Filed under 19th century literature

An Unhappy Tenant

This is a wonderfully wry ad from a London paper dated October 1815: WANTED IMMEDIATELY to enable me to leave the house which I have for these last five years inhabited, in the same plight and condition in which I found it, 500 LIVE RATS for which I will gladly pay the sum of £5 … Continue reading

A Local Witch

This comes from Joseph Ashby of Tysoe 1859-1919, a real goldmine of  first person details. This is unusual as it shows the boys misbehaving, but also the old woman treating them with what seems to be benign indifference. Was this sort of behaviour so commonplace at the time? Or did she know they meant no … Continue reading

English Fairy Stories

English Fairy Stories

Here are some accounts of fairies from Nancy Arrowsmith’s A Field Guide to the Little People. Like a lot of such stories they seem somehow incomplete, as if the heart of the story has been lost through retelling, or mishearing over time. : A little girl had wandered far from he friends while picking flowers. … Continue reading

Old Love

This is a charming piece from the Illustrated Police News, 1892, a reminder that some people did see old bones, and were still active in the past. PASSING NOTES Last week in a little meeting-house just outside Feltham David Macnamara, pensioner, who served in the Inniskilling Dragoons nearly 60 years ago, and who, though in … Continue reading

A Retriever Pays his Way

This is from the Scandal mongering IllustratedPolice News of 1892: A SAGACIOUIS RETRIEVER At the Lambeth Police court, Frederick Hampton, 45, fishmonger, and Emily his wife, residing at London rd, Croydon, were charged before Mr Biron with stealing and receiving a silk umbrella, value 7s 6d, the property of Louisa Squire. the complainant, on the … Continue reading

Cure for Mysterious Male Illness

This is from the Illustrated Police News of November 1898: MEN WHO ARE WEAK Men who are weak, and tired of taking NAUSEOUS  and MYSTERIOUS Preparations to no GOOD PURPOSE ought to write to the Physician in confidence, and full particulars will be sent FREE As to how all cases of NERVOUS DEBILITY, LOSS OF … Continue reading


This is from the Illustrated Police News, 1898. It was claimed to be the most scandalous paper of its age. This article has certainly not aged well. A RICH TRADER PURCHASES THE BEAUTIFUL “SPARKLING EYES” The American papers publish an account of his recent travels in the Klondike country, written by Mr. Robert Stead Dun, … Continue reading

Sahara Dust

Occasionally we get warnings of dust blowing in from the Sahara, often at the height of summer when people with sensitive lungs are warned to stay indoors. this suggests that the dust is an unusual arrival, but it seems this is not the case. This is from yesterday’s i paper by Jacob Adetunji: At this … Continue reading