Saturday, June 27, 2009

Smythe's Second Son

Smythe had an affair, at least I think he did. Mary Elizabeth Christian was a contralto; very pretty, bright blue eyes, fair hair and a sweet disposition. The son, Robert Christian Holmes Smyth(e) was born 3rd November 1874 and resembles both his mother and father. Where does the Holmes come in? Was Mr. Holmes, M.E. Chrisitian's singing partner at one concert, a god-father or something else? The ill-fated boy would died in the Boer War later at be wounded and buried at Thaba Nchu, near Bloemfontein and is interred there. Smythe's first son Bryan Bailey Smythe who was five years old when he died some where in India. I noted with a frisson of unease when a"Christian Smyth" was travelling with Frederic Villiers and R.S.Smythe on a coastal steamer to Queensland one year. Did Smythe's peddling of War stories via Villiers inspire his son to pursue the light-horse? I hope not, but I suspect it was so, along with an urge to prove himself against his more golden, taller and more accomplished half brother Carlyle. Christian Smyth looks very likable in his photos. How sad.

He must have been conceived when Smythe returned from India when he had been travelling with Arabella Goddard, Amelia and his family of two daughters and son. Was there a fight? Was Amelia having another affair? Did Goddard and Bailey gang up on old Smyth-y Boy? Was the marriage so dead in the water? Smythe formed a new company with Miss Christian, Solange and Andrée Novaro, Mister Farley and Charlie Huenerbein as accompanist and instrumentalist.

And today I found out that Amelia was teaching in 1872 at Motcombe Cottage in Chambers Street, South Yarra. No doubt Heidi knows that street as well.

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