Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lady Morgan Quote

Lady Morgan, the Irish novelist, witty and captivating, who wrote "Kate Kearney" and the "Wild Irish Girl," when speaking of the laxity of a certain bishop in regard to Lenten fasting, said:

"I believe he would eat a horse on Ash Wednesday. A very
proper diet if it were a fast horse."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Olympe de Gouges

From the time of the French Revolution, French citizenship was limited to only men.  It was made clear in The Declaration of Rights of Man and of the citizen written by the National Assembly brought into law in 1789.  .

Olympe used her talent as a playright to pen The Declaration of the Rights of Women and of the Citizen in 1791 and mirror it after the male one. 

In her document, she asserted woman's ability to reason and make moral decisions, and pointed to the feminine virtues of emotion and feeling. She made woman man's equal partner.

As one can predict, her document did not go over well.  How dare she assume that women had the right to act as members of the public.  By doing so, she violated the precious boundaries that the revolutionary leaders had worked so hard to declare and initiate.

Her declaration stated that women had the right to free speech and the right to reveal the identity of the fathers of their children, something unheard of at the time.  She declared that children born out of wedlock be given the same consideration and equality as those born in marriage.  This stirred up ire for it insinuated that women too had the freedom to satisfy their sexual desires outside of marriage and that men need not fear any responsibility. 

In July 1793, four years after the Revolution, Olympe de Gouges was arrested for her assertations and declarations and also for her refusal to be silent on the rights of women.  She faced the guillotine in November of that year.

Documents in the case against her cite:

"Olympe de Gouges, born with an exalted imagination, mistook her delirium for an inspiration of nature. She wanted to be a man of state. She took up the projects of the perfidious people who want to divide France. It seems the law has punished this conspirator for having forgotten the virtues that belong to her sex.  In the midst of a Revolution to extend rights to more men, Olympe de Gouges had the audacity to argue that women, too, should benefit. Her contemporaries were clear that her punishment was, in part, for forgetting her proper place and proper role as a woman."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Queen Elizabeth I Said

"Though ye be burly, my Lord Burleigh, ye make less stir than my Lord Leicester."

Queen Elizabeth I

Friday, February 11, 2011

Queen Christina of Sweden

In 1933, the great Greta Garbo portrayed my life in a film entitled Queen Christina. Here is a short clip of the movie.

I was born to King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden and Maria Eleanora of Brandenburg.  I was an only child and therefore the only heir.  Because of this, my father took a great interest in me and saw that I had the best education, just as a boy heir would have enjoyed.  In fact, he ordered that I be brought up as a boy.

King Gustavus

Maria Eleanora of Brandenburg

My mother was a woman of distraught temperament and her attempts to make me feel guilty for the difficult birth prejudiced me against wishing to produce an heir to the throne one day myself.  

In 1632 my father was killed in battle and I assumed the throne.  I was six years old. A man named Axel Oxenstierna acted as my regent until I reached maturity.

He continued as my adviser afterwards. Although he advised me against it, I put an end to the Thirty Years War and made peace with Westphalia in 1648.

I named my cousin, Carl Gustav (Karl Charles Gustavus) as my heir and successor.

Karl Gustav

Rumours abounded that we were in love, but we never married.  Other rumors began to circulate regarding Countess Ebba "Belle" Sparre, my lady-in-waiting. It was said we were lovers.

Ebba Sparre

 I know that letters have survived between us which demonstrate our high regard for each other. At times, we even shared a bed together. Our relationship was curtailed when the Countess married and left my court, but the passionate exchange of letters continued.

I was a great patroness of art, theater, and music.  I faced many difficult political situations including taxation, governance, and strained relations with Poland.  The pressures proved too difficult for me to bear.  In 1651, I proposed my abdication.  My council did everything they could to talk me into changing my mind and staying.  The additional strain caused me to suffer some sort of breakdown and I confined myself to my rooms where I received consultation from Father Antonio Macedo.

Finally, in 1654 I could no longer bear it and I officially abdicated.  The true reasons for my abdication continue to be controversial and argued about to this day by historians.

I changed my name to Maria Christina Alexandra, and disguised as a man, departed from Sweden a few days later.  I travelled to Rome where I resided in a palazzo that I filled with beautiful art and books.  Here I established a salon which became a popular center of culture.

I also became Roman Catholic and was much respected and liked by the Vatican and aligned myself with a particularly free-thinking branch of Roman Catholicism. Slowly I found myself drawn into political and religious intrigue between the French and Spanish factions in Rome.

My peaceful existence soon faded.  In 1656, I aligned herself with the French and launched an attempt to become Queen of Naples.  The Marquis of Monaldesco, a trusted member of my  household, betrayed my plans to the French to the Spanish Viceroy of Naples.

My vengeance was swift.  I had Monaldesco executed in my presence and claimed it was my right to do so. For this act, Roman society turned a cold shoulder and  did their best to avoid me.  As time passed, however, I became involved again in church politics.

This time, I set my sights on becoming Queen of Poland.  My attempt failed. Then I attempted to win the Papacy for my confidant, advisor, and lover, Cardinal Decio Azzolino. Again, I failed.

I died in 1689 at the age of 63.  I named Cardinal Azzolino as my sole heir. I was buried in St. Peter's, an unusual honor for a woman.

I gained notariety because I often dressed in men's clothing and my personal relationships which led to rumours about my sexuality.
In 1965, my body was exhumed for testing, to see if I bore the signs of hermaphroditism or intersexuality, but the results were inconclusive.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An Ancient Greek Woman Said

When offered some old wine in a tiny glass by her miserly host, who boasted of the years since it had been bottled, the Grecian woman inquired, "Isn't very small for its age?"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu Said

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

"There is only one reason I am glad I am a woman: 
I should never have to marry one."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Winner of The Pilgrim Glass by Julie K. Rose Is...

Linda Brower! Linda, please contact Julie Rose with your mailing address to receive your FREE, signed copy of The Pilgrim Glass. Thanks for visiting the blog.

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