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  •  I think I have a dark side (8+ / 0-)

    that seems to want to get out and play. Oh dear! That is a bit unexpected. (I am actually super nice and sweet. Honest.)

    “Not all history is gone and done Charlotte. Some people linger.” Robert pointed to the chair with it’s two embroidered figures. “These two are imprisoned here for a reason.”

    “Robert, the girl is still so young. Do you have to tell her these gruesome stories?” Lizzie threw a disgusted look at the chair then her husband.

    “Not my fault Lizzie. I would have gladly waited until, oh, never to tell her. But she is going to be Curator here. Her powers are already manifesting.” Robert knelt next to his daughter and pointed at the chair. “These were two very bad people. Long, long ago, this man betrayed his country. Because of him over 2,000 men suffered horribly.”

    “Daddy that’s scary. But what’s it got to do with me?” Charlotte reached over to grab her mother’s hand.

    “They want to get out Charlotte. They want to walk among the living again. We can’t let that happen. Someday, you’ll be a Curator.” Robert took his daughter’s other hand and squeezed it lightly to reassure the girl. “But for now, you just need to learn The Rules.”

    And I seem to want to write about the 18th century. Good Lord!

    On the bright side, I am nearest to 100 words ever in a challenge.  (I have no idea why I thought of the Lorings from your pic, but I did. Must be an after affect of a too long winter.)

    •  I love the way you (7+ / 0-)

      throw in these strong fantasy tropes with everything prompt. Are you working on a fantasy?


      -9.0, -8.3 "Remember, a writer writes. Always." --Throw Momma from the Train

      by SensibleShoes on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:37:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought I was (8+ / 0-)

        But another story is muscling it's way in and taking over. It borders on horror/fantasy/alternate world.  It goes back to non-serious comments I made on this group about a necromancer.  Well, there are a lot of ways to write about that... (hehehe)

        The Lorings were an infamous couple in American Revolutionary history. (Awesomely juicy stuff that nobody knows about because the Revolution is such a wooden story, as taught.)

        Joshua Loring, Jr. was a wealthy man who basically lost everything to the Patriot cause. He fled to Boston sometime in 1774 and promptly leased his young wife to be mistress to Gen. Howe, military commander of the British occupiers. (Seriously, The General lands and about a week later, he is inseparable from the comely Mrs. L.)

        Joshua got a payoff as "commissary general to the prisoners" captured during the war. He is blamed for about 2,000 American deaths that occurred on the prison ships. Nasty, nasty piece of work, that one.

        If ever there was a figure who should have a cursed tale spun about him, it's Joshua and his wife. And the 2,000 wronged men who want him in hell.

        Damn, I think I have a wicked dark side. Who knew?

        •  dynamite stuff! (8+ / 0-)

          THAT is what makes history fascinating to read! not the cleaned up simplistic good-guys-vs-bad-guys stuff.

          thnx 4 link!

          •  seriously, what a description (7+ / 0-)
            "This Loring is a monster!...There is not his like in human shape: He  exhibits a smiling countenance, seems to wear a phiz of humanity, but has been instrumentally capable of the most consummate acts of wickedness…(clothed with the authority of a Howe) murdering premeditatedly (in cold blood) near or quite 2000 helpless prisoners…(at N.York). He is the most mean-spirited, cowardly, deceitful and destructive animal in God’s creation." ibid to link above
            And a "wicked cool" character in an age full of wicked characters.

            My deepest apologies for all these adverbs. The 18th century was wordy.

            •  yeah, (6+ / 0-)

              although those kind of actions/choices/behaviors weren't all that unusual at least in western history as i recall bits and pieces of it.  lots of upper class mistress stuff with spouse's full complaisance.  mistresses who developed an awful lot of influence and control in politics and finance, some a lot of intellectual stature as well.  of course, more got written about them than about the ones who were just used and discarded.

              •  Oh, history is full of these tales. (4+ / 0-)

                They really do lend spice to the story. Too bad they can't be taught in school, because they are so much fun to read.

                I am something far less than a world traveler.  How do other countries handle these types of scandalous tales?

                The thing about Loring is that he traded his wife for the right to torture his countrymen.  Oh, ick. Just ick.

                •  but for all we know, it was her idea. (4+ / 0-)

                  Howe may have been her target.  possibly loring was a total inept. but she's married to him. how to improve their situation? attach to someone with power.  and maybe howe is better in the sack.  highly placed people who bought their positions (in one form of 'coin' or another) were often extraordinarily inept, and "gentlemen" being pretty much the only legally &/or financially accepted (i.e., having to literally purchase the 'job') officers and topdogs, ordinary people routinely died as a result.

                  whatever else may be said about mel gibson, the Patriot is actually an extremely good film in terms of the horrendously good portrait of power relations in the british military, and how destructive it was in every respect.

                  this diary by arkdem14 portrays a similar corrosion.

                  i guess my point being, the fact that a wife becomes someone's mistress doesn't always mean she's been forced against her will, and the description of her personality at the link kind of suggests that she had her own irons in the fire.  it IS still ick, if so, 'tho in a different way: she & her husband both would have known anything he was in charge of go badly but since only ordinary people/prisoners would suffer, why should they care?

                  of course, you could also be completely right, that she was traded by her husband to howe for that lucrative position and she simply made the best of what she had no control over.

                  •  Both. They had plenty of motivation (3+ / 0-)

                    I love your take on history.  I could not agree more with what you are saying. So many of the turncoats of that era had mixed motives and a lot of marital swapping instances were both desired and lucrative for both parties.

                    There has been a wonderful avalanche of scholarship recently on the 18th century. The Am Rev has been opened up so that it can be seen as a human event with flawed humans as principal and minor actors. The Patriot side were not angels. They had their own bad behavior. A Loring might have been a monster, but he had cause for revenge. That monster was home grown. (Herein hangs a tale)

                    Another useless fact: Boston, as a port town, was full of sailors and brothels during the AmRev. (Brit soldier diaries are full of comments on this.) funny thing is that ole Beantown was world famous, for a port town, as having a particular Yankee way of efficiently running those business.
                    That is funny, insightful and a cool way of looking at people and hypocrisy in that era.

                    •  And of course "turncoats" & divorce/marriage (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      RiveroftheWest, TayTay

                      were utterly different from now.

                      for one thing, most people of English origin living in the American colonies at that time considered themselves English and even in initial battles saw the situation as fighting to keep the same rights for themselves as English citizens overseas as were enjoyed by English citizens in England. They wanted to not be ruled differently was all. (Our bill of rights didn't come out of nowhere, far to the contrary.) The earliest 'patriots' were widely regarded as as traitors to England, and a 'turncoat' was someone who had vowed allegiance to one cause and then changed/turned his coat/uniform allegiance to the opposite side, especially if doing so secretly for espionage purposes; not someone who simply continued to want to be an equal English citizen and not even someone who wanted to be an equally venal and profiteering English citizen.

                      Colonization had always been about commerce for raw materials cheap and materials that weren't found anywhere else in the world, and families/civil settlements were just the long-known recognition (since greco/roman and earlier empire/colony times) that skills and activities needed for creating and holding successful mercantile colonies were most civilian skills not provideable by military units & officers assigned to enforce overseas land control (be it control by British, Dutch, French, Portuguese etc). Civilians and the 'gentleman'-class of military officers (gentleman = younger sons of titled families, not well-behaved people as we understand the term now) demanded to have their families and servants and other "comforts" with them, in addition to the earnings of conquest (, none of which 'comforts' were illegal at the time.

                      Marriage then as now was mostly about arranging property for personal and familial security (e.g., a large factor in the drive for legal recognition of same-sex marriage is to secure spousal social security rights and job-benefit rights including military, etc, --which are financial property-- and rights of lawful action on behalf of spouse and children ~ in countries where a solid social safety net and universal healthcare are standard, common-law marriages are more ...common... especially countries where religious marriages make divorce & remarriage difficult).

                      But persons of titled families back then might be unable to get a divorce (dissolution of marriage contract with severely complex division of property & 'ownership' of children & children's rights of inheritance) unless it was granted by parliamentary bill of divorcement (House of Lords acting as a court of law similar to the ancient power of british monarchs to approve or nonapprove or declare invalid marriages/proposed marriages by/among noble houses.) Marriage contracts were literal contracts among all propertied persons (i.e., including yeoman, middle-classes, etc, spelling out what properties each party brought to the marriage, which of them was to be dowry, which to be dower, which to be inheritable only by the male line, which to be accessible to the wife, which to be controlled by the wife or even outright owned by her separate from her husband, how subsequent inherited or personally-generated property by husband or wife was to be accessible to which and controlled by whom and owned by whom, what were the inheritance provisions for a spouse and children when one of the spouses dies, etc.  

                      Among noble houses and their cadets and their 'fitzes' (children-of-the-left-hand/wrong side of the blanket) and among the non-noble ambitious seeking titles & powers who possessed some form of leverage (sometimes beauty, sometimes cleverness including in bed), formal and informal (including extra-legal) positions of influence upon more powerful persons, and positions in relation to more powerful persons by which gain from the relationship, were realistically considered potential value in deciding whom to marry.

                      Disentangling all that by a divorce (if even possible financially & legally to disentangle) simply for emotional reasons (including being physically abused) was really not imaginable until VERY recently. Articles such as the one about the Lorings in saying that the Mrs apparently liked the Mr enough to have some children with him after the end of the Howe relationship are being absurd from the viewpoint of those times: a woman in the situation and era of Mrs Loring who did have 1 or more children, preferably male, was protecting her own future survival literally, because if she had no children she usually stood to lose having somewhere to live and income for food, clothing, etc, because if her husband chose to abandon her she had little recourse or means of survival; and if he predeceased her with other relatives of his still alive then those relatives of preceding generation and male relatives of her late husband's generation and younger generally had extensive inheritance rights that could easily impoverish her, including taking all property she had generated during the marriage and virtually all she had "brought to" the marriage. Even having a daughter was better than no children, because daughters were generally provided for in their parents' marriage contracts (the dower and dowry clauses for example, hence the word dowager has less to do with age than with property rights), daughters being useful for marrying off to other families with whom marital/property/business alliance looked mutually advantageous, which of course required the daughters to be bringing property in order for her to be of interest to the family of the "intended."

                      So, a widow who'd had any children at all during marriage was in a safer position. Note, that is "during" and does not mean the children were fathered by her husband, who might easily acknowledge-as-his-own any children fathered 'thru his wife affaires sooner than admit the children weren't his, if only because the marriage contract may have spelled out entitlements to him predicated upon his wife actually having children -- e.g., property from grandparents devolving directly to grandchildren-- which would be clauses protective to the wife, in effect, and because having children to give in marriage was potentially of contract value, so he was extremely unlikely to repudiate them, hence the saying, "never comment on a likeness" of one man's acknowledged children to the likeness of some other man, it just doesn't do anyone any good.

                      Again, so she was generally in considerable control of, even if not ownership of, all property resulting from having been married, in administering it for the benefit of the unmarried minor children (and for benefit to herself, fair pay for the job of widowed mother, even if technically there were male trustees doing the administering) and for married children for whom inheritance documents specified age of inheritance regardless of when marrying, and the inheritance documents were generally predetermined by the previous marriage documents & other legal forces of documents from the generation before and before.  As long as her children lived, (and sometimes even if they died but had given her grandchildren) the widow was reasonably safe, unless the children hated her and had legal power to dispossess her.

                      The humor and satire which Jane Austen and other writers of the era bring to stories of romance and seeking-for-marriage were written within a context of fully understanding the complexities of property as the means for survival. The idea of earning a living by fair-paid labor did not exist yet. The idea of "saving up for old age" was inaccessible to most people because banks and retirement plans in the modern sense did not exist and the best and often only investment for most was to buy real estate (some people these days will say the same) in order to have an income at least from rents of farmlands and buildings.  The mentions in Pride&Prejudice, Sense&Sensiblity, etc, of fearing to lose their home and income when the father of the family would die is not trivial, but actual. It only appears to be lightly taken from our viewpoint, our assumption that humor means no worries and that liking and affection and passion are all that figures in whom we marry; in their day, a marriage which both gave some security for one's parents & siblings as well as for the family created by the marriage AND involved affection was a sensationally exciting idea differing from the chivalric romances of preceding novelists.

                      The adoption by the christian/catholic church of the idea of sacred priestess orders and converting that idea into religious communities of women was one of the extremely few protections for women that existed, acceptance often requiring endowment of the abbey with whatever property the woman or widow legally had a right to bring - often not enough to live on in secular life even if independent life were possible for her, but in combination with the existing property held in common by the order it could be valuable enough to ensure her food, clothing, shelter & companionship for the rest of her life, and the only arena in which she might rise as a result of her own abilities ('tho rank of birth-family tended to have a major influence upon who could become the real authority/power in the community and the order). The dissolution of abbeys (Downtown Abbey indicating the place was probably originally an actual Abbey whose property was gifted to a 'deserving' person by a monarch) by Henry8 and his confiscating of the wealth and property of those abbeys put thousands of women literally into the street to walk it hooking or die, which was justified by the claim that those nuns were promiscuous and licentious anyway.  By the time of Jane Austen, one out of roughly every 8 women in the british isles was a prostitute and another 1 out of that 8 was in service to someone of property and her entire life conduct and determination of daily activities utterly subject to the whims & judgement of that propertied person with little or no recourse to law; by the end of the victorian era the numbers were 1 in 6 and 1 in 6.

                      So we need to be very careful how we interpret what people do ---and what we think they felt or thought--- in any era, culture, or circumstance different from our own.

                      It's all still extremely fascinating and enlightening, of course, and goes a long way toward explaining why (why meaning "from what cause" &/or "toward what purpose) empires routinely sank billions of dollars-worth of wealth and millions of lives held essentially slave to military service in standing armies for reinforcing tribute-taking & colonization & wars of multiple decades against their neighbors, brothers, and cousins, let alone wars against people they found expedient (profitable) to regard as inferior because not of their own culture. At a certain level of 'western' society, we are actually not as far from those times/values as we might think.

                      thanks for great conversation!

                      •  Absolutely fascinating comment -- (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        TayTay, mettle fatigue

                        it could have been a diary unto itself! In any case it is well worth reading; thank you!

                      •  Ok, at some point we need to talk offline (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mettle fatigue, RiveroftheWest

                        And I so wish I had picked a better link.

                        Recent scholarship has peered into these issues as they related to America and how US law saw marriage, women, property and inheritance. I have to find my link to 3 rdcent books on "infamous" women, including Peggy Shippen (might be Shippin), who was Benedict Arnold's eventual wife.

                        (I am apart from my research materials and on a cell phone on the moment. You open a world of topics on British and US views.  Love it. )

                        I am fascinated by the whole subject of women with or married to or paramours of "spies. "  check out the controversy on Margaret Kemble Gage or the infamous traitor Benjamin Church's amour.

                        I wish I had picked a better link on the Lorings. I generally stay away from anything with the female perjoratives like "whore" in them for obvious reasons.  

                        Thank you for this. Great stuff.

                        •  you're very kind. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          TayTay, RiveroftheWest

                          i can't read longform nonfiction anymore so i appreciate the material wherever someone brings them here.  actually i can't speak much outloud either - i get kind of aphasic, 'tho oddly when my fingers do the work that's much less a problem.

                          don't worry about the Loring link - it was such a great example of the kind of thinking any era is prone to use about previous ones.  whenever looking at history, that needs to be recalled constantly, so i think it did an excellent service.

                          and gave me an basis to contribute, so, y'know... heh ;)

                          most high-achieving women are infamous at some time, their own or others or both. i love the "uppity women" book series.  it's kids'-level but i get such a kick out of it.  

                          i looked up margaret kemble gage, "Peggy" Shippen (even wikipedia heads her article with the diminutive, and omits her married name) and benjamin church in wikipedia.  An interesting bit about shippen that pertains to one of my points:

                          Arnold purchased Mount Pleasant, a manor home...for his bride, and specifically deeded the property to Peggy and that of their future children.[3] The couple did not live at Mount Pleasant; instead Arnold rented it out for income property.
                          the tradition of a diamond engagement ring comes, basically, from the propertied-class custom of the affianced husband giving a property gift to the affianced wife, in respect for her material security, and dates back very anciently.   sadly, diamond rings are not worth squat these days.  diamonds are not rare nor particularly precious.   emeralds, on the other hand...

                          wikipedia quotes geo washington reporting of letters carried by "a woman who was kept by [Benjamin] Church" which means she could either have been his lover whose living expenses he paid, or a salaried servant, a bond servant (indentured) or a slave, because the verb for having all/any of them was "keep", just as for owning/operating a wheeled passenger vehicle at the time was "keeping a carriage".  her being literate is what most suggests she may have been near of his class, but unless he was wealthy enough to pay the costs of her separate household (and there's no clarity of his wealth or lack), she may not have been his lover except coincidental to her other tasks as some form of servant to him.  

                          these articles are mostly written from an assumption of independence-mindedness that isn't entirely accurate, which the "Assessment" section in the Church article hints at the error of in saying

                          It is worth noting that Church shared this information when Americans were not yet fixed on independence.
                          we're so jingoistically conditioned to think of our founding families as "americans" that even in wikipedia articles by historians (amateur or whatever) the presumption of patriotism-vs-traitors creeps in even without basis.  it's difficult to think/write outside the reflexive box.

                          talk to you again/next time, or looking forward to reading what you send next,
                          thnx again

        •  That could be a good story. (6+ / 0-)

          I never knew about it, and I'm a colonial history buff. You should write it.

          -9.0, -8.3 "Remember, a writer writes. Always." --Throw Momma from the Train

          by SensibleShoes on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 07:05:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Trapped in the furniture (7+ / 0-)

      That's even worse than being trapped in the appliances.

      I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

      by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 07:38:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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