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A Real Companion and Friend:
The diary of William Lyon Mackenzie King

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Behind the Diary

A King's Who's Who Biographies

Marjorie Herridge (1858-1924)

Marjorie Herridge, 1914


Marjorie Herridge, 1914

Marjorie Herridge was the wife of the Very Reverend Dr. William Herridge. In the early 1900s, she and Mackenzie King became very close friends. She introduced him to the writings of Matthew Arnold and shared his appreciation of Kingsmere. After the summer of 1902, their friendship gradually cooled. Following Marjorie Herridge's death in 1924, King purchased the house in Kingsmere that had been her summer home.

This photograph was taken at the Topley Studio in Ottawa. William James Topley (1845-1930) was the Ottawa partner of the ground-breaking Montreal photographer William Notman (1826-1891). Topley's clientele included prime ministers, civil servants, diplomats, leading businessmen and their families.

In the autumn of 1900, Mackenzie King and his friend Bert Harper began to attend St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Ottawa. They soon became friends with the minister, the Very Reverend Dr. William Herridge, and his wife Marjorie. King and Harper were frequent guests at the Herridge home, and Marjorie was the person who introduced them to the writings of Matthew Arnold. In the summer of 1901, perhaps on the recommendation of the Herridges, King and Harper stayed at an inn in Kingsmere, almost every weekend and sometimes during the week. Marjorie and her children were also there, and King enjoyed the summer very much. After Harper's death in December 1901, Marjorie gave King emotional support.

At Kingsmere, in the summer of 1902, King and Marjorie developed a close friendship. There is a gap in the diary from July 11 to September 21. Resuming the journal, King wrote: "Our summer has been lived together, lived to ourselves and now we are to live apart, and the duties of life rather than its pleasures are to receive their emphasis. What is to be the outcome of this love ... I have reason to love her as I never had reason to before. I tremble at moments when I think of what our lives are to each other." (Diary, September 21, 1902)

For a short while, King referred to Marjorie as "the Child," even though she was 16 years older than he.

After that summer, their friendship gradually cooled. Following Marjorie's death in 1924, Mackenzie King purchased the house at Kingsmere that had been her summer home.