Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Presenting...the Winner!

Not that everyone who commented isn't a cherished reader...but the name I pulled out of my Red Sox World Champions cap is...


Andy, please stop by the contact form on my website (http://www.marissadoyle.com/) and send me your mailing address so I can send a copy of Bewitching Season to you as quickly as possible.

And thank you, all, for stopping by and commenting. Regina did a fabulous job with the interview questions and quiz, and I'm looking forward to returning the favor in the not too distant future.

In the meanwhile, speaking of "Presenting..."

May was the height of "the season", that London social whirl (and marriage market) that coincided with the sitting of Parliament just after Easter. An important part of a girl's first season was being "presented" to the king/queen/another royal filling in for the monarch, at either an afternoon "drawing room" (where young girls usually first made their debuts) or an evening "levee". Being presented meant that the monarch recognized you socially--which meant you were eligible to attend court events. Not everyone could be presented: for example, the wives and daughters of clergy, military and naval officers, barristers, and physicians could be presented...but those of merchants and businessmen, solicitors, and general practitioners could not. Girls were presented when they first came out in society, then again when they married...assuming their husbands were of acceptable rank or profession, of course!

The act of being presented to the monarch was quite an event...think of high school graduation, but way more formal and solemn. For example, there were rules about what you could wear, especially later on in Victoria's reign...these dictated everything from the neckline of your gown (you needed a note from a doctor if you wanted to wear a high-necked gown!) to the height and number of feathers you wore in your hair to what you carried (a bouquet was standard, or at least a beautiful fan) to the length of your train (and yes, you had to have one--a minimum and maximum length were given). The guys had rules about what they wore too, depending on who they were (military or civilian, for example), time of day, and so on.

Then you had to go through the acrobatic act of the presentation itself (I discussed this back in October) with walking backward while curtseying and having your train tossed to you...but then the real fun began: the parties!

Look for future posts about how the nineteenth century teen partied till she dropped.

P.S. There are some very cool books on this topic that you can probably find in your local library if you want to learn more. I recommend The Party That Lasted 100 Days by Hilary and Mary Evans, Splendour at Court by Nigel Arch and Joanna Marschner, Gilded Butterflies by Philippa Pullar, and To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace


Gillian Layne said...

Andy, congratulations!!!

Thanks for the great reference book recommendations.

Tia Nevitt said...

The link to your October post is broken; it has one to many "http://" phrases, due to the fact that Blogger not-so-helpfully provides one "http://" thus getting in the way when you cut and paste links.

Marissa Doyle said...

Argh! Thanks for letting me know, Tia--I think I fixed it.

Do you all like reference book recommendations? We can add them more frequently if you'd like.