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689RE: [Evelyn_Waugh] Sword of Honour-disinheritance?

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  • Jeffrey Manley
    Jul 30, 2014
      Here's another problem with the Wikipedia entry.  It describes Waugh's description of the irony as that the two sons of Guy and Domenica would be "dispossessed" not "disinherited" by Trimmer's bastard.  That may be a more accurate of describing the affect of the entail since they would continue to "inherit" any property of Guy that was not subject to the entail--ie, not part of the Broome estate. 

      From: manleyjm@...
      To: evelyn_waugh@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [Evelyn_Waugh] Sword of Honour-disinheritance?
      Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:46:27 -0400

      I don't know who is responsible for the Wikipedia entry but it is lacking here in two respects.  The letter Waugh wrote claiming "no nippers for Guy" was to Anthony Powell, not Nancy Mitford.  And the inheritance of which any such nippers would be deprived would be the estate at Broome which would go under usual practice to the eldest son under an entail that would not be affected by Guy's own will.  I don't recall any discussion in the novels of whether such an entail existed for the Broome estate (perhaps Roman Catholics didn't follow that rather cruel practice) but I believe it was the assumption of such a provision that underlays Waugh's reference to the "disinheritance" of any younger sons.  Uncle Peregrine's bequest may have been to Trimmer's son by name rather than to Guy's heirs generally.  The text reads "the child" of which at that time Peergrine made the will there was only one. Even if that bequest were to Guy's heirs generally, Nigel is quite correct that they would not be "disinherited" by an entail.  The Wikipedia entry might be less confusing if some of this were spelled out.

      From: Evelyn_Waugh@yahoogroups.com
      To: Evelyn_Waugh@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:35:42 +0100
      Subject: [Evelyn_Waugh] Sword of Honour-disinheritance?


      The Wikipedia entry for SoH states: "After the end of the war Guy meets the daughter of another old Roman Catholic family and marries her. In Waugh's first version of the novel's conclusion, Guy and his second wife produce further children who are ironically to be disinherited by Trimmer's son. Waugh altered this ending to an uncompromisingly childless marriage in the revised text, after realising that some readers interpreted such a conclusion as hopeful. "No nippers for Guy," he clarified in a letter to Nancy Mitford. Even so, Waugh died in 1966 but the Penguin 1974 reprint he has two sons with (his wife) Domenica Plessington." (my italics)
      That Guy and his second wife produce further children who are ironically to be disinherited by Trimmer's son is not a reading that is substantiated by the first edition. It states on the final page (311) "Angela's Uncle Peregrine left his little bit to the child. Wasn't such a very little bit either." No reference there to Guy's will. Also as young Trimmer (Gervase) is the elder of the three children  and Guy's lawful heir there is no reason to assume any disinheritance.
      However, as Waugh changed the ending, this perhaps shouldn't concern us? Although, as with inheritance and wills, precedence usually counts.
      Nigel PJ

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