It's getting near the Festive Season and it is all Christmas Trees, Reindeer, and Kiss Me Quick Under The Mistletoe : and our Sepia Saturday theme image this week features a somewhat acrobatic kiss. Now call me an old misery if you will, but such activities have always seemed to me to be best suited to spreading herd immunity from a host of infectious diseases; but perhaps such a view comes from being married to a Medical Microbiologist for nearly 40 years.
My submission this week is a postcard which dates back to 1906 and which was published by the Cynicus Publishing Company of Tayport, Fife. As you can see we have a similarly acrobatic embrace along with a line from the Victorian song "In The Gloaming". Written by Annie Fortescue Harrison and Meta Caroline Orred, the song is a typical bit of Victorian melodrama about doing the right thing and setting a lover free.
"Think not bitterly of me
Though I passed away in silence
Left you lonely, set you free
For my heart was tossed with longing
What had been could never be
It was best to leave you thus, dear,
Best for you, and best for me."
It is supposed to be semi-autobiographical because Annie (a lowly daughter of a Conservative MP!) fell in love with the 4th Marquis of Downshire, but gave him up because she was from a lower class and status and wrote music instead. Some time later the Marquis heard the song at a concert and realised it was about himself and sought her out and proposed to her and they were married in 1877. It seems to me to be a little too much like the stuff a celebrity publicist would come out with and, if like me, you can't stand a happy ending, you will be better concentrating on the artist who drew and published the postcard.
"Cynicus" was the name used by the Victorian artist Martin Anderson who gained fame during the picture postcard craze of the first decade of the twentieth century. Unlike many other postcard artists who produced their drawings for established publishers, Anderson set up his own publishing company - The Cynicus Publishing Company - and for a brief time achieved both fame and fortune. Alas, the success was as short lived as the postcard craze and by 1911 the business faced financial ruin. Poor Anderson lived for the next two decades in poverty and was eventually laid to rest in an unmarked paupers' grave.
Now that's the kind of story we want for Christmas. Bah Humbug to the lot of you!
After reading this you can cheer yourself up by reading posts from all the optimists over at the Sepia Saturday Blog.