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Om Birds of Passage
The journals of Lady Henrietta Clive, a feisty, independent-minded traveller, are among the very earliest written accounts of India by a British woman. Married to Lord Edward Clive, son of Clive of India and Governor of Madras (1798 1803), she travelled through southern India with her daughters and retinue in the aftermath of the war against Tipu Sultan. In this their first publication, Nancy K Shields skillfully interweaves extracts from the journals with passages from the diary of Charly, Henrietta’s precocious twelve-year-old daughter, who went on to tutor the future Queen Victoria, first Empress of India. She also includes extracts from Henrietta’s impassioned correspondence with her beloved, Byronic brother, the rakish George Herbert, Earl of Powis, beside whom Edward Clive appears to have been a very dull spouse. Birds of Passage is important as an historical and as a social document, and also as an early female travel text.