In June 1873, Lee left Dublin for London and never returned. A fortnight later, Bessie followed him; the two girls joined her. Shaw's explanation of why his mother followed Lee was that without the latter's financial contribution the joint household had to be broken up. Left in Dublin with his father, Shaw compensated for the absence of music in the house by teaching himself to play the piano.
In 1898, as a result of overwork, Shaw's health broke down. He was nursed by , a rich Anglo-Irish woman whom he had met through the Webbs. The previous year she had proposed that she and Shaw should marry. He had declined, but when she insisted on nursing him in a house in the country, Shaw, concerned that this might cause scandal, agreed to their marriage. The ceremony took place on 1 June 1898, in the in . The bride and bridegroom were both aged forty-one. In the view of the biographer and critic , "their life together was entirely felicitous". There were no children of the marriage, which it is generally believed was never consummated; whether this was wholly at Charlotte's wish, as Shaw liked to suggest, is less widely credited. In the early weeks of the marriage Shaw was much occupied writing his Marxist analysis of 's , published as late in 1898. In 1906 the Shaws found a country home in , Hertfordshire; they renamed the house "", and lived there for the rest of their lives. They retained a London flat in the and later at .
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