elegance of history blog: History geek, avid reader and art lover. Here you will find random bits of history, book reviews and musings on art, literature, manners, life, music and anything else that interests me.
Ilya Tolstoy, the son of the great writer, reminisces about his childhood in the country: From my earliest childhood until the family moved into Moscow — that was in 1881 — all my life was spent, almost without a break, at Yasnaya Polyana. This is how we live. The chief personage in the house is
More Regency slang! Enjoy! Bookkeeper: a person who doesn’t return borrowed books. Croaker: someone who always foretells a bad outcome to any endeavour. Curtain Lecture: a discreet scold. Usually, it was given by a wife to her husband. Fresh Milk: Cambridge new comers to the university. Gluepot: a parson. They were so cold because they
Jane Austen loved needlework and was very good at it. The picture above shows a detail of a beautiful patchwork quilt, made up of 64 different fabrics, she made with her sister Cassandra and their mother. Today, the quilt can be admired on a tent bed in the Jane Austen House Museum, Chawton. For more
I’ve already written a post about the slang used in the Regency Era. But it is impossible to cover such a broad topic in one post, so here are 15 more words and expressions that were common at the time, but can now only be found in some old books: Books: cards to play with.
Born Margaret Power at Knockbrit, near Clonmel, in the county of Tipperary, in 1789, she was the second daughter of a dissolute landowner with a nasty temper, which only grew worse as the years went by. Maybe it was because of this that Marguerite found comfort in books. The pretty and sensitive child loved browsing
The Art Of Manliness remembers some colourful words and phrases used by men in the 19th century. To quote: Bully Trap. A brave man with a mild or effeminate appearance, by whom the bullies are frequently taken in. Flying Mess. “To be in Flying Mess ” is a soldier’s phrase for being hungry and having
Princess Charlotte of Wales was a fan of Jane Austen, and didn’t even know it. When her uncle, the Duke Of York, lent her a copy of Sense and Sensibility, written by an anonymous lady, he believed, and so did Charlotte, that it was written by a certain Lady Anne Paget. Charlotte loved the book
I’ve always been an avid reader and I’m grateful I was born at a time when books are easily accessible and cheap (if not free). It wasn’t always like that. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, books were quite expensive, and were often released in volumes that had no binding. If an educated young lady
Have you ever wondered where the word lady comes from? The 1829 edition of The Lady’s Pocket Magazine explains: It was at first Leafdian, from leaf, or laf, which signifies a loaf of bread, and D’ian to serve. It was afterwards corrupted to lafty, and at length to lady. So that it appears the original
Jane Austen wrote her will at her home in Chawton, Hampshire, 27th April 1817. She was already very ill with the disease that would kill her only a few months later. She left almost everything she had (which was valued at about £800) to her sister Cassandra, to whom she was very close. For some