Friday Fun Victorian Style

As you might expect, there were many rules regarding courtship during the Victorian era.

A lady who maintained the rigid strictures of Victorian society wasn’t allowed to accept lavish or expensive gifts at the hands of a gentleman not related or engaged to her.

According to one etiquette expert of the 1870s – 1890s, Professor Thomas E. Hill, there were four items she could accept from a gentleman while still maintaining propriety.

Here are three.

A book

Confectionery (aka sweets)

Flowers

What do you think was the fourth item she could accept as a gift?

• • •

Leave your guess in a comment. To make this more fun, use only your current knowledge rather than performing a search on Google or making a dash for your reference books.

At the end of the day, I’ll update the post to include the answer and leave it in a comment. If you want to be sure and get the answer, you can subscribe to the comments on this post.

Have fun guessing!

• • •

Update and Answer

I enjoyed reading the answers. What a clever and creative bunch you are! I wouldn’t have come up with half of the ideas you did. My properly gloved hands are applauding you.

In spite of the challenging question I posed, there were some great guesses. The person who came closest is Cindy, who suggested a musical instrument.

While a musical instrument itself would have been deemed too expensive a gift, a prospective suitor enamored with a Victorian lady could, according to Dr. Hill, give her sheet music. Since many women of the day were taught to play an instrument, this gift  could have served to show a lady that a gentleman admired her talent and that he had taken the time to discover her tastes in music and/or who her favorite composer was.

About these ads

About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
This entry was posted in Fun & Friends, Research and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Friday Fun Victorian Style

  1. I’ll play. I know nothing about this era, and resisted the urge to google it. My guess is handkerchiefs

  2. I like Sandra’s guess, and she may be right, but in the spirit of fun I’ll say…I’m staring at the screen…still staring…a basket of fruit????? LOL

  3. No idea. I’m going with a paperweight. Just to make it interesting. (I’m not sure they even existed back then. I’m feeling goofy.)

  4. MeLinda Prado says:

    My guess…stationary… just a thought.

  5. Jill Kemerer says:

    An iPad? Ha! Sorry, had to throw that out there. Hmm… the book, the flowers, the candy are all taken. Ribbons?

    That’s a weird answer! But I’m going with ribbons. :)

  6. Keli, I love these games, but I must admit I am so clueless to the customs of this era. Since we are on the honor system, and can’t cheat, I’ll borrow from Sandra and say a hanky. Even though there is a part of me that says even that is way too personal, not to mention young ladies embroidered their own hankies at that time. I look forward to the answer :)

  7. Keli Gwyn says:

    I’m loving the guesses. I realize this was a tough one. I might have guessed the three items above, but I don’t think I would have gotten the fourth. However, I read a romance recently in which the item was the very one the hero gave the heroine, without any raised eyebrows at all, even from her protective father, and it worked very well in the story.

    Florence, so glad to see that you were able to leave a comment without any trouble. :-)

  8. Melissa Tagg says:

    Hmmm…

    A lace doily? (sp?)

    Handkerchief?

    Ummm…probably not a Starbucks gift card.

    I’m stumped! :)

  9. Loree Huebner says:

    I’m going to say jewelry. Ribbons and handkerchiefs are a good guesses.

  10. Cindy R. Wilson says:

    Oh, I love these guesses! How fun! I like the ribbons and the hanky idea, but I’m going to go with furniture. Yep, who wouldn’t swoon over an ornate desk? :) Oooh, or maybe a musical instrument or art. Yeah, okay, that was more than one guess, sorry. This is fun!

  11. Keli, this is so much fun! I love how you’re educating us!

    I’m going to guess gloves, in the spirit of one of your previous blog posts.

    Oh, a question… About the books a lady could receive. Any particular kind? How about romances? :) I’m guessing that would have been taboo, but I could be wrong.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Cynthia, Dr. Hill didn’t specify what kind of books. Since dime romance novels were frowned upon, I’m guessing they wouldn’t have been considered proper gifts. How far we’ve come. My hubby knows he can get a smile out of my if he gives me one. :-)

  12. Anne Payne says:

    I’m going with a personally written poem, perhaps a love sonnet :)

  13. Whew! I’m safe, then, with my characters. I had my hero present a gift to the heroine :-)

    I don’t know…a handkerchief? That’s not really a gift, is it, lol?

  14. A mop? LOL! I have no idea. :)

  15. Hmmm. I remember in Gone with the Wind when Scarlett’s mother told her things she could and could not accept from a gentleman, and gloves were a no-no since they were wearing apparel. So I’m going to guess either hankies or a small bottle of perfume or toilet water. (Icky term these days, isn’t it?)

  16. I didn’t even read any of the above…I’m going w/ hankie. Or the more formal name.
    ~ Wendy

  17. Beth K. Vogt says:

    I have thought and thought about this … I’ve got nothing.
    Maybe a poem? Or a letter of some sort …

  18. Donna Pyle says:

    Well, going back to one of your earlier fun Friday posts, how about a calling card? :)

  19. A handkerchief. I’m a bit clueless on this era, but am learning through your posts.

  20. Keli Gwyn says:

    Update and Answer

    I enjoyed reading the answers. What a clever and creative bunch you are! I wouldn’t have come up with half of the ideas you did. My properly gloved hands are applauding you.

    In spite of the challenging question I posed, there were some great guesses. The person who came closest is Cindy, who suggested a musical instrument.

    While a musical instrument itself would have been deemed too expensive a gift, a prospective suitor enamored with a Victorian lady could, according to Dr. Hill, give her sheet music. Since many women of the day were taught to play an instrument, this gift could have served to show a lady that a gentleman admired her talent and that he had taken the time to discover her tastes in music and/or who her favorite composer was.

  21. I am guessing obviously – a puppy. :)

  22. okay…i was thinking some kind of stationary, actually….so not too far off! and dang it! fridays are SUPER busy for me, and i have zero time to check blogs much in the morning. today was busier than usual, and i didn’t get off until almost 6! but i still love these posts! i’m going to try harder to guess before you post the answer next week. have a great weekend!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Jeannie, I’m sorry I posted the answer before you had a chance to visit the post. I’ll have to wait to update the Friday posts and provide the answers until later so you have a chance to join in the fun.

Comments are closed.