‘Heed Your Mother’s Counsel’: Victorian Values in a Castleisland Loft

Painting the cheeks may be appropriate enough for an Indian squaw, but no young lady 
possessing a well-regulated mind will fancy her attractions enhanced by the use of rouge

Castleisland District Heritage is an unlikely repository for two nineteenth century issues of the London Journal, a literary periodical published from 1845 to 1928.  They were discovered by Johnnie Roche, Chairman of Castleisland District Heritage, in his attic.  ‘They are almost 130 years old,’ observed Johnnie, ‘and so how they came to be there I cannot say.’[1]


The journals, full title London Journal and Weekly Record of Literature, Science, and Art
date to the weeks ending December 15, 1894 and December 22, 1894.  They contain, in the main, serialised fiction.[2]  Most stories, like Our Lodger, appeared anonymously though many of the authors have since been unmasked.  Our Lodger seems to be the work of Mary Howard Folkard (1854-1918) who used the pseudonym Mary Howard Tennyson.[3]  Miss Folkard, daughter of a surgeon, started out as an actress before turning to writing.  Her sisters, Julia Bracewell Folkard and Elizabeth Folkard-Folkard, were painters.[4]  Mary Howard Folkard died in London, unmarried, on 27 July 1918.


Fiction is supplemented by advertisements, illustrations, news snippets, poetry, gossip and notices to correspondents, a Victorian-style ‘problem page’ which speaks mostly of Victorian manners and sensibilities.


The following are examples from the issue of December 15, 1894


Ignorant Girl: We cannot advise you to marry a man who is a drunkard and addicted to other vices, expecting him to reform after his marriage.  Be sure if he will not do what is right for right’s sake, he would never do it for a woman’s sake.


Gertrude: All cosmetics are injurious to the skin.


Twinkle: The idea that cutting the fingernails of a young child will cause it to grow up a thief is absurd in the extreme.


Lucy S: ‘is legally married, and her secret is best kept to herself.’


H.H: You cannot change the outlines of your nose.


Victorian Style: Wickham John Douse banishes poverty in his unnamed book aimed at the married, while Sweet Wedding Bells is the most popular game of the season


The following snippet comes from the later issue:


It appears from a series of carefully-prepared statistics that the marriages of first cousins in London are about 1½ per cent; in the urban districts, about 2 per cent; in the rural districts, about 2¼ per cent; in the landed gentry, about 3½ per cent; and in the aristocracy, probably 4½ per cent.


The above figures might well explain the ‘Kerry cousins’ found in the ancestry of the gentry in nineteenth century Ireland.


The later issue continues in its steadfast advice to correspondents:


Mary: A man who will urge a young girl to elope with him is not one to be trusted.  We would advise you to give heed to your mother’s good counsel and have nothing further to do with him.


Ada: We cannot recommend hair-dyes of any description.


Laure Lane: The youthful bloom of sweet sixteen is sufficiently attractive without the aid of that which is false and often hurtful.  Painting the cheeks may be appropriate enough for an Indian squaw, but no young lady possessing a well-regulated mind will fancy her attractions enhanced by the use of rouge.


Miss Genie: When a gentleman meets a lady in the street with whom he wishes to speak, he should not stop her for that purpose, but turn and accompany her the way she is going.  He can take his leave when he has concluded what he has to say.


Lois: Secret marriages seldom result happily, and are always best avoided.


Will: It is rather unusual for a gentleman to request change upon making a purchase at a church fair.


How times change.


The journals have been digitised and can be viewed on application to Castleisland District Heritage.



[1] IE CDH 55.  Series also includes a copy of the Irish Independent, 31 December 1918 and a cutting from the same journal, issue 11 December 1980, ‘Little Famine record found in Mansion House.’

[2] Stories in the issue of December 15, 1894 include Woman’s Love; or, Like and Unlike by John Frederick Smith author of Stanfield Hall, Minnigrey, &c, chapters I and II ‘in which Harry Hartly and Joseph Penwick, two young gentlemen holding positions of confidence in the city, form new acquaintances’ (chapters III and IV in December 22 1894 issue); The Gipsy’s Prophecy by Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth, chapter XLI (chapters XLII, XLIII, XLIV in December 22 1894 issue); The Chronicle of the Heiress by John Frederick Smith, illustrated by Sir John Gilbert RA, chapter XXVI (continues in December 22 1894 issue); The Mouth of Hell; or, The Adventures of Sir Harry Beldair by the author of A Devil of a Woman (Herbert John Allingham), chapters I and II (chapters III and IV in December 22 1894 issue); A Woman’s Triumph by Clementine Montagu, chapters XVI, XVII and XVIII (chapters XIX, XX and XXI in December 22 1894 issue); Our Lodger by the author of ‘Twixt Love and Pride, chapters III and IV (chapter V in December 22 1894 issue). 

[3] Other stories attributed to her include Winning her Inheritance; Two Pretty Maids; Love’s Mistake; The Sapphire King; Love Will Find Out the Way; Dorothy Merton’s Trial; Reaping the Whirlwind; Love’s Labour; The Luck of John Seaton; Love’s Sweet Song; The Man who Knew Not Love; The Temptation of Justin Hampdon. She published a number of novels between 1889 and 1897, viz Love will Find Out the Way (1889), Friend Perditus: A Novel (1891), Paid in Full (1892), The Fool of Fate (1893), A Cruel Dilemma (1894), Within her Grasp (1896), A Sinless Sinner (1897).

[4] Miss Julia Bracewell Folkard, an old Primrose Hill resident, of 6 St George’s Square, died on 29 December 1933 in her 85th year.  She was buried in St Pancras Cemetery.  A biographical notice of Miss Folkard and her work was published in The Queen, 13 July 1889 with accompanying portrait.  Her paintings included a portrait of her sister, Mary. 

Genealogy: Dr Henry Folkard (1826-1881) married Julia Bracewell (1827-1880) and had issue Julia Bracewell Folkard (1849-1933), Horace Easter Folkard (1852-1852) Henry Tennyson Folkard (1850-1916) Chief Librarian of Wigan Library, described as only son on his marriage to Marion Harriett, third daughter of Robert Harrison Esq in 1878 (he had issue Henry Easter Harrison Folkard (1879-1926) and four daughters); Elizabeth Folkard (sic) Folkard (1853-1932), Mary Howard Folkard (1854-1918).  Genealogical research courtesy Marie Wilson, Tralee.  Further reference A History of the Folkard Family (1994) by Margaret, John and Steven Folkard.