Let Them Say: The Life of Frederick Stanley Smith
Like most people, Freddie hovers only on the periphery of history and it is true (and frustrating) that much of his life is unrecorded and remains a matter of conjecture. Previously in print he has appeared merely as a minor character in the story of Robbie Ross, who is himself largely seen as an adjunct to Oscar Wilde. But Freddie has his own fascinating story and research has now revealed some of its details. Still it must be acknowledged that he often remains elusive. Even his Smith surname adds to the difficulty of tracing him in official records whilst some of the most revealing material about his life comes (ironically enough) from a derogatory article based on court proceedings.
He is described as a handsome young man but no photograph of him has survived - though at least one did exist – so whilst we have images of many of the men in his social circle, we simply have to imagine what Freddie himself looked like. There are frequently times when the figures who surround him come into sharper focus than he does himself. Nevertheless although his image remains hazy, there are moments when the mists clear and a distinctive character flickers briefly into view.
Published: 7 July 2016
Other books from this Author