Thursday, November 8, 2007

Writing In Africa

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, Georgette must have been writing TOS while she was dating Ronald. After their marriage, while Ronald was prospecting in the Caucasus where it would have been impossible to take a woman, she stayed behind in the flat at Earl's Court. She probably had her hands full helping her mother deal with her widowhood. Mrs. Heyer did not take up her music again, but lived for the rest of her life in hotels. And although TOS was published in 1926 there was no book published in 1927 which suggests that she was doing little or no writing during the first year of her marriage.

Ronald returned to England in the Summer of 1926 but by Autumn was journeying again, this time to Africa. Georgette joined him in Tanganyika in the Spring of 1927 where she lived in a compound in the bush, surrounded, according to Hodge, by "lions and leopards and rhinoceroses." Aside from one other man, a rough Cornish miner, the Rougiers were the only white people for one hundred fifty miles.

While Ronald was on safari prospecting for tin, Georgette was left alone for long periods of time with only their native servants who had never seen a white woman before. She did once go on one of these safaris with him but never went on another one, although she never complained about the rough 20-mile-a-day travelling or the one bottle of water allowance.

THE MASQUERADERS was written while she was in Tanganyika in these primitive conditions. She got one fact wrong in this book -- the date of the founding of White's Club. She was only off by one year, though. The book was published in 1928 by which time Ronald was prospecting in Macedonia, where Georgette again joined him. More on her Macedonia experiences in a later entry....

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