About Mistress Martha

For better or for worse, Martha is a nineteenth-century version of super-woman.   She has been referred to by some of the readers of the Saga as "Mother Wales".  From the beginning she is very beautiful and very sexy, and as she blossoms into womanhood she gains a reputation as the most beautiful woman in Wales. She is well educated, and has a very enquiring mind. She is a competent musician and a moderately talented artist. She speaks English, Welsh, French and Dimetian Welsh fluently. She reads widely, and is attracted to “subversive” or radical literature. Her liberal views frequently lead her into trouble, and it is quite natural that she should be concerned about the plight of slaves and convicts and all those who might be oppressed or victimized by the crown, the government, and impersonal institutions. She has concerns about voting reform and womens’ rights, and she sympathises with the Chartists -- at least until they start to split apart and lose control of extremist elements. She is immediately drawn to the Rebecca Rioters since she understands what their grievances are and sees (better than most of her peers) what happens to families struggling against poverty and disease. She is not particularly religious, but goes through the motions of being a worthy member of the established church and goes through life trying to be a “better person.” She flirts with Methodism for a while, and finds the devotion and kindness of the Non-conformists appealing. But at the same time she is irritated by their evangelical zeal and their unshakeable conviction that they are saved while others are condemned to hellfire and damnation. She is, as she admits now and then in the pages of her diaries, not averse to a little jolly sin now and then. She is also perfectly happy to shelter criminals, to drink smuggled gin, to tell lies, and to withhold her tithe payments in protest against the arrogance and insensitivity of the Church.

She is very different indeed from Jane Austen's Lizzie Bennet, for her world was altogether rougher than the precious Regency world of Southern England..........

For more about Martha's virtues and vices, see here:

http://www.brianjohn.f2s.com/mmlw1.html

2 comments:

Valerie Morgan said...

I am really enjoying the Angel books as this area of Pembrokeshire has been our bolt hole from city living for the past 40 years. My husbands ancestors come from the Precilly hills so there is an added interst.
We have driven around the area many times but it has now become a quest to find some of the places named.
thank you for an insight into life of the early nineteenth century.
Val Morgan

BRIAN JOHN said...

Thanks Val -- enjoy your reading and your wandering! You should be able to find most places -- but beware, since some of them are imaginary!