The macabre & ghoulish 18th century Penny Dreadfuls & Penny Bloods throwaway folded sheets which titillated Victorian readers with tales of murderous worlds & scandalous gruesome violence feeds our fables of crooked clothing & damaged millinery. The penny Play-Book tales of pirates & highwaymen & ghouls in the unlit darkened alleyways of old London are our opium as too the “gangsters & coshers”, the “mercury induced mad hatters”, the criminally insane & the criminally detained. 18th century dandies to Englands last executioner & the oddities, the anatomists, the resurrectionists & all the eccentricity in-between ―:English Eccentricity is indeed Strangely English
±“The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigour & moral courage it contained. That so few people now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time” John Stuart Mill 1859
Dear Doctor, To write or not to write, that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to follow the visit of the great ‘Fulbourn’ with ‘chronic melancholy’ expressions of regret (withheld when he was here) that, as the Fates would have it, we were so little prepared to receive him, and to evince my humble desire to do honour to his visit. My Fulbourn star, but an instant seen, like a meteor’s flash, a blank when gone. The dust of ages covering my little sanctum parlour room, the available drapery to greet the Doctor, stowed away through the midst of the regenerating (water and scrubbing – cleanliness next to godliness, political and spiritual) cleansing of a little world. The Great Physician walked, bedimmed by the ‘dark ages’ the long passage of Western Enterprise, leading to the curvatures of rising Eastern morn. The rounded configuration of Lunar (tics) garden’s lives an o’ershadowment on Britannia’s vortex …
With thanks to: On the Writing of the Insane, with illustrations, by G. Mackenzie Bacon, M.D.; 1870; John Churchill and Sons, London. & The British Library archives.