Happy Birthday Mr. Isherwood.

“August 26. Baby Born. Felt uncomfortable with bearing-down pains from after 5 a.m. but had a good hot bath and breakfast as usual. Same pains continued and Mrs. Mac felt really hopeful, as they came on worse at intervals and never left off altogether (though quite endurable).  Mama came round and we sat outside the Stone Parlour with books. Dr. Nall came round just to see how I was doing and said the longer these preliminaries lasted the better and easier it would be in the end, so quite hoped to go for tea at the cottage without letting Mama discover anything different. However, after lunch had to retire upstairs and every fifteen minutes pangs came on rather bad. Frank so kind. Doctor sent for and gave me whiffs of chloroform on lint ( the weakest stuff!) every time a bad pain came. Things got very indistinct later. I believe Frank fetched a Dr. Anderton from New Mills and more chloroform but all the world was one great pain culminating in fearful throbs and my piercing screams.  Then the text on the opposite wall faded and the room and the lights went out in a mist and at 11.45 p.m Dr Nall’s kind voice saying how sorry he was he had to stick me, as if that or anything mattered…… for there on the next bed was the Baby, a little crying bundle. I felt I could never thank God sufficiently for bringing me safely through, the Baby well and strong and a son.  Frank and Mama came up for a few minutes, and though it is a lie, or at least in my case, that a woman forgets ‘ her anguish in the joy’ etc, yet to see Frank’s pleasure and to feel that it was our son was intense happiness – and made all the rest seem worthwhile.”

Kathleen Isherwood’s diary, August 26th 1904

” During the next twelve days, Kathleen and Frank were trying to make up their minds what to call their son. Louis was considered, in homage to R.L Stevenson, but soon rejected.  Alexander was another possibility, after Lieutenant Kearsey whom they had asked to be one of the godfathers. But the four final choices were Frank’s John or William and Kathleen’s Christopher or Henry. 

So Kathleen and Frank settled on Christopher William Bradshaw-Isherwood.”

( Both extracts from Kathleen and Frank by Christopher Isherwood, 1971) 

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One Response to Happy Birthday Mr. Isherwood.

  1. what is your recommendation for a good Isherwood bio – in particular regarding his time in Berlin?

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