May 28th, 2009

rain, paper boats

Orphans and adoptions, Victorian era

Setting: England, Victorian era, past 1872
Search terms used: adoption Victorian era, orphanages Victorian era, adoption laws Victorian era and relared words, guardianship Victorian era

Sherlockians out there may be familiar with this little quote from The Sign of Four: "I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money..." So I'm sort of doing a story based on this. But this one ends with my then-still starting independent consulting detective adopting two orphaned (no relatives or parents alive) 7-year old twin boys from the orphanage this woman worked in.

Questions would be:
  1. Is it possible for him to take them under his wing (guardianship/sponsorship) these two boys, who are not his blood kin but had come become attached to him? I've read that adoption/guardianship in Victorian England was rather informal, and there weren't any real laws on adoption, so I thought this was possible.
  2. Would his age and sex and er, eccentricity be held against him? He's in his 20s, is a man of independent means, but he was previously disinherited by his family because of 'differences of opinions' with his father. He's educated and well-travelled (and maybe a bit too fond of the drink at times, but nobody knows that), lives in a flat and is a bachelor. Would anyone think it strange if he took this boy under his wing?
Thank you for your help!

Violins and Musical Selections

Setting: Now and 10 years ago, America, specifically Chicago, Boston and Oberlin Conservatory (in Ohio).

My character is a highly skilled musician who has just graduated from Oberlin with a Masters of Music Education after majoring in String Performance. Since I am a bad person, and the violin is her life, it's getting stolen from her car while she drives to Chicago.

Her family is not wealthy, but they are very supportive of her music. I've read enough to know that the violin could have been anywhere from $2000 to $15000 as long as it suits her playing style. I think the violin is more suited to solo performance than orchestra performance. However, I am open to the possibility of her having two instruments since it looks like she would have had to perform in a variety of ensembles for her degrees. If she does, they are both stolen. How specific can she be when she talks to the police. I know that she would identify the instrument(s) by maker. Would they have serial numbers? What makers should I consider if she bought her (first) violin about ten years ago when she was leaving for a boarding high school? Would she be equally specific about her bow?

She will need to get a new violin at least temporarily. (I have yet to decide if the stolen instruments are returned eventually.) Would attending Oberlin prejudice her against electric violins? Am I right to think that she would want/need an acoustic violin if she is planning to audition for an orchestra?

Is it true that most violinists either play classical or folk, but not both? (I got that from some pledge-break on KCET, and nothing else seems to confirm or deny.)

Finally, what music selections could she play on the violin that would impress other musicians? I know what impresses me, but I have virtually no musical skills, and I'm looking for things that are impressive on a technical level.

Ways searched: Harrassed several musician friends, checked tags here, went through my own CD collection, watched La Corda d'Oro (which had some excellent info dumps, but I want them confirmed), wasted hours and hours on youtube, googled: violin, best, makers, music, colleges, protege, luthiers, and many other things
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