Friday, January 4, 2008

You Want Me to Follow That?

Wow, so many reasons to celebrate! Marissa runs a contest, and dozens of people comment. Of course, now I’m supposed to write something equally enthralling.

Tough act to follow.

So, here’s another reason to celebrate. It’s coming up to Epiphany on January 6. That could be a major celebration in nineteenth century England, depending on how seriously your family took the custom. You might have a Twelfth Night Cake, a light cake covered with powered sugar or sugar sprinkles. In it was hidden a bean, a pea, and a clove. The gentleman who found the bean was crowned king for the day; the lady who found the pea was crowned queen. Whoever found the clove was dubbed a fool or knave. If a woman found the bean or a man the pea, she or he was allowed to choose a consort for the celebration. The leaders got to decide what games to play, when to eat, and who to favor.

Some houses had masks and playacting as well. People drew from a hat the names of characters such as Captain Blunderbuss, Farmer Mangel-wurzel (oh, my beloved mangel wurzels!), the Duchess of Daffodil, Lady Bluestocking, and Lord Goldlace and had to play the part all evening. Supposedly Jane Austen once drew the name of "Miss Candour," which meant she had to be perfectly honest about her opinions all evening. "And that is a perfectly shocking dress, Miss Scott. I wonder that you do not die of embarrassment this moment to be seen wearing it."

And here’s one more reason to celebrate, for me, at least. Belgrave House’s Regency Reads line is republishing one of my older books as an electronic book. The Unflappable Miss Fairchild tells the story of a young lady who can’t be flustered, a man born to fluster any woman, and a love poem to a hunting dog. Really.

And if that weren’t enough to be happy about, today is my friend Meryl’s birthday
She reads this blog, so I’m hoping she’ll see this. Happy Birthday, Meryl! Everyone wave!

Happy Twelfth Night, everyone! And be sure to come back Tuesday to hear Marissa tell all and unveil the winner of the advance reading copy of Bewitching Season!


Anonymous said...

Hi, Regina & Marissa,

Gee, I never thought I'd see mangel-wurzels in this context! I may be one of the few readers here who has actually grown 'em. Unfortunately, my own 19th-century teen (one of the lead characters in A Difficult Boy) is kind of a Cinder-fella of the 1830s, so he never gets to go to parties :( I bet he'd like to see how the other half lived, though. If he ever got rescued by a fairy godmother (godfather? No, let's not go there!), his coach would probably be made of a mangel-wurzel instead of a pumpkin. I've gotta start writing about more upper-crust characters--they seem to have more fun and lots better toys!


M.P. Barker
Holiday House/April 2008

Marissa Doyle said...

Not to mention clothes to die for, Michele! :)

Regina Scott said...


You grew mangel-wurzels! You're my hero! I just love the word, and the description sounds so cool. Do you know they grow as large as a human head sometimes? Definitely coach material.

Can't wait to read your book! Sounds like you did tons of hands-on research. Wow, now I have two books to look forward to in April--yours and Marissa's!

Sarah Prineas said...

I have always wanted to know what a mangel-wurzel actually is.

Congrats on the re-release epub!

Regina Scott said...

Thanks, Sarah! It's almost as exciting the second time as the first. :-)

M.P. Barker said...

Mangel-wurzels are gigundo beets, usually used to feed livestock--they kind of look like something you'd find growing next to the nuclear power plant. You can go here to see a picture of two proud mangel-wurzel growers.

I grew them (or rather helped to grow and harvest them) when I worked at Old Sturbridge Village--haven't eaten one yet, though--we only fed them to the cows.