Mr. Rochester is certainly one of the great romantic figures of the Victorian period. I must confess that I too succumbed to his charms upon reading Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. But what would it really be like to be married to this man? Ms. Bronte gives us little detail of Rochester and Jane’s married life except to give it a very rosy, happy glow in Jane’s quick recounting at the end of the novel, but the reality is that Rochester was selfish, sneaky, dishonest, and had a rather checkered past. I think being married to a man like him would be a lot less “happily ever after” and a bit more like this…
— For the man who already has everything—
You: Happy birthday, Edward! I hope you like this gift I purchased for you!
Rochester: Oh, dear, what a lovely watch! Thank you!
Mr. Mason: <bursts in> Wait! Don’t you know?! Rochester already HAS a watch! And he keeps it in the attic!
You: Edward, I brought you home a wool coat from town today. Do you like it?
Rochester: How perfect! You are so thoughtful!
Mr. Mason: <bursts in> Stop you fool! Rochester already HAS a coat!
You: Edward, I think I’m pregnant! We are going to have our first child!
Rochester: Oh, how wonderful! I am so excited!
Mr. Mason: <bursts in> Wait! Rochester already…!
You: Shut up, Mason!
You: Edward, I can’t open this jam jar. Could you please help me?
Rochester: Help you? Oh no, I don’t think so.
You: Why not? I can’t open it.
Rochester: But my darling, you and I are equals! If you can’t open it, surely I cannot either. Oh, and the oil needs to be changed in all the cars. Let me know when you’re done with that, my darling equal.
— Words of Affection —
You: Oh Rochester, I love you.
Rochester: Oh, do you my little bird? Well…I might love you. Or I might not.
You: Wait, what?
Rochester: We are soul-mates, you and I. We are like one body, one being. But there’s also this hot other woman I am thinking about marrying. How does that make you feel? Does that make you love me more?
You: I don’t understand.
Rochester: Oh, you precious little thing. I can’t live without you! Now please excuse me while I call another woman.
— Role-Playing…? —
You: Darling, I’m home…Edward? Is that you? Why are you dressed like an old woman?!
Rochester: Oh you are mistaken! I am a roaming gypsy fortune-teller come to read your fortune!
You: Edward…I know it’s you. What are you doing?
Rochester: Please, come here and tell me your secrets! Then, I will tell you what your future holds!
You: This is creeping me out, Edward…
Rochester: Tell me, do you have a crush on anybody? Perhaps someone here in this house? Who enjoys cross-dressing…?
So, it’s been a couple of weeks since our last Dracula liveblog and some stuff has happened since then. Ummmm…..since we last saw him, Drac went to go get a mani-pedi, because centuries of grave dust can destroy your cuticles…
and Boobarella had to get breast reduction surgery due to back problems.
K: Thank goodness for the “previously.” I’m sure they can tell me everything important that happened in 1 minute.
H: Booberella seems pretty bad at her job. Also, that is a seriously swank house.
K: At least the action sequence was normal speed.
K: Hmm, guess I was wrong about the breast reduction.
H: THE HUNTER WAS A WOMAN. OF ALL THINGS! Oh the huge manatee!
H: Also, Dracula got one extra guy to help him with…what exactly? What’s his master plan?
K: Financially ruining this Order of the Dragon? It seems kind of lame for Dracula.
H: He doesn’t like how they’ve diversified their profiles.
K: He’s probably going to sell them a bunch of sub-prime mortgages.
H: Oh snap! Is he the one responsible for the mortgage crisis and collapse of 2008?? CONSPIRACY!!
H: I still think his American accent is highly suspect.
K: I think it’s ok. So Drac and Harker are buddies now? Interesting.
H: It goes between good and extremely nasal. He’s still got a great look and I really love that opening credit sequence.
K: You were right last time- he does have a Tony Stark vibe.
K: Crap, now we have to change the “X days without an accident” sign!
H: OSHA VIOLATION!!!
H: Also, I have to admit I LOVED that shot of him holding her. Gave me a chill.
K: Yeah…this show has really good elements and overall a good concept I think.
H: I definitely think it has potential. It’s kind of a shame that the ratings are in the stinker at the moment…
H: I think one of the problems is that it doesn’t seem to have progressed from the pilot. Dracula Stark is still playing with Tesla wireless and he has some plan to bring down the Fat Cats? Maybe?
K: They seem to be working to develop his relationship with Mina a bit, which is good. But yeah…I’m not sure we missed anything over the past couple of weeks.
H: Which is a huge problem when you’re starting a new series. What’s his deal with Boobarella? He playing with her? I mean, seriously, just kill her already if you think she’s a threat.
K: I think he was planning to meet her and charm her but changed his mind because of his feelings for Mina?
H: I think they should do more with Harker as his friend. That could be a fascinating dynamic to play on.
H: Also, do NOT get me started on how much I hate the idea of Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp.
K: I KNOW! Please don’t destroy one of my favorite things, NBC.
H: Wait, you’re an ages-old vampire and you’re talking smack about WITCHCRAFT??
K: Hmm…how to make Dracula’s heart function again? <clip to Mina> METAPHOR! sort of.
H: The attempt at some kind of dodgy vampire-science intrigues me. How do you make a corpse live?
H: And we have our exact date: 1896.
K: And I LOVE Lucy’s orange outfit.
H: Great clothes. And did we just get an unrequited lesbian love vibe from Lucy??
K: YES! Was just going to say that.
H: Aaaaand random Victorian Women’s MMA? In mud?
K: (sigh) I think Boobarella is just here to get sex scenes out there early in the series.
H: Yeah, are we getting a pretty obvious/boring vamp whore vs. pure virgin dichotomy with the ladies here. Boobarella likes SEX, VIOLENCE, SEX DURING VIOLENCE. ROCK AND ROLLLLLLLLLLLL. Mina, on the other hand, likes pretty frocks and SCIENCE.
H: Hey, look! People are actually *dying*. Surprisingly rare for a show called DRACULA.
K: I can’t unsee Edith’s schmucky old guy with this actor.
H: Nor can I. And what just happened? Are these dudes supernatural too?
K: Would be kind of cool if that were Irene Adler.
H: The time period is definitely right. Renfield is still a cool dude. I wouldn’t mind seeing his character develop beyond one season, to see if it delves into madness. Could be a GREAT arc.
K: Yeah, I agree. He’s so level-headed here. What makes him go crazy?
H: Bugs? Torn draperies? Having to deal with Drac’s stupid friends coming over all the time?
H: And what is this ridiculous scene. “Terminate” this relationship? Is she firing his sexual services?
K: Wait…did Drac’s plan with Boobs not work? So he’s giving up and just letting Klaus or whoever take her out?
K: And who is Harker investigating? Edith’s old man?
H: Yeah, I mean, that was such a poorly written scene. Something about emotions and power and something else stupid. I could write a better breakup scene than that.
H: I think he is? But maybe it’s this woman?
K OH! I get it now. This is how Drac earns her trust! Wow, he sacrificed his “brother” for this?
H: Yeah, that’s pretty good. But yeah, I mean. How long is she going to be swayed by that? And what’s with her special sword? Is she the Bride now from Kill Bill?
H: Gratuitous tub scene!!
K: I wonder if Drac is going to turn on Renfield at some point. Ren should be sweating.
K: HA! He just did one for his homies.
H: HA! Yes, I was just about to say, Pour one out for my homie.
H: Also, that “knight” bit was a bit overdone. That dude didn’t show that he was any better than a pawn.
K: That was a good tease for next week, though.
H: Yeah, it looks like you might get your wish about Renfield being driven to madness. Also, more Mina/Drac development.
Alright, that’s it for tonight, folks. Did you watch Dracula tonight? What were your thoughts? Now that Katherine is back from vacation, we’re hoping to do this more regularly. See you next week!
Ah, the beach! There is nothing better than rolling up your changing shack, putting on your woolen suit of bloomers, blouse, and overskirt, and frollicking in the waves while clinging to a rope for dear life because who could swim in that outfit?! The Victorians basically invented the beach vacation, but I would say it took a few years to perfect it.
Modesty prevented women from wearing anything that was actually practical for swimming while the men got away with significantly more functional onesie-type get-ups. Women wore full body wool or flannel dresses and so could do little more than romp in the shallows. To model a few of these timeless bathing classics, we have the Victorian’s Secret models.
This model is demonstrating the mobile changing closet. Women (I am assuming only rich ones? Maybe you could rent these like umbrellas?) would have this closet towed out into the waves so they could discreetly get out and swim away from the lecherous eyes of the general public. When done, the dripping dame could hop back into her mobile modesty shack to dry off and change into something more decent.
The colors were not all drab; this one has a cute sailor collar and pretty pinstripe pattern. The bright bonnet makes it easier to spot you when you are drowning — dragged slowly to the briny bottom by your water-logged bloomers and leg o’ mutton sleeves.
Now that’s what I like to see. Strut, Daniel Craig! But please keep yourself covered up – no one in 1890 wants to see your abdomen. Victorian women find the male body horrifying, you know.
Seriously though, Victorian bathing suits for women were extremely cumbersome and impractical, and I wasn’t kidding about the rope bit – here is photographic evidence.
All of this is really an elaborate setup to say that the Victorianachronists will be taking a week long hiatus. See you in a week!
Note: As we have stated in the past, while the majority of the content on this blog deals with the Victorian era, sometimes we cannot resist indulging our general love of history and reaching beyond the 19th century. Plus, we totally dig the Founding Fathers, so we give you, "S— Been Franklin Said."
To find out a girl’s faults, praise her to her girl friends.
Heather, if Ben Franklin comes up to you later today and tells you he just talked to me, and he thinks I am SO witty, it’s a SET UP!
Ultimately, this post is an excuse to celebrate Star Trek period, but thanks to some clever work by deviantArtist Rabittooth, we can do it Victorian-style. These images made the rounds of the Internet earlier this year but seeing as Katherine and I got to enjoy Star Trek Into Benedict Cumberbatch this weekend, it seemed more than appropriate to show them off again. The dear Captain above is dashing as always.
Logical that he’d be a scientist.
Bones, you always bring the
“I CANNA HOLD HER TOGETHER CAP’N! I DINNA HAVE THE STEAMPOWER!11”
Uhura looks especially lovely, as always. Badass to the nth degree.
I now want a short 30 second movie of Chekov and Sulu attempting to ride these bikes. License to print money. You’re welcome, Paramount.
Just for kicks, here’s our Benny in a top hat. Because we can.
Did anyone get to enjoy Star Trek this weekend? Thoughts?
While I love a good cup of tea, sometimes I am in the mood for something a little…stronger. There are many places all over the world famous for their coffee but one notable place is Vienna, Austria. And if you want to get coffee in Vienna, there is one place to do it (well, obviously there are MANY places, but one that is particularly special), and that’s the Hotel Sacher. And of course, if you’re going to the Hotel Sacher to have coffee, you’re going to have to get something else too, and that’s the Sacher Torte. Sacher Torte is the most famous Austrian dessert (except maybe for strudel, if you want to count that as Austrian), and it can only truly be had at the Hotel Sacher. I am lucky enough to have been to this magical place and eaten this special confection. Granted, my friend Jennn and I were relegated to the “ugly people” corner of the very fancy cafe, away from windows and public traffic (we were dressed in street-clothes and so not as presentable as others – plus we’re ugly [just kidding, Jennn!]), and the waiter was snooty about the pronounciation of the drink we ordered – a melange – apparently pronounced MEH-lange, whatever, but all these quirks served to make the experience all the more memorable. Let me also say, I can’t claim that the Sacher Torte was the most incredible thing I’ve ever eaten, but it was good, and it was a fun experience.
For my husband’s birthday this year, we decided to try and make something out of the Austrian cookbook he brought back from one of his trips to Vienna. The book is called Oesterreichische Kuche by Krenn Publishers, Vienna, 2006. As you can see, it’s all in German.
This isn’t too bad because my husband speaks conversational German, and I know a little myself, so the translation wasn’t going to be too tough. More challenging was deciphering all the idiomatic phrases (Beat egg whites to snow? Use smooth flour? Isn’t all flour smooth?) and figuring out a few unique ingredients (vanillezucker?). With the help of the all-knowing internet, we were able to piece together the recipe. Since one of our initial goals for this blog was to present tea-related recipes, and coffee is PRACTICALLY the same thing (right?), I am presenting the recipe here in German along with our translated version with one or two subs for more commonly available ingredients.
Later this week, Part II, The Baking! Spoiler alert: It didn’t go so well.
Ingredients, converted to useful American quantities
6 tbsp Butter
1/2c + 2 tbsp powdered sugar
6 1/3 oz baking chocolate
1/2c + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2c – 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
8 eggs, separated
Small Jar Apricot Jam
1 1/2c + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
Just under 12oz good chocolate
Stir softened butter with powdered sugar and vanilla until frothy. Then stir in the egg yolks and melted (and cooled) baking chocolate. Beat egg whites with granulated sugar to soft peaks. Fold into the butter mixture and carefully stir in the flour.
Butter and flour a 9″ cake or torte pan (I recommend a springform pan if you have one), and pour the mixture into the pan. Bake at 340 degrees for 60 minutes.
For the icing, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring until smooth and let cook for 5 minutes. Vigorously stir during cooling until “lip warm”. Lightly dust the finished baked torte with flour and turn over onto paper. Cut horizontally two times through the cooked torte and lightly fill with warm apricot jam and lightly spread out. Stack torte, cover with the chocolate icing, and let harden before serving.
This week we feature the original Victorian hottie, Lord Byron. This guy was so smooth they had to create a new word just to describe him, “byronic.” While he was technically not alive in the Victorian era, he inspired many Victorian writers (Mr. Darcy, anyone?) and was a leading figure in the Romantic movement which persisted into the Victorian era. His emo-allure set an impossible example for generations of men after him. Thank you, Lord Byron, for being the original tall, dark, handsome, and brooding idol.