Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821 - 1890). Photo: Hulton Archive

Just outside London, in the village of Mortlake, the massive tomb of Sir Richard Burton rises among the humbler graves of St. Mary Magdalen Church. I paid my dubious respects there a month or so ago, circumambulating the marble mausoleum (now clad in cement) like some skeptical pilgrim, and teetering on the rickety ladder at the rear of the edifice which gives you a peep into the dusty interior. There Burton and his devoutly Catholic wife Isabel (née Arundell) lie moldering uneasily side by side....


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