Book Club–The Scarlet Pimpernel

Time travel. That was my goal.  After reading The Scarlet Pimpernel, set in 1792 England and France, I wanted to take all the book clubbies to that setting as we discussed the book at my home.

I would say that my house has a “cozy chateau” style, and people are naturally taken just a bit to another time and place whenever they walk in.  I wanted to push them further back and farther away on this occasion.  That meant a little rearranging again.

You may remember that in the movie Somewhere In Time (Jane Seymour plays in that as well as in the 1982 movie version of The Scarlet Pimpernel ) one of the characters is immediately transported from a past century he was visiting to the present day when he pulls a coin from his pocket and sees the date on it.  I didn’t want that to happen to my friends before they were good and ready to leave the 1700’s.

I couldn’t very well have my husband’s electric bass guitar and amplifier staring at them as they entered! I replaced them with my cello.  I gathered all the antique-looking chairs in the house and garage for the book lovers to sit in.

I did not remove the kitchen appliances or the flat screen t.v.–though I’m sure it crossed my mind.

For a couple weeks, I became an 18th century junkie.  I wanted to know what music people might have been listening to and what books they might have been reading then.  In what plays might one of The Scarlet Pimpernel‘s characters have performed with the Comedie Francaise?

Second-hand book stores! Don’t they just have the best finds imaginable? I frugally picked up just one more for my old book collection before making these displays. It has writings of John Locke and a brief biography of him. What a fascinating person he was!  And I’ve only read a little so far.

I delightfully discovered Copperplate calligraphy, the beautiful style of writing used in handwritten friendly letters and formal writings like The Declaration of Independence.  Of course I wanted to try it myself!  I picked up some parchment paper from an office supply store and gave it a shot. I tried various black pens. I tore and inked the paper edges to look antique and possibly burnt.  What fun I had!  I wish I could write in that style from now on, for everything.

I wanted all the details–the paintings of people dressed in Georgian period attire that I printed off the internet, the maps of Europe, the red flower on all the handwritten notes, etc.– to help us feel like we were right there in the story that we all enjoyed so much.

And the food! French pastries, English toffees… It wasn’t difficult to think of what to serve; it took admirable restraint to not purchase and place on the counter a few morsels of every French delicacy I saw as I shopped.

Hooray for 2nd hand stores like the one where I got this ceramic horse-drawn carriage for $20! In less than two weeks it will go to a 3rd home as my mom’s Christmas present.  She will adore it. Shhh…don’t tell her.

Christy is about to try a few treats.

My $10 copper pot was invited just to add ambiance. It is of course 2nd-hand, as are the bell jar, the teacup and saucer, and the milk bottle. I didn’t have a specific purpose in mind for those lovelies when they came across my path; I just knew they’d feel comfy chez moi.

Lynette and Adrienne enjoy lingering with bookish friends.

Book Club Baby listens contentedly to our conversation, and to Mozart and Haydn in the background.

Not everyone felt like having her picture taken that evening. That’s okay! I certainly don’t want people to stay away from my home in fear of the camera. I should probably go take the “Beware of blog” sign off the house right now.

Have a lovely day!  And I hope you’ll have a chance to stroll through a good book.


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