“As it progresses, you will see that there is a method behind the strange reports — someone or some people are planting false stories in order to control the behavior of the parties. It could be that Mary was trying to lure him to her bedside, but it doesn’t seem to fit.”
This is super interesting! Honestly, I love the way you’re written Mary’s story. I feel like I’m working towards the climax of an intricate mystery novel, one that just happens to be based on actual historical events, and it’s really quite engrossing!
“It was largely a social problem. Robert was considered responsible for her socially (by upper class people), but had no legal control (unlike a husband). Mary could not handle being controlled, and only submitted to people who she truly respected and trusted, and she did not see her son as her superior in this regard. So every time she did something, some people would ask why Robert wasn’t putting a stop to it. But he couldn’t do so, short of taking legal control.”
This makes a lot of sense. I’m no expert on the social conventions of late 19th century America, but I know enough about the culture of the times to understand how the expectations placed on both Robert and Mary were not only unfair, but probably made their relationship much more complicated than it otherwise would’ve been.
P.S. Based on your research, do you think this “fall” that Mary took in Europe was an actual thing that happened, or just some rumor that traveled so quickly the truth could never catch up?
Also, thanks so much for responding with such detailed answers! I hope they don’t take up too much of your time!