The Tathams of County Durham
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Blanche Marion Tatham (1892-1988)

A Pen-Sketch

A Pen-Sketch of Blanche Marion Cox (née Tatham) by her friends
from "Celebrities in Glass Houses", abt 1911,
written under a pseudonym of Betty and Bunty

Tree Frog

Dear Madge,

"I'm furious, you see!". But nobody else has ever died a sudden and awful death in consquence, for the fact of the matter is you are really extremely good-tempered and forebearing - and it is not as if you had not your full share of the little trials and worries of this dear old earth.

But at times even you will find you have had too much of it and then it is your habit to fly off madly at the proverbial tangent, this habit combined with the short golden locks, which you once possessed, earned for you, when we first knew you, the nick-name of the "Crazy Lion", which afterwards gave place to that of "Frog-Lion" and later still to merely "Tree-frog". This change of nick-names marks the disappearance of the "Lion's mane", though the "Crazy" part of the original cognomen might very well have been continued and still be appropriate.

First and foremost we must acknowledge you as one of England's greatest actresses (that is thinking actresses), for you have heroically refused to play any parts which contain any longer phrase of plain vulgar speech than "Here comes -" or "Hooray".

No, your great power lies under the proverbial "bushel". We have heard rumours that you may one day blossom out as a sort of Pavlova, for you are at one and the same time developing the arts musical and terpsichorean, and at the latter you are making no small amount of progress.

In your earlier days you graced many productions mostly at a certain well-known house of entertainment opposite a much-less known statue of Shakespeare and also at a theatre in the Strand [...] and whilst there you met [...] as we must term him now - your Lord and Master. And here your real troubles began. From the day you consented [...] you have had a series of the most exciting adventures.

Nevertheless I suppose you do have some intervals of peace and leisure and these are divided between the more serious business of your "artistic" career (of which more anon) and the exploration of the wilds of the West End in search of new milliners and dressmakers, for the hunting out of which you possess an instinct second only to one other of your sex we wrote of, also mentioned in these pages. The buying of hats especially has become quite an obsession with you and like Queen Mary and the loss of Calais, "New Hat" will be found written across your heart after you are dead.

But we really have our suspicions that you are capable of much more than you admit to, for we have heard rumours that you would creep away when no-one was looking and play the piano and sing all to yourself and we also know that you have a distinctly artistic taste in thumbnail sketches or painting, chiefly of children's or women's dress, but all of which, you hide away as if ashamed of.

Of real hobbies you have none, though of course you have your fair share of the female love of pretty things, even to the length of displaying a little bit of jealousy now and again. We do however appreciate your earnest attempts to keep your home together and always under rather trying circumstances, but then it is a trait of yours that you are not one to ever turn back when you have set your hand to the plough - not even "at the end of the furrow"- as the farm hand said.

Really we suppose your mind is chiefly occupied with your stage-work and in this direction you are quite ambitious, you have now been appearing for quite a long time at the great house of "Revues" [...] Anyway you were a very desirable addition to "Keep Flying", "Kill that Smile", and "8d. a Fly" (we are not sure whether we have got the names quite right, but as a name has nothing whatever to do with a revue I am sure you will forgive us).

You have twice been to Switzerland for winter Sports, and are getting to rather like it really, although whenever it comes round to the time of going you always try and find a hundred and one excuses for not going.

If you are ever particularly annoyed about anything, you are very handy at throwing a "fit" and we can recall two occasions at least on which this was attended with distinctly humourous incidents: once at Wimereux - a place by no means attended with particularly alluring qualities for you - and on another great occasion of July 7th 1911.

But "fits" or no "fits" you are really a real good sort, and here wishing you all good luck.

Yours admiringly,

Betty and Bunty

Linked toBlanche Marion Tatham (Occupation)

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