Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Random Sequence

"She sat now, by the drop light in an easy chair...reading a purple-covered pamphlet..."Sinning Sybil, or The Blotted Book." Milk-and-water as was her nature, nothing would serve her turn in literature but the thrilling tragic, the monstrously improbable. Perhaps nothing else kept her awake. She absorbed, like a greedy sponge, streams of such trash as is pronounced by stomachs of a higher tone to be turbid and nauseous, a slow poison, when it does not act as an emetic.... intrigues, robberies, poisonings, and suicides infested every page.

"She looked up placidly in the midst of a midnight adventure where the hero caught a glimpse, by a flash of lightening, of the assassin's poiniard aimed at his heart.

"What did you say, Marian, love?"
--from "Nobody to Blame", by Marion Harland, in Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine, February 1864

(I found a bound copy of Godey's in my basement and have been flipping through the dusty pages.)

"Turbid" means "not clear" or muddy, i.e., filthy.
A "poiniard" (also spelled poniard) is a dagger with a slender blade.
An "emetic" is something that causes vomiting.

This Victorian writer with the high-toned stomach really didn't like the popular novels of the day. (I detect a hint of jealousy.)

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