This post is a special (party) hats off to the Austenesque Extravaganza going on this entire month. It’s been so much fun to be a part of the festivities, including my first-ever twitter party on Sunday. And yes, Mr. Darcy’s name was bantered about, as was Mr. Tilney, Mr. Knightly, Colonel Brandon…but I digress. The party hostess, Meredith Esparza, has thought of everything, including a chance to win Austen-inspired party favors for everyone who comments on this post!
In the party spirit, I’m asking the question:
Do you think Mr. Darcy would play parlor games?
Hmmm. There were many parlor games that Regency revelers enjoyed, but one that Fanny Austen Knight, Jane’s niece, wrote about in a letter dated 1808, described a popular game called “Bullet Pudding” and I wonder if Mr. Darcy would have engaged, or stood aside to observe, arms folded. Here is an illustration of the game by Francis Hayman:
It’s not really a “pudding” at all, but a dish of flour with a bullet, yes, a bullet–placed on top of it. Really, it’s just a rouse to have someone get flour all over their face and try not to laugh as they would blow the pile of flour and dust all the party-goers with it. How about that for a way to get to know a potential suitor in the 19th century?
Fanny Austen Knight describes how to play it:
“I was surprised that you did not know what a Bullet Pudding is but as you don’t I will endeavor to describe it as follows: You must have a large pewter dish filled with flour which you must pile up into a sort of pudding with a peak at the top, you must then lay a Bullet at the top & everybody cuts a slice of it & the person that is cutting it when the Bullet falls must poke about with their nose & chins till they find it & then take it out with their mouths which makes them strange figures a-covered with flour but the worst is that you must not laugh for fear of the flour getting up your nose & mouth & choking you. You must not use your hands in taking the bullet out.”
Can you picture Mr. Darcy, in one of the Pemberley drawing rooms, with his nose and chin coated in flour, clenching a bullet in his teeth?
Certainly Jane Austen, Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse would be game. But Mr. Darcy? What do you think?!
Bullet pudding is mentioned in my debut novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, as my main character Chloe Parker would like it served up for her rival, Lady Grace. But the bullet pudding, like so many of Chloe’s wishes, never quite materializes.
Thank you, Austenesque Extravaganza for a rollicking time and I’m looking forward to see what everyone thinks:
Would Mr. Darcy play parlor games?