Seclusion During Mourning in Edwardian Times

Today I’m excerpting from The Etiquette of Today: A Complete Guide to Correct Manners, and Social Customs in Use Among Educated and Refined People of America, by Marshall Everett, 1902.

As long as the crape veil and crape trimmed gown are worn a woman should refrain from participation in all social gayeties. During the first three weeks after the loss of a near relative, women refuse themselves to all visitors except relatives and most intimate friends. After this, while not keeping any day at home, they do as a rule find themselves sufficiently resigned and controlled to receive a few callers and to speak with composure of the recent trial.

Six months after the loss of a parent, sister, brother, child or husband, a woman is entitled to call very informally on her friends. That is to say, she makes her call on some other afternoon than that of her friend’s day at home. After six months, she is privileged to attend concerts, picture shows, and, if she wishes, the matinee performances at the theater. When the crape decorations are put off, small dinners and luncheons and night performances at the theater or opera, witnessed from an orchestra chair, supply ample diversion, but not until well along in second mourning is attendance at large dinners and the like ever resumed ; and balls and the opera-box and the regular round of social calls are never, taken up again until colors are again worn.

Men do not so carefully graduate their mourning, nor their resumption of social duties, as women. After three weeks or two months, the theater, club, and small dinners and calls among intimate friends are resumed, and since so few men wear mourning at all, their social habits are resumed after brief retirement. It should be said, however, that while wearing a broad band on his hat, a man does not go to a ball, sit in an opera-box, or attend a fashionable dinner.

 Detail from “Death and the Gravedigger” by Carlos Schwabe

Victorian Eggnog Recipes

I’m posting some eggnog recipes from the mid-1800s to help you get into the holiday cheer or to simply cope with the holidays. No judgment here.

Of course, these old versions are made with raw eggs, so if you want to try these recipes, you may want to find a technique to gently heat the eggs to the minimum temperature to destroy the pathogens.

According to Jerry Thomas in his 1862 book How to Mix Drinks: Or, The Bon-vivant’s Companion, “Egg Nogg is a beverage of American origin, but it has a popularity that is cosmopolitan. At the South it is almost indispensable at Christmas time, and at the North it is a favorite at all seasons.”

Here is Thomas’ basic eggnog recipe. I believe “do.” means ditto of the measure in the preceding line.

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Egg Nogg
(Use large bar glass.)

1 table-spoonful of fine sugar, dissolved with
1 do. cold water, 1 egg.
1 wine-glass of Cognac brandy. 
½ do. Santa Cruz rum.
1/2 tumblerful of milk.

Fill the tumbler ¼ full with shaved ice, shake the ingredients until they are thoroughly mixed together, and grate a little nutmeg on top. Every well-ordered bar has a tin egg-nogg “shaker,” which is a great aid in mixing this beverage.

Here is another version of Egg Nogg from Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks, by William Terrington, 1869.

Hot Egg Nogg, or “Auld Man’s Milk”

Heat a pint of Scotch ale;  add while warming 1/4 oz. bruised cinnamon, 1/4 oz. grated nutmeg, 1/4 oz. powdered ginger; beat up the yolks of 2 eggs with a little brown sugar; pour in the ale gradually; when well amalgamated, add glass of whiskey

The remainder of the recipes in this post are from Jerry Thomas.

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Hot Egg Nogg
(Use large bar glass)

This drink is very popular in California and is made in precisely the same manner as the cold egg nogg above, except that you must use boiling water instead of ice.

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Sherry Egg Nogg

1 table-spoonful of white sugar.
1 egg.
2 wine-glasses of sherry.

Dissolve the sugar with a little water; break the yolk of the egg in a large glass; put in one-quarter tumblerful of broken ice; fill with milk, and shake up until the egg is thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients, then grate a little nutmeg on top, and quaff the nectar cup.

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Mississippi Egg Nogg
(Use large bar glass)

1 egg.
1 ½ teaspoonful of sugar.
2 or 3 small lumps of ice.
Fill the tumbler with cider and shake well.

This is a splendid drink and is very popular on the Mississippi River.

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Egg Nogg
(For a party of forty)


1 dozen eggs.
2 quarts of brandy.
1 pint of Santa Cruz rum.
2 gallons of milk.
1 1/2 lbs. white sugar.


Separate the whites of the eggs from the yolks, beat them separately with an egg-beater until the yolks are well cut up, and the whites assume a light fleecy appearance. Mix all the ingredients (except the whites of the eggs) in a large punch bowl, then let the whites float on top, and ornament with colored sugars. Cool in a tub of ice, and serve.

Baltimore Egg Nogg
(For a party of fifteen)

Take the yellow of sixteen eggs and twelve table-spoonfuls of pulverized loaf-sugar, and beat them to the consistence of cream; to this add two-thirds of a nutmeg grated, and beat well together; then mix in half a pint of good brandy or Jamaica rum, and two wine-glasses of Madeira wine. Have ready the whites of the eggs, beaten to a stiff froth, and beat them into the above-described mixture. When this is all done, stir in six pints of good rich milk. There is no heat used.

Egg Nogg made in this manner is digestible and will not cause headache. It makes an excellent drink for debilitated persons, and a nourishing diet for consumptives.