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Mme. [?] De Mérey

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De Mérey, Mme. I Mad. De Meley I, d. 1855, Hungarian refugee. Well-educated woman; wife of wealthy nobleman, a staff officer in Hungarian army. Both husband and wife were friends of Kossuth. Lost their property during Hungarian revolution; fled Hungary in 1849 under assumed name. By Sept. 1850, M. De Mérey was living in Manchester under name "Marton"; his wife arrived shortly thereafter, with their children. In 1851 the family re-assumed the name De Mérey, "which as far as I recollect," wrote Susanna Winkworth, "was their true one." In Manchester, befriended by the Winkworths, the Gaskells, the Salis Schwabes. Were very poor; made living by giving lessons – M. De Mérey in Hungarian and on violin, Mme. De Mérey in French and German. On death of husband in 1.853, Mme. De Mérey set up millinery establishment (Susanna Winkworth, ed., Letters and Memorials of Catherine Winkworth, I, 251-52n, 333n, et passim; Letters of Mrs Gaskell, passim). According to a letter of Stephen Winkworth (Letters and Memorials, I, 259), Mme. de Mérey was the "Caroline Marton" who wrote "Louis Kossuth and His Family," Bentley's Misc., Oct. 1850.




      "The Wild-Flower of the Danube" [V, 266-70. June 5, 1852] is a legend told to Mme. De Mérey by a peasant girl in Hungary. Mme. de Mérey had entrusted the story to Mrs. Salis Schwabe. Mrs. Gaskell wrote to the latter, ca. May 1852: " ... Mme de Mery [sic] has just called; and I have persuaded her to let me try Her Hungarian Legend at Household Words. I think they will take it." If Mrs. Salis Schwabe had "not sent it off anywhere else," Mrs. GaskelI requested that she send it to Wills at the H.W. office, "With Mrs Gaskell's compliments just that they may know which MS to open, when I write to them about it" (Letters, No. 1.28). In the Office Book the notation "per Mrs. Gaskell" accompanies the contributor's name.

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971. 

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