WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Chub

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Chub

I felt the need to begin a series of posts illustrating William Hogarth’s series of eight paintings from 1732-34 (and published en masse in 1735) known as A Rake’s Progress. The paintings reveal the rise, decline, and demise of Tom Rakewell, the son and heir of a wealthy merchant who inherits, comes to London, lives out the parable of the Prodigal Son, and eventually takes an involuntary tour of the Fleet Prison and Bedlam. The paintings are in the collection of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, and considered part of the public domain.

Chub

He is a young chub, or a mere chub; i.e. a foolish fellow, easily imposed on: an illusion to a fish of that name, easily taken.

Plate No. 1, A Rake’s Progress, The Young Heir Takes Possession of the Miser’s Effects. From the Wikipedia description:

In the first painting, Tom has come into his fortune on the death of his miserly father. While the servants mourn, he is measured for new clothes. Although he has had a common-law marriage with her, he now rejects the hand of his pregnant fiancée, Sarah Young, whom he had promised to marry (she holds his ring and her mother holds his love letters). He pays her off, but she still loves him, as becomes clear in the fourth painting. Evidence of the father’s miserliness abound: his portrait above the fireplace shows him counting money; symbols of hospitality (a jack and spit) have been locked up at upper right; the coat of arms shows three clamped vises with the motto “Beware”; a half-starved cat reveals the father kept little food in the house, while lack of ashes in the fireplace demonstrates that he rarely spent money on wood to heat his home. The engraving at the right shows the father went so far as to resole his shoes with a piece of leather cut from a Bible cover.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 1 – The Young Heir Takes Possession Of The Miser’s Effects, by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

I thought it was interesting that the colorized version was reversed, I’m assuming due to the printing/copying process. Based on the description of this first plate, it’s about to get all biblical up in here for Tom.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 1 – The Young Heir Takes Possession Of The Miser’s Effects, by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

 

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WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Lombard Fever

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Lombard Fever

Short and sweet this week. The slang term is pretty self-explanatory, and it’s finally too pretty outside for any of us to stay glued to our electronic devices, reading blog posts.

But I’ve found a new phrase to use when we hear those dreaded words: “I’m bored.”

Sir William Pulteney ‘Le Trèsorier’ by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey, 21 May 1798, National Portrait Gallery.

Lombard Fever

Sick of the lombard fever; i.e. of the idles.

John Courtenay ‘Juge du Tribunal Correctionnel’ by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey, 21 May 1798, National Portrait Gallery.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Aegrotat

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Aegrotat

For as much as many doctors in the Georgian Era and Long 19th Century still clung to bloodletting, leeches, and purgatives, medical advances were steadily coming along. Although way too many medical professionals still wanted to examine the feces of the sick.

But I’ll leave that for the medical journals of the time to discuss.

Metallic-Tractors by James Gillray, 1801, Public Domain.

Along the lines of the more things change, the more things stay the same, I was surprised to learn there was a slang term for ‘ye olde doctor’s note.’ Apparently, students have always been trying to get out of class, and always will. The first – and last – time I tried it was the third grade, and it earned me a trip to the doctor’s office for a throat culture to check for strep throat. Never again.

Aegrotat

(CAMBRIDGE). A certificate from the apothecary that you are INDISPOSED, (i. e.) to go to chapel. He sports an Aegrotat: he is sick, and unable to attend Chapel.

Geri Walter, in her post Health Remedies, Preventatives, and Cures in the 1700 and 1800s, makes a handy list of restoratives. Her list; my summarizing commentary.

Baths

Baths were considered profitable for myriad ailments, from hygiene and hysteria, to inflammations and sprains/fractures – problems that warm baths are still prescribed for today (well, except for the female hysteria). However, some historians have theorized that cross contamination between public bath springs and open sewage may have led to its own health concerns.

Bloodletting and Leeches

When your body was full of foul and noxious humors, sometimes you just needed 20 leeches applied. At the same time.

Bread

Not for eating, but for making a poultice or plaister, for application to areas afflicted with boils or other injuries. Thank the Egyptians for this one.

Calomel and Opium

Interestingly, delving into several 19th century books, one finds very little evidence that opium ever did much of anything for any patient beyond addicting them. It started off as a topical curative, and was so useless that doctors moved on to (1) having patients ingest it, and (2) combining it with mercury. Both terrific ideas.

Palatable Physic, Pub 5th of April by W. Heath, 5 April 1810, Public Domain.

Cold Water

In the late 18th century, James Currie proposed a cold water treatment for fever while a student at the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh, because of the link he discovered between evaporation and cooling. He based his proposal on observations made after a shipwreck and those exposed to salt water, the effects of evaporation, and what happened to the men when they were given warm blankets. Although not initially applying this discovery to illnesses, his subsequent research on other volunteers, and himself, led him to focus on its application to fevers. Needless to say, the “establishment” that favored patients lying in the dark, in bed, in cloistered rooms with firmly shut windows, under copious blankets, were less than thrilled or interested in his findings.

Epsom Salts

Epsom during the Regency era was as popular for horses as for healing. Since it’s discovery in 1618, the salts (here meaning the generic term salt, defined as any crystalized chemical compound; in this case, magnesium sulfate) had been used for everything from soaks for tired muscles, poultices for wound healing, and a solution to fight dandruff and combat acne. When dissolved in water, it even aided digestion. Epsom salts also became a key ingredient in the newly popular tonics (read quack medicine) of the time.

Flower of Sulphur

This one baffles me, because if you’ve ever smelled sulphur, you know that it has a distinctive odor. Back in the day, it was said to protect against toothache and prevent bad breath. To be sure, it has anti-fungal and antiseptic properties, and could have been efficacious in these pursuits, but how bad was a person’s breath that they wanted to replace it with the smell of rotten eggs?

Flour

One recommendation at the time was to treat burns by applying flour thickly over the injury, and any inflammation that spread. Of course, we know now that the heat needs to be drawn out first, else the flour simply aids in the burn continuing to cook the injured area. Otherwise, flour isn’t too terrible an idea, as a protectant.

Ginger Root

Ginger is my go-to for an upset stomach. Regency apothecaries used it as a syrup or tincture, for gout, colic, or indigestion.

Horseradish

I imagine if you could get straight horseradish down your gullet, it could go a long way to curing what ailed you. It was claimed to be effective for rheumatism and dropsy.

A Pinch of Cephalic by George Cruikshank after James Gillray, 25 January 1822, National Portrait Gallery.

Limit Star Gazing

Did they really want to prevent eye strain, or rather keep people indoors, properly supervised, and away from the bewitching moonlight that tended to result in disorders of the nine-month kind?

Mercury

History had its own little blue pills called “blue mass.” Mercury was dispensed in this manner: one pill twice daily, for apoplexy (stroke), constipation, depression, melancholy, toothache, and syphilis. Today we would call this throwing something at the wall to see what sticks. We would also call it mercury poisoning.

Myrrh

In the 19th century, hygiene was still considered equal parts unnecessary and unhealthy. As people were slowly coming around to the idea of better health through cleanliness, people still balked at brushing their teeth more than once a day. One dentist said if you must choose, brush at night, the reason being that people tended to sleep in heated, unwholesome atmospheres just swirling with bodily humors. Whatever we accumulated in our mouths from the day’s adventures, really needed to be removed before going to sleep in the suffocating cesspits of our bedrooms for eight hours. Add a little myrrh for good measure for its antiseptic properties.

Oatmeal Paste

I love this recipe for chapped hands: 4 ounces of lard, 6 ounces honey, 8 ounces oatmeal, 3 egg yolks, and 1 ounce powdered gum arable. Mix well into a paste, then leave on the skin until “exceedingly soft and supple.” Then good luck keeping your pets and farm animals from eating you alive.

Mustard Poultice

As we learned last week, a poultice is a soft, warm, moist mass of bread, meal, or herbs applied to an affected part of the body to relieve an injury. The magic ingredient here is powdered mustard, made for a sore throat.

Mixing a Recipe for Corns by George Cruikshank, 1819, Center for the History of Medicine at Countway Library.

Reading Aloud with the Teeth Closed

To cure stutters and stammers, “for two hours a day, for three or four months.” Mercy.

Recital

To cure a lisp, recite the following rapidly and repeatedly:

Hobbs meets Snobbs and Kobbs;
Hobbs bobs to Snobbs and Nobbs;
Hobbs nobs with Snobbs and robs Nobbs’ fobs.
“This is,” says Nobbs, “the worst of Hobbs’ jobs,” and Snobbs sobs.

Sheep Sorrel

This miracle medicinal was used to treat inflammation, scurvy, cancer, and diarrhea. Essiac tea today is brewed with sheep sorrel and touted as a homeopathic treatment for cancer.

Stimulating Drinks and Whipping

Quite possibly the most horrifying hilarious prescription in the list. When “poisoning (there’s truth you don’t see in today’s medical journals) by laudanum (opium), morphine, paregoric, and sleeping mixtures in genera,” patients often needed stimulating drinks to be “kept warm, breathing (more truth),” and “awake by whipping if necessary.” Dear Lord. Medicine may still be a practice, but God bless the 21st century.

Toads

No longer just for witches, toads were now in vogue to treat everything from dropsy to bed wetting, scrofula, cancer, colic, inflammation, headaches, nose bleeds, smallpox, and quinsy. The poor toad could have various parts cut off, be cooked or boiled and eaten, or dried and ground into powder for internal and external use. Still sounds like witchcraft to me.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Grunter

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Grunter

One of my favorite phrases is ‘dab hand,’ and to quote Manuel from Fawlty Towers: “I learned it from a book.” Which also happens to be one of the funniest twelve episodes of television, ever.

But I digress.

I often make one of the characters in my novels a ‘dab hand’ at home medicine. This could be anything from herbal concoctions to poultices and plasters. This is historically accurate: at least one female in a Regency household would have known how to confer simple remedies in a pinch, until a doctor could be fetched or patient transported for care, if on the road.

Grunter

Complain of sickness.

George III Mahogany Medicine Chest, late 18th century, with label printed Ireland & Hollier Apothecaries & Chemists, No. 22 Pall Mall, Family Medicine Chests compleat [sic] and Genuine Patent Medicines &c, sold at Sotheby’s in 2017.

So what would those with a dab hand dispense? After heading to their still room, where all their ingredients would be stored, they’d brew, grind, or compound some easy to swallow (elderberry syrup), and some not-so-easy-to-swallow creations:

Take pearls, crab’s-eyes, red coral, white amber, burnt hartshorn, and oriental bezoar, of each half an ounce; the black tips of crabs-claws three ounces; make all into a paste, with a jelly of vipers, and roll it into little balls, which dry and keep for use.
(from The Compleat Housewife or, Accomplish’d Gentlewoman’s Companion, 15th edition, 1753, compiled by Eliza Smith, as reported at Jane Austen’s World)

19th Century Traveling Apothecary Medicine Chest, containing 10 glass bottles and original scales, sold at Auctions at Showplace in 2017.

Also according to Jane Austen’s World – from The Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run – here are the myriad ways an herbal remedy may be prepared:

Infusion: A liquid made by soaking an herb – usually its dried leaves or flowers – in liquid. An herbal tea is really an infusion.
Decoction: A liquid made by boiling an herb.
Poultice: A soft, moist mass of bread, meal, herbs, etc. applied to the body.
Plaister: A solid or semi solid remedy, spread on cloth or leather and applied to the body.
Electuary: Powder dried herb and mix with three times as much honey.
Oil: Fresh or dried herb is soaked in oil to extract the essences of the herb. Usually applied externally.
Ointment: Fresh or dried herb is soaked in lard to extract the essences of the herb, then mixed with beeswax and turpentine. Applied externally.

Mahogany Regency Medicine Cabinet with 23 medicine bottles, circa 1820, from Richard Gardner Antiques.

The handy housewife, well-trained housekeeper, or bluestocking daughter (otherwise known as a spinster-in-the-making) could make things such as “bottles of saline draughts, barley-water, lemonade, jars of calves’ foot or pork jelly, as well as blisters and plasters,” according to Nancy Mayer, Regency Researcher. Surely being fed calves’ foot jelly was the source of the idiom the cure is worse than the disease.

To procure the more potent medicines, you’d need to consult an apothecary or doctor, although potent didn’t necessarily mean safer (think mercury and opium).

We’ll visit them next week.

Until then, please consider heading over to Regina Jeffer’s delightful home on the internet and reading her exhaustive Herbal Medicine Used in Regency Period. There was no need for me to re-hash what had already been done thoroughly and well (Bonus: she shows how she incorporated her research into a novel!). Pin it, bookmark it, and put a shortcut to it on your desktop while you’re there.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sick as a Horse

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sick as a Horse

There are so many bugs running through a city near us that they had to quarantine the local homeless shelter. Simply covering our mouths and washing our hands (every time we have to cover said mouth or touch something shareable) would go a long way toward slowing the spread of the illnesses, but sometimes the fact of so many people driven inside under together conditions beyond their control just provides the perfect breeding ground for all those nasty germs.

Sick as a Horse

Horses are said to be extremely sick at their stomachs, from being unable to relieve themselves by vomiting. Bracken, indeed, in his Farriery, gives an instance of that evacuation being procured, but by a means which he says would make the Devil vomit. Such as may have occasion to administer an emetic either to the animal or the fiend, may consult his book for the recipe.

There were myriad illnesses running around during the Regency era. This week, I’ll look at the diseases; next, the cures, folk remedies, and outright snake oil scams for them.

Ague

This is the somewhat obscure term for malaria; some texts will also refer to this as miasma. Doctors first ascribed the cause of the ague to unwholesome or poisonous air, but a little research soon showed mosquitoes (brought back from the great English fleet traveling to the West Indies) to be the common denominator. It turns out mosquitoes loved the marshlands of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, too. This illness was characterized by chills, shivering, fever, and sweating. The ague existed in England until the mid 19th century, when proper drainage helped eradicate the disease (if you’re watching Victoria, thank Prince Albert and his fascination with sewage systems).

Ague & Fever by Thomas Rowlandson, 1788, The British Museum.

Apoplexy

Otherwise known as a stroke. Apoplexy resulted in a sudden fit of paralysis and dizziness. The prefix of the word – apo – meant ‘to strike or hit,’ indicating both the unexpected and ferocious nature of this condition. The results of apoplexy could bring death, while recovery usually involved some incapacitation, such as paralysis, palsy (tremors), or inability to speak. Many died within hours of the attack. Bloodletting, the go-to remedy for all ailments, was believed to help the patient. Survivors were sometimes mistaken as mad due to their inability to speak or control bodily functions, and those without means were consigned to asylums.

It’s odd to me how this word has also come to mean extreme anger, such as an ‘apoplectic rage.’

Bilious Fever

This term was applied as loosely as today’s ‘flu.’ During the Regency, it meant anyone suffering from fever, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea, and was blamed on a disorder of the bile.

Biliousness

If you had a disorder of the liver or gallbladder, with accompanying gastric pain, this was your illness. Bile was not to be messed around with, evidently.

Cancrum Oris

This devastating ulcer could destroy the cheek, lips, tongue, palate, or face, and was often fatal (friendly tip: do not Google this for pictures). It was most often seen in children between the ages of two and five, and was caused by poor hygiene and poor nutrition. Damage was usually irreversible and could even lead to gangrene.

Catarrh

This term is most often seen in novels as the Regency equivalent of the head cold, a disease characterized by ‘inflammation of, and discharge from, a mucous membrane’ in a body cavity or in the airways, but catarrh could be so much more. Bronchial catarrh was bronchitis, epidemic catarrh was influenza, suffocative catarrh was croup, urethral catarrh was gleet, and vaginal catarrh was leukorrhea, according to Geri Walton. For some reason, I always picture an elderly, but stern, aunt telling all how she suffers so from catarrh…but not really.

Consumption

Consumption was the common name for tuberculosis, meaning a “wasting of the body by disease; wasting disease, progressive emaciation,” which replaced the old terms “the evil disease” and phthsis. There was no effective treatment for the disease. Spread through the air, saliva, and blood, it caused weakness, fatigue, fever, chills, night sweats, wracking cough, and spitting up blood. However, in the latter stages of the disease, sufferers experienced a burst of energy and creativity, leading many to call it a “romantic disease.” British poet Lord Byron wrote, “I should like to die from consumption,” helping to popularize the disease as the disease of artists (the pretty-boy fool). George Sand doted on her phthisic lover, Frédéric Chopin, calling him her “poor melancholy angel“.  The disease killed more people in Britain in the 1800’s than smallpox, measles, typhus, whooping cough, and scarlet fever combined, and it came to be known as The White Plague.

Tegg’s Caricatures No. 45: Dropsy Courting Consumption by Thomas Rowlandson, 1810, The British Museum.

Croup

This name was given to pretty much any sickness of the time that involved coughing but usually without leading to death. It occurred most often in children, as it does now, with coughing, hoarseness, mildly sore throats, and possibly mild fevers. The name arose from the local disease in southeastern Scotland, given wide publication by Dr. Francis Home of Edinburgh in his 1765 treatise on it, according to Etymology Online. In modern times, any child with a barking cough is said to have the croup.

Dysentery

This disease was characterized by inflammation of the mucous membrane of the large intestine. Its early name said it all: the bloody flux. Its symptoms were severe diarrhea, bloody and/or mucus-filled stools, fever, and abdominal pain.

Dyspepsia

This was indigestion caused by just about anything: overeating, late-night eating, eating something that disagreed with you, not chewing food up properly before swallowing, etc. Dictionary.com defined it as ‘deranged digestion,’ which is about the best definition I’ve ever come across for anything.

Effluvium

Those distasteful, foul-smelling, gasses or exhalations that were thought to cause disease. Not only could effluvia come from sewage waste, but females might infect males with their noxious fumes.

Furuncle

Also known as boils, these nasty skin abscesses were filled with pus, and brought great pain and suffering to those afflicted. Until the late 19th century, no one knew the cause of furuncles, but they remembered that they were a sign of the Plague, and feared them, and sufferers, accordingly.

Gout

This was a joint disease that most often affected the upper classes. In medieval medicine, the disease was thought to be caused by ‘drops of viscous humors seeping from the blood into the joints.’ This turns out to be close to the modern scientific explanation, as gout was often caused by the drinking of heavy or sweet wines, or excessive beer drinking combined with insufficient food. The disease can also be hereditary.

The Gout by James Gillray, 1799, The British Museum.

Palsy

This was uncontrollable tremors combined with partial paralysis, and could be caused by a host of diseases. So palsy was a symptom rather than an illness, but severe enough to deserve a mention. As seen above, survivors of apoplexy could suffer from palsy. As with most illnesses of the era, there was no cure.

Piles

The more common name for hemorrhoids, so-called from the ball-like shape.

Pleurisy

Pleurisy was an inflammation of the lungs marked by a hacking cough and sharp chest pain. Pleuritis meant ‘pain in the side,’ although in medieval times it meant ‘more,’ as in ‘more humours’ (those medieval doctors loved their bodily humours). Respiratory infections were the main causes of pleurisy.

Pneumonia

Inflammation of the lungs, or ‘winter fever,’ was defined by pain in the side, rapid breathing, fluttering pulse, cough, and fever.  Its symptoms were described as early as the Middle Ages and are similar to the descriptions of today.

Puerperal Fever

This has to be the saddest of all the illnesses of the era. Also known as Child Bed Fever, it was the main reason women feared pregnancy during the Regency. Symptoms included severe abdominal pain and high fever, and both mother and child could (and likely would) die from it. We now know it as an infection resulting from a prolonged or difficult childbirth where a foreign organism is introduced into the birth canal.

Putried Fever/Sore Throat

This is not your modern-day fever/sore throat. Think gangrene that attacked the tonsils and throat, destroyed the tissue, and gave off some of the noxious effluvium mentioned above. Think high fever and massively aching throat along the lines of the strep throat of today. This could also be called quinsy.

A Sore Throat (Egad its worse & worse) by H. Pyall, 1827, Harvard Medical Library.

Rheumatic Fever

This was a complication from Putrid Fever/Putrid Sore Throat. It was most often seen in children and was nearly always fatal. It was characterized by fever, inflammation, pain in and around the joints, and by inflammatory involvement of the pericardium and heart valves.

Scarlatina

Scarlatina, or Scarlet Fever, was the contagious disease characterized by a bright red, distinctive rash that looked like a sunburn with bumps, accompanied by a high fever and sore throat. There were traumatic epidemics in England and Wales in the mid 1800s that killed hundreds of people.

Smallpox

This virus was acute, causing blisters on the skin, mouth, and throat, accompanied by fever. Blisters that occurred near the eyes could cause blindness. It was fatal to one-third of those who caught it, but for those who survived, they were immune, though terribly scarred and marked such as survivors. Eighty percent of children that contracted this disease died. Smallpox was highly contagious, being easily inhaled or transmitted through bodily fluids. One of the first vaccinations ever created was for smallpox in 1798. An interesting side fact: smallpox was so named in contrast to great pox, which was syphilis.

The Cow-Pock –or– The Wonderful Effects of the New Inoculation! by James Gillray, 1802, The British Museum.

Tetanus

Also known as Trismus and Lockjaw, this infectious disease affected the central nervous system, causing violent spasms and stiffness of the muscles all over the body (but most obviously in locking the jaw). Unbeknownst at the time, tetanus was caused by bacteria living in soil, saliva, dust, and manure – hence its extremely contagious nature – and entered the body through open wounds.

Surgeon and artist Sir Charles Bell documented the effects of tetanus after the Battle of Corunna in the Napoleonic War in 1809, for the purpose of studying gunshot wounds; his most famous of his thirteen paintings shows the horrors and agony of full tetany.

Opisthotonus. Tetanus Following Gunshot Wounds by surgeon and artist Sir Charles Bell, 1809, public domain.

Typhus

This disease was also called ‘Pestilential’ or ‘Putrid Fever,’ or by names derived from the locality were the outbreak appeared, such as ‘Camp,’ ‘Jail,’ ‘Hospital,’ or ‘Ship Fever.’ Typhus spread by lice, and symptoms included delirium, headaches, fever, and a rash. The duration of the disease was tracked by the rash, which cleared in two weeks, if the patient survived. Typhus spread via overcrowding and unsanitary conditions, and people could catch it repeatedly if re-exposed. No cure existed until the discovery of antibiotics.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Clerked

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Clerked

This week’s word brought to you by the wonderfully expressive Mr. Knightley.

Clerked

Soothed, funned, imposed on. “The cull will not be clerked;” i.e. the fellow will not be imposed on by fair words.

“Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.”
Volume II, Chapter 8, Emma

“Not your vain spirit, but your serious spirit. –If one leads you wrong, I am sure the other tells you of it.”
Volume III, Chapter 2, Emma

“There is one thing, Emma, which a man can always do, if he chuses, and that is, his duty; not by manoeuvring and finessing, but by vigour and resolution. It is Frank Churchill’s duty to pay this attention to his father. He knows it to be so, by his promises and messages; but if he wished to do it, it might be done.”
Volume II, Chapter 18, Emma

“Upon my word, Emma, to hear you abusing the reason you have, is almost enough to make me think so too. Better be without sense, than misapply it as you do.”
Volume I, Chapter 8, Emma

“Emma, I must once more speak to you as I have been used to do: a privilege rather endured than allowed, perhaps, but I must still use it. I cannot see you acting wrong, without a remonstrance. How could you be so unfeeling to Miss Bates? How could you be so insolent in your wit to a woman of her character, age, and situation?—Emma, I had not thought it possible.”
Volume III, Chapter 7, Emma

“Men of sense, whatever you may chuse to say, do not want silly wives.”
Volume I, Chapter 8, Emma

“Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief.”
Volume I, Chapter 8, Emma

Mr. Knightley – Can I get a witness, please?!

 

  • Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
  • The above quotes are from the Jane Austen novel Emma, but are not matched to the gif scenes from the BBC/PBS miniseries Emma starring Jonny Lee Miller and Romola Garai from 2010. I just liked the quotes and JLM’s expressions. Apologies if this sets off anyone’s need for matchiness.
WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ The Parson’s Mousetrap (plus a giveaway!)

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ The Parson’s Mousetrap (plus a giveaway!)

Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.
~The Impressive Clergyman, The Princess Bride

The Country Wedding by John Lewis Krimmel, 1820, public domain.

The Parson’s Mousetrap

The state of matrimony. See also noozed, priest-linked, spliced, swish’d, and yoakd.

The vernacular painted a pretty bleak portrait of marriage. Or perhaps an all-to-true one. Despite what some authors still get incorrect about the time period, there were no easy annulments, and even less easy divorces. Matrimony was truly ’til death us do part.’ Daughters had better hope their fathers negotiated favorable marriage settlements, that their unions fell somewhere along the scale of love match to cordial business arrangement, or that they produced what was required of them to cause their husbands to leave them in peace after obligations were fulfilled.

I’ll take our written happily ever afters.

 

Signing the Register by Edmund Blair Leighton (1853-1922), Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery UK, The Bridgeman Art Library.

Off for the Honeymoon by Frederick Morgan, 1903, Bonhams.

None But the Brave Deserve the Fair by James Shaw Crompton, 1915, from The Pears Annual, Digital Library, University of North Texas.

PS: I’m in a multi-author giveaway that’s open for two more days – this giveaway from BookSweeps ends on February 20th! If you haven’t already entered, don’t miss your chance to win 30 Victorian, Georgian, and Regency Romances, plus a brand new eReader. You’ll even get a collection of FREE reads just for entering! Enjoy and bon chance! Just click the graphic below: