A LOOK BACK IN TIME: A letter response…

By IW Observer.co.uk Apr 16, 2022

A letter in the Isle of Wight Observer of 8th April 1854 responds to correspondence from a lady printed the previous week who believed that ‘foreigners’ wearing moustaches in Ryde should be arrested. ‘Durance vile’ is an archaic term for a prison sentence.

To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer:
In last Saturday’s impression I noticed a letter from a fair correspondent deprecating, in very severe terms, the moustache movement: in the first place, she wants to know why so many foreign military gentlemen are allowed to go at large in Ryde without being taken up by the police and put in prison? Why, from the simple fact of their being so well behaved and decorous in their manners, therefore giving no cause to be placed in “durance vile.”
As to their being foreigners, your fair correspondent must be but a poor physiologist indeed to think every man a foreigner because he chooses to wear Nature’s ornament, which is now coming in vogue, and must eventually become quite general, as those of our fellow men who have broken through the ranks of foolish customer will never again, you may depend upon it, Mr. Editor, submit to be scalded and scraped in the manner they have hitherto been served; even the poor porker does not undergo this until he is dead, then why serve a live man so? She then goes on to state that some of them have the impudence (a very hard word that – impudence) to pretend to be shopkeepers in this town. Now they do not pretend to be so, but are such in reality, and very honest and respectable ones too.
As to their having some wicked end in view is perfectly ridiculous, and I see no reason why the justices should interfere with them.
Now, to conclude, I beg to say that I am sure there is not one among the lot that pretends to be a real foreigner or a foreigner at all; no, they would not disgrace themselves by being so disloyal to their Queen and country, and as your correspondent is one of the fair sex, and an “unprotected one,” I should say that the sooner she claims the protection of one of the manly-looking individuals, called by her “ferocious,” the happier she will be, and she will find to her joy he is no foreigner but a true-hearted Briton. HALCYON