Mabel Cosgrove Wodehouse Pearse

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Mabel Cosgrove Wodehouse Pearse, also known as Mabel Cosgrove and as Mrs. or Princess Chantoon, was an Irish writer who married Prince Chantoon, the nephew of the King of Burma. She is known for her novels about Burma, particularly A Marriage in Burmah and for a controversy surrounding the authorship of For Love of the King a play by the Irish playwright Oscar Wilde.


Mabel Cosgrove was born in Ireland in 1872.[1] In 1893 or 1894 she married Prince Chantoon, a nephew of a hereditary king of Arakan.[2] In a checkered life, she wrote several books, was married a second time to Arminie Wodehouse-Pearse, and spent time in an English prison for theft[3] and in a Mexican prison for blackmail[4]

Oscar Wilde controversy[edit]

In October 1921, Hutchinson's Magazine published an undiscovered play, For Love of the King, by Oscar Wilde. The play was subsequently published in book form by Methuen Publishing in 1922. E. V. Lucas, The manuscript was offered to Methuen by Wodehouse Pearse along with a letter from Wilde (written in November 1894) stating that he was sending her the fairy play "for the love of the king" for her "own amusement".[3] In 1925, Christopher Millard, a well known biographer of Wilde, was approached by Wodehouse Pearse who tried to sell him some letters that she said were written by Wilde. Convinced that the letters as well as the play were forgeries, Millard published a pamphlet stating that Methuen had knowingly published a play that it knew to be a forgery.[5] Methuen sued Millard for defamation and won an award of £200. During the trial, Wodehouse Pearse could not be found to testify (she was later discovered in prison serving a sentence for theft).[3]

Published works[edit]

  • A Marriage in Burmah London, Greening & Co., 1905
  • Under Eastern Skies 1901
  • Told on the Pagoda 1895 (under the pen name Mimosa)
  • A Shadow of Burmah 1914 (as Mrs. Chan-Toon)