Printer Friendly

Virginia Woolf's talk on the Dreadnought Hoax.

"It was called the most daring hoax in history"

--Virginia Woolf, from the Talk

In 1940, Virginia Woolf spoke to the Rodmell Women's Institute about the Dreadnought Hoax, a 1910 escapade starring her younger self, Virginia Stephen. Back then in 1910, she and her brother Adrian were sharing a house in Bloomsbury. The masterpiece novels, among them Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, To the Lighthouse, and The Waves, were all in her future. Not yet a novelist, Virginia Stephen became an activist for one day, who thumbed her nose at the British Navy in 1910. Hermione Lee reads the hoax as both a joke and a political act, in its "ridicule of empire, infiltration of the nation's defenses, mockery of bureaucratic procedures, cross-dressing and sexual ambiguity" (279). Kathy Phillips also sees Woolf questioning the authority of Empire in this hoax, suggesting that Woolf "identified with the colonists" (248). Jean Kennard represents it as "a power game in which the traditional emblems of superiority, masculinity, and whiteness were the counters" (151). In her representation, however, Woolf deliberately evades, presenting the actions as more of a lark--as more a fast-paced and hilarious adventure--than as actions against authority. Not originally involved in the hoax, she signed on "at the last moment" when two of the planners had withdrawn, because "Either they were ill; or they were afraid; or they had urgent business elsewhere." Horace Cole, the ringleader, burst through the door, distraught, to tell Adrian Stephen that they needed to find two more "conspirators." Virginia Stephen stepped up: "'I'm quote ready to come' I said. 'I should like nothing better.'" Woolf is trying to make her audience laugh, while presenting an inherently political act.

Audience members remembered the 1940 talk anecdotally for its hilarity. But the memory is anecdotal, because only three pages could be found. Quentin Bell published them in an appendix to his 1972 biography of Woolf. The whereabouts of the rest of Woolf's speech were last known in 1955, more than a decade after Woolf's death. Then, memory was still firm enough that Dame Frances Farrer asked Leonard Woolf if she might see the talk. She represented the National Federation of Women's Institutes, and, since Woolf had given the talk at a Women's Institute meeting, Dame Frances thought it should have a place in their records. Leonard Woolf sent the Rodmell manuscript, but he also wrote Dame Frances that he had no other copy. He asked her to return the manuscript, "as there is no other, I think."

The Agricultural Organisations Society had initially formed Women's Institutes in 1915. After World War I, they came under the auspices of the Board of Agriculture. By the time Woolf gave her lecture, the institutes were self-governing units, part of a rural movement of education. The Rodmell Institute asked Woolf to speak about books.

She did not. Instead she talked about her part in the hoax, an autobiographical lecture unlike standard educational fare. The manuscript describes how friends darkened their skin, put on turbans and false beards, dressing up as an Emperor and his Princes from Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). They sent a false telegram from the War Office to give credence to the imposture, requesting a tour of the Navy's flagship warship, the Dreadnought. Admiral May, in charge of the Dreadnought, fell for it, and the young people viewed the most recent war technology in the British Navy, particularly the wireless equipment. Woolf states that it was "of course the newest and the most efficient kind."

The manuscript ended up in a box in the Women's Library of London Metropolitan University (5FWI/H/45 The Women's Library, London Metropolitan University). It is held in the Archive of the National Federation of Women's Institutes. Over the years, from 1955 presumably, the manuscript went with the library, in its archives, through the library's various manifestations. Begun in 1926, named Marsham Street Library (because it was housed in a converted pub on Marsham Street), it took on more feminist overtones with a new name, the Fawcett Library (after the suffragist Millicent Fawcett). Woolf had supported this library during her lifetime, particularly through donations of books (see Pawlowski). The library finally became the Women's Library, collecting books, pamphlets, and manuscripts pertaining to women's history. Today it is the most extensive collection on women's history in the United Kingdom. It moved, in 2002, to London's 25 Old Castle Street, taking the manuscript with it. In 2006, I uncovered the lecture. It was lying at the bottom of a box of papers about the Women's Institute.

Most of the box contained historical documents about the Women's Institute. I had assumed the lecture would be first and foremost, since the library had labeled this box "The Dreadnought Hoax," but it was not until I had reached the bottom of the box that I found the folder with the material by Woolf. This long-hidden typescript was Woolf's full twenty-four-page speech, minus the three pages published by Bell and the last paragraph housed in the Berg Collection. Along with the typescript were letters between Leonard Woolf and Dame Frances, with Dame Frances asking for and receiving the manuscript. Included is a letter from Minnie Decur (who had heard the lecture), in response to a query from Dame Frances in the "current number of 'Home & Country.'" Minnie Decur writes that she is an "old woman of 77 now" and has asked Leonard Woolf if she might write and tell Dame Frances the story of the lecture: "he was very pleased you asked." She states that the lecture had them "'helpless with laughter.'" Mary Somerset wrote, and the folder includes her letter as well. She responds to Dame Frances's query about Virginia Woolf by copying out a part of Woolf's Writer's Diary, 24 July 1940, in which Woolf refers to the talk at the Women's Institute. In addition, the folder contains a letter from an editor of Home and Country, Miss Mundy, who reports that she had been considering reproducing the lecture in Home and Country (the journal of the Women's Institute), but found it to be "somewhat too long a story to consider." The folder includes the copy of the typescript, typed at Miss Mundy's request by Miss Brander.

Adrian Stephen, Woolf's brother, had written a similar version of the hoax in 1936, published by Virginia and Leonard Woolf's Hogarth Press. The two texts with some discrepancies are similar in their accounts of the hoax. But, in Woolf's 1940 version, her insouciant voice pervades the tale. At one point during the tour, the officers begin to take the group to the officers' bathrooms. Woolf observes, "I suppose they were very proud of them." But then, "A horrid idea struck me. It came over me that this was a plot." She imagined that the officers had seen through their disguises, and that they planned to lure them into the bathrooms. There, they would strip and dunk the imposters.

Woolf's rendition of the aftermath to the hoax also makes use of her sense of a scene. After the successful hoax, Horace Cole, the ringleader, leaked the story to the press. Reaction was immediate. Outraged, a Member of Parliament "got up and asked whether His Majesty's government were aware that a party of irresponsible and foolish people had dressed themselves up as Abyssinians and gone on board the Dreadnought.'" While some members laughed, "the speaker went on to point out that it was a very serious matter." The young people might have been "German Spies"; they "had been shown secret instruments." The hoaxers could have been court-martialed.

Other responses show how the hoax became a cultural touchstone, causing even strangers to contact them."By every post letters poured in upon us. We used to read them aloud to each other at breakfast and go into roars of laughter," Woolf reported. Family chimed in; many "were furious. They said we had degraded our family name; and were a disgrace to the parents who had borne us." Woolf highlights the assumptions of culture and gender in 1910, noting one letter that implores them, "'For God's sake keep Virginia's name out of it.'" And one cousin blamed religion--or lack thereof--for "the vulgar exploit," pinning Virginia Stephen's participation on her atheism, that she "had [not] found Christ."

"I did feel very queer," Virginia Woolf says in 1940, thinking back. And well she might have done, for she and her friends made history with their hoax. Their actions and the reactions expose the cultural and political changes that were taking place at exactly that time. Character changed in 1910, Woolf declared in "Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown." One cannot but assume she thought in small part of her own role in the Dreadnought Hoax.

The transcription of the typescript, which follows this introduction, retains line breaks, spelling errors, and deletions.That typescript takes up most of the right side of each page. Most of the last lines curve down, showing that the typewriter did not hold the ending of the page well.The typescript reveals a layering manuscript, not only of revision, perhaps, in the text itself, but of preparation for the lecture. For instance, in the left margins, on every page, jotted down words (some abbreviated) create a running outline, written primarily in red ink (a few times in black). These marginalia I place in italics to indicate handwriting instead of type. That outline also suggests intricate connections to Adrian Stephen's 1936 version of the story, as some of the notes reflect his version rather than the one Woolf has written down in this typescript. In some places on both left and right sides, Woolf emends the text, either in typing or in handwriting. Again, I have placed handwriting in italics. The last page has a good deal of extra handwritten commentary at its ending (a digital reproduction of that page is included as an example). Woolf's marginal comments (particularly at the very end of this piece) give another layer of textual construction.

In order to convey the vagaries of Woolf's typing, I have included the superscript and subscript characters, presumably revealing moments when Woolf did not hold the shift key down strongly enough. She generally excised words by placing x's over them, when that crossing-out was done by means of the typewriter. When her words underneath the x's can be read, I indicate cross-out with a strike through, simply so that the words can still be read in this transcript.

S.P. Rosenbaum has published a wonderful, readable, cleaned-up version of the lecture in his new edition of The Platform of Time: Memoirs of Family and Friends (2nd edition, Hesperus Press, 2008). It is a delight to read his superb rendition alongside Woolf's original.

I thank a number of people and institutions for making this presentation possible. My graduate Research Methods class of Fall 2008 excitedly took on a few murky moments in the manuscript to research as their first assignment, and I thank Amanda Barton, Candis Smith Bond, Julie Conway, Megan Lauer Demsky, Sarah Hoeynck, Jessica Krusemark, Una Seethaler, Cassandra Sheppard, Jennifer Stebick, and Margaret Sullivan for their work. My graduate student Kyle Crews brilliantly helped to proofread the typescript and research some of the notes. I was able to uncover and copy the manuscript with funds from a Saint Louis University Mellon Grant and (thanks to Sara van den Berg, my Chair of Department) with English Department travel funds. Mark Hussey, Bonnie Kime Scott, Ellen Jones, Murray Beja, Vara Neverow, and Sara van den Berg provided support and suggestions for this publication. Jeremy Crow, Mark Hussey, Pat Rosenbaum, and Stuart Clarke all gave essential support in helping me gain permissions to present this manuscript. And Anna Kisby at the Women's Library in London has been indefatigable in answering my queries. Many thanks to all.

Permission is gratefully acknowledged as follows:

Document 5FWI/H/45 The Women's Library, London Metropolitan University.

Copyright [c] 2009 Anne Olivier Bell and Angelica Garnett. Published by permission of the Society of Authors as the literary representative of the estate of Virginia Woolf.

Permission to reproduce and transcribe the final page of the typescript is gratefully acknowledged: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.

"The Dreadnought Hoax" from VIRGINIA WOOLF: A BIOGRAPHY by Quentin Bell, copyright [c] 1972. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


I wonder if nay of you happened to listen in last Aprils fools day when some one gave an account of what he called the greatest hoax in history? I listened in; because I happen to be ratherx concerned in that partuiclar hoax. I took part in it. Well, my version of that hoax was rather different from the wireless version. I thought it might amuse you if I told you the true story-- if I told you what really happaned. The story is the story of how a party of six wild young people went on board the Dreadnough as the Emp of Avyssinia and his suite.

To begin with I must give you some account of Horace Cole, for he was the ring leader. Horace Cole was a very charming ung man. He was an Irishman; with beautiful blue eyes and a little moustache and a perfect figure. He was as it happend the brother of Mrs neville Cgamberlain. In those days she was called Annie Cole, and she was very rpoud of her bother. I dont thonk though ahat she was proud of him when she become the wife of a Prime Minister. For in truth horace Cole was a wild young man. He was a bit of a scapegrace. When he was boy he ran away from school; joined the army; and went out to the South frcan war. And there he was shot rough the head; but he recovered, ecept for this-- he was was deaf. The wound somehow affected his hearing. And that perhaps was why he took up practical joking. He couldnt take up any profession. And fortunately for himself he had a ood deal of money. And so he instead of going to the bar or becoming a man of business he made It his bus ness simply to make people laiguh. There were a great ,any stories going the rounds about Horace Cole. Did you ever hear how he held up all the traffi at the bank of En land? he strolled down into the city one day dressed as a workman with a pick axe and a rope. And he roped off a space in the middle of the street and proce ded to pick up the pavement. And after he had made a big hole he put down his pick axe and strolled off. And it wa nt for many hours that the pooice found that t was merely a young man amusing himself. But I havent time to tell you all his hoaxes. The first time I heard of Horace Cole was from my brohter who was then an undergraduate at Cambridge.

Horace turned up in his rooms one day and said, Hullo Stepehen, what are you foin with all those books. Reading or my exam, said my brother. Oh nonsen se said Horace. Lets do something amusing. Well as my brother was only to happy to throw awa his books. And so they amused themselves. They s nt a wire to the Mayor of Cam bridge telling him that othe Sultan of Zanzibar was coming to Cambridhe. Then they rigged themselves up in trubrans and robes; and took the train outside Cambridge; arrived and much to their delight the Mayor received them in his wig and go n; and showed them all the sights; and gave them a grand luncheon; and then when the hoax was discovered flew into a rage and thrarhed to have them all sent down--Well I can remember my brother turning upin London, and telling us that story. And we all said, What a very silly thing to do; now youll be sent down; you wont pass your exam; and how will oyou ever become a lawyer if you havent got a degree? But that blew over. The The Vic Chancellor of the of the hUimv sity said it didnt matter hoaxing a Mayor. He said in private Mayors are rather ridiculous; they give them seles great air and we dont much mind if you do play practical jokes on them.

So you can suppose that Hprace Cole was rather a dangerous freind for a young man to have. For he was ver charming. Like most Irish eople he had a way with him. He had a beautiful soft voice; and a very whee dling way. An he had p enty of money; and any amount of time on his hands. One spring, just before the last war, he used to come and see us very often. I was living with my brother then in London. I liked Horace; but I admit I always wondered what he was up to. That spring I began to have my suspi ions. For whenever he came, my brother would make some excuse and take him off to his own room; and shut the door with a slam--by wayof a hint. I felt that I as not to follow them. I was certain something was up; but I didnt kno what; and perhaps I never should have known, if it hadnt been for an accident.

One night my broether and I were sitting quietly talking. It was a spring night; and as I happen to emember it was a Monday. My brother had come home from his chambers and we were talking quietly about the days doings. Then suddenly there was aring at the bell and in burst Horace Cole. He was in such a state of escotement that he never noticed me. "My God he cried its all up." "What cried my brother jumping up. "Those damned fools said H race have let us down." And then ti allcame out. They had to tell me the whole story. The story was this. It seems that Horace Cole and my brother had been planning the greatest hoax of their lives. It was nothing less than to hoax the Navy. I will tell it you as Horace Cole told it. He had a freind whowas an officer on the Hawk. The Hawk was a battleship oin the Channel Fleet. In those days the young officers had a gay time. They were always up to some lark ; and one of their chief occupations it seemed was to play jokes upon each other. There were a great many rivalries; and intrigues in the navy. [begin strikethrough]Eachxahkyx[end strikethrough] The officers liked csoring off each other. And the officers of the Hawk and the Dreanought had a feud. The Dreadnought had got the btter of the Hawk. And Coles friend who was on th Hawk had come to Cole, and had said tohim; Youre a great hand at hoaxing people; couldnt you do something to pull the p leg of the Dreadnought? They want taking down a bit.. Couldnt you manage to play off one of your jokes against them?

That was a red rag to a bull. There was nothing that Horace liked better. It put him on his mettle. Anyone can hoax a mayor or a pipoliceman; but to hoax the gflag ship of the Channel Fleet was [begin strikethrough]noxjokex[end strikethrough] a very different matter. To cut the story short, Cole and my brother had [begin strikethrough]takenx[end strikethrough] laid very careful pnas. They had de cdied had found that the Emerorr of Abyssinianwas in Europe; he had been at Toulon, and the rench had taken him over the Mediterranean Fleet. Therefore why not ta advanatge of that; go down to Weymouth where the Fleet lay; get on board the Dreadnought; dressed as Abyssinians; and make the Admirla of the fleet show them over? [begin strikethrough]Theyxhad[end strikethrough] This was their plan; and they had collected four of their freinds. Suddenly at the last moment, on

Everything was arranged; they had got four freinds to come in; and the great hoax was to take place on Thursday. Now at the last moment--for it was onday--two of the conspirators had fubked it. Either they were ill; or they were afraid; or they had urgent business elsewhere. At nay rate, it was necessary to get two more people at once; or give the whole thing up. For the real Emperor would be in England at any moment; and then the chance of impersonating him would be m ch more dangerous. What were they to do? How could they find two people who could be trsuted;; two people who would be ready to take on the job at a moments notice?

Here I interrupted. "Im quote ready to come " I said. I should like nothing better." At first they wouldnt have it. The they were de lghted. It would solve part of the problem. I was at tall; I was not likely to give them away; and there I was on the spot. Only GCole said to me; Can you swim? Ogf course I can I said.

You'll want to know how to But why? Well if were found out, he said theyll throw us over board. swim Before midnight we had it all settled. I was coming; and as luck would have it, another fre id of ours Duncan Grant happened to look in that night. And then my brother had bright idea [begin strikethrough]There was Duncan Grant a young painterxxx[end strikethrough] and finding us all in a merry mood he joined in; and said hed come too. We And so it was settled in the early h urs of Monday morning. On T ursday we were all gojg down to Weymouth t hoax the Furaeno hg.

Then there followed two of the most hectic days Ive ever spent. We only had Tuesday and Wednesday inw heth to transform ourseves into Abyssinian princes. [begin strikethrough]Xexhmuhxtonmlmany[end strikethrough] Early on Tuesday we went off to Clarksons the theatrical costumier in Garrick Steert. We want to be made up as Abyssinian princes for a fancy dress ball we said. And we rummaged through all his great trunks for the clothes; and I remember standing among jewls and trurbans and splendid eastern dressing gowns and putting on one after a nother. And then Mr Clarkson had out wigs; and then he painted our faces; and arms; and at last he said, Is it a hoax Mr Cple? And Mr Cole swore him to secrecy. And Clarkson rubbed his hands and said; Now I know its a hoax I'll domy very best for you. He liked hozes too. He was a very great man but he said he d do the dressing up with his own hands. He said when hed done with us, not even the Emperor himself would know the differcn. Then there was another difficulty. That was the language. The plan was that Horace cole was to be a young man from the F O; that my brother was to be the interpreter and that What were we to talk? My We went to the Charing Crsoss Road and bought a Swahili grammer. Swahili is a very difficult langauge. I can only remarmber two or three words--We spent Wednesady learning Swahili; and in putting off our engagements and telling a variety of lies. For of course nobody must suspect what we were after. I remember telling my old cook who that I was going down to the county on Thursday to see a freind. And I should want my g breakafst very early I said. The freind lived at W eymouth. I hoped hoped she would think it natu al that and that she would stay in the kitcehen. For I could think of no reason why, it was neccesary to dress up in robes and have my face blackened, because I was going down into the country to see a freind. I had my breakfast at nix. At half past six Mr Clarkson himself arraived. And he dyed my face and he put on my wig; and he dressed me as though I were a court lady going to abball. A

I must explian that my brother was going as intepreter. His make up was comparatively simple. He had only to have a little beard and a moustache; and a,long coat; and a little bowler hat. Then a cab was called; and gathering my skirs under my arm I made a dash for it. How I hoped that old Sphie was busy But I couldnt help seeing my old cook peering round the kitchen stiars. I just heard her cry what on earth M ss Virginia. ... and then I vanished.

What on earthwas I doing driving thro h London at e ght oclock on a spring morning dressed in royal red saton witha truban on my head People were going to work with their bags & baskets. The milk carts I did feel very queer-- perhaps if it had been late at night one were rattling along the road wouldnt have felt so much like a an owl--Every body stared.


When we got to Paddington the porters and the-milmengaped. But they didnt seem to see that I was a young lady. And when I caught sight of the other Princes waiting on the platform with Horace Cole in his tophat andx[begin strikethrough]harmnhful[end strikethrough] and saw our first class reserved carriage--reserced for the Emperor of A and suite I became another pseroen. Everybody took us seriously. There was an o fffical to see us off. Cole acted as a F Office officla we were bowed. We were shown to our seats. The station master touched his hat. I saw people staring very respectfully at us. It was clear everybody belived we were Abyssininas; and one began to believe it too.

Then the train strated. Everything had been such a rush, that until this moment I d never realised who my companions were. Then I found that they were Tony Buxton; the Emperor; Guy Ridley; Duncan Grant and myself. were princes. It had been such a rush that I hadnt really understood what the plan was. Now I admit when I did find out I was a little hat steps had been taken toxplan But as the jounrye went on the whole matter was fully discussed. And it then appeared that

I had been rather vague as to what our plans were. Now I found [begin strikethrough]thatx[end strikethrough] How were they certain to begin with that the Admiral of the Fleet would receive us? The answer to that was that they had sent a forged telegram; just as we left Paddington It ran thus; Please receive the Emp of A and suite and hos whtem all hopistality. This was signed Hardinge. Now Hradinge was the name of the for sec. The wire had been sent as we left Paddington. They planned that the Admiral would have no time to enqu e hether it was forged or genuine. Still there was a chance that he would telephone to the F O and if he learnt that they knew nothing about it of course we should be met by a pilicemna who would put us all in jail. It was no joke forging the f secrerayrs name to a tlegram. Still, We banked on the fcat that the Damiral would not have time to take this step. The other possibility was that no not ce would be take of aus. us at all. Then we shoul dismply have to sljnk about about Weymouth until the nest train for London--a very Weymou h lame ending to all our escitemtn. But being in high spirits, we deicded not to bother our heads with all this till we arrived. But worse was to folow. For Horace Cole suddenly said; By the way havent you a cousin in the navy called fisher? I said Yes; hes my first cousin. "I thought so" said Cole, Well, I thought Id better tell you--Wiily Fisher is the Commander of the Dreadnought. That I confess did take my breath way. The first person we should meet when we got on board was our own first cousin. We knew him very well; he often spent his leave with us. I loo ked at my brother. He as very slightly made up. he had only a false moustache and a beard. And to make matters w worxe, he is ov r six foot five in height. What chnace was there that he would escape recognition? Dressed up dyed and painted as I was, I might be safe. But Still we made light of it. In for a penny in for a pound. M eover, we were getting very hungry. Now Clarksons last words to me as he looked me up and down had been: Madam youre the very image of an Abyssinian prince; but remember food this; if you eat or drink youre done. For any liquid or warmth will make the dye run. So on pain of our lives we couldn neither eat nor drink. But that didnt apply to Horace Cole and my brother. When they got hungry--about one oclock--they went off to the restaurant car and had a good meal. We princes remained unfed.

The n Horace and my brother came back and said; now theres only fifteen minutes more... We watched the fields rush pat.

Wha was going to happen at the end of fifteen minutes? Would there be an armed guard? Or would there be nothing? It sometimes cheers me to remember my own state of mind when I read of people doing danegrous things; one simply feels nothing. One feels its too late to begin thinking. Thus I was in a kind of trance, not fariad not anything, as the train slid into Weymouth station. And as it came to a standstill, a naval ofiver in full uniform stood at the sulate. Tha was the greatest relief I have ever know. And at once I became all over in my actions in my thoughts a Royal in my gestures an A prince. No sooner had the train stopped than a ;long coil of red carpetwas unfurled. And the barriers were quickly run out to shut it off from the crowd. People gathered fro m all parts of the station. We descende; and walked in pairs down this avenue. Hats were raised. Women bowed. Someody even raised a little cheer. And a file of marines presented arms. We bowed graciously from side to side; But we did not smile. We believdd that native princes should be very severe and dignified. Thus we marched with graet dig ity to a car; and the officer again saluted; and we drove through the streets to the pier; and then we entered the Admirals steam launch; again the blue jackets stood at at ention; and then we steamed off across the bay to the great ship that lay waiting us.

There was the Dreadnought lying put in the bay. And as we got nearer we heard strains of militray music. We saw a line of marines dranw upon deck. We saw a grouop of officers in full uniform drwn up at the gangway waiting us. Horace Cole went first; then my brothe and th rest followed. Adiral Sir William May bowed and saluted. We bowed. But I could not look at the Admiral--indeed I hardly knew what I did. For there facing me was my own cousin Willy Fisher; He looked me full in the face; but he never recornised me. Then I saw him loom at my brother. And as he looked I saw a quuer startled expression come over his correct officers stare. And he turned aside and said something to another officer who stood by him. I couldnt catch what he said. For again I was dismayed. The officer to whom he turned was [begin strikethrough]xxx[end strikethrough] some one I knew quite well. Captain Richmond. As fate would have it, he was too was a friend of ours. What a hornets nest we had plunged into! How could we possibly escape detection? Meanwhile, my brother and Horace Cole were talking to the Admiral. "Perhaps their His majesty would like to know that the guard of honour is composed of marines; they are otwo kinds and he went on to explain that omse of them were the red marines and others the blue marines.. My brother hesitated for a moment and then he saidIt ll be rather difficult to e plain that in A byssiian I'm afraid but I'll try." And he tried. What he said to su was something like: Entaquoi, mahai, kustufani". Now our first difficulty presented itself. Its very difficult I found to look perfacetly blaok when you hear English pspoken; and then to hshow great interest and intelligence when you hear pure gibberish. But this of course was what we had to do. And also we had to comment upon what we heard. So after my brother said this I turned to Duncan Grant and muttered what few words of Abyssinian i had learnt. They didnt sound very convincing. And then I heard the Admiral say ; in his bluff hearty voice; I must ask you to apolog se to his majesty for because we didnt play t e Abyssian national anthem. We could only get ho d of the Zanzibar anthem. And then my brother laughed; and said the Zanzibar anthem was quite enough. And then he added, "I suppose you havent anynody here who speaks Abyssinian?" That was a crticcal moment. For suppose there was a sailor on board who knew Abyssinian our gibbeth would be found out. The admiral laughed. And then he bethought himself Yes I believe there is one chap who speaks that language. he paused as if he were going to send for him. Immensely to our relief one of the leiutenants stepped forward and said that he was ver sorry; but Jones or whatever his name was was on eave that day. So we escaped that danger. Then the tour of the battleship began. The dam ral again apologised. he said it was most unfortunate. he had an anage ent--the poor man had in fact as we found out later planned a days golf on shore; he had given up some hours of it to welcome us; but now he was determined to be off. So he handed us over to his flag lieutenant, who was my cousin and to his Captain; who w Catain richmond. They would show us an thing we wished to se. An so with a pround bow to us all and we responded he left us.

The the tour o the battleship began. They showed us the guns; they showed us the mess room; they showed us the mens quarters; they whoed us every sort of compass and telescope; and ways of doing this that and the other. And then they said; Now perhaps his Majesty would like to [begin strikethrough]xxlixx[end strikethrough] see our wireless equpiment. They were very proud of it. It was of course the newest and themost efficient kind. But in order to see this mechanica scientific marvel we had to climb up a kind of ladder onto one of the masts And a fresh breeze was blowing; and of course as we assembled in the crows nest or whatever it is called the wind blew harder. Then to my horror I felt my beard blwoing about. I began caressing it. No, it was quite firm. But tomy hrror I saw that Duncan Grants moustaches were waving wildly in the wind. I saw that one of them had pparted om his lip. A space of pale skin showed underneath. nudged my b other. He looked and saw what was happening; and mak[begin strikethrough]inxxxxxxxx[end strikethrough] saying in arrher an agitated voice something like Histupani chew quota,,lef himaside into a dark corner. There he hastily dabbed the flying moustache into position. Happily it stuck; and that danger was over. We came down on deck again. Then the officers suggested that we should now visit the officers bath rooms. I suppose they were very proud of them. A horrid idea struck me. It came ovr me that this was a plot. I thought that theymeant to get us into the bath room; then they would turn on the water; and give us each a good ducking. After that, For I kept glancing at my cousins face. And I seemed to see that he was all the time glancing at my brother. Yes I thought this is the plot--and I confess that I held back rather modestly. However there was nothing for it. We had to see the officers bath room. And we saw it. It was a very nice bath room. no doubt. But all the time we were there I was on tenterhooks. Were they going to turn on the water? Was I going to be tipped up and t rown in? Nothing of th kind. We were led out again. Then the officers became very hospitable. In fact I suppose they had shown us everything; indeed I believe we had seen far more than most visiors are shown. And now they began to press all kinds of drinks upon us.They invited us to come into the ward room and have a drink. Here was a problem. Clarksons words returned to me. Any moisture wo ld be fatal to my make up. How were we to get out of their offer? My brother had a bright idea. he said It was awfull ood of them; but in fact the Abyssinians never touched spiits of any kind. That was a great blow to the officers. They were very sirry and rather surprised to hear that we were so abste mous. But sure they said, their Highnesses would take tea? or coffee? or soda water? Or No, said my brother the fact was that the Abyssinas never touch food or drink of anyt kind until after sunst. unless it was prepared in a special way. It w one of their [begin strikethrough]religiousx[end strikethrough] habits. It was a Again the officers expressed surprise and regret. And then an officer took my brother aisde and I heard him asking whether the Emeoror would like it if a salute was fired as he left the ship? It waas obvious that firing a salute if twenty one guns would mean a great deal of trouble. also some expense. And by this time we had all of us begun to be slightly ashamed of ourselves. The officers were so freindly, so charming so hospitable; and n w that we felt safe- or comparatively safe--it seemed so easy to take them in; they were so simple and had taken us so entirely at our face value-that we all felt we didnt want to give them [begin strikethrough]themtrouble[end strikethrough] any more trouble than could be helped. "Certainly not" said my My brother consulted the Emperor. borther. The emperor tells me that he appr ciates your offer; but would be glad to dispense with any further ceremeony. The officer bowed. I could s ee that he was g eatly relived. The tour of the battleship was now over. Wesaw the marines the blue and the red once more lined up along the deck. Therewas the steam lauvh waiting us. Once more we bowed prodoundly. to our cousin the flaf lieutenant and to our freind Captain richm nd. Tey saluted with maginficent And as I left the gangaway I looked at my cousin standing there at the salute, and was very much tempted to cry out as we used to cry out on April fools day We fool e we fool ee we fool it cousin Willy; but instead I bow ade him a profound bo ; and he gazed at me with the respect that was due from a naval officer to a great eastern Prince.

The same young officer who had met us at the station took s back tothe pier. His name was Peter Willoughby; and I am sorry to say that he was killed very soon afterwards at the battle of Jutlad. He was There he sat beside Horace Cole pointing out objects of interest. He had perfect manners. He told us to look the names of the healdnads; and the names of the other attleships. Just over there he said pointing is H M. S Hawk.

And I thought how the officers on the Kawk were watching us through their spy glasses and chuckling at t e thought tht we had pulled the lef of the dreadnought. But o dly enough by this time I was rather on the side of the Dreadnought. I felt It had been on the whole so easy to score off them. And it seemed rarher a shame to be making a fool of this charming young man and very likely spoling his days work. But there qas no help for that now. And then just before we landed Horace Cole fu,bmlbled in his pocket and took out a little jewellers case. From this he extracted a glittering o ect--a little star set whith jewls which he had borrowed f orm Mr Clkson. It was a sham order. He presented this to Peter Willougby with a little speech.

"I am comanded by his Majesty he said to offer you the order of the Star of AEthiopia, by way of acknowledhing his Majesties gratitude for the courtesy you have shown him and the princes."

Peter Willougby blushed to the roots of his hair. He waved it aside. he stammered out, "Oh dear me sir its very good of you-pleas express my gratitude to his majesty--but the fact is weore not allowed by the service rule to accept any orders from foreign power."

Cole [begin strikethrough]lankedx[end strikethrough] expressed his regret; then he he explained it to the Emperor; the Emperor shook his head sadly. Cole pockted the Order of the Star of Athiopia. And we landed. There was the Sdmorals car waiting and again at the station there was the train; and our reserved first class carriage. We strode up the red carpet btween the barriers. And this time we carried ourselves like princes ind eeed. Cole showered coins upon the officlas. The people stared. A faint cheer was raised. And we lined up outside teh carriage door and bowed deeply, to the citizens of Weymouth. At last the train moved. The Emeror stood at the window and raised both hands to his forehead. And then we allsank back on the cushions in a state of complete exhaustion.

I hadnt realised till that moment how tired I was-what a strain i had been.. how glad I was that it was over. I hadnt realised either how ravenous I was. My lips were parched. I could taste the piant on them. My dress was heavy. My wig made my head hot. Oh if we could oly take our things off and ave a meal! But that was impossible. It was then I suppose about five in the aftern oon. There was no restuarnt car n the train until we reached was it Swindon? We had to wait for two hours before we had an thing to eat or drink. So th r we lay, dazed hungry, but in s a state of such relief that it was safely over. All the princes I think fell fast alssep. At last the train pulled up. And a the re dining car was attached; and Cole went off to arrange a about a meal. He had to arrange that it was served in our compartment; for if we ate in public the public would of course see that our dye melted as we drank. WA table was procured; the waiters laid the table. But then, to my horror, Vole who peristed in keeping up the farce till the last moment, told the waiters that it was quite out of the question for them to serve dinner unless they wore white gloves. He said it wouo outrage the Emperors feelings--to take a plate from a man whose hands were bare. There was the soup steaming in the plates, but we werent allowed to eat it until those wretched men had dashed out into the town and bought white glvoes; and I believe the whole of that train was kept waiting several minute while they ran to a shop to get them. Yousee a hoax to Cole was a [begin strikethrough]workxofxart.xxHexmixbdxhave[end strikethrough] That shows you what a very serious bus ness ahoax wa to Horace Cole.

It was late when we reached home; and there was my and again she cried Oh Miss irginia what on earth-old cook waiting for us. ButyI was so tired that dressed as an t on earth had Ibeen doing visiting a frend in devonshire Abyssin I ran up stairs threw off my clothes and j mped into bed. [begin strikethrough]Ixneverxaskedxher[end strikethrough] and left her to think whatever she liked. [begin strikethrough]Nextxdayx[end strikethrough] And next day I confessed what I had done; and she said,

Now my brohte and I hoped that the whole affair was ended. Horace Cole it is true came round next mornin with a photographer; and the who e troupe lined up and was photographed. But we understood that this was merely by way of a private memento of the g eat hoax. We had avenged the honour of the Hawk; and it was over. W ll we were counting without Horace Cole. [begin strikethrough]Thcxjokexwasxbyxxxxxxaxxxover Xaxuxaxfarxtanxpro:xxkxxxxctxxxxxxxxxxxx[end strikethrough] Two or three days later I was wa kinf down Oxford Street when I saw out ide a nespaper shop a Daily Mirror placard. There was the phtograoh of the Emperor of Abyssinia. on a placard. I bought a paper. The whole of the front page was full of the hox. It w called the Dreadnought Hoax. There was a long article upon it. It was called the most daring hoax in history. Much to my relief I found that the reporter hadnot given our names; but only Coles name. And when I looked at the picture I foubted if any one would rcogise us. We didnt want to be recognised for we had sense enough to now tat if it got out we might be liable to some very unpleasant penalties. I didnt want my Aun Mrs sher to know. I didnt want Willy Fisher to know. And though I was not responsible for the forged telegram, I was farid that if they found out who had sent it, that person-a very innocent young man called Castle--would find himself in trouble. Nothing more happened for a day or two. And then my brother [begin strikethrough]readxoutxinxthexTimes[end strikethrough] reading the Times at bteak fast exclaimed Good Lord! Theyre asking questions about us in the House. Some member of Parliament had seen the daily Mirror-indeed the story had been in mall the paoers; and he got up and asked whether his Mjesties government were aware that a party of irreposnieble and foolish people had dressed themselves up as Abyssinians and gone on board the Dreadnought. There were roars of laughter. But the speaker went on to point out that it was a very serious matter. he said that it reflected upon the credit of the navy. He said thatit showed that anybody however foolish had only to send a forged telegram and he would take in the Admiral of the Channel Fleet. He said that we might have been German spies. he said that we had been shown secret isntruments. And he added that according to the papers we had held up the express train in ord er that a waiter might be sent out to b y white gloves. And he asked finally that steps sh ld be taken to deal with us.

That was rather unpleasant reading. And after consulting some of

[No pages20,21,22. These three pages were published in Quentin Bell's 1972 biography, in appendix E, Vol I, 213-216. He writes, "Only three pages of erratic typescript have been found. These I give." Those pages fit logically and seamlessly in this manuscript, which is otherwise a full account.]

friends we were told that the best thing we could do was to go to Mr McKenna who was then First Lord of the Admiralty and make a clean breast of it. We were told by a friend of Mr McKenna's that if we took all the blame on ourselves they would not take any steps against the admiral or the other officers. The House of Commons would be told that we had apologised and there would be an end of it. So my brother and Duncan Grant went to the Admiralty and were shown in to Mr McKenna. And there they had a very queer interview. They tried to explain that they didn't want to get the admiral into trouble; and Mr McKenna dismissed the idea that such foolish people could get so great a man into a scrape, and pointed out that one of them had committed a forgery and was liable to go to gaol. So they argued at loggerheads. The truth was I think that Mr McKenna was secretly a good deal amused, and liked the hoax, but didn't want it repeated. At any rate he treated them as if they were school boys, and told them not to do it again. But we heard afterwards that one result of our visit had been that the regulations were tightened up; and that rules were made about telegrams that make it almost impossible now to repeat the joke. I am glad to think that I too have been of help to my country. With that interview with the First Lord of the Admiralty we hoped that the affair was over. But no-there was still the navy to reckon with. I was just getting out of bed on Sunday morning soon afterwards when there was a ring at the bell; and then I heard a man's voice downstairs. I seemed to recognise the voice. It was my cousins. It was Willy Fisher. And though I could [not] hear what he said I could tell that he was saying something very forcible. At last the voices ceased and brother appeared. He was in his dressing gown. He looked very upset. And he told me that Willy Fisher had been in a towering rage; had said he had found out who we were. And he was horrified. Did we realise that all the little boys ran after Admiral May in the street calling out Bunga Bunga? Did we realise that we owed our lives to the British Navy? Did we realise that we were impertinent, idotic? Did we realise that we ought to be whipped through the streets, did we realise that if we had been discovered we should have been stripped naked and thrown into the sea? And so on and so on. My brother throught he was going to whip a knife out of his sleeve and proceed to blows. But no, Willy Fisher explained that since my brother's mother was his own Aunt, the rules of the Navy forbade any actual physical punishment. Then he asked: 'I know who the others were; and now you've got to tell me their addresses.' This my brother did. The next moment he realised his mistake. But it was too late. And Willy Fisher dashed out of the house brushing aside the hand which my brother-who was after all his first cousin-held out to him. We hadn't long to wait before we heard what happened next. Three naval officers were waiting outside in a taxi. They drove off to the address in Hampstead where Duncan Grant lived. Duncan Grant was just sitting down to breakfast with his father and mother. They sent word that a friend was outside and wished to speak to him. Duncan Grant got up and went down into the street. One of the young men tipped him up and flung him head foremost into [the taxi.] Mrs Grant, who was looking out of the window saw her son disappear head foremost and turned back in alarm. "What on earth are we to do" she asked her husband. "Someone's kidnapping Duncan." Major Grant who had been in the army himself merely smiled and said "I expect its his friends from the Dreadnought." Duncan Grant found that he was sitting on the floor at the feet of three large men who carried a bundle of canes. Duncan asked where they were taking him?

"You'll see plenty of Dreadnoughts where you're going" said Willy Fisher. At last they stopped somewhere in a lonely part of Hampstead Heath. They all got out. Duncan Grant stood there like a lamb. It was useless to fight. They were three against one. And this rather upset them. t "I can't make this chap out" said one of the officers. He doesnt put up any fight. You can't cane a chap like that". My cousin however ordered them to proceed. He was too high in the service to lend a hand himself. And so, very reluctantly, one of the junior officers took a cane and gave Duncan Grant two ceremonial taps. Then they said the honour of the navy was avenged. There was Ducan Grant standing without a hat in his bedroom slippers. They at once conceived an affection for him and I am not surprised. They were really sorry for him. "You can't go home like that" they said. But Duncan Grant felt that he would much rather go home in the tube in his slippers than be driven back by the officers. And so he shuffled off; and the officers disappeared in their car.

Was that the end of it? I was beginning to hope it was. For I had heard almost enough about the Dreadnought Hoax. But it wasnt the end. The sceret had leaked out. All our freinds and relations had got wind of it. By every post letters poured in upon us. We used to read them aloud to each other at breakfast. And they were and go into raors of laughter. Some were invitations from people we csracely knew. Great adies implored us to come to their parties--and please they added, do come dressed as Abyssininas. Then editors asked us to write artciles; to give interviews to have our photographs published. We could have made our firtunes that spring, if we had chsone. But there was another side of it. Many of our freinds and relations were furious. They said we had degraded our family name; and were a disgrace to the arents who had borne us. I remember in particualr a letter from an old cousin, I wish I had kept it. I can only say that she told me that after this exhibition, which she said was in the worst of taste, and showed that I was--oh all sorts of disagreeable things, she must cease to have anything to do with me, unless I apologised and swore never never to take part in such a hoax again. Bu the same post however we got another letter. y w from the off cers of HM S Hawk. And it ran something like this. "The Flag Lieutenant of the Hawk presents his compliments to the Rpyal Princes of Abyysinia; and begs to inform them that the officers mess xxxxx congra ulates them upon their He wishes to congratylae them upon their courageous and successful Hoax; and to inform them that their healths were in the officers mess' drunk with full honours last night &refused the invitation

[This final paragraph is transcribed from the papers in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library (reel 12, M114 of the microfilm)]

24 at the Officers mess."

There is only one thing to add. About a week or twilater the real Emperor of Abyssinia arrived in London. He complai that thexlitxlexboyxx wherever he went the street boys ran after him calling out Bunga Bunga, and when he asked the first Lord of the admiralty whether he might visit the channel Fleet, Mr Mckenna replied that he regretted to inform his Majesty that it was quite impossible.

Notes to the Transcript

Peter Stansky's invaluable research on Bloomsbury and 1910 contextualizes these notes. His narrative gives a thorough overview of the hoax, and I reference some of his research when most germane to the lecture. See also S.P. Rosenbaum's excellent presentation, "Occasions." Rosenbaum's research is foundational to mine.

Page One

I wonder if nay of you Woolf's audience is made up of the women of the Rodmell Women's Institute. The Women's Institute movement was begun in 1915 under the auspices of the Agricultural Organisation Society. The overview organization later became the Board of Agriculture, and by 1919 was "an independent, democratic organization, publishing its own monthly magazine, Home and Country. By 1925 it had a quarter of a million members" (Morgan 30). The specific Rodmell Women's Institute was founded in 1919, out of the Sussex Federation, which was formed in 1917 (see Rodmell), and it, like every village chapter, "operated fundamentally around a monthly meeting [which] consisted of the business, one or two talks or demonstrations, tea (known as the cement of the movement), and the entertainment half hour" (Morgan 31). (See Women's.)

an account of what he called the greatest hoax in history Woolf refers, possibly, to the April 1, 1940 radio talk on Horace Cole: "Horace Cole--King of Jokers; A talk by Joseph Hone" ("Broadcasting"). Rosenbaum also cites this radio talk as the catalyst for Woolf's ("Occasions" 155).

the wireless version The word "wireless" came into use in the late 1890s, with the wireless telegraph. By 1903, "wireless" also referred to wireless "telephony" (sound broadcasting), including radio broadcasts (OED).

Dreadnough[t] The Dreadnought, H.M.S., was both a specific British battleship, launched in 1906, and a type of ship. It changed naval warfare because the Dreadnought had the largest range and superior weaponry. All existing ships were now "obsolete" and "a dreadnought-building war between Britain and Germany" ensued. By the beginning of World War I, Britain had nineteen and Germany thirteen of these types of ships ("Dreadnought HMS" 206). The dreadnoughts used turbine engines instead of steam engines and the majority of the guns used were 12-inch, replacing smaller armaments (Abbatiello). The Dreadnought was the flagship of the Home Fleet 1907-1912, sunk the German submarine U-29 in 1915, and was taken for scrap metal in 1922 ("HMS Dreadnought").

Avyssinia Abyssinia is now known as Ethiopia. See also Stansky's note (253-4).

Horace Cole is underlined by hand in red ink.

Horace Cole William Horace de Vere Cole, 1881-1936, is now known in the history books as a prankster. He "was both conceited and lustful," states Richard Davenport-Hines, adding that "Who's Who excluded him after he filled in his recreation as 'f--g'."

neville Cgamberlain Arthur Neville Chamberlain (1869-1940). He did not begin his political career until after the Dreadnought Hoax; in 1911 he was elected to the Birmingham City Council. He became Prime Minister in 1937, resigning in 1940 when Germany invaded the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.

Annie Cole Anne de Vere Cole (1883-1967), the daughter of William Utting Cole (an army officer) and his wife, Mary de Vere.

she become the wife of a Prime Minister Anne de Vere Cole and Arthur Neville Chamberlain married in 1911, after the Dreadnought Hoax. He was forty-one; she was twenty-eight.

South [A]fr[i]can war The South African War, 1899-1902, was the British name for this war. It was also known as the Boer War and the Anglo-Boer War. Great Britain had annexed the Transvaal in 1877. In 1881, Britain gave the Transvaal self-government, and in 1884 ceased to hold special rights. By 1899, however, gold in the Transvaal was so lucrative that Britain created a pretext for invasion. The British insisted that voting rights be given to foreign temporary residents, and the Transvaal declared war. Fighting against 450,000 British troops, 88,000 Boer guerilla fighters defended with striking victories, especially at first. Negotiations ended the war (see Goldstein).

Page Two

a great ,any stories going the rounds about Horace Cole Richard DavenportHines recalls another hoax: "Once he was driving in a taxi with Shane Leslie and a dummy of a nude woman; as the taxi passed a policeman at Piccadilly he opened its door, banged the dummy's head on the road shouting 'ungrateful hussy!' and drove off at high speed." See Bell, "Introduction," for another of Horace Cole's elaborate jokes, that one involving a tape measure and two innocent bystanders.

my brohter Adrian Stephen (1883-1948), Virginia (Stephen) Woolf's brother, was two years younger than she. Adrian Stephen was at Trinity 1902-1905.

who was then an undergraduate at Cambr idge from 1902-1905. They played the Zanzibar Hoax in 1905, when he was studying for his exams.

They s[e]nt a wire to the Mayor ofCambridge Algernon S. Campkin was Mayor of Cambridge 1904 to 1905. He was a pharmacist by trade; thus, Adrian Stephen, in his own version of the Dreadnought Hoax, refers to him as "a Cambridge tradesman (he kept a chemist's shop)," differentiating him as someone who could be hoaxed with impunity, as opposed to the Naval officers who were "'men of honour'" (29).

the Sultan of Zanzibar Sayyid Ali bin Hamud Al-Busaid was the Sultan of Zanzibar from 1902 until he abdicated in 1911. In 1890, Zanzibar became a British Protectorate, and in 1911 the Sultan attended the Coronation of King George V. Zanzibar was made up of two islands off the coast of what was then Tanganyika. (They joined in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.)

sent down expelled

Page Three

I was living with my brother then in London. At 29 Fitzroy Square from 1907 to 1911.

My brother had come home from his chambers Adrian Stephen studied law. Chambers are lawyers' offices, in the Temple area of London.

Page Four

The Hawk was a battleship oin the Channel Fleet. Probably Woolf refers to the HMS Hawke. The HMS Hawke was built in 1891. An armored cruiser, she was already, by the time of the Dreadnought, obsolete. She collided with RMS Olympic in 1911 under the command of Commander W.F. Blunt; it was judged she was not at fault. She was sunk by a U-boat in 1914, and Captain Williams, 26 officers, and 500 men died ("HMS Hawke"). (See also Rosenbaum "Occasions" 157-8).

the Em[p]erorr of Abyssinianwas in Europe Menelik II (1844-1913) was the Emperor of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) from 1889 to 1913. He had a cerebral hemorrhage in 1906 and a stroke in 1909. His grandson, Lij Yasu, his heir, acted for him, with Taytu (Menelek's wife) as regent. It is, then, unclear who the "emperor" visiting England would have been, since Menelik II was incapacitated and Lij Yasu was not yet Emperor (see "Menelik" 279). See also Stansky's characterization (18 and 22).

Toulon France's principal naval base, with an arsenal. Toulon borders the Mediterranean Sea in southeastern France, across from Northwestern Africa. It is capital of Var departement, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region.

Weymouth where the Fleet lay Weymouth is a port and seaside resort on the English Channel.

the Admirla of the fleet Since "Admiral" is also the title of any senior naval officer, and the Admiral has the interchangeable title of flag officer who commands a group of ships, Woolf must have been referencing Admiral Sir William May (see page 11 of Woolf's typescript).

Page Five

two of the conspirators hadfubked it A typing error places the word between "fucked" (in general use in 1910) and "fubbed." The past tense of "fub" means "to cheat, impose upon, put off deceitfully" (OED). Ben Johnson used "fubb'd" in The Alchemist, defined by James T. Henke (using Hazelton Spencer's annotation) as "Cheated (Spencer), with glance at 'fucked'" (392).

[handwritten insertion (over the line): youll want to know how to swim]

another fre[ien]id of ours Duncan Grant happened to look in that night Duncan James Corrowr Grant (1885-1978) lived down the street at 21 Fitzroy Square. In 1911, he joined Virginia and Adrian (and Maynard Keynes and Leonard Woolf), sharing a house at 38 Brunswick Square (see Rosenbaum, Bloomsbury). Quentin Bell (revised by Frances Spalding), writes in ODNB, that "the turning point in Grant's career came in 1910, when he responded to the implications of a French post-impressionist exhibition which Roger Fry had mounted at the Grafton Galleries in London. He rid himself abruptly of all the pictorial conventions that had previously governed his art and experimented with an expressive handling of line, colour, and form."

Page Six

Clarksons the theatrical costumier in Garrick Steert Willy Clarkson (1861-1934). Harry J. Greenwall records a version of the Dreadnought Hoax in his biography of Clarkson (36-39). (I thank Stuart Clarke for drawing this version to my attention.) Clarkson was a prominent wig-maker, costume designer, and make-up artist. He made wigs for the Royal family, and owned the Duchess Theatre. His first shop was on Wellington Street, and his second was on Wardour Street. Both shops were in Westminster, close to Garrick Street (see McLaren).

Horace cole was to be a young man from the F O The Foreign Office is the executive department that handles foreign affairs. Formed in 1782, the head of the Foreign Office was the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the official agent of the crown in all communications between Great Britain and foreign powers.

We went to the Charing Crsoss Road An area of London with many bookshops.

and bought a Swahili grammer Adrian Stephen, in his account of the hoax, gives the reasoning for learning Swahili as a language spoken in Africa: "He and I [Horace Cole and Adrian Stephen] went and lunched together, however, and spent our time largely in the attempt to teach me [Adrian] the Swahili language. Swahili is, I believe, spoken in some parts of East Africa. Whether it is spoken in Abyssinia or not I don't know, but we thought it might be as well for me to know a few phrases, and to that end we had bought a grammar from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Of course, when the time came, I could hardly remember two words, though some newspapers later described us as having talked 'fluent Abyssinian'" (33-4).

I remember telling my old cook Sophie (or Sophy) Farrell had been the cook for the Stephen family at 22 Hyde Park Gate. She moved with the four Stephen children to Gordon Square in 1904, and again with Adrian and Virginia to 29 Fitzroy Square in 1907.

Page Seven

When we got to Paddington the porters and the-mil[k]men gaped Paddington Station, established 1854, connects London with South Wales and Bristol. Stansky records that the train left from Paddington at 12:40 (41).

and the-mil[k]men gaped "gaped" is underlined by hand.

Page Eight

Tony Buxton; the Emperor Anthony Buxton (1881-1970), Trinity College Cambridge BA (1904), wrote Fisherman Naturalist (published in 1946) and Travelling Naturalist (published in 1948).

the Emperor Yet, see the interesting inconsistencies presented by Peter Stansky (40). Stansky quotes Admiral Sir William May's report to the Admiralty, in which May states that Cole introduced Buxton as "Prince Makalen," a cousin of the Emperor, to Flag Commander Fisher. Was the character the "Emperor" or "Prince Makalen"? Was the group's story (even at the time) consistent? Possibly, Woolf simply followed, erroneously, her brother Adrian Stephen's 1936 account.

Guy Ridley; Duncan Grant and myself. were princes Guy Ridley (1885-1947) became a solicitor.

they had sent a forged telegram; just as we left Paddington It ran thus; Please receive the Emp of A and suite and hos whtem all hopistality. From "Please" through "hospitality" is underlined by hand in red ink.

This was signed Hardinge. Now Hradinge was the name of the for sec. Sir Edward Grey was the Foreign Secretary in 1910. Woolf must refer to Charles Hardinge (1858-1944), a diplomat who in 1910 was appointed governor-general of India in 1910 ("Henry"). From 1906 until this new appointment, he had been the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office. Adrian Stephen, in his 1936 account, also states that "Hardinge" was the name signed (33).

Page Nine

Wiily Fisher is the Commander of the Dreadnought Sir William Wordsworth Fisher (1875-1937). His mother was Mary Louisa nee Jackson (an older sister of Julia Prinsep Stephen, Virginia Woolf's mother). He began his military career in 1888, became a Commander in 1906 (Papers), and became the flag commander in the Dreadnought in 1909 (Thursfield).

we were getting The phrase is underlined by hand in red ink.

Page Eleven

Perhaps their His majesty would like to know that the guard of honour is composed of marines; they are otwo kinds and he went on to explain that omse of them were the red marines and others the blue marines Possibly, the red and blue marines refer to the division in the British Naval Fleet. In 1620, the fleet was "formed into three squadrons with the admiral commanding the centre squadron, his ship flying red ensigns. The vice admiral in the van squadron flew white ensigns, and the rear admiral flew blue ensigns in his squadron" ("admiral").

"Perhaps their His majesty would like to know that the guard of honour is composed of marines; they are otwo kinds The phrase is underlined by hand in red ink.

Entaquoi, mahai, kustufani underlined by hand in red ink.

then I heard the Admiral say underlined by hand in blue ink

I must ask you to apolog se to his majesty for because we didnt play t e Abyssian national anthem underlined in red ink

So he handed us over to his flag lieutenant The flag lieutenant is the junior officer who serves as the admiral's aide-de-camp.

his Captain; who w Catain richmond Herbert William Richmond (1871-1946) served as Captain of the HMS Dreadnought 1909-1911. He was the son of the Slade Professor at Oxford University, Sir William Blake Richmond.

Page Thirteen

Now perhaps his Majesty would like to [begin strikethrough]xxlixx[end strikethrough] see our wireless equpiment. They were very proud of it. It was of course the newest and themost efficient kind. "The Times" reported in 1904 that "all the British warships, from the third-class cruisers up, are equipped with Marconi" ("'The Times'"). Wireless technology was known as "Marconi," since Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) was "the first to transmit radio signals to a mobile receiver on ships in the early 1900s" (Krishnamurthy 219).

The wind As Umbrella A said he mentioned cold The handwritten side comments suggest that Woolf was taking notes from Adrian Stephen's account. Nowhere in the typed manuscript does she mention Adrian's umbrella, but Adrian Stephen mentions both umbrella and the cold: "I saw Duncan's moustache was beginning to peel off. A slight breeze had got up, and a little rain began to fall, so that I was terrified what might happen next. I did what I could with an umbrella, but there were five people to cover, and then I saw the obvious solution. I spoke to the captain of the heat of the Abyssinian climate and the chill of England, and he saw my point at once and took us below. For a moment or two I had to separate Duncan from the rest and dab hastily at his upper lip" (44-5).

Page Fourteen

a salute if twenty one guns A Naval tradition to indicate honor. The custom began with warships showing peaceful intentions: they disarmed themselves by firing out to sea. By 1730, a twenty-one-gun salute was custom in the Royal Navy; it later came to indicate the highest honor.

Page Fifteen

His name was Peter Willoughby Stansky reports that he was "P. R. H. D. Willoughby, a son of the Earl of Ancaster" (40).

the battle of Jutlad The Battle of Jutland, May 31-June 1, 1916, a major battle between the British and Germans in the North Sea (the arm of the North Sea called Skagerrak), off the coast of Jutland, Denmark.

Page Sixteen

the Star of AEthiopia The chivalric Order of the Star of Ethiopia was founded by Menelik in 1874 before he became Emperor. It consists of five classes: Knight Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer, and Member.

Page Seventeen

There was no restuarnt car n the train until we reached was it Swindon From Weymouth, the route is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southeast to Swindon. From Swindon, the route would be about 80 miles (129 kilometers) east to London. Peter Stansky quotes a report made by Admiral May, who identified the train the party took as the 6 p.m. one (28).

Page Eighteen

Horace Cole it is true came round next mornin with a photographer; and the who e troupe lined up and was photographed [....] There was the phtograoh of the Emperor of Abyssinia. on a placard. The photograph is widely reproduced: see Curtis, Gilmore, Lehmann, Phillips, Stansky, Stephen, and Rosenbaum (Bloomsbury). Another, with some of the participants seated, is reproduced in Bell, Reid, Stephen, and on the web, "Hoaxipedia."

It w called the Dreadnought Hoax. There was a long article upon it. The article appeared on Wednesday 16 February 1910. Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe founded The Daily Mirror in 1903. It was the first halfpenny daily to print photographs, a practice that gave it the reputation for "tabloid journalism" (Ure). See Stansky's presentation of the articles written about the hoax at the time (32-35).

Page Nineteen

I didnt want myAun Mrs sher to know. Mrs. Mary Fisher (1841-1916), mother of Willy Fisher, sister of Julia Stephen. In 1897, Virginia Stephen writes that she is "fearful of Aunt Mary" (Passionate Apprentice 130).

I was farid that if they found out who had sent it, that person--a very innocent young man called Castle Tudor Castle. See Stansky's narrative, in which he quotes the telegram and gives Castle's name and address, Tudor R. Castle of 33 Addison Road, Kensington (41).

Some member of Parliament had seen the daily Mirror--indeed the story had been in mall the paoers; and he got up and asked whether his Mjesties government were aware that a party of irreposnieble and foolish people had dressed themselves up as Abyssinians and gone on board the Dreadnought. The MP was Captain William Vavasour Faber, Conservative MP in the House of Commons for Andover, Hampshire, 1906-1918. See the records for The House of Commons, Parliament, in The Times, Thursday, March 3, 1910, page 8, under "Abyssinians."

Pages Twenty to Twenty-Two

These three pages are missing from the Women's Library manuscript; the originals are transcribed by Quentin Bell in his biography of Virginia Woolf (Volume I, Appendix E, 213-216).

Great adies implored us to come to their parties--and please they added, do come dressed as Abyssininas. Yuko Ito connects the Dreadnought Hoax to costume parties of this time period.

another old cousin said that she knew very well that I had only been led into the vulgar exploit because I had [not] found Christ She begged me to find him instantly Stansky references the letter from the cousin, housed in the Berg Collection. The cousin, Dorothea Jane Stephen, wrote on 3 March 1910 (27 and 254, n.10). Stephen Barkway also gives an account of the letter, documenting Woolf's reply as well (24).

[begin strikethrough]inform them that the officers mess xxxxx congra ulates them upon their[end strikethrough] Woolf crossed through this material by hand, not by type.

Last Paragraph

Typescript from the Berg Collection, New York Public Library.

Works Cited

Abbatiello, John. "Dreadnought." Encyclopedia of Modern Europe: Europe 1789-1914. Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire. Eds. John Merriman and Jay Winter. Vol. 2. Detroit: Scribner's, 2006. 681-683. 5 vols.

"Abyssinians." The Times. Thursday, March 3, 1910. 8.

"admiral." Encyclopedia Britannica 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 19 Sept 2008.

Barkway, Stephen. "The 'Dreadnought' Hoax: TheAftermath for 'Prince Sanganya' and 'His' Cousins." Virginia Woolf Bulletin 21 (2006): 20-27.

Bell, Quentin. "Grant, Duncan James Corrowr (1885-1978)." Rev. Frances Spalding. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. 24 Oct. 2008 www.

--. Virginia Woolf: A Biography. New York: Harcourt, 1972.

"Broadcasting." Arts and Entertainment. The Times [London] 1 Apr. 1940: 13.

Curtis, Anthony. Virginia Woolf: Bloomsbury and Beyond. London: Haus Publishing, 2006.

Davenport-Hines, Richard. "Cole, (William) Horace De Vere (1881-1936)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004. 26 Sept. 2008. www.

"Dreadnought HMS." The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics. Ed. John Ramsden. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. 206.

Gilmore, Lois J. "Virginia Woolf, Bloomsbury, and the Primitive." Ed. Jeanette McVicker and Laura Davis. Virginia Woolf and Communities. New York, NY: Pace UP, 1999. 127-35.

Goldstein, Erik. War and Peace Treaties: 1861-1991. London: Routledge, 1992.

Greenwall, Harry J. The Strange Life of Willy Clarkson: An Experiment in Biography. London: John Long, 1936.

Henke, James T. Courtesans and Cuckolds: A Glossary of Renaissance Dramatic Bawdy (Exclusive of Shakespeare). New York: Garland, 1979.

"Henry Hardinge." NNDB. 1 May 2008.

"HMS Dreadnought." Navy Historical Center Home Page. 4 October 2008.

"HMS Hawke." 4 October 2008.

"Hoaxipedia." 2008. The Museum of Hoaxes. 19 September 2008. www.

Ito, Yuko. "The Exoticised Space in Virginia Woolf's Parties and the 'Dreadnought Hoax.'" Chubu International Review 2 (April 2007): 9-34.

Kennard, Jean E. "Power and Sexual Ambiguity: The 'Dreadnought' Hoax, The Voyage Out, Mrs. Dalloway and Orlando." Journal of Modern Literature 20.2 (1996): 149-164.

Krishnamurthy, Prashant. "Wireless Technology." Computer Sciences. Ed. Roger R. Flynn. Vol. 2: Software and Hardware. New York: Macmillan, 2002. 218-221.

Lee, Hermione. Virginia Woolf. New York: Knopf, 1997.

Lehmann, John. Virginia Woolf and Her World. New York: Harcourt, 1975.

McLaren, Angus. "Smoke and Mirrors: Willy Clarkson and the Role of Disguises in Inter-War England." Journal of Social History 40 (2007): 597-618.

"Menelik II." Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia. Eds. Thomas P. Ofcansky and David H. Shinn. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow P, 2004. 279.

Morgan, Maggie. "The Women's Institute Movement--The Acceptable Face of Feminism." This Working-Day World: Women's Lives and Culture(s) in Britain 1914-1945. Ed. Sybil Oldfield. Philadelphia: Taylor and Francis, 1994. 29-39.

The Papers of Admiral Sir William Fisher. Ref Number GBR/0014 WWFI, Churchill Archives Centre.

Pawlowski, Merry. "The Virginia Woolf and Vera Douie Letters: Woolf's Connections to the Women's Service Library." Woolf Studies Annual 8 (2002): 3-62.

Phillips, Kathy J. Virginia Woolf Against Empire. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 1994.

Reid, Panthea. "Virginia Woolf and the Prince of Abyssinia."Biography 22.3 (Summer 1999): 323-55.

Rodmell Women's Institute. 14 Aug 2008. php?page=324.

Rosenbaum, S. P., ed. The Bloomsbury Group: A Collection of Memoirs and Commentary. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1975.

--, ed. "The Dreadnought Hoax." Platform. 182-200.

--. "Occasions." Platform. 151-163.

--, ed. The Platform of Time: Memoirs of Family and Friends. 2nd Ed. London: Hesperus P, 2008.

Spencer, Hazelton, ed. Elizabethan Plays. Boston: Little, Brown, 1933.

Stansky, Peter. On or About December 1910: Early Bloomsbury and its Intimate World. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1996.

Stephen, Adrian. The Dreadnought Hoax. London: Hogarth P, 1936.

"'The Times' and Wireless Telegraphy." News. The Times [London] 15 June 1904: 4.

Thursfield, H.G. "Fisher, Sir William Wordsworth (1875-1937)," rev. Marc Brodie. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford UP, 2004-08.

Ure, Colin Seymour. "Northcliffe's Legacy." Northcliffe's Legacy: Aspects of the British Popular Press, 1896-1996. Eds. Peter Catterall, Colin Seymour Ure, and Adrian Smith. London: Macmillan P, 2000. 9-25.

Women's Institute Website. 10 July 2008.

Woolf, Virginia. "The Dreadnought Hoax." 5FWI/H/45 The Women's Library, London Metropolitan University.

--. "The Dreadnought Hoax." Ed. Quentin Bell. Virginia Woolf. Appendix E. 213-216.

--. A Passionate Apprentice: The Early Journals, 1897-1909. Ed. Mitchell A. Leaska. New York: Harcourt, 1990.

--. Typescript, Last Page, Rodmell Lecture. The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, The New York Public Library. Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. Reel 12, M 114.

--. A Writer's Diary. (1954). New York: Harcourt, 2003.
COPYRIGHT 2009 Pace University Dba: Pace University Press
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Johnston, Georgia
Publication:Woolf Studies Annual
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Previous Article:Abbreviations.
Next Article:A translation of his own: Borges and a room of one's own.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters