"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
As portrayed by [biographer Kate] Williams, the meeting between "the ambassadress sex bomb and the virile captain" was as volcanic as the periodic eruptions of nearby Mt. Vesuvius. Their initial attraction, apparently evident to English gossip columnists, became infatuation upon Nelson's return to Naples after defeating the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile. "To the delight of the watching audience," Williams reports, "[Emma] arrived on deck and flung herself against him, exclaiming in happiness and shedding sympathetic tears over his wounds" -- which included the loss of an arm and blindness in one eye. For his part, Nelson "describ[ed] his heart as fluttering with confusion."
Poor Sir William [Hamilton], doting upon his beautiful wife, pragmatically aware that his own security was dependent on Nelson's success and "simply too tired to protest against being cuckolded," complaisantly invited the admiral to live with him and Emma in a ménage à trois that was soon providing fodder for every scandal sheet in Europe. Neither he nor Nelson nor Emma seemed to care; when he was called home to England -- Emma having in the meantime earned the Cross of Malta for her efforts in sending supplies of food to the besieged inhabitants of that island -- their arrangement continued, only to be halted by Hamilton's death, from after-effects of dysentery contracted in Naples in 1803. "Unhappy day for the forlorn Emma," his widow wrote. She seems to have really loved him.
But she loved Nelson more, with a recklessness that doomed her...
The image above, Emma Hamilton as Bacchante, painted circa 1790-91 by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, features Mt Vesuvius in the background.
A serendipitous route led me to Lady Hamilton. A Michigan primary-inspired search for an image of George Romney turned up a site devoted to the English painter of that name, famously obsessed by the model who was his muse:
In the four years between April 1782 and March 1786 alone, Emma sat to Romney well over 100 times. The outcome of their relationship was a sequence of fancy portraits and literary subjects with dramatic heroines - over sixty paintings which take Emma as their inspiration or definining feature.