Tagged victorian

Coop de Book Review ~ Brother’s Ruin

I know this is a book review, Gentle Reader, but I hope you will forgive me if I do it with my author hat on.

Which is a very floofy hat, mind you.

One of the things I like most about Brother’s Ruin is the way Em layers in her tension points. As we open the book we see two characters standing still in a sea of humanity. Then we learn the first tension point: our heroine,Charlotte, is an artist trying to make it in a man’s world. Then we get the second: the magi stealing children. Then we learn her beloved brother is ill. And then after we return to the comparative safety of home, the punch of a father’s mounting debt.

Now we know Charlotte is weighed down by many burdens: disenfranchisement, secrecy, fear, grief, and financial hardship. These are all identifiable things to most readers, we have all suffered fear and sickness, financial insecurity and societal dismissal as a result of age, sex, gender, personal preferences, or race. (Well, most SF/F readers have.) This makes Charlotte very sympathetic as a character and us, as readers, very invested in seeing her climb her way out of this depressive cess-pit in which she finds herself.

All that in the first 20% of the novella!

As the final straw we see Charlotte’s attempt at her own salvation, an inappropriate but fiscally logical marriage. The modern eye sees this as a flawed choice from the get go, because we (as readers) are trained to prefer our heroine to solve her own problems through strength of ability, not marriage. So we hope this match fails.

At this juncture when the magi appear, Charlotte is then driven into her adventure (heeds the call, if you would).

I’m not going to review further because to do so would give things away, and this is, not really much of a review. Ah well, more me admiring a most excellent set up and highly skilled author. It happens, sometimes I’m more author than reader. I do hope that you, as readers, also enjoyed this book.

Want more?

Well, Em promises more in this series, which I do hope materializes in the meantime…

If you enjoyed this book and are interested in something similar in style, if not exactly the same, I suggest giving Jordan Hawk’s Hex series a try. You can begin with her $0.99 short story to see if you like the world, The 13th Hex. There are two books and another short that follow.

This Month’s Book Pick

Radiance by Grace Draven

~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

{Gail’s monthly read along for May is Radiance by Grace Draven.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: Formatting
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. A maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900 via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr Walking dress, 1900, Europe

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Octopus Shelf In Office

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Why the Octopus Lost Its Shell

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

10 Things You Don’t Know About Authors on Book Tour

Book News:

Running now!

Quote of the Day:

“Writers have no real area of expertise. They are merely generalists with a highly inflamed sense of punctuation.”

~ Lorrie Moore

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Imprudence Extras: How Primrose Stocks an Airship Medical Cabinet

Posted by Gail Carriger

Primrose is particularly good at her job of ship’s purser (and chief of supplies) aboard the Spotted Custard. Although I will say, Gentle Reader, that in Imprudence, Rue rather stretches her dear friend’s abilities in this arena.

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One of Primrose’s jobs consists of stocking the medicine cabinet on board the Spotted Custard. Lady Maccon is rather infamous for insisting that either vinegar or bicarbonate of soda could solve all of life’s ills, however her daughter is a bit more (shall we say) prudent on these matters.

Victorian Medicine Chest

I’ve listed the items as the Victorians might have. [In brackets is the use or perceived use and/or more modern term.] I hope it goes without saying that this is in no way a suggested medical selection for modern times. However, this is the internet, so I’m saying it.

A Household Medicine Cabinet 1870s ~ 1900

1. Powdered ipecacuanha [induce vomiting]
2. Purgative powder [laxative]
3. Sulphate of quinine [malaria treatment]
4. Chlorodyne [chloroform and morphine tincture] & laudanum [opiate in alcohol, often sherry]
5. Carbolic acid [antiseptic]
6. Castor oil [Ricinus]
7. Eno’s fruit salts
8. One bottle each of M’Kesson and Robbin’s compound podophyllin and aloes and myrrh pills [for warts and verrucas, also purgative]
9. Stick of nitrate of silver [antibacterial, often used in eyes for conjunctivitis, skin infections, ulcers]
10. Cholera pills
11. Iodine [used on rashes and wounds]
12. Tabloids of antipyrin and phenacetin [analgesic and antipyretic]
13. Aspirin [willow bark extract]
14. Salicylate of soda [pain relief, for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis]
15. Boracic acid [disinfectant]
16. Cough lozenges
17. Tabloids of grey powder [mercury in calk, mainly purgative and antisyphilitic]
18. Kay’s essence of linseed [coughs and colds]
19. Clean undyed squares of cotton, wool, linen
20. Oiled silk
21. Roll of adhesive plaster
22. Bandages [usually linen]
23. Dressing forceps

Medical Provision and Hygiene

Gail’s Sources:

I drew up this list from a combination of sources:

Foote‘s Medical Common Sense and Plain Home Talk (American 1871)

Southgate’s Things A Lady Would Like to Know (English 1876)

Davidson’s Hints to Lady Travellers (English 1889)

Steel & Gardiner’s The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook (1898, revised). Steel also includes recipes for common ailments, unfortunately not gun shot wounds.

 

via @photosandbacon  Iron Cordial, King of Tonics, 1886 includes a remedy for being female

 

Other Blog Posts on Victorian Health & Medicine

 

via @photosandbacon

 

Now don’t even get me started on Victorian cosmetics.

Advertisement for Fould’s arsenic complexion wafers by H B Fould in New York, 1901. (Photo by Jay Paull_Getty Images)

 

Want more?

Sample the First Chapter of Imprudence!

{Gail’s monthly read along for July is Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Inventor ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Developmental edit. Cover reveal and release date to come.
    LBGT romance featuring a parlormaid bent on seducing a certain cross-dressing inventor who is too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?
  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGT reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.

OUT NEXT
2Imprudence

Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second

Rue and the crew of the Spotted Custard return from India with revelations that shake the foundations of England’s scientific community. Queen Victoria is not amused, the vampires are tetchy, and something is wrong with the local werewolf pack. To top it all off, Rue’s best friend Primrose keeps getting engaged to the most unacceptable military types.

Rue has family problems as well. Her vampire father is angry, her werewolf father is crazy, and her obstreperous mother is both. Worst of all, Rue’s beginning to suspect what they really are… is frightened.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1895 via @AngelaKCouch Twitter Parasol, design c.1895-1900

1895 via @AngelaKCouch Twitter Parasol, design c.1895-1900

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

The Bookworm: Part Bookshelf, Part Cocoon Chair

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Seaside Fashions of the 19th Century

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Overcoming Awkward Fear of the Romance Genre

Book News:

Interview on No Don’t Die

Quote of the Day:

“I expect I shall feel better after tea.”

~ P.G. Wodehouse, Carry on, Jeeves

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!


Victorian Money Means Coins ~ Research Behind Prudence

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

This is one of those blog posts in which I demonstrate the nitty-gritty of research in an aggravatingly nit-picky way. This is an amended reboot from 2012 when I first started writing Prudence.

Read at your own risk.

To protect the guilty I’m not going to name any names, Gentle Reader, and I’d like to state up front that currency is not my expertise.

However, I was reading a book of the alt-historical romantic variety. The hero visits a whore in Victorian London, 1883.

For her pains he “pulled out far more notes than planned and handed them to her.”

I had to put the book down.

It was very upsetting.

Coins vs. Notes in Victorian England

BANK NOTES!

First, bank notes are drawn on a bank more like a cashier’s check (or an IOU) than paper money today, which means the whore in our above example would have to go into a bank to redeem her notes or find herself a very non-suspicious tradesman, in modern times this is a little like trying to break a $1000 bill.

ON YOUR PERSON?

Second, no one regularly carried notes or paid for anything with notes until well after the 1920s. Culturally, no one would carry that much money into the kind of area of London where whore houses are located.

For services people paid with coin, with tradesmen (who handle goods) the wealthy actually paid via their butler or valet or abigail’s coin, or on account, because it was beneath them to physically touch money.

Even, as the author was trying to get across, this was a highly generous gesture, NOT WITH PAPER MONEY HE WOULDN’T.

*HEAVY BREATHING*

We writers all make mistakes. I have made more than my share. And there comes a time when every historical author must stop researching and begin writing (or the book never gets written).

I do understand and believe that some modernization is necessary in alt-history genre fiction because most readers want their books to be fun and entertaining. It is our business, as authors, to provide that first. (Now for genres like historical fiction or biographies this is a different matter. I am speaking in terms of managing expectations.)

BUT IT’S MONEY

However, I do think something as basic as currency should be second knowledge if you are going to write in any alternate time period. It’s like getting the basic clothing terms correct. (In another unnamed steampunk novel, a corset was referred to as a bodice. FYI, both terms are incorrect. At the time, a corset would have been mainly referred to as stays. The bodice is the top part of a dress. Thus, I spent the entire scene confused into thinking the character in question was swanning around with only her torso dressed, rather than entirely in her underthings as was intended. But, I digress . . .)

A corset AKA stays

Godeys July 1872 Bodices

On Victorian Money (from Baedecker’s London 1896)

  • sovereign or pound (gold) = 20 shillings
  • half-sovereign (gold) = 10 shillings
  • crown (silver) = 5 shillings
  • half-crown (silver) = (2 shillings & a six penny piece)
  • double florin (silver – rare) = 4 shillings
  • florin (silver) = 2 shillings
  • shilling (silver & same size as a sovereign) = 12 pennies
  • six penny (silver) = 6 pennies
  • three penny (silver) = 3 pennies
  • penny (bronze) = 4 farthings
  • half penny = 2 farthings
  • farthing
From lot at auction.

 

I know, I know, overly complicated. Think back to that wonderful scene with the money exchange in Room With a View when Cousin Charlotte comes to visit Lucy’s family.

“In England alone of the more important states of Europe the currency is arranged without reference to the decimal system.”
~ Karl Baedeker, 1896

Victorian Money in Terms of Value

In 1896: 1 sovereign was approximately: 5 American dollars, 25 francs, 20 German marks, or 10 Austrian florins.

To reiterate: The Bank of England issued notes for 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 pounds or more. They were generally not used in ordinary life as most people “dealt in coin.” Gentlemen and ladies, when shopping, either had a servant with them to handle the coin (including gratuities & all fares) or paid on credit (AKA account). A shop would then send a bill around to the townhouse at the end of the month on Black Monday, which would be paid by the house steward, accountant, or personal secretary. A gentleman handling his own money is either no gentleman or engaged in nefarious activities like gambling or trade.

Baedeker advises letters of credit (AKA circular notes) drawn on a major bank for travel, to be exchanged for local currency upon arrival. He also advises never carrying a full days worth of coinage about your person.

It’s important, as historical writers, for us to grasp a larger picture – so allow me to attempt to put this into perspective…

Middle class wages per annum 1850-1890:

  • A Bank of England Clerk £75 to £500
  • Civil Service clerk £80 to £200
  • Post Office clerk £90 to £260
  • Senior Post Office clerk £350 to £500

So let’s say a middle class wage was anything from £75 to £500 a year, that’s £1.44 – £9.61 a week for a relatively comfortable lifestyle.

Since there is no £1 note, to “pull out far more notes than planned” as our unnamed author writes above, and give such to a whore, means at least £5 per note. More than one means at least £10. Not only should this character not have been carrying that kind of money, he just tipped that woman better than one week’s salary for the upper middle class to someone who likely could never break that bill, today that’s something on the order of $2,500.

A gentleman of lower standing, say a younger son with a Living could expect something similar to upper middle class £350-500.

Titled or large landed gentry could pull in anything from £1000 to £10,000 a year (what, you thought the 99% was a new thing?).

A dowry for landed country gentry’s daughter of few means would be about £100 a year.

Still, even the highest aristocrat wouldn’t tip in notes, ever. If for no other reason than it’s the kind of thing the neuvo riche, or An American might do. (It’s worth noting that poor were a great deal poorer, earning shillings per week or less.)

Later on, this same author writes “cost me twenty quid to delay matters” of bribing a coroner to delay a funeral. That’s a heavy bribe, about $5000. I couldn’t find any information on coroner’s pay in Victorian times (the job was either uncommon, not yet official, or went by another name) so let’s say grave digger, which is well below middle class, so a £20 bribe would probably be about a year’s income for the man.

End of Rant

A Budget from !9th Century Historical Tidbits

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Or should I say “out of my chest”? Chink chink.

So, if you have a Victorian setting (really, anything up through the 1920s) what do we pay with?

Yes, that’s right children, coins!

This is also a rather depressingly clear indication of how Gail Carriger spends her weekends. I am such a dork.

“I may be a chump, but it’s my boast that I don’t owe a penny to a single soul – not counting tradesmen, of course.”
~ Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

How does this relate to Prudence?

Well might you ask. What I had to do (or thought I had to do) was determine the conversion rate between pounds and rupees traveling from England to India in 1895.

Unfortunately, Baedecker didn’t write for India.

What I ended up having to do was make some very loose estimations based on the above assumptions of middle class wages and the information I could source, which was monthly accounts for a household of four living in India on a diplomat’s wage between 1880 and 1897 (something on the order of £500 per annum). Here’s my fun chart:

Here’s hoping the above was, if not fun, at least informative or, if you yourself are an author, helpful.

Prudence by Gail Carriger

Pip pip!

{Gail’s monthly read along for January The Raven’s Ring by Patricia Wrede. You do not have to have read any other Lyra books.}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Octopus Candle Holder

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Knickerbockers for Women: From Under the Hiking Skirts to the Fad of the Hour

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
“Writing my books I enjoy. It is the thinking them out that is apt to blot the sunshine from my life.”
― P.G. Wodehouse

Book News:
Sam of ARC Review says of Manners & Mutiny: “While I’m having a hard time letting these characters go, I won’t forget the mayhem they caused, and the joy they gave me as a reader.”

Quote of the Day:
“Da Silva announced his intention of settling in the library to commune with his muse. Curtis, feeling sorry for the muse, said that he preferred to explore the house and acquaint himself with its features.”
~ Think of England by KJ Charles

Gail’s fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

A Very Alexia Christmas

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Reminder! There is a poll going right now here on this blog, just to your left. See it? Just there. Sadly not mobile friendly. Someday blogspot will allow incorporated polls, but until then I apprciate your humoring them, and me.
~ Gail

And now for the blog…

Lady Maccon, as some of you may well know, is rather fond of comestibles. Thusly, the holiday season is one of great joy to her ~ from a food standpoint if nothing else. (The shopping, it must be admitted, she could do without. Her sisters are overly enthusiastic on the subject.) However, she has some tips for coping with the holidays Victorian-style.

1. Mincemeat pie. Sounds awful, looks revolting, tastes spectacular. The Americans have sadly neglected this part of their British heritage but there is much to be said for meat soaked in alcohol and then encased in pastry. If unwilling to venture in the mincemeat direction, how about exploring the fine art of Christmas Pudding? (AKA Plum Pudding ~ and no, there are no plums involved, don’t ask.) A dense fruity cake that is covered in alcohol and then set on fire. Fantastic.

Via NPR

2. Cloth wrapped presents. Instead of paper, why not invest in some fabric remnants from a craft shop or colorful little scarves from a thrift store, and then tie with a ribbon? All the fun of unwrapping, none of the waste, and perhaps it will encourage others to reuse as well. As an added bonus cloth wrappers can be used as emergency clean-up towels for the inevitable alcohol-related spill (see: inebriation caused by over-consumption of Christmas Pud, above.)

3. Roast goose. Benefits? Well, a goose is bigger than a turkey and more mean-spirited. Have you ever met a goose? The only bird nastier is a swan and, unfortunately, swans are protected by Queen Victoria. Thus goose consumption gives one a sense of self-righteousness and satisfaction all rolled into one.

Roast Goose with Giblet Stuffing

4. Frills and lace. Perhaps not a particular favorite amongst gentlemen for themselves (unless one is of a Lord Akeldama inclination) but for the ladies… Donning a pretty frock and perhaps a corset is bound to make one feel better ~ a little constricted but definitely better. On the other hand nothing (I am convinced) is funnier than a werewolf with a doily on his head.

5. Which brings us back around to drinkies. Lord Akeldama suggests a Pink Slurp (champagne & blood) but he’s a vampire and they have questionable pallets. Alexia recommends substituting blackberry cordial for the blood, resulting in a truly excellent and festive drink. Alternatively, for those particularly cold nights, one might opt for mulled wine, which can be a most excellent way to disguise the quality of one’s vino. And one can never go wrong with hot apple cider.

Bottoms up!

Lord A at Christmas nennesis via tumblr

Queen Victoria and Her Grandson dine in 1899.
Victorian Christmas

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1915 British Paintings tumblr Fashion 1915

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Queen Victoria’s children photographed by Roger Fenton in Tableaux of the Seasons, 1854.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Zeppelin: Aboard ‘the hotel in the sky’

Your Writerly Tinctures . . . 
Literary Advent Calendar

PROJECT ROUND UP 

  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Edit pass. Releases July 19, 2016 in print & eBook to US.
  • Secret Project Novella 1 ~ Gail’s first foray into hybrid land. Working rough draft.



Gail Carriger’s Books! 

 The Finishing School Series (1850s ~ completed)
1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies,
3 Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny

 

The Parasol Protectorate Series (1870s ~ completed)
1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless

 The Custard Protocol Series (1890s ~ ongoing)
1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence (July 19, 2016)

Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels (1870s)
 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister’s Song; Fairy Debt;

Book News:
Kristina of All Things Urban Fantasy says: “Manners & Mutiny is a wonderfully action packed and fun end to a very unique series. One thing I loved about this book was how it so neatly melds into the Parasol Protectorate series as a precursor to that series’ story.”

Quote of the Day:
“A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money.  Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.”
~ P.J. O’Rourke

Follow Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Historical Questions for Ladies 1853

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

If you were a respectable young lady in the Victorian Era, Gentle Reader, here are a few conversation topics you might be expected to have words on.  This is the kind of thing Lady Linette might instruct the girls of Mademoiselle Geraldine’s with, in order to adequately prepare them for societal integration.

Historical Question for Ladies

(Taken principally from the Reign of Queen Victoria.)

  • What do you mean by the “Crush-Room of the Opera;” and why is it so called?
  • When did gigot sleeves go out of fashion, and did such sleeves have anything to do with the popular French phrase of “Revenons à nos Moutons?”
  • What do you mean by “Crochet Work”? and can you set the pattern for ladies of “How to make a purse for your brother?”
  • Who edited the “Book of Beauty?” and mention a few of the aristocratic names whose portraits have had the honour of appearing in its splendid pages.
  • Can you describe the habits and haunts of the “Swedish Nightingale?” and can you mention the highest note it ever reached, and also why it sang in a Haymarket?
  • State the name of the “Bohemian nobleman” who first brought over the Polka to England.
  • In what year of VICTORIA’S reign was the celebrated Bal Costumé given at Buckingham Palace? and describe the dress that HER MAJESTY wore on that interesting occasion.
  • Give the names of the principal singers who distinguished themselves at the two Italian Operas during the rival administrations of GYE and LUMLEY, and describe the nature of the feud that existed between those two great men.
  • Give a description of “Pop Goes the Weasel,” and state all you know about the “Weasel,” and what was the origin of his going “Pop.”   
  • Who succeeded WIGAN in the Corsican Brothers? Mention the names of the principal watering-places, and say which was considered
  • the more fashionable of the two—Margate, or Gravesend?
  • When did flounces come into fashion, and state the lowest and the highest number a lady could wear?
  • Describe the position of Chiswick—and give a short account of its Gardens, and the Fêtes that were held there every year.
  • What were the duties of the Ladies of the Bedchamber, and in what respects did they differ from the Maids of Honour at Richmond?
  • Mention the names of the most delicious novels that were published between the years 1840 and 1853, and name the character and scene that pleased you the most.
  • Whose gloves do you consider were the best? What was the last elopement that created any sensation at Gretna Green?
  • State who was Jullien? Also, whether he had anything to do with the soup that bears his celebrated name?

~ Mostly garnered from the Ladies Home Journal, 1853

Finishing School for Modern Women to Debut in September

{Gail’s monthly read along for October is Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

The Delineator Magazine, July 1914. Illustration by Carl Kleinschmidt
(via beautifulcentury & dejavuteam)

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

SICILY, SYRACUSE- AR LITRA — ARETHUSA_OCTOPUS 466-460 BC Diameter- 13.1 mm Weight- 0.67 grams Obverse- Pearl-diademed head of Arethusa right; ΣVPA before Reverse- Octopus

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Yixing teapot Exhibition at the Tea Institute

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Movies That Are Better Than Their Bookish Inspirations

PROJECT ROUND UP 

  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! In production.
  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Just running long, I don’t want to talk about it.



The Books! 

 The Custard Protocol Series
 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series
1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister’s Song; Fairy Debt;

Book News:
Yasmin of Ler e Imaginar says of In Innocence? (Portuguese Changeless)
“For those who enjoy a good book, with characters that are beyond the standard, you need to know as soon as the series The Protectorate of Umbrella.”

Quote of the Day:

Gail’s fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

A Conflagration of Research

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Today my dear Gentle Reader, I have a collection of stuff (all the stuff!) I thought might be of interest. Have fun!

Some stuff about the Victorians and Food!

Two of my most favorite subjects rolled together like a pig in a blanket.

 “As, for the fashionable, dinner moved later, after-dinner tea was no longer necessary to bridge the gap until bedtime. Instead it moved forward, to fill in the longer period between luncheon (which in families without children was a light meal) and dinner, and to greet the office worker on his return home. This took time to be assimilated. In the 1850s the Carlyles still invited people to tea after dinner, at about seven o’clock: this was thriftier than having them for the meal itself, and made an evening entertainment.”
~ The Victorian House by Judith Flanders

“It is well, while at table, to avoid any discussion of the demerits of the dishes. On the other hand, you may praise them as much as you please.”
~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864) 

“For a large company, a table with tea, coffee, and cakes, may be set in the ladies-room, women being in attendance to supply the guests with those refreshments before they go down.”
~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

“Eliza Acton, in her cookery books at the beginning of the century, was the first person to write a recipe more or less as we would recognize today, by separating out the ingredients from the method, which no one that thought of doing before. No longer was a cook told to take ‘some flour’ or ‘enough milk’, but now quantities and measures were introduced.”
~ The Victorian House by Judith Flanders

Les Modes Parisiennes Date-  Thursday, March 1, 1855 Item ID-  v. 37, plate 52

Matters of Etiquette

“When you purchase an umbrella, desire that, before sending it home, your name be engraved on the little plate at the termination of the handle, or else on the slide. “To make assurance doubly sure,” you may get the name painted in full in small white or yellow letters on the inside of one of the gores of silk.”
~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

Robe à Transformation  1855  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Random Moments of What?

A bunch of fun Victorian Photo Resources:

 

On the classic Victorian concept of the sickly maiden or spinster:

“Illness was a way of putting achievement definitively out of reach. This is not a twentieth-, or twenty-first-century interpretation of nineteenth-century situation. Her brother Henry wrote later that ‘tragis health was, in a manner, the only solution for her of the practical problem of life’.”
~ The Victorian House by Judith Flanders

“The English are “starved with cold”—Americans only starve with hunger.”
~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864) 

Le Bon Ton Date-  Tuesday, July 1, 1856 Item ID-  v. 38, plate 65

And some fashion links!

Alfred Stevens (Belgian artist, 1828-1906) In the Country (with a parasol)

“Every lady should own a small light umbrella, or else a very large parasol, of extra size, covered with strong India silk that will not easily tear or fade, and that may be used, on occasion, for either sun or rain; and that will not be cumbrous to carry, though quite large enough to shelter one person.”
~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

{Gail’s monthly read along for October is Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1Columbian Magazine Date-  Monday, September 1, 1845

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Adorable Tea Bag Cookies

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Steampunk Your Pumpkin This Halloween

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
How to Undress a Victorian Lady in Your Next Historical Romance

PROJECT ROUND UP 

  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! In production.
  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft. Running over. Argh!



Gail Carriger’s Books! 

 The Finishing School Series (1850s ~ completed)
1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies,
3 Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny

The Parasol Protectorate Series (1870s ~ completed)
1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless

 The Custard Protocol Series (1890s ~ ongoing)
 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence (forthcoming)

Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels (1870s)
 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister’s Song; Fairy Debt;

Book News:
Violet Owl says of Etiquette & Espionage: “The fast-paced action is sure to excite any reader, and the relationships Sophronia cultivates sends some very positive messages to young readers.”

Quote of the Day:

“But when the time comes that a man has had his dinner, then the true man comes to the surface.”

~ Mark Twain

Gail’s fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Teapot Carrier ~ AKA the Carriage Cozy

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Some time ago, Gentle Reader, a dear friend gifted me with a teapot carrier. At first, when I saw it I was confused. Why would she give me one of those 1950’s hair dryer cases?

Then I opened it up and inside was a perfectly nested teapot!

The teapot is modern, from Cost Plus, but I believe it came with the carrier when she bought it at the Alameda Antiques Fair.

Whenever I tweet about this carrier it gets lots of attention and interest, so I thought I would do a little research. Because I have a deadline, and a book I should be writing instead, why not investigate tea carriers?

The Relevant Tea Leaf has a blog post on the tea cozy including a mention of carriers.

“I’ve read different accounts for its use.   The term ‘Carriage Cozy’ came about because it carried the tea and  teapot by carriage – perhaps to a picnic.  It is said servants also used this cozy to carry the tea and teapot  from the downstairs kitchen to  their employers upstairs.  The cozy made transport easier, protected the porcelain teapot, and most importantly it kept the tea warm.” ~ Phyllis Barkey

The Relevant Tea Leaf’s Carrier

Apparently, these carriers are still made in Holland.

It is hard to see how they would be useful if filled with tea at the time of transport. Surely it would slosh out and dampen the interior of the case? Perhaps they came with is a cap or cork for the spout?

The Tea Blog of the English Tea Store has a discussion on cozies too. They refer to this specific style of cozy as the Western Style Carriage Cozy.

Source mentioned above.

“A style of traveling, or carriage, cozy that may be more familiar to Western tea drinkers is fashioned of cloth on a metal or wood frame, with a handle and a clip to hold it closed. The teapot is nestled into the deep padding.  These may have been used as far back as Victorian times for carrying tea to friends’ homes. Nowadays tea drinkers probably don’t carry them much further than the back yard. I’ve used mine a couple of times and it’s very efficient at keeping tea hot, although somewhat awkward once on the table.” ~ teaguide

via MilnerMercantile on Etsy

MilnerMercantile on Etsy refers to their listing of a carriage cozy as Vintage item from the 1960s. I wouldn’t be surprised if mine is also from around that time period. It doesn’t have the feel of being much older (I’ve my materials archaeologist hat on when I say this). And while mine is in much worse condition (one of the reasons I don’t mind using it) it has the same clasp, handle style, and general shape as the above example.

Listing

This hatbox shaped one turned up on Etsy and sold for $43. So they do seem to become available eventually.

The following carriage cozy is listed as being from the 1930s. I do love the little feet. But I am beginning to question the dates on these puppies as they seem all over the place.

Etsy listing.

While this one below was listed as a Victorian Horse Carriage Teapot Cozy or Caddy.

Again the clasps and styles are all so very similar that the archaeologist in me seriously questions the dating on these cozies. I’d love to see an advertisement in a dated magazine, or a fashion plate or photograph or something showing these with a sustainable date and provenance. Although in the closed position they look so much like a large purse or hatbox it would be hard to find due to miss categorization, methinks. That said, in all my research into Victorian times and travel journals I have never seen image or mention of a carriage cozy. (My research being confined to 1830-1900.)

Yes, they look Victorian, and the temptation is to want them to be from that time period but I think it more likely that they are post turn of the century at the very least. Although the lined wicker/basket ones certainly can be earlier.

Auction item.

The above is listed as 19th/Early 20th Century and that certainly correct to dating the pot inside it. Ceramics I do know a thing or two about.

It looks like you can snap this red one up right now for $43 out of Canada, if you like. Look at the little cap for the spout!

“In good vintage condition this teapot carrier was used in days gone by to keep tea warm while traveling in a carriage or going to a picnic. There is a small matching accessory that goes over the spout so the tea doesn’t spill. Clean condition. Metal closure. Stands about 14 ” with handle. About 12″ wide and 10″ deep. Unique conversation piece. Tea pot not included.”

{Gail’s monthly read along for August is My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Follet Date-  Saturday, June 1, 1844 Item ID-  v. 28, plate 77

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

My new mug.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
8 Crazy Facts about Octopuses

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

PROJECT ROUND UP 

  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! In production.
  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.



The Books! 

 The Custard Protocol Series
 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series
1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister’s Song; Fairy Debt;

Book News:
Le Monde de Mara says of Waistcoats & Weaponry: “J’ai retrouvé Sophronia avec plaisir, comme on retourne une jeune soeur ou une jeune cousine un peu farfelue. Ce tome 3 prend place quasiment que dans un train, durant un voyage vers l’Ecosse.”

Quote of the Day:
“One of the drawing-rooms was ‘draped’ in a way that was quite painfully aesthetic, considering the paucity of the draperies. The flower-pot were draped, and the lamps; there were draperies round the piano-legs, and round the clock; and there there were not draperies there were bows, all of the same scanty description. The only thing that had not made an effort to clothe itself was the poker and by contrast it looked very nude.”
~ A disgusted visitor describes a drawing-room in the Victorian era via The Victorian House by Judith Flanders

Gail’s fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

1811 ~ Alternate Historical Names for Clothing

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

1811 ~ Alternate Historical Names for Clothing

  • Togs ~ Clothes
  • Articles or Inexpressibles ~ Underthings, sometimes Breeches
  • Farting crackers or Galligaskins ~ Breeches
  • Buntlings ~ Petticoats
  • Fallalls ~ Ornaments, chiefly woman’s, such as ribands, necklaces, etc.
  • India wipe ~ A silk handkerchief
  • Specked whiper ~ A coloured handkerchief
  • Knuckle-dabd, or knuckle-confounders ~ Ruffles
  • Brogue ~ A particular kind of shoe without a heel, worn in Ireland
  • Rum nab ~ A good hat
  • An old ewe, drest lamb fashion ~ an old woman, drest like a young girl
  • A well-rigged frigate ~ a well-dressed wench
1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

“A button broke as we were fastening out collar – indeed, a button always does break when you are in a hurry and nobody to sew it on.”

~ Around the Tea Table by T. De Witt Talmage (1875) 

{Gail’s monthly read along for July is: Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

via antique-royals tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Octopus Mosaics Snap! comparing ancient mosaics

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Macarons: Everything Old is New, but Different, Again.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
A Tasting Menu of Female Representation

PROJECT ROUND UP 

  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! In production.
  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.



The Books! 

 The Custard Protocol Series
 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series
1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister’s Song; Fairy Debt;

Book News:
Michael Senft of Zine on Prudence, “Fans of Jane Austen, P.G. Wodehouse and Connie Willis will love this irreverent adventure story…”

Quote of the Day:
“The suspicion started that she laced to tight.”
~ Around the Tea Table, by T. De Witt Talmage (1875)

Follow Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Prudence Extras ~ India Research

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Prudence is out now, and here, Gentle Reader, is some insight into the research behind her first fateful adventure.

While I was writing this installment in the Custard Protocol series, I did a lot of research and jotted down a number of things about India in 1895 that didn’t make it into the book. I also collected some fun inspirational images. I thought you would enjoy a glimpse into what wasn’t used…

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple 1880s
Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India.
Photograph of the gopurams of the Ranganatha temple at Srirangam, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1880s, from an album of 62 views of India and Ceylon. The Ranganatha temple is a Vaishnava complex situated on the artificial island of Srirangam in the Cauvery River near Tiruchirapalli.
(via Blog on vishnu temples)

Alternate Meets History Notes

  • After the mutiny of 1858 the East India Company’s rule in India was replaced by the Crown.
  • In my world the SAD treaty is enacted at this time. Rue will come up against this treaty in her journey, so I will not explain further here.
  • The crown set up a Viceroy and a Secretary of State for India with an advisory council of 15 people. 50% of whom lived in India for 10+ years, 8 nominated by the Crown, 7 by the Company.

 

“Crisis in Baghdad”
featuring the newest technology – a camel mounted gatling gun
supported in the latest in airpower.
(From Harper Weekly 1882)

 

  • Troop transport in 1902 from Southampton to Bombay took 21 days. Floating was a much easier way to get there, but couldn’t be used to transport vast numbers of troops and equipment.
Sikh soldiers of 29th Indian Infantry Brigade 1915 via British Paintings tumblr

 

  • Bombay is the oldest of the Presidencies. It became part of the UK in a dowry when Catherine of Braganza married Charles II.
  • Bombay had an excellent natural harbor, but was not well placed for trade with China.
  • The hinterland was (and mostly remained) dominated by fierce Marathas. Very warlike. Some Maratha women still wear saris caught up between their legs to reflect the days when they fought alongside the menfolk. Excellent horsewomen: sword and matchlock.
  • Steam liner travel in 1840 opened Bombay up as a port via the Suez and railway made it accessible to the rest of India.
  • 1859 one solder writes: “Bombay is the worse station in India, nothing to do here save die.” (There was a major military hospital at Deolali.)
  • By 1880 Bombay is a communication hub.

 

Raja Wazir Singh of Faridkot 1900

 

  • I had intended to have Primrose have a flirtation with one of the locals. Much to Rue and Percy’s very imperialistic shock and horror. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for this plot line. Here is a section I clipped to inspire Prim’s adoration (from a letter home by a young Victorian lady abroad regarding the tempting masculinity around her).


“… grand-looking men, generally tall and brawny, with high cheek-bones and gold rings in their ears. They are more of a walnut than a mahogany brown and many of them are not much darker that a dark Englishman; they are the most masculine looking creatures I have ever seen and, oddly enough, their earrings and the straight petticoat they wear reaching their ankles makes them look more masculine still, as they accentuate their bold faces and their stride. For looks they beat any race of men I have ever seen, especially when they are clean shaved. I really must stop this rigmarole now…”
~ rapturous letter from Violet Jacob, a Scotswoman married to an Irish officer in the 20th Hussars, writing from Mhow 1895 impressed with the Punjabi soldiers, as quoted by Holmes.

  • At the end of the 19th century the Indian silver rupee went into a gold exchange standard at a fixed rate of 1 rupee to one shilling and fourpence in British currency, or 15 rupees to 1 pound sterling.
  • Here are some of my spreadsheet notes on cost comparisons then and now. This is the kind of thing I do for fun.  I wanted to see how expensive it might be to live in India in the style of an upper class Victorian family, with all the ridiculous grandeur that entailed.

 

 

  • I kind of got obsessed with the money conversion issue and spent too much time trying to calculate it out to better understand what was going on. I never used any of this in the book, but I learned a great deal.

 

British_Indian_Empire_1909_Imperial_Gazetteer_of_India

 

  • Skulduggery in Bengal – Assistant Superintendent of Dehra Dun in the North Western Provinces, and his dishonest conduct – recommendation of his dismissal from the Bengal Civil Service, 1876
  • The Old Foodie goes to India from some recipes involving coconut.
  • My favorite is the Calcutta, Receipt for Curry. “A teaspoonful of turmeric, a tablespoonful of coriander-seed, a tablespoonful of poppy-seed, half a teaspoonful of ginger, a quarter of a teaspoonful of red chilli, half a teaspoonful of cumin-seed, all well pounded; mix the powder with three ounces of butter, and fry it with two sliced onions for ten minutes. Cut up a young fowl; put it into the pan, and simmer for a quarter of an hour; add the milk of one cocoa-nut and a salt-spoonful of salt, stir well, and simmer a quarter of an hour longer; stir in the juice of half a lime or a lemon, and serve, with plain boiled rice in a separate dish.” ~ Cre-Fydd’s family fare (London, 1864)

I think that too much more and I would be giving things away about the book. But I am hoping these bits and bobs were enjoyable.

{Gail’s monthly read along for April is The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Romy Schneider as Sissi in Ludwig via fawnvelveteen tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Lilliput My Sunbeam

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Chair that can transform into multiple configurations to maximize comfort

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
The 12 Most Quotable Lines of Pride and Prejudice

PROJECT ROUND UP 

  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! Awaiting proofs.
  • Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First. OUT NOW!
  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.



The Books! 

 The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
 The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
Sarah Bruch of SF Crows Nest says of Waistcoats & Weaponry: “This book is filled with Carriger’s usual mix of whimsy and steampunk. It shouldn’t work but, somehow, it really does.”

Quote of the Day:
“I watched in wonderment as all stone and a half of Signor thumped into the Marshal’s lap and tea-cozied up, purring even louder.”
~ Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

A Very Alexia Christmas

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Miss Tarabotti, as some of you may well know, is rather fond of comestibles. Thusly, the holiday season is one of great joy to her ~ from a food standpoint if nothing else. (The shopping, it must be admitted, she could do without. Her sisters are overly enthusiastic on the subject.) However, she has some tips for coping with the holidays Victorian-style.

1. Mincemeat pie. Sounds awful, looks revolting, tastes spectacular. The Americans have sadly neglected this part of their British heritage but there is much to be said for meat soaked in alcohol and then encased in pastry. If unwilling to venture in the mincemeat direction, how about exploring the fine art of Christmas Pudding? (AKA Plum Pudding ~ and no, there are no plums involved, don’t ask.) A dense fruity cake that is covered in alcohol and then set on fire. Fantastic.

Via NPR

2. Cloth wrapped presents. Instead of paper, why not invest in some fabric remnants from a craft shop or colorful little scarves from a thrift store, and then tie with a ribbon? All the fun of unwrapping, none of the waste, and perhaps it will encourage others to reuse as well. As an added bonus cloth wrappers can be used as emergency clean-up towels for the inevitable alcohol-related spill (see: inebriation caused by over-consumption of Christmas Pud, above.)

3. Roast goose. Benefits? Well, a goose is bigger than a turkey and more mean-spirited. Have you ever met a goose? The only bird nastier is a swan and, unfortunately, swans are protected by Queen Victoria. Thus goose consumption gives one a sense of self-righteousness and satisfaction all rolled into one.

Roast Goose with Giblet Stuffing

4. Frills and lace. Perhaps not a particular favorite amongst gentlemen for themselves (unless one is of a Lord Akeldama inclination) but for the ladies… Donning a pretty frock and perhaps a corset is bound to make one feel better ~ a little constricted but definitely better. On the other hand nothing (I am convinced) is funnier than a werewolf with a doily on his head.

5. Which brings us back around to drinkies. Lord Akeldama suggests a Pink Slurp (champagne & blood) but he’s a vampire and they have questionable pallets. Alexia recommends substituting blackberry cordial for the blood resulting in a truly excellent and festive drink. Alternatively, for those particularly cold nights, one might opt for mulled wine, which can be a most excellent way to disguise the quality of one’s vino. And one can never go wrong with hot apple cider.

Bottoms up!

Lord A at Christmas nennesis via tumblr

 Queen Victoria and Her Grandson dine in 1899.

{What is Gail’s Book Group reading for December? Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1915 British Paintings tumblr Fashion 1915

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Queen Victoria’s children photographed by Roger Fenton in Tableaux of the Seasons, 1854.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Zeppelin: Aboard ‘the hotel in the sky’

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Cool Tools for Writers

PROJECT ROUND UP 

Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last Releases November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order. Edits stage.

Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First Release date March 17, 2015 now available for pre-order! 


The Books! 

 The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
 The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
To Each Their Own says of Waistcoats & Weaponry, “I devoured this book from start to finish forgetting that I had to write a review of it. I *loved* it. I laughed, I shook my head at the antics and I *bawled* at one point. Huge, gasping, sobs.”

Quote of the Day:
“A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money.  Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.”
~ P.J. O’Rourke

Follow Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

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