The Fair Maid of Perth was the name of a mare, belonging to Ernest Giles, who disappeared in the Gibson Desert in 1874, in mysterious circumstances. The disappearance of the mare is a subject in my Horse myths project. She is pictured here wearing the Baird Tartan, in acknowledgment of the Scottish origins of her name.
The question here is why did Giles named his horse "The Fair Maid of Perth"? I have a notion that the events described here could hold the answer.
Earliest mention of Scottish legend concerning the Fair Maid of Perth, first referred to as Catherine Glover, the Glover's daughter.
Parts of the Fair Maid's house in Perth Scotland date the house as the oldest secular building in Perth.
Simon Glover did live in this house at this time, with his pious daughter, according to Sir Walter Scott in his novel published later. Glover Corporation purchased the property in 1629 and occupied it for 150 years.
Building sold to Lord John Murray and leased back to Glover.
Sir Walter Scott writes his historical novel "Saint Valentines Day" also referred to as "The Fair Maid of Perth". The novel was roughly based on historical and legendary materiel from Rob Roy, The War of the Clans in 1396, and many other events in Scottish history with little regard for timelines.
Earnest Giles arrives on the Victorian Goldfields. Visits Marvellous Melbourne on numerous occasions. Giles was reported as a bit of a dandy around Melbourne, enjoying the pleasures of Gold Town.
Celeste De Chabrillan, wife of the French Consul to Melbourne arrives 1854 and sets up home in St Kilda. Celeste makes a big impression on Melbourne society, with her notorious past and grand balls. I imagine Giles was enchanted by Celeste and her Celeste wrote 3 Australian novels. ref "The French Consuls Wife" by Patricia Clancey and Jeanne Allen.
Celeste is widowed and returns to France, where she establishes herself as a novelist.
Giles embarks on his career as an explorer in Western NSW.
French composer Bizet meets Celeste De Chabrillan. He later claimed Celeste was an inspiration for the character Carmen in his Opera of the same name, written in 1875.
Bizet is commissioned by Carvalho to compose "La Jolie Fille De Perth" an opera based on Scotts novel, "The Fair Maid of Perth".
Bizet's "La Jolie Fille De Perth" is first performed at Theatre Lyrique, Paris.
Dr Mueller organises an expedition into the centre of Australia, led by Ernest Giles.
Second expedition organised by Giles. He sourced and named his chosen mare "The Fair Maid of Perth". I speculate that Giles, as he is about to depart into the loneliness and remoteness of unknown territories, gives his mare a sentimental name that invokes his fond memories of Celeste De Chabrillan.
The mare disappears in mysterious circumstances in the Gibson Desert.