Researching The Enigma Project & Victorian Spies for Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


So when I was doing research for the Finishing School series, Gentle Reader, I did a bunch of research into the Enigma Project.

It totally fascinated me (yes I’ve watched the various movies). Not a lot ended up making it into the books, but here is a peek at the vocabulary notes I took.

My first copy of Manners & Mutiny arrives in the office.


You can determine for yourself, Gentle Reader, what was actually utilized in the series.

  • Clandestine
  • Station X
  • Dispatches
  • Code Name
  • Cypher
  • Deception
  • Sensitive Information
  • Restrictions
  • Security
  • Secrets
  • Top Secret
  • Agent Provocateurs
  • Intelligencers
  • Unauthorized Disclosure
  • Compromise
  • Seal of the Confessional
  • Resources
  • Personnel Department
  • Protective Security
  • Vetting for Government Installation
  • Counter Espionage
  • Counter Insurgency
  • Domestic Surveillance
  • Registry

And then at the bottom in big letters I have scrawled:

Clandestine Scientific Information Act of 1885

Of course I ended up cutting the “Scientific” because that made it the CIA. And I can’t resist stuff like that.

the-vortexx-tumblr Victorian slang terms you never knew existed


More Resources on Victorian Spies


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The Book Nut says of Etiquette & Espionage: “Carriger has a way with this genre that makes it seem much more effortless than other authors who have tried the same.”


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Bon Ton Date-  Tuesday, March 1, 1853 Item ID-  v. 36, plate 31

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
19 Brilliant Umbrellas That Will Make Rainy Days Fun

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Female Spy: Mata Hari

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
8 Badass Ladies Who Changed Literature Forever

Quote of the Day:
“This is Waycross, after all—sneaking around in dark alleys is practically the national sport.”
~ Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald, By Honor Betray’d

Historical Questions for Victorian Ladies 1853 (Finishing School Special Extras)

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}


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

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:

A Conflagration of Research: Victorians & Food, Etiquette, Photo Resources (Finishing School Behind the Magic)

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.”

Food Apricot Pie Germany Colmar 2013

~ 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


Food Gail Carriger Flowers Hat Candied Orange Peal

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)

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup


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

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

Alternate Historical Names for Clothing in the Victorian Era (Finishing School Special Extras)

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}


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

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)

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Announcing the Final Cover Art for Manners & Mutiny!

Posted by Gail Carriger


Here, at last Gentle Reader, is the finalized cover art for the last Finishing School book, Manners & Mutiny.

When a dastardly Pickleman plot comes to fruition, only Sophronia can save her friends, her school, and all of London… but at what cost? Our proper young heroine puts her training and skills to the test in this highly anticipated conclusion of the rousing, intriguing, and always polished New York Times bestselling Finishing School series!


~ ~ ~

I’m delighted with the final cover. Those of you familiar with the first (leaked & unfinished) cover can see the background has changed to be much more bold and linear. To me the vertical striations (la, would you look at me trotting out an old favorite archaeology term?) foreshadow tears at ending of a series, but also the chronic rain of Sophronia’s moor, not to mention certain other key events in this, the final book.

From my end, this book is finished. I’ve handed in proofs and while there might be a bit more back-and-forthing over perfecting publicity language and which sample chapters to drop, essentially my end is done.

Can you believe it? That’s two series in the bag, Gentle Reader. Two! Squee!


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Conseiller des Dames Date-  Wednesday, June 1, 1853 Item ID-  v. 36, plate 53

A fashion plate from Sophronia’s time.

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Political Spying in 20th-century Britain

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
“I can’t help but to write, I have a inner need for it. If I’m not in the middle of some literary project, I’m utterly lost, unhappy and distressed. As soon as I get started, I calm down.”
~ Kaari Utrio


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:
So Many Books, So Little Time says: “Waistcoats & Weaponry was such brilliant fun that I didn’t want to end. Bring on book four!”

Quote of the Day:
“Books are my types of movies.”
~ Six Word Memoirs

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

Secret Layers, Cover Art & the New York Times for the Finishing School Books

Posted by Gail Carriger


Hello my darling Gentle Reader, you’ll notice the blog was a tad scarce last week. I’d apologize but I was away having way too much fun, and one should never apologize or excuse a really good time. I took myself off to some lovely hills and beautiful trees (and a bit of bad weather) to hole up in a super secret evil genius layer and write like the wind. I wanted to see how much I could do without distractions (from 4-8k a day, it turns out). Even though I cannot afford to repeat the process often, it was really good for me on an emotional level, and I learned a lot about myself as a writer. Also, I wrote a scene so funny I made myself cry ~ that NEVER happens. I look forward to seeing what you think of it, next year sometime.


Things That Happened While I Was Away

  1. Little Brown dropped the (not quite finished) cover art and announced the release date (November 3, 2015) of the final Finishing School Book: Manners & Mutiny.
  2. I update my FAQ!
  3. Borderlands Books was saved (for a year at least).
  4. AND the Finishing School made #7 on the New York Times Series list! (That’s super hard to make.)

This last was an unexpected pleasure… no really. My agent actually did a blog post about why this is such a surprise. It was due to the $1.99 ebook promotion, thanks so much to all of you who jumped on it. I know many already had the books and simply bought it in ebook to have a backup copy. You are the tea beneath my wings!

If you are wondering where the customary beginning of the month book review is, I dropped it over into the discussion on Goodreads. I’ll likely do that again on occasion, to give me more space in this blog, and because not everyone is interested in reading reviews.

{Gail’s monthly read along for March is Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff.}

Book News:
I have a wiki!

Quote of the Day:
Hilarity in misspelling: martial your tropes. (Although, toupees would be even funnier.)

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Steampunk Names & 1811 Professions (Finishing School Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


I don’t mean to be cagey, Gentle Reader, but tomorrow I have fun times here on the blog. Yes indeed, exciting stuff. Meanwhile, I give you this little gem off the Finishing School Tumblr:

And if you like, once you pick your name you can pick your profession…

1811 Slang Terms for Professions

  • Author ~ Quill
  • Brewer ~ Bung
  • Butler ~ Pantler
  • Coachman ~ Whip
  • Drummer ~ Sheepskin fiddler, Tormentor of sheepskin
    Fiddler ~ String, Gut scraper, Tormentor of catgut
  • Maid ~ Cinder garbler
  • Match-maker ~ Flesh broker
  • Parson ~ Spiritual flesh broker
  • Pimp ~ Cock bawd (A male keeper of a bawdy-house)
    Player ~ Buskin
  • Schoolmaster ~ Bum brusher, Haberdasher of pronouns

via the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1818 Tuesday, September 1 La Belle Assemblees v. 6, plate 40

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Berg Table Light by Northern Lighting

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Chimney Humidifier designed by Takeshi Ishiguro

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:
Clarissa’s Bookshelf says of Etiquette & Espionage, “Carriger strikes a deft balance between arch humor and strong storytelling. Like Wodehouse and Wilde, she engages us in her characters’ lives while seeming to mock them, and even draws out unexpected moments of pathos.”

Quote of the Day:

“As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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