Edited Transcripts

Romance! with Eva Bellambi

Jasper Kiergarten: Hello everyone! Ladies and Gentlemen, Viv, Serafina, Jed and I are pleased to welcome you to the February edition of the Aether Salon – Romance!. I would like to thank each and every one of you for joining us today.

As many of you know, the Aether Salon meets to discuss steam and Victorian topics on the third Sunday of each month, in Palisades and Academy, New Babbage. This is our 24th salon and I hope you are all as excited about being here today as I am.

Just a few matters of housekeeping before we get started. If you are standing in the back, please move forward onto the maze so that you can be assured of hearing the speaker. Please hold your questions until the end, and as a courtesy to all, please turn off everything that feeds the lag: all HUDs, scripts, AOs and so on. Please no weapons, non-Euclidean geometry, inflammatory rhetoric, or unapproved transmat devices. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Edited and unedited transcripts will be posted this week on aethersalon.blogspot.com so you can revisit today’s merriment, read transcripts of past salons, and for a laugh, peruse “overheard at the salon.” Please join the Aether Salon group and receive notifications of future salon events, click the lower right hand corner of the large brown sign by the entrance. We sincerely appreciate the support we receive from everyone in the community and we humbly thank you all.

Many fine people have contributed to today’s salon: We are grateful to Miss Canolli Capalini of Capalini Fine Furnishings for the wonderful salon chairs. We appreciate all of you who have contributed to salon. As a reminder, all speakers’ fund jar donations go directly to the speaker.

Now I will turn the stage over to Miss Jed for the introduction of today’s speaker. Jed?

Jedburgh30 Dagger: Thank you Jasper. Before I begin my introduction for our speaker today, I would like to take a moment to thank Jasper for making today’s craft, and for all he does for Salon besides give out chairs.

Today it is my great and distinct pleasure to introduce today’s speaker. Eva Bellambi has been in Second Life for nearly 5 years now, and through her interests and activities has made a mark on the social life of the Steamlands. Many of us have attended her formal balls, or any of the other events that she had a hand in planning.Eva has a very long resume of involvement in many areas of life in the Steamlands, from being a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Advancement of Knowledge in the Natural Sciences, the Head of Intelligence for Caledon, as well as being a very fierce ironclad captain.

She is very active in the SL Relay for Life, and was one of the founding partners for the BoobieThon in SL. Her dedication and enthusiasm have helped both of these efforts to great success in raising awareness and money for the cause of cancer research.

Eva currently resides in Winterfell on the Isle of Skye. So, without further ado, please welcome our speaker today, the Duchess of Loch Avie, the Lady of Skye, and my very dear friend, Eva Bellambi.

Eva Bellambi: Thank you so very much for inviting me to participate in this excellent monthly event. It has truly been my pleasure to research and prepare for our discussion of something that is so much a part of who I am.

Romance.

Despite any hard edge which one may find in me – Warrior Duchess and all that – I have a very soft heart and enjoy being romanced tremendously. I also enjoy being the romantic – the lover. I hope that you will find this discussion of Romance in the Victorian Age interesting, perhaps taking away a new nugget of information at the end of our time. You will, I believe, find this a discussion of propriety as well as secret (or not so secret) longings. Perhaps you may find some things a bit risqué within the context of strict Victorian etiquette. But, I believe that the emotions and actions we will discuss are very real, very human, very healthy responses to love and romance.

With that, I would like to start with an anonymously written poem that I posted along with a few photovignettes many years ago on my blog, The Realm of the Red Rose, to get us in the mood for the lecture.

The setting: The gentleman has just left his beloved on the wide veranda of her home, her mother having been sitting at the table just a few feet behind them for the entire interview. Since they have been courting for most of the season, he has been permitted to sit over evening tea with the young lady and occasionally touch her gloved hand as they talk. He has brought her flowers, a lace handkerchief, and a sealed letter as gifts this day.

As he departs, the blushing young woman looks boldly into his eyes much longer than would be acceptable in public and offeres her hand to him. The love-struck gentleman seemed to look deeply into her soul as he bowed over her hand and kissed it ever so gently…feeling the folded parchment pressed into her palm…meant for him. Both their hearts beat more rapidly. He caught his breath as she whispered, “Be well, my love. Rest this night and dream of us.”

I read the farewell, the gentle request, and smile.

Does she not see the vast galaxy that leaves me to sort through?

So many fragments of wonders fill my soul…

Of sitting stoically as the train pulls out of the station,

a virgin rifle across my lap,

watching as she waves me a tearful farewell through the steam.

Of riding through the portcullis slowly, my visor locked down as she watches bravely from the tower,

lance set to defend her honor against a foe I cannot defeat.

Of watching her nervously as she plays the spinet in her mother’s parlour, my hands twisting in my lap, gripping my straw boater tightly to keep from touching her flaxen hair.

Of easing her slowly back in the tall grass, laughing together, ignoring the calls of the friends seeking us as she draws up her skirts slowly, meaningfully, offering me what we have both craved for so long.

(The fantasies of a virile young gentleman)

Of cursing, coaxing more speed from the battered old engine as she bravely mans the wheel of my tramp steamer, praying that darkness and pluck allow us to avoid the German blockade.

Of laying the last card of the straight flush on the green baize before leaning back dramatically, catching her eye as she rakes in the chips. The gleam telling me I had best get her to our room quickly.

Of bowing low to her over my walking stick as she curtsies carefully so as not to unbalance her wig, swelling with pride as she sets one gloved hand lightly on my arm, the entire court watching as I lead her out to the minuet.

Doesn’t she realise the worlds contained in “..and dream of us”?

From our example of the fantasies and thoughts of a proper young gentleman, we see that everything that was important to those of the Victorian era had to do with day-to-day life. Certainly literature and historical accounts would indicate to us that many men and women alike took these rituals of daily life very seriously – they focused on them. When things fell off the expected path, they were appalled and offended. Obviously this was not the case for everyone.
There were indeed rules of acceptable behavior which were known and to be followed.

There were also very private romantic – dare we say, sensual – thoughts.

I should perhaps mention that I will not always read verbatum from the slides, but discuss them along with you.

Back in the Victorian era a proper young lady had to learn the rules of etiquette everything from how to walk down the street to how to eat fruit ever so elegantly (first peeling it with a silver knife and cutting it in bite-size morsels). Victorian girls were trained early on in life to prepare herself for a life dedicated to home and family if she married, and charity if she didn’t. And young ladies, though advised on the importance of catching a man, were warned not to be too liberal in display of their charms. Meekness and modesty were considered beautiful virtues. As one example of modesty (multi-layered rules): A lady, when crossing the street, must raise her dress a bit above the ankle while holding the folds of her gown together in her right hand and drawing them toward the right. It was considered vulgar to raise the dress with both hands as it would show too much ankle, but was tolerated for a moment when the mud is very deep. As told by The Lady’s Guide to Perfect Gentility.

A young lady was expected to shine in the art of conversation, but not too brightly. Etiquette books of the era concentrate on the voice, rather than the content of speech, encouraging her to cultivate that distinct but subdued tone. Certainly many of us strong and intelligent ladies have determined that we most certainly can and should hold up our end of conversation. And speaking for myself, do not hesitate to speak frankly and with much learning as is appropriate.

And now we share some etiquette tips for gentlemen (from the humorous to the truly enlightened). Do not wear too much perfume – a gentleman should be seen and not smelled. A true gentleman tips his hat to greet a lady, opens doors, and always walks on the outside.

According to Sarah Josepha Hale in her 1868 Book: Manners [A gentle man] “is respectful but not groveling to his superiors, tender and considerate to inferiors, and helpful and protecting to the weak.”

According to Arthur Montine’s Handbook of Etiquette (1866) A gentleman “has a high sense of honor – a determination never to take a mean advantage of others – an adherence to truth, delicacy, and politeness [toward all].”

The ideal Victorian male (and therefore the ideal mate) was neither a sissy nor a chest pounding gorilla, but an integrated creature prepared to take on most any challenge that the world might toss in his direction. He was composed of kindness and gentleness toward women and those less fortunate than himself, respect for others, and a virility which allowed him to act swiftly when the appropriate need (and dare I say, “desire”) arose.

During the Victorian Era (generally given as 1837-1901), romantic love became viewed as the primary requirement for marriage and courting became even more formal – almost an art form among the upper classes. For men, marriage was also a type of career move since all of a woman’s property reverted to him upon marriage. Therefore courting was taken very seriously–by both sides. Men and women were careful not to lead the other on unnecessarily. The wise father and daughter also understood that a proper match would ensure that the daughter would be cared-for in the manner in which she had become accustomed – or better.

From the time she was young, a woman was groomed for this role in life–dutiful wife and mother. Properly trained, she learned to sing, play piano or guitar, dance and be conversant about light literature of the day. She also learned French and the rules of etiquette as well as the art of conversation and the art of silence.

There were those who were fiercely independent and “not suited” for marriage. Some became the stereotypic spinsters, some married later in life to a gentleman who enjoyed their independence, and others managed to explore, study, and find romantic partners outside of marriage.

Coming out meant a young woman had completed her education and was officially available on the marriage mart. Financial or family circumstances might delay or move up a girl’s debut, though typically, she came out when she was seventeen or eighteen. She purchased a new wardrobe for the season, in order to appear her best in public.

The debutantes attended as many events as possible in an effort to ensure as many potential suitors as possible. The goal of the lady and her family was to have an engagement agreement by the end of the season, which typically lasted from April to July. The upper classes held their social events throughout the season, while the lower classes had opportunities to socialize at Sunday Service, church suppers and holiday balls. Some of the upper class families arrived in town earlier if Parliament was in session.

A typical debutante’s day meant she rose at 11a.m. or 12 noon, ate breakfast in her dressing room, attended a concert or drove in the park, dined at eight, went to the opera, then to three or four parties until 5 a.m–all under the watchful eye of her chaperone.

Great care had to be taken at these public affairs, so as not to offend a possible suitor or his family.
The proper young lady would never approach people of higher rank, unless being introduced by a mutual friend. People of lesser rank were always introduced to people of higher rank, and then only if the higher-ranking person had given his/her permission. Even after being introduced, the person of higher rank did not have to maintain the acquaintance. They could ignore, or ‘cut’ the person of lower rank from their list of acquaintances.

A single woman was never to address a gentleman without an introduction. A single woman never walked out alone and her chaperone had to be older and preferably married. It was not uncommon for the chaperone to be her mother. Sadly, as mentioned earlier, it was expected that the proper young woman of the time would NOT display her intelligence openly for fear of scaring off possible suitors. And for a lady to express any political opinion openly was most certainly shocking.

An interested gentleman could not simply walk up to a young lady and begin a conversation. Even after being introduced, it was still some time before it was considered appropriate for a man to speak to a lady or for a couple to be seen together. Once they had been formally introduced, if the gentleman wished to escort the lady home he would present his card to her. At the end of the evening the lady would look over her options and chose who would be her escort. She would notify the lucky gentleman by giving him her own card requesting that he escort her home. Also if he desired a place on her dance card at the next ball, he called on her at her house, leaving his card if she were “not at home.”

If they were willing to take the time and make the effort society (in both Great Britain and America) during the late Victorian period provided young men and women with many opportunities to meet. One method was the system of calling. A proper call, or visit, lasted no more than ten or fifteen minutes.
no more than ten or fifteen minutes.

According to etiquette, men were expected to “retain gloves upon the hand during the call” in honor of the fifteen-minute time limit. Also, a well-bred man would never put his hat down on a chair, but would hold it in his hands at all times. This was an indication of control and responsibility. After all, if a man could not tend to his own hat for fifteen minutes, how would he ever manage a wife for an entire lifetime?

These non-verbal communications of the era textured life with nuance.The most flirtatious of these silent languages was the language of the the fan. The faintest movements of these lace, silk, satin, and feathery confections conveyed a world of meaning that was widely understood. But for the Victorians, life and love, like God and the devil were in the details. Simply by touching the lips with the fan, holding it in one or the other hand, drawing it across the cheek, or fanning rapidly or slowly, a woman accomplished in its grammar could hold an extensive conversation with an equally literate suitor.
suitor.

The young lady could use her fan to express the passionate extremes of love and hate. She could also apologize for a tiff, ask for a kiss, or declare her heart belonged to another. A right-handed twirl warned the hopeful swain that he was being watched by a disapproving chaperone or parent.

If a man requested the honor of escorting a lady home with an equally tactful cue – lifting his left forefinger to his left eye – she could accept the offer by resting the fan on her right cheek or reject it by resting the fan on her left. Tapping the fan with one finger meant an emphatic: “My mother says no.”

One could communicate much with simple movements of the fan:
Fast fan – I am independent
Slow fan – I am engaged
Fan in right hand in front of face – come on
Fan in left hand in front of face – leave me
Fan open and shut – kiss me
Fan open wide – love
Fan half open – you are my friend
Fan shut – hate
Fan drawn slowly across the cheek – I love you
Touching the fan against the left ear – go away

There most certainly were rules for gift giving during courtship. Items of apparel such as fans, gloves, and handkerchiefs were given meaning as were objects called ‘love tokens’ such as flowers, painted miniatures, or jewelry set with gemstones of particular significance. Gems provided an equally acceptable (if more expensive) public means for expressing private feelings. Particular combinations and sequences of stones provided a clever alphabet “code” through necklaces, earrings, rings, and pins. As we see from the example given, a young man could declare his love through a brooch or necklace, or some other piece of jewelry by having the jeweler place the stones in this particular order: lavender amethyst, olivine, violet sapphire, emerald.

The diamond ring which symbolizes innocence became popular as the engagement stone during this era.

One of the most popular forms of communication and contact among courting couples in all economic classes was dancing. This was in spite of complaints by those who thought that such amusements would distract young women from meeting their family responsibilities. Critics who worried about the “fleeting and unsubstantial pleasures of the ballroom” did not find a sympathetic audience with young men and women who wanted the physical closeness and private conversation which dancing so easily allowed.

Dancing was as controlled by etiquette as every other activity, and certain traditions had to be followed. When she arrived at a dance, for example, each young woman received a dance card on which young men signed up for the various dances. Some of these might include the two-step, the one-step, or the waltz. The successful social strategist filled her dance card at the start of the evening with the names of men she liked. An unanticipated opening on her program was considered embarrassing, especially for a popular young lady. Sometimes even the most fastidious girl danced with fellows she didn’t favor, just to avoid being thought a “wallflower.”

To quote Mrs. Humphry in her book, Manners for Men (1897), “The delight of the average hostess’s heart is the well-bred man, unspoiled by conceit, who can always be depended upon to do his duty. He arrives in good time, fills his card before very long, and can be asked to dance with a plain, neglected wallflower or two without resenting it. He takes his partner duly to the refreshment-room after each dance, if she wishes to go, and provides her with whatever she wishes. Before leaving her, he sees her safe at her chaperone’s side.”

As I stated earlier, it was the goal of all debutantes (and their families) to ensure that a relationship was cemented by the end of the social season. The couple did not necessarily need to have become engaged at this point, but there was generally an understanding that had developed. Because the main purpose of this discussion is romance, I will leave out the stunning details about financial checks, ancestral lineage inspection, and political connections exploration in favor of talking about increased intimacy and romance.

The couple could become a bit more intimate once they were engaged. They could stroll out alone, hold hands in public, and take unchaperoned rides. A hand around the waist, a chaste kiss, a pressing of the hand, were allowed. They could also visit alone behind closed doors. But they had to be dutifully separated by nightfall, or overnight at country parties. Thus, if the engagement was broken, the girl suffered the consequences of a ruined reputation because of her previous behavior. An honorable man never broke an engagement, so as not to cause the girl discomfiture.

The topic of weddings during Victorian times could become its own presentation, but we will briefly address some of the romantic traditions today. The wedding itself and the events leading up to the ceremony are steeped in ancient traditions still evident in Victorian customs. One of the first to influence a young girl is choosing the month and day of her wedding. June has always been the most popular month, for it is named after Juno, Roman goddess of marriage. She would bring prosperity and happiness to all who wed in her month. Practicality played a part in this logic also. If married in June, the bride was likely to birth her first child in Spring. Brides were just as superstitious about days of the week.

A popular rhyme goes:
Marry on Monday for health,
Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday the best day of all,
Thursday for crosses,
Friday for losses, and
Saturday for no luck at all.
Sunday was out of the question.

(Makes me wonder about modern day traditions of marrying on the weekend….)

Once the bride chose her wedding day, a prerogative conferred upon her by the groom, she could begin planning her trousseau, the most important item of which was her wedding dress. Color of the gown was thought to influence one’s future life. Ever since Queen Victoria wed in 1840, however, white has remained the traditional color for wedding gowns and bouquets. A woman then used her dress for Court Presentation after marriage, usually with a different bodice. The following description of Queen Victoria’s wedding attire comes from Victoriana Magazine: “Queen Victoria’s dress was of rich white satin, trimmed with orange flower blossoms. The headdress was a wreath of orange flower blossoms, and over this a beautiful veil of Honiton lace, worn down. The bridesmaids or train-bearers were also attired in white. The cost of the lace alone on the dress was £1,000. The satin, which was of a pure white, was manufactured in Spitalfields. Queen Victoria wore an armlet having the motto of the Order of the Garter: “Honi soit qui mal y pense,” inscribed. She also wore the star of the Order.

The lace of Queen Victoria’s bridal dress, though popularly called Honiton lace, was really worked at the village of Beer, which is situated near the sea coast, about ten miles from Honiton. It was executed under the direction of Miss Bidney, a native of the village, who went from London, at the command of her Majesty, for the express purpose of superintending the work. More than two hundred persons were employed upon it from March to November, during the past year. The lace which formed the flounce of the dress, measured four yards, and was three quarters of a yard in depth. The pattern was a rich and exquisitely tasteful design, drawn expressly for the purpose, and surpasses anything that has ever been executed either in England or in Brussels. So anxious was the manufacturer that Queen Victoria should have a dress perfectly unique, that she has since the completion of the lace destroyed all the designs. The veil, which was of the same material, and was made to correspond, afforded employment to the poor lace workers for more than six weeks. It was a yard and a half square.”

The men and women of this time, particularly the women, were considered to be prudish. However, during the 20th century, several surveys and research conducted during the era, along with discovered love letters would indicate very clearly that the warm-blooded women of Victoria’s time were anything but frigid mummies stoically doing their duty to procreate. Even a confirmed spinster like Emily Dickinson penned the words, “Wild nights – Wild Nights! / were I with thee / Wild nights should be our luxury.” to some imagined – or longed for – lover.

And according to research conducted by Linda Lichter, even Queen Victoria, who is considered the icon of prudery, together with Albert bought nude portraits for one another. She also apparently drew a few. That consuming yearnings were also felt by the young women they desired came as no surprise to the men who courted them. In an 1853 letter to his intended, one man wrote that he assumed his wife would be his “equal with flesh and blood, with magnetism, electricity, passion.” And another gallant swain assured his fiancee that he would not take premarital advantage of the “roused and throbbing nature of your woman’s heart, which in its sweetly awakened passion might feel tempted…to throw reasons to the wind and give life, love, through, being destiny — everything — to the lover who holds you in his arms.”

Carl Degler, historian, discovered an extensive survey or married women born between 1850 and 1880, which was conducted by a Stanford University professor, Dr. Clelia Mosher, a highly respected female physician. Dr. Mosher began her research in 1892. These women freely admitted that they had sexual feelings, enjoyed intercourse with their husbands, and usually experienced what they called “voluptuous spasms.” Quite an evocative term, don’t you think? Other respondents to Dr. Mosher’s surveys were equally glowing:

One claimed that she felt a sense of completeness, a spiritual oneness, which is not gained any other way.” Another described her private time with her spouse as “the extreme caress of love’s passion, ‘ whose “habitual bodily expression has a deep psychological effect in making possible complete mental sympathy and perfecting the spiritual union.”

During this era, romance and intimacy were regarded as just that — intimate, personal, and very private. William Wordsworth wrote: “Strange fits of passion have I known: / And I will dare to tell, / But in the Lover’s ear alone, / What once to me befell.” Perhaps it was this forbidden open expression of romance and intimacy in Victorian public life that ensured a coveted, privileged meaning for romance and passion in private. Perhaps it made secret languages of romance even more titillating, and the meaning behind the fan, the gifts, the shining eyes even deeper. Perhaps it is best described as an exotic perfume made all the more alluring by its subtle presence.

And now I’d like to thank you all for attending. I’ll be posting my slides along with bibliography and other references on my blog at some point in the near future (and will happily provide the slides to the salon’s blog if desired). I’d be pleased to entertain any questions at this time.

Viv Trafalgar: We will take questions in the usual manner – please IM me! Also we wish to remind you that all speakers funds go directly to the speaker. The Salon does not take a cut. Should you wish to Also support salon, there are posters outside. Now who wishes to begin with questions?

Eva Bellambi: Perhaps you are all just going to go home and practice a bit?

Tepic Harlequin raises a hand

Viv Trafalgar: Oh Tepic, do! Go ahead, please

Aisling Sinclair raises her hand

Viv Trafalgar: Tepic, then Miss Sinclair following

Tepic Harlequin: errrm…. do you know what the flowers mean, cus when this bloke asked me to take some to his girls, i saw some dog roses an added em,,, she never spoke to him again!

Eva Bellambi: That is a most excellent question, Tepic. I did not specifically research the flowers for this presentation, but one does need to be equally adept at sending flowers as one would be at sending gems…. you really must know the language in order to say what you want to say. I would happily post some information on the language of flowers when I post my slides.

Viv Trafalgar: Miss Sinclair?

Aisling Sinclair: the prohibition against weddings on Sunday…were they religious? cultural? superstitious?

Eva Bellambi: Religious. The actual language was “no weddings on the Sabboth.” This would primarily be Sunday in England at the time, but I am assuming that other religious groups would have had a similar rule. Other than Christian, I meant to say.

Viv Trafalgar: Miss Bellambi, you mentioned “light reading” as acceptable for ladies – would that include novels? I’ve heard them much decried by certain members of society.

Eva Bellambi: Unfortunately most novels were discouraged for young women.

Adso Krogstad: And Principia Mathematica was right out.

Viv Trafalgar: What sort of light reading was appropriate?

Eva Bellambi: The thought was that it would take them from their duties around the home. Primarily etiquette books, cooking and home making, the Bible, (light stuff).

Viv Trafalgar: Frau Lowey had a question, I believe

Rowan Derryth: Much of what I’ve read used the term ‘useful’ in regards to what women should strive to be, did you come across that in your research?

Annechen Lowey: Light Reading, in that if they threw the book at their husband, it would not mar the wall when they missed. If you use the OED, make sure of your aim.

Viv Trafalgar: Are there other questions about?

Annechen Lowey: I have two.

Eva Bellambi: Rowan -‘useful’ was a term widely used.

Viv Trafalgar: please do go ahead

Bodhisatva Paperclip raises his hand

Annechen Lowey: Do you still have your bibliography handy for this, to be inclued with your slides?

Viv Trafalgar: Frau Lowey and then Bodhisatva

Eva Bellambi: Yes – I have quite a bibliography to go with this. It will be posted on the blog

Annechen Lowey: Lovely! and how many notations did you find of young women having to go through more than one Season?

Icarus Ghost: Miss Trafalgar, I have a question for Lady Eva.

Eva Bellambi: Interestingly very few, Annechen. Mentioned, but rather swept under the rug.

Viv Trafalgar: Certainly Mr. Ghost, following Bhodisatva

Annechen Lowey: Do you think it was just not talked about, or they made the best of what was presented?

Eva Bellambi hopes she did not miss the Professor’s question.

Bodhisatva Paperclip: Thinking of no-one in specific, might it have been the, erm, complexity of remaining in polite society that made travelling abroad in the name of Science! appear not so much effort after all?

Eva Bellambi: I think that travelling has always been an option when love is not found. But how wonderful that science can be there for us during such times.

Viv Trafalgar: Miss Widdershins will follow Mr. Ghost

Icarus Ghost: Lady Eva, do you have a novel or author of the time that you particularly enjoy and find relates to the topic of romance?

Marion Questi raises his hand.

Eva Bellambi: Mr. Ghost…..there are so many. Perhaps I should add that to my bibliography as well. Novels of note

Viv Trafalgar: Mr. Questi will follow Miss Widdershins, following the reply to Mr. Ghost

Saffia Widdershins: I was going to say, wasn’t it the case that conventionally, only one daughter at a time could be “out” unless they were VERY close in age. So if one daughter was unmarried, she had to retire to make way for her younger sisters.

Eva Bellambi: Yes – that was indeed the case. If a younger daughter married while an older daughter was still out….oh the shame.

Saffia Widdershins: hence the shock that all five Bennett sister were “out”

Eva Bellambi: Precisely. It’s always the twittering mothers’ faults.

Viv Trafalgar: One last question from Mr. Questi and then we will put today’s craft out. You are encouraged to stay and talk for as long as you like

Eva Bellambi: But this is apparently an accurate description of debutantes of the day. One. at. a. time.

Marion Questi: We’ve been talking pretty much about the UK and the Commonwealth. Were things very different in the US?

Eva Bellambi: Actually, much of my research also dealt with the Americas at that time. Particularly the rules about gentlemen holding their hats during a call. The US did generally adhere to the same set of rules in the larger towns and cities. Go into the wilds, though….. well – we just can’t say for sure.

Viv Trafalgar: Thank you all for your fantastic questions and to Miss Bellambi for her amazing, breathtaking even, talk on Romance. The Salon is on Spring Break in March. Please plan to join us in April for Miss Bookworm, in May, and in June for an extraordinary discussion of Libraries (glows in Dame Kghia’s direction). We look forward to seeing you again soon – and hope that you will enjoy the salon’s gift to you today. Thank you once again to Mr. Kiergarten for the chocolates!

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