Let This Life Speak: The Legacy of Henry Joel Cadbury

By Margaret Hope Bacon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
The Anvil of War

Over the Christmas holidays of 1915, Henry Cadbury and Lydia Caroline Brown announced their engagement to be married, first to their respective families and then to a wider circle of friends. People had begun to be a little concerned that Henry Cadbury, now thirty-two, would never get around to marrying, and the news about the approaching wedding was generally met with rejoicing.

There were, however, a few pockets of reservation. That they were first cousins once removed worried some of Lydia Brown's relatives, and a few of the more sophisticated Cadburys were concerned that the boisterous and outspoken country Browns were not of their social standing. How would uninhibited and plainspoken Lydia function as the wife of a rising scholar who had to attend social events and entertain? The two were in love now, obviously, but would Lydia come to annoy or even embarrass him in public?

By the time of the wedding in June the family had ceased to ask these questions, but they persisted for years among people who did not know Henry and Lydia Cadbury very well. The two were different socially, and as the years passed this difference was accentuated, Lydia Cadbury becoming famous for her outspoken, sometimes outrageous remarks, and Henry Cadbury known for his gentleness and sensitivity. Everyone who was close to the couple, however, saw that the two loved each other very much indeed and rejoiced in their differences. Each was the alter ego the other might wish to be. Lydia said the things Henry was unable to say; Henry's courtly manners pleased Lydia although it was not her nature to emulate him. In public, they pushed each other to extremes. In private they met on equal and quieter ground.

Although Lydia gloried in Henry Cadbury's erudition, she had

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