She is a bit of a skeleton in the family closet, having been regarded as bonkers from a fairly early age.
This early example of stream-of-consciousness is undated, and unsigned. However, on the verso is written Perdita E Trovata, over and over again.
Jus’ wee! Let any prole, er, faff lank on Solway.
Let prance Tacky Tan Allah Tour happily....
Masseur, let Wally, Mort, Eamonn loot Cons telly.
Porter! Less holly ‘n’ wired lamb! A long collie.
Dom, land-weed! Tom, boat! Whack him a consul. Hey
Renoir! lap posy leap a lamb air did alley
Laugh, lurk hip lazy tanatamount curd hazy lay
and here the fragment ends, as the lines have filled the page. The lack of final punctuation may suggest that it was unfinished.
Many's the evening we have discussed this oddity; and the following suggestions have been made which throw light on some of the individual items. But the meaning (if any) of the whole remains obscure (to say the least).
Jus' wee - Uncle Frank thinks this may be a reference to Perdita's renowned incontinence: perhaps it was willful, not involuntary as she always maintained.
prole - the use of this derogatory word for the working classes (from proletarian) confirms the dreadful snobbery for which the family was renowned (in those days only, of course!)
Solway - There is no record of Perdita having visited the Solway Firth.
Tacky Tan was the nickname of Perdita's brother's horse; he was in a mounted regiment, and did a tour of duty in the middle east, which he always referred to as the Allah Tour.
Masseur, Porter - Perdita had a habit of addressing the domestic staff by inappropriate titles.
Wally, Mort, Eamonn, Con, Dom and Tom - we can find nobody in Perdita's circle of family or friends corresponding to any of these names. Various hypotheses have been advanced: secret lovers, private nicknames, or a rich fantasy life. The debate continues.
After this, the fragment seems to descend even further into gibberish: many ideas have been discussed about various terms, but nothing convincing has emerged.
And then, one day, I heard Donald Swann singing it, at the drop of a hat...