Saturday, October 22, 2011

History's Runway: Queen Elizabeth's Wedding Dress, 1947

This and all related images from:
The Royal Collection
One of the Queen’s favorite designers throughout his life, Sir Norman Hartnell (1901-1979) was enlisted by Her Majesty as a princess to design the gown for her 1947 marriage to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.

Hartnell submitted designs for the dress in August 1947. These designs showed his vision of a bridal gown of fine pearl embroidery in a floral design. He cited as his inspiration Botticelli’s painting of Primavera. The Princess gave Hartnell her approval.

The rich ivory dress of duchesse satin contrasts beautifully with the white seed pearls which were imported from America. Further embellishment comes from silver thread, sparkling crystals and transparent appliqué tulle embroidery. The magnificent 13-foot silk tulle full court train attaches at the shoulders and is adorned with embroidery, pearls, crystal and appliqué duchesse satin. The ensemble was completed by a silk tulle veil and ivory duchesse satin high-heeled sandals, trimmed with silver and seed pearl buckles, made by Edward Rayne.

Gifts of Grandeur: The Duchess of Teck’s Earrings

The Royal Collection
Made in the early Nineteenth Century, these earrings originally belonged to Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester (1776-1857), and were bequeathed to her niece Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck and by her to her daughter, the future Queen Mary, in 1897.

Queen Mary wrote at length in her journal about these earrings and always cherished them. She presented the pair to her granddaughter Princess Elizabeth on 31 January 1947. As a tribute to her grandmother, and much to Queen Mary’s delight, Princess Elizabeth wore them at her wedding in 1947.

Painting of the Day: A Preliminary Sketch For Queen Elizabeth's Hat and Gown for the Royal Wedding, 1947

The Royal Collection
I was very thrilled to find this rare preliminary sketch for Queen Elizabeth’s (The Queen Mother’s) gown and hat for the marriage of her daughter, Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) to the Duke of Edinburgh. The sketch was made in the spring of 1947 by Sir Norman Hartnell.

The Art of Play: The Bru Bride Doll, 1865-1867

Bride Doll
France, 1865-67
The Victoria & Albert Museum
The image of the idealized bride has always been a popular one and has served as an inspiration for all manner of art forms over the centuries. Here, we see a doll from France that was made between 1865 and 167 and is dressed as a bride. The doll has a molded bisque swivel head and shoulder plate, stuffed calico body and legs, kid leather arms, inset blue glass eyes, and a blonde mohair wig. She is dressed in an ornate two-piece dress of lace-trimmed white satin, with a long train and a tasseled sash.

Such bride dolls became quite popular in the Nineteenth Century and showed the growing trend toward white wedding gowns. Before that, wedding dresses could have been made in any color although blue was one of the most popular choices, and green one of the least popular.

Punch’s Cousin, Chapter 374

Odo stumbled as he was dragged toward St. Louis Cathedral. Mr. Punch held one of Odo’s arms while Robert held the other. They walked briskly—in silence as Marjani and Iolanthe Evangeline followed closely behind.

“Could you, at least, look at my hands?” Iolanthe asked Marjani. “I’m in terrible pain.”

“Ain’t that fittin’?” Marjani responded without looking. “Think of all the pain you done brought on other people. Ain’t it high time you got some of your own?”

“You think I don’t suffer?” Iolanthe snapped. “I suffer plenty, and I don’t want you thinkin’ that I don’t. Sure, I bring pain to some folks. Sure. But, I sure enough bring pleasure to a lot more of ‘em.”

“The kind of pleasure you give don’t count.” Marjani muttered.

“Who are you to judge me anyway?” Iolanthe snarled. “Has bein’ set free made you so high and mighty?”

“Ain’t nothin’ makes me high and mighty.” Marjani shook her head. “I do what I do and I let the Lord judge me.”

“And, don’t you think He’s gonna judge you harshly for turnin’ your back on a woman in need?”

“I’ll take my chances,” Marjani smiled.

“What did I ever do to you?” Iolanthe sighed.

“You tried to kill my daughter.” Marjani frowned. “To start…”

“She was dyin’ anyway.” Iolanthe shrugged. “Didn’t she die not a day later?”

“You killed my friend, Naasir.”

“That wasn’t personal. That was business.”

“You murdered the Duke’s mama.”

“Also business. Besides, ain’t no one in the world who would say she wasn’t awful and didn’t deserve it.”

“You…” Marjani stopped in her tracks. “Listen, you, I don’t gotta tell ya why I don’t like you! You got an answer for anything anyway! So, jus’ be quiet. I got some fine salve back at the house. I’ll doctor your hands when we get back, if only you’ll just keep silent!”

“I knew you’d see it my way,” Iolanthe winked.

“Quiet.” Marjani whispered.

“Certainly,” Iolanthe laughed as they hurried along.

As they arrived at the cathedral, Robert gripped Odo’s arm even tighter and growled in the man’s ear. “If you’re lying to me, if that boy isn’t in this church, so help me God, I will paint the courtyard with your blood.”

“He better be in there,” Punch added. “Me chum ain’t tellin’ no lie.”

“Anything you want to say to us, Odo, before we go in that building?” Marjani asked the man as his eyes filled with tears.

“No.” Odo shook his head.

Punch and Robert pulled him to the doors of the cathedral.

“Wait!” Odo yelped. “He ain’t in there. I lied.”

Robert forcefully pulled Odo’s arm and flung him to the ground.

“But, you can’t hurt me!” Odo cowered. “Cuz I’m the only one who knows where he is. If you hurt me, you’ll never know.”

“Tell us!” Punch screamed, kneeling down to look Odo squarely in the face.

“Not ‘til you do somethin’ for me.” Odo trembled.

“You’re in no position to make requests,” Iolanthe snarled.

“I’ll take you to the baby, but I won’t go with these white men. I want to go alone with Miss Iolanthe.”

“Not a chance.” Robert shook his head. “We all go!”

“No. I’ll only go with Iolanthe.” Odo said shakily.

“Why would we trust Iolanthe any more than we’d trust you?” Robert barked. “She’s the one who sold the child to Edward Cage in the first place! Do you really think we’d let you go alone with her?”

Iolanthe grinned.

“The only reason she’s following us now, I’m sure, is so she can get her hands on the boy before we do and bring him back to Edward Cage!” Robert continued.

Iolanthe nodded. “I figured you knew I’d follow you anyway. So, why hide?”

“Odo, use your head. Tell us where the boy is, and then, run. You don’t gotta go back to Mr. Cage. Run! We won’t make you go back!” Marjani said. “Go north! Go to your freedom. This is your chance to do somethin’ right and earn yourself a chance to be free.”

“Free?” Odo frowned. “And give up my place with a rich family in a mansion? What else am I gonna do? Dig for the railroad? No. Carryin’ trays and sayin’ ‘yes sir,’ is fine enough by me.”

“You’re a snake,” Marjani shook her head.

“How long you know me, Marjani?” Odo asked. “You jus’ realize that?”

Mr. Punch lunged forward. “I’m tired o’ waitin’, I am! Tell me where me nephew is!”He grabbed Odo by the shoulders and pushed his back against the cold ground.

“With Agnes!” Odo screamed. “At the Hotel Triumph.”

“You left that baby with that woman?” Marjani gasped.

“Sure, she’s a nanny, ain’t she?”

“She’s a devil, is what she is.” Punch hissed. He turned around and noticed that Iolanthe had already left. “Damn!”

“Come on,” Robert took Punch by the elbow. “We’ve got to get to that hotel before she does.”

“What about Odo?” Marjani asked.

“Leave him here. He’s Edward Cage’s problem now.” Robert replied as all three of them hurried off.

Odo lay on the steps of the cathedral, looking up at its massive front façade.

“No, Englishmen, I ain’t Edward Cage’s problem jus’ yet. I’m still yours.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-373? If so, you can read them here. Come back on Monday, October 24, 2011 for Chapter 375 of Punch’s Cousin.

Obscure Book of the Day: The Imperishable Glory of Britain’s Royal Heritage

Our next “Obscure Book,” entitled "The Imperishable Glory of Britain's Royal Heritage," was also published by the Pitkin Publishing Company in 1952 in preparation for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and as part of Pitkin’s “Pride of Britain” series. A documentary film was also produced in conjunction with this book. Both chronicle the history of the Royal Family, paying special attention to Elizabeth II’s role in the future of the monarchy.

Some of the more interesting portions of the book recount the histories of important works of art and jewels as well as the Coronation Regalia.  My favorite part is a Christmas message from 1952 wherein the Queen urges the nation to pray for her on the day of her coronation.

Let’s take a look inside…

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: The ‘Queen Anne’ and ‘Queen Caroline’ Pearl Necklaces

The Royal Collection
These two necklaces are part of the private collection of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. The first, a string of forty-six pearls once belonged to Queen Anne and, the next, a necklace of fifty pearls was owned by Queen Caroline.

They are always worn together and were given by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) to Princess Elizabeth as a wedding present in 1947. Prior to the wedding, they were cleaned and serviced by Garrards who has looked after the pearls since 1896.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gifts of Grandeur: The Princess Andrew of Greece Bracelet, 1947

The Royal Collection
This bracelet is set with old brilliant cut diamonds which were taken from a tiara that had belonged to Princess Andrew of Greece, the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

An impressive sparkler, it was designed and made for Prince Philip by the London jeweler Philip Antrobus (of 6 Old Bond St.) as a wedding gift for Princess Elizabeth. This is part of Her Majesty’s monumental private collection of jewels—most of which were bequeathed to her by her grandmother, Queen Mary.

Mr. Punch in the Arts: The Punch & Judy Polka, 1889

Sheet Music
The Victoria & Albert Museum
What better way to celebrate a marriage than with a polka? And, what better polka than one written in honor of Britain’s most dysfunctional puppet couple? Here, we see the sheet music cover for the “Punch & Judy Polka” by Oscar Barrett.

Our Mr. Punch is pictured here with his blushing bride, Judy, and their baby. Of course, Mr. Punch is poking the baby's head with a stick—but, that’s to be expected. Punch attended the same school of parenting as Homer Simpson.

Antique Image of the Day: Prince Philip as a Child, 1929

Prince Philip of Greece
Marcovitch, 1929
The Royal Collection
You can immediately see the resemblance of the two young Princes William and Harry to their grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh in this photo taken of the Prince Consort in 1929 when he was still Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.

By the late 1920s, Prince Philip's family had settled in France. Taken in Paris, this photo is the work of the Russian photographer Emile Marcovitch. Here, we see Prince Philip in the dress uniform of an Evzone Guard (a ceremonial unit of the Greek Army)--with distinctive cap and embroidered waistcoat.

Friday Fun: The Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, 1947

Here’s a treat—newsreel footage of the marriage of the future Queen Elizabeth II to the Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey in 1947.

Punch’s Cousin, Chapter 373

Gerard laughed when he’d realized what he’d done. He’d been so accustomed to being ordered around by Arthur that he’d forgotten that he could act on his own. Still, he knew he’d better get moving. Taking one last glance at the two men that he’d knocked out—each with one punch—he rushed toward Charles and untied him.

“Get the girl,” Gerard grunted as Charles weakly rose.

“You fools!” Marie shrieked, realizing that two of her men had been felled. “Stop them!”

Ulrika hastily untied Giovanni and took his hand. They ran out together, happily abandoning the others.

“Barbara, listen,” Charles rasped as he untied the woman. “You’ve got to come with me.”

“Not now, Arthur,”” Barbara scolded. “Can’t you see I’m resting?”

“Arthur is dead!” Charles spat. “He’s ashes!”

Gerard hurried over and picked up Barbara, flinging him over his shoulder. “Come on, then!”

Marie watched in horror as they hurried off.

“Miss Marie?” Several of her followers said, rushing forward. “Want we should get them back.”

Marie Laveau shook her head and grinned. “No. I don’t need them after all.”

“But?” One of the man chirped.

“Let them go.” Marie sighed. “I have other plans now. Nothing can ruin this night.”

Meanwhile, Charles stumbled along after Gerard who still carried Barbara.

“Where are we going?” Charles panted.

“Back to the Duke,” Gerard replied breathlessly.

“He won’t take Barbara in.” Charles protested.

“Sure he will. She’s his sister. Ain’t she?”

“You don’t understand.” Charles moaned.

“You got a better idea?” Gerard snapped.

Charles was silent.

“That’s what I thought.” Gerard grunted.

Further the other direction, Ulrika Rittenhouse shrieked with glee. “Wasn’t that delicious?”

“I didn’t find it so.” Giovanni muttered. “I don’t think I would call being bound and threatened a good time.”

“It was so exciting! All of those dancing beasts and the fire! It was positively savage!” Ulrika continued.

“You’re a queer girl,” Giovanni laughed.

“Aren’t I?” Ulrika mooed. “Now, come my darling. We shall return home.”

“Home?” Giovanni snorted. “Do you really think that Edward Cage is going to let me continue to stay in his house with an unmarried girl?”

“Not his home, my dear. My home! Marionneaux.”

“Where is this?”

“You’ll love it.” Ulrika grinned. “Fields of sugar cane. The bayou—it’s deep, warm, red like blood. The moss in the trees and our house—oh, our beautiful house. It’s all so perfect.”

“What of your family?”

“They’ll do what I tell them to do.” Ulrika winked.

“You’re sure of that?”

“Of course, darling.” Ulrika spun around and embraced Giovanni. “Everything you ever desired will be yours.”

“I approve.” Giovanni smiled.

“There’s just one little detail we need to take care of before we leave.” Ulrika pouted.

“What’s that?”

“It should be simple enough for you to do.”

“Go on.”

“I just need you to murder Barbara Allen for me.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-372? If so, you can read them here.

Obscure Book of the Day: Princess Elizabeth's Wedding Day

At the age of thirteen, Princess Elizabeth—daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and heir to the British throne—met Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark and, even at that tender age, fell in love with the man who was her second cousin once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousin through Queen Victoria. They exchanged letters for years, and Elizabeth decided that Philip was the man she would marry.

This union was not without opposition. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was said to have been violently opposed to the marriage, dubbing Philip as “the Hun,” while Royal advisors worried that the Prince’s ties to German relatives would be problematic in the post World War II climate. The Prince renounced his Greek and Danish titles, taking the style of Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten and converted to Anglicanism. Still, this was not enough to quiet his detractors who then considered him an untitled foreigner without a home or country. Nevertheless, the marriage proceeded.

In 1947, the future Queen married Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey. The Princess—ever devoted to her country—insisted on acting as a normal citizen and used ration coupons to purchase the material used by Norman Hartnell for her wedding gown. Further scandal came when the Princess’ uncle, The Duke of Windsor (formerly King Edward VIII) was not invited to the ceremony—causing her Aunt, Princess Mary, to refuse to attend in protest. Nevertheless, Queen Mary (Elizabeth’s grandmother, widow of King George V and mother of the present King, the Duke of Windsor and Princess Mary) showed her support. And, the nation turned out—as they always do—to witness the Royal wedding.

Queen Mary enjoyed a nice wedding banquet.  No doubt,
she took home a centerpiece. 
A variety of souvenirs were produced—some official, some not—as is always the case. The next obscure book in our series is also from the Pitkin Publishing Company. Entitled, “Princess Elizabeth’s Wedding Day,” it was printed in 1947 to chronicle the event and contains, on the back cover, a message from the Princess to the people of Britain, thanking them for their support. The volume is filled with beautiful pictures, and, in fact, the front cover features a lovely photograph which has been carefully glued on.

Let’s take a look inside…

Shots of the bride.  Here, she's seen in the carriage wearing the Russian Fringe Tiara which
is still a favorite of Her Majesty's. 
Big.  Royal.  Cake.


Of course, we know how the marriage turned out.  Now Queen Elizabeth II and Philip, the Prince Consort and Duke of Edinburgh, they're still married and, presumably, still happy. 

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: The Coronation Golden Persephone Salad Crescent, 1953

Salad Crescent
Wedgwood, 1953
Golden Persephone Pattern
The Victoria & Albert Museum
For the Coronation Banquet following the crowning of a new monarch, it’s customary to create new china which represents the incoming sovereign’s tastes and sensibilities. For the Coronation Banquet of Queen Elizabeth II, a new set of beautiful china was designed—at the Queen’s request--which was based upon the pattern used for the Queen’s father, King George VI.

The pattern, entitled, “Golden Persephone” was inspired by the 1936 design of Eric Ravilious, made by Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd. An impressive new service in gold upon cream bone china was manufactured by Wedgwood. Here, we see a salad crescent from the set. Examples from the service were donated to the V&A by Her Majesty following the banquet.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gratuitous Bertie Dog Picture: Let's Sing the Praises of Pants

"Now, I know I don't wear them, but in your case, pants might be a good idea."

Image: Artists Sketching Among Antique Ruins, Jean Lemaire, 1630, The Victoria and Albert Museum

Mastery of Design: The Hilliard Locket, 1610

English, 1610
The Victoria & Albert Museum
This small circular locket is decorated with opaque and translucent enamel and houses miniatures from the studio of Nicholas Hilliard. One shows James I, King of England (ruled 1603-1625), and, the other, Noah's Ark. The portrait of James I is based on an earlier work by Hilliard, painted around 1605, which is now at Windsor Castle.

Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619) was the most notable miniature painter of his day. He was trained as a goldsmith and is known to have worked on a jewel for Edward Seymour, 2nd Earl of Hertford (died 1621) and to have designed a Great Seal for Elizabeth I (ruled 1558-1603).

Her Majesty's Furniture: The James Wyatt Armchair, 1805

Oak Armchair
C. 1805
The Victoria & Albert Museum
There’s something wholly English about this open armchair of oak, with cluster-column legs. Crafted in the Gothic Revival style, it is decorated with a turned ring at half height, and square armrests which enclose gothic tracery carving . The back is pierced and divided by cluster-columns into three arcades with tracery carving, The top rail forms a pediment which surrounds further tracery motifs.

The chair is said to be the work of the architect James Wyatt (1746-1813) who may have made it for one of the interiors that the Prince Regent, later George IV, commissioned for Carlton House in London. Records show that the Gothic Library at Carlton House, was supplied with a set of oak seat furniture in 1808. This chair may belong to that set.

Curiously, the chair bears the inventory mark of Windsor Castle. The mark was added about 1835, indicating that this chair eventually ended up at Windsor around the time of William IV. Eight matching side chairs are still in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. Why or how this one escaped is something of a mystery.

Unusual Artifacts: A Souvenir from Windsor Castle, 1886-1897

Souvenir Brooch
The Victoria & Albert Museum
Here’s a nifty little souvenir that I wouldn’t mind having. I’m sure that they were made by the dozens. I wonder how many are left. This one is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
This brooch is in the form of a painter's palette with a view of Windsor Castle. It is crafted of electroplated nickel silver painted in enamel colors.

This was just the sort of thing that a visitor to Windsor could afford to purchase as a trinket. While most women would probably have not worn it, it would have served as a pretty reminder of a fun afternoon.

Punch’s Cousin, Chapter 372

Gerard—for a moment—considered running to the docks and hopping aboard the first ship he could find. Funny, when he was at sea, he always hated it. Maybe that was because it hadn’t been his choice. Sure, he’d been caught stealing from a nobleman. He admitted it, too. He told them straight out that he’d stolen and that he was sorry, but still, the magistrate sent him off to sea—on his way to the Orient or Australia. Gerard couldn’t quite remember where he was supposed to have been sent. But, he knew it was nowhere good. He recalled the day he met Arthur on that ship. Arthur’d been sent to sea against his will, too. Certainly, they fought and quarreled at first. But, hadn’t he become Arthur’s friend? You can’t escape prison—even if it’s a floating prison—with a bloke without becoming something of a friend to him. Had it not been for Arthur, Gerard thought, he’d be tending sheep right then or picking rice or whatever it was he was meant to do wherever the ship was headed.

“I owe it to Arthur.” Gerard told himself quietly. “And, if not to him, then I owe it to them fellas what’s been so kind to me—them Halifax blokes and the Duke.”

He took a deep breath and walked purposefully through the crowd at the Place Congo. No one seemed to notice him. That was good. Gerard almost allowed himself to smile. He ducked behind a row of low benches near the fire and crawled out just enough so that he could signal to Ulrika Rittenhouse.

“Hullo…” Gerard whispered. “Ginger…”

Ulrika looked up and spotted Gerard. She grinned in that way of hers—that grin that made Gerard feel flushed and uncomfortable.

Nodding, Ulrika mouthed the words, “Untie me.”

Gerard nodded in return.

Waiting for a moment when Marie Laveau and her hangers-on were looking the other way, Gerard skittered out like a hungry rat and quickly untied Ulrika’s arms.

“Now, go back to your spot.”

“What? And leave you here?” Gerard whispered.

“I know what I’m doing. Go until I signal for you!” She hissed.

Gerard did as instructed, reaching his hiding place just as Marie approached. When Gerard looked back, Ulrika had managed to put her arms behind her back so that it appeared that she was still bound.

“She’s a clever one, all right.” Gerry thought to himself.

From his hiding spot, Gerard could clearly see Charles and knew that Charles could see him. He nodded at Charles who did not respond, but, instead, continued to stare.

“How are you?” Gerard mouthed.

Charles shook his head.

Gerard shrugged. That Charles was a bother even when he was in trouble. Still, Gerard smiled to himself, “I’ll help him cuz it’s the right thing for me to do.”

Gerard watched as Marie began to speak to Ulrika.

“Woman, have you had enough of the heat?” Marie growled.

“Really, I’m quite comfortable. The sweat on my back is delicious!” Ulrika cooed in her usual way.

“Are you ready to apologize to me?” Marie asked.

“For what am I supposed to apologize?” Ulrika smiled.

“For helping that Marjani escape!” Marie shouted.

“Oh, that!” Ulrika laughed. “Well, if you like.”

“If I like?” Marie narrowed her eyes. “If I like? Do you know what I’d like? I’d like to see you licked in flames the color of your hair!”

“Now, really,” Ulrika shook her head. “What would that serve?” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Gerard rise and shook her head to indicate to him that he should stay hidden. She did this in such a way that it would appear to Marie that she was simply shaking the hair from her eyes.

“You’re an odd one, Woman.” Marie laughed. “I might just let you go.”

“That would be grand.” Ulrika winked.

“Or, I might toss you into the flames.” Marie spat.

“I’ll let you think about it.” Ulrika teased.

“While I’m thinking about it, shall I also consider what to do with your little helper?” Marie continued.

“What do you mean?”

“The man hiding over there who loosened your ropes.” Marie pointed.

Suddenly, Gerard’s heart began to pound. “Damn,” he muttered as he rolled away from the benches. But, it was too late. Marie’s men were already upon him.

At that very moment, Mr. Punch and Iolanthe were hurrying from the house just as Marjani and Robert were arriving.

“You’re conscious!” Robert said, embracing his friend.

“Sure, I am. Woke up just as this one was tryin’ to choke the life out of me!” Mr. Punch chirped.

Robert released Mr. Punch and scowled at Iolanthe. “Perhaps I should choke her.”

“Don’t bother.” Punch shook his head. “It wouldn’t take. She’s like one of them bugs what you can’t kill, she is.”

“Why are you even here?” Marjani asked.

Iolanthe held up her wounded hands.

“Aren’t there other doctors in New Orleans?” Robert asked.

“None who would see me,” Iolanthe smiled.

“If you’re well enough to try to strangle a man, I’m sure you’re well enough to tend to your own wounds.” Robert responded dismissively. “Now, be gone!”

“She wants to come with us to look for the babies!” Punch said quickly.

“Certainly not!” Robert snapped.

“You’re only wasting time arguing with me.” Iolanthe began.

“Hol’ on.” Marjani interrupted.

“What is it, chum?” Punch asked.

Marjani pointed to the shadows on the side of the house. Punch followed her hand and quickly saw two yellow circles punctuating the darkness.

“Odo!” Marjani screamed. “Get your skinny self out here right now!”

Odo slowly slithered from the darkness.

“Where is the child?” Robert shouted, grabbing Odo by the front of his coat.

“I can’t tell ya,” Odo trembled. “Mr. Cage’ll kill me.”

“If you don’t tell me, I’ll kill you.” Robert threatened.

“And, then, I’ll kill you again just to make sure.” Iolanthe added.

Punch squinted at her.

“I like to kill people.” Iolanthe shrugged.

Punch scowled and shivered.

“Where’s the boy? What did you do with him?” Robert continued.

“He’s safe.” Odo stammered.

“Where?” Robert demanded, tightening his grip.

“The cathedral. I left him at the cathedral.” Odo lied.

“Are you telling me the truth?” Robert shook the man.

“I am!” Odo whimpered. “Go and look for yourself!”

“Oh, I will. And, you’re coming with us!” Robert spat.

Did you miss Chapters 1-371? If so, you can read them here.

Obscure Book of the Day: The History and Treasures of Windsor Castle

Today’s book is another little volume from the Pitkin Publishing Company. This one is entitled “The History and Treasures of Windsor Castle” and was written by B.J.W. Hill, MA as part of the Pitkin “Pride of Britain” series. Curiously, no printing date is shown, but I’d guess this came about in 1953 for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

The book contains no lengthy history. Instead, it’s mostly several pages of plates—both color and black and white—with brief descriptions of each. It’s a handy guide to Windsor Castle and an interesting look at the fortress as it was at the time of Elizabeth II’s accession.

Take a look…