With a couple of very busy weeks around, and very little time for writing, let alone blogging, I thought I would repost something from my own blog of a couple months ago (which some of you may have seen). As a writer of historical fiction, I spend a lot of time researching, and newspapers yield some interesting tidbits.
I came across this article in the Queensland Figaro, dated 26th March, 1908, and it fascinated me. I think much of it was tongue in cheek, but I wanted to share a few snippets with you.
Yes ; the World moves. If you, good reader, had lived in the 13th century you would have had no sugar; at the beginning of the 15th you would have had no butter; in the 16th neither potatoes nor (the male reader) tobacco; in the 17th no tea, no coffee, no soap. Bishop Welldow fears — probably justly— that: our ancestors were all dirty. At the beginning of the 18th century there were no lamps and no umbrellas; and the beginning of the 19th century no trains, no watches, no gas, no telegrams, ho chloroform, no ether.Sir James Y. Simpson, when he introduced the use of chloroform, had to argue with religious opponents, who insisted that to mitigate pain was to fight against the decree of Providence. It is said that in the fight he reminded his opponents that in the record of the earliest (surgical) operation in human history, when God was said to have taken a rib out of Adam's body, He first cast the man into a deep sleep.
I had never considered that there would be religious argument AGAINST pain relief. What food for thought! My eyes have been opened. But I do love Sir James' point about God putting Adam into a deep sleep.
And then there was this about ladies' hats:
It never enters a man's dull head when he reviles a confection that interferes with his view of the stage that an enormous amount of care and skill—even genius—has been expended, not only in the creation and manufacture of the hat, but also on the correct poising and fastening of it on the fair owner's head.Have you ever, dull male, seen a lady put on her hat? Have you ever waited minute after minute, quarter after quarter, hour after hour, while a lady side-stepped anxiously in front of a big mirror, taking every point of view, giving this side a tilt and that side a tilt, elevating the back and depressing the front, loosening a knot of hair in the south-east, and bringing reinforcements of curls to support a flying column of plumes in the north-west, inserting a giant pin with extreme care on this side, and another with equal deliberation on that side, leaving her dressing room tranquil to become dissatisfied in the hall, and returning to go through the same evolutions all over again? And then to be expected by a brute of a man to take it off. Why, it requires the self-sacrifice of a martyr.
That is the reason I always admire a lady when she does take her hat off. It is an act of abnegation for the comfort of others, which the mere masculine animal cannot appreciate. He would only begin to realise it if he were forced in the full glare of a theatre to undo the intricate convolutions of a self-made tie.
Yes, what a great defense for the trouble women used to put themselves through (and for those who still do), to look their best for their gentlemen companions. And a great laugh, to boot.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on these passages. Are you one of the above said 'martyrs'? Please leave a comment!
Amanda Deed resides in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne where she fills her time with work, raising a family, church activities and writing historical romance novels. Her new novel, Henry's Run, was released on the 1st of April, 2013. For more information, see: