“Tight waists and high heels are still so common that the courageous protests of the emancipated pass almost unnoticed….The heels do not give an impression of long- leggedness, but only alter and spoil the whole carriage of the body.” Artist John Collier, 1850-1934
Royal Academy artist Louisa Starr Canzini’s sketches (dancing and tennis)
“To be beautiful, it should be the expression of ease and of natural delight in movement. Also, it should have no association with pain.” Royal Academy artist, Louisa Canzini, 1845-1909
Harsh words from artist Wyke Bayliss 1835-1906:
“The truth is that every attempt to modify the human form is an act of savagery, and every form of dress that simulates a modification, wither worn in Peking, or Paris, or London, is a savage dress, and carries with it the additional shame of being a sham.”
(Comment from blogger: “Well, there’s lots that we’ve left behind. Certainly we’ve gotten over any objection to the shame of sham. Whew!”)
Bayliss’ words prompted me to look at his paintings:
“I am not narrow-minded (about clothes.) The only bad ones are those that are pretentious or vulgar.” Artist George H. Boughton 1833-1905
“Tight lacing, pointed shoes and high heels. Unless the fashion changes, (which, it being very ugly, it probably will not) will leave permanently disastrous results.
“Again, this (shoe) is hardly short of wicked and hardly short of a cloven hoof. I wish the ladies joy of it!” Artist G.F. Watts 1817-1904
“You don’t even own a bicycle!”
“But I do own a sewing machine!”
Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable, by Susanne M. Dutton, coming SOON from Propertius Press
The Game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall, as WWI ends. Holmes fills out entry papers at a rundown psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. Now that the law declares his cocaine use illegal, he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” he hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. Holmes’ scribbled response, never before encountered by his long-experienced doctor, soon churns interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of enemies and friends both.
Quirky and just weird late Victorian humor from real magazines and newspapers landing in 221B’s mailbox.
In The Strand 1891 the Royal Mail dares to share the creative ways some customers address their postcards. Meanwhile, Holmes meets Moriarty in The Final Problem.
The Ladies’ Home Journal 1898 reveals how American writer Mark Twain and U.S. President Grant are too shy to talk, as Holmes sets about solving The Dancing Men code.
The Journal reports that the two Americans shook hands and fell into a long silence, as Twain tried to think what he could say. Finally, he said, “Mr. President, I feel a bit embarrassed. Do you?” The President could not help smiling, but the writer gave his place in line to others.
Ten years later, when statesman and humorist met again, Grant said, before Twain had a chance to utter a word: “Mr. Clemens, I don’t feel at all embarrassed. Do you?”
The Illustrated London News 1890 claims that Poe’s famous raven poem, “Nevermore” turns well adjusted puppies to sentimental mush and tears, as Holmes questions another dog’s behavior in in Silver Blaze.
Holmes is caught up in a case involving an unhappy marriage, an odd burglary, and possible murder at The Abby Grange as Punch Magazine August 1905 prepares to publish this cartoon at a time when cameras were obviously as omnipresent and preoccupying as cell phones are today.
COMING SOON FROM PROPERTIUS PRESS:
Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable
BY SUSANNE M. DUTTON
As World War I ends, British law declares Holmes’ cocaine use illegal and, hoping to end his habit, he fills out entry papers at a psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. Confronted by a question asking for his “treatment goals,” he hesitates, suddenly aware that his real goals far exceed the capacity of this or any clinic. The inscrutable words he scribbles, never before encountered by his doctor, churn interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of friends and enemies both.
The Crossing Sweeper
Opinions varied on sweeping, even amongst the sweepers. On the plus side? If you’ve got a broom and a crossing, you’re set. Thousands of horses and fashionable hem lengths put you in demand. The streets bring the sweepable filth, without fail. You’re your own boss. Cons? You work for tips. The best crossings, or “pitches,” are worth fighting over, and it happens. If you don’t show up, someone else will take your place; it pays to be a known, trusted, quantity. If you’re in a better part of the city, tips are better, too, and other errands (horse holding, message bearing, parcel carrying) come your way. One fellow interviewed in The London Illustrated News claimed customers’ tips on upcoming horse races did more for his pocket than the sweeping.
There are no gymnastics schools in London, at least according to The Strand Magazine‘s 1891 article, “The Child Workers of London.” If you want training, you hope to join one of the many troupes, beginning at age eight. The trainer, known as “the father,” arranges to take in recruits for a certain number of years. He is responsible for teaching, but also feeding and clothing them. (Remind anyone of Dickens’ Fagin?) Good troupes travel, performing at festivals and in theaters, as well as on the street. The best cross the Channel to France and Germany.
A troupe made £70 – £80 a day, a fully trained acrobat, £20 – £25 a week. Interviewed by The Strand, troupe father Mr. Bale said that healthy diet and strength training are virtues of the training. Temperance is another merit, he adds. “Directly an acrobat takes to drinking, he is done for.”
The Lodging House Servant
“Nothing can be harder or drearier,” The Strand says, referring to the lives of young servants, especially at lodging houses. “They are on their feet, at everyone’s beck and call, never expected to tire.” Their work is demanding, their meals poor, their sleeping arrangements, “disgraceful.” Mrs. Hudson’s page, Billy, belonged to this set, though with and only three adults to serve (as far as we know) he may have had it easier.
Wages vary, hovering around £10 – £12 a year. Time off varied as well, Sunday afternoons for some, but one Sunday a month for others. According to “Child Workers of London,” young servants might change jobs often. One girl interviewed, aged 15, said she had been to six places. The interviewer asked, “Are you so fond of change?”
“Tain’t that so much,” returned the young lady; “but I can’t put up with cheek, and some of my missuses do go on awful. I says, ‘Ave yer jaw, and ‘ave done with it!'”
Coming Soon from Propertius Press:
Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable
by Susanne M. Dutton
As World War I ends, Britain declares cocaine a dangerous, controlled drug. An older, depressed Holmes submits entry papers at a rundown psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast, hoping to end his habit. He names a treatment goal never before encountered by his physician, churning interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of friends and enemies both.
From 1909 until his death in 1930, Conan Doyle lived and wrote (75km/50m from London) at Windlesham Manor, a home he built himself in Crowborough, East Sussex. Rather ironically, Windlesham is now an assisted living home.
Detective morphing-to-beekeeper Holmes headed the same direction in his later years. There’s a likely looking place with the right plaques in the welcoming village of East Dean, 45km/28m from Crowborough. It’s not the isolated hermitage you might suppose. On the other hand, old man Holmes would still have need of an occasional telegram, if not a telephone. He’d still want his newspapers, if never for the latest on the solar system.
Watson’s view? “No doubt Holmes’ new address, Bolt Cottage, fit his needs precisely, but it was no place for a visitor, perhaps purposely so.”*
As WWI ends, cocaine becomes illegal in England and the aged, still addicted and depressed Sherlock Holmes enters at a rundown psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. He names a treatment goal never before encountered by any admitting physician, churning interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of friends and enemies both.
*excerpt, Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable (SOON from Propertius Press, by Susanne M. Dutton) https://propertiuspress.wixsite.com/bookstore/online-store
-an excerpt from his initial interview in “Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable*
“M. Holmes recounts that most childish inconveniences, including toothache, temper, rowdiness, diarrhoea, constipation–and especially inability to sleep when nursery maid’s follower (that’s boyfriend) was available–were treated with an array of the most popular children’s remedies, usually tinctured with alcohol, opium, cocaine, or morphine. With little thought, M. Holmes continued to self-medicate, not daily, but frequently, ‘as necessary,’ throughout his youth, especially aged thirteen to sixteen. He recalls his ever-ready Toothache Drops (cocaine) as a favourite.”
As WWI ends, cocaine becomes illegal in England and the aged, still addicted and depressed Sherlock Holmes submits entry papers at a rundown psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. He names a treatment goal never before encountered by his admitting physician, churning interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of friends and enemies both.
*Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable by Susanne M. Dutton, coming soon from Propertius Press
An 1878 example: Getting ready for Christmas with St. Nicholas Magazine stories for children. Included are “The Three Wise Men,” “For Very Little Folks,” and “Jack in the Pulpit,” with Burnett’s cocaine on the side.
This stuff is fun, quirky, unsettling, thought-provoking and sometimes hard to get our modern heads around. If you find it as interesting as I do, please follow my blog by signing up in the right hand corner below. Thank you!
Susanne M. Dutton
… and the museum vs. the bank.
In London in the Nineteenth Century, author Jerry White refers to John Fisher Murray’s 1844 designations for “old London neighborhoods.* Baker Street is categorized as neither exclusive, ultra-fashionable nor fashionable, but “genteel.” Madame Tussaud’s Wax Works was housed there, in addition to shops, pubs, restaurants and “mansion blocks,” i.e. apartment buildings.
However, when Holmes and Watson took rooms at 221B Baker Street in 1881, the numbered addresses went no higher than 84.
As soon as this fact came to light, questions were raised. Was Watson protecting Holmes from risk by disguising the address? Did they actually live in York Place? According to David Sinclair’s Sherlock Holmes’s London, York Place was a residential end of what has more recently become a part of Baker Street. Another theory was that the doctor and detective lived in the Regent’s Park end of present day Baker Street, known as Upper Baker Street. (Note! A reader has informed me that in preliminary notes to Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, he did refer to a 221B Upper Baker Street.) The number system was still unsatisfactory, according to Sinclair, as as the highest was 54.
Life caught up with art a few years after the publication of the last Holmes story in 1930. Baker Street was extended across Marylebone Road and renumbered. An entire city block took on the address 219 to 229, and became the headquarters of Abbey Road Building Society and then, in July 1989, Abbey National, a bank.
That settled nothing, especially when heaps of mail seeking Holmes’ aid began to arrive and the building society-morphing-to-a-bank proudly designated itself as employer of the posthumous secretary to Sherlock Holmes for seventy years.
Then, in 1990, the bank had competition. The Sherlock Holmes Museum set up just down the street at a much more appropriate-looking address, not 221B, but 239 Baker Street.
To settle the matter the museum actually tried to get its address changed from 239 to 221, a permission refused in 1994. It was able to register as a business legally called 221B Limited, however, and posted that name over the entrance.
Abbey National Bank finally retired from the conflict in 2002 when it moved away from Baker Street entirely. By way of a graceful farewell, the bank installed the fine statue of Sherlock Holmes that surveys nearby Baker Street Tube Station.
*Old London was a very different city, as the population count, as well as the square miles, skyrocketed in the 19th Century. In 1801, the first official census names just over 1 million. By 1900 it is 6.2 Million. Square miles in 1851 totaled 122; in the Holmes’ era, c.1896, that number is 693.
Thank you for reading! Please follow my blog, inside221B.com. It’s generally twice a week and will simply show up in your mail.
Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable, by Susanne Dutton, coming soon from Propertius Press.
~ a SHILLING a day and a bonus Guinea for extra “high value” information
“They go everywhere and they hear everything,” Holmes says of the Irregulars in A Study in Scarlet, 1887. “They are sharp as needles, too; all they want is organization.”
The Irregulars play a crucial role in three cases, aided greatly by the fact that homeless children (estimated 30,000) were so many and so disregarded on London streets. Given that 12 pence made a shilling, what could you get with just one shilling?
~ four meals of meat, broth and beer or eight simpler meals from a street cart or at an “ordinary,” a working class hall that served simple foods. (No Irregular would have a kitchen.)
~ a shared bed in cheap lodging house for six nights
~ an inexpensive, unfurnished room for one week (one shilling, 4 pence)
~ one copy of the Illustrated London News. An Irregular probably had little or no schooling, but he would have enjoyed the Wild West story of Eagle Joe and the sketches.
~ five loaves of bread
~ 1/2 pound tea
~ one wedding ring, with “as good an appearance;” as 22ct. gold and, after all, “answers same purpose.”
~ week’s worth of wood or coal, if one had a place to burn it
What could you do with a guinea, just over a pound?
~ one overcoat of superior quality
~ one pair boots, one pair socks and three flannel shirts
~ one bed, not the finest well-made, but not the least
~ one pin of diamond and gold, almost
~ one each of 4 of Conan Doyle’s works, hard back, as advertised between the curtains and “How to Open a Cigar Store.” Note that Holmes stories are not featured first, nor are they the most expensive.
Another way to assess that guinea is to see what other people were paid
~ £11/year plus board and lodging would be a wage for a boy who worked as an indoor servant. (Billy, Mrs. Hudson’s page)
~ 18 shillings up to £1 would be a “justing getting by” week’s income for a working family. £1 in 1895 equals £132.35* today, though the numbers are misleading because costs for raw materials, production, labor and transportation have changed. “New fangled” products were more expensive, as they are now. What about the prospect of an Irregular with a bicycle?
~ one Van Cleve bicycle, $65 at the Wright Brother’s factory in North Carolina. (Adjusted for inflation, $1,870 today.)
Given that the pound went further than the dollar, an Irregular might achieve a bicycle with a great number of high values clues, or several more detectives.
Thank you for reading. Please follow my blog, too.
… Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable Susanne M. Dutton, soon from Propertius Press
He pointed to a newer looking broadsheet posted to a wall.
“Watson, I believe you’ve described me as ‘pale’ in at least one of your melodramatic distortions of my cases. Would you recommend Dr. Williams’ concoctions?”
“Not if Dr. Williams paid me.You expose yourself to enough vile poison by means of that needle of yours without my cooperation.”
Question: What would a blood building or “never failing” tonic contain?
Answer: A tonic “toned” your organs, your nervous system, lungs, circulatory system, heart and your brain. Tonics often contained strychnine, morphine, lithium, or cocaine, described as natural “vegetable” ingredients. As the ads say, you could try it for anything. You might not recover, but no doubt you’d feel different.
If a pale Sherlock Holmes were anemic due to low iron, perhaps it was true that, as he claimed, only the thrill of “the game” brought him to life naturally. “My mind rebels at stagnation,” Holmes rants in Conan Doyle’s A Scandal in Bohemia. “Give me problems! Give me work. My mind rebels at stagnation.” Jeremy Brett did a horrifically fine job with Conan Doyles’ words, here:
Real treatments? It wasn’t until 1932 that the relationship between iron deficiency and anemia was discovered. Owbridge’s Lung Tonic, purported to treat consumption (tuberculosis) failed miserably. By 1900 tuberculosis had killed one our of every seven people who had ever lived.* An effective, widely utilized TB vaccine was still more than 50 years away.
*TB in American: 1895-1954, PBS: American Experience
This stuff is fun, quirky, thought-provoking and sometimes hard to get our modern heads around. If you find it as interesting as I do, please follow my blog. Thank you. Susanne Dutton
https://propertiuspress.wixsite.com/bookstore/online-store … Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable by Susanne M. Dutton, COMING SOON from Propertius Press.
He slid the latest Pall Mall Gazette across the breakfast table. “Read it yourself, old man. Just there, below the photograph of the bracelet.”
I found the article.
“After the Prince Consort’s death, Her Majesty had some of his hair made into a bracelet.* Now the Queen stipulated that there were to be no joinings, but this was impossible, the Prince’s hair being too short. However the Queen’s instructions were carried out and the bracelet delivered.
Chancing to be toying with it one day, Her Majesty drew out a hair three times the length of the Prince’s hair; then there was trouble. The bracelet was inspected, and it was found that that while much of it was Prince Albert’s hair, the greater part of it was not.” (The bracelet pictured is such a bracelet, but not that bracelet.)