Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Trivia

I seem to have stumped you a little bit with the most recent trivia question, although most probably it is just that everyone is too busy with holiday plans. I asked:-

"What manner of public conveyance in France could be used to travel for free, or very cheaply, so long as you were not in a hurry to get directly to a particular destination, and didn't mind traveling with some light, but bulky cargo?"

The answer: By mail coach.

I first came across this, not as an 18th century, but a 17th century occurance. In fact, the Mancini sisters famously used it to escape from their husbands, which is an intriguing story all by itself. Passengers sometimes found the conditions of travel by mail coach to be cleaner and more comfortable than travel by Diligence (public carriage). The cost was less than that of hiring a coach, but since it couldn't be determined just how many places the coach would need to stop your travel time could be slower than desired. Happily, if there were few letters to be delivered and the stops along the way had little mail to add, your trip could also be surprisingly short. There tended to be fewer people traveling by mail carriage, and (as they frequently included a guard) were less likely to be robbed.

I'm going to be pretty busy with plans of my own through the holidays, so no new trivia for now; but I want to wish everyone a very happy, safe, and fulfilling New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Trivia!

Last week's question was:- "What french word came to describe all of the ex-aristocrats who fled France after the Revolution of 1789?"

A Traveller in Time correctly responded "Emigres."

Settling in places like Switzerland, Rome, England, and even America, these displaced aristrocrats were frequently despised by their host nations for their unwillingness to accept that life had changed. They were known for carrying on within their own communities very much as they had at home... until constraints of money forced them to do otherwise.

This week's question is:- What manner of public conveyance in France could be used to travel for free, or very cheaply, so long as you were not in a hurry to get directly to a particular destination, and didn't mind traveling with some light, but bulky cargo?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Olympe!

On December 18th, 1782 Olympe turned 32 years old. It was an interesting birthday, but we'll save that story for later...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 2nd, 1782

Well, the worst seems to be over, and that on many fronts. Cousin Godefroy has resumed his post as Grand Chamberlain, with hardly any fuss from the Rohans; who I expect are busy licking their wounds as well. My lawyer friend, Jean Baptiste Gerbier, is in the process of having Franconville demolished so that it may be rebuilt in a  newer style in the Spring, and evidently F- has left town for the time being. 

The war is at last over as well, at least the British and the American Colonists (I suppose, just Americans now) have signed a treaty to that effect. We are still negotiating our treaty with England, but I expect it won't be long now. Perhaps then Thierry's case can be examined and he will be able to come home. 

A package arrived from him yesterday containing an early birthday present of a pair of blue silk stockings and wrapped inside of them some paste buckles. I do not know how I shall spend my birthday this year, and may mark the occasion quietly at home. I am no longer of an age that I wish to boast about.

My young friend, Clementine de Rodez, on the other hand, has much about which to be happy. Her mother has consented to the Marquis de Menars suit, with a little gentle pressure from myself, and Clementine is consequently beaming like the sun. The marriage will take place in the spring, and owes it's occurrence rather more to the absence of a formerly-interested suitor, than it does to the insistence of any other party. Really I am not much surprised, Dukes will marry up if they can, and Clementine's dowry is not such a great temptation.

Tonight my friend Elizabeth is holding a costume ball, but I had not the will find a new costume for it, and will instead merely put on a domino over something pretty. She at least promises that some interesting characters will be in attendance, and I look forward to finding out who she means. 

Olympe, Comtesse

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Trivia!

Last time I asked:- This color became popular in the late eighteenth century, despite being named for a pest.

Lauren R managed to beat everyone else to the punch and correctly stated that it was "Puce" which we all know means "flea". There were actually several variations on the color, but traditionally it is held to be a sort of brownish-purple.

This week my query is:-

What french word came to describe all of the ex-aristocrats who fled France after the Revolution of 1789?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tavistock Button Boots

The newest member of the American Duchess historical footwear collection is here! Tavistock is an actual button boot. No more making do with lace-up boots with clunky heels, or accepting the "hidden" zipper of other so-called Victorian boots.

Perfect as a Christmas gift for someone...maybe you?

For more information you can visit Lauren's site.