Miscellaneous

Fortune-Telling and the Meaning of Food in Dreams in the 1800s

One popular way to determine a person’s fortune in the 1800s was through dreams. Dreams supposedly could foretell what would happen to a person and whether the person would have good or bad luck. For instance, if a person had a dream about barking dogs it was considered a sign of misfortune whereas a dream…

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18th Century French Salad-maker: Marquis of Albignac

Among the émigrés scattered all over Europe during the Reign of Terror was a man by the name of Marquis of Albignac. The Marquis had lost everything, both fortune and family. He survived living “in London on a trifling pension allowed him by the English government.”[1] However, the Marquis possessed one thing, determination. He wanted…

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Festival of Reason

Opposition to the Roman Catholic Church occurred because “the priests … had in preceding reigns been identified with the tyranny, the luxury, and the cruelty of the court and the noblesse.” This dislike for the church became one of the causes for the French Revolution, and dislike of the clergy resulted in the Cult of…

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Red Man: Tuileries Palace Ghost

A famous legend exists about the “Red Man,” “L’Homme Rouge,” or the “Red Spectre” who inhabited the Palace of Tuileries (Palais des Tuileries).  The Red Man, an apparition variously called a devil, a goblin, or a ghost, allegedly first appeared in the sixteenth century. He supposedly haunted the palace’s corridors and salons. In fact, the…

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Reasons British Feared Napoleon in 1803

Despite a temporary peace that was achieved between France and Britain in 1802, the English remained on edge. They became more panicked when a new dispute with France broke out and resulted in Britain declaring war against France in 1803. Almost immediately rumors were rife about the ill effects Englishmen would suffer if Napoleon was…

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Manners and Customs of the French According to Punch

Punch, or The London Charivari, was established in 1841 by Henry Mayhew and engraver Ebenezer Landells. It was a British weekly filled with humorous and satirical stories and illustrations, and Punch not only poked fun at the English but also the French. Here is one article published in 1851 that is related to the manners…

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French Toad Showers

For years French people reported on toad showers. French toad showers seemed to occur most frequently in the months of August and September. In fact, in the 1800s, in the northern provinces of France, it was claimed toad showers were not “unfrequent.” One man wrote about a toad shower he remembered from his youth. He…

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21 Fascinating Facts About France in the 1700s

France had a population around 19 million people in 1700. The country was also benefiting politically from Spain’s decline, and similar to other European countries, most of the common people within France were illiterate. In 1715, Louis XIV died, and his 5-year-old grandson, Louis XV, assumed power. Around this same time intellectuals began to embrace…

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The Comet Scare of 20 May 1773

Comets and the idea that one would hit the earth and destroy it, have long been a concern of humans. Seventeenth-century mathematician Jacob (also called James or Jacques) Bernoulli predicted the famous comet of 1680. It was called “Kirch’s Comet,” the “Great Comet of 1680,” or “Newton’s Comet,” and Bernoulli thought it would return and cause…

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