Thursday, March 02, 2006

Victorian Romance, everybody's style

Well, not just North American, Denise. Britain and Europe were involved in some pretty exciting stuff, too, and let's not forget Australia! From penal colony to Commonwealth, things were really hopping. Speaking of Australia, it was the first place in the world to give women the vote--yup, during the Victorian era.

Although I find these histories fascinating, too, at the moment I am writing about North America. Here's something I've been wondering about. Gaslight. So, this guy wanders the streets on stilts at sundown, lighting the lights as he goes. At first, I thought "what a great job! You are gainfully employed seven days per week, and the only skill required is balance." But then, I got to thinking. Each city, even if a small size, would need several of these men. And some cities (I'm thinking of Quebec City, particularly) are not what you'd call level. So now, there's a number of men walking up and down STEEP streets on stilts! Suddenly, not so easy. Then, you add in the snow and ice. I've been to Quebec City in the winter (site of my current WIP) and there is a LOT of ice. I'm sure the good residents and shopkeepers kept their frontage shoveled, but the thing about snow and sunshine is, it creates ice. Even if the snow is shoveled. So, how did they do it? Anybody? Anyone at all? By the way, my story takes place about five or ten years before gaslight, so this is just a curiosity question.

1 comment:

Denise Eagan said...

Interesting. I never considered the men lighting the gas lights before. I have no answer to your question, but my little writing brain started working with it. These gas-lighters would make interesting secondary characters in many books. They might be very useful in a murder mystery--they could either be the murderer, or could be a witness to a crime.