Almanac – December 08

1854 – In his Apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX proclaims the dogmatic definition of Immaculate Conception, which holds that the Virgin Mary was born free of original sin.

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1859 – Thomas De Quincey died.  English essayist, best known for his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.

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1860 – Amanda McKittrick Ros born. Northern Irish writer and poet.  Her eccentric, over-written, “purple” circumlocutory writing style is alleged by some critics to be some of the worst prose and poetry ever written, although of course that’s a matter of taste.

 I like her poem “Visiting Westminster Abbey,” which opens:

    Holy Moses! Take a look!
    Flesh decayed in every nook!
    Some rare bits of brain lie here,
    Mortal loads of beef and beer.

…which perfectly sums up my own feelings about churches stuffed full of the tombs of the great and the good (or, at least, the rich and the powerful).

I believe her novels are out of print, but you can find her Irene Iddesleigh online here-

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/34181/34181-h/34181-h.htm

It starts-

Sympathise with me, indeed! Ah, no! Cast your sympathy on the chill waves of troubled waters; fling it on the oases of futurity; dash it against the rock of gossip; or, better still, allow it to remain within the false and faithless bosom of buried scorn.

Such were a few remarks of Irene as she paced the beach of limited freedom, alone and unprotected. Sympathy can wound the breast of trodden patience,—it hath no rival to insure the feelings we possess, save that of sorrow.

The gloomy mansion stands firmly within the ivy-covered, stoutly-built walls of Dunfern, vast in proportion and magnificent in display. It has been built over three hundred years, and its structure stands respectably distant from modern advancement, and in some degrees it could boast of architectural 10 designs rarely, if ever, attempted since its construction.

Go on – you know you want to know the rest.

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1939 – Jerry Butler born. American soul singer and songwriter. He was the original lead singer of The Impressions.

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1943 – Jim Morrison born.  American singer-songwriter and poet, best remembered as the lead singer The Doors…that and for being found dead in a bathtub in Paris.

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