Rosina Bulwer-Lytton [Lady]
1804-1882; b. Ballywine, Co. Limerick [née Rosina Doyle Wheeler]; m. Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the novelist, 29 Aug. 1827, much against his own mother's wishes; engaged in acrimonious dispute and separated 1836; first novel, Cheveley, or the Man of Honour (1839), first published in Frasers under her husbands name. ODNB
[ top ]
Edmund Gosse, The Author of Pelham, [review-article] in Northern Studies (1879), rep. in Some Diversions of a Man of Letters (London: Heinemann 1919; 1920), pp.115-38: [....] On the first evening when the lovers met, in April 1826, an observer, watching them as they talked, reflected that Bulwers bearing had that aristocratic something bordering on hauteur which reminded the onlooker of the passage, Stand back; I am holier than thou! The same observer, dazzled, like the rest of the world, by the loveliness of Miss Wheeler, judged that it would be best to regard her as we do some beautiful caged wild creature of the woods - at a safe and secure distance. It would have preserved a chance of happiness for Bulwer-Lytton to possess something of this stranger's clairvoyance. It was not strange perhaps, but unfortunate, that he did not notice - or rather that he was not repelled by, for he did notice - the absence of moral delicacy in the beautiful creature, the radiant and seductive Lamia, who responded so instantly to his emotion. He, the most fastidious of men, was not offended by the vivacity of a young lady who called attention to the vulgarity of her father's worsted stockings and had none but words of abuse for her mother. These things, indeed, disconcerted the young aristocrat, but he put them down to a lack of training; he persuaded himself that these were superficial blemishes and could be remedied; and he resigned his senses to the intoxication of Rosina's beauty. (p.123.)
Gosse quotes Rosina's letter to a friend from Woodcot in Oxford: How do you think my audacious husband has spent his time since he has been in town? Why, he must needs send me down what he termed a little Christmas box, which was a huge box from Howel and Jamess, containing only eight Gros de Naples dresses of different colours not made up, four Gros des Indes, two merino ones, four satin ones, an amber, a black, a white and a blue, eight pocket handkerchiefs that look as if they had been spun out of lilies and air and brodée by the fairies, they are so exquisitely fine and so beautifully worked. Four pieces (16 yards in each) of beautiful white blonde, two broad pieces and two less broad, a beautiful and very large blue real cashmere shawl, a Chantilly veil that would reach from this to Dublin, and six French long pellerines very richly embroidered on the finest India muslin, three dozen pair of white silk stockings, one dozen of black, a most beautiful black satin cloak with very pretty odd sort of capes and trimmed round  and up the sides with a very broad band of a new kind of figured plush - I forget what they call it (it came from Paris), and a hat of the same - such a hat as can only be made in the Rue Vivienne. You would think that this little Christmas box would have been enough to have lasted for some time. However, he thought differently, for on New Years morning before I was out of bed, there came a parcel by the mail, which on opening proved to be a large red Morocco case containing a bright gold chain, a yard and a half long, with the most beautiful and curious cross to it that I ever saw--the chain is as thick as my dead gold necklace, and you may guess what sort of a thing it is when I tell you that I took it to a jeweller here to have it weighed, and it weighed a pound all but an ounce. The man said it never was made for less than fifty guineas, but that he should think it had cost more. (pp.127-28.)
See Some Diversions (1920 Edn.) at Archive.org - online; the article is given without attribution at Readonline - online; both accessed 01.01.2012 - and see attached.
[ top ]
The Dictionary of National Biography article gives full account of her marital career and contentious publications connected with it.
Elaine Showalter, A Literature of Their Own (London: Virago [rev. edn.] 1984), cites E. G. Bulwer-Lytton, Cheveley; or, The Man of Honour, in Frasers Magazine, XIX (1839), pp.618-29.
Steven Serafin & Valerie Grosvenor Myers, eds., Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature (NY & London: Continuum 2003), article on “Edward Bulwer” by M. Bernstein.