Friday, January 29, 2010

Doctor Science Knows: Abortion and quickening

Doctor Science Knows: Abortion and quickening

2 comments:

  1. Dr Science, whose wisdom Hetty Sorrel reveres, has honoured her with a mention in his esteemed blog. I do not quote him out of mere vanity, but that he raises two interesting questions near to my heart.
    The first is, how came it that I was spared the gallows? I always supposed that pressure had been applied to Arthur Donnithorne- probably from his godfather the Rector of Broxbourne (a large-minded gentleman if ever there was one) to use his influence on my behalf. My reason? 'Twas that it was Arthur himself who galloped through the crowd, bearing the blessed paper of release, rather than one of the sheriff's men. I have no doubt that the fear of Adam Bede's fists played some part in Arthur's efforts on my behalf. My attached friend Ruth Raven (author of Hetty, or, To Hell with Adam Bede) bears witness that such things could happen, for an ancestor of hers was imprisoned for an ATTEMPTED crime in the same week (and by the same judge) that a young gentleman of 'good family' was pardoned for the ACTUAL crime! This was documented at the time in the newspapers without any surprised expressed by the correspondent.
    Well! The second question is that of quickening, and that leads me to the incident in my own recent memoirs (not George Eliot's famous work) in which a certain Annie Forage was visited in prison by a warden known as the 'Babymaker'. Again I questioned my attached friend as to whether I dreamed this whole episode; said she, not so, for Annie at that stage was merely awaiting her trial, and, as the prison was crowded with such persons she could legitimately hope for a quickening before the day.

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  2. And another thing...Readers may wonder whether Hetty Sorrel was spared the gallows because she was suffering from what my revered friend Dr Isaacs would have called 'postpartum lunacy'. Again, my attached friend Ruth Raven tells me that would not have been considered a defence in law at that time, though the condition was not unknown to the medical minds of the day.

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