Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Literary Things

I swung by the library last night and picked up the last book I had on order, the autobiography of Louise Wooster, best known to the people of Birmingham as a madame who ran a brothel over on 1st Avenue South (still standing, though in disrepair and recently converted into a toney antiques shop called Jackson Galleries) and who made a name for herself by her unstinting care for the sick and dying during the Cholera Epidemic of 1873.

Published in 1911, just two years prior to her death, it is a fascinating glimpse into the late 19th Century. She seemed to have led a rather dramatic life filled with heartbreak--one surprise was found as I was thumbing through the book before actually settling in to read it. It seems that in her travels and occupations, she had become attached to the theater, and to a young actor:

[...] The war between the states had now begun, and all chance or hope of hearing from my sisters was thereby cut off.

I was madly in love with John Wilkes Booth. He was my ideal man, handsome, generous, affectionate, and brave. My love for him seemed be reciprocated. He was my idol. I nursed and cultivated that love, for we were never to part, he said. He had advised me to adopt the stage as a profession, to enter upon a theatrical career. Then we would always be together--no need of a separation ever again. Oh! how I loved him. [...]

Yep, that's right. Later on, she laments his madness, and that he had professed a love for the Union, and attributing his act to being under the influence of alcohol. She also notes that her name became connected with him in the newspapers:

[...] Much has been written of the capture and death of Wilkes Booth, many false things were said of him soon after his reported capture and death; a book was published called 'The Life of Wilkes Booth'. I, of course, read it, and was surprised to read in it that 'the woman who was in love with him and whom he had tired of, in a fit of jealousy had stabbed him and came near killing him'. There is not one word of truth in that. I am the woman that loved him and I believe he loved me. [...]

I have had more newspaper notoriety in connection with Wilkes Booth than any woman on earth. Column after column has been published about me--some truths, but many lies. He was never married as some newspapers would have him. I have been interviewed and misquoted until I have been made heart sick. I have become indignant with reporters of papers, while they seemed surprised at my annoyance and would observe: 'Why, any one ought to feel complimented and take pride in being so written up'. [...]

Good to see journalistic traditions are still being upheld today, eh?

Anyway, this promises to be a fascinating read.

(And if she knew anything about Lucy Hale, she didn't let on. And this article says the woman who stabbed Booth was actress Henrietta Irving, in 1861. It also notes he had photographs of five women on him when he was caught. ::sigh:: Actors.)

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