A few posts ago, I told you about the renovation of The Locker Arch and how I found a bunch of old leaflets and Church of Scotland paraphernalia. Well, as I mentioned in It’s a Dog’s Life, one of those items was a booklet titled “The Advertiser”.
It has, on the front cover, a drawing of some children dancing, a female adult (the mother?) playing the piano in the background, an adult male (the father?) standing in the background watching the ten children dancing and way in the back is a table with what could be a cake on it.
My guess was that this is a well-to-do child’s birthday party – which proved correct when I read the story inside. 🙂
The adults are dressed very finely with expensive looking clothes and the children are also dressed in attire that is definitely not working class clothing. One child, a boy, has a sailor’s outfit on, another is in full Highland dress and the girls are all dressed in beautiful dresses with their hair set with ribbons.
I love the detail in this drawing of the boy’ sporran and the girl’s hair, necklace and shoes. Beautiful!
The story inside gives a fascinating insight into life during Victorian times and tells of a young girl, May Arnott, who opts to take a night off from studying the night before an exam in order to go to her friend, Hattie Gray’s birthday party;
“It was a splendid party. They played so many dear old-fashioned children’s games – “Here we loo-be-loo”, “musical chairs”, and May was the happiest of the happy. In spite of her nearly fourteen years, she romped and frisked like a little kitten. It seemed to her only a little time after tea, when she suddenly be-thought of her promise to return early. The time-piece on the mantel had stopped, but she heard the old clock in the hall striking “nine” and she slipped out to see. Oh, May! It was striking eleven with deliberate strokes. She flew to the cloak-room, and got on her goloshes and wraps but it was half-past eleven when she got home and worship had long been over. Mrs. Gray’s servant had come with her and left her at her own door. Their own sleepy maid let her in. Father and mother had retired for the night and the weary maid did not even wait to blow out the candle.”
The story goes on to reveal that her going to the party meant she had not studied enough and she failed the exam;
“May Arnott went home empty-handed, heavy-hearted, with the “lesson” bought by bitter experience branded in brain and memory, until it became a stepping-stone whereon to rise to higher things.”
The story is titled “Too Easy Going” and I presume as the title of the booklet is “The Adviser” it is designed to be a cautionary tale for children that they need to study hard in order to succeed….even although it sounds a bit harsh that one night off could spell disaster. 😦
I’ll reveal more from this booklet in future posts.