Sabrina Sidney (1757–1843) was a British foundling girl taken in when
she was 12 by the author Thomas Day, who wanted to mould her into his
perfect wife. As an adult she worked with the schoolmaster Charles
Burney, managing his schools. In 1769 Day took Sabrina to France to
begin methods of education inspired by Rousseau’s Emile, or On
Education. When she reached her teenage years, Day’s friend Richard
Lovell Edgeworth persuaded him that his ideal-wife experiment had
failed. In 1783 Sabrina was told the truth about Day’s experiment and
confronted him in a series of letters. In 1804, Anna Seward published a
book about Sabrina’s upbringing. In his 1820 memoirs, Edgeworth said
that Sabrina and Day made a good match and that she loved him. Sabrina
countered that Day had made her miserable, and that she had effectively
been a slave. The story of Sabrina’s life has been told in Wendy Moore’s
2013 book How to Create the Perfect Wife and dramatised in the 2015 BBC
Radio 4 play The Imperfect Education of Sabrina Sidney.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
Grand Duke of Lithuania Jogaila was crowned Władysław II
Jagiełło, King of Poland, beginning the Jagiellonian dynasty.
The Forth Bridge, a railway bridge connecting Edinburgh to Fife
over the Firth of Forth, opened, becoming an internationally recognised
The first known case of the so-called Spanish flu was first
observed at Fort Riley, Kansas.
US President Ronald Reagan made a nationally televised address
in which he accepted full responsibility for illegal actions in the
Fourteen-year-old English schoolgirl Charlotte Shaw drowned on
Dartmoor, becoming the first person to die in connection with the annual
Ten Tors challenge.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
1. A piece, pattern, or sample, generally of cloth or a similar material.
2. (figuratively) A clump or portion of something.
3. (figuratively) A demonstration, an example, a proof.
4. (Northern England, obsolete) A tag or other small object attached to
another item as a means of identifying its owner; a tally; specifically
the counterfoil of a tally.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Life is a creative endeavor. It is active, not passive. We are the
yeast that leavens our lives into rich, fully baked loaves. When we
experience our lives as flat and lackluster, it is our consciousness
that is at fault. We hold the inner key that turns our lives from
thankless to fruitful. That key is “Blessing.”
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