As We Were: A Victorian Peep Show

As We Were: A Victorian Peep Show

As We Were: A Victorian Peep Show

As We Were: A Victorian Peep Show

Excerpt

Perhaps the pincushion will make as good a beginning as anything, that peerless object of the period, dated beyond dispute or discussion or suspicion, for which I have dived so sedulously and so fruitlessly into drawers full of Victorian relics, seeking it like a pearl in depths long undisturbed by any questing hand. But though I cannot find it, the search was richly rewarded in other respects, for it brought to light treasures long forgotten, but instantly and intimately familiar when seen again: there was a dog-eared book of manuscript music, containing among other ditties the famous tear-compelling song "Willy, we have missed you," there was a pair of goblets incredible even when actually beheld and handled, chalice-shaped, of cloudy pink glass outlined in gilt: there was a globular glass paper-weight, in which were embedded, like a layer of flies in amber, small gaudy objects, vastly magnified and resembling sections of jam-roll and sea-anemones: and there were oval cards with pictures of flowers on them, which once certainly belonged to the apparatus of the round game called "Floral Lotto" so justly popular in the seventies. But the pearl of great price, the pincushion, did not discover itself to my divings, and its disappearance is a matter of deep regret to me, for it must have been very rare and marvellous even when it was quite . . .

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