Walk Like A Victorian

Hyde Park, May - Rose Maynard Barton

When I go for a walk, I typically wear workout clothes, which only match if I’ve done the laundry recently. I’m by myself, listening to music on my earbuds, and waving at passing dogs (and, sometimes, people.) It’s a good thing that I don’t live in Victorian England, because according to Lady Constance Howard in her 1885 volume Etiquette: What To Do, and How To Do It, I would scandalize polite society with my blatantly offensive behavior. Let’s have Lady Constance Howard explain the egregious err of my modern ways.

With regard to walking in London, a young lady would not walk out by herself ; she would be accompanied by her maid ; until she was old enough to be presented, by her governess, after she was presented, by her mother, father, brother, or some relation.

This rule should always be enforced, but now-a-days young ladies are often seen walking by themselves, but it does not look well ; it makes them liable to accusations of fastness, and etiquette requires that they should not be permitted so to break its established laws. In the country it is a different thing. In a park, village, town, suburban district, and seaside resort, a young girl would, with perfect propriety, and without any breach of etiquette, walk about alone, unattended and unaccompanied, and so go from one house to another of the friends and relations who might chance to reside in close proximity to their houses.

The rules before mentioned only apply to walking in London and in places of general assembly, public streets, and promenades at fashionable watering-places like Folkestone and Brighton, and at continental seaside towns.

Married ladies, when they are young and good looking, very often secure the companionship of a younger sister, or some lady who is a relation or friend, to walk with them, not from a sense of its being necessary that they should have someone with them, or from a feeling of propriety, but because to walk in London or a town alone is always a shy thing to do. Any lady doing so is more or less conspicuous; she is more or less noticed, and when she is well dressed and decidedly handsome and attractive in appearance, it would not always be an agreeable thing to do, whereas two ladies walking together would experience less shyness and attract less attention from those who see them.

Still, young married ladies often walk long distances alone, and if they are not shy and do not mind being stared at (those who do are, alas ! the exception), there is no reason why they should not walk alone, if it pleases them: it is quite correct etiquette that they should do so.

Married ladies, whether young or middle-aged, can at all times walk out alone and unattended; but when going to the Park or a public promenade at a fashionable seaside resort, they would nearly always ask another lady to walk with them. It does not look well to see a lady walk down Rotten Row in the height of the London season, whether in the morning or afternoon, alone.

Walking Dress ca. 1889. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of the Princess Viggo in accordance with the wishes of the Misses Hewitt, 1931
Walking Dress ca. 1889. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of the Princess Viggo in accordance with the wishes of the Misses Hewitt, 1931. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/159303

Generally, during the season, ladies prefer the Park to the more crowded thoroughfares, such as Bond Street, Piccadilly, St James’ Street, etc. They would avoid them as much as they could, and if obliged to walk down them, would always do so accompanied by someone, either lady or gentleman.

Twelve to two o’clock are the usual hours for walking in London, especially in the summer. In the winter two-thirty to four-thirty-three to six in the summer. Both in summer and winter those who possess carriages generally drive in the afternoon, and devote the morning to walking.

The hours named are the fashionable and usual hours for walking at seaside towns and English watering-places.

If two ladies of different rank and but slightly acquainted were to meet in the Park or street, the lady of highest rank would, of course, bow first. If their rank were equal, it would not matter in the least which bowed first, so long as they acknowledged each other’s presence by this small act of courtesy.

To omit to bow would be a sign of ill-breeding, and a want of the knowledge of what is required by the laws of etiquette, that would reflect very much upon the lady neglecting this social duty.

Ladies should be careful to bow graciously. A little curt nod, a jerk of the head, a quick movement of the head, or the “inane smile’ which is all many people now vouchsafe to their acquaintances and friends by way of recognition when they meet them walking, driving, or riding, are all in the worst of possible taste.

Many ladies give an imperceptible nod to the gentlemen of their acquaintance, a decided proof of bad manners.

A bow should be a decided and graceful bend of the neck and head, indicating that it is a pleasure to the person making the bow to acknowledge her friends by so doing.

If I may be humbly permitted to say so, let people watch Her Majesty when she acknowledges the loyal salutations of her people, and see what a bow should be. It is at once dignified and most gracious, and those on whom it is bestowed feel both pleasure and a keen sense of the honour that has been accorded to them.

It is the same with all our Royal Family, and people in general would do well to profit by the example set to them.

The degree of empressement exhibited by a gentleman when he meets a lady whom he knows, would be entirely regulated by the fact of their acquaintance being a slight one or their being very old friends. In the latter case, he would take his hat quite off; in the former, he would only slightly raise it off his head, and his bow should be of the most ceremonious and respectful description, their acquaintanceship not warranting more cordiality on the part of the gentleman.

If he bowed in any other way than these two, he would either seem to be too familiar, or to look as if he wished to avoid the lady altogether, only rendering her the least courtesy possible under the circumstances.

It is a mistake to be too gushing and empressé in manner; it is equally a mistake to snub people unmercifully: no gentleman or lady would ever be guilty of either.

A gentleman cannot, of course, bow to a lady with whom he is unacquainted, nor do gentlemen raise their hats to each other when they meet in the Park or street; they would say, ‘How are you, B.?’ or nod, or say ‘Glad to see you, Charley,’ and would then pass on.

Woman with Hat and Gloves
https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2006688039/

The only occasion on which a gentleman would raise his hat to another gentleman would be, if two gentlemen met in the Park or street who knew each other, and one was walking with ladies or a lady with whom the other gentleman was unacquainted; he would raise his hat to his friend, instead of speaking to him or nodding.

This would be simply done as a mark of civility and respect to the ladies or lady with whom his friend was walking ; it would not be looked upon as a bow to the ladies or lady, as the gentleman had not been introduced to them; nor would it constitute an acquaintanceship between them ; nor could the gentleman meeting the same ladies or lady in future bow to them, or show that he had seen them before, unless he was first of all introduced to them by some mutual friend, or by the friend with whom he had seen them walking.

In the same way, no lady could, under any circumstances, bow to a lady or gentleman, without a previous introduction to them, even if she had known them by sight for years,-knew their names and all about them, from constantly seeing them with friends of her own, and meeting them at different balls and réunions in society.

Etiquette permits no bows to be exchanged, except between those who have already been presented to each other.

On the Continent, the rule of bowing is the exact contrary to that which is observed in England,—that is to say, the gentleman bows first instead of the lady.

In England, when bowing to friends or acquaintances, it is a lady’s privilege to bow first.

The gentleman would then take off his hat to the lady who had given him this sign of recognition; he would, as a general rule, not bow until the lady had bowed to him ; on most occasions both would bow at the same moment, as the lady would be sure beforehand that the gentleman would return her courteous bow, or she would not take the initiative and bow to him.

Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. William E. S. Griswold, 1941
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. William E. S. Griswold, 1941. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/159220

In the case of a lady meeting a gentleman with whom she is acquainted, walking with a gentleman who was a stranger to her, she would at once bow to the gentleman who had been introduced to her ; she would do the same (except under particular circumstances) were he walking with a lady whose acquaintance she had not made.

Many husbands and wives, when taking a ramble together, walk arm-in-arm. It is a good old fashion, and should always be observed.

The same applies in the case of a mother and son, father and daughter, daughter or son-in-law with their mother or father-in-law, and in all cases where the lady is lame, or not very young, it is a proof of civility that every lady has a right to expect from the gentleman walking with her, more especially at dangerous crossings in London, which are a source of unfeigned terror to most ladies.

It is not necessary for a lady when walking with a gentleman to introduce any other gentleman she may meet, to him, unless she has a special reason for doing so, or thinks they both wish for the introduction.

If she were walking with her husband or father, she would of course do so, but in the case of her brother, nephew, cousin, or the husband of any lady in whose house she was staying, it would be unnecessary and not expected, except under the circumstances before mentioned.

The rule with regard to introductions between a guest and her hostess, with regard to the ladies they meet when out walking, would be that the guest would present the friends or relations she met during the walk to her hostess, which civility the hostess would also show her, if they stopped and had a conversation sufficiently prolonged to admit of such an introduction being effected.

If the friend of either lady was antagonistic to the other, no introductions would be made, and after the hostess and her guest had continued their walk, matters would be duly explained and discussed, and the true reasons given for the course pursued.

Ladies would not exclude any ladies from the conversation; it would be very rude to do so, and would make the lady so treated very uncomfortable she would feel snubbed and ignored.

If two ladies meet out walking, and take a walk together, and other ladies join them in the course of their walk, no introductions, except with special reasons, or expressed wishes that such should be the case, would be made by any of them to any of the others.

At fashionable watering-places, sea-side resorts, on the Continent, etc., gentlemen meeting ladies with whom they are acquainted, walk about with them for some time, get them a chair if there happens to be a band playing, and show them any courtesy in their power, while the ladies, on their part, introduce the gentlemen to those ladies or gentlemen belonging to their party, whose acquaintance they have reason to believe will be pleasant and acceptable to them.

Two ladies walking together would not walk arm-in-arm-it would be very vulgar to do so; also, no lady should put on her gloves while walking in the street, she should put them on before she leaves the house.

Ladies cannot be too particular when out walking; an exaggerated style of dress, gaudy colours, much jewellery, painted faces, a walk that makes people turn round and stare, in a word, anything that attracts attention in the public streets, more especially from gentlemen, is in the worst possible taste; no real lady would ever commit such a breach of recognised etiquette and the fitness of things; no true lady would court the stares and exclamations her appearance so dressed would attract; to be the object of such so-called admiration, would be a direct insult to the title of honour she ought to hold,—that of being ‘a lady !’

Black dresses, quietly made, and simply trimmed ‘gown’ become a lady when out walking, in a way befitting her claim to the name.

Walking Dress ca. 1885. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. C. M. Andrews, 1951
Walking Dress ca. 1885. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. C. M. Andrews, 1951. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/159339

Let her dress herself with any other view except that of receiving respect from all passers-by, and she is no longer what she wishes the world to believe her to be-a true lady.

Gentlemen when out walking together generally walk ‘bras dessus-bras dessous. It is more sociable altogether to do so.

No gentleman swings his stick or umbrella about when walking, as he would be in danger of bestowing a gratuitous and unexpected blow on a passer-by, who might make him rue his carelessness and rudeness.

If a gentleman passes a lady when he is walking, and the pavement is crowded, so that one or other of them must step into the road to make room for the other to pass, the gentleman would not permit the lady to be the one to do this; he should walk along the road until the crowd lessened.

He would pursue this course whether he were acquainted with the lady or not; to do otherwise would exhibit a great want of good manners, a total absence of knowledge as to what is due to a lady. When a lady and gentleman are walking together, the lady would take the gentleman’s left arm, otherwise, if he met any lady of his acquaintance, he would not be able to take off his hat to her.

If a gentleman is escorting his two sisters out walking, they would walk on either side of him. Neither of them (unless one was not strong) would take his arm; and on no account would they each take an arm, and so walk in the Park or street.

A lady walking with a gentleman, whether taking his arm or not, would usually walk on his left hand.

A muff and umbrella in winter, and a parasol in summer, are the only articles usually carried by ladies when out walking ; but let me assure them that there will be no loss of dignity on their part, should it fall to their lot to carry a brown paper parcel through the streets of London.

People whose opinion is worth having will admire them for their absence of false pride. A lady would not, perhaps, do it from choice, but if the parcel has to be carried, she can do it with impunity.

Hyde Park - Claude Monet
Hyde Park – Claude Monet

The Modern Victorian Farm – Labourers’ Cottages

Daniel Ridgway Knight - Coffee in the garden

This is the last post (and my favorite) in my series on Victorian farms. This series is excerpted from The Farm Homesteads of England. Enjoy!

The cost of cottages necessarily depends on the amount of accommodation they afford, and the strength and substantiality of the structure itself.

The extent of accommodation which rural cottages should possess has recently been somewhat arbitrarily determined on sanitary grounds. The miserable hovels in which large families were crowded, and which still unfortunately exist, to the disgrace of our country, have called forth the indignation of all right-minded men, and we have been gradually led to conclude that no cottages are suitable unless they contain five rooms, of which three are bed-rooms, of prescribed dimensions, with minor offices. The principles upon which these dimensions of space have been determined are not very distinctly acknowledged, as will be seen by an examination of the views of different authorities and the regulations of different institutions. These show that the space considered necessary to maintain health in dwellings varies from 240 to 1500 cubic feet for each person.

Frederick Daniel Hardy - Baby's Birthday
Frederick Daniel Hardy – Baby’s Birthday

According to Dr. Arnott—perhaps the greatest authority on this subject as connected with ventilation—the actual quantity of air respired by an adult human being amounts to 300 cubic inches per minute—not quite one-sixth of a foot, or 240 cubic feet in the course of the day, while the total quantity of air, directly or indirectly vitiated during the same period, is 2880 cubic feet. Tredgold, however, states the amount of air respired by an individual to be as much as 800 cubic inches per minute, or nearly half a cubic foot, while the total quantity vitiated during 24 hours he considers to be at least 4320 cubic feet.

These figures are quoted to show the wide difference of opinion which has been expressed by high authorities on the vital point of respiration ; and if we examine the views practically carried out at our various national institutions in the space given to each person, we shall find parallel instances of diversity. For example, the space admitted to be sufficient by the police authorities under the Lodging-house Act is 240 cubic feet per person ; in the dormitories of the barracks of our army the quantity deemed sufficient has been 500 cubic feet, although the Commission on Warming and Ventilation to the General Board of Health urged that this space should be increased to 700 or 800 cubic feet per man. In hospitals, where obvious reasons exist for increased space, the amount varies from 1000 to 1500 cubic feet each person ; in the prisons 800 cubic feet seems to be the recognised space, and in the model lodging-houses about 550 cubic feet is given.

Charles Edouard Frère - Helping Hands
Charles Edouard Frère – Helping Hands

In spite of this prevailing diversity, experience clearly points to the adoption of the following dimensions of space for cottages :

The ventilation which will render these spaces sufficient is gained by having a fire-place and window in each room, with the door entering directly from the porch, passage, or stairs. Practically, all minute refinements in the art of ventilation are found inapplicable. In addition to these desiderata, each cottage should be provided with a pantry within the dwelling, commanding a free passage of air through it. The scullery, and not the living room, should have a copper and sink for washing, which should be a fixture; an oven is a desirable, but not an essential addition. The out-offices should consist of a small shed, for wood and coal ; a privy detached, with facility for emptying it; and an ash-pit, so connected with the privy that the ashes may be used to prevent effluvium. The whole premises should be perfectly drained. All the roof water should be preserved, and a supply of well-water should also be provided. The yard and walks (if any) should be paved or gravelled, so as to preserve cleanliness within the dwelling.

***

* According to the population returns of the Census of 1861, the number of individuals constituting families of the sizes mentioned below appears to be in the following proportion ; of course, as there are families of other sizes in the same district, these figures represent only those families specially selected to illustrate the point before us :

Population of the district

The late Duke of Bedford, in 1819, published, in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, the designs and particulars of the several kinds of cottages he was erecting on his Bedfordshire and Devonshire estates. He had directed his surveyor to prepare plans of cottages, suitable for families of different sizes, singly and in blocks, and some most excellent designs will be found in the tenth volume of the Royal Agricultural Society’s Journal. The Editor has selected from them the plans on the [above] :-one showing a block of four cottages, in which two have two bed-rooms, and two three bed-rooms each ; the other showing a pair of cottages, in which each has a single bed-room.

James Collinson  - Answering the Emigrant's Letter
James Collinson – Answering the Emigrant’s Letter

On Sir Henry W. Dashwood’s estate, in Oxfordshire, may be seen some excellent cottages, which contain three bed-rooms, but one is placed on the groundfloor and two above; and scullery, pantry, &c., form a lean-to.

Captain Dashwood, under whose direction the cottages on the Kirtlington estate were erected, thus explains the advantages of the design : “ The downstair bedroom is adopted because it is found that a farm labourer, though requiring a third bed-room at one stage of his family’s growth, does not require it for any length of time, as his family are either very young, or as soon as able go out to service. The ground floor bed-room can, at such times, be used for a lodger ; or when the parents get old they can retire to this room and admit a married child, or even another couple, to help to pay the rent. The old woman, by looking after the children, enables the young wife to attend to work, and the old man can help to gain a living, by doing duties which frequently devolve on children, to the loss of their education.

The advantages of this plan are

First—That of enabling old and young people to reside under one roof, thereby securing nearly all the advantages of two cottages.

Second—It secures greater privacy from the position of the rooms, as the rooms are all distinct from each other, and the partition walls are constructed of brick, and not lath and plaster, as is the case with ordinary three-roomed cottages.

Third—It secures greater warmth and less draught ; and

Fourth—The third down-stairs room will be found available, if required, as a workshop, or as a bed-room, especially suitable for a crippled child or an aged parent.”

A modification of the same arrangement of sleeping rooms is shown by the following woodcut of a cottage designed by the Editor, in which the scullery forms a small covered yard, extending from the cottage to the outbuildings. The advantage of this arrangement is, that the yard and scullery being one, and under cover, the former is always dry, and the latter more spacious than under ordinary circumstances, whilst it is so constructed that it cannot be misappropriated as a living room.

Provision for married people without children, and for old couples whose children have left them, is a desideratum of importance; and the single bed-room cottage, erected by the Duke of Bedford, is a very good one for the purpose. But the plan suggested by Lady Caroline Kerrison is perhaps superior, inasmuch as the bed-rooms are all on the ground-floor, and are therefore more suitable for old people than bed-rooms upstairs.

Lady Kerrison’s plan is shown beneath.

Platt Powell Ryder - Fireside Companion
Platt Powell Ryder – Fireside Companion

With respect to the improvement and alteration of old cottages to meet the requirements of the present day, Lord Palmerston is of opinion that “it is not necessary to pull down old cottages to build new ones. A great deal can be done, at a moderate cost, in improving the old ones.” At Broadlands, his lordship has personally superintended the enlargement and alteration of his old cottages, so as to render them free from those objections which are so repugnant to good feeling. Sufficient bed-room accommodation, good drainage, and ventilation have been his primary objects, while the poor man’s comfort has been studied by the substitution of boarded for stone or brick floors, and by the provision of those little conveniences, such as cupboards and shelves, which we all know how to appreciate in our own houses. Without entering upon any details as to the cost of alterations and additions which may be made to existing cottages to render them conformable to present views, it is manifest that very much may be done with them at a less expense than by the erection of new cottages, an advantage which will enable landowners to adjust the rent in some measure to the circumstances of the labourers on their estates.

It is not here intended to discuss the question of wages. Theoretically it would be affirmed that the able-bodied man should be in receipt of such pay as will enable him to satisfy the just demands of his landlord : practically, however, it is not so ; and we must deal with the question as we find it. In the northern counties, the average weekly wages of able-bodied men, employed on farms, will be found to be 13s. 6d. ; in the midland counties they are 11s. ; and in the southern counties not quite 10s. Although there is a wide difference in the earnings of the labourers in different counties, in no instance is it possible for any labourer with a large family, by which the wife is disqualified from earning anything, to pay 3s6d. a week out of his wages for house rent.

George Hardy - The Leisure Hour
George Hardy – The Leisure Hour

The Modern Victorian Farm – Farmhouses

I’m continuing my series on Victorian farms. In this post, I’m excerpting sections from The Farm Homesteads of England containing farmhouse plans.

I had trouble finding illustrations or paintings for English farmhouses in the Victorian era (I’m sure I’ll stumble across a trove of Victorian farmhouse paintings just as soon as I press the Publish button), so I posted some works of home interiors by Mary Ellen Best (that’s her in the post’s featured image) and others.

Farm and farmhouse plan

The farmers of England have made a very rapid advance during the past thirty years, both in education and refinement; and the improvement might have been still more deep and extensive, had not the majority of landowners checked it by neglecting to raise the character of the farm houses. Education expands the desires and refines the taste; and if the landowner will have his estate well managed, he must obtain men of parts, who will not submit to occupy houses fit only for their labourers, but who require to be surrounded by those comforts of life to which their capital would introduce them were it employed either in commerce or trade. A superior tenantry implies superior house accommodation : intelligence and capital are ever found associated with a comfortable home. considerable number of the farmers of the present day have received a collegiate education ; it is no longer customary for the sons of the tenantry to herd with the children of their labourers at the village school, but they are sent from home, and return with the feelings and aspirations common to those who have received a respectable middle class training. This change in the habits of the tenantry certainly renders necessary some change in the home, rendering it suitable to their improved condition.

No Farm should be so small that it cannot support a house above the pretensions of a bailiff’s cottage. It is found better for both owners and tenants, as well as for the community at large, that where the tenure of land has been in small holdings, two or more should be thrown into one good farm; and one of the criteria is the test prescribed, namely, the capability of maintaining a farm house of the proper character.

Miss Crompton's Room.  Mary Ellen Best.
Miss Crompton’s Room. Mary Ellen Best.

I. For a Farm of 200 acres of dairy or mixed husbandry. The farm house should contain the following accommodation :

Ground Floor, Basement, and attached Outbuildings.—One or two sitting or ” living” rooms (in the latter case the second room will be used for an office); kitchen ; back kitchen or scullery ; pantry ; larder ; cellarage, and apple chamber ; dairy and dairy offices (see pages 174 to 177 inclusive) ; wood and coal houses, ash-pit, and privy :

And on the Upper or Chamber Floor, five bed-rooms.

Plan No 1, represents a farm house which may be taken as a specimen of this class. It was erected by the Editor for the Right Honourable the Viscount Palmerston, at Toothill Farm, near Romsey.

Plan No 1, represents a farm house which may be taken as a specimen of this class. It was erected by the Editor for the Right Honourable the Viscount Palmerston, at Toothill Farm, near Romsey.
General Norcliffe in his study at Langton Hall. Mary Ellen Best.
General Norcliffe in his study at Langton Hall. Mary Ellen Best.

II. For a Farm of 500 acres, of tillage or mixed husbandry, the following house accommodation would be required :

Ground Floor, Basement, and attached Outbuildings.—Parlour ; “living ” room; store-room ; kitchen ; back kitchen or scullery; pantry ; larder ; cellarage, and apple chamber ; dairy offices ; brewhouse ; wood and coal houses, ash-pit, and privy.

On the Upper or Chamber Floor.—Six bed-rooms of larger size, to include one spare room ; linen closet; and water-closet.

PLAN No. 2.—The specimen of this class of farm house was designed by Mr. John Hawkins, of Hitchin, for William Alexander Dashwood, Esq., at Little Almshoe. It was built in the year 1855, by Mr. J. Jeeves, and is attached to a farm of only 350 acres, though fitted for a farm of larger area.

of Hitchin, for William Alexander Dashwood, Esq., at Little Almshoe, near Hitchin, Herts. It was built in the year 1855, by Mr. J. Jeeves, and is attached to a farm of only 350 acres, though fitted for a farm of larger area.
Drawing Room, Guys Cliffe, Warwickshire.
Drawing Room, Guys Cliffe, Warwickshire.

III. For a Farm of 1000 acres, of tillage or mixed husbandry, the arrangements for the farm house should be as follow :-

Ground Floor, Basement, and attached Outbuildings.-Parlour, sitting-room, and office ; store-room ; china closet and water-closet ; kitchen ; back kitchen or scullery; pantry and larder ; cellarage, and apple chamber ; dairy offices ; brewhouse, bake­ house, wood and coal houses, ash-pit, and privy.

Upper or Chamber Floor.-Seven bed-rooms of superior character, including two spare rooms, one dressing room ; a linen closet, and water-closet.

Plan No. 3.—An example of this class of farm house is given in the following drawing, representing a house near Wisbeach, erected by Mr. John Beasley, of Chapel Brampton, Northampton, for the Right Honourable the Lord Overstone, in the year 1860.

Plan No. 3.—An example of this class of farm house is given in the following drawing, representing a house near Wisbeach, erected by Mr. John Beasley, of Chapel Brampton, Northampton, for the Right Honourable the Lord Overstone, in the year 1860.
A farm house for a mixed farm of 500 acres, erected by the Earl Spencer, at Boddington, Northamptonshire

PLATE 66.-A farm house for a mixed farm of 500 acres, erected by the Earl Spencer, at Boddington, Northamptonshire. It was designed by Mr. John Beasley, of Chapel Brampton, Northampton. It is built of stone, not highly dressed, and is roofed with Welsh slates, the work being executed by estate workmen, at a cost, exclusive of the carriage of materials, of 900l.

The farm house, erected by the Right Honourable the Earl Powis, at Styche, Shropshire, is for a dairy farm of 400 acres. The house was built by contract, in the year 1863, from designs furnished by Messrs. Burd of Shrewsbury. It is constructed of brick, and is roofed with Welsh slates, and was completed at a cost of 13801., including the carriage of materials.

A farm house, or bailiff's house, on a home farm of 227 acres, erected by Matthew Bell, Esq., at Lenhall Farm, near Canterbury, Kent, designed by the Editor.

PLATE 67.—A farm house, or bailiff’s house, on a home farm of 227 acres, erected by Matthew Bell, Esq., at Lenhall Farm, near Canterbury, Kent, designed by the Editor. It was built by contract, in 1861, of bricks and Welsh slate, at a total cost, including the carriage of materials, of 898l. 11s., the bricks being made by the proprietor, and supplied by him to the contractor at 20s. per thousand.

The farm house, erected by W. Hans Sloane Stanley, Esq., at Rollestone, near Southampton, Hampshire, and designed by Mr. F. Eggar, Romsey, is for a mixed farm of 294 acres. The house was built by contract, in 1862, of bricks and Welsh slates, at a total cost, including carriage of materials, of 1266l. 9s. 3d.

Drawing Room.
Drawing Room

To justify the conveniences above enumerated, it should be borne in mind that the capital employed by the tenants of the several sized farms specified should amount to 2500l. for 200 acres of land, 5250l. for 500 acres, and 10,000l. for 1000 acres ; sums which, if employed in trade or commerce, would afford even greater accommodation.

There is one rule that should be arbitrarily adhered to in the erection of farm houses ; this is, that the rooms generally occupied should look at once into the homestead. The kitchen and back offices, also, should be so arranged that the means of communication between them, the cow-house, piggery, and poultry-houses should be easy and convenient.

A very complete arrangement of farm house and connecting out-offices, which illustrates this remark, is shown in the drawing beneath. It was designed by Mr. W. H. Rice, architect, and was erected at Cartuther, Cornwall.

A very complete arrangement of farm house and connecting out-offices.

The treatment of this part of the subject is necessarily of a general nature. There is only one instance in which it assumes a special character, and this is where the farmer uses a certain portion of the house for conducting an important branch of his business, as in the dairy districts. The accommodation required for the manufacture of cheese and butter, &c., will be found specially set forth in the Digest.

Ford Farm
Ground Plan of Ford Farm
Bemerton Farm
Broxton Farm
An Interior. Mary Ellen Best.
An Interior. Mary Ellen Best.

The Modern Victorian Farm

Join me on my merry adventures in researching Victorian farms. For the next three posts, I’ve excerpted from The Farm Homesteads of England: A Collection of Plans of English Homesteads Existing in Different Parts of the Country, Carefully Selected from the Most Approved Specimens of Farm Architecture, to Illustrate the Accommodation Required Under Various Modes of Husbandry, with a Digest of the Leading Principles Recognised in the Construction and Arrangement of the Buildings. This book was published in 1865 and includes blueprints (pictures! pictures!) of farmyards, farmhouses, and laborer’s cottages. Great geeky historical fun.

The Woodhouse Farm

This Farm the property of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of England and Wales is distant about two miles from the city of Ely. It is in the occupation of the executors of the late Mr. Allden. The rainfall of the district in inches is 21.95.

Description of the Homestead.—This Homestead was erected in the years 1861 and 1862, from designs by Mr. R. Wright, of Norwich, at a cost of about £2800, exclusive of the carriage of materials and the formation of roads and approaches. Mr. Freeman, of Ely, was the builder. It is occupied in conjunction with a set of outlying old Buildings. The Yards, Sheds, and Stalls of the new Buildings were designed for the accommodation of 100 head of cattle, of different ages; but the practice has been to feed only 50 large beasts in them, of which 20 are tied up and fatted with roots, chaff, and cake in the stalls, and the remaining 30 run loose in the yards. When the stalled beasts are considered fat they are sold, and their places are filled up by the best beasts from the yards.

From 50 to 70 head of growing stock are kept during the winter at the outlying Buildings. These are grazed during the summer upon about 60 acres of low meadow land, or “washes,” which do not belong to the Farm, but form a separate hiring, on which the beasts remain from May to Michaelmas, when they are removed to the highland pasture, and there fed with hay, early turnips, and sometimes with 2 or 3 lbs. of cake each. They are then put into the stalls or yards, and prepared for market as before stated.

Woodhouse Farm

There is Stabling for about 35 working horses and 8 saddle or harness horses; besides a Hospital.

 The Buildings were designed with a view of employing a fixed 10 horse power steam engine; but up to this time a portable engine has been adopted by the tenants to work their chaff and turnip cutter, corn and cake crushers, and other machinery.

The thrashing floor, in the central portion of the Barn, is paved with York flags and the two ends are boarded.

The Piggeries, and the cake and root stores, are paved with bricks but an alteration to asphalte is in contemplation as preferable.

The Granary occupies the upper story of the west end of the barn and is supported on iron columns. In it a crane is fixed by which the corn is raised in sacks from the floor beneath.

A Liquid manure tank is sunk in the pig yard, and the manure is pumped thence and distributed over the grass land by means of an iron cart.

The Water from the roofs is preserved in a tank to which a large force pump is attached to raise it into a cistern fixed on the tie beams of a shed, whence it is carried by means of pipes to the Buildings. The supply thus obtained is found sufficient.

Woodhouse Farm

Description of the Farm.—The Farm consists of 980 acres of which 170 are meadow and pasture land and the remaining 810 are arable. The arable land is of two sorts highland (so called in contradistinction to the fen land), of which there are 270 acres, and fen land amounting to 540 acres. The highland is a good arable loam, with a subsoil of boulder clay; and it is cultivated in a five-course rotation, which though somewhat varying with circumstance may be quoted as follows: 1st turnips and mangolds; 2nd oats, wheat ,and barley; 3rd, clover, peas and beans; 4th wheat; 5th, oats, beans, and barley. The fen land is a black vegetable soil, resting on a soft blue clay. This land is drained, and the water raised by a private steam-engine of 20 horse power, and a water wheel of a kind common in the Fens. Upon this description of soil the rotation generally adopted is as follows: 1st year, coleworts, mangolds, and kohl rabi; 2nd, oats, and barley; 3rd, wheat; 4th, clover, beans, and mustard; 5th, wheat.  Of the roots grown on the fallows, two thirds are consumed on the land, and the remaining one third is taken to the store beasts at the Buildings.

 About 300 half-bred ewes form the breeding flock the lambs are sold as soon as they are weaned. Up to Christmas the ewes are kept on the turnips, and subsequently on the kohl rabi in the day, and in the fold-yard on hay and straw chaff at night. In addition to an ewe flock, from 300 to 400 hoggets are bought in April, and fattened on the seeds, with cake. The latter are sold off as they become fat, and others are bought to fill their place until the clover hay is consumed; the whole are disposed of by the end of March.

Sanction Hill Farm

This Farm belongs to its present occupier, John Wells, Esq., of Booth Ferry House, Howden. It is situated on the sides of a deep and narrow valley in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The average annual rainfall of the district is in inches 23.12.

Sanction Hill Farm

Description of the Homestead.—These Buildings were erected from the designs of Mr. Wells, during the years 1860, 1861, and 1862. By lengthening the period of operation, the haulage of materials and the levelling of the site were performed at such seasons as did not interfere with the regular working of the farm. The Cost of the Buildings in their completed state, including the Farm-house and Labourers’ cottages, was nearly £3900. This outlay, inclusive of the levellings and of the cartage of materials, was increased by the difficulties of the site, which involved more than ordinary labour in excavating and raising the ground to secure a level base.

The Buildings are of brick, and are slated; the bricks being made upon the estate in “force fire kilns” at a cost of fourteen shillings per thousand.

The present Stables accommodate 12 draught and 2 riding horses ; and there are, besides, 6 Loose-Boxes.

Accommodation, independent of the large Fold-Yard on the West, is provided for 40 head of cattle of different ages, and for 20 pigs.

Four cows only are kept, which are fed at the head, from a passage communicating with the root-house.

The principal Barn is divided into two compartments or floors. On the lower one are fixed a thrashing-machine and circular saw, both being driven by the shaft which drives the pulper in the adjoining root-house. The upper compartment, 18 feet high, has its floor on a level with the stack-yard, which occupies the higher ground, at the north side of the Homestead. From thence the stacks are brought by means of a tramway to the thrashing-machine, the top of which is raised about 2 feet above the floor level. As the corn is thrashed the straw is delivered into the adjoining Straw-barn, and the grain to the respective wheat and horse-corn Granaries, situated on either side. In the latter, stones and mills are fixed for bruising corn and crushing cake.

Mr. Wells writes :—“The corn, when thrashed, is raised, dressed, and deposited in either of these granaries by means of spouts and screw propellers, so that whatever description of corn is thrashed, it finds its way into the proper place without manual labour.”

In the Chaff-cutting room is fixed the chaff-cutter, driven by a separate shaft; and as the straw and hay are cut, the chaff falls into a room below, where the food is mixed and taken to the cattle without passing through the fold-yards.

The Fold-Yards are sloped, the centre of each being 6 feet below the thresholds of the doors, and covered with a layer of chalk 1 foot thick, well rammed down.

The Floors of the Buildings which contain cattle are paved with Bradford stonesetts, laid in pitch ; those of the barn, straw-shed, mill and cutting-houses, and passages, are of asphalte blocks, 18 inches square by 2 ½ inches thick.

Jules Bastien-Lepage  (1848–1884)
Weary
Jules Bastien-Lepage 
Weary

The Rain-water from the House and Buildings, which are spouted, is conducted to iron tanks, containing about 6500 gallons. Overflow pipes are provided to convey the surplus water from these into two large underground cisterns, one containing 13,000 gallons to supply the engine which pumps its own water, the other containing 10,000 gallons, which supplies the house. There are also two circular ponds, 30 yards in diameter, which are supplied by rain-water from the hills. In the Wolds a sufficient supply of water is a great desideratum, and these arrangements have never failed as yet to secure all that has been needed. The Drainage of the Homestead is thorough; each stable is provided with an iron cess-pit, which, in connection with the drains of the yards, empties itself into one large tank in the carpenter’s yard.

Ventilation is procured by the ordinary “ventilators” in the ridges of the roof, and by several swivel-windows placed over the heads of the animals, 12 feet apart.

Such walls as are only 9 inches thick received two coats of plaster, and the whole of the inside of the Buildings is whitewashed.

No paint is used to the woodwork. It is all stained with umber, and fixed with cold boiled linseed oil and varnish.

Sanction Hill Farm

Description of the Farm.—This Farm contains about 350 acres. It was formerly in two holdings, the old homesteads attached to which, according to the custom of the Yorkshire Wolds district, were situated in the village.

The improvements in cultivation which have signalised this district, especially the growth of turnips, have rendered it essential to complete success that the Buildings should be placed as near the centre of the farm as possible, and Mr. Wells has adopted this principle in selecting the site of the present Homestead.

The land is of a light loamy character, the surface soil for the most part varying in depth from 6 to 18 inches. The whole overlies the chalk, and when the superstratum is of considerable depth, it is usual to bring up the chalk from below, and spread it about the land at the rate of from 100 to 150 loads per acre.

Mr. Wells is a land-agent of considerable experience and wide practice, and farms nearly 1000 acres of land in addition to his own, which is here described.

Tattenhall Hall Farm

Tattenhall Hall Farm in the county of Chester, is the property of Robert Barbour, Esq., and is occupied by Mr. George Jackson. The average annual rainfall of the district is about 33 inches

Description of the Farm.—The Buildings were erected in the year 1860. Exclusive of House and Piggeries, the haulage of materials, the formation of roads, and the making of the necessary approaches they cost 1600l. This sum does not include a small portion of old materials used in them. The arrangements were designed by the tenant; Mr. J. Harrison, of Chester, acting as architect.

Tattenhall Hall Farm

The dairy cows, 80 in number, occupy the principal building (the Cow-house), in close proximity with which are the Food-chambers, Machinery, and Barn. The cows are placed on each side a central feeding passage, along which the cut food is carried by a truck to the troughs ; while a constant stream of water passes along the two lines of stalls, and furnishes each with an ever fresh supply. The central portion of this large building is higher than the two ends, and contains a lay-loft, into which hay is brought direct from the field, and there stored. Ventilation is gained by an air-shaft, in the shape of a centre cupola, and by side openings.

There is accommodation for 14 calves, and 12 store stock, in addition to the dairy stock.

Stabling is provided for 9 working horses, besides which there is a Nag-stable with three stalls, a Loose-box, and a Hospital for cows.

The Piggeries, which are supplied with whey by means of a pipe-drain direct from the Dairy, are fitted up for about 50 breeding, store, and fatting pigs, and are very complete.

The Machinery consists of a portable steam-engine, with a thrashing apparatus; also a small 6-inch cylinder fixed steam-engine, which drives a chaff-cutter placed in the straw dépôt, and a root-cutter and cleaner in the room below. The latter is supplied by the engine-boy from the adjacent store, and the roots, when cut, are taken by elevators and mixed with the chaff; the whole being sprinkled with hot water, or oil-cake gruel, as it descends to a chamber, the floor of which is perforated, in order to allow the waste steam from the engine to ascend and sweeten the mass. The cows are kept on this steamed food throughout the winter; as spring approaches an addition of oil-cake, bean-meal, and a little chopped seeds and clover, is made to it.

Jules Bastien-Lepage  (1848–1884) 
Hay Making
Jules Bastien-Lepage 
Hay Making

The milk, when brought from the Cow-house, is collected into two cheese-tubs, or vats, placed on the kitchen floor, and capable of containing 240 gallons. Each tub is provided with a 3-inch plug, and a strainer guards the opening through which the whey, when separated from the curd, passes into one of four slate cisterns. When all the cream has been removed from the whey, a valve is raised, which allows of the escape of the refuse whey into any or all of the pig-troughs, a little meal from the corn-flour bin being added to it. The curd, when separated, is passed through the curd mill. It is then salted, vatted, pressed into the proper cheese shapes, and elevated into the cheese drying room, and after four months’ detention, the cheeses are lowered by the same contrivance, and sent to the London market.

The buildings are drained into two large Liquid-manure tanks, the contents of which serve to irrigate about 14 acres of meadow land.

The Rain-water and the wash of the house is conducted to suitable reservoirs, and is made to flow over a small meadow at pleasure.

The Buildings are supplied with water from a pond, which receives the drainage water from about 15 acres of land.

The corn crops are well housed in Skeleton Barns having clay floors, the crops being preserved from contact with the clay, by means of an intervening layer of brushwood.

In addition to this Homestead, which has the disadvantage of not being at the centre of the holding, 24 cow-stalls, a food house, and labourer’s cottage, have been erected at a distant part of the farm. At this Steading the barren cows are fatted and the calves are kept, the latter being supplied with roots and fodder. By this means much cartage is saved, and manure is made where it is wanted.

Description of the Farm.—The Farm consists of about 320 acres, of which about 100 are arable, the rest being pasture and mcadow. The land consists mostly of clay, resting on a substratum of New Red Sandstone.

The arable land is cultivated partly on a five-course, and partly on a four-course system.

All the land requiring drainage has been drained, partly by the landlord, partly by the tenant.

During the present tenancy many old fences have been levelled, and about six miles of new and straight quick hedges have been planted ; by which means, and by filling useless pits, the productive area of the farm has been increased by more than 12 acres. Eighteen or twenty acres of swedes or mangolds are annually grown, and carried from the fields-part to the home, and part to the outlying farmstead.

A flock of 200 sheep is usually kept.

Below are some plans from the book. Click on one to enlarge and scroll through the other images.

Jules Bastien-Lepage 
The Grape Harvest
Jules Bastien-Lepage 
The Grape Harvest

If domestic life in rural Victorian England is your passion, then I highly recommend the BBC series, The Victorian Farm. (But you’ve probably already seen it if you’re on my blog.) Much of the information in that series comes from Henry Stephens’ The Book of the Farm.

Women in Late Joseon Korea – Fashion and Marriage

This is the final post in my series on Korean women in the Joseon era. I excerpted from Louise Jordan Miln’s book Quaint Korea, published in 1895, in my previous posts, Women in Late Joseon Korea and The Kisaeng.

However, I noticed Miln’s wedding information is eerily similar to the description in History of Corea by John Ross, published in 1879. So I’ve excerpted some passages from History of Corea as well.

As I noted in my previous posts on the subject, the information presented here may not be entirely accurate. I welcome any polite corrections or additional information. I really struggled to find images for this series. Most of the photos in this post were taken a few years after the Joseon era.

Let’s first excerpt from Quaint Korea.

https://www.loc.gov/item/2004707992/

[Korean women] wear petticoats made very much in Western fashion, but stiffly starched into crinoline-like ungracefulness. The women of the poorer classes wear these skirts above their ankles. The women of wealth or of rank wear skirts touching the ground.

young woman
Souvenir de
Séoul, Corée : 1900. Courant, Maurice

They wear a jacket or belt shaped very much like, and answering the purpose of, a corset, and a shorter jacket which is at best but an inadequate neckerchief. And under their petticoat they wear three pairs of wide trousers.

Except among the very poorest class, respectable Korean women muffle themselves in a garment like a dress or great-coat whenever they go abroad.

John Ross writes in History of Corea, “They must never be seen by any man, except their husband; hence, when they go to the street, as they do freely, they throw over them a long robe, which they pull over the head and face, leaving only the smallest space open before the eyes, necessary to see their way; and their eyes always look to the ground. They must never be seen by any man, except their husband; hence, when they go to the street, as they do freely, they throw over them a long robe, which they pull over the head and face, leaving only the smallest space open before the eyes, necessary to see their way; and their eyes always look to the ground.”

Korean women muffle themselves in a garment like a dress or great-coat whenever they go abroad.
https://www.loc.gov/item/2003666557/
Korean women muffle themselves in a garment like a dress or great-coat whenever they go abroad.
From The Passing of Korea by Homer Bezaleel Hulbert
Doubleday, Page, 1906 

The women of Korea’s poor almost invariably wear the same colour as do the men of the same class: a blue so pale, so indefinite, and, from a short distance, so imperceptible, that it has generally been called white. … Korean women of position wear almost every conceivable colour. In China, pink and green are set aside for women, and are sacred to their wearing. I do not think that the women of Korea have the sole right to wear any colour, but they certainly have the right to wear, and the habit of wearing, almost every conceivable colour. Purples and greens are their high favourites, and green is almost invariably the hue—and a bright, deep green at that—of the generously-sleeved dress which the middle-class Korean woman (or on rare occasions, a lady) throws about her head and shoulders when she walks abroad. This green dress, which is used as a cloak, is almost exclusively the garment of the women of the middle class—the women who are not so poor that they are obliged to draw water, or to engage in any other forms of hard labour which would make the covering of their faces impossible—but who, at the same time, are occasionally obliged to go abroad on some matter of household business.

Susanna’s Note: I love the colorful clothes in Rookie Historian.

Wives and concubines and daughters of mandarins and of men of wealth do not often leave their own (by courtesy) house and gardens. When they do, they go in palanquins. They enter the palanquin in their own court-yard; the blinds or curtains are tightly closed. The chair is borne away on the shoulders … and is usually followed by one or more female servants or waiting women, who run closely behind it, looking on the ground, and carrying a fan, which indicates the rank of the palanquined mistress.

Woman in palanquin
https://www.loc.gov/item/2003666541/
Woman in palanquin
 https://www.loc.gov/item/2003666466/

In some parts of Korea, among some classes of the poor, the women wear a very short white jacket which barely covers the upper part of the bosom.

Korean women washing in a river
https://www.loc.gov/item/2001705582/

The dress of a Korean lady is as elaborate as the dress of a Korean working-woman is plain. The example of simplicity set by Queen Min is followed by almost none of the Korean women who can afford to do otherwise. The wardrobe of a Korean lady contains garments of silk, surprising in quantity, and covetable in quality, but satins are unknown, and the glimmer and glitter … must be made alone by the lustre of silk, and enhanced by as much tinsel, as many jewels and ornaments as the wearer can possibly afford.

***

[Cosmetics] are greatly used all over [Asia]. But in two particulars there is less to be said against the face-painting of Eastern women than there is to be said against the face-painting of the women of the West. In Asia, hair-oil, rouge, powder, kohl for the eyes and eyebrows, and brilliant pigments for the lips, are put on frankly, and are as avowedly, and as sincerely, a seemly and decent adornment, and as much an item of being “dressed up,” as is a silken petticoat or a jewelled necklet.

***

[The Korean woman] lays on the thick layers of brilliant red and ghastly white as devoutly and as dutifully as she says her prayers. The other good word I have to say for the cosmetics of [Korea] is this—they are infinitely less harmful than the cosmetics we are wont to use in Europe. I know that. For, on the stage I have tried both very thoroughly.

***

A well-to-do Korean woman usually has a very interesting collection of hair-pins. They are long, heavily ornamented, made of silver, of gold, or of copper; more usually of silver. Some of them are very beautiful, and some that I have seen reminded me very much of the long silver pins that are thrust through the braids of Italian peasant women.

hair pin

The well-to-do women, especially in the capital, now very generally wear European under-clothing. They invariably wear a pouch which is fastened by cords to their girdle. This is their pocket, the only pocket they have, except their sleeves, and in it they carry a tiger’s claw for luck, a small cushion of sachet, or a bottle of thick, rich perfume, some of their favourite pieces of jewellery, scissors usually, or a knife, two or three of their most frequently used toilet implements, and almost invariably a small Korean chess-board and chess-men. The board and the pieces are often made of silver or even of gold. Chess is, perhaps, the most popular of all Korea’s many games, and the Korean women of the leisure class play it incessantly. The pocket also contains, more likely than not, the official book of female politeness; a book which every Korean lady studies assiduously. But whatever this pocket contains or does not contain, it must by no means be without several charms, charms for good luck, charms for health, charms for wealth, and for any or every other good desirable under the Korean sun. Of its charms the most valuable is the tiger’s claw … The tiger is probably the most dreaded foe of the Koreans.

Korean brother and 2 sisters
Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2001705586/

The hands of a Korean lady are always exquisitely kept, and usually loaded with rings, often with rings of very great value.

***

Among some classes of Korean women the dressing of their hair is the most important item of their toilet, and one skilled in ways Korean, and in signs of Korean rank, can very readily determine, from a glance at her coiffure, who and what a Korean woman is. The ladies of the court wear their hair in different prescribed ways. The geisha girls have an artistic fashion of their own, and a Korean woman servant, one part of whose duty is to fetch and to carry, makes out of the braids of her own hair an enormous cushion upon which she can carry with the greatest security a huge bundle, or a vast dish of food.

Korean hair dressing
British Library digitised image from page 197 of “Corea, the hermit nation. I. Ancient and mediæval history. II. Political and social Corea. III. Modern and recent history”

The men of no other race are so amply dowered with hats as are the men of Korea. Probably the women of no other civilized country are so badly off for head-gear as are the women of Chosön… The only hat the Korean women wear now is the folded dress which I have described before. There is indeed a jaunty, little embroidered cap not unlike a modified Turkish fez, or the glorious capote of a French vivandière.

Korean women's hats
Every-day Life in Korea: A Collection of Studies and Stories, by Daniel L. Gifford
Fleming H. Revell Company, 1898

The following description of a Joseon era wedding is excerpted from History of Corea by John Ross.

Ordinarily, the father of young hopeful begins the preparations for marriage ; but the father of a girl may look out a husband for her at pleasure. Fathers and mothers are even, if possible, more absolute than in China. The father makes enquiries as to who, of all his acquaintances, possesses a daughter eligible in years, appearance, character, and position. Having ascertained, he consults with his wife, who gets on her long robe, pulls it over her face, and starts for the house of the young lady. If the interview does not satisfy the old lady, the process is repeated. When a good match is met with, a mutual friend of the two parental parties is engaged to perform the task of sounding the girl’s parents, who may stop all further advances at once; or the father of the girl may, in his turn, visit the house of the aspirant, and have an unofficial interview with the young man, in the same manner as his daughter was visited before. When both parties are agreeable, formal negotiations are opened by the father of the young man writing a long red-paper letter to his friend ; first giving his own name and address, then asking carefully about his friend’s health, &c., and expressing the warmest wishes for his welfare ; and last of all, like some postscripts, be mentions that he has one, two, or three sons, as the case may be; that number one is unmarried, and of marriageable age; that after careful enquiry among his many friends, he has discovered that his friend has a marriageable daughter, &c., &c. This letter is written in presence of the middle man, to whom it is handed for delivery to the girl’s father. There is, however, no engagement on either side, and either may draw back, until the girl’s father replies in an equally formal manner, accepting the proposal for his daughter, after which acceptation the young people are virtually married; for, if before the final consummation of marriage the young man dies, the girl is a widow, and acts as such, never marrying except with disgrace. It is a queer custom, and a most unequal and unjust one; for if the woman dies, the youth can marry when he chooses.

Susanna’s note: The plot of the K-drama Bossam – Steal The Fate is centered around a woman whose fiancé dies, and she cannot marry again.

An auspicious day is discovered by horology, on which the bridegroom sends presents of female clothing, and of materials for a “man’s” clothing, to the bride, including stuff for the long outer, wider, manly robe, which he assumes on his marriage-day for the first time in his life. After these are sent, the bridegroom is permitted to tie up his hair in a knot on the crown of his head, in old Chinese style; his uncut hair having been previously plaited in a queue similar to the present Chinese or Manchu fashion. The Corean never cuts off any of his hair and never shaves. There is, however, on the middle of the crown of his head a little spot, which could be covered with a sixpence, which was burnt on the occasion of his first childish illness; and that spot is made a little larger when the knot is tied, as the accumulation of hair on the top of his head makes the head uncomfortably hot, and causes sore eyes. And the bridegroom having become a man, now goes round to pay his humble respects to all the relations and friends of his father. On the night of the day on which the bridegroom sent his presents, the friends of his father collect at his house, sit up all night, and eat, drink, and make merry.

Korean bride and groom meet
https://www.loc.gov/item/89706272/

As Corea is an extremely poor country, there are many who cannot afford to get wives for their sons, and there are many men who grow up bachelors of a respectable age … The male human being who is unmarried is never called a “man,” whatever his age, but goes by the name of “yatow”; a name given by the Chinese to unmarriageble young girls: and the “man” of thirteen or fourteen has perfect right to strike, abuse, order about the “yatow” of thirty, who dares not as much as open his lips to complain.

Korean married couple
https://www.loc.gov/item/2003665580/

Another auspicious day, perhaps the third after present-day, is found for “diang gaighanda”—the marriage. On the night before the marriage, the bride sends back her husband’s garments made by herself, being her first wifely duty done. An auspicious hour is fixed for the departure of the bridegroom and his party from his own house to that of the bride. In front of the procession is a servant on horseback, carrying a life-size likeness of a wild goose, covered by red cotton cloth, which he holds with both hands. Then follows the bridegroom, also on horseback; his groom riding after him, all his other servants following on horseback. The bridegroom’s father brings up the rear, with his servants behind, all riding,–the number of horses and amount of display being bounded only by the purse of the parties, but in all cases implying great expense.

Arrived at the house, the wild goose man first dismounts, enters and places the wild goose on the top of a huge bowl of rice, and then retires. The father then dismounts outside the main gate, and the bridegroom last of all. Etiquette demands that all the company should stand facing the east, in which position they doff their grand official hats, richly embroidered outer robes, and boots, worn by permission on this day by plebeian as by my lord. In their ordinary apparel, they are now led into the house by the bride’s father, who has come out to welcome them, the bridegroom advancing first of all. No sooner are they comfortably seated, thạn a scene of the greatest confusion and uproarious mirth takes place. The bridegroom is a scholar, and has been accompanied by all his fellow-scholars, who now suddenly dash on him in a body, and carry him off in spite of all striving and remonstrance on his part. They hold him a prisoner till his father-in-law redeems him with a handsome bribe, on which they hand him over, and depart to make merry with their plunder.

The bridegroom’s party is then regaled with food, after partaking of which they all depart, each of the servants with a little present of money, leaving the bridegroom alone to pay his respects to the ancestral tablet of his bride. And in the evening he is introduced into the bride’s chamber, which is decked out with flowers, two bowls of rice on the kang, in each of which is stuck a yellow candlestick and a burning candle. There he remains alone, till the bride is by and by escorted by her mother and female relations in the house, and the married people see each other for the first time. They are at once left alone and the door closed. On the next day the bride divides the one queue, in which her hair had been hitherto done up, into two; each containing half her hair, and plaited back on the crown of the head, one on each side, towards the forehead, in which fashion she wears it ever after. On the third day, the young couple may return to the bridegroom’s father’s house ; but if not then, a whole year must pass ere they go thither, many allowing two years. When they do arrive at the young husband’s house, they both worship his ancestral tablet.

At marriage, a red paper with written characters is handed them, which is afterwards cut in two,—each retaining half; for in case of future trouble, the husband cannot marry again, if he has not the half showing him independent; for many married people separate in Corea, from “incompatibility of temper,” or other reasons; nor need we wonder at the fact. The separated husband, with his half of this red paper, can easily obtain another wife, but not without; while she is supposed never again to marry.

One of the lower class informed me that the youth went to the father-in-law’s house, a month before marriage, and saw the girl. That if both, or either, were dissatisfied, they could break the match, by persistent opposition, in spite of parental chastisement (!) which is likely enough; for mutual choice was the ancient custom of the country.

Woman in palanquin
https://www.loc.gov/item/2003666523/