As I not so slyly hinted yesterday, today’s entry is all about weddings. Or rather, wedding breakfasts, such as the one mentioned in “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor.” According to William Baring-Gould, this case took place in the fall of 1886–the first year in which weddings after 12 noon became legal in Britain. If you go by Jay Finley Christ’s chronology, and believe the events occurred in 1888, it’s still very likely that a traditional noble family would follow that centuries’ old custom.
According to The Habits of Good Society: A Handbook for Ladies and Gentlemen (published in both Boston and London in 1875):
In London, for a great wedding breakfast, it is customary to send out printed cards from the parents or guardians from whose house the young lady is to be married.
The breakfast is arranged on one or more tables, and is generally provided by a confectioner when expense is not an object.
Flowers skillfully arranged in fine Bohemian glass or in épergnes composed of silver, with glass-dishes, are very ornamental on each side of the wedding-cake, which stands in the center. When the breakfast is sent from a confectioner’s or is arranged in the house by a professed cook, the wedding-cake is richly ornamented with flowers, in sugar, and a knot of orange-flowers at the top. At each end of the table are tea and coffee. Soup is sometimes handed. Generally the viands are cold, consisting of poultry or game, lobster-salads, chicken or fish à la Mayonnaisses, hams, tongues, potted-meats, prawns, and game-pies; raisins, savory jellies sweets of every description–all cold. Ice is afterwards handed, and, before the healths are drunk, the wedding-cake is cut by the nearest gentleman and handed round.
Mrs. Beeton’s 1880 edition includes a wedding menu for both English and French-style weddings, as well as a diagram of how one’s table might be laid:
This makes the cake, nuts, and mints we had at my wedding seem….paltry. Oh,and a caveat to any of you planning a wedding–get twice as much punch as you think you will need. Trust me.
So, going with today’s theme of invalid marriages, let’s have a prize with a fake one, shall we?
I have never taken these comics out of their plastic. They’ve been read, but seem to be in decent shape. They are larger than usual–hence the $1.00 price tag. To enter the drawing for them, just answer to this question:
What would Lord St. Simon miss the most about his erstwhile bride, Hatty Doran?
Send your answer in via blog comment, or by Facebook message (the Well-Read Sherlockian page or my personal FB page). Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve–stay safe, and have a designated driver!!!!!!!!!!
Congratulations to David Marcum, winner of the shorthand version of The Return of Sherlock Holmes! Shorthand is mentioned in STUD and CARD; Lestrade, Gregson, and “our shorthand man” all use it. As Pitman shorthand was and is the most popular method used in England, we may deduce that this was the form they were using.