Tuesday 2 December 2008



Pedestrianism - long-distance endurance walking - was a popular entertainment, or perhaps we shuould say a sport, during the Victorian period. See here for an example or two. A reader, however, alerts me to his new book 'King of the Peds' which tackles this very subject - well worth a look?

Thursday 13 November 2008

Prince Albeit

I see that a whole month has passed by, without me adding anything to this blog. Alas!

Here then, for nothing, gratis, is the first chapter of a book that I have considered writing for some time ... humorous steampunk, as it were ... now and then, I have spent ages deciding whether to proceed with it, or abandon it entirely ... your comments, whether adoring or dismissive, appreciated ... as indeed would be suggestions for Chapter 2 ... send me your feedback, send it to your friends ... ah, just read it ...


    Prince Albeit stood upon the pier and looked out to sea, admiring the bleak grandeur of the Channel. The noise and the glittering gas-lights of Brightown lay behind him and the scene seemed to provoke his fancy. How easy it would be, he thought to himself, to remove his medals, the epaulettes, the cherished ceremonial sword! How easy to dive headlong into the churning waves and make a bid for freedom! Why, he might be upon the outskirts of Paris in twenty four hours or so; and then in his favourite whore-house by the Seine within the blink of an eye.
    Or drown ignominiously, somewhere near Hove.
    ‘Oh, cruel fate!’ he ejaculated to himself, startling a nearby sea-gull.
    The channel crossing, Albeit reflected, had been done before; it was not impossible. Captain Thrupp, The Irish Nautilist, had managed it years ago, aided only by a tin of bear’s grease and a prevailing wind. But, then, Captain Thrupp had not been engaged to The Empress. Captain Thrupp, though a remarkable individual in his own way, had not been forced to contemplate a lifetime of conjugal subjection and slavery, to a woman whose very name struck terror into the hearts of all her subjects. If he had – thought Albeit, in gloomy contemplation – he might have simply drowned himself and had done with it.
    Albeit sighed once more. He was no Captain Thrupp, and he knew it. He lacked the famous Captain’s courage, stamina and – so rumour had it – extravagantly webbed toes. He would have to master himself, screw his courage to the sticking point, and marry The Empress – there was nothing else for it. Damnation! Cursing his black thoughts – blacker than the blackest hole in Dunstable –     Albeit sighed yet again and watched the solitary sea-gull, now on the wing, swoop glumly above the briny sea.
    It was, he concluded, no way to begin his stag-night.
    ‘What am I to do, Paratapparam?’ he said at last, turning to his sole companion upon the pier. ‘I won’t last a blasted week.’
    Albeit addressed the question to his valet – a short, swarthy, foreign-looking individual who stood two paces behind him, dressed in a very plain black suit and bowler hat. Albeit knew his polysyllabic manservant well and placed a good deal of trust in him. He was a good man in a tight scrape, a devil with a dagger or pistol, and, for all his tainted foreign blood – half Chinese, half Burmese, half Maltese, half Portuguese – ferociously loyal and worth two of any Englishman. Indeed, the worthy native had sworn a blood oath never to leave his master’s side and – although it had initially created some slight awkwardness in hotels and first class railway carriages – it was an oath which the Prince never had cause to regret. Albeit, therefore, looked at the valet with hope in his eyes.
    Paratapparam frowned. Then his face brightened. He reached inside his coat pocket, pulled out a large hunting knife, and, with a knowing wink, mimed drawing the blade slowly across his own throat.
    ‘Oh, for pity’s sake, man!’ exclaimed Albeit, ‘that’s your answer to everything!’
    Paratapparam shrugged.
    ‘Well,’ said the Prince, with resignation heavy in his voice, ‘then there is nothing else for it. I suppose one had best enjoy one’s last night of freedom.’
    Paratapparam reluctantly sheathed his blade and nodded. Thus, as the solitary sea-gull looked down at them with an expression remarkably like contempt, the two men made their way back down the pier.
    The brightly-lit signs of the hotels along the sea-front were all aglow with gas-jets which fluttered in the breeze. Only a handful of dour couples strolled arm in arm along the windswept promenade, sampling the air with that grim determination peculiar to the English at play. Albeit toyed with the idea of simply returning to his hotel. For he had taken a good suite of rooms in the Royal Grand Imperial – or possibly at its fierce rival, the Imperial Royal Grand – it did not much matter. But, on reflection, he resolved to quit the promenade and walk through the network of narrow old lanes that joined the sea-front and High Street. Known as The Alleys, it was a rough, disreputable district; a place where the men were men and women were, for the most part, women – except, it was said, in a certain low tavern by the railway, where few questions were asked.
    Albeit made his way through the darkened streets, clasping his sword to his side – for it had a awkward tendency to nick the ankles of passing strangers – until he came to a particular frowsy-looking public-house, from which issued sounds of revelry and merriment. He glanced at his valet.
    ‘At least the night is still young, eh, old friend?’
    Paratapparam scowled, his eyes as black as sea-coal, his brow furrowed into dark corrugated trenches, as if the accumulated misery of a life-time was etched upon his face.
    Albeit sighed.
    ‘Frankly, old chap,’ exclaimed the prince, ‘if you won’t enter into the spirit of the thing, I don’t know why you came.’
    ‘Because, Sahib,’ replied the ever-loyal quarter-breed, in guttural tones, ‘I have pledged you my undying allegiance and protection. Surely, you recall the debt of honour incurred by my grandfather, over a drunken game of baccarat in the port of Naples? Surely you recollect that your ancestor won that wager; and now, however repulsive and uncongenial may be the circumstances, whatever mortal agonies I might suffer, my fate – my doom – is tethered to your own.’
    ‘You’re not a the glass is half-full sort of fellow, are you, old man?’ said the Prince, absent-mindedly, as he opened the door.
    The inside of the low tavern stank of liquor; the air was wreathed in tobacco smoke; the floor carpeted in sawdust; the walls papered the sweat. In short, little thought had been given to the décor. For the tavern was the haunt of thieves and whores, magsmen and prigs, rum-bubbers and cloak-twichers, cadgers and badgers. It was a den famed far and wide as the worst cradle of infamy and immorality in all Brightown; a place which even Her Majesty’s Police dared not visit, except in daylight, and, even then, only in the company of a very large dog.
    Prince Albeit walked over to the bar.
    ‘The usual, your lordship?’ said the barman.
    ‘I rather fancy a change,’ mused the Prince. ‘What do you recommend?’
    The barman sighed.
    ‘We’ve got hot gin; cold gin; gin and water; hot gin and water; gin and bitters; jiggered gin; gin jiggers, and gin-punch.’
    ‘You know the landlord don’t hold with it. Confuses the customer. Now what’ll you have, my Lord?’
    ‘My dear fellow,’ said Prince Albeit, gallantly conceding the point, ‘a quart of your finest jiggered gin, and the same for my friend here.’
    ‘You know, my Lord,’ protested loyal Paratapparam, ‘my faith forbids the consumption of intoxicating liquor.’
    ‘Oh dear,’ said Prince Albeit, contemplating the two quarts of gin placed before him. ‘Must have slipped my mind. Well, bottoms up, old man, eh?’
    ‘If you say so, Sahib,’ said Albeit’s trusty henchman, ‘I will take your word for it.’
    ‘Good chap,’ replied Prince Albeit, as he drained the first quart, and began the second. ‘Barman – another!’
    Paratapparam sat down at the bar, besides his master. His infallible native instincts, honed by boyhood years of hunting tigers in the mountainous foothills of Sarkatatan (a district whose tiger population is notoriously disinclined to be hunted) told him it would be a long night.

                * * * * *

    It was four in the morning and the pub had all but emptied. The landlord dismissed the barman, then surveyed the premises and took a tally of the night’s profits and loss. The latter amounted to three commemorative silver tankards; seven bar stools and a signed lithograph of the Lord Chancellor. The landlord sighed. He had often wondered whether he should widen his clientele beyond thieves, prigs and magsmen; but he was obliged to reflect that an earlier trial – an ill-judged attempt to attract beggars and vagrants – had done little to increase his takings; and so – yet again – he checked his restless ambition. It was some consolation, however, that he retained one regular patron of considerable standing and seemingly limitless purse.
    ‘And so I said to him after the damned lecture, “Poppycock!”’ exclaimed the drunken Prince to his loyal heathen companion, for the third time in succession, thumping his fist upon the bar. ‘What did the fellow mean by such arrant nonsense? Never sat through such ridiculous talk! No more of ’em? I’ve got one in every room of my damn house!’
    ‘Sahib,’ said the valet, choosing his words carefully, ‘might I venture that – whilst you are right in saying that a dado is the finishing of wood running along the lower part of the walls of a room, made to represent a continuous pedestal – Mr. Derwin may possibly have been adverting to the infamously extinct bird belonging to the family Columbidæ, formerly inhabiting the tropical island of Mauritius …’
    ‘Spare me your native jibber-jabber, man,’ interrupted the Prince, whose drunken mood now bordered upon the surly. ‘I know a fool when I meet one.’
    Paratapparam, however, had no opportunity to reply. For, at that very moment, if not sooner, the door of the tavern burst open and a young woman dashed into the room. In truth, she was little more than a girl, though her lips pouted deep red; her bosom hefted with a bouncing handsome feminity and her eyes hinted at wild unchecked passions, barely contained by the manifold restrictions of a patriarchal culture and an impossibly tight corset.
    ‘Thank God!’ she exclaimed, breathless, catching sight of the Prince. ‘Sir, I see from your dress that you are a gentleman …’
    ‘Forgive me, I am told that a good tight fit is the fashion,’ said the Prince, coughing, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. Nonetheless, he suddenly felt a lively interest in the distressed young woman.
    ‘You misunderstand me, sir. I mean to say, that you are a man of honour. Please, you must help me!’
    ‘My dear girl,’ said the Prince, courteously, coming unsteadily to his feet and effecting a small bow, which occasioned a distinct sensation of vertigo. ‘Of course, I shall offer whatever assistance I can.’
    ‘Thank the Lord!’ she continued. ‘For I am being pursued by one of the most brutal rogues in the Empire; a man who has not scrupled to use the most desparate measures to remove all obstacles to his depraved and vicious schemes; a man who will not hesitate to have his confederates put an end to my life or yours ...’
    ‘Let me just stop you there. My dear girl, when I said “offer” …’
    ‘Sahib,’ interjected Paratapparam urgently, ‘I fear there is no time for prevarication. I hear footsteps on the cobbles.’
    The Prince turned to face his valet. He knew that the worthy native’s organs of audition had been honed to an acute pitch, during a fortnight spent trapping silver-eared bats in the mountain caves of Guzulstan; he did not doubt him for a moment.
    ‘Are you quite sure?’
    ‘A half dozen men, Sahib,’ – here Paratapparam paused for reflection – ‘unless, of course, they are scions of the notorious Molipolanopoli tribe of the Northern Ganges – a people so confident of victory in war, that they propel themselves into battle solely on their right foot, just to make things interesting.’ Paratapparam shrugged. ‘In any case, it is no more twelve, no fewer than six – unless, of course –.’
    ‘D**n your algebra, man!’ interject the Prince. ‘What shall we do?’
    ‘Do, Sahib?’ said the trusty valet, unsheathing his knife. ‘You need ask? If those feet are the feet of villains – whether singly or in pairs – then let us stand and fight them together, and, if we must die, we shall die like brothers! If this be our fate, then …’
    But the door to the landlord’s parlour, and thence to the back alley, was already open.
    Prince Albeit had vanished.
    Paratapparam sighed, grabbed the young woman’s arm, and hurried after him.


Wednesday 3 September 2008

Munbying About


Useful things come up whilst writing a novel. My current effort (will it be published? I know not) involved re-reading the Diary of Arthur Munby, which I had thought I had digitised extensively for www.victorianlondon.org but, on second inspection, I realise I left loads of fascinating things out. I think the Munby material went online in the early days, when I was fairly clueless about content. In any case, I now feel myself bound to remedy this situation, and I have a little list. Some things will be fairly straight additions to the site, eg. a brief entry on the Cosmpolite Club which had never previously come on the radar.

The first entry, however, was going to be Caldwell's Dancing-Rooms ... I had gathered Munby's two comments, then a couple of pieces from the Times which throw an interesting light on his comments about it being 'respectable' (in comparison with the infamous Holborn Casino or Argyll Rooms, agreed to be haunt of prostitutes and 'fast' young men).* I was about to create an index entry for Caldwell's (convinced I'd never heard of it) when I find I already have one, pointing to J.Ewing Ritchie's Night Side of London. You can read the whole thing on the Caldwell's page.

What does this prove? First, that J.Ewing Ritchie is the pontificating prig I always suspected him of being (I'd trust Arthur Munby over him any day); second, that I have forgotten a good deal of what's actually on www.victorianlondon.org; third, that I do need it as my electronic brain, so the whole mad project was a good idea all along.

More Munby-ing to follow, as and when.

[* If someone hasn't written a thesis on mid-Victorian London dance-halls,
then they should (if they have - send me a copy!). ]

Lights and Shadows of London Life


After much delay (novel-writing), I can devote a smidgen of time to www.victorianlondon.org. The first effort is a digitisation of Lights and Shadows of London Life, a collection of London journalism of the writer James Payn (1830-98) engagingly described by one of his contemporaries as 'tall, thin, and rather angular, he had a sharp high voice, ... a kindly twinkle behind his spectacles ... a brilliant and amusing raconteur'. As with all 'London' writers of the period, he was published by Dickens, befriended by the great man, and the writing reflects a debt to Dickens's non-fiction accounts of the city. The first section of the book, however, is a spoof - a returning Australian is introduced to the entertainments and amusements of 1860s London by dissolute young rakes. But, for all its humour, even this includes fascinating accounts of how people viewed Frith's The Railway Station and a visit to Cremorne Gardens (unnamed, but it can be nowhere else). In fact, Payn's eye for detail is where he triumphs. Even though he tackles some conventional stock subjects (eg. inconveniences of travelling by bus), he includes information, for the modern reader at least, that isn't found elsewhere. The account of an 1860s hanging is notable; and I was fascinated to discover him decrying ostentation in funeral ceremonies - I hadn't realised the Victorians were turning their backs on such things as early as the 1860s ... anyway, enjoy!

Tuesday 1 July 2008

More Databases


Two useful sites recently mentioned on the Victoria list.

First, is the Victorian Plays Project
"A digital archive of selected plays from T.H. Lacy's Acting Edition of Victorian Plays (1848-1873)" which allows you to read lots of fascinating stuff and a get a real feel for the sort of thing popular on the Victorian stage. A full text search isn't available but you can browse by keywords and, for instance, place names.

Second is The Nineteenth Century Serials Edition (beta),
which contains the full text of six journals, adding to the ever-burgeoning amount of Victorian periodicals available (in the UK, at least) to search online. They want feedback on the site, which I haven't yet had a chance to use ... so get stuck in!

The Craig Telescope


A favourite activity of mine is discovering - by chance - long-lost Victorian buildings, that have long since disappeared. One such, mentioned to me in passing by an email correspondent, is the Craig telescope, a gigantic device that was constructed on Wandsworth Common in the 1850s. Reminiscent of something from 'War of the Worlds', it should delight anyone fascinated by Victorian engineering or the 'steampunk' aesthetic. There's a great little site on it here and I've added most of a Times article here.

Monday 2 June 2008

Victorian Etexts


A new project, as much for my own benefit as anyone else ... http://www.victorianetexts.com/ ... a searchable hoard of copyright-free Victorian novels. Similar things are, I confess, available elsewhere, but I intend to grow this to a decent size, and make sure it suits my own requirements for layout and searching. Currently the 1.0 version is available online, featuring mostly the 'main texts' identified by Louis James in his The Victorian Novel - but I will be expanding this greatly in forthcoming weeks. If you find it useful, or have any comments, please email me.

Monday 5 May 2008

The Mysteries of London

The Mysteries of LondonTHE MYSTERIES OF LONDON

At last, after a marathon effort, and with the generous assistance of Mr. Dick Collins as co-editor, I present the world with an online edition of the first series of G.W.M. Reynolds's The Mysteries of London. A classic - arguably the classic - 'penny dreadful', or 'penny blood' (the latter phrase I think more common parlance at the time), it's well worth delving into (although reading the whole thing is something of a challenge, I confess, albeit an enjoyable one). A TV producer made the trite comment a year or two ago that 'if Dickens were alive today, he'd be writing soap opera'; this is plainly falsified by reading the likes of Mysteries which, unlike Dickens, share all the clichés of the modern soap form - cliffhanger endings, seemingly endless ongoing plot lines, characters who are not what they seem, and sex and violence, and more sex (well, relatively speaking). Published weekly, the Mysteries and its contemporaries were the popular serial fiction of the day - made for the working class, outselling respectable middle class authors by the thousands. So, steep yourself in penny blood ...

Saturday 3 May 2008

Old Bailey Online


If you missed all the press releases and newspaper articles, you might like to know that the Old Bailey Online has now loaded the contents of all trials from the Victorian Period onto its website (and a bit of extra 'contextual' stuff besides). Here's a nice one which shows what happens when you wander into side-streets with ladies of the night. Again, as always, it's the details that fascinate - who knew that mid-Victorian police stations employed "lady searchers" for more intimate inquiries into stolen goods?

40. MARY WEBSTER , stealing 1 watch, value 6l.; the goods of Thomas Maw, from his person. MR. HORRIDGE conducted the Prosecution.
THOMAS MAW . On 4th Nov. I was crossing from Cornhill to Princes-street, by the Bank, and the prisoner met me, walked by my side, and asked where I was going—I said I was going home—she asked me if I would go with her to any house—I told her I would not—I walked a little way up Coleman-street, and she proposed that I should go up a court with her on the left hand side, which I was fool enough to do, I am sorry to say—I had my left hand through her pocket hole, and she drew me closer to her, and then made a hard scream, and ran off, and I found my watch was gone—I pursued her as hard as I could—as I came out of the court I was met by a man in black, who stopped me, and asked me a question—I followed the prisoner, and saw her go into a fore court, inside some iron railings—she came out again in half a minute, and I took her into Coleman-street, and gave her in custody of a policeman.

Cross-examined by MR. COOPER. Q. How long were you with her before you went up the court? A. Not above five minutes, and not above two or three minutes in the court—she did not ask me for anything—I was to go up there for nothing—I did not take her to be a person of that description—I am married, and have a family—this is the first time I have done this—this (produced) is my watch, but the handle is off—it was fastened to this chain and to this black ribbon, which was round my neck—she did not say, "You rascal, give me a sovereign, or I will have your watch"—I told the man who stopped me of my loss—he is not here—I suppose he was an accomplice—I have never seen him since—I have not tried to look after him.

MR. HORRIDGE. Q. Did she give you time to give her any money? A. Not at all; she snatched the watch suddenly, and made a scream—when I gave her into custody, she said she had never seen me before, and did not know me at all.

FREDERICK STEPHENS (City policeman, 142). On Saturday, 4th Nov., I took the prisoner from the custody of Maw—I took her to the station—she refused to give her name and address.

Cross-examined. Q. Did not she say that she took the watch because the man did not give her some money? A. I never heard her say anything to that effect; she said that he refused to give her some drink, but nothing else—she did not say that he would neither give her drink or money, or that she held his watch till he did—she denied having the watch.

SUSAN GILL . I am searcher at Moor-lane police station. On Saturday, 4th Nov., I searched the prisoner—she resisted me—I succeeded in searching her, but did not succeed in finding anything, except 2s.—I sent for a medical man, and was present when he found a watch upon her.

THOMAS LLYOND . I am a surgeon, of No. 5, New Basinghall-street. On 4th Nov. I went to Moor-lane station to search the prisoner's person, and found this watch in her vagina.

GUILTY .* Aged 30.—Recommended to mercy by the Jury, on account of the conduct of the Prosecutor.— Confined Nine Months.

Friday 4 April 2008

Ladies Smoking Forbidden


As always, accounts of 'Police News' in the popular press provide fascinating insight into the manners and mores of Victorian society. The limits placed on women in the period are always interesting, and it's here we find out that smoking was one area where the battle lines were drawn, as late as the 1890s (St. Pancras station, opened in 1868, contained a ladies smoking room, I believe, although some considered it scandalous). For an interesting history of society and smoking, including some nice stuff on the Victorians, see 'Giveup.ca'.

Saturday 8 March 2008

Mesmerising Book News

The Mesmerist's Apprentice

Regular readers will know my next novel is The Mesmerist's Apprentice, the second adventure for Sarah Tanner. It starts with a 'horse-meat riot' and - needless to say, via a complicated series of twists and turns - leads our determined heroine into the clutches of a dubious physician, who allegedly achieves his success through the practice of mesmerism. Throw in the re-appearance of her erstwhile lover, Arthur DeSalle, now married, and she's in for a difficult time ... bet you won't guess the ending, either ...

The book is pre-order-able at Amazon and you can read the first chapter here.

No appearances planned as yet, with the exception of the Paris Book Fair, where you'll find me with my French publisher, Editions 10/18, promoting Le Jardins des Derniers Plaisirs ...

Thursday 28 February 2008

Those Erotic Victorians


I am fascinated to have just stumbled across one Ida Craddock on the web; a Victorian 'sexual mystic' who believed in straightforward advice on sexual matters. A sample of her wisdom:

Well, I think that the very first thing for you to bear in mind is that, inasmuch as Nature has so arranged sex that the man is always ready (as a rule) for intercourse, whereas the woman is not, it is most unwise for the man to precipitate matters by exhibiting desire for genital contact when the woman is not yet aroused. You should remember that that organ of which you are, justly, so proud, is not possessed by a woman, and that she is utterly ignorant of its functions, practically, until she has experienced sexual contact; and that it is, to her who is not desirous of such contact, something of a monstrosity. Even when a woman has already had pleasurable experience of genital contact, she requires each time to be aroused amorously, before that organ, in its state of activity, can become attractive. For a man to exhibit, to even an experienced wife, his organ ready for action when she herself is not amorously aroused, is, as a rule, not sexually attractive to her; on the contrary, it is often sexually repulsive, and at times out and out disgusting to her. Every woman of experience knows that, when she is ready, she can cause the man to become sexually active fast enough.

It is remarkable that, for all its quaint language, this still seems a case of plain-speaking, some hundred years on. I'm not sure any UK writers were quite so frank; but I'm no expert ... if anyone would like to correct me, please write in!

Friday 22 February 2008

Let's Make Tracks


Victorian slang is of particular interest to this novelist ... I'm always trying to reproduce accurate language that isn't a simple 'Cockney' pastiche; and doesn't sound odd to modern ears either. It's actually rather difficult - especially with words now considered entirely American that are good Victorian London English ("Station-house" for "police station" is one that always comes to mind). A pleasure, then, to find a Times article citing a lecture critical of 1850s slang. Much of it is familar, but I've never come across "make tracks" as a Victorian-ism ... or the likes of "walks his chalks". Enjoy the full article here

Thursday 14 February 2008

The Food of the Poor

food of the poorTHE FOOD OF THE POOR

A new addition comes from All the Year Round, 1877, Learning to Cook with the Poor, a Mayhew-esque, slightly satirical look at the food of the poor and how they scraped by. An anonymous piece (although perhaps a scholar can advise on that score) you may find it interesting, not least all about 'faggots', 'chitterlings', 'reeds' and other odd cuts and combinations of meat that I would rather avoid. To read the article, click here.

Friday 1 February 2008

When Public Libraries Need Saving


You know things are getting bad when a council starts closing down it's public libraries.

Walthamstow (a London borough) did just that to the St. James Street public library last year - without any public consultation, or even warning.

An modest oasis for learning and culture in a deprived area, it was cut on the budget grounds. This, from a city that can afford to host the 2012 Olympic games costing millions.

The residents feel so strongly about this, that they started their own 'free library' every weekend outside the disused building; they've got a petition going; they've had support from the Children's Laureate, Michael Rosen.

And what have the council done? Not much. An empty building sits there, its books already unceremoniously removed. In fact Walstamstow doesn't have a great record at the moment - it's cutting back on support for the William Morris Museum as well.

If you'd like to let Walthamstow know what message such cuts give out, then here's how to complain.

The short version is ... an email to


cc-d to





If you feel really keen, put "FORMAL COMPLAINT" as your subject.

Will the council do the right thing and change their mind? I hope so. If you believe in public libraries, whether you live in London or not, let them know your thoughts.

Tuesday 29 January 2008

British Library Newspapers


Woo-hoo! It's here ... access to the British Library's all-singing all-dancing archive of 19th century newspapers, including the likes of Reynolds' Newspaper and the Illustrated Police News. The BL website is here but I regret you have to be a member of a FE or HE institution in the UK to get automatic access (if you belong to a UK institution and don't have it yet, get your library to sort it out!). I hope, like the Times archive, the average punter will have a shot at access via their local public library, but I don't know if that's going to be the case.

What did I look at, given access to this marvellous resource? Why, crime of course ... it's my job. The first thing that struck me was a reference to a "troublesome, mischievous woman" who, probably through a combination of drink and mental health issues, kept returning to the Police Courts in London (magistrates' courts). What made her famous was the endless aliases she adopted at each court ... want to read a bit about her? Read on ...

A DRUNKEN "ACTRESS" - Mabel St. John, alias Tot Fay, Maude Rothschild, Violet Bell, Lilly Sinclair, Maud Levant, Mabel Grey, Violet Durant, Lilly Cohen, Violet St. John, Lilian Rothschild, Amy Violet, Lilian Ross, Florence le Grande, Blanch Herbert, and many others: but whose real name is Amy Anderson, from the Seven-dials, and who is well-known at the police-court in Bow-street and Marylebone, was again charged with being drunk and disorderly in Cork-street at ten o'clock last night. The prisoner on this occasion was described as an "actress," of Besborough-gardens. She wore a cream-coloured costume and a black bonnet with a large "bob" of ribbons in front of it, a curtain ring for an ornament, and in her hand she carried an empty purse, and she did all she could to draw a few tears of repentance as she very meekly entered the dock. Police-constable 243 C said that he was called to a disturbance in the street. The prisoner was in a drunken state, and was surrounded by twenty or thirty people, who were laughing and jeering at her, and from what he could ascertain it appeared that she owed a cabman 7s. 6d., and has refused to pay him. As she persistently declined to "move on" he took her to the station. Mr. Mansfield: What have you to say? Prisoner (crying): Sir, I had been with a lady friend of mine, and was going home quietly, when a wretched cabman stopped me and asked for money. It is about eight months since I engaged him as my driver, and really I had forgotten the little affair. I certainly owe him something, but it is very hard upon a lady like me (more crying) to be stopped and asked for a cab fare in the streets. I was walking away with a gentleman when a rude policeman came up and seized me. It is a long time now, sir, since I was last in trouble. The constable states that a crowd collected. Of course this conspicuous dress of mine caused people to assemble, and I found that my progress was impeded. Really, I have been locked up for nothing. (More crying.) I am entirely innocent, I assure you, on my word of honour. Mr. Mansfield: How often has this woman been here? Sergeant Vine (the gaoler): She has been continually charged here, and at Bow-street and Westminster. Brewer, the assistant gaoler, produced a long record of her convictions in this court, where were to be numbered by dozens, and said that she only came out of prison on Friday, having undergone a sentence of two months from the Westminster police-court for assaulting a gentleman in the streets. Prisoner: Oh, dear me, I have been taken for nothing again. It's an awful shame (more crying) that an innocent young lady like me (more laughter in court) should be forced into trouble like this. I really come from a good family (more laughter), and my dear mamma will be deeply shocked when she hears of this. (More laughter.) Mr. Mansfield (sternly): I have not forgotten that some time ago you were concerned in a conspiracy with some others to obtain money from a young gentlemen, by charging him with an unnatural offence. Your confederates were properly punished, but, unfortunately, you were not included in the indictment. You will have to pay 40s., or go back to your old quarters for a month. Reynolds Newspaper, December 4, 1887

A NOTORIOUS CHARACTER - Lillie Herbert, alias Tot Fay, Lilian Rothschild, Florence St. John, Mabel Grey, Lilly Cohen, Amy Sinclair, Lillian Ross, Amy Violet, Florence Le Grand, and a score of other fictitious names, was again place in the dock charged with being disorderly in Regent-street at ten minutes to two on Wednesday morning. Prisoner is one of the most notorious women in London. She has been fined and imprisoned over and over again at this and other police-courts of the metropolis, and during the last year or two she has spent more of her time in gaol. Wherever she is charged she gives a different name, and always talks about her mamma and her relations. When frequenting Regent-street and Piccadilly, she dresses at times at though she had just left the box of a theatre, and at others she personates a lady's maid, and carries either a roll of music or a Prayer-book. Her proper habitat was the purlieus of the Seven-dials, and there she is better know than respected. She left prison on the 3rd inst., and has managed to keep out of the iron gates for a week only. On Wednesday morning she was attired in a black waterproof with a white crochet shawl and was bonnetless. Constable James, 37 C R, said "Miss Fay" was boxing a woman opposite the Continental Hotel. Just as she was squaring up again he appeared on the scene, and ordered both of them to move away. The prisoner refused and defied his authority, and before he could catch hold of her she "went" for the woman and knocked her down flat. She exused her conduct by saying that "a lady like her was not to be annoyed by a lot of disorderly prostitutes; her mamma would not tolerate such conduct, she was sure, and she would be sorry if she got to know about it." (Laughter.) Mr. Newton (to the prisoner): What have you to say to the charge? Tot Fay: Two women, attracted by my conspicuous dress, followed me, and one of them struck me. To get away from such base, disorderly creatures, I ascended the steps of the hotel and as I stood musing, the policeman came and took my arm instead of theirs. I think it was most disgraceful conduct on his part. I assure you, on my word of honour, I am an innocent, well-behaved young lady, and would not strike any woman; but this horrid creature hit me in the face. Why, I don't know. I am sure that behond being dressed in this conspicuous manner, I gave her no provocation whatever. Mr Newton: But you struck her back again. Tot Fay: She pulled on of the tassels off my "cloud," and I only tried to prevent her from taking the other one. Both women appeared to be "elevated" - (laughter) - but I was perfectly sober. I suppose they did not like to see me dressed so well. I don't see that because a lady was rather conspicuously dressed she should be annoyed and insulted by a lot of bad women. If I was to die this minute, I never interfered with or struck either of them. Mr Newton (to the constable): What was the first thing you saw? Constable: She had the shawl over her head, and just as I got up she knocked the woman down. Tot Fay: she should not have made remarks about my dress. I always being knocked about and insulted (crying) whenever I go into the street. It seems as though I must get into trouble. Mr. Newton: Is she known here? Brewer (the assistant gaoler): Oh yes, she has been here very many times, as well as at Marylebone, Westminster, and other courts! On the 3rd of last month she was fined 40s. for drunkenness and disorderly conduct in the streets, and in default she was sent to prison for a month. Her proper name is Amy Anderson. Mr. (to the accused): I order you to find two sureties in £10 each to keep the peace for three months, and that is the best thing I can do for you. Prisoner (to Brewer): Oh, what will mamma say? And, amidst considerable laughter, she skipped out of the dock. In the afternoon she returned to her old quarters in Millbank. Reynolds Newspaper, January 15, 1888

THE WOMAN OF MANY ALIASES - A notorious young woman, well known at this and other police courts as Tot Fay, Mabel Grey, Maude Rothschild, Lilly Sinclair, Maude Legrand, Maude Sinclair, Violet Bell, May Lilly, Violet Durant, Lilly Cohen, Violet St. John, Lillian Ross, Florence Legrand, Blanche Herbert, Mabel St. John, and by a score of other aliases, was brought up for being disorderly in Langham-street, shortly before twelve o'clock the previous night. Yesterday morning she was very elaborately attired in a light blue silk dress, a black velvet figured mantle, and a showy buff velvet hat with feathers, and on her arm she carried a waterproof. After adjusting her "dress improver" she bent down her head, and commenced with a few "crocodile" tears as before. She was so changed in appearance that none but the reporters and gaolers recognised her. Her name, she said, was Lilly de Grays, and her age twenty-one. Police-constable 395 D said that he was called to a great disturbance in Langham-street. The prisoner was outside a house, using very abusive language to the landlady and her family, and the uproar was so great that the neighbours were at their bedroom windows, wondering whatever was the matter. The landlady said that the prisoner was a stranger to her. On Sunday night she asked to be accommodated with apartments, saying that she had just arrived from Paris, and if she would take her in she would pay a week's rent in advance. On Monday she gave her the rent, and then she commenced a series of disorders, the like of which she did not wish to see again. In the evening she went out, and at a late hour returned in a cab. After soundly abusing the cabman, she turned upon her, called her foul names, and threatened to burn the house down. Next day she ran about the house in a state of nudity, and again threatened her and her son and daughter. This sort of conduct was pursued until last night, when they had to put her into the street. Then she began a tirade of abuse which disturbed the whole neighbourhood. Mr. Newton (to the prisoner): Is there anything you would like to say? Prisoner (in her usual polite tone): Well, I had a little too much to drink, otherwise I should not have misbehaved myself. I was in my own apartments, when I was rudely thrust out in to the street. I am extremely sorry if I misconducted myself. Mr Newton: Is this woman known here? Sergeant Brewer: Oh yes, sir: she has been here very many times, under the names of Tot Fay, Maude Rothschild, and other aliases. Her proper name is Amy Anderson. Every time she comes here it is under a differnet name. The prisoner: Oh, my! Why, it is a very long time since I was here. Brewer spoke to several convictions this year. Mr. Newton: Why is she not charged with being drunk? The constable said that she was under the influence of drink, but not decidely drunk. Mr. Newton ordered her to pay a fine of 40s. or be imprisoned for a month. Reynolds Newspaper, June 18, 1888

SCENE IN AN HOTEL. Lillie Ross, alias Maud Rothschild, Tot Fay, Violet St. John, Mabel Grey, Lillie Sinclair, Amy Violet, Maud Legrand, Violet Bell, Violet Durant, Lillie Cohen, Amy Anderson, Blanche Herbert, Lillie De Grey, &c. &c. was charged at Marlborough-street Police-court with being drunk and riotous in Piccadilly at a quarter-past eleven o'clock in the morning. The prisoner has been charged twenty-eight times at this court, but she is also well known at several other of the metropolitan police-courts. She described herself as "an actress," residing at Helford-square, Westbourne-park, and stated that she was thirty-one years of age. As a rule, the accused appears in the dock attired in a ball-room custome, but she was now attired in a red dress, wearing a black hat trimmed with crape.Constable James, 38 C R, said that shortly after eleven o'clock that morning he was called by the porter of the Bath Hotel to remove the prisoner from the door of that establishment, which was partially blocked up with some boxes she had with her. He asked her several times to go away, and as she refused and was drunk he was obliged to take her into custody.The prisoner (bursting into tears and clasping her hands in an imploring manner): May I speak? - Mr. Hannay: You will have an opportunity of doing so directly.Corroborative evidence was given by Constable Earl, 169 C, who said that on the way to the station the woman was very violent.The prisoner: I said I would walk as a lady if the officers would only allow me. Really, sir, I have had no end of trouble, and I know I have formerly been here many times; but I have not been here for about nine months, and now I have not a friend in the world. I am an orphan young lady (sobbing hysterically), and have been unfortunate. Last night I went to the Bath Hotel, having left my apartments, where I got a room. I was not drunk, having only had some brandy and soda, which I took because I felt to low-spirited. A constable was sent for, and I was turned out of the hotel. I then got a cab and drove to the Vine-street Police-station, where I said that I was very much disgusted. I went back to the hotel in the cab, and then a constable was called, and I was taken into custody. I have only a sovereign in my pocket, and now find myself in this terrible fix. Oh, sir, perhaps you have daughters of young own! Do take compassion on me!Constable Cox, 120 C, deposed that about nine o'clock in the morning he was called to the Bath Hotel by the proprietor, who informed him that he had a lunatic in the place, that the prisoner had been running all over the hotel in a nude state, and that she had locked herself in one of the rooms. He (the officer) went to an apartment that was pointed out fo him, when he saw the accused in the condition described. He persuaded her to dress herself, which she did. On asking her to leave quietly, she remained in the building, after she had her things on, for about half an hour. When in the street he again asked her to go away, and she got into a cab and drove off.Mr. Hanway: What time was that? The officer: About a quarter to ten.Mr. Hannay: Then she must have returned.The officer replied in the affirmative, remarking that the woman was admitted to the hotel, because it was thought she was a respectable person.The prisoner (still pretending to cry): When told to leave I went away in a lady-like manner, and on my returning was taken into custody. As God is my judge and my 'ma is in her grave, thought I have been here before, I have done nothing todeserve being here now. Will you send to the hotel to see if what I am saying is true? Even the chambermaids cried when they saw the police take me away. The officers did not give me a chance.In reply to the magistrate, Sergeant Brewer, the gaoler, proved several previous convictions against the accused, and said that once she had been tried at the sessions for felony.The prisoner (imploringly): Do let me speak. I have £1 in my pocket, and if you send me to prison I will lose all my things - in fact, everything I have in the world. I am a poor orphan young lady, and my mother was a Jewess, and perhaps, sir, you have daughters of your own. If you let me go this time, I will promise never to come here again. I will immediately go in a servant's home, or will go to America.Mr. Hannay: This is your first appearance before me, and I shall, therefore, only fine you 40s., or in default of payment, one month's imprisonment.The woman was then removed from the dock, exclaiming, "But I have only a sovereign, sir, and a few shillings in my possession." Reynolds Newspaper, Jan 6, 1889

The notorious "Tot Fay" was the next occupant of the dock. She came in with a bounce and apparently knew where to stand between the rails. On this occasion she gave the name of "Violet St. John," but at the station she had described herself as "Violet Lorraine, governess, from Bessborough-gardens." She was attired in a black silk dress trimmed with lace, a white silk dolman, and a black hat topped with ribbons and feathers. Constable 26 CR said that at half-past-twelve on Sunday morning a gentleman came up to him and said a woman was kicking up a row in St. James's-square. He went there and found it was "Tot Fay." She was very drunk and holding on to the railings, and about twenty persons were laughing and jeering at her. On ordering her to move off, she curled her lip and said, "Go away; how dare you speak to me, you low fellow. I am a lady of position and character." (Laughter.) After a great deal of trouble he got her away from the spot, and then she became so very violent and abusive that he had to take her to the station. Mr. Hannay: Did you know her at all? Constable: I should think so. Why, I have had her several times (Laughter.) Mr. Hannay (to the prisoner): Do you wish to ask him any questions? The Prisoner (crying and sobbing): No, kind sir, but may I speak to you? I have been locked up really for nothing. I have had the misfortune to lose my landlady, and yesterday I was going through the square broken-hearted when the constable took me. I have had a good deal of trouble, but she was a good landlady, and I mourn her loss. (Laughter.) It is true I had two or three glasses of wine on Saturday when I heard of her death, but I was not what low people call drunk. I was in trouble and was walking along quietly and ladylike - (laughter) - when the office molested me. Mr. Hannay: Did she go with you quietly? The Constable: Oh, no. I had a great deal of trouble with her. Mr. Hannay: St. James's-square is a quiet place, and there must be something out of the way to cause a crowd to collect there. Prisoner: There was not a soul in the square, I assure you. Do, kind gentleman, let me go. Mr. Hannay: Has she been here before? Sergeant Brewer, the gaoler, handed in a list of convictions some fifty in number, about the same number of aliases. Her real name was Amy Anderson, but she had adopted those of Maude Rothschild, Violet St. John, Lily Sinclair, Lily Levant, Maud Le Grand, Maud Sinclair, Amy Violet, Mabel Grey, Violet Durant, Lily Cohen, Lilian Ross, Florence Lorade, Blanche Herbert, Lille de Herbert, Violet Grace, and many others. Prisoner (still sobbing): I am an orphan young lady, sir. (Laughter.) Do let me go on account of the death of my poor landlady. I'm broken-hearted, I assure you. (Laughter.) What would my poor ma say if she had been alive? I am of good birth, but unfortunately am not in a position to pay a fine. A kind Christian lady has offered to get me into a home. (Laughter.) I have been in prison, it is true, but it has been mostly through drink. Brewer said that on her last visit to that court she was fined 40s. On that occasion she was found running wilding, and only partially dressed, up an down the stairs of the Bath Hotel. Prisoner: I could not have done such a thing. I'm a lady. It would have broken my poor dear ma's heart to have heard such an account of me. I have been taken for nothing - merely because I was lamenting the death of my landlady. Good old soul. I feel the loss immensely. (Laughter.) Do give me another chance. I shall lose everything I have got if I am locked up, so, pray don't send me to gaol or fine me, for I have not a penny in the world to pay it. Mr. Hannay: You seem to have given a good deal of trouble to the police, and I shall fine you the full penalty of 40s., or a month. In the afternoon Miss Fay returned to her old quarters in Millbank. Illustrated Police News, April 13, 1889

"TOT FAY" SENT FOR TRIAL. At the Marlborough-street Police Court yesterday afternoon the notorious Tot Fay, alias Amy Anderson, Maude Rothschild, Mabel Grey, &c., was again placed in the dock for further evidence to be heard against her. She had been remanded for the attendance of the gaoler from the Court at Bow-street, and for the matron at the prison at Millbank, both of who, it was said, could speak to her antecedents and the number of times she had been placed under their care. Tottie entered the dock carrying a bunch of artificial may-blossom, beneath which she ahd stealthily concealed a little brown loaf and some cheese, her luncheon, brought from the prison; but the keen eyes of gaolers Brewer and Marlow soon perceived them, and the blossom and the loaf and the cheese, after some demur, were handed over to them. Her eyeglasses, instead of being perched on her greasy nose, were now suspended by a gilt chain at her side, and over a black glove on her right hand she wore a large paste diamond ring. In other respects her "make-up" - her tawdry light blue ball dress, her purple brown silk costume, and her jaunty cricket cap, with the bunch of lace on the top of it - was as before.Constable Bush, 181 E, the assitant gaoler at the Bow-street Police Court, said that Tottie had been charged there at least twenty times, always in different names. On September 2 she was "up" for being drunk and annoying a gentleman, persistently ringing the night-bell of his residence, and for that she was ordered to find sureties, or in default to go for six months' imprisonment. She reluctantly accepted the latter.Tottie: That's quite true, sir; but let me speak. I don't think it is exactly twenty times - perhaps it's only nineteen. (A laugh.) I have no recollection of the circumstances.Constable Bush: In November 1888, after having been remanded from week to week, a lady interested herself in her welfare, and she was sent to a home in Kensington. After remaining there till December 4, the lady came back to court and asked that Tottie might be put under the charge of the police again, as she was dirty in her habits, pugilistically inclined, and entirely unmanageable. In fact, the other people at the home could not do anything with her. Again, she was placed in the dock, and Mr. Bridge, in his leniency, ordered her to enter into her own recognizance of £10, and so Tottie regained her liberty.Mrs. Sullivan, a wardress from Millbank, said that she had known the prisoner since 1879. She was in Millbank between September and March last, under sureties from Bow-street. In March 1886, she was convicted at the sessions of stealing a case of surgical instruments, and ordered to be imprisoned for six months. Then she took the name of Amy Anderson. In September. 1879, as Lilian Cohen, the prisoner was convicted of felony, and had four months' imprisonment at Millbank. She had a different name each time she was received in prison.Tottie (crying): Those "velanies" (felonies) you charge me with were a long time ago, you know. It was after the death of my poor dear lamented ma - (laughter) - when, of course, I, an orphan, had to leave home. (Laughter.) One of them was to get dress - so necessary, you know, for the appearance of a young lady. (Laughter.) Madame (addressing Mrs. Sullivan), can I speak to you?Sergeant Brewer (the gaoler at the court) said that this was Tottie's thirty-first appearance in the dock since 1883.Mr. Newton (the Magistrate): Twenty times at Bow Street, thirty-one times here, and on many other occasions at Westminster, Marylebone and elsewhere. Your career must be stopped. You standing charge with obtaining food by fraud and robbing Mrs. Green of clothing valued at £2. What have you to say? Tottie: Her are two letters - one from a gentleman, who has my luggage, and the other is from myself. I am innocent of this charge. Oh, dear - oh, dear! I was going to ask you, sir, not to commit me for trial. Don't do that, good, dear man, as a long imprisonment and unladylike society, you know, might injure my health. (Laughter.) My 'ma's doctor recommended that I should have plenty of fresh air and exervise, as I am not at all strong. (Laughter.) Do give me one other chance, and send for my poor 'ma's doctor - the one that buried her - at once. (Laughter.)Mr. Newton: Have you anything more to say? Tottie: Yes, sir. This man here (a detective) has been to my hotel and overhauled my luggage, and if I am sent ot prison I shall lose it all. The gentleman at the hotel has been very kind, and only charged me 1s. a week for keeping it. Give me another chance, do! (Crying.)Mr. Newton: Any witnesses to call? Tottie: No, sir; my finances have not allowed me ot procure evidence on my behalf.The prisoner was then committed for trial, and as she showed some little hesitancy in leaving the dock, Marlow, the under gaolor, led her by the arm, and Tottie's last words, as she disappeared, were "Don't pull me like that! How dare you, you naughty man? What would my poor mamma say?" Reynolds Newspaper, May 18, 1890

"TOT FAY" SENT FOR TRIAL. - Lily St. John, otherwise known as Amy Anderson, Tot Fay, Maude Rothschild, Mabel Grey, and by a score of other aliases, described as an "actress," was charged on remand with having obtained food and lodging from Mr. Magnus Heierlei, the proprietor of Fischer's hotel, Clifford-street, St. James's, and from Mr. Franco, of the Cavendish hotel, Jermyn-street, by false and fraudulent pretences. In each instance "Tottie" presented herself at the doors about three in the morning, with a large dirty white "cloud" thrown over her head instead of a bonnet, and carrying a fan. She assured the porters than she ahd just left a ball at St. James's, and had been compelled to walk owing to her coachman having neglected to bring round her carriage, and so she induced them to give her lodgings for the night. At Fischer's hotel she said that her parents had occupied No.5 bed-room during the previous week, which statement, together with the cloud, the fan, and her soft melodious voice, put the man off his guard. The next morning her real character became known. Having been served with breakfast late in the day she called for a bottle of beer, and presently two more, and then from what happened she was ordered to clear out, 20 minutes being given her by the landlady to do so, but as she did not respond quickly the police were sent for, and out she went. At the Cavendish the same tactics were pursued, and at night she was bundled outside. Mrs. Reeves, the female searcher at the Vine-street police-station, said she did not find anything in Tottie's pockets except a pawnticket and an old empty purse. - Mr. Newton inquired if she had anything to say before she was committed for trial on the two charges of having obtained food and lodging by fraud. - Tottie: I had too much to drink. - Mr. Newton: Then your defence is that you had too much to drink? Tottie (crying): Yes, monsheer, or otherwise I should not have done it. - Mr. Newton : And in the other case the proprietor said that he would forgive you? - Tottie (with more tears): Yes, sir. - Mr. Newton: Then you are commited to take your trial. You are a troublesome, mischievous woman. - Tottie acknowledged the compliment by bowing politely and then, escorted by Gaolers Brewer and Marlow, she left with a majestic walk for the cells, whence she was conveyed to the prison at Holloway.Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, May 3, 1891At the Marlborough-street Police-court on Saturday, "Tottie Fay," whose exploits as a disorderly woman have been frequently recorded, was charged with being disorderly and making use of obscene language in Portland-place early that morning. "Tottie" left the prison at Wormwood Scrubbs on the 3rd inst., after serving a term of twelve month's imprisonment for misdemeanour, and for obtaining food and lodging with intent to defraud. Her "make up" was peculiar. Over an old dress she wore a light silk dust coat, trimmed with dirty white lace. On her breast were four large silver-plated balls, said to be "badges of honour," about the size of small oranges, and on her head was a grey hat, shaped like a bent tea-tray, and having on the left side of it, besides a mass of French grey-coloured ribbon, a bunch of Marguerite daisies. Her jewellery consisted of some sham diamond rings, and it could be seen that the oxide of the metal had stained the fingers on which they were worn. Her brooch and earrings were en suite. As she stood in the dock she posed with eyes downcast and hands folded, and listened to the evidence as it was given against her. Tottie Fay's real name is Amy Anderson, and her early habitat the Seven Dials. On each occasion of her having been charged - and they number more than thirty at this court alone - she has given different Christian and surnames, and her age has veered rfom eight to forty, then back to twenty-eight, then again to eighteen. Yesterday she refused to say howe old she was. Her name was entered on the charge-sheet as "Tottie Fay," but in the dock she gave it as Mabel Carlton, thus adding another to the list. Her other aliases have been Maud Rothschild, Mabel Grey, Lilly St. Clair, Maud Legrand, Lilly Levant, Amy Violet, Violet Bell, May Lilly, Violet St. John, Lilian Rosse, Florence Larande, Blanche Herbert, Mabel St. John, Lilly de Grey, Violet Lorraine, Lilly de Herbert, Violet Grace, Dolly Le Blanc, Lilly St. Leon, and many more. Tottie, in reply to the charge, said:- Mr. Newton, it was this: I had been with a lady friend of mine to my dressmaker's - (laughter) - and was passing through Portland-place when a gentleman came up and invited me to have champagne in his chambers. Being a modest young lady - (laughter) - I said, "No, sir;" but on telling him that I had been in a lot of trouble lately, he asked me (raising his hat like a gentleman should do) if he might see me safely into a cab. Again I said, "No, sir;" but that he might give me a cab fare if he chose to do so. I turned, and just at that moment a horrid policeman came up and took me away by the arm. I give you my word of honour as a lady - (great laughter) - that I never used any bad words to him. I never do such a thing - Oh, no! - (more laughter) - but went quietly with him to the station, of course. Mr. Newton: Now, listen to me. If you ever miscondust yourself again I shall undoubtedly send you to hard labour. You have been for years past and are a dangerous and mischievous woman. Now, take care what you do. Tottie's face broadened with smiles, and bowing gracefull she returned her thanks. "May God bless you!" she said. "You are a gentleman. I will give up my life. I really will, and join a Young Women's Christian Society. (Laughter). Good morning, sir. I was really taken this time for nothing." Tottie then left the court. Illustrated Police News, May 21, 1892

London Parks and Gardens Trust


A nice addition to the Topography links (left) is the website of the London Parks and Gardens Trust, which includes some detailed walking guides. I've had a read through the Islington one (as I know the area quite well) and it seems a good tour ... enjoy!

Wednesday 16 January 2008

Sweeney Todd, Revisited

Sweeney Todd = Johnny Depp SWEENEY TODD, REVISITED

Further to my blog below, my piece on Sweeney Todd has appeared in Time Out this week ... you can read the article here. My research thanks must go to the editor of the OUP edition (Robert L. Mack) for his informative introduction, to the estimable Dick Collins, editor of the Wordsworth edition, likewise, and to Judith Flanders, author, amongst other things, of the marvellous 'Victorian House'.