Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Vintage Ski Attire- 1960, Constanze Mode

I picked up a fabulous German fashion magazine at an antique store a few months back, "Constanze Mode", 1959-1960. The text is in German, I cannot translate, but I can share some images of vintage ski wear. Enjoy!

start naked? Constanze Mode
FREI: au naturel, bare, complimentarily, for free  (colloquial), for nothing, freelance, free-lance, freelancer, freely, free of charge, gratuitously  (scarce), in the nude, naked, nude, self-employed, unrestricted

make sure your lipstick matches! 

rough translation: we are, will be, or want to be, or look, sporty. ?

Cute dots~ The chick on the right is jealous~

Does my outfit go better with the skis on the left? Does my lipstick match everything?

I lost my other ski. I'll just use this one. Weeeee!

apres-ski, I presume. LOVE.

amazing. Cool shades.


GREAT colors

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Devil's Mark

A fine Victorian tale of  witchcraft, the desire for beauty, eternal youth, poisoning and jealousy...

Happy Halloween!

Wencelas Hollar,  Metropolitan Museum of Art

On the morning of August the first, sixteen hundred and fourteen, the village of Hambledon was the scene of much lively bustle, which rallied chiefly round the dwelling of Master Simon, farrier, blacksmith, and wheelwright for the township. Master Simon's only daughter Rose —the White Rose of Hambledon, the folks called her—was going to be married that day to her cousin, Richard Nicholl, who had come to Hambledon about a year before to work at the forge for his kinsman, whoso strength was declining, and had fallen in love at once with the pretty and warm-hearted Rose. They were a very well-matched couple of young people, for if she was as blooming and sweet as her name, Richard was the goodliest man in that parish, and many another. She was nineteen, and he was twenty-six—both of them in the full glow and excellence of youth.

The forge fire was out that morning, and if any traveller's horse had chosen to cast a shoe near the village, he must have gone a couple of miles farther, to Wistlebank, before the damage could have been repaired. In Master Simon's cottage were collected half the women of the place, but Rose's chamber was the favourite point, for there the young maiden's toilet was being accomplished by half a dozen of her particular friends. We ought not to go into that mysterious sanctum, I know; but for the telling of our story it is necessary that we should look through the doorway and over the heads of the crowding gossips, and listen also to the remarks of the handmaidens engaged in their agreeable task. The costume of those days was not remarkable either for its picturesqueness or its grace; but Rose's pretty shape and sweet face were proof against its disfigurements. She stood in the centre of the room, fair and blushing, in a petticoat of remarkable stiifness and a bodice of preternatural length, her gold-coloured hair rolled up elaborately, and a highly-starched ruff lying close at hand to imprison her round white throat.

Wencelas Hollar,  Metropolitan Museum of Art
There was not one of the half-dozen friends so beautiful as Rose; but one of them—the chief it seemed, from her being the putter on of the bows and decorative paraphernalia of the dress— had a singular countenance, cold, repellent, and stone-grey. The blackness of her eyebrows, which met and were depressed over her eyes, gave her a furtive, stealthy expression, and her narrow scarlet lips, while they indicated a sensual disposition, showed also one of cruelty and vindictiveness. She was older than most of the girls, but still quite young, and had pretensions to beauty which she was more ready to assert than others were to allow. Everybody, however, Rose included, treated her with a certain respect, for she was waiting-woman to my lady the wife of Sir Roger Bedinfield, at Hambledon Hall. Her name was Mistress Gilbert, and she was reputed to possess philters and love-charms, which in those good old times were held in high repute, not only amongst silly maidens, but even amongst wise and discreet matrons. One charm, however, Mistress Gilbert did not possess—that charm which would have charmed Richard Nicholl's heart out of his bosom. Her disappointed hopes had been a sly theme of talk many a time in the village, and even Rose herself had shared in it . Possibly that was the reason why, when Mistress Gilbert's chilly hands glided so stealthily about her person, a slight shiver kept running over her flesh.

"You are cold, Rose," said the waiting-woman; "shut the window, some of you. You shudder all over when you are touched."

"It can't be that her enemy is walking over the place where her grave is to be," remarked a careless young body who looked straight at Mistress Gilbert, and then turned red under the cold scrutiny that she received from her cruel eyes.

"Rose is too good to have an enemy. Every one loves her," said the waiting-woman, slowly: directly she had spoken she approached her lips to the white polished shoulder, and blew softly at a tiny brown mark, and then brushed it with her hand carelessly.

"You will have to blow a long time before you blow away that little mole, Mistress Gilbert," laughed Rose: "I was born with it."

"I am short-sighted this morning—I mistook it for a fly:" and the waiting-woman began to arrange the starched ruff.

Rose would have been glad to dispense with the honour of Mistress Gilbert's company at her marriage, because Richard Nicholl did not like her, and also because the waiting-woman's aspirations after the handsome young smith offended her feminine prejudices; but Mistress Gilbert invited herself for the purpose of dressing the bride, and even lent her taste and skill in composing the attire to be worn on the occasion, so there was no evading her cold, uncomfortable presence. When the ceremony was over in the chamber, and Rose's beauty was eclipsed as far as it could be by her stiff clothing, she was ushered into the living-room, where were her father, Richard as fine as herself, and the male friends of the family.

Wencelas Hollar, Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Richard received her with a fine honest blush, which was more softly reflected on her own face; and, after a short interval, the whole company fell into order, two and two, to walk across the green to church, where Parson Phillips was waiting to marry the young pair. My Lady Bedinfield and two of her daughters had thought right to honour the ceremony by coming to look on from the elevation of the family pew, and afterwards to praise the rustic grace of the White Rose of Hambledon. Mistress Lucy Bedinfield and her sister Elizabeth would have given half their rich clothing for a tint out of her cheeks: they were but sickly young gentlewomen, on whose complexions Mistress Gilbert's various washes had no effect at all, unless it were to make them deader and duller than even Nature —who coloured them in one of her penurious, pallid moods—had ever intended.

When Rose walked out of church, her pretty blue eyes downcast, and holding Richard's arm, the folks inside blessed her softly as became the place, and those outside gave them a cheer, after which the bells rang out a famous wedding peal. Mistress Gilbert's clayey visage looked colder and more clayey than ever as they disappeared. No body heeded her, and she did not choose to follow the returning party to Master Simon's house; but when my Lady Bedinfield, the rabble being dispersed, issued stately from the family pew with her daughters behind her, she was graciously told that she might walk with them to the Hall. Perhaps my lady loved a little gossip as much as if she were a mere common person; and, if so, her waiting-woman was just the person to gratify her, not being in the least scrupulous that her intelligence should be fact rather than fiction.

"They are a pretty pair of lovers, I'm sure, and Rose's dress was uncommon gay," said Lady Bedinfield, who had a mother's heart.

"Her cheek could not have looked fresher if it had been painted. Gilbert, your new wash for the face is quite useless," querulously observed Mistress Elizabeth: "I am sure it dries the skin."

"Natural roses have the finest bloom," replied Lady Bedinfield, who had been a beauty herself, and was still a handsome woman. She sometimes had a little spite against her daughters for being so unmanageably plain.

"Rose Nicholl's bloom looks natural," said Mistress Gilbert, with an air of sarcastic respect; "it looks even brighter than nature."

"You are jealous, Gilbert; we know all about the young suitor's indifference to black eyes when blue ones are willing to shine on him," returned Lady Bedinfield, with a jolly laugh—she was above caring for her waiting-woman's feelings, and, besides, she had just been touched and pleased by the pretty scene in the church. A marriage always refreshed her, and made her think of her own youth.
Mistress Gilbert's face blushed lividly. That taunt was not needed to increase the deadly hatred she had conceived for Richard and his young wife. She dropped behind and would not answer when spoken to. Lady Bedinfield called to her just as they were entering the house, and said, in the same tone of mockery,—

"If Rose's beauty is all paint, why don't you put it on too, Gilbert?"

"I did not say it was all paint, my lady. I wish it were. It would be the less harm," replied the waiting-woman.

"If it is neither nature nor paint, what is it?" asked Lady Bedinfield.

"It is devil's beauty. I saw his mark on her neck to-day," said Mistress Gilbert.

Lady Bedinfield laughed again, but this time in a less loud and assured manner. Scarcely any one in these very good old times was altogether free from the black plague-spot of superstition, and she was neither better nor wiser than her age. She entered her house in silence, and Mistress Gilbert, pacing her room that night vehemently, as a caged wild beast newly caught, rejoiced to think that she had dropped on her rival's fair fame the first deadly drop of that corrosive poison which she hoped ere long to see blacken and blast it utterly.


Wencelas Hollar, Metropolitan Museum of Art
The apartments of the two sisters at Hambledon Hall adjoined, and Mistress Gilbert passed from one to the other attending on the young ladies. There was company that day; especially, there was one young gallant named Sir Henry Cavendish, whom either of the girls would have been proud to captivate; for, not only was he handsome, brave, and accomplished, but he was also wealthy. Mistress Lucy stood before her mirror, fully dressed; but there was dissatisfaction on her countenance,—she had small, delicate features, but her skin was cloudy, her eyes were lacking in brilliance. Mistress Elizabeth was even worse favoured; for her visage was long and lean as well as colourless, and her eyes were not so perfectly set as they might have been. The waiting-woman had suffered something from their tongues that morning, as her chafed and hurried manner betrayed.

"You will soon be of no more use to us than a mole, Gilbert. Can you not see how thick my complexion is to-day?" said Mistress Lucy, pointing at her own reflection in the glass; she always laid the blame of Nature's defects on her abigail.

"Yes, Mistress Lucy, I see—" she hesitated a minute, opened the door to look into the passage, and then whispered, hurriedly, "I have a powder that I got from Mistress Turner in London; but if I let you have some, my lady must never know."

"Ah, good Gilbert, I will not tell her;—speak low that Elizabeth may not hear. How does this powder affect one?"

"It preserves youth, makes the skin smooth, and gives it a bloom like a little child's; but it is highly dangerous."

"How dangerous? Is it a poison?"

Mistress Elizabeth, overhearing the mysterious whispering, crept stealthily behind her door, watched through a chink, and listened. The arrival of Sir Henry Cavendish had sown jealousy between the two sisters.

"It is a mineral poison; but with care and in very small quantities, it is safe. In a week you would be as fair as Rose Nicholl. Will you try it? or do you fear the risk?"

"Oh! I will try it. I would try anything to have a face like the young smith's wife; but promise me not to let Elizabeth have any."

Mistress Gilbert gave the required pledge, and then stole away to her own chamber to fetch the powder. The watcher waited for her return impatiently. When Gilbert re-entered the room, she brought in her hand a small box of ebony, which she opened with a key attached to a chain hidden under her ruff. Elizabeth listened breathlessly; but she could not quite catch all that was said. But she saw a small packet given to her sister, and by her, after a portion of its contents had been extracted for immediate use, deposited in her jewel-box. How that taken out was used, she could not see; for Mistress Gilbert carried it to where stood the ewer and basin, and thither Mistress Lucy went to apply it; but she heard the waiting-woman say, "It will sink— mingle it well with water;" so she conjectured that it was something to be swallowed, and determined that she herself would soon have a face as fair as Rose, the smith's wife, if it only depended on taking the powder hidden in the jewel-box.

The application of the powder made no perceptible improvement in Mistress Lucy's face that day, and Sir Henry Cavendish was by no means charmed out of his senses; but, in the course of the week, there was certainly a change for the better, and Mistress Elizabeth—who had not yet found an opportunity to lay her hands upon any of the powder—became more and more eager to profit by its beautifying effects. One evening Mistress Lucy left her chain with the jewel-box key fastened to it on her table, and her sister, who had never ceased to watch, availed herself of this chance to possess herself of a good portion of what remained of the powder. She immediately mixed a little of it with water, and drank it.

Very soon she was seized with pain, nausea, and sickness; but not so severely as to enforce greater caution in using the powder, for she repeated the dose daily. She suffered, but her skin acquired a clearness which it had never worn before, and this would have reconciled her to anything short of martyrdom. Her store being exhausted, and the key falling no more into her possession, she was obliged for a time to desist from her beguiling experiments. Mistress Lucy, however, still steadily continued her applications, —she used the water in which the powder was dissolved as a cosmetic,—but, though her complexion became clear, it did not gain the much-coveted bloom of the village smith's wife. Both the sisters would occasionally visit her in her cottage, and as Rose's beauty was on the blush always when they so honoured her, they went away each time more emulous and more envious than before. At last Mistress Gilbert's ebony box was empty, and no more of the powder could be obtained, until Sir Roger Bedinfield went up to London with his family, when the celebrated Mistress Turner might be induced to part with more at a price something like twice its weight in gold. Mistress Lucy was very impatient of this delay, but at length, though Mistress Turner was then in trouble, for the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury in the Tower, a supply was obtained from another person, and the beautifying discipline was recommenced by the elder sister at once. 

Whether some more deadly ingredient was now mingled with it, or it was unskilfully prepared, or, what is still more probable, Mistress Lucy used it incautiously, and too often, it now began to work on the muscles of the face, and the miserable girl awoke one  morning with her mouth drawn on one side, and frightfully disfigured. Mistress Gilbert, terrified at her appearance, and rightly attributing it to the cosmetic, to shield herself from all suspicion, immediately exclaimed that her young lady was bewitched; and, as all new or ill-understood diseases were, in these good old times, laid to supernatural influences, this was readily believed. But, bewitched or poisoned, poor young Mistress Lucy's days of vanity were past, and she would never charm Sir Henry Cavendish, or any gay gallant, with her face again. Mistress Elizabeth was so much shocked and grieved for some days, that she forgot to profit by all the opportunities that, at this crisis, fell in her way for appropriating the powder; and, when she recovered her spirits and looked for it in the jewel-box, she found that it had been removed. At first she thought of frightening Mistress Gilbert into giving her some by threatening to tell Lady Bedinfield; but caution interposed to remind her how many petty secrets of hers the waiting-woman could employ against her if so disposed. Therefore, she determined to wait until they returned in spring to
Hambledon, when she would endeavour to get at the precious store kept in the ebony box itself.


Lady Bedinfield devoted herself like a good mother to her afflicted daughter; and, when they retired to their country-house—where the only amusements were such as her health and spirits' were far too broken to enjoy—they might be seen almost daily wandering through the shrubberies together, or sitting under the trees. Poor Mistress Lucy could not bear to be seen by the most intimate friends, or even by the villagers; and the idea that she had been bewitched, gained ground fast.

Mistress Gilbert was one of those patient haters, who never balk themselves of their revenge by rushing upon it prematurely. To screen her own malpractices, she had said at first, that Mistress Lucy was bewitched; but it did not occur to her then to turn this to the furtherance of her schemes against Rose Nicholl. One lovely June evening, however, in passing by the smith's cottage, she saw a gathering of the village goodies, who told her that the White Rose, her detested rival, had just got a little son; and, a week or two later, she saw the young mother herself standing at her open window with the child in her arms, and the stalwart smith leaning in, making gentle paternal advances, to her great and laughing delight. Mistress Gilbert's heart felt like a lump of molten lead in her bosom at this picture. She stopped and looked at it wickedly over the hedge for several minutes, and then rushed rapidly homewards. Her plan was maturing.

A dreadful scene greeted her when she arrived: the house was in an uproar. Everybody running hither and thither, calling for this thing and that, in frantic haste. Mistress Elizabeth was ill; she was dying—dying in agonies; her shrieks coold be heard half over the house.

"She is poisoned," said Lady Bedinfield, who was shuddering and weeping by her daughter's writhing form; but Mistress Gilbert, bending over the bed her ash-grey face, said,—

"No, I have seen these convulsions before; she is bewitched, like Mistress Lucy."

Every one in the room paused aghast with their remedies,  Lady Bedinfield said,—

"Who can pursue our family with such a relentless hatred? Whom have we any of us injured? There is worthy Parson Phillips coming to our aid; let him be admitted."

While the minister recited his prayers, Mistress Elizabeth died.

"She has been poisoned," he also observed; but the doctor, not being able to name the drug that had killed her, solemnly countenanced Mistress Gilbert's idea, that she had been bewitched. The waiting-woman was not long in discovering where Mistress Elizabeth had found her fatal draught. Advantage had been taken of her absence to break open the ebony box and abstract the cosmetic powder. Too large an internal dose had done its work for ever.

From the time of her sister's death, poor Mistress Lucy's health also began fast to decline. She became subject to long fits of melancholy depression, and more than ever evaded seeing strangers. Still she would go out of doors, and her favourite haunt was a sunny knoll in the plantations, where she would sit for hours with either her mother or Mistress Gilbert. Any sudden noise, even the flight of a bird from one branch to another, would cause her to tremble convulsively, as if with overwhelming dread; for the poor girl had heard it said that she was bewitched, and the idea worked in her imagination until she believed it. It happened one morning while in the wood, as usual, that Rose Nicholl—with her baby in her arms on her way to the Hall, to show him to Lady Bedinfield, as she had received commands to do—passed within sight of Mistress Lucy and the waiting-woman. Rose was singing as blithely as any bird, and never noticed the two under the trees; but Mistress Lucy began to shudder and cry out.

"Is it Rose Nicholl that has bewitched you, Mistress Lucy?" asked Mistress Gilbert, earnestly.

"Yes, yes," replied the nervous creature, following the retreating figure with wild eyes.

"I always thought so! I saw the devil's mark upon her neck the day she was married," cried the waiting-woman, triumphantly.

When they returned home, Mistress Lucy told her mother that all her deformity and all her present illness had been inflicted upon her by the malice of Rose Nicholl, the smith's wife, and that the sight of her threw her into convulsions such as those in which her sister died. Lady Bedinfield was troubled, but suspicious. She consulted her husband, who was remarkable for anything rather than sagacity, and proposed to have Rose tried by one of the common prickers who made it their business to go from place to place discovering witches and bringing them to punishment.

Sir Roger consented, and Mistress Gilbert having undertaken to produce a witch-finder, innocent, unconscious Rose was indicated to him as a suspected person; and, full of the importance of his terrible office, the pricker went to the smith's house, when he was at his forge. Master Simon also was away from home, and Rose, with her baby asleep in her lap, sat sewing diligently, like the good housewife and housemother that she was. The pricker obtained an entrance into the cottage by pleading that he had walked far, and was tired; so the unsuspicious Rose bade him rest himself, and gave him some refreshment. Presently two of the village women sauntered in, ostensibly to see the baby, but in reality, by preconcert with the pricker, to help in the examination.

They all began to talk, and presently led the conversation round to the subject of witches and warlocks.

Martthew Hopkins, Witch Finder
NYPL Digital Library
 There had been many hundreds of wicked and cruel executions in England during recent years for the crime of witchcraft, and Rose had heard of them like others: indeed, a witch had been swum and drowned in Hambledon millpond within her own memory. She expressed great commiseration for this old woman, and said that she believed many unfortunates were the victims of the malice of their enemies, rather than real criminals, as was pretended. The pricker took umbrage at this remark, perhaps because Mistress Gilbert's bribe lay heavy on his conscience at the moment; and, thinking to daunt Rose, he exclaimed that she herself was a notorious witch and evil-liver, and he was there to prove it.

 Rose started up; and when the two women approached to lay hold on her, she broke from them, and rushed out of the door shrieking,— "Richard, Richard, help me!"

The hammer was not going in the forge just then, and the smith heard her. Clutching a stout cudgel, he ran to the spot; and, while the two assistants decamped, he seized the pricker in a grasp like a vice, and, without waiting for explanation, proceeded to belabour him so soundly that the miserable official was likely to have a skin full of sorely-aching bones for a month to come.

When her husband paused, Rose said, bitterly weeping,—

"He is a witch-finder, Richard, and declares that I am a witch. He came here to prove it . Oh, where, where shall we fly? You know, dear husband, that I am your own true wife, and no wicked witch. Don't you, love?"

She clung to him beseechingly.

In those good old times there were few ties of blood or of affection that did not break under this terrible accusation; but the smith loved his Rose dearly; and having an intense antipathy to the manipulations of such odious gentry as the pricker, his wrath was so far increased by the idea that they might have been exercised on his young wife, as to find it indispensable to beat him again, and then to throttle him until he confessed that he had received a bribe from Mistress Gilbert to accuse Rose.

needles used to test for the devil's mark,
 image source unknown
A second shaking made him give up the instrument with which he proposed to prick for the devil's mark, which all witches bore on their persons. This instrument was a steel needle with a hollow handle, into which it retired under very slight pressure, coming out again when that pressure was withdrawn, so that though it appeared to run into, the flesh, it in reality did not even break the skin; as the devil's mark could be pricked, as was asserted, without the witch feeling any pain, and without blood following the withdrawal of the needle. This ingenious piece of mechanism answered every malicious purpose, and, with its lying witness, did to death many a poor innocent wretch, who, after conviction, was tortured into confessing every enormity that the diseased imaginations of wicked or superstitious examiners could devise. The smith was something of a mechanician himself, and immediately discovered the secret of the instrument, which he determined to carry to Parson Phillips.

As luck would have it, the minister coming across the green at the moment, he hailed him to come in, and related what had been threatened against Rose.

"These common prickers are common knaves; I hope you have ." the parson glanced significantly at the cudgel, as much as to add, " used it well!"

The smith nodded affirmatively.

The pricker was trying to sneak off, but Richard stopped him, and said, No, not until he had been before Sir Richard Bedinfield and had a judicial whipping as a cheat, and then a ducking by the village folk, who would be glad to give him one when they saw how very readily they might, any, or all of them, be proved witches or wizards by the painless trial of the pricking instrument.

A good number of the rustics had gathered at a respectful distance from the cottage, waiting for the issue of what was going on there, the news of which the two women had taken pains to spread; and when they saw the official dragged out by the smith, Parson Phillips following, and Rose looking out from the doorway, a few of them felt glad that the pretty white Rose of their village had escaped the dangerous trial; but when the smith came among them, and exhibited the trick of the witchfinder's needle, nothing would satisfy them except the summary administration of justice there and then; so the bruised wretch was hauled off to the mill-pond, ducked until he was half dead, and then driven out of the village with hoots and execrations.

Mistress Gilbert was foiled of her revenge for the present; but she said, with a deadly tenacity,—

"Though he was not a true witchfinder, that does not make Rose Nicholl less a witch."

And the village began to look coldly on the smith's wife, and to avoid passing near her door, lest she should blight them and theirs with her evil eye.


"Sorceries" NYPL Digital Library
The very name of witch was fatal in those good old times. No one could long bear it with impunity; and this poor Rose well knew. To see herself hated and feared poisoned her life with a dread that the general feeling might extend itself to her husband, her father, and her child. Sometimes she wished she were dead, as the only way of escape from the indignities and cruelties which she had heard of as inflicted upon other women, probably as innocent of witchcraft as herself.

Six months after the visit of the pricker, Mistress Lucy Bedinfield died; and the old report that she had been bewitched was revived, with the addition that it was Rose Nicholl, and Rose Nicholl only, who had laid upon her the spells that had destroyed her.

Every calamity that happened in the village was now laid to the charge of the smith's wife. If an old person died from age, Rose had bewitched him or her; if a baby perished from weakness, Rose had bewitched it; if a crop failed, Rose had bewitched the seed; if the corn, when heavy in the ear, was laid by violent rain, Rose had raised the storm; if a horse cast a shoe, Rose had bewitched the nails, or the hammer, or the anvil. Rose might look as innocent and pretty. as she would, but popular superstition declared her to be a witch, and popular persecution used her as one.

Mistress Gilbert scarcely found her schemes march so quickly as she desired; but an unexpected aid came to her from another quarter. A poor old woman at Wistlebank was tried for witchcraft, and, under her tortures, she gave a list of names of persons whom she said she had herself seen at the Sabbath, or general meeting of witches and warlocks. She did not at first mention Rose Nicholl; but the name being suggested to her, she also avowed that she had seen her, and no later ago than the previous Friday night 

witch, NYPL Digital Library
All the accused were immediately arrested, and carried before Sir Roger Bedinfield, and two other magistrates as sapient as himself. In vain did Richard Nicholl swear that at the time his wife was stated to be present at the horrible mysteries of the witches' Sabbath, she was sleeping comfortably at his side; he was told that the devil deluded him by putting a semblance of her in her place, that he might not discover her nocturnal absences. The poor smith was nearly maddened; but what answer could a man make to magistrates, who were so deeply in the fiend's confidence as to know every stratagem he employed; Richard was persuaded of his wife's innocence, but he could not prevail on others to believe in it; and though Parson Phillips protested against the confessions of an old woman crazed by pain being received as evidence against Rose and her so-called accomplices, no attention was paid to his remonstrance, and they were all confined until the day when they were to be tried.

These must have been strange times that folks now call "good old times;" when a man who loved his wife more fondly than anything else in the world, could ejaculate fervently, "Thank God!" when he was told that she was dead. Two days after poor Rose was thrown into prison, Parson Phillips brought these tidings to the smith, and said that he had leave to bring her body home and give her Christian burial. Terrified at the accusation brought against her, deprived of her child and her husband, the young creature was seized with fever, and died in her prison—by God's mercy both the parson and Richard thought, for she thereby escaped the doom of her companions in misfortune, against whose names stands in the criminal records of the time, the fatal words,—" convict and brynt."

The smith brought his poor white Rose home on the third anniversary of their marriage; and the next day she was interred, with all the rites of the church, amidst the too late repentance of her persecutors. Master Simon and Richard stood by the grave in angry sorrow, and directly opposite them, with her wicked eyes fixed on the smith's face, was Mistress Gilbert. As he was moving away, at last their glances met; the waiting-woman laughed triumphantly, and pointed downwards at the coffin with a significant air. Richard looked at her steadily for a moment, and then said, in a deep, concentrated tone, which the hearers recalled afterwards as a tone of prophecy,—

"Ay, Mistress Gilbert, there lies the body of my poor Rose that you hated, and her spirit is safe in heaven. You may laugh now, but you shall not laugh long. The day is near when your body shall raise a lowe that shall be seen from Wistlebank to Carnridge, and your spirit shall skirl to be heard from Hecklestone for three miles round."

Mistress Gilbert only laughed the louder as she marched away.

But Richard Nicholl's words came true.

The Hecklestone was a tall block of granite, set up in Hambledon park, on an elevation about a hundred yards from the house. So long as it remained, there were two marks upon the top, which tradition said were made by the burning hands of Mistress Gilbert; she was set on fire accidentally, and, flying from the house, in her agony she ran up to Hocklestone, screaming, and clung to it, blazing all over, until the light was seen "from Wistlebank to Carnridge, and her cries were heard for three miles round." People ran to her help, but the story goes that the fire resisted every effort to put it out. 'Mistress Gilbert was burnt to ashes; and wherever the wind scattered them, says tradition, the ground was for ever after barren.
Witch Burning, NYPL Digital Library

Story: "The Devil's Mark", by Harriet Parr, 1860


Sunday, October 14, 2012

LADY ARCHER~ a life in caricature


"The Finishing Touch"', James Gillray
Portraits are always painted of nobility, yes? It would certainly seem so. I have tried and tried to find an actual portrait of Lady Archer(Sara West), 1741-1801, but it seems that visual imagery of this lady only exists in caricature form. She was a great subject of caricaturists, both visual and literal. I'm clipping from two articles below, the first an "intro" of sorts, the second a scathing commentary compliments of "The Female Jockey Club", 1794. It seems that she actually cut quite a dashing figure in her youth. I suppose that her great crime was an attempt to extend the physical beauty of  youth via enameling and the excitement of youth via gaming. explanation of enameling. This article fails to mention lead, which was a common ingredient of the time...:

"...a process highly mysterious and jealously secreted by its practisers: that of enamelling. It substitutes for the outfit of paints a small solid envelope, transparent and coloured, which covers the face with a coat of enamel. While the most successful make-up of paint cannot long resist exposure to heat, and must be renewed at least once a day, enamel lends the face a brightness that may endure for several weeks. Its inconvenience is the ceramic stiffness, the immobility in which it holds all the features while giving them a brilliant appearance. Its application, moreover, is a long and painful operation. To fix, cold, upon the skin the colouring powers, recourse must be had to acids of a dangerous character. Part of the enamelling must be done in darkness, and two or three days of interrupted treatment are indispensable for rendering the application definitive.
Grave accidents, chronic affections of the skin, often result from enamelling that has been too energetically performed. But the very risk seems to add temptation to this mysterious operation; and who would not brave it to obtain the pearly splendour which turns the visage into a piece of art pottery? Scraped, massaged, polished, electrified, a halo of blue about the large and flashing eyes, the whole face brilliant.."


"La Belle Assemblee", James Gillray

This lady, formerly Miss West, lived to a good age—a proof that cosmetics are not so fatal as some would have us suppose. Nature had given her a fine aquiline nose, like the princesses of the House of Austria(such as Marie Antoinette), and she did not fail to give herself a complexion. She resembled a fine old wainscoted painting, with the face and features shining through a thick incrustation of copal varnish.

Her ladyship was for many years the wonder of the fashionable world, envied by all the ladies of the Court of George the Third. She had a well-appointed house in Portland Place. Her equipage was, with her, a sort of scenery. She gloried in milk-white horses to her carriage, the coachmen and footmen wore very showy liveries, and the carriage was lined with silk of a tint to exhibit the complexion to advantage...

 ...Lady Archer lived at Barn Elms Terrace, and her house had the most elegant ornaments and draperies to strike the senses, and yet powerfully address the imagination. Her kitchengarden and pleasure-ground, of five acres—the Thames flowing in front, as if a portion of the estate—the apartments decorated in the Chinese style, and opening into hothouses stored with fruits of the richest growth, and greenhouses with plants of great rarity and beauty, and superb couches and draperies, effectively placed, rendered her home a sort of elysium of luxury.

English Eccentrics and Eccentricities, by John Timbs


HER Ladyship's figure has been for many years common to this metropolis, but the natural complexion of her face, is no more remembered, it having been so long disguised by cosmetic art, that flesh and blood seem not to form the least part of its composition. The art of painting, however, of brushing up an old decayed picture, is not the only art in which she excels. The noble dame is a perfect mistress of all our polite, fashionable arts. In the art of driving a phaeton with superior grace and dexterity ;—of shuffling the cards, and raising a cock* at Faro. (1)

"Exaltation of Faro's Daughters"', James Gillray

In the secret art of 
prudent, frugal hospitality(2), as an adept in certain manual exercises, although now bending under the weight of years, she has still the PALM(3), and in all the mysteries and arts of of love, she is acknowledged to have been the paragon of her day. His late R-yal H-n-ss the D-ke of Y—k, brother to our gracious Sovereign, the most wife and most merciful prince that ever swayed a r-y-l sceptre, and uncle to our renowned Dunkirk hero, who, we are assured, is the greatest and most successful general, the world ever saw, some thirty years years ago, submitted to her chains, a voluntary captive. The E-r-ngt-ns, the St-r-rs, who have passed away, and now only present the miserable relics of worldly vanity and folly.—Those philanders of former times once led captivity captive, too happy to be bound in her fetters. Rather more advanced in age than they, she trained up those veterans in the way they should go, and they never strayed from the right path, till forced, agreeably with the order of things, to submit to fate, and yield up their places to the superior vigour and attractions of more juvenile successors.

Her Friendship with Mr H-y E-r-ngt-n, (who can boast alliance with R-y-l blood, should not the Ecclesiastical court judge proper to interfere,) is of very ancient date, and amidst the vast variety of lovers who have succeeded one after another, that gentleman has still maintained his post, and to this very hour, mighty even in his ruins, enjoys his virtuous triumph, without exciting  envy in his contemporaries, and on his last stage, displays a singular example of the most meritorious constancy and love.

"Modern Hospitality, or, a Friendly Party in High Life"' by James Gillray

When there is a falling off of lovers; when a conscious decay of nature promises no return of those courtships and flatteries so lavishly offered to youth and beauty, other substitutes are explored. The mind must be occupied, and gaming is a noble field for avarice (which is the vice of age) to work in. Female vanity never dies, and when personal charms are faded, nor adorers to be met, still it delights in dissipated scenes, and finds a resource in the spectacles of a theatre, or in the tumultuous croud and distractions of a gaming house. Never was there a more fervent devotee, than this noble lady has uniformly been through life, to pleasure ; never, did any person labour more indefatigably to fill up the wrinkled deformities of nature, with the impotent remedies of art; but all is labour in vain the remedy worse than the disease, it chiefly consisting of mercurial and a variety of pernicious ingredients, often inflicting palsies and other most fatal maladies: nor in another sense, does it ever answer the purpose intended, exciting disgust, instead of stimulating desire: a revolting melancholy instance of which, we have now before us—a PAINTED SEPULCHRE. If the sex were only anxious to appear beautiful in their own eyes, to please themselves, doubtless, they would be free to choose their own ornaments, and to dress themselves out after their own fashion and caprice; but if it be men whom they aspire to please, if it be for them that they daub and varnish their complexions, I have collected the opinions of mankind, and I promise on the part of the great majority, if not of all, that the use of paint renders women hideous and disgusting, that it withers and disguises them, that men hate as much to behold the female countenance thus plaistered, as to see false teeth in the mouth, or balls of wax in the jaw; that they decidedly protest against every artifice employed to disfigure the sex.

"Six Stages of Mending a Face"' Thomas Rowlandson

If women were by nature, what they make themselves appear by art; were they to lose in an instant the bloom of youth; should their complexions become naturally and suddenly as leaden and wan, as they are rendered by the destructive minerals they employ, they would be inconsolable. Nevertheless, such continues the stupid, pernicious practice, in all the higher circles of polished society.

It is a glorious custom in Britain, amongst the great, for the daughters of nobility, to be presented at court, and initiated into all the virtuous enjoyment of the beau monde, as soon as they have attained a certain number of years; but our antique dame kept back her lovely daughters, nor ushered them into society, till compelled to do so, till the young ladies had bidden adieu to their mama's house, without notice, and committed themselves to other protection.

This reluctance on her part to make known her OFFSPRING, the fruits of honest and lawful love, has also been assigned to a different cause.—Her ladyship being to enjoy the interest of their fortunes while they remained unmarried, it has been wickedly reported, that her conduct was influenced in this business, by the above sordid ungenerous motive.

"Discipline a la Kenyon"' James Gillray
The motive however, is immaterial. The widow's income was certainly very much reduced by her daughters' marriages, and as it is rather a painful talk to curtail those luxuries, which custom has rendered essential to existence, it became necessary to strike out some plan of reparation, for this decrease of property, whereby me might be able still to keep up her former splendid appearance, and set the envy of gossip malignity at defiance. The fecundity of her brain supplied an adequate remedy. A  faro bank was to be the happy instrument of renovation, and Plutus has crowned her most sanguine hopes.

"The Loss of the Faro Bank", James Gillray
In the temple of virtue, which she inhabits, a happy freedom reigns, and it is only to be lamented, as a partial drawback on the pleasure derived from the profits of her bank, that so perfect is the liberty which there exists that she is treated with as little respect, and with as sovereign contempt by her honourable and  noble noble guests, as if she were, what most assuredly she is not—a prostituted mistress of the vilest gaming brothel. So true it is, that there scarcely exist any uses, without their abuses. But when great benefits flow from any system, little petty evils that may attend it, are scarcely felt, and if the grand object be fulfilled, a few trifling rebuffs and hard words are not deserving of notice. Besides, sensibility is not very quick or irritable at a gaming table, except on that point, wherein the mind is immediately engaged, and provided money replenishes the bank, my Lord's abuse makes very little impression on my lady's sentiment.

Characters of this description are not unfrequently devout. Her Ladyship, in the year 1793, was seized with an alarming paralytic complaint, since which time, her piety shines conspicuous, and religion is blended with her other devotions; yet it is to be sincerely regretted, that her religion consists more in outward visible show than in inward spiritual grace and that if her theory be just, her practice is miserably imperfect, so that all her piety and faith neither procure her friendship, love, or respect.

We now bid adieu to this hackneyed female veteran, whose whole life, it must seriously be admitted, has been consumed in one unvaried round of vapid or c-m-n-l pursuits; who threatened as she now is by approaching infirmities, cannot command one endearing reflection to cheer and console her, and who is about to quit this mortal stage, without being able morally to say, "I have performed one good or generous action."

(1) * An expression much used at the intricate and pleasant game of Faro, and a practice never omitted, when an opportunity offers.

(2) * It is a general complaint amongst our elegant muscadins and muscadines who frequent her Ladyship's assemblies and punt at her bank, that when lemons are dear, she makes her lemonade of cream of tartar, which is apt very much to agitate their noble intestines, and to produce a most unpleasant effect in the company.

(3) It must here be observed that her Ladyship's little lovely virgin sister M—fs W-t, long disputed the preeminence with her in this truly ingenious and popular art,and with whom the victory remained, was left fpr arbitration, to that pink of chivalry, that favourite of the fair, that all competent judge, the illustrious and puissant chevalier of the B-ck R—d, who after repeated trials, impartially pronounced their merits to be so equal, that it was impossible for him to decide between them.

 Not A-ch-r's bible can secure her age,
Her threescore years are shuffling with her page,
 While death stands by, but till the game is done,
 To sweep that stake, in justice long his own."

source: "The Female Jockey Club", by Charles Pigott

"The Royal Joke, or Black Jack's Delight", James Gillray