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:

 

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WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Valentine

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Valentine

Guess what happens this week!

If you guessed Valentine’s Day, you’re only partially correct. I was shooting for the day after Valentine’s Day, when candy goes on sale for half-price or more. Now that’s something to celebrate, amiright?!

Anyway. On to the Word of the Week.

The observation of St. Valentine’s Day has its origins in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a pagan fertility festival. That celebration involved lots of naked men running around the city spanking women’s bottoms, which was thought to increase their fertility. Ahem.

And like all good pagan rites of yore, Christians swooped in and usurped the pagan’s place in the festivities; after the death of Christ, February 14th became a date associated with the martyring of three different saints, all coincidentally named Valentine (or Valentinus, in the Latin of the day).

Now, the first documented association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love came with the publication of Parlement of Foules by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382:

Ye knowe wel how, Seynt Valentynes day,
By my statut and through my governaunce,
Ye come for to chese — and flee your way —
Your makes, as I prik yow with plesaunce.

History also reveals a Frenchman (but, of course!) holds the honor as first to send a Valentine, although under tragic circumstances. After his capture following the Battle of Agincourt, the duc D’Orléans wrote a missive to his wife from his cell in the Tower of London. He addressed her as “my sweet Valentine.”

Poem from Charles, duc D’Orléans, to his wife in 1415. Photo courtesy BBC; original document at the British Museum.

Shakespeare brought the concept of Valentines and Valentine’s Day to the masses when  he penned Ophelia’s mournful song for Hamlet (Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5).

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donned his clothes,
And dupped the chamber door.
Let in the maid that out a maid
Never departed more.

The idea of sending notes specifically on Valentine’s Day took off in England, so much so that a how-to book was published in 1797, The Young Man’s Valentine Writer. The rampant popularity naturally meant the term would be adopted into the vernacular.

Hence this week’s timely slang term.

Valentine (noun)

The first woman seen by a man, or man seen by a woman, on St. Valentine’s day, the 14th of February, when it is said every bird chuses his mate for the ensuing year.

Early Valentines were personal and hand-made, specific to the tastes and feelings of the sender and recipient. Witness this lovely Puzzle Purse Valentine from 1816. The squares are numbered so that the message can be read in order as each section is opened. The final message or illustration takes the center spot. Who wouldn’t love to receive one of these?

Valentine Puzzle Purse, 14 February 1816. Image courtesy Nancy Rosin.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Nug

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Nug

It’s February.

It may still be cold and wintry, but love is in the air, so things are heating up, of a fashion.

February hosts the most loved and despised of holidays – Valentine’s Day. Every year, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold across the United States. Heck, even 9 million people buy something for their pets. But take a stroll through social media anywhere near February 14th to find out what your single friends think of the so-called “love month.”

They just need to find themselves a Word of the Week.

Nug

An endearing word: as, My dear nug; my dear love.

Oh! Listen to the Voice of Love, James Gillray, 1799, National Portrait Gallery.

And here’s one’s dearest nug…at least prior to marriage.

Harmony Before Matrimony, James Gillray, 1805, British Museum.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Cold Pudding

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Cold Pudding

Hello, February.

The second month of the year in our Gregorian calendar, the only month with less than thirty days, and the only month whose name means both ‘Day of Purification’ (dies februatus, in Latin) and ‘Mud Month’ (Solmonath, in Old English). February’s flower is the violet and its birthstone the amethyst, the symbol of piety, humility, spiritual wisdom, and sincerity. It’s also the month crammed full with such random holidays as National Freedom Day (1st), checking groundhogs for shadows (2nd), eating/drinking/merrying for Mardi Gras (13th), Chinese New Year (17th, et. al.), commemorating the birthdays of two Presidents (19th), and Rare Disease Day (28th). According to Holidays Calendar, there are over 160 things you can observe, celebrate, or just ponder during the month of February.

How on earth did February come to hold the responsibility for all things love? And since Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day this year, will anyone give up chocolate for Lent? Especially since my favorite day in February is the 15th, when Valentine’s candy goes 75% off at Target.

Thou hast no shame in the discount candy game.

It’s interesting to me that the shortest month of the year commemorates the very emotion that is supposed to encompass people wholly, truly, and 4-ever. Valentine’s Day falls smack in the middle of this month of amour – the same day every year – and yet stores are still overrun at 5:00pm that day with males desperate to find something their loves will find worthy.

The Pearl Necklace by Frédéric Soulacroix (1858-1933), Art Renewal Center, New Jersey.

Might I suggest the word of the week?

Cold Pudding

This is said to settle one’s love.

Perhaps a little poetry wouldn’t go amiss. And chocolate. Must have all the chocolate.

The Lovers’ Tryst by Frédéric Soulacroix (1858-1933), Bonhams Gallery, London.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sheep’s Eyes

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sheep’s Eyes

Today is Dear Husband’s birthday, so he gets a WOW post with a slang term in his honor. Because I loves him. And because he does this (in a manly way, of course).

Sheep’s Eyes (noun)

Loving looks, attested from the 1520s. From the word sheepish (bashful). To cast sheep’s eyes at any thing means to look wishfully at it.

Interestingly enough, I found more portraits of men casting sheep’s eyes than women. Perhaps, as Lady Catherine accused Elizabeth Bennet, women’s:

“. . . arts and allurements may, in a moment of infatuation, have made him forget what he owes to himself and to all his family. You may have drawn him in.”
Pride and Prejudice, Volume 3, Chapter 14 (Chapter 56)

Cast those loving looks our way, gentlemen.

La Famille Gohin by Louis Léopold Boilly, 1787, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

La Famille Gohin by Louis Léopold Boilly, 1787, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

Couple with an Escaped Bird by Louis Léopold Boilly, unknown date, Musée de Louvre, Paris.

Couple with an Escaped Bird by Louis Léopold Boilly, unknown date, Musée de Louvre, Paris.

Fashion Plate Modes Parisiennes from La Nouveaute Journal, 1825.

Fashion Plate Modes Parisiennes from La Nouveaute Journal, 1825.

Fashion Plate 2 Modes Parisiennes from La Nouveaute Journal, 1825.

Fashion Plate 2 Modes Parisiennes from La Nouveaute Journal, 1825.

Stealing a Kiss by Pierre Outin (1840-1899).

Stealing a Kiss by Pierre Outin (1840-1899), unknown date.

Off for the Honeymoon by Frederick Morgan (1847-1927), unknown date, private collection.

Off for the Honeymoon by Frederick Morgan (1847-1927), unknown date, private collection.

The Courtship by Charles Green, 1878, Christie's.

The Courtship by Charles Green, 1878, Christie’s.

Admiration by Vittorio Reggianini, before 1938, detail.

Admiration by Vittorio Reggianini, before 1938, detail.

And my favorite of all sheep’s eyes pictures:

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sheep's Eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sweet Heart

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sweet Heart

Love comes in all stages of life. It’s cute when we see the tiny ringer bearer and flower girl peck each other’s cheeks with kisses at the wedding. It’s heartwarming to see the elderly lady and gentleman holding hands at the nursing home.

Sweet Heart (noun)

Late 13th Century, as a form of address. By the 1570s, as a synonym for “loved one.” From sweet (adjective) and heart (noun).
Slang. A term applicable to either the masculine or feminine gender, signifying a girl’s lover, or a man’s mistress: derived from a sweet cake in the shape of a heart.

Some historical Sweet Hearts.

Le Parapluie Officieux, Le Bon Genre No. 40, circa 1820.

Le Parapluie Officieux, Le Bon Genre No. 40, circa 1820.

A Kiss In The Kitchen by Thomas Rowlandson

A Kiss In The Kitchen by Thomas Rowlandson

Forgiving Lovers, Thomas Rowlandson, 1798.

Forgiving Lovers, Thomas Rowlandson, 1798.

Aged Lovers, Thomas Rowlandson, 1798.

Aged Lovers, Thomas Rowlandson, 1798.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical definition from The Online Etymological Dictionary. Slang definition from 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

Frivolous Friday ~ The Persuasion of Captain Wentworth

Frivolous Friday ~ The Persuasion of Captain Wentworth

I readily admit to being easily amused, and GIFs are a delightful diversion. What better way to usher in the weekend than with a completely frivolous, utterly unnecessary, and probably insipid post telling the story of Persuasion via quotes and Captain Wentworth GIFs.

“We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us.” Chapter 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

“No: the years which had destroyed her youth and bloom had only given him a more glowing, manly, open look, in no respect lessening his personal advantages. She had seen the same Frederick Wentworth.” Chapter 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“His cold politeness, his ceremonious grace, were worse than anything.” Chapter 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“She had thought only of avoiding Captain Wentworth… ” Chapter 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Now they were as strangers; nay worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted.” Chapter 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The evening ended with dancing. On its being proposed, Anne offered her services, as usual, and though her eyes would sometimes fill with tears as she sat at the instrument, she was extremely glad to be employed, and desired nothing in return but to be unobserved.” Chapter 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You pierce my soul.” Chapter 23

 

 

 

 

 

“I am half agony, half hope.” Chapter 23

 

 

 

 

 

“Thus much indeed he was obliged to acknowledge – that he had been constant unconsciously, nay unintentionally; that he had meant to forget her, and believed it to be done.” Chapter 23

 

“He had imagined himself indifferent, when he had only been angry; and he had been unjust to her merits, because he had been a sufferer from them.” Chapter 23

 

“What! Would I be turned back from doing a thing that I had determined to do, and that I knew to be right, by the airs and interference of such a person, or any person I may say?” Chapter 23

 

"No, I have no idea of being so easily persuaded. When I have made up my mind, I have made it.”

“No, I have no idea of being so easily persuaded. When I have made up my mind, I have made it.” Chapter 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Dare not say that a man forgets sooner than a woman, that his love has an earlier death.” Chapter 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“There could have never been two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison, no countenances so beloved.” Chapter 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“…when pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure.” Chapter 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“There, he had seen every thing to exalt in his estimation the woman he had lost, and there begun to deplore the pride, the folly, the madness of resentment, which had kept him from trying to regain her when thrown in his way.” Chapter 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this?” Chapter 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.” Chapter 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Who can be in doubt of what followed? When any two young people take it into their heads to marry, they are pretty sure by perseverance to carry their point, be they ever so poor, or ever so imprudent, or ever so little likely to be necessary to each other’s ultimate comfort.” Chapter 24