Monday, February 13, 2012

Nora Logan and Maud MacCarthy

Last summer I reported my discovery that Nora Logan, daughter of my hero J.W.  "Paddy" Logan, Liberal MP for Harborough  from 1891 to 1904 and 1910 to 1916, had been a suffragette and had gone to prison for her beliefs.

My original source was a debate in Hansard and the story is confirmed by her appearance (as "Norah Logan") on a Roll of Honour of Suffragette Prisoners 1905-1914 held by the Women's Library at London Metropolitan University.

So I set out to discover more about Nora Logan. It has nothing to do with the fight for women's suffrage, but I have made an interesting discovery.

The Sydney Mail for 12 February 1898 carries a story about Maud MacCarthy, a 13-year-old Australian violin prodigy who was then living and playing in England. Its writer ("Leipsic") says:
I have been privileged by her father Dr. Charles MacCarthy, to see a letter which is singularly interesting, which will grow in value year by year, and which is a perfect revelation of the writer. It is 200 pages long, this wonderful letter, arid was begun on September 2 and finished on November 5, 1897, and it is Maud MacCarthy’s record of her days during that period sent to her father. 
With the letter are three copies of a magazine, “ For Father, from the Editress.” The editress is Miss Maud MacCarthy, and the magazine is entitled “Maud’s Journal, a Monthly Magazine - Art, Literature, the Drama, &c." The imprint is “Nora Lgan, East Langton Grange, Market Harborough.” 
Miss Logan is described in the letter as “my greatest girl friend,” and she is the little daughter of the M.P. for Market Harboough. “ Maud’s Journal” is a record of Maud’s doings and views, of her visits to crncerts and picture galleries, of her little London garden, books she reads, and so on, with her views of them ... 
This is how she announces the journal to her father :- " I keep (for fun) a journal called ‘ Maud’s Journal.’ Nora Logan, my great friend, has a printing machine and prints it for me. She does not do it very regularly - in fact, though it is now nearly the middle of September, she has only done the March and April numbers."
And what happened to Maud MacCarthy? Wikipedia is your friend:
In 1905 she was forced to give up her ambitions as a concert soloist by the onset of neuritis and went to India as a companion of Annie Besant, where she studied Indian music, collecting manuscripts and instruments, learned Indian singing and also studied Indian mysticism. She returned to England in 1909 following the death of her younger brother. In 1911 she married William Mann, a fellow Theosophist and they had a daughter, Joan, in 1912. 
The marriage was short-lived, as Maud soon met and fell in love with the composer John Foulds in 1915. Despite strong opposition from family and friends, Maud and John Foulds left their respective spouses and lived together from 1918 onwards. They had two children, John Patrick (1916–2009) and Marybride (1922–1988). They finally married in 1932. She compiled the text for his World Requiem which was performed at the Albert Hall on four consecutive Armistice Nights between 1923 and 1926 ... 
In 1929, while living in the East End of London, they met a young man at a local social event whom they commonly referred to as 'The Boy'. A quiet yet powerful figure who worked at the local gas works, his real name was William (Bill) Coote. 'The Boy' almost instantaneously began to channel a group of beings known as 'The Brothers' who gave profound spiritual teachings through him for the next 26 years. 
Maud returned to India with John Foulds and William Coote in 1935 where 'The Brothers' continued their teachings through 'The Boy', making a profound impact on thousands of people in search of spiritual meaning. John Foulds died suddenly in 1939, and Maud married 'The Boy' in 1942.
She founded an ashram and published poetry under the name Tandra Devi. She took the name Swami Omananda Puri after her husband's death when she took sannyas (or renunciation of worldly life).
It was under this name that she published her autobiography of her experiences with 'The Boy' in the The Boy and the Brothers (London: Gollancz, 1959). A second book was posthumously published as Towards the Mysteries (London: Neville Spearman, 1968) which further expanded on The Brothers' teachings and message.
Maud MacCarthy died in 1967. Those interested in connections between Liberal MPs for Harborough and mysticism are referred to the career of Frieda Harris. The wife of Sir Percy Harris (who sat for Harborough between 1916 and 1918) and the great grandmother of Matthew Taylor (as was revealed a few years ago), she was a friend of Aleister Crowley and provided the designs for his Tarot deck.


Simon Titley said...

Final para: Matthew Taylor, not Matthew Harris, surely?

Jonathan Calder said...

Matthew Taylor it is (unless I meant Anita Harris or Chopper Harris).

observantgwyn said...

The use of the definite article for Mr Taylor suggests a ship!

"Aye, we rounded the Cape aboard the Matthew Taylor"

Jonathan Calder said...

It reminded me of the Saucy Douglas Brown in Round the Horne.

Look, if all you can do is snipe, you are going to have to find someone else to point out the tenuous connections between Harborough's Liberal MPs and the 20th century's wackier mystics.