Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Beeton Path



What in the Victorian hell is this?

Long before Martha, there was Isabella Beeton, the Victorian era domestic diva. Her books and publications such as "Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management" and "The English Woman’s Domestic Magazine" made every British woman the Queen of her household. She advised women that "as with the commander of an army, or the leader of any enterprise, so it is with the mistress of a house." She kicked Victorian ass and rocked the anitmacassar!

But as with Ms. Stewart, that silver lining had a tarnished edge. Beeton had a brilliantly celebrated life, but after a series of miscarriages her life ended abruptly. In the Kathryn Hughes PBS production of "The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs. Beeton" she speculated that the reason for Beeton's disastrous obstetric history might have been due to syphilis, contracted from her wandering husband, Sam. Sadly she died at the age of 28 in childbirth. Now that’s Vitctorian! Meanwhile, after her release from prison, Stewart's company Omni Media and the prison poncho reached new popularity giving arcylic glitter yarn and her new "Every Day Living" publications and place in every home.

UrbanDictionary.com describes getting Munsoned (from the movie King Pin) as "Being on a gravy train with biscuit wheels, and then falling off". Will there not be a verb, gerrund, or past participle worthy of the woa that beset Isabella Beeton?

Getting "Beetoned": One skein short of a sweater.
• In a knitting circle: My cabled gansey is for not, it was Beeton.
• A snarky remark: Is that Beetoned half-sweater popular this fall?
• Trash talk on the ball field: Less cheatin', more Beet'nin'! Booya!
• International: Hilfe! Meine Strickjacke war Gebeeton.

Project Gutenberg has made her life’s work available online. For antimacassers, face veils, tobacco bags, knee braces and other unearthed knitting arcana check out “BEETON'S BOOK OF NEEDLEWORK” on Gutenberg.org.
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