Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to mend Mr. Darcy's pen

Thursday, April 11, 2013
Miss Bingley wants to help

Loretta reports:

If you’ve read Pride and Prejudice, you might have found yourself wondering, among other things, about Miss Bingley’s offer to mend Mr. Darcy’s pen for him.

Letter writing, which is either extinct now or nearly so, was in the early 19th century an extremely complicated process.  The Young Lady’s Book:  A Manual of Elegant Recreations, Exercises, and Pursuits, devotes 30-plus pages to the topic of letter writing in a chapter titled “The Escruitoire.”

I’m still trying to figure out how to fold the paper.

The hard-core nerdy among you will wish to peruse the entire chapter.  For those who’d rather not, thank you, I offer from its pages the art of mending a pen.



Please click on text to enlarge to readable size.  If that still isn't big enough, please click on the link to the chapter.


Anonymous said...

Do you think their pen-maker might have been something like our hand held pencil box pencil sharpener?
That sounds neat.
There are also those who want to give a salacious meaning to mending his pen.

Lil said...

There are all these little details of existence that in the past took time. Not necessarily hours—I'm sure that with practice, mending a pen took no more than a few minutes—but I would wager that people gave considerable thought to their letters before they took pen in hand. Quite apart from the pen sharpening, you would have to be very rich to be willing to waste paper on innumerable drafts.

I wonder if authors also did a lot of writing and rewriting in their heads before taking pen in hand.

Isobel Carr said...

This is very cool! My friends and I have tried making our own quills (hardening in hot sand, etc.), usually with quite disastrous results, LOL!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This was so interesting. I bookmarked it. Do you think they would have been using the same kinds of pens in 1890?

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