Sunday, 13 September 2009

What would Bess do?

This is Hardwick Hall.  It was built by Bess of Hardwick who was good mates with Elizabeth I.  MrCat and I went there this summer during our Peak District-Yorkshire Moors-Northumbrian Hills “sort of walking” holiday.


The cost of curtains alone would bankrupt a Duke

When I was a history undergrad, we heard a lot about Bess.  Any woman who was mentioned in lectures more than a couple of times and who was not a) an executed wife b) a decorative mistress or c) Elizabeth I, had to have something going for her.  The only people who did “stuff” back then were men.  Women doing “stuff” were a bit out of the ordinary, and Bess certainly did a lot of “stuff”. 

Bess was mentioned so frequently because she built Hardwick Hall, which had a lot of windows.  We had a guy who specialised in Architectural History, and apparantly the windows of Hardwick Hall say a zillion and one fascinating things if you’re interested in that sort of mullarkey.  Sadly, I did not attend his lectures.  He wore very odd suits which put me off so I chose a different course (Papists and Puritans in Elizabethan England, since you ask). 

Anyway, I say “sadly” because if I’d done his course I’d have gone on a trip to Paris to study Louis Quinze chairs.  It wasn’t the lack of chairs which bothered me, you understand, but the lack of moules marniere and steak frites.  The best I got was a video of “The Life and Times of Philip II of Spain” one afternoon in the history department.  Hey ho.

Bess married several times and was almost as rich as the Queen.  She probably invented the pre-nup and as a result, did rather well and held on to just about everything she gained despite her sex and the fact that she didn’t start ahead of the pack.

So, perhaps I should learn a lesson from Bess in the midst of my current woes.  No job?  Can’t afford your home?  What would Bess do?

Yes, that’s right.  I have to marry the Earl of Shrewsbury.  I can send him a proposal through

Sadly, I fear his political affiliations are likely to make this a somewhat rocky relationship.

But needs must.


This week I have been mostly proposing marriage to Tory Peers.


Lynn said...

Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Is he cute, at least?

The Coffee Lady said...

There was a woman like that involved in the making of the Chatsworth estate, but I can't remember who she was because, you know, my memory is not so good on history, whether its mine or someone else's.

I went to Hardwick Hall on a school trip; my abiding memories are of the teacher, who was mad as a box of frogs, and made a huge thing about insisting that every one of us girls wear a skirt. I remember being shocked that one didn't, and now I'm just shocked that so many of us did.

I'm sure there's more to choose from than Shrewsbury. Shall I ask around?

JuliaB said...

ARen't footballers richer than Dukes these days? You could try for David Beckham ..? xx