Monday, August 22, 2011

Horrible Histories- George I- Doesn't Understand English..

Ah, the benefits of a Hanoverian monarch! Not only does one avoid the Hapsburg jaw, one gets both German and an inherited case of porphoria.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Daily Bread> Your Angst

The Amateur Historian has a particular fondness for literary feuds. Though Mark Twain's scathing criticisms of the literary offenses of the Deerslayer tales are still the Amateur Historian's favorite, William Makepeace Thackeray had some salient criticisms of Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther:

Werther had a love for Charlotte
Such as words could never utter;
Would you know how first he met her?
She was cutting bread and butter.

Charlotte was a married lady,
And a moral man was Werther,
And, for all the wealth of Indies,
Would do nothing for to hurt her.

So he sighed and pined and ogled,
And his passion boiled and bubbled,
Till he blew his silly brains out,
And no more was by it troubled.

Charlotte, having seen his body
Borne before her on a shutter,
Like a well-conducted person,
Went on cutting bread and butter.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


As mentioned in an earlier post this week, Pitt the Younger's favorite way of spending the evening was to drink three bottles of port with his close friends and cabinet ministers. His favorite drinking partner was Dundas, who could not quite match Pitt's three bottles, but not from lack of effort.

During what seems to be one particularly memorable dinner party hosted by Charles Jenkinson in Croydon, Pitt and Dundas decided that they were sober enough to ride.

They were not.

The Prime Minister of England and the most famous Scottish MP of the time took it into their heads to gallop through an open toll gate separating Streatham and Tooting, and were shot at by the toll keeper.

Talk about taking a shot at greatness....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bunga bunga certainly sounds like a nonsense word

In a world of bunga-bunga parties with minors and Prime Ministers as the main guests, the Amateur Historian finds it something of a relief to turn from Berlusconi's antics to William Pitt the Younger's.

Pit the Younger was notoriously uninterested in women, his one "fling" with Eleanor Eden ending with an oft-examined letter explaining to her father, Lord Auckland, why they couldn't be married. Though that is the subject of another post (the Amateur Historian is sure her Gentle Readers will be thrilled with a quasi-scholarly examination of Pitt the Younger's sexuality or lack thereof), Pitt's own parties were, to be quite honest, not very good. Pitt's idea of a wild evening was to drink three bottles of port with Dundas, Wilberforce or any of his other ministers in attendance, and then to rehearse Parliamentary debates. Slow down, wild man!

Part of this has to do with the early death of his beloved sister, Harriot, in 1785. Her role as his political hostess forced him out of his customary reserve and extreme shyness and, at her death, Pitt was left to the mercies of the Duchess of Gordon. To say that Pitt very soon disliked the Duchess of Gordon, who called him "pet" and tried to set him up with her daughter Charlotte, may be summed up in the following exchange:

Duchess of Gordon: Well, Mr. Pitt, do you talk as much nonsense now as you used to when you lived with me?

Pitt the Younger: I do not know, madam, whether I talk so much nonsense, I certainly do not hear so much."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Horrible Histories- Admiral Nelson's Death/Stupid Deaths

Everyone loves a naval hero, except if said naval hero pukes on your shoes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Horrible Histories -George IV is Fat

The man wasn't nicknamed "the Prince of Whales" because of his fondness for marine science, after all.