From La Belle Assemblée or, Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine Addressed Particularly to the Ladies – January, 1817, these amusing excerpts from correspondence concerning a county ball and feast:
I am dressed in the flowered lustring you say becomes me so well– it really is a genteel thing–I like French nightcaps prodigiously–don’t you? They set off a long lank yellow physiognomy wonderfully well.
Mama and I are to go in the chaise and Mr. O’Flanagan escorts us– rap, rap, rap, here he comes–no, he is not come–’twas a false alarm– Don’t take it into your head that I am in love with the man–
Miss Twist..–she pretends to wit but ’tis only pertness… Miss Williams–conceited thing–she thinks she’s handsome– in her old-fashioned coal scuttle bonnet and brown silk petticoat with green flounces and furbelows–what a fright.
Sir Thomas is a very sensible man–he made me several compliments… made Squire O’Flanagan quite jealous and he was so much out of temper he snuffed and snubbed everybody and was particularly snappish and surly to Mr. McGregor an exciseman who sat opposite him–
..we heard high words and prodigious noises in the next room– we all went to see what was the matter–when–horrid sight– poor Mr. O’Flanagan had one of his eyes beaten out of his head and Mr. McGregor lay stretched out on the floor just for all the world like a corpse.
–from Miss Harriet Wilkinson’s correspondence to her friend, “my dear girl,” Miss Louisa Thompson.
Love the chit-chat, but have to wonder about any lady who wishes to “set off a long lank yellow physiognomy.” 😉
That’s why I like these articles contemporaneous to the times. The meaning and context can be a challenge to grasp. To set off might mean “to improve” or otherwise make less unattractive… but I can’t swear to it. Thanks for commenting, Mimi!
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