Behind the Story: The Grand Assault and 19th Century Fencing in New York City

  Introduction From “The Grand Assault” - An advertisement displayed at the Fencing Club. A Grand Assault at the Park Theater Mr. Armstrong of the Knickerbocker Fencing Club will fight a match with the latest in steam mechanicks for the art of fencing, the Schermitore a vapore , or the steam fencer. This man sized automaton was developed by the acclaimed Italian inventor Doctor Cosimo Cervello, who is the creator of the Cervello Steam Boat that was used effectively in the naval bombardment of Algiers. Dr. Cervello claims that the steam fencer, a machine of speed and precision, can defeat any opponent. It has been educated in the use of arms by Count Enrico Strattofenza, the undefeated Champion of the Italian Kingdom of Naples, who will accompany the schermitore a vapore as its manager and trainer. They will be using the latest technology in the art of fencing, the Fioretto di pressione , or the Pressure Foil, also created by the eminent Dr. Cervello, who will attend the match o

Behind the Story – Azarbad the Aeronaut and Richard Francis Burton

“Burton for the Sewers” A Bawdy and Uncensored Translation of the Arabian Nights is covertly published, and I learn what “futtering” means. THE BOOK OF THE THOUSAND NIGHTS AND A NIGHT A Plain and Literal Translation of the Arabian Nights Entertainments Translated and Annotated by Richard F. Burton 1885 Title Page for the Thousand Nights and a Night 1885      So, being afraid, they came down to her, and she rose before them and said, "Stroke me a strong stroke, without stay or delay, otherwise will I arouse and set upon you this Ifrit, who shall slay you straightway." They said to her: "O our lady, we conjure thee by Allah, let us off this work, for we are fugitives from such, and in extreme dread and terror of this thy husband. How then can we do it in such a way as thou desirest?" "Leave this talk. It needs must be so," quoth she, and she swore them by Him who raised the skies on high without prop or pillar that if they worked not her will, she would cau

Behind the Story: The Four Butchers of Cawnpore

  The Massacre at the Bibighar   The four Butchers of Cawnpore is set several years after the Indian Mutiny/Rebellion. I use the separating slash because the incident is called differently depending on your perspective. To the English, the Indian sepoy troops under their command committed mutiny when they attacked British forces and holdings in India. These were disloyal soldiers. To the Indians, it was a rebellion against an oppressor who had stolen their country. Today many Indian historians refer to it as the First War of Independence, and it is celebrated as a national holiday.   Many atrocities on both sides occurred during the revolt. One of the worst was the massacre at the Bibighar.   The Indian Mutiny of 1857 Map of British expansion in India in the 19th century. Cawnpore is in the north along the Ganges. In 1857 Indian soldiers, native rulers and thousands of ordinary people rose up against the British East India Company. The Company, as it was known, came in to bei