was on leave and was also often occupied by Emma and Lord Hamilton, who insisted on calling the Admiral “.…the best man and the best Friend I have in the World.
The Admiral appreciated the peacefulness and charm of the area, which he called “dear, dear Merton”, while Lady Hamilton sometimes referred to it as “Paradise Merton”.
There, as in London, they all lived openly together, including Emma’s mother, in a ménage à trois which fascinated people and was ridiculed in the newspapers. (see the image below)

However some friends and visitors were embarrassed and appalled by the exhibitionism and theatrics of the house, which Emma was transforming into a sanctuary dedicated to Nelson
They were doing markedly and vulgarly what most important men tried to do more elegantly and discreetly: use patriotic display to impress people.
When a friend, Lord Minto, who had just returned from Vienna. visited him in 1802, he wrote to his wife: “I went to Lord Nelson’s on Saturday to dinner, and returned to-day in the forenoon. The whole establishment and way of life are such as to make me angry, as well as melancholy; but I cannot alter it, and I do not think myself obliged, or at liberty, to quarrel with him for his weakness, though nothing shall ever induce me to give the smallest countenance to Lady Hamilton. She looks ultimately to the chance of marriage, as Sir William will not be long in her way, and she probably indulges a hope that she may survive Lady Nelson; in the meanwhile she and Sir William, and the whole set of them, are living with him at his expense. She is in high looks, but more immense than ever. The love she makes to Nelson is not only ridiculous, but disgusting: not only the rooms, but the whole house, staircase and all, are covered with nothing but pictures of her and him, of all sizes and sorts, and representations of his naval actions, coats-of-arms, pieces of plate in his honour, the flag-staff of L’Orient, &c.—an excess of vanity which counteracts its own purpose. If it was Lady Hamilton’s house there might be a pretence for it; to make his own house a mere looking-glass to view himself all day is bad taste.”

Even the domestic picture of that ménage à trois, which from the outside always seemed to run smoothly, was not always so rosy: Horatia could only visit when Sir William was absent, and Sir William often felt a little frustrated at being relegated to an insignificant corner of his wife’s life.

Image – Isaac Cruikshank : A Mansion House Treat or Smoking Attitudes! – 1800 – Satirical Print in the British Museum

Lady Emma Hamilton, wearing one of her “Attitudes” costumes, smokes with Lord Nelson while her husband, sitting between Lord Mayor of London and Prime Minister Pitt, lights his pipe from a guttering candle held by a rough-looking sailor.

Their conversations are full of double entendres.
The sailor tells Sir William that his pipe is too short and quite worn out.
Emma says to Nelson, “Pho, the old man’s pipe is always out, but yours burns with full vigour.”
Nelson watching her intently replies, “Yes, yes, I’ll give you such a smoke. I’ll pour a whole broadside into you.

to be continued

Sir William ed Emma rimasero a Londra, con la piccola Horatia segretamente alloggiata nei pressi, affidata alle cure della signora Gibson.
Hamilton sembrava accettare la nascita della bimba di sua moglie e del suo amante con garbata discrezione, che poteva anche significare l’approvazione di quella relazione. O che fosse realmente tanto cieco da non rendersi conto della situazione?
A questo punto Nelson, che non voleva continuare a risiedere nella casa degli Hamilton, chiese ad Emma di trovare una casa adatta a loro nella campagna inglese, in cui potessero vivere insieme alla loro bambina-

A settembre trovò una casa con un po’ di terra nel Surrey, chiamata Merton Place, appena fuori l’odierna Wimbledon. I due si lanciarono in progetti entusiasti per ristrutturarla e arredarla sontuosamente.
Emma iniziò subito a modificare l’edificio e cercò nel contempo anche di mantenere le apparenze sociali organizzando feste sfarzose o partecipando a quelle offerte da altri.

Merton divenne la casa di Nelson quando era in congedo ed era spesso occupata anche da Emma e Lord Hamilton, che insisteva nel chiamare l’Ammiraglio “…l’uomo migliore e il miglior amico che io abbia al mondo”.

Nelson apprezzava la tranquillità e il fascino della zona, che chiamava “cara, cara Merton” mentre Lady Hamilton a volte si riferiva a Merton Place come il “Paradiso Merton”
Lì, come a Londra, vivevano apertamente tutti insieme, con anche la madre di Emma, in un ménage à trois che affascinava la gente ed era spesso messo in ridicolo sui giornali. (vedi l’immagine qui sopra)

Tuttavia alcuni amici e visitatori rimanevano imbarazzati e allibiti dall’esibizionismo e dalla teatralità della casa, che Emma stava trasformando in un santuario dedicato a Nelson.
Stavano facendo in modo marcato e volgare ciò che la maggior parte degli uomini importanti cercava di fare in modo più elegante e discreto: usare cioè l’esibizione patriottica per impressionare la gente e rafforzare la propria autorità.
Un amico, Lord Minto, che era appena tornato da Vienna e gli aveva fatto visita nel 1802, scrisse alla moglie: “Sabato sono andato a cena da Lord Nelson, e sono tornato oggi in mattinata. L’intera costruzione e lo stile di vita sono tali da rendermi arrabbiato, oltre che malinconico; ma non posso fare niente e non mi ritengo obbligato, o autorizzato, a litigare con lui per questa sua debolezza, anche se nulla mi indurrà mai a dare il minimo appoggio a Lady Hamilton. In ultima analisi, lei aspira al matrimonio, dato che Sir William non tarderà a morire, e probabilmente nutre anche la speranza di poter sopravvivere a Lady Nelson; nel frattempo lei e Sir William e tutti loro, vivono con lui a sue spese. Lei è di bell’aspetto, ma più enorme che mai. Gli atteggiamenti amorosi che ha con Nelson non sono solo ridicoli, ma disgustosi: non solo le stanze, ma l’intera casa, le scale e tutto il resto, sono ricoperte di immagini di lei e lui, di ogni tipo e dimensione, e rappresentazioni delle sue azioni navali , stemmi, targhette in suo onore, l’asta della bandiera dalla nave Oriente, ecc. – un eccesso di vanità che va contro il proprio scopo. Se fosse stata la casa di Lady Hamilton, poteva essere ammissibile; ma fare della propria casa un semplice specchio per vedersi riflesso tutto il giorno è di cattivo gusto.”

Anche il quadretto domestico di quel ménage à trois che dall’esterno sembrava filare sempre liscio, non era sempre tutto rose e fiori: Horatia poteva andare in visita solo quando Sir William era assente e Sir William spesso si sentiva po’ frustrato per essere stato relegato in un angolo insignificante della vita di sua moglie.

Immagine Isaac Cruikshank: Piaceri da casa signorile o attitudini da fumo! 1800 – Stampa satirica nel British Museum

Lady Emma Hamilton, che indossa uno dei suoi costumi usati per le “Attitudini” fuma con Lord Nelson, mentre suo marito, seduto tra il Sindaco di Londra e il primo ministro Pitt, accende la pipa da una candela gocciolante retta da un marinaio dall’aria un po’ grezza.

Le loro conversazioni sono piene di doppi sensi.
Il marinaio dice a Sir William che la sua pipa è troppo corta e piuttosto consumata.
Emma dice a Nelson : “La pipa del vecchio è sempre spenta, ma la tua brucia con pieno vigore”.
Nelson osservandola con intensità risponde: “Sì, sì, ti darò quella sigaretta. Ti verserò dentro un’intera bordata.”

continua

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88 thoughts on “Lady Hamilton & Horatio Nelson: Sir William (part 28)

  1. We are already in chapter 28 and every time the story gets more interesting. The controversial marriage of the Hamiltons, including the “ménage à trois” and the “museum house” of Nelson, gives it the perfect seasoning to remain interested in the plot that comes after. Greetings Luisa.

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  2. Luisa ! Mysterious and secret life of Emma and Nelson became apparent and open when they chose to live in the countryside in Surrey at Merton Palace . But I am so surprised to know that double-meaning words were used by Nelson and Emma berfore William Hamilton as shown in the Satirical Print in the British Museum . Lady Emma Hamilton , wearing one of her ‘Attitudes’ costumes , smokes with Lord Nelson while her husband sitting between Lord Mayor of London and Prime Minister Pitt. In their conversation the Sailor tells Sir William that his pipe is too short and quite worn out . Whereupon Emma tells Nelson , ‘ … the old man’s pipe is always out , but yours burns with full vigour .’ Knowing her intention , Nelson replies , ‘ Yes , yes, I’II give you such a smoke . I’II pour a whole broadside into you .’ Such double meaning dialogues are generally seen in Massala Hindi or regional language cinema in India which are obviously dislike by serious Movie-goers . Thanks !

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    1. Excellent work, dear Luisa. The more ‘I read about Emma’s adultery, the more ‘I find it disgusting. But you are doing a wonderful presentation to keep us quite intrigued, despite the ugliness of the story. ♥️♥️♥️😊😊😊

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      1. Thank you very much, dear Aparna💙💙💙
        I’m glad that the story continues to keep you captivated, despite the fact that the two protagonists don’t really make a good impression

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  3. The story is very interesting 🧐 Emma’s life story full of in an unstable mind and controversial marriages,
    Was happened and most emotionally involved in life with knowing how to live , imperfect events 🌷🙏😦
    Thank you so much for sharing friend and grace wishes 🌷🙏♥️🌷

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  4. La storia più va avanti e più diventa intrigante, anche se il comportamento di Lady Hamilton Nelson e il loro menage a tre diventa sempre più contorto. Povera bambina nella mani di due genitori senza morale. E quella casa che è il riflesso del loro egocentrismo. Seguiamo ancora la loro storia: Chissà dove li condurrà. Un caro saluto, Luisa, a risentirci presto.👏💞💞💞

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  5. During the Victorian era it was not uncommon for a married middle-class man to financially provide for a mistress who in return for this economical support provided his sexual satisfaction. This kind of relationship was one of the more socially accepted and acknowledged taboos within Victorian society, but severely frowned upon when a woman turned the tables upon that hermeneutic convention. Even in during the interlude between the two worldwars, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was a novel that still caused a big uproar in those circles. I feel pretty much sure the book would have been more digestible for the censors if it would have been about Lord Chatterley’s Lover. I would just like to add that most people still disapprove of married people cheating on their spouses and that the gossip newspapers still earn big money by exposing such behavior among the jet setters On the other hand, the novel 50 Shadows of Gray was a best seller and barely caused a ripple among literary critics (apart of some negative comments about its literary value).

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  6. Certo che moralità sotto lo zero, tanto più che tutti e tre erano comunque personaggi in vista Nelson in primis, proprio volersi ridicolizzare. Grazie Luisa di proseguire con questo racconto che m’incuriosisce comprendere sino a che punto si spingeranno oltre oppure correranno ai ripari? Forse quando sarà troppo tardi? Sono curiosa di vedere come andrà a finire questo ménage a trois. Buona serata carissima Luisa un abbraccio 🥰

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  7. Nulla da invidiare ai tempi d’oggi in quanto a moralità! Sono curiosa di sapere come proseguirà la storia, come andrà a finire e, soprattutto, le sorti della piccola Horatia. Resto in attesa e ti auguro una lieta serata Luisa 🥰

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  8. Mache discesa dalla moralità e rispettabilità!!! E’ proprio vero il detto : ” chi troppo in alto sale, precipetevolmente cade !” Aspetto il seguito con curiosità!!! Buona serata Luisa ❤ ❤ ❤

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  9. I wish such equanimity and freedom in love might have been carried out in such a way that the world might have had to respect it. Carl Jung comes to mind. His wife and lover were good sisters all their lives, happy the other one was good at all the things she herself was not! He used to refer his patients to one or the other of them sometimes. He had a laugh so loud it was known to bring strangers up from the street to see what was so funny. Advanced soul ~ and much more tasteful than horrid Emma…

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  10. “Baby Horatia!” That name did make me laugh! Excellent as always Luisa. This is such a fascinating life-story with all its twists and turns and high drama. I love it! Thank you so much for persevering and continuing the fun history lesson. Love and light, Deborah.

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      1. Sì, sicuramente la solitudine sarebbe stato il prezzo da pagare, ad ogni modo ha mostrato grande generosità ed i due ne hanno certamente approfittato, almeno per decoro, avrebbero potuto mostrare più rispetto. Scusa, non voglio giudicare, è solo una mia riflessione…chissà 🤔

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