This little beauty arrived this morning, via Ebay. It's MANNERS OF GOOD SOCIETY, written by "A member of the Aristocracy". A research book, obviously, but the best thing about it is that it was published in 1890 ie. the very year that Victorianoid is set!
So, this is the real deal about etiquette of the time, not a second hand source such as an internet search. And it's full of advice to the socially unsure about visiting your friends and acquaintances, leaving your calling cards, how to address various toff and nobs, going to parties, balls and picnics and generally behaving with propriety in the later Victorian age.
Now, I must admit, my story doesn't involve a lot of the activities described in this worthy little tome [especially not the behaving with propriety, quite the reverse!] but at least dipping into it will give me an idea of the mindset of the society conscious folk of the time, and a flavour of the way they wrote and spoke, and even if I don't use it directly, I'm hoping some of its wisdom will seep into my subconscious and maybe lend a little veracity to my Victorian historical writing.
I've actually amassed a few contemporary items for this book: bound volumes of the Illustrated London News and Punch. Bound copies of The Young Ladies' Journal and even a Mother's Companion. I love to handle these original books, and think that people were reading them and enjoying them and looking at the illustrations over a century ago. It makes the Victorian age feel very real to me, and not just some dry, theoretical historical time period.
I think that's what draws me to the Victorian era. You can still get your hands on so much of the stuff they made and used. :)
Eating: Jaffa Cake Bars
Reading: The Moor/Laurie R. King
Feeling: so so