Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Shepherd at Home

Putting together the final version of my notes for an online lecture on causation in Hume and Shepherd in my Introduction to Philosophy class later today, I was put in mind for some reason of this comment by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (who knew Lady Mary Shepherd's daughter, Mary Shepherd, very well, and had met Lady Mary Shepherd a few times), on the relationship between Lady Mary Shepherd and Sir Henry Shepherd:

There was love too in abundance, I am sure, between the metaphysician & the dramatist--& Lady Mary used to say jestingly--"We are very much in love with each other". Notwithstanding which, he used by her own account to take up his hat & walk out whenever she began to dissert (she does dissert you know) upon primary & secondary qualities in matter--and she on the other hand was the authority in all domestic matters & would'nt suffer any interference--"What can he know about children? Why he was only a boy when I married him". Just those words! I am certain this time about the syllables. They are unforgettable.

[Letter 59 in The Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Mary Russell Mitford 1836-1854, Volume I, Meredith B. Raymond and Mary Rose Sullivan, eds. Wedgestone Press (Winfield, KS: 1983) pp. 154-155.]

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