Excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME" by Gertrude Ruston:
"My Mother's Heartbreak
My next recollection is of a time, some years later, when we were living in a very luxurious home in the London area. It was a two storey house and had a beautiful curved staircase leading to a balcony over which one could look down into the hall. (NOTE: I imagine it to have been something like this):
Amy and I, on this occasion, were looking over the balcony realising that something of importance was taking place in the hall below, as my mother was in tears and she had her guardian, the Rev. Varco Williams, with her. Later my mother came up to us, still in tears, and advised that my father no longer wanted us and that we were going away. No explanation was given to us then or at any other time.
It is to this day a matter of great sadness and regret that I was too young at that time to have had a hand in arranging the terms according to which the separation was finalised.
In due course we learned that:-
a. The furniture was to be divided.
b. Mother was to receive a certain sum of money to cover her needs and ours, and she was to take on
the full responsibility for our care and education.
c. Should he desire to see us, mother was at any time to make it possible for this to happen.
d. She was not to apply for a divorce at any time or she would lose her allowance.
We gathered these details as we grew older, but my mother never mentioned his name. At no time did one parent criticise the other over all the years. Later Amy and I presumed the split was caused by another woman, as there were several over the years whose identities were made known to us by people who had known my mother, and probably thought we would carry the information home to her so that she could do something about it. Amy and I never repeated anything, nor did mother ask any questions.
We were required to be present about once a year at the 'Christmas Shareout' of one of his organisations, so that he look us over and that people could see he had a well cared for family.
Looking back I realise my parents were not really compatible. He was a gifted, ambitious, successful, a leading Freemason and a trendy dresser. One wall of his office was a built-in wardrobe containing changes of clothes for various occasions. He needed to take his place in social life and brought home beautiful pieces of material for mother to have made up so that she could accompany him, but she did not like his choice of colours and refused to have them made up. The materials disappeared and he possibly found a substitute partner to wear them. (NOTE: Maybe something similar to these):
All records have gone and I have no knowledge of the date on which their separation took place, but I do know that we moved to a nice house in North Street, Hornchurch, Essex, probably selected by the guardian or lawyer, and sufficiently far away to make a complete break.
It was a very great pity that a divorce was not possible, as it would have enabled mother to enjoy pleasant company and security during the latter years of her life, had she been so inclined. We had a widower neighbour at one time who tried hard to be friendly with her, but she showed very clearly that she was not interested. His name was William Bird so of course Amy and I called him "Dicky Bird". (The girls would not have known at that time that many years later there would be a well known English cricket umpire also called "Dicky" Bird)."
NOTE: Please bear in mind that all the above took place during the very early part of the 20th century and this type of occurrence would be handled very differently today. One thing though that I discovered through genealogy and which of course my mother was unaware, was that P.R.'s sister (a well known singer) did obtain a divorce from her husband. I wonder what P.R. thought about that? Did he feel his sister was perhaps a disgrace to the family? We will never know the answer that that question.
I will leave mum's story there and in the next 'episode' tell you about their life in Hornchurch, that's if you want to hear more about life 100 or so years ago.