As already mentioned, I have found some old newspapers in my attic, when we bought our crumbling house. I am trying to read them to try to understand how the British are thinking, and so far it has given me a rather useful insight in how to understand the locals. That said, I am getting worried that I will never get there. Whenever I think that I have progressed, something happens to prove me wrong. Lastly, it was a passenger on my flight back assuming that I was a tourist going to London for the Royal Wedding. So much for being almost British…
Anyway, today I am taking you back to Saturday, May the 4th, 1889. There is a whole paragraph on the “Zulu Sentences” “It cannot be said that the tribunal which tried Dinizulu and the other Zulu chiefs tempered justice with mercy. They were arraigned and convicted on the serious charge of high treason, and no doubt there were technically guilty of that crime (I like this expression “technically guilty”). But matters had drifted into such a chaotic and misty condition in Zululand that these poor savages ( it says it all, doesn’t it?) might well doubt whether they owed allegiance to Queen Victoria. They probably had a hazy idea to that effect, but not to the extent of conceiving that their levying war against Usibepu could be construed as high treason…” I have to admit that I knew nothing about this, so I had to look it up. Zululand was a monarchy in Southern Africa. Dinizulu was the son and contested successor of King Cetywayo. He turned to the British for some help to be recognised as the new king but, as they did nothing, he took matters into his own hands and fought them, hiring mercenaries. He was sent to St Helena- the same island as Napoleon- for seven years of exile, starting in 1890. Zululand is now a province of South Africa. Who knew?
There is also a long section on “A Hospital For The Insane” : ”The London County Council has appointed a Committee ( you have to remember that England is the country of Committees -they have a committee for everything here-, so I am not that surprised) to inquire into and to report to the Council upon the advantages which might be expected from the establishment, as a complement to the existing asylum system. The Report of the Committee will be awaited with much interest by all who devote attention to this most painful subject. It may be thought that the existing asylums do all that can be done ; but this is extremely doubtful….That insanity, on its physical side, is simply a disease of the brain, all the authorities agree; but the causes of the disease may be so complicated or so subtle as to be far beyond the reach of science. We have no right however to assume, that this is the case.” You see, that’s what I love about this country. They are not as judgmental as the French. In France, it remains a shame to suffer from a mental illness and until the early 1900’s patients were chained in mental hospitals. You have got to love the openness of the Brits here.
There is also a refreshing, politically incorrect account of the progress of the Paris Exhibition : “The British Section is well ahead amongst the foreign departments, the United States, Russia, and Italy are rather behindhand, and Spain is almost empty.” You have got to love the British humility here.
And this week, we have a few ads of soap, as if there was an obsession about hygiene. I especially like this one:
“A Fair Beautiful Skin -Sulpholine ( what an odd name!) Soap gives the natural tint and peach-like bloom of a perfect complexion. by washing with Sulpholine Soap the skin becomes spotless, soft, clear, smooth, supple, healthy and comfortable.”
And, finally, I love this one:
” Electricity is life
For the Cure of Nervous diseases
Have received testimonials from
Three physicians to
Her majesty the Queen,
The academie de medecine of Paris, and
Forty members of the Royal College of Physicians of London”
Next week will be my last post on my old newspapers, I hope that you have enjoyed it!
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London