Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Heartbreak Behind the Wind in the Willows

The Daily Mail takes note of Kenneth Grahame as a father to a son who would commit suicide at 19.

From the piece...

While his father would send him installments of the story, their relationship was otherwise cold and the author apparently ignored his son’s pleas to visit him.

Mouse went on to Oxford University, but his poor sight and the weight of expectation he felt left him unable to cope. He killed himself in 1920 by lying in the path of train. He was 19.

Grahame never recovered from his son’s suicide. But in death they were reunited when Grahame’s wife Elspeth had her husband’s body moved from their local cemetery to Mouse’s grave in Oxford.

New light was shed on the fascinating real-life story yesterday when an inscribed first edition of The Wind In The Willows was sold at auction for £40,000 – five times the estimate.

Grahame was the 48-year-old secretary of the Bank of England when he wrote the book in 1907.

The edition was dedicated to Ruth Ward, a childhood friend of Mouse, and was sold along with touching letters from Elspeth to the young girl, and the only surviving photo of Mouse.

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