6 May 1867|
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
|Died||7 December 1947
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
|Occupation||Writer, novelist, historian, biographer|
|Genre||Non-fiction, history, biography, novels|
Rosaline Masson (1867–1947) was a prolific writer of novels, biographies, histories and other works. She was born on 6 May 1867 in Edinburgh and was the daughter of David Masson, Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at Edinburgh University, and of Emily Rosaline Orme. She sometimes called herself 'Rosaline Orme Masson' (perhaps in intimation of her brother, David Orme Masson), but the second name is not in her birth or death certificates. She died on 7 December 1947 in Edinburgh.
Through her father, Rosaline Masson encountered many of the literary giants of her day who visited them at home in Edinburgh. She has many anecdotes of these encounters in her book, Poets, Patriots, and Lovers, that give insights into their personalities. For example, she has a 'hazy memory' of Thomas Carlyle "standing by my table stooping as he spread golden syrup on a slice of bread for me at my breakfast."
Later, in April 1884, (aged 16) she flirted innocently with the poet Robert Browning (aged 71) who came over to her at breakfast and said:
robert: "Why, I declare! You were going to have said good-morning to me, weren't you? "
rosaline: "Yes, I was. "
robert: "Why, I declare! You were going to have given me a kiss! "
rosaline: "No, I wasn't... But if you will give me one, I will keep it all my life. "[a]
She also spent a fortnight or so with the philosopher Herbert Spencer at his home in Brighton. She recalled that Spencer abhorred casual visitors. When a star struck American came to visit, he was informed that "Mr Spencer is not able to receive visitors." The American gentleman replied: "But I have come all the way from New York on purpose, Sir! I assure you that with us the name of Herbert Spencer..." But this importuning was too much for the sofa-confined philosopher who called out: "Send him away! Don’t let him come in!" The reply was: "I have heard the voice of Herbert Spencer! I can now return to New York satisfied!"
During one dinner with her family, James Barrie was not in a talkative mood. Many attempts were made to draw him out, until a lady ventured to ask "'Are you musical, Mr. Barrie?' The answer came gloomily: 'No, I’m not. I can never tell one tune from another. I dislike music.' After a moment’s pause, in the same subdued tone: 'I was musical critic on The _____[clarification needed] for several years.'"
- Pollock and Aytoun. Edinburgh: Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier, 1898, ("Famous Scots Series")
- Wordsworth. London: The People's Books,1912.
- Robert Louis Stevenson. London: The People's Books, 1912.
- The life of Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh & London: W. & R. Chambers, 1923.
- Poets, Patriots, and Lovers: Sketches and Memories of Famous People. London: James Clarke & Co. Ltd., .
- Scotia's Darling Seat, 1875–1925 ... Illustrated, etc. Edinburgh: R. Grant & Son, 1926
- A Short History of Scotland the Nation. London: Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd., 1942.
- Scotland the Nation. Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd., 
- Edinburgh. Described by Rosaline Masson, painted by John Fulleylove, London: Adam and Charles Black, 1904.
- Three centuries of English poetry: being selections from Chaucer to Herrick: with introductions and notes. London: Macmillan & Co., 1876.
- In Praise of Edinburgh. An anthology in prose and verse, (selected and edited), London: Constable & Co, 1912
- I can remember Robert Louis Stevenson. (edited), Edinburgh & London: W. & R. Chambers, 1923.
- Shakespeare personally ... Edited and arranged by Rosaline Masson. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1914.
- Use and Abuse of English: a hand-book of composition ... Fourth edition – revised. Edinburgh: James Thin, 1924
Novels and stories
- My Poor Niece and other stories. London: T. F. Unwin, 1893
- A Departure from Tradition, and other stories. London: Bliss Sands & Co., 1898
- The Transgressors. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1899
- In Our Town. [A novel], London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1901
- Leslie Farquhar. London: John Murray, 1902
- Our Bye-Election. Bristol: J. W. Arrowsmith, 1908
- Nina. London: Macmillan & Co., 1911
- A Better Man. London & Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, .
- Births and deaths information available at the General Register Office for Scotland, Scotlands People Centre in Edinburgh, and also at http://scotlandspeople.gov.uk
- Poets, Patriots, and Lovers : Sketches and Memories of Famous People, London : James Clarke & Co. Ltd., .
- British Library catalogue: http://www.bl.uk
- This encounter took place during the Tercentenary Festival of Edinburgh University in April 1884.
- As can be seen in the Births and deaths information available at the General Register Office for Scotland, Scotlands People Centre in Edinburgh, and also at http://scotlandspeople.gov.uk
- Masson, Rosaline (1933). Poets, Patriots, and Lovers: sketches and memories of famous people. James Clarke & Co. p. 183.
- Masson, Rosaline (1933). Poets, Patriots, and Lovers: sketches and memories of famous people. James Clarke & Co. p. 38.
- Masson, Rosaline (1933). Poets, Patriots, and Lovers: sketches and memories of famous people. James Clarke & Co. p. 198.
- Masson, Rosaline (1933). Poets, Patriots, and Lovers: sketches and memories of famous people. James Clarke & Co. p. 221.
- http://www.fromoldbooks.org/Masson-Edinburgh/. Missing or empty