WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Steenkirk

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Steenkirk

Readers of Regency Romance may think only heroines can be found in dishabille. Au contraire!

Steenkirk

A muslin neckcloth carelessly put on, from the manner in which the French officers wore their cravats when they returned from the battle of Steenkirk [sic].

19th century wood engraving of a gentleman wearing a Steinkirk cravat, Probert Encyclopedia.

Apparently, those Frenchies were in such a rush to get to the fight, they had no time to properly tie their cravats. The Battle of Steenkerque was a fight from 1692, during the Nine Years’ War, where the French forces took on a joint English-Scot-Dutch-German army commanded by William of Orange. The French won, messy cravats and all.

Map and Overview of the Battle of Steenkerke, 3 August 1692.

Voltaire explained the Steinkirk neckcloth phenomenon in his 1751 tome, Age of Louis XIV:

The men at that time wore lace-cravats, which took up some time and pains to adjust. The princes having dressed themsevles in a hurry, threw these cravats negligently about their necks. The ladies wore handkerchiefs made in this fashion, which they called Steinkirks. Every new toy was a Steinkirk.

Steinkirk cravats consisted of a long, narrow, plainly trimmed neckcloth wrapped once about the neck in a loose knot. The ends were then twisted together and tucked out of the way into a button-hole, either of the coat or the waistcoat. This tyle was popular with men and women until the 1720s.

I personally think the Mailcoach and Waterfall styles of the Regency have their origins in the Steinkirk.

Portrait of J.B. Belley, Deputy for Saint-Domingue by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, 1797, Palace of Versailles.

Mr. Tilney seems to sport a bit of a Steenkirk.

JJ Feild as Henry Tilney, 2007, Northanger Abbey.

As well as Mr. Darcy himself, of a fashion.

Colin Firth as Fitzwilliam Darcy, 1995, Pride and Prejudice.

Go ahead. Just yank that annoying, slap-dash cloth off.

Colin Firth as Fitzwilliam Darcy, shedding that silly old Steenkirk.

Cravats are delicious things.

The only question I’m left with is exactly how many different ways are there to spell Steinkirk? I discovered Steenkirk, Steenkerque, and Steenkerke.

 

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Dry Boots

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Dry Boots

Dry Boots (noun)

A sly humorous fellow.

Since Mr. Knightley visited last week, it seems only fair that another of Austen’s witty and sarcastic heroes visit this week. Mr. Tilney is often overlooked when naming romantic gentlemen, but I adore a man with a sense of humor. He is the voice of reason in a cast of melodramatic characters, the touch of levity exactly when the story needs it.

mr tilney smiles at catherine

Then forming his features into a set smile, and affectedly softening his voice, he added, with a simpering air, “Have you been long in Bath, madam?”

“About a week, sir,” replied Catherine, trying not to laugh.

“Really!” with affected astonishment.

“Why should you be surprised, sir?”

“Why, indeed!” said he, in his natural tone. “But some emotion must appear to be raised by your reply, and surprise is more easily assumed, and not less reasonable than any other. Now let us go on. Were you never here before, madam?” (Chapter 3)

mr tilney is amused

“Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again.” Catherine turned away her head, not knowing whether she might venture to laugh. “I see what you think of me,” said he gravely — “I shall make but a poor figure in your journal tomorrow.” (Chapter 3)

henry tilney smiling

“As far as I have had opportunity of judging, it appears to me that the usual style of letter–writing among women is faultless, except in three particulars.”

“And what are they?”

“A general deficiency of subject, a total inattention to stops, and a very frequent ignorance of grammar.” (Chapter 3)

mr tilney has too much lemonade

“Shall I tell you what you ought to say?”

“If you please.”

“I danced with a very agreeable young man, introduced by Mr. King; had a great deal of conversation with him — seems a most extraordinary genius — hope I may know more of him. That, madam, is what I wish you to say.” (Chapter 3)

tilney lakeside

“Very true,” said Henry, “and this is a very nice day, and we are taking a very nice walk, and you are two very nice young ladies. Oh! It is a very nice word indeed! It does for everything. Originally perhaps it was applied only to express neatness, propriety, delicacy, or refinement – people were nice in their dress, in their sentiments, or their choice. But now every commendation on every subject is comprised in that one word.” (Chapter 14)

tilney side eye

“Miss Morland, no one can think more highly of the understanding of women than I do. In my opinion, nature has given them so much that they never find it necessary to use more than half.” (Chapter 14)

vampires

“And are you prepared to encounter all the horrors that a building such as ‘what one reads about’ may produce? Have you a stout heart-nerves fit for sliding panels and tapestry? … How fearfully will you examine the furniture of your apartment! — And what will you discern? — Not tables, toilettes, wardrobes, or drawers, but on one side perhaps the remains of a broken lute, on the other a ponderous chest which no efforts can open, and over the fireplace the portrait of some handsome warrior, whose features will so incomprehensibly strike you, that you will not be able to withdraw your eyes from it … and when, with fainting spirits, you attempt to fasten your door, you discover, with increased alarm, that it has no lock.” (Chapter 20)

youve a spot

“No man is offended by another man’s admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only who can make it a torment.” (Chapter 19)

marry me catherine

“The world, I believe, never saw a better woman. But it is not often that virtue can boast an interest such as this.” (Chapter 24)

tilney morland kiss

“You feel, as you always do, what is most to the credit of human nature. Such feelings ought to be investigated, that they may know themselves.” (Chapter 25)

 

Slang definition from 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Mr. Tilney visits courtesy of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and the 2007 ITV/PBS drama featuring JJ Feild and Felicity Jones.