• Coming This Week

  • Victorian Quote of the Week

    A classic--something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
    Mark Twain

  • The Scandalous Vics

  • Want to Guest Blog With Us?

    Victorian-era authors are welcome to contact us about guest blogging opportunities by emailing Isabel at isabel@isabelroman.com

    (all victorian genres welcome, fiction and non-fiction, including Westerns)

  • Pages

  • Archives

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,518 other followers

  • Facebook

  • Meta

Victorian Slang of the Week–claret

claret–blood, especially in boxing. This is a term that for some reason I generally associate with the Regency era in England. However, it appears to have been used quite a bit in the U.S., from 1831 on. Also, claret jug, which is the bleeding nose, first mentioned in 1859, but I expect it was used earlier.

This Day in the Civil War – Negro soldiers liberating slaves

On January 23, 1864, Harper’s Weekly featured a story about Negro soldiers liberating slaves in North Carolina.

NEGRO SOLDIERS LIBERATING SLAVES.

70652-004-0F577C98General Wild’s late raid into the interior of North Carolina abounded in incidents of peculiar interest, from which we have selected a single one as the subject of the illustration on page 52, representing the liberation by the negro battalion of the slaves on Mr. Terrebee’s plantation. As the reader may imagine, the scene was both novel and original in all its features. General Wild having scoured the peninsula between Pasquotank and Little Rivers to Elizabeth City, proceeded from the latter place toward Indiantown in Camden County. Having encamped overnight, the column moved on into a rich country which was covered with wealthy plantations. The scene in our sketch represents the colored troops on one of these plantations freeing the slaves. The morning light is shining upon their bristling bayonets in the back-ground, and upon a scene in front as ludicrous as it is interesting. The personal effects of the slaves are being gathered together from the outhouses on the plantation and piled, regardless of order, in an old cart, the party meanwhile availing themselves in a promiscuous manner of the Confiscation Act by plundering hens and chickens and larger fowl; and after all of these preliminary arrangements the women and children are (in a double sense) placed on an eminence above their chattels and carted off in triumph, leaving “Ole Massa” to glory in solitude and secession.
http://history.ncsu.edu/projects/cwnc/items/show/175

New Release–Shadows of the Soul

DeniseEagan_ShadowsOfTheSoul_200pxWhat do you do when you discover your imaginary friend is real?

That’s the tag line of the book I just published after a long hiatus due to family difficulties.  I’ve got a heroine who has grown up in a town that has labeled her as “crazy”, and a hero who was psychologically tortured by the aunt who raised him, and is a Civil War veteran to boot. I’ve set it in Iowa 1871, which makes it neither a Western or typically Victorian. Honestly, I am the queen of choosing settings and topics most people shy away from. I couldn’t help it though, because in addition to the romantic plot of the story I wanted to see how a small farming town would react to a serial killer (although obviously not labeled as such in the book).The only way for me to do that, was to write it.

So here’s the blurb, and an excerpt following it:

 

Available 99 cents on kindle

She thought she’d imagined him

Beth Hartwell is a little bit crazy. Or so her hometown of Mayfield believes, due to her long-ago obsession with her imaginary friend. Although in 1871, at the age of twenty-two, Beth has long since forgotten him, the phrase sticks to her like prickles to wool. If she’s ever going to be normal, she must marry a nice, normal man, have nice, normal children and live a nice normal life. She’s one reluctant yes away from accepting the only man who’ll take her, when handsome, mysterious Luke Devlin comes to town. Upon touching him, visions of fire beset her, along with a deep, unexplainable familiarity. . .

But he was real

Calamity and suffering follow Luke everywhere he goes. An orphan from birth, Luke was raised in the shadow of a mad aunt who insisted that he was evil incarnate—Satan’s son. After years of seeking proof that she was wrong, he finally accepts her ravings as prophesy. To fulfill that prophesy, he must claim his “dark angel,” the little girl with whom he had a telepathic relationship as a boy.

Trapped between love and a prophecy

Unfortunately Beth, a midwife and sister to the town’s preacher, is hardly “dark.” In order for Luke to win her, he must use everything in his arsenal, including seduction, lies and trickery. In order for Beth to pull him out of the shadows, she must uncover the secrets behind his sad, dying eyes. As the battle lines are drawn, however, a murderer strikes in Mayfield and the town accuses Luke. . .

 

Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear,

Farewell remorse: all good to me is lost;

Evil, be thou my good.

John Milton, Paradise Lost

The fire rose like a monster from the depths of Hell, its only purpose to consume the building it enveloped. Its yellow head towered over the fragile wooden structure, orange hair jumping and leaping with a life of its own, scraping the underbelly of the star-studded heavens. Long, pointed fingers wrapped around the corners of the building and crawled through windows, and everything they touched turned black. The building hissed, crackled, cried, and its windows shattered under the heat. The people inside, unimportant to either building or fire, screamed for mercy.

A short distance from the building, Luke Devlin stood under a tree, the shade of new spring leaves concealing his expression. He made no attempt to assist the panicked rescuers, who threw buckets of water on the flames in a futile attempt to save the inn. Luke watched the burning stoically as words and memories passed through his mind, just across the border of conscious thought.

You killed her, you wicked, wicked boy. My sister’s dead because of you!

They’re all gonna die, son. That friend of yours is goin’ next.

It’s yellow fever. It’ll take more than half the souls that get it.

She’s a witch, a dark angel. How else could you talk to her in your mind?

You’re evil, destined to cause naught but misery and death for the good folk of the world. But you shall stay away from me. Do you understand me, boy? You stay away from me!

The last thought crept into consciousness, and Luke winced at the sound of a slamming door echoing in his head, an attic door locking him in darkness. And his soul, locked in the same.

God didn’t give you a soul.

Death and destruction shadowed him, followed him, preceded him—undesired at first, then expected, finally anticipated.

A roar filled the yard, and a piece of the roof caved in. Flames leapt through the opening; shrieks of pain clawed the air. As the fire burned, the remnants of the boy who had once chosen to stay in prison to save a friend instead of escaping burned with it. Luke could all but see his own image peering out of a cracked, soot-stained window—a shaggy, blond boy, the rough anger in his stare eclipsed by gut-wrenching fear. A spirit from years past when he’d still believed his aunt was wrong, before Andersonville and Galveston, before New York and Chicago and all the miles of misery between.

The window exploded; the spirit vanished.

It was time.

He’d accomplished the worst possible on his own. It was time to seek out the girl, his dark angel. In one swift move Luke mounted up and turned west.

He’d been born on All Hallows’ Eve five minutes before lightning started the fire that had killed his family. In his mind he envisioned the charred bodies and smelled burning flesh; the visions fed a hunger in the sucking pit in his chest where a soul ought to have been. He was evil and he was death, and up ahead, in Mayfield, Iowa, was the woman he’d waited half his life to claim.

 

 

Edgar Allan Poe–birthday

So, yeah. I kinda feel like I should write original posts and not send people off into the web-o-sphere. But I saw this on face book, and thought I should throw the link up. Yesterday was Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday and he was one of the most famous Victorians. Oh, and I love quotes. So here you go! Thirty Quotes by Mr. Poe. And I’ll add one right here, which I just put in my new release, Shadows of the Soul (announcement later this week, with cover and blurb and such). For my indie-books, I put quotes at the beginning of the chapters like my favorite author, Mary Stewart did.

From childhood’s hour I have not been

As others were—I have not seen

As others saw.

Edgar Allan Poe, Alone

 

Victorian Slang of the Week–clamshell

clamshell–the mouth or lips. Example: “Shut your clamshell and let me talk!” People also would shorten it to clam (1825), but clamshell seems to have been more widely used. From 1832 on. According to Bartlett’s Americanisms it was most common in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Also, happy as a clam–extremely joyful, sitting pretty. My mother used to say this a lot, so I assumed it was pretty much a 20th century thing. Apparently I am wrong. It goes back to 1834.

This Day in the Civil War – Harper’s Weekly

Thought it would be fun to share the front page of Harper’s Weekly, dating January 9, 1864.

THE REBELS FIRING ON OUR
SUPPLY—TRAIN.

longstreet-sharpshootersON this page we give a graphic sketch of an attack made by rebel sharp-shooters upon our supply-train on the banks of the Tennessee. After the battle of Chickamauga, when our army had retired to its strong-hold at Chattanooga, it was the chief object of the rebels to disturb our communications, and if possible to break up its supply-trains. Of the particular instance given in the sketch the artist was an eve-witness. Upon the crags of Raccoon Mountain, and overlooking the river, were posted a small force of picked men ofLongstreet’s corps, armed with Whitworth rifles. The position was twelve miles in the rear of our works at Chattanooga, and was unguarded. Captain Goree had charge of the attacking party. The only way of reaching the position chosen for attack, and avoiding our scouts, was by taking the Indian trails through the forest heights. No sooner had the position been gained than the rumbling of the approaching train was heard along the river-bank. Thus when the train came up the gorge, preceded by a small infantry escort, and had fairly filled the open space of the road in front of the rebel sharp-shooters, it was entirely at the mercy of the latter. Then the word wok given to fire, and a score of deafening reports leaped from crag to crag; and close upon the fire followed the confusion of a stampede. The teams in front were crippled by dead mules; and those behind, thus blocked in and unable to move forward, were equally cut off from retreat by the inextricably confused wagon in the rear. The escort, after firing a few shots, fled panic-stricken, leaving the train in the hands of the enemy.

THE SIEGE OF CHARLESTON.

charleston-bombardmentON page 28 we give an illustration representing the effect produced by one ofGilmore’s shells bursting in the streets of Charleston. When Gilmore first began to shell the city it had more noncombatants in it than it has now; it was not believed that the city was within range until the actual reality brought conviction. The illustration is designed to represent the first occasion upon which the city was shelled, and depicts the overwhelming surprise of the citizens. The shelling commenced at midnight, but did little harm beyond terrifying the ladies left in the city. Only a single house was set on fire. In the particular scene presented by the artist a fireman is running through the streets giving the alarm, and a watchman, thoroughly overcome, is taking leave of his senses and his staff in the foreground. The gun burst after a few discharges. The distance was over four miles. At latest dates General Gilmore had recommenced shelling the city, having destroyed twelve buildings, killed one man, and seriously wounded some eight or ten persons. We give also on the same page an illustration representing the interior of Fort Sumter after a continuous bombardment by the batteries on Morris Island. The bombardment was from 200-pound Parrott guns, and eve’ v gun of the fort was dismounted, leaving the garrison to be passive spectators of the gradual demolition of the walls. Nearly the whole parapet of the fort was swept away. The gorge-face presents one mass of ruins, and the casemates scarcely afford shelter to the garrison. Beauregard, it is said, is determined to hold the fort till the last; by the bayonet, if need be.

See entire issue at this site: http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1864/longstreets-sharpshooters.htm

This Day In the Civil War – Sherman’s Christmas Gift to Lincoln

On December 22, 1864 from William Tecumseh Sherman sent a short telegram to Abraham Lincoln: “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.” Lincoln had been out of touch with Sherman for several weeks, ever since the major general had left Atlanta on his March to the Sea. The President found great relief in the brief message.
abrahamlincoln150 years ago today, December 26, 1864, Lincoln sent his reply. “Many, many thanks for your Christmas gift.” He admitted to being “anxious, if not fearful” when Sherman left Atlanta, but put his trust in the general. “Feeling that you were the better judge, and remembering that ‘nothing risked, nothing gained,’ I did not interfere.” Lincoln added, “the honor is all yours.”

Of course, Georgians did not agree. Savannah surrendered without much fuss, but the March to the Sea, cut civilian support for the Confederacy. And it lives in Southern memory as one of the cruelest campaigns of the Civil War.

For more information: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2012/12/20/william_tecumseh_sherman_s_gift_for_abraham_lincoln_1864_telegram_presenting.html

 

Watch a video of the historic letter: William Tecumsah Sherman’s Christmas letter to Abraham Lincoln

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWq4uRndUvQ

%d bloggers like this: