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grandmother Enid Bagnold and her controversial novel that's making a comeback But in 1938, three years after National Velvet, she published another novel, drawn from her own experience of childbirth.

Her novel The Squire, now republished by Persephone Books, was a daringly frank portrayal pandora rings price of natural childbirth and breast feeding, ahead of its time. 'I wanted The Squire to be as objective as if a man had had a baby. I wanted to pin down the quality of the pain and of the love and the surprise and the effect of the birth on the mother. In many ways, I think I did get it right.' The book was a success, on the back of the international acclaim she achieved with National Velvet but some readers were repelled. H G Wells said it made him feel as if 'I'd been attacked by a multitude of many breasted women and thrown into a washing basket full of used nursery napkins'.As the book opens, the eponymous Squire (we never learn her name but she represents an imaginary third sex that Enid called 'wumen', hard working 'female males') is heavily pregnant with her fifth, much wanted child, and is awaiting the imminent arrival of her midwife in a country house full of children and servants. Her husband is abroad on business and she commands a domestic world where men barely impinge. She is 44, battle hardened with the business of giving birth, and this will be her last child. 'I know what I've got to do. It must be the secret of child bearing in the past, when people had 11 and 15 children and learnt how to have them. Only most of us don't get enough practice,' she says.'I wanted to pin down the pain and the love and the surprise of cheapest pandora jewellery childbirth'Obstetrician Dr Grantly Dick Read had yet to coin the term natural childbirth when Enid was having her own family. 'Perhaps childbirth turns into pain only when it is fought and resisted?' says the Squire.'But there comes a time, after the first pains have passed, when you swim down a silver river running like a torrent, with the convulsive corkscrew movements of a great fish, threshing from its neck to its tail. 'It's very hard to do.'The Squire was 'rich, strong, fertile and loved, with a large domain to rule,' Enid wrote, and she could have been describing herself her cumbersome body, her waning sexual desire as middle age encroached, and her bond with her midwife. 'It was a book about a mother a book about herself. It was always the book she felt expressed herself best and the one she gave first to new friends,' explains her biographer Anne Sebba.Left: Enid (on the white horse) outside the family home in Rottingdean, Sussex, in 1935 with her husband Sir Roderick Jones and their children (from left) Timothy, Laurian, Dominick and Richard. Right: A 12 year old Elizabeth Taylor in the 1944 film adaptation of Enid's classic novel National VelvetBut Enid hadn't always been a matriarch. Born in 1889 into a peripatetic military family with one younger brother, she had more freedom than most Edwardian girls. Her parents allowed her to go to art school, under Walter Sickert, and share a flat in Chelsea where she dabbled in bohemian mock poverty. Enid ached to have an affair (much to her disappointment, Sickert didn't oblige). By the time she was 22, she was working as a 'sort of' journalist on a ladies' weekly owned by fat, middle aged, married Frank Harris, who had a penchant for virgins. 'He made sin seem glorious,' she recalled. 'The wicked have such glamour for the young.' Her virginity was disposed of after he told her that sex was the gateway to life.'So I went through the gateway in an upper room in the Caf Royal,' she wrote succinctly in her autobiography many years later. And that was all she ever had to say, other than that there was much anxiety and 'swilling the gin down' every month in fear that she was pregnant. The affair lasted over a year, until Harris ended up briefly in prison for contempt of court after ranting at a judge during a libel case. Enid went back to live with her parents.Still longing for experience, she fell hopelessly in love with Prince Antoine Bibesco, a Romanian diplomat. 'She adored him but he was never going to marry her,' Sebba explains. War expanded Enid's horizons, and Antoine encouraged her to write about her experiences as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse. Enid's book caused a stir:A Diary Without Dates, published in 1917, was picked up by The Daily Mail, which was exposing hospital conditions, and within half an hour of publication Enid was sacked.Then she was introduced by the mother of her friend Vita Sackville West to an eligible,'It was an extraordinary marriage. Enid didn't like sex, she liked the result'42 year old bachelor, a self made man who pandora necklaces and charms had risen from lowly, mysterious beginnings to become proprietor of Reuters news agency. Enid was now 31. Sir Roderick Jones knew immediately that he intended to marry her. He was so much shorter than Enid she was 5ft 10in and rather stout that when they danced his head nestled in her bosom; in photos, he always contrived to stand on a step. They married in 1920. He was a conventional man, used to having his own way; an office boy would be sent to jump on the rubber pad that controlled the traffic lights near his office, so the lights always changed to green for his Rolls Royce.The new Lady Jones flourished in the security of marriage. Their daughter Laurian was born the following year. (The midwife was drunk, so Sir Roderick assisted. Enid said that the pains were like being forced through a sausage machine.) A few days later, still emotional, she decided to begin motherhood with a clean slate and told Roderick all about her rackety, premarital affairs. He took it calmly.Eventually, they had a pact that they both could have intense romantic flirtations outside their marriage, but not sex. 'It was an extraordinary marriage. Enid didn't really like sex, she liked the result of it,' says Sebba. Later in life, however, Enid begrudged that she had never known passion with a young man: 'I feel I've been done out of it. I never got that beautiful groping side of the other's love. I was too gauche and ferocious in my shyness, that only experienced, older men knew I could be "taken",' she complained.Now she found her fulfilment in motherhood and writing.As baby followed baby Timothy in 1924 (Samantha Cameron's grandfather), followed by Richard and Dominick she became enthralled by the child rearing theories of her doctor Harold Waller, with his emphasis on fresh air and exercise. Society magazines wrote articles about Lady Jones's children, who slept outdoors in summer at the family home in Rottingdean, Sussex, and Enid acquired a reputation for being an expert herself, supporting Dr Waller's Babies' Club in Chelsea teaching 'East End wisdom' to wealthy mothers who today would be castigated as 'too posh to push'.In her ground breaking novel, the Squire took morphine to help her after childbirth; ironically, Enid becamea registered morphine addict following a hip operation at the age of 79Some of Enid's own theories were bizarre; not just breast feeding and ice cold bathing, but she bought a whip for the children.Lady Astor remembers Enid well, having spent her early childhood living with her grandparents as her own parents were so young. (Timothy, in 1948, eloped with 17 year old Pandora Clifford, who was already pregnant with Annabel.) Lady Astor remembers those unattainable toys, too. 'There was a tiny little room can you buy pandora jewelry online next to my nursery,' she reminisces.'Every time I passed the door, I would peep through the keyhole and see all these wonderful toys that must have belonged to my father and his siblings and I was never given access to them. My nursery was totally empty; I had a rocking horse and that was it. I'd ask for the toys but it was always denied.'It was very matriarchal. My poor mother was made to breast feed for two or three years and, being only 17 at the time, she did what she was told. It must be 30 years since I read The Squire. I must reread it. I'm delighted it's being republished.

'Enid, who was widowed in 1962, continued writing well into her old age, although she hated being old. In her novel, the Squire gave birth with no more than a touch of anaesthetic, but took morphine afterwards to calm her excitement and help her sleep. Enid, ironically, became a registered morphine addict after a hip operation when she was 79.


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