Friday, September 30, 2011

Birds of a Feather Hate Fall

Fall is officially here! And if you were a young gentleman in nineteenth century England, you knew exactly how you intended to spend it. Ladies might have their Seasons in London, with shopping and balls and similar folderol, but any young man worth his salt knew that September marked the heart of shooting season.

Yes, shooting season. A gentleman shot birds and hare, and hunted fox. And they could hardly wait for the Season to be over so they could start! The Game Act of 1831 allowed for some shooting starting on August 12 (or 13, if the 12th was a Sunday). But by the first of October, black grouse, red grouse, ducks, pheasant, partridge, bustard, and woodcock were all in season. (Bustard was a new one for me; I had to look it up. But then I learned why the name wasn’t familiar from my previous research. The last bustard in England was apparently killed in a shoot in 1832!)

During the early part of the century, it was common for a gentleman and a few friends to set off in the morning with a well-trained dog running alongside and see if they could hunt up a few pheasant or partridge to bring home for dinner. The crisp fall air, the manly companionship, guns that belched smoke and made a loud BANG—ah, what more could a fellow ask! As the century wore on, however, shooting parties grew in size and length. Friends traveled for miles to reach your grouse moor (an estate in Scotland) or country estate and might spend a fortnight with you, partying inside between rounds of shooting outside. Ladies even came out at luncheon for picnics while the men boasted of their achievements. Wealthy lords hired beaters to chase the game toward a row of their fellow guests holding guns and even draped nets in the air to keep the birds from getting away. After everyone had finished pulling the trigger, repeatedly, other hired help called pickers-up rushed out to clean up the carcasses.

The numbers shot were staggering. According to some accounts, a single marksman could bag as many as 2,500 birds in a fortnight’s shooting party. One enterprising gentleman is said to have shot more than 300,000 birds over his 33-year career. Small wonder there are no more bustards in England!

The gentlemen shooters must have realized they were having an impact as well, for more and more of them began actively stocking and breeding gamebirds like pheasants and duck on their estates. Estate managers made sure to keep wooded areas healthy for the birds, and gamekeepers went out of their way to exterminate any predators, like fox and magpies, that might harm the young birds. All this effort helped the shooting party maintain a hold on English society well into the twentieth century.

But if I was a bird, I’d hate fall!

Monday, September 26, 2011


If you’ve read much historical fiction set in Great Britain, you may have run across the word Michaelmas—there’s Michaelmas term at Oxford and Cambridge (and Eton, for that matter), and Michaelmas fairs, and Michaelmas geese…so just what is Michaelmas?

Michaelmas, celebrated on September 29, is the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel, Captain of the Heavenly Host, who in the New Testament was responsible for booting Lucifer out of Heaven. St. Michael is the patron saint of soldiers, for obvious reasons.

His feast day became significant for several reasons—St. Michael an important figure in the heavenly hierarchy of the old (Roman Catholic) faith that was observed in England till the Reformation. But timing is also important here: his feast day here at the end of September more or less coincides with the autumnal equinox, the end of summer and beginning of fall and the three-quarter point of the year, and so became a Quarter Day, when rents and other quarterly payments were due. In case you were wondering, the others were Christmas Day on December 25, Lady Day (also known as the Feast of the Annunciation) on March 25, and St. John’s Day on June 24.

Several other autumn-related phenomenon eventually took on the Michaelmas name. Geese were often fattened on the leftover stalks in the field after the grain had been harvested, then driven to fairs to be sold before winter set in, so a “stubble” goose was a common Michaelmas dish. It was also common for farm laborers to seek new masters at those same post-harvest autumn fairs. And the start of the autumn term in both school (Oxford and Cambridge, as mentioned above) and the court system borrowed their name from St. Michael’s feast day. Fall-blooming asters are sometimes known as Michaelmas daisies.

And then there are blackberries. According to legend, it is very unlucky to eat blackberries after Michaelmas Day, because when Lucifer was cast from heaven, he landed in a blackberry bush…and supposedly returns each year on his nemesis’s feast day to curse and spit upon them!

And just in case you thought we’d forgotten…the winner of a copy of M.J. Putney’s new release, Dark Passage, drawn from last week's commenters, is Mirka Breen! Mirka, please email me via the contact form on my website so I can get your mailing address. And thanks, everyone, for welcoming M.J. last week. We'll be having another author guest next month, so stayed tuned!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Nineteenteen Welcomes M.J. Putney!

On Tuesday we got to chat with Lady Cynthia Stanton, from M.J. Putney's Dark Mirror, we get to talk to M.J. herself!

Nineteenteen: Most of your books are set in the nineteenth century. What draws you to that era?

M.J. Putney: The early 19th century, which in England is usually called the Regency because a chunk of it was during the period when George III was bonkers and his son ruled in his place as the Prince Regent, is just a really, really interesting time. It’s the hinge between the old days and our modern society. Industrialization and democracy and social reform were starting to take off, there was a “good war” as Britain and others fought Napoleon Bonaparte’s absolutism, there was the romantic revolution in arts and letters—and women’s clothing was relatively comfortable.

NTT: How much research do you generally have to do before you start writing a particular book?

MJP: The amount of research varies a lot depending on the story. Having written 30+ historical novels, most of them in the Regency, I have a strong base of knowledge of the period, but there are always particular topics that require extra research.

My first YA, Dark Mirror, required enormous amounts of research—not the 19th century, but the WWII part of the book. In particularly, during the grand action finale at Dunkirk, there were masses of materials that I needed to research in order to have my characters fit in with the historical event as it happened.

In contrast, the second YA, Dark Passage, which just came out, required much less research because it’s built around my characters attempting to rescue a scientist from Nazi-occupied France. There were aspects of the story that required research, but the mission itself was fictional so it didn’t need the same kind of detail that Dark Mirror did.

NTT: You've won the Rita award, the highest honor in romantic fiction, twice, been nominated eight other times, and placed on the New York Times bestseller list for your adult historical romances. What encouraged you to try your hand at young adult fiction?

MJP: It’s all about the story. I love blending fantasy and magic with history, and YA is where I could tell these kinds of stories. Unlike my romances, where the growing relationship is the heart of the story, my YAs are stories of adventure and growth and history. There is some romance, but the romance isn’t the focus. Plus, I’m working with continuing characters rather than focusing on a new couple in each book. It’s and interesting challenge. The Muse likes to try her hand at new things!

NTT: What do you like about writing for teens? How does it differ from writing for adults?

MJP: I’ve always been interested in the psychology of my characters, and since teens are growing in so many ways, they’re intriguing to write about. Also, the focus of a YA is different from a romance—growth rather than courtship—and I like the change of pace.

NTT: Tell us a little about the premise for your Dark Mirror series.

MJP: The Dark Mirror series is alternate history—the world as we know it, but with magic added. With the added twist that magic is widely known and accepted, except among the aristocracy. The nobility despises magic, largely because they can’t control it, and aristocratic kids who show magical ability are sent to a kind of reform school to be “cured” of their unacceptable talents. So my main characters are magically talented teens who are exiled to Lackland Abbey to be cured—except that they realize that maybe they don’t want to be deprived of their power.

The students who secretly study magic call themselves Merlin’s Irregulars, and they pledge to use their powers to defend England if necessary—not an idle vow when Napoleon is sitting on the other side of the English Channel preparing for an invasion.

Then my main character, Lady Victoria Mansfield—Tory to her friends, accidentally passes through a time portal and land in England in World War II. She makes friends there—and it turns out that they could use some magic, too!

NTT: Why did you pick the Battle of Dunkirk as your first time travel point?

MJP: The story of Dunkirk has always fascinated me. A third of a million British and French soldiers had been cornered with their backs to the sea by the Nazi blitzkrieg—“lightning war.” If they had surrendered, Hitler would have been the master of all Europe.

Instead, there was this stunning evacuation that was not only the military and merchant might of a seafaring nation, but with countless volunteers risking their lives and their boats to bring their soldiers home. The “little ships” have become famous as an emblem or British courage and ingenuity.

It’s an incredible story and a tribute to British tenacity. But what made me want to write a story was when I read that the only reason the evacuation succeeded was because the English Channel, usually a turbulent and dangerous waterway, was unnaturally calm for ten whole days. I read that and thought, “Weather Mages!!!!” It was a story I just had to write.

NTT: What's happening in your new release with Tory and her band of mages?

MJP: In Dark Passage, Tory and the Irregulars join their 20th century friend Nick Rainford on a mission into Nazi occupied France to save a French scientist whose work is vitally important to the war effort. Plus, there are important changes in some romantic relationships.

NTT: What's next for you?

MJP: The third book, Dark Destiny, takes a couple of the 20th century characters back to 1804 to help their 19th century friends save England from invasion. With two wars to work with, there is no shortage of plot materials!

NTT: There certainly isn't! Thank you for talking with us, M.J., and for spending the week here at Nineteenteen--it's been a pleasure!

M.J. Putney's Dark Mirror and Dark Passage are available now from St. Martin's Press. You can learn more at ... and be sure to comment here--all commenters this week through Monday will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Dark Passage! The winner will be announced next Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Special Guest Blogger: Lady Cynthia Stanton and her Amanuensis, M.J. Putney

Welcome to the first post of our new blogging year! This week we are thrilled and honored to be hosting beloved romance author (and New York Times bestseller) Mary Jo Putney, who to our pleasure has joined the ranks of Young Adult authors with her series on time-traveling Regency heroine Lady Victoria (Tory) Mansfield and her cohorts at Lackland Abbey, written as M.J. Putney. The series began with March's Dark Mirror and continued with last week's new release, Dark Passage, both from St. Martin's/Griffin.

Speaking with us today is Lady Cynthia Stanton, the daughter of a duke and a student at Lackland Abbey. Lady Cynthia, let us assure you first that the headmistress of your school does NOT read our blog, so anything you say here is confidential. We'd all love to hear more about you. You're considered one of the more elite students at the school, is that right?

Lady Cynthia: Indeed. As the daughter of a duke, I am the highest ranking girl at Lackland Abbey.

Nineteenteen: How did you come to join the school?

LC: Students at Lackland Abbey do not discuss such things. It is perhaps a fair statement that no one is exiled to the school without some dreadful incident that exposed their despicable magical abilities to public shame.

NTT: Is that what happened to you?

LC: You bloggish creatures have no manners! Suffice it to say that an attractive stable boy and an unexpected use of my weather controlling magic were involved. I shall say no more.

NTT: Do you truly want to be "cured?”

LC: That is a most…interesting question. All students arrive at Lackland wishing for nothing more that a quick cure and a return to their families to see if they can regain any if their former lives. But to be cured of magic takes time.

During that time, one might discover that the use of magic can be very…rewarding. Exhilarating. ‘Tis said that some students gather in the chalk tunnels below the abbey to practice magic. Embracing one’s power can lead to the recognition that perhaps the aristocracy’s hatred of magic is not necessarily a good thing.”

NTT: So you’ve decided to secretly practice your magical abilities?

LC: I did not say that! If you dare print such a thing in your peculiar little newssheet, you will be hearing from my solicitors!

NTT: Our apologies, Lady Cynthia. We understand you've had some trouble with the other young lady sharing your room.

LC: I was not best pleased when the school forced Lady Victoria Mansfield on me merely because I was the only girl who didn’t have a roommate. As the highest ranking girl in the school, I was entitled to have a room to myself!

Tory had the effrontery to remove my garments from the second wardrobe so she could use it herself! She could have managed perfectly well storing her garments in her trunk. And she has no sense of the dignity of her rank. She’ll talk to anyone as if they are her equals. Such behavior is contrary to good order.

NTT: And she had the audacity to steal your beau as well, isn't that right?

LC: I simply couldn’t believe it. Clearly the Marquess of Allarde and I were destined to be together. Not only is he heir to a dukedom, but he is tall, dark, and handsome, a perfect foil for me since I am tall and blonde and stunningly beautiful.

Allarde has a great deal of natural reserve and he was keeping a discreet distance from me, but I always assumed that when we left Lackland Abbey, he’d ask for my hand. Then Tory came along. She’s a little bit of a thing, dark and with slanted eyes and no more than passably pretty, but he took one look and was besotted. Granted, everyone likes Tory. Even I like her some of the time. I swore I’d never forgive her for interfering with destiny, though that was before Jack…

No. I shall say no more.

NTT: We can't help thinking, though, that your life has been more interesting since she came along.

LC: You say that as though an interesting life is a good thing!

NTT: Isn't it? You had quite an adventure a bit ago, something to do with World War II. How did you manage to travel from 19th century England to that time?

LC: We passed through a time portal below Lackland Abbey. It’s called Merlin’s Mirror and it’s very ancient. Tory guided us through. Her magical talents tend to be odd ones, like using the mirror. Not useful like my weather magery and illusion talents.

NTT: Do you have other plans to travel through time?

LC: No! Never! It’s the most horrible experience! I would have died when we returned if Elspeth wasn’t such a good healer.

We all hated traveling through the mirror. Yet—I suppose one should never say never….

Thank you, Lady Cynthia! If you'd like to learn more about Lady Cynthia and Lady Victoria Mansfield, a true heroine, be sure to read M.J. Putney's Dark Mirror (2011, St, Martin's Griffin). And don't miss her just-released sequel, Dark Passage! Stop by on Friday when we'll be chatting with M.J. ; all commenters this week will be entered in a drawing to win a copy!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Party's Over...

The trunks are packed and being loaded onto the post chaises, the vails* have been paid to the household staff, and the house party is at an end. We’re delighted that you joined us in celebrating our birthday at Nineteenteen, and hope that you enjoyed yourself too. As I said before, you are the reason we blog here—though we love to share what we’ve learned and entertain a little along the way, it wouldn’t be much use (or fun) if we didn’t have readers to share with…so once again, an enormous Thank You!

But wait! Before you drive off…the randomly-drawn winning commenter from yesterday is Beebs! Beebs, please contact Regina at to arrange to receive your prize.

In the comments from yesterday, Lo mentioned wanting to hear more about other YA historical fiction set in the 19th century…well, it just so happens that we’d already scheduled just such a thing for next week! We hope you’ll join us in greeting New York Times best-selling romance author (and all-round lovely person) Mary Jo Putney, whose second YA historical fantasy, Dark Passage, was released just this week. It’s the second in her series (the first, Dark Mirror, came out earlier this year) featuring magic, time travel, history and (of course) romance. So please stop by on Tuesday, when Nineteenteen will be interviewing Mary Jo's Lady Cynthia Stanton (if Lady Cynthia will let us!)

And thank you all again, dear readers.

*It was the custom at house parties of the 18th and earlier 19th centuries for guests at country houses to tip, or give vails, at the end of their stays to the household’s servants. Unfortunately, having to tip everyone from the butler to the footmen and maids could get sufficiently expensive that people with more friends than money often refused invitations to house parties, because they couldn’t afford the vails!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Shall We Dance?

What a delightful group you’ve been at our birthday house party! Good conversation, excellent suggestions, charming comments. The gentlemen have told me they are completely entranced. So, this sounds like a great time for a ball to me! Before we get started, let me also mention that the lovely El has won Lit Wit: 100 Trivia Cards to Boost Your Book Smarts by Richard Lederer. Please contact Marissa via her website and let her know where she should send it. And anyone who comments today will be entered to win a miniature reproduction of the 1817 Glengarry bonnet (by Pipkin and Bonnet) along with hat box and stand.

Now, our ball! Of course, one cannot spontaneously host a ball. We actually sent invitations to all our genteel neighbors in the area weeks ago, letting them know you’d be here with us and encouraging them to join us this evening. We hired musicians to play and brought in additional staff from the village to help with the cooking and cleaning and see to the needs of our guests. As I write, a footman is lowering the chandeliers in the ballroom to put in fresh candles, and our houskeeper is inspecting the dance floor to make sure it’s gleaming in expectation.

The gentlemen have already retired to their rooms to change into their evening clothes and freshen up. Perhaps you’d like to glance over the positions of dance so you’re ready for your partner.

And I can’t wait to see what you brought to wear to the ball! I’ve had a lovely gown made up in red, a bit daring, I know, but the off-white of so many of the gowns just doesn’t do my complexion any favors.

Ah, do you hear the musicians tuning up? Already the air is scented with perfume. Marissa and I welcome you to the ballroom and suggest a partner. We’re pairing up (I will of course partner Leopold on this first dance, but I’m sure he’d be happy to offer you his hand later). Goodness, but the set is crowded! Everyone looks so lovely! I can see you smiling from here. And away we go!

Do tell me your favorite dance so I can be sure to have the musicians play it. And please catch me between sets to suggest other ways we can make Nineteenteen the best it can be.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Party Continues...

Well, I’m delighted to see we have more commenters…but ladies—please! We must behave with decorum, or the dreaded chaperone might raise her ever-vigilant head!

However, between languishing looks and meaning-laden glances with those delightful gentlemen Regina has introduced into our bluestockingly midst, please continue to comment! We want to be able to bring you posts on topics of interest to you—otherwise, there isn’t much point, is there? So please…what would you like to see discussed on Nineteenteen in the coming year? Let us know…and commenters on today’s post will have a chance to win Lit Wit: 100 Trivia Cards to Boost Your Book Smarts by Richard Lederer.

And in the meanwhile, I’m sure our chaperone will smile upon this: our randomly-drawn winner commenter of yesterday is Clarissa! Clarissa, please email Regina at to claim your prize: a pre-release copy of Regina’s November book, An Honorable Gentleman. Very cool to get a sneak peek!!

And now, I’ve a fancy to take a turn in the garden and admire the flowers. Anyone care to join me? English gardens are renowned the world over. The damp, generally mild climate makes it a haven for temperate plants, shrubs, and trees…and the second half of the 18th and all of the 19th centuries are surely the heyday of gardening on a grand scale at country houses, where a new philosophy of viewing the land around a house as almost another set of rooms was adopted.

Topiary! What's an English garden without it?

And a maze...the perfect place to evade chaperones when out strolling with a handsome young man!

Don't forget to let us know what you think!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More Visitors!

So glad so many of you could make it to our house party! We had a hundred visitors to the blog yesterday, so I know there are more of you lurking out there. I’m certainly glad we have a lot of bedrooms in this pile!

It appears the library is the most popular among our guests, and why not! We share the love of reading, after all. Rachel even suggested we bring back the Young Bluestocking’s Book Club--excellent thought! And speaking of books, we're delighted to hand out our first prize to QNPoohBear: Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating. QNPoohBear, please contact Marissa via her website and let her know where you’d like it sent.

I do believe we should learn a lesson from QNPoohBear. Please comment. We’d love to hear how you like the house party, what you’d like to do, and how we could make Nineteen Teen even better in the coming year. If you have a suggestion for a book we could read for the Book Club, please toss that in as well. There will be more prizes Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so come back often and invite your friends along!

In the meantime, I felt it my duty as one of your hostesses to entice you out of the library. We have a number of other guests who are eager to make your acquaintance. I found this charming fellow looking positively lonely in the withdrawing room.

And this gentleman is hoping to find a lady interested in going for a ride in his phaeton. Do take a tiger along, though, to protect your reputation. I fear the gentleman is rather daring.

And this gentleman is keen to study the native flora and fauna in our park. I’m sure he’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter as you stroll through the countryside.

So, are you willing to give up the library?

Amended September 15 by Regina
My dears, during the night my dear friend Leopold arrived to join our house party. I'm taking him to the conservatory to introduce him to El to liven up her dreary day. Join us if you'd like!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to Us, or A Country House (Birthday) Party

Welcome to Nineteenteen’s fourth birthday party! Can you believe we’ve been at this for four years?

In order to celebrate and kick off our fifth year of blogging in style, we thought we’d throw a party…a virtual country house party, to be exact…and yes, you’re invited!

So what happens at a virtual country house party? Well, what would you like to do if you were really at one? Would you be playing the pianoforte in the music room and flirting with a handsome fellow guest? Strolling through the gardens and enjoying the fine September weather? Exploring the library to find forgotten treasures?

One thing we do hope you’ll do is chat with us. It’s our custom on our birthday to solicit input and ideas for future topics you’d like to learn about (or re-visit), so please, tell us what you think or what you like to read here. All commenters, whether offering input or telling us what you’re planning on doing at the party, will be entered in a drawing for a daily prize…so comment early and often!

And so…

First of all, welcome to our house! Isn’t it the perfect setting for a house party? Lawns for endless games of croquet followed by sumptuous teas, and lots of windows for curling up in with a good book if the weather should prove inclement.So your post-chaise has drawn up to the entrance, where Regina and I await you in the front hall. It’s a little dark and medieval so we won’t linger…Would you care to see your room? We’ll take you right up so that you can freshen up before tea, and then your maid can unpack your things. Will this room do? Or would you prefer something a little lighter and airier?Here’s the dining room. The dressing bell rings a half hour before dinner, so you have time to change into evening clothes:And here we are at last, in the drawing room for tea:We hope you’ll enjoy your stay…and now, let the party begin! What are you going to do first?

(And don’t forget to leave us your input on how we can continue to make Nineteenteen fresh and fun in the next year!)

Friday, September 9, 2011

It Takes an Army to Manage a House Party

I seem to be bumping into servants a lot lately, at least in my entertainment choices. I finally had a chance to see a bit of Downton Abbey, which a number of friends had raved about (do not get me started on why we don’t have BBC America in my neck of the woods!). This series follows the lives of the servants assigned to a great house in the early part of the twentieth century. I also just finished reading Deeanne Gist’s Maid to Match, which stars a young lady hoping to be lady’s maid to one of the Vanderbilts in the late nineteenth century. One thing that really struck me from both of these well-researched stories is that I frequently underestimate how many servants were required for a house of any size. So, of course I went looking for more information. One estimate is that a wealthy family needed at least four servants per person. In other words, it took an army!

What would that look like if Marissa and I were living in a London townhouse together? (Never mind that we have families—we’ll pretend they are busy elsewhere for a week.) Going by the estimate above, two lovely ladies would need at least eight servants:

  1. I’d need a lady’s maid to help dress and undress, but I’d be willing to share her with Marissa. :-)

  2. We’d need a groom to tend our horses and escort us while riding. I’m tempted to include a coachman, but I don’t wish the neighbors to think us too high in the instep and I must admit to a fondness for handling the reins myself when we’re tooling about Hyde Park. Plus we can hire a carriage and driver when we need to go out to balls and such.

  3. We have a townhouse, so no need for a groundskeeper, but we better have a man-of-all-work to keep up the back garden and maintain the house.

  4. We’ll need a cook, of course,

  5. And probably a scullery maid to help her.

  6. We should probably have a footman to fetch and carry and look suitably impressive when we go out shopping,

  7. And a maid to help clean up behind us.

  8. Then of course we’d need a butler or housekeeper to keep things running smoothly.

I’m a bit amazed how easy it was to hit eight. And truthfully, one housemaid probably isn’t enough when you consider the dusting and cleaning that all had to be done by hand in homes where coal or wood was burned. And I haven’t added a laundress to clean our clothes or a personal secretary to help us with our writing (though in some cases the latter was considered an employee instead of a servant). And just think what would need to be added if we had a house in the country: definitely a coachman and gardeners, more grooms, more footmen, more maids (upstairs maids, downstairs maids, scullery maids), and a land steward, at a minimum!

And, my dears, Marissa and I will have need of all those servants, because next week, we’re hosting a house party, right here, to celebrate our blog birthday! So have your maids pack your things, hire a post-chaise if needed, and come join us. Your invitation is below. We hope to see you next Tuesday for a week of fun!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Such Language! Part 8

Hello, dear readers—we’re back! And since it’s September and the start of a new school year, a vocabulary lesson seemed appropriate for the day…courtesy of that wonderful (if frequently risqué!) 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Enjoy!

Bam: To tell a falsehood; also, to make fun of. (“Little Agatha was sure her older brother must be bamming her when he said it was hailing boiled sweets, but she ran to the window to see just in case.”)

Dew beaters: feet. (“Dearest Clara thought the idea of a picnic in the country just splendid, but after walking three miles uphill to the apple orchard with a heavy basket, her dew beaters felt otherwise.”)

Quiz: A strange-looking person. (“My cousin Ezekiel would be much less a quiz if he didn’t comb his hair from the back of his head and wear purple socks with his knee-breeches.”)

Rantipole: A rude, romping boy or girl (“Can you believe it? Hugh called me a rantipole, so of course I was forced to knock him down and put a handful of sand down his back.”)

Tongue enough for two sets of teeth: Description of a talkative person. (“Angelina is a sweet girl and very jolly, but her having tongue enough for two sets of teeth can be wearing on the ears.”)

Tuft-hunter: one who courts the acquaintance of nobility. (“Miss Pursnip is such a tuft-hunter that she carries a tiny copy of DeBrett’s Peerage in her reticule to record sightings of earls and viscounts as she walks in Green Park.”)

French cream: brandy: so called by the old tabbies and dowagers when drank in their tea. (“Aunt Mehitabel ask her bosom friend Lady Murgatroyd if she’d take some French cream in her tea, and now they’re trying to balance Mama’s best silver teaspoons on their noses.”)