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This article is taken from PN Review 117, Volume 24 Number 1, September - October 1997.

Kitty Maxse: The Real Mrs Dalloway Anthony Curtis

'A Radiant Personality' was the headline. 'The sudden death of Mrs Leo Maxse has come as a bitter shock to the many who rejoiced in her friendship,' wrote the Times obituarist on 10 October 1922. Kitty Maxse, a great party-giver, had plunged to her death on 4 October at the age of 55 in what appeared to be a terrible accident. She had fallen over the banisters at her house in Cromwell Road, South Kensington (where now stands the Lycée Charles de Gaulle). There was a post-mortem before the death certificate was issued where cause of death was entered as 'Fracture of the right femur and other injuries caused by a fall from a height to the hall floor...'

Kitty had been married for 32 years to Leopold Maxse, the proprietor and editor of the monthly National Review, a journal that had helped to unseat at least two British Prime Ministers, Balfour and Asquith; that had insisted long before anyone else in Britain on the innocence of Captain Dreyfus; that had pursued a vendetta against those Ministers of the Crown involved in the Marconi Scandal; and that was latterly a scourge of the emerging League of Nations. Leo Maxse was a campaigning journalist of ferocious energy, a workaholic who wrote much of each issue of 'the Gnat', as it was sometimes called, himself. His 'Episodes of the Month' were closely scanned by members of both Houses of Parliament, many of whom would at one time or another ...


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