"On March 29th, the night of mi-careme, a masked ball was in progress, the chabut in full swing. Suddenly, the gayest of the harlequins collapsed, cold in the limbs, and, underneath his mask, ‘violet-blue’ in the face. Laughter died out, dancing ceased, and in a short while carriage-loads of people were hurried from the redoute to the Hotel Dieu to die, and to prevent a panic among the patients, were thrust into rude graves in their dominoes. Soon the public halls were filled with dead bodies, sewed in sacks for want of coffins. Long lines of hearses stood en queue outside Pere Lachaise. Everybody wore flannel bandages. The rich gathered up their belongings and fled the town. Over 120,000 passports were issued at the Hotel de Ville. "

An April 1832 letter written by Heinrich Heine, a German writer and poet. He was witnessing the coming of cholera in Paris. The letter is now known for how it eerily imitates Edgar Allen Poe's short story, "The Red Masque of Death," which came out ten years later. Interestingly, Poe had already seen similar scenes one year earlier in 1831, when cholera first arrived in his home of Baltimore, across the Atlantic in the United States.


"A multitude of books confuses the mind. Accordingly, since you cannot read all the books which you may possess, it is enough to possess only as many books as you can read."

Seneca, Moral Letters to Lucilius (around 4 BCE - 65 CE). He was a philosopher, statesman, and writer of plays in the early Roman Empire.


"Only three people have ever really understood the Schleswig-Holstein business—the Prince Consort, who is dead—a German professor, who has gone mad—and I, who have forgotten all about it."

Lord John Palmerston. The Schleswig-Holstein Question was a complex set of diplomatic and other issues arising in the 1800s over the relationships of two duchies, Schleswig (Danish: Sønderjylland/Slesvig) and Holstein (Danish: Holsten), their relationships to the Danish crown, their relationships to the German Confederation, and their relationships to each other. The two duchies have a long history of connections to Scandinavia and the European mainland. At various points both have belonged to Denmark, to Germany, or been independent states. Schleswig is currently divided between Denmark and Germany, and Holstein is entirely in Germany.


"We were all used to the heat; but whereas the desert was dry, Sicily was humid. … I well remember an incident that occurred one day as I was driving in my open car up to the front. I saw a lorry coming towards me with a soldier apparently completely naked in the driver’s seat, wearing a silk top hat. As the lorry passed me, the driver leant out from his cab and took off his hat to me with a sweeping and gallant gesture. I just roared with laughter. However, while I was not particular about dress so long as the soldiers fought well and we won our battles, I at once decided that there were limits. When I got back to my headquarters I issued the only order I ever issued about dress in the Eighth Army; it read as follows: ‘Top hats will not be worn in the Eighth Army.’ "

Quote is from American Field Marshal Montgomery's recollections of fighting and commanding men during World War II. The Memoirs of Field Marshal Montgomery, published in 1958.


"Any plan conceived in moderation must fail when the circumstances are set in extremes."

Klemens Von Metternich, an Austrian diplomat who was at the center of European affairs for three decades as the Austrian Empire's foreign minister. He reigned from 1809 in the time of Napoleon, and specifically as Austrian Chancellor from 1821 until the liberal Revolutions of 1848 forced his resignation.


"Such a beautiful day, that one felt quite confused how to make the most of it, and accordingly frittered it away."

Caroline Fox, diary, January 4, 1848


"When someone says that Auschwitz is a lie, that it is a hoax, I feel hesitation to say much to him. I say, the facts are so firmly determined, that one cannot have any doubt at all, and I stop talking to that person because there is no use. One knows that anyone who clings to such things, which are published somewhere, is a malevolent person who has some personal interest to want to bury in silence things that cannot be buried in silence."

Dr. Hans Münch, Auschwitz doctor who refused to participate in selections for the gas chambers and staged fake experiments to protect prisoners. He was the only Auschwitz staff member acquitted of crimes against humanity in the Polish Auschwitz trials. This quote is from an interview of Dr. Münch by the German filmmaker Bernhard Frankfurter.


"Democracy is messy, and its hard. Its never easy."

Robert Kennedy Jr.


"Tones sound, and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes."

Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer (1770 - 1827)

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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