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|JA questions - nails and bread.
Written by Anielka
(3/21/2003 8:29 p.m.)
1)What would JA's nails have looked like? Would she have had any form of manicure or would she just have cut them straight across when they got "too long"? Were there tools for manicures or nail fashions? Did different classes of people have different length nails to show their relationship to manual work? Were finger-nails polished with buffers etc.? Did people rub chalk underneath to whiten them? Was there such a thing as a nail brush to remove ink from the delicate fingers of lady authoresses? (- question inspired by unlikely ink on fingers in Rozema's version of MP). I tend to imagine JA with a perfect set of plain-cut, clean nails, just long enough to help with needlework.
2) What sort of bread would JA have eaten? As a curate's daughter would she have had white bread or brown? Would it have been loaves or rolls? Only references I can find are the poem James Austen wrote for his daughter Caroline about Tyger the cat sitting on the bread (so we know that his family had Harriet make bread at home) and Mrs. Austen's abstemious remark about ".......hot rolls, cold rolls, bread and butter, and dry toast for me" at Stoneleigh. Was JA's idea of toast the same as ours? Did Edward Austen's family have better bread?
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