Sunday, 15 April 2012

Perhaps Henry Ford was inspired by this?

From the diary of fifteen year old orphan Laura Troubridge in Norfolk, England, in 1873

Monday, October 26th 1873

I was thinking the other day how I should spend my day if I was allowed to do as I liked and if it was possible. First I should get up whenever I felt inclined, then I would do no lessons all day (except perhaps sometimes read a little history), but I would not be idle - on the contrary, very industrious, for I should draw all day long and when I was sick of it, I should get a comfortable armchair by the fire and read a novel.

For exercise I should have a sort of double velocipede, consisting of two armchairs, worked either by hand or foot, which would go about a hundred or fifty miles an hour*. But I should always have the second armchair filled by somebody who I really wanted to drive with me and I should like to have the power of wishing any person to be in it I wanted. (I know who would be there very often), and we would go long drives about, spinning along, almost like flying. In the evening we would either take a long moonlight drive or else go to a dance or the play, whichever we felt inclined for. I should always have loads of money and loads of new novels. I should always be exquisitely dressed and never wear old slonche fouffes҂, and should also have hair over my forehead! I forgot to put I should be awfully kind and should always be giving everybody heaps of splendid presents.

Would not that be a delightful life?

I forgot to put I should very often travel, always with my velocipede and my companion and I should also sometimes go to London, the two last of course with the others too, who I should be awfully jolly to and who would adore me.

Scriptor's Notes:-

An extract from the book 'Life among the Troubridges' edited by Jaqueline Hope-Nicholson, 1966. I shall tell you what was really Laura's 'The Day of My Life' on another occasion.

*Sixty years later a 1937 Bentley 4¼ litre could reach 50 mph in just over 10 seconds and top out at 95 mph. How Laura would have loved it.

҂ In the book 'slonche fouffes' is simply described as ‘a family word for clothes’ but I suspect its origin was in the French word fouffes meaning old clothes that have seen better days or cleaning rags and slonche was a way of saying for slouching around in.


  1. I suspect that a real day in Laura's life involved getting up awfully early, many dull lessons imparted by a strict and unimaginative teacher, and then household chores until bedtime.
    And, as it obvious from her picture, no hair over her forehead...

  2. What a splendid snippet.

  3. I'm with Laura. Though I really would like to know who she dreamed of riding around with...

  4. What a charming post. I am warmed by the thought that if money were no object, she would never lack for books. Sometimes I think I must be channelling her! :0)

  5. I had a copy of this book years ago and I am wondering where it can possibly be. It was a very ratty old copy and I am hoping I didn't get rid of it in one of my periodic clear outs.

  6. Laura must have been a delightful girl. I can just picture her on the speeding velocipede! I concur with her longing for many novels. That would be right up there on my list as well.


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