Thursday, June 11, 2009

Adieu Mes Gougues

That slightly smoky scent you can smell is the quiet ashen byproduct of fuming resentment for this morning I awoke to the EBAY alert that I had been outbid on a Carte De Visite of the Sisters Gougenheim. I made several feeble attempts at clawing back to the top but failed in the face of the invisible magic pocket who had entered a counter bid akin to the numeral madness of the orgy of Zero's employed in the Obama bank bailouts. Bugger.

Josephine and Adelaide Gougeneheim were of French Jewish and Irish extraction whose father was a kind of amicus curiae (not quite but you get the idea) with the translation of languages for courts, named Augustus Manuel Gougenheim, born in France (Bas-Rhin), employed in Dublin (where he married Theresa Murray), then in London and finally dying I think in the United States. The girls performed from an early age and toured America then Australia where Josephine married Marmaduke Constable and had several little Constables (does that not conjure up a Keystone-Cops image?) before separating and running a theater in country New South Wales. Adelaide was bit more saucy, she married in Melbourne, to a Thomas Priaulx Carey (which the descendants of that prominent Guernsey family deny despite a Government issued marriage certificate). Obviously annulled, or just plain ignored, she went back to London and married a Henry Richard Frisbie who was a stockbroker and as far as I know left no children. She did have one poor darling, Adelaide Josephine Frisbie who died aged five. Still, Adelaide and her husband had four domestic staff so all was toffee and toast for the remaining days I assume.

Still, the image I lost today was not an actual 'photo' but a photo of a realistic illustration which made the Goug's prettier than they actually were (cf. the NYPL Digital version) The harsh life of travel and stage aged them quickly and the photos I have in my collection (copies from my local State Library) don't show the evidence of any temporal indulgence. I consoled myself with a slice of cake over this nano-tragedy. Ah cake! You baked Bodicea and soother of all disappointments long may your frosting reign.

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