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The Kingdom of Naples, Part 2: Charles I (1266-1285)

Charles ISource: Bob and Nella’s World

Having defeated Manfred, the last Hohenstaufen king of Sicily, in 1266, Charles of Anjou, the brother of King Louis IX of France, was crowned king of Sicily. In 1282, Charles lost the control of the island of Sicily itself but retained the kingdom’s territory on the southern part of the Italian Peninsula. This resulted in there being two kingdoms of Sicily, one on Sicily and the other on the peninsula. Both would be called the Kingdom of Sicily, but Charles’s remaining territory is more commonly known today as the Kingdom of Naples, after its major city. › Continue reading…

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Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Fourteen: Adieu to Scotland

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Before Harriet Beecher Stowe left Scotland she had the opportunity to visit the studio of the painter Sir George Harvey (1806-1876) and saw two of his works there: “The Covenanters’ Communion” and “Quitting the Manse.” › Continue reading…

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Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Eleven: Melrose Abbey

Melrose_AbbeyMelrose Abbey Wikimedia: Globaltraveller / Creative Commons

If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,
Go visit it by the pale moon-light;
For the gay beams of lightsome day
Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray.
When the broken arches are black in night,
And each shafted oriel glimmers white;
When the cold light’s uncertain shower
Streams on the ruined central tower;

When buttress and buttress, alternately,
Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
When silver edges the imagery,
And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;
When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
And the owlet to hoot o’er the dead man’s grave,
Then go—but go alone the while—
Then view St David’s ruined pile;
And, home returning, soothly swear,
Was never scene so sad and fair!

–Sir Walter Scott, “The Lay of the Last Minstrel,” Canto II

On the same day (April 26, 1853) that Harriet Beecher Stowe visited Abbotsford and Dryburgh Abbey, she visited the ruins of Melrose Abbey. › Continue reading…

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Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Ten: Dryburgh Abbey

Dryburgh AbbeyDryburgh Abbey. flickr: Bert Kaufmann / Creative Commons

After visiting Abbotford, Harriet Beecher Stowe was next taken to see two ruined abbeys, Dryburgh Abbey and Melrose Abbey. She was reminded of Scott’s poem, “The Eve of St. John,” which mentiones both places. › Continue reading…

Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Eight: Dundee

St Peter's Free ChurchSt. Peter’s Free Church, Dundee. geograph: Dan / Creative Commons

In keeping with her usual hectic schedule while in Scotland, Harriet Beecher Stowe arrived in Dundee on the afternoon of April 22, 1853, attended an anti-slavery meeting that evening, rode around the city by carriage the next day and left by 2:00 in the afternoon to return to Edinburgh. As her brother Charles noted in his diary, Stowe and her party had now visited the four principal cities of Scotland: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee (Harriet Beecher Stowe in Europe, Stowe-Day Foundation, 1986, p. 53). › Continue reading…

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Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Seven: Aberdeen

ScotlandCropped image from Wikimedia

It was towards the close of the afternoon that we found ourselves crossing the Dee, in view of Aberdeen. My spirits were wonderfully elated: the grand sea scenery and fine bracing air; the noble, distant view of the city, rising with its harbor and shipping, all filled me with delight.
–Harriet Beecher Stowe in Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands, Vol. 1

Crossing the River Dee on April 21, 1853, Harriet Beecher Stowe was reminded of a ballad that she had learned in childhood that begins:

The moon had climbed the highest hill
That rises o’er the banks of Dee,

She did not know the author of the ballad, but it was written by John Lowe (1750-1798), a native of Kenmure in Galloway. › Continue reading…

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Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Two: Glasgow

002Glasgow Cathedral. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons, Licence:, resized, Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0). Also compare the image of the Cathedral from Sunny Memories with a recent photo).

Having arrived in Glasgow the night before, Harriet Beecher Stowe awoke in Scotland for the first time on April 14, 1853. In Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands, Vol. I (1854), she describes her breakfast:

The next morning I awoke worn and weary, and scarce could the charms of the social Scotch breakfast restore me. I say Scotch, for we had many viands peculiarly national. The smoking porridge, or parritch, of oatmeal, which is the great staple dish throughout Scotland. Then there was the bannock, a thin, wafer-like cake of the same material. My friend laughingly said when he passed it, “You are in the ‘land o’ cakes,’ remember.” There was also some herring, as nice a Scottish fish as ever wore scales, besides dainties innumerable which were not national.

Later that day, she and her entourage visited Glasgow Cathedral. › Continue reading…

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