‘Such Friends’ 100 Years Ago, May 1910…

In Ireland…

…The edict has gone out. Because of the death of King Edward VII, 68, officially ending the Edwardian age, all theatres in the Kingdom are to close the following day, 7th May, out of respect.

The edict doesn’t go over so well in one of the ‘lesser colonies,’ Ireland. Specifically, at the Abbey Theatre, manager Lennox Robinson, 23, decides to keep the theatre open.

Unfortunately, Robinson’s edict doesn’t go over so well with the Abbey’s main funder, Englishwoman Anne Horniman, 49. Despite her infatuation with one of the theatre’s founders, poet and playwright William Butler Yeats, 44, Horniman withdraws her financial and emotional support.

This also withdraws the tension that has built up between Horniman and the Abbey’s other founder, Lady Augusta Gregory, 58. But now Willie and Augusta know that they will soon have to take the theatre on the road to America to raise funds.

In England

Lytton Strachey, 30, has just taken rooms in London.

Since leaving Cambridge about five years before, Lytton has been floating. He spends most Thursday evenings in Gordon Square with his Bloomsbury friends, Vanessa, about to turn 31, and Clive Bell, 28. Usually the party will move on to nearby Fitzroy Square and the house where Vanessa’s sister, Virginia, 28, and brother, Adrian, 27, live.

Lytton had assumed he would be granted a teaching position at Cambridge, but that didn’t happen. In addition, his cousin and former lover, painter Duncan Grant, 25, is now having an affair with his own Cambridge friend and former lover, John Maynard Keynes, 26. They have begun attending the Bloomsbury gatherings as well.

Lytton is concentrating on finishing his dissertation on General Hastings, and has begun work on a book, Landmarks of French Literature.

In France

…Leo Stein has just turned 38.

He has been living in Paris for almost eight years at 27 rue de Fleurus. Shortly after he came, Leo’s sister Gertrude, two years younger than he, came to visit for one year. She’s still living with him.

In the summers Leo travels to Italy to visit his friend and fellow art collector Bernard Berenson, 44.  A few years ago, Berenson sent him to the Paris art dealer Ambroise Vollard, now 43, on rue Lafitte to see the Cezannes, and Leo has become one of the foremost collectors and connoisseurs of ‘modern’ art in Paris.

Leo holds forth on his theories about art at his salons in rue de Fleurus where visiting Americans and Brits come to see the Cezannes, Matisses and Picassos, hung two and three deep on the walls.

But now Gertrude’s lover, Alice B. Toklas, 33, from San Francisco like the Steins, has been spending more time with them. She cooks, she cleans and she types up the work that Gertrude stays up late at night writing, under the Cezanne.

No longer the center of attention, Leo is thinking of moving out.

In America

…Hadley Richardson, 18, has just graduated from private school in St. Louis, MO. She is very excited about going to Bryn Mawr College back east in the fall.

Unfortunately, Hadley will feel out of place in Bryn Mawr and return home after only one year. She then decides to visit Paris for the first time.

Eleven years later, Hadley will move to Paris with her new husband, journalist Ernest Hemingway, eight years younger than she. They will live off her trust fund until he can support them with his writing.