Did You Know Queen Anne Was a Lesbian?

Queen Anne Stuart of the House of Tudor, who ruled England from 1702 to 1714, was married to Prince George of Denmark. But, as happens with many royal marriages, it seems George didn’t quite warm the “cockles of her heart.”

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Anne had what’s called a dull role in English history. People said she was dull. And yet, she helped England transition to Protestantism, and was the last Stuart to hold the throne.

That’s not all, though. It’s said that Anne had romantic relationships with many women – most of which have been revealed on account of letters to and by Anne.

The most famous of Anne’s lovers was the aristocrat Sarah Churchill, who was a descendant of Mr. Winston Churchill. She had a 25-year relationship with Anne. In a letter to Sarah, Anne wrote:

“I hope I shall get a moment or two to be with my dear . . . that I may have one embrace, which I long for more than I can express.”

Their relationship ended bitterly, however, on account of Sarah’s allegedly “manipulative” behavior. It seems she could have learned a lot from her descendant Winston.

ATTITUDE IS A LITTLE THING THAT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE.

Sarah wasn’t Anne’s last lover, though. Way to get back on the horse, Anne! But then she died at age 49, ending both her reign and her romantic escapades.

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The Dark Side of FINDING NEVERLAND

Everyone knows Peter Pan. Everyone loves him. So everyone loves J.M. Barrie, too.

But the true story behind the book is much darker than you may imagine. The poignant film Finding Neverland popularized Barrie’s friendship with the Llewelyn-Davies family, examining the powerful relationships that brought Peter Pan into existence. Johnny Depp portrayed Barrie wonderfully, and Kate Winslet made a perfect Sylvia Llewelyn-Davies.

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Barrie was a constant companion to Sylvia and her boys, despite the fact that both he and Sylvia were married to other people. Some people have argued that Barrie was a pedophile, to explain his close relationship with the Llewelyn-Davies boys – a nasty accusation, as there were no grounds for it.

Nico Llewelyn-Davies stated that Barrie NEVER behaved inappropriately. He said, “I don’t believe that Uncle Jim ever experienced what one might call a ‘stirring in the undergrowth’ for anyone – man, woman or child. He was an innocent, which is why he could write Peter Pan.”

Sylvia died when the boys were young, and Barrie became a guardian to them. His relationship with them continued well past their childhood, but the story that begins to unfold at the end of Finding Neverland is actually a very sad one. George Llewelyn-Davies was killed in action in WWI, in 1915. Michael drowned in 1921, with his friend and possible lover, Rupert Buxton. Peter died by throwing himself in front of a train.

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“God gave us memories that we might have roses in December.” – J.M. Barrie

So, I Knew a Guy Who Said He Knew Stephen King . . .

Well, this guy didn’t really KNOW Stephen King. They just used to live really close to one another. One time, this guy said he saw King walking by in the road, and said “Hey.” King looked up, said “Hey” back — very politely, this guy said — then looked back down, and continued on his way.

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This guy also told me a little bit more background about King’s initial success, which I’m sure he didn’t hear from King himself, just from other sources. But it always interested him, I guess, on account of the fact that he’d once said “Hey” to King. Which, admittedly, is pretty cool.

But anyway. King’s first book was Carrie, and he had tons of trouble finding a publisher for it. Eventually, he got so frustrated, he threw the whole manuscript away, and vowed that he was done with it. But his wife went looking for it in the garbage, and went round to other publishers without telling him, eventually securing him a contract. That’s what the guy told me, anyway.

I just thought it was an interesting and inspiring story, so I thought I’d share it. Thanks for reading!

The Doll’s the Thing.

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“Dolls turn malignant late at night. They stare at you with those glassy eyes. I won’t say they are plotting, but I can’t say they aren’t.” — Stephen King

I find myself enamored with this quote. Probably it is because of Sally, who sits beside my bed, with a porcelain face and real human hair. I have told everyone that she attempts to strangle me, each night in my sleep — but for some reason or other, they refuse to believe me. Perhaps it is her angelic countenance. Not angelic to me, though. To me, she is the devil.

I lie awake for hours, staring at Sally. But she will not move while I watch her. Finally, when my eyes grow too heavy to remain open any longer, and I drift into an uneasy sleep . . . SHE STRIKES! I have the scars to prove it, but the nurses claim they are self-inflicted.

I have thought of setting Sally on fire. Or throwing her out the window. But the nurses won’t give me matches, no matter how politely I ask; and there are bars on my window.

There are bars on all the windows here. On the bright side, though, tomorrow is Pancake Thursday.

Well, I’m getting sleepy now; and I know that I will soon drift off. Perhaps Sally will kill me tonight. Or perhaps the devil will come for her, and drag her back to hell.

Either way — I probably won’t get any pancakes tomorrow.

MEMOIRS FROM GREYSTONE ASYLUM, 2016.

P.S. — Sometimes the nurses allow me Internet privileges; and while I was in the library today, I came across a very creepy story. Hence the creepy Stephen King quote. You can read that story here.

#Vintage #Photography: Do You Wanna Jump? Or Do You Wanna Grab Some Ice Cream? Whatevs.

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Me: Good question. But you know, I’m really not sure. I think I’m gonna jump . . . that is, unless they’ve got Butter Brickle. Do you think they’ve got Butter Brickle?

You: How the hell should I know?

Me: Well, I dunno, I just thought that since you asked . . .

You: For Pete’s sake, if you’re gonna be so annoying about it, just freakin’ jump.

Me: Well, I dunno about it now. I really want some Butter Brickle . . .

You: Holy mackerel. You are as annoying as sardines on a peanut butter and jelly. I’m outta here.

Me: Are you still getting ice cream?

You: Yeah, I guess.

Me: Okay, then. Let’s take my car.

You: Sure. I’m low on gas, anyway.

Me: (with a thoughtful expression) Hold on a minute — I’ve just gotta take the rag outta the muffler.

#DONTJUMP

(Unless you really want to.)

#Vintage #Photography: Madhouse.

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“I am a prisoner in this house, which seems full of mad people. More I know not; and nothing do I understand.” — From “The Sire de Malétroit’s Door” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

 

Is that man looking at me?

Why is he smiling?

Perhaps he wants to cut off my head.

 

Can you see him, too?

Maybe he isn’t real.

Maybe I should cut off my own head.

 

MEMOIRS FROM GREYSTONE ASYLUM, REAL OR IMAGINED.

 

(More vintage memoirs to come. All photos obtained from New Old Stock.)

#Vintage #Photography: Mission Command.

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Me: Houston, we have a problem.

Houston: What is it?

Me: I’m not sure. I’m just feeling very existential and nostalgic today.

Houston: Listen, K-26. You know that this is a mission command center, right? We’re not here for existential breakdowns.

Me: What about the nostalgia? You didn’t refer to the nostalgia.

Houston: We don’t handle that, either, K-26.

Me: You know — that might be part of our problem right there. I have a name, you know. I didn’t come out of the womb, with people slapping my bottom and calling me K-26.

*A shuffling sound of paperwork as mission command looks at my file.*

Houston: Well, it says here that your name is Brünhilda. *A pause.* Do you want me to call you Brünhilda?

Me: *Grimace.* Hell, no. I hate that name.

Houston: Then why did you ask me to call you by it?

Me: I didn’t ask you to. I just told you that I had a name.

Houston: Well, of course you have a — *long groan* — isn’t there anyone else on board that you could be talking to about your existential breakdown?

Me: Sure. But I didn’t want to bother them.

Houston: So you called to bother us?

Me: Well, I guess I never thought of it that way. But hey, so long as I’ve got you guys on the line — I can never remember what this red button on the control panel does. It doesn’t say anything.

Houston: Don’t press that!

Me: Why not?

Houston: Can I trust you with the truth, K-26?

Me: Sure.

Houston: With a single push of that button, every single person on earth will be transformed into a total asshole.

Me: Why’d they make a button that does that?

Houston: In case we’re ever invaded by aliens. The government figured that complete assholes would make better soldiers.

Me: I guess that makes sense. *Pause.* Can I ask you one more question?

Houston: What is it now?

Me: Do you know if anyone’s ever pressed this button before?

Houston: How the hell should I know?

Me: Well, I was only wondering, because — well, you’re kind of an asshole.

*Long silence. I think Houston’s hung up on me.*

Tea in THE SECRET GARDEN.

Hello, all. I wonder — would you sit for a moment, and join us for a cup of tea? Perhaps, while we sip, we might talk a bit about a book called The Secret Garden.

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Do you know it? Well, even if you haven’t read it, we shall tell you a bit about it. And, of course, we shall share our favorite quotes. (All illustrations, by the by, were crafted by Mr. Charles Robinson.)

The Secret Garden is a story about young Mary Lennox, who is sent to England from India after her parents’ deaths. She goes to live with her mysterious uncle, and with her “sick” cousin Colin. She’s a very sour, disagreeable child; but the discovery of — you guessed it — a “secret garden,” as well as the friendship of a boy named Dickon, begins to lighten her dark spirit.

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Now, we shan’t tell you all the secrets of the garden, in the case that you haven’t yet read about it. We only mean to paint you a portrait of it.

The book was written by renowned children’s author Frances Hodgson Burnett, who is said to be the “most American of the British writers” — while Henry James, conversely, is the “most British of the American writers.” (So observed by Jill Muller, who wrote the introduction to the Barnes & Noble edition of The Secret Garden.)

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Of course, we have perhaps the most famous lines in the book, spoken by young Basil when Mary won’t let him build a pretend garden with her. She’s just come from India, and from the tragedy of her parents’ demise; and she’s even more sour than usual. (But it’s a lovely bit of foreshadowing, we think, as she builds that pretend garden — a secret longing for a secret garden!)

Basil says:

“Mistress Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells,

And marigolds all in a row.”

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TWO LOVELY QUOTES:

One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever.

~~~

At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done — then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.

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QUOTES ABOUT “THE MAGIC”:

They always called it Magic and indeed it seemed like it in the months that followed — the wonderful months — the radiant months — the amazing ones. Oh! the things which happened in that garden! If you have never had a garden you cannot understand, and if you have had a garden you will know that it would take a whole book to describe all that came to pass there.

And, a bit more humorous addition pertaining to the “Magic,” as spoken by Colin, and instigated by gardener Ben Weatherstaff’s example of “magic words” — or, rather, when Jem Fettleworth’s wife calls her husband a “drunken brute.”

“Well,” he said, “you see something did come of it. She used the wrong Magic until she made him beat her. If she’d used the right Magic and said something nice perhaps he wouldn’t have got as drunk as a lord and perhaps — perhaps he might have bought her a new bonnet.”

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QUOTES ABOUT POSITIVE THINKING:

One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts — just mere thoughts — are as powerful as electric batteries — as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body.

Hence . . .

“Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”

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And, if we may say so — the 1993 movie version of The Secret Garden was quite splendid, with Kate Maberly as Mary, and Maggie Smith as Mrs. Medlock. It’s a lovely and artistic depiction of a wondrous book; and viewing it is adamantly recommended.

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1993 Movie Poster.

The Legacy of Greek Literature: Part 2 of 2.

In our last article, we touched on the first two elements of Greek literature: simplicity and perfection of form. Today, we’ll go on to briefly discuss the last two elements: truth and beauty. We shall readily admit, however, that the former is our primary focus.

And, again, we will mainly be relaying the opinions of Mr. R.W. Livingstone, and providing a concise commentary on his thoughts.

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Cover image from Dover thrift edition of Plato’s “Symposium” & “Phaedrus.”

Livingstone wrote: “The third mark of Greek literature . . . is perhaps its most important, certainly its most universal quality. It is truthfulness. The Greeks told no fewer lies than other races, but they had the desire and the power to see the world as it is . . . The Greek truthfulness is spontaneous, natural, and effortless — the native quality of the artist, who sees, and forgets himself in the vision.”

Take, for example, Keats’s description of the “poetic temperament.”

“It has no self, it is everything and nothing . . . it enjoys light and shade . . . A poet is the most unpoetical of anything in existence, he is continually in, for, and filling some other body.”

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Black-and-white plate from The Legacy of Greece.

Now, it was Livingstone’s belief that a mastery of truth included, of course, the ability to relay the truth; but also, to relay the truth of tragic events, “without leaving a final and dominant sense of gloom.”

Yes — very sensible. And yet (unlike people such as myself), Mr. Livingstone was no fan of authors such as Charles Dickens. Well, Charles Dickens especially. In his opinion, Dickens relayed truth “up to a point;” but, moreover, he sketched a world “in which at the end vice finds itself in the gutter while virtue marries the heroine . . . in so writing he is . . . the self-appointed Judge of a universe which he conceives to be cruel.”

Well, perhaps he has a point. It’s true that Dickens highly valued the concept of “good over evil.” It was Livingstone’s opinion that this concept was not always a truthful one; and that is true. But, just because it’s not what is, doesn’t mean it’s not what should be. And that, to me, is a very sound theory of truth.

Take this passage from Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop. The words pertain to one Christopher “Kit” Nubbles.

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Charles Dickens at his desk in 1858.

He was only a soft-hearted grateful fellow, and had nothing genteel or polite about him; consequently instead of going home again in his grief to kick the children and abuse his mother (for when your finely strung people are out of sorts they must have everybody else unhappy likewise), he turned his thoughts to the vulgar expedient of making them more comfortable if he could.

Now — it’s true that this is an example of Dickens’s fondness of deriding those who think themselves better, and championing the underprivileged. And that, to Livingstone, is not truth. Yet I’m afraid that I am forced to disagree. Goodness, to me, is truth; and evil is the lie. I know, I know! That sounds like the line of a wishy-washy romantic. But it is my version of truth; and it is necessary for every person to have their own.

And yet, I wholeheartedly agree that the Greeks had an innate ability to see truth; and to record it. This is a large reason for the immortality of their literature; and a large reason why it shall never perish.

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Black-and-white plate from The Legacy of Greece.

Now, as to the beauty of Greek literature — anyone who has read even a page of it cannot dispute it. We shall sum it up with a paragraph from Livingstone’s essay.

It amounts to a different way of viewing the world; the Greeks were more sensitive to beauty than we are . . . This is curiously illustrated by their treatment of tragic themes. There is no want of tragedy in Homer or the dramatists — their view of life is probably darker than our own — and they have been praised for a pessimism that faced and admitted the black truth. Yet the cloud of evil is continually broken by rays of beauty.

Yes — the Greeks’ outlook was a dark one, and hardly a “Dickensian” one. And yet, perhaps this makes the marks of beauty in their works even more poignant.

FINIS.