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S. Macnaughtan

(1864—1916) nurse and author


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(1864–1916). Born in Scotland, one of eight children of an upper-middle-class family in Renfrewshire, and educated by German and English governesses, she travelled in the Americas, the Near East and India. She nursed during the Boer and First World Wars and was the author of fourteen volumes of intelligent, humorous, mildly feminist fiction, often set in high society, between 1898 and 1916. The Fortune of Christina M'Nab (1901) begins with a woman breaking off her engagement to an electrical engineer because she inherits £18,000 a year, and ends with her breaking off her engagement to a duke to return to him. The Gift (1904) is the story of a woman who has had an unhappy childhood, grows up full of religious aspirations, does social work, cannot marry the man who loves her, and embarrassingly declares her love for a celibate priest. The Expensive Miss Du Cane (1907) a country-house story in which the unconventional but scrupulously well-bred (the two qualities together constituting her expensiveness) heroine very nearly finds a husband worthy of her. The Three Miss Graemes (1908) are Scots girls living on an ancestral island off the west coast of Scotland with their widowed father, whose mad jealousy of a beautiful wife had tragic consequences. He has since gambled away the family estate, and when he dies his daughters throw themselves on the mercy of their aunt, Lady Parfield, a good-hearted, businesslike, popular woman with a thriving establishment in London. Macnaughtan also published My Canadian Memories (1920), My War Experiences in Two Continents (1919), and A Woman's Diary of the War (1915). Reviewers commented on her interesting treatment of older women characters. Us Four (1909) is some autobiographical sketches about her childhood; they contain little detail.

From The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.


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