Don’t lock up the wife

E.S. Turner

  • A Monkey among Crocodiles: The Life, Loves and Lawsuits of Mrs Georgina Weldon by Brian Thompson
    HarperCollins, 304 pp, £19.99, June 2000, ISBN 0 00 257189 7

Prison does nothing for the complexion, but spells in Newgate and Holloway, combined with a rackety way of life, had left unravaged the face of Mrs Georgina Weldon, whose radiant likeness appeared on the London buses in the year of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. An accompanying legend ran: ‘I am 50 today, but thanks to Pears Soap my complexion is only 17.’ London’s favourite jailbird and troublemaker had joined the immortals – the society ladies who, for a consideration, were willing to tell the world how they kept blackheads at bay. There had been times in Mrs Weldon’s life when a crate or two of Pears Soap delivered to the scruffy orphanage she was half-running could have been put to better use than fostering what ad-men call longer-lasting loveliness.

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[*] Quiller, 275 pp., £30, 30 November 1999, 1 899163 59 x.