Friday, August 19, 2016



"In Toledo I got a job in a dry goods store selling notions...
Until the owner decided to try to sell me some of his notions

Stella Legendre


Stella Legendre was born in 1848, the daughter of a "hellfire and brimstone shouter" who believed that being born was the greatest sin of all, brought upon Mankind by women.  She bore the brunt of his maniacal fervor for as long as she could, but she finally ran away from home when she turned 18.

Stella Legrandre wasn't her real name.  That was the "stage name" she took when she started a new life later as a saloon girl.  I'm going to claim that her name was Cora.  The reason will soon become apparent.....

The Civil War was just beginning and she headed to Ohio, with the intent of going to Canada to elude her father.  But she got only as far as Toledo before her money ran out and so she took that job with the dry goods store.

Although he was not mentioned by name, the owner of that dry goods store was Isidore Levinson.  It was the second of the two stores he owned which would become the hub of his growing franchise.  (The flagship of the line was the store in Cincinnati.)  

Isidore Levinson was married to Martha and for several years they had been struggling to have a child.  It was putting a strain on their relationship and Martha was beginning to distance herself from her husband.  Isidore probably fled to the store in Toledo in order escape the disharmony at home.  While overseeing his fledgling empire, Stella caught his eye as she worked as the counter girl.  One might think from her statement above that she rebuffed his advances, but I think she gave herself to him.  She was young and probably under the delusion that he would leave his wife for her.  

It was never going to happen though.  Unfortunately Cora didn't realize it until she was pregnant with his child.

Martha Levinson wasn't a stupid woman.  She was aware that her husband was having an affair, but was hoping that he would come to his senses.  But she knew she had to take control of the situation once he confessed not only to the affair, but also about Cora's condition.  Martha knew that it would cause a scandal and damage their already precarious standing in society (what with him being Jewish.)  

She confronted both her husband and his mistress and laid down the conditions on how they would proceed.  Martha would travel to Saratoga Springs, NY, with Cora posing as her maid.  Although they were registered at an isolated spa resort, they actually stayed hidden away at the home of Martha's friends, the Douglas family.  There Cora gave birth to a baby girl on July 18, 1868.  The Levinsons would claim the baby as their own and Cora would be paid off with the stipulation that she leave Ohio behind forever and never contact them again.

Cora was not the sweet innocent corrupted by a man; she held no interest in raising the baby as her own.  So she took the stipend given her by the Levinsons and headed to St. Louis where she was swindled out of that money by a man who claimed he could make her the next Jenny Lind.  The only thing he probably left her was the new name of "Stella Legrandre".  So she took the job as a saloon girl where she met Rance, known as The Arapaho Kid.  And that led to her reunion with Bart Maverick whom she met once at the saloon where she worked and he was playing poker.

"How'd we meet?"
Bart Maverick: 
"The way anybody meets a dance hall girl.  
I said hello to you and you said hello to me."

But before she left Ohio and the baby she bore, Cora made only one demand of the Levinsons: she demanded that the baby girl be given her name.  Realizing that she could still make their life difficult, Isidore and Martha agreed to her terms.  Cora left Toledo only after the little girl was officially certified as Cora Levinson.

Cora Levinson became a "Dollar Princess", marrying into the Crawley family who held the Grantham title and the Downton Abbey estate in Yorkshire.  So this theory of relateeveety would connect 'Maverick' to 'Downton Abbey'.  

I can't prove it of course, but then again....  Can you disprove it?

As for Stella, she learned her lesson after being with The Arapaho Kid.  Once she had given her testimony to the government agents, she planned to move to the Dakota territory where her cousin was rasiing a passel of kids.  

It might be fun to theorize who that cousin might have been or who her children's children turned out to be.....

So what do you think of this pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, theory of relateeveety connecting 'Maverick' and 'Downton Abbey'?

I wasn't asking you, Stella.....

Happy trails to you!

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