Hidden, unknowable, unthinkable. The rebel Victorian. Sir Richard Burton and his explorations, eccentric tastes and ever watchful wife…
But Burton is a Romany name, and as Richard Burton had certain gipsy characteristics, some persons have credited him with gipsy lineage. Certainly no man could have been more given to wandering. Lastly, through his maternal grandmother, he was descended from the famous Scotch marauder, Rob Roy. ( Thomas Wright)
…Back in England, enlisting help from the Foreign Office and the Royal Geographical Society for his expedition, Burton again accidentally met Isabel Arundell and discovered, doubtless to his astonishment, that she had been nursing her “grande passion” for years. Although he had been in love many times, Burton had continued to escape marriage. The courtship of a Persian girl he had loved deeply in India had been cut short by her tragic death. British mothers whose daughters he had admired had found him too poor or had been frightened by his reputation. By now both his parents were dead, and he was shattered by the illness of his brother, who had been badly beaten in a native riot in Ceylon and had become, as the result of brain damage, hopelessly mute.
Now at thirty-seven, famous and eligible, though not rich, he seems to have discovered that he was very lonely. “It is a real advantage,” he wrote later, “to belong to some parish. It is a great thing, when you have won a battle, or explored Central Africa, to be welcomed home by some little corner of the Great World, which takes a pride in your exploits. In the contrary condition you are a waif, a stray; you are a blaze of light without a focus. Nobody outside your own fireside cares.”
Although they were soon engaged, Burton could not bring himself to the finality of marriage until he had finished his conquest of the upper Nile. This, he knew would take almost three years. Isabel, as a devout Catholic, was troubled by her hero’s ill-disguised atheism, and her mother was appalled at the idea of having Richard Burton for a son-in-law. Still, the thought of marriage to anyone else was insupportable, and Isabel promised to wait for his return.
Mrs. Arundell, indeed, like so many other English mothers, was violently prejudiced against Burton. When her daughter broached the subject she replied fiercely: “He is not an old English Catholic, or even a Catholic, he has neither money nor prospects.” She might also have added that he was apt to respect mere men of intellect more than men of wealth and rank, an un-English trait which would be sure to militate against his advancement.
Miss Arundell bravely defended her lover, but without effect. A few days later she again met her old gipsy crone Hagar Burton, who repeated her sibylline declaration. As Miss Arundell never, by any chance, talked about anything or anybody except Burton, and as she paid liberally for consulting the Fates, this declaration necessarily points to peculiar acumen on the part of the gipsy.
At one of their meetings Miss Arundell put round Burton’s neck a steel chain with a medal of the Virgin Mary and begged him to wear it all his life. Possessing a very accommodating temperament in matters that seemed to himself of no vital importance, he consented; so it joined the star-sapphire and other amulets, holy and unholy, which, for different purposes, he carried about the world.
That this medal had often acted as a preservative to Burton she was in after life thoroughly convinced. Read More:http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4315/4315-h/4315-h.htm
When he left her, she became, in true Victorian fashion, extremely ill, pouring out her lament in her diary: It is infamous the way half the men in the world live and die, and are never missed, and, like a woman, leave nothing behind but a tombstone. By ambition I mean men who have the will and power to change the face of things. I wish I were a man: if I were, I would be Richard Burton. …he is perfect to me; and I would not have him otherwise than he is- except in spiritual matters. This last point troubles me.
(see link at end) …The Ashkenazím speak a kind of Jew-German, garbled with Hebrew and other foreign words. Their dress is a long robe like a dressing-gown, and a low-crowned hat of felt or beaver; the lank love-lock hanging down either cheek, and the eccentrically clipped fur caps, which, despite the burning sun, they everywhere don for the Sabbath and for feast-days, make their appearance not a little comical. In the Holy Land they are mostly petty traders and craftsmen, supported in part by the Hallorkah, or alms. Many Jews who have neither the time nor the will to visit Jerusalem pay considerable sums for vicarious prayers there offered by their co-religionists, and the contributions are collected throughout Europe by appointed emissaries like the begging friars of the Catholic world. This dole, distributed alike and indiscriminately to all who occupy the four Holy Cities, brings many idle and worthless persons together, and promotes early and improvident marriages, every child being a source of additional increase. Some steps should be taken to obviate the scandals of the Hallorkah. Much vice, misery, and ill-feeling are engendered by the present system of bounty, which leaves much behind when passing through the hands of doctors responsible to no one for the money they receive. These men live in comfort and even luxury; the terrorism, physical as well as spiritual, with which they inspire their congregations, renders them absolutely unassailable. Knowing that his doctor can excommunicate him, and, what is more to the purpose, starve him and his family, not a Jew dare object to, though he will loudly complain of, a system of hypocrisy and
peculation. And as a rule the almsgiving of the Israelite, so exceptionally liberal…Read More:http://www.vho.org/aaargh/fran/livres7/BURTONTheJew.pdf