pianoforte (2) The invention of the modern piano (or pianoforte) is credited to Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655–1731) of Padua, Italy, who was the Keeper of Instruments for Ferdinando de Medici. It is not known exactly when Cristofori built his first piano, but an inventory of Medici’s musical instruments of 1700 lists a piano in the collection. The pianoforte was preceded by the hammered dulcimer, the clavichord, and the harpsichord. The term fortepiano is now used to distinguish the 18th-century instrument from later pianos. The pianoforte was made to reach five octaves and a fifth during the 1790s, six octaves by 1810 (Beethoven used the extra notes in his later works), and seven octaves by 1820. The Bennets’ piano would probably be an earlier 5-octave instrument, while the piano Darcy gives his sister would probably have been purchased because of the innovation of the additional sixth octave. Soon after this period the abbreviated term “piano” would become the standard.
Michaelmas (4) September 29th. It was one of the four days used to divide the year in to quarters; the other three were Christmas, Lady Day (March 25), and Midsummer Day (June 24). (Shapard, 3) Lady Day is the feast day of the Virgin Mary; occurring near Equinox, it also marked the beginning of spring. Michaelmas also falls near Equinox, and marked the beginning of autumn.
design (4) a deliberate plan or intention; during this period the word can imply a dubious or suspicious intent.
visit(ing) (4) In this society there are strict rules for visiting people one does not know. Since Mr. Bingley is a man Mr. Bennet should make the acquaintance first, as young unmarried women would never visit an unmarried and unrelated young man on their own, even in cases where they were already acquainted with him. (Shapard, 5)
nerves (5) During the century preceding this novel, nerves had become one of the dominant ways of explaining bodily processes. A whole variety of diseases or ailments were commonly ascribed to nervous disorders or to nervousness. One medical writer of the time, Thomas Trotter, declared that “nervous diseases make up two-thirds of the whole with which civilized society is infested.” Nerves also had the advantage for hypochondriacs of being intangible and invisible, which meant that their aggravation or distress could not be easily disputed. This made poor nerves a popular self-diagnosis for those who liked to complain about their health.
Gowland’s (9) “Gowland’s” refers to Gowland’s Lotion, which is mentioned in another of Jane Austen’s novels, Persuasion (which Sir Walter claims to have done such wonders for Mrs. Clay). John Gowland (1706-1776) made a fortune from the invention, even though it was positively harmful to the skin, being made from mercuric chloride added to bitter almonds and sugar. It had recently been discredited when Jane Austen made the reference to it.
four horsemen (19) usually refers to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who are the forces of man’s destruction as described in the Bible in chapter six of the Book of Revelation.
patronage (37) the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes and the wealthy have provided to artists such as musicians, painters, and sculptors. It can also refer to the right of bestowing offices or church benefices. In the Anglican Church, for example, patronage is the commonly used term for the right to present a candidate for the benefice of a particular parish. (A parish is a church territorial unit constituting a division of a diocese, similar to the division of LDS wards in stakes.) Parish churches have historically been at the heart of local communities.
“…the Right Honorable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, widow of Sir Lewis de Bourgh” (37) see “The Formal and Intimate Use of Names and Titles”
rectory (37) the house in which an Anglican rector or parson lives; also the office or benefice of a rector.
Fordyce (40) James Fordyce, a Scottish clergyman, was the author of a two-volume compendium of sermons entitled Sermons to Young Women (1766), often referred to as “Fordyce’s Sermons.”
gentleman (41) in its original meaning, the term denoted a man of the lowest rank of the
English gentry, standing below an esquire and above a yeoman. By definition, this category included the younger sons of the younger sons of peers and the younger sons of baronets (after this honor’s institution in 1611), knights, and esquires in perpetual succession; thus the term captures the common denominator of gentility shared by both constituents of the English aristocracy, the peerage and the gentry. [peerage: The peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the United Kingdom, which is constituted by the ranks of British nobility. The holder of a peerage retains the right to sit in the House of Lords. Peerages, like all modern British honors, are created by the British monarch. A peerage “dignity” continues to exist as long as there are surviving letimate descendants of the first holder.]
regimentals (41) the uniform and insignia of a particular regiment; military dress.
steward (43) a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others. As steward for the Darcys, Wickham’s father supervised the running of their estate. Large estates normally had such stewards, and it was a job that required substantial skill; the steward at Pemberley would certainly have had many people working under him. During this time the status of the job was rising, as estate management became more professional. Wickham’s father’s background as an attorney was also standard. Financial dealings, including state business, were central to the work of an attorney, who even acted as banker and investment adviser for many people. This made attorneys a natural choice to manage estates, especially since much of this management involved legal matters such as property transactions; smaller estates that could not afford a full-time steward would generally hire an attorney to perform the task part-time. (Shapard, 151)
Derbyshire (44) a county in the East Midlands of England. A substantial portion of the Peak District lies within Derbyshire. The southern extremity of the Pennine range of hills extends into the north of the county.
Hertfordshire (45) is a county in England on the East of London. As London grew, Hertfordshire became conveniently close to the English capital; much of the area was owned by the nobility an aristocracy, this patronage helped to boost the local economy. However, the greatest boost to Hertfordshire came during the Industrial Revolution, after which the population rose dramatically.
Brighton (102) a town on the south coast of Great Britain, and emerged as a health resort featuring sea bathing during the 18th century, was used as a seaside getaway by the Prince Regent.
Scotland elopements (113) see “Gretna Dream: Why English Lovers Eloped to Scotland”
commission [military] (113) see “The Purchase of a Military Commission”
ensign (113) Until 1871, the ensign was the lowest commanding officer rank in a regiment.
Newcastle (113) aka Newcastle upon Tyne, is a city in North East England, situated on the north bank of the River Tyne, 8.5 mi (13.7 km) from the North Sea. It owes its name to the castle built in 1080, by Robert, Duke of Normandy (Curthose), William the Conqueror’s eldest son. The city grew as an important center for the wool trade and it later became a major coal mining area. The port developed in the 16th century and, along with the shipyards lower down the river, was amongst the world’s largest shipbuilding and ship-repairing centers.
“Jane”, “Charles” (123) see “The Formal and Intimate Uses of Names and Titles”