Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
Written by JulieW
(4/20/2006 5:07 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Habits, penned by Robbin
though we can associate the word with nuns( and that was probably one of the reasons why JA slyly slipped it into this passage) during the 18th century women wore what was termed " habits" not only when they went out riding, but also for travelling and, in the country, for infromal morning dress.It was their equivalent of comfy jeans and a jumper,IMHO.
Look at this from Dress in Eighteenth Century England by Anne Buck:
The riding habit was a petticoat, jacket and wasitcoat or waistcoat fronts attatched to the jacket...The Habit was not only a riding dress but soon became a dress for travelling..From Macon,France in 1777 Lady Polsworth wrote: "I think our stay produced nothing else remarkable except the admiration of the amids at Mrs Bakeres riding habit whihc she put on for the sake o0f warmth.The girl calls it being habille en homme and told her she ws joli comme un coeur in it and deserved to be made love to..."
The ever practical Mrs Austen wore one at her wedding to George Austen in BAth,IIRC.
In this case I am sure JA is using a deliberatly slightly old fashioned term to indicate that Catherine was wearing a travelling dress....merely to reinforce the " gothick" theme.
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.