Juliette Gordon Low: Heartache, and Meeting Baden-Powell

Sir Robert Baden Powell and Juliette.
Image supplied by Karen M. Schillings

Although Daisy was thoroughly devoted to her husband, it cannot be said the same for him. Willy had a roving eye and was very keen on women. In 1901, Anna Bateman, an actress, was discovered to be Willy’s mistress. This was particularly hurtful to Daisy, since she had welcomed Mrs. Bateman to Wellesbourne House on several occasions. Now Daisy had a dilemma; how to end her marriage quietly and honorably. If she filed for divorce on grounds of adultery, then her husband and Anna Bateman would be subjected to embarrassment and shunned in polite society.

Leaving Wellesbourne

Not wishing to bring scandal to either of them, Daisy decided to leave Wellesbourne and take up residence in London. At a later time, she did file for divorce, but on the grounds of desertion. However, before the divorce was finalised, William Mackay Low died of a seizure in 1905. Without her knowledge, Willy had changed his will and left the entirety of his estate to Anna Bateman. Nevertheless, Daisy was able to persuade Willy’s four sisters to contest the will. In the end, Daisy did receive a small settlement, along with the house in Savannah. Willy’s sister Amy Low Grenfell kept Wellesbourne House.

Meeting Baden-Powell

Daisy needed to put the heartbreak of her marriage and Willy’s death behind her. Without a career or the prospects of remarrying, she set her sights on traveling. However, this strong woman wanted to have a purposeful life and continued to search for something meaningful to do. In 1911 at a luncheon, she had the good fortune to be seated next to Sir Robert Baden-Powell. Daisy was extremely impressed with all that Sir Robert had accomplished, especially his organization of a youth group for boys call the Boy Scouts, and then for girls called the Girl Guides.

The two soon became good friends, and he encourage her to do something useful with her life. Having Robert as a friend put Daisy’s life on a new path, one she had desired to walk for a long time, that is, being of service. Robert’s inspiration gave Daisy the courage to take an enormous step on that path.

The previous article looked at her charitable work and artistic endeavours, whilst the next wraps up her story with the founding of the Girl Scouts.

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