His body was identified at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, late the following day by his sister. Reports elsewhere revealed that Campbell had for a time acted as secretary to the late Duke of Argyll, to whom he was remotely related.
Campbell was born in Bornbery, Poonah, India, on 2 September 1853. He was the second son of Captain Howard Douglas Campbell (1821-1857) of the 78th Highlander, who was married to Ann Jane Davidson on 14 October 1849. They had four children, including elder son Donald Archibald Campbell (1850-1901), who served as a Lieutenant-Colonel with the Inniskilling Fusiliers before retiring to Cheltenham.
Mrs. Campbell, widowed on 19 November 1857, and with four children—one of them only eight months old—lived in Ayr. Howard earned his certificate of competency to serve as a Second Mate in 1877 and was in the Merchant Service, rising from Conway Cadet to 2nd Officer; he later served on the staff of the British India Shipping Company in Brisbane and, when he sailed back to the UK, was described as a merchant's assistant.
The inquest was held at Paddington Coroner's Court by Dr. Danford Thomas. Donald Archibald Campbell gave evidence to say that his younger brother followed no occupation and he had last seen him in April 1899 at a hospital near the Zoological Gardens. The deceased had lately been in high hopes of getting a certain appointment but he never showed any tendency to suicide, although a later witness said that there had been some concerns regarding Campbell's mental condition expressed by a Dr. Morris of Bognor in a letter addressed to Mrs. Campbell.
The Coroner read out the following letter, which had been found in Campbell's pocket:
To the Coroner:—
Dear Sir,—There need be no mystery about my death. My father was Captain Howard Douglas Campbell, in the old 78th Highlanders. Ten years ago I was in the service in Queensland, and one night I had a very heavy fall, when besides cuts and bruises, I ruptured an artery in my chest, and the doctor almost gave me up for dying. I unfortunately had a stroke of paralysis three years ago, and I was sent home. I find I am not gaining strength, so I am to slip my moorings. Some think it cowardly what I an going to do, but I was brought up by a good lady, my mother. She was a member of the Church of Scotland, and very religious, so I know that after death comes judgment.—(Signed) Howard Douglas Campbell.Dr. Paget, of St. Mary's Hospital, stated that death was caused by a bullet wound and the jury returned a verdict of suicide during temporary insanity.
It was not the only tragedy to befall Frances Campbell, who was notably absent from reports about her husband's death, although the St James's Gazette (28 March 1901) did note that "He is married and has one child." (sic)
On 22 May 1918, her son, known now as Douglas York Campbell, although born Yorke Douglas Campbell in 1895, died at Netherne Asylum at the age of 22 and was buried at the Netherne Asylum Cemetary in Coulsdon, Surrey.
Shortly after her husband's suicide, on 9 July 1901, a letter was published in the Social column of the Australian Woman's World magazine:
It is always a pleasure to note the success of our colonial friends when they launch their literary ventures in the big mart of the world—London. The Queensland friends of Mrs. Frances Campbell have reason to congratulate her continued success in the literary world ever since her departure from Brisbane. In a private letter received yesterday, Mrs. Campbell writes :— “I have just sold my last story, a novel of which the scene is laid in Brisbane, to Digby, Long and Co. I got very good terms indeed, and in that respect am more fortunate than many who have actually made a name. Mr. George Alexander told me that many are obliged at present to publish at their own expense, so that I may congratulate myself on having been asked for a book, and paid for it when finished. I have been very busy for the magazines, and am on the staff of one of the London weeklies, so have enough to do, and, as you will understand, it takes it all to provide for my little ones.”It is thought that the staff position was with the Westminster Gazette, where she published regularly for at least the next eight or so years, with some of the material widely syndicated and even gathered together in book form. Over the next few years most of her work received generous praise, with stories and features appearing in The Pall Mall Magazine, Temple Bar, Free Lance, The Fortnightly Review, The Queen, Westminster Budget, Morning Post, The Throne, Good Housekeeping, and the Daily Mail, in the 1900s.
Her first novel appeared in 1900 and was generally well-reviewed. A typical example appeared in Western Mail (4 May 1900):
An interesting book enough, which gives a little insight into the lives of certain individuals on board a steamer homeward bound from Australia. The heroine, Angela Vivian, who has the misfortune to be tied to a brutal and drunken husband, is a type of woman of whom we do not see many examples nowadays—tender, clinging, and affectionate, full of a religious fervour which characterises all her actions, and, consequently, upright and honourable, determined to do her duty by her husband, even if it cost her her own life. Mrs. Tredwin is a delightful person, with a very soft heart and a very sharp tongue, and there is something touching in her tender protection of the oppressed and insulted wife. Harry Vivian is a most repellent character, a victim of intemperance, and one can only feel relieved at the catastrophe which results in his death, when Angela is free to marry a man who loves her honourably and well. All the other characters are well depicted.Mrs. Campbell's follow-up, Love the Atonement, also drew on her experiences in Queensland and was well-liked by the reviewer at The Brisbane Courier (7 September 1901):
She has not been so long gone from amongst us that Brisbane has forgotten Mrs. Frances Campbell, and, remembering, it is with genuine pleasure that one welcomes the work of a woman who, though expatriated now, has still love enough left for the country of her adoption to look at its people and its places through rose-tinted glasses, and write of them in the appreciative, approving way that has marked her two novels. For Mrs. Campbell has now been fairly launched on her literary career in London. Her first book, "For Three Moons," aroused Interest and anticipation, and those who were her friends recognised in her qualities of imagination and creation that, given favourable conditions, might go far. In "Love the Atonement" she has safely passed that Charybdis of a second book in which so many promising novelists have before now been engulfed, and, has indubitably proved her claim, not only to be considered the legitimate successor of Mrs. Campbell Praed, as far as choice of environment goes at any rate, but also a writer whose books will earn no inconsiderable reputation in the near future.The Queensland connection was also much apparent in her next book, which gathered together material originally published in the Westminster Gazette. The following review was syndicated widely in numerous provincial papers around the UK, taken here from the Mid-Sussex Times (8 November 1904), which was perhaps a little too gushing in its praise:
Her story is a quaint mixture of Celtic mysticism and ordinary social life—a tragedy overlaid with the comedy of vice-regal existence in Queensland, but showing here and there the grim lines of a soul's unhappiness. For the plot one goes to the mysticism, for the Incidents to the comedy, and both are so agreeably interwoven that the book leaves an enduring good impression. Mrs. Campbell writes well and fluently, has cultivated the knack of smart dialogue, and displays everywhere a surprising facility in the handling of character—especially those of women. There is a poetical touch in her arranging of the fates of her principal dramatis personae, and her descriptions of Brisbane scenery and society lack nothing either in artistic merit or in point of realism. And putting aside the higher idealistic aspect of the novel, which, be it said, is far the most attractive, one is interested also in her sketches of Brisbane men and women—sketches that sometimes are rather thinly disguised. To Brisbane readers this will give additional point to the romance, but it is safe to say that to the world at large Mrs. Campbell's novel will be well received for its intrinsic merits. It is a book that will decidedly make its mark, and its author's name has, in its publication, insured a popularity which, will last. Brisbane should be grateful to Mrs. Campbell that she has represented it so worthily.
It is very delightful in these days of alternation between the commonplace and the erotic in expensively advertised fiction, to come across, in the natural way, a book penned by a new hand, the cunning of which is convincing to the cultivated. Such, however, is assuredly the case with “Two Queenslanders and their Friends,” a work issued by the De La More Press, in chaste typography, and written by Frances Campbell, a new star in the firmament authorial, born to indubitable fame and glory. Mimi and Joe, the wee wean heroine and hero of the chain of stories, charm the reader by their naïve naturalness right away, irresistibly carry him or her along to the finale by their appealing acts, human always, defiant of cramping convention, wholesome to watch and sympathise with . Frances Campbell is a poetess and a seer, though the chastest of picturesque prose be her medium, and one hour of her under the Southern Cross is worth a cycle of circumambulation in the cloudland of the Corellis. What Lindsay Gordon has done in lilting verse for alluring Antipodean scenes, Frances Campbell does as prettily without the adventitious aid of rhythm, and gives us besides lots of live and lovable people to animate the landscape. The glint of burnished humour scintillates all through these Queensland stories, and one knows and loves the characters with full and undying affection, all because of the subtle strength of their pen portraiture. Delightfully fresh are each and all, in smiles and in tears, so unspoiled and so uplifting that one would dearly like at once to settle up one’s business, and migrate to the Queensland of Frances Campbell, and graduate with Mimi and Joe, the “Boss,” the “Lady,” the Bush Bishop, and “Brownie”—the always enchanting teller of the tale—for a permanent place in the ethereal realms beyond the bounds of the laughing land of “Never Never.” Of course Frances Campbell must be encored heartily for this altogether-admirable literary performance, that—nemine contradicente—will be the verdict of the discriminate.As the book concerns Australia and Australians, it is interesting to take a look at a review from the Adelaide newspaper, The Advertiser (17 December 1904):
Few people are in doubt to-day as to the possibilities of a colonial literature, but those who remain sceptics should certainly read Frances Campbell's "Two Queenslanders and Their Friends" just published by the De la More Press. They form a charming idyll of the bush, and the two dominant characters, Joe and Mimi, are among the most delightful children I have met with in fiction. Their questions to their elders are, like their adventures, unique. In some things they remind us of those precocious, yet altogether lovable, youngsters Budge and Toddie in "Helen's Babies." The writer possesses a style of her own, which promises even better things. She is permeated by nature-love, love of animals, and of humanity. Her two baby stories—"The Brown Baby” and “Sunshine and Shadow”—are almost too pathetic. Character sketches, which are worthy of amplification, include one of a colonial bishop, and others of Chiney Tong, the Chinese cook, and his wife. One has some doubts as to the dialect of the children, which seems occasionally a little strained. An example is Mimi's query, "Mummie, did God make centipedes?" When told that "God made everything," she replies, "Not evvyfing; 'E didn't mate we's beds 'is morning. Biddy did." But the faults are few and the merits many, and Miss (or is it Mrs.?) Campbell is to he heartily congratulated on her addition to Australian literature.Her next novel did not receive such universal praise, with a division between the hemispheres. Whilst well-liked in the UK, it earned a drubbing in some Australian papers. The Age (2 December 1905) took a particular dislike to it, as we shall see below. But first, the Western Daily Press (16 October 1905) found it most agreeable:
In “A Pillar of Dust,” published by Mr J. W. Arrowsmith, Frances Campbell supplies a readable story in which most of the incidents occur in the far-distant colony of Queensland. The story opens in the old country, and then the scenes change. It occurs in this way: Terence, the self-sacrificing hero, is on his trial for forgery. The reader will be impressed with his personality in the dock. His appearance favours the impression that he might be innocent of the serious charge brought against him, but the jury are bound by the evidence, and he is found guilty and sentenced to twenty years’ transportation to the penal settlement in Queensland. Julian, his twin brother, who is in court, is also a strikingly handsome man, but of the effeminate description Then the reader follows poor Terence, and, singularly enough, most of the essential characters to the story, to Queensland, where the principal developments take place. This part of the novel enables the authoress, who is evidently thoroughly familiar with the country, to give an excellent idea of the rough times experienced in the earlier days of the colony, the chapters being strong in local “colour.” For a time Terence, like his fellow-convicts, roughs it with heroic fortitude, but eventually incidents of a surprising, and certainly exciting, nature occur, affecting, it is not surprising to find, the well-being of several of the principals, among whom is a young lady who takes more than a casual interest in Terence. Even the “settlement” itself is involved, and it meets with a singular metamorphosis. Something occurs, too, calculated to confirm impressions that will doubtless have been formed by the reader: it is sufficient to say that truth and justice, in accordance with immemorial precedent, prevail. “A Pillar of Dust” furnishes very entertaining reading.Not so, said The Age:
The most remarkable thing about Mrs.Frances Campbell's novel is the amount of inaccuracy, historical, social and topographical, it contains. She sets her story — a melodramatic one with London journal trimmings — in the "Moreton Bay Settlement" of the late fifties, among convicts and all the paraphernalia of the system. A school primer would have told her that Brisbane had ceased to be a convict prison quite fifteen years before that, and that Dr. Leichhardt had vanished into the unknown ten years or more before she makes him medical officer of the town. This ignorance might have been passed over, but she adds to it a variety of exaggerated and wholly mistaken descriptions regarding the town and the surrounding country — mistakes that are quite inexcusable in one who poses in London as an Australian authoress, and who indeed lived many years in the very place the salient features of which she has distorted so absurdly.The Western Mail (Perth, WA) (9 December 1905) offered a mixed review: clearly-written but weakly plotted, several weak episodes and one or two strong ones that redeem the book; The Register (Adelaide, SA) (2 January 1906) thought it full of stirring incident and local colour... but "Any attempt at fixing a date, however, is doomed to failure." As they explain: "Moreton Bay convict settlement was founded in 1825, and there was no colony of Queensland, Moreton Bay being in New South Wales till the separation in 1859. Meanwhile the convict settlement had been abandoned in 1840, yet we have a new ship load of exiles arriving between Dr. Leichhardt's first and second expeditions – which would be about 1845. Taken with the cheerful mention of the Crimea and the Indian mutiny (1854-1857) as contemporary, if not previous to the time of the story, this is enough to make the judicious reader give it up."
|© National Portrait Gallery, London|
Although her late husband was related distantly, his immediate family, were the Campbells of Achanduin, according to History of the Campbell Family by Henry Lee (1920), "a branch of the family of Lochnell. Archibald Campbell, first of Achanduin, was third son of Colin Campbell, fifth of Lochnell."
Of the book, the Manchester Courier (22 March 1906) said:
The series of delightful sketches which Frances Campbell has published under the title “The Measure of Life” reminds one of nothing so much as a portfolio of impressions, and contains the best work of an artist—the brilliant fancy and sure expression and the elusory qualities rarely, if ever, transferred to more elaborate pictures. Within the covers of the book there are over thirty numbers diverse in subject and execution, yet all touched with imagination and wrought to admiration. It is not a volume to be read through, but to be kept at hand and to be dipped into frequently, for the reader must, indeed, be hard to please who does not find there something to his liking, be his mood what it may. Mrs. Campbell is to be congratulated on an achievement as beautiful as her “Two Queenslanders,” though absolutely different in kind.The book had an American edition published by E. P. Dutton.
Her next title was a change of pace: Dearlove is about an 11-year-old girl whose insistent demands are met by her family who chose to "grow down" to her level for the summer holidays and comport themselves as children. They extract a great deal of fun from this and begin to attract recruits to their growing band of make-believers. The whims of Dearlove herself were described with a good deal of gaiety and humour and found good favour with reviewers:
Daily Telegraph: “Mrs Frances Campbell’s new book gives a delightful series of pictures. Her little heroine, the girl Dearlove, is a fascinating person, who should win her way to the hearts of readers, even as a certain Little Lord Fauntleroy did some years ago. Sweet and dainty from beginning to end Mrs. Campbell’s latest book should serve to make her work known to a wide circle of readers.”Before her next book, Mrs. Campbell was to go on an expedition that would earn her even more headlines around the world.
Pall Mall Gazette: “A very perfect little rhapsody of charm and affection is this study of a child and her surroundings. The frontispiece portrait of ‘Dearlove’ is all that words have made her, and would add conviction, if that were necessary, to her sweet prattle and all the revelations of her adorable self. This is a book to be commended rather than described, and, in spite of its genuine quality, it seems born with claims upon a wide popularity.”