Tagged Victorian Culture

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

Teapot Carrier ~ AKA the Carriage Cozy with Victorians On the Go (Special Extras)

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!

I thought, “My my my, Primrose would LOVE this!”

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.


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}


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 . . .  

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

Victorian Slang for Lord Akeldama (Parasol Protectorate Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


1811 Slang for Lord Akeldama

  • Backgammon player ~ A sodomite
  • A bang up cove ~ A dashing fellow who spends his money freely
  • Bachelor’s faire ~ Bread and cheese and kisses
  • Blanket hornpipe or Buttock ball ~ The amorous congress
  • Pink of the fashion ~ The top of the mode
  • Prinking ~ Dressing over nicely; prinked up as if he came out of a bandbox, or fit to sit upon a cupboard’s head
  • Twiddle poop ~ An effeminate looking fellow
  • In twig ~ Handsome or stylish
  • Gaying instrument ~ The penis
  • Jessamy ~ A smart jemmy fellow, a fopling

~ 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue 

As the swell’s rattler and prades are bang up prime; the gentleman sports an elegant carriage and fine horses.

Banyan  1760s  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Banyans were comfortable robes worn by men while relaxing at home.

{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 . . .
A Visual Tour of Monterey Bay Aquarium

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
“In the 1830s and 1840s three waves of contagious diseases had swept across the country: from 1831 to 1833 there were two influenza epidemics, and the first-ever outbreak of cholera in Britain, which alone killed 52,000; from 1836 to 1842 there were epidemics of influenza, typhus, smallpox and scarlet fever; from 1846 to 1849 came typhus, typhoid and cholera again. These three waves of death had a devastating impact on a terrified population that had thought that, with the smallpox vaccination and some success against diseases like diphtheria, epidemic death might be on the wane.”
~ The Victorian House by Judith Flanders

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

via @History_Pics on Twitter Malling-Hansen Writing Ball, the 19th century proto-typewriter that Nietzsche used to type up some 60 manuscripts

Book News:
A.F. Grappin of One More Full Page says of Etiquette & Espionage:

“I can’t rave enough about this book. I’d heard about it, and it blew my expectations out of the water. From the beginning (the trifle incident) to the very end, I was hooked. This is a wonderful introduction to steampunk for younger readers, and Sophronia and her schoolmates (and other friends who aren’t her classmates) make a great team that I think young adults of all ages can get attached to.”

Quote of the Day:
“They stand round, with soap locks and scented pocket-handkerchiefs, tipping their hats to the ladies.”
~ Around the Tea Table by T. De Witt Talmage (1875)

If Mangnall Wrote My Author Bio from Gail Carriger ~ 1830 (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Mangnall’s Questions were well known in their day, Gentle Reader and I had a blast reading them myself for research.

The 1830s volume was designed for young ladies to read in order to educate themselves to converse properly in polite society. One section is all about famous people. The style in which the descriptions of these people is written is hilarious.

It got me thinking, what if Mangnall wrote my author bio?

Here’s a sample:

“Scarron, a French comic poet, born at Paris, 1610; died, 1660. Famous for his humour and pleasantry of manners. The celebrated Madame de Maintenon was his wife, and, upon his decease, engaged the affections of Louis the Fourteenth, who privately married her. Scarron’s works are numerous. He had a vigorous mind, in a small and deformed body.”

~ Mangnall’s Questions, 1830

“Zimmerman, a Swiss, born at Brug, 1728; died, 1795. Physician to George the Third at Hanover. He was well read in history, the belles-lettres, and general literature: few men have shown a more original turn of thinking. His pleasing manners, and amiable disposition, attracted many friends; his excellent understanding, and liberality of mind, secured them. Zimmerman was eminent in his profession. His Treatise on Solitude is alone sufficient to secure him name from oblivion: in exhibits, besides, a fair transcript of the author’s mind. He published several other works; among which is a Treatise on Irritability.”

~ Mangnall’s Questions, 1830
(One wonders what Mangnall might say about herself?)

“Puffendorf, a celebrated German civilian professor, born in Upper Saxony, 1631; died 1694.”

~ Mangnall’s Questions, 1830
(And you thought my names were silly.)

Here’s my Mangnall bio:

“Carriger, a comic writer from the Colonies, born in squalor, 197?; died, ?. Famous for her outrageous characters and questionable inclination to dandify. The celebrated Chubbiest of Foqoures was her cat, and, upon said cat’s decease, Carriger engaged the affections of Lilliput la Pumpkinpucci. Carriger’s works are numerous. She had a peculiar mind, in a top heavy body.”

~ Mangnall’s Questions (the update), 1830 ~ 2015

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


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Follet Date-  Tuesday, September 1, 1840 Item ID-  v. 23, plate 22

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Victor Hugo, Pieuvre, 1866

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Women swimming the Thames 

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
A little known hack from Japan to get your notebook organized

Book News:
A Discussion Review of Soulless on the Izzie & Coco Book Review Show,

“Gail Carriger develops a cast of amazing characters that will leave you wanting to know more about them. We recommend this book and series with a resounding YAY!”

Quote of the Day:
American writes about the British in 1872.

“A lady correspondent thus writes from London: –
I have been obligated to partly re-learn the English language. Words here do not always convey the same meaning as in America. There are no railroads, but ‘railways;’ no depots, but ‘stations;’ no firemen, but ‘stokers;’ no cars, but ‘carriages.’ There seem to be no buggies in England. There are not stores, but ‘shops.’ Neither an inn nor a public house is obliged to entertain travellers with other accommodations than beer or spirits. To be fed and lodged one must go to a tavern or hotel. When you ask for beer, they give you porter. Lager is unknown. There is no washing and ironing, but ‘washing and mangling.’ Beans are known as ‘haricots’ (the plebeians term them ‘aricots.) The word corn stands for most any kind of grain. There is not Indian meal, but ‘corn flour.’ A streak of sunshine once an hour constitutes a ‘fine day.’ No street cars, but ‘tramways;’ no pitchers, but ‘jugs.’ Muslin is called ‘calico.’ There is no broiling, but ‘grilling.'”

~ Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine November 1872

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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Victorian Slang Pertaining to Cohabitation (Finishing School Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


1811 Slang Pertaining to Cohabitation

  • Heavy baggage ~ Women and children.
  • She wears the breeches ~ The wife governs her husband.
  • Butcher’s dog. i.e. lie by the beef without touching it ~ A simile often applicable to married men.
  • To join giblets ~ Said of a man and woman who cohabit as husband and wife, without being married.
  • He has tied a knot with his tongue, that he cannot untie with his teeth ~ He is married.
  • Noozed ~ Married, hanged.

~ 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue 
“He always was a small man. Made smaller by his wife.”
~ Emma (2009 movie)

“If you cannot get the right kind of business partner, marry a good honest wife.”
~ Around the Tea Table by T. De Witt Talmage (1875)

“Why should she be rewarded for gratifying her own inclination in marrying the man of her choice? We repeat, that we cannot exactly perceive why, when the union of a couple of lovers, in many cases, adds to the happiness, honour, and glory of the married pair alone, their friends should think it a duty to levy on themselves these contributions; so often inconvenient to the givers, and not much cared for by the receivers.”
~ 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 July is: Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900 Longchamp, France. 1900 via Edwardian Time Machine tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Pixar’s walking teapot.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Widow & the Law: A Brief History of Widows’ Pensions in Britain

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Writer Wheel

Book News:

Quote of the Day:
“Marriage is for noblewomen with nothing else to do.”
~ Tamora Pierce, Trickster’s Choice

Follow Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list

Gail Carriger’s Kiwi Files ~ Steampunk HQ in Oamaru, New Zealand (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


So, Gentle Reader, after a fun convention in Rotorura (more to come on that) the AB and I hopped a plane for the South Island, rented a camper van (yes, I camped) and drove around the South Island. Once we left Christchurch (more to come on that too) one of the first places we visited was Oamaru and their wonderful Steampunk HQ.

Steampunk HQ

I don’t know how they managed it, but someone got permission to turn this derelict old building into a massive steampunk installation piece. There are two floors inside, including the fab portal room, and a bunch of large rusted machines outside. It mixes sculptural elements with human interface operations, e.g. a pipe organ that makes steam sounds instead of music). Frankly trying to describe Steampunk HQ is like trying to describe steampunk itself, a mite challenging.

Steampunk HQ plaque

The portal, was my favorite. It’s a room made of mirrors so that once you step inside and close the door it feels like you are standing in infinity. There is an LED light show as you stand suspended in space, the whole universe around you. It drove me to near Douglas Adams-like verboseness. Also very vertigo educing, if you are prone to that sort of thing. Not me, whatever the opposite of vertigo is, I have that, I adore being very high up.

Random street.

The rest of Oamaru was charming too. We walked around and ate lunch at a pub, because it seemed like the kind of place where one ought to lunch at a pub. We then visited a charming cafe and did all the tourist rambling one is supposed to. We even managed to see wild penguins.

Hotel & cafe

More on NZ to come, sorry to be delayed in posting I’m finding myself a little overwhelmed with catch up right now. What with the Tucson festival, book tour, and this trip I’ve been (essentially) away from my desk for six weeks! I’ve managed to maintain while on the go but I put a lot of stuff aside to “deal with when I get back” and now I’m back M&M proofs are immanent. Things never stop, do they?

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


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

The Daily Victorian tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Pride and Prejudice Ch 54a Tote Bag

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Corset expert discusses Cinderella waist controversy and, of course, corsets

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
8 Reasons Why Authors Are Assholes

Book News:

80sidol-tumblr fan art of Tunstell Ivy

Quote of the Day:

Prudence Lord A Quote
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Custard Protocol Extras ~ Fun Research Tidbits for Prudence (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


While I was writing Prudence, I collected some fun and key images for significant scenes.

Here are a few that I thought you might enjoy, Gentle Reader.

via Saladin Ahmed on Twitter (@saladinahmed)


Now you can look out for them as you read… and some quotes, because I’m honored by the warm reception this book has received.

Victorian Snuff Box, Lacquer With Mother – Of – Pearl , Circa 1880




Vampire Book Club says of Prudence:

“I’m beyond in love with the world Carriger has created and her imagination never ceases to amaze me. It’s exciting and colorful, filled with ingenious inventions and glorious attention to detail, especially concerning Victorian fashion and etiquette.”


Seated Parvati Hindu goddess of all goddesses; wife of Shiva (via commons)


OverDrive Blog says of Prudence:

“Rest assured, readers new to this universe will easily enjoy this novel as a standalone read.  … But true satisfaction lies with those of us who have already read the earlier novels and are longing for updates on some of our favorite characters, who pop up with gratifying frequency throughout the novel in minor roles.” 


Fresh Fiction says of Prudence:

“Prudence is the first in the new Custard Protocol series, which promises as much mayhem and manners as Carriger’s first two series.”

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Woman with a Parasol, Facing Right ~ Claude Monet via lonequixote tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
The Steampunk Horn-A-Phone 

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Dinner in Mysore in 1867

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
How to Approach Authors in the Wild

Prudence Extras 1890s India Research (Behind the Magic of Custard Protocol)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Gentle Reader, is some insight into the research behind Prudence’s first fateful adventure.


While I was writing this first 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.




  • 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.

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup


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


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

Primrose’s Packing List for Fashionable Victorian Dirigible Travel (Custard Protocol Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


One of my favorite early scenes of the Custard Protocol series in Prudence is when Primrose and all her trunks come on board the Spotted Custard.

If was fun to write and it was really fun to research.

I adore books about how people traveled in the past, possibly because I do so much traveling myself.

So I thought you, Gentle Reader, might enjoy like a little glimpse at all the things that Primrose put into those trunks of hers…

Traveling Gown 1905 The Victoria & Albert Museum

Undergarments Alone Would Include, at Minimum:

  • 6 Calico Combinations
  • 6 Silk or Wool Combinations
  • 4 Fine Calico Trimmed Combinations for Evening
  • 6 Calico Slip Bodices
  • 6 Trimmed Muslin Slip Bodices
  • 12 Pairs of Tan Stockings
  • 12 Pairs Lisle Thread Stockings
  • 6 Strong White Petticoats
  • 6 Trimmed Petticoats
  • 2 Warm Petticoats
  • 4 Flannel Petticoats
  • 36 Pocket Handkerchiefs
  • 4 Pairs of Stays (AKA corsets)

(adapted mainly from Flora Annie Steel on packing for India in The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook)

Combinations undergarment for under stays; Slip bodice for over the stays, England, 1875 – 1900
 1895 Plain White Petticoat and 1890s Trimmed Petticoat both The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Flora doesn’t even presume to suggest the number and range of dresses required. But I imagine it would include something along the lines of the following, for the higher ranked of British society going into a larger city. Here is a little glimpse at all the things that Primrose put into those trunks of hers, to my best guess.


Outer Garments:

  • 5 Tea and/or Dressing Gowns (for breakfast, open front, less fitted)
  • 1 Carriage Ensemble (for dusty trains or long distance caravans, several layers, all matched)
  • 4 Travel Ensembles (sporting, shorter hem, durable fabric, plainer trim, matched broad brim hats)
  • 1 Riding Habit (if horse will be available, long skirt, menswear style jacket, tall veiled hat)
  • 5 Afternoon Dresses (for receiving at home, sumptuous exotic fabrics, fuller coverage, long sleeves)
  • 5 Visiting Gown (for paying calls, similar to above with matched hat)
  • 2 Promenade Gowns (for strolling the park, similar to above but with more frills and longer trains, matched parasol)
  • 5 Dinner or Evening Gowns (top part very elaborate, skirt narrower with train, short sleeves – usually elbow length)
  • 2 Ballgowns (whole gown is elaborate, attention paid to hem, skirt fuller for dancing, sleeves usually t-shirt length or shorter, low neckline except for the very old/young)
  • 1 Reception Gown (if anticipating meeting royalty, very elaborate, heavy fabric, long train designed to be seen standing or walking, but nothing else)
  • 4 Parasols (in additions to those matched to promenade dresses)
  • 4 Evening Reticules (aside from evening parties a companion or ladies maid handles money)
  • 19 Matched Hats total (for travel, carriage, riding, visiting, and promenade)
  • 5 Lace caps for indoors
  • 3 Pairs Sturdy Walking Boots
  • 3 Pairs Kid Boots
  • 3 Pairs Satin Dancing Slippers
  • 1 Pair Riding Boots
  • 20 Pairs Gloves

A thrifty female could include transformation options, where different bodices to the same skirt makes it acceptable for different occasions.

For example, here is Visiting, Dinner, and Ball Gown from House of Worth 1893-95 via Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In modern times we think of dresses as all one piece, but in the past they were often made up of several parts.

Even the informal tea gown was basically a robe and an under-dress over which it was wrapped.

1890-1895 Tea Gown  Worth  The Royal Ontario Museum

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Book of relevance to this post?


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
The 20 Pound World Travel Backpack

Your Writerly Tinctures . . . 
Preparing for Travel to 1900’s Europe

The Old Foodie talks about supplies for traveling persons 70 years earlier (1826).
Of Turtles, White Gloves, and Kings: Americans Travelling Abroad: 1893

Book News:

The Library of the Seen says of Waistcoats & Weaponry:
“Waistcoats and Weaponry has to be my favorite book in the Finishing School Series so far. … There is SO much I could, and want, to say about this book. (Seriously I could go on and on) But if I said everything I wanted to (or even a portion of what I want to) this review would be riddled with spoilers, and the book is way to good for me to go about spoiling it for you!”

Quote of the Day:

“Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britanniaware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.”

~ A Nice Cup of Tea (1946)

Victorian Slang for Sophronia in Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


1811 Slang for Sophronia

  • Taradiddle ~ A fib, or falsity.
  • Quirks and quillets ~ Tricks and devices.
  • To milk the pigeon ~ To endeavor at impossibilities.
  • Sacheverel ~ The iron door, or blower, to the mouth of a stove.
  • Grumbletonian ~ A discontented person.
  • Jerrycummumble ~ To shake, towzle, or tumble about.
  • Rum ogles ~ Fine eyes.
  • A blowsabella ~ A woman whose hair is disheveled, and hanging about her face.
  • Clanker ~ Big lie
  • Gilflurt ~ A proud minks, a vain capricious woman

~ 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

“One of the great intelligence services of the nineteenth century in Europe was maintained not by a government but by a private firm, the banking house of Rothschild.”
“It was rumored that some of the Rothschild “scoops” were obtained by the use of carrier pigeons.”
“…one of the Rothschilds, immobilized in Paris when the city was surrounded by Germans in the Franco-German War of 1870, used balloons and possibly also carrier pigeons to communicate with the outside world. The world heard of the armistice ending the war through this means, rather than through conventional news channels.”
~ The Craft of Intelligence: America’s Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World by Allen W. Dulles

{What is Gail’s Book Group reading for October? Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. Next month is Waistcoats & Weaponry.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1905 Travelling Dress  1905  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Wooden Safe Box Inspired by Clock Gears

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Learn to Pick Locks for Fun and an Increased Understanding of Security

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
History of the Quill Pen (video)

Book News:
Fan Girl Nation says,
“… Waistcoats & Weaponry keeps the humor of the previous two books, but adds more complex relationships and plotting to the mix.”

Quote of the Day:
“There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.”
~ P.G. Wodehouse

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