The History of the Captivity and Sufferings of Mrs. Maria Martin, Who was Six Years a Slave in Algiers: Two of Which She Was Confined in a Dark and Dismal Dungeon, Loaded with Irons

Martins“I AM a native of England, and was born in the year 1779 of respectable and wealthy parents. In the year 1797 I was married to capt. HENRY MARTIN, who was commander of one of the East India Company’s ships. Being ever desirous of visiting some distant parts of the world, I solicited and obtained the consent of my husband to accompany him on a voyage to Minorca. Accordingly, on the 20th of June 1800 we set sail in the ship Unicorn, on board which there were 100 souls, 12 of whom were passengers….

…We did not travel far before the mate, who was a little way a-head, came running towards us, and told us that he had discovered a few rods distant, a number of men of very tawny complexion, armed with long spears; we did not hesitate a moment to meet them, whether friends of foes, for we felt ourselves unable to live any longer without food. As soon as they discovered us they advanced towards us in full speed; when within haul they accosted us in a language which we did not understand; my husband addressed them in English then in and French, but they did not appear to understand what he said, the mate then addressed them in Spanish, but with no better success–one of the sailors who had been a prisoner among the Moors next addressed them in the Moreico language, and by one or two of them appeared to be understood, who, in reply, declared us, ‘their prisoners.’– By the request of my husband, the sailor, who had now become our interpreter, enquired the name of the country in which we were– the reply was, ‘you are in Barbary, 30 miles from Tenis, and 90 from the city of Algeria.’

We were at this instant surrounded by the Barbarians, who brandsihing their spears, commanded us to follow them. The sailor told them that we were British subjects, with whom the Bay of Algiers was at peace; to this, however, they paid but little or no attention, but compelled us to accompany them.”

HISTORY OF THE  Captivity and Sufferings OF MRS. MARIA MARTINS, Who Was Six Years a Slave in AlgiersTWO OF WHICH SHE WAS CONFINED IN A DARK AND DISMAL DUNGEON LOADED WITH IRONS, FOR REFUSING TO COMPLY WITH THE BRUTAL REQUEST OF A TURKISH OFFICER, Written by Herself, Boston, printed for W. Crary, 1807. 

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Advertisement, “The London Gazette,” January, 1694

Thomas Thompion“Lost from the Side of a Person of Quality coming out of the Play-House, Gold pendulum Watch made by Tompion, the case Set with diamonds, one large Stone in the Middle and 5 others round it, and other stones less in proportion. Whoever brings it to Mr. Fowles and Partner, Goldsmiths, in Fleete-street near Temple-Bar, shall have 30L. Reward.”

Outta Hand: Jules’ Apartment in “St. Elmo’s Fire”

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Emilio Estevez’s sensitive portrayal of a menacing stalker and Demi Moore’s character Jules’ glorious apartment are two of the most memorable aspects of the 1985 ensemble film St. Elmo’s Fire. A bubblegum pink, crimson, and neon-lit paean to 1980s style, it was the interior design equivalent of Bette Midler’s costumes in Ruthless People

Purchased entirely on credit, the apartment was the creation of Jules’ neighbour (“he’s gay and he’s so fabulous”) Ron Dellasandro. “How do we know he’s gay?” Ali Arikan told Slant Magazine, “Well, he’s holding a giant cocktail glass filled to the brim with a pink drink: the universal symbol of male homosexuality.”  

Stripped by the bailiffs by the end of the film, Jules is left with only some billowing curtains, a bust of Pierrot, a satin star-shaped mauve pillow, and a stately Billy Idol mural.

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Ron Kray’s Nigerian Building Project

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“We lost a packet in 1963-64 to a building project in Enugu in Nigeria, which was later to become Biafra. It was Ernest Shinwell, the son of the Labour peer Manny Shinwell, who got Reggie and me interested in this one… He’d been approached, he said, by the government there, who wanted him to form a company to develop and build housing estates and factories and schools. Shinwell said there was a fortune to be made for those who invested in the scheme. We stuck in £25,000 straightaway and a lot more money from the Kray coffers followed that little lot straight down the Nigerian drain. It was another case of us getting involved in something we knew nothing about. We just got out of our depth. It happens. 

The only good thing was that I had a couple of trips to Enugu, which was the capital of that part of Nigeria. On both occasions I was welcomed by Dr Okpara, who was the prime minister at the time. He drove me around, which his chauffeur, in a battered old Rolls and really wined and dined me. I didn’t realize at the time, but it was probably Reggie and me we were actually paying for all this VIP treatment.”

Reg and Ron Kray: Our Story, with Fred Dinenage, Sidgwick and Jackson Ltd, 1988.