Sunday, August 22, 2021

Do you ever wonder if your favorite authors knew each other?

I was reading Angela Bull's biography of Noel Streatfeild and was amused to come across this passage:
Not caring for flying, [Noel] preferred to cross the Atlantic in the comfort of a liner.  A glimpse of her on board the Queen Mary came from another writer of ballet stories, Mabel Esther Allan, who happened to see Noel's name on the passenger list, and sent her a note suggesting they should meet for drinks.
Mabel Esther Allan
'It was extraordinary how deserted those great ships could be.  There wasn't a soul in the lounge when suddenly the doors swung open, and a figure swirled in - a largish figure wearing a hat with a brim and a billowing cloak.  She swooped down on me, and I rather began to wish I hadn't written that note.  A very formidable woman, but a friendly one, and we had a lot to talk about.  After that first drink, we wound up in her state room, making inroads on a magnum of champagne.  For the rest of the voyage I saw a good deal of her, and visited her several times in Elizabeth Street.  The first time I seemed to climb forever, but a voice encouraged me from above.  She seems to me to have had a rather loud voice, very commanding.  I have another memory of her in a hat and cloak, whirling away through a swing door.  She really always did seem to bring drama into arrivals and departures.'
Noel Streatfeild
The citation simply says "Quoted by courtesy of Mabel Esther Allan" (my professors would take points off, Angela) so, presumably, MAE described this encounter to Angela Bull.  Noel does look intimidating so I am glad it worked out!

Bull, A. (1984). Noel Streatfeild: A biography. London: Collins.


Charlotte said...

Cool! thanks for sharing.

JaneGS said...

All the time! For some reason, I stumbled across an old post of mine about Jane Austen and John Keats, who barely missed each in the time/space continuum, and I mourned the idea that Keats published poetry after Austen's death and probably didn't read her novels, but maybe he did?

I've often wondered if Laura Ingalls Wilder read Little Women.

I love looking for connections when I read, and spotting what looks like an influence is such a thrill.

LyzzyBee said...

Streatfeild popped up in my Dorothy Whipple writers' diary the other week, asking her to help with a war fundraiser, which cheered me!

Lex @ Lexlingua said...

That's actually a super interesting theme! I may be mistaken but I think Sir Walter Scott claimed to be a fan of Jane Austen's writing? I want to read about their first meeting (if that happened), which reminds me that I've never read a biography on Austen or on Scott.

CLM said...

I own a couple Austen bios but the only one I have read is by Jane Aiken Hodge, whose historical novels I really enjoy. She also wrote a book about Georgette Heyer that I like very much.