Waugh Character Models Surface in Blogs

Two of Waugh’s character models have surfaced in recent blogs. These are Brenda Dean Paul and Kate Meyrick. Dean Paul may have contributed to any number of characters in Vile Bodies. She was perhaps the most prominent of the Bright Young People¬†because of her ability to get her name and picture in the papers. According to a Spanish blogger (Ladder Iakob):¬†

Brenda aroused the most interest among the public, who listened attentively to the stories of her¬†adventures. Her¬†style when dressing was admired and imitated by women of all social classes, while she lived her carefree life of parties and love affairs. She¬†marked trends in women’s fashion, becoming forerunner of what today is called an “it girl”.

Unfortunately, Dean Paul’s¬†recreational use of heroin during her BYP period ripened into a serious addiction which plagued her for the rest of her life. The blog is in Spanish which has been translated by Google. The Google Translate program¬†has a problem distinguishing between male and female pronouns in Spanish and so requires some patience to read, but the main thing here¬†is the photographs, which show graphically her¬†progression from BYP to¬†addict.

Kate Meyrick (or more to the point her son Gordon) is the subject of a posting on a blog that specializes in mystery writing (The Passing Tramp). Kate Meyrick was the model for Ma Mayfield who appears in Brideshead Revisited as the¬†owner of the Old Hundredth night club/brothel at 100 Sink Street, where Charles and Sebastian get drunk and disorderly before being arrested. The club is also mentioned by the same name in A¬†Handful of Dust. It is based on Mrs Meyrick’s establishment the “43” which was located at 43 Gerrard Street. What is most interesting in the blog post is the photo and description of the prominent house Mrs Meyrick shared with her son in a fashionable part of Marylebone. They were both living there when she died in 1933. Although not mentioned, some of her other children¬†may have also lived there at that time. One of her daughters¬†is mentioned in Waugh’s Diaries (p. 196) as running the “43” in her mother’s absence in 1925. A footnote explains that two of her daughters married peers. According to Wikipedia, she had a total of 8 children and, at one time, as reported in¬†the Irish Times, the revenues from her various establishments were¬†¬†supporting 3 sons at Harrow and 3 daughters at Roedean. Her son Gordon began a successful career as a mystery writer that was cut short by his death in the blitz. Two of his books profiled in the blog are The Body on the Pavement¬†(1941) and Danger at My Heels (1943).¬†

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