Somers was Beauty, and Mrs. Prinsep Dash, Mrs. Cameron was undoubtedly

"She seemed in herself to epitomize all the qualities of a remarkable 
family," wrote Mrs. Watts, "presenting them in a doubly distilled form. She 
doubled the generosity of the most generous of the sisters, and the impulsive-
ness of the most impulsive. If they were enthusiastic, she was so twice over; 
if they were persuasive, she was invincible. She had remarkably fine eyes, that 
flashed like her sayings, and grew soft and tender if she was moved. . . ." 
But to a child1 she was a terrifying apparition "short and squat, with none of 
the Pattle grace and beauty about her, though more than her share of their 
passionate energy and wilfulness. Dressed in dark clothes, stained with 
chemicals from her photography (and smelling of them too), with a plump eager 
face and a voice husky, and a little harsh, yet in some way compelling and even 
charming," she dashed out of the studio at Dimbola, attached heavy swans' 
wings to the children's shoulders, and bade them "Stand there" and play the 
part of the Angels of the Nativity leaning over the ramparts of Heaven.

But the photography and the swans' wings were still in the far future. For 
many years her energy and her creative powers poured themselves into family 
life and social duties. She had married, in 1838, a very distinguished man, 
Charles Hay Cameron, "a Benthamite jurist and philosopher of great learning 
and ability," who held the place, previously filled by Lord Macaulay, of fourth 
Member of Council at Calcutta. In the absence of the Governor-General's wife, 
Mrs. Cameron was at the head of European society in India, and it was this, in 
Sir Henry Taylor's opinion, that encouraged her in her contempt for the ways 
of the world when they returned to England. She had little respect, at any 
rate, for the conventions of Putney. She called her butler peremptorily 
"Man." Dressed in robes of flowing red velvet, she walked with her friends, 
stirring a cup of tea as she walked, half-way to the railway station in hot summer 
weather. There was no eccentricity that she would not have dared on their 
behalf, no sacrifice that she would not have made to procure a few
more minutes of their society. Sir Henry and Lady Taylor suffered the
extreme fury of her affection. Indian shawls, turquoise bracelets, inlaid port-
folios, ivory elephants, "etc.," showered on their heads. She lavished upon 
them letters six sheets long "all about ourselves." Rebuffed for a moment, "she 
told Alice [Lady Taylor] that before the year was out she would love her like 
a sister," and before the year was out Lady Taylor could hardly imagine what 
life had been without Mrs. Cameron. The Taylors loved her; Aubrey de Vere 

1.Memories and Reflections by Lady Troubridge, p. 34.