excerpt from 'A backward glance on Merseyside' pp. 87-88 (287 words)

excerpt from 'A backward glance on Merseyside' pp. 87-88 (287 words)

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A backward glance on Merseyside

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[Ernest Cowper (1883-1938) was one of two of Agnes’s brothers to emigrate to Canada. Ernest would survive the torpedoing of the Lusitania, the impact of which on her family and Liverpool generally she describes in her memoir]


Ernest (brother number five) returned home one day and, throwing a shilling upon the table, remarked, ‘Perhaps, Mother, you would like to have this mounted and made into a brooch for, by accepting it, I am now a soldier of the King’.  This was a great surprise as Ernest’s amicable and ease-loving nature was hardly in keeping with that of the alert and well-disciplined British tommy. Three times he had been apprenticed to different trades and three times had been sent home with the terse intimation that his services were no longer required. The only real enthusiasm he had ever displayed was for music. I had known him frequently to return home and request that he might be served with a meal immediately as he had to leave in a few minutes. Whilst the meal was being prepared he would seat himself at the piano and remain there for a couple of hours harmonising and improvising, oblivious of both the meal and the urgent appointment […]. He was, at this time, nineteen years of age […]


There is no doubt that a period of service in the regular Army, or Navy, can be of incalculable benefit to a young man […] It was certainly so in Ernest’s case for after his discharge [aged 22] he set out to seek his fortune in Canada where his musical abilities soon attracted attention. Eventually he was appointed musical critic to a well-known chain of American newspapers and, incidentally, became recognised as a brilliant pianist. 

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excerpt from 'A backward glance on Merseyside' pp. 87-88 (287 words)


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