Getting to Know the 1800’s Part I

Absquatulate: To take leave, to disappear.

I’m so sorry about that short hiatus, things have been so crazy. I’ve been dealing with several international bureaucracies, and I don’t even really have a moment right now. Hopefully, I’ll get back on a stable schedule and be able to post more regularly. In the mean time, I’m going to do a series of posts about Getting to Know the 1800s, taking excerpts from Everyday Life in the 1800s by Marc McCutcheon. Perhaps it will entertain some of you, especially those of you who enjoyed the Olde Timey Insults! Funny what quaint slang they had back then, isn’t it?

Gotham: New York City.

You just thought it was from the Batman (admittedly, I accidentally wrote Bathman at first) comics, didn’t you? Well, actually, this name has been referring to the Big Apple throughout the early 1800s. McCutcheon cites a less-than-flattering description of New York City as Gotham:

“An Albany or Newark dog is well worth fifty cents, if brought to Gotham’s authorities, as if actually killed in Gotham’s streets… We understand that a dog’s flesh is quite a luxury in Gotham market.” Philadelphia Public Ledger, 5 August 1836.

Gotham City

Pigs: Kept as pets and as future food sources in yards, towns, and cities all over America. Thousands of them ran freely on New York City streets during the first half of the century.

Queen Anne House: A house style popular in the 1870s and 1880s in England and America, actually based on a combination of Elizabethan, Tudor, Gothic, and English Renaissance forms. Notable features included polygonal or cylindrical towers, bay windows, balconies, and ornate woodwork.

Queen Anne House

Groom’s Seat: A small seat or rumble seat where a groom or footman rode at the back of a coach or carraige.

Dugway: Popular slang for a simple, dug-out road.

George IV Phaeton: An elegant, slipper-shaped carriage with folding hood, pulled by two horses. This vehicle was very popular with women because it was graceful and was open to allow the passengers’ fashion to be seen and admired from the street.

George IV Phaeton

-A.

Photos Courtesy Of:
http://www.rina2012.co.uk/communities/2/004/005/953/492/images/4514693977.jpg

Dresses of Tsarina Aleksandra Romanova

Tsarina Alexandra

I have to say, all of the images here are taken shamelessly from a Retronaut article on the same matter, but I’ve decided to share a few of my favourites along with a little history about the Tsarina’s story rather than simply exhibiting her fashionable garb. All information included here can be found on Wikipedia.

The sixth of seven children to Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, Alix Viktoria Helena Luise Beatrice of Hesse and by Rhine was a granddaughter of the powerful Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of the United Kingdom. She was baptised into the Lutheran faith, and while she was not destined to inherit her father’s country, she would in fact rule great expanses through marriage. In 1878, six years after her birth, diptheria struck the household and killed both Alexandra’s mother and youngest sister.

Tsarina AlexandraAlexandra was a stubborn, strong-willed girl, who rejected her first promising suitor despite familial pressure from both her immediate household, and Queen Victoria herself. However, she had already fallen in love with Nicholas II of Russia, despite the fact that King Wilhelm II of Prussia was a mutual great-great grandfather, though he was one generation back on the Russian side.

Nicholas II also faced troubles in their potential engagement, as his father, Tsar Alexander III, was strictly anti-German and was hoping for a more fruitful and powerful alliance. He attempted to make his son marry Hélène, a pretender on the throne of France, and then Margaret, sister to Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. Both women were also unwilling, and refused to give up their respective faiths to join the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Tsarina AlexandraI could include some details of Nicholas II’s reign, their coronation, his shortfalls and successes, and their popularity, but as this is going to be a long article anyway, I think I’ll skip to the bits of their rule that directly pertain to the Tsarina. For example, Rasputin. To discuss Rasputin, however, we need to delve into the Tsarina a bit further.

She gave birth to the young prince, tsarevich Alexei during the height of the Russo-Japanese war. He was born with haemophilia, a blood-clotting disease that Alexandra’s grandmother, Queen Victoria, had passed down to almost all royal families in Europe by marrying off her daughters to the male heirs. It was generally fatal at the time, and, as the heir of the Russian throne, it was pivitol that Alexei survive.

Out of desperation to heal her fragile son, Alexandra turned to religion, and then mystics, such as Grigori Rasputin. Rasputin lived a lifestyle of drunkenness and sexual promiscuity, but even police reports that Rasputin “exposed himself at a popular Moscow restaurant and bragged to the crowd that Nicholas let him top his wife whenever he wanted” would not deter Alexandra’s faith that the man could heal her son.
Tsarina Alexandra

When Alexei suffered a devastating hemorrhage in Poland, his mother and father waited by his bedside, anxiously trying to give him any aid to help his recovery. As the pain continued and their efforts failed, Alexandra asked Rasputin for help. His optimistic prayer-laden response coincided with Alexei’s recovery and cemented Alexandra’s fondness for the mystic. This gave political influence to the unstable Rasputin, and undermined the tsarina’s relationship with both her husband and her country.

After the first World War broke out, Alexandra took control of St. Petersburg as her husband went to lead the military on the fronts. She failed as a politician and increased Rasputin’s role, leading to a failing bureaucracy that was deeply unpopular. As revolution exploded, she was kept in her Palace, and then relocated with her family to Tobolsk, Siberia. There, the Kerensky government meant to keep them out of harm. The Bolsheviks later removed them to Yekaterinaburg. The communist guards called her husband Nicholas the Blood-Drinker, and her, the German bitch.

Being told that they were being led away to escape from the imprisonment, the family was led into the basement on Tuesday, 16 July 1918. There, they were told by Cheka guards that their family had tried to save them, and now they had failed, so they would be shot. Nicholas could only respond with “What?” before he was shot several times in the chest. Alexandra watched as her husband fell next to her with three fatal wounds. Her manservants were then killed, and as the revolver pointed at her, she attempted to turn away and make a cross. However, before she could finish, Peter Ermakov shot her in the head that went in just above her left ear and left just above her right ear. Ermakov then stabbed both of their dead bodies, breaking ribs and chipping Alexandra’s vertebrae. Then, the children were shot. Because of a shirt encrusted with jewels to protect him from his haemophilia, Alexei needed to be shot in the head to be successfully killed. That day, all members of the Romanov family died. The revolution had won.

-A.

Romanovs

Photos Courtesy Of:
http://www.retronaut.co/2011/10/dresses-of-tsarina-alexandra-romanova/