Thursday, December 1, 2011
It always fascinates me to come across books that reflect the prudery that influenced an entire generation. And we're not talking all that long ago, either. A friend of mine was so gloriously kind as to gift me with a fabulous book she had come across in her attic that was printed in 1919. It's called EUGENICS or Nature's Secrets Revealed, The Scientific Knowledge of The Laws of Sex and Heredity.
Let me start with this disclaimer: Ha. The only thing revealed in this book is the notion that sex is still a four letter word and that women have no rights back in 1919. I will emphasize that this book was published not even a hundred years ago. Scary. And needless to say, we're going to dissect this sucker by giving you up close and personal cuts from the book itself. I've decided to break this post into two parts because there's just WAY too much to share of this 500 page book. Yes. 500 pages of skirting around the issue, lol...
Topics explored and quoted with snide commentaries by Yours Truly:
BAD BOOKS: One half of the youth in our prisons and houses of corrections started their evil careers by reading bad books, or at best, worthless novels. (God save those reading my books...) These books are the nicotine and alcohol of literature. They poison, and burn, and blast the head and heart as surely as their cousins do the stomach.
RUINED BY BAD BOOKS: An eighteen-year-old girl suspected of being the writer of threatening letters received by the Sunday School Literature publisher, and other persons of the city, on being arrested and tried, confessed that it had been the reading of bad books that led her into the crime. No one can estimate the amount of crime and lawlessness that is directly traceable to the dime novel and other pernicious literature. (Oh, yes. I'm going to hell and guess what? So are you!).
Bad Pictures: Bad reading burns deeper than does filthy conversation, and bad pictures, perhaps make deeper scars than do bad books. Both burn very deeply into the souls of boys and girls, young men and young women. Dr. Leonard, a leading divine, tells of the dreadful effects of foul pictures shown him by a Germany shoemaker as a boy. (sounds like German shoemaker was a perve and it had nothing to do with f*cking pictures....) Dr. Leonard, like thousands of other pure men, would give his good right arm if these vile pictures could be forgotten. (Sadly, it sounds like he was sexually abused as a boy and it's being blamed on pornography).
Characteristics of Woman: There is beauty in the helplessness of a woman. (Nice) The clinging trust (or stupidity) which searches for extraneous support is graceful and touching. Timidity is the attribute of her sex, but to herself it is not without its dangers, its inconveniences and its sufferings. Her first effort at comparative freedom is bitter enough, for the delicate mind shrinks from every unaccustomed contact. The secret of her weakness is hidden in the depths of her own bosom (Note: this man was written by a man. Surprise, surprise. Delilah would also like to note that there was no page found on the characteristics of a man...)
A Sterile Marriage: I will describe one more case, in which the two parties were perfectly neutral to each other, and therefore sterile and childless. (This is in 1919, when functions and sterility were, in fact, understood...talk about bad books) A man spoke o me one day and said, "I would like to talk with you." He asked me to explain the grounds of my teaching, which I did as I have done in this article. He then said, "How would it be with me in case I should have married a wife who was tall and slender, with snapping black eyes?" (Sounds like he thinks he married the wrong woman). He himself was tall, say five feet eleven inches. We had been speaking of Napoleon and Josephine, and why they were childless together and I went on to show him that substantially the same conditions existed in his case, that he and his wife were so closely alike as to be neutral to each other and therefore sterile and childless. He told me they had been married fourteen years and had never had a child, and that he had no idea why, but now he could see that the case was the same with them as with Napoleon and Josephine. (Talk about a REAL Napoleon complex...) It was plain to see that he had married a woman he had over idolized and so had formed a strictly neutral marriage. (WTF).
Mental Effect of Sex Ignorance: In his investigations of the asylums of one nation, Dr. Pique claims that he found that 82% of all cases of insanity among females and 78% among males, involved sexual issues and that early sex instruction would have wholly prevent many cases and would have postponed the mental breakdown. (Um, yeah. Notice how the insanity percentage of women is higher. Hm)
Effects of Sexual Excitement on Man: In a man, if spooning is persisted in, it leads to sexual excitement. This causes a surplus of energy to be secreted. The body can retain and use only a normal quantity of this energy. This surplus will be dissipated through involuntary losses, the secret vice (he's referring to masturbation) or prostitution. If spooning is continued for a few months or years, he will suffer from varicosed veins and varicocele (A widening of the veins that holds the testicles). He may become temporarily or permanently impotent or sterile. (1919 people)
Effects of Sexual Excitement on Women (oh, this is going to be good!): Frequent excitement leads to ovarian troubles, leucorrhoea (vaginal discharge), or whites, corresponding to sexual weakness in the male. The eyes that once glowed with lustre will become pale and sunken (yeah, if you do it every two minutes and get no sleep!). The cheeks once plump, ruddy and rosy with health will become thin and faded. One or many more other troubles may follow. With the kindest interest in you and yours, believe me, sincerely your friend, T.W.S. (This dude actually wouldn't even use his real name, only initials. Snort.)
What fascinates this here girl is that this sex book does in fact use pictures. Only...they are covered.
This particular picture discusses the Correct Form And Proportions Of Male And Female. And goes on and on about the beauty of the body but dang them, there's no picture OF the body...
The misconceptions that are own grandparents and their parents were born into is astounding and even more so, knowing that this wasn't that long ago. Some of these people are still walking around today. Or should I saw hobbling around...that said, I haven't even made a dent in this book! It's very sexist and I'm struggling not to rip pages....God do I ever feel blessed to have been born in the era I have been born in, because I would have been a slut and a whore of the worst sort, reading BAD BOOKS and having ovarian complications...
Until Next time, Much love to you and your ovaries,
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
My dearest Readers,
There is so much to cover when it comes to Rome and their naughty history, I could spend all day and night typing up a fifty page blog post. But because I don't want your eyes rolling to the back of your head, I'm going to actually showcase what I think deserves showcasing. And believe me...it's GOOD.
As many of you already know, Rome was a crazy place to live in and have sex in. And because it was crazy, many laws were put into place to put people into place. (heh. good luck with that, Caesar). Married men in Rome could have sex with whoever the hell they wanted to. Widows, Slaves, Prostitutes, and anything on four legs (you think I'm kidding?). The men of Rome had it made. They could have sex with everyone, including their wives.
Oh, now wait...not everyone. They couldn't have sex with virgins and other people's wives. Why? Strict adultery laws (which I'm sure the men grumbled about, especially when they were eyeing their neighbor's hot wife laying out the pottery by the door.) These "strict" adultery laws, however, didn't irk the men at all, given they were screwing everything else. These laws actually slammed the wives hard (pun intended). Because unlike the husband who could stick it in anything except other wives and virgins, a married woman wasn't allowed ANY sex outside of her husband. Because the law itself was written as such that it was a CRIME to have sex with a married woman. Not a married man. Huh. Wonder who wrote THAT law? If an adulteress was caught having sex outside marriage, the punishment was the loss of all her property (including her children) and exile.
Oh, but now we get to the good part. You think Roman wives took this laying down? *Smirk* Hell, no. They were a lot smarter than the Roman men gave them credit for and they found their glorious little loophole in another Roman law they bent in their favor so they could get themselves a little somethin' somethin' without losing everything.Ancient Roman law was written as such that any woman registered as a prostitute (because it was considered a very legal profession) could NOT be punished for any sex acts. Including that of adultery. Because hey. A job was a job.
Men wanted the best of both worlds and wanted prostitution legal so they could do what their wives couldn't do. But you guessed it, the wives beat their husbands at their own game. They just registered themselves as prostitutes and got around the law in a bow worthy way. Believe it or not, there were many wealthy and high profile families in Rome which had mothers and grandmothers alike registered as....you got it...prostitutes.Roman Suetonius (c. 69-c. 140 C.E) went on record to complain about this loophole to his fellow Roman men. He said, "Married women from well-known families are registering as prostitutes. They are escaping punishment for their adulteries by renouncing the privileges of their rank in society." Well, now. There you have it. Women *are* smarter than men, after all.
I hope you enjoyed this bit of naughty history and until next time,
Much love to you,
Friday, September 30, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
My dearest Readers,
The Pretty Women of Paris; Their Names and Addresses, Qualities and Faults, Being a Complete Directory; Or, Guide to Pleasure For Visitors to the Gay City (1883 Privately Printed at the Press of the Prefecture de Police, by Subscription of the Members of the Principal Parisian Clubs).
Preface: "Every Woman has her Price." - The Author
When I saw that PREFACE, I actually snorted loud enough to make everyone in the Rare Book Room look up from their studies. I cringed and tried to pretend that I didn't do it by reading on. Boy did I ever get an eye full of that book. There were no illustrations but the words didn't need any. All the names of the women were listed in Alphabetical Order. Quite literally from A to Z. What fascinated me most was learning more about the details that get lost in history. Like what the life of a whore might have REALLY been like back in the 1800's. I think this book, though clearly sexist in its nature for the author had very few positive "reviews" of any of the women in his guide, it gives us a glimpse into the daily life of these women.
Here's two of my favorite excerpts:
11, Rue Miromenil
For beauty in stature in stature and elegance in every limb, no handsomer woman will be found in Paris. She has a fine bust, and has just reached the ripe age of 29. She has a slight down on her upper lip, and affects a pince-nez, which gives her a very saucy appearance. She is very strong and a fine swimmer. Her lovers are to be found among the busy members of the Stock Exchange, and her only fault is the too frequent recurrence of some slight symptoms of venereal disease. She gives very pleasant balls and parties, where many young beginners may be picked up by the amateurs of female beauty. Last winter our brunette appeared at one of her reunions, attired in nothing but a loose gauze chemise and red-satin boots, exactly as if she was only a simple bawdy house wench. Her bosom friend, Antoinette Duret, who we notice further on, was attired, or rather, not attired, in the same way, and soon all the guests male and female, followed suit. She is very good-hearted, and does her best to please both old and young. The smallest contribution thankfully received.
Red-satin boots? I want those! And I just love the whole "slight symptoms of venereal disease." He was probably trying to get her into trouble with the police.
And my next favorite excerpt:
Rue Saint GeorgesNearly every visitor to Paris has noticed an elderly lady, who drive in the fashionable promenades, handling the whip herself with consummate cleverness. She is always attired in the height of fashion, and generally has at her side a young and comely companion. The old baroness herself is old and ugly, but her turn-out is always a marvel of coaching display. Sometimes she disdains to drive, and a postilion, be-wigged and be-powdered, with brilliant, old fashioned costume, conducts this luxurious old bawd; while on other days a tiny tiger, dressed in the perfection of taste, dances up and down on the spring-board behind her airy vehicle. IN any other capital of Europe this person known as the “Shame of Paris” would be simply pelted with mud and stones, for everybody is aware of her trade. It is that which Martial, in his epigrams, so unmercifully condemns. She, nothing more than a fellatrix, or, so to speak more plainly, she produces the venereal spasm by the contact of her mouth, and the tickling of her tongue. Only a common whore, provided with a card by the police, compelling her to submit to the search of the speculum at stated times, she manages to avoid this disagreeable duty by clever bribery. Her house, which, contrary to the usual habit in Paris, is inhabited by her alone, is magnificently furnished, and full of costly pictures, statues, and works of art. The visitor is generally conducted to a splendid bedstead in Algerian style, and after copious ablutions with rose-water, proffered in a silver basin, the goddess deigns to prove the power of that marvelous piece of mechanism – the female tongue. The snug retreat is also tenanted by two or three young nymphs, but none are so clever as this old woman. Her large fortune proves her vogue, as all Paris has passed her doors. Well worth a visit, if only out of curiosity, especially as one short séance is only 10 francs, with a slight gratuity to the waiting-maid, who in return for your kindness, will show you over the house.
What struck me about all the entries was realizing how real these women were and the hardships and the craziness they must have endured. Not only did they create it for themselves but the men placed that burden on them as well. Many think that the Victorian era erased vice and created modesty in women. In some, yes. But sadly, in many no. Their stories are overlooked. After all, who cares about a whore? Which comes to show that our perception of history is messed up. We want the romantic side of how people lived back in the day as opposed to how they really lived. In doing so, we are slapping these women in the face. They may not have lived the most moral or honorable of lives, but they lived them. To pretend these women didn't exist makes us the ones in need of moral reassessment. I'm just saying. Praise be the whore who lead a life unlike anything I could ever write (though I will try, lol).
Cheers and much love until next time,
Friday, July 1, 2011
Holy God, do I ever want to see whatever it left of the SECRETUM. If even to smell it. *Smirk* What's that? In 1866, in the height of Victorian sex paranoia, the British Museum trustees voted to have any and all pornographic related material shoved into a room known as Cupboard 55. From historic dildos to condoms from the 1700's, to Marquis de Sade's works, to paintings and sculptures too graphic to show, it basically boasted over a thousand naughty artifacts that would make Indiana Jones blush. This room is STILL in existence, but because we aren't QUITE the Victorian prudes we used to be, the artifacts in the room have been since dispersed to other areas in the museum for the public to see (that started happening in the 1960's). BUT...there are still things hidden within Cupboard 55 worth seeing. Like wax cocks from Italy, badges worn by medieval pilgrims that proudly boast the vagina which they wore during pilgrimage (who knew?!), a pipe from the Tudor age with a woman holding up her skirts and showing everything beneath it. How can you see these things? They're only shown by appointment every Tuesday at the British Museum. I think a trip to London for that alone is in order here...
That's only one of MANY things this book covered. So many things in fact, I decided to do my own version of hunting down delectable pieces of history in this book....PERSONALLY. So guess what people? Next month, I'll be doing an in depth coverage of one of the items I get to personally get my hands on while I'm in New York City and all of the history behind it and what WASN'T in the dang book pertaining to said object. I got my appointment set up to see it and spent some one on one time with it and take tons of notes. What is it? I figure I'll just make you all suffer until next month. Ha. I'm such a tease.
Until next time with much love,
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
My dearest Readers,
So I recently got back from New York City where I was doing research for my upcoming Rumor series, whilst also attending the Book Expo of America and I simply *had* to do a post on my visit to The Museum of Sex. (I'll also be posting a fun video of all my travels throughout NYC, which will include snippets at my Video Newsletter which will appear on my video Newsletter site simply click HERE on June 5th!).
How did I know about this place? Believe it or not, I was actually contacted by the Museum itself as they were preparing for an exhibit on the history of condoms and they wanted to know where I got a particular source for information on Egyptian condoms. *strutting my stuff* I directed them to my source and in return, they sent me an invite and placed my name as one of the contributors on that exhibit, which was pretty flippin' cool. Though obviously not something to brag about at church. *waggling brows*
You'll find this sign in the store of the Museum and it basically sets up the entire feel of the mindset you are about to enter into. I have to say I was pretty astounded as to how serious people got when entering. People would point and whisper as if everything around them wasn't supposed to be discussed. That's when I knew I had officially entered...the Taboo Zone....
The museum itself is something worth going to JUST to see how people behave when placed in a public setting of sex. People really are prudes when it comes down to it. Especially guys. All the men that were there were dead serious about the whole thing. They stared at stuff quietly as if they were looking at a Professor's discourse in Theology. Seriously! Women were a little more gabby and giggly and more at ease, especially if they were with girlfriends or with their boyfriend/spouse. Which says a lot about the social divide between men and women when it comes to sex itself.
The first exhibit covered SEX AND THE MOVING IMAGE. You got it. Porn in film. It was fascinating to read about the birth of cinema itself and how it started with a lot of the naughty stuff in France around 1895. I'll be doing a whole post on this alone in the near future, so I won't be delving too much into it now, but it was very creatively laid out, showing how each decade changed "porn." Throughout the exhibit they had porn being played left and right as you walked through and the moans and groans of people getting it on while I was trying to focus and read through the history of pornography was VERY distracting. Did I still love it? Hell yeah. Why? Because it pushed me to recognize where my comfort zone REALLY was. I'm not by any means a prude, and I live for the history of sex but there is something to be said when it's all done in public and you're sharing it with men and women you've never seen in your life and you're all watching some 70's flick of people having sex....I didn't last very long in that room. I was more fascinated by the origin of pornography but once I started getting into the 70's, 80's, 90's and today's porn I was just like...next!! Hey, Bubble Tea anyone? Look, it's my reaction to watching porn in public with a bunch of guys and girls I don't know!!!
Needless to say, I quickly moved on to finding my THING at the museum. Historical sex? Oh yeah. Bring it. Mrs. Restell anyone??? Do you even know who the hell Mrs. Restell is? I sure didn't. She was the woman to know in New York City if you weren't looking to end up with 27 kids (sounds like she's going to be making an appearance in my upcoming New York series, lol). She sold contraceptives in the mid 1800's and advertised her wares in papers.
At $5, a woman received a package of powders said to last five years which was forwarded anywhere in the Unites States. It was to be taken directly after having sex. Above is a picture of the sort of oral contraceptives my heroine would have been looking at. Open wide! (pun intended).
The Onanism display was along the same lines of good old Mr. Kellogg's ideals (see May 2011's post). Onanism means two things: the withdrawal during intercourse or masturbation. Which do you think the Victorians were more freaked out about? You betcha. Masturbation. (Dorks). Don't believe me? Here's an actual medical chart and diagram of what they believed would happen to a man if he masturbated. He drooled and looked retarded. Oh, you can spot those f*in masturbators. You really can.
Once you've spotted those f*in masturbators, you better believe you needed to take care of those bastards before their condition worsened. Those boys and men were fitted into their own Anti-Onanism Device created by the Ferier Brothers in Paris during the 1890's.
Note the cast iron for the crotch AND the metal bindings to fasten it and keep it into place. Comfie, eh? Why even bother putting holes in the area where the balls could breathe? Sheesh. Wonder how they pissed in this thing anyway? They probably just pissed in it *crinkling nose in disgust*. Yes, people, this was a chastity belt which was very popular during the Victorian era for both men and women (yet another post I have yet to cover). Chastity belts were popular in the Victorian era not to keep others from touching your crotch, but to keep YOU from touching your crotch.
So let's move on to the next display, shall we? Vibrators. Ah, wonderful devices that give us hours and hours of joy! Here's what your grandmother would have used in the 1930's. In truth they look like stuff our of her kitchen drawers...wait...wonder if that's where Grandma kept her shit. Now we know why she REALLY drank Castor oil. *ewww*
There was also an incredible and creative exhibit dedicated to pornographic cartooning and the history behind comics that you wouldn't want your kids to see. As Mr. Tom of Finland is quoted as saying, "If I don't get an erection when I'm doing a drawing, I know it's no good." I finished this most awesome tour of sex by visiting The Oralfix Cafe located in the very basement of the Museum, which specializes in Aphrodisiac drinks.
What did I have to drink??? A Persephone made out of Pomegranate, Mango, rum and honey crystal rim. It was delicious beyond belief and I was buzzed and flushed within fifteen minutes flat. Was it worth the $11 dollars? Hell yeah.
What little memento did I walk away for myself?? A pair of underwear for $18 (my husband fainted)
And a bottle of arousal pills for $3.50, thank you very much (which actually didn't work for shit. At least not for this hot blooded woman).
I could go on and on about how freakin AWESOME and TITILLATING this museum is but I hope you'll go dash and check it out yourself sometime. The Museum of Sex is located in New York City and deserved kudos and respect for tackling the history and evolution of sex in a artful, tasteful, intelligent and creative manner.
Until next time and wishing you much lusty potency,
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
My dearest Reader,
As you are repeatedly learning through my blog, people of the past were probably bigger freaks then we will ever be because of an atmosphere created by male domination and world stupidity as a result of said male domination (sorry guys, it's true). My objective today is to make you realize that the things you eat are the thing you should be choking on because of their history and what it represents.
Diving into quick overview, let's introduce Mr. John Harvey Kellogg. Hm. Kellogg. Sounds familiar? You bet your bottom dollar it is the same bastard's name who is sitting in your cupboard at home encouraging you to slather the flakes with milk. Before you hunker down and shove in another mouthful, you MAY want to know WHO invented Cornflakes and WHY.
Mr. John Harvey Kellogg (born 1852 and died 1943) was an over-educated, church minded asshole. (Note: this is the sole opinion of a romance writer based upon a single man and his beliefs not the church he belonged to. My opinion does not represent the romance genre or all of its affiliates. Heh). He was a Seventh-Day Adventist that was part of a Christian sect that distinguished itself by observing church on Saturday, as opposed to Sunday. He believed that God was in EVERYTHING. Well...except for the cock and the clitoris. He had incredible modern-day notions of being a vegetarian despite living in a society that ate ham and mutton as if they were sugar cookies. He passionately and ardently supported no meat eating not because of all the poor slaughtered animals but because he believed that MEAT increased sexual stimulation (which was very, very BAD) and that it brought out the BEAST in us (shudder). He was the chief medical officer of a Sanitarium and instilled strict no booze and no smoking rules on anyone and anything in his grasp. After all, it was no more good for the body than it was for the soul's conduct. With his sole focus on being grain and vegetarian diet that he firmly believes reduced sexual appetite and the vile need for masturbation, he and his brother, Will (which amusingly enough means "penis" in Shakespeare's time...how fitting!) started the SANITAS FOOD COMPANY in 1897. The two created a recipe known as CORNFLAKES.
But alas, the two got into an argument. Will wanted to put sugar on the Cornflakes. Mr. john Asshole didn't want sugar in the flakes, so he sent his brother, Will, packing and the two became rivals that created a decade long feud. The guy who didn't want sugar on his Toasted Corn Flakes that are still being eaten today is the same guy who as a doctor and in his sanitarium specialized in rehabilitating "masturbators" (it was known as a serious condition at the time...). Part of his regimen for these masturbators included having his male and female patients eat a diet of Corn Flakes whilst employing disturbing measures of mutilating said patients by having boys and men who were NOT circumcised, clipped on the spot as he believed it would keep them from touching it. But the men got off easy compared to the women. He applied phenol (carbolic ACID) to a woman's clitoris to ensure she never felt anything ever again. Yes, it was a form of female castration. He lived until 91 and to the end believed he had done all of society including all his poor patients a favor.
So the next time you dig into your Cornflakes my dear readers, I ask that you momentarily pause and mourn for those poor souls before us who had to swallow Mr. Kellogg's views on sexuality. Then chew and swallow and hope to whatever god there is, you just didn't sentence your sex drive to hell.
Until next time, I bid thee much love,
Friday, April 1, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
In honor of THE PERFECT SCANDAL which is officially out in stores, I give thee the story behind the story. Although there are many facets that made this book come together, there is one facet in particular that I'll be delving into because I'm all about the scandal, baby. Which is why we'll be touching upon Catherine the Great. Catherine the Great is what I define as the ultimate female mover-and-shaker of the 1700s and one who had quite the reputation. Was she one of Russia's strongest monarchs? Or one of the most over-sexed rulers? It depends upon who is writing Her-story.
She was born in 1729 and named Sophia Augusta Frederika. Her parents were German royalty, and through her mother's line, Sophia could lay claim to the crown of Sweden. Sophia grew up to marry the nephew of Elizabeth, the Empress of Russia (who had been engaged to Sophia's uncle). Empress Elizabeth considered Sophia a suitable wife for Peter, her heir, so in the winter of 1744, she invited Sophia to meet him. Sophia fell in love, not with her husband-to-be, but with Mother Russia. She learned the language, the culture, and to the delight of Elizabeth, converted to the Russian Orthodox Church. With her conversion, she was given a new name Yekaterina - Catherine. Some say this conversion was political expediency, but given Catherine's later efforts at reform, it seems at least some of it came from her heart.
Peter III turned out to be a great choice as a route to the throne and a less-than-adequate choice for husband. He suffered from poor health, a virulent temper and seemed to be emotionally stunted -- he loved to play with toy soldiers, drank to excess and eight years into the marriage both Peter and Catherine were apparently still virgins. At the very least, there was no heir. Catherine spent those eight years reading history voraciously. Peter spent it playing with his toy soldiers. It is rumored that Elizabeth, anxious about the succession, condoned Catherine taking a lover. A male heir was produced, which Peter acknowledged as his own. In 1761, Elizabeth died a happy Empress, thinking the crown was secure.
As Empress, Catherine turned her attention to applying all she'd learned into helping the country she loved. She enacted reforms in agriculture (the study of soil, travel grants to England to purchase new machines), built new factories, and reformed trade. By 1765, three quarters of the debt she'd inherited from Empress Elizabeth was paid off. Public health also came under scrutiny. She invited to her Court Dr. Thomas Dimsdale (a Scotsman who did groundbreaking work on a small-pox vaccine) and took the vaccine herself. Then, education. She established schools and increased the number of grants to study abroad. Finally, with her great love of Russian culture, she commissioned art and built theaters, including The Hermitage.
Amidst all this incredible history, and during her marriage, she fell in lust with many men and followed upon that lust. However, the one lust of her life we'll be touching upon is the one that created the basis of my story. Before the young Polish Count Poniatowski became the King of Poland in a formal coronation that took place in Warsaw in 1764, he was Catherine the Great'slover.
They were introduced, of all things, through England's politics. Catherine was so smitten by the young, intelligent and handsome Count and knew she had to have him. The Count, in turn, was also smitten. And so the torrent relationship commenced, being kept in utmost secrecy. She would dress as a servant and sneak out of the palace where he would be waiting with a carriage. He, in turn, would dress as a musician and carry in an instrument (we know which one!) into the palace and they would sneak off into one of many hidden rooms. One of these hidden rooms, I included in the book itself. It was a room where the Empress escaped to and few even today know of. The room was hidden behind a bookshelf beyond her bedchamber and when you descended into it, you found yourself in a lush room whose walls were completely covered with mirrors. You thinkin' what I'm thinkin'? Oh yeah. I've no doubt she made DAMN good use of it. And I made sure I made damn good use of it in MY book *wink, wink*.
Her affair with Poniatowski carried on until she became pregnant with Count Poniatowski's child. A girl by the name of Anna Petrovna (not to be confused with Catherine the Great's OTHER daughter, Grand Duchess, Anna Petrovna who died at 20). Anna's birth was recorded to have taken place in 1757. Mysteriously, this child died 15 months after her birth and there is little to no information about this child. Catherine the Great, who kept a detailed diary, didn't even speak of her. And so....this mysterious death created a "what if" spark in my mind. What if the death had been staged? There certainly would have been reasons for it and it whispered of possibilities. Possibilities I tweaked to create THE PERFECT SCANDAL.
What further fueled this idea for me was that shortly afterward, the Empress had also made Count Poniatowski King of Poland by seizing the throne for him by force, hoping to have complete control over Poland. She found that her lover wasn't playing by all her rules. Everything rapidly fell apart between them as well as under his rule and the whole of Poland was partitioned into three sections by Prussia, Russia and Austria. The first partition was in 1772, the second partition was in 1793, and the third and last partitioned that eliminated Poland as an independent nation was in 1795.
Catherine the Great dethroned Poniatowski and took Poland for her own, overruling her passion for her pride and her country. Interestingly enough, Poniatowski became a prisoner of sorts to the Empress. He was brought out to Saint Petersburg and was kept under close surveillance until his death in 1798, even two years after the Empress had died (in 1796).
Either way, Russia was changed forever by Catherine. She died in 1796 and as for the cause of her death -- the rumor about the horse is a lie. It was spread by haters since she did things that women of that time period weren’t supposed to do -- take over a country and take on as many lovers as her heart desired.
Amen to power, lust and scandal.
Cheers and much love,
Until next time,