Ellen
Ellen

The eldest of the sisters, Ellen did not marry as a young woman, and needed to use her good education (The Mount School in York, 1880-83) to earn a living. Not many professions were open to educated women at the time, but writing and (as in her case) translation were socially acceptable for middle-class ladies. In 1901 at age 36 she entered the Nayland Sanatorium as a patient. The sanatorium was mainly for those with TB; she didn’t have TB, but we don’t know why she was there. At the Sanatorium she met the campaigning journalist Fyvell Edmund Garrett, and they married in 1903. She took him away from the Sanatorium and they set up home briefly in St Ives in Cornwall, then at Wiverton Acre near Plympton in Devon from June 1904. She nursed him at home until his death from TB in 1907.

FE-GarrettF E Garrett was born in 1865 in Elton, Derbyshire. He was educated at Rossall School and Trinity College, Cambridge. Not a great academic success, he was however a fluent and engaging writer, who soon found himself writing for the Pall Mall Gazette. Already his health was poor, and he was diagnosed with Phthisis (TB) in 1889, with a recommendation to go to a warmer climate. His interest in politics (he was writing on politics and had close family connections with the Womens’ Suffrage movement) made a career in South Africa attractive. He spent only a few months there on his first visit, and returned to England where he became assistant editor of the Pall Mall Gazette. Soon, however, his health caused him to move south again, this time for a couple of years in Egypt. Then two more years in London were followed by his big opportunity, and in 1895 he took on the editorship of the Cape Times. Within another two years he was also an MP in the Cape Assembly, a far-from-well men running two full-time jobs. The Boer War was fast approaching, and Garrett’s health failing, and by 1899 he was obliged to resign his responsibilities and return to England. Still writing on politics from a succession of sanatoria, he met Ellen Marriage in 1901-02.

Much more information on the sadly abbreviated life of a very able and energetic man is to be found in E.T. Cook’s Edmund Garrett, Edward Arnold 1909. I abstracted this brief biography from Ellen’s own copy of this book