(notes by John McGivering)
The consort of a ruler— more than human—Background
Remote, unseen, a gracious name alone ?
Nay, surely, for we know her very woman
Who, stooping down, hath made our woe her own,
Fear not, O wind, but swiftly follow after,
And take our cry, half weeping and half laughter.
Ruddy was still in Calcutta when it was announced (in February 1888) that Lord Dufferin was to end early his term of office as Viceroy and would be leaving India at the end of the year. Dufferin’s lukewarm support for the nascent Indian National Congress had been enough to raise Ruddy’s hackles (the support, not the fact that it was lukewarm: Ed.) but he still greatly admired Lady Dufferin for her advocacy of Indian women’s rights and he responded to the news by writing “The Song of the Women” thanking her on behalf of Indian women “in darkness by her hand set free”. Ruddy’s reward was a letter of thanks, a volume of Lord Dufferin’s poetry and a photograph of Lady Dufferin complete with tiara, pink sash and scowl.See also Dr. Gillian Sheehan’s “Doctors in the Stories” under 'Mrs Macrae'.