Grose's A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue in 1788 even included the term: "Black Monday. The first Monday after the school-boys holidays, or breaking up, when they are to go to school, and produce or repeat the tasks set them."
1790 getting ready for school -
Cruikshank also made a sketch of the day in 1826
The woeful faces of the boys-
And from Victorian times...
"BLACK MONDAY is a day to which unthinking youth look forward with considerable apprehension. It is the day on which the long vacation terminates, and school duties are resumed. No more "hours of idleness," no more visits to the picture-gallery or museum, no more pleasant evening parties, round games, and acting charades—no more excursions with fond mammas and pretty cousins, no more donations from liberal uncles or philanthropic grandmothers; but school and its duties again demand your attention. … To many lads the prospect is an unpleasing one, and hence they have named the day on which it is revealed to them in all its gloominess—Black Monday.
Ah me, a time will come, when they will feel surprised that so gross a misconception could ever have occupied their minds! When they will wish, but in vain, that Black Mondays could return for them, ...that in all a man's career no period is so free from care, anxiety, and sorrow, no period so genuinely happy, as the few years spent in the "groves of Academe!"
The forest, the jungle, and the prairie… by Alfred Elliott London: 1868
And now for a picture of the odd Distaff Day 'celebrations'...
©2016 Patricia Bixler Reber
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