Literary Crafter: Lady Julia De Guest

I'm nearly at the end of a mammoth audio book session listening to the entire Chronicles of Barchester. (Read by Timothy West and fantastic listening.) In the last of the books I came across a Literary Crafter, but one who could be in trouble.

 In a letter to her "young friend" John Eames about his proposed visit, Lady Julia De Guest writes;

Go to Blackie's in Regent Street, and bring me down all the colours in wool that I ordered. I said you would call. And tell them at Dolland's the last spectacles don't suit at all, and I won't keep them ... So let me know when you're coming, and pray don't forget to call at Blackie's.
Later in the book when John is down at his mother's home in the coutry, prior to visiting Lady Julia at the cottage, he thinks;
It was at any rate incumbent upon him to call upon Lady Julia the next morning, because of his commission. The Berlin wool might remain in his portmanteau till his portmanteau should go with him to the cottage; but he would take the spectacles at once.
What is young John Eames thinking? That the wool is not important? Surely, nothing should come between a lady and her wool? John Eames may be one of Anthony Trollope's heroes, but he sure ain't one of mine any more!

For those who are interested Berlin wool work is 'a style of embroidery similar to today's needlepoint,  This kind of work created is very durable and creates long-lived pieces of embroidery that could be used as furniture covers, cushions, bags, or even on clothing'. Patterns for this style of wool work were, unsurprisingly, first published in Berlin. 

1840s example of Berlin wool work


  1. Lady Julia is a great character, - a distant cousin of Lady Bracknell, I think - brilliantly portrayed in Timothy West's reading. Trollope does not tell us if she minded waiting for her wool, but the way in which she asks John Eames to go to Blackies - underlining the request and reminding him -makes me think she probably did.


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