Sunday, April 12, 2009


on various and sundry matters

On Gentility: An elegant manner and easiness of behaviour are aquired gradually and imperceptibly. No man can say “I’ll be genteel”. There are ten genteel women for one genteel man, because they are much more restrained. (Samuel Johnson as quoted by Boswell - 1776)

On Hair: A very close look at a series of original fashion plates, last half of the 18thcentury, show evidence of the lock of hair just above the ear being cut - no longer than an inch in length. The rest of the front hair is brushed back and up over padding or whatever, according to the individual styles. For this time period the hair is completely off the forehead with no bangs or errant curls.

Of Quills and Quilling and other definitions
An obvious and common definition is the feather of a large bird, often a goose or turkey, formed into a pen by pointing and slitting the lower end of the barrel.

A plectrum formed of a feather for plucking the strings of a musical instrument; in instruments of the harpsichord type, a piece of crow quill set on a jack and put into motion by the keys.

The float of a fishing line made of a quill. - A convenient way to pick the teeth.
Threads wound on a quill, ready for the weaver.

To form small cylindrical plaits or folds, to goffer: thus using papers or fabric or ribbons, or lace. Would you like to quill a ruffle for your cap? Smooth out your fabric strip while wet, place a series of quills (plastic drinking straws0 over and under the strip and let it dry.

On the letter Y
The y in ye, yt, and so on, is a relic of the runic thorn, signifying ‘th’. Some time in the 14th century, the y and the thorn became confused and the y came to serve as a symbol for th in manuscripts and printing. As the Oxford English Dictionary explains, it is now only used jocularly, as in Ye Olde Shoppe, but in the 17th & 18th centuries, ye and other quick forms such as wch were normal. With the exception of yr for your, the y stands for th and is so pronounced. Thus ye is pronounced the.

On Wages:
Prices set by Concord, Massachusetts Selectmen and ordered by the Great and General Court to prevent monopoly and oppression, June 9, 1777 . . . “. .Women’s labor: spinning linen, 5d. per skein, 14 knotted; and other spinning in proportion. Weaving plain common cloth, yd wide, 4 pence half penny per yd. Striped ditto; 5 pence per yard woolen ell wide, 5 pence half penny per yard.

&&& Wednesday 21 January 1784 - Comet seen in Boston
&&& Nov. 29, 1783 - ½ 10 of the clock at Night a Shock of an earthquake in Boston.