Note from Mrs. Chesterton, a Chapter from Anecdotes about 20th Century Authors

At the time of her death, on 20 January 1962, The Times reported that Mrs. Chesterton was `in her nineties'. Writing in the Tablet, 10 February 1962, P. C. Heseltine was slightly more specific:

`Not only does nobody, now that she is gone, know her age, but there is abundant evidence that she did not know it herself. Reasonable estimates put it between ninety-two and ninety-eight.'

Miss Helen M. Palmer, however, has kindly supplied me with a copy of the death certificate, in which it appears that Mrs. (Ada Elizabeth) Chesterton died at the age of 93. This may possibly have been someone's guess, but I have given the date of her birth as 1869. G. K. Chesterton's anecdote about his sister-in-law does justice to only one small side of her literary activity: she was a prolific journalist, and her book In Darkest London not only gave memorable expression to her social conscience, but led to the foundation of Cecil Houses (Incorporated) — Women's Public Lodging Houses and Residential Clubs.