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Are Succulents Really Brown Thumb-Proof?

I suppose I’ve always been somewhat of an indifferent gardener, which may seem like an odd thing for a farmer’s daughter to say. When I did, I was more a vegetable gardener, since growing your own seems the only way to get decent tomatoes. But when my garden became contaminated with some nasty tomato disease, I gave up the garden altogether. In recent years, I’ve even turned over the landscaping to a private company. The only gardening I still do myself is the border around the tree in front of my house and some containers on the porch. They do need watering, however, which is problematic when I’m traveling for long periods of time.

So in January when I saw the lovely succulent plants on QVC and learned that they rarely require watering and are so hardy they can be left out on the porch in the box until time for planting, I was intrigued. Seemed like a no-brainer. I’m a Florida snowbird until mid-May. My two boxes of succulents were mailed to Toledo last week. Will they still be alive when I return? The QVC host practically guaranteed it. I did notice quite a few complaints about them on the website, though. So we’ll see. If not, I will get my money back.

What’s a Succulent?

From thespruce.com:

There are over 10,000 succulent plants, which include cacti. Many are native to South Africa and Madagascar and the Caribbean. Succulent plants have thick, fleshy leaves, stems or roots. This is one of the ways they have adapted to dry conditions by taking advantage of whatever water is available and holding onto it for later use. When full of water, the leaves can appear swollen. When they are becoming depleted, the leaves will begin to look puckered.

Other water conserving features you may find in succulents are narrow leaves, waxy leaves, a covering of hairs or needles, reduced pores, or stomata, and ribbed leaves and stems, that can expand water holding capacity. Their functioning is fascinating, but most are also quite attractive, too. They are perfect for dry climates and periods of drought anywhere, but many are not cold hardy below USDA Zone 9. Even so, they can be grown as annuals or over-wintered indoors. Several make great houseplants. Grow them all year in containers and you can just move the whole thing in when the temperature drops.

My Giveaways

1 random commenter will win this lovely garden-themed charm bracelet and another will win a signed print copy of The Ultimate Escape, Book 1 in my Lady P Chronicles. Book 2, A Home for Helena, turns one year old on March 29, and Lady P and I are celebrating by reducing the price and offering a Rafflecopter contest. All of my contests are international.

A Home for Helena

Believing that she has been misplaced in time, Helena Lloyd travels back two hundred years in an attempt to find out where she belongs.

Widowed father James Walker has no intention of remarrying until he makes the acquaintance of his daughter’s lovely new governess.

Lady Pendleton, a time-traveling Regency lady herself, suspects that these two belong together. First, however, she must help Helena discover her true origins—and hopefully, a home where she belongs.

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The Blog Hop

To be eligible for the Grand Prizes (e-reader and gift card), you must comment on each and every post in the hop. Be sure to include your email address in the comment.

Click here to return to the list of blog hop participants.

About Susana

Susana Ellis has always had stories in her head waiting to come out, especially when she learned to read and her imagination began to soar.

A former teacher, Susana lives in Toledo, Ohio in the summer and Florida in the winter. She is a member of the Central Florida Romance Writers and the Beau Monde chapters of RWA, Maumee Valley Romance Inc., and is a member of the infamous Bluestocking Belles.

Website: http://www.SusanaEllis.com

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Susana’s Adventures in England: Brockhampton Estate

Much thanks to Heather King for providing transportation and companionship, as well as the infamous super dog Roxy, and not least, to Cora Lee, who formed the fourth part of our party.

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Lower Brockhampton is a timber-framed manor house dating back to the 14th century. The manor house is surrounded by a moat and entered by a newly-restored gatehouse. The estate includes 1000 acres of farmland and 700 acres of woodland. The ruins of a Norman church are also located on the property.

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The manor house was probably built from timber sourced from the estate itself, and the history of the house is intimately connected to the rich wooded landscape that it sits within.

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Making good use of the estate’s productivity was the secret to the continued wealth of the family that lived here. We know from ancient seeds and pollen found during archaeological excavations that in medieval times cereal crops were grown near the manor house, to the north of the moat.

chinacabinet-copyOver the years the house was adapted by each successive generation that lived here, the original medieval great hall had an upper floor inserted into it by the Barneby family, in order to accommodate their many children.

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As society changed it became more important for the owning family to live separately from their servants and estate workers. Eventually in the Georgian period, and under the care of Bartholomew Barneby, the owning family moved out from the ancient timber framed building and into a grander mansion house at the top of the estate.

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From the eighteenth century onwards the timber framed manor house was home to estate workers such as Joseph Cureton and his family. Joseph was the estate wagoner in the nineteenth century. He cared for the horses that carried out much of the heavy work on the farms and woodland that makes up Brockhampton estate.

In 2010, the National Trust undertook a major restoration project to the house using traditional wattle and daub building methods.

example of wattle and daub

example of wattle and daub

The site of the medieval village of Studmarsh is thought to be located in the estate. In 2012, an archaeological dig unearthed the foundations of two buildings that may have been part of the village.

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Rolling green parklands and ancient woods surround the charming Brockhampton Estate. Situated on 687 hectars (1,700 acres), Brockhampton has been a farming estate for nearly 1,000 years. At the heart of the estate lies the romantic timber-framed manor house dating back to the late 14th century, and the ruined Norman chapel. To arrive here one must first cross the picturesque moat and enterer via the gatehouse, built in 1530-40. Today, Brockhampton Estate is not only a time capsule for visitors, but the grounds also provide an idyllic setting for 40 residential houses and cottages.

Gate

Gate

The grounds of Brockhampton Estate feature ancient trees, the picturesque Lawn Pool, and numerous sculptures depicting of the history of Brockhampton and the local area. Native wildlife is bountiful on the Estate, and every effort has been made to preserve and enhance habitats. This is particularly apparent in the ancient woods, where less common species can be found by the patient observer, including the scarce lesser spotted woodpecker and noctule bat.

brockhampton-3The Estate runs traditional livestock breeds, such as Hereford cattle and Ryeland sheep. However the main point of sustainability lies in the conservation and preservation of the traditional orchards. The Estate boasts some magnificent orchards, some of the most extensive in the National Trust’s care. Over 50 hectares (124 acres) is dedicated to trees bearing cherries, apples, pears, damsons and quince. The orchards are rich in bird, mammal and insect life, and provide habitats and forage for many important species. Two rare species have made the orchards their home, the mistletoe weevil and the noble chafer beetle. The orchards are part of an ongoing restoration project, and over the winter of 2011 a further 75 fruit trees were planted.

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Keeping true to the history and spirit of Brockhampton Estate, a monthly farmers’ market is held on the grounds. All produce sold is produced in the local district. The Estate also hosts an annual “pick your own” event in early September where visitors can bring a bag to fill with treats from the orchard.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brockhampton_Estate

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brockhampton-estate/features/600-years-of-history-revealed-in-brockhampton-moated-manor-house

https://intofarms.org/brockhampton-estate/

Author Cora Lee coming up the stairs of the gatehouse

Author Cora Lee coming up the stairs of the gatehouse

More photos on my Pinterest board.

Christmas Romance Extravaganza

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To celebrate the holiday season, I’ve teamed up with more than 150 fantastic romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS over $1,000 in prizes!
You can download A Twelfth Night Tale for free, plus books from authors like LUCINDA BRANT and MARY JO PUTNEY.
Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/christmas-rom.
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Christmas Special

The Bluestocking Belles

are offering our latest joint effort, Holly and Hopeful Hearts, for a bargain price of

$0.99

for all of December. That’s $2 off the normal price!
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Amazon US • Amazon UK • Amazon Australia • Amazon Canada

Smashwords • Kobo • Barnes & Noble • iBooks

and

The Teatime Tattler Companion to

Holly and Hopeful Hearts

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Gossip and Scandal from the Teatime Tattler and other places

about the characters in Holly and Hopeful Hearts.

Download in epub • Download in mobi

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Mary Hampson: A Story of Domestic Violence

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Mary Hampson

Her Story of Marital Abuse and Defiance

in Seventeenth-Century England

by Jessica L. Malay

Amazon

A video interview of Ms. Malay

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The legal state of coverture

According to English law, after marriage, a woman was “covered” by the legal identity of her husband, meaning that everything she owned belonged to him. An independent wife was seen as a threat to marital harmony; therefore, it was better for the entire family if her rights and assets were entrusted to him. While the intent of this law was to ensure marital harmony, it often had the opposite effect if a marriage turned bad.

The early years

Mary Wingfield was seventeen when she married Robert Hampson, a twenty-nine-year-old lawyer from a prominent family who seemed to have a bright future. Mary’s late father had left her a jointure, a sort of “insurance policy” for the future, that was specifically designed to be hers and not transferred to her husband after marriage.

Robert Hampson’s father had invested heavily in the purchase of fenlands in East Anglia, which was expected to pay off handsomely after the lands were drained and the rich farmlands uncovered. Before his death, he directed Robert to sign an agreement to pay his sisters two thousand pounds as their share of the bonanza. Unfortunately, there were no rich farmlands uncovered, but Robert was still on the hook for two thousand pounds, which he did not have.

This situation—and Robert’s inability to get control of Mary’s jointure—was the inciting incident of the troubles between the two.

The marriage appeared to be satisfactory for the first few years. It wasn’t until Robert’s sisters started clamoring for their inheritance that things went wrong. Robert convinced Mary that she must sign her jointure over to him in order to keep him out of jail. She was only nineteen, though, and the judge refused to do it. Robert brought in a merchant who was willing to accept the deal, along with a signed statement from Mary, which she gave him, believing she was keeping her husband out of jail. Her maternal uncle, however, insisted that Robert give her another jointure—of fenlands and the house they lived in—so that Mary would still have an “insurance policy” of sorts.

The violence begins

As Robert’s financial woes continued, Mary eventually discovered the truth, and took him to task for his deceptions. He responded by putting her in lodgings with very little financial support and disappearing for weeks at a time on his legal circuit. A very pregnant Mary had to beg assistance from her mother, and wasn’t shy about protesting this treatment when Robert returned. She states in her pamphlet that he struck her on the breast, and then abandoned her until the child was born.

Soon after, Mary decided to go to France, upon a recommendation from a doctor. Robert agreed to give her thirty pounds for six months, which was a pittance, but Mary did have her family jewels. Until Robert demanded the jewels and the deed of her new jointure. She refused. He waylaid her trunk trying to find them, unsuccessfully, since she had them on her person, but he did get the deed. Once she was gone, he told everyone she had deserted him.

Upon her return to England, Robert’s first reaction was to throw her out of his residence. Then began a series of attempts to get her to sign away or sell some of her property. When she refused, her locked her in the home and tried to starve her until she would accede to his demands. Then he tried to throw her out so that he could charge her with abandonment. When she stood her ground, he put a pistol to her throat. A day or so later, he beat her so badly some folks from outside came to the door to protest.

Mary’s life was a misery. She discovered that her maid was being bribed by Robert to tell her lies about her mother’s health, so she dismissed her and hired a new one. After her mother’s death, Robert sent someone to her mother’s house to collect everything he could, saying that Mary had no right to anything. Mary got away with a few things, but not her mother’s will, which left her everything. It disappeared. Her mother’s maid testified falsely that the will she witnessed left everything to her son-in-law Robert.

After Mary’s mother’s death in 1669, Robert started selling her mother’s property and moved out of the house, abandoning his wife. Mary, afraid to leave for fear of being locked out, tasked her maid with selling some of the household goods for money to live on. Upon discovering this, Robert charged the maid with theft (since he owned everything), and the maid went to prison.

The legal battle begins

Mary’s pleas to the church leaders were decided in her favor. Robert was excommunicated and ordered to give her five pounds a week, which he never did. Mary’s attempts to seek justice from the legal system were long and drawn-out, at least partly because of Robert’s connections. According to her, he bribed judges and paid witnesses to counter her claims and besmirch her reputation. In the end, Mary resorted to writing her story and having it printed in a pamphlet that made the rounds of London and won her a handful of supporters.

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The courts eventually agreed that the marriage was over, and the couple better off separated, and awarded Mary alimony of a hundred pounds of year, which meant that the struggle between them was doomed to continue, as Robert would go to extreme lengths not to pay it, forcing her to find allies to help her make him pay. Mary went to live in France to try to escape from it all, but Robert made use of that by telling everyone she was dead and trying to steal her inheritance from her uncle, supposedly for her daughters.

Mary’s losses

Mary’s daughters—unsurprisingly since they had resided almost entirely with their father—sided with him, along with Elizabeth’s husband Charles Bill, in these legal battles. Their relationship never recovered, not even when Robert died in 1688, because Mary refused to give up her efforts to regain her inheritance from her uncle.

Although Mary gained the support of some influential people, including Mary and William Montagu, her reputation as a gentlewoman was irretrievably lost. No doubt that is why she chose to live on the continent at various points in her life—Europeans were much more sympathetic to an Englishwoman’s plight, and marital separations were not considered scandalous.

In the end, she chose to live with a mother and daughter, Mary Opaven and her daughter Mary, in the parish of St. Brides, London. Even after her death in 1698, the legal battles continued, as Mary bequeathed her property to the Opavens, and her daughters contested the will.

The other side of the story

The existence of a boatload of court documents filed on behalf of Mary and Robert, as well as their daughters and son-in-law, enables us to consider these events with more than just Mary’s assertions. Robert admitted to beating Mary, taking her property, keeping her children from her, throwing her out of the house, and refusing to pay maintenance for her, although he had his own version of the events to tell. But did he try to kill her? Did he hire a spy (Everard) to make false accusations of her conduct when she lived abroad? The evidence is inconclusive.

Through these legal documents we are given one final glimpse into Mary Hampson’s life, so often filled with conflict, poverty, and at times real danger. Her estrangement from her daughters and the loss of her social position reveal the inability of social institutions to protect women in troubled marriages. The actions of Robert Hampson, Charles Bill, Edmund Everard, and even William Baker illustrate how men could use legal and state institutions to protect their own interests at the expense of the vulnerable, especially women. There is little to respect or admire in the stories of any of these men, at least in their behavior toward Mary Hampson.

Cover Reveal: Holly and Hopeful Hearts by the Bluestocking Belles

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About Holly and Hopeful Hearts

When the Duchess of Haverford sends out invitations to a Yuletide house party and a New Year’s Eve ball at her country estate, Hollystone Hall, those who respond know that Her Grace intends to raise money for her favorite cause and promote whatever marriages she can. Eight assorted heroes and heroines set out with their pocketbooks firmly clutched and hearts in protective custody. Or are they?

A Suitable Husband, by Jude Knight

As the Duchess of Haverford’s companion, Cedrica Grenford is not treated as a poor relation and is encouraged to mingle with Her Grace’s guests. Surely she can find a suitable husband amongst the gentlemen gathered for the duchess’s house party. Above stairs or possibly below.

Valuing Vanessa, by Susana Ellis

Facing a dim future as a spinster under her mother’s thumb, Vanessa Sedgely makes a practical decision to attach an amiable gentleman who will not try to rule her life.

A Kiss for Charity, by Sherry Ewing

Young widow Grace, Lady de Courtenay, has no idea how a close encounter with a rake at a masquerade ball would make her yearn for love again. Can she learn to forgive Lord Nicholas Lacey and set aside their differences to let love into her heart?

Excerpt

Artemis, by Jessica Cale

Actress Charlotte Halfpenny is in trouble. Pregnant, abandoned by her lover, and out of a job, Charlotte faces eviction two weeks before Christmas. When the reclusive Earl of Somerton makes her an outrageous offer, she has no choice but to accept. Could he be the man of her dreams, or is the nightmare just beginning?

Excerpt

The Bluestocking and the Barbarian, by Jude Knight

James must marry to please his grandfather, the duke, and to win social acceptance for himself and his father’s other foreign-born children. But only Lady Sophia Belvoir makes his heart sing, and to win her he must invite himself to spend Christmas at the home of his father’s greatest enemy.

Excerpt

Christmas Kisses, by Nicole Zoltack

Louisa Wycliff, Dowager Countess of Exeter wants only for her darling daughter, Anna, to find a man she can love and marry. Appallingly, Anna has her sights on a scoundrel of a duke who chases after every skirt he sees. Anna truly thinks the dashing duke cares for her, but her mother has her doubts.

Excerpt

An Open Heart, by Caroline Warfield

Esther Baumann longs for a loving husband who will help her create a home where they will teach their children to value the traditions of their people, but she wants a man who is also open to new ideas and happy to make friends outside their narrow circle. Is it so unreasonable to ask for toe curling passion as well?

Excerpt

Dashing Through the Snow, by Amy Rose Bennett

Headstrong bluestocking, Miss Kate Woodville, never thought her Christmas would be spent racing across England with a viscount hell-bent on vengeance. She certainly never expected to find love…

Excerpt

Coming November 8.

Eight original stories, 578 pages of diverse characters,  complex relationships, and happily-ever-afters for $2.99.

Pre-order Now!

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Excerpt from Valuing Vanessa

“Are you certain it is not an imposition, Miss Sedgely? Because I shouldn’t mind showing the ladies around myself, in Mrs. Seavers’s absence.”

Vanessa’s chin rose as she directed a firm gaze at the institution’s housekeeper. “I assure you there is no imposition whatsoever, Mrs. Barnes. I shall be pleased to guide the ladies on their tour this morning, as Matron directed.”

Mrs. Barnes flushed. Obviously she considered the task her own prerogative, but Vanessa had not taken the trouble to get the hospital matron out of town just to be foiled by the housekeeper.

“But what about your class, Miss Sedgely? The children do so look forward to them! Why, they will be exceedingly disappointed to miss them today.” She leaned in closer, her eyes gleaming. “I hear that little Willie had prepared a special passage to read for you. He is quite partial to you, you know.”

Vanessa refused to allow herself to be diverted, in spite of the tiny twinge of guilt she felt deep inside. “My maid has agreed to take my classes for today. She has assisted me previously, you know, and thus is well-known to the children.”

She gave a curt nod to the housekeeper, who took it as the dismissal it was meant to be, and walked out of the room.

The Board of Governors were conducting a meeting in a quarter hour’s time, and Vanessa had taken great pains to find a reason to be lingering in the foyer as the gentlemen arrived. It was Mr. George Durand she wished to encounter, of course. During the week since the masquerade at Vauxhall, she had unearthed a great deal of information about the attractive gentleman.

George William Durand was the grandson of a viscount, his late father being the younger son, who had made law his profession. Durand’s cousin William had become the 4th Viscount Faringdon five years ago following his father’s death, and he had four healthy sons to follow him, which meant the title was unlikely to fall to George. George had followed his father into the law profession, although interestingly, he had briefly studied landscape gardening with one of Capability Brown’s former associates. That ended after his marriage, however, when young George set himself to becoming a successful solicitor like his father. His wife, Geneviève d’Aumale, was a French émigrée, the daughter of a comte who had lost his head on the Place de la Concorde at the hands of revolutionaries. She, her sister Juliette, and their mother the comtesse had lost their lives in a carriage accident which had arisen from an attack of highwaymen.

So dreadful. Life was so ephemeral. In a matter of minutes, three ladies’ lives had been snuffed out in such a horrific manner, leaving their husbands to bear the loss as best they could. And their adolescent daughters, of course. Both Durand and Lord Nicholas had daughters, approximately the same age. And perhaps not surprisingly, both had been residing with relatives since the tragedy. Men were notoriously helpless when it came to their maturing daughters. But in retrospect, Vanessa thought it rather pitiable that the girls had effectively lost both parents in that one disastrous moment.

One thing was certain, however. A well-off gentleman with a near-grown daughter was clearly in need of a wife. And Vanessa thought she might suit this one very well indeed.

Romance of London: Comments on Hogarth’s “Industrious and Idle Apprentices”

Romance of London: Strange Stories, Scenes And Remarkable Person of the Great Town in 3 Volumes

John Timbs

John Timbs (1801-1875), who also wrote as Horace Welby, was an English author and aficionado of antiquities. Born in Clerkenwell, London, he was apprenticed at 16 to a druggist and printer, where he soon showed great literary promise. At 19, he began to write for Monthly Magazine, and a year later he was made secretary to the magazine’s proprietor and there began his career as a writer, editor, and antiquarian.

This particular book is available at googlebooks for free in ebook form. Or you can pay for a print version.

Comments on Hogarth’s “Industrious and Idle Apprentices”

William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray

Mr. Thackeray, in his Lectures on the English Humorists, thus vividly paints the scenes of Hogarth’s masterpieces; at the same time he very ingeniously contrasts the past with the present—one of the more immediate benefits of the Lecture: the past is generally interesting, but it chiefly becomes instructive when brought under the powerful focus of the present. His account of Hogarth’s “Apprentices” is a masterpiece in this way:

1William_Hogarth_-_Industry_and_Idleness,_Plate_1;_The_Fellow_'Prentices_at_their_Looms

William_Hogarth-Industry and Idleness, Plate 1; The Fellow ‘Prentices at their Looms

Fair-haired Frank Goodchild smiles at his work, whilst naughty Tom Idle snores over his loom. Frank reads the edifying ballads of Whittington and the London ‘Prentice: whilst that reprobate Tom Idle prefers Moll Flanders, and drinks hugely of beer.

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William Hogarth-industry and idleness plate 2 the industrious prentice_performing the duty of a Christian

Frank goes to church on a Sunday, and warbles hymns from the gallery; while Tom lies on a tomb-stone outside playing at halfpenny-under-the-hat, and with street blackguards, and deservedly caned by the beadle.

william_hogarth_-_industry_and_idleness_plate_3_the_idle_prentice_at_play_in_the_church_yard_during_divine_service

william hogarth -industry and idleness plate 3 the idle prentice at play in the church yard during divine service

Frank is made overseer of the business; whilst Tom is sent to sea.

4William_Hogarth_-_Industry_and_Idleness,_Plate_4;_The_Industrious_'Prentice_a_Favourite,_and_entrusted_by_his_Master

William_Hogarth Industry and Idleness, Plate 4; The Industrious ‘Prentice a Favourite, and entrusted by his Master

 

william_hogarth_-_industry_and_idleness_plate_5_the_idle_prentice_turnd_away_and_sent_to_sea

william hogarth – industry and idleness plate 5 the idle prentice turnd away and sent to sea

Frank is taken into partnership, and marries his master’s daughter, sends out broken victuals to the poor, and listens in his night-cap and gown with the lovely Mrs. Goodchild by his side, to the nuptial music of the city bands and the marrow-bones and cleavers; whilst idle Tom, returned from sea, shudders in a garret lest the officers are coming to take him for picking pockets.

william_hogarth_-_industry_and_idleness_plate_6_the_industrious_prentice_out_of_his_time__married_to_his_masters_daughter

william hogarth – industry and idleness plate 6 the industrious prentice out of his time married to his masters daughter

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william hogarth – industry and idleness plate 7 the idle prentice returnd from sea in a garret with common prostitute

The Worshipful Francis Goodchild, Esq., becomes Sheriff of London, and partakes of the most splendid dinners which money can purchase or alderman devour; whilst poor Tom is taken up in a night cellar, with that one-eyed and disreputable accomplice who first taught him to play chuck-farthing on a Sunday.

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william hogarth – industry and idleness plate 8 the industrious prentice grown right sheriff of london

What happens next? Tom is brought up before the justice of his county, in the person of Mr. Alderman Goodchild, who weeps as he recognizes his old brother ‘prentice, as Tom’s one-eyed friend peaches on him, as the clerk makes out the poor rogue’s ticket for Newgate.

william_hogarth_-_industry_and_idleness_plate_9_the_idle_prentice_betrayed_and_taken_in_a_night-cellar_with_his_accomplice

william hogarth – industry and idleness plate 9 the idle prentice betrayed and taken in a night-cellar with his accomplice

 

william_hogarth_-_industry_and_idleness_plate_10_the_industrious_prentice_alderman_of_london_the_idle_on_brought_before_him__impreachd_by_his_accomplice

william hogarth -industry and idleness plate 10 the industrious prentice alderman of_london the idle on brought before him impreachd by his accomplice

Then the end comes. Tom goes to Tyburn in a cart with a coffin in it; whilst the right Honorable Francis Goodchild, Lord Mayor of London, proceeds to his Mansion House, in his gilt coach, with four footmen and a sword-bearer, whilst the companies of London march in the august procession, whilst the train-bands of the city fire their pieces and get drunk in his honor; and oh, crowning delight and glory of all, whilst his majesty the king looks out of his royal balcony, with his ribbon on his breast, and his queen and his star by his side at the corner house of St. Paul’s Church-yard, where the toy-shop is now.

william_hogarth_-_industry_and_idleness_plate_11_the_idle_prentice_executed_at_tyburn

william_hogarth- industry and idleness plate 11 the idle prentice executed at tyburn

 

william_hogarth_-_industry_and_idleness_plate_12_the_industrious_prentice_lord-mayor_of_london

william_hogarth -industry and idleness plate 12 the industrious prentice ord-mayor of london

How the times have changed! The new Post-office now not disadvantageously occupies that spot where the scaffolding is on the picture, where the tipsy trainband-man is lurching against the post, with his wig over one eye, and the ‘prentice-boy is trying to kiss the pretty girl in the gallery. Past away ‘prentice boy and pretty girl! Past away tipsy trainband-man with wig and bandolier! On the spot where Tom Idle (for whom I have an unaffected pity) made his exit from this wicked world, and where you see the hangman smoking his pipe, as he reclines on the gibbet, and views the hills of Harrow on Hampstead beyond—a splendid marble arch, a vast and modern city—clean, airy, painted drab, populous with nursery-maids and children, the abodes of wealth and comfort—the elegant, the prosperous, the polite Tyburnia rises, the most respectable district in the habitable globe!

In that last plate of the London Apprentices, in which the apotheosis of the Right Honorable Francis Goodchild is drawn, a ragged fellow is represented in the corner of the simple kindly piece, offering for sale a broadside, purporting to contain an account of the appearance of the ghost of Tom Idle, executed at Tyburn. Could Tom’s ghost have made its appearance in 1847, and not in 1747, what changes would have been remarked by that astonished escaped criminal! Over that road which the hangman used to travel constantly, and the Oxford stage twice a week, go ten thousand carriages every day; over yonder road, by which Dick Turpin fled to Windsor, and Squire Western journeyed into town, when he came to take up his quarters at the Hercules Pillars not he outskirts of London, what a rush of civilization and order flows now! What armies of gentlemen with umbrellas march to banks, and chambers, and counting-houses! What regiments of nursery-maids and pretty infantry: what peaceful processions of policemen, what light broughams and what gay carriages, what swarms of busy apprentices and artificers, riding on omnibus-roofs, pass daily and hourly! Tom Idle’s times are quite changed; many of the institutions gone into disuse which were admired in his day. There’s more pity and kindness, and a better chance for poor Tom’s successors now than at that simpler period, when Fielding hanged him, and Hogarth drew him.

One hundred and fifty years after Thackeray’s assertions that the world is a kinder place toward kids like Idle Tom, I’m not so certain I can say the same. As a former teacher, it seems to me that the system is still stacked against kids who “dance to a different drum” or who are raised in poverty and/or by indifferent parents. And I’ll be damned if I know how to change that. What do you think?

 

Romance of London Series

  1. Romance of London: The Lord Mayor’s Fool… and a Dessert
  2. Romance of London: Carlton House and the Regency
  3. Romance of London: The Championship at George IV’s Coronation
  4. Romance of London: Mrs. Cornelys at Carlisle House
  5. Romance of London: The Bottle Conjuror
  6. Romance of London: Bartholomew Fair
  7. Romance of London: The May Fair and the Strong Woman
  8. Romance of London: Nancy Dawson, the Hornpipe Dancer
  9. Romance of London: Milkmaids on May-Day
  10. Romance of London: Lord Stowell’s Love of Sight-seeing
  11. Romance of London: The Mermaid Hoax
  12. Romance of London: The Bluestocking and the Sweeps’ Holiday
  13. Romance of London: Comments on Hogarth’s “Industries and Idle Apprentices”
  14. Romance of London: The Lansdowne Family
  15. Romance of London: St. Margaret’s Painted Window at Westminster
  16. Romance of London: Montague House and the British Museum
  17. Romance of London: The Bursting of the South Sea Bubble
  18. Romance of London: The Thames Tunnel
  19. Romance of London: Sir William Petty and the Lansdowne Family
  20. Romance of London: Marlborough House and Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough
  21. Romance of London: The Duke of Newcastle’s Eccentricities
  22. Romance of London: Voltaire in London
  23. Romance of London: The Crossing Sweeper
  24. Romance of London: Nathan Mayer Rothschild’s Fear of Assassination
  25. Romance of London: Samuel Rogers, the Banker Poet
  26. Romance of London: The Eccentricities of Lord Byron
  27. Romance of London: A London Recluse

Romance of London: The Bluestocking and the Sweeps’ Holiday

Romance of London: Strange Stories, Scenes And Remarkable Person of the Great Town in 3 Volumes

John Timbs

John Timbs (1801-1875), who also wrote as Horace Welby, was an English author and aficionado of antiquities. Born in Clerkenwell, London, he was apprenticed at 16 to a druggist and printer, where he soon showed great literary promise. At 19, he began to write for Monthly Magazine, and a year later he was made secretary to the magazine’s proprietor and there began his career as a writer, editor, and antiquarian.

This particular book is available at googlebooks for free in ebook form. Or you can pay for a print version.

Montague House, Portman Square

Montague House, Portman Square

Elizabeth Montague’s Bluestocking Parties

At the north-west angle of Portman Square is Montague House, built for Mrs. Elizabeth Montague, authoress of the Vindication of Shakespeare against Voltaire. She had often been a guest at the second Lord Oxford’s, the resort of Pope and his contemporaries; she was the intimate friend of Pulteney and Littleton; and she survived to entertain Johnson, Goldsmith, Burke, and Reynolds, to their respective deaths. Dr. Beattie was among her visitors; and Mrs. Carter, the translator of Epictetus, was her intimate friend, correspondent, and visitor. At Montague House Mrs. Montague had her blue stocking parties; and here she gave on the first of May, “Sweeps’ Holiday,” which originated in the discovery among the fraternity of chimney-sweeps, of the eccentric Edward Wortley Montague, ‘son of the famous Lady Mary Wortley Montague, by her husband, Edward Wortley.’

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu with Her Son Edward. Lady Mary was the first to bring smallpox inoculation to Western medicine after her experiences in the Ottoman Empire.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu with Her Son Edward. Lady Mary was the first to bring smallpox inoculation to Western medicine after her experiences in the Ottoman Empire.

Edward Wortley Montague

This hopeful boy was born at Wharncliffe Lodge, in Yorkshire, about the year 1714; he was sent to Westminster School, whence he ran away, and was more than a year apprentice to a fisherman at Blackwall; he was sent back to Westminster, again ran away, and bound himself to the master of an Oporto vessel, a Quaker, from whom he escaped immediately on landing. In one of these flights, he changed clothes with a chimney-sweep, and for some time followed that occupation. After a long and anxious search, he was discovered by his friends, and restored to his parents, on the first of May, at the family mansion in Portman Square.

800px-Edward_Wortley_Montagu_by_Matthew_William_Peters

A 1775 portrait of Edward Wortley Montagu by Matthew William Peters

He had also served an apprenticeship among a traveling troop of showmen, who were distinguished by their skill in horsemanship; then worked in the fields in Holland as a day-laborer; next hired himself as a postillion; he then assumed the attire of an abbot, and passed for one at Rome. He next then passed for a Lutheran preacher at Hamburg, and was universally popular! He subsequently embraced the Mahomedan religion, and conformed to all Turkish habits, even to chewing opium and sitting cross-legged on the floor! With the Hebrew, Arabic, the Persian, and the Chadic he was as well acquainted as his native tongue. He at one time returned to England, and acted more comformably to his rank, and was returned as a member in two successive parliaments… But Montague’s profuse expenses soon compelled him to quit his native country, and he again assumed his wandering habits, and eventually died at Padua, at the age of sixty-two years.

The First of May: A Day for Chimney Sweeps

CHIMNEY SWEEP. A chimney sweep and his young helper. Line engraving, English, 18th century.

CHIMNEY SWEEP. A chimney sweep and his young helper. Line engraving, English, 18th century.

To commemorate the restoration of the truant to his family, in the grounds attached to Montague House, his relative, Mrs. Elizabeth Montague, for many years feasted the chimney-sweeps of London, on the first of May, with roast-beef and plum-pudding, “so that they might enjoy one happy day in the year.” And this special treat is said to have given rise to the general sweeps’ holiday. Mrs. Montague died in the year 1800, in her 80th year.

Portrait of Elizabeth_Montagu (1718-1800) by Allan Ramsay (1713-1784) in 1762

Portrait of Elizabeth Montagu (1718-1800) by Allan Ramsay (1713-1784) in 1762

 

Incidentally, chimney sweeps’ cancer is the first industrially-related cancer to be found (1775).

sweepsholiday

In honor of Sweeps’ Holiday:

Name any works of art, literature, movies, etc. that prominently feature chimney sweeps.

 

Romance of London Series

  1. Romance of London: The Lord Mayor’s Fool… and a Dessert
  2. Romance of London: Carlton House and the Regency
  3. Romance of London: The Championship at George IV’s Coronation
  4. Romance of London: Mrs. Cornelys at Carlisle House
  5. Romance of London: The Bottle Conjuror
  6. Romance of London: Bartholomew Fair
  7. Romance of London: The May Fair and the Strong Woman
  8. Romance of London: Nancy Dawson, the Hornpipe Dancer
  9. Romance of London: Milkmaids on May-Day
  10. Romance of London: Lord Stowell’s Love of Sight-seeing
  11. Romance of London: The Mermaid Hoax
  12. Romance of London: The Bluestocking and the Sweeps’ Holiday
  13. Romance of London: Comments on Hogarth’s “Industries and Idle Apprentices”
  14. Romance of London: The Lansdowne Family
  15. Romance of London: St. Margaret’s Painted Window at Westminster
  16. Romance of London: Montague House and the British Museum
  17. Romance of London: The Bursting of the South Sea Bubble
  18. Romance of London: The Thames Tunnel
  19. Romance of London: Sir William Petty and the Lansdowne Family
  20. Romance of London: Marlborough House and Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough
  21. Romance of London: The Duke of Newcastle’s Eccentricities
  22. Romance of London: Voltaire in London
  23. Romance of London: The Crossing Sweeper
  24. Romance of London: Nathan Mayer Rothschild’s Fear of Assassination
  25. Romance of London: Samuel Rogers, the Banker Poet
  26. Romance of London: The Eccentricities of Lord Byron
  27. Romance of London: A London Recluse