It's Ask-A-Wench Day at Word Wenches!
This time the AAW question comes from Nina P., who asks:
The time-machine scenario is always a fun one to play with — and the Wenches came up with a wide variety of responses!
Mary Jo Putney:
My mind always goes blank when I'm asked to answer time machine questions, like places or ideal dinner parties. Too many possibilities! My mental software crashes. <G>
A top-of-my-head possibility would be the Cabinet War Rooms in London. This was the British command center for much of WWII. I visited some years back, after part of it had been opened to the public, and it was rivetingly authentic. One could easily imagine Churchill and his generals in the map room, or picking up one of the old telephones. Churchill even had a small bedroom there.
Mind you, I couldn't have stayed long because they all smoked like fiends. Churchill's cigars alone could rout a company of Nazis. <G> So after I'd had my fill of watching great men become great, I'd want to go to either Times Square or Trafalgar Square for the VE day celebrations just so I could feel that joy. Remember the famous photo of an American sailor sweeping a pretty girl into a kiss in Times Square? That image has become so iconic that I've seen huge statues of the couple in the naval towns of San Diego and Sarasota. Seeing the end of a great terrible war would be a nice place to visit.
I love this question! The difficulty would be deciding on which point in time to visit since there are so many different historical periods I would want to explore and people I would like to meet if we were able to be interactive as well. However if I had to choose one I think it would be to go back to England in about 1483 and try to unravel the mystery of who killed the Princes in the Tower. Was it Richard III, Henry VII or someone else? As a hopelessly devoted Ricardian I have been wrapped up in this historical mystery since I was a girl. I love the idea of leaping into my time machine and flying off to solve historical crimes that have puzzled people for centuries. A couple of problems occur, though. Since we don't know when exactly the murder happened I might program my time machine for quite the wrong year. And is it better to know or not to know? If I discovered that Richard III really was responsible, all my illusions would be shattered. I can't bear the thought of uttering the line: "Richard, you disappoint me…"
I'd love to flit in and out as a fly on the wall. However, I'm not sure I'd want to be in the midst of anything.
All right. I'll pick a fairly
mundane one. I'd like to be an invisible observer at an Almack's Assembly
some time in 1814, just to see how far we have such a simple thing wrong in
Argh, this question requires some time and thought!
Would I travel back and try to warn Kennedy or Lincoln of their assassins? Would I want to sit in on the Constitutional convention and warn them to be a little more clear about the second amendment? (Can I go back as a man?)
Or if all I can do is observe, might I sit in on a conversation with Jane Austen?
Cara Elliott /Andrea Pickens:
That said, I would have to pick an event from the Regency era. Trafalgar or Waterloo would be amazing. (NOT that I’m bloodthirsty, but I would like to comprehend the sheer scope and force of the Napoleonic Wars.) However, I think tops on my list would be the Congress of Vienna in 1814. It was a spectacular gathering of emperors, kings, princes and politicians, not to mention the influential women and scheming entourages. (The two reigning beauties of the day, Duchess of Sagan and Princess Bagration, held rival salons and vied to attract the most powerful men.)
The pomp and pageantry of the balls and fetes were legendary—there was a mock medieval joust in the Spanish Riding School, fireworks and a hot air balloon ascension at Prince Metternich’s villa, just to name a few. On top of that there were banquets, operas, ballets, and the guest lists included international celebrities from all walks of life. … Food, wine, intrigue, fashion, sexual shenanigans . . . all taking place in a historic city that reflected the traditions of both East and West. What a tantalizing taste of the era it would be! Give me a ballgown and tiara—let the quadrille begin!
Oh, too much fun, and too many amazing choices, as the other Wenches have pointed out — it's not easy for any of us to choose! I'd like to step into a very reliable time machine (a la Jules Verne or H.G. Wells) or sweep my hands in some lovely powerful spell that would take me back easily and quickly to any place I want … and where would I go? Many, many places — too many to list here, but here's what comes quickly to mind:
I've been to this place two or three times in the last few years, and I'd love to visit Sir Walter Scott's home, Abbotsford, in Scotland… when Sir Walter himself was at home and receiving guests. How cool it would be to be invited into his study and library for a long chat about his books and Scottish history, too.
And I would love to visit the court of Mary, Queen of Scots, before her marriage to Darnley (after that it was one sticky wicket after another, wasn't it) — I'd like to spend some time there, traveling with her and learning what it was truly like then. Fascinating.
I'd also visit the courts of ancient Egypt and, bouncing way forward, the medieval courts of the Plantagenets (all of them, why not)… and to continue bouncing in and out of places, I'd check out the real Arthurian story in 6th century Britain … then I'd hop over to France to meet Joan of Arc and then back to Britain again… where to next?
All the Wenches have endless lists of historical places we'd like to visit and people we'd like to meet!
Where would you go in time if you could? Would you go backward – or forward in time?
As a thank you to Nina for a fun question, she wins an autographed copy of my Sarah Gabriel romance, THE HIGHLAND GROOM, since I'm the Wench who pulled her question out of the proverbial hat, er, Wenchly bonnet. Congrats, Nina!