The Scarlet Tree

The Scarlet Tree

The Scarlet Tree

The Scarlet Tree

Excerpt

For readers of The Scarlet Tree who are not acquainted with the first volume of my autobioggraphy Left Hand, Right Hand! I must briefly recapitulate. The left hand symbolizes, as in the conception of a palmist, birth and tradition; the right, what I have made for myself.

Brother to Edith and Sacheverell Sitwell, I was the middle child and elder son of Sir George Reresby Sitwellof Renishaw, and of his wife, formerly Lady Ida Denison, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Londesborough. The two backgrounds of my childhood were Renishaw, home of my ancestors for three centuries, and a neighborhood in which they had been settled since at least 1200, and Scarborough, where we had a house in the town. My father was several times Member of Parliament for that borough, and my maternal grandfather was the great landowner of the district. At the age of twenty-six, my father inherited these large estates and a vast fortune, which, with zest, he set himself to disperse. At the end of the first volume, I relate how my father and mother, and we three children, sat to Sargent for a family group, and how, soon after it had been exhibited in the Royal Academy, my grandfather had died. I was then seven years of age.

My two grandmothers figure in this book; one, the worldly Lady Londesborough, was daughter to the 7th Duke of Beaufort, heir to the Plantagenet dynasty; the other, the unworldly Lady Sitwell, was niece to Lord Donoughmore, and belonged to a family which had produced several men of exceptional . . .

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