english nobility

general li mulan

okay so i LOVE mulan okay. as far as i’m concerned it’s a Perfect Movie and doesn’t need any fixing. but i was thinking today and -

- what if mulan didn’t go to war to save her father?

say her father is dead, okay, killed by the previous war. so she’s raised by her mother and grandmother, women who’s complacency and softness has been worn away by necessity. she needs to marry well, for her family’s sake, because her mother has refused the hand of every man who offered. but mulan is even more rough around the edges than before, is educated not only in books (her mother said men wouldn’t find smarts attractive and grandmother pointed out that men aren’t always around and off to school mulan went) but in the sword too, taught to her by her classmate, ping.

mulan is considered in the lower end of the upper class, coming from a family of military men and scholars and successful merchants. ping is near the top, the son or nephew of an advisor to the emperor. his family is very rich and very important, and the reason they become friends is because mulan manages to notice something about him that he’s been hiding from everyone else - he’s going blind.

not totally blind, enough to get around, but blind enough that reading is difficult and swordplay is even worse, although once he has it down he has it. ping is no fool, he’s not weak or bumbling. his eyes just don’t work. so mulan notices and confronts him about it. she promises to keep it a secret, and hey, she’ll even help him with his assignments by reading the books out loud and helping him study. but in return he must teach her the sword, must teach her about military and tactics. he agrees.

ping and mulan become very good friends and there’s some raised eyebrows about it but they are TOO far away in class for it to be inappropriate, so they make tutting sounds and disapproving faces and let it go.

then the draft happens. ping can’t go to war, he won’t survive it. not with his eyesight like it is. so mulan offers him a deal - she’ll go to war for him, in his place. in return, if she survives, he must marry her. if she dies he must take care of her family.

ping can’t make this kind of family decision on his own, so he goes to his mother and tells her everything, about the eyesight and how he’ll die if he goes and mulan’s offer. his mother says he must keep it a secret from his father, but agrees - if mulan fights in her son’s place and survives, a wedding will be arranged. either way, mulan’s family will be taken care of. ping will be sent to live with some cousins in the meanwhile.

“you’re not in love with me, are you?” ping asks, helping mulan saddle her horse in the middle of the night. she scoffs and rolls her eyes, “not even a little. but marrying you will make my family happy, and besides, you’re my best friend,” she says, smiling, “better you than some grabby old man.” he smiles and hugs her and says, “i’m not in love with you either. but don’t die out there. we have a wedding to plan.”

so mulan goes to the camp, pretending to be ping, and she’s a little bit less lost but things still go as they go. she’s educated and trained, so it’s not hard for her to pass as ping. shang is keeping a special eye on her, thinking that she’s the son of an advisor, one of his father’s friends. and he sees how easily she excels, how quick thinking and smart she is, and starts giving her more and more responsibilities. by the time they’re called out, shang considers ping ie mulan to be his right hand man, and possibly his best friend.

he’s also a little bit in love with ping, and he’s long known he’s attracted to both genders, so he watches ping laugh and smile and the crease between his eyes when he frowns and does his best to let his feelings chase away the best soldier he has. every time shang looks at ping his heart clenches and he things to himself: i wish i could have you, i wish this was a time and a place where one man could have another, i wish you were a girl, is wish i was a girl - i wish we could be together. he’s literally a step away from doodling ‘li ping’ with little hearts over his battle plans. 

so the battles happen. shang and ping lead their men together, respected and loved. they each get promoted, and promoted, and promoted. it’s been years, and it comes to a point where they’re both generals in their own right. they trust each other, care for each other. and are both secretly in love with the other.

mulan is so conflicted. because she wants this war to end and to go home and settle back into life and become ping’s wife, so she can have an easy life spent studying and learning with her family taken care of. that’s what she’d wanted. but now what she wants is shang, her best friend, her brother in arms, her fellow general. she wishes to be everything to him, aches to be the woman on his arm and in his bed, but knows it’s the one thing she can never be.

then that final battle happens. mulan’s quick thinking saves them all and ends the war - but she’s injured.

shang finds out the ping has been a girl all along. he demands explanations - so she tells him everything, that she traded places with ping to save him, to become his wife.

and the lies should sting the sharpest, but they don’t. she’s still the same person, after all. it’s that she’s promised to another man, for one second he’d thought he might have her, but no. so he agrees not to reveal her but he’s furious and furious at himself for being furious and they’re not the same now, broken and splintered and neither of them know what to do.

the war is over. they leave. mulan returns home, and thanks to her ping is now known as a respected general. she’s done her part and survived, and now she gets her reward - ping’s hand in marriage.

but she sees ping for the first time and flings herself into his arms and starts crying. she tells him everything, because he’s still her friend, her very best friend besides shang, the man whom she lied to and betrayed and loves. and ping listens and takes her by the shoulders and says - i’ll uphold our bargain, if that’s what you want. you can be my pampered wife, you’ve more than earned it. but if you want to go to shang, i won’t blame you. you deserve your happiness.

and mulan goes back and forth, but ultimately she decides she has to try. if shang rejects her she’ll return and marry ping and uphold her family honor. but if shang wants her - he’s not as high up as ping, but he’s high up enough to satisfy her family, and also she would love him and want him if he was no more than a farming peasant so it doesn’t matter much anyway.

she rides to the capitol. she finally meets ping’s father, running into him while looking for shang. “ah mulan,” says this man who was never supposed to know of her until she became his daughter-in-law, “i didn’t expect to see you here. how fortuitous. walk with me.” she does, wary, and that’s how she discovers - he and the emperor had discovered her deception a year in, but at that point she’d already proven herself too skilled and valuable to lose. he tells her that he will uphold his son and wife’s deal and gladly welcome her to his household - but that she’s earned her rank as general, and that he and the emperor have no problem with letting her keep it.

she says thank you, shocked and joyful, but that she has to talk to someone first. “ah, yes, young general li,” he says, eyes twinkling, “i do believe he’s around here somewhere.”

she has no idea how he seems to know everything, but she finally tracks down shang who’s ecstatic to see her and hates himself for it. she confesses - says she loves him, that she’s engaged to ping but willing and able to break this engagement for shang. who is dumbfounded and elated and says yes, of course, finally and forever.

and mulan accepts her rank and marries shang, and they become the literal power battle couple of the general li mulan and general li shang. ping becomes a scholar and marries a very nice young woman who loves reading and is happy to read aloud to her husband with his failing eyes.

and they all live happily ever after.

French Nobility

Originally posted by slainte71

Who are the nobility?

In France, nobility was a quality of the individual, a legal characteristic that could be held or acquired, and conferred some rights and privileges; such as levied taxes in times of war (since the nobility was supposed to fight for the sovereign), or since the 17th century, only weaker taxing exceptions. Also, a number of military and civic positions were reserved for nobility.

How is it inherited?

Nobility was usually hereditary only through the male line; a nobleman could marry a commoner and keep his nobility, but a noblewoman could not. When the nobility was hereditary, even though it was transmitted through the father, a higher percentage of noble blood or a higher number of noble generations in the family could be important as well.

How is nobility acquired?

  • By Birth. Usually from the father since 1370 (only exceptions are nobility in Champagne until the 16th century and Bar until the French Revolution). Bastards of nobles became nobles when legitimated by letters of the sovereign until 1600, after that a separate act of ennoblement was required (except royal bastards, they were always nobles even with no legitimation).
  • By Office. Depending on the office, the holder became noble either after a number of years in office or immediately. This kind of nobility could be personal or hereditary for 2, 3 or more generations. Here we have nobles for fiscal offices (tax courts and state auditors), “noblesse de robe” (for judicial offices, members of the parliament or courts that have been in office for 20 years),  “noblesse de cloche” (municipal offices, the mayors of towns), administrative offices (the places on the household of the king and the secrétaires du Roi) and military commissions (since 1750 officers reaching the rank of general would receive hereditary nobility).
  • By Letters. Meaning, by royal grant, meaning that the king could always ennoble whoever he wished.

Could nobility be lost?

Yes it could. You lose it by failing to your failing duties (this was called “déchéance”, kind of like Athos in The Musketeers BBC series); by practising forbidden occupations (called “dérogeance”), like commerce or manual crafts or farming someone else’s land (farming your own or the King’s land was ok). Funny that medicine, glass-blowing, exploitation of mines, maritime commerce and wholesale commerce was acceptable. Also, if you were a woman and marry a commoner, your nobility is lost.

What about the titles?

To bear a title you had to be noble. And a title is a rank attached to a certain piece of land. So, there could be nobles with no titles.

  • Duc. A duke (from the Latin dux, “leader”) was originally the governor of a province and a military leader. He was the possessor of a “duché” (a duchy).
  • Comte. A count (from the Latin comes, “companion”), originally an appointee of the king governing a city and its immediate surroundings. He was the possessor of a comté (county) or a high-ranking official in the king’s immediate entourage called Counts Palatine (palace counts).
  • Marquis. Originally the governor of a “march”, a region at the boundaries of the kingdom in need of particular protection. He was the possessor of a marquisat (marquessate).
  • Vicomte. A viscount was originally the lieutenant of a count, either when the count was not at home or then the county was held by the King himself. He was the possessor of a vicomté (viscounty).
  • Baron. Originally a direct vassal of the king or another major feudal lord (a duke or count or so). The possessor of a baronnie (barony).
  • Châtelain. A castellan was the commander in charge of a castle. Few chastellanies survived with the title or “Sire” (sir).
  • Prince. Possessor of a principauté (principality). This title was not the same as the rank of Prince and did not give his possessor precedence at the court.
  • Seigneur. A lord, possessor of a lordship.
  • Chevalier. The equivalent of a “knighted” or a member of certain chivalric orders or the head of the King’s guardsmen. Not the same as the rank of Chevalier.

Wait. Titles and Ranks are not the same?

No, they were not. Because French people are crazy and this could not be easy at all. Let’s say that there were two kinds of “titles”: the ones linked to the fifes (the feudal real estates, meaning the duchies and counties, etc) and the personal ranks.

  • Fils de France/Filles de France. The sons and daughters of the King.
  • Petit-fils de France. The grandchildren of the King through the male line.
  • Prince du Sang/Princesse du Sang. A Prince/Princess of the Blood was a legitimate descendant of the King but was not part of the immediate family. Meaning that they were not Fils neither Petit-Fils de France.
  • Prince/Princess Légitimé. The legitimized children of the King or other males of his dynasty.
  • Prince Étranger. A foreign prince naturalized and recognized by the French court.
  • Chevalier. A rank assumed ONLY by the most noble families and the possessors of very high dignities in the court. Note that the ones with the title of Chevalier and the ones with the rank of Chevalier are addressed differently.
  • Écuyer. This rank (squire) was the one of the majority of nobles. It was a member of the nobility with no title.

How are they addressed?

For this section I’ll use an example name, so each way of addressing will be very clear. Let’s use the Marquis de Castelnau: Philippe-François d'Albignac.

  • The simpler way to address a noble is using Monsieur, Madame and Mademoiselle: here, we would address Philippe-Françoise simply as Monsieur.
  • But of course it cannot be that simple, you could not be sure about who and which Monsieur, Madame or Mademoiselle you’re talking about. So, there is a simple formula: Monsieur/Madame + de + last name or house = Monsieur de Albignac.
  • But you can also refer to someone by their title and not their last name: Monsieur/Madame + le/la + title = Monsieur le Marquis.
  • And you can be even more specific, since we wanna know, are we talking about the same Marquis? You’d use: Monsieur/Madame + le/la + title in full style = Monsieur le Marquis de Castelnau.

Those are the general ways, but it can be very tricky or specific according the rank and title. Here is another helping guide:

  • The King. Majesté, Your/His Most Christian Majesty, Your/His Majesty, Monsieur Le Roi.
  • The Queen. Majesté, Your/Her Most Christian Majesty, Your/Her Majesty, Madame La Reine.
  • The Dauphin (the eldest son of the King). Monsieur le Dauphin, His/Your Royal Highness, Monseigneur le Dauphin, His/Your Royal Highness Monseigneur le Dauphin.
  • The Dauphine (the Dauphin’s wife). Madame la Dauphine, Her/Your Royal Highness, Her Royal Highness Madame la Dauphine.
  • The Fils de France. Referred by their main title, except the Dauphin. I.e. Monsieur le Duc d’Anjou.
  • The Filles de France. Referred as Madame+their given name. Except the eldest daughter that was called Madame Royale until she married, and then that style is used by the next Fille de France. I.e. Madame Victoire.
  • The Petit-Fils/Petit-Filles de France. Addressed using their full style titles.
  • Prince du Sang/Princesse du Sang. Usually styled by their main ducal title, but other more precise titles were also used. It could be used: Monsieur le Prince, Madame la Princesse, Monsieur le Duc, Madame la Duchesse, and so on. In writing only the style Serene Highness was used.
  • Prince Légitimé/Princesse Légitimé. They took last names according to the branch of the House their father belonged and after the legitimization they were given a title. Males were given titles from their father’s lands, and therefore addressed as Monsieur and the title or last name; females were given the style of Mademoiselle de “X”.
  • Prince étranger. Basically addresses as Haut et puissant Prince or Your/His Highness. They are tricky to address, since they could have ANY other kind of title (literally any, from Prince to Chevalier, everything in between), then they could be called according to their first title and/or as Highness. Let’s take the example of Hercule Mériadec de Rohan, Duke of Rohan-Rohan; he could be addressed as: Monsieur le Duc de Rohan-Rohan, His Highness Hercule Mériadec de Rohan, His Highness Monsieur le Duc de Rohan-Rohan, His Highness Monsieur de Rohan, Monsieur de Rohan.

Other words to keep in mind to address nobility:

  • Monseigneur. Used for those of very high office and noble blood, like the Dauphin, cardinals, etc. Usually used only for adults.
  • Excellence. Ambassadors, foreign dignitaries.
  • Eminence. Mostly for cardinals, along with Monseigneur.
  • Monsieur le Chevalier. ONLY used when Chevalier is the rank.
  • Chevalier+last name. To address those who are knighted members of chivalric orders.
  • Sieur. Like Sir in English. Usually used for property holders that are not noble. It is used as Sieur + de + name of the land.
  • Gentilhomme. Used for ANY noble, from the King to the last écuyer.

I hope this works for you @meltingpenguins :D

There will be a second part on English Nobility.

ribstongrowback  asked:

Hey! Since you have knowledge of the medieval times and women were not as submissive and silent as I was taught in class and by mass media, can you tell me about medieval warrior women? Especially in France, if possible? Finding documentation on that subject on the internet is not that easy and it'll definitely come in handy for some historical roleplay stuff

Okay, for a general overview of (young) medieval women, the culture, and some ideas/misconceptions/cultural parameters about them, I do recommend Medieval Maidens: Young Women and Gender in England, 1270-1540. By its nature/title, it obviously focuses more on England, but France was not so terribly different culture-wise at this point, and this is around the time that most people think of as “medieval.” This book is fairly readable as academic texts go, and absolutely worth going through just for some basics.

In terms of warrior women, I will say that they are very much still the exception rather than the rule. They did exist, but there isn’t some grand conspiracy to cover up legions of Amazons and so forth (though it would be fun if there were). I work on the crusades, and one of the interesting questions is how much women participated as active combatants, if at all. Natasha Hodgson’s Women, Crusading, and the Holy Land in Historical Narrative covers some of this, though she mainly explores the interesting tensions about the presence/existence of women for crusade armies, and their relationships to crusaders – i.e. how much could women participate in a movement that by its nature was designed for arms-bearing knights, i.e. men? Helen Nicholson also has an article, Women on the Third Crusade, that deals with some cases of reported warrior women during said crusade (1187-1192) and what motives chroniclers, especially Muslim ones, might have for reporting or exaggerating their presence. This is a bit earlier, as the crusades are generally accepted to have taken place between 1095-1291, but still medieval.

In terms of French warrior women to look into, I’d say definitely Jeanne de Clisson (that is her wikipedia page, but there are links/references for further reading). She was a fourteenth-century French female pirate called the “Lioness of Brittany,” which if you ask me, is awesome, and everyone knows about Joan of Arc already. In this vein, Grace O’Malley was a 16th-century clan chieftain/pirate captain who met with Queen Elizabeth I; she couldn’t speak English and Elizabeth couldn’t speak Irish, so they communicated in Latin (also, in my opinion, awesome). She also had a badass nickname, “the Sea Queen of Connacht.” Not French, obviously, but yes.

Maud (or Matilda) de Braose was a 12th/13th-century Anglo-French noblewoman known for her military skill (in defending castles for her husband/leading armies in the field). She was supposedly exceptionally tall and also wore armor in fighting, and her death and that of her son (starvation by King John) so outraged the English nobility that there is a clause in the Magna Carta specifically banning such treatment of the king’s subjects. She also made enough of an impression that she is a Welsh folk legend.

Matilda of Tuscany is another woman (late 11th century) remembered for military accomplishments and formidable political prowess, especially in the Investiture Conflict.

Anyway, I think this is most of what I can come up with off the top of my head, but hopefully that is a useful start!

Foremost among these was Princess Daisy of Pless, tall and magnificently English in her pink and white bloom. Gold-clad, with a high diamond tiara on her honey-coloured hair, gay smiling, kindly disposed to all men, she was indeed… an incarnation of those days of peace, wealth and general prosperity. Marie, Crown Princess of Romania on Daisy Princess of Pless.

A Harem of One

A Harem of One - A CS One Shot

Summary: Killian Jones, younger son of Prominent Turkish Businessman, Brennan Jones, met Lady Emma during the height of the London season just a few weeks before he had to return to Constantinople in order to take over the family shipping business. Despondent over the fact that he had to leave the woman he loves behind, things get interesting when Brennan tries to give Killian a welcome home ‘gift’.

Notes: Period AU set in Constantinople with flashbacks of London society. Lady Emma / Scoundrel Killian; Mature Rating - for sexy times and some themes; ~6800 word count; Props to @winterbaby89 for the use of her eyes and brain on this; Also available on FF.net and Ao3.; Part 2 How May I Serve You, My Master

Captain Silver had always said that the sea was in Killian’s blood, and though there was definitely some truth to that, after a little over a fortnight of travel from London to Constantinople Killian was glad to be off the ship and at his father’s estate once more.

Well, glad was, perhaps, not entirely accurate.


No, that rang false as well.

Truth be told, Killian was probably more resigned than anything else at being back in his father’s homeland. Resigned, but not pleased. For all his hopes of pleasure and gladness had been left back in London.

With her.

Six weeks prior…

“Come now little brother, how do you expect to meet a nice, respectable lady if you hide here in the corner all night?” Liam questioned as he passed Killian another flute of champagne.

“Maybe I’m not interested in a nice, respectable lady. Ever think of that?” Killian quipped as he downed the beverage his brother had given him, wishing it were something stronger.

“Killian,” Liam exasperated, as was his nature and custom when dealing with his broody little brother. “I might be the one with the title, but as my brother, you will be expected to take a wife of suitable station. It wouldn’t hurt you to get to know a few ladies of the English nobility.”

“Liam, Ladies of the English nobility are insufferable,” Killian replied, his ire at the entire evening bubbling to the surface, and proceeding to spill over in Killian’s typical dramatic fashion. “They are vapid creatures that care nothing about any subject of consequence. If the conversation isn’t related to the latest gossip or fashion, then they have no interest. I have no intentions of engaging in mind numbing small talk for the next several hours, especially when there is no incentive to do so. I’m not interested in taking a wife, and no lady here would be agreeable to joining me in the activities of which I am interested.” His lifted brows and smirk giving emphasis to his words, leaving little room to question just what kind of activities he’d been referring.

“Must you be crass?” Liam muttered as he stalked off, clearly irritated, which Killian chalked up as a victory.

It wasn’t that he enjoyed getting under his brother’s skin - well, actually, yes. Yes he did - but rather that Killian was never at ease in London society. Too much of their father in him, Killian feared.

As far as anyone within the titled gentry was concerned, Liam and Killian Jones were the sons of the departed Lady Adelaide who had fallen in love and married foreign dignitary, Brennan Jones, from Constantinople. Choosing to remain in that faraway land with her husband, Adelaide had sent her sons back to England for their educations, and so that her eldest could learn the duties and responsibilities of the Earldom he’d inherited at birth.

What the gentry did not know was that Lady Adelaide was actually one of Brennan’s many wives, and that Liam and Killian were just two of his vast number of offspring. Though of western descent, Brennan had been born and raised in the east with its customs and traditions of noblemen taking on multiple wives and keeping harems; a practice Liam admonished vehemently while Killian, though uninterested in such a lifestyle for himself, tolerated as part and parcel of his father’s household.

Since neither Liam nor Killian were among the eldest of Brennan’s children they were given more leave to explore the world of their mother’s upbringing; Liam as a titled Lord, and Killian the spare. Liam took to the life of privilege and duty quite naturally, while Killian always felt just slightly out of step. He had no interest in agriculture, or managing estates, or endless balls and parties, and although the pleasures of certain Gentlemen’s Clubs with their gaming, boozing, and womanizing had certainly entertained him for a time, they too were losing their allure.

Much as the rest of England had, making his father’s offer to return to Constantinople and head up the family shipping business all the more appealing. Killian knew that his brother had hoped he’d meet a nice and proper lady to settle down with, but nice and proper wasn’t really Killian’s style.

Keep reading

Speculation about Undertaker’s ring

I was recently talking with @midnight-in-town about the origin of Undertaker’s ring, and found a great post by @thedarkestcrow that addresses it here. Coincidentally, I visited the München (Munich) Treasury exhibit and found something there that could possibly be relevant. Note that this is all speculation and in no way has been confirmed.

The character guide (linked in the post above) gives us a little insight into the ring’s construction. What sticks out to me, aside from the fact that it’s apparently funeral jewelry like his locket chain is that the stone is supported by two lilies. This isn’t unusual because lilies are fairly common funerary flowers. However, in the early middle ages they were also symbols of the nobility. Most interestingly…

The fleur de lis is a stylized version of a lily and was moulded into many of the crowns and jewelry of both the French and English nobility. This would have been between 1050-and 1200 AD. Historically, the noble families at that time period intermarried with some frequency.

And if my hunch about Undertaker’s age is correct (assuming that he’s a relatively old reaper), that would put him in the 700-900 year range which seems appropriate if the younger generation is roughly around 150-250. The question would then be if the ring is original, because if so it would be extremely old, or if Undertaker had another commissioned for himself at some point, similar to the individual lockets.

Considering the frequency that French is brought up or referenced in the series, I wouldn’t be surprised if Undertaker might have some French origins, himself. I’ve suspected for a while that he might have started in a different chapter of the reapers and possibly been transferred at some point during his service. Again, I might be completely off the mark but it could be plausible.

ragwitch  asked:

Regency AUs (a la Jane Austen era!)

1. Clawshock (Logan/Darcy)

Logan’s been at war for what feels like centuries, and when he comes home he has absolutely no use for balls and parties and everyone twittering and gossiping at him. Unfortunately for him, he came home a war hero, which makes him very high in demand in the marriage market.

It’s only a matter of time before some enterprising family traps him into an engagement that he hates, so his family friend Charles Xavier puts him in touch with a young woman in similar circumstances.

Their courtship and engagement is only supposed to be pretend, but Logan finds himself enjoying their outings and the way they buffer each other at social engagements more and more. When he meets her family, sees the kind of marriage they’re trying to force her into, he knows that he’s never going to let her go. She’s his to protect, after all.

2. Shieldshock (Steve/Darcy)

Steve is an American businessman who’s come to London to trade but has a disdain for the English nobility and their utter disregard for the lower social classes. They, in turn, look down on him for dealing in trade. He’s frustrated as all hell, but can’t go home without turning things around, and doesn’t trust any of the English upper class who are nice to his face but mock him behind his back.

Enter Darcy, the genius daughter of an elderly widower who runs her father’s affairs without anyone knowing. So used to people dismissing her or mocking her for her business sense, she finds a kindred spirit in Steve, who is simply in awe of this young woman who defies convention and is willing to risk her own reputation to help him.

3. Wintershock (Bucky/Darcy) - Persuasion AU

in which Darcy is the ward of Sir Alexander Pierce. She and Bucky fall desperately in love, but she breaks it off when she finds out that Pierce is waiting for them to get married so that he can leverage Bucky into doing his dirty work. She doesn’t want to be responsible for that, or have Bucky get killed when he confronts her powerful guardian, so she never tells him why.

Years later he returns from war with a prosthetic arm and a hardened, weary heart. Everyone wants to marry him off to their daughters or sisters, but he’s bitterly aware that his heart belongs to one woman and one woman only, as much as he’d love to flaunt a new love interest in her face.

But he’s older, and wiser, and the more time he spends around Pierce the more he gets an idea of why she sent him away in the first place…


North & South AU - Wintershock (not regency, but i couldn’t resist)

Bucky crawled his way out of poverty when he was a young boy, assisting his stepmother, Sarah, in providing for his sickly stepbrother Steve and his younger sister Rebecca.

The industrial boom in his city, plus a keen business sense honed over the years, has made him a bit ruthless and protective of those under his purview. When he meets Darcy, a young woman who has recently moved up from the South, he’s captivated by her confidence, her intelligence, even the proud tilt to her chin. He could listen to her talk about the stars and her studies with her friend, Jane Foster, for hours.

When she protects him in the middle of a riot, getting injured when she pushes him out of harm’s way, he allows himself to hope that his feelings might be returned.

Culinary History (Part 36): Preserving

In medieval Europe, protein foods such as meat & dairy could only be eaten fresh during summer and autumn.  In the winter and spring, they would be smoky or salty, because this was the only way to stop food from going off.

Any meat that wasn’t eaten straight away after killing the animal was salted – layered up with huge amounts of salt in a large wooden cask.  This expensive to do – in the late 1200’s, 2d of salt was necessary to cure 5d of meat – so only good-quality meat was salted.

Pork took salt the best.  The Elizabethans had bacon, ham, salt pork, and gammon (the hind leg after being dry-salted or brined).  There was also souse – a pickled mixture of all the leftover bits except the squeak.

Glazed gammon.

Beef was also salted to make salt beef.  One version of salt beef was Martinmas beef, prepared around the feast of Martinmas (November 11th).  The beef was well-salted, then hung in the roof of a smoky house until it was well-smoked.

There is an urban myth that medieval cooks used spices to disguise the taste of gone-off meat, but this is not true.  Spices were too expensive to waste on bad meat, but they were used to make the salt meat taste less harsh.

Milk was preserved as well as meat.  In the East, it was curdled & fermented into yoghurty foods and sour drinks, such as the Kazakh kumis (a fermented liquor made from mare’s milk, used as a drink and medicine).


In the West, it was turned into cheese and butter, both highly-salted for preservation.  In Aelfric’s Colloquy (late 900’s AD), the “salter” says that “you would lose all your butter and cheese were I not at hand to protect it for you.”

Their butter was extremely salty.  Butter today has about 1-2% salt, but they had 5-10x that amount.  According to a 1305 record, 1 pound of salt was needed for only 10 pounds of butter.  This would be disgusting to eat, and the cooks had to spend a lot of effort washing salt out of butter to make it edible.

Fish had to be salted, too.  The Scottish kipper (salted, pickled, or cold-smoked herring) was not invented until the 1800’s.  But before that, there was a kind of cured haddock produced near Aberdeen, smoked over peat & decayed moss.  They were called Bervies (also Buckies & Smokies? or were they a different type of fish/process?)

Salted cod.

Salted/pickled fish was a staple European protein food, especially on Fridays.  Even before the Classical era, there had been a good trade in salted fish – first from Egypt and Spain; then from Greece and Rome.  In the Middle Ages, salt herring came from the North and Baltic Seas, where it was a major industry.

Salt herring is not easy to produce, because it goes off so fast.  It should be preserved within a day (preferably less).  In the 1300’s, the manufacturers developed techniques for salting herrings on board, and this made it a lot faster.  The fish were re-packed when they got back to shore.

The Dutch were exceptional at this, which may have been one of the reasons they dominated the European market.  Their herring-gutters could process two thousand fish an hour when at sea.  Because they did it so fast, they accidentally left behind a part of the stomach containing trypsin (a chemical which speeds up the curing process).

Only eating fish preserved and not fresh would have been very monotonous, and there are many jokes about this.  In A Pleasant Comedie, called Wily Beguilde (Anon, 1606), one character says to another, “You dried stockefish, you, out of my sight!”

A “red herring” was a rather smelly cured fish which had been double “hard-smoked” and salted.  It is now a literary term.

Sweet preserved foods were much nicer to eat.  In the Mediterranean, the most common way to preserve fruit & vegetables was to dry them.  In this way, grapes became “raisins of the sun”, plums turned into prunes, and dates & figs shrivelled up and became sweeter.  During Biblical times & earlier, juicy fruits & vegetables were either buried in hot sand, or laid out on trays or rooftops.  The hot sun easily dried them out.

In Eastern Europe, the sun was less hot, so they had to develop more complicated methods.  From the Middle Ages, special drying-houses were built in Moravia (CZE) and Slovakia.  A drying-house was a room heated by a stove below it, with many wicker handles inside to hang the fruit on.

The English nobility had “stillrooms”, cool rooms where servants bottled fruits, candied nuts & citrus peel, distilled spirits, and made jams, marmalades (originally from quinces) and sweetmeats.

Candying had many alchemical superstitions and “secrets”.  For example, walnuts should be preserved on St. John’s Day (June 24th). Fruits for preserving were picked just before ripening, because they held their shape better that way.  Preserving was a kind of magic, like embalming the dead, of holding back decay.

Hannah Wolley’s The Queen-Like Closet (1672) gives a recipe for “The best way to preserve gooseberries green and whole”.  They were soaked three times in warm water; then boiled three times in sugar syrup; and finally boiled once more in a fresh sugar syrup.

Even though people had no idea why these methods worked, they succeeded in preserving most of the time.  It wasn’t until the 1860’s, when Louis Pasteur discovered the micro-organisms that made food & drink go off, that we found out.  People believed that the reason was spontaneous generation, with mysterious invisible forces causing mould to grow.  In reality, it’s microbes such as bacteria, yeast and fungi that cause good fermentation for wine & cheese, and toxic fermentation when food degrades.

Drying works as a method of preservation because bacteria need moisture to grow in, and so when the fruit dehydrated, they mostly die off.  Pickling in vinegar works because microbes prefer alkaline conditions, and the acid stops mold from growing.

There wasn’t much innovation in preserving, because mistakes could be deadly.  From the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 1800’s, the only innovation was conserving meat in a layer of fat/oil – used in potted meats and duck/goose confit (salt-curing a piece of meat, and cooking it in its own fat).

Duck confit.

Sparrows and Lollards: The Historical Parallel

A few weeks back I promised @poorquentyn that I’d write up that comparison between the English heretics known as Lollards, their connection with the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, and the Sparrows of ASoIaF. It took a bit longer than I’d hoped, but as promised, and for your reading pleasure, the case for why the Lollards and the Peasants’ Revolt is the strongest parallel we’ve got here, and their similarities - theological and political.

I’d also like to thank @meddlingwithdragons for her assistance with this essay.

Keep reading

lidiaalba  asked:

I wished we had more backstory about Carmen. She is a spanish vampire, with a heart of gold, a rock and roll style, protective, kind, understanding and I think she was of nobility. Her english is spot on, no spanish accent what so ever, what if she was born in a mixed race family? Or Gibraltar when it was still from Spain when she was a child, her father descides to stay on Gibraltar after England got it, so Carmen learned english as a kid next to spanish, and got changed in the battle of 1727.

I really wish we had gotten more about both her and Eleazar because as it was it was just like SM wanted a Spanish version of Esme and Carlisle. We never got to know Eleazar and Carmen enough to see what makes them unique and different from the other older, wiser vegetarian couple. 

(As an aside I always find it funny when people assume that El&C are the Denali “parents” like C&Es are the Cullen ‘parents.’ The situations are totally different–C&Es created their family/coven, while El&C joined an existing one. In that way, they’re actually more like the Alice & Jasper of the Denali!) 

Thank you for sharing your headcanons about her! I love to hear about people fleshing out some of these lesser-developed characters, and it’s so great that these same characters often have fierce and passionate champions/fans within the fandom. 

Beyond her interactions with the Spanish ambassadors, very little is known about Elizabeth’s political and diplomatic role. Only two letters survive regarding her efforts to intercede for the benefit of others. On August 1, 1499, she wrote to King Ferdinand of Spain to recommend the services of “Henry Stile, who wishes to go and fight against the Infidels,” adding her recommendation to that of King Henry, who had already written in the soldier’s favor. The queen’s letter included a personal observation about Stile: “Though he is a very short man, he has the reputation of being a valiant soldier.” Another letter to the Prior of Christ Church, Canterbury, asks permission to nominate one of her chaplains to the vacant living of the parish church of All Saints in Lombard Street, London. After her death, a single record mentions an action relating to Thomas Whytyng and his wife Margaret, who received rent for the lordship of Havering at the Bower, “not with- standing a fine and recovery made there in the court of Elizabeth late queen of England.”As Laynesmith points out in her seminal study of late medieval queens, Elizabeth of York’s chambers often hosted important political events and her personal sociability contributed to Henry’s success with foreign ambassadors and English nobility. Scanty records, however, limit more precise knowledge of Elizabeth’s political role.
—  Arlene Okerlund

Thomas Francis Dicksee [English. 1819-1895]
The Grief of Constance 1865

“Grief fills the room up of my absent child.
Lies in his bed, walks up and across me.
Puts on his pretty looks repeats his words.
Remembers one of his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.
Then have I reason to be fond of griefs.”

King John. Act 3 Scene 4.

See, this is what I think is so cool about the way Rapunzel and her prince are around each other in the movie version of Into the Woods. Look at the above picture.

He doesn’t have a problem showing her his vulnerability; she doesn’t have a problem with him being vulnerable.

IMO this makes their relationship pretty much the total opposite of Cinderella and her prince, which is a relationship built 100% on appearances and not reality. 

Cinderella admits to herself (and us) that she CAN’T show the prince who she really is, because then he wouldn’t want her.  And her prince - well, he knows how to be charming but not sincere.

Rapunzel’s prince, on the other hand, is nothing BUT sincerity. Klutzy, earnest, “Bad idea!” “Your hair! I like it!” blurt-it-out sincerity.  The Great Pumpkin would visit him in a heartbeat.

Why is this? Who knows? Both princes were raised by the same people, we presume.But maybe that’s a wrong presumption.

Obviously Cinderella’s prince, being the heir to the throne, got a set of instructions that’s more “How to Charm Your Subjects So They’ll Believe Anything” than “How To Be an Effective King”.

Whereas Rapunzel’s Prince, apparently…didn’t. Aside from sharing some vanity and competitiveness with his big brother, he doesn’t seem to be anything like Cinderella’s prince. Their personalities are very different.

My own personal theory on this - and it’s not really based on anything except a passing knowledge of English nobility - is that he and his brother are NOT the only two males in the royal family. If there is at least one other brother between them (who doesn’t figure in the story), then Rapunzel’s prince is neither the heir nor the spare. He did not get the same training his brothers did - why would he? - and he would be basically regarded as superfluous and more or less ignored, expected to go into the military or clergy when old enough so as not to be a drain on the royal treasury (which is what happened in English nobility). 

It’s even possible that Rapunzel’s prince is wearing a military uniform, which would explain why it looks so different from Cinderella’s prince (again, that’s a theory not supported by anything, but what the heck!!)

Anyway, just a few thoughts I figured I’d share.  Suitable for framing or wrapping fish. :-) Enjoy the pretty picture!