Tender Memories

Quick Quotes 6. The following is taken from William Howitt’s A Country Book: for the field, the forest, and the fireside (1859):

But if the days of June are now warm, and brilliant, and beautiful, ah! how soft and beautiful is a June night! Oh, what is there that can equal its pleasant obscurity, which is yet not darkness! What can equal the calm, clear, lofty beauty of the sky, where the moon beams like a celestial creature, as she is, and the evening star burns with the radiance of immortal youth? There is a balmy softness in the air. The trees stand in shadowy masses, that seem to listen to the still and musing sky above them. There is a soft gloom beneath umbrageous hedges, or as you walk through shrubberies and plantations, that is peopled with all the tender feelings of the present, and the tender memories of the past. What would we not give to go hand in hand again with those with whom we have enjoyed such hours and talked of death, and wondered who should first explore its mysteries — and they were those first? — and we walk on, through deepening shadows, and wonder what and where they now are.


“Quick Quotes” are some bonus content for the blog. Each time I find an interesting or amusing little quote from and old (verging on forgotten) book, that does not really need any further explanation or background information, it will appear on Windows into History under this heading. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.

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Uninvited but Welcome

Quick Quotes 5. The following is taken from George Head’s Forest Scenes and Incidents in the Wilds of North America (1829):

As countries become more civilized, the social feeling is proportionably restrained; amd hospitality and barbarism are, it is said, generally met with together. Still humanity is consoling, which, flowing from the heart, offers shelter to the stranger, who elsewhere might seek it in vain. The circumstances of he country induce a necessity for the exertion of hospitality; for in a climate so severe, and where houses of public entertainment are not everywhere to be met with, common consent establishes a reciprocity of accommodation, where to remain out of doors all night would be the cost of life. In fact, a man cannot be said to be master of his own house so as to exclude the visitors whom chance may throw in upon him. Without any other fastening than a latch to his door, a dozen strangers probably enter one after another, each dropping down to rest before the fire, and taking up their quarters for the night without the ceremony of asking leave of any body. The poorest person is not the least welcome, nor in the exercise of hospitality, is any regard paid to condition and appearance. The people have enough to answer their own wants, and, secluded from the world in a manner, are remunerated by the news they occasionally receive from the passing traveller; indeed it is a question, which of the two is the best off, the pennyless guest or the host himself; who perhaps cannot, in his own house, walk across his bed-room after nine o’clock at night without the risk of, disturbing some great fellow stretched out and snoring before his fire, and who, if he happen to be trodden upon, will swear as loudly as if the whole house belonged to him.


“Quick Quotes” are some bonus content for the blog. Each time I find an interesting or amusing little quote from and old (verging on forgotten) book, that does not really need any further explanation or background information, it will appear on Windows into History under this heading. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.

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A Disturbed Night

Heland sledgeSnippets 122. In 1815 George Head, the assistant commissary-general of the commissariat of the 3rd division of the Spanish army, undertook a journey across North America, snappily titled Forest Scenes and Incidents in the Wilds of North America, Being a Diary of a Winter’s Route from Halifax to the Canadas. His diary was published in 1829. Finding good places to stay during his travels was sometimes a problem, and in the following quote he describes one of his worst experiences, while travelling in Canada.

The house we were now in for the night was very particularly dirty and comfortless. There were two beds in the room, one for the host, his wife, and four children, the youngest of which was not more than a few weeks old, and the other was appropriated to me. The driver and my servant lay on the boards before the stove, which was a Canada one, and too powerful for the size of the room. The heat all night was quite suffocating, though the weather certainly was not warmer than 20° of Fahrenheit. The bed I slept in had green stuff curtains, full of dust; and the sheets were of some soft spongy material which, if clean, at least felt otherwise, and for the first time since I had been in the country, I was tormented with fleas. It was impossible to get a wink of sleep; for besides my own grievances, there were other causes of disturbance. The child cried incessantly in spite of all the woman could do to pacify it. It had, I believe, nothing at all the matter with it, but seemed, from sheer frowardness, to imagine that the little world of our miserable apartment was made for itself. Sometimes the good wife sat up in her bed with the little animal hugged up between her chin and her elbows, hushing and rocking herself and it; and then she patted its back, and it still cried. Then ten times I dare say in the course of the night, out of bed got the poor husband, who stood for several minutes at the stove, displaying a pair of lean bare legs, and an extremely short shirt, and stir- ring something in a saucepan with the broken stump of an iron spoon — a picture of obedience and misery ! Then he got into bed again. Then came a long consultation, and almost a quarrel about what was best to be done. Then the grand specific was administered, but all without effect. At last the other children awoke, and the youngest of these began to cry too : and the mother said it was the big one’s fault, and b eat her. So off she went, and we had a loud concert, till, what with the noise of the children, and the heat, and the dirt, and the fleas, I felt ready to rush out of doors and roll myself in the snow. But every thing must have an end, and so at last the children were all tired out, and by degrees grew quiet ; and in the morning I found I had been asleep, and got out of bed determined to be off as soon as I possibly could.


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American Wives

Quick Quotes 4. The following is taken from Max O’Rell’s Jonathan and his Continent (1889):

The wives of men with middle-class incomes imitate the luxury of the millionaire’s wife. I expected to find it so: in a Democratic country the frogs all try to swell into oxen. They puff themselves out until they burst; or, rather, until their husbands burst.

In France always, and in England when he will let her, a wife keeps an eye on her husband’s interests. In America, she often lays hands on his capital.


“Quick Quotes” are some bonus content for the blog. Each time I find an interesting or amusing little quote from and old (verging on forgotten) book, that does not really need any further explanation or background information, it will appear on Windows into History under this heading. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.

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Too Much Rum

Quick Quotes 3. The following is taken from George Head’s Forest Scenes and Incidents in the Wilds of North America (1829):

Two country fellows came into the inn while I was eating, and placed themselves at a small table in a corner of the same room. They called for rum, which was given them in a vinegar cruet. Glasses were brought, and then, each passing the back of his hand across a mighty useful set of teeth, hobbed and nobbed the other; and, repeating the ceremony, their little bottle was empty. Cramming their large paws into their breeches’ pockets, the girl of the house was called to a committee of finance, and, at their request, replenished the cruet. This second dose made them sneeze a little, but it was despatched in as short a time as the first. The water now stood in both their eyes. They paid for the rum; hardly a word was expended in conversation, and about five minutes of time had elapsed, when they were out of the house, and again on their way.


“Quick Quotes” are some bonus content for the blog. Each time I find an interesting or amusing little quote from and old (verging on forgotten) book, that does not really need any further explanation or background information, it will appear on Windows into History under this heading. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.

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Mob Justice

Max O'Rell

Max O’Rell

Snippets 121. Attitudes towards women, and their treatment by men, has been the source of concern and debate throughout history. The quote below illustrates how travel writer Max O’Rell felt that America was quite progressive in this respect at the latter part of the 19th Century. Regular readers will know that I often quote from Max O’Rell, one of my favourite authors who deserved to be celebrated and remembered far more than he is. The following is from Jonathan and His Continent (1889), a book about American life and customs from his own experiences touring there.

Whilst English justice gives merely one or two months’ imprisonment to the man who is found guilty of having almost kicked his wife to death, an American town is in arms at the mere rumour of a man having maltreated a woman.

Here are a few scenes which I have come across in America:

Elmore Creel, an inhabitant of Greeve’s Run, Wirt County, Virginia, had been known for some time to have subjected his wife and children to harsh treatment. The complaint became, at last, so general that an avenging mob took upon itself to chastise him. At midnight, Creel’s house was surrounded. Creel was in bed. A squad of masked men broke into the house, and, overcoming his struggles, tied his hands, took him to tlie yard, and gave him a fearful thrashing with cowhides and hickory withes. After whipping him, they untied him and let him go, with the warning that another visit from them might be looked for if he was not kinder to his wife.

The following I extract from a Pittsburg paper:

George Burton, a well-to-do man of Ohio, one day turned his wife out of the house and left for Pittsburg. Next day he returned, bringing with Iiirn a dashing widow, named Penton, whom he installed in his wife’s place. When Mrs. Burton applied for admittance, she was sent away, her husband saying that he had someone else to care for him now. The news spread, and the female neighbours decided to avenge the wife’s wrongs. After ten o’clock at night, three hundred women went to the house and beat the doors open. Burton and the dashing widow were dragged out, the man being chased several blocks, and pelted the while with rotten eggs. The widow was pounded and pummelled until the police rescued her. She and the man were locked up in safe keeping. The neighbours then ransacked the house, and when they left it the place looked as if a cyclone had struck it. It was with great difficulty that the objectionable widow was conveyed to the train in safety by the police next day, and despatched to Trenton, New Jersey, where she came from.


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A Bad View

Quick Quotes 2.  The following is taken from Max O’Rell’s Jonathan and his Continent (1889):

At the theatre, women wear silk, which prevents one from hearing, and hats a foot high, which prevent one from seeing.

An American was once asked what a play — which he might have seen — was like. Very much like the back of ladies’ bonnets,” he answered.


“Quick Quotes” are some bonus content for the blog. Each time I find an interesting or amusing little quote from and old (verging on forgotten) book, that does not really need any further explanation or background information, it will appear on Windows into History under this heading. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.

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