Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Historic Publications’ Category

“there seem to be very few, in the style of a Novel, that you can read with safety, and yet fewer that you can read with advantage.”- Sermons to Young Women, James Fordyce, 1766

It’s no secret that Jane Austen’s family were novel readers during an age when such books were considered frivolous and not worthy of reading. (Writing a novel was considered an even worse offense!) Enter Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. In her delightful book, Jane created a satiric scene in which Mr. Collins confirmed Mr. Bennet’s opinion of his young cousin’s foolishness. After he enjoyed the younger man’s inanity for a while, Mr. Bennet proposed that Mr. Collins read to the group. The girls chose a novel, of which Mr. Collins disapproved:

John Opie, "A Moral Homily"

John Opie, “A Moral Homily”

Mr. Bennet’s expectations [regarding Mr. Collins] were fully answered. His cousin was as absurd as he had hoped, and he listened to him with the keenest enjoyment, maintaining at the same time the most resolute composure of countenance, and, except in an occasional glance at Elizabeth, requiring no partner in his pleasure.

By tea-time, however, the dose had been enough, and Mr. Bennet was glad to take his guest into the drawingroom again, and, when tea was over, glad to invite him to read aloud to the ladies. Mr. Collins readily assented, and a book was produced; but on beholding it (for everything announced it to be from a circulating library), he started back, and begging pardon, protested that he never read novels. Kitty stared at him, and Lydia exclaimed.—Other books were produced, and after some deliberation he chose Fordyce’s Sermons. Lydia gaped as he opened the volume, and before he had, with very monotonous solemnity, read three pages, she interrupted him with—

“Do you know, mamma, that my uncle Philips talks of turning away Richard; and if he does, Colonel Forster will hire him. My aunt told me so herself on Saturday. I shall walk to Meryton to-morrow to hear more about it, and to ask when Mr. Denny comes back from town.”

Lydia was bid by her two eldest sisters to hold her tongue; but Mr. Collins, much offended, laid aside his book, and said—

“I have often observed how little young ladies are interested by books of a serious stamp, though written solely for their benefit. It amazes me, I confess;—for, certainly, there can be nothing so advantageous to them as instruction. But I will no longer importune my young cousin.”

John Opie, “A Tale of Romance”

One cannot but help enjoy the irony of the situation. During his lifetime, Dr Fordyce was considered an excellent orator and his sermons were much appreciated, but by the time Jane Austen began to write her novels his luster had dimmed and novel reading was becoming more acceptable. These wonderful paintings by John Opie represent both sides of the sermon/novel story. In the first painting the governess is reading boring homilies to her charges in the hope of educating them. She is completely unaware of their expressions. One girl yawns, another can barely keep her eyes open, and a third looks pensively at the viewer as if to say, “Can you believe this?” Two of the youngest children entertain each other by playing cat’s cradle, and the girl sitting nearest the reader is about to fall asleep. What a wonderful tableau! One can imagine that the Bennets must have looked much like this ensemble before Lydia blurted out her question.

The second painting depicts the delight that the ensemble takes in listening to a tale of romance. They are all engaged and smiling and hanging onto every word from the reader. A kitten is left to play with a wool ball by itself.

Jane Austen employed words to create an ironic tone; John Opie used images. Both used their respective mediums to make a memorable point. Today, Dr. Fordyce’s sermons are largely forgotten. The following excerpt from Sermon VIII, Volume 2 demonstrates why he was considered dull and stodgy even 200 years ago:

Sermons to Young Women, Volume 2, James Fordyce, 1767. You can download the volume as an ebook at this link.

Read Full Post »

Vintage book cover. The book had been purchased in the shop at Dove Cottage. Image @Grey Pony

Inquiring readers, frequent contributor, Tony Grant,  has done it again and brought the 19th century alive through his discussion of poetry. One can walk the paths along Grasmere in the Lake District with him and William Wordsworth, inhaling the clean crisp air and regarding the sad cautionary tale of Martha Ray, the woman in the scarlet cloak. Visit Tony’s blog at London Calling.

Saturday August 23rd 1798.

“ A very fine morning. Wm was composing all the morning. I shelled peas, gathered beans and worked in the garden till half past twelve. Then walked with William in the wood. The gleams of the sunshine, and the stirring trees, and gleaming boughs, cheerful lake, most delightful. After dinner we walked to Ambleside…”

Thus Dorothy Wordsworth describes the division of labour in the Wordsworth house hold at Dove Cottage, Grasmere in Cumbria. She did the labour and William her brother did the,” Romanticising.” But it shows the division of experience wasn’t as clear cut as might appear at first. Dorothy shows her emotional response to the world she inhabits too, as much as her esteemed brother does in his poetry.

Dorothy

Romanticism was a way of seeing and experiencing the world and which Wordsworth promoted in his poetry. It wasn’t necessarily about being romantic however. It was about an emotional response to the world that balanced a logical factual approach. It promoted the importance of feelings, myth, symbolism and intuition as well as taking into account the facts of a situation.

William Wordsworth by Henry Eldridge, 1807

”The Thorn,” written by William Wordsworth in 1789 is very melodramatic and tells the story of a solitary, rejected woman, Martha Ray, who’s baby has died and the mythology that builds around her.

Dove Cottage.

Wordsworth, in the opening stanzas introduces us immediately to the thorn describing it as , “so old and grey,” “stands erect,” “A wretched thing forlorn.” And takes the personification to a higher degree saying it is,” Not higher than a two year’s child.”

He is setting us up to respond to natural things in an emotional way.

Footpath around the lake. Image @A Year In the Lakes

He then balances this emotional approach with factual evidence as he gives us the thorns location ,”high on a mountains highest ridge,” and the minutest detail, telling us that three yards from the thorn is, “a muddy pond,” and close beside the thorn is,

“A beauteous heap, a hill of moss.
Just half a foot in height.”

A mixture of fact and emotion balanced.
Three things are described in close proximity and we wonder how they relate to each other.

Colour is very important. The mound of earth near the thorn has, “vermilion dye,” “lovely tints,” “olive green, “scarlet bright,” “green red and pearly white.” Vivid in our minds eye.

Then, “A woman in a scarlet cloak,” Martha Ray, is introduced into this setting and we are asked,

“Now wherefore, thus, by day and night,
In rain, in tempest, and in snow,
Thus to the dreary mountain top
Does this poor woman go?”

The question all the local villagers ponder too. Observation, and imagination create a myth. Many believe she has killed her baby and buried it next to the thorn but they don’t actually know that. Wordsworth keeps pulling us back to reality, tempering our emotional response, “I cannot tell; I wish I could; for the true reason no one knows.”

Cattle watering at Grasmere, near Ambleside, Cumbria, by John Glover.

Wordsworth also begins to use the personal pronoun. It is an egotistical device but we are with him. It is us as well as Wordsworth asking the same questions. He has got involved in this apparent tragedy and so have we.

Wordsworth relates to us the story of Martha Ray and what makes her mad.

“Full twenty years are past and gone
Since she (her name is Martha Ray)
Gave with a maidens true good will
Her company to Stephen Hill”

Stephen Hill, we are told, gets Martha pregnant but leaves her and marries somebody else. As result she has the baby but it is never seen by other people.

Then imagination intervenes again,

“For many a time and often were heard
Cries coming from the mountains head
Some plainly living voices were:
And other, I’ve heard many swear,
Were voices of the dead:
I cannot think, whate’er they say,
They had to do with Martha Ray.”

Wordsworth then draws us back to a cool scientific approach,

“But what’s the Thorn? And what the pond?
And what the hill of moss to her?”
And what the creeping breeze that comes
The little pond to stir?”

You can almost imagine Wordsworth and us being explorers into this mystery using investigative questions.
However, finally, myth is triumphant

“…but some will say
She hanged her baby on the tree
Some say she drowned it in the pond
Which is a little step beyond
But all and each one agree
The little babe was buried there
Beneath the hill of moss so fair.”

Fact, imagination, emotion, have combined to create a myth.

What use would this mythologizing be to those people in the hills and mountains of the Lake District? Would it help them make moral decisions? They wanted to bring Martha Ray to public justice based on what they thought and felt. Would it help them to create their own response to Martha’s predicament without having to experience it themselves? Is that the purpose of mythologizing? The purpose of fairy tales and myths have always been important to childhood and early emotional development and moral growth. Wordsworth has created an adult myth. So does the need for myths go beyond childhood and remain important to all?

……………………………………………………………………………………….

In a few weeks, a good friend of mine, Clive, is coming over from Canada for a reunion of old school friends. Some of us are reaching 60 this year and we are getting together for a celebration in Liverpool. Clive and I are going on further north into the Lake District for a couple of days. We will be staying in Ambleside, not far from Grasmere and Wordswoth’s Dove Cottage. We will visit Dove Cottage and I promise we will listen out for the cry of Martha Ray caught in the winds blowing about the peaks surrounding Grasmere and we will too be able to say,

“That I have heard her cry,
“Oh misery! Oh misery!
Oh woe is me! Oh misery!”

More on the topic:

Read Full Post »

Last week I featured the book, The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes, a moralizing children’s book that Jane Austen kept all through her lifetime. As she was growing up, she was probably familiar with the Cinderella fairytale. Hundreds of versions of the folk tale from a variety of European sources exist, but the myth goes as far back as ancient Greece and China.  The story of the cinder maid and the glass slipper was popularized in 1697 by Charles Perrault in Histoires, ou Contes du Temps Passè.  

Written for the aristocratic Salons of C17th French society, Perrault’s ‘Cendrillon’ is stripped of all violent, bawdy or socially moralizing material and is instead focused primarily on entertaining. – The Origins of the Cinderella Story

The images in this post show the paper dolls based on Perrault’s tale that were popular during Jane Austen’s time.

1814, Cinderella or the Glass Slipper. Image @Theriault's.

The images shown above and below are for sale at Theriault’s: The Doll Masters

Lot: 17. An 1814 English Paper Doll and Book “Cinderella” by S&J Fuller
A paper bound miniature book,5″ x 4″,recounts in “beautifully versified” form the favored fairy tale,and was designed to be read while playing with the paper dolls,vignettes and accessories that illustrate the tale,comprising six costume scenes including the wedding,and Cinderella’s coach and horses (in two sections). An inscription inside the front cover reads “To my dear little niece Constance Foley”. S&J Fuller,Temple of Fancy,Rathbone Place,London,1814. Structure and lovely delicate colors of paper dolls and scenes well preserved,coachman’s head missing,one hand missing,stain on book cover. England,1814.

Image @Theriault's.

Around 1810, the London firm of  S. & J. Fuller published books with paper dolls. The 1814 book (or Book of Instruction, as printed on the cover) relates the Cinderella story in verse and is illustrated with cut out figures.

It is interesting to note that Cinderella’s head is removable and can be placed on various paper cut bodies. You see her in the image below walking through a town scape and churning butter. Children could arrange the characters in the paper sets, or drama sheets, and reenact the story.

While these scenic play books became increasingly popular, I imagine that they must have been very expensive and affordable only by the well-to-do.

Image @Theriault's.

The image below contains fancy gowns and the marriage ceremony in which Cinderella marries her prince. Cinderella’s high-waisted costumes have a decided Renaissance influence, and the prince could have doubled for Romeo.

Image @Theriault's.

Cinderella’s head becomes much more refined once she hooks up with the prince, as you can see below. She is given a fashionable hat and a jeweled tiara with feathers. The head can also be placed on the figure in the carriage, when the Cinderella story has come full circle.

Image @Theriault's.

The beautiful versified edition of Cinderella below was donated in 1991 by Ms. Julia P. Wightman to the  The Morgan Library in New York.  Printed in 1819, the paper cut dolls seem more refined than in the 1817 version, especially Cinderella’s head, which has blond hair. Click on the open book images to read portions of the verse.

Image @Morgan Library.

Image @Morgan Library.

Image @Morgan Library.

Image @Morgan Library.

Image @Morgan Library.

The image below is from Picturing Childhood: The evolution of the illustrated children’s book.  Therieaults the Doll Master, Cinderella Paper Dolls, 1814, Published by S. and J. Fuller, London, 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm) (approx.) Note that Cinderella’s elegant head is placed in the wedding scene. In this instance her hair is dark again..

Image @Picturing Childhood

Below is a more traditional children’s book version of Cinderella. It was published in 1827 and illustrated with hand–colored woodcuts. By the mid-19th century, lithography and printing were being used routinely in book illustrations, but such drawings were still rare when this book came out.

Cinderella, John Harris, London. 1827

In 1812, the Brothers Grimm wrote the Cinderella story that seems more familiar to readers today. By the end of the 19th century, over 300 versions of the Cinderella story existed in Europe. In those years:

The Fairy–Godmother seems more frightening than her later benevolent renderings, such as in Disney’s film version of the story. – Past Times: Cinderella :18th and 19th century Cinderella books.

More on the Topic:

Read Full Post »

The Personal Memoirs of Julia Dent Grant (Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant), edited by John Y. Simon, Southern Illinois University Press, on Amazon, a review by Patty of Brandyparfums.com

I’m rereading this fantastic, romantic book, and I thought of readers who should be acquainted with this literary gem. Any Regency reader would love Julia Dent Grant’s charming memoirs which due to failing eyesight she dictated to her son or secretary. Her eloquence is astonishing – at once dramatic and poetic. There are many references to things English since she and Ulysses met the Queen during their world tour. They also dined at Apsley House. Daughter Nellie married an Englishman and went to live in England. Here are some of the beautiful, moving passages:

“My first recollections in life reach back a long way, more than three-score years and ten now……..Dear papa, coming out with great pleasure, caught me, held me up in the air, telling me to look, the very trees were welcoming me, and, sure enough, the tall locust trees were tossing their white-plumed branches gleefully.”

“Such delightful rides we all used to take! The Lieutenant [Ulysses] rode a bonny brown steed with flowing wavy mane and tail. He called him Fashion. My horse was a beauty, a chestnut brown, and as glossy as satin, and such pretty ears and great eyes. She was part Arabian, and I named her Psyche. Such rides! in the early spring, the tender young foliage scarcely throwing a shadow…..he was always by my side.”

 

Julia Grant and her husband, Image @OhioPix

There’s information about Lincoln and the assassination that isn’t found in most history books. The day of the assassination, Julia was visited by one of the conspirators wearing “a shabby hat.” –

I thought it was the bellboy with cards. ‘What do you want?’ He reddened and, bowing, said, “This is Mrs. Grant?” I bowed assent. “Mrs. Lincoln sends me, Madam, with her compliments, to say she will call for you at exactly eight o’clock to go to the theatre.” To this I replied with some feeling (not liking either the looks of the messenger or the message, thinking the former savored of discourtesy and the latter seemed like a command), ‘You may tell Mrs. Lincoln that as General Grant and I intend leaving the city this afternoon, we will not therefore be here to accompany the President and Mrs. Lincoln to the theatre.”

Later that afternoon at a late lunch in the Willard, the conspirators sit at a table starring at Julia –

He seemed to be intent on what we and the children were saying. I thought he was crazy.”

When the Grants hold their first few White House receptions, Julia wrote about the young peoples’ luncheon and it reminded me of a Heyer novel –

The young peoples’ luncheon is a memory of dimples, smiles, gleaming white shoulders, of lace and flowers and tender glances – a pleasant memory to me.”

The Grants go to the grand Apsley House for a dinner given by the second duke of Wellington. Julia wonders, “This great house was presented to Wellington by the government for a single victory at Waterloo along with a noble title which will descend throughout his line. As I sat there I thought, ‘How would it have been if General Grant had been an Englishman’ – I wonder, I wonder.”

While in Paris, Julia reveals her interest in fashion –

I had a splendid time shopping. [in Paris] Mr [Charles F.] Worth personally directed the fitting of my costumes, and Madame Virot attended me in person for any millinery I wished, and these were no small attentions, I assure you.”

Many more amazing passages may be found in Julia’s Memoirs. She was the first First Lady to write her memoirs but they weren’t published during her lifetime and appeared in 1973.

Back Cover of the book

Read Full Post »

Life in the Victorian Country House is a beautifully illustrated book that is best described visually (See my video below). Filled with historical details and archived photographs of Britain’s landed families and their day-to-day lives, which depended on the work of their household servants and outdoor staff, this book considers the relationships between those who live above stairs and those who meet their needs and live below stairs.

The table of contents:

  • The Country House and its Occupants
  • Victorian and Edwardian Households
  • Growing Up in the Country House
  • Out of Doors
  • The London Season and Other Pelasures
  • The End of an Era

About the author: Pamela Horn formerly lectured on economic and social history at Oxford Poyltechnic, now Oxford Brookes University, for over twenty years. She has written a number of books on Victorian social history, including The Rise and fall of the Victorian Servant and Ladies of the Manor.

The relationship between master and servant, and wealth and land are outlined so well that it was hard to put the book down. I give it a strong recommendation. Three out of three regency fans.

Read Full Post »

I would like to suggest British History Online for your perusal. This rich resource includes information about London throughout the ages, including the Regency Period,  geographical places, genealogy charts, and census records. The factual descriptions, even with their lack of detail, make the era come alive again. The following quotes provide a small sampling of the information that sits on this endlessly useful site:

Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities: 1550-1820

Borage, or Forget-Me-Not

Borage, or Forget-Me-Not

This dictionary includes descriptions and definitions of items that have historic signifance. Helpful to the historian, student, and author, each term is listed alphabetically and, like the OED, includes its history.

Borage water [burrage water]

Water made from BORAGE, and probably the same as AQUA LANGUE DE BOEUF. It was a pleasantly flavoured drink with limited medicinal uses. For example, the earliest reference in the OED online claimed it was ‘good agaynst madnes or vnwytyng [German ‘unsvnnigkeit’ (spelling as OED)] and melancolye’. Both John Gerard and Nicholas Culpeper confirmed the excellence of borage generally against these conditions, and Culpeper added that the water ‘helpeth the redness and inflammation of the eyes’ [Culpeper (1792)].

See also DISTILLED WATERS.
Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period).
References: Culpeper (1792).

Survey of London

I refer to this section most often when researching London. This section describes St. James’s and Westminster in astonishing detail.

In 1720 St. James’s Market was described as ‘a large Place, with a commodious Market-house in the Midst, filled with Butchers Shambles; besides the Stalls in the Market-Place, for Country Butchers, Higglers, and the like; being a Market new grown to great Account, and much resorted unto, as being well served with good Provisions. On the South-west Corner is the Paved Alley, a good Through-fare into Charles-Street and so into St. James’s Square, and those Parts; but is of no great Account for Buildings for Inhabitants.’  Provisions were ‘usually a fourth Part dearer than in the Markets about the City of London, most of the Provisions being brought from thence, and bought up here by the Stewards of People of Quality, who spare no Price to furnish their Lords Houses with what is nice and delicate’.

St. James's Market, Haymarket, 1850

St. James's Market, Haymarket, 1850

By the early nineteenth century St. James’s Market was no longer of such good repute. Writing in 1856 the Reverend J. Richardson remembered it and the adjoining streets as being ‘very properly avoided by all persons who respected their characters or their garments, and were consequently only known to a “select few”, whose avocations obliged, or whose peculiar tastes induced them to penetrate the labyrinth of burrows which extended to Jermyn Street, and westward to St. James-square’.

Sackville Street

General John Fane, 11th Earl of Westmorland, born in Sackville St, 1784. Image by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1815

General John Fane, 11th Earl of Westmorland, born in Sackville St, 1784. Image by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1815

Though perhaps not in the first rank of fashion, the larger houses in Sackville Street, particularly those on the west side, attracted throughout the eighteenth century the minor nobility, the dowager, the member of Parliament, the senior army officer and the prosperous medical man. But the present commercial character of the street is not of recent origin. Even at the time of building there were three shops (two apothecaries’ and a cheesemonger’s), one tavern and a coffee house. By the beginning of the nineteenth century the tailoring trade, which is so prominent in the street today, had already established itself. Out of thirty-two tradesmen and professional men listed in Sackville Street in the Post Office directory for 1830 about 40 per cent (thirteen) were tailors; the next largest group consisted of four solicitors. This proportion has not changed considerably to-day (1962), for although many of the houses have been divided and there are fewer private occupants, about 34 per cent of the one hundred and fifteen listed tradesmen and professional men are tailors.

Other topics found on this site:

Read Full Post »

Maternal AdviceAs many of you are aware, my Jane Austen Today blogging partner Laurel Ann and I have been running a Mrs. Elton Sez advice column. The estimable Diana Birchall, author of Mrs. Elton in America, writes as our guest columnist. While our column is written tongue in cheek (though I must admit, Diana’s advice as Mrs. Elton makes sense in a loopy sort of way), the tradition of including advice columns in women’s publications has enjoyed a long and proud history. In A Magazine of Her Own? Domesticity and Desire in the Woman’s Magazine, 1800-1914, author Maragaret Beetham traces the early advice column.

The Lady’s Museum’s immediate model, once again, was the Lady’s Magazine. here ‘The matron’ – also called “Mrs. Grey’ – claimed to be:

duly qualified to make my monthly appearance in the Lady’s Magazine while I am able to hold pen, being in my grand climacteric and having been deeply engaged in numberless scenes variegated and opposite, serious and comic, cheerful and afflicting. (LMV 1774:33)

The Old Woman, too offered to advise readers from the vantage point of her age and experience. Unlike the later agony aunt, however, her tone was bracing rather than sympathetic. (The Early Ladies’ Journals, p 22-23)

The Lady’s Monthly Museum was one of the leading periodicals for women from 1798-1828. Female columnists, later known as agony aunts, answered anonymous letters that posed questions about personal problems and gave advice according to the latest etiquette books or society’s strictures. Indeed, they offered advice of the most discreet sort:

… whilst a Letter of Advice to a Lady on the point of marriage in November 1770 counsels that: ”Prudence and virtue will certainly secure esteem but unfortunately, esteem alone will not make a happy marriage, passion must also be kept alive …” – the emphasis post 1825 is on modesty and virtue – perhaps even on companionship and governing household – but certainly not passion. – Women Advising Women

Agony columns, which were located on the second page inside a newspaper, contained advertisements for missing relatives and friends. An opinion about such advertisements is described in this colorful passage from The Handy-book of Literary Curiosities:

A large number of the advertisements relate to prodigal sons and truant husbands. Now, you and I have never run away and hid from our families; probably no one in our set of acquaintances ever has. Yet the fact remains that there is a certain percentage of the human race to whom the temptation to run away is irresistible. By a more or less happy dispensation they seem to be blessed with relatives of exceptional clemency, who, instead of leaving them alone like Bopeep’s sheep ,implore them through the Times and other papers to come home to a steaming banquet of veal. They frequently wind up by promising the fugitive that everything will be arranged to his satisfaction, which surely ought to prove a tempting bait, for to have everything arranged to one’s satisfaction is a condition rarely realized. Handy-book of Literary Curiosities By William Shepard Walsh, 1909

The General Magazine, 1743

The General Magazine, 1743

While the topics discussed in advice columns are largely thought to be about women’s issues, they have been popular in men’s periodicals as well (Think of the advice sections in Esquire or Playboy). The Athenian Mercury, a publication printed towards the end of the 17th century and that targeted “ordinary” people from the middle and lower classes, featured the first agony column in history. In many ways, early modern people’s problems do not seem significantly different from ours. Take the behavior of a knot of apprentices. Replace ‘a knot of apprentices’ with ‘a group of soldiers’, ‘a team of lacrosse players’, or ‘high school friends’, and you might still get a similar answer today:

Complaints in the Athenian Mercury about a ‘Knot of Apprentices’ misbehaving with a ‘Servant Maid, of no good Reputation’ were frequent. The Athenian Society warned apprentices that such behavior risked ‘scandal and danger‘ to their reputations.  The termination of an indenture could be ruinous to a young man’s prospects, and such conduct threatened his ‘Fame, Estate, Body, and ’tis to be fear’d Soul and all’. (March, 1692)

This fascinating exchange was published in the Athenian Mercury in Nov, 1695:

Quest: A young Man being an apprentice, and having served about half his time, hath a very fair opportunity to marry much to his advantage; would you advise such an one to take opportunity by the Fore top, or to let her go and say he cannot marry because he is an Apprentice? Gentlemen, Pray favour me with a speedy Answer.

Answ: Fair and Gently, Lad; marriage is no foot ball play . . . few men till some years above twenty know either how to govern themselves, choose a wife, or set a true value upon Money. Not one marriage in five hundred, made before twenty five, or thereabouts, proves happy ….

It seems, in that age of apprenticeship and indenture, that the average age for men to marry was 27. For a woman it was 25 or 26, impossibly so, I thought, until I remembered that an indentured servant signed up for three to seven years. Perhaps only the children of the rich could afford to marry early.

Public displays of affection were not encouraged, as noted by this descriptive answer:

“Tis Silly enough in both [men and women]. . . ’tis indecent, to be alwayes slabbering, like a couple of Horses nabbing one another. . . [but it] seems worst in a Man because there ’tis most unnatural, and looks like a Woman with a Beard, so very monstrous that all the Street points at him. . . . (November, 1691)

Over three hundred years later, my dear departed (and very conservative) mother-in-law would have heartily agreed with that comment. Advice columns are still prolifically printed and widely read. While Dear Abby and Ann Landers supplied daily wisdom for our parents, modern readers can click on Dear Mrs. Web, which sits online.

Additional Links:

Image: Women and Education in 18th Century Virginia, Colonial Williamsburg

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: