24 April 2007

Up the Down Staircase

Today I am asking a question. It occurred to me there are a whole bunch of historical experts on here, so I will pick your brains--eyewww, not really. I hate that phrase. I always imagine someone with an ice pick, and...

In the Victorian age, when a man and woman ascended a staircase, who went first? Someone told me the man preceded a lady up a staircase, but if she's going down, he'd follow behind her. However, he could offer an elbow and they could ascend together, giving her the rail.

I suppose I can see that. If he lets her ascend first, he has an opportunity to leer at her butt, and we couldn't have that. Although of course that's what I was hoping for in my WIP. And in the age of hoops, some staircases wouldn't be wide enough for them to go abreast.

On a more fun note, here's my new book cover. I love it. It's a pirate book set in Madagascar in 1828. No one can figure out what's in his hand, though!

Karen Mercury


Sandra Schwab said...

Karen, what an absolutely beautiful cover!!! Congrats!

I can't figure out what's in his hand either, but I love the little turtle. :)

Eliza said...

That's one of the best covers I've ever seen. With one of the best taglines, too. I'd be thrilled with something like that!

Karen Mercury said...

I actually wrote that tagline and thought it was pretty boring--thanks for the vote of confidence!

The little turtle looks like he's made of plastic. I guess he was the artist's son's toy.

The map is of the wrong coast of Madagascar, but most people are saying nobody really cares about that level of detail in a cover--as long as the inside map is accurate.


Camilla said...

How cool! The object in his hand looks like a broken sword for some reason--but oh well, the cover is very fun.

As for the etiquette question, I'm looking at etiquette books on Google Books and have yet to find anything about staircase etiquette. *G* Keep it your way--it sounds much more fun.

Morag McKendrick Pippin said...

The man likely preceded the lady up the staircase so he wouldn't trod on her hemline. Perhaps she went first going down so the man didn't block the lady from the view of those on the lower floor. After all, a lady must always show to advantage:-)

When elevators came into use the gentleman preceded the lady to test the safety of the contraption. As the gentleman, it was only correct that he be killed or severely injured by a sudden drop rather than the lady:-))))

Great cover!

Karen Mercury said...

Good point, Morag, re: treading on the hemline. My favorite fashion has always been the fish-tail skirts a'la "The Age of Innocence," so I particularly set my book during the fishtail era. I never thought about that aspect of it.

Yes, let the man be first to test the elevator! Whatever happened to chivalry?

Everyone says the thing in his hand is either a crystal or a tiny lantern. And now a tiny sword. :) Either way, I guess the artist was just going for an overall feel...