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She was born in India — as were all her children — in and she had married an engineer who designed railway lines the breadth of the Raj, but in , only months after her second child was born, she lost the baby girl to diphtheria. This had a profound and lasting effect on her and she started to drink excessively. Then, in , her husband died of a stroke, which was attributed to overwork, and the family returned to England. This would otherwise have remained a secret, too.

But someone, possibly Larry, discovered she planned to cut and run to Asia, and at the last minute prevented them from sailing. The Durrells spent a couple more years living in Bournemouth, where Gerald was sent briefly to school.

Death Warmed Over

One day when he was nine he fought back against a bully but was punished with six of the best by the headmaster. Louisa responded by removing the boy from school. He never went back. Five go mad on the Island of Adventure. The Durrells sold the house and all their belongings were boxed up. Gerald gave away his pet white mice to the baker, and his tortoise to his governess 27 years later, she was to ask him whether he wanted it back , and in March they set sail from Tilbury on the SS Hakone Maru, a Japanese cargo boat.

Margo and Gerald, though 16 and ten respectively when they arrived in Corfu in , were miserable with homesickness. Mother was plagued by visions of epidemics. Their first spring on the island was unusually cold and disheartening, but then Spiro, the taxi driver who befriended them from the start, found them a villa with a garden blooming with bougainvillea and marigolds. Soon the brightness and colour and the freedom they discovered in Corfu lifted their spirits. For the Durrells, after their years in England struggling with their family difficulties, it was a rebirth. He went about in a daze, his attention drawn to spiders, caterpillars and flights of butterflies.

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Larry did not live with the family at the villa, he and Nancy taking a small hut looking out on two baby cypresses. On one occasion Leslie was down by the lagoon when he became aware of someone watching him. The young man turned out to be a convict and murderer named Kosti who was out on weekend licence, and was even brought home to meet Louisa and drink a glass of beer. Gerald later stole this story for My Family And Other Animals, claiming it was he who had met the man. There goes the neighbourhood In Nancy became pregnant, but abortions were illegal and only with great difficulty did they persuade a doctor to justify one on health grounds.

The local Greeks, however, saw nothing godly about Larry and Nancy swimming in the nude. Mercer left Washington after the affair and became the governess for the children of Winthrop Rutherfurd , — , a wealthy New York socialite.

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Now in his fifties, Rutherfurd was considered one of society's most eligible widowers. About a year and half later, on February 11, , Mercer became his second wife. Despite Franklin's promise to Eleanor, he kept in contact with Lucy Rutherfurd after her marriage, corresponding with her by letter throughout the s. In , Roosevelt mailed Rutherfurd a copy of his first public lecture after his paralytic illness , privately dedicating it to her with an inscription.


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Winthrop Rutherfurd died in March after a long illness. Aware of Rutherfurd's role in her parents' early marriage, Anna was at first angry that her father had put her in such a difficult position.

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However, she ultimately relented and set up a meeting in Georgetown. To her surprise, Anna found that she liked Rutherfurd immediately, and the pair became friends. There were supposedly several dinners in the White House 's second floor private quarters during Roosevelt's last year which were attended by Rutherfurd in a group with Anna's presence and obvious acceptance. In early April , Anna arranged for Rutherfurd to come over from her South Carolina estate in Aiken to meet her father at his " Little White House " in Warm Springs , Georgia , the small plain rustic cottage built at the polio therapy center by the heated mineral water springs resort that Roosevelt helped develop beginning in the s.

Rutherfurd and Shoumatoff along with two female cousins were sitting there as the artist worked on her painting of Roosevelt as he sat at a card table by the living room stone fireplace, fine-tuning a future speech and reading over some other papers on the early afternoon of April 12, In this quiet domestic scene as the two had just been smiling at each other, Roosevelt suddenly placed his hand up on his forehead and temple, saying "I have a terrific headache", then slumped over losing consciousness.

Later his two doctors called in quickly said he suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage. Since a thorough medical exam a year before, he had received increasingly more intensive care and concern from a young recently recruited private physician. In , Rutherfurd's sister Violetta committed suicide after her husband requested a divorce, and only a month later on Christmas Day , her mother Minnie died ay age Following Roosevelt's death, his administration concealed from the press the fact that Rutherfurd had been present during his death, fearing the scandal that would ensue.

Shoumatoff's presence became known, and she gave a press conference to address questions, but managed to hide Rutherfurd's role and was even not mentioned in early post-war biographies and administration histories for almost two decades. Though it was reported several times in Eleanor's lifetime that Roosevelt had had a serious affair with an unnamed Catholic woman, this remained only a rumor for decades. The Mercer—Roosevelt affair became wider public knowledge in , when revealed in "The Time Between the Wars" , a memoir of the decades s and s, written by Jonathan W.

Daniels , — , a former Roosevelt aide from to Mercer's friendship with Franklin Roosevelt is portrayed in the well-regarded TV mini-series " Eleanor and Franklin " starring Edward Herrmann and Jane Alexander , with Mercer portrayed by actress Linda Kelsey from the telecast, a second series was also subsequently broadcast in entitled " Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years " with flash-backs to earlier episodes and based on the earlier best-selling biography of the same name by Eleanor's personal friend Joseph P.

Lash in Also, two decades later in the documentary film, also televised for the Public Broadcasting Service PBS , The Roosevelts , directed by noted documentary film-maker Ken Burns , with an accompanying companion pictorial book by Geoffrey Perrett. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Lucy Page Mercer Rutherfurd.

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Washington, DC. Winthrop Rutherfurd m. Franklin D. Roosevelt c. The Nevada Daily Mail. Retrieved January 28,