Last time we took a look at the unfortunate and the unlucky in the year
1871. In the pursuit of balanced journalism, I should point out that some
people were quite lucky that year.
Some moved up. Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm I ws proclaimed Emperor in January.
And Chester A. Arthur was made Collector of Customs in New York City by
Several U. S. authors made successful debuts in 1871. William Dean Howells
published his first novel, Their Wedding Journey, this year. Whether
or not it was the slightly spicy title, the book sold out on the same day
it hit the stores. Henry James had his debut novel Watch and Ward
serialized in the press. And in Britain a London entertainment titled Thespis,
or The Gods Grow Cold marked the first theatrical pairing of lyricist
William S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan.
Some people had the great good fortune just to survive the year. The crew
of a grounded schooner off Nantucket in February, were saved in a dramatic,
over-the ice rescue. And English tourist Isabella Bird, who had blithely
strolled off in Colorado's Front Range wearing only light riding clothing,
only to be caught in a sudden December storm, was also rescued, just short
of being frozen to death.
Other ordinary people also got lucky this year. English workers for example,
who enjoyed their first Bank Holiday. Canadian travelers of the information
superhighway, when Winnipeg and Pembina were connected by telegraph. Transatlantic
travelers, when the vessels of the Holland-American Steamship Line were
placed in service. English university fellows, administrators, and faculty,
when membership in the Church of England became no longer a prerequisite.
And ordinary Texans, when the carrying of concealed weapons was outlawed.
It's only taken us 125 years to turn back that bit of progress.
Perhaps no one felt luckier this year than Martin Van Buren Bates, the 7-foot,
two and-a-half inch Londoner, as he strode back up the aisle with his 7-foot,
five-and-a half inch bride Anna Hanan Swan. And if those two kids didn't
live happily ever after, I'll thank you very kindly not to tell me about
© 1997 David Minor / Eagles Byte
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