Friday, October 20, 2017

Little Girl of Rangoon

In 1863, Charles R. Faylor actor, arrived in India from San Francisco where he had been with his wife Nellie Brown soubrette turned comedienne and songstress; and actress and dancer, Lizzie Gordon. They were accompanied by "Little Petite Cerito" who I suspect was Faylor's daughter by Nellie. Nellie died of Cholera in Shanghai fairly early on, while Faylor was captured in company of the Taeping rebels in 1865 and was beheaded by the Chinese Imperial troupes. Lizzie Gordon, finding herself in Rangoon died in May of 1866, when La Petite was placed in an Orphanage.

Knowing the fraternal reach of the show-business professional, I believe she was eventually brought back to the USA. Charles Thorne Junior, who had toured and knew Faylor well, may have adopted her, as Thorne's first or second wife, was a Brown, and likely Aunt to la petite.

Anyway, this is ancient and obscure history, and I place here a picture taken in Rangoon of a small child in a miniature pantomime-theatrical costume: very likely to be 'La Petite Cerito" who danced with Lizzie Gordon until 1866.

I include her here for the elucidation of the EBAY buyer who payed well above what the item was worth had it been bid for without knowing who it was.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Not only did Heller leave a messy will, an irate wife, and a mistress that died overweight and poor, he also left a nephew, whose identity was disavowed but to which I add this recent snippet. Make of it what thou wilt.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Water Under the Bridge

It sure looks as if I have abandoned this blog, but not so. A good two years of family crisis and the tempest therein has hacked away at my time, desire and nerves. I shall be posting again soon, not for the readers, of which there are none, but for the researchers as yet unborn that will be viewing the archive.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Super moon in Pisces

Don't worry. It's just a temporary rebranding of an ordinary full moon in Pisces, where the sun will be illuminating all those parts of the soul concerning with all things oh, and drop into T2 – feelings, secrets, empathy and suffering – wearing thin the natural skein we like to put over things to obscure them or render them harder to see and easier to ignore.

Fasten your diaries tighter, or be nicer in the entries.
Disguise your true feelings better, or air them before hand.
Search for things thought lost.
Intensify feelings that are may have fallen weak.
Enter into dialogue with suffering and renegotiate the contracts you have with it.

And now is the perfect time to have tea. Buy a new teacup. Chrisitan Re is very good, for those who cannot afford the Limoges version of such pastel cups (Re is a bit heavier in look and more generous with the gilding and is an overall more exuberant style. Just a suggestion. Oh, and drop into T2 and shop for a mix that suits you. Piscean full moons are excellent for anything to do with perfumes, smells or things that are steeped, aged or diluted. Find your leaf.

The full moon is coming in September.

Sparrows and the China Cottage

In the boxing ring that is the frontal part of my mind there are two opposing corners at the moment: in one there are issues wearing the red satin boxer silks of part life memory; and in the other, the blue satin silks belonging to real-world research with stringent requirements.

I can remember things about my family from the 1840s until I left England in 1855, and I can recall things that were so, like two father figures, but one not an actual father, a cantankerous mother, interfering in-laws, money problems, past successes surviving as remembered glories, and the overarching, ever-present gloom of Dickensian poverty, ragged black bombazine and other clichés of the mid-Victorian aesthetic…at least as history likes to present it.

But I also have the detective work that must be carried out on the ground, in the present and carefully so, and always with one part of my psychic apparatus set aside for clues, corner-of-the-eye shimmers and the most subtle of indicators and sentiments.

My supposedly biological family, the Sparrows, wrote letters to their in-laws, the Morrises who had emigrated to Tasmania and the letters survive today, in Sydney. They are called rather charmingly, "The China Cottage Letters."Among the list of correspondents are many of the people whose names I have read in the research I have done upon the Sparrows. I could write a booklet on the Sparrow Tea Family and their in-laws the Phythians. Tea, tea, tea. Is this why I like tea cups, tea and the theatre around it, even though I am a coffee or hot-chocolate man?

Among these are Robert Sparrow (I think he was Robert Sparrow Smythe's real father) Frederick Sparrow ("his uncles paid for his education") and Henry who died in 1820, and who is most important but for what reason I cannot say, nor even guess. But that he is important is beyond debate. I also feel that I have got something slightly wrong and that the slight error has not-so-sleight implications.

The letters I hope will shed light on the family dynamic and what the heck was going on, and the fact that they are sitting in Sydney, unexamined is a great extravaganza of a tease.

Obviously, I can't wait to get my eyeballs on them, or at least a proxy set of eyeballs.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Good Lord. I haven't posted in over six months.

I have been hard at coping with life's strange and unwelcome barrage while trying to get some information on my great grandfather John Whelan, seaman of Newmarket-on-Fergus, Clare, Ireland. He married Johann Scully in Melbourne in 1875, I think, and had two children: Patrick and John. Just where did all the family photos go?

-destroyed I expect, by the harridan who married Patrick after he was widowed because he had some money. She isolated him from his friends, made him move suburbs, farmed her step-children out as slaves to her sister and when he died, then bolted, taking no pains to secure the house (which was plundered) nor even tell my grandfather, John Whelan, hairdresser, that his father had died. Patrick's daughter thought her brother had ignored the funeral and there arose a lifetime rift.

A little bit of bitch goes a long, long way.

My chances of finding any pictures, which are usually good, are zero.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sparrows, Bridges, Smith and Morrises.

This week has seen me try to put into some sane form, all the information of the Sparrow tea family, the Bridges of London (the family, not the architectural river spanning wonders), the ever puzzling Smiths and the family of Mrs. Frederick Sparrow, Ann, whose family were the Morrises, who were connected with Christopher Smith, Lord Mayor of London.

Its still a mess in my head but I am getting there.

Robert Sparrow looks as if he is the front runner in the R.S.Smythe paternity search.

Stay tuned.