Punch and Judy

I was in the UK over the Queen’s Jubilee.  Specifically, I was in Reading visiting friends who are vehement  Republicans.  Which, I learned, does not mean that they will be supporting Mitt Romney in the next election, but that she’d like to abolish the monarchy.

Despite their political leanings, my friends very kindly indulged me on the jubilee day, making tea sandwiches and taking me to the celebration in the town square.  I think as a Canadian and a Victorianist I’ve always felt a little kindly toward the royal family, though this might not have been the case if I had grown up in the UK.  I have fond memories of celebrating Victoria Day with my family, and I one of the first things I remember learning that distinguished Canadians from Americans was having the (colonial) tie to the UK, symbolized by the monarchy.  I.e.  the Queen is on one side of our quarter, and a moose on the other side.  For some reason that never sounds odd until you explain it to foreign friends! Continue reading “Punch and Judy”


Dr Marigold and Mr Chops: Dickens Reprised

Two years before his death, in 1868, Charles Dickens famously toured the United States, giving public readings of his work. Mark Twain was in the audience in New York and admitted to being “a great deal disappointed” at Dickens’s performance. He records, “what a bright, intelligent audience he had! He ought to have made them laugh, or cry, or shout, at his own good will or pleasure — but he did not. They were very much tamer than they should have been.” Continue reading “Dr Marigold and Mr Chops: Dickens Reprised”