Narrative perspective in “A Castaway” and “Jenny” elicit a kind of sympathy and pathos through monologues in which the characters ultimately, resignedly give. Human Tigresses, Fractious An- gels, and Nursery Saints: Augusta. Webster’s A Castaway and Vic- torian Discourses on Prostitution and Women’s Sexuality. Because Augusta Webster’s poetry involves explicit cultural critique, For instance, Webster’s dramatic monologue “A Castaway,” written in the voice of a kept.

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Poor little diary, with its simple thoughts, its good resolves, its “Studied French an hour,” “Read Modern History,” “Trimmed up my grey hat,” “Darned stockings,” “Tatted,” “Practised my new song,” “Went to the daily service,” “Took Bess soup,” “Went out to tea.

Was I this good girl, this budding colourless young rose of home? Then for ambition, was there ever life that could forego that? No wishes and no cares, almost no hopes, only the young girl’s hazed and golden dreams that veil the Future from her. And what is that? My looking-glass answers it passably; a woman sure, no fiend, no slimy thing out of the pools, a woman with a ripe and smiling lip that has no venom in its touch I think, with a white brow on which there is no brand; a woman none dare call not beautiful, not womanly in every woman’s grace.

Aye let me feed upon my beauty thus, be glad in it like painters when they see at last the face they dreamed but could not find look from their canvass on castway, triumph in it, the dearest thing I have.

Why, ’tis my all, let me make much of it: A wanton I but modest! Modest, true; I’m aa drunk in the streets, ply not for hire at infamous corners with my likenesses of the humbler kind; yes, modesty’s my word — ‘twould shape my mouth well too, I think I’ll try: I am that thing called half a dozen dainty names, and none dainty enough to serve the turn and hide the one coarse English worst that lurks beneath: And, for me, I say let no one be above her trade; I own my kindredship with any drab who sells herself as I, although she crouch in fetid garrets and I have a home all velvet and marqueterie and pastilles, although she hide her skeleton in rags and I set fashions and wear cobweb lace: I know of worse that are called honourable.

Our lawyers, who, with noble eloquence cadtaway virtuous outbursts, lie to hang a man, or lie to save him, websrer way goes the fee: And whom do I hurt more than they?

A Castaway | British Literature Wiki

Poor fools, what do I take from them worth crying for or keeping? If they knew what their fine husbands look like seen by eyes that may perceive there are more men than one!

But, if they can, let them just take the pains to keep them: Oh they could keep their husbands if they cared, but ’tis an easier life to let them go, and whimper at it for morality. How dare they hate us so? What right have they to scorn us — glass-case saints, Dianas under lock and key — what right more than the well-fed castawzy barn-door fowl to scorn the larcenous wild-birds? Scorn or no scorn, what matter for their scorn? I have outfaced my own — that’s aufusta work.

Aye let their virtuous malice augusa on — mock snowstorms on the stage — I’m proof long since: I have looked coolly on my what and why, and I accept myself. Oh I’ll endorse the shamefullest revilings mouthed at me, cry “True!

Well, mine’s a short way and a merry one: We had rare fun over that tract digested with champagne. There, let it burn. What, vastaway the windy dullard castsway one needs his wisdom dove-tailed on to Solomon’s, his threats out-threatening God’s, to teach the news that those who need not sin have safer souls?

We know it, but we’ve bodies to save too; and so we earn our living. Up, up, how the flame shoots! Oh proper finish, preaching to the last — no such bad omen either; sudden end, and no sad withering horrible old age. How one would clutch at youth to hold it tight! Old — that’s to be nothing, or to be at best a blurred memorial that in better days there was a woman once with such a name.


No, no, I could not bear it: This rain, rain, rain, what wretched thoughts it brings! I’ll not think of auhusta. Will no one come?

Why did I read w silly diary? Now, sing song, ding dong, come the old vexing echoes back again, church bells and nursery good-books, back again upon my shrinking ears that had forgotten — I hate the useless memories: Yes, yes, I listened to the echoes once, the echoes and the thoughts from the old days.

A Castaway

The worse for me: I lost my richest friend, and that was all the difference. For the world would not have that flight known. Eulalie, when she refused us all, ‘ill’ and ‘away,’ was doing Magdalene, tears, ashes, and her Bible, and then off hide her in a Refuge You go back to the old home, and ’tis not your home, has no place for you, and, if it had, you could not fit you in it.

And could I fit me to my former self? If I had had the wit, like some of us, to sow my wild-oats into three per cents, could I not find me shelter in the peace of some far nook where none of them would come, nor whisper travel from this scurrilous world, that gloats and moralizes through its leers, to blast me with my fashionable shame? There I might — oh my castle in the clouds!

A Castaway Poem by Augusta Davies Webster – Poem Hunter

The blameless life, but never the content — never. How could I henceforth be content in any life but one that sets the brain in a hot merry fever with its stir? Quiet is hell, I say — as if a woman could bear to sit alone, quiet all day, and loathe herself, and sicken on her thoughts. They tried it at the Refuge, and I failed: I could not bear xugusta.

Dreary hideous room, coarse pittance, prison rules, one might bear these and keep one’s purpose; but so much alone, and then made faint and weak and fanciful by change from pampering to half-famishing — good God, what thoughts come!

Only one week more and ‘twould have ended: And I loathe death, the dreadful foul corruption, with who knows what future after it. Well, I came back, Back to my slough. Who says I had my choice?

A Castaway – Poem by Augusta Davies Webster

Could I stay there to die of some mad death? I think indeed some kind hand, a woman’s — I hate men — had stretched itself to help me to firm ground, taken a chance and risked my falling back, could have gone my way not falling back: Such a trifling boon, little work to live by, ’tis not much, and I might have found will enough to last: More sempstresses than shirts; and defter hands at white work than are mine drop starved at last: And who so bold as hire me for their humblest drudgery?

And after all it would be something hard, with the marts for decent women overfull, if I could elbow in and snatch a chance and oust some good girl so, who then perforce must come and webstdr her chance among our crowd. Why, if the worthy men who think all’s done if we’ll but come where we can hear them preach, could bring us all, or any half of us, into their fold, teach all us wandering sheep, or only half of us, auugusta stand in rows and baa them hymns and moral songs, good lack, what would they do with us?

Would they try to ship us to the colonies for wives? Well, well; I know the wise ones talk and talk: We ought to die off reasonably and leave as many as the men want, none to waste. Here’s cause; the woman’s superfluity: The other day I saw a woman weep beside her dead child’s bed: I could have laughed aloud: My webstef would have wept.


Oh mother, mother, did you ever dream, you good grave simple mother, you pure soul no evil could come nigh, did you once dream in all your dying cares for your lone girl left to fight out her fortune all alone that there would be this danger? Thank God at least for this much of webstwr life, that when you died, that when you kissed me dying, not a thought of this made sorrow for you, that I too was pure of even fear.

Oh yes, I thought, still new in my insipid treadmill x, my father so late deadand hopeful still here might be something pleasant somewhere in it, some sudden fairy come, no doubt, to turn any pumpkin to a chariot, I thought then that I might plod, and plod, and drum the sounds of useless facts into unwilling ears, tease children with dull questions half the day, then con dull answers in my room at night ready for next day’s questions, mend quill pens and cut my fingers, autusta up sums done wrong and never get them right; teach, teach, and teach — what I half knew, or not at all — teach, teach for years, a lifetime — I!

And yet, who knows? But I must have a conscience, must blurt out my great discovery of my ignorance! And who required it of me? What did it matter for a more or less the girls learnt in their schoolbooks, to forget in their first season?

We did well together: And where’s their profit of those prison years all gone to make them wise in lesson books? Well, well, the silly rules this silly world makes about women! This is one of them.

Why must there be pretence of teaching them what no one ever cares that they should know, what, grown out of the schoolroom, they cast off like the schoolroom pinafore, no better fit websfer any use of real grown-up life, for any use to her who seeks or waits the husband and the home, for any use, for any shallowest pretence of use, to her who has them?

Do I not know this, I like my betters, that a woman’s life, her natural life, her good life, her one life, is in her husband, God on earth to her, and what she knows and what she can and is is only good as it brings good to him?

Oh God, do I not know it? I the thing of shame and rottenness, the animal that feed men’s lusts and prey on them, I, I, who should not dare to take the name of wife on my polluted lips, who in the word hear but my own reviling, I know that. I could have lived by that rule, how content: I’ve been loved myself, I think, some once or twice since my poor mother died, but cared for, never: Ah the sweet nursery logic! Fancy me infallible nursery saint, live code of law! Yet the baby thing that woke and wailed an hour or two, and then was dead, was mine, and had he lived But ’twas well he died: I could have been no mother, I, lost then beyond his saving.

Had he come before and lived, come to me in the doubtful days when shame and boldness had not grown one sense, for his sake, with the courage come of him, I might have struggled back.

His father would not then have let me castawxy None but him to claim a bit of bread of if I went, child or casfaway child: