Thursday, May 31, 2007

An intriguing Victorian site

I am in the process of cobbling together Chapter 2, but came across a site which measures one’s manners in a Victorian setting. Situations are presented with various circumstances in the Victorian era, and based on one’s answers, a measure of your breeding is obtained! Quite entertaining! (Generously provided by the McCord Museum)

Certainly any true Caledonian will have no difficulty with this challenge – so the best of luck!

(Addendum – I completed the examination and received a score of 942… apparently I have no skill as a hostess (lol)!)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Clothing for the Victorian Gentleman…

A chance meeting with Miss Timely Sands in Victoria City…

Whilst I was making my way to the passport office in Victoria City, I had the pleasure to make the acquaintance of a charming young lady, a Miss Timely Sands. We had a pleasant discourse about explorations in second life, and the travails of writing ones exploits the next opportunity I have to speak with her I intend to encourage her to begin writing a journal (blog) about her own Caledonian and Gorian travels, as her literary style is quite enthralling

Miss Sands displaying her fighting technique, which
appears to have served her well in the past…

However, she did ask me a perennial questions that has plagued women (and fashion forward gentlemen) in Caledon since my arrival where to purchase Victorian mens attire in SL. As a debonair and dashing man about town (lol), I sympathized with her plight apparently her gentleman friend is more interested in toiling in his workshop, than go shopping with her for new attire. However, mens clothing stores are dramatically out numbered by the ladies stores in SL, but to rectify this ladies, grab your man by the collar (and his pocketbook), and promptly head towards the following haberdasheries (in no particular order)

La Bicyclette (Port Caldeon)

Run by my good friend Miss Virrginia Tombola, La Bicyclette has a wide variety of garments for the adventuresome gentleman. She has designed clothes for all circumstances and events, from land to sea to the air! High quality, historically accurate, and immaculately presented, I keep a close tab on her newest creations (although I missed her cricket uniform – my good-for-nothing manservant failed to acquire one *sigh -one cannot find good help these days!) In addition, she has a number of clever inventions with are certain to entice any man of standing to expend a few lindens to acquire!

Pearse’d and Cut (Victoria City)

Located in the heart of Caledon, the haberdashery of Pearse’d and Cut maintains a vast selection of clothes for anyone, newcomer to established aristocrat to choose from. I especially enjoy his vests and overcoats – a simple choice for a gentleman to decide from, but a large (and growing, I hope) selection so as not to be seen in the same clothes day after day (even if one is laboring long nights in the laboratory)! There is also a comprehensive selection of militaria, a direct reflection of the recent unpleasantness with Neualtenburg. He has two other stores (one in Babbage, the third in Steelhead).

Doc Wrangler’s Men’s Wear (Caledon Kittiwickshire)

A new (to myself) arrival on the southern coast of Kittiwickshire, Doc Wrangler has a fascinating selection of Victorian, Western, and early 1900’s wear to indulge. Additionally, he must have the largest hat selection in SL for men… Ten-gallon cowboy hats, bowlers, and top hats are only a few of the items at his location.

Mako Magellen – Cutter of Cloth –

Although it is only a stone’s throw away from Doc Wrangler’s in Kittiwickshire, but their garments are a world apart. Mr. Magellen specializes in formal garments for the Victorian gentleman, with attention paid to the small accents (gloves, hats) that are needed for any formal event. A visit is highly recommended prior to any social event in Caledon – to ensure one is prepared for formal entertainment.

Some additional locations for Victorian men’s garments are…

Itan Kashi (Daughter Night) Gentlemens day suits, Tuxedos, Oriental wear (An excellent selection, I have many of thier products myself, including their Oriental wear)…

Eros Design Island (Eros Cove) Vests, Tuxes, and Robes (Formal tuxedos, and robes, if one so desires. The robes have a Gothic bent, but quite representative of Eastern European Victorian garments, I’d say)…

Silver Rose (Victoria City center) Victorian clothes (A wide variety of gentlemen’s clothing, but the selection is located on the second floor of the building – past the vast selection of ladies dresses)

These are only a few suggestions to start with, ladies if any one wishes to add to this list, please do so and I shall post more locations all you have to do is make him pay and carry out the boxes from the store (lol)!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Random old photographs…

As I was digging through my old documents, I located a couple of pictures from my school years…

Waiting for service in Neualtenburg…
When I was studying anatomy in my half-sister’s homeland, I had the opportunity to enjoy Octoberfest… or so I thought! My understanding of German is passable at best, and while I sought the main beer hall, I became lost in the city, ending up on one of its many side streets. I decided to attempt to imbide in some of the local beverage, but it appeared that the waiter forgot my order of “eine bier, bitte”… but it had a happy ending, involving a young frauline, a set of lederhosen, and quite a bit of “bier”… (lol)!

Posing outside the Arc, near the rue de Tilsitt-Presbourg
(the road that encircles the Arc)

While travelling with my uncle Francois and aunt Marionne, we visited the friezes of Napoleon victories, and the tomb of the unknown soldier (middle right of photo). While they had a small pastry and coffee, I took the opportunity to scale to the external observation level (on the top) – a climb of 284 steps, which provided and excellent view of the city of lights!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Links added…

My associate, Joseph, hard at work
Dear Reader,
I have added a number of linkages to the website this morning. They are non-SL, but are quite good indeed, needless to say, in portraying various aspects of our beloved genre. I do suggest one visits either Dr. Steel or Abney Park – both are musicians, but their interfaces are extremely well done. Well, I am off – I have an appointment with a certain young lady, and would not want to be accused of making her wait (Lol)!
Best wishes,
Dr. Rafael Fabre

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Chapter 1: It began early one fall afternoon…

Inspecting the undercarrage of the Hawk

I was busy assisting my good friend Joseph complete some repairs on his flying vessel, when I received word via courrier that I would be receiving an “important post”, and should be ready to receive an important and confidential message.

Awaiting the courrier to arrive…

Cleaning myself up, I waited impatiently for the messenger to arrive, wondering what was so pressing that a courrier was sent to alert me to a letter? Eventually it arrived, postmarked from the home of the King of Orange, Amsterdam – I only know of one individual who lives there… my dear old uncle Francois Fabre! Opening the letter, I recognized his handwriting machine’s font…

My dear nephew Rafael,
I hope this letter finds you well, but I have need of you. You must come to Amsterdam as soon as possible, as it is a matter of grave importance… I must explain this pressing matter in person.
Your Uncle,

My uncle Francois, in better days before the war

Well! Faced with this request, it appeared that I had no choice! Would have asked Joseph to use his Hawk, but the gearbox was still tempermental, rendering it unskyworthy. So I resorted to passage upon the HMS Notorious, a ship that holds fond memories of my previous escapades in the Far East. I booked passage, and wondered… What could be so important that I would be summoned to the continent…? Well, I would soon find out.

Aboard the HMS Notorious, in Port Caledon

Victorian Personalities….

I have been once again remiss on my journal entries, so I shall make mention of a few notables who often are unrecognized in common society…

Doctor Edward Drinker Cope (1840 – 1897) &
Doctor Othniel Charles Marsh (1831 – 1899)

The leading American palentologists of the century, and bitter rivals in search of new dinosaurs.

Cope was a child prodogy who became a Havard professor at age 24.

Marsh was a scion of wealth, whose family bought him a chair at Yale to support his interest in fossils.

Originally friendly, they gradually became rivals and then (when Marsh pointed out that Cope had restord a skeleton with the head on the wrong end) bitter foes. At the peak of their careers, they tried to bribe each other’s workers, steal each other’s fossils, and wreck each other’s reputations. The stories of violence betweeen the collecting parties seem to have only been rumors…

Michael Faraday (1791 – 1867)

Originaly trained as a chemist, he turned in 1831 to the investagation of electricty and magnetism. He developed the concepts of the fields of force (the basis for James Maxwell’s theoritical work), demonstrated electromagnetic induction, and invented the electric motor and generator.

– Stoddard, W, (2000). “GURPS Steampunk”, pg5, SJGames:Austin

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Medical doctors in the Victorian Era…

After much tasking and trouble, I have finally formalized my medical certifications. The methods and background of medical accomplishment was quite different during Victorian England, as opposed to the modern era. I have an except from my library which explains it better than I…

“… the rich got a physician, the poor got the apothecary, and one may call for a surgeon…”

Physicans had the most prestige in the 1800s. They were called physicians because they only administered drugs, or “physic”. They did not deal with external injuries or perform surgeries or set bones or do physical exams, other than the patient’s pulse and urine. They took detailed case histories and then wrote out a perscription to be filled by an apothecary.

“Professional practice” as George Eliot dryly observes in Middlemarch, “chiefly consisted in giving a great many drugs. Physicians made up only a tiny handfull of the doctors precticing in early ninteenth-century England, but were concentrated in London, where it was perhaps easier to to find a substantial patient population of wealth and social standing. To practice as a physician in London, you had to be licensed by the Royal College of Physicians. If, in addition, you had gone to Oxford or Cambridge, you could become a Fellow of the College (F.R.C.P.) too, which meant a good deal more status, exemption from unpleasant things like jury duty, and the right to a say in the internal governance of the college.

There was no systemof medical school training and only a handful of hospitals (in 1851 there were only some 7,500 hospitals in the United Kingdom, out of a population of 18 million). No doubt if there had been any medical schools, many of the physicians would have not been interested in them anyways, because they believed quite firmly that medicine was to be taught largely out of books, and antiques ones at that. As late as 1819, the licensining exam given by the Royal College could require the applicant to construe passages from first-century and seventeenth-century medical texts; the fellowship exam took place entirely in Latin. For to be a physician was rather to be a gentleman (their wives could be presented in court, while those of surgons could not), and anything that smacked of manual labor – for example, cutting people open or doing serious physical exams, was not gentlemanly. Tapping on the chest and the use of the stethoscope were apparently slow to be adopted in British medicine for just that reason.

Next below the physicians in the medical hierarchy were the Surgeons. They were the men who cut people open, dealt with fractures, skin diseases, V.D, eye problems – anything, in short, for which a physician could simply not give a perscription. From a social point of view, the problem with being a surgeon was that the actual work involved was like manual labor; you did, after all, use your hands to treat people and did something with them – unlike the physician – besides just write on a piece of paper.

In addition, it had not been so long – 1745 in fact – since surgeons had been formally linked with barbers, and what’s more, until 1833 surgeons got the bodies on which they learned their anatomy from graveyards – sometimes by rather unscrupulous means.Perhaps because of this difference in status, the physiciann was usually addressed as “Dr.”, while the surgeon made due with plain “Mr.”. On the other hand, you did need a license to practice surgery, and it cost less to tran as a surgeon than a physician. The cost of the usual necessary preliminary education at Oxford and Cambridge put physic out of reach for most poor boys. Instead, surgery was learned, like other manual skills, largely by being apprenticed.

If you really wanted to find out what was going on in the surgical world, you went to Edinbrugh and Paris. However, the boundries between the physician and suregon began to blur as the century wore on. The suregons tried to make themselves more prestigious by allowing the Royal College of Surgeons in London to create Fellows like the one physicians had. At the same time, with scientific discoveries coming thick and fast, it was becoming apparent to even the physicians that you now had to study germs and bodies in the same way a surgeon did. Hence, the rise of the “General Practitioner” – the man who… “resolved to resist the irrational severance between medical and surgical knowledge”, as Elliot puts it. Such a man, knowledgable in both physic and surgery, became an increasingly influential figure in the English medical world.

And then there was the apothecary – the man for whom Mrs. Reed sent to attend Jane Eyre while her own children were cared for by a physician. The apothecary was the lowest man on the medical totem pole. He was originally only supposed to make up prescriptions form the physicians, but in many areas there was no physicians, so the apothecary began giving advice, too. This was officially permitted in the eighteenth century – but with the stipulation that he could not charge for the advice, only for the drugs. Like the surgeon, he learned his trade by apprenticing himself to a man with experience. He was selling things over the counter, and hense, “in trade”, which made him hoplelessly lacking in social status.”

– Pool, D. (1993). “What Jane Austin at and Charles Dickens knew – from fox hunting to whist – the facts of daily life in 19th century England“, pgs 249 – 250. Touchstone : New York.

This was a “small” overview of English medical practices. With perservence, and a bit of assistance from my dear uncle (to overcome some professional faux pas), I was granted my physician’s license, in spite of my use of foreign medical practices, including skills I learned in the far east, to assist the ill. I now feel comfortable using my proper title, Doctor, although my patients are less concerned with my social accoutriments and more with resolving their aches and pains!

A proper introduction!

Greetings and salutations!

I apologize for the interval between postings, but needed to address some pressing business prior to continuing my writings. Allow me to introduce myself… I am Doctor Rafael Fabre, Physician, Traveller, Photographer, Gambler (albeit with questionable luck *wink), and apparently an Adventurer, according to some of my Caledonian associates. I arrived in Caledon quite by chance in November of 2006, after wanding the hinterlands of SL, and quickly discovered the joys of civilized society, a far cry from the banal existence of the bulk of the SL.

Unfortunately, duty called, and I reported for sea duty (both rl & sl) to defend the homeland. However, upon hearing that Caledon was under siege, I returned as soon as I could, only to find that the invaders were had been repulsed by the indomitable Caledonian Militia – spot on!

Afterwards, I discussed the circumstances of my absence at a local watering hole with some compatriots, and a suggestion was made that I should transcribe the circumstances of my voyage. After a few pints later, the idea seemed a superb suggestion, and begin writing as soon a I arrived at my domicile. Once I woke up later in the morning, I started writing again, legible this time, and will begin posting soon, once I locate some of the photographs I had taken of the excursion.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Voyages of Dr. Rafael Fabre


This shall simply be a small journal of my last voyage in the Pacific Rim, aboard the HMS Notorious (and later vesses), as it begans its travels around the Far East, through parts unknown, and my subsequent return voyage.

HMS Notorious anchored in Port Caledon

I shall attempt to catagorize my writing into distinct catagories…

First, the entries from my journal concerning my voyages…

Second, I will attend to Victorian topics that apply the journal (for those readers unfamiliar with the references)…

and Third, I will address militaria (military customs, be they Nautical, Field, or even Air!)

If you have suggestions or comments about items that should be addressed (or simply wish to assuage my ego with kudos!), please feel free to leave a comment! Thank you!