Thursday, August 26, 2010
I Have It on Good Authority That . . .
We’re back! Well, almost. Marissa and I told you we’d take a little break this summer by reposting some of our past personal favorites. I’m actually getting a jump on September, because I finished my manuscript a few days early and I just had to celebrate with a new post. The Irresistible Earl is winging its way to my editor’s desk, and I am going to spend the next week reading, a treat I had to deny myself for awhile to get everything done. I’m halfway through The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor and loving every minute. I’m even going to splurge a little and go out to dinner with my husband at his favorite restaurant, Gustav’s in Leavenworth, Washington.
But if I were a young lady in nineteenth century England, I wouldn’t have to splurge on eating out. As long as I had a story to tell, I’d be welcome everywhere.
Remember this was a time before telephones, televisions, Internet, and many of the other sources of amusement and information we use today. One of the best ways to be entertained was to ask witty people to dine with you. And if they had a good story to tell, so much the better.
What kinds of stories? Well, some would have qualified for the evening news: disasters like fires or floods, crimes, and skirmishes with the enemy. “No, no, I swear to you, the Thames just swept them out to sea! You wouldn’t think a petticoat would act as a sail, would you?”
Celebrity sightings were also quite popular. “My dear, did I tell you I saw Prinny today? He was wearing a corset! I distinctly heard it creak. And what was he doing on Bond Street when he was supposed to be closeted with his ministers? I do believe it was his own closet he was furthering, if you take my meaning.”
Then there was family drama. “I have it on good authority that Lord and Lady Makebait intend to cut off their youngest son’s quarterly allowance. A bit too much of those funds made their way to the ponies and the ladies, and neither was particularly happy about the event.”
Or awards and honors. “Yes, and that’s how I was awarded the Grand Order of the Hippocampus Post Mentos, Second Degree.”
And romance. “I do believe an offer is imminent. Why else ask me what size shoes I wear?”
I teased Marissa that if this was the nineteenth century, I could dine out for a month on the story of how she won her latest literary award. What about you? What story would you tell if you have to sing for your supper?