24 OCTOBER 1952, Page 5

When John (Viscount) Morley was alive—he died in 1923—there was

considerable mystery about his wife, and a good deal of doubt as to whether he was in fact married. Mrs. Morley never appeared in public." A Liberal official who had to arrange many formal functions consulted a Cabinet Minister as to whether he should put " and Mrs." on Morley's invitations. " Oh no," he was told, " we always treat him as a bachelor." John Burns, who frequently visited Morley at Wimbledon, assured me that be certainly was married, and that his wife was " a very nice woman." Actually I happened to be one of a small number of people who knew the facts, but Mr. J. W. Robertson Scott is probably right in saying that the story had not appeared in print till he told it in is book The Life and Death of a Newspaper, published this week. As he says, both Morley and Lady Morley have now been dead thirty years, and in any case the story is all to orley's credit. A young woman with whom he had con- tracted a completely honourable friendship came to his rooms late one night and said she could bear her husband's brutality no longer and had left him without a penny in her pocket. Morley kept her for the night, sleeping himself in his sitting- room. In the morning he said that, even so, he had compromised her and would marry her if she could secure a divorce. She could not, and she and Morley lived together till her husband died. Then they married. Some years later one of her sons by the former marriage forged Morley's name for a large sum and was sentenced to ten years' penal servitude. Morley supported his wife and children till the day of his release. Such are the facts as Robertson Scott recounts them, which is substantially as I remember them myself. * * * *