May 16 2017

Wedding Dresses in Jane Austen’s World

Courtship and Marriage5

Though nearly all of Jane Austen’s works end with a wedding, she does not spend much time detailing the weddings themselves, much less the wedding dresses.


Modern brides often spend a great deal of effort and money on the wedding dress and expect to wear it only once. Honestly, it is hard to imagine another event where wearing one’s wedding dress might be appropriate. Not exactly the sort of thing you’d wear to dinner, right?

In the regency era, though, the cost of textiles was so prohibitive that only royals like Princess Charlotte and equally wealthy brides even considered dresses that might only be worn once. A bride, like Charlotte Lucas of Pride and Prejudice or Harriet Smith of Emma, wore her ‘best dress’ for her wedding. A bride with some means, like Emma or even perhaps the Bennets, might have a new ‘best dress’ made for the occasion. 

What might this ‘best dress’ look like? Unless one were quite wealthy, it would not be white. White garments required a huge amount of upkeep in an era where all wash was done by hand, so only the wealthiest wore it. Colored gowns were typical, with yellow, blue, pink and green being popular for several regency era years. Middle and lower class brides often chose black, dark brown and burgundy as practical colors that would wear well for years to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion plates from Ackerman’s and La Belle Assemblee illustrate gowns used for weddings. Although all these gowns are white, that is more indicative of the white gown being the most stylish of the era, rather than white being the wedding color. All these gowns followed the fashionable trends of formal gowns of the day, but were largely indistinguishable from other formal gowns. The La Belle Assemblee dress above is cited as both an evening dress and a wedding dress. To set a bridal dress apart, finer materials and richer trims might be utilized if the bride could afford them: silks, satins and lace. The trims might be altered for wear after the wedding.

Not unlike today, these fashion plates presented idealized versions of wedding gowns. The actual gowns that brides wore were often far simpler that the offerings from fashionable magazines. Here are a few pictures from the Met Museum of actual wedding dresses worn in the Regency era.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So are any of these what you imagined the Miss Bennets being married in?

 


Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen’s World, available in ebook and paperback

 

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References

A Lady of Distinction   –   Regency Etiquette, the Mirror of Graces (1811). R.L. Shep Publications (1997)

A Master-Key to the Rich Ladies Treasury or The Widower and Batchelor’s Directory by a Younger Brother, published in 1742.

Day, Malcom   –   Voices from the World of Jane Austen. David & Charles (2006)

Gener, S., and John Muckersy. M. Gener, Or, A Selection of Letters on Life and Manners. 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Printed for Peter Hill …, A. Constable & and A. MacKay ;, 1812.

Jones, Hazel   –   Jane Austen & Marriage . Continuum Books (2009)

Lane, Maggie   –   Jane Austen’s World. Carlton Books (2005)

Laudermilk, Sharon & Hamlin, Teresa L.   –   The Regency Companion. Garland Publishing (1989)

Le Faye, Deirdre   –   Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels. Harry N. Abrams (2002)

Ray, Joan Klingel   –   Jane Austen for Dummies. Wiley Publishing, Inc. (2006)

Ross, Josephine   –   Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners. Bloomsbury USA (2006)

Selwyn, David   –   Jane Austen & Leisure. The Hambledon Press (1999)

Vickery, Amanda   –   The Gentleman’s Daughter. Yale University Press (1998)

May 13 2017

Longbourn: Dragon Entail Deleted Scene

One of the fun and frustrating things about writing book is that sometimes you write scenes that don’t make it into the final version. Here’s one that didn’t. It originally fit it just before the Dragon Conclave scene, but after I wrote that scene, it seemed unnecessary. Still, it seems a shame to waste it! Hope you enjoy:

An Audience with Lord Matlock

 

Find previous chapters HERE


Darcy stood on the cellar stairs watching as Miss Elizabeth showed Georgiana how to oil Pemberley’s hide. They gave her a final brush and she shook a little like a wet dog. What a change Miss Elizabeth had wrought in his timid sister.

“You are ready now.” Elizabeth rubbed under her chin. “Rosings is waiting to escort you to tea at the Blue Order.”

“You not come?”

“I will be at the Order as well, but I must wait on Lord Matlock. So, April will go with you. If you need me, she will find me, and I will come to you. But I am certain you shall not. Barwines Chudleigh is very gracious and very beautiful. I am sure you will like her very well and she you.”

“She not cross—like Rosings?”

Georgiana giggled. “She is right.”

“Mind your manners and I am certain she will not be cross. You will make me proud, I am sure. I look forward to hearing all about your adventure when you return. Rosings waits for you in the tunnel, April will take you.” Elizabeth hugged Pemberley and encouraged her to follow April.

“I shall be at sixes and sevens until you return.” Georgiana clasped her hands tightly as she followed Elizabeth to the stairs.

“I quite understand. I have heard your uncle, Lord Matlock is quite formidable.” Creases, more than mere sleeplessness lined the corners of Elizabeth’s eyes.

The woman won dominance over a cockatrix, surely a mere man could not intimidate her.

“I am quite sure my brother will protect you. He has always done so for me.”

“You make Matlock sound like some sort of wild dragon.” Darcy chuckled, but the comparison was not far from wrong.

“If he were a dragon, I would have little to concern me.” Elizabeth laughed, though it hardly seemed a joke.

A few minutes later, he handed her into his carriage. Cait followed, an unconventional, but sufficient chaperone for the brief journey to the Blue Order.

“You need not look so worried, our little one will do very well indeed.” Cait preened her shoulder. “Even Rosings is certain she will impress the crustiest old lizard there.”

“Though you might wish to rethink referring to Barwines Chudleigh as a crusty old lizard, I am certain you are correct. After all we read at the Order Library yesterday, I have to agree with you. I cannot imagine they will find fault with her.”

“I cannot help but worry. If she does not make a good impression—her manners can be quite scandalous.”

“A point far less relevant to dragons than it is to you. It is her imprinting, not her etiquette they are concerned with.” Cait tossed her head feathers, exposing her glistening black eyes.

“And it would seem that her attachment sickness itself is testimony in our favor, of the strongest kind.” Darcy rubbed his temples. How ironic that the cause of so much turmoil should now be their strongest ally.

“I have not failed to see the irony in that.”  Miss Elizabeth’s laughter seemed a little more genuine this time.

Earl Matlock’s summons was tersely worded and imperative. Perhaps he should have shared that with Miss Elizabeth. But she was already so anxious. What possible help could that be?

Fitzwilliam met them a few steps into the front hall. “Father will be glad not to be kept waiting. He is quite a state this morning. I shall take you myself. Good morning to you, Miss Bennet. It is a pleasure to see you, perhaps the only one I shall have today.” He bowed.

Cait swooped past him, tail feathers trailing across his face.

Fitzwilliam sneezed.

“I assume she knows the way?” Elizabeth asked.

“Indeed she does.” Fitzwilliam laughed and offered her his arm.

She placed her hand in the crook of his arm and they descended the grand stairs. Darcy paused. The sight should not bother him. Fitzwilliam was an accomplished flirt. It was merely a game to him.

But not to Darcy. Did she have feelings for him?

She had not seemed to back in Kent.

Perhaps Walker was right. He did need to act on his regard. After this was behind them, and he could focus—that would surely be a better time.

Fitzwilliam sauntered into Uncle Matlock’s office without so much as a knock. Probably showing off for her.

“Uncle may I present the brightest flower of the Blue Order, Miss Elizabeth Bennet.”

Darcy clutched his temples and shook his head, cheeks burning.

Uncle Matlock rose and bowed. “Welcome, Miss Bennet, Darcy. Pray excuse my son’s apparent lack of manners.”

Darcy closed the door behind him. “Your summons was rather … brief… to what do we owe the pleasure of this meeting? Where is Cownt Matlock?”

Uncle Matlock gestured them to a trio of chairs near his desk. “Cownt Matlock will not be joining us today.”

“I shall not bemoan the fact. He has been a crusty old lizard lately.” Fitzwilliam leaned back in his chair.

“Forgive me, Colonel, but I have observed that when a dragon turns ‘crusty’ there is often a very good reason for it, on that deserves immediate attention.”

“She is as astute as they say.” Matlock chuckled. “You have made quite the impression here, Miss Bennet. I am pleased to see that it is not all fluff and bother.”

“That description does not even apply to my fairy dragon sir.” She leveled a venomous stare at him.

That got Matlock’s attention. Darcy stifled a laugh.

“That are generally such fluffle-bits it is good to hear some have wits about them.” He turned to Darcy. “You are correct though, this is not a social call, much that I would rather it were.”

“Just as this morning’s dragon tea is not.” Elizabeth cocked her head and tapped her foot in the air.

Fitzwilliam chortled. “Just come out with it Father, it will be far less painful.”

Matlock glowered at his son. “The Court will convene with the Conclave tomorrow, as you well know. However, some additional, urgent business has just come in that must be addressed to the entire Conclave. As you are well aware, there are those amongst our ranks, both human and dragon who can only tolerate the company of one another for limited periods. We must expedite those matters that we can, to make time for these new issues.”

“And Pemberley’s case is one of those matters.” Elizabeth gripped the arms of her chair, knuckles turning white.

“Yes, Miss Bennet, it is. And upon reflection, I am certain you will appreciate the wisdom of evaluating Pemberley in a more natural, relaxed environment, one in which she will appear to best advantage.”

Elizabeth huffed a little. “It is certainly a much less frightening experience for her.”

“Now that we are agreed on that matter—”

“Now it comes, the interrogation!” Fitzwilliam leaned forward and rubbed his hands together.

“I prefer to consider it an interview, my red-coated miscreant.” Matlock snorted..

“But we gave full dispositions to Lady Astrid yesterday.” Darcy leaned back and stared at the ceiling–a little dusty, with a rather large spider scuttling along a plaster ivy vine molding.

“Additional questions have arisen.”  He reached into his desk and removed a sheet of paper with many fine lines of writing.

“Of course they have. Are any of them pertinent?” Fitzwilliam reached for the paper, but Matlock jerked it away.

“If it means Pemberley will not have to endure being threatened in court, I am happy to answer any question, even ones already answered.” Elizabeth glowered at him.

Fitzwilliam raised his open hands and leaned away.

“Thank you Miss Bennet.” Uncle Matlock looked far too pleased, but it was a very rare woman who dared put Fitzwilliam in his place. “Now as I was saying…”

Most of the questions were directed to Elizabeth, which she answered in exacting detail, even taking the pen from Matlock on occasion and penning the answers herself. The few questions Darcy and Fitzwilliam answered seemed cursory by comparison, until he began asking Pemberley about Anne.

“Did the drakling ever threaten Anne in any way?”

“Not in my presence,” Darcy chewed his cheek. “Anne never complained to be about anything of the sort, and given all her other complaints, I cannot imagine she would not have latched on to such a very good reason.  Usually Pemberley just cowered and tried to stay away from her. Rosings though did mention she would like to bite Anne.”

Fitzwilliam snickered. “But you are not worried about that lizard’s imprinting.”

“No I am not.” Matlock turned away from Fitzwilliam, but it was unlikely to curb Fitzwilliams behavior. “Is this consistent with your experience, Miss Bennet?”

“Indeed. She has never been aggressive. Even when we have massaged her gums and they pinched and hurt. She never even nipped whilst our hands were in her mouth.”

Matlock’s eyes widened so much his eyes bulged. “You put your hands in a teething dragon’s mouth?”

“How else does one massage a baby’s gums?”

Matlock stared at Darcy. “And you did not question the wisdom of such actions?”

“After seeing how much chewing her bone relieved her suffering, it seemed to make a great deal of sense.”

Matlock dragged his hand down his face.

WAs it possible? She was struggling not to snicker herself? “It is not a technique I would recommend to all Keepers to be sure, it requires a particular disposition to do it successfully. Pemberley found it very soothing.”

“Yes she did.” Cait squawked.

“And you witnessed this yourself?”

“Absolutely. So did Rosings. She will tell you but probably leave out the part about how she discovered how soothing bones were to chew. She has to have one several times a week now.”

Matlock snorted into his hand.

April zipped in from the large dragon tunnel.

Elizabeth jumped to her feet. “What has happened? What is wrong?”

April landed on the desk with a self-satisfied  settling of her wings. “Nothing is wrong at all.”

“So Pemberley has been well received?”

“Very much so.” She preened her shoulder. “The Ranks will not come out directly and say anything, of course … “

Elizabeth crouched to look eye to eye with April. “Now is not the time for playing games. Tell me clearly and directly what I need to know.”

April huffed, her feather-scales fluffing. “If you must know, Barwines Chudleigh has offered to find Pemberley a tutor to teach her to read and write. I imagine it will be Drew, he seems to like that sort of thing, though Bylock, the Scribe’s drake seemed ready to offer as well. And Castordale, the Doctor’s pa snake wants to interview her about her experience teething.”

Elizabeth’s eyes grew very bright, and she fell back into her seat. “They would not make sure invitations unless—”

“Precisely.” April threw her head back and sang a full throated melody.

Darcy yawned, covering his mouth just as Matlock succumbed to the same.

“That is very favorable indeed.” Matlock tapped his written pages. “Of course, the final vote on the matter will still have to be taken at the Conclave.”

“In the meantime, I have been charged to bring you down to join us for tea. Pemberley has talked so much about you, Barwines Chudleigh wishes to introduce you.”

“Are we finished, sir?”

“We are, and even if we were not, I would not keep the Barwines waiting.” Matlock gestured toward the dragon tunnel.

Elizabeth curtsied and followed April out.

“Then we are done here?” Darcy asked, glancing back at the door.

“Not yet, there is another matter which I would like to have off the docket tomorrow.”

“Shall I guess?”

“I think it is rather apparent.”

“Wickham?”

“Really, Darcy? That was hardly even a challenge to guess.” Fitzwilliam laced his hands behind his head.

“You did not complete your charge, Darcy. You were to recover the egg and return Wickham to use for justice.”

“You are aware that Pemberley hatched in the middle of the process and dealing with a newly hatched dragon rather forestalled all other considerations.”

“It has been more than three months.”

“And of all people, you should be painfully aware of exactly how I have spent those three months in constant care of a dragon with attachment sickness.”

“Wickham needs to be brought to justice. We must know how far his awareness of dragons extends before he has the opportunity to jeopardize another dragon.”

“What Father is dancing about is his hope that you will simply volunteer for the duty now that Georgiana and Miss Elizabeth are available and able to take care of Pemberley in your absence.”

“It would rather simplify matters and it would go a long way to preserve family dignity if the Court did not have to formally order you to complete your assignment.” Uncle Matlock’s glower looked very much like Darcy’s mother’s and Lady Catherine’s.

“I accepted the assignment and I will complete it.” It was not as though he had not already been thinking about it himself.

“When?”

“He’s trying to tell you he wants you to leave immediately.” Fitzwilliam cocked an eyebrow at him.

“Not before the conclave.” Matlock crossed his arms. “And since you seem so intent on conveying my intents and wishes, why do you not go with him. Your position in the Regulars may be of use if Wickham is still rubbing shoulders with the militia.”

Fitzwilliam grumbled. “This is not what I came home for.”

“The Blue Order needs—”

“Supersede everything. I am well aware.”

“I understand the militia has moved to Brighton for training. Viscount Clarington is Colonel of the Regiment and I have asked him to see Wickham is kept close the main body of the regiment. It should be a fairly simple matter to find him.” Darcy said.

“Let us hope you are right, as I have better ways to spend my leave.” Fitzwilliam curled his lip in an expression of disgust.

“Then you agree, you will immediately complete your charge?”

“Yes, sir, I will.”

“If you will just provide that in writing, I believe the Minister of the Court will accept the document and consider the issue closed.” Matlock slid a sheet of paper toward him. “You are fortunate to have such Miss Bennet’s assistance with Pemberley. Suh a shame that her connections are so low.”

No, the real shame was that now he would have to wait until Wickham was managed before he could act upon his regard for her.
 


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May 11 2017

Heir of Rosings Park Ch 5

Heir of Rosing Park iconMary find her patience tried this Sunday.

 

Find additional chapters HERE


 Chapter 5

Sunday came, exactly as it did every week. Mary sat beside Charlotte at the front of the church, exactly as she did every week. The parishioners took their seats exactly as they did every week.

The church looked exactly as it always did too. Stark slate floor. Stark stone walls. Sturdy wooden pews. A few cobwebs hanging in the corners. Windows in need of washing—yes she should probably get to that soon, but these days she could hardly leave Charlotte alone. And dusty window sills. Who could forget those?

There had been a time when Lady Catherine would not have. She would have dragged Charlotte out on Monday morning and overseen her efforts to give the little chapel a proper clean. But those days were probably long gone now.

Mr. Collins moved somberly to the front. Did he enjoy the way all eyes were on him as he paraded past all the pews? Although he loudly professed his humility to all who would listen, it seemed that a man so assured of his humility would necessarily be prideful of it.

One more topic to avoid bringing up with him. It might have made for interesting conversation though.

He climbed into the pulpit and a hush fell over the chapel.

“I publish the Banns of marriage between Graham Allen Michaels of Hunsford parish and Mary Susanna Bennet of Hunsford parish. If any of you know cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in Holy matrimony, ye are to declare it. This is the first time of asking.”

Mary kept her back straight and eyes locked on the dark wood of the pulpit. There was a spot where vicars’ hands had rubbed the wood dark and shiny over decades of preaching. The whispers and cloth-muffled shuffles were too much. She glanced over her shoulder.

Too many people were looking at her. Just as many were scanning the chapel for Michaels. Others looked for the party from Rosings Park.

Colonel Fitzwilliam was in the family pew just across the church from Mary and Charlotte. He sat beside Lady Catherine, but the look on his face suggested he would rather be elsewhere. Mrs. Jenkinson whispered something to her and Lady Catherine cackled loudly.

Mary’s face burned as more whispers coursed through the congregants. It was not so much Lady Catherine’s laugh that troubled her. The woman could not control her own mind nor her behavior. It was what the others might be saying.

Being talked about was intolerable.

Mr. Collins cleared his throat, waited for silence, and returned to the order of service.

“Are you well?” Charlotte whispered, shifting uncomfortably in the pew.

“It will pass. And you?”

“The baby is restless this morning, I fear.” She rubbed her belly.

“Mrs. Grant is here this morning, there at the far side near the window.” Mary pointed with her chin.

“Yes, yes, I will speak with her. You may stop pushing me now. After tea this week, I am quite convinced that I should have a talk with her.”

“I shall then desist and be meek and mild and proper now.” Mary folded her hands in her lap.

“I hardly think that is possible.” Charlotte snickered and ducked her head, fighting to remove the expression from her face.

Mr. Collins would not appreciate it and would likely misunderstand, thinking his wife was laughing at him in church. That did not settle well with him at all. The poor man lacked a discernable sense of humor at most times, and during holy services was the worst.

Charlotte was right though, Mary was unlikely to become meek, mild and proper under any circumstances.

True enough, many thought that of her, but the charade had been impossible to maintain over all the months she had been living with the Collinses. Of course, Mr. Collins was none the wiser, he could hardly see the hand in front of his face. But Charlotte, she understood. Quiet was not the same thing as meek, and reserved did not mean mild. Mary had her fair share of opinions about how things should be. Woe to the one who asked and actually wanted to hear them. She merely held her peace until someone did.

To date though, Charlotte and Mr. Michaels had been the only ones who had.

Mr. Collins dismissed service. Even in the ensuing crowd, Mr. Michaels found her straight away.

“Good morning, Miss Bennet. Pray forgive me, I arrived a little late this morning.”

“Late to services, sir?” Mr. Collins approached from behind them. “That is not at all a desirable behavior. I cannot condone it. Think of the precedent it will set among the parish..”

“I understand, Mr. Collins, and I assure you that it was not by reason of intention or neglect on my part. I was called away for a bit of an emergency—”

“What happened?” Mary edged in front of.Collins.

“Not to worry, the issue is quite resolved, I believe. There was just a small misunderstanding on the road with Lady Catherine.” Michaels glanced over his shoulder toward where Lady Catherine, flanked by Mrs. Jenkinson, held court.

Collins’ face changed entirely, and his initial critical tone dropped. “Is her Ladyship well?”

“I am satisfied that she is. As I said, I was blessed to be able to be of assistance in resolving the matter and no further discussion need be had.” He offered Mary his arm.

“I am most gratified to hear that, sir. Most gratified.” Collins’ eyes wandered to Lady Catherine, slowly making her way past the crowd on Colonel Fitzwilliam’s arm. He nodded at them and ambled off toward them.

“I do hope he can keep his mouth shut.” Michaels muttered under his breath.

“He does seem to upset her as often as not.” Mary bit her lip.

If Lady Catherine became agitated, Mr. Collins would see that everyone at the parsonage would pay for it, whether they were to blame or not.

Michaels leaned very close. “She pitched Fitzwilliam from the carriage. She did not recognize him and refused to permit a strange man to ride in her carriage.”

Mary gasped and pressed a hand to her mouth. “That is the first time I have heard of her not recognizing him.

“I came on them in the road as it was happening. The colonel was naturally agitated, trying to convince her of who he was. It was not a pretty sight.”

“I can imagine.”

“I had the gig, so I offered he should ride with me rather than walk. Perhaps that way it would appear that he and I had attended some estate business prior to arriving and that would quell some of the questions. I can only imagine the gossip if he arrived on foot after she arrived in the carriage.”

“You realize that Mr. Collins does not approve of doing business on a Sunday morning.” Mary peeked over her shoulder. Thankfully Collins was not there.

“He would approve less of the talk of Lady Catherine’s madness.”

“What are you discussing, so low and private?” Charlotte waddled up to them.

“Certainly not what you would expect.” Mary said, with a quick glance toward Lady Catherine.

“Oh,” Charlotte’s smiled faded. “Would you have dinner with us this afternoon, Mr. Michaels? It has been so long since we have enjoyed your company.”

“I should like that very much, thank you.”

Charlotte nodded and wandered away.

“I think I shall follow the carriage back to Rosings just in case there are any more hiccups for the occupants. In any case, I should speak to the Colonel about a few matters—”

She squeezed his arm, a little harder than might be decorous. “It is Sunday. You should rest. You need to, you work far too late into the night and you start far too early in the morning.”

“I fear you are not accustomed to a normal working schedule—”

“I know, the hours my father kept were unusual and not what I should expect in your household. I understand. But I also know that once you begin, it is difficult for you to stop and you will continue well beyond what is healthy.”

“Why do you not come out directly and say it? You expect that I might miss dinner altogether and thus offend the Collinses.”

Mary nodded, but dropped her gaze to her feet.

“And offend you as well?”

She did not respond.

He laid his hand over hers and pressed firmly. “Oh, my dear, you are right, I have been apt to neglect you. The situation at Rosings though has been so overwhelming, it has brought out a level of single-mindedness in me that I know is both a blessing and a curse.”

“Do not think I am being critical of you. I am not. It is pleasing that you work so diligently, and that you are so good at what you do.” But it was difficult to be overlooked consistently for it.

“I am glad you understand. Forgive me, I must leave now. But I shall see you at dinner, and I promise, I will not be late.” Mr. Michaels hurried off.

He always intended to keep his promises. That was true. His intentions were good. But there was a better than average chance that he would be late in spite of them.

He was a good man, the best, even in spite of his distractibility.

It was good that he should be so hard-working and devoted to those he served. Or at least Mr. Collins said so. He certainly tolerated and even encouraged Mr. Michaels in his intensity of focus.

If only she were as sure as he.

Comparing herself to her sisters never brought pleasure, only dissatisfaction. Today was no different. Mr. Darcy’s devotion to Lizzy was the stuff of novels, running after her to rescue her from the clutches of Lady Catherine. And Lydia—who would have thought? She inspired her Mr. Amberson to walk to Pemberley and demand an audience with a man so far above him that they should never have otherwise met.

Apparently passionate tempers like Lizzy and Lydia inspired grand shows of devotion.

Mary’s did not.

But that was not the place to dwell. There was nothing good to be had from it. Michaels cared for her, exactly in the way all conduct books declared he should. He had prepared an excellent settlement and intended to fully provide for her. Complaining about such a man was the height of ingratitude.

 

Poor Mary’s patience is tried this Sunday. Would yours be? Tell me in the comments.


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May 09 2017

The Shocking Lyrics of Lavender’s Blue

Sometimes you run into some really interesting bits when you fall down the research rabbit hole. Not infrequently, the delicious little tidbits don’t fit the story you’re trying to write, but they deserve to be shared nonetheless. Here’s the latest offering.


So, picture the scene: I was just minding my own business, looking for a song my character might sing during a particularly emotional scene. (Sorry guys, no more spoilers than that, but you’ll know it when you see it!) Scrolling through some familiar titles of lullabies and nursery songs when WOW–did I just read that? Absolutly shocking lyrics that I can hardly believe are there. I mean seriously, this is a nursery type song I sang as a kid! Albeit it, without THOSE utterly shocking lyrics.

(Just an aside here, keep in mind I’m researching lyrics from in Regency era, so we’re talking shocking for 1812, not shocking for 2017–but still…)

Unfortunately for my readers–and my poor characters–the song was not at all appropriate for the scene. I am sure they (and probably you) would have rather it had been. But it was too juicy a piece of research to keep to myself. So here it is, they lyrics to:

Lavender’s Blue

Lavender’s blue, diddle diddle
Lavender’s green,
When I am king, diddle diddle
You shall be queen.

Lavender’s green, diddle diddle
Lavender’s blue,
You must love me, diddle diddle
‘Cause I love you.

Down in the vale, diddle diddle
Where flowers grow,
And the birds sing, diddle diddle
All in a row.

A brisk young man, diddle diddle
Met with a maid,
And laid her down, diddle diddle
Under the shade.

There they did play, diddle diddle
And kiss and court.
All the fine day, diddle diddle
Making good sport.

I’ve heard them say, diddle diddle
Since I came hither
That you and I, diddle diddle
Might lie together.

Therefore be kind, diddle diddle
While here we lie,
And you will love, diddle diddle
My dog and I.

For you and I, diddle diddle
Now all are one,
And we will lie, diddle diddle
No more alone.

Lavender’s blue, diddle diddle
Lavender’s green,
Let me be king, diddle diddle
You be the queen.

Lavender’s green, diddle diddle
Lavender’s blue,
You must love me, diddle diddle
‘Cause I love you.


Surprised? I certainly was. The song dates back to the late 1600’s, printed first as a broadsheet  titled “Diddle Diddle Or, The Kind Country Lovers.” In 1805 is was included in Songs for the Nursery sans about 9 verses!

Oh, and for those who will remind me that ‘diddle’ is a word with sexual connotations, those were not recorded until 1879, according to dictionary.com. Perhaps these lyrics helped establish that connotation? Hmmmm, interesting thought.

You can hear the music for this song and learn more about it and other songs HERE.

I guess you really never know where you’ll end up when you fall down the research rabbit hole!

May 06 2017

Reasons # 38: Why writing takes so long

#38 Cat Naps

cat naps

 

 

People ask all the time, how long does it take to write a book. I always reply it depends on a great deal of things like how much research needs to be done, how active the muse is, what’s going on with the family and the cats…

Always the cats.

Ever notice how it seems cats are always napping. Seriously all the time, every day. At least until the invisible goblins come for their souls at 2AM and they race around the place like mindless maniacs. Until then, they are sleeping.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in favor of a good nap as much as the next writer, probably even more so. I’d love to take on now, truth be told, but I digress.  The issue really isn’t that they are napping so much as it is the way, the fuzzy little darlings manage to do it.

And where they nap? Not in the cat beds and baskets conveniently located in nearly every room of the house. No, no, that would be far to easy and convenient.

Any cat companion is fully aware that the cat will nap in precisely the least convenient place possible at any given moment. So, when a nasty thunderstorm is coming and my poor, storm phobic dog wants to hide in her crate, where do we find a cat? Yep, the black cat is curled up in the back of the crate so you only see the green eyes shining out. The poor dog just gives me this look like ‘Really? Mom! Make him get out of my room!”

It’s not just the dog they do this to though. When I have a writing deadline is coming up, or the muse has revved into high gear, they must nap near or on the keyboard.

Because that’s what they do.

Why? Because they are cats.

 

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