Dancing (1872 Style)

A lady – beautiful word! — is a delicate creature, one who should be reverenced and delicately treated. It is therefore unpardonable to rush about in a quadrille, to catch hold of the lady’s hand as if she were a door-handle, or to drag her furiously across the room, as if you were Bluebeard…”  (The Habits of Good Society: By Unknown Author, originally published 1872. Copyright 2012 Forgotten Books). Recently on my author Facebook page, I’ve been posting videos of period dramas with romantic scenes of waltzes.  Some of my favorites are from The Young Victoria, War & Peace (2016), Cinderella, and Crimson Peak.  They look so romantic with women in gorgeous gowns being swung around the room by handsome men. According to The Habits of Good Society, there were rules to be followed if you were considered to be an “accomplished” individual on the dance floor.  The introduction above Read More

The English Victorian Wedding – 1872 Style

I am back to poking around one of my favorite books, “The Habits of Good Society: A Handbook for Ladies and Gentlemen,”  available on Amazon in print form.  Tucked on page 316 is Chapter XV. Marriage.  It begins with this quote: At a time when our feelings are or ought to be most susceptible, when the happiness or misery of a condition in which there is no medium begins, we are surrounded with forms and etiquettes which rise before the unwary like spectres, and which even the most rigid ceremonialists regard with a sort of dread.” Here is how courtship, engagement, and the wedding process is described by the anonymous author of this fascinating peek into 1871 life. First, an offer of marriage must be made, and even in 1871 it is the custom that the lady surrenders to the will of her parents.  They must approve of the match, Read More

Breach of Promise of Marriage

One of my hobbies is searching my British ancestry on my mother’s side of the family. Part of my research includes reading British newspapers in search of articles on my ancestors. My third great uncle was a Justice of the Peace, Alderman, and successful businessman, so I’m always looking for articles regarding his life and have found quite a few (over thirty thus far). Anyway, I have stumbled across another fascinating area in the lives of men and women from 1800-1850 in regards to lawsuits for the “breach of promise of marriage.” My search has uncovered over 6,000 links to articles in newspapers across England regarding such cases. I thought I would share with you what I noted but must do so in generic terms. Unfortunately, I cannot quote any of the articles due to copyright restrictions. I imagine, however, the situations were common. What I love most about reading Read More