# 41374


[MELBOURNE] Note addressed to a young Dorothy Boyes (who would later marry the writer Edward Dyson) from her grandmother, displaying signs of semantic dementia. St. Kilda, circa 1900.

$220.00 AUD

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1 page, quarto (225 x 170 mm), manuscript in ink; headed ’94 Tennson Yon [i.e. Tennyson] St. St. Kilda Melbourne 90 19 I forget yere’, addressed to ‘My dear little Dot’ and signed ‘Ann’; the verso has a later inscription in biro by a family member that explains the note was written by ‘Grandma Boyes … just before she died’; old folds, light foxing.

Dorothy Boyes (1892-1975) grew up in St. Kilda. She was a gifted artist, musician and composer, and had a professional career as a music teacher. In 1914, at the age of twenty-two, she married journalist and writer Edward Dyson (1865-1931), who was more than twice her age. Dorothy was considered to be one of the most beautiful women in Melbourne at the time. The reporter in The Bulletin (5 November 1914), in announcing her engagement to Dyson, positively swooned over her: ‘Edward Dyson, I repeat, is engaged. The other party to the action is Dorothy Boyes, a golden-haired St. Kilda angel who did the music to the words of Dyson’s “Billy Khaki.” Dorothy is an artist as well as a musician, and has blue eyes, pink cheeks and gentle ways.’

In her incoherent note addressed to ‘Dear little Dot’, Grandma Ann – who has forgotten what year it is – mentions she is enclosing a pound note for Dorothy and ‘darling Peter’. Although it is difficult to make complete sense of the last part, Grandma seems to be trying to communicate that it’s been a dreadful Christmas, that she has suffered badly from asthma, and that she feels very depressed (“I am so sorrow”). Her house at 94 Tennyson Street, Elwood was demolished long ago; today in its place stands a nondescript block of units built in the ’70s.



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