Columbia Library columns (v.14(1964Nov-1965May))

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  v.14,no.3(1965:May): Page 27  

The Duchess SpeaLs Her Mind


A collection of fifteen letters by Sarah, Duchess of Marlbor¬
ough, wife of Queen Anne's great general, and ancestress of
Sir Winston Churchill, has recently been given to Columbia (cf.
"Our Growing Collections," page 55 j. The letters have been
designated "Cl," "C2," etc., and excerpts in the following article
have been similarly identified. Some of the letters are well known
and have been quoted, in part, in standard biographies of the
Marlboroughs; several are unpublished and are quoted here for
the first time. The spelling and punctuation have been modern¬
ized,                                                                        editor's note

N APRIL 6, 171 o, two women who had been friends
for over thirty years faced one another in a room in
Kensington Palace and, once and for all, tore that
friendship to shreds. One, who stood with averted face and in
muffled, trembling tones repeated over and over again the sen¬
tence; "You desired no answer, and you shall have none," was
Anne, Queen of England. The other, from whom poured a tor¬
rent of angry questions, appeals, protests and reproaches, who
alternately stormed and burst into a passion of tears, was Her
Majesty's iMistress of the Robes, Groom of the Stole, and Keeper
of the Privy Purse, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of .Marlborough.
The events which led up to this last, scaring inter\'iew centered
around the Queen's growing intimacy with Abigail Masham, a
cousin of the Duchess for whom the latter had secured the post
of Woman of the Bedchamber some years before. Time passed,
and the Duchess had grown not a little weary of constant attend¬
ance upon a Queen wliose "discourse had nothing of brightness
or wit." But, near or far, she never doubted her power over

  v.14,no.3(1965:May): Page 27