Thursday, May 13, 2010


Orlop: The orlop deck is the lowest deck, overlapping the hold.
Above her, on the orlop deck, animals rattled and stamped in their cramped pens.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Settle: A settle is a wooden bench with a back and a base that can be used for storage.It shares its etymology with sit and seat and the verb settle.
When the taverner was gone, Deseluse took the quilt from Elizabeth and laid it carefully across the back of a wooden settle.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Mercer: A mercer (British) is a dealer in expensive fabrics. Mercer shares its etymology with merchant, mercantile, and merchandise.
If such a fate was preferable to the future that had beckoned her in Saint-Denis, married according to the arrangements of her aunt or confined to repeat forever the same dreary day behind the counter of the mercer's shop, there was poor comfort in it.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Mousseline: Mousseline is the French word for Muslin, a plain, loosely-woven, cotton fabric used for clothing, curtains, sails, and stage scenery (flats). It is named after Mosul, Iraq, where Marco Polo said the fabric originated.
She had gazed in wonder as her aunt took down the heavy bolts of silk and velvet and gossamer mousseline, billowing them out so the customers might appreciate their fineness, the grace of their fall.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Shantung: Shantung is a silk fabric with a rough finish, originally imported from Shantung (now Shandung - literally mountain east) China. Shantung sometimes refers to the finish alone for rayon of cotton fabric.
It was a little cold for the shantung two-piece costume I had acquired from the famous actress Oona Sheehan while working on an assignment for her, but I was prepared to shiver a little to make sure I looked right.
A Book for Today: In a Gilded Cage by Rhys Bowen

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Hob: A hob is a shelf inside a fireplace where food may be placed to stay warm. It shares its etymology with hub. In current British use, a hob is the top of the stove - where the burners are.
He took the kettle from the hob and filled the teapot.
A Book for Today: In a Gilded Cage by Rhys Bowen