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Migraine poses a significant burden worldwide; however, there is limited evidence as to the burden in Canada. This study examined the treatment patterns, healthcare resource use (HRU), and costs among newly diagnosed or recurrent patients with migraine in Alberta, Canada, from the time of diagnosis or recurrence.
This retrospective observational study utilized administrative health data from Alberta, Canada. Patients were included in the Total Migraine Cohort if they had: (1) ≥1 International Classification of Diseases diagnostic code for migraine; or (2) ≥1 prescription dispense(s) for triptans from April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2018, with no previous diagnosis or dispensation code from April 1, 2010, to April 1, 2012.
The mean age of the cohort (n = 199,931) was 40.0 years and 72.3% were women. The most common comorbidity was depression (19.7%). In each medication class examined, less than one-third of the cohort was prescribed triptans and fewer than one-fifth was prescribed a preventive. Among patients with ≥1 dispense, the mean rate of opioid prescriptions was 4.61 per patient-year, compared to 2.28 triptan prescriptions per patient-year. Migraine-related HRU accounted for 3%–10% of all use.
Comorbidities and high all-cause HRU were observed among newly diagnosed or recurrent patients with migraine. There is an underutilization of acute and preventive medications in the management of migraine. The high rate of opioid use reinforces the suboptimal management of migraine in Alberta. Migraine management may improve by educating healthcare professionals to optimize treatment strategies.
To describe demographic and clinical characteristics, healthcare resource use, costs, and treatment patterns in three migraine cohorts.
This retrospective observational study using administrative data examined patients with episodic migraine (EM), chronic migraine (CM) (without medication overuse headache [MOH]), and medication overuse headache in Alberta, Canada. Migraine patients were identified between 2012 and 2018 based on ≥ 1 diagnostic codes or triptan prescription. Patients with CM were defined using parameter estimates of a logistic regression model, and MOH was defined as patients with an average of ≥ 15 supply days covered of acute medications. EM was defined as patients without CM or MOH. Study outcomes were summarized using descriptive statistics.
Patients with EM (n = 144,574), CM (n = 27,283), and MOH (n = 11,485) were included. Higher rates of healthcare use and costs were observed for CM (mean [SD] all-cause cost: ($12,693 [40,664]) and MOH ($16,611.5 [$38,748]) versus episodic migraine ($4,251 [$40,637]). Across all cohorts, opioids were the most dispensed acute medication (range across cohorts: 31.7%–89.8%), while antidepressants and anticonvulsants were the most dispensed preventive medication. Preventative medication classes were used by a minority of patients in each cohort, except anticonvulsants, where 50% of medication overuse patients had a dispensation.
Patients with CM and MOH have a greater burden of illness compared to patients with EM. The overutilization of acute medication, particularly opioids, and the underutilization of preventive medications highlight an unmet need to more effectively manage migraine.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) has been a leader in weed science research covering topics ranging from the development and use of integrated weed management (IWM) tactics to basic mechanistic studies, including biotic resistance of desirable plant communities and herbicide resistance. ARS weed scientists have worked in agricultural and natural ecosystems, including agronomic and horticultural crops, pastures, forests, wild lands, aquatic habitats, wetlands, and riparian areas. Through strong partnerships with academia, state agencies, private industry, and numerous federal programs, ARS weed scientists have made contributions to discoveries in the newest fields of robotics and genetics, as well as the traditional and fundamental subjects of weed–crop competition and physiology and integration of weed control tactics and practices. Weed science at ARS is often overshadowed by other research topics; thus, few are aware of the long history of ARS weed science and its important contributions. This review is the result of a symposium held at the Weed Science Society of America’s 62nd Annual Meeting in 2022 that included 10 separate presentations in a virtual Weed Science Webinar Series. The overarching themes of management tactics (IWM, biological control, and automation), basic mechanisms (competition, invasive plant genetics, and herbicide resistance), and ecosystem impacts (invasive plant spread, climate change, conservation, and restoration) represent core ARS weed science research that is dynamic and efficacious and has been a significant component of the agency’s national and international efforts. This review highlights current studies and future directions that exemplify the science and collaborative relationships both within and outside ARS. Given the constraints of weeds and invasive plants on all aspects of food, feed, and fiber systems, there is an acknowledged need to face new challenges, including agriculture and natural resources sustainability, economic resilience and reliability, and societal health and well-being.
Current psychiatric diagnoses, although heritable, have not been clearly mapped onto distinct underlying pathogenic processes. The same symptoms often occur in multiple disorders, and a substantial proportion of both genetic and environmental risk factors are shared across disorders. However, the relationship between shared symptoms and shared genetic liability is still poorly understood.
Well-characterised, cross-disorder samples are needed to investigate this matter, but few currently exist. Our aim is to develop procedures to purposely curate and aggregate genotypic and phenotypic data in psychiatric research.
As part of the Cardiff MRC Mental Health Data Pathfinder initiative, we have curated and harmonised phenotypic and genetic information from 15 studies to create a new data repository, DRAGON-Data. To date, DRAGON-Data includes over 45 000 individuals: adults and children with neurodevelopmental or psychiatric diagnoses, affected probands within collected families and individuals who carry a known neurodevelopmental risk copy number variant.
We have processed the available phenotype information to derive core variables that can be reliably analysed across groups. In addition, all data-sets with genotype information have undergone rigorous quality control, imputation, copy number variant calling and polygenic score generation.
DRAGON-Data combines genetic and non-genetic information, and is available as a resource for research across traditional psychiatric diagnostic categories. Algorithms and pipelines used for data harmonisation are currently publicly available for the scientific community, and an appropriate data-sharing protocol will be developed as part of ongoing projects (DATAMIND) in partnership with Health Data Research UK.
Lithium has long been believed to reduce the risk of suicide and suicidal behaviour in people with mood disorders. Previous meta-analyses appeared to support this belief, but excluded relevant data due to the difficulty of conducting meta-analysis of rare events. The current study is an updated systematic review and meta-analysis that includes all eligible data, and evaluates suicide, non-fatal suicidal behaviour (including suicidal ideation) and suicide attempts.
We searched PubMed, PsycINFO and Embase and some trial registers. We included all randomised trials comparing lithium and placebo or treatment as usual in mood disorders published after 2000, to ensure suicide was reliably reported. Trial quality was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Pooled data were analysed using Fisher's Exact test. In addition, meta-analysis was conducted using various methods, prioritizing the Exact method. All trials were included in the analysis of suicide initially, regardless of whether they reported on suicide or not. We conducted a sensitivity analysis with trials that specifically reported on suicides and one that included trials published before 2000. Pre-specified subgroup analyses were performed involving suicide prevention trials, trials excluding people already taking lithium, trials involving people with bipolar disorder exclusively and those involving people with mixed affective diagnoses. Non-fatal suicidal behaviour and suicide attempts were analysed using the same methods, but only trials that reported these outcomes were included. PROSPERO registration: CRD42021265809.
Twelve eligible studies involving 2578 participants were included. The pooled suicide rate was 0.2% for people randomised to lithium and 0.4% with placebo or treatment as usual, which was not a statistically significant difference; odds ratio (OR) = 0.41 (95% confidence interval 0.03–2.49), p = 0.45. Meta-analysis using the Exact method produced an OR of 0.42 (95% confidence interval 0.01–4.5). The result was not substantially different when restricted to 11 trials that explicitly reported suicides and remained statistically non-significant when including 15 trials published before 2000 (mostly in the 1970s). There were no significant differences in any subgroup analysis. There was no difference in rates of all non-fatal suicidal behaviour in seven trials that reported this outcome, or in five trials that reported suicide attempts specifically. Meta-analyses using other methods also revealed no statistically significant differences.
Evidence from randomised trials is inconclusive and does not support the idea that lithium prevents suicide or suicidal behaviour.
Future biologists require a profound understanding of leading biological concepts, mechanisms, methods, experimental design and data analysis on top of subject-specific expertise. Early and continued exposure to undergraduate research (UR) formats offers a central key to train the next generation of biologists, to drive student motivation and to facilitate early career decisions. UR formats can be classified at different pedagogical levels. At the highest level, students conduct their own independent research and create new knowledge. Course-based research experiences (CUREs) are suitable for larger groups and produce outcomes similar to research internships but require increased creativity on the side of faculty, depending on the respective framework and group size. To implement UR represents a challenge for faculty, as roles change from teaching toward mentoring, increasing the workload. Nevertheless, biology offers a wide variety of anchors for UR formats that are most suitable as an active learning element in biology education to balances pedagogical and research goals and increase student motivation.
Response to lithium in patients with bipolar disorder is associated with clinical and transdiagnostic genetic factors. The predictive combination of these variables might help clinicians better predict which patients will respond to lithium treatment.
To use a combination of transdiagnostic genetic and clinical factors to predict lithium response in patients with bipolar disorder.
This study utilised genetic and clinical data (n = 1034) collected as part of the International Consortium on Lithium Genetics (ConLi+Gen) project. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were computed for schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, and then combined with clinical variables using a cross-validated machine-learning regression approach. Unimodal, multimodal and genetically stratified models were trained and validated using ridge, elastic net and random forest regression on 692 patients with bipolar disorder from ten study sites using leave-site-out cross-validation. All models were then tested on an independent test set of 342 patients. The best performing models were then tested in a classification framework.
The best performing linear model explained 5.1% (P = 0.0001) of variance in lithium response and was composed of clinical variables, PRS variables and interaction terms between them. The best performing non-linear model used only clinical variables and explained 8.1% (P = 0.0001) of variance in lithium response. A priori genomic stratification improved non-linear model performance to 13.7% (P = 0.0001) and improved the binary classification of lithium response. This model stratified patients based on their meta-polygenic loadings for major depressive disorder and schizophrenia and was then trained using clinical data.
Using PRS to first stratify patients genetically and then train machine-learning models with clinical predictors led to large improvements in lithium response prediction. When used with other PRS and biological markers in the future this approach may help inform which patients are most likely to respond to lithium treatment.
Studying phenotypic and genetic characteristics of age at onset (AAO) and polarity at onset (PAO) in bipolar disorder can provide new insights into disease pathology and facilitate the development of screening tools.
To examine the genetic architecture of AAO and PAO and their association with bipolar disorder disease characteristics.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and polygenic score (PGS) analyses of AAO (n = 12 977) and PAO (n = 6773) were conducted in patients with bipolar disorder from 34 cohorts and a replication sample (n = 2237). The association of onset with disease characteristics was investigated in two of these cohorts.
Earlier AAO was associated with a higher probability of psychotic symptoms, suicidality, lower educational attainment, not living together and fewer episodes. Depressive onset correlated with suicidality and manic onset correlated with delusions and manic episodes. Systematic differences in AAO between cohorts and continents of origin were observed. This was also reflected in single-nucleotide variant-based heritability estimates, with higher heritabilities for stricter onset definitions. Increased PGS for autism spectrum disorder (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), major depression (β = −0.34 years, s.e. = 0.08), schizophrenia (β = −0.39 years, s.e. = 0.08), and educational attainment (β = −0.31 years, s.e. = 0.08) were associated with an earlier AAO. The AAO GWAS identified one significant locus, but this finding did not replicate. Neither GWAS nor PGS analyses yielded significant associations with PAO.
AAO and PAO are associated with indicators of bipolar disorder severity. Individuals with an earlier onset show an increased polygenic liability for a broad spectrum of psychiatric traits. Systematic differences in AAO across cohorts, continents and phenotype definitions introduce significant heterogeneity, affecting analyses.
Harry agreed, albeit reluctantly, to try living in London for a year. In May 1869 he and Georgina, accompanied by a servant maid and three pugs, left Beaumaris and took the train to the capital. Georgina was to stay with her mother in Stratford Place, and Harry with Freddy Warre, whilst they looked for lodgings.
By this time a great plan was beginning to evolve in Georgina's mind. Since her theatrical ambitions had been thwarted, she would become a music teacher instead. She had already achieved some success with her first pupil, a sickly, nervous girl called Gwendoline Jones, the daughter of a clergyman and goddaughter to Georgina's friend Catherine Wynne Jones. In 1866 Catherine had brought Gwen to see Georgina. The girl, who was said to have ‘a great taste for music’, had already had some lessons with Manuel García at the Royal Academy of Music in London and wished to become a professional singer. Her neighbours all thought that she had ‘such a sweet voice’ and sang ‘so charmingly’. Georgina, as ‘the great musical oracle of the county’ was asked to hear her sing. She agreed to do so, and gave her opinion that Gwen's talent was ‘very mediocre’ and ‘needed cultivation’. The girl was, moreover, ‘very unattractive in appearance’ and had ‘no more manner than might be expected of a Welsh goat’. Nevertheless, Catherine begged her friend to take the girl under her wing, to help her with her singing and to sing with her. Flattered by this request, and wishing to please the older woman who had been kind to her, Georgina agreed.
During the first few months of 1867 Gwen came for a lesson every few days – rather more often than she was really wanted. But she soon fell ill and returned to her parents, suffering (it was said) from ‘hysteria’. Two years later, just before the Weldons left Beaumaris, Gwen turned up again, apparently recovered, and told Georgina that she wished to settle in London, to study singing seriously, and to become a professional singer. She begged Georgina to recommend a suitable master. Georgina suggested that they should try Alberto Randegger, a well-known music teacher and composer, who had recently been appointed professor of singing at the Royal Academy.
After resting for a day, Georgina returned to Tavistock House on the afternoon of 4 April, accompanied by Villiers and a friend, ‘dear old’ Professor Lloyd Birkbeck. The door was opened by James Bell, the broker's man and caretaker put into the house on Harry's behalf, and they pushed their way in. All around them were boxes full of Georgina's belongings which Ménier was about to carry off with the help of André Sauvadet, who was waiting outside in a hansom cab. Suddenly, Ménier himself emerged from the basement, where he and his Hungarian ‘secretary’ Alexander de Barathy were busy packing up more of Georgina's possessions. On seeing Georgina, Ménier ‘turned as pale as a ghost’ and rushed out of the house without a word, leaving his mistress, Olive Nicholls, behind. ‘Cheer up Madam’, Bell told Georgina, ‘I never saw a party run away from his debtor before.’ Georgina felt some sympathy for the girl, ‘the erring and deluded victim of this old scamp, this old and dirty Don Juan’, but she ordered her to leave the house. The girl went, threatening ‘You will not be here long’. But Bell (‘a pleasant old man’) was prepared to let Georgina stay and she remained in Tavistock House, receiving visits from Harry's London lawyer, James Neal, ‘a fool’, and the broker, Washington Hirschfield, ‘a fanfaron [braggart]’, both of whom were anxious to find out what was going on.
That evening Georgina wrote to Angèle to tell her what had happened:
I have thrown Ménier out. I stopped everything. They were carrying everything away – bed linen, beds, coverlets, your velvet dress! Don't worry. I will have my revenge. I will avenge you! The house is full of putains [whores]. I am exhausted – dead – but too happy to have saved something. Everything is ruined: the magnificent ceiling in the music room has a hole big enough for three men to get through. It's dreadful. They have stolen everything. God knows how much has gone. The gas has been cut off. I’ll have to pay 300 francs [£12]. They wanted to take my piano to pay the taxes.
Georgina Thomas was born on 24 May 1837, a day of general rejoicing throughout Great Britain. Church bells rang; schools and shops were closed; and there were firework displays, tea parties and public dinners with speeches and toasts. It was ‘a day that the old would talk about for a long time, and the young would never forget’. This had, however, nothing whatsoever to do with Georgina, who happened to share her birthday with the young heir to the throne, Princess Victoria. In May 1837 Victoria turned eighteen and, under the provisions of the Regency Bill of 1831, attained her ‘royal majority’. This meant that she was able to rule alone, in her own right, when her uncle William IV died, less than a month after her birthday. The knowledge that she had been born on such an important day gave Georgina a ‘vague idea of superiority and of relationship to the Royal Family’ from an early age. This feeling was reinforced by the erroneous belief that the Thomases were descended from Edward III and would be entitled to claim the throne of England ‘if anything should happen to the reigning family’.
Georgina was the second daughter of Morgan Thomas of Gate House in the parish of Mayfield in Sussex and his wife, Louisa Frances Dalrymple. An elder sister, Cordelia, died of whooping cough when she was just seventeen months old, a few weeks after Georgina's birth. Morgan and Louisa had convinced themselves that their second child would be the longed-for son who was to continue the family line, and they made no attempt to hide their disappointment when the new baby turned out to be a girl. Georgina always felt that her parents had been dissatisfied with her since the day of her birth, somehow blaming her for her sister's early death. As Louisa wept beside Cordelia's empty cot, Georgina (with, as she later wrote, her habitual lack of tact) ‘kicked and screamed with life and joy’.
The Thomas family was of Welsh origin. There is no evidence for their supposed royal descent, but they could trace their ancestry back in the male line to one Traherne ap Thomas, who was living at Lletty Mawr in Llannon, Carmarthenshire, in 1597.
Georgina arrived at Sillwood House late in the evening on 16 November 1904. This was to be her base for the remaining years of her life, though she spent most of her time in London until 1912 when illness finally prevented her from travelling. The original intention seems to have been for her to rent a flat, but it was not long before she took over the whole house. Whilst she was away, Grace Ashford and her younger sister Annie acted as caretakers and housekeepers. Occasional lodgers helped to subsidise the household expenses.
Georgina travelled to Paris for the last time in mid May 1905, returning to Brighton two months later to prepare for a new round of legal actions. One evening she and Annie Ashford went to the theatre to see Ellen Terry in Alice-Sit-by-the-Fire, a comedy written especially for the actress by J.M. Barrie. Georgina was critical of her old friend, whom she had not seen for nearly twenty years: ‘Ellen charming, fascinating, but as she [has] grown so stout, and being so tall, she is ponderous, and the way her figure is strapped up is a marvel. It does not look natural. I would not do it. She blacks up her eyes too much.’ On the following day the two women spent two hours together and ‘jabbered our heads off’.
In the second week of October, Georgina sent nine cases and baskets and an armchair to the Salisbury Hotel, just off Fleet Street, where she had rented a room. It was only ten minutes’ walk from the Royal Courts of Justice, and very convenient. When the Courts reopened, she vowed that she would not go near ‘the beastly place’ – but she was there almost every day. She was soon involved in a convoluted series of claims against everyone who had had anything to do with the biography of Gounod published in the previous year. She also renewed her attacks on the booksellers and librarians, W.H. Smith. They had all, she claimed, contributed to holding her up to ‘hatred, ridicule and contempt’, and had forced her once again ‘into that litigation which has occasioned her to be contemptuously treated in Courts of Justice and elsewhere, and unjustly twitted and bantered and spoken of and “at” as though she were a low designing courtezan, a common scold, without either talent, birth, education or reputation’.
Georgina's ‘At Homes’ at Tavistock House had continued throughout September 1879. The room was almost always full, due to the publicity generated by her appearances at the Aquarium and in the police courts. The programmes were the usual mixture of readings and lectures (mainly by the hostess) and musical items. The takings, however, remained low. Georgina claimed that she was raising money to support her orphanage, but members of the audience may well have wondered what had happened to the orphans themselves. Most of them were still in France and Georgina quickly disposed of the only one left in London, ‘that little wretch’ Tommy, who was ‘planted’ at a place where he would be ‘trained on board ship’. Georgina was only too pleased to see him go.
As Rivière had deprived her of her Benefit Concert, Georgina decided to hold one of her own. On 5 November, the day of the cancelled concert at Covent Garden, she booked St James's Hall for St Cecilia's Day, 22 November. She sent a circular to the members of the choir, informing them
As you all know, I work for my orphanage and the reform of an iniquitous system which has broken my life and, well-nigh, my heart. I have no desire and no pleasure in public singing myself, and I have the sense to know that I am too old to dream of making a career. The choir is a great pleasure to me, and I entertain a sincere feeling of affectionate regard towards many of its members. I am, however, advised there are several backbiting, slanderous tongues among them. I am in a most extraordinarily difficult position, the target for lies, and, till now, the victim of injustice in its most cruel and cowardly form. I have to contend against public and private pique; against hundreds of thousand pounds sterling a year, which are able to buy up the very courts where justice is supposed to be meted out to the subjects of this realm, and the newspapers which are supposed to give fair play.
Apart from one or two ‘turncoats’, the choir remained loyal. Georgina received numerous letters of support and most of the singers still came to rehearsals.
Georgina would no doubt have been pleased by the number of publications that took notice of her death, though she would not have been happy with everything that was written. Back in 1902 she had complained about the fact that her name did not appear in Who's Who, either in her own right or under her husband's name. She had even written her own entry:
Weldon, Georgina. Vocalist, composer, musical conductor, educationalist; trained Gounod's Choir, Mrs Weldon's Choir; founded Mrs Weldon's Orphanage. Celebrated through her successful agitation of Copyright Laws, Married Women's Property, Lunacy Laws and Litigation in person; also for Criminal Court of Appeal. Gained her suit for RCR (1882), against Forbes Winslow, MD, Sir Henry de Bathe, Gounod, Rivière and many others, being awarded heavy damages during 1884–86. Contributed many letters and articles on Spiritualism, Musical Reform, Education etc. Recreation: Requires none.
To which she added:
I have no hesitation in saying that my work has been more useful, more brave, more loyal, more arduous, more painful and more ungrateful than any woman's work recorded in Who's Who. Why, therefore, honor me by singling me out for boycottage? I bravely, laboriously, successfully – as a torpedo among men of war – steered my way alone and blew all calumnies and insinuations to blazes. I believe myself to be the bravest woman in the world.
The obituary in the Daily Telegraph paid more attention to Georgina's friendship with Gounod, which ‘has been described as romantic’ but ‘turned to woeful discord’, and to her fame as a litigant: ‘A handsome woman, proud of her abilities and strong of will, she rather courted than avoided law suits’. The notice in the Daily Mirror was headed ‘A Famous Woman Litigant who Liked the Way Fish was Cooked’, and told how the ‘aged litigant’ had described her time in Holloway Gaol as the happiest days of her life because ‘the way they cooked fish there was a dream’. She was, the journalist added, ‘the most celebrated woman litigant in the history of the British Law Courts’.
By the mid 1860s the relationship between Georgina and her husband was beginning to change. In the early days of their marriage Harry had been ill at ease with his wife's old friends, some of whom made it clear that they thought him their social inferior. He had been reluctant to go anywhere without Georgina. Now he was more self-confident: he had friends of his own and was elected to the Garrick Club in 1867. Harry had previously been inclined to jealousy, tearing the photographs of Georgina's former admirers out of her album, but in the summer of 1866 he did not complain when she spent hours alone with John Brett whilst the artist sketched her. Nor did he object to Georgina staying with Freddy Warre in his new house at 44 Great Ormond Street. It is probably significant that Freddy never married – or came anywhere near doing so. Harry never seems to have seen him as a threat. Freddy was a good friend to Georgina, running errands and buying presents for her. Both were fond of knick-knacks, which they called ‘grabs’, and they wrote silly, teasing letters to each other. Freddy called Georgina ‘Grabkins’ or ‘Georgina Graspall’ and frequently referred to her strong acquisitive streak. He was only too well aware of Georgina's somewhat imperious nature, telling her ‘Sometimes I wish I was your pardner [sic], and then I should be fed and led about like a slave.’ Georgina took all this in good part, and she continued to confide in Freddy and enjoy his visits.
Fred Clay was another close friend. Like Freddy Warre, he teased Georgina and did not take her too seriously, addressing her in one letter as ‘Wondrous Madarme! Ray of Light from Realms above! You ‘eavenborn Female.’ Harry showed no signs of jealousy of Fred Clay either. Much more dangerous was Henry Thompson, who paid Georgina more attention than was entirely proper. He took her to the theatre in London without Harry and brought her chocolate truffles and champagne. Thompson and Georgina began a regular correspondence after she returned to Wales in October, and his gift of a box of marrons glacés on New Year's Day was received with rather more enthusiasm than Harry's aluminium saucepan.
When Georgina Weldon died in 1914, she bequeathed all her papers to her friend Lise Gray, fearing that they would be burnt if she left them to her relations. There were hundreds of letters, together with manuscript memoirs, records of her innumerable lawsuits, and twenty-four journals, covering the years from 1852 to 1854, and from 1860 to 1913. Georgina had also published numerous articles, pamphlets and books, together with six volumes of ‘Mémoires Weldon’ – in reality a chaotic compilation of transcripts of letters and legal papers, interspersed with autobiography, all translated into French. In fact all her published works were largely autobiograpical.
The first book about Georgina was A Plaintiff in Person, which was written by her nephew Philip Treherne and published posthumously in 1923. Treherne, who was born in 1872, first visited Georgina in 1893, and he saw her often after that. His biography is uncritical, and he is at his best when recounting his personal reminiscences of his notorious aunt, especially during her latter years.
Lise Gray died in 1923 and her niece, Marjory Pegram, inherited sixty-five packing cases full of Georgina's books and papers, which had remained in a furniture repository in Brighton since Georgina's death. It was, as she wrote, ‘an awe-inspiring sight’. Miss Pegram then spent many years sorting and arranging the archive. She must have thrown a large proportion of the contents of the packing cases away, but much still remained. In the 1950s, she commissioned Edward Grierson to write a new biography. Grierson, a barrister and prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, was born a few weeks after Georgina's death. His book, Storm Bird, was published in 1959. It is a masterpiece of com-pression and remarkably fair, if one considers that he was a barrister working at a time when there were still lawyers around who remembered Georgina, by repute if not in person. Grierson is particularly good on her court cases, but seems rather to have lost interest towards the end of her life.
In the mid 1970s Marjory Pegram went into a care home and her family decided to dispose of Georgina's papers.
For the next eight years the home of Morgan and Louisa Thomas and their children was to be Gate House in the south-western corner of the parish of Mayfield in East Sussex. The Georgian mansion of the same name that Louisa had inherited from her father had been demolished after her marriage, and had been replaced with a modern house half a mile away, on the site of a farm called Merriams, which belonged to the estate. The name Gate House was transferred to the new building, though the local people continued to refer to the place as Merriams.
Whilst the old Gate House had stood close to the turnpike road leading from Mayfield to Heathfield, its replacement, ‘a stone cottage or shooting box’, lay ‘low, and hidden from the road’. It was, Georgina thought when she first saw it, ‘a horrid little place’. No doubt it suited Morgan's increasingly unsociable disposition, but for his wife and children it brought loneliness and isolation. Sale particulars of 1862 describe Gate House as ‘a commodious residence in the Elizabethan style of architecture … surrounded by park-like paddocks and ornamental woods’, with twenty-three bedrooms in addition to large drawing and dining rooms, a library, a billiard room, and the usual domestic offices, stables and outbuildings. Drawings and photographs show a somewhat curious jumble of buildings resembling two or three houses joined together, and it is possible that the new Gate House incorporated at least part of the old Merriams farmhouse. The house was added to, in a somewhat haphazard manner, during the 1850s.
Three weeks after their arrival in Sussex, Georgina and her mother escaped from their rural confinement and went up to London for a few days. The ostensible reason for their visit was the need to engage a governess for Emily and Florence, but they also found time to enjoy themselves. They drove in Hyde Park and visited the Botanical Gardens. Dressed in her ‘silk écossais, white bonnet and new mantille’, Georgina found that she attracted a certain amount of attention, though this was not entirely welcome, for the English men looked ‘such fools’ and stared at her in ‘such a disagreeable, impudent way’. They were, however, ‘very tall’.