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Sonia said, Yes, I’ve heard of Ouspensky.  He was theosophical, was he

not?

I died a mineral and became a plant

I died as plant and rose to animal

I died as animal and I was Man.. 

-sort of Sufi-inspired Rumi concepts..

Something like that, said Dru.  She had dropped in at Royalist House

to see her mother and to discuss the latest proceedings.

I had a look at some newspaper cuttings which were in the envelope that

Bunbury, Quatrefoil and Quincunx, Solicitors gave us.  There were some

leaflets for a series of lectures that Ouspensky gave at Lady Rothermere’s.

I think that Augusta- she of the Bosphorus- attended when she came over

to London to arrange the birth of her first child.  It was all the rage to go

and hear him at the time. I think T S Eliot and other literary figures went

along.  Augusta had heard him first of all in Istanbul.

So, Diana tried to keep on track, she gave birth in London to Augusta 2?

Yes, said Dru. She had  taken a room in Russell Square, near to

Ouspensky’s lodgings.  Lord Wyvern arranged it.  I think it was in his

town house.  Some of her letters were on his notepaper.

Lord Wyvern?  How did he come into it? asked Diana.

Well, she had had a fling with him a good few years before, but they had

parted amicably, before he married Aurelia Tindall.  Augusta’s baby wasn’t

his; it was definitely the rug seller’s; his name was on the birth certificate.

She popped Augusta 2 into a carpet bag and bounced back to the Bosphorous

to live the female equivalent of a Pierre Loti dream.

How had they- I mean Lord Wyvern and Augusta1- come across each

other?

I think Aurelia’s mother and Augusta worked on the land during

World War 1.  Lord Wyvern’s first wife and Aurelia’s mother had been

friends at a London Finishing School. The Land Girls used to hang about

The Red Lion Pub, spending some of their 18/- a week.  Because Augusta

1 used to nostalgically talk to her daughters about the rural idyll that was

Kent, they developed a fascination for it and, after Augusta 2 left St Vitus’,

having been Head Girl, she went to join the WLA, as one of the Cinderellas

of the Forces and headed for the hop-picking. She didn’t want to live in

Istanbul.

WLA? queried Diana.

Women’s Land Army, Sonia butted in.

She wrote to Berenice and told her what larks she was having and

Berenice got herself expelled and, once she was seventeen and a half,

she signed up too.  Wearing breeches appealed to her. She had an

affair with Anthony for a couple of years.  Of course, her mother hadn’t

given her any moral compass.

So, that’s why he recognised the family resemblance in Augusta 2 in

Snodland Nursing Home?

Yes, I suppose so.  The sisters were alike.

When did he take up with Aurelia?  Sonia was a stickler for detail.

Oh, not till about 1948 or 1949-after he rescued Peregrine.

And Gus was born in 1950, added Diana.  She had always

remembered his birthday, if only to supply him with socks.

Correct.  Aurelia paid Berenice to pretend that the baby was hers,

but Berenice took Father to Istanbul.  Her mother wasn’t interested

in him and so Augusta 2 eventually arranged his enrolment into St

Birinus’ pre-prep department, Dru explained.

And Berenice took the money and ran off? Sonia frowned.

..to Venezuela, to follow romantic dreams about Simon Bolivar, taking

after her vagabond mother, Dru clarified. The sisters had received

their release certificates from the WLA in 1950.

But Berenice was born in Istanbul? Diana probed.

In 1923. Lord Wyvern married Aurelia in 1934 when he was

fifty-four.

How old was she? Sonia asked.

About eighteen, Dru looked disapproving. Some of her girls in the

boarding house were of a similar age.

And when did he die? Sonia was analysing every detail.

Well, the boys were born in 1935 and 1936..

Lionel and Peregrine? Diana checked.

Yes, in quick succession! But Lord Wyvern died on his way to the

Circuit des Remparts, in Angouleme, in 1939.

Angouleme?  Sonia couldn’t quite place this French city.

‘Monaco without sea’, as it was known.  In the Charente.

He was travelling in a Concours d’Elegance and he got a flat

tyre. He jacked up his Delahaye, but it collapsed on top of

him and crushed his chest.

So Lady Wyvern had been a widow for six years when Anthony

arrived to tutor the boys?  Sonia was on the ball.

She was thirty-six when Father was born.  By 1955 she was dead and

the house and estate given over to The National Trust.  Except for

grandfather being allowed to remain in the stable block apartment

until his decease, by special arrangement.  Lionel had gambled away

most of his inheritance.

What I can’t understand is why Berenice, or the others, were not

prosecuted for perjury on the registration document? said Diana.

Mum, there may be a warning about criminal offences and falsification

on the certificate itself, but no one has been prosecuted for the last

thirty-five years for faking parentage.  Under The Freedom Of

Information Act, I checked all this from her Majesty’s Passport

Office.

So, there isn’t much incentive to tell the truth? remarked Sonia.

‘The Registrar General does not routinely investigate the

circumstances in which erroneous information came to be given

at registration’ were the exact words, as I recall, said Dru.  And,

anyway, there is a time limit of three years to report suspicions

to the police.  You would need DNA from all involved and Anthony

and Aurelia are dead, as is Berenice.

So, the records are not likely to be changed?  Diana said.

You’ve got it! replied Dru.

 

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