Would you rather go back in time or visit the future?
Submitted by Auds.
I would go back in time – I love history too much to answer any other way.
But HOW far back? WHERE far back?
I find that there are too many things I'd want to experience, to be delegated to a particular decade. The late 1580's, to hear Elizabeth's speech at Tilbury (now that my ears have been poisoned by that Mirren travesty – as much as I love her; I do want to be Helen Mirren when I grow up)? What about fifty years earlier, so I could watch her mother being wooed by Henry VIII? Would I want to see a beheading? What about poor Lady Jane Grey, blindfolded, frantically trying to find the block so that she could lay her neck upon it? Would I want to stroll through the medieval courts of Burgandy, to take part in the courtiers' discussions on Love and Loyalty? Would I want to listen to the troubadours and jongleurs sing of events in the even more distant past?
Do I want to stroll through the fabulous and exotic wealth of the palaces of ancient Egypt? Watch – at a distance – the decadence of Rome? Sit in the Coliseum and witness the carnage/entertainment? (only if I took my glasses off – they'd attract attention, anyway – everything would then be a blur…just crimson splashes everywhere).
What about the castles of 13th century Wales – Beaumaris, Caerphilly, Harlech - in their newly built glory? Who's side would I be on – Edward I's or Llywelyn II's?
What about the battles – would I want to look down, Godlike, on their horrible formations? Agincourt? Crecy? Or later: the Somme, Verdun, Ypres, Passechendale? Would I be a nurse – or a V.A.D (Voluntary Aid Detachment) as I would have to be called?
What about the 1880's, the 1890's – what about the Gilded Age? Would I like an invitation to the Devonshire House Ball? Would I want to meet the personalities of the age? Lillie Langtry? Daisy Warwick? Caroline Otero? Cleo de Merode? Would I be a chorus girl, a Gibson girl, struggling through the crowd of 'stage door johnnies' waiting for me? Would I wear the jewels they gave me, suffer through corsets, save for my Worth gowns, enjoy my London season,
change outfits five times a day as a lady was supposed to do?
What about the artists of the time? Oscar Wilde, his 'sphinx' – Ada Leverson, Max Beerbohm, Aubrey Beardsley? Maybe put a word in, so he wouldn't be fired as art editor of The Yellow Book? Would I want to meet Leonard Smithers to see if he really did sell books bound in human skin?
The answer to all these questions is YES, a thousand times yes.