Our Glorious National Heritage, The Past is a Foreign...Something

Umbrellas, Giant Melons, and Queen Victoria

Or, Homely as Sin on Horseback


It’s newspaper research time! Some highlights from today’s scanning:

“Women and Umbrellas in Ireland” Southern Patriot (Charleston, SC), 31 Aug 1842, p. 2

Dr. Hagan, in one of his letters from Dublin, says that many of the ladies of Dublin are surpassingly beautiful, while some are as homely as Sin on horseback. But the impression of a stranger on seeing the ladies and gentlemen of Dublin, as they spring into their cars and dash through the streets is highly favorable to their personal beauty, sprightliness and energy.

Of the penchant of the Irish for umbrellas, he says: ‘The Irish seem to have a passion for umbrellas. I have seen men carry umbrellas, and I am certain the paper maker would not give sixpence for all the clothes on their back! I have seen some pretty girls decently clothed, with bare feet, and an umbrella over their heads to protect their faces from the sun!’

“A Mammoth Melon,” Southern Patriot (Charleston, SC), 31 Aug 1842, p. 2

The Raleigh Register says: A muskmelon weighing forty and a half pounds, measuring forty-five inches in circumference on average, was sent us a few days ago, in a very polite manner, by Mr. J. A. Barry, in whose garden on Eden’s Sound, it grew. Mr. Barry informs us that, from a piece of ground about 100 feet square, he has obtained nearly 200, several of them weighing from 20 to 31 lbs.

“Variety is the Spice of Life” [aka misc. column], Southern Patriot, 3 March 1843, p.1

The Pickayune, in giving an account of late weaver riots, says ‘Sheriff Porter was severely wounded in the rumpus.’ We had imagined that the sheriff’s wound was in the breast!

As evidence of the onward march of civilization, it is said that the French have sent a guillotine to Algiers.

Epigram on the Chinese Treaty

Our wars are ended – foreign battles cease. –
Great Britain owns an universal peace;
And Queen Victoria triumphs over all,
Still ‘Mistress of herself though China fall!’

Image cite: Special, “umbrella,” Flickr, CC License