Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) was an English aristocrat who, as the wife of the British ambassador to Turkey, became the author of the first secular writings by a woman about the Muslim Orient. Her letters during her time there recorded many aspects of daily life, and also cleared misconceptions about the treatment of women and their status in society.

 Her writings about Turkey helped to show a part of Eastern culture previously unknown to Western society, since she was able to access exclusively female spaces and therefore become acquainted with the Turkish women’s way of life. Upon her return to England, she promoted variolation, a procedure to immunize the population against smallpox, therefore saving countless lives.


Queens of England + Caroline of Ansbach (1683-1737)

Caroline was born in March 1683, the daughter of John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, and Princess Eleonore Erdmuthe of Saxe-Eisenach. By 1696, she and her younger brother William Frederick were orphans. Caroline eventually entered into the care of Frederick, Elector of Brandenburg, and his wife, Sophia Charlotte, who had been a friend to her mother.

Frederick and Sophia Charlotte came king and queen of Prussia in 1701 and their household was a lively intellectual environment for Caroline. Before this time, she had received little formal education but she soon developed into a scholar of considerable ability. She and the queen had a close relationship in which Caroline was treated as a surrogate daughter.

In 1705, Sophia Charlotte died and Caroline was devastated. That same year, her nephew, George Augustus, the electoral prince of Hanover, visited the Ansbach court. As well as being his father’s heir apparent to the Electorate of Hanover, he was also third-in-line to the British throne. He supposedly visited incognito to inspect Caroline although she was not fooled. He immediately took a liking to her and she found him attractive in return. They were married in 1705 in Hanover and their first child, Frederick, was born in 1707. Including Frederick, they eventually had seven children who survived into adulthood.

Caroline’s father-in-law ascended the British throne in 1714 as George I. She became Princess of Wales when her husband was invested as Prince of Wales, the first woman to receive the title at the same time as her husband. She was also the first Princess of Wales in over two hundred years, the last one being Catherine of Aragon. Since George I had no consort, Caroline was the highest-ranking woman in the kingdom. She and her husband made an effort to learn England’s culture which made their court more popular with the English people than the king’s which contained German courtiers and government ministers.

A woman of great intellect, Caroline read avidly and established an extensive library at St. James’s Palace. She facilitated the Leibniz-Clark correspondence, arguably the most important philosophy of physics discussion of the 18th century. She also helped to popularize variolation, an early type of immunization and had three of her own children inoculated against smallpox. She was praised by Voltaire for this as someone who “has never lost an opportunity to learn or to manifest her generosity.”

Her husband ascended the throne in 1727 as George II and she was crowned alongside him in Westminster Abbey. As queen, Caroline had great influence with her husband and held liberal opinions. She supported clemency for the Jacobites, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech in Parliament. Caroline served as regent four times over the course of her husband’s reign.

After suffering from gout in her final years, Caroline died in 1737 due to complications from an umbilical hernia she had developed after the birth of her last child. She was buried in Westminster Abbey and widely mourned by Protestants and Jacobites alike for her moral example and compassion. (x)

The Flawless Caper, pt. 4

(Parts 1, 2, 3)

DM: Clark and Kordam have successfully entered the vault. Meanwhile, out in the street, a larger group of guards have gathered. They seem to be enjoying the show.

Clark (OOC): *cough*18Charisma*cough*

Croba (OOC): Damn right.

DM: However, you see one of the officers arguing with the guards.

Sir Variol: I’ll try to listen in. *rolls* 13?

Officer: This is shameful! We shouldn’t be tolerating such a… disgusting display!

Iliri (OOC): Someone’s projecting.

DM: Iliri, make a spot check. At a -2 disadvantage due to distraction.

Iliri (OOC): Uh-oh. *rolls* Um, is 16 enough?

DM: You see the officer walking towards you, seemingly to break things up.

Kordam (OOC): That could be a problem…

Iliri: Drastic times call for drastic measures. Sorry, Croba.

Croba: Mh?!

Iliri (OOC): I’m going to rip off her robe.

Sir Variol (OOC): …what.

DM: Make a Strength check…

Iliri (OOC): *rolls* Nat 20.

Croba (OOC): Holy crap!

DM: Okay, then… Iliri, you give a mighty tug and tear her robe completely in half.

Croba (OOC): *singing* I’m not wearing underwear todayyyyyy…

Iliri (OOC): I might have a nosebleed.

Croba (OOC): Still, I’m not going to take that lying down.

Clark (OOC): That’s what she said.

Kordam (OOC): Shut it.

Croba (OOC): I’m going to rip Iliri’s robe in return. *rolls* Umm… another nat 20?

Sir Variol (OOC): You've got to be kidding me.

DM: *sigh* I guess that Iliri’s robe is gone now, too. The lesser guards, unwilling to give up on the spectacle of two naked women covered in mud, run forward and drag their officer out of the way. You are free to continue with your… distraction.

Sir Variol: This isn’t what I signed up for…

Clark (OOC): It's exactly what signed up for.

Despite the alarming number of former Playboy models and Day-Glo presidential candidates against them, there’s a decent chance that you owe your very existence to vaccines. If either of your great-great-grandparents happened to be strolling around Continental Europe back in the 18th century, they were damned likely to trip and fall face-first into a heaping puddle of smallpox. For much of the century, the best defense against the disease was variolation – basically, infecting people with live smallpox virus in hopes that they would a) build an immunity to the disease and b) not die agonizingly while doing so (they often did).

But then, in 1774, a British farmer named Benjamin Jesty had an idea. When smallpox struck his small town, Jesty decided not to variolate his family. Instead, he took a cue from local folklore, found a cow infected with cowpox (a disease similar to but less dangerous than smallpox), and jabbed the infected pus from its udders into the arms of his wife and sons with a darning needle, like a scene straight out of a body piercing purveyor’s worst nightmares. Nightmarish as it sounds, however, it worked – though he didn’t have a fancy name for the procedure, farmer Jesty had discovered the vaccination for a plague that had wantonly slaughtered humans since about 10,000 BC.

When Jesty’s neighbors discovered that he had put cow inside his wife and children in some way other than the one true manner in which God intended, they brandished so many pitchforks that he moved his family to a village 50 miles away. Plus, Jesty was a farmer, not a doctor – he wanted to spend his days milking cows, not draining boils and having literally everyone asking him to “look at this thing on my back.”

6 World-Changing Ideas Ignored For Stupid Reasons

The Knick 209 Real Facts

While The Knick is a work of fiction, it is based on exhaustive historical research. Below, the show’s writers share some of the true facts of the era that are depicted in this episode.

Cpt. Robertson’s route along the San Juan River, through to Lake Nicaragua, and over land to the Pacific Coast would save his company almost 8,000 miles of travel around the South American continent. In reality, it is the very route that Vanderbilt used for his Accessory Transit Co. That is until the Nicaraguan government seized the route from the American Tycoon in 1855. (Image courtesy of the Burns Archive.

Between 1950 and 1980, worldwide vaccination programs successfully eliminated Smallpox. There have been zero cases of Smallpox since the disease was officially declared “eradicated” in 1980. (Image courtesy of the 

Burns Archive.)

Thackery uses arrowroot to create a poultice to calm the irritated skin and aid in healing those infected with Smallpox. Today, arrowroot starch is often used to enable the active ingredients in talcum powder.

Using a scab from a healed Smallpox-sore to create a powder, Thackery then exposes the villagers to the virus by blowing the powder into their noses. It’s a rudimentary form of vaccination known as variolation, which exposes the individual to a virus so that they come down with a mild case of Smallpox in order to develop immunity.

The real Dr. Cotton lived a long life. He and his assistants pulled over 11,000 teeth, and removed endless other parts of patients’ bodies. In some procedures, the death rate was as high as 30%. Dr. Cotton falsified his data and zealously continued to promote his theories around the world.

An ischemic bowel means a section of the intestine is dead. Ingesting Cocaine can cause a constricting of blood vessels, which blocks the passage of blood and oxygen and in turn kills the tissue.

Just east of Manhattan, Randall’s Island housed numerous hospital, reformatories and institutions for adults and children.

Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Harriman all put money toward Eugenics, viewing it as an extension of Darwinism.

The Flawless Caper, pt. 2

(Continued from here.)

DM: All right, you reach the street outside the treasury. There are four guards stationed outside, one on either side of the door.

Clark (OOC): I’m going to cast invisibility before I go in. That extends to my familiar, too.

Kordam (OOC): I’m going to signal Croba and Iliri and then activate my ring of invisibility.

Sir Variol (OOC): I guess that I’ll just keep an eye out so I can jump in if things go south.

Croba: (whispering) All right, Iliri, I’m going to walk ahead, and I want you to bump me from behind. Then we can pretend to get into an argument.

Iliri: Got it.

moments later…


Iliri: How dare you imply that I’m worthless?! *hiccup*

DM: The people on the street subtly widen a space around you to avoid getting caught up in your argument. The guards seem to take notice as well.

Iliri (OOC): Perfect. I’m going to try to grapple her, then. *rolls* That’s a… 17 to trip her to the ground.

Croba (OOC): Once I’m down there I’ll cast the spell to muddy up the ground.

DM: The guards are talking amongst themselves now.

Kordam (OOC): I want to hear what they’re saying. 24 to Listen.

Guard 1: A mud-wrestling match, on our street?

Guard 2: The others will kill me if I don’t tell them about this.

DM: He opens the door to call inside.

Kordam: Now’s our chance, while the door’s open!

Clark: …I wanted to stay and watch. Why does Variol get to have the best job?

Kordam: Just get inside, you idiot.

Clark (OOC): Take pictures!

Sir Variol (OOC): I’m just going to stay at the edge of the crowd, shaking my head and muttering reassuringly to myself.

Sir Variol: It could have been worse. It could have been worse. It could have been worse…

The Flawless Caper, pt. 1


Sir Variol, LN elf knight
Kordam, TN dwarf rogue
Croba, CN human warmage
Clark, LE human necromancer
Iliri, LN human drunken master

Context: In order to overthrow the city government, the party is staging a break-in on the treasury. Their hope is that once the governor’s stockpile of funds is gone, he’ll be forced to raise taxes, thus alienating the common folk and leaving the city open for rebellion. Given that there are no Good-aligned characters in the party…

Sir Variol: To begin with, we’ll need a way to distract the guards so that Clark and Kordam can slip inside.

Croba (OOC): Do the city guards also serve as firefighters?

DM: They do.

Kordam (OOC): Oh god, don’t tell me.

Croba: In that case, I think that we should set a fire a few blocks away from the treasury. When the guards leave to put it out–

Sir Variol: Absolutely not! We can’t go around setting fires!

Clark: I mean, we could…

Kordam: I’m with V on this one. Besides, we don’t need them gone… just distracted.

Iliri: I could buy them all drinks! *hiccup*

Sir Variol: I don’t think that they’d drink on duty.

Clark (OOC): Of course, there’s always our secret weapon.

Iliri (OOC): What exactly is that…?

Clark (OOC): Croba’s 18 Charisma.

Croba (OOC): Oh yeah! And I have a cantrip that can create water…

DM: …oh god.

Croba: Hey, Iliri. Up for a spot of mud wrestling?

Iliri: Am I!

DM: *sigh*

Sir Variol: At least it isn’t arson.

The Flawless Caper, pt. 5

(Parts 1234)

DM: Inside the vault, you see the accumulated wealth of the city laid out before you. There are several haphazard piles of platinum coins, wooden chests of promissory notes, and the odd box of gemstones.

Clark: I have enough shadow caches prepared to fit pretty much all of this. We can return it to our employers as soon as we get out.

Kordam: Not all of it. I’m sure they won’t miss a few thousand off the top.

Clark: Very true.

Several minutes pass as the “extraction team” gathers up the treasure and then dimension doors to an alleyway outside.

Clark: All right, Kordam, you can go tell Sir Stick-Up-His-Ass that he can break up the diversion.

Kordam (OOC): I make my way back around to the front of the building, still invisible, and move over to where Variol is standing.

Kordam: *whispering* V, this is your conscience. It’s time to stop this.

Croba (OOC): “This is your conscience”? That’s seriously what you’re going with?

Sir Variol (OOC): If my conscience was going to interfere, it would have done that before any of this even started. But better late than never, I guess. I’ll follow Kordam’s advice.

DM: Croba, Iliri, you see Variol walking in your direction.

Sir Variol: Ladies, please stop this unseemly fighting! Haven’t you done enough?

Iliri (OOC): I don’t think that’s going to do much to convince me to stop. I’m kind of getting into this.

Clark (OOC): That’s what she said.

Kordam (OOC): Shut it.

Sir Variol (OOC): Uh. Okay. In that case… which one of you is on top?

Iliri (OOC): That’s a very personal question–

Sir Variol (OOC): Don’t make this any more awkward than it needs to be…

Croba (OOC): Probably me, at the moment.

Sir Variol (OOC): All right, I’m going to try to grab Croba’s shoulders and pull her off.

DM: Roll grapple. And a dexterity check.

Sir Variol (OOC): …dexterity? Okay… *rolls* 18 to grapple and… 3 to dex. Ah, crap.

DM: You misjudge the slickness of the mud, and your hands slip, but your grapple check is still good. You now have a firm hold on Croba’s *ahem* “18 Charisma.”

Croba: Ooh, Sir Variol~!

Sir Variol: I hate my life.

*A brief conversation between Hal (TN Ranger) and Variol (LN Knight)*

Hal: Why is everyone talking about us like we’re the villains?

Variol: We contracted a pirate fleet to ransack the capital, murdered two of the highest officials in the government, and blackmailed the ruler into stepping down before we left the country.

Hal: …oh my god, we’re the villains.

[dr]OUTLANDER Drabbles: La Faux Petite Variole.

This is especially for @outlanderedandoverhere, you asked for this such a long time ago and I wrote it and then it sat in my G-Doc’s for an ages. Now I have finally pulled it out of the vault! I hope you like it, it’s only mini, in-keeping with the drabble theme of this quest to get through our latest Outlander drought. 

If anyone wants any, my ask-box is open so ask away. Anything at all, AU’s, canon, book prompts and show ones too. All I ask is that they’re Jamie and Claire, that I can write it in 500-1000 words and that they’re fluffy. ♥



He lay unmoving against the cold grain of the wooden floor, his legs curled against his abdomen, his arms wrapped around his legs. His brow was slicked with sweat, perspiration from his constant vomiting over the past hour. He felt truly terrible. His chest itched, but he had no energy to scratch it, he simply lay still uttering a quiet moan every now and again.

Claire stood and watched him from the doorway, a small smile on her lips. Every so often he would try and move himself, fail and groan as he fell down. She couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for him, but only a tiny bit.

Jamie sensed his wife, if he could have rolled towards her he would have, but as it was he’d just have to settle for knowing she was there.

“Claire, I need ye, Sassenach.” He finally managed to say, his words muffled against the fine grain of the wood.

“Oh, Jamie lad. What am I to do with you?” She said, more to herself than anything.

“Weel, ye could help me get off this God-forsaken floor, if ye’d be so kind.”

She chuckled as she quietly padded over to his prostrate form. She ran the back of her hand over his damp brow before kneeling by his head.

“I’m not sure I have the strength to lift you alone, shall I fetch Murtagh and Magnus to help?”

“No, Claire. I dinna want the staff to see me like this, and Murtagh has enough to get on wi’, wi'out having to come to my aid. I’ll just…wait here.”

Claire sighed before stroking Jamie’s hair. Lifting a fully grown highlander would be difficult under normal circumstances, but at five months pregnant she was already quite large.  

“Come on, Jamie. I’ll try my best.” She snuck her arms under his chest and tugged, but it was no use, he was a solid weight. He felt her as she attempted the impossible and tried his best to aid her by rolling over pushing up on his elbows, but his stomach was still rolling, his wame dropping at every subtle movement.

It took them some time, but Claire persevered and Jamie finally got back the use of his limbs. They lay, panting, in the centre of the bed a mess of hot sweaty limbs, the cool Parisian evening air washing over them.

“I think I need a drink.”

“Aye, ye arena wrong, Sassenach! But I dinna think my belly is up to it quite yet.”

“Oh my. Did I just hear Jamie Fraser refuse a drink!?” Claire mocked, her tone dripping with sarcasm.

“Och aye, Claire. Ye may joke at my expense but I’m going through this agony for yer benefit too!” He reached out and tapped her lightly on the arm in jest as she chuckled. She hadn’t felt this light in a long time. It felt good to laugh, finally. He took one look at her and he immediately knew how she was feeling; their journey to Paris hadn’t been an easy one and it didn’t appear to be letting up.

He watched as she rubbed her belly, their bairn growing strong beneath her fingertips, and said a small prayer that they may be done with this retched business, and soon. He just wanted some manner of normality for his growing family. He didn’t want his child to be born into the world that Claire had predicted; into war, conflict and death. Charles really did hold an awful lot in the palm of his hands.

“I know that look, James Fraser. I can almost hear the cogs turning. Don’t make yourself sick again!” She meant it as a joke, but underneath it all she was worried about the amount he was taking on, emotionally and physically. His hand wasn’t healing as it ought with all the heavy lifting he subjected himself to down on the docks and his emotional wounds were still raw too. He had gotten better at talking to her but it was still obvious that he was struggling. If only they had more alone time, she could get him to talk. But as it was he was always busy. Well, now she had him sequestered here all alone, she could use the excuse that the potion she’d concocted for him was still running rife and keep him abed for a few days, that was a start.