In A Human Moment

News articles from the 19th century

How To Be Happy

how to be happy


The Ladies’ Monthly Museum (London, England), [Tuesday], [March 01, 1814]; pg. 155. New Readerships.
Gale Document Number: DX1901239667

Perpetual Sunshine

good temper

The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine (London, England), [Saturday], [May 01, 1852]; pg. 23. New Readerships
Gale Document Number: DX1901417121

Historical Inaccuracies

history-narrow-focus-educationHistorical are of all writers bound to be accurate; and, as a rule, authors of this class take reasonable pains to ascertain the facts about which they write. In some cases, however, partiality carries the day against truth; and the very author who will spare neither time nor trouble to acquaint himself with the smallest details regarding his work is not proof against the temptation of the quietly slurring over awkward passages in the life of some favourite, or of giving a slight tinge to facts that are opposed to his own views.

Lord Clarendon, in a letter to a friend, candidly avows that he had omitted certain passages regarding Charles I from his history “that it should give no information where it could not give that it would; and should leave the King’s memory happy, though his reign had been unfortunate.”

Despite the inaccuracy of the historian, we cannot but admire the loyalty of the old cavalier, who, at the time he was penning this affectionate partial history, was suffering poverty and exile from the ingratitude of a Stuart. After all, a strictly impartial history is sadly dull reading.

In an amusing paper on the art of successful lying that appeared some years ago in one of the magazines, the author advised all falsehood tellers to introduce as much truth as possible into their narrative, as trifling accuracies will cover much fiction. This is undoubtedly true. The actual existence of the “bricks in the chimney” substantiated the absurd story of Jack Cade’s birth in the eyes of his followers. It was by the skilful introduction of real events that Defoe induced people to receive his tales as sober histories.

A trifling inaccuracy has often caused the detection of an ingenious fraud. A discrepancy between the dates of the watermark of the paper and that of the will written upon it has sufficed to set aside a supposed testamentary document. Only a short time ago some of the jury delined to accept a evidence of a birth an entry in an old prayer book in the ground that the boo itself must have been printed subsequent to 1772, as the Princess Dowager, whose name was omitted from its pages, only died in that year; while the birth was entered as taking place many years previously. Trfles like these decide the result of many an action at law. – Globe.

Historical Inaccuracies
The Belfast News-Letter, Monday, August 1 1881, Issue 20642
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Don’t Care Fell In A Goose Pond

“Don’t care” – so they say – fell into a goose-pond; and “I won’t” is apt to come to no better an end. At least, my grandmother tells me that that was how the Miller had to quit his native town, and leave the tip of his nose behind him.

It all came of his being allowed to say “I won’t” when he was quite a small boy. His mother thought he looked pretty when he was pouting, and that wilfulness gave him an air which distinguished him from other people’s children. And when she found out that his lower lip was becoming so big that it spoilt his beauty, and that his wilfulness gained his way twice and stood in his way eight times out of ten, it was too late to alter him.

Then she said “Dearest Abinadab, do be more obliging!” And he replied (as she had taught him), “I won’t.”

He always took what he could get and would neither give nor give up to other people. This he thought was the way to get more out of life than one’s neighbours. Amongst other things, he made a point of taking the middle of the footpath.

“Will you allow me to pass you, sir? – I am in a hurry,” said a voice behind him one day.

“I won’t,” said the Miller; on which a poor washerwoman, with her basket, scrambled down into the road and Abinadab chuckled.

Next day he was walking as before.

“Will you allow me to pass you, sir? – I am in a hurry,” said a voice behind him.

“I won’t,” said the Miller. On which he was knocked into the ditch; and the Baron walked on, and left him to get out of the mud on which ever side he liked.

He quarrelled with his friends till he had none left, and with the tradesmen of the town till there was only one who would serve him, and this man offended him at last. “I’ll show you who’s master!” said the Miller. “I won’t pay a penny of your bill-not a penny.”

“Sir,” said the tradesman, “my giving you offence now is no just reason why you should refuse to pay for what you have had and been satisfied with. I must beg you to pay me at once.”

“I won’t,” said the Miller, “and what I say I mean. I won’t, I tell you, I won’t.”

So the tradesman summoned him before the Justice, and the Justice condemned him to pay the bill and the costs of the suit.

“I won’t,” said the Miller.

But they put him in prison, and in prison he would have remained, if his mother had not paid the money to obtain his release.

By-and-by she died, and left him her blessing and some very good advice, which (as is sometimes the case with bequests) would have been more useful if it had come earlier.

The Miller’s mother had taken a great deal of trouble off his hands which now fell into them. She took in all the small bags of grist which the country-folk brought to be ground, and kept account of them, and spoke civilly to the customers, big and little.

But the small matters irritated the Miller.

“I must be the slave of all the old women on the country-side,” said he; “but I won’t – they shall see I won’t.”

So he put up a notice to say that he would only receive grist at a certain hour on certain days. Now, but a third of the old women could read the notice, and they did not attend to it. People came as before; but the Miller locked the door of the mill, and sat in the counting house and chuckled.

“My good friend,” said his neighbours, “you can’t do business in this way. If a man lives by trade, he must serve his customers. And a miller must take in grist when it comes to the mill.”

“Others may, if they please,” said the Miller; “but I won’t. When I make a rule, I stick to it.”

“Take advice, man, or you’ll be ruined,” said his friends.

“I won’t,” said the Miller.

In a few weeks all the country-folk turned their donkeys’ heads towards the windmill on the heath. It was a little farther to go, but the Windmiller took custom when it came to him, gave honest measure, and added civil words gratis. The other Miller was ruined.


“All you can do now is to leave the mill while you can pay the rent, and try another trade,” said his friends.

“I won’t,” said the Miller. “Shall I be turned out of the house where I was born, because the country-folk are fools?”

However, he could not pay the rent, and the landlord found another tenant. “You must quit,” said he to the Miller.

“That I won’t,” said the Miller, “not for fifty new tenants.”

Whereupon the landlord sent for the constables, and he was carried out, which is not a dignified way of changing one’s residence. But then it is not easy to be obstinate and dignified at the same time.

His wrath against the landlord knew no bounds.

“Was there ever such a brute?” he cried. “Would any man of spirit hold his home at the whim of a landlord? I’ll never rent another house as long as I live.”

“But you must live somewhere,” said his friends.

“I won’t,” said the Miller.

He was no longer a young man, and the new tenant pitied him.

“The poor old fellow is out of his senses.” He said. And he let him sleep in one of his barns. One of the mill cats found out that there was a new warm bed in this barn, and she came and lived there too, and kept away the mice. One night, however, Mrs Pussey disturbed the Miller’s rest. She was in and out of the window constantly, and meowed horribly into the bargain.

“It seems a man can’t even sleep in peace,” said the Miller. “If this happens again, you’ll go into the mill-race to sing to the fishes.”

The next night the cat was still on the alert, and the following morning the miller tied a stone round her neck and drowned her.

“Oh, spare the poor thing, there’s a good soul,” said a bystander.

“I won’t,” said the Miller. “I told her what would happen.”

But now the cat was away, the mice could play; and they played hide-and-seek over the Miller’s nightcap. It got to such a pass, that there was no rest to be had.

“I won’t go to bed, I declare I won’t,” said the Miller. So he sat up all night in an arm-chair, and threw everything he could lay his hands on at the corners where he heard the mice scuffling, till the place was topsy-turvy. Towards morning he lit a candle and dressed himself. He was in a terrible humour; and when he began to shave, his hand shook and he cut himself. The draughts made the flame of the candle unsteady, too, and the shadow of the miller’s nose (which was a large one) fell in certain shapes upon his cheeks, and interfered with the progress of the razor. At first he thought he would wait till daylight. Then his temper got the better of him.

“I won’t,” he said, “I won’t; why should I?”

So he began again. Like many other men, he held on by his nose to steady his cheeks, and he gave it such a spiteful pinch that the tears came into his eyes.

“Matters have come to a pretty pass, when a man’s own nose is to stand in his light,” said he.

By-and-by a gust of wind came through the window. Up flared the candle, and the shadow of the miller’s nose danced half over his face and the razor gashed his chin. Transported with fury, he struck before he could think what he was doing. The razor was very sharp, and the tip of the Miller’s nose came off as clean as his whiskers.

When daylight came, he saw himself in the glass, he resolved to leave the place.

“I won’t stay here to be a laughing-stock,” said he.

As he trudged out on to the highway, with his bundle on his back, the Baron met him and pitted him. He dismounted from his horse, and leading it up to the Miller, he said, -

“Friend, you are elderly to be going far afoot. I will lend you m mare to take you to your destination. When you are there, knot the reins and throw them on her should, saying ‘Home!’ She will then return to me. But mark one thing, – she is not used to whip or spur. Humour her, and she will carry you well and safely.”

The Miller mounted willingly enough, and set forward. At first the mare was a little restive. The Miller had no spurs on, but in spite of the Baron’s warning, he kicked her with his heels. On this, she danced till the Miller’s had and bundle flew right and left, and he was very near to following them.

“Ah, you vixen!”  he cried. “You think I’ll humour you as the Baron does. But I won’t – no, you shall see that I won’t!” And gripping his walking stick firmly in his hand, he belaboured the Baron’s mare as if it had been a donkey.

On which she sent the Miller clean over her head, and cantered back to the castle; and wherever it was that he went to, he had to walk.

He never returned to his native village, and everybody was glad to be rid of him. One must bear and forbear with his neighbours, if he hopes to be regretted when he departs.

But my grandmother says that long after the mill had fallen into ruin, the story was told as a warning to wilful children of the Miller who cut off his nose to spite his own face.



Old Fashioned Fairy Tales
Aunt Judy’s Magazine [Date Unknown] pg 353; Issue CXX
Gale Document Number; DX1901400870

William James: “Telepathy” in Johnson’s Universal Cyclopædia (1899)

Originally posted on Forbidden Histories:

WJThough William James is now mostly remembered as a philosopher, he was one of two ‘founding fathers’ of modern professionalized psychology. While his German counterpart, Wilhelm Wundt in Leipzig, dismissed empirical approaches to reported psychic phenomena and spiritualism, James on the contrary sought to make the study of unorthodox phenomena a legitimate part of nascent modern psychology. The following article is an entry on ‘Telepathy’ written by James for vol. 8 of Johnson’s Universal Cyclopædia (ed. C. K. Adams), pp. 45-47, New York, D. Appleton & Company, 1899, which is here reproduced with accompanying figures. Nicely documenting James’ stance on psychical research, it provides a concise overview of experimental work done on telepathy by some of James’ colleagues in England, France and Germany between about 1880 and1899 and includes a short reference to his sittings with the Boston trance medium, Leonora Piper.

Teleathy [from Gr. τήλε, far…

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The Web

Originally posted on Aubrey's Blog:

It was as bright as diamante.  Its silken anchors wrapped around a horizon of leaves; and though its expanse was only a few inches it sparkled in the dark like a galaxy.

006 (3)

Heavy with prisms, magnified within each trembling star a forest pressed against its curving, liquid facets.  Across the knitted veil these baubles were scattered, each containing a panorama multiplied far beyond its original, tiny landscape.

006 (3)

Hidden in the fragrant shadows, its creator waited, admiring her handiwork through her multiple eyes.  Her kaleidoscope vision took in the huntsman’s swath of webbing which a gracious morning had turned into an expanse of crystal droplets.  It was a dazzling and deadly expanse; a countryside woven for capture, even as it had captured the water squeezed out of the cool air.

It was a dainty veil pulled from Nature’s hair, a pretty thing much at variance from the tiny monster that was…

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Defining the Historian: Victorian Guide To Sex

Originally posted on viceandvirtueblog:


So last month something awesome happened, and my first book ‘The Victorian Guide to Sex’ was published by Pen and Sword Books, Ltd. It’s been an amazing experience, eye opening and surprising all at the same time, but I’m really proud of the final version. I owe a huge debt of thanks to my brilliant illustrator, Steve Kirk, and the British Newspaper Archive, the Science Museum, the British Library, The Museum of London, as well as curators and archives across the world for helping me in the research.


The feeling of holding your first book, with your actual name on it, is really strange. I think it’s only started to sink in and feel like a reality in the last few weeks, I still have to pinch myself, or get up in the middle of the night and look at the copy sitting on my bookshelf, to actually believe it.

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Coroners Inquest – Benjamin Turner


Mr. Hawkes (coroner) held an inquest at his court, Moor Street, yesterday, morning, upon the body of Benjamin Turner (32), who lived at 3 Court, 4 house, Hall Street. – Mary Ann Turner said that deceased was her husband, and followed the trade of a caster. Last Tuesday he came home from work about a quarter past ten o’clock the worse for drink. Without speaking to wintess he at once went up to bed in the dark. Witness was sitting on the doorstep when he arrived home and she remained there until half past eleven o’clock. At that time her brother-in-law, Alfred Jones who is living apart from his wife, entered, and went to bed.

Elizabeth Macdonald, witness’s sister, then came to the house the worse for drink. They had a conversation together, and witness tried to persuade her sister to go home. Witness asked Macdonald not to disturb her husband, who was in bed the worse for beer. The sister replied “that she did not mind if she did wake the husband,” and at that moment he came downstairs clad in his trousers and nightshirt only. Witness left the room and heard the deceased tell her sister to go.

She heard angry words, and in a moment after the deceased ran into the yard with his shirt in flames. Witness fainted, and when she recovered her husband had veen removed to the General Hospital. She went to the hospital, and watched by her husband until his death, but the only remark he made was “Lizzie ought not to have done it to me.” – In answer to the Coroner, witness said that by Lizzie deaceased meant Elizabeth Macdonald. No one would have been able to enter the house while witness was in the yard.

Cross examined: Witness admitted that deceased ran at Macdonald, but she did not see him pick up a poker, and she was not aware that he smashed the lamp in Macdonald’s hand before she threw it – Alfred Jones said that he heard screams in the house and ran downstairs. He saw Turner with his clothes on fire. Elizabeth Macdonald was in the yard. She was the worse for beer, and had a baby in her arms. Witness went to the hospital with deceased, but he made no statement as to how he was set on fire.

David Sandford, who lives in the same yard as deceased, said that he extinguished the flames by putting his coat over the deceased. He did not see Elizabeth Macdonald in the yard.

Police-contastble William Davenport (170) said that hearing screams in the yard he ran up and saw deceased with his clothes in flames. Mrs Turner lay in a faint and Mrs Macdonald stood by the door of the house. He saw that the floor was covered with burning oil, and ran in to put out the fire. As he passed Mrs Macdonald she said “The b- want to kill me, but I’ll kill them first.” He subsequently found some portions of the broken lamp, and received the other part from Inspector Alvey, who had found it in the house.

Inspector Alvey said that he arrested the prisoner at her mother’s house, in Warstone Lane. He removed her to Kenion Street Station, and told her that she would be charged with violently assaulting Benjamin Turner, by striking him on the head with a paraffin lamp, and setting fire to him. She said, “He came downstairs and hit me, and then I hit him with the lamp. Now that’s the truth: he’s alway on to me.” He had further charged her that morning with causing Turner’s death, and she had made no reply.

Mr Nason, resident surgical officer at the General Hospital, said that deceased was received at midnight on the 25th. He was suffering from burns on the back, the right shoulder, forearm and hand, and on the chest and back of the neck. There were also several wounds, two on his back and one on the back of the head. The wounds were such that they might have been produced by a blow from a paraffin lamp like the one produced.

Deceased gradually sank from exhaustion and died at twenty five minutes past nine o’clock on Sunday morning.

A post mortem examination revealed the fact that there were no other marks of violence and that the internal organs were all healthy. Death was due to exhaustion brought about by the injuries.

The Coroner in summing up said that if the prisonerly deliberately and with malicious intent stuck deceased with such an instrument as a lamp, it would be wilful murder, but if they believed that she did it without fore-though and intent then they would return a verdict of manslaughter.

The jury retired, and after a few moments deliberation returned a verdict of “Manslaughter” against Elizabeth Macdonald, who was committed for trial at the Birmingham Assizes.

The Coroner allowed David Sandford 2s. 6d. in addition to his expenses for his promtness in putting out the flames.

Birmingham Daily Post Wednesday, July 3, 1889, Issue 9679
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Ability and Exertion


“Most lives are insignificant, not from want of ability so much as from want of exertion.” 
Alfred Vaughan

The Derby Mercury, Wednesday, January 9, 1861; Issue 6721
Gale Document Number: BA3200026616
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Living Within The Means


LIVING WITHIN THE MEANS. – Every man ought to contrive as to live within his means. This practice is of the very essence of honesty, for if a man do(es) not manage honestly to live within his own means, he must necessarily be living dishonestly upon the means of somebody else.

Those who are careless about personal expenditure and consider merely their own gratification, without regard for the comfort of others, generally find out the real uses of money when it is too late. Though by nature generous, these thriftless persons are often driven to do very shabby things. They dawdle with their money as with time; draw bills upon the future; anticipate their earnings; and are thus under the necessity of dragging after them a load of debts and obligations which seriously affect their action as free and independent men.

The loose cash which many persons throw away uselessly, and worse, would often form a basis of fortune and independence for life. These wasters are their own worst enemies, though generally found amongst the ranks of those who rail at the injustice of “the world”. But if a man will not be his own friend, how can he expect that others will be?

Orderly men of moderate means have always something left in their pockets to help others; whereas your prodigal and careless fellows who spend all, never find an opportunity for helping anybody. It is poor economy, however, to be a scrub. Narrow mindedness in living and in dealing is generally short-sighted, and leads to failure.

The penny soul, it is said, never came to two pence. Generosity and liberality, like honesty, prove the best policy after all.

Though Jenkinson, in the Vicar of Wakefield, cheated his kind-hearted neighbour Flamborough, in one way or another, every year, “Flamborough” he says, “has been regularly growing in riches, while I have come to poverty and gaol.” And practical life abounds in cases of brilliant results from a course of generous and honest policy. – Self-Help

Nottinghamshire Guardian Thursday, January 26, 1860; pg. 3; Issue 723.
Gale Document Number: R3208379530
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