Thursday, July 19, 2007

Royal procession

Another great find amongst my husband's papers: a copy of The Bath Journal published on Monday, April 13th, 1789. The paper reports proceedings in the House of Lords, where the Lord Chamberlain announces that his Majesty King George III has appointed a day of public Thanksgiving, in recognition of his recovery from a recent illness, and that he and the Queen will go in procession to St Paul's to give thanks to Almighty God for his mercy.

Turning - (very carefully, for the ancient newsheet is extremely tattered and fragile) - to the advertisements on the back page, I found this:


The proprietor of a large commodious house, most conveniently situated, for commanding a full view of the royal procession to St Paul's Cathedral, on the day of general thanksgiving, intends to let out places in his windows on the following terms, and under the following regulations, viz.

Ladies of middling sizes and under, to pay two guineas each. Ladies over the middling size, to pay five shillings per inch, for every inch exceeding twelve, in the diameter of their heads, or another part that must be nameless.

False rumps, false hips, full pockets, and every species of hoops, hats, caps, and bonnets, to be included in the mensuration.

Gentlemen at the same rates, and only to be admitted in the second rows.

Dapper beaus, petit maitres, and children, to be rated at half price as children.

Devourers of turtle, eaters of venison, and all other ladies or gentlemen with protuberant bellies, to pay double price.

N.B. For measuring the ladies, wo celebrated Men Milliners are provided, who will perform their duty with the strictest delicacy and decorum.
I think it has to be a spoof, don't you? Although the fashions of the time would justify it. "Petit maitre" ~ two definitions from the web ~

The term arose before the Revolution, when a great dignitary was styled a grand-maître, and a pretentious one a petit-maître.

A fop; a lad who assumes the manners, dress, and affectations of a man.


Lucy said...

How funny! I fancy myself wearing a false rump with a dapper beau in tow! I gave up eating turtle years ago though.
The keepsake book is lovely too.

herhimnbryn said...

My, what an astonishing find. You have touched history. How will you preseve the paper?