Hector & Harriet

Henrietta_SmithsonFirst I must explain that I’m in a place with dodgy internet and I intended to do all this earlier, but I had a doctor and an electrician to deal with. Right now I have a great big falling apart sandwich beckoning to me (it has bacon! avocado! yum) and I’m trying to write while eating it and not spilling it all over the keyboard. And potato chips.

berliozTalking of deliciousness, here’s a lovely young couple, he having a bad hair day. Hector Berlioz and Irish actress Harriet Smithson, who married on this day in 1833. They’d met a few years before–or rather, he’d stalked her–when she was acting Shakespeare in Paris, and Berlioz became infatuated with her, scaring her by a deluge of love letters. He also wrote the Symphonie Fantastique as a tribute to her (it includes a witch’s sabbath and a march to the scaffold. What girl wouldn’t be flattered?)

Now the problem was that he didn’t speak much English, she didn’t speak much French. Her career in Paris suffered as a result so possibly she agreed to marry Berlioz so she’d have a means of support. Ha, marry a musician for financial security. It must have been true love. Or he made a good sandwich, or something.

They were together for seven years. It’s a sad story. There’s an account of their relationship on a website about Irish communities in Paris here. Or, if you want more, I heartily recommend Jude Morgan’s novel Symphony.

Back to the sandwich. And then back to the writing. What are you up to today?

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Amanda McCabe
9 years ago

No one’s ever written me a march to the scaffold. Sigh. (loved the Morgan book!)

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