Friday, August 22, 2014

Corn Recipes

Not to be corny...I know bad pun. Anyway, here are some recipes where the primary ingredient is corn.

One teacupful of milk, three eggs, one pint of green corn grated, a little' salt and as much flour as will form a batter. Beat the whites and yolks of the eggs separately. To the yolks add the corn, salt, milk and flour enough to form a batter. Beat the whole hard, stir in the whites and drop the batter, a spoonful at a time, into hot lard and fry to a light brown color.—Mamie E. Brown Waldron.

One pint of flour, one-half cupful of milk, two eggs, onehalf can of corn, one and one-half teaspoonfuls of baking powder, a little salt. Drop from spoon into hot fat.— Mrs. S. D. Raymond.

Scrape frcm the cob one pint of corn. Cream one teaspoonful of butter, work into it one heaping teaspoonful of flour, one teaspoonful of sugar, one of salt and one-fourth teaspoonful of pepper. Stir in slowly one cupful of milk, then turn in the corn. Add the beaten yolks of three eggs, then the whites beaten to a stiff froth, spread on top after turning into a well-buttered baking dish. Bake for twenty minutes.—Elizabeth Williams.

One can corn chopped fine, three eggs, salt and pepper, two tablespoonfuls of flour (good sized ones). Fry in butter.—Mrs. B. C. Macomber.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Sucker & The Hoop

Here are two more children sports from the 19th Century.

Cut a circular piece of stout leather; bore a hole through its centre, and pass a string, with a knot to prevent the end escaping, through this hole. Soak the leather well in water before you use it; when thoroughly soaked, place the leather on a stone, press it well down with your foot, and then taking the string, you may, by your sucker, raise a considerable weight.
You have often observed the ease and security with which flies walk upon a smooth wall, or a pane of glass, or even along the ceiling, with their bodies downward. The fact is, that their feet are provided with little cups, or suckers, which they alternately exhaust and fill with air; by which means they are enabled to walk in every position, over the most slippery surfaces. In like manner, the walrus, or seal, is capable of climbing the masses of slippery ice with perfect security.

The trundling of the hoop is an old, but healthful pastime. It was as common with the Greeks and Romans as it is with boys of the present generation. It has the advantage of being a sport, which may be played by one person, although several players sometimes engage in it, and try who can keep their hoop rolling longest. Several tin squares are sometimes nailed to the inner part of the hoop, which produce, in the opinion of some lads, an agreeable jingle; but it is apt to frighten the horses, whom they meet.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fashions of the 19th Century

Below is an excerpt from The Chautauquan ©1895 which gives the opinions of those from the end of the century evaluating the fashions of that century.

FROM 1860 to 1875 was a terrible epoch in hairdressing. Heavy Cadogan1 braids, stuffed to unnatural size with yarn or jute or false hair; high clumsy rolls on the top of the head; a single long curl, called an Alexandra, and usually false; all made a hideous chignon, on which at various dates reposed ribbons, flowers, feathers, and metal ornaments. The hair was confined during some years in nets of silk or chenille, often in high colors, or even of gold braid. They were ornamented with beads of gold, silver steel, pearl, or jet. Nets of narrow black velvet ribbon were also worn. A specially grotesque and ugly net, worn about 1867, had woven into it little curls and loops of fiber to imitate curls of hair, and could be purchased in any color to match the natural locks.
1863 Bonnets

1866 Dress
In 1866 peplums were worn, not Roman garments, but a little corslet with ungainly undraped skirts square across front and back, and hanging very long in points at sides. Its popularity is said to have dealt a fatal blow at crinoline, with which it was certainly anomalous.

1860 Custome

1870 Dresses
After the fall of the Second Empire and the empress,2 dress slowly assumed a new form in 1870. Crinoline was gradually shrinking, but full kilted frills were placed all over the dress, on skirt, sleeve, and bodice. The short waists were very unBONNETS OF 1863. weather and seasons show in dress. The history of contemporary times might be traced in the names and fashions of garments and stuffs. Often also the pettiest events gave distinguishing names. These, of course, were given in France or England, whence all our fashions originated. Ourika bonnets, gowns, and caps were named from the romance "Ourika," of Duchess de Ducas, printed in 1824. Crape and turbans were named Ipsiboe from the book of that name. Trocadero ribbons indicate the campaign in Spain. Scotch plaids were popular through the opera, La Dame Blanche; bodices were worn d la Se'vignd. In 1827 France first possessed a living giraffe. Crowds of sight-seers rushed to the Jardin des Plantes, and soon we read of bonnets a la giraffe, gowns a la giraffe. The victory of Marshal Bugeaud,3 in 1844, over the armies of the emperor of Morocco, brought to notice Algerian finery, and the burnous in many materials was worn; in light colors as a ball wrap its popularity lasted in America over a decade — indeed, almost to our own becoming with all these frills and plaits and the outdoor jackets were ungraceful, very long in front and very short in back. Dresses of two colors and materials, the underskirt of one and the polonaise of another, were much worn, and were certainly economical.
1873 Dress
I must note the unbounded popularity in 1872 of the Dolly Varden polonaise. It was made of pretty flowered materials, usually of cotton, such as calico and chintz. The skirt was open in front and looped high on the side, almost in Watteau shape, usually with bows and loops of black velvet. Sometimes the garment had a plait from the shoulders, oftener the back was fitted. It was a coquettish, picturesque fashion, too cheaply obtainable, however, to remain exclusive, and hence doomed to extinction, as Swift said, "to descend from those of quality down to the vulgar, and then be dropped and banished."
The polonaise still clung to us, and for a time was sleeveless, or had black velvet sleeves. The puffed out tournure gave an angle to the carriage of the wearer which for a long time was caricatured under the name of the "Grecian bend."
The princesse dress of 1875 wascertainly graceful in its conception, but in execution it was far from comfortable ; for its flowing
folds were bound around the knees by a tight drapery which made the figure seem as if in a bag, or, as a contemporary said, "two shy knees tied in a single trouser." In this narrow bag the wearer could scarcely sit down, was forced to walk with constraint, and even on direst emergency could not run. From under the confining drapery a mean little tail or train untidily swept the streets and floors.
I think many will remember with pleasure the "Leopold Robert" bonnet of 1872, so artistic in shape, so simple, so becoming. It was a wreath of flowers, usually of crimson silk roses, placed on a band of velvet, with ribbons and strips of lace falling over the chignon. It had no strings, but a veil, often of Spanish lace, with long

DRESS OF 1866.
ends which were crossed in the back, brought forward and tied under the chin. Sometimes a square of lace was placed over the bonnet, one corner in front and the other three brought over the chignon with a jet pin.
A curious trait of fashion is the prevalence of certain colors at certain times. One year it is Magenta, another green, next year Nile green. In 1876 cardinal red was seen everywhere to the most glaring excess. Last year we had crimson, this year bluet; four years ago heliotrope, then eminence purple. Before that we had sage green. Old rose clung long to its supremacy, so did ecru. Often the color is unbecoming to many complexions, as when orange velvet trimmed every bonnet; often it is crude, as a superb new brocade seen last week, of purplish magenta with orange-colored crescents six inches long—so vivid in color that an esthete would have been blinded by the shock.
The quality of goods varies in fashion; one year smooth glossy fabrics like alpaca, the next the hairy camel's hair, then coarse homespun. A particularly objectionable mode four years ago introduced a smooth ground with large hairy spots two inches in diameter scattered over it, which bore a hideous resemblance to hairy moles. One year we wear vast plaids, the next year they are plebeian. Brocaded velvet, an old time favorite, is absolutely unsalable to-day. Satin this year is sold—a trying fabric it is. Tarletan, beloved in the ball-gowns of our youth, is seen in no ballroom to-day. Watered silk wears in and out of fashion. Plush, a beautiful textile for many uses, is obsolete or hopelessly bucolic. We change our strings of beads as does an Indian squaw; and our furs. Seal alone, too costly and now too scarce to be common, holds its own; though fine seal-brown plushes, through a spurious relationship and resemblance, almost ruined the seal trade and re-established our pelagic glories.
A curious detail of fashion is the reign of various furs. We have seen this year the revival of chinchilla, a soft frail fur absolutely unsalable two years ago. The fur of the Astrakhan lamb is another example; it was of such high fashion in 1861 as materially to benefit the Russian town of Astrakhan. It was used with day. These garments were often trimmed with Thibet tassels and fringe. When made of plush or plaid velvet and trimmed with fur they were truly elegant and graceful.
1875 Walkin Dress
The spencer was in high fashion for fifty years for the first half of the century. The name is sometimes still used by old fashioned folk. It was originally a man's garment, an overcoat so short that the skirts of the body coat could be seen hanging below it. It was named for Earl Spencer. Hence the epigram on that nobleman and on Lord Sandwich:
"Two noble lords, whom if I quote
Some folks might call me sinner,
The one invented half a coat,
The other half a dinner.

'The plan was good, as some will say,
And fitted to console one,
Because in this poor starving day
Few can afford a whole one."

The spencer was adapted to women's wear a year or two later, and on feminine forms became a little over-jacket. A certain green sleeveless spencer was for a long time in high vogue among fashionable dames. It was an important article of dress—as was the pelisse—when winter gowns were of book-muslin or cambric.
A popular article ^•V of wear first donned in 1864, in Paris, was a Garibaldi waist. In America they were universally worn and were usually made of scarlet cloth, cashmere or flannel. They were gathered very full at the neck, and into a shoulder band, and around the waist. The sleeves were full and gathered into a wristband. They were an ideal waist for young girls' and children's wear, loose and warm, but rather shapeless for elegant dames; and in order to make them fit with any trimness around the waist, they had to be worn with a very tight belt. Our present shirt waists, and certain dotted Swiss muslin waists worn twenty years ago, were the summer successors, in modified shape, of the Garibaldi.
An influence must be noted which was brought to bear on women's dress about the middle of the century, not a lasting influence nor a beautifying one. It came through the writings and example of Mrs. Amelia Bloomer, who recently died in New York State. She advocated a dress reform which was certainly phenomenally ugly. The Bloomer has been variously caricatured and represented in comic press, on comic stage. I give four engravings of it which were printed at the time of its inception; these are not beautiful, but nothing can equal the Bloomer in shapelessness in reality. I well recall two women of intelligence and mental culture who wore this Bloomer costume in Worcester, Mass. One woman wore it until the time of her death, ten years ago. A man's dress on feminine form would have been comparatively beautiful and attractive. Shapeless, straight trousers of flimsy cloth flopped to the ankles; over these a miserable, scanty little skirt hung halfway to the knee. An illshaped waist and over-jacket, and a flat, low-crowned hat with large ear pieces and slimsy strings of ribbon, completed this depressing gear. I recall one specially offensive suit of black and white rather large Rob Roy check; no caricature on minstrel or farce stage ever exceeded that Bloomer in hopeless ugliness. Yet out of this hated and jeered-at fashion, the smart jackets known as polkas came into favor both here and in England. Indeed, in England the Bloomer had a more marked influence, was accorded more attention than in America, as I can plainly see from the publications of the times. The various dress reforms which have succeeded the Bloomer pioneer have been chiefly in regard to underclothing, and are of varying popularity and doubtful convenience. Nothing has yet been invented for a gown more comfortable, more sensible for women's outdoor wear, for their "working dress," than the straight stuff skirts now worn with full waists—shirt waists in summer; while for extra warmth is the detached jacket—which may be termed and shaped as a blazer one year, a jersey the next, a skirted coat the next, and then an Eton jacket. This suit neither offends the eye, the fashion, nor the health. The convention which attempted to shape and decide upon a reform dress suitable for wear at the Columbian Exposition planned nothing as appropriate or as becoming.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Introductions, manners,

In continuing with manners below is a chapter on Introductions from Manners, Culture and Dress of the Best American Society ©1894


IN the introduction of one gentleman to another, great prudence and caution must be used by the really polite man; but in the introduction of ladies to each other, and to gentlemen, infinitely more care is necessary, as a lady cannot shake off an improper acquaintance with the same facility as a gentleman can do, and her character is much easier affected by apparent contact with the worthless and the dissipated.
It is incumbent, therefore, on ladies to avoid all proffers of introductions, unless from those on whom from relationship or other causes, they can place the most implicit confidence.

Introductions By Relatives.
As a general rule, ladies may always at once accord to any offers of introduction that may proceed from a father, mother, husband, sister or brother; those from intimate cousins and tried friends are aiso to be considered favorably, although not to be entitled to the same implicit reliance as the former. Formerly it was the habit for the ladies to curtsey on being introduced, but this has latterly been changed into the more easy and graceful custom of bowing.

Saluting And Shaking Hands.
The habit of saluting and shaking hands is now quite obsolete, except in some country towns where ladies at first introductions salute other ladies by kissing them on the cheek, and fervently shake the hands of the gentlemen.

First Introduction.
At present, in the best society, all that a lady is called upon to do, upon a first introduction either to a lady or a gentleman, is to make a slight, but gracious inclination of the head.

Second Or Subsequent Meeting.
Upon one lady meeting another for the second or subsequent times, the hand may be extended in supplement to the inclination of the head; but no lady should ever extend her hand to a gentleman, unless she is very intimate,—a bow at meeting and one at parting, is all that is necessary.

The Obligations Of Introduction.
Two persons who have been properly introduced have in future certain claims upon one another's ao quaintance which should be recognized unless there are sufficient reasons for overlooking them. Even in that case good manners require the formal bow of recognition upon meeting, which of itself encourages no familiarity. Only a very ill-bred person will meet another with a vacant stare.

After An Introduction.
If you wish to avoid the company of any one that has been properly introduced, satisfy your own mind that your reasons are correct; and then let no inducement cause you to shrink from treating him with respect, at the same time shunning his company. No gentleman will thus be able either to blame or mistake you.

Introductions While Traveling.
If, in traveling, any one introduces himself to you and does it in a proper and respectful manner, conduct yourself towards him with politeness, ease, and dignity; if he is a gentleman, he will appreciate your behavior—and if not a gentleman will be deterred from annoying you; but acquaintanceships thus formed must cease where they began. Your entering into conversation with a lady or gentleman while traveling does not give any of you a right to after recognition. If any one introduces himself to you in a manner betraying the least want of respect, either towards you or himself, you can only turn from him in dignified silence,—and if he presumes to address you further, then there is no punishment too severe.

Introductory Letter To Ladies.
Be very cautious of giving a gentleman a letter of introduction to a lady; for remember, in proportion as you are esteemed by the lady to whom it is addressed, so do you claim for your friend her good wishes,—and such letters are often the means of settling the weal or the woe of the parties for life. Ladies should never themselves, unless upon cases of the most urgent business, deliver introductory letters, but should send them in an envelope inclosing their card.

Receipt Of Introductory Letters.
On receipt of an introductory letter, take it into instant consideration; if you are determined not to receive the party, write at once some polite, plausible, but dignified cause of excuse. If the party is one you think fit to receive, then let your answer be accordingly, and without delay; never leave unanswered till the next day a letter of introduction.
If any one whom you have never seen before call with a letter of introduction, and you know from its appearance who sent it, desire the person to sit down, and at once treat them politely; but if you do not recognize the hand-writing it is quite proper, after requesting them to be seated, to beg their pardon, and peruse the letter in order that you may know how to act.

Requesting A Letter Of Introduction.
If any one requests a letter of introduction, and you do not consider that it would be prudent, eithei in respect to your situation with the person so requesting it, or with the one to whom it would be addressed, refuse it with firmness, and allow no inducement whatever to alter your purpose.

Introduction To Society.
On your introduction to society, be modest, retiring, unassuming, and dignified; pay respect to all, but most to those who pay you the most, provided it is respectful and timely.

Bestowing Of Titles.
In introducing a person be sure to give him his appropriate title, as some persons are jealous of their dignity. If he is a clergyman, say "The Rev. Mr. Forsyth." If a doctor of divinity, say "The Rev. Dr. Forsyth." If he is a member of Congress, call him "Honorable," and specify to which branch of Congress he belongs. If he be governor of a State, mention what State. If he is a man of any celebrity in the world of art or letters, it is well to mention the fact something after this manner: "Mr. Ellis, the artist, whose pictures you have frequently seen," or "Mr. Smith, author of 'The World after the Deluge,' which you so greatly admired."

Proper Forms Of Introduction.
The proper form of introduction is to present the gentleman to the lady, the younger to the older, the inferior to the superior; Thus you will say: "Mrs. Cary, allow me to present to you Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Rhodes, Mrs. Cary;" "Mrs. Wood, let me present to you my friend Miss. Ewing;" "General Graves, permit me to introduce to you Mr. Hughes." The exact words used in introductions are immaterial, so that the proper order is preserved.
It is better, among perfect equals, to employ the phrase, "Permit me to present you to than "Permit me to present to you * *;" there are men in this world, and men, too, who are gentlemen, who are so sensitive that they would be offended if the latter of these forms was employed in presenting them to another.

Ceremonious Phrases.
These ceremonious phrases, "Permit me to present, &c.," are not to be employed unless the acquaintance has been solicited by one party, under circumstances of mere ceremony; and when you employ them, do not omit to repeat to each distinctly the name of the other.

Casual Introductions.
When two men unacquainted meet one another where it is obviously necessary that they should be made known to each other, perform the operation with mathematical simplicity and precision, -"Mr. A., Mr. A.\ Mr. A.\ Mr. A."

Speak The Name Distinctly.
When, upon being presented to another, you do not feel certain of having caught his name, it may be worse than awkward to remain, as it were, shooting the dark; say, therefore, at once, without hesitation or embarrassment, before making your bow, "I beg your pardon, I did not hear the name."

Introduction Of A Lady To Gentlemen.
When you are presented to a gentleman, do not give your hand, but merely bow, with politeness: and, if you have requested the presentment, or know the person by reputation, you may make a speech,— indeed, in all cases it is courteous to add, "I am happy to make your acquaintance," or, "I am happy to have the honor of your acquaintance." I am aware that high authority might be found in this country to sanction the custom of giving the hand upon a first meeting, but it is undoubtedly a solecism in manners. The habit has been adopted by us, with some improvement for the worse, from France.

Introductions In Other Countries.
When two Frenchmen are presented to one anoth. er, each presses the other's hand with delicate affection. The English, however, never do so; and the practice is altogether inconsistent with the caution of manner which is characteristic of their nation and our own. If we are to follow the French in shaking hands with one whom we have never before seen, we should certainly imitate them also in kissing our intimate male acquaintances. There are some Americans, indeed, who will not leave this matter optional, but will seize your hand in spite of you, and visit it pretty roughly before you recover it. Next to being presented to the Grand Jury, is the nuisance of being presented to such persons. Such handling is most unhandsome.

Introductions With Permission.
A gentleman should not be presented to a lady without her permission being previously asked and granted. This formality is not necessary between men alone; but, still, you should not present any one, even at his own request, to another, unless you are quite well assured that the acquaintance will be agreeable to the latter. You may decline upon the ground of not being sufficiently intimate yourself. A man does himself no service with another when he obliges him to know people whom he would rather avoid.

Introductions Without Permission.
There are some exceptions to the necessity of applying to a lady for her permission. At a party or a dance, the mistress of the house may present any man to any woman without application to the latter. A sister may present her brother, and a mother may present her son, upon their own authority; but they should be careful not to do this unless where they are very intimate, and unless there is no inferiority on their part. A woman may be very willing to know another woman, without caring to be saddled with her whole family. As a general rule, it is better to be presented by the mistress of the house, than by any other person.

Meeting On The Street.
If you are walking down the street in company with another person, and stop to say something to one of your friends, or are joined by a friend who walks with you for a long time, do not commit the too common, but most flagrant error, of presenting such persons to one another.
Morning Visitors. If you are paying a morning visit, and some one comes in, whose name you know, and no more, and he or she is not recognized by, or acquainted with, the person visited, present such a person, yourself.

If on entering a drawing-room to pay a visit, you are not recognized, mention your name immediately; if you know but one member of a family, and you find others only in the parlor, present yourself to them. Much awkwardness may be occasioned by want of attention to this.

Assisting A Lady In Difficulty.
If you see a lady whom you do not know, unattended, and wanting the assistance of a man, offer your services to her immediately. Do it with great courtesy, taking off your hat and begging the honor of assisting her. This precept, although universally observed in France, is constantly violated in England and America by the demi-bred, perhaps by all but the thorough-bred. The ' mob of gentlemen" in this country seem to act in these cases as if a gentleman ipso facto ceased to be a Man, and as if the form of presentation was established to prevent intercourse and not. to increase it .

Monday, August 18, 2014

Let's go Fly a Kite

I love that seen in Mary Poppins when they Sing, Let's go Fly a Kite. Last Thursday I posted some of the games from the 19th century then I stumbled on this great little book about Kites, making them and flying them. The variety is very interesting, so I've put a link at the bottom of this post to the source in Google books.

Several years ago the story was current in Kennebec County, Maine, of a boy who succeeded in launching into the air a twelve-foot kite, was borne across a large brook and set down so frightened that he let the kite go.

n 1895 the western papers reported that a citizen of Winona, in exploiting a huge kite, was, by a gust of wind, jerked two hundred feet up in the air, then let down and ducked in the river.
But Ben Franklin did better than this; for once, while bathing, he caused his kite to draw him across the river, thus saving himself the exertion of paddling and kicking.

The taste of the American boy does not usually run into such vagaries as the foregoing. He wants a kite that will operate in the same easy round, in its turn, with his base ball, his sled, his skates and his bow and arrow. There are several forms of these boys' kites which are easy to make and jolly to fly.
In making a kite there are three essentials,— strength, lightness and balance. The first two of these depend on the construction of the frame. Small tubes of thin steel, and also of aluminum, have been tried for this purpose, but have not given so good results as spruce wood. Next to this in strength, lightness and elasticity is whitewood, then straight-grained white pine. For small kites, strips of split bamboo will do very well; but they bend too easily if long. For bow kites or other curving forms, black ash or oak basket strips and split bamboo are good. Split rattan will not often prove satisfactory, because of its twist and its lack of uniform elasticity.
In selecting the material for a frame, care should be taken that the sticks are straight, with grain running in the direction of the length of the stick, and that the wood is thoroughly dry.
For a kite three feet long and two and a half feet wide, the sticks should be in the form of a slightly flattened square, not so thick as a common lead pencil,— that is, they should be less than half an inch wide and a quarter of an inch thick. The corners should not be rounded, but may be rubbed slightly to remove the sharpness.
The newspapers now made are not strong enough for kite coverings; thin, tough manila being the only cheap paper which is suitable. Bond paper, nainsook muslin and tracing cloth are also good; but the cheapest of them is more than twice as costly as manila paper. Tissue paper makes a good covering for kites not over three feet in length,—if they can be kept away from all bushes and stubble, which would rend them into tatter* in short order.
Very thin Chinese silk makes one of the best coverings for flying in brisk winds, which hold it in place; but in light winds (when the covering is properly loose) the fulness is given to sliding from one side to the other, thus destroying the balance of the kite.
To prepare a kite for flying in wet weather, cloth coverings should be varnished, and paper ones should be saturated with melted parafline wax brushed on lightly and evenly. The paper in these should be folded from back to front,— the reverse of the folding of the margin for fair-weather flyers. Oiled silk is also good. These treatments, by closing the spaces between the threads, prevent the wind from passing through the covering, so that the lifting power of the kite is increased; but, because of the added weight, the kite will not ascend as readily in light winds. Only paper and the thinnest silk are light enough for small kites; but a four-foot kite would bear a nainsook muslin or a thin silesia in a fresh and steady wind.
The color of kite coverings is worth considering. Black is the color most easily distinguished at all heights. The changes of color in the sky are quite curious.
Dark blue, in a cloudy sky, appears black, but regains its color partially in sunshiny spaces.
Cherry red against a blue sky is usually surrounded by its complementary color in the form of fringes extending from its edges. The color darkens at great heights, but at a certain angle to the sun-rays it shows to the eye its real color.
Light green becomes invisible at a less height than pale blue.
A paper kite covering which had received one application of a butt stain —which proved insuflioient to saturate the paper — showed a soiled green tint in the sunshine.
Source: Kites: How to Make and How to Fly Them ©1897

Friday, August 15, 2014

Clam Chowder

Okay so I was raised on Martha's Vineyard and for me there is not other clam chowder than the milk based chowder. However, I have friends from New York who love the other. Vive la difference, and apparently the difference was back in the 19th Century as well.

Wash twelve clams and put on a pan in the oven until the shells open. Drain off the juice, remove the clams from the shell and chop fine. Season the juice with salt, pepper and butter, and let it boil slowly. Heat to the boiling point in a double boiler, one quart of milk. Just before serving, put a little baking soda in the clam juice and pour in the milk.—Anna B. Grover.

Six potatoes, six onions, one-half pound of salt pork, four sea-biscuits, one pint of clams, one quart of milk. Chop pork in half-inch squares, put in pot until browned, then onions (chopped fine), potatoes (cut in dice), clams (chopped), one quart of water. Boil one-half hour, then break in sea-biscuits. Cook for two or three hours slowly, the longer the better. Season with pepper and salt to taste. Just before serving, add one quart of hot milk.— Sarah F. Davis.

Two dozen clams chopped fine, four potatoes, two onions, a small cupful of tomatoes, six Boston crackers (broken in small pieces), one-fourth pound of salt pork. Slice pork and fry in a kettle, remove and chop fine. Add one quart of water and the juice of the clams, alternate layers of vegetables sliced very thin. Season to taste. Stew three hours. Just before serving, add one quart of hot milk.—Mrs. J. T. Morrison.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tops, Slings & Kites

Here are three more games/activities that children played during the 19th Century.

Humming-tops are easily used. After the string is wound about the upright piece, one end of it is taken in one hand, and the handle of the fork-piece in the other. The string is then pulled off with force, and the top is set a-going. Whip-top is an excellent amusement. The top is easily set up by twirling it with both hands on a smooth surface, and applying the whip with gentleness at first, increasing the vigor of the blows, as the top gets firm on the peg. The peg-top is spun by quickly pulling away the string wound round it.

To make a sling, you must cut out an oval piece of leather, about two inches wide at the broadest part. At each of the ends, fasten a leathern thong, or piece of cord. One of these cords, or thongs should be longer than the other. Place a stone in the broadest part of the leather, twist the longest thong twice or thrice round your hand, hold the other lightly between your thumb and fore-finger, whirl it round several times, let go the shorter thong, and the stone will be shot to a great distance. Great care should be taken in using the sling, lest mischief is done.

The best form of constructing a kite is the following. The only pieces of wood necessary in the making of this, are a bow made of oak or walnut, and a straight lath. These are fastened together by twine, and when the frame
is completed, it is pasted over with paper. The tail, which should be from ten to fifteen times the length of the kite, is made by tying bobs on a string, with a larger bob at the end of it. Kites may be made of various shapes and sizes. Indeed they probably first received their name from having been originally constructed in the form of a bird of prey, called the kite. In China the flying of kites is much more practised than in this country ; and it is said, that their shape is always that of some bird.
I remember to have seen, some years ago, a kite which resembled a man. It was made of linen* cloth, cut and painted for the purpose, and stretched on a light frame, so constructed as to resemble the outline of the human figure. It stood upright, and was dressed in a sort of jacket. Its arms were stretched out on each side, and its head was covered with a cap. The person who owned this kite could raise it, though the weather was calm, to a great height. The wind gave to it a slight motion, which made it look like a man skating on the ice. It had altogether a very queer appearance, and did not fail to attract a great crowd of spectators.
Kites are often made square, as they are easiest to construct of that form. Boys frequently send up messengers, when their kite is safely balanced in the air. The messenger is a round piece of paper or pasteboard, which on being fixed upon the string, is blown along the line up to the kite.
The kite sometimes pulls so violently that it breaks the string, or twitches away from the hand, and is lost. Dr Franklin has said, that, with a good kite a man, unable to swim, might be sustained in the water, so as to pass from Dover to Calais. I have heard of a man, who travelled many miles along the road in a carriage drawn by two kites.
But the kite has served the cause of science as well as that of amusement. It was by means of the kite that Dr Franklin was able to make his great discoveries in electricity, and to draw it from the clouds.
Did you ever hear the story of the sailors who mounted to the top of Pompey's pillar? If you have, it will bear repeating. Some English sailors once laid a wager, that they would drink a bowl of punch on the summit of Pompey's pillar, in Egypt. Now, this pillar is almost a hundred feet high, and it is quite smooth, so that there was no way of climbing to the top, even for sailors. In this dilemma, they obtained a kite, and flew it exactly over the pillar, so that when it came down on the opposite side, the string lay across the top of the capital.
By means of this string, they pulled a small rope over, and by this a larger one, that was strong enough to bear the weight of a man. A pully was then fastened to the end of the large rope, and drawn close up to the upper edge of the column; and then, you see, they could easily hoist each other up. They did more; for they hoisted a flag on the top, drank their bowl of punch, and won their wager.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

1867 Fashions

It's Historical Fashion Wednesday again and today we're highlighting mostly women's clothing but there is an everyday outfit and some children's outfits on the bottom. Enjoy!







Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Manners for a Young Man entering Society

Below is chapter two of Manners, Culture and Dress of the Best American Society ©1894 As a writer it gives me some possibilities to add to a character, not to mention knowing the social norms of the time.

TO become accepted in society, a young man must win the good will of the few ladies of assured position who are the ruling spirits in their charmed circle, and whose dictum determines thceocial standing of the young aspirant. It is of less importance to be in favor with the young girls who are themselves just entering society than with these older women, who can countenance whom they will and whose approbation and support will serve the novitiate better than fortune, talent or accomplishments.
The Good Will Of Women. A young man in entering society cannot be too attentive to conciliate the good will of women. Their approbation and support will serve him instead of a thousand good qualities. Their judgment dispenses with fortune, talent and even intelligence.
Social Connections. The desire of pleasing is, of course, the basis of social connection. Persons who enter society with the intention of producing an effect, and of being dis languished, however clever they may be, are never agreeable. They are always tiresome, and often ridiculous. Persons, who enter life with such pretensions, have no opportunity for improving themselves and profiting by experience. They are not in a proper state to observe. Indeed, they look only for the effect which they produce, and with that they are not often gratified. They thrust themselves into all conversations, indulge in continual anecdotes, which are varied only by dull disquisitions, listen to others with impatience and heedlessness, and are angry that they seem to be attending to themselves. Such persons go through scenes of pleasure, enjoying nothing. They are equally disagreeable to themselves and others.

Being Natural.
Young men should content themselves with being natural. Let them present themselves with a modest assurance: let them observe, hear, and examine, and before long they will rival their models.

With Whom To Associate.
The conversation of those women who are not the most lavishly supplied with personal beauty, will be of the most advantage to the young aspirant. Such persons have cultivated their manners and conversation more than those who can rely upon their natural endowments. The absence of pride and pretension has improved their good nature and their affability. They are not too much occupied in contemplating their own charms, to be indisposed to indulge in gentle criticism on others. One acquires from them an elegance in one's manners as well as one's expressions. Their kindness pardons every error and to instruct or reprove, their acts are so delicate that the lesson which they give, always without offending, is sure to be profitable, though it may be often unperceived.
Women observe all the delicacies of propriety in manners, and all the shades of impropriety, much better than men; not only because they attend to them earlier and longer, but because their perceptions are more refined than those of the other sex, who are habitually employed about greater things. Women divine, rather than arrive at proper conclusions.

What To Tolerate.
The whims and caprices of women in society should of course be tolerated by men, who themselves require toleration for greater inconveniences. But this must not be carried too far. There are certain limits to empire which, if they themselves forget, should be pointed out to them with delicacy and politeness. You should be the slave of women, but not of all their fancies.

Common Place Speech. Compliment is the language of intercourse from men to women. But be careful to avoid elaborate and common-place forms of gallant speech. Do not strive to make those long eulogies on a woman, which have the regularity and nice dependency of a proposition in Euclid, and might be fittingly concluded by Q. E. D. Do not be always undervaluing her rival in a woman's presence, nor mistaking a woman's daughter for her sister. These antiquated and exploded attempts denote a person who has learned the world more from books than men.

The quality which a young man should most affect in intercourse with gentlemen, is a decent modesty: but he must avoid all bashfulness or timidity. His flights must not go too far; but, so far as they go, let them be marked by perfect assurance.
Respectful Deference.
Among persons who are much your seniors behave with the most respectful deference. As they find themselves sliding out of importance they may be easily conciliated by a little respect.

Ease Of Manner.
By far the most important thing to be attended to, is ease of manner. Grace may be added afterwards, or be omitted altogether: it is of much less moment than is commonly believed. Perfect propriety and entire ease are sufficient qualifications for standing inrsociety, and abundant prerequisites for distinction.

Distinctions In Conduct.
There is the most delicate shade of difference between civility and intrusiveness, familiarity and common-place, pleasantry and sharpness, the natural and the rude, gaiety and carelessness; hence the inconveniences of society, and the errors of its members. To define well in conduct these distinctions, is the great art of a man of the world. It is easy to know what to do; the difficulty is to know what to avoid.
Long Usage.
A sort of moral magnetism, a tact acquired by frequent and long associating with others—alone give those qualities which keep one always from error, and entitle him to the name of a thorough gentleman.

Selecting Company.
A young man or woman upon first entering into society should select those persons who are most celebrated for the propriety and elegance of their manners. They should frequent their company, and imitate their conduct. There is a disposition inherent in all, which has been noticed by Horace and by Dr. Johnson, to imitate faults, because they are more readily observed and more easily followed. There are, also, many foibles of manner and many refinements of affectation, which sit agreeably upon on man, which if adopted by another would become unpleasant. There are even some excellences of deportment which would not suit another whose character is different.

Good Sense.
For successful imitation in anything, good sense is indispensable. It is requisite correctly to appreciate the natural differences between your model and yourself, and to introduce such modifications in the copy as may be consistent with them.

Qualities Of A Gentleman.
Let not any man imagine, that he shall easily acquire those qualities which will constitute him a gentleman. It is necessary not only to exert the highest degree of art, but to attain also that higher accomplishment of concealing art. The serene and elevated dignity which mark that character, are the result of untiring and arduous effort. After the sculpture has attained the shape of propriety, it remains to smooth off all the marks of the chisel. "A gentleman," says a celebrated French author, "is one who has reflected deeply upon all the obligations which belong to his station, and who has applied himself ardently to fulfill them with grace."

Whom To Imitate.
He who is polite without importunity, gallant without being offensive, attentive to the comfort of all; employing a well-regulated kindness, witty at the proper times discreet,indulgent,generous,who exercises,in his sphere, a high degree of moral authority; he it is, and he alone, that one should imitate.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Brick Road Versus Steel Roads

I recently had an experience of riding along an 11 mile stretch of the "Old Brick Road" in Florida. It was built in 1914 so it's too late for this blog. However, the experience had me thinking about the development of roads during the 19th Century. Below is an article from Industrial Management ©1897 talking about whether a steel road was better than a brick road.

The General Government Fostering Good Roads.
IN an elaborate article in Brick (July 15) the subject of good roads is treated: first, historically, beginning with the ancient Roman roads and their builders; second, from an engineering standpoint; and, lastly, in its present aspects in the United States. What the general govemment is doing to further good-road building is also set forth at considerable length, in a quotation from a letter written by W. E. Curtis to the Chicago Record. The department of agriculture has directed General Roy Stone, chief of the bureau of good roads, to construct and exhibit an example of a steel road at the Nashville Exposition. The use of this material for roads in regions where stone and gravel are scarce and where the soil is deep and sticky will, in the opinion of Secretary Wilson, be "the easiest solution of the good road problem" for such localities. At present prices these steel roads can be cheaply constructed. Flat, or slightly trough-shaped, bars of steel are to be used as supports for the wheels of vehicles, and, to prevent the slipping of horses, the rails will be transversely indented sufficiently to afford a foothold for the calks of horseshoes without materially affecting the smoothness of the surface for the wheeltreads. The joints of the flat bars. or rails, will be made strong enough to prevent them from giving way under use, and thus forming depressions. While forty pounds per ton is the average required to pull a load on a level macadam road, it is claimed that eight pounds will do this about $2,000 per mile work on a steel road. In this respect, however, a good brick road can be scarcely inferior to steel. It is believed that a good brick road will outlast a steel road. Another way in which the government is helping on the cause of good roads is by using the agricultural experiment stations as sources of instruction in road-building to the public at large. On this point Mr. Curtis says: “ The limited funds at command have not encouraged any practical work in this direction, but cobperation has now been established by the director of roads, under which the manufacturers of road machinery furnish the necessary plant free of charge, the county or city authorities provide the material and the labor of men and teams, and the government furnishes an engineer to oversee the work and instruct students and visitors, and pay for one or two skilled operators for the machines. In this way avery slight outlay of public funds accomplishes a large amount of instructive work." Experiments with brick roads are already in progress in some of the western States. At Monmouth, in central Illinois, a road of vitrified brick set on edge in a single course on a bed of sand between oak plank curbs is now undergoing probation, _and is regarded with favor. Brick trackways, with intervening gravel paths for horses, have been proposed. Where macadarn roads are practicable. and under the most favorable c0nditions,—z'.e., where laborers can be obtained for seventy-five cents per day, where fuel for steam power is cheap, and where suitable road metal is close at hand,—they may be constructed and bridged for $100 per mile for each foot -of width. Thus a road thirty feet wide would cost 3,000 per mile. Good gravel roads cost from $1,000 to $2,000 per mile. The material for the heaviest class of steel roads costs, at present prices, $3,500 per mile; for lightest steel roads the cost of material is estimated at $1,000. For long lines of the heavier class of roads, it is thought, the steel will ultimately cost Brick for roadbuilding will cost more per mile than steel for tramways, but, taking the intermediate path for animals and the side ways into account–for these must be well built and maintained also, we are inclined to agreed with Brick that a road paved from curb to curb with vitrified brick, is in proportion to its costs, the best road known to modern engineering.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Scotch Broth

This is a soup rarely heard about today but was quite common in the 19th Century even into the 20th Century. In a way it makes sense that it is called Scotch Broth since lamb or mutton is the primary source for the soup. Most of the recipes I found were very similar so I'm only putting a select few for today's post.

Take about eight pounds of the neck and bone parts of lamb or mutton. Trim off all the outside or skin parts. Cut off the lean portion (being careful not to take any fat), cut in small bits and save for the next day. Put to boil all the trimmed parts. Boil several hours, strain and keep until next day. Remove all the fat, add one-half cupful of pearl barley, cook four hours. Add two onions, one-half carrot and one turnip chopped fine. .Also cook the small bits of meat and add to the broth. Season to taste with salt, pepper and parsley chopped fine.—Lyda McKinley.
The Puritan Cook-Book ©1898

Scotch Broth.—Cut the neck mutton into chops and put it in a saucepan with 4 pints of water, as soon as it boils taie off the scum, and then add 2 turnips cut in small 8 squares, 1 large carrot, and 3 onions also cut, 3 tablespoonsful of mushroom ketchup. Cover it closely, and let it stew for four or five hours gently. Then take out the meat and cut it in small pieces, and after skimming all the fat from the broth return the meat to it, season it and send it to table with the addition of a small quantity of light dumplings the size of a walnut or suet dumpling.
Source: Tried & Approved Recipes ©1878

Scotch. Broth.—Take some middle cutlets from neck of mutton; trim them ; then take the trimmings and put them into a stewpan, with some of the scraps and small pieces of knuckle of veal; moisten well with good boiling broth, and season with some sticks of celery, leeks, parsley, a very large onion stuck with two cloves, a few slices of turnip cut into dice, and one or two carrots also cut into dice. Let this broth boil gently for three hours, season with salt and pepper, and skim off the fat. When it becomes a good flavour drain it over the chops, which must be put in a large enough stewpan to contain the soup. Have some well-washed barley which has been boiling for a long time, and put it into the soup with the chops to boil for one hour. Skim before sending to table. Chop a little parsley very fine and add just before serving.
Source: Housewife's Referee ©1898

Thursday, August 7, 2014


I don't know about you but I loved marbles and playing marbles when I was a kid. There was a time when I lost most of my marbles, but I practiced and practiced until I ended up with a large amount of marbles that I'd won from other children.

Below is an excerpt from 1834 The Book of Sports.

The best marbles are imported from Holland, where, as I have been informed, they are manufactured, by grinding fragments of alabaster and of other stones, in an iron mill of a peculiar construction. In this mill there are several partitions furnished with rasps, which turn with great velocity, by means of a stream of water; and thus having rounded the stones, project them out of different holes for which their size may adapt them. Thus manufactured they are sent to America and other countries. There are as you know, inferior kinds of marbles, which are of home manufacture, and consist of baked clay, or vitrified earth. The marbles made of pink marble, with dark red veins, 'blood allies,' are preferred to all others.
One of the most common games at marbles is that of knock-out. Two or more may play at this game. He who begins, throws a marble gently against a wall, so that it rebounds to a distance not exceeding a yard; a second player throws another marble against the wall, endeavoring to make it rebound, so as to strike or come within a span of the first; if he can do neither, the first player takes up his own marble, and, in turn, strives to snop or span that of the second. The marble that is thus snopped or spanned, is won, and the winner begins again. Where only two play, it is best to knock out two or three marbles each, alternately, before they begin to use those on the ground. In this case, a player may win his own marbles, as they are common stock when down, and take up which he pleases, to play with. Sometimes instead of throwing the marbles against a wall, the players shoot them along the ground. The winner is he who shoots his marble within a span of the other's. This game is called ' spans and snops.'
The game of ring-taw used to be a very popular sport some years ago. It is played in the following manner. A circle is drawn, on which each player puts as many marbles as may be agreed on. A line, called the offing, is then drawn at some distance, from which each in turn shoots at the ring. Shooting a marble out of the ring, entitles the shooter to go on again, and thus the ring may be sometimes cleared by a good player, before his companion or companions have a chance. After the first fire, the players return no more to the offing, but shoot, when their turn comes, from the place where their marbles rested on the last occasion. Every marble struck out of the ring, is won by the striking party; but if the taw, or marble, at any time remain in the ring, the player is out.
In the game of arch-board or nine-holes, the marbles are bowled at a board set upright, resembling a bridge, with nine small arches, all of them numbered; if the marble strike against the sides of the arches, it becomes the property of the boy to whom the board belongs; but, if it go through any one of them, the bowler claims a number equal to the number upon the arch it passed through.
Sometimes holes are dug in the ground, into which the players try to drive their marbles. Sometimes a little pyramid of marbles is erected within a small circle, and the boy who shoots at it, has as many as he can drive out of the circle. One marble is given, for each time of shooting, to the owner of the pyramid. Those games at marbles which depend entirely upon chance, I hope are beneath your notice.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

1883 Fashions

Revisiting 1883 Historical Fashions today. Previously I posted THESE Today we continue with these.








Tuesday, August 5, 2014

South Carolina Rice

While growing rice was not an event that started in the 19th century it was an important part of the economic culture of South Carolina. The tidbit below comes from a "Census of the city of Charleston, South Carolina" ©1849. The following tidbit gives some details about the various kinds of rice, where it was grown, etc.

This subject, as well as the Cotton crops, demands more extension than the statement of exports for the lew years embraced in the foregoing tables. Fortunately, through the previous researches of another, the exports of Rice, from a very early period, have been collected and preserved, which will be found in the succeeding pages.
From " Drayton's View of South Carolina" we quote, " Rice, was first planted in South Carolina about the year 1688: when by chance a little of it, of a small unprofitable kind, was introduced into the State."
From "Ramsay's History of South Carolina" we learn, that the cultivation of Rice was first commenced in South Carolina in 1694. A vessel from Madagascar, in distress, put into Charleston harbor, the Captain of which had some previous acquaintance with Landgrave Thomas Smith, to whom he gave a small parcel of Rough Rice, which was in the cook's bag on board ; this, Mr. Smith planted in a moist spot in his garden, (now Longitude Lane, in the City of Charleston) the proceeds he distributed among his friends, and in a few years after Rice became one of the staple productions of the Colony.
In " Carroll's Historical Collections of South Carolina" it is stated, that a Brigantine, from Madagascar, put into the Colony, and gave some seed Rice to Mr. Woodward, which, in a few years, was dispersed through the Colony. It is also further stated " that Mr. Du Bois, Treasurer of the East India Company, difi send to that country, (Carolina) a small bag of seed Rice some short time after." These events occurred about the year 1700.
That Rice, soon after this period, was an' article of export from Carolina, we learn from a pamphlet reprinted in Carroll's Historical Collections of South Carolina, and originally published in London in 1707 by John Archdale, late Governor of Carolina, in which he says, " 17 Ships this year," (probably several years prior to the printing of the pamphlet) " came ladened from the Carolinas with Rice, Skins, Pitch, Tar, &c., in the Virginia fleet."
The following early exports of Rice, which we republish as having an appropriate place in the Statistics of Charleston, were collected by the Hon. R. F. W. Allston in his valuable " Memoir of the introduction and cultivation of Rice in South Carolina," published in 1843, from the following sources: From a statement published by Gov. Glen, in his " Description of South Carolina," 1761.

The gold-seed rice, justly famous for the quality and large yield of the grain, stands, in the estimation of the market, among the first rices in the world. Along the Atlantic coast it has practically superseded the white rice introduced aud generally cultivated in the earlier periods of the industry. The two varieties of gold-seed appear to differ little except that one variety has a slightly larger grain than the other. White rice is valued for its <"arly maturity. The accompanying table illustrates the difference between the grains of gold-seed rice aud white rice:
A large proportion of the rice grown in South Carolina and Georgia is produced on tidal deltas. A body of land along some river and sufficiently remote from the sea to be free from salt water is selected with reference to the possibility of flooding it from the river at high tide aud of draining it at low tide.
Canals and levees.—A canal is excavated on the outer rim of this tract, completely inclosing the field. The excavated dirt is thrown upon the outer bank. ' The canal must be of sufficient capacity for irrigation and drainage, aud must also furnish dirt to make a levee which will provide perfect protection against the encroachments of the river at all seasons. The tract is then cut up by smaller canals into fields of 10 to 12 acres, making small levees on the border of each field. The fields are subdivided by ditches into strips 20 or 30 feet wide for cultivation. The entire tract is usually nearly level, but if there should be any inequality care must be taken that the surface of each subfield be level. The main canal is 10 to 30 feet wide and about 4 feet deep, and connects with the river by flood gates. Through these canals boats of considerable tonnage have ready access to the entire circuit of the tract, while smaller boats can pass along the subcanals to the several fields. The subcanals are usually from 6 to 10 feet in width and should be nearly as deep as the main canal.
Drainage.—Perfect drainage is one of the most important considerations in rice farming, because upon it depends the proper condition of the soil for planting. It may appear unimportant that a water plant like rice should have aerated and finely pulverized soil for the seed bed, but such is the case. Thorough cultivation seems to be as beneficial to rice as to wheat. Complete and rapid drainage at harvest always insures the saving of the crop under the best conditions and reduces the expense of the harvest. On 500 acres of such land, well prepared, there should be 65 to 80 miles of ditches, canals, aud embankment
If there are logs, stumps, or stones in the field they must be removed. When practicable the rice lands are flooded from the river and find drainage by a canal or subsidiary stream that enters the river at a lower level. The embankment must be sufficient to protect the rice against either freshets or salt water. Freshets are injurious to growing rice, not only because of the volume of water but by reason of the temperature. A great body of water descending rapidly from the mountains to the sea is several degrees colder than water under the ordinary flow. Any large amount of this cold water admitted to the field, not only retards the growth but is a positive injury to the crop. In periods of continued drought the salt water of the sea frequently ascends the river a considerable distance. Slightly brackish water is not injurious to rice, but salt water is destructive.
Some excellent marshes are found in South Carolina and Georgia upon what may relatively be termed high land. These are in most cases easily drained and in many instances can be irrigated from some convenient stream. The objection planters have found to such tracts is that the water supply is unreliable and not uniform in temperature. In case of drought the supply may be insufficient; in case of freshets the water is too cold. To obviate these objections reservoirs are sometimes constructed, but are expensive, owing to loss by the evaporation from such a large exposed surface. However, where all the conditions are favorable, it costs less to improve these upland marshes than the delta lands and the results are fairly remunerative.
SOURCE: Bulletin ©1891

Monday, August 4, 2014

Teal Hunting

Okay so I've never heard of this bird or the practice of hunting them but apparently it was quite a sport. But basically it is a small duck. Here is a link to a picture of the bird. Hit your back arrow to return to this post.

TEAL—Although one of the smallest ducks that fly, weighing no more than a partridge, the teal (Qiierquedula creaa) is one of the most attractive of wildfowl to sportsmen, not merely on account of the beautiful colours of the male bird, but because of the sporting shots it affords, and its excellence for the table.
Teal are generally easier to get at than ducks, and as they require but a slight blow to bring them down, it matters little what size of shot is used. Instead of rising head to wind like other wildfowl, they have an odd way of springing up vertically from the surface of the water, no matter what their position may be when discovered, and, the shooter not aiming high enough,(the charge of shot often passes harmlessly below them.
Haunts and Habits—Quiet rushy pools which lie at a distance from any road, turf holes on a peat bog, and sluggish shallow streams with overhanging vegetation are favourite haunts of the teal. Of shy and retired habits, it shuns the more public ponds and rivers, and avoids the neighbourhood of man's dwelling.
On approaching the edge of a pond at a distance Irom a "spring" of teal (as a small flock of these birds is technically termed), they may be seen silently reposing on the water. Immediately the intruder is perceived, a harsh call is heard, and they jump suddenly into the air, wheeling round and about with amazing rapidity, now looking black, now white, according as the upper or under surface of their bodies is presented to the eye. Frequently, as though intending to alight, they fall through the air with a whistling sound, recovering themselves when apparently in the water, and rising again to a height. These manoeuvres are repeated until the eye is strained in following them, and the entire flock at length settles down again in silence and repose as before. At such times it requires no small amount of caution to get near enough to them for a shot.
Col. Hawker, whose practical knowledge of wildfowl has rarely been equalled, has well described the habits of the teal in his Instructions to Young Sportsmen. "If you spring a teal, he will not soar up and leave the country like a wild duck, but will most probably keep along the brook like a sharp-flying woodcock, and then drop suddenly down. But you must keep your eye on the place, as he is very apt to get up again, and fly to another spot before he will quietly settle. He will frequently, too, swim down stream the moment after he drops; so that if you do not cast your eye quickly that way, instead of continuing to look for him in one spot, he will probably catch sight of you and fly up, while your attention is directed to the wrong place. If the brook in which you find him is obscured by many trees, you had better direct your follower to make a large circle, and get ahead of and watch him, in case he should slily skim away down the brook and by this means escape from you altogether."
Description of Plumage—For beauty of colouring the cock teal has scarcely an equal amongst wildfowl. The chestnut head with a patch of glossy green on each side, edged with buff; the neck, back and flanks beautifully pencilled with black and grey ; the bright green speculum on the wing, broadly bordered above and below with velvet black : and the black and buff undertail-coverts present to the eye a perfect picture of harmonising colour which defies the imitative pencil of the artist.
The hen teal, like the females of all ducks, is of the usual sombre colour, her dusky brown and grey plumage being peculiarly well adapted to her concealment during the time she is engaged in incubation.
Nesting—Although usually placed in the vicinity of water, the nest is sometimes at a considerable distance from it, and always rests upon dry ground. A hollow is generally scraped out at the foot of some overhanging bunch of heather, or tussock of dry waving grass, and lined with fine heath stalks and bents. Here eight or ten creamy-white eggs are laid, in April, and as the hen bird covers them, she plucks from her breast and sides the soft brown down which underlies her feathers, and places it entirely round the eggs, filling up all the interstices, thus forming a warm bed for the young as soon as they leave the shell.
The old duck is very attentive to her young, leading them from the nest to the marsh, where they paddle about on the soft ground and shallow pools, snapping up flies and beetles with their tiny bills. They swim and dive well almost as soon as hatched.
Migration—Great numbers of teal pass southward for the winter, returning in the spring on the way back to their breeding haunts. In September and October they collect in large flocks, and, being very sociable in their habits, may often be found in winter in company with wild ducks. But although they mingle together when on the water, on being disturbed the two species always separate, the teal going off in one flock, the ducks in another. During the winter
months teal may be found on the coast, in company with wigeon, but they apparently prefer the neighbourhood of fresh water, especially large quiet pools well sheltered by reeds or trees, to screen them from the wind.
Teal in Decoys—Teal are amongst the tamest of wildfowl, and are generally the earliest to come into a decoy. The decoy-man, aware of their market value (for they are highly esteemed for the table), knows better than to capture the first comers. He allows them to remain undisturbed for some time, in order to attract others of their kind. This policy sometimes proves very remunerative. It is on record that at certain decoys in Essex, from 200 to 400 teal have been taken in one day. At the celebrated Ashby decoy in Lincolnshire it was not an uncommon thing to take 1800 or 2000 teal in the course of a season, and in the winter of 1852-53 no less than 3279 of these little birds were thus captured. Folkard relates that at a decoy pond at Mersea in Essex a flock of about 400 arrived, the greater number of which were taken within a few hours. The Rev. Richard Lubbock, also, mentions an instance which occurred at a Norfolk decoy of 220 teal being taken at once.
Formerly the decoy season was from the ist October till the ist June: the statute 10 Geo. II. cap. 32 prohibited the taking of any wildfowl "by hays, tunnels, or other nets" earlier or later under a penalty of 5^. for every bird so taken, but that statute has been repealed, and now by custom the season for working a decoy is from October to February.
It is true that a few ducks and mallards come into the decoys in July and August, but they are generally birds reared in the neighbourhood, and are left alone to entice others. Teal come in about the first week of September.

Source: Encyclopedia of Sport ©1898