Ethel Colburn Mayne

Life
?-1941; b. Kilkenny, of Monaghan family; probably Catholic; moved to England in 1905, and died Torquay, Devon; her novels include One of Our Grandmothers (1916), set in Killarney and dealing with marital distress in the upper middle class; also Gold Lace (1913); The Fourth Ship (1916), and Things That No One Tells (n.d.), et al. [acc. Brown]. IF IF2

[ top ]

Works
Short stories, The Clearer Vision (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1898); Things That No One Tells (London: Chapman & Hall 1910); Come In (London: Chapman & Hall 1917), Blindman (London: Chapman & Hall 1919); Nine of Hearts (London: Constable, 1923); Inner Circle (London: Constable 1925). Novel, Jessie Vandeleur (George Allen, 1902).

Biographies & Miscellaneous, Byron (London: Methuen 1912); Lady Byron (London: Constable, 1929); A Regency Chapter: Lady Bessborough and Her Friendships (London: Macmillan 1939).

[ top ]

Commentary
Susan Waterman (Rutgers Univ.) writes: her father (Edward Charles Bolton Mayne) entered the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1858, and later became a Resident Magistrate in Cork; her sister married a man named Cotter; a brother, who died in 1959, left some of his money to the local Catholic priest to say prayers for his soul; her mother born Charlotte Emily Henrietta Sweetman. Further, Waterman offers the following correction to Stephen Brown’s synopsis in Ireland in Fiction: in The Fourth Ship Josephine doesn’t revisit her own family every year, but periodically visits the family of Millicent Maryon (nee North), where there are four children (not step-children); also questions whether Rhoda Henry fails to instill ‘her London pride’ in the young women of Rainville and Lisnaquin, and remarks that the ‘affair’ mentioned by Brown is hardly that; she adds that there was a Colburn Mayne who published novels and books of poetry in the 1850s and 1860s; a Major J. B. Mayne was the ‘informant’ listed on Mayne's death certificate. [Letter to BS.]

[ top ]

References
Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919) lists One of Our Grandmothers (London: Chapman & Hall 1916), 280pp., in which an artistic and emotional girl fettered by early Victorian ideas meets disappointment in first love; takes refuge in loveless marriage; set in Killarney of the 1850s; upper middle class, and devoid of religious or political considerations.

Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction [Pt II] (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985), quotes a notice in which she is described as a brilliant writer, esp. biographer; died Torquay; lists The Fourth Ship (London: Chapman & Hall 1908), 316pp., dealing with fortunes of St Lawrence of Cullyfrackey Glebe nr. Bruff, Co. Limerick, where a harsh and irascible rector has three dgs., Caroline, Louisa and Josephine, to which is added a stepmother; centres on Josephine’s incipient love for D. J., frustrated by a friend Millicent North; leaves as governess to the Sutton family on break-up of life at the glebe, but revisits every year; stepsisters and stepbrothers enlarge the family; One of Our Grandmothers (London: Chapman & Hall 1916), though not a sequel of the others, deals with the same personae, viz., Millicent North, is central figure, and the novel carries on to the eve of her marriage. Gold Lace (London: Chapman & Hall 1913), features Rhona Henry, a London girl sent to stay with friend in Ireland; set in Rainville and Lisnaquin, Cork garrison towns, in days of British fleet; Rhona has heartless affair with young officer who kills himself; despises local girls for tame acceptance of the officers’ attentions, and fails to instil in them her London pride; biog.

[ top ]

Notes
Jessie Vandeleur (London: George Allen 1902), is about a ‘heartless’ young woman from the small town of Widdicombe who moves to London because of an inheritance and proceeds to dump her fiancé for her literary idol ‘Deyncourt’; she also steals the fiancé’s idea for a novel while he’s off in West Africa working for a diplomat; when he he dies she publishes it as her own.

[ top ]