Table 6 “Table For Mrs Holtby”


This may have been a rather quiet and reflective table, depending upon who were the two mystery guests of Winifred Holtby, a great admirer of Lady Rhondda – and well known to many  in the room. Winifred’s mother, Alice, 74, had buried her husband less than a fortnight before the dinner. She was probably concerned about her daughter Winifred’s health. Back in 1916 Alice’s “unofficially adopted” daughter-in-law, Edith de Coundouroff, 44, had been living with Alice, whilst awaiting the birth of her daughter Margaret. Edith’s Georgian husband, George de Coundouroff, the unofficially adopted son-in-law of the Holtbys, died in the fighting between Red and White Russians in 1919 before his daughter Margaret’s birth. The widowed/single mother Edith thereon lived with the Holtbys for another twenty years, in recent years caring for Mrs Holtby’s husband David. A somewhat complex story. Hopefully the guests of Winifred (perhaps simply stated as her guests if she was the organiser of this table on behalf of her mother) and the buzz of the evening helped to raise their spirits.