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I love pretty much everything about this, starting with the name.
Print, colour, cut out. Score on dotted lines. Cut slot c. Insert tab c. Fold dotted lines, let the camel rock.
Updated: Just in case the version I doctored up is too light for some printers, here’s the original, undoctored other than cutting, pasting, and converting the file:
My husband allowed me to weasel out of my agreement to go watch the 3rd Hobbit movie at the theater with him. I never bothered with the second DVD. The first was just too sad.
He gave me another chance to watch it tonight, or have the boys (Our Boy, and a friend who may start rending the Little House from us) take it back to the theater.
“I can’t.” I said. “I didn’t enjoy the first one. I kept watching and trying to make excuses for Peter Jackson, but it just got stupider and stupider. But I did like the music.”
Which brings me to the Mockingjay, which we watched in the theater last night instead of Desolation of TOlkien’s Story.
I loved the music:
I loved the story. I loved the way they told the story. I loved the camera play. I loved the lines, the actors, every beat, every flicker of the camera. They told the story. The respected the author and the story they were telling. There were subtleties, and I appreciated the point that they don’t underscore them- like when Gale has already gone back for Prim before Katness even knew she was missing. The moment when she returns to visit district 12 and steps over the rise- oh, my. The actions of the camera crew behind her back, the directions Cressida gives when Katness isn’t looking. Perfect.
There are things I missed, choices I wouldn’t have made, but I don’t make movies. Events were telescoped in order to make time for other things.
I love this story- the Hunger Games Trilogy, which is neither a leftwing fairy tale of ‘what if we held a war and nobody came,’ where there are no heroic deeds in the course of a war and no causes worth fighting for, nor is it a rightwing fairy tale where white and black hats are sharply distinguished, lines are never blurred, and lies are never told in the service of a good cause.
I like the book, and I like the way they are putting it to screen- different, but respectful to the story, the characters, and the author. I’m looking forward to the next installment.
In 1984, six days before Christmas, my husband, my 9 months pregnant self, and our 20 month old went out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. The 20 month old spiked a temp and was pulling at her ear, so we took her to ER (it’s a military base, we were first time parents). It took a while for us to be seen, and I started having contractions. They were regular enough I considered going upstairs to the maternity ward, but by the time we had an antibiotic for the HG, the contractions were gone, so we went home.
At 3 a.m I woke up to go to the bathroom and what happened there combined with the hard and fast contractions I was experiencing prompted me to wake my husband and call the hospital. They told me not to come in until my contractions were five minutes apart. I hung up the phone, timed my contractions, and in 15 minutes I called them back. My contractions were 3 minutes apart. I’d slept through 5.
We headed to the base. One stoplight, my husband asked if he should stop or speed through. I was in between contractions, I said of course he should stop. The next stoplight was mid contraction and when he slowed down I think I screamed, “are you trying to kill me what are you doing I am in labour here and unless you want to deliver this baby GO!” But what I think I actually said was just, “GO GO GO!”
He dropped me off at the door, and I hobbled in, mid contraction again, doubled over- the technician who saw me coming ran to grab a wheelchair and asked if L&D knew I was coming. I said yes. I think he helped me get there, but I actually have no memory of what happened after that- my next memory is being flat on my back in the delivery room.
My husband had dropped me off to go take our 20 month old to the friends who had agreed to keep her for us when the baby came- they lived on base. He made it back by the time I was in the ugly hospital gown and on the horrible hospital table. After an hour the doctor said he thought I was progressing slowly (seriously? I’d been in labour 60 minutes, was at 3 minutes and this was slow?) and broke my water.
When it was time to push I pushed exactly 3 times and had a baby. Don’t hate me, my pregnancies are horrible. So, 3 hours after that phone call to the hospital I was holding our second daughter. She was beautiful. She looked something like a purple frog, I knew in the back of my mind, but she was beautiful. ”Happy birthday!” I said to my husband. ”It’s your birthday, too?” the doctor asked. ”Yes,” we said. ”I wanted to beat the Christmas rush,” I said.
So tomorrow is the Equuschick’s (and the HM’s) birthday. It is the first birthday since she was born where she was living more than a mile from my house. She’s living in another state. I know that I, who took my mother’s grandchildren to Japan, cannot really complain about this without being something of a two faced hypocrite, but that’s a charge I’ll live with. I’m complaining. I want her here. She’s coming back for a long Christmas visit and staying until after her sister’s wedding, but I want her here, now, and yes, that’s a little selfish. I know that there are good reasons for them to be where they are, and that Shasta’s mom, who lives nearby them, is glorying in her time with her only grandchildren, and I don’t begrudge her that- I’d like her here, too. I want Shasta, who is the bubbles in the champagne of life. I want the Dread Pirate Grasshopper, The Lady Bug, The Firefly and the Cricket, each of whom are delightful, delicious, and delectable grands, and I want my second daughter, who entered my heart and enriched my life in 1984 and who keeps us laughing through good times and bad.
Enough whining. Because it is the Equuschick’s birthday tomorrow, I’m using her affiliate links for any Amazon links I include in posts I share today (the previous bookpost is my affiliate links because I wrote it last night while I was tired and not thinking). It’s ironic, because she doesn’t like digital books. She reads only real paper and ink texts that she can hold in her hands and manually fondle and flip pages. Some of these are hardcopies, some are Kindle, but most are Kindle versions. I’m thinking of you, anyway, sweetie. Happy Birthday!
She once listed these as her favourite books:
*The Lord of the Rings: One Volume- J.R.R Tolkien
The Chronicles of Narnia Complete 7 Volume Set- C.S Lewis (Along with Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics), Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold, etc.)
*Inkheart (Inkworld series Book 1)- Cornelia Funke
*The Neverending Story-Micheal Ende
*The Enchanted Castle (Puffin Classics)- E. Nesbit
*Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
*Anne of Green Gables, Complete 8-Book Box Set: Anne of Green Gables; Anne of the Island; Anne of Avonlea; Anne of Windy Poplar; Anne’s House of … Ingleside; Rainbow Valley; Rilla of Ingleside -L. M Montgomery
And when asked what seven movies she loves to watch (or would watch over and over if she had the time), she listed:
*The Princess Bride
*Gwyneth Paltrow’s Emma
Here are some free books:
I just stumbled across this one (this how I find so many of our free book links), and I have no idea if it’s good or not, but the EC was the first of our children to get married, so it seems appropriate:
Has about 13 positive reviews
With dismal worldwide divorce rates, P.J. LaRue’s After “I Do!” A Marriage Map is not only timely, but succinct. The author starts right off the bat telling the reader that her marriage should not have lasted, yet it has despite the boxes they ticked off for marriage failure. Thirty-one years later, however, LaRue is passing on common sense marriage advice that has helped her marriage thrive. Whether it is little anecdotes or straight up “this is what you should do” advice, it is humorous, entertaining and easy to follow. I love that the author and her husband seem to take the rational approach to marriage, which I suspect is the key to their marital longevity. Without those door-slamming fights, as she calls them, there are very few opportunities to say things in the heat of the moment that cannot be un-said once cooler heads prevail.
P.J. LaRue serves up a healthy helping of common sense marriage advice that even the unmarried should adhere to because it is the foundation of any successful relationship. While her stories of her relationship with Terry are fun and helpful and heartbreaking, it is the plain spoken way in which she dispenses her advice that makes it most appealing. There is no psychobabble or caveats, just simple rules like don’t cheat or abuse your spouse and tell them when something is wrong. You’d think this was revolutionary advice considering the current divorce rate, but After “I Do!” A Marriage Map is intended for those for whom sense isn’t all that common. Those in successful marriages and relationships will find this short book the perfect relationship refresher course to get over a rut and rekindle that flame.
Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers’ Favorite
The EC is and always has been crazy about horses. We visited the Quarterhorse Museum entirely because of her during one of our work-cations (whenever we could, we traveled with the HM with his TDYs, and whenever we PCSed, we usually drove and hit museums and cultural attractions).
I’m pretty sure that this book would make her laugh, and not in a nice way, but it was the first western I stumbled on:
A western, the tale of a rich, dissipated drunkard from back east, kicked out of his home and sent to live out west by his fed-up father, and how the dissipated boy conquers his addiction to demon rum and becomes a man, taming a wild horse nobody else can tame and winning the love of a good woman (who went to college back east, of course, because she’s the right sort of girl) and the respect of his father in the process. A bit of pull yourself up by your bootstraps if only you’re willing to work, while also acknowledging that the work is work, hard, exhausting, serious work.
“Don’t start anything, because I’ll fight in two ways hereafter—in my way and in yours. And that goes for you other two. If you run with this—this thing, it marks you. I know what would have happened if Jed hadn’t come up. You’d have killed me! That’s the sort you are. Remember—all three of you—I’m not afraid, but it’s a case of fighting fire with fire. I’ll be ready.”
Rhues stood, as though waiting for more.
When VB did not go on he said, just above a whisper: “I’ll get you—yet!”
And VB answered, “Then I guess we all understand one another.”
When the three had ridden away Jed shoved his Colt tight into its holster again and looked at the young chap with foreboding.
“There’ll be trouble, VB; they’re bad,” he said. “He’s a coward. The story’ll go round an’ he’ll try to get you harder ‘n ever. If he don’t, those others will—will try, I mean. Matson and Julio are every bit as bad as Rhues, but they ain’t quite got his fool nerve.
“They’re a thievin’ bunch, though it ain’t never been proved. Nobody trusts ‘em; most men let ‘em alone an’ wait fer ‘em to show their hand. They’ve been cute; they’ve been suspected, but they ain’t never got out on a limb. They’ve got a lot to cover up, no doubt. But they’ve got a grudge now. An’ when cowards carry grudges—look out!”
“If a man like Rhues were all I had to fear, I should never worry,” VB muttered, weak again after the excitement. “He’s bad—but there are worse things—that you can’t have the satisfaction of knocking down.”
And his conspiring nostrils smelled whisky in that untainted air.
A short book about Nicholas Ferrar and his family. They were devout members of the church of England; Nicholas was an ordained Deacon. After some years of traveling and working, Nicholas retired to Little Gidding and invited his siblings and their families and his mother. The family’s fortunes had been somewhat bound up in the Virginia Company which was bankrupt. Plague came to London at roughly the same time. So Nicholas and his family lived uietly at Little Gidding where they practiced their faith quite devoutly.
The family provided a small almshouse for four elderly pensioners from the village They had a little hospital and dispensary where they provided medical care to the locals. They provided Psalters to all village families. Nicholas paid the children a penny for every Psalm they learned, and they would come to the manor for church on Sundays, as well as a meal, recite their Psalms and receive their pennies. The Ferrars also created a school for relatives and children of friends. The children learned reading, writing, arithmetic, religion, domestic arts, trades, music, and specialized in bookbinding and needle arts.
The family had many of the hallmarks of a monastic order, in that they had regular prayers, hymns, Psalm recitations, and appointed prayers and Bible readings scheduled by different members around the clock, but they had no written rule of order. The family also published a very popular and quite remarkable series of biblical ‘harmonies.’ They began with a Harmony of the Gospels- created by cutting the text from other Bibles and pasting it in the newly arranged order into a new manuscript. They added engravings as well. Later they did a harmony, or as they called it, a concordance, of the Kings and Chronicles (by specific request of Charles 1). Their system was quite unique, but would be too difficult to describe here. There is a full description in the free book linked above.
They were, oddly, called a nunnery by Cromwell’s people later and subject to some harrassment. Most of the family were married- the school included Nicholas’ nieces and nephews, and the female students in the school were particularly trained for the domestic arts they would need to manage their households. The girls were taught the management of the household accounts and one of their ‘final exams’ was being put in charge of the Ferrar household accounts for a month, maintaining the books, and then submitting them at the end of the month. After Mrs. Ferrar (Nicholas’s mother) went over the accounts, they were handed to the next girl for the next month.
Ferrar and the poet George Herbert were dear friends. When Herbert died, he sent his manuscripts to Ferrar to determine whether they were worth publishing or not. Happily, Ferrar chose publishing. The Ferrars were loyal to the king, so the Puritan soldiers despised them:
“It may be easily conjectured, however, that this unusual life, conducted by a man so well known as Ferrar, attracted a great deal of attention—and that in the days when religious differences prevailed to a sad extent, there were many persons eager enough not only to find fault, but to misrepresent what was done by this family; who, to say the least, did a great deal of good to their poorer neighbours, and did harm to no one. But a closer acquaintance with Mr. Ferrar generally dispelled the calumnies which report had spread of him and his ways. And one gentleman who went to Gidding purposely to make out their case as bad as possible, came away full of their praises.
In the end, however, their enemies prevailed; for the Puritan soldiers (about the time of King Charles’s death) did drive the family away, ransacked the church, plundered the house, and destroyed many very valuable books and manuscripts, and, in fact, everything that had been left behind in a somewhat hasty flight. It is related that the organ excited their anger more than anything, and that they relieved their feelings by breaking it up, setting it on fire, and then roasting some of Mr. Ferrar’s sheep over it.”
The Ferrar household was an example of a godly family, neither unique nor monastic, but firmly committed to the established Church of England and its Prayer Book and determined to follow Christ’s commands to forswear worldliness and devote themselves to God’s service. Their pattern of life placed them in a middle way that was neither Roman Catholicism, which founds its authority not only on scripture but also on church tradition, nor Genevan Protestantism, with its dependence only on scripture. The church at Little Gidding, with its reading desk and pulpit carefully placed at equal heights on either side of the church, expressed their vision of an appropriate balance of liturgy and preaching, a balance of tradition and scripture, interpreted by reason, that remains the heritage of the present Church of England.
This book, in its description of the life and practices of the family at Little Gidding during the reign of Charles I, will be of limited interest, but to those who are interested in this sort of thing, it’s invaluable.
The Equuschick has always had a fondness for all things Australian, particularly since the time her daddy went on a work trip to Australia and brought her back some books, namely an alphebeterion of Australian animals- The Bush Alphabet, the charming puzzle book and gorgeous collection of illustrations that is The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery (this book finally collapsed and fell to pieces this month), and a collection of Australian poetry with a green dustjacket, and I can’t recall the title, but it included The Man From Snowy River by Banjo Peterson.
So in honor of the EC and her love for Australia, I submit:
Excerpt: “The foregoing narrative will have given the reader some idea of the state in which the last expedition reached the bottom of that extensive and magnificent basin which receives the waters of the Murray. The men were, indeed, so exhausted, in strength, and their provisions so much reduced by the time they gained the coast, that I doubted much, whether either would hold out to such place as we might hope for relief. Yet, reduced as the whole of us were from previous exertion, beset as our homeward path was by difficulty and danger, and involved as our eventual safety was in obscurity and doubt, I could not but deplore the necessity that obliged me to re-cross the Lake Alexandrina (as I had named it in honour of the heir apparent to the British crown), and to relinquish the examination of its western shores. We were borne over its ruffled and agitated surface with such rapidity, that I had scarcely time to view it as we passed; but, cursory as my glance was, I could but think I was leaving behind me the fullest reward of our toil, in a country that would ultimately render our discoveries valuable, and benefit the colony for whose interests we were engaged. Hurried, I would repeat, as my view of it was, my eye never fell on a country of more promising aspect, or of more favourable position, than that which occupies the space between the lake and the ranges of St. Vincent’s Gulf, and, continuing northerly from Mount Barker, stretches away, without any visible boundary.
It appeared to me that, unless nature had deviated from her usual laws, this tract of country could not but be fertile, situated as it was to receive the mountain deposits on the one hand, and those of the lake upon the other.”
Reader Review: I enjoyed reading how a boy from the backwoods was able to gain an education and then return to help his people. He had opportunities to move away from the area and enjoy what most of us consider necessities such as bathrooms and running water. The adversity he encountered were real situations that many people have faced but he kept his integrity and chose to do the right thing. I was sad when I was finished with the book, which is always an excellent sign!
She loves mysteries. She prefers the wit and literary structure of Ellis Peters (A Morbid Taste for Bones (The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael Book 1)), or Margery Allingham (The Crime at Black Dudley (Albert Campion Book 1)), or Michael Innes (A Change Of Heir), or Dorothy Sayers (Clouds of Witness (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery Book 2)), and, of course, Georgette Heyer’s mysteries, such as Why Shoot a Butler? (Country House Mysteries), or Death in the Stocks (Inspector Hannasyde Book 1), or even Heyer’s regency romances, like The Grand Sophy .
She probably wouldn’t love this one since it seems to be in the hardboiled genre, but it has favorable reviews:
George Wier’s “The Last Call” is the first book in a great new series. Bill Travis is an investment counselor; the go to guy when you have a little extra money that you need to invest but invest in a way that is legal but hidden from Uncle Sam’s extended hands. On a Monday morning he meets his newest client Julie. She needs his help to retrieve some money from a very bad man. Bill agrees to help this damsel in distress and by agreeing, he finds himself on one thrilling but deadly ride of the week. Who would have thought managing money could be so exciting?
This is the beginning of a thrilling and exciting new series. If you want one of those books that keep you up late at night turning pages than this is the series for you. Pick up your copy today and you won’t be disappointed…you just might miss a little sleep though.
Oooh, and this one is free: The Good Knight (A Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mystery Book 1)
Because she makes us laugh, and she does love Jeeves:
She reveled in tales of knights and castles for a while when she was in school:
She was always chasing squirrels as a tot, both figuratively and literally:
It has been a gift, an honour, and a treat to be her mother, and to watch her mothering her own children. I’m glad God let me be part of her life.
This was amusing to me- I was looking up something else on the blog, and found this, from a post in 2006:
We were discussing music and weddings and these are the chosen selections:
HG: Part of the overture from Much Ado About Nothing.
Jenny: The Moonlight Sonata, by Beethoven.
DHM: We didn’t have music at our wedding. However, a few years later I was part of a church group that sang at weddings. It was one of our little traditions that on the night of the wedding rehearsal, instead of the usual recessional, we would break out into a very loud rendition of “Troublesome Times are Here.“
If we had had a wedding instead of an elopement and if I had known the song then, I think ‘Whither thou Goest‘ would have been a good one. Although if the HM and I were to renew our vows today, it would have to be ‘Darling, I Am Growing Old.’
HM: suggests Thank-you by Ray Boltz
Equuschick: Butterfly Kisses, Pachelbel’s Canon
Pip: I haven’t thought about it. Updated: Girl by City and Color
FYG: I can’t decide, but I will be dancing and we will be rocking the night away on the dance floor with our party guests.
FYB: who has just finished being lectured by three noonas for flashing the camera flash in their eyes, “I’m not getting married because I’m afraid all women are like this!”
I am amused by several things. If memory serves, I don’t think anybody who got married since then or who is about to get married stuck with their music choices, except the HG.
The FYG is still the FYG, and that’s exactly the kind of answer I’d expect her to still give.
So, apparently, I’ve been watching Kdramas since at least 2006, given that I refer to his big sisters as noonas even then. And he’s still occasionally lectured by big sisters in noona mode, but not as often as previously.
I cannot promise that all the titles below are really worthwhile books, but they should all give you something to think about. They are older books which means the language and the syntax are more complex than the ‘George and Martha’ for grown ups books often published today. I like George and Martha- for children, very young children. It’s not satisfying, fulfilling, challenging reading for grown ups.
You do not need a kindle to download these tales- you can download them to your smart phone or other device, including your regular computer.
most of these titles are historical fiction, most (but not all) of them are set in the time of Charles II.
without further ado:
Just around 90 pages.
Little Miss Joy is a foundling child, left on ‘Uncle Bobo’s’ doorstep on Christmas Eve. When our story opens she’s a child of indiscriminate age- possible 13 or so. She’s the light of Uncle Bobo’s life, indeed, just about everybody who meets her loves her.
Here’s an excerpt:
George Paterson had put the basket of tools just within the doorway, and turning to her said—
“Look up at that strip of blue sky, Patience; look up, not downward so much.”
As he spoke he raised his head, and pointed to the narrow bit of sky which made a deeply blue line above the tops of the tall houses.
“That tells of love,” he said—”God’s love which is over us. Take heart, and lift it up to Him in your trouble.”
George spoke out of the fulness of his own heart: not in any way as if he set himself up to lecture his listener, but just simply to try to raise her thoughts from the gnawing anxiety which had laid hold on her.
“Yes,” she said, “the bit of sky is beautiful, but it is so far off; and—don’t be angry with me, George, but I wish you would go and find him. Let me come with you!” she exclaimed.
“No, no; I shall be quicker than you are. I can get over the ground in half the time.”
Neither asked the other where George would look for the truant. Both had one thought—Jack had been to the quay, and was perhaps on board one of the ships lying there. He had threatened before that he would go to sea, and leave Miss Pinckney and her scoldings and fault-findings behind him.
“If it had not been for his mother he would have done so long ago,” he said. “He loved the sea, and he wished to be a sailor, as his father had been before him.”
There’s a fair bit of moralizing- a few paragraphs on the evils of gambling, the horrors of demon rum, all very quaint, Victorian.
By the same author as above, but weighing in at over 200 pages:
Excerpt: On one of these seats, on a hot August day, Salome was half-sitting, half-lying, looking dreamily down upon the water. Her wide straw hat was lying at her feet, a book with the leaves much crumpled was in the crown. One little foot hung down from the bench; the other was curled up under her in a fashion known and abhorred by all governesses and those who think the figure of a girl of fifteen is of greater importance than careless ease of position like Salome’s at this moment.
The rounded cheek, which was pillowed by the little hand as Salome’s head rested against the rough arm of the seat, was not rosy. It was pale, and all the colour about her was concentrated in the mass of tawny hair which was hanging over her shoulders, and varied in its hue from every shade of reddish brown to streaks of lighter gold colour.
It was wonderful hair, people said; and that was, perhaps, all that any one ever did see at all out of the common in Salome.
Quiet and thoughtful, liking retirement better than society, she often escaped out of the school-room to this favourite place, and dreamed her day-dreams to her heart’s content.
Salome was the elder of two sisters, and she had one brother older than herself and three younger. Sorrow or change had as yet never come near Maplestone. The days went on in that serene happiness of which we are none of us conscious till it is over. When we hear the rustle of the angels’ wings, then we know they are leaving us for ever, and when with us we had not discerned their presence.
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Micah Clarke tells his grandchildren about events he was involved in during the reign of Charles the II.
It was immensely popular in its day.
Here’s a reader review: “This adventure tale was first published in 1889, so it is akin to classic fiction like Robert Louis Stevenson’s novels Kidnapped and Treasure Island, and Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. It’s not a ‘romance’ in the modern sense of a love story; but in the Victorian sense of a fictional adventure tale.
It’s a good yarn. Well paced for a Victorian era novel. There is humour, pathos, camaraderie, battle scenes well described from the viewpoint of a soldier in the thick of it. Doyle loved history and he loved adventures. The story really felt as though it had been a memoir of a real veteran of the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685. Decimus Saxon has characteristics akin to Sherlock Holmes. Sir Gervas Jerome has become my favourite fop.”
Old Saint Paul’s A Tale of the Plague and the Fire
by Harrison Ainsworth
Reader Review: One thing I learned long ago is that just because a book is old and written in a style modern readers may no longer appreciate, doesn’t mean it should be ignored, and this book is a fine example of it. Ainsworth proves he is an outstanding writer as he tells his tale of romance and horror as he describes the way the plague ravaged London in the 1660s, and ends the book with an incredible description of the great fire of London.
Ainsworth tells us upfront that the book is based on a small volume called “preparations against the plague” that is attributed to Defoe. I have not read that particular work, so I can’t comment on on how much of it was copied from that work. I can only talk about “Old St. Paul’s” itself.
Like a lot of works from this time period (1841) you need to have a bit of patience while the plot develops, although it develops more quickly than many works from this era. The author focuses on a single family of London, a successful grocer, Stephen Bloundel and his family, and especially on his daughter, Amabel (that is not a typo, that is the correct spelling) and his apprentice, Leonard Holt.
Leonard is infatuated with Amabel. But, unfortunately, so is just about every other male in London, including a notorious libertine well known for seducing and ruining the lives of attractive young women.
Meanwhile the plague is approaching London, and beginning to attack the outskirts of the city. The grocer develops a plan for locking himself and his household into his large home, isolating the entire family from the rest of the city, and hoping to avoid the plague.
I thought the book was going to turn out to be a mere romance novel, but it is far, far more than that. The descriptions of the way the plague ravages London are incredible. It’s hard to imagine the horror of it, the way the sick were teated, and the ‘plague pits’, the mass graves where bodies of the victims were unceremoniously dumped. And as is the case during every tragedy, there are people who are willing to take advantage of the situation to make a profit. The town abounds with quacks selling every manner of fake remedies, taking advantage of the desperate and the sick.
The book is long and convoluted and detailed, and I was fascinated with it right up until the very end. It concludes with an incredible description of the great fire of London.
I just don’t have the space to delve into everything that goes on in the book, and I don’t want to spoil anything for potential readers. So take a look at the book. After all, the price is right.
Old Mortality, Complete
by Sir Walter Scott
Also set in the time of Charles II
These are two historical novels, Mary Powell is Milton’s wife, Deborah his daughter, who was born as her mother was leaving this mortal coil.
Here’s the introduction:
In the Valhalla of English literature Anne Manning is sure of a little and safe place. Her studies of great men, in which her imagination fills in the hiatus which history has left, are not only literature in themselves, but they are a service to literature: it is quite conceivable that the ordinary reader with no very keen flair for poetry will realise John Milton and appraise him more highly, having read Mary Powell and its sequel, Deborah’s Diary, than having read Paradise Lost. In The Household of Sir Thomas More she had for hero one of the most charming, whimsical, lovable, heroical men God ever created, by the creation of whose like He puts to shame all that men may accomplish in their literature. In John Milton, whose first wife Mary Powell was, Miss Manning has a hero who, though a supreme poet, was “gey ill to live with,” and it is a triumph of her art that she makes us compunctious for the great poet even while we appreciate the difficulties that fell to the lot of his women-kind. John Milton, a Parliament man and a Puritan, married at the age of thirty-four, Mary Powell, a seventeen-year-old girl, the daughter of an Oxfordshire squire, who, with his family, was devoted to the King. It was at one of the bitterest moments of the conflict between King and Parliament, and it was a complication in the affair of the marriage that Mary Powell’s father was in debt five hundred pounds to Milton. The marriage took place. Milton and his young wife set up housekeeping in lodgings in Aldersgate Street over against St. Bride’s Churchyard, a very different place indeed from Forest Hill, Shotover, by Oxford, Mary Powell’s dear country home. They were together barely a month when Mary Powell, on report of her father’s illness, had leave to revisit him, being given permission to absent herself from her husband’s side from mid-August till Michaelmas. She did not return at Michaelmas; nor for some two years was there a reconciliation between the bride and groom of a month. During those two years Milton published his pamphlet, On the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, begun while his few-weeks-old bride was still with him. In this pamphlet he states with violence his opinion that a husband should be permitted to put away his wife “for lack of a fit and matchable conversation,” which would point to very slender agreement between the girl of seventeen and the poet of thirty-four. This was that Mary Powell, who afterwards bore him four children, who died in childbirth with the youngest, Deborah (of the Diary), and who is consecrated in one of the loveliest and most poignant of English sonnets.
Methought I saw my late-espouséd Saint
Brought to me like Alkestis from the grave,
Whom Jove’s great son to her glad husband gave,
Rescued from death by force, though pale and faint.
Mine, as whom washed from spot of child-bed taint
Purification in the Old Law did save;
And such, as yet once more, I trust to have
Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind:
Her face was veiled, yet to my fancied sight
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined
So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But oh! as to embrace me she inclined,
I waked; she fled; and Day brought back my Night.
It is a far cry from the woman so enshrined to the child of seventeen years who was without “fit and matchable conversation” for her irritable, intolerant poet-husband.
A good many serious writers have conjectured and wondered over this little tragedy of Milton’s young married life: but since all must needs be conjecture one is obliged to say that Miss Manning, with her gift of delicate imagination and exquisite writing, has conjectured more excellently than the historians. She does not “play the sedulous ape” to Milton or Mary Powell: but if one could imagine a gentle and tender Boswell to these two, then Miss Manning has well proved her aptitude for the place. Of Mary Powell she has made a charming creature. The diary of Mary Powell is full of sweet country smells and sights and sounds. Mary Powell herself is as sweet as her flowers, frank, honest, loving and tender. Her diary catches for us all the enchantment of an old garden; we hear Mary Powell’s bees buzz in the mignonette and lavender; we see her pleached garden alleys; we loiter with her on the bowling-green, by the fish ponds, in the still-room, the dairy and the pantry. The smell of aromatic box on a hot summer of long ago is in our nostrils. We realise all the personages—the impulsive, hot-headed father; the domineering, indiscreet mother; the cousin, Rose Agnew, and her parson husband; little Kate and Robin of the Royalist household—as well as John Milton and his father, and the two nephews to whom the poet was tutor—and a hard tutor. Miss Manning’s delightful humour comes out in the two pragmatical little boys. But Mary herself dominates the picture. She is so much a thing of the country, of gardens and fields, that perforce one is reminded of Sir Thomas Overbury’s Fair and Happy Milkmaid:—
“She doth all things with so sweet a grace it seems ignorance will not suffer her to do ill, being her mind is to do well. . . . The garden and bee-hive are all her physic and chirugery, and she lives the longer for it. She dares go alone and unfold sheep in the night and fears no manner of ill because she means none: yet to say truth she is never alone, for she is still accompanied by old songs, honest thoughts and prayers, but short ones. . . . Thus lives she, and all her care is that she may die in the spring-time, to have store of flowers stuck upon her winding-sheet.”
The last remnants of Forest Hill, Mary Powell’s home, were pulled down in 1854. A visitor to it three years before its demolition tells us:—
“Still the rose, the sweet-brier and the eglantine are reddest beneath its casements; the cock at its barn-door may be seen from any of the windows. . . . In the kitchen, with its vast hearth and overhanging chimney, we discovered tokens of the good living for which the old manor-house was famous in its day. . . . The garden, in its massive wall, ornamental gateway and old sun-dial, retains some traces of its manorial dignities.” The house indeed is gone, but the sweet country remains, the verdant slopes and the lanes with their hedges full of sweet-brier that stretch out towards Oxford. And there is the church in which Mary Powell prayed. I should have liked to quote another of Miss Manning’s biographers, the Rev. Dr. Hutton, who tells us of old walls partly built into the farmhouse that now stands there, and of the old walnut trees in the farmyard, and in a field hard by the spring of which John Milton may have tasted, and the church on the hill, and the distant Chilterns.
Milton’s cottage at Chalfont St. Giles’s is happily still in a good state of preservation, although Chalfont and its neighbourhood have suffered a sea-change even since Dr. Hutton wrote, a decade ago. All that quiet corner of the world, for so long green and secluded,—a “deare secret greennesse”—has now had the light of the world let in upon it. Motor-cars whizz through that Quaker country; money-making Londoners hurry away from it of mornings, trudge home of evenings, bag in hand; the jerry-builder is in the land, and the dust of much traffic lies upon the rose and eglantine wherewith Milton’s eyes were delighted. The works of our hands often mock us by their durability. Years and ages and centuries after the busy brain and the feeling heart are dust, the houses built with hands stand up to taunt our mortality. Yet the works of the mind remain. Though Forest Hill be only a party-wall, and Chalfont a suburb of London, the Forest Hill of Mary Powell, the Chalfont of Milton, yet live for us in Anne Manning’s delightful pages.
Miss Manning did not wish her Life to be written, but we do get some glimpses of her real self from herself in a chance page here and there of her reminiscences.
Here is one such glimpse:—
“I must confess I have never been able to write comfortably when music was going on. I think I have always written to most purpose coming in fresh from a morning walk when the larks were singing and lambs bleating and distant cocks in farmyards crowing, and a distant dog barking to an echo which answered his voice, and when the hedges and banks were full of wild flowers with quaint and pretty names.
“Next to that, I have found the best time soon after early tea, when my companions were all in the garden, and likely to remain there till moonlight.”
Not very much by way of a literary portrait, and yet one can fill it in for oneself, can place her in old-world Reigate, fast, alas! becoming over-built and over-populated like all the rest of the country over which falls the ever-lengthening London shadow. As one ponders upon Forest Hill for Mary Powell’s sake—is not Shotover as dear a name as Shottery?—and Chalfont for Milton’s sake, one thinks on Reigate surrounded by its hills for Anne Manning’s sake, and keeps the place in one’s heart.
Mary Powell, with its sequel, Deborah’s Diary—Deborah was the young thing whom to bring into the world Mary Powell died—is one of the most fragrant books in English literature. One thinks of it side by side with John Evelyn’s Mrs. Godolphin. Miss Manning had a beautiful style—a style given to her to reconstruct an idyll of old-world sweetness. Limpid as flowing water, with a thought of syllabubs and new-made hay in it, it is a perpetual delight. This mid-Victorian, dark-haired lady, with the aquiline nose and high colour, although she may not have looked it, possessed a charming style, in which tenderness, seriousness, gaiety, humour, poetry, appear in the happiest atmosphere of sweetness and light.
Anne Manning, author of the above title, also wrote this one, which is just 120 pages long;
Excerpt: There was magic, to my young ears, in the very name of the Fair of Beaucaire. Beaucaire is only ten miles from Nismes, therefore no wonder I heard plenty about it. It is true, that in my time, the world-famous fair did not exercise so vast an influence on commercial affairs In general, as in the old days, when it was the great market of France; and not only France, but of all civilized countries. With what enjoyment would I hear my grandfather relate how great caravans of wealthy merchants would assemble for mutual protection, because of the audacious outlaws, often headed by some powerful baron, who lay in wait for them to despoil them of their merchandise, and often to carry them off prisoners and extort heavy ransom. My grandfather would tell hew long files of mules, laden with rich silks, cloths, serges, camlets, and furs, from Montpelier, from Narbonne, from Toulouse, from Carcassonne, and other places, would wend towards Beaucaire, as the day called the Feast of St. Magdalene approached, on which the fair was opened. The roads were then thronged with travelers; the city was choke-full of strangers; not a bed to be had, unless long preëngaged, for love or money. The shops exhibited the utmost profusion of rich goods; hospitality was exercised without grudging; old friends met from year to year; matches between their children were frequently concerted; bargains were struck, and commercial bills were commonly made payable at the Fair of Beaucaire. The crowd was immense while it lasted; a hundred thousand strangers being generally present.
Thus, you can easily conceive what charms such a lively scene had for the young; while to the old it was the crown of their industry during the year. Those at a distance, finding communications difficult and journeys expensive, were glad to make an annual pilgrimage serve their turn, when they were certain of meeting their fellow-traders, and of having under their notice goods from all parts of the world.
It was with great glee, therefore, that I, a youth of nineteen, started with my family for the Fair of Beaucaire on the 21st of July, 1685. Accommodation was promised us by my uncle Nicolas, and we went the day before the festival in order to see it from the beginning. I drove a large and commodious char-a-banc, in which were my father and mother, my younger brothers and sisters, Monsieur Bourdinave, my father’s partner, his two fair daughters, Madeleine and Gabrielle, and their old servant Alice, who was also their kinswoman in a distant degree.
I was held to be a smart youth in those days, by my family and friends, and certainly I had made myself as fine as I could, in the hope of pleasing Madeleine, who, to my mind, was the most charming girl in the world. Nor was she behindhand in the way of ornament, for she and her sister were dressed in their best, and looked as fresh as daisies. In fact, we were, one and all, in holiday attire; even the horse being tricked out with ribbons, tassels, fringes, and flowers, till he was quite a sight.
My father opened the day with family worship, which always seemed to put us in tune for the morning, and spread a balmy influence over us. I well remember the portion of Scripture he read was the seventeenth chapter of St. John’s Gospel, which, I need not remind you, contains this verse—”I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” My father dwelt on this in his prayer, and said, “Lord, I know that these dear young people cannot pass through life without hearing and seeing much of evil: but, oh, keep them unspotted by it! Let an atmosphere of sanctity and safety surround them even in the midst of the fires, that they receive no hurt. In their allowed pleasures and pastimes, let them wear that spiritual hauberk which is invulnerable to the darts of the wicked; let them steadfastly set their faces against whatever thy word disallows; and, should fiery trial and temptation beset them, enable them, having done all, to stand.”
Set in the same era (the reign of Charles II, noticing a theme?):
The Men of the Moss-Hags Being a history of adventure taken from the papers of William Gordon of Earlstoun in Galloway by Samuel Rutherford Crockett
Randome excerpt from a random chapter: It was about the end of February, when the days are beginning to creep out quickly from their shortest, that my aunt, the Lady Lochinvar, came to town. I, that asked only meat and house-room, companied not much with the braver folk who sought the society of my cousin of Lochinvar. Wat glanced here and there in some new bravery every day, and I saw him but seldom. However, my lady aunt came to see me when she had been but three days in town. For she was punctilious about the claims of blood and kinship, which, indeed, women mostly think much more of than do men.
“A good morning, cousin,” said she, “and how speeds the suit?”
Then I told her somewhat of the law’s delays and how I had an excellent lawyer, albeit choleric and stormy in demeanour,—one of mine own name, Mr. William Gordon, though his pleas were drawn by James Stewart, presently in hiding. What Gordon said went down well with my Lords of the Council meeting in Holyrood, for he was a great swearer and damned freely in his speech. But Hugh Wallace, that was the King’s cash-keeper, claimed the fine because that my father was a heritor—conform to the Acts of Parliament made against these delinquencies and conventicles in 1670 and 1672, appointing the fines of heritors being transgressors to come into the treasury. But Sir George Mackenzie said, “If this plea be not James Stewart’s drawing I have no skill of law. Tell me, Gordon, gin ye drew this yoursel’ or is James Stewart in Scotland?”
Then my lady of Lochinvar asked of me when I thought my matters might be brought to an end.
“That I know not,” said I; “it seems slow enough.”
“All law is slow, save that which my man and your father got,” said she.
I was astonished that she should mention her man, with that courage and countenance, and the story not six months old; indeed, his very head sticking on the Netherbow, not a mile from us as we talked. But she saw some part of this in my face, and quickly began to say on.
“You Gordons never think you die honest unless you die in arms against the King. But ye stand well together, though your hand is against every other man. And that is why I, that am but a tacked-on Gordon, come to help you if so be I can; though I and my boy stand for the King, and you and your rebel brother Sandy for the Covenants. Weary fa’ them—that took my man from me—for he was a good man to me, though we agreed but ill together concerning kings and politics.”
“Speak for my brother Sandy,” I said, “I am no strong sufferer, and so shall get me, I fear me, no golden garments.”
Thus I spoke in my ignorance, for the witty lown-warm air of Edinburgh in spiritual things had for the time being infected me with opinions like those of the Laodicians.
Now this was a favourite overword of my mother’s, that suffering was the Christian’s golden garment. But to my aunt, to whom religion was mostly family tradition (or so I thought), I might as well have spoken of fried fish.
“But concerning Walter,” she went on, as one that comes to a real subject after beating about the bush, “tell me of him. You have been here with him in this city the best part of three months.”
Now indeed I saw plainly enough what it was that had procured me the honour of a visit so early from my lady of Lochinvar.
“In this city I have indeed been, my aunt,” I replied, “but not with Walter. For I am not Lord of Lochinvar, but only the poor suitor of the King’s mercy. And I spent not that which I have not, nor yet can I afford further to burden the estate which may never be mine.”
She waved her hand as at a Whig scruple, which good King’s folk made light of.
“But what of Walter—you have seen—is it well with the lad?”
She spoke eagerly and laid her hand on my arm.
But after all the business was not mine, and besides, a Gordon—Covenant or no Covenant—is no tale-piet, as my lady might well have known.
The above author, S. R. Crockett, also write the very funny The Suprising Adventures of Sir Toady Lion With Those of General Napoleon Smith
General Napoleon Smith is acutally only the boy Hugh John, just ten years old, and Sir Toady Lion is his baby brother, still in dresses. At least that’s where they are at the start of the tale. I am only a few pages in and had to stop because it’s making me giggle and my husband is trying to sleep while I type.
Here is an excerpt: “Then Hugh John had a sister. Her name was Priscilla. Priscilla was distinguished also, though not in a military sense. She was literary, and wrote books “on the sly,” as Hugh John said. He considered this secrecy the only respectable part of a very shady business. Specially he objected to being made to serve as the hero of Priscilla’s tales, and went so far as to promise to “thump” his sister if he caught her introducing him as of any military rank under that of either general or colour-sergeant.
“Look here, Pris,” he said on one occasion, “if you put me into your beastly girl books all about dolls and love and trumpery, I’ll bat you over the head with a wicket!”
“Hum—I dare say, if you could catch me,” said Priscilla, with her nose very much in the air.
“Catch you! I’ll catch and bat you now if you say much.”
“Much, much! Can’t, can’t! There! ‘Fraid cat! Um-m-um!”
“By Jove, then, I just will!”
It is sad to be obliged to state here, in the very beginning of these veracious chronicles, that at this time Prissy and Napoleon Smith were by no means model children, though Prissy afterwards marvellously improved. Even their best friends admitted as much, and as for their enemies—well, their old gardener’s remarks when they chased each other over his newly planted beds would be out of place even in a military periodical, and might be the means of preventing a book with Mr. Gordon Browne’s nice pictures from being included in some well-conducted Sunday-school libraries.
General Napoleon Smith could not catch Priscilla (as, indeed, he well knew before he started), especially when she picked up her skirts and went right at hedges and ditches like a young colt. Napoleon looked upon this trait in Prissy’s character as degrading and unsportsmanlike in the extreme. He regarded long skirts, streaming hair, and flapping, aggravating pinafores as the natural handicap of girls in the race of life, and as particularly useful when they “cheeked” their brothers. It was therefore wicked to neutralise these equalising disadvantages by strings tied round above the knees, or by the still more scientific device of a sash suspended from the belt before, passed between Prissy’s legs, and attached to the belt behind.
But, then, as Napoleon admitted even at ten years of age, girls are capable of anything; and to his dying day he has never had any reason to change his opinion—at least, so far as he has yet got.”
This is from the title page:
AN IMPROVING HISTORY
OLD BOYS, YOUNG BOYS, GOOD BOYS, BAD BOYS,
BIG BOYS, LITTLE BOYS, COW BOYS, AND
Too Good Boys
To Read This Book
Field Marshal Napoleon Smith
Light, frothy, unserious, escapist reading, that is all it is, along with the cranks and crotchets of the age.
Sometimes, that’s exactly what we want. It’s easy to see and dismiss the cranks, crotchets, and crooked ways of eras gone by. It’s harder to spot and uproot our own.
by Charlotte Mary Yonge, deservedly famous in her day for her historical fiction. It begins in the reign of Charles II and goes through that of William and Mary
Excerpt; “He is an ugly ill-favoured boy—just like Riquet à la Houppe.”
“That he is! Do you not know that he is a changeling?”
Such were the words of two little girls walking home from a school for young ladies kept, at the Cathedral city of Winchester, by two Frenchwomen of quality, refugees from the persecutions preluding the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and who enlivened the studies of their pupils with the Contes de Commère L’Oie.
The first speaker was Anne Jacobina Woodford, who had recently come with her mother, the widow of a brave naval officer, to live with her uncle, the Prebendary then in residence. The other was Lucy Archfield, daughter to a knight, whose home was a few miles from Portchester, Dr. Woodford’s parish on the southern coast of Hampshire.
In the seventeenth century, when roads were mere ditches often impassable, and country-houses frequently became entirely isolated in the winter, it was usual with the wealthier county families to move into their local capital, where some owned mansions and others hired prebendal houses, or went into lodgings in the roomy dwellings of the superior tradesmen. For the elders this was the season of social intercourse, for the young people, of education.
The two girls, who were about eight years old, had struck up a rapid friendship, and were walking hand in hand to the Close attended by the nurse in charge of Mistress Lucy. This little lady wore a black silk hood and cape, trimmed with light brown fur, and lined with pink, while Anne Woodford, being still in mourning for her father, was wrapped in a black cloak, unrelieved except by the white border of her round cap, fringed by fair curls, contrasting with her brown eyes. She was taller and had a more upright bearing of head and neck, with more promise of beauty than her companion, who was much more countrified and would not have been taken for the child of higher station.
They had traversed the graveyard of the Cathedral, and were passing through a narrow archway known as the Slype, between the south-western angle of the Cathedral and a heavy mass of old masonry forming part of the garden wall of the present abode of the Archfield family, when suddenly both children stumbled and fell, while an elfish peal of laughter sounded behind them.
Lucy came down uppermost, and was scarcely hurt, but Anne had fallen prone, striking her chin on the ground, so as to make her bite her lip, and bruising knees and elbows severely. Nurse detected the cause of the fall so as to avoid it herself. It was a cord fastened across the archway, close to the ground, and another shout of derision greeted the discovery; while Lucy, regaining her feet, beheld for a moment a weird exulting grimace on a visage peeping over a neighbouring headstone.
A more well known book set in the time of Charles II and the Monmouth rebellion is Lorna Doone; a Romance of Exmoor
We liked this movie rendition of the story very much; Lorna Doone
Most of the above titles come from an article in St. Nicholas, Volume 41, Part 1
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This pot held stew or soup that had cooled off and was being transported 45 miles south. To keep it from spilling in the car, I used two rubber bands- I put one around the handle of the lid and brought it down to the left pot handle, and then I did the same thing with a second rubber band and the opposite pot handle.
This is unlikely to keep the contents from spilling if the pot gets tipped on its side, but it does keep them from splashing out over bumps, and it keeps the lid on during tight curves. I do the same with crockpots that are being transported.
I also use rubber bands on opened bags of frozen groceries when I haven’t used all of it and it needs to go back into the freezer. Roll the bag shut, then put a rubber band around it- minimizes space, eliminates spillage, and reduces chances of freezer burn.
This handy little device is for drying small, delicate items, like stockings, your grandmother’s hand tatted handkerchieves, crocheted doilies. It’s also handy for drying things like ziplock bags. The hanger part in the center sort of broke. I didn’t get a clear picture of the hanger jury rig I contrived. But the hanger works on the same principle as the IKEA Octopus Clothes Drying Rack , which you can see at the link (it’s the Equuschick’s affiliate link): and the part that broke was the center of the ring that holds the hanger. So I had the hanger section, it just no longer had a place to connect to the rest of the rack. I used rubber bands to fix it. I had tried string, but it wasn’t flexible enough.
I’ve also put them on the Cherub’s straws inside her cups with the sealed lid, so she can’t as easily pull the straws out.
I’ve used them around coffee filters, cheesecloth, and bits of stocking to safely cover kombucha and sourdough that is fermenting in jars on the counter.
I’ve used them around makeshift pouches of yogurt in cheesecloth or cut up stockings to hang them from the kitchen faucet to drip all night to make a kind of cream cheese.
I use them to keep two items that are needed for the same freezer meal together in the freezer.
They are very, very handy, so yes, I do save them when they come wrapped around broccoli stalks, as mentioned in The Complete Tightwad Gazette.
In a pinch, they are also handy for snapping them at a mouthy teen, but you have to be careful about that, because your mouthy teen is likely to be a better shot than you, and shooting a rubber band at one is both giving away ammo and giving tacit permission to shoot back.
Do you have any favourite tricks with rubber bands?
Isis kills 150 women in Iraq who refuse Jihad marriage.
Boko Haram kidnapped another large group of women and children murdering around 30 men in the process:
News of the attack took four days to emerge because of a lack of communication. Telecommunications towers in the region had been disabled in previous attacks.
Local officials learned of the attack from residents who fled to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, where the officials had moved a year ago to escape Boko Haram attacks.
The militants stormed the village from two directions, overwhelming local vigilantes who had repelled Boko Haram attacks over the course of the year, said Gumsuri resident Umar Ari, who trekked for four days to Maiduguri.
”They destroyed almost half the village and took away 185 women, girls and boys,” Ari said.
Resident Modu Kalli said the militants fired heavy machine guns on the village and poured canisters of gasoline on houses before setting them on fire.
“We lost everything in the attack. I escaped with nothing, save the clothes I have on me,” Kalli said.
But let’s get our knickers in disarray over the alleged racist act of cultural appropriation of belly dancing by chubby white girls. Because we’re totally serious and everything. (language warning)