Skip to content

A Pinch and a Punch, the First of the Month

September 1, 2011


A Pinch and a Punch, the First of the Month

July 1, 2011

June 2, 2011

A Pinch and a Punch, the First of the Month

June 1, 2011

A Peep Behind the Curtain

May 4, 2011

Viewing backstage spaces



To the Tune of Gossip Joan.


Ye Peers, ye Cits, and Beaux,

      Who haunt Pit, Box and Gall’ry,

Your Persons to expose,

  And shew your Wit and Raill’ry                                  Little Boys!


Ye Lads, that Soldiers are;

Ye gen’rous keeping Cullies;

Who, with lank Face and Shape

At home set up for Bullies,                                          From Quib’ron:


Mourn, mourn your late Disgrace,

That shut ye from behind, Sirs!

For there we know’s a place,

Where you much Sport may find, Sirs,                    The Green-Room.


ROXANA, on the Stage,

Wou’d but appear a Baby,

Shou’d she with KATE engage;

Yet she’s Nought to a Lady                                          Called PEGGY.

Of late these Nymphs fell out,

And had a dismal Scuffle;

D—g l—s, who loves a Rout,

Ne’er met with such a Ruffle                                      From the D—


KATE, who was long ill-us’d

Depended on her Merit,

But PEG, by all abus’d,

Said, She had only Spirit,                                               Pretty Girl!

None knew from whence it rose,

But ‘twas about their Duty:

To rise by Wit one chose,

And t’other by her Beauty                                           Both are Vain!

Who can describe the Airs,

The Green-Room Girls befitting,

The Pride and pleasing Leers

When they’re the other twitting?                            Artful Nymphs!

Hear the loud Storm ascend!

Oh! cruel to your Hearing!

Their diff’rent Voices blend,

And HOTSPUR interfering,                                           Poor B—rr—y!

PEG, in a Taste polite,

At once began the Battle:

Says she, “You may be right;

“But this is Tittle-Tattle,                                                 Red-Fac’d B—ch!”


Now bristles bonny Kate;

All ready, fierce and fiery,

“Such BRIMS (cries she) I hate –

“Cou’d DAVEY e’er admire Ye? —                              PROSTITUTE!

My Beauty me defends,

Cries lovely pretty PEGGY;

Whilst you abuse your Friends;

And so – no more – I beg you –                                  HELL’S DUCHESS!

Up starts a grey-hair’d Sage –

Says Kate – “’tis most provoking!

“Why should you rule the STAGE?

Mind Building, Pimping, Joaking,                              OLD STAGE-GOAT!

From this, sad Work ensued:

Old LIMPO got a Slap, Sir:

Which he return’d; quite rude!

And fell’d an harmless Chap, Sir,                               Sad JEMMEE!

“My Child shant be abus’d,”

Says limping am’rous S—y;

“Though POLLY me refus’d –

Shou’d you, — The Devil’s in ye,                                Saucy Peg!


Oh L—cy! then beware

How you such Belles do trust to;

For, tho’ they speak you fair,

They treat you as a BUSTO,                                         PLAYERS ALL!

A very fine cat indeed

April 13, 2011

The New Female Spectator has increased our household with the addition of a 5-month-old girl kitten. The poor little mite is as yet unnamed.

A very great deal of eighteenth century representations of cats and kittens feature small girls and young women, typically playing dress-up or cuddling the puss.  This print of 1804 shows a ‘novelist’, a reader of novels, with a cat on her shoulder. She seems to be in an imaginative transport; the little cat toys with her necklace. The pet is seen as a female accoutrement along the same lines as the  romantic literature, soft and trifling. Nevertheless the scene is gently pleasing and companionate.


Thinking about Mary Delany

March 14, 2011

After a stunning display of Christmas blooms, The New Female Spectator has been meditating on the life and work of Mary Delany (1700-1788).

Many biographical blurbs remark  upon Delany’s age. She began her exquisite botanical paper mosaics at the age of 71, only leaving off 17 years later when her eyesight no longer permitted such intricate work. Perhaps it is remarkable, not that an older lady should be capable of such fine work, but that in the eighteenth century a woman could live to such a fine old age (she died aged 88) and in such good health as to remain so active.

What I find so intriguing about her life is her social positioning; widowed twice during the course of her life, she found herself at different times of life in the curious position of having no household of her own.

We do hear whisperings in the ether of a new Delany biography.  Perhaps the intricacies of Mary Delany’s social maneuverings will be illuminated for us here.

In the meantime, another breathtaking piece of work. Delany’s court gown, silk embroidery on satin, designed 1740-1.