Daily Update: Saturday, May 9th, 2015

05-09 - Thomas Blood Steals The Crown Jewels of England

On this Day without a Saint to Honor, we will be turning to the events of this day in London in 1671, when Thomas Blood boldly stole the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.

Born in 1618 in Ireland, Colonel Thomas Blood was described by contemporaries as a “noted bravo and desperado”, In May of 1671 he ingratiated himself with the family of 77-year-old Talbot Edwards, the newly appointed Custodian of the Jewels in Martin Tower. At that time, one could see the Crown Jewels behind a grill by paying a fee to the custodian. Blood, posing as a parson, then talked Edwards into showing him and his “friends” the Crown Jewels on May 9. The door was then closed and a cloak thrown over Edwards, who was then struck with a mallet, knocked to the floor, bound, gagged, and stabbed. Blood then used the mallet (which he had brought with him) to flatten out St. Edward’s Crown so that he could hide it beneath his clerical coat. Another conspirator, Blood’s brother-in-law Hunt, filed the Sceptre with the Cross in two (since it did not fit in their bag), while the third man, Parrot, stuffed the Sovereign’s Orb down his trousers. Meanwhile Edwards refused to stay subdued and fought against his bindings. Popular reports describe Edwards’ son, Wythe, returning from military service in Flanders and happening upon the attempted theft just as the elder Edwards managed to free the gag and raise the alarm shouting, “Treason! Murder! The crown is stolen!” As Blood and his gang fled to their horses waiting at St. Catherine’s Gate, they dropped the sceptre and fired on the warders who attempted to stop them, wounding one. Having fallen from his cloak, the crown was found while Blood refused to give up, struggling with his captors and declaring, “It was a gallant attempt, however unsuccessful! It was for a crown!” The globe and orb were recovered although several stones were missing and others were loose. Not only was the audacious Blood not punished for the crime, he was pardoned by King Charles II and given land in Ireland worth £500 a year. (The Crown Jewels were removed to a part of the Tower known as Jewel House, where armed guards defend them to this day.)

On Friday evening our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team beat Missouri in the first game of a three-day home series by the score of 8 to 3.

My right ear was doing better today. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and we found when heading to work that a short in the truck was still turning on the interior lights. I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Second Day of my Ascension Novena. After the Pre-Shift Meeting, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Mississippi Stud and the second Mississippi Stud table. He was then going to be the breaker for Mississippi Stud, Three Card Poker, and Let it Ride, but after breaking the dealer on Let It Ride (who was me) he was sent to Mini Baccarat. I was on Let it Ride until 8:20 am, when they closed my table and sent me to the $5.00 Blackjack table.

On our way home I finished reading the May 11, 2015 issue of Sports illustrated. Once home Richard paid bills while I ate a lunch salad and read the morning paper. I then went to the Adoration Chapel and did my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. When I got home from Adoration I took a nap for the rest of the day, so I did not go to 4:00 pm Mass, and I did not do my Daily Update. And our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team beat Missouri in the second game of a three-day home series by the score of 8 to 2.

Tomorrow is the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Alleluia!), known as Rogation Sunday, and the Optional Memorial of Saint Damien Joseph de Veuster of Molka’i, Priest. It is also Mother’s Day. Tomorrow is a Heavy Business Volume Day at the casino. On my breaks I will do my Daily Update for yesterday and continue reading Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress. In the afternoon I will take my first Blood Sugar reading (mainly to learn how to do it), our #1 ranked LSU Baseball team will play Missouri in the third game of a three-day home series, I will make my lunch Salads for Monday and Tuesday, and I will go to the 6:00 pm Mass at church.

Our Parting Quote this Saturday afternoon comes to us from Mary Stewart, English novelist. Born in 1916 as Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow in Sunderland, County Durham, her mother was from New Zealand and her father was a vicar. She graduated from Durham University in 1938 with first-class honours in English. Her original intention to become a professor was derailed by the scarcity of jobs during World War II; she earned a teaching certificate and taught primary school for a while. After the war she earned her master’s degree and became a lecturer in English Language and Literature at the university. It was in Durham that she met and married her husband, Frederick Stewart, a young Scot who lectured in Geology. They married in 1945, only three months after they met at a VE Day dance. At the age of 30 she suffered an ectopic pregnancy, undiagnosed for several weeks, and subsequently could not have children. In 1956 the couple moved to Edinburgh, where he became professor of geology and mineralogy, and later chairman of the Geology Department of Edinburgh University. She submitted a novel to the publishers Hodder & Stoughton. Madam, Will You Talk? was an immediate success. She followed up with Wildfire at Midnight (1956), Thunder on the Right (1957),  Nine Coaches Waiting (1958), My Brother Michael (1959), The Ivy Tree (1961), The Moon-Spinners (1962, made into the Disney film of the same name in 1964), This Rough Magic(1964), Airs Above the Ground (1965), The Gabriel Hounds (1967), and The Wind Off the Small Isles (1968). They were well received by critics, due especially to her skilful story-telling and enchanting prose. Her novels are also known for their well-crafted settings, many in England but also in such exotic locations as Damascus and the Greek islands, as well as Spain, France, and Austria. (They were also well received by me; I inhaled her books during the mid to late 1970s.) Stewart was one of the most prominent writers of the romantic suspense subgenre, blending romance novels and mystery. Critically, her works were considered superior to those of other acclaimed romantic suspense novelists, such as Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. She seamlessly combined the two genres, maintaining a full mystery while focusing on the courtship between two people, so that the process of solving the mystery “helps to illuminate” the hero’s personality, thereby helping the heroine to fall in love with him. Following the success of T. H. White’s The Once and Future King (1958), and the conscious connection of the Kennedy presidency with the 1960 musical Camelot, Arthurian legends regained popularity. Stewart added to this climate by publishing The Crystal Cave (1970), followed by The Hollow Hills (1973), The Last Enchantment (1979), and The Wicked Day (1983) in her Merlin series. (I loved this series, and have copies in my own library.) In the meantime, in 1974, her husband was knighted and she became Lady Stewart, although she never used the title. She also continued to write romances such as Touch Not the Cat (1976), Thornyhold (1988), Stormy Petrel (1991), and The Prince and the Pilgrim (1995). an Arthurian novel outside of the Merlin Series chronology. She also wrote books for children, including The Little Broomstick (1971), Ludo and the Star Horse (1974), and A Walk in Wolf Wood (1980). In 1990 she wrote a book of poetry, Frost on the Window: And other Poems. Her last novel, Rose Cottage, was written in 1997. In semi-retirement Stewart resided in Edinburgh, Scotland as well as in Loch Awe, Scotland. An avid gardener, she and her husband shared a keen love of nature.Her husband died in 2001, and she received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Durham University in 2009 (died 2014): “The best way of forgetting how you think you feel is to concentrate on what you know you know.”

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