Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mastery of Design: The Jean Schlumberger Blue Flowers Brooch

The Victoria & Albert Museum

The famed jewelry designer Jean Schlumberger (1907-87) worked both with Schiaparelli in Paris and with Tiffany & Co. of New York.  Born into a family of textile manufacturers in Mulhouse in eastern France, Schlumberger’s family’s aspirations for his career inbanking were abandoned in the 1930s in favor of designing costume jewelry for the couturier Elsa Schiaparelli in Paris.

In New York, after the Second World War, he and his childhood friend Nicolas Bongard set up a small jewelry salon in 1947. The quality and beauty of their work prompted Tiffany & Co. to invite the pair to open a design studio and salon within the Tiffany New York store in 1956. Tiffany & Co. continues to produce many of Schlumberger’s designs to this day.

Here, we see an example of his fine work in this brooch in the form of a bunch of sapphire and diamond flowers bound by a diamond ribbon and bow.  It was made for Tiffany and Co. in New York in 1960.  

Painting of the Day: A Portrait Miniature of an Unknown Lady in Blue, c. 1907

The Victoria & Albert Museum

Miniature portraits have been a part of the art history of England for centuries.   Here, we see a miniature of unknown middle-aged woman with upswept brown hair and brown eyes. Thought to have been painted around 1907, the sitter wears a patterned gown of blue, green and pink and poses against a pale green background.

This is the work of Rosalie Emslie, (born 1854 - died 1932).  It was given, along with ten other miniatures, to the V&A by Geoffrey, Chloë and Emma Salter in memory of Miss Rosalie Emslie, the daughter of the artist.

The miniature painter, Rosalie Emslie (also known at the time as Mrs Alfred E. Emslie), is recorded in Daphne Foskett's “A Dictionary of British Miniature Painters,”  as “a prolific artist [with] a distinguished clientele.”   

According to the V&A. “On the Departmental File for these miniatures is a copy of The Crown magazine for May 25th, 1907, which on page 355 in a section called 'The Art Galleries', noted that at 'The New Gallery' there was on display a 'case of miniatures by Mrs Emslie, photos of which appear on this page [6 were illustrated]. Mrs. Rosalie M. Emslie, better known as Mrs. A. E. Emslie, wife of Mr. Alfred E. Emslie, A.R.W.S., studied at the RA, and is represented there this year by miniatures of Miss Ines Pini, Miss Ada Clarke, Rosalie Emslie [presumably her daughter], and Madame Melba. Her style is very delicate and refined, and the melting tones recall the beautiful work of Cosway. She takes her rightful place among our leading miniaturists...’”

History's Runway: A Little Girl's Dress, 1930

The Victoria & Albert Museum

Made in 1930, this little girl's dress of unlined cotton is printed with a design of stylized flowers and foliage in pale green and blue on a white ground. This sort of dress would have been suitable for everyday wear and play. 

Designed in a simple style, the dress has a round neck with a delicate turn-down collar of white lawn.  It’s puffed sleeves are gathered into a frill beneath fabric band above the hem. The dress s given fullness by the pleating of the neck and a shoulder panel at each side.  It fastens at the back of the bodice with five pairs of bound buttons and stitched loops.

Embellishment and style come from the hand embroidery in powder blue and olive green which adorns the bodice.  Each of the four points of the collar is worked with a design of scrolling lines and geometric shapes which is repeated on the two shoulder panels .

Crafted in the U.K. by Liberty & Co. Ltd., the gown still bears a label stating, “LIBERTY & CO/ REGENT ST, LONDON.”  

At the Music Hall: Two Little Girls in Blue, 1893

An old man gazed on a photograph in the locket he'd worn for years,
His nephew then asked him the reason why that picture had caused him tears,
Come, listen he said, I will tell you lad, a story that's strange but true,
Your father and I at the school one day, met two little girls in blue.

REFRAIN [sung after each verse]
Two little girls in blue, lad, two little girls in blue,
They were sisters, we were brothers, and learned to love the two,
And one little girl in blue, lad, who won your father's heart,
Became your mother, I married the other but we have drifted apart.

That picture is one of those girls, he said, and to me she was once a wife,
I thought her unfaithful, we quarelled lad, and parted that night for life,
My fancy of jealousy wronged a heart, a heart that was good and true,
For two better girls never lived that they, those two little girls in blue

This delightful song has enjoyed an enduring popularity.  With words and music by Charles Graham it was sung with immense success by many artists from the time it was written in 1893 to the present day.  Enjoy this recording of the sentimental waltz…

Punch's Cousin, Chapter 430

Why?”  Robert narrowed his eyes at Odo.  “Why is it so important that the Duke accompany you as opposed to his man, Gerard.”

“His man?”  Odo scowled.  “I thought I was gonna be his man.  Ain’t that bearded fella your man?”

“Gerard will attend His Grace.”  Robert declared.  “And, you will not change the subject.”

“Of course, Sir.”  Odo nodded.  “I reckon that means I’m gonna be your man.  Well, ain’t it an honor to be responsible for such an important fella as yourself—a doctor and all?”

“Odo.”  Robert spat impatiently.  “You’ve not answered my question.”

“What question was that?”

“Damn you!”  Punch hollered, his eyes bulging.  “Why is it so important that I come with you and not Gerry?  What are you hiding?”

“I ain’t hidin’ a thing, Your Grace.  I jus’ think it’s better if the master comes along to see ‘bout your friend, is all.”

“His Grace has made his decision.  His man will accompany you.   You will take him immediately to Marie Laveau and see to it that Mama Routhe is safely returned to her home and family.  Then, you will promptly return here so that we may depart for England.”  Robert declared.

“Your Grace,” Odo spoke up, ignoring Robert, “Don’t you want to see for yourself that Mrs. Routhe is out of harm’s way?”

“I trust Gerard.”  Punch glowered.  “It’s you I don’t trust.  You and your yellow eyes.”

Odo’s face registered both panic and irrefutable disgust.

“Come on, you little bloke.”  Gerard said firmly.  “Do as the doctor says.”

“But,”  Odo protested.

“Go!”  Punch yelled.

“What if Marie…”  Odo stammered.

“What?”  Robert asked impatiently.

“I was told…”  Odo trembled.

“I knew there was more to your story than you let on.”  Robert sighed.

“No, Sir.”  Odo shook.

“You’re carrying out some sort of scheme for Marie Laveau, aren’t you?”   Robert asked.

“I can’t say, Sir.”

“Go to the Devil!”  Punch growled.  “Just go to Blazes.”  He took Robert by the arm and indicated that they should walk away.  Gerard nodded.

“You’re gonna leave me here?”  Odo moaned.

“Yes.”  Robert responded.

“Marie won’t like that.”

“Marie can go to Blaces, too!”  Punch shouted as he Robert and Gerard walked back to their friends.

“What about your precious Mama Routhe?”  Odo shouted after them.  “Like I done said, she’ll die if you don’t do what I say!”

Punch glanced at Robert who shook his head reassuringly.

Robert smiled at Gerard who responded.  “I’ll go right now on me own.”

“There you have it,”  Robert winked at Odo.  “We don’t need you.”

Odo watched as Gerard ran toward Marie Laveau’s narrow, mean house.

“You’ll regret this!” Odo screamed wildly.

“No.”  Punch spun around.  “You’re the one what’s gonna regret it.  We ain’t gonna be made into slaves no more—not by your wickedness nor anyone else’s.  You—you like bein’ a slave, you do.  But, not us!  We don’t gotta do nothin’ what no one says no more.  We won!  You hear me!  We won!”

“You think so?”  Odo growled.

“I know!”  Punch responded.

“Don’t waste any more of your time on him, dear Punch.”  Robert whispered.  “Your nephew wants his sweet uncle as do Fuller, Toby, Columbia and your puppet.  Join your family and leave this man to the Devil.”

“Can’t I just push him in the sea now?”  Punch muttered.  “I know it ain’t the same as throwin’ him from a ship, but it’ll do and I’d feel a lot better, I would.”

“No.”  Robert grinned. “As much as I’d like to see it, no.”

“Coo.”  Punch pouted.

Odo watched as Robert and Punch joined the rest of the family.  Everyone but Marjani ignored him.  She looked him squarely in the eyes and knew—at that moment—that they had not, in fact, won.  Not at all.

Did you miss Chapters 1-429?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back on Monday, January 9, 2012 for Punch’s Cousin, Chapter 431.

Unusual Artifacts: An Embroidered Pin Cushion, 1670-80

The Victoria & Albert Museum
I love little objects like this that tell a story and speak of the individuals who made them.  This embroidered pin cushion has an obverse of white satin embroidered in colored silks in a pretty design of flowers, a double-headed bird (of course) and the initials “ME.” The back is covered in a rich, deep midnight-blue satin while the edges are bound with a plaited cord of blue silk and twinkling silver thread.

This adorable and beautiful little object was among the contents of an embroidered casket used by a young girl called Martha Edlin, to store her small personal treasures. Needless to say, as young ladies of the Seventeenth Century did, she would have embroidered this herself.  Curiously, neither the casket nor the pin cushion appears to have been used.

Through other objects in the Victoria and Albert Museum, we know that the girl in question, Martha Edlin (1660-1725). worked a number of fine embroideries during her childhood.  Thankfully, these were cherished by her descendants and passed down through the female line in her family for over three hundred years. We owe these ladies a debt of gratitude as without their care, we’d not have them to enjoy today.  Other than this, little is known about Martha’s life, with the exception that she married a man called Richard Richmond and appears to have been a prosperous widow, with daughters and many grandchildren.  Later, she is known to have lived in Pinner in Greater London at the time she drew up her will.

Among the other objects which Martha embroidered are a multi-colored sampler which she created at the age of eight, and a more complicated piece in “whitework” and cutwork at nine. By her eleventh birthday in 1671,, she had embroidered the panels of this elaborate casket, and by 1673, she worked an impressive  beadwork jewelry case. 

Object of the Day: An Embossed Trade Card of Two Girls

Here we see a Victorian trade card from my collection.  I’d put this one as being printed around 1875.  It’s the typical scene—two pretty children, in this case little girls, dressed in the style of the time, and sharing a confidence.

What sets this one apart is the very sharp and clever embossing from the reverse which gives the figures a depth and realism that they otherwise wouldn’t have had.  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mastery of Design: The Lacloche Frères Jeweled Vanity Case, 1926

This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Here’s a perfect example of the jeweled vanity cases that were popular accessories during the 1920s as the idea of women wearing make-up (and, even applying it in public) became more acceptable in the years after the First World War. This opulent case by Lacloche Frères contains two compartments—one for powder and, one for rouge, a central detachable lip-stick holder, with a mirror inside the lid.

The case is made of  18k gold with black-stained jadeite and black-backed chalcedony.  The lid is set with rose-cut and brilliant-cut diamonds, lapis lazuli, turquoise, malachite, rhodonite, mother-of-pearl and pearls.  The original presentation box survives--covered in navy leather with gold decoration and the retailer's address, lined with orange velvet.

Made in 1926, this shows the skill of the renowned jewelers Lacloche Frères.  The case bears their oval stamp with 'LFe'; the maker's mark 'SAM' and a Paris warranty marks for 1847 onwards. 

Unusual Artifacts: A Magic Lantern Slide of Punch and Toby

The Victoria & Albert Museum

Here’s another Nineteenth Century glass magic lantern slide of Mr. Punch from the set of twelve by Theobald & Co. that’s housed in the V&A.   This one depicts Mr Punch and the Dog Toby, and is number three of twelve.

The following text accompanies the slide during a magic lantern show:

Punch: Toby, Toby! where are you? Rats my boy at them.
Toby: Bow wow wow.
Punch: That’s a good Toby. Got a clean new collar on too, just home from the wash. Good old Toby. Look here what I’ve brought you, a nice nose warmer for the winter. [Punch produces a muzzle.]

Friday Fun: Punch & Judy on St. George's Day in Leeds

"I approve this performance by one of my brothers, I do.
In fact, I 'spect we was both made by the same  fella--
Mr. Bryan Clarke.  We look a lot alike, we do."

This week’s fun video is a recording of a 2010 St. George’s Day performance of a Punch and Judy Show in Leeds.  This unknown performer offers an excellent show and a lot of fun.

"You're gonna babysit."
"Sit on the baby?"

and, continue...  

Antique Image of the Day: A Crowd Watching a Punch & Judy Show, 1801

The Victoria & Albert Museum
Click to Enlarge

This hand-colored etching and aquatint from 1801 depicts a familiar scene of a crowd of people watching a Punch and Judy puppet show.  Published in London, the drawing is the work of Ann Dibdin.  John Hill acted as the aquatinter.  Charles Dibdin was the publisher. 

Aquatint is an engraving process by which a print is created by transferring a drawing to a copper plate.  The drawing is incised into the plate using acid, then, the plate is used to make multiple prints.  In this case, Mrs. Dibdin created the drawing which was transferred to the printing plate by John Hill so that Mr. Dibdin could produce multiple copies of the image. 

Not surprisingly, this is part of the V&A’s George Speaight Punch & Judy Collection.  

Punch’s Cousin, Chapter 429

Mr. Punch snorted as Robert pulled him away from Ty Odo.

“Now, Chum,”  Punch sighed.  “I know what you’re gonna say.”

“Do you?”  Robert raised his eyebrows in an effort to hide the affectionate grin that passed his lips.  “I’m not quite sure that I know where to begin.”

“Well,”  Punch muttered, “See, you’re gonna tell me that this man ain’t the sort what we ought to trust.  I know it’s true, and I don’t trust him at all, I don’t.”

“Good to know.”  Robert nodded.

“And, I don’t want him near us—neither.  Sure I don’t want him to come on the ship with us only I don’t see as we got no other choice.  After all, he bring the baby to us what the law says should have gone back to his master, he did.  Now, I also know that I—what ya call it?—implied…that’s it…that I’d toss him overboard.  I only done that for you.  He don’t know what I were sayin.”

“I realized that.”

“I don’t gotta throw him overboard though I’d like to watch him punge into the icy sea—I ain’t gonna lie ‘bout it.  But, I know how you feel ‘bout those sorts of things, bein’ a doctor and all.”

“Surprisingly, I’m not against the idea of throwing Odo into the ocean.”  Robert winked.  “I seem to have changed my opinion on such actions.  However, I don’t think you have it in you to do that anymore.  You’ve rather mellowed.”

“I ain’t mellowed so much!” Punch snapped.  “I am Mr. Punch, still, I am.  Remember, I struck that officer with a figurine.  That ain’t the sort of thing what a mellow man does, is it?”

“Well, no.”  Robert responded, biting his cheeks to keep from laughing.

“Still, you’re right, I ‘spose.  Knockin’ a fella out is different that tossin’ ‘im into the sea to drown and die and such.”  Punch frowned.  “Still, it ain’t a bad idea.”

“I don’t disagree.”  Robert nodded.  “If not a lot of trouble.”

“True.”  Punch squinted.

“Since you seem to know my thoughts before I do, what else do I wish to say to you?”  Robert teased.

“That you’re not gonna let me go with Odo to make sure Mama Routhe is safe.  You’re gonna say we come too far to leave the docks now and we can’t trust Odo to bring us back on time.”

“You’re correct.”  Robert nodded.

“But, Chum,”  Punch protested.  “Mama’s been so kind to us, she has.  She risked her life and all just to make sure we got Colin back.  Not to mention that she put her family in danger, too.  Now, we owe it to her to see that she ain’t in wicked hands.”

“You don’t have to tell me.”  Robert patted Punch on the shoulder.  “I agree that we should see to it that she’s out of harm’s way.”

“Well, blood hell!”  Punch grumbled.  “What’d you want to talk with me ‘bout if you’re so agreeable?”

“I would prefer that you let me accompany Odo while you stay here with the others and wait for the ship.”

“No.”  Punch said.

“On this I will not be swayed.”  Robert shook his head.

“What if you don’t make it back?”

“I’ll take another ship.”

“No.  You’re too important.  We need you.”  Punch said.

“While I appreciate that you feel that way.”  Robert smiled.  “That fact is that there’s no traveling without you.”

“Here, what for?”

“Though you are Mr. Punch inside—on the outside, you’re the Duke of Fallbridge.  Since everything we have planned for the future hinges on that fact, we rather need you to be with our party aboard the ship.”

“But, we’re traveling—what’s it?—incontinently.”

“Incognito.”  Robert corrected Punch with a chuckle.  “Nevertheless, when we arrive in England, it’s the Duke of Fallbridge we need.  What would I do?  Walk up to Fallbridge Hall or even the house in Belgravia and say, ‘the Duke of Fallbridge sent me with these people, these children and these servants, so open the house and let us in?’”

“Oh.”  Punch nodded.  “That would be a kerfuffle.”

“Furthermore, you’re Colin’s blood relative and ergo his guardian.  When we arrive in England, how would I account for my relationship to the child?”

“But, I need you here.”

“And, I need you.”  Robert replied firmly.  “So, just let me go with Odo.  I’ll see to it that we get back in time.  But, if we don’t for some reason—my absence would not be as damaging to the safety of everyone than would yours.”

“Here,”  Punch said slyly.  “Let’s send Cecil.”

“And potentially deprive my nephew of his father and Adrienne of her husband?”  Robert shook his head.

“Fine.”  Punch mumbled.

A look of inspiration crossed Robert’s face—a look that did not go unnoticed by Mr. Punch.

“Why not send Gerry?”  Robert brightened.

“Sure!”  Punch whooped.  “We can trust him.  He can go with Odo and make sure that Mama Routhe is not in danger.  And, he’s fast.  He’ll make it back in time.  Maybe he can even somehow lose Odo along the way and we wouldn’t have to worry ‘bout him no more, nor even have to mess with drownin’ him!”

“We’re not going to drown him either way.”  Robert scolded.

“Can’t be sure of that.”  Punch shrugged.  “Things happen.”

“I said, no.”  Robert clucked his tongue.

“You’re no fun.”  Punch grumbled.

Robert signaled to Gerry who watched from a distance with the rest of the group.

“Think he’ll do it?”  Punch asked, glancing at Odo who watched anxiously from his lone spot at the end of the docks.

“Which one?  Gerry or Odo?”

“Odo.”  Punch sniffed.  “I don’t trust him.”

“Nor do I.”  Robert sighed.  “But, Gerry has a way with these people.  After all, he managed Arthur well enough.”

“Did he?”  Punch grumbled.  “Seems to be the Yellow Fever had a better way with Arthur than did Gerard.”

Gerard eagerly joined Punch and Robert.

“We have a job for you, Gerry.”  Robert said.  “You’ll have to be quick about it.  We need you to go with Odo and make sure that Mama Routhe is safe.”

“Sure, Sir.”  Gerard nodded.  “Only, you ain’t gonna leave me behind are ya?”

“No.”  Robert smiled reassuringly.  “That’s the last thing we want.”

“Where is Mrs. Routhe?”

“Odo says she’s with Marie Laveau,”  Robert frowned.

“Oh, that rather makes it worse, don’t it?”  Gerard sighed.

“It does.”  Robert nodded.  “Are you willing to help us?”    

"Sure, I am."  Gerard smiled.

"Thank you,"  Robert replied.  "Odo!"  He waved for the trembling man.  "Come here, please."

Odo cautiously joined the three me.  "Yes, Sir?"

"Gerard will accompany you to the spot where Mrs. Routhe is being held.  You will show him that she is safe, and if possible, accompany here home, then, you'll rejoin us here."

"I can't, Sir."

"Here, you swore you'd prove to us that our chum ain't in no danger!"  Punch shouted.

"Oh, I will.  I will."  Odo yelped.  "But, I can't go with no servant.  It's gotta be the Duke."

"Why?"  Robert asked.

"It's just gotta be."  Odo trembled.  

Did you miss Chapters 1-428?  If so, you can read them here.

Drawing of the Day: A Costume Design for Judy, 1861-1934

The Victoria & Albert Museum

What might Judy (Mr. Punch’s lovely bride) look like were she a human lady?  Well, here’s your answer.  She’s stunning, yes? 

Here, from the beautiful George Speaight Punch and Judy Archive at the V&A, we see a costume design for an actor playing Judy.  Why?  No one knows anymore.  The only explanation for this drawing of pencil and watercolor on card is an inscription  stating that it was designed by Clarkson Costumes ca. 1861 to 1934.  Hmmm…  That’s rather a large time range there. 

We see that Judy is carrying a stick in her left hand (as one does when married to Mr. Punch) and dragging a doll with her right hand.  I would like to interject that the “doll” is actually meant to represent the famed, embattled baby in whatever human version of the Comical Tragedy (or Tragical Comedy) of Mr. Punch for which this costume was designed.   It’s all very mysterious.  But, that’s the way to do it.  

Object of the Day: A Victorian Trade Card with Mr. Punch

This handsome trade card was found a few days ago at a local antique store.  My mother, father, Bertie and I (well, not so much Bertie—he just sort of watched) sorted through several bins of antique and vintage scraps and cards in search of interesting finds, and this one popped up. 

On the reverse, it’s an advertisement for a hotel in Ohio.  The ad is actually very hard to see since it’s been damaged after having been glued into a scrapbook a century ago and then, recently ripped out of said scrap book by the seller.  I must confess that I have mixed feelings about this.  I, personally, would not have had the heart to tear apart  a Victorian scrapbook.  However, I understand why it was done—so that the individual parts could be sold to people like me who were in the market for specific things. 

You can see why I wanted this trade card.  There’s Mr. Punch.  He’s seated on the lap of a young girl who seems quite taken with him.  He’s not in his usual red ensemble, but, instead wears a handsome striped cap and suit of cerulean.

This image—not only the pose, but the costume of the girl—reminds me of a pair of photographs in the V&A—“Joy and Grief” which shows a similar scene.  Which came first—who knows?  They’re very close in age, and pinning a exact year on the card is impossible since the reverse is unreadable.  

The Victoria & Albert Museum

Nevertheless, just the sight of it pleases me.  Look at Punch’s face.  He looks so kind, and not at all as if he’s thinking about hitting that girl with a stick.  No, no, there’s not a trace of plotting in his expression at all.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gratuitous Bertie Dog Picture:  La Halte du Bertie

"Well, I can do tricks, too, Little Miss Balance-Head."

Image:  The Resting Horseman; La Halte du Cavalier; Landscape with Figures, 1640s, Louis Le Nain, The Victoria & Albert Museum.

Show your love of Bertie with our exclusive line of Gratuitous Bertie Dog products available only in our online shop.

Mastery of Design:  The Dame Joan Evans Diamond Cross, 1650-1700

The Victoria & Albert Museum

From the collection of Dame Joan Evans, this silver cross is set with rose-cut diamonds, and features a gold back with painted enamel tulips.

This impressive pendant was made in Western Europe between 1650 and 1700.

Unusual Artifacts:  A Silver Chamber Candlestick, 1744-45

The Victoria & Albert Museum

For use at and in transit to the bedside, chamber candlesticks usually feature a short stem and small nozzle, and a handle attached to the drip pan, enabling them to be easily portable.

Thus example is unusual for its grandeur and sophistication.   The fact that it was originally gilt, suggests that  it was commissioned for a noble, aristocratic or royal household.   Paul Crespin (1694-1770), the maker, supplied items to patrons of such households.

The object depicts a cupid near the flower-shaped nozzle and twisted stem.  The whole of the piece is adorned with chased ornament. Crespin was clearly influenced by French ornamental designs. He worked closely with other French emigre silversmiths including Paul de Lamerie and Nicholas Sprimont. 

Her Majesty's Furniture:  The Tatham Stool, 1800

This majestic footstool from the Victoria & Albert Museum has a design similar to that of a marble seat that been discovered in Rome. Though it appears to be made of marble, the stool is made from beech wood, painted in white and grey to simulate the appearance of stone. The use of beech wood allowed for easier carving and much less costly (and less weighty) medium to marble. 

The stoolmwas designed by Charles Heathcote Tatham (1772-1842) who studied ancient architecture in Rome in July 1794 under the patronage of his employer and mentor, Henry Holland (1745-1806)--architect to the Prince of Wales. 

This stool is one of a pair from the Neave Collection.  Its twin is at Temple Newsam House, Leeds. 

Punch's Cousin, Chapter 428

Mama Routhe opened her eyes and shivered.  Her first thought was of the child that she had been holding when last her eyes were open.  She shrieked horribly and rose from the narrow, foul-smelling cot on which she had been placed.  Darting across the dim room, she tripped on a low footstool and fell to her knees on the ground, cursing loudly.  She looked up to see a dark hand extended toward her.

Slowly raising her eyes, Mama Routhe looked up to see the grinning face of Marie Laveau gazing down upon her

"I'd rather crawl on the ground for the rest of my life than take your hand, Devil." Mama spat.

"Ain't nothin' to me if you stay on the floor." Marie smiled.  "Still, I think you'd wanna show me some gratitude."

"For what?" Mrs. Routhe growled, standing up on her own.

"For takin' care of you and your family."

"What you mean 'bout my family?"

"Your children and your husband are eatin' breakfast right now cuz o' my kindness.  I done had a man bring vittles to 'em.  Good vittles, better than they're used to.  Told 'em it was a gift from someone you was helpin' out and that you'd be along shortly.  I reckon they're so busy they ain't even missin' ya."

"Helpin'?  I ain't helpin' you do nothin' and you stay 'way from my family!"

"You're welcome," Marie smiled sarcastically.  "See, you gotta learn to be grateful, woman.  I'm grateful.  See?  I done showed my gratitude for what you done for me."

"I ain't done nothin' for you  nor will I ever.  What you do to me?  Where's that fine white baby?"

"He's right where he should be--right where you was takin' him.  He is in the arms of that poor, strange Englishman."

"I don't believe ya."

"But, it's true, woman."

"Then, why am I here?  If you wanted that boy to go to the Duke, why you not let me take him myself?"

"Cuz I needed ya.  And, Odo needed me."

"Odo?  That yellow-eyed weasel from the Cage place?  He done tried to get the baby while I was in the safe house!"

"I talked to him, woman.  Made him see what was right.  He brought the baby to the Duke himself."

"Why?" Mama shrieked.  "Why would he do that?  He's Mr. Cage's most loyal man!"

"I offered him somethin' better than Mr. Cage ever could." Marie grinned.  "Now, come on.  My eldest done made ya some fine cornbread.  You gotta eat.  Keep up your strength."

"I'm not eatin' your cursed food.  I'm not goin' anywhere with you."

"Woman, you don't got a choice."

"I sure 'nough do.  I'm goin' to them docks to see for myself that the Duke got his baby and then, I'm goin' home to my own babies."

"No, honey, you ain't."

"Why not?"

"Cuz that ain't what I want.  You'd ruin everything." Marie shook her head.  "Besides, I ain't done with you."

"You wicked fool.  What you mean?"

"Honey, you're mine now." Marie clucked her tongue.  "Just like Odo.  This is my war now.  Everything is in place and I ain't gonna let you spoil it.  Now, I ain't gonna talk to you like you're dumb cuz I know you ain't.  Not like that Odo.  He's so greedy and cowardly, it's done made him stupid.  He don't know that he just damned himself, his master and those Englishmen.  It's better that way.  But, I ain't gonna lie to you. Now, come and get your cornbread and I'll tell you now you're gonna make all my dreams come true."

Did you miss Chapters 1-427?  If so, you can read them here

Obscure Book of the Day:  The Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam is a Tudor-Jacobean estate with grounds landscaped by Capability Brown, in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. Today, the mansion and grounds are preserved as a museum and gathering space.  The museum is the home of a host of important art works, antiquities and objects.

In the Domesday Book (the great survey of English lands of 1086), the property is known as Neuhusam (new house) and was owned by Ilbert de Lacy. Around 1155, the estate was given to the Knights Templar who, in 1377,  were suppressed by royal decree, causing the estate to revert to Sir Philip Darcy who began building an impressive Tudor house on the site--described by some as "the Hampton Court of the North."

In 1537 Darcy was executed for participation in the Pilgrimage of Grace and the estate was seized by the Crown.  Henry VIII gave Temple Newsam to his niece Margaret, Countess of Lennox and her husband Matthew Stuart, Earl of Lennox. Their son Henry, Lord Darnley was born in the house in 1545. Darnley would later wed Mary, Queen of Scots.  This wasn't good news for the  property, and Temple Newsam was again overtaken  by the Crown in 1565.

James I gave the estate to his relative Ludovic, Duke of Lennox who, in 1622 sold it to Sir Arthur Ingram for £12,000. For the next two centuries the estate was inherited throughout the family.

In 1922, the land and mansion were sold to Leeds Corporation to ensure their preservation.  

This book, published by Lund Humphries chronicles the  history of the house and land as well as it's preservation. God help me, but there's no evident date of publication in this book.  Judging by the clothes worn by the people, I'd guess it's from the late 1970s or early 1980s.  Let's take a look inside...