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Written by JulieW
(5/9/2007 1:00 p.m.)
If there had not been a Netherfield ball to prepare for and talk of, the younger Miss Bennets would have been in a pitiable state at this time; for from the day of the invitation to the day of the ball, there was such a succession of rain as prevented their walking to Meryton once. No aunt, no officers, no news could be sought after -- the very shoe-roses for Netherfield were got by proxy. Even Elizabeth might have found some trial of her patience in weather which totally suspended the improvement of her acquaintance with Mr. Wickham; and nothing less than a dance on Tuesday could have made such a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday endurable to Kitty and Lydia.
I love this passage from Chapter 17, because it reinforces the isolating effect of living in the country in inclement weather : it is November, raining and the girls are thereby unable to walk to Meryton( one of their few source of amusement) and cannot even buy the necessary shoe roses for their slippers for the forthcoming ball in person.
I thought you might like to see a picture of a shoe with a rose attatched.
This wonderful shoe comes from the collection of the National museums and Galleries on Merseyside.It dates from 1790, and is made of yellow kid leather, printed with black polka dots.The rose is made of yellow silk ribbon.
Here are some slightly later shoe roses( and bows)attatched to shoes,dating from 1820-30,and these are from the Victoria and Albert Museum costume collection.
Shoe roses have quite a hsitory- on both men and women's shoes. See this entry from Fairholt’s Costume in England Vol 2 page 365
Shoe Roses: Bunches of Ribbons formed like a rose and worn upon the shoe.They were very fashionable at the court of Elizabeth...They were sometimes very costly. Peacham in his "Truth of Our Times"( 1638 )speaks of "shoe ties that go under the name of roses from thirty shillings to three four and five pounds the pair. Yea, a gallant of the time not long since paid thirty pounds for a pair”
Here is a tradecard which is interesting as it shows the interior of a shoe shop.
I wonder if one bought shoe roses from the shoe shop or the haberdasher in Meryton? I'm not sure. Perhaps both would supply them ?
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