A Culture Spoofs Itself 120+ Years Ago

That well-travelled sophisticated class of person:

Client to Architect: “I want it to be nice and baronial, Queen Anne and Elizabethan, and all that; kind of quaint and Nurembergy, you know–regular Old English with French Windows opening to the lawn, and Venetian blinds, and sort of Swiss Balconies, and Loggia. But I’m sure you know what I mean!”

More globe trotting sophisticates:

Punch Magazine 1890

Mr. James: And were you in Rome?

American Lady: I guess not. (Turns to daughter) Say Bella, did we visit Rome?

Daughter: Why certainly, Mama! Don’t your remember? It was in Rome we bought the Lisle-thread stockings!

Legend says that in early 1797 clothier John Hetherington was the first man to wear a silk tophat in London: a review in 1897.

Punch Magazine 1897

On the centenary of the tall hat

A hundred years of hideousness,

Constricted brows, and strain, and stress!

And still, despite humanity’s groan,

The torturing “tall hat” holds its own!

What proof more sure and melancholy

Of the dire depths of mortal folly?

Mad was the hatter who invented the demon “topper,”

and demented the race that, spite of pain and jeers,

Has borne it–for One Hundred Years!

The Latest Thing from Paris

Punch Magazine 1897

Ratcatcher, eyeing their hand muffs: Beg your pardon, Ladies, but would you mind telling me where you get all the rats from? I’ve been out for the last week and can’t come across any at all!

The Gentlemen of the Press

Punch Magazine 1899

Journalism in France vs. Journalism in England

An Invention for Making the Law Less Dry

The Strand Magazine 1893

The Meeker, Gentler Sex

Punch Magazine 1905

He: But I thought you’d forgiven me for that and promised to forget it?

She: But I didn’t promise to forget I’d forgiven.

Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable* by Susanne M. Dutton, from Propertius Press

The game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends. From his rural cottage, Sherlock Holmes no longer provokes Scotland Yard’s envy or his landlady’s impatience, but neither is he content with the study of bees. August 1920 finds Holmes filling out entry papers at a nearly defunct psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. England’s new Dangerous Drugs Act declares his cocaine use illegal and he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” Holmes hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. His scribbled response, “no more solutions, but one true resolution,” seems more a vow than a goal to his psychiatrist, Pierre Joubert. The doctor is right. Like a tiny explosion unaccountably shifting a far-reaching landscape, the simple words churn desperate action and interlocking mystery into the lives of Holmes’ friends and enemies both.

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