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Written by Robbin
(2/10/2013 8:33 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Letter 76 L&T: About threadpaper, penned by Line
Thanks for the explanation Line! I did find at Project Gutenberg a reference to threadpapers in a book, The Wits and Beaux of Society Volume 2, 1890 by Grace Wharton. It is in the section of the book labeled Horace Walpole and refers to an early experience of Thomas Chatterton, 20 November 1752 – 24 August 1770:
In those days women worked with thread, and used thread-papers. Now paper was, at that time, dear: dainty matrons liked tasty thread-papers. A pretty set of thread-papers, with birds or flowers painted on each, was no mean present for a friend.
If Mrs. Wharton knows of what she speaks and may be termed a reliable reference then we are in luck for Mr. Chatterton lived and died before the birth of JA. Of course no luck was had by Mr. Chatterton who died young—poor man. Was the threadpaper for which JA sends thanks a gift? Was it covered with words, a design or pretty pictures if not the sketches she jokingly describes? I do not know but even though she is sharing a laugh with her niece at the expense of Mrs. Hunter the description above seems to be of the same type of papers.
I read several excerpts from novels referring to threadpapers which suggested to me they could be homemade. I am sorry I did not take note of these novels to report them here nor did I vet them for accuracy. Was all the gold paper destroyed in MP (2) and Persuasion (14) by little girls on holiday sacrificed in part for making threadpaper? I imagine ladies of fortune might spend some of their pin money on prettily decorated threadpaper and also, as with many things, those with less made-do and created their own with leftover paper at home.
I did wonder if there was an amusing adventure involving threadpaper in Lady MacLairn, the Victim of Villainy by Mrs. Hunter but did not find anything when I searched volumes 1 and 2 at Open Library .org or Google Books. After JA’s mockery of the novel I cannot bring myself to commit to a closer examination by reading it! (:D)
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