Nicolson, Adela Florence (DNB12)

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NICOLSON, Mrs. ADELA FLORENCE, 'Laurence Hope' (1865–1904), poetess, born at Stoke House, Stoke Bishop, Gloucestershire, on 9 April 1865, was daughter of Arthur Cory, colonel in the Indian army, by his wife Fanny Elizabeth Griffin. She was educated at a private school in Richmond, and afterwards went to reside with her parents in India. In 1889 she married Colonel Malcolm Hassels Nicolson of the Bengal army [see below] and settled at Madras. The name Violet, by which her husband called her, was not baptismal. Mrs. Nicolson devoted her leisure to poetry. Her first volume, in which she first adopted the pseudonym of 'Laurence Hope,' 'The Garden of Kama and other Love Lyrics from India, arranged in Verse by Laurence Hope,' was published in 1901. Generally reviewed as the work of a man, it attracted considerable attention and was reissued as 'Songs from the Garden of Kama' in 1908. How far the substance of the poems was drawn from Indian originals was a matter of doubt. They are marked by an oriental luxuriance of passion, but the influence of Swinburne and other modern English poets is evident in diction and versification. Two other volumes under the same pseudonym, 'Stars of the Desert' (1903) and 'Indian Love,' published posthumously in 1905, display similar characteristics and confirmed without enhancing their author's reputation. Some of her shorter poems have become popular in musical settings. Mrs. Nicolson died by her own hand, of poisoning by perchloride of mercury, on 4 Oct. 1904, at Dunmore House, Madras. She had suffered acute depression since her husband's death two months before. She was buried, like General Nicolson, in St. Mary's cemetery, Madras. She left one son, Malcolm Josceline Nicolson.

Malcolm Hassels Nicolson (1843-1904), general, son of Major Malcolm Nicolson of the Bengal army, was born on 11 June 1843. He entered the army in 1859 as ensign in the Bombay infantry, and was promoted lieutenant in 1862. Serving in the Abyssinian campaign of 1867-8, he was present at the action at Azogel and at the capture of Magdala, and received the Abyssinian medal. He attained the rank of captain in 1869. During the Afghan war of 1878–80 he saw much active service. He took part in the occupation of Kandahar and fought at Ahmed Khel and Urzoo. He was mentioned in despatches, and in 1879, while the war was in progress, he was promoted major. After the war he received the Afghan medal with one clasp, and in March 1881 the brevet rank of lieutenant-colonel. He became army colonel in 1885 and substantive colonel in 1894. For his services in the Zhob Valley campaign of 1890 he was again mentioned in despatches, and he was made C.B. in 1891. From 1891 to 1894 he was aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria, being promoted major-general in the latter year and lieutenant-general in 1899. A good service pension was conferred on him in 1893. He died on 7 Aug. 1904 at Mackay’s Gardens nursing home, Madras, and was buried in St. Mary’s cemetery. General Nicolson was an expert linguist, having passed the interpreter’s test in Baluchi, Brahui, and Persian, and the higher standard in Pushtu.

[Madras Mail, 5 Oct. 1904; Athenæum, 29 Oct. 1904; Gent. Mag., N.S. viii. 634; The Times, 11 Aug. 1904; Army Lists; information supplied by friends.]

F. L. B.