Monday, 2 December 2019

Christmas Tree Gift from Marie Corelli

Marie Corelli's writing success brought her great wealth. To her credit she was generous with her money. Unfortunately, at least twice she was duped into giving to those who claimed to be in great need. This included a war veteran who fraudulently claimed to be 107 years old, to whom she donated £5 - a considerable amount at that time. The following is a more successful example of her generosity as recorded in The North Wales Express, 5th January 1900:

"Thanks to the kindly forethought and generosity of Miss Marie Corelli, the first day of the New Year was celebrated by the elder boys and girls of the National Schools, Stratford-on-Avon, to the number of nearly 6OO, in a manner which will long be remembered.

A Christmas tree over 17ft. high, loaded with handsome presents, and ablaze with electric lamps, was set up on the stage of Stratford's Memorial Theatre on the banks of the River Avon.

The top of the tree was adorned with the national flags of England and America, and seated upon a throne on either side were King Holly and Queen Mistletoe suitably arrayed. With appropriate winter scenery and natural fir, a beautiful stage picture was presented.

When the curtain was drawn aside the children's delight was intense. The front of the house also presented an animated scene. The boys occupied the gallery, the girls were in the pit, while the dress circle was crowded by nearly 300 ladies and gentlemen, invited by Miss Corelli to witness the interesting ceremony.

The children had marched into the theatre with their varied-coloured flags and emblems, each standard wearing a distinguished badge of coloured ribbon. Miss Corelii's appearance on the stage was the signal for immense cheering.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Marie Corelli : A Romance of Two Worlds

“A Romance of Two Worlds” is the first book of Marie Corelli’s that I read and I’ve been intrigued by her life and works ever since. It was her first novel.

In the prologue Marie Corelli wrote "..... I wish it to be plainly understood that in this book, I personally advocate no new theory of either religion or philosophy; nor do I hold myself answerable for the opinions expressed by any of my characters. My aim is to let facts speak for themselves. If they seem strange, unreal, even impossible, I can only say that the things of the invisible world most always appear so to those whose thoughts and desires are centred on this life only."

Although "A Romance of Two Worlds" is the favorite,"The Life Everlasting" is a close second .....

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Marie Corelli's Mild Eccentricities

Prior to the first world war, Marie Corelli loved boating on the River Avon close to her home in Stratford-upon-Avon. She owned an Italian gondola bought following the conclusion of the Italian Exhibition at Earl's Court in London in 1904. She took trips on the river with her lifelong companion Bertha Vyver, and with visiting friends.

Bertha was a keen photographer who took both the images shown below:

Marie Corelli and Bertha were often seen enjoying a ride through the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon in their carriage led by two Shetland ponies.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

The Voice in the Cathedral by Marie Corelli

Marie Corelli was not only a writer of articles and an author of many novels, but also, a poet.

The following poem is taken from the book “Poems” published after Marie Corelli's death by her life-long friend Bertha Vyver.

In the foreword, Bertha Vyver wrote “Some of these poems were never published; others are scattered through the various novels that have made her name so familiar to the public.”

The Voice in the Cathedral

Within the old cathedral,
At the hour of prayer,
When the golden tubes of the organ
Poured music in the air:
I knelt alone in the shadow
Of the twilight grey and dim,
Dreamily, drowsily hearing
The sound of the choristers' hymn -
I hard it, but scarcely listened,
For I was in misery;
Not even the glorious music
Had power to comfort me.

The mighty chorus deepened
And rolled through the arches wide,
Till softer, softer growing,
With one faint chord it died:
The, solemnly and grandly,
Clear on the sudden calm,
Came floating a Voice – one only -
Like an Angel singing a psalm -
A voice so pure and tender,
So rich and loving and low,
That it touched my heart, like an echo
From the land of long ago.

My slumb'ring soul was wakened
As that voice fell on my ears;
My stubborn pride was conquered
And quenched in grateful tears;
My sorrows fled, as Winter
Flies from the smile of May,
And my feeble heart was strengthened
For the dangers on my way.
O Voice divine, though human!
O matchless power of Song!
I shall hear you in my spirit
And love you my whole life long!

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Marie Corelli Quote About Women

Writing about women and Christianity in her novel 'Ardath':

“Good, God-loving women, -women who pray, -women who hope, women who inspire men to do the best that is in them, -these are the safety and glory of nations!”

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Marie Corelli's Gondola at Stratford-upon-Avon

A restored gondola, that once belonged to the famous Victorian author Marie Corelli, is available for trips on the River Avon at Stratford-upon-Avon.

The gondola was acquired by Marie Corelli, following the Italian Exhibition held at Earl's Court, London, in 1904.

Note the portraits (above, left) of Petrarch, the Italian renaissance poet and scholar, and England's own poet and playwright, William Shakespeare.

Below is postcard of The Italian Exhibition at Earl’s Court, London, May-October 1904.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Marie Corelli on Music

From an early age Marie Corelli had studied music, played the piano, and later the harp and mandolin. She also sang and composed music.

Note the mandolin on the books in this photograph of her study.

At Leamington Town Hall, Warwickshire, England on the 2nd October 1899, a large audience assembled to witness the prize distribution by Miss Marie Corelli to the students of the Leamington Centre, in connection with Trinity College, London.

Miss Marie Corelli said:

“It gives me very great pleasure to be here to-day, not only because it is an interesting occasion, but because I am myself so much in sympathy with you and your work. "Before I wandered into what is called the thorny path of literature, I was being educated for the musical profession. I think I may venture to say it was not my fault I did not enter it; everything was ready for me. My teachers, I am glad to say, were satisfied, and I had the chance of an exceedingly brilliant start.

"But it suddenly entered my head, rightly or wrongly, that I had something to say first, and whether that something proved to be interesting or otherwise I determined to say if. So I said it in the form of a book, with the unexpected result that an indulgent public insisted on my saying something more. Hence the production of words instead of the production of tones. (Applause).

“I can only be too thankful for having had a thorough training in music, for it is, and ever will be, one of greatest joys of my life. My love of this noble art puts me in thorough harmony with you to-day, because I know by experience the grind as well as the glory of hard musical study. I know how the wrists ache and the fingers tire of the work needed to attain perfect execution on any instrument. I know too how the spirits sink and the energies flag when trying to understand, sympathetically understand, and master the great tone poets. (Applause.) I also know how sweet it is when the work is done and the reward attained.

"What sincere pleasure it gives me to see so many bright and happy-looking followers of one of the most glorious arts in the world, and to express the earnest hope that the reward you win today may not only be a pleasant memory, but may serve as a strong encouragement for still further good work and painstaking effort.

Indeed, I do hope that some of you will go on so studiously, from better to best, that the time will come when the most distinguished honour that a college or the world can offer you will seem but a very pleasant and superfluous compliment.” (Prolonged applause)

Marie Corelli on Music as reported in the Evening Express (Wales) 2nd October 1899.