Sundry Miseries

This is a brief article from the April 3, 1824 edition of The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, which was sort of the Reader’s Digest of the day, containing a variety of articles often reprinted from other journals as well as original material. It made me giggle, and reminded me again that the  more some things change, the more they remain the same…

Sundry Miseries
    • Residing between a stone-cutter’s shop and an undertaker’s.

    • Haggling with a surly hackney-coachman for sixpence, and a quarter-hour after he has driven off, recollecting that you have left a new umbrella in his coach.
    • Drying a long letter by the fire, holding it negligently in one hand behind you whilst you are conversing with a friend in the room, turning around and perceiving it to be in flames.
    • In sharply turning a corner, coming suddenly in contact with a chimney sweeper, who impresses your white waistcoat and light-colored breeches with very visible memorials of the encounter.
    • Passing through a narrow passage and realizing it has just been freshly painted.
    • Wishing to wake early to be in time for a morning coach, waking, and upon looking at your watch, discovering that you had not wound it up the night before.
    • Making several memorandum knots in your handkerchief, and forgetting the important cause of every one of them.
    • Dreaming that you have wings, and waking with a fit of the gout.
    • Endeavoring to flirt outrageously under the table and pressing the wrong foot.
    • In a hurry to send off a letter, dipping your finger into the ink instead of into the wafer stand.



About Marissa Doyle

Marissa Doyle originally planned to be an archaeologist but somehow got distracted. At long last, after an unsurprisingly circuitous path, she ended up writing historical fantasy for young adults (the Leland Sisters series) and contemporary fantasy for slightly older ones, most recently By Jove from Book View Cafe. She is obsessed by the Regency period, 19th century stuff in general, and her neurotic pet bunny. Visit her at


Sundry Miseries — 4 Comments

  1. We still have some of those miseries. The technology changes but not people. Though I’m glad we no longer require chimney sweeps for every household. But our local fire station keeps a few sets of chimney brushes on hand for locals to clear their own flues and avoid fires.