Sunday, April 02, 2017

Queen Victoria and Sally Naldrett: different yet the same

This past week, Facebook was full of people finding page 56 in the nearest book, locating the 5th sentence, and posting it. Perhaps this Facebook mania is connected to national book week? Or Canada Reads, also running this past week? Anyway, life lusciously revolving around books!
(photo stolen from Juniper Books)


I love the idea of grabbing a book and turning to page 56, then counting down to sentence five. So I decided to put it to use, for my own selfish purposes.
(My impulse was to write: 'evilly twirls moustache', in the style of nya-ha-ha bad-guy cartoons, but as I age, that whole moustache thing seems like it might end up an actual possibility, so...not writing that!)
Back to putting it to use. A current research project, this blog, and tarot. A three-fer.

The Victoria Project is something I'm playing around with for my own amusement. I'm looking into anything (science, medicine, literature, art, music, inventions, politics, etc.) that took place in the lifespan of Queen Victoria (1819-1901).
Two books I'm reading  now are:
Queen Victoria's Secrets (not the underwear company)
Mistress of Nothing
So I paged to 56 in each of them and found the fifth sentence.

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Interim
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     Went to the Windsor Symphony Orchestra concert with multiple choruses tonight. 
     Gorgeous. I'm still weepy from the final number in Candide - Make Our Garden Grow
(big finish at 2:48)
     And all the works in the concert? Based on literature. Yup, definitely a book-y week.
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Two women perch at opposite ends of the power and money spectrum: Sally Naldrett as "Mistress of Nothing", and Queen Victoria, mistress of practically everything.
Thoughts on the subject, courtesy of the Page of Cups.


One sits as high as is possible to go in the world (note tiny lowly subject)
Tarot of Prague 2016



And the other is a servant belonging to her mistress
Victorian Romantic



From Queen Victoria's Secrets, page 56:
"Queen Victoria had to negotiate those extremes." 
Victoria had to be forever mindful of carefully treading a judicious central path, so as not to fall into the political quagmire to the right and left of her position. She may have been mistress of everything, but she wasn't free to do as she pleased.

From Mistress of Nothing, page 56:
"My lady will do as she sees fit."
Sally's lot was to please her mistress, no matter what the demands might be, and attempt to achieve some semblance of individuality and contentment within that narrow framework.

These two women never met (I can say that with 99.99% certainty) and even if they had, it's unlikely that either of them would have entertained for a nano-second the idea that their lives were similar in any way. However...
Victoria ascended the throne as a sheltered eighteen-year-old. Obviously going to be a steep learning curve there.
Sally's mistress decided to recover from her illness in hot dry Egypt, and she hauled Sally with her. Not much in Sally's upstairs-downstairs-one-day-off-a-month foggy London life had prepared her for this.

They were both fledglings in their new lives.



Each of them undoubtedly had doubts. What on earth am I doing here? I don't know how to do this.



Both lived on a life-blood river, Thames or Nile.



Each lived in a world of letters incoming and outgoing, notes and packages from emissaries and travellers. Victoria's journals ran to 143,000 pages by the time she died. Except for letters to her sister, most of Sally's writing was on behalf of her mistress. Pen and ink were indelibly inscribed on their days.



On the other hand, Sally had to cook 



and mess about with menial household tasks,



and Victoria never set sail for Egypt.



But one thing's for sure - they both had gumption!
Tarot Illuminati