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William Le Quex

The Center for Bead Research discourages the traffic in ancient beads or antiquities of any sort. It is illegal and has been in the U.S. since 1972. We do not buy antiquities but accept them as donations under certain circumstances. The faience pieces donated by the late Mrs. Frances E. Willsie of Victoria, B.C., Canada have an interesting history.

The beads were bought in Egypt around the turn of the century by William Le Queux. They were inherited by his adopted daughter, Mrs. Willsie, in 1925. Her daughter, Beverly Johnson, has sent me photocopies of pages from one of Le Queux's books, Things I Know about Kings, Celebrities and Crooks (1923 London: Eveleigh Nash and Grayson). The following information is taken from this source.

From the preface: "I propose to take my reader behind the scenes of some particular phases of my life with which he may be unfamiliar. ... I have led, and still lead, a wandering life. My custom has ever been never to have even a pied--terre in one place longer than a year."

The book is about people he has met and the chapter titles are revealing: Princess Luisa of Saxony; Vatt Marashi, Chief of the Skreli Brigands; Petkoff, Prime Minster of Bulgaria; King Nicholas of Montenegro; Crippen, The Poisoner; and so on. His name means "the King's head cook," and his family has a long pedigree.

For his readers he prints out his entry in Who's Who. Excerpts follow. "LE QUEUX, William Tufneil: novelist; traveller; Commander of the Orders of St. Saxa of Serbia; Danilo of Montenegro; Crown of Italy; San Marino orders, etc. Consul of Republic of San Marino, retired." And on and on. He wrote for The Times and traveled from the Sahara to the Arctic. The government consulted him on his "intimate knowledge of the Secret Service of other Continental Powers." He forecast World War I in 1910, was the first to make radio broadcasts of concerts to Britain and Ireland and wrote over 130 books and "many kinema films."

At the end of his long entry is, "Recreations: Pistol practice; ski-ing in Switzerland; the study of Egyptology, and wireless research."


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