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This report is taken from PN Review 89, Volume 19 Number 3, January - February 1993.

Poe in England David Arkell
Edgar was a precocious and attractive child of six when - a month after Waterloo - he stepped ashore at Liverpool. The boy from Richmond, Virginia, must have found it quite a culture shock. His adopted father, the tobacco merchant John Allan, had negotiated a slave deal on the very eve of their departure. Mr Allan now paid a few perfunctory visits to relations in Scotland, but his wife Fanny was feeling feeble after the 35-day voyage. She was not sorry when they finally came to rest in the Bedford Hotel near Russell Square, on the west side of Southampton Row. This was to be their headquarters (there is still a Bedford Hotel on the site) until they moved into more permanent rooms a few doors down the road.

Mr Allan's plans were to open an English branch of his business, which he now installed at 18 Basinghall Street, behind the Guildhall. From a clerk there he got the address of a dame school at the bottom of Sloane Street, where little Edgar was placed as a weekly boarder, returning to Southampton Row at the weekends. Thus he was able to visit the Elgin Marbles at the British Museum ('the glory that was Greece') as he put it later). Also he remembered one of the presiding dames by making her a character in 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue'. But after two years of this he graduated to a real school as a real boarder.

The Manor ...


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