Missing my wonderful mother, Marge Shelly, on this day to honor moms. I was blessed with one of the best moms EVER!
In large part because of my mom’s example, being a mother myself was a yearning desire. Thankfully I was blessed with two amazing children:
Emily Justine born in 1988 and Kyle Taylor born in 1992. I love my kids!
Happy Easter everyone!
I do hope your weekend celebrations are wonderfully fun and relaxing. As much as I would love to send all of my wonderful readers chocolate bunnies and marshmallow eggs, I am forced to make do with a different type of delicious treat: An excerpt from The Passions of Dr. Darcy! I never wrote of George celebrating Easter while in India, so chose a random snippet from a visit to Pemberley that I hope you will enjoy. Remember that the official release is in TWO DAYS! I’ll be celebrating with giveaways and fun. Be sure to pop in during the week. I’ll be sharing my fun, and would love to hear from you as you receive your copy of my latest novel and begin reading!
Now, here is a teeny sampling to tide you over until the complete text is in your hands—
On January 6, James entered the library and saw George standing at a window and staring fixedly toward the west meadow. “What has captured your attention, Brother?”
“Your son.” George gestured with his teacup. “I have never in my life seen a boy his age ride a horse with such reckless abandon and skill while at it. He truly is remarkable.”
James joined him at the tall window. “He is a natural. Father was very proud of him.”
George heard the sadness in James’s voice, as well as a current of anxiety. “Why are you frowning, James? Does it disturb you that William has a greater affinity for the equestrian portions of Pemberley Estate over the agriculture and… whatever else you do?”
James laughed, shaking his head and flashing a sidelong glance at George. “You never did have any interest in where our wealth came from, did you?”
“Not in the least. But don’t take it personally. I am still not interested in business matters.”
“As long as you have money for food, right?”
“Well, yes, there is that. I enlisted a bookkeeper in Bombay to keep track of my finances, including the stipend Father would regularly send, which I always told him I did not need and hope you will cease doing, but aside from perusing the quarterly report he compiles, so I know I have enough for food and clothes, since I really do like clothes, I pay scant attention.”
“He could be robbing you blind.”
George shrugged. “I would think less of him if he did not skim a bit of the excess off the top, but I was raised as a Darcy, so some of the business lectures penetrated my skull. Don’t worry, James. He is a legitimate financial wizard. I trust him. My investments are intact, and I have safeguards in place to ensure a stable financial future. Now, what has you bothered about William?”
“Not that he loves horses, I assure you. The truth is, I think Fitzwilliam will eventually be far smarter than me and a better manager for Pemberley when the time comes. I only worry that he finds a balance. He is so damned serious, George, and humorless except for rare occasions or with certain people, such as his cousin Richard or Mr. Wickham’s son George. I fear for how Father’s death will affect him.”
“I was thinking along the same lines, to be honest.” He recounted the conversation between he and William prior to Mr. Darcy’s death. “Naturally you know your son better than me, but I know what you mean of his tendency toward moroseness. Still, I don’t think I would worry overly. He is young and the young are astoundingly resilient. In another year or two, he will discover girls and then you will be wishing he were hiding in the stables.”
“I’ll lock him in the stables if he is anything like you.”
“Hey! I wasn’t that bad! And it isn’t my fault if the pretty maids thought I was irresistible. But just in case, I wouldn’t suggest banishment to the stable complex. All that soft hay and dark corners, you know.”
James shook his head in mock disgust and turned away from George’s grinning face. “Thanks for the advice,” he said drily as he poured a cup of tea. “Now, I was looking for you at the behest of my wife. Anne wants me to exact a promise that you will stay until after your birthday. A major party is not appropriate, but we would like to celebrate with you before you dash away.”
“I am touched, James. I hadn’t given it any thought, to be honest. Birthdays lose significance after a while. Still, it would be nice to commemorate the day with my family.”
“Anne will be pleased. She is fond of you, you know, and has missed you. You liven up the place, even during sad times such as this.”
“My, aren’t we growing sentimental in our old age!”
“You aren’t that far behind me, Brother.”
“Thirty-two is vastly different than, what are you now? Fifty? Fifty-five?”
“That will get you beaten! Fifty-five indeed. Keep talking like that and you can forget about any presents. I’ll toss you out the door onto your ass with your belongings heaped upon your head! Of course, considering how restless you are, your belongings are probably already packed.”
George sat on the chair across from James, leaning back and feigning nonchalance. “Restless? Why do you say that?”
“Oh please! You have had one eye on the door since Christmas! I am shocked you are still here, but you don’t need to pretend or apologize, George. I understand that India and your work calls to you. You never were good at idleness. Even while Father was ill, I could tell you were uncomfortable and itching to be busy. I do wonder, though. Is it only India and your work, or do the memories haunt you?”
“Only the first, amazingly enough.” George told his brother about his feelings regarding Pemberley and Alex, including sifting through the chest.
“Praise God!” James exclaimed with relief. “I wasn’t convinced that running halfway around the world would do the trick, but apparently it has.”
“I am not sure what it is, James. Maybe simply time. Maybe other heartaches supplanted my grief over Alex. Maybe I just grew tired of dwelling in the past. Rather idiotic to pine over someone who has been gone for nearly twenty years. Not sure what happened, and I don’t care. Life is too busy and exciting to analyze the whys. You are correct that I am anxious to leave, though it has nothing to do with Pemberley or Alex.”
He stretched his long legs onto the low table, nudged the tea tray aside to make room, and swept one hand over his body. “Look at me. I am an English-Indian hybrid! I wear crazy clothes that are unbelievably comfortable, by the way. I speak six dialects moderately well and can read and write most of them. I know so many styles of medical treatments that I no longer recall where I learned them. I am tanned in places that never see the sun on most Englishmen. I have seen panthers mating, handled snakes, climbed a one-hundred- foot banyan tree, eaten creatures that I won’t mention because you would vomit, become an uncle to two delightful Hindu boys, have traversed jungles and deserts, and best of all, there is much, much more yet to uncover! I am never bored, James. Never unchallenged. You know me well enough to comprehend how valuable that is to me.”
“You almost make me envious.”
“Doubtful,” George snorted. “You are too much a Darcy and tied to the land to gallivant about. I am the one with wanderlust. And it is very hot there, which you would hate. Do you have any idea how freezing I have been these past two months? I will need a year to thaw out. You would wilt into a puddle of flesh in India.”
“I can’t argue that. I guess living through your letters will suffice. Just be sure you write frequently so I know you haven’t been eaten by a lion or contracted an exotic disease.”
“I’ll do my best. Now, let’s save the maudlin sentimentality for later. Tell me about the presents.”
“Without love, what are we worth? Eighty-nine cents! Eighty-nine cents worth of chemicals walking around lonely.” Hawkeye Pierce, in M.A.S.H.
“Love is patient, love is kind, is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take in account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in righteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
Charles M. Schulz
“Love – a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker.”
“If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?”
“At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.” Plato
“I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“I claim there ain’t
As great as Valentine.” Ogden Nash
“Soul meets soul on lovers’ lips.” Percy Bysshe Shelley
“Lord! I wonder what fool it was that first invented kissing.” Jonathon Swift
“How did it happen that their lips came together? How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss, and all was said.” Victor Hugo
“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.” Ingrid Bergman
“I’ve kissed guys. I just haven’t felt that thing…. That thing… that moment when you kiss someone and everything around you becomes hazy, and the only thing in focus is you and this person. And you realize that that person is the only person you’re supposed to kiss for the rest of your life. And for one moment you get this amazing gift. And you wanna laugh and you wanna cry, ‘cause you feel so lucky that you’ve found it, and so scared that it’ll go away all at the same time.” Drew Barrymore as Josie in Never Been Kissed
“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” Albert Einstein
“May I print a kiss on your lips? I said,
And she nodded her full permission:
So we went to press and I rather guess
We printed a full edition.” Joseph Lilientha
“A man had given all other bliss,
And all his worldly worth for this,
To waste his whole heart in one kiss
Upon her perfect lips.”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Give me a kisse, and to that kisse a score;
Then to that twenty, adde a hundred more;
A thousand to that hundred; so kisse on,
To make that thousand up a million;
Treble that million, and when that is done,
Let’s kisse afresh, as when we first begun.
~ Robert Herrick, To Anthea ~
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” Dr. Seuss
“Love does not dominate; it cultivates.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” A. A. Milne
“I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.”
“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” Aristotle
“There are only four questions of value in life. What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same: only love.” Don Juan DeMarco
“There is no remedy for love but to love more.” Thoreau
“I love thee – I love thee,
‘Tis all that I can say
It is my vision in the night,
My dreaming in the day.”
“When I saw you, I was afraid to meet you… When I met you, I was afraid to kiss you… When I kissed you, I was afraid to love you… Now that I love you, I’m afraid to lose you.” Rene Yasenek
“I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox.” Woody Allen
”Money can’t buy love, but it improves your bargaining position.” Christopher Marlowe
As I covered in my two previous posts on this subject, Valentine’s Day as a holiday to celebrate romantic love and lovers was well established by the mid-14oos. If you missed those posts, either scroll down or click the links–
February 14 as Saint Valentine’s Day was connected, never to waver. In England, most of Europe, the exchange of hand-written poems and love notes, and small gifts, became more and more common as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries advanced. During the early 1700s, Charles II of Sweden brought the Persian poetical art known as the “language of flowers” to Europe. Floral dictionaries were published, permitting the exchange of romantic secrets via a lily or lilac, for example, culminating in entire conversations taking place within a bouquet of flowers. The red rose, believed to be the favored flower of Venus, Roman Goddess of Love, became universally accepted to represent romantic love and quickly gained popularity.
Around this same time, England saw the creation of “writers.” A “writer” was a booklet comprised of verses and messages which could be copied onto gilt-edged paper or decorative sheets. One popular “writer” contained not only “be my valentine” types of verses for the men to send to their sweethearts, but also acceptances or “answers” which the ladies could then return. By 1723 these “writers” crossed the pond to America, starting the valentine craze here. Late 18th century to early 19th century valentines were often religious in nature, and it is suspected that the “Sacred Heart” and Angels often depicted on these cards evolved into the “Valentine Heart” and accompanying Cupid.
Cards hand crafted by the giver were very common, but by the latter decades of the 1700s manufactured cards were gaining popularity. These quantity produced cards were miniature works of art, usually hand painted, and lavishly decorated with laces, silk or satin, flowers (made from the feathers of tropical birds), glass filigrees, gold-leaf or even perfumed sachets! Machine, factory produced valentines appeared in the early 1800s, but they were simplistic, usually black and white only, and not as popular until much later when advanced techniques in printing design were possible. Lovers much preferred the fancy variety, especially those wildly passionate Victorians!
Interestingly enough, it was during the reputed period of sexual repression after 1840 that romantic notions of all kind burst forth. Valentine cards became even more widespread thanks to the “penny post” mailing service created by Sir Henry Cole making it cheaper to mail written valentines. During this time, it was also considered “proper” to collect and display collections of postcards. Friends gathered in Victorian and Edwardian parlors would sit for hours leafing through albums. Photographers, studios, printers, and businesses continually strived for new and exciting subjects to satisfy a public anxious for innovative items to impress their acquaintances. To make their cards stand out, people often sought for real photographic postcards. As opposed to mass-produced lithographs, these were actual photographs made with a postcard-printed back. The photography studios employed women to hand-tint the black-and-white images. Preferred subjects were women, children, flowers, and couples, posed and arranged in an effort to portray the idealized virtues of the Era. Some of these cards contained tiny mirrors with the message “Look at my Beloved,” while others were called “Cobweb Valentines” because the center could be lifted by a tassel to reveal a cobweb effect of paper with a picture of a couple or a romantic message underneath.
Sadly, the vast majority of these valentines are lost. Few exist from before 1850. The oldest valentine known to exist is from 1790, the original safely stowed at the British Postal Museum. It can be seen here, and is a handcrafted puzzle that unfurls to expose poetic letters. The face of the card reads:
“My dear the Heart which you behold,?
Will break when you the same unfold,?
Even so my heart with lovesick pain,
?Sure wounded is and breaks in twain.”
The highly romantic sensibilities of the Regency and Victorian Eras lifted Valentine’s Day to a whole other level. Gradually over the years such delicacies as chocolates, jewels, candlelit dinners, and champagne would be added to the flowers and cards.
For more information, very detailed, just on Valentine Card history alone, visit this link: http://www.novareinna.com/festive/valcard.html
Two days ago I shared a brief history of the man/men who unwittingly lent their name to this holiday now associated with romance. Not sure how they would feel when one considered they had to be martyred first! You can read that post here: Will the Real Valentine Speak Up?
As fascinating as the stories behind Saint Valentine are, the logical question to ask is: How did we get from a lesser known saint amongst the thousands, to this day of lovers and romance that is celebrated practically everywhere? The credit seems to be equally shared by the medieval church’s need to circumvent pagan holidays and rituals, and the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer.
For some 800 years the ancient Romans celebrated Lupercalia on February 15. Dedicated to the god Lupercus, the various rituals attached had more to do with fertility and illicit sex than love. During this time there were also feasts to honor the goddess Februata Juno and god Pan, both associated with purifying and fertility. The observances were related and the customs varied from place to place, but one can easily imagine how ribald many became and why the Church would strive to eradicate the sinful practices, or at least lend an air of sweetness to them. The feast day for Saint Valentine that Pope Gelasius I established in 496 (*see previous post) was most likely as much, if not more, about the desire to place a religious tone upon the pagan celebrations than it was about honoring Valentine.
The concrete link for romantic love and Valentine is given to Geoffrey Chaucer. In 1382 he penned Parlement of Foules, a love poem to honor the engagement between England’s Richard II and Anne of Bohemia.
For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
When every foul cometh there to choose his mate
What is interesting here is that birds do not mate in February! Undoubtedly Chaucer knew this, so there is some speculation that he was not referring to February 14 but to May 2. This was the saint’s day in the liturgical calendar of Valentine of Genoa, who died in May of 307. Others claim that it was a common misconception in the medieval world that birds began courting in February, so Chaucer was following standard beliefs and did mean February 14! Whatever the truth, the romantic nature of the poem stuck and became the launching point. From this time forward there are numerous French and English literary references to February 14 and St. Valentine’s Day as a proper occasion for love letters and romantic tokens. On Saint Valentine’s Day in 1400 the High Court of Love was opened in Paris specifically to deal with affairs of the heart: marriage contracts, divorces, infidelity, and beaten spouses. The oldest known Valentine note still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, the Duke of Orleans, to his wife, while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. In this French poem he refers to his wife as ‘Ma tres doulce Valentinée.’
Literary references from this period include Cinkante Ballades by John Gower (a contemporary and personal friend of Chaucer), and the Paston Letters (late 1400s) by Dame Elizabeth Brews, where she writes about a perspective mate for her daughter being finalized on Valentine’s Day. It is believed that King Henry V (1383-1422) hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose his Valentine note to Catherine of Valois.
By 1600 Valentine’s Day was an established part of English life. Shakespeare off-handedly mentions the day in Ophelia’s lament to Hamlet–
To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
For several centuries poems and hand written love notes appear to be the extent of Valentine Day celebrating. When did the holiday for lovers really take off and inspire the consumer-driven day we are familiar with? Come back on Wednesday for more information!
Scroll down to read my entry into the Hearts Through History Valentine Blog Hop that is ongoing all week. I am hosting a giveaway, as are 20+ other bloggers.
Trying to identify the “real” Saint Valentine isn’t as easy as you might think. There are several claims to the title of Saint Valentine, and so many legends swirling about that even the Roman Catholic Church could not decide, so ended up removing his feast day from their official calendar in 1969. Apparently the name “Valentine,” or derivatives thereof, were fairly common. The root valens means “worthy” and was therefore a fitting name for one who gained sainthood. Even more surprising is that the historical facts dubiously support any romantic attachments to the actual persons who bore the name!
There are three men amongst the many, who legends and archeological artifacts support strongest as THE Valentine.
The first was a holy priest or Bishop in Rome, who assisted the escape of imprisoned Christian martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He also persisted in marrying couples, this an act forbidden to young men by Claudius because he wanted to keep his potential soldier stock unencumbered. Valentine was eventually apprehended for his “crimes” and sent to the Emperor of Rome, who was ineffectual in making him renounce his faith. The emperor commanded Valentine be beaten with clubs, stoned, and then beheaded. His execution occurred on February 14, 269. Since miracles must surround one who is named a Saint, there is a legend of questionable and much later dating that says Valentine restored sight to his jailor’s blind daughter, and on the eve of his death penned a note to the daughter saying, ‘From your Valentine.’
Another Valentine was a Bishop of Terni, consecrated by Pope Victor I in 197. A reputed evangelist, miracle worker and healer, he was imprisoned, tortured, and beheaded at night to avoid a riot by the Terni people who loved him. This occurred during the persecution of Aurelius, and also on February 14.
The Catholic Encyclopedia also speaks of a third saint named Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies under the date of February 14. He was martyred in Africa, with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him. There are literally dozens of other listed Valentines scattered throughout the various ancient annuls of the church, with many dates given besides February 14.
The first two are the top candidates for the position, and there are some scholars who lean toward the idea that these men were the same fella. However, that does not appear to be the most popular belief. There are enough ancient inscriptions, notes among the Acta of the Catholic Church written by both men and written by others about them, as well as the legends, to support the probability of them being different people. In both these cases it was love for their Christian faith that drove them to martyrdom and led to their honoring. Archeologists have found a number of ancient catacombs that bear the name Valentine. There are also several churches bearing the name Valentine. In the Middle Ages, two Roman churches were dedicated to Saint Valentine. One was the tenth-century church Sancti Valentini de Balneo Miccine or de Piscina, which was rededicated by Pope Urban III in 1186. The other, on the Via Flaminia, was the ancient basilica S. Valentini extra Portam.
The feast of St. Valentine was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” As Gelasius implied, nothing definitive was known, even then, about the lives of any of these martyrs. The legends and facts were so intermingled, and impossible to adequately decipher, that the official commemoration for universal liturgical veneration for Saint Valentine was removed from the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1969. Nevertheless, many areas where specific remains or inscriptions to Saint Valentine are found still laud his day with religious observances.
So, as fascinating as all this has been, how did we get from a lesser known saint amongst the thousands to this Day of lovers and romance that is celebrated practically everywhere? Bet you are dying to know! Tune in on Monday for the Rest of the Story.
I am a serious sucker for romantic movies! Period dramas or contemporary, I adore them all. Finding a few to share for Valentine’s Day was tough when there are so many fabulous montages created by clever people, but here are a couple I especially enjoyed. Can you name some of the movies and TV shows highlighted?
A wonderful period drama montage with lots of Jane Austen in there!
How many movies can you name? I spied many of my favorites: Pride and Prejudice, North and South, Moulin Rouge, Titanic, Knight’s Tale, Ladyhawke, Jane Eyre, Little Women, Atonement….
A wonderful collection of TV and movie kisses. Love it!
Lots of both mixed in there! I spied my favorites: Veronica Mars, Friends, 13 Going on 30, Never Been Kissed, Alias, Sixteen Candles, Only You….
Feel free to share links to some of your favorite romantic movies or best TV kisses. Then find your special someone and give him/her a big juicy kiss!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Over 500 entries were received for my month-long Holiday Giveaway in December. WOW! I especially loved those who wrote of their favorite holiday traditions, most of them shared on these two posts: Traditions #1 and Traditions #2
Enormous thanks to everyone who Tweeted, posted on Facebook or other social networking places, left a book review at Amazon or B&N – that is SO helpful!! – commented on the blog or guestbook, and followed me or subscribed to my newsfeed. These actions increased your chances to win, naturally, but also help me tremendously in spreading the word about my novels. I simply cannot thank you all enough, and wish I could award everyone a prize! Alas, that is not possible. Do not fret, however, if your name wasn’t chosen by random.org and Rafflecopter this time around. I have more special giveaways planned for the months ahead. Stay tuned!
Now, on to the winners……..
Nicole La Pierre
3 winners of my novella, A Darcy Christmas, the eBook version
Pride & Prejudice 2005 movie on Blue-Ray DVD
Pride & Prejudice 1995 and 2005 DVD duo