The bells of St. Paul’s Cathedral echoed across London, the mournful toll plunging the entire nation into grief. King Henry VII ordered his council to prepare the Queen’s funeral and went into seclusion. Her “departing was as heavy and dolorous as to the King’s Highness as hath been seen or heard of”. “Solemn dirges and Masses of requiems” were heard, Henry ordered 636 masses to be offered for her soul in London alone on the day after her death. Over nine thousand yards of black cloth were ordered for the Great Wardrobe. Her State funeral was one of the most lavish ever seen.Share
Henry ordered clothing in blue and black, blue being the royal colour of mourning, and even had his books bound in blue velvet. It would be more than a year before the King’s grief would begin to subside, shortly after her death he became seriously ill and was close to death. He emerged a changed man. The Tower of London was abandoned as a royal residence. Every year Henry marked the anniversary of her death. On February 11th a requiem mass would be sung, the bells would be tolled and 100 candles would burn in her honour. He retained the services of Elizabeth’s minstrels, who played for him at every New Year celebration up to his death. (Read more.)
Thursday, December 12, 2013
And my mind was reeling. What really knocked the wind out of me, what was really incomprehensible, was that what had happened to my baby was perfectly legal. That wouldn’t sink into my head. It was too insane. I got to the payphone, and I called her back. We stayed on until every quarter ran out and the mechanical voice said, “You have sixty seconds. Please deposit more change.” (Read more.)Share
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
This lovely robe à la française is from the Think Pink exhibition (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) that I've written about previously here and here. Made of silk taffeta with lace, the gown features the serpentine self-trim, stomacher with bows and lace, and the deeply flounced petticoat and sleeve ruffles that all were the height of Parisian fashion c. 1760-70. Any European or colonial American lady would have loved to have worn such a gown – except that there's a slight problem with the size. (Read more.)Share
The Whiskey Rebellion was a critical moment in the life of the new republic. President Washington's use of the military to force payment of the tax demonstrated that the fledgling federal government had real power—and was willing to use it.Share
But to Hamilton, who conceived it, the tax was about more than raising cash or asserting the central government's authority. It was also a way to reduce alcohol production and consumption. Hamilton wrote in Federalist 12 that a tax on whiskey "should tend to diminish the consumption of it," and that "such an effect would be equally favorable to the agriculture, to the economy, to the morals, and to the health of the society. There is, perhaps, nothing so much a subject of national extravagance as these spirits." Washington agreed: Drinking, he said, was "the ruin of half the workmen in this Country"—even though, as the owner of one of America's largest distilleries, he contributed his share to that ruin. (Read more.)
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
1. Send thank you notes. Hand written, delivered by the post office ones. I have been trying harder to make sure that I always do this. People really appreciate it.Share
2. Shake hands. Outside of the business world, people are not good at it at all. We are big huggers, so I don’t shake a lot of hands, but when I get one of those sad, limp ones, I wonder how depressed and unconfident that poor person must be.
3. Collect things, specifically when it comes to kids. When I was little, it was stickers; boys collected baseball cards or comics. When my dad was a kid, he pinned beautiful insect specimens to boards. Collecting teaches organization and responsibility. Today, kids collect video games that they treat poorly.
4. Stand up straight. It literally causes me physical pain to look at the way teenagers carry themselves today. My great great aunt was very tall for a woman when she was young, so she slouched on purpose. I knew her when she was in her nineties, and I saw the results of all of that slouching. The poor woman was hunched.
5. Have dinner parties. They are wonderful. Going out is fun, but there is nothing like having friends over for dinner.
6. Take walks. My husband’s grandparents habitually take a walk after dinner every night. It is such a great thing to do, if only for your own digestion. Our lives are busy, and it is hard to fit in…I know.
7. Have family reunions. When I was a kid, we planned big ones, and they were for that reason only. We got together in the summers just to have a family reunion. It was so much fun.
8. READ! It is my favorite thing! You are clearly reading right now, so maybe you read. Pick out one of your friends who doesn’t read, and buy them a book.
9. Spring clean. I really want to do this, and I have never actually organized a day when the whole family spring-cleans. Windows, floorboards, ceiling fans. Pulling out the stove and the fridge. It might even be worth it to get a few families together and take turns on houses. The guys could concentrate on the power washing and the lawn work.
10. Volunteer. (Read more.)
This is essential, because what these four young men represent is a challenge to the common portrayal of male friendship in our popular culture. It is difficult to find, especially on television, an example of male friendship (outside of the military or law enforcement) that is neither transactional nor idiotic. For cheap beer, it’s the wingman trope. In sitcoms, it’s stupid men doing stupid things in stupid attempts at liberation from wives or girlfriends. Male friendships, we’re taught, are about finding or fleeing women; they are not valuable in themselves.Share
In the Tullamore Dew spot, the bride, though beautiful, is an afterthought. The ad has already achieved its effect before she arrives on the scene. The implicit promise that is so appealing is not that this whiskey will bring you a beautiful wife, but that it will bring you worthy friends to see you off on that marital journey. (Read more.)
Monday, December 9, 2013
Here is the wedding gown of George and Caroline's daughter, the highly popular and beloved Princess Charlotte.