Mrs. Cameron was undoubtedly Talent.

"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 impulsiveness 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 child 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 

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 portfolios, 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 loved her; Lady Monteagle loved her;