1. This is a poor image, is there a better one in existence? It is Interesting to see “Dotty” (“Aprile”) through Vita’s eyes. Not always generous eyes, reading her masterful “damning with faint praise” in the DNB, Vita being ever so careful to deny her the very quality of “intelligence” that Yeats claimed to have seen so strongly in her verse on first being shown it, not knowing who “Dorothy Wellesley” was in the world. Whereas Vita and her circle always did, and all those Ashton £10,000 a year to be wondered at. Even Yeats was eventually dazzled by “The Woman who Bought the Horizon”, yet paid for the first publication of so many poets that later despised her and her work.
    Carrying evident Bipolar disorder, substance abuse disorder and pretty obvious Borderline Personality symptoms. (Not forgetting Gender dysphoria – perhaps now better and more tolerantly described by 21st century youth as “bigender”, though being so tiny, the best she could ever do was pass for a jockey). Having one’s daughter in law as final witness, glimpsing all that Borderline insecurity overflowing in aggression, one cannot be seen in the best light.
    I expect, where she have been reborn afresh, in the manner that Yeats outlined in “Visions” (which he later went back on in late conversation with her – preferring a view of soft purging followed by heaven). One can imagine she would have liked to have been a slender boy, well versed in science, particularly geography, and world affairs (with a strong Nigerian connection one might imagine, to remind her of Goldie). Maybe she’d have been raised by choice somewhere in the Marlow area, moved perhaps to a small house carved from a plot at the corner of her friend Lady Freyburg’s garden planted by Gertrude J, been to a progressive but intellectually elitist school like the new Bedales, but done something truly manly like going to Sandhurst, written better poetry, but not had to become “a poet”, travelled the world, still been fascinated by the sight of that solitary woman on the bund bearing water on her head, elegant, self-contained, frighteningly restricted by religion and marriage. Could be in Persia, could be spotted on the Roscommon shore, or here daily in a Portuguese village, long married to girl just enough like “Stoker”. Grow tall enough to drive her own car and command respect.
    She’s have wished to have married a loyal kind but assertive woman of course, to have been free of obligation of “job”, but might have had to accept being married to a ghastly version of herself blended with the worst of Vita, for a purgative seven years before. And then understand why that was only just in the circumstances.
    To remember being a very naughty girl with her Great Dane in Ashdown forest, how Scamp would have laughed.
    Of satisfying Yeats, clad in her own maid’s clothes, him passive in the woman’s role. She’d still live with those bipolar symptoms – it is better to find your demons and deal with them, than have them just vanish unexplained, why have modern science, so much better than Freud, if you don’t enjoy it’s fruits? She’d always have that ambiguity about gender, with the past leaking through, it is hard to forget its benefits, just as it did before. To “remember” of course, but not to linger, regret nor wish to stir old troubles, by saying anything that is not “without prejudice”, important to be just “Dotty” enough so as to be dismissed by anyone who might take offense. (“Bipolar Immunity”) To be dubbed “Serena” spontaneously by her tolerant mate, when she is having a “girl day” and just have to admit that she really was always jealous of that name, and being free now to despise Vita, because it seems so obvious now that she broke her marriage, flawed as it was, “just because she could”. She obviously took no honest pride in Dottie’s company, she wrote her out, then when she could finally speak her mind in the official record she “wrote her off”. She wasn’t accounting for Wikipedia. 😉 (Or metempsychosis).

    Of course her “new” family had crossed paths with her many times, one would not want to be born into the ways of total strangers. A number of important old “known associates” bounced the new child on their knee, shook the youth’s hand or were godparents to ancestors and parents, these things are tribal, and go on back before and before of course. Long before she even died in the old Duke’s arms, admitting fault, pledging to make amends. The Ashton fortune did that handsomely. She’d be amazed how poverty could so well adorn her.

    Please ignore this ramble, it is only to amuse, If one seeks to “establish” wise, redeeming, insight it decays into boorish religion. But “we girls” are all allowed to gossip.

    Enjoy spring, it’s arrived decisively here in Portugal. We really do live in a “Brave New World” viewed through clear memory of the actual past, not something sepia’d by romance. Bloomsbury was a den of phoney’s “Dottie” was a kind of miner’s canary – what folk thought of the drunken rich fool who fascinate Yeats for a season, reveled so much about each of them. TSE was always kind and respectful, as was Robert Graves, so long as one deferred to his demoness. Beryl was so sweet about my verse that won the Bridport prize, as with Yeats, the poet judge knowing nothing of me but my work “Any of the six submitted poems could have made the grade”. Then after a year of speculation and denial I went down to the British Council in Porto, read their DNB on the floor and cried saying out loud “Vita, you bitch I thought you were my friend”.
    From then on recovered from “my madness”. But wrote little more verse.

    Here is later work than those, more or less the last. The previous is not openly online.
    a trail of breadcrumbs maybe, for another time…

    No need to respond “just one of those *dottie* people, to be disregarded” We prefer it that way, these days.

    1. steve, thanks for writing, and for adding to dorothy’s biography. I was under the impression that yeats was her only fan [but definitely a good one to have]. this was the best image I could find. if you come across a better one, please send it on.

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