A Publication of
THE JOHN MEADE FALKNER SOCIETY
Founded 8th May 1999
||8 May 2000|
|The first anniversary of the Society and the one hundred and fifty
second of JMF's birth! We are pleased to welcome our eighteenth member,
gained through the Internet. I hope you find this third Newsletter
interesting and it stimulates some of you to write in - either with
comments, or anecdotes, or, particularly welcome, with short articles.
A Pot Pouri
Recently, I came across David Cecil's
Library Looking-Glass: A Personal Anthology, published by Constable in
1975. He says in his foreword that "nothing has been included here, however
interesting its subject matter, which does not also give me pleasure". He
includes, on pages 134-135, John Meade Falkner's "After Trinity" and
pens the following:
This agreeable poem was written at least sixty years ago.
in subject and spirit and manner it is so like the work of Sir
Betjeman that any literary historian might take for granted that
author had had a direct and major influence on it. In fact Sir
has only come across Meade Falkner's poems in later life and
after his own work had achieved its characteristic form.
should teach literary historians to beware of laying down the
There is a short article in The Thomas
Hardy Journal Volume IV Number I (February 1993) by Stephen Derry, entitled
"John Meade Falkner's use of Desperate Remedies and A
Laodicean in The Nebuly Coat". Derry draws certain parallels -
such as the importance of railway timetables in the unravelling of both plots
and "the interaction of the historic past with the present".
1994, George Ramsden of Stone Trough Books published his Catalogue Six
under the title "Oxford Associations". Fifteen items were for sale relating to
John Meade Falkner, including a copy of Bath in History and Social
Tradition, which had been inscribed by JMF to G.H. Gair and had an ALS
(dated 8.4.1918) laid down on the front paste-down:
Here is the little book. Yes, do see Bath. My grandfather had
aAnother item for sale was the reminiscences from a woman
living in Beverley, East Yorkshire, who, with her husband, knew Meade Falkner
for more than thirty years. She recounts JMF saying to her about the
house there which is still mine though now unfortunately let.
an imperial place and "never forgets the Palace whence
I come here for rest and refreshment for my soul. In all
Europe there is no more perfect harmony in architecture than here in Beverley
Minster, and I pay tribute to the power of God and the inspiration of the
workmen of bygone centuries. However, the most interesting
item is copied below, I wonder who bought it?!
This is a trainspotting journal that JMF started in 1874.
Illustrated is one of 170 pages filled with his classifications of trains seen
on The South Western Railway.
John Meade Falkner in the NATIONAL PRESS
Daily Telegraph for Saturday, 26 February 2000, Christopher Somerville wrote
a travel piece on Portland, under the heading 'Written in the Stone'. After
describing, at some length, the atmospheric Chesil Beach, Somerville -
"slogging along the ridge" - reached Fleet. He mentioned the great storm of
23 November 1824 and went on
The chancel of old Fleet church still stands, reconstructed as
a chapel.As long ago as last August, The
Independent Magazine in its series "Who? What? Where? had a photograph of
JMF for the "Who?", Elswick for the What? and Chesil Beach for the "Where?"
Asking for the links. The question was set by Christopher
Among venerable brasses to the local landowning Mohun family I
found a memorial to John Meade Falkner, who immortalised the place
his smuggler thriller Moonfleet. Stamping on the stone-flagged floor,
thought I could hear a faint echo. It was in the Mohun vault beneath
chancel that the young hero of Moonfleet, John Trenchard, was
smugglers - a passage that kept me awake through a nail-
reading in childhood."
Christopher is also responsible for the column "Words" in The
Independent and has managed to squeeze more than one reference to JMF into
the text. Under the word
Two articles by John Meade Falkner on Boer War field-guns
for the loss of his fourth novel, in the style of Moonfleet. The
sounds dry as dust, but he displays elegant subversion: "British
(an ingenuous meiosis, for our enemies' mishaps were always plain
or routs) had to be accounted for on any supposition other than
incapacity of our leaders."
Greek for lessening, it is a
16th-century coining, but soon after Falkner's
articles became a term for
the division and fertilisation of cells. My piece
on him is available from
John Meade Falkner on the INTERNET
The Society has
already benefited greatly in two ways from the Internet. Firstly, Robert
Wilson,[email@example.com] grandson of Charles Gaskell Falkner (JMF's brother)
already had a section on his Website:
"http://www.island.net/~rjbw/JMFalkner.html" - "John Meade Falkner
Photographs & Biography" - before the Society was established. Robert
has since kindly included Newsletters I and 2, as well as Christopher Hawtree's
two articles on the site. There are 11 photographs, ranging from a portrait aged
10 to the tomb at Burford, and short sections on "His Beginnings and His
Family", "His Education", His First Employment", "His Business Careeer", "His
Marriage", "His Career as a Writer" and "His Retirement". Robert took much of
his material from Kenneth Warren's biography and pamphlet on JMF in Durham and
Bernard Jones' pamphlet in the 'Dorset Worthies' series.
received, in December 1999, an unusual e-mail from Jan Peche of Teaneck, New
Jersey, praising the site and reminiscing about'Moonfleet' - "It was
and is one of my dearest novels from childhood. I read it some 30 years ago in
Warsaw, Poland in a Polish translation and under a little changed title 'The
Diamond of Mohoon"'. Jan ended - "And I play backgammon too. Included in
the Polish edition was a forwarding motto comparing backgammon and life......"
It would be good to hear from Jan again - we need new members!
through membership of The Alliance of Literary Societies, we are on their
Web Page - http://www.sndc.demon.co.uk/als.htm. It gives basic details
about the Society and provides a link to Robert Wilson's pages as well as an
e-text of The Lost Stradivarius.
[A strictly unauthorised note
from RJBW: e-text of Moonfleet is available at Bibliomania, the
Classic Fiction section. ( http://www.bibliomania.com )]
Moreover, if one
gets on to the Amazon.com book site and searches for JMF, you not only
find that Moonfleet can be shipped to you within 4-6 weeks for $2.25 + $2.85
special surcharge, but there are two customer reviews! Under the heading 'A
great treasure-adventure yarn. Read it and love it.',
firstname.lastname@example.org from Columbus, Ohio, said, "I happened onto this
book by chance 30 years ago. It quickly became one of my prized possessions.
After reading it several times, I passed it on to my oldest son and it became
his favorite too ... You will fall in love with this book..."
email@example.com e-mailed - "I recently purchased this
bookfrom Amazon because It reminds me of fond childhood memories. When I was
young, my mother read this book to me when I was ill. It's still the best memory
I have of my youth .... The imagery is wonderful, and it is a book you can share
with anyone. It's a classic. P.S. I bought this book for my Mom for Mother's
Finally, we have gained another member through the Internet.
Jeffry Pretes from San Francisco, e-mailed me in March for further
information about the Society. Jeffry says The Nebuly Coat is one of
his favourite books. He can be e-mailed on ormond@excitecom
John Meade Falkner Associated Sites
I am moving slowly
towards a gazetteer of JW associated sites. Line- drawing postcards can be had
from three churches linked to him.
||Wool-Bale tombs in Churchyard
|Buckland Ripers, Dorset|
The 'Moonfleet' cards
can be purchased at the little church itself, as can the other two at their
respective churches. The Burford card is published by 'Friends of Burford
Church'. Please support all three buildings if you can.
If we become a large
enough group, one aim will be to see how best to support any/all of these
churches (as well as that at Manningford Bruce, Wiltshire) and draw attention to
the links with JMF.
On 9 January 1888, JMF sent a telegram to the Noble household at Jesmond,
having forgotten to say goodbye to a young lady:
ABNORMAL ABSTRACTION AND ABSORPTION ARE ANSWERABLE FOR ABSENCE OF
ADIEUX (STOP) AGHAST AND AGITATED AT AWFUL AWKWARDNESS (STOP) ACCEPT APOLOGIES
AN AFTERTHOUGHT.Lady Noble replied in similar vein!
MR FALKNER'S FEIGNED FORGETFULNESS FAR FROM FORGIVEN (STOP)
FURTHERMORE MR RENDEL FEELS FURIOUS (STOP) FEARS FOOLISH FRIGIDITY AND
FLAGRANT FALSEHOOD FRUSTRATES FURTHER FRIENDSHIP.
I hope to bring out the first JOURNAL with the fourth Newsletter in July. So
far, Peter Davey has sent me the transcript of his article first printed in the
Dorset Magazine - "JMF: The Lost Stradivarius"; Raymond Moody has promised me a
piece on "Meade Falkner in Burford Today"; and Christopher Hawtree intends
another article - on JMF and Nicholas O'Connor, British ambassador in
Constantinople until 1908. Any more?!
Greenmantle, Ingles Hill,
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leics LE65 2TF
JMF MAIN PAGE