Bad Boys of the Victorian Era

Gentlemen on the streets. Rapscallions in the sheets.

True to form, what is seen isn’t always the most honest portrayal of conduct. These charlatans, these men of passion, enchanted ladies of their time. Poet Lord Byron fashioned  She Walks in Beauty. Similarly, artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti committed the loveliness of his muses to canvas.

But what of those bad boys who were more than mere playboys. . ? 

We’re glad you asked.

Making Sherlock Seem Elementary. . .

He came from Devil’s Gate, fittingly so.Unknown

There, in the neighborhood of the most wretched, Investigator Jerome Caminada learned all too well the ways of offenders.

Such insight led him to unconventional methods.

He crouched for hours inside a piano case to expose the Manchester music thief.

His penchant for disguise served him well. When immersed in character, Caminada fooled his chief constable.

Perhaps his most shocking approach involved hearts. Flattery got him everywhere. Described “of average build, but broadly set. . .  with a quiet determination” by a reporter, Caminada was not above employing suave to sleuth. In practice, he’d called upon a lady close with the person of interest. Caminada offered his arm for a walk or treated her to an outing on the water.

ListVerse’s article 10 Incredible Stories About The Real-Life Sherlock Holmes makes note of one maid besotted with the detective, reporting “after Caminada got his man, he sent the poor girl a letter claiming he’d died.” It would seem all’s fair in law and amour.

Heartbreakers who’ve gone down in history. Meet 5 Victorian Bad Boys – Tweet

Straight Out of Nottingham. . .

220px-GStLGLennox1902He joined his own search party.

Scotty joined from behind, probably on a horse he’d stolen too. The man had some nerve. . . and an even better sense of humor.

“Wildest of all the reckless men who rode the Kalahari frontier was Scotty Smith. Every country has its Robin Hood, Dick Turpin or Captain Starlight – highwaymen of varying degrees of courtesy and crime,” said journalist and author Lawrence G. Green. “Scotty Smith was South Africa’s most notorious outlaw for many years, a legendary figure whose exploits live after him.”

Among the crimes to his name, Smith did indeed steal from the rich and give to the poor.
Legend says he once instructed a down-on-his-luck stranger on how to turn him in at gunpoint so he may pay off his debts with the reward money. Of course, the scoundrel broke out of jail hours later.

Gentleman on the street. Heartbreaker underneath. Read Victorian Bad Boys – Tweet 

McDreams Do Come True. . .

He is remembered as Dr. Love.

But Samuel Pozzi achieved far more than a high-profile relationship with actress Sarah Bernhardt. History Today notes “The enigmatic subject of a fine portrait by John Singer Sargent. . . was also a respected surgeon and gynecologist, soldier and politician, artist and collector.”

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His handsomeness and culture earned him the name of The Siren by classmates in medical school. However, upon becoming a teacher of his own, Pozzi preferred the comfort of white overalls.

Unparalleled in his field, when it was discovered Sarah possessed an ovarian cyst, she’d allow no other to treat her save Pozzi.

“Dr. God” documented her healing in a letter, writing Dear Friend, Sarah is convalescing well, cutting corners as usual. Decisive, courageous, firm and obedient. . . she will recover more quickly than most. 

The luminaries endured a myriad of separations and reunions as is evident through published correspondence of The Diva and the Doctor GodUltimately, however, they maintained a dear friendship for neither could bear to part with the other.

Have you ever fallen for a bad boy? Or attempted to redeem one?

4 thoughts on “Bad Boys of the Victorian Era

Add yours

  1. As a writer of historical mystery, I’m always interested in little known facts about what was going on in the 1800s. And, since I couldn’t write mystery without rapscallions, I’m SO GLAD I have Victorian Trading Blog to feed me those tidbits or people or incidents who can make a “cameo” appearance in my books. Happy, happy, happy! I also used items from VT in my giveaway baskets. Most recently, the gorgeous magnifying glass.

  2. I love being able to read and to learn about people and things !! Thank you Victorian​ Trading for doing this for those of us !!!

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