Oh No They Didn’t: Victorian Scandals

In true fashion of the era, Victorian scandals were as prim as they were preposterous.

The Queen was no exception.

Her reign nearly ended before it began thanks to an accusation. No doubt a ploy to discredit Sir John Conroy, Victoria made veiled accusations targeting a lady-in-waiting who’d recently presented a swollen abdomen. . . and had been most recently traveling alone with the manipulative comptroller.

Adamant of her purity, Lady Flora Hastings humbled herself to the court’s suspicions and, to her great humiliation, submitted to an examination by the royal doctor.

Her diagnosis of liver disease proved Lady Hastings was, in fact, not with child. Further, it confirmed to Queen Victoria’s adversaries that she still was one.

The “baby” scandal wasn’t the only plot that backfired. . .

Treasured Victorian Easter Traditions

To tell of Easter is to speak of hope.

As well it should be. For the holiday celebrates a promise of new life and the resurrection of one—that of Jesus Christ. His story unfolds from each pulpit on Easter Sunday, but also the days leading up.

The Thursday before hosts what’s known in England as the Royal Maundy. Each sovereign tailors the event in some way. During Queen Victoria’s reign, she determined the event be held at Westminster Abbey.  It is there that she addressed the congregation and upheld the tradition of distributing something much more precious than candy. . .

A Tale Of The Cottingley Fairies

The photographs were black and white. However, the subject was gray in its entirety.

How could two cousins of nine and sixteen procure evidence of pixies when no other had afore? With a borrowed camera, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright presented five most compelling pictures of fairies at Cottingley brook. Of course, their summer (1917) antics couldn’t stay merely between them.

The Language of Flowers

“I cannot make speeches, Emma,” [Mr. Knightley] soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing. “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” Emma, Jane Austen

Undoubtedly countless gentlemen found themselves identical to Mr. Knightley’s distress. What Victorians held in their hearts was not always so easily expressed. Even so, sweet sentiments were not to be neglected.

Etiquette hardly made allowances for improper introductions—let alone grand gestures.

That is how the language of of flowers (floriography) came into being. Feelings that could not be spoken or proclaimed publicly could instead be expressed through blooms.

Famous Victorian Pets

From the castle to the canvas, these pets lightened hearts of the Victorian era.

bobbyBobby The Handcuff King

Bess Houdini brought the fox terrier home with her after an errand to the butcher shop. She’d only tried to gift him with a bone. But at the owner’s protest, Bess had bought him outright.

That’s when the real fun began.

Harry Houdini commissioned paw handcuffs to be made. From there, he trained Bobby in a number of escape tricks. Houdini even positioned him as the headlining act for the 14th Annual Society of American Magicians dinner. Although, it wasn’t terribly difficult to obtain since he was president of the society at the time.

To keep Bobby with him during his European tours, the magician smuggled him across the borders in hidden compartments of his props.