Lives, Loves & Lies

With publication of A Very Dangerous Woman due in the USA tomorrow (June 9), History News Network today carries a piece about Moura Budberg written by the book's authors Jeremy Dronfield and Deborah McDonald. It tackles the subject of Moura’s three great relationships – with Maxim Gorky, H. G. Wells and Robert Bruce Lockhart.

From the article:

Next year will be the 70th anniversary of H. G. Wells’s death. Besides being one of the great visionary writers of his generation, Wells was a renowned womanizer; the novelist Arnold Bennett marveled at his energy, with “four new novels and five new mistresses every year.” But Wells met his match in Moura Budberg – aristocrat, socialite and spy, she was the one lover he was unable to tame, and yet the one he desired above all others. She loved another.

Moura, Wells, Gorky

Moura with H. G. Wells (left) and Maxim Gorky in Petrograd, 1920.

When Wells first met Moura in 1920, she was living in the commune created in Petrograd (St Petersburg) by the writer Maxim Gorky, acting as his secretary and de facto wife. He too was in love with her.

Gorky loved Moura deeply, and grew ever more dependent on her visits. Moura was fond of him and admired him greatly, but never loved him romantically. None of the lovers with whom she amused herself ever possessed her entirely – her heart had already been taken years before by the romantic British agent Robert Bruce Lockhart – a man skilled equally with a pen or a revolver.

Lockhart had come to Russia in 1918 as Britain’s secret representative to the new Bolshevik government (none of the Allied nations recognized it as a legitimate government, but most sent “unofficial” diplomatic agents). He met Moura, who had been employed by the British Embassy as a clerk and had many close British friends, and the two fell immediately in love.

In fact, Lockhart’s mission in Russia turned out to have a secret, much more sinister side to it, and Moura found herself caught up in the notorious “Lockhart Plot” and was faced with the choice between her own honour and the life of her lover.

Read the rest of the article at History News Network.

website and content © 2015 Jeremy Dronfield and Deborah McDonald