Secretary to Joseph Conrad

From "My Father : Joseph Conrad" by Borys Conrad. Calder & Boyars, 1970. P.14

"After the birth of my brother in 1906 it became obvious that my Mother would no longer be able to devote sufficient time to the typing of my Father's Manuscripts and moreover his recurring attacks of gout often affected his hands, making it difficult and painful to write, so it was decided to engage a secretary. Little or no mention has been made in the various biographies of my Father of the lady who, after several unsatisfactory candidates, eventually occupied this post. She was a tall willowy female, then I think, about thirty, with a supercilious manner and a somewhat vacant expression. She also had very thick long brown hair which she wore in an insecurely anchored bun on the nape of her long neck, which used to wobble about as she moved, in a most intriguing manner and finally disintegrate, leaving her hair free to cascade over her shoulders - usually at the most inappropriate and embarrassing moments.
   Nevertheless she retained her position in our household - spasmodically until the time of my Father's death. She would be with us for weeks or even months, and then depart perhaps for a long period, until recalled - usually by telegram - to resume her duties. Her name was Miss M. Hallowes and the fact that my Father not only tolerated her presence in the house but even developed some affection for her, was due, I believe, solely to the facts that she was a good typist and possessed the ability to sit quite silent and motionless in front of her machine, hands resting tranquilly in her lap, for long periods, reacting promptly to a word, or a sudden outburst of continuous speech, hurled at her abruptly as he prowled about the room or sat hunched up in his big armchair, as he dictated directly onto the typewriter."

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