JULIA MARGARET CAMERON, the third daughter of James Pattle of
the Bengal Civil Service, was born on June 11, 1815. Her father was a 
gentleman of marked, but doubtful, reputation, who after living a riotous 
life and earning the title of "the biggest liar in India," finally drank him-
self to death and was consigned to a cask of rum to await shipment to England. 
The cask was stood outside the widow's bedroom door. In the middle of the 
night she heard a violent explosion, rushed out, and found her husband, having 
burst the lid off his coffin, bolt upright menacing her in death as he had menaced 
her in life. "The shock sent her off her head then and there, poor thing, and 
she died raving." It is the father of Miss Ethel Smyth who tells the story 
(Impressions that Remained), and he goes on to say that, after "Jim Blazes’ 
had been nailed down again and shipped off, the sailors drank the liquor in 
which the body was preserved, "and, by Jove, the rum ran out and got alight 
and set the ship on fire! And while they were trying to extinguish the flames 
she ran on a rock, blew up, and drifted ashore just below Hooghly. And what 
do you think the sailors said? 'That Pattle had been such a scamp that the 
devil wouldn't let him go out of India!' "

His daughter inherited a strain of that indomitable vitality. If her father 
was famous for his lies, Mrs. Cameron had a gift of ardent speech and picturesque 
behaviour which has impressed itself upon the calm pages of Victorian 
biography. But it was from her mother, presumably, that she inherited her 
love of beauty and her distaste for the cold and formal conventions of English 
society. For the sensitive lady whom the sight of her husband's body had 
killed was a Frenchwoman by birth. She was the daughter of Chevalier Antoine 
de l'Étang, one of Marie Antoinette's pages, who had been with the Queen in 
prison till her death, and was only saved by his own youth from the guillotine. 
With his wife, who had been one of the Queen's ladies, he was exiled to India, 
and it is at Ghazipur, with the miniature that Marie Antoinette gave him laid 
upon his breast, that he lies buried.

But the de l'Étangs brought from France a gift of greater value than the 
miniature of the unhappy Queen. Old Madame de l'Étang was extremely 
handsome. Her daughter, Mrs. Pattle, was lovely. Six of Mrs. Pattle's seven 
daughters were even more lovely than she was. "Lady Eastnor is one of the 
handsomest women I ever saw in any country," wrote Henry Greville of the