Guest Blog – ‘A Lady’ is Charged
Came across this article during some light research into railway crime, following the upsetting news that a friend had been robbed on a train. Fascinating to read how the Christian (upper?) middle-classes reacted to events like this, but at the same time made pretty uncomfortable by the self-styled ‘authoress’ seeming quite so ‘charged’ (as she puts it) about the matter. Always annoying how these pieces are published without dates, but as per related articles, I’m reckoning on 1910 to 1915.
‘A Lady’ is Charged
Nothing goes further to make the reputation of a railway than its system of decorum. As sure as the metal rods or ‘rails’ that each carriage is compelled to cling to, so must a Christian sense of order be the guiding force that dictates without gainsay the moral course of the transported gentlemen and gentlewomen within. Anyone proposing to dilute, or to contaminate the wine of truth that is squeezed from these sensible grapes, is a low bitch.
Low! Could the railway harbour the devil?
An excellent good acquaintance of this authoress was by cruel happenstance made the victim of the vice of robbery, separated from his sundry travelling goods by the wicked and animal acts so characteristic of the common whore and her kind – for who among my readership would seek to distinguish villainy in all its forms from that reeking sisterhood, or to assert that one might shake the branch of an iniquitous oak (diseased and half dead) and not set up a quaking in the leaves that, rotting, hang from its tendril reaches, sucking with a street-walker’s relish upon the bad nutrition of that horrid life-force, without themselves declaring their own voluptuous longings to writhe, and to be writhed upon, in a nest of earthly lust?
My blameless friend made word of the crime speed towards me, finding me at the card table, which I made to be thrown far from me, charged as I was with a fierce electricity at the news – not unfeminine, but ‘super-female’ at that moment – for my own monogrammed and rashly loaned Knickerbocker’s History of New-York was declared gone!
A second telephone call to my club at 2 a.m. conveyed news that my handsome sufferer had in one small valise secreted some newly soiled items of his intimate apparel. Taken in the devil’s bounty, a whore shall certainly sport these now – dancing for a client about Birmingham.
Quickened, I called out for more drink. The imagined thrashings of claw-nailed feet combining with the dread, pernicious pulsing of a nation at liberty to slither and creep under power of steam across our once so comprehending Empire – and the rhythm beat in my gentle skull, instructing me, over and over, to do His work, wheresoever sin chose to travel.