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The Trespass

by Barbara Ewing

A novel that challenges ideas about life for women in Victorian England. It describes vividly the restrictions placed on them and the dreadful conditions of the poor. I couldn't put it down.

Extract

Soon now Mr or Mrs Burlington Brown or Miss Eunice Burlington Brown - or all! - will come and admonish me that I should not be sitting here alone, with a man (they will mean the helmsman who stands by the big wheel at the back of the ship and steers us onwards). They will also say that my cheeks have caught some sun, unheard of for a young English lady, and most inappropriate, not to say deeply unfashionable. Then the Burlington Browns will watch over me at breakfast, dinner and tea. At each meal there will be complaints about the food - there is only one more pig to be killed for fresh pork because some of them, and of course all the chickens, were lost in the storm; the last goat died; and we are reduced to eating salted meat and food from tins a good deal of the time and we are not even halfway .... How the steerage passengers are coping is not to be thought of; imagine how hot it must be down there! We are not encouraged to have anything to do with those people - Captain Stark is very strict on this point: that order, and therefore social rank, must at all costs be upheld.

Parallels

The Piano by Jane Campion
 

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