Archive for the ‘Visited’ Category

Gentle Readers, Chris Stewart from Embarking on a Course of Study, has often contributed posts to this blog. She will be visiting England soon. Lucky Chris! Before leaving, she asks you a question, a quite interesting one:

Next month I’m heading to England for a visit to London, which includes a too-brief pilgrimage to places associated with Jane Austen, including the Jane Austen House Museum, where I’ll be taking a writing class after I tour the house. The JAHM has a blog that you can follow and in catching up on the posts, I read one from April that talks about how much making a pilgrimage to Jane’s house means to most people who visit (myself included; I can’t wait!). One very special surprise, is that some visitors leave a gift or message for Jane that the staff finds later.

“It seems that for many people being in her home is part of an ongoing relationship that they develop with her as not only an author of their favourite books but also as a woman. Recently Isabel and I have found a few gifts and offerings to Jane and the house. I found a carefully made fan of hearts hung on a door handle in The Austen Family room. Each heart has a name of a character from Sense and Sensibility and they rotate to align with different people.”

Isn’t that wonderful? For pictures of the gifts and letters they’ve found, and to leave a comment about what you would leave in Jane’s house were you to visit (and find out what I’ll be leaving – you know I’m going to do it, it’s such a great idea!), go to my blog: Embarking on a Course of Study http://www.embarkingonacourseofstudy.com

Chris Stewart
Get to the Heart of Your Writing
Mentoring, Workshops, Editing, Critique: http://www.therealwriter.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ChrisStewartTheRealWriter
Poets & Writers Profile: http://www.pw.org/content/christine_stewart

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I found the following tips in a 1919 book, Searchlight for Health. As far as I can tell, the etiquette of paying calls did not change significantly from Jane Austen’s time to the Edwardian era, or from having crossed an ocean. Here then, are the rules as outlined in this Project Gutenberg book:

Emma and Harriet visit Mrs. and Miss Bates

Emma and Harriet visit Mrs. and Miss Bates

In the matter of making calls it is the correct thing:

  • For the caller who arrived first to leave first.
  • To return a first call within a week and in person.
  • To call promptly and in person after a first invitation.
  • For the mother or chaperon to invite a gentleman to call.
  • To call within a week after any entertainment to which one has been invited.
  • You should call upon an acquaintance who has recently returned from a prolonged absence.
  • It as proper to make the first call upon people in a higher social position, if one is asked to do so.
  • It is proper to call, after an engagement has been announced, or a marriage has taken place, in the family.
  • For the older residents in the city or street to call upon the newcomers to their neighborhood is a long recognized custom.
  • It is proper, after a removal from one part of the city to another, to send out cards with one’s new address upon them.
  • To ascertain what are the prescribed hours for calling in the place where one is living, or making a visit, and to adhere to those hours is a duty that must not be overlooked.
  • A gentleman should ask for the lady of the house as well as the young ladies, and leave cards for her as well as for the head of the family.

Another book, Mrs. Astor’s New York by Eric Homberger (2004), gives a glimpse of what a call might look like for young ladies of quality in New York at the turn of the 20th century. (Edith Wharton does this so well.) The art of social climbing remained quite strict and, in fact, was probably stricter as a result of the Victorian era. Keep in mind that this book and the one above were written in the U. S. about Americans:

So simple a matter as paying a morning call was hedged around with complications. A male escort or female companion was not needed if a lady went in a carriage, but a gentleman was expected to accompany a lady walking on foot. It was permissible for two ladies walking together to make a call without male escort. When paying a call, female guests were expected to remain seated in chairs or benches lining the perimeter of the room, waiting for servants to pass refreshments in sequence. A hostess alone had the freedom to stand and cross the room. Larger social events, variously termed ‘routs,’ ‘conversaziones,’ and ‘squeezes,’ were less rigid in the assignation of gender roles, and the provisions of tables for chess and cards, or music for dancing, greatly increased the variety of entertainment.

For a truly comprehensive chapter on paying morning calls during the latter part of the 19th century, click on this link to read the chapter, Etiquette for the Caller, from The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness, Florence Hartley, 1872. Again, this is an American etiquette book.

Click here to read my other post on etiquette:

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    During Jane Austen’s time, Brighton, a town along the south Sussex Coast and seen above in a John Constable painting, was the popular resort destination. Bath’s desirability had plummeted among the Ton, as it had gained the reputation of being a stodgy tourist attraction for the elderly and infirm. By the time the Prince Regent’s fashionable set frequented Brighton, it had grown from a sleepy seaside village of 3,000 in 1769 to a booming tourist town of 18,000 by 1817-1818.

    The lengthening of the formal season helped in establishing Brighton as a holiday destination. By 1804 the season started late July and lasted until after Christmas, and by 1818 it had been extended until March. Visitors of note were always mentioned in Brighton’s newspaper, and there were a host of them. (Illustration below is of Fashionables in Brighton, 1826)

    The first notables were both members of the Royal Family, the Duke of Gloucester in 1765, and then the Duke of York in 1766. From 1771 the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland were regular visitors and the town’s popularity with his uncles might have been one reason why the Prince of Wales came in 1783 and why he stayed for eleven days.

    The Prince of Wales, after he became Prince Regent, began to spend enormous sums of money refurbishing Brighton Pavillion to his own fanciful specifications, using John Nash’s designs. Click here for my post on this beautiful palace.

    In the early 18th century visitors were left to their own devices to find entertainments, but by 1810 guide books pointed out sites of interests in surrounding villages, amusements to be had, and picturesque walks. The sea was also used for entertainments such as yacht races and water parties which were watched from the shelter of the Steine. Military manoevres on the Steine and the Downs were popular.

    Read more about Brighton here:

    Quotes: Georgian Brighton, 1740-1820, Sue Farrant, University of Sussex Occasional Paper No. 13

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    Ah, England. One of the chilliest periods I ever spent in my life was April in London.

    Be that as it may, when I saw this scene in Persuasion 2007, I realized how much the settings added to the drama in this film adaptation. The Cob seemed cold and forbidding, and the waves were ominous. Considering the state of Captain Wentworth’s and Anne’s feelings, and their anxiety (or fearfulness) of being rejected by the other, this scene was quite apropos.

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    On July 6, 1810, Louis Simond wrote in An American in Regency England:

    Salisbury is a little old city, very ugly, and of which there is nothing to say, except that the steeple of its cathedral, which is immensely high, and built of stone to its very summit, is twenty inches out of the perpendicular, which is really enough to take off the attention of the most devout congregation. We went to the morning service, and did not find a single person in the church except those officiating. It is not the the first time we have observed this desertion of the metropolitan churches–even where the steeples were quite perpendicular.

    Well, I disagree with Louis Simond. We spent a pleasurable afternoon in Salisbury, gazing at the cathedral and visiting the town and found them charming. People are too picky at times: I enjoyed visiting an empty church. This allowed me to study its treasures up close and at leisure!

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    In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
    A stately pleasure-dome decree :
    Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
    Through caverns measureless to manDown to a sunless sea.

    So twice five miles of fertile ground
    With walls and towers were girdled round :
    And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
    Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
    And here were forests ancient as the hills,
    Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

    –Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    When I visited

    Brighton Pavilion in Brighton, a charming seaside town in Sussex’s South Downs, I found it more beautiful and fantastic than the drawings, paintings, and photos I’d seen. The building, rebuilt between 1815-1822 by John Nash, the Prince Regent’s architect, is starkly white and stands in the center of town. Approaching it on foot, one is astounded by the intricacy of the architectural details, from the exterior domes, spires, and columns, to the interior with its gothic touches, fantasy rooms, and exquisite color combinations and patterns.

    The Prince Regent was known for his excesses and expensive tastes, and his architect John Nash succeeded in fulfilling the Prince’s most outrageous wishes. The Gothic Revival was in full swing during the Regency Era, including the love for all things mid-Eastern, Chinoise, and Arabian. This Arabian Nights fantasy in stone has been well documented in picture books and on the web. I will merely point out a few spectacular rooms and some of the details that struck me as being particularly beautiful or unusual.

    The kitchen, a cavernous room created to comfortably accommodate the Prince’s idea of an intimate dinner, is depicted on this web page. Click here and scroll down to the kitchen. You can also see a panoramic view of the kitchen on the page if you have a real player. It was not unusual for the Prince to throw a banquet with 36 courses, hence the kitchen was designed to accommodate the scores of cooks and enormous amounts of food stuffs and ingredients required to prepare these foods.

    The long gallery is indeed long. The colors are riotous, and one feels as if one is traipsing through a fantasy land.

    On the left is a picture of John Nash’s long gallery. On the right is a photograph of the long gallery today.

    The banquet room also lingers in my memory, with its long, long banqueting table, the exquisite details in the ceiling, and the fantastic carved dragons peeping out from chandeliers disquised as palms.

    Salon & Music Room

    Images of Brighton in the 19th Century:
    Evening Gathering at Brighton Pavilion in the Yellow Room

    Brighton, a seaside resort

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