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Isue #268 — The Sanditon Storm Stratagem: Six Suspects
#1

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#2
Romance Advice for Frustrated Debutantes
Another season has come and gone. Plenty of respectable debutantes are still without husbands on the end of their first - or perhaps even second or third - seasons. What went wrong? Taking a look at common behaviors that one might need to reconsider and behaviors that one should adopt instead could lead to a brighter future for the hopeful and frustrated debutante.

  1. Too much of a good thing. It is easy to one to put oneself in center stage for the whole of society to see, but being constantly present at every event can do more harm than good. Men—even ones who you haven't met yet—might become to used to the sight of you that they don't even consider speaking to you. Instead, reduce the amount of events your attend and only attend the ones whose target audiences suit your needs/

  2. "Demure" and "shy" are not the same thing. On the flipside, being unsociable is unlikely to find you a husband. While many etiquette books will tell a woman to act demure, those with more introverted personalities need ignore that advice altogether. It is more aimed at the women who suffer from oversharing and overexcitement—not those who can barely get a word in to being with. The easiest first step? Try smiling at a man as he catches your eye, and do your best not to avert your gaze.

  3. Lower your expectations. Especially if they are visible to those around you. That does not mean you need to marry a man that does not suit you and your family's wishes, but if carry with you the air of a woman who only expects the best, a humble and good-natured man might think he does not meet your criteria even if it does.

  4. Stop playing hard-to-get. Yes, men love a challenge, but that's a game to play when you're a fresh-faced debutante on your first season. If you've endured two or more, it's time to stop and consider how hard you really wish to be to get.

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#3
Which Impending Disaster Will Be Your Doom?
After a hurricane hit the Sanditon and deprived several society figures of their lives, it seems clear that most of us are marked for an early death in some sort of disaster. This is hardly the first mass-death event to hit our community; in fact, it isn't even the first of the year! Which catastrophe will claim your life? Take our quiz to find out.

Describe your circle of friends.
a. Rambunctious and a bit unorthodox.
b. Pretty and popular; the sorts of people you want to know
c. Superficial - I'm not sure how well I really know any of them
d. Bound by common interests
e. Small, but close and comfortable.

You're planning an event. Where do you host it?
a. A space unique to the event, like a track for horse racing.
b. A foreign destination with guests arriving by portkey
c. Hogsmeade Memorial Ballroom
d. Outdoors, weather (or weather charms) permitting.
e. At my home or a relative's home, so we can plan every detail early.

Which of the following skills would you be least likely to succeed at?
a. Healing, though I could manage basic first-aid
b. Swimming
c. Anything that requires quick wandwork
d. Apparition
e. Needlepoint

Choose a Tarot card.
a. The Tower
b. The Moon
c. The Lovers
d. Wheel of Fortune
e. The Hermit
What's your favorite drink?
a. Cocktails or punch
b. Champagne
c. Wine
d. Lemonade
e. Tea

What's your biggest personal flaw?
a. I am judgemental
b. I don't always think through my decisions
c. I can be difficult to get along with
d. I don't adapt well to new circumstances
e. I'm too quiet

Mostly As While your actual end is too occluded for our Seers to predict, rest assured that it will be suitably tragic, and that you will survive more than your fair share of calamities before it occurs.

Mostly Bs A waterborne catastrophe awaits you, but never fear; after the shipwreck and the hurricane this year we likely won't be due for another ocean-adjacent disaster for at least another three years.

Mostly Cs You will most likely find yourself killed at the hands of another; whether this is a malicious homicide, an unfortunate accident, or something else entirely remains to be seen. It will involve a lot of blood, so if you don't look good in red consider your burial options and make your wishes known to your family ahead of time.

Mostly Ds Weather wreck: whether it be a tornado, unfortunately timed blizzard, spontaneous combustion in the summer sun or acid raining from the heavens, your doom is headed towards you from the skies above.

Mostly Es: You may actually live to a ripe old age and die of natural causes, which will be a shame. No one talks about women who die old and gray, and if you die in a catastrophe you'll make a prettier corpse. Try to live a little more vivaciously and see if you can get a more exciting outcome.


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#4
The Sanditon Storm Stratagem: Six Suspects
If you were not there to witness it, you will have already heard that the 1891 Season came to a tumultuous close at the Sanditon Resort last Saturday – the calamity of a tropical hurricane hit the ballroom and the boardwalk, and the losses to Society are still being tallied up. (Turn to page fifteen for our latest list of casualties, and page sixteen to see which splinched socialites are missing which body parts!) The Prophet details the ongoing investigation by the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes – but who is to say the sudden calamitous change in the weather charms was an accident? Read on to discover who might really be to blame for this disaster.

Dr. Wystan Pomfrey.
1. The Drs. Pomfrey
When there is a disaster with injuries abounding and there is no safe way to apparate elsewhere – say, to the larger magical hospitals – who is afforded more opportunity to show off his skills as a saviour than the medical gentleman on hand, Dr. Wystan Pomfrey? Perhaps the storm was a clever way to expand his patient base in the quieter months. Unfortunately he evidently overestimated his abilities, for he could not save everyone.

2. Charles Macmillan, Spurned Suitor
One of the biggest losers of the Season must still have wounds to nurse. Mr. Macmillan’s failed courtship of the former Miss Tatiana Lestrange may have set him to chart a course of vengeance – the chaos of a tropical storm would have provided ample cover to seek one’s revenge. Sadly, it appears he mistook Mr. and Mrs. Greengrass for the new Mr. and Mrs. Macnair when he trapped them beneath a chandelier. Just another failure for Mr. Macmillan.

3. A Desperate Debutante
But Mr. Macmillan was not the only failure of the Season – in our previous issues, we have highlighted some of the less-than-successful debutantes. But there are simply so many, and indeed any girl with forlorn hopes for her future might have taken it upon herself to meddle with weather magic, and wipe out half her competition in a single wave. Any young lady who manages to manufacture a sudden courtship out of this tragedy, or who conveniently managed to escape a lengthy mourning period, ought to be considered with great suspicion.

4. Somersby Fudge, Cursebreaker
This event marked the recent return of Mr. Somersby Fudge, a young man and none other than the proprietor’s son. Mr. Somersby Fudge was away for some time on cursebreaker training – and strange timing, that he should return to the sudden destruction of his father’s legacy. Is there bad blood between them, and that the reason for his forging a career so far away in the first place? Perhaps. Could he have discovered some cursed object from Egypt that creates wild storms and purposely pocketed it for this scheme? Most certainly.

Mr. Prosper Cresswell.
5. Prosper Cresswell, Architect
If it was not Mr. Fudge’s son, it could well have been his closest friend. Who knows the resort as closely as Mr. Cresswell, the very designer and architect? Either Mr. Cresswell built in the flaw to the weather charms on purpose, or this was a desperate endeavour of his to disguise a flaw in the resort’s architecture. If the Sanditon was shoddy work in the first place and the new Terrace just waiting to fall apart, the destruction must have been a convenient scheme to save face and eliminate the evidence of his mistakes. It seems Mr. Rosewood, the primary investor, may have known something was amiss – for he dropped dead the very same night of the storm, before he could warn anyone.

6. Herbert Fudge, Proprietor
But perhaps the real answer is more transparent. A disaster wracked one man’s home on a night where the place was populated by his dearest friends, his closest family, and as many guests as he will have all year: a disaster that Mr. Herbert Fudge, a ghost, could not be affected by. It may be that Mr. Fudge is lonely, his mind clouded by his spectral state, and has long been plotting a way to see his nearest and dearest in Society join him in the afterlife on what he might term a never-ending summer holiday. A dark thought, perhaps, but one that begs the question – can a ghost ever really be trusted to meddle in the affairs of the living? Will the Sanditon ever be the same again?
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#5
     
Letters From Our Reader
Dear Witch Weekly readers,

I am a mother of three daughters. The eldest has just turned one-and-twenty, my middle is nineteen, and my younger will soon be fifteen. I know there are a number of mothers in the mother's book club I attend who have been stressing about sending their daughters to a reputable finishing school such as Pendergast's School for Young Roses, and after much thought I have decided to tell the rest of the world what I have told them.

They are not worth it.

There, I said it. You mothers in the upper echelons of society probably gasped as you wrote it, while mothers too poor to afford to tuition probably think me a privileged woman who takes for granted what opportunities I'm able to afford for my daughters. But those of you like me, with still-unmarried daughters with no evident prospects despite their education, will understand what I mean.

My eldest daughter is one-and-twenty, which is by no means old, but is certainly no longer the fresh-faced debutante she was when she debuted at the age of nineteen. She forewent her final year at Hogwarts in favor of finishing, which we expected to be to her advantage. We are a well-off family with a good pedigree and no scandal to our name, and my daughter, though shyer than some of the debutantes on the marriage mart, is twice as pretty as many. Why, then, are women like the now Mrs. Caroline Delaney, an American with no finishing on records and no mass of wealth, able to snag husbands with positions of power in the Ministry? What qualities do they possess that my eldest doesn't?

I asked myself that for a long time—and she did, too, I'm sure. It was made worse when her younger sister, who just turned nineteen, decided to finish her time at Hogwarts and attend the Hogwarts Coming Out Ball as a mere formality. Like her elder sister, she intended to go to finishing school (and might I say, she needed it more than my eldest!) and yet found herself with an interested suitor before the evening had concluded! Now she is engaged to be married, and her fiancé seemed to care very little that she was never finished!

Mothers of magical Britain, I tell you this: society no longer values what it did when we were young. Demureness, femininity, and grace have been discarded in favor of love, passion, and attraction. Men no longer seek a mother for their children, but a life partner. Men are not as observant with the little details as we women are—they don't notice the quality of their brush strokes when they paint or the smoothness of their voices when they sing. They may care about the quality of a mother they will make, but no finishing school is required to teach a woman to mother properly.

I say this: instead of shoveling money into finishing schools who make a fool out of our daughters after their second and third unsuccessful seasons, let us invest in their futures. Dowries make a difference, and investing that money in your daughters' wardrobes, tickets to social events, and quality experiences is likely to help their futures much more than a few governesses who can teach them skills that go unnoticed.

Signed,

A Mother with Unfinished Business

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