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Author Archives: Myretta

About Myretta

Myretta is a founder and current manager of The Republic of Pemberley, a major Jane Austen destination on the web. She is also a writer of Historical Romance. You can find her at her website, and on Twitter @Myretta.

This  is the last regularly scheduled post from Megan Frampton and me.

fishWe have loved being part of Riskies and hope to be able to stop back from time to time to check in. But life intervenes and we both find ourselves very busy, so are stepping away for now.

We’d like to leave you with some reminders of of our Risky Regencies history and a few hints about where to find us.

For a look back over Megan’s time with Risky Regencies, I give you the Megan Blog Search.  And to see what my shorter term looked line, here I am.

We will not have disappeared from the Internet, however. You can still find Megan at, on Facebook, and Twitter and, of course at Heroes and Heartbreakers. You can also find me at, on Facebook, and, less frequently, on Twitter. I am also always find-able at The Republic of Pemberley.

Being here with all the rest of the wonderful Risky ladies and with our excellent readers, commenters and guests has been a treat. We hope you have found some of it educational, or entertaining, or maybe both. And we hope to see you out and about in cyber space and other gatherings of the romance-minded.

throttle-smallMy WIP features a curmudgeonly hero who would rather be on his estate raising sheep than out and about among society. However, in order to make the most of his extraordinary wool, he feels he needs to get into the textile business. I know nothing about making textiles. But that’s okay, I know nothing about most of things I end up writing about until I start the research. I started my research yesterday with a field trip to The American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA. Of course, my first choice of research destination in this case is Manchester, England, but Lowell is several thousand miles closer and doesn’t involve getting on a plane.

Print Block

The ATHM is not a large facility but it has a rather targeted collection that tells the story of the textile mills in 19th and early 20th century New England.  I went particularly to look at the machinery. Not only technology in all its phases a particular interest of mine, but I had a burning desire to be able to picture in detail what an early 19th century mill would look like. I was not disappointed.

bromleyThe museum houses an extensive collection of textiles, including the detailed scene shown at the left, which was printed at Bromley Hall in England between 1774 and 1811 especially for export to America or other British colonies as evidenced by the blue threads in the fabric’s edge. They have a current exhibit of textiles by artists from Picasso to Warhol. This was not particularly relevant to the reason for my visit, but fun to see, nevertheless. The also have a small but wide-ranging standing clothing collection.

Carding Machine

Carding Machine

But, as I said, I was there for the hardware. The exhibits ranged from the late 18th to the early 20th century and it was easy to imagine that changes to the machinery were mostly small and incremental. Even the with change from water power to steam to electricity the machinery function was totally recognizable. I realize I’ll have to do more research to learn exactly what the changes were and how they would have affected my characters.

If you’re in the area and interested in a larger view of the Lowell mills during the mid-19th to 20th century, I recommend including the Lowell National Historical Park in your visit. The park covers a good deal more of the life and work in the mills,  including housing for “mill girls” and recreations of an actual mill, as well as canal tours of the area.

This was an excellent first look at what I need to know in order to continue with my Duke’s business plans. It made me anxious to learn more. Now, if I can only arrange a trip to Manchester.

According to Hone’s Every Day Book (1827), today is St. Nicholas Day. This is, apparently, the anniversary of his death in 343.

Hone reports that

St. Nicholas

He is in the almanacs, and church of England calendar. He is a patron or titular saint of virgins, boys, sailors, and the worshipful company of parish clerks of the city of London (an interesting collection). Mr. Audley (of Audley’s Companion to the Almanac) briefly observes of him, that he was remarkable in his infancy for piety, an dthe knowledge of the scriptures; that he was made bishop of Myra, in Lycia, by Constantine the Great, and the ‘he was present in the council of Nice, where it is aid that he gave Arius a box on the ear.’

St. Nicholas & the pickled children

St. Nicholas & the pickled children

One of the stories of St. Nicholas’s virtue concerns him resurrecting two boys who had been killed and cut into pieces with the intention of selling them for pickled pork. (Ick) Nicholas, then the bishop of Myra, had a vision of these proceedings and went to the innkeeper who had salted the boys. Once the innkeeper confessed, asked for forgiveness and “supplicated restoration of life to the children, “the pickled pieces reunited, and the reanimated youths stepped from the brine-tub and threw themselves at the feet of St. Nicholas.

This, and other tales of virtue, caused his festival day to involve choosing a choir boy to “maintain the state and authority of a bishop.” This show of the “Boy Bishop” was abrogated by Henry VIII by proclamation but revived in the reign of Mary “with other Romish ceremonials.”

Hone leaves December 6 with a poem entitled Winter.

Hoary, and dim, and bare, and shivering.
Like a poor almsman comes the aged Year,
With kind “God save you all, good gentlefolks!”
Heap on fresh fuel, make a blazing fire,
Bring out the cup of kindness, spread the board,
And gladden Winter with our cheerfulness!
Wassail! — to you, and yours, and all! — All health!

And so say we all.

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