Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Everything Marvellous! Miss Catherine Johnson

In the spirit of Nicky Browne who has taken us back to AD 50 and Roman werewolves, I would like to share my own world, a thousand or so years closer to our own, which starts here with this poem,
originally printed in the Bath Herald June 1817,

OH! Aid me, ye spirits of wonder! who soar
In realms of Romance where none ventur'd before;
Ye Fairies! who govern the fancies of men,
And sit on the point of Monk Lewis's pen;
Ye mysterious Elves! who forever remain
With Lusus naturaes and Ghosts of Cock Lane;
Who ride upon broomsticks, intent to deceive
All those who appear pre-disposed to believe,
And softly repeat from your home in the spheres
Incredible stories to credulous ears;
With everything marevllous, everything new,
We'll trace a description of Miss CARABOO.

Princess Caraboo, that's her actual portrait up there, was a real young woman from Regency history. I have taken her as a starting point (truth, as usual, is stranger than anything I could invent and in real life she ended her days as a successful Bristol business woman who sold medicinal leeches) and she has led me into a world of posture clubs, honour lost, honour restored, and thigh slapping, thoroughly nasty cads.
Every time I wander off course from my story I come back to this poem. I have so nearly squeaked to the finish I could sing.

And because she was real and I have taken liberties with the truth, (I am sure Caraboo herself would approve of that) I have told my story from the point of view of a completely and utterly worthless young man; Mr Frederick Worrall, 18, just out of Westminster school, woman hater and horrible snob.

I have almost got a title - The TRUE and MARVELLOUS story of the UNMASKING of the PRINCESS CARABOO.
I am at the final chapter. OK I'm a month late but let's forget that shall we? Let's also forget that as yet my lovely story has no publisher (another story) and lets hope someone is interested in empire line frocks, deception, demi reps and beau nasties.
All together; "HURRAH!"


Katherine Langrish said...

It sounds fantastic!!!

Charlie Butler said...

Sounds a great idea, Catherine! Have you seen the little exhibit at Bristol zoo? Including this poster..


Stroppy Author said...

I think I included her in my Story of Medicine (adult non-fiction) - but she might not have survived the final cuts. Great character - what a wonderful idea to use her in a story!

Charlie Butler said...

My previous URL seems not to have worked, so here's attempt No. 2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33877273@N00/4459692876/

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Great story Catherine. Can't wait to read it. Sounds too delicious not to be taken up by a publisher. Thanks for the URL Charlie... the poster is almost an outline for a novel!

Catherine Johnson said...

Thanks for the link Charlie, hadn't seen it before x

Penny Dolan said...

I love the idea and that Princess Cariboo title. Fantastic!

Additionally, trudging through work today, I am amazed at your work rate and energy, Catherine.
Yours, enviously. . .