Three young siblings sit at a fountain. Two girls in matching dresses and white, floppy bonnets; a lad in a schoolboy’s jacket and shorts. Their smiles are subdued. The children are long-term guests at the compound of one of Palm Beach’s more famed denizens, Charles Merrill.
Across the sea, their mother pines for her son and two daughters. But she knows they are safer in America than they would be in England. Night after night, the full fury of the Nazi war machine bombs their homeland. “This photo shows Alistair, Anne and Jean Eliot one Sunday at a church in Palm Beach called Bethesda,” poet and writer Alistair Eliot, now 84, recalled. [Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. Anne on the left; Jean in the middle.]
Their emergency host being Charles Merrill, founder of the world’s largest brokerage firm. Alistair knows little about his family’s connections to…
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