Real Time Reading

Shadow of Night Real-Time Reading – Chapters 34-35 – May 20

Hello and WELCOME BACK to the Shadow of Night Real-Time Reading! It took us a minute — but that’s because it takes Matthew and Diana a minute to get back from 16th century Prague to London. Today’s reading is tough — it’s arguably the climax of Diana’s character arc in Shadow of Night and the moment where Kit (and Louisa) are at their most despicable. Let’s go!

A blue-eyed beauty stepped forward and handed Her Majesty a cloth saturated with clove oil. With Matthew seething next to me, the spiciness in the room was already overpowering. Elizabeth placed the cloth delicately between her cheek and gums, and the woman stepped away, her green gown swishing around her ankles. It was an optimistic hue for this cloudy day in May, as if she hoped to speed summer’s arrival.

Elizabeth “Bess” Throckmorton, Lady Raleigh, was the wife of Sir Walter Raleigh. Bess and Walter met at the court of Elizabeth I, where Bess served as one of the Queen’s courtiers. Described as a “tall, unusual beauty” with a “long face, luminous eyes, and provocatively modest lips,” Bess attended on Elizabeth I as a Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber. In the Tudor court, the Gentlewomen of the Privy Chamber attended upon and acted as companions for royal women. Ladies-in-waiting occupied positions of prestige; they partook of the Queen’s favorite pastimes and were expected to be well-educated in order to please her. Elizabeth I would reward her ladies-in-waiting for their service by arranging good marriages, however, she was extremely jealous and demanding and preferred for her courtiers not to have personal relationships.

By 1590, Bess and Walter Raleigh had become romantically involved. She became pregnant in 1591 and begged Raleigh to recognize her and ask the Queen’s permission to marry. He refused to ask the Queen’s blessing and instead married Bess in secret in November 1591.

Lady Raleigh gave birth to the couple’s son, Damerai, in March 1592. When Elizabeth I learned of the Raleighs’ betrayal, she had them both thrown in the Tower of London.

Elizabeth I reportedly expected Sir Walter and Lady Raleigh to sue for her pardon to be reinstated at court; they never did. Instead, Bess bore Walter a second son, Walter, in 1593.

King James I imprisoned Sir Walter in the Tower of London again in 1603 for his alleged participation in the Main Plot to remove James I from the throne. For the next thirteen years or so, Sir Walter lived in the Tower with Bess at his side. The couple’s third son, Carew, was born inside and christened in the Tower’s church, St. Peter ad Vincula.

King James I finally had Raleigh beheaded in 1618 at the behest of the Spanish ambassador, Count Gondomar. Allegedly, Bess carried his embalmed head around with her for the rest of her life.

For anyone who’s interested, the Outliers podcast recently published a short story about Bess Raleigh in their episode Fresh Sweat and Cloves.

“It is a miracle you have any teeth at all,” he said sternly. Elizabeth turned pink with irritation and struggled to reply.

Until I started scouring the internet in order to write today’s post, I thought that Elizabeth I’s dental issues were just a common historical anecdote trotted out every now and again to make us all shiver. Not so.

There’s some debate over how bad Elizabeth’s teeth actually were — Elizabeth I was notoriously vain and reportedly had more and more flattering portraits painted towards the end of her reign to satisfy both her ego and project the illusion of her continuing power. Did you know that Elizabeth I actually issued a “face template” for the portrait artists to follow so that she appeared consistently–and regally–in every painting? According to this article from the Smithsonian Magazine, Sir Robert Cecil once wrote,

“Many painters have done portraits of the Queen but none has sufficiently shown her looks or charms. Therefore Her Majesty commands all manner of persons to stop doing portraits of her until a clever painter has finished one which all other painters can copy. Her Majesty, in the meantime, forbids the showing of any portraits which are ugly until they are improved.”

Supposedly, Elizabeth I’s teeth rotted because her reign coincides with the introduction of refined sugar in Europe — Elizabeth I prized expensive ingredients, like sugar, and the availability of sugar from the New World in her court both satisfied her sweet tooth and gave her an opportunity to demonstrate her wealth and power.

There are, rather surprisingly, lots of articles in dental journals on Elizabeth I’s teeth and their notorious decay. Trust me, if they weren’t behind a paywall, I’d summarize them for you. In the meantime, I’ll provide you with a recipe for candied violets and other sugared flowers for appropriately Tudor entertainment.

“You’re writing about Hero and Leander.” It was not phrased as a question. Kit had probably been pining for Matthew and working on the epic love poem since we’d boarded ship at Gravesend back in January.

Marlowe’s poem Hero and Leander tells the story of Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite, and Leander, a young man from the opposite side of a strait in the Dardenelles. The legend of Hero and Leander says that Leander fell in love with Hero and swam across the strait every night to spend time with her, guided by the light of her lamp. The story ends in tragedy — after Hero and Leander spend a summer together, a winter storm blows out Hero’s lamp and Leander loses his way in the water. Leander drowns, Hero throws herself out of her tower to die with him.

The story was a popular subject for the School of Night — Marlowe wrote a poem about Hero and Leander falling in love, which George Chapman attempted to finish after Marlowe’s death. Sir Walter Raleigh also wrote of the myth in “The Ocean’s Love to Cynthia.

Kit seemed to gather his control, though his hands were shaking as he stood. “I must go. I am to meet someone in the tiltyard. There is talk of a special pageant next month before the queen sets off for her summer travels. I’ve been asked to assist.”

As the text suggests, tiltyards were “a common feature of Tudor era castles and palaces.” Elizabeth I’s father, Henry VIII, constructed a tiltyard at Hampton Court palace for the viewing of jousts and tournaments. In 2015, archeologists excavating the site at Hampton Court found a green-glazed tiled floor thought to be part of Hampton Court’s Tiltyard Towers. Elizabeth I particularly liked to host tournaments and jousts on Accession Day, 17 November, to commemorate her accession to the throne in 1558.

“A hit!” Kit cried, “The witch is mine!”

“A glancing blow,” Louisa corrected. “You must seat the lance in her body to claim her as your prize.”

As originally practiced, jousting was practice for war. According to a reenactment group in New Zealand, there are two sports — the joust of war and the joust of peace. In the joust of peace, the opponents use blunt instruments and the goal is to “break a spear” on the opponent anywhere from the waist up. You can watch History.com’s video on the Rules of the Joust below:

The Daemons covered Chapters 33-34 of Shadow of Night in Take 59! The One with the Twisted Sister. They covered Chapter 35 in Take 61! The One with the Prophecy. We covered Chapters 34-36 of Shadow of Night in Episode 35 – Mischief Pansy.

We’ll be back shortly for Chapter 36 of Shadow of Night plus the release of our next Time’s Convert episode this Sunday! In the meantime, you can find us on Twitter @chamomilenclove and on our Facebook group, the Chamomile & Clove Clovers.

See you next time!

xoxo

Cait and Jen

Real Time Reading

Shadow of Night Real-Time Reading – 10-30 April – Chapter 32

Photo by Dom . on Unsplash

In today’s Real-Time Reading, we’re getting the eff out of Prague — and with good reason. The timing of these chapters is a bit curious, as we’re supposed to have Rudolf’s musical fiasco on 10 April and escape Prague on Walpurgis Night, which takes place on 30 April. I note this only because I’m unclear on when to publish this segment in our RTR journey — but we’re going to roll with it. It’s also possible that we’re playing with our funky 16th century European calendars again, so it probably all makes sense somewhere. Onward — to bonfires and vegetable portraits!

“The humans’ Dracula–the Dragon’s son known as the Impaler–was only one of Vlad’s brood,” Matthew explained.

“The Impaler was a nasty bastard. Happily, he’s dead now, and all we have to worry about are his father, his brothers, and their Bathory allies.” Gallowglass looked somewhat cheered.

Vlad III, Dracula, the Impaler, was Voivode of Wallachia between 1448 and his death. He reportedly earned his name because impaling was his favorite method of execution. Reportedly, he impaled monks to “assist” them in reaching heaven.

There’s plenty of speculation about how Vlad III earned his bloodthirsty reputation, including the claim that he was educated–but also tortured–while held captive by the Ottomans as a young man. He apparently consolidated power in Wallachia by inviting all of his rivals and vassals to a banquet… where he murdered and impaled all of them. He was also famous for nailing the hats of Ottoman diplomats to their heads and sending people with contagious diseases (plague, leprosy) to mingle with Ottoman armies as a form of biological warfare.

Vlad III took the surname “Dracul” from his father, who adopted it after his induction into the Order of the Dragon. “Dracul” likely became “Dracula,” the vampire, when Bram Stoker learned that, in the Wallachian dialect, “dracula” means devil.

Báthory, Elizabeth
Elizabeth Bathory

As for Elizabeth Bathory, she’s a whole other kettle of fish — the world’s most prolific female murderer, accused of murdering some 650 young women between 1590-1610. There is a myth about her that claims she bathed in the blood of virgins to maintain her youth, but there appears to be a debate about whether she actually did such things or whether the story grew out of the evidence of tortured and mutilated women found at Bathory’s castle prior to the trial of her servants. Despite the remaining documents from the trial in 1611, modern scholarship questions whether Bathory actually committed the crimes attributed to her or whether the whole blood-bathing, murdery business was slander aimed at appropriating her territory. I’d rather not know.

If you wanted to, you could take a tour following the life of the “Blood Countess” in Slovakia. Tell me about it afterwards; I’ll wait right here.

“I want us all as far from Prague as possible by the time the sun rises,” Matthew said grimly. “Something is very wrong. I can smell it.”

“That may not be such a good idea. Do you not know what night it is?” Gallowglass asked. Matthew shook his head. “Walpurgisnacht. They are lighting bonfires all around the city and burning effigies of witches — unless they can find a real one, of course.”

The Czech festival of Čarodějnice, or Walpurgis night, uses effigies of the pagan goddess Morana to show that the people are sick of winter and ready for spring. Celebrants make witch figures, burn them, and spread the ashes over bodies of water… unless, as Gallowglass notes, the celebrants of certain centuries found an actual human to burn.

According to the video below (filmed, delightfully, in Czech!), celebrating Walpurgis Night involves building large bonfires, shooting rifles and cracking whips to scare off evil spirits, and ritualistically throwing torches over large fires to symbolize the evil spirits warded off by holy fire. There’s also some business about cherry trees and kissing and fertility that seems intriguing.

As many of you likely know, May 1 is sacred and celebrated in many cultures. In the Celtic tradition, May 1 is Beltane, a festival that celebrates the return of the summer (and the fertile seasons) with bonfires. Like Walpurgis Night, Beltane marks the turn of the seasons and the cleansing power of fire to bless crops and livestock, ward off evil, and its reminder of the long, warm days to come in summer.

“Matthew’s father beat him with a sword once. I saw it.” The firedrake’s wings fluttered softly within my rib cage in silent agreement. “Then he knocked him over and stood on him.”

“He must be as big as the emperor’s bear Sixtus,” Jack said, awed at the thought of anyone conquering Matthew.

It’s hard, in the age of the terribly-disturbing Tiger King, to imagine Rudolf II as anything other than a very strange man with a very large ego who derived some sort of pleasure in ripping animals (and items) from their homelands for his pleasure. This fascinating article describes “three Rudolfs” visible from history:

“1. the feeble, unstable, and impoverished monarch who began his reign by succeeding to a glamorous political inheritance but ended it a prisoner in his own castle, powerless in the Empire, evicted from Austria and Hungary, deposed even in Bohemia, where he was forced to endure the coronation tumult of his detested brother; 2. The second Rudolf is a great Maecenas, the protector of the arts and sciences, of Arcimboldo and Spranger, Kepler and Tycho Brahe (Maecenas – cultural minister at the time of Octavian); 3. The third Rudolf is different again, and seemingly much less edifying. He is a notorious patron of occult learning, who trod the paths of secret knowledge with an obsession bordering on madness.”

Vertumnus (Rudolf II) by Giuseppe Arcimboldo

The descriptions of Rudolf’s castle–and its menagerie–are fantastical. Lions, tigers, bears, apple trees, palm trees, olive trees, a maze, hedges in the shape of letters… an amazing place for anyone who visited in the 16th century. In a 2018 exhibition, the Bunkamura Museum in Japan hosted a number of artifacts from Rudolf’s fantastical collection that seem appropriate for today’s reading. First, the beautiful Orpheus Playing to the Animals (1625), allegedly inspired by the menagerie at Prague Castle. Second, this extraordinary portrait of Rudolf II as Vertumnus by court painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo. I had no idea this fellow (note the peapod eyelids and pear nose) was based on Rudolf II, nor that the Hapsburgs employed Arcimboldo for over 25 years. Vertumnus is the Roman god of seasonal change and metamorphoses — apt, I think, for a student of alchemy and the occult.

Turning back, for a moment, to Rudolf’s menagerie — the Emperor reportedly kept a favorite lion named Mohammed. Apparently, Tycho Brahe told Rudolf that he and one of the lions had a similar horoscope and would share a similar fate. Rudolf, being superstitious, reportedly locked himself in his chambers when the lion died and followed him in death three days later. It’s not covered in Shadow of Night, but it appears that Rudolf had a very strange, sad life (and some very unusual children).

We covered this chapter in Episode 34, Plot Goals. The Daemons covered this chapter in Take 58! The One with the Secret Castle Tour.

We’ll pick up again with Peter Knox in modern day Prague in our next post. In the meantime, don’t forget that our coverage of Time’s Convert begins this Sunday, April 12, 2020. You can follow us on Twitter as @chamomilenclove or join our Facebook group, the Chamomile & Clove Clovers, if you want to stay in touch.

We hope you and those you love are safe, sound, and healthy. We’re so grateful for our All Souls family and glad that you’re here. Take care of each other.

xoxo,

Cait and Jen

Real Time Reading

Shadow of Night Real-Time Reading – 1 February – Chapter 26

unsplash-logoShai Pal

Verin de Clermont sat in her Berlin home and stared down at the newspaper in disbelief.

“Verin” derives from the English and German “Verena” or may have Slavic origins. It means either “Faith” or “Truthful.”

“What is it, Schatz?” Ernst Neumann put a glass of wine in front of his wife. She looked far too serious for a Monday night.

Schatz is a German term of endearment meaning “gem, jewel, or treasure.” You could also call your beloved Schatzen or or Schatzi, both of which mean “little treasure.” If you want to branch out, you can use Mauschen/Mausi (little mouse), Haschen/Hasi (little bunny), Barchen (little bear), or my personal favorite (and oft-heard in my house), Schecke or Schnecken (little snail).

“Where are you, Gallowglass?” Her nephew was a drifter. In the past he’d sent postcards with nothing but a phone number on them from whatever stretch of road he was traveling at the moment: the autobahn in Germany, Route 66 in the States, Trollstigen in Norway, the Guoliang Tunnel Road in China.

The “autobahn” refers to Germany’s controlled-access highway system.

While unregulated sections of the autobahn have no speed limit, there are increased penalties for causing accidents at high speeds and many areas impose speed limits due to hazards like construction or substandard road surfaces.

Established 1926, Route 66 is one of the original highways in the US Highway System. The original route of Route 66 stretched from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, passing through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona on the way. The original route no longer exists, but you can still drive many of its sections by following a turn-by-turn map.

Cadillac Ranch, from the Amarillo Visitor’s Council

In 1938, Route 66 became the first US highway to be completely paved. It’s also mostly flat, which made it popular with truckers and tourists heading west. During its heyday, Route 66 had hundreds of points of interest dotting its length — including the Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, Texas), the town of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Petrified Forest National Park (Holbrook, Arizona), and the Santa Monica Pier (Los Angeles, California). The National Parks Service maintains a very detailed map of Route 66 Historic Sites broken down by groups of states along the way.

The Trollstigen, or Troll’s Road, runs from Geiranger to Stigrora in Northwest Norway. It’s a popular tourist attraction with eleven steep turns up the mountainside and beautiful views.

The mountains surrounding Trollstigen reach an altitude of over 1600m above sea-level. The area is full of stunning hiking opportunities and gorgeous fjords.

The Guoliang Tunnel merits an entry in the Atlas Obscura, so you know it must be odd. The road–dug into the side of a mountain at the cost of several lives–connects the village of Guoliang to the outside world, including the larger municipal area of Zhengzhou. Because the villagers followed the path of least resistance while tunneling the road, it dips and winds its way through the rock and is only wide enough for one car to pass through at a time. The video (embedded below) gives me hives.

“Where in the hell is Warrnambool”? Verin demanded.

“Australia,” Ernst and Gallowglass said at the same time.

Warrnambool is a city along Australia’s Great Ocean Road, which follows the southern coast of Australia and has a number of points of interest, including beaches, whale-watching sites, wineries, fisheries, and Aboriginal cultural landmarks. On this snowy, drizzly day in the national capital region, it sounds AMAZING. Oh, also — Warrnambool has a Cheese and Butter Museum listed on its “things to do” list. I am packing my bags as we speak.

“The number” had been generated in the earliest years of the telephone. Philippe had picked it: 917, for Ysabeau’s birthday in September.

17 September is a busy day in history: in 1630, it’s the date of the founding of the city of Boston, Massachusetts. In 1787, it’s the day that the US Constitution was signed in Philadelphia. In 1849, it’s the day that Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery. In 1954, it was the publication date for Lord of the Flies. In 2011, it was the day the Occupy Wall Street movement began.

Nyd, the rune for absence and desire. Gallowglass dipped his hand into the bag again to better understand what he wanted the future to hold.

“Rune” means “holding a secret.” Viking age civilizations used runes to predict the future or obtain answers from the oracle. In addition to serving as a “magical” system and potential system of divination, runes constituted a writing system in several countries that form part of modern-day Scandinavia. You can now buy rune stones on Amazon, though they may lack the historical and sentimental value of those Gallowglass carries.

As Deb points out in the Real-Time Reading Companion, Gallowglass has the last word until we re-join Matthew and Diana upon their arrival in Prague in March. Deb thinks of this song, Circa Paleo’s “The Gael” as “Gallowglass’s Theme.”

If you like what we do, please consider supporting us on Patreon. You can also find us on Facebook as the Chamomile & Clove Clovers.

If you’re suffering from #Witchdrawal, consider joining us tomorrow (2 February 2019) as we live-tweet Episode 1×03 of A Discovery of Witches TV at 4:30 PM Pacific/7:30 PM Eastern/12:30 AM GMT using the hashtag #ccalchemy. We’ve had a killer time live-tweeting Episodes 1×01 and 1×02 and we’d love for you to join us. Follow us @chamomilenclove on Twitter for updates. If you have questions, comments, or thoughts, send us a note at chamomileandclovecast@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you!

xoxox

Cait and Jen

Real Time Reading

Shadow of Night Real-Time Reading – 28-30 January – Chapter 25

unsplash-logohowling red

“I believe your husband and his friends call me the Old Fox. I am also, for my sins, the lord high treasurer.”

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, lived from 1520-1598 and served as a primary advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. As a cautious and loyal advisor to the throne, the queen nicknamed Cecil “Spirit.” She had an apparent passion for nicknames and reportedly called one of her French suitors her “frog.”

After the death of Francis Walsingham, Cecil became the head of Elizabeth’s intricate spy network aimed at discovering (and squashing) Catholic plots against the queen.

In the text of Shadow of Night, Diana has every reason to be nervous about the appearance of Lord Burghley — after all, she knows that Matthew is in England as a Catholic spy on behalf of the de Clermonts. Lord Burghley did not believe in religious toleration — he believed that England “could never be in safety where there was a toleration of two religions. For there is no enmity so great as that for religion; and therefore they that differ in the service of their God can never agree in the service of their country.” 

The little snippet of Latin Lord Burghley quotes to Diana (Vanitatis vanitatum, omnis vanitas) comes from the Vulgate translation of Ecclesiastes 1:2, a verse which translates as “Vanity, vanity, everything vanity.” It’s a curious bit of verse for a Protestant, as it comes from the official version of the Latin Bible dating from the 4th century.

If you’re interested in Lord Burghley as a spymaster, there’s a current BBC series airing on PBS that looks pretty interesting.

“Because if we are not in the audience chamber at Richmond Palace by two in the afternoon tomorrow, Elizabeth will arrest us both.”

Going to court in Tudor England was no small thing. First of all, the Tudor palaces were explicitly designed to restrict access to the monarchy and channel people of different rank into appropriate spaces. Because only the most important (and affluent) people made it into the presence of the king or queen, it paid to appear in court dressed in the finest clothing money could buy. In Tudor times, proximity to the king or queen was the quickest way to attain favor–and thereby improve your title and fortune. However, if Elizabeth I felt that you slighted, betrayed, or otherwise disobeyed her, the consequences could be brutal. Court was complicated, political, and highly performative.

In Shadow of Night, Elizabeth I’s court is located at Richmond Palace, the lost palace of the Tudor monarchy. Henry VII died in the palace and it became Elizabeth I’s favorite — she died there in 1603 and her body made the journey to Westminister Abbey from its gates. In the mid-seventeenth century, after the execution of Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and his administration systematically stripped the palace until only a few bits and pieces remained. You can still visit the site of Richmond Palace in southwest London today.

“And silver and black are the queen’s colors. That’s why Walter is always wearing them,” Mary explained, smoothing the puffed sleeves.

Elizabeth I had a vast and impressive wardrobe. As she grew older, she apparently leaned into the image of herself as the Virgin Queen and preferred to dress in black, white, and silver — colors she believed represented purity and virginity. Throughout Elizabeth’s reign, England remained under strict sumptuary laws — Elizabeth I believed that her courtiers should dress according to (but not exceeding) their rank. This is why Elizabeth has a bit of a fit when she notices Diana’s borrowed ostrich feather fan — a luxury restricted to gentlemen and above by the sumptuary laws. Fans in particular were a symbol of wealth, and fixed fans were a bit of A THING for Elizabeth I (you can see all of her fixed fans in her portraits here). Ostrich feathers came into fashion in England in 1552 and remained popular for the rest of the sixteenth century.

Three days later on the feast of St. Brigid, we set sail on our long journey to see the Holy Roman Emperor, find a treacherous English daemon, and, at long last, catch a glimpse of Ashmole 782.

The feast of St. Brigid takes place on 1 February and marks the Celtic festival of Imbolc, the beginning of spring. Brigid is the patron saint of babies, blacksmiths, cattle farmers, midwives, mariners, milkmaids, and poets. After her death, St. Brigid was reportedly buried in the Kildare Cathedral — but many of her relics were destroyed in the sixteenth century during Lord Grey’s deputyship of Ireland. In a funny little historical twist, St. Brigid’s head was presented to the Society of Jesus in Lisbon by none other than our buddy Emperor Rudolf II. We’ll talk about him PLENTY in the coming weeks — don’t you worry.

We hope you’re enjoying the Real-Time Reading of Shadow of Night. If you like what we do, consider supporting us on Patreon or joining our Facebook group, the Chamomile & Clove Clovers. As always, you can find us on Twitter @chamomilenclove or e-mail us at chamomileandclovecast@gmail.com. We talked about this chapter and the end of Section III in Episode 31 — Full Elizabethan.

Until we see Verin in Berlin, take care of yourselves.

xoxo

Cait

Real Time Reading, Uncategorized

Shadow of Night Real-Time Reading – 17 December – Chapter 13

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt

I like being married,” I said drowsily.

Diana and Matthew spend the first ten days of their THIRD AND MOST EFFECTIVE MARRIAGE in a sort of honeymoon. The “honeymoon” apparently originated in Britain as a way of visiting relatives and friends who couldn’t make it to your actual ceremony. The word “honeymoon” may refer to an old tradition (5th century or earlier) of drinking honeyed wine a month after your wedding to aid in conception. In the absence of contraceptives, that gesture seems a bit… belated. 

In some cultures, the honeymoon period refers to the time between when grooms kidnapped and captured their brides and (1) the point at which the bride became pregnant and couldn’t be returned to her family, or (2) the point at which the family gave up hope of finding her. As this tradition appears to be vaguely Norse in origin, we should probably have a long talk with Gallowglass. For the record, this also makes a great deal of sense considering the real reason why bridesmaids all wear the same dress — to act as decoys for the real bride. Your only job as a bridesmaid is either to distract would-be kidnappers from the actual bride or lure evil spirits. Your call. 

There are hundreds of Auvergnat euphemisms for making love, but I don’t believe that’s one of them. I’ll ask Chef if he’s familiar with it.”

While I couldn’t find any Auvergnat euphemisms in particular, I figured I would favor you with a few very saucy French ones. Allons-y.

  • Faire boum boum – Literally, to make the boom boom. As in, naughty time so loud you can hear it. 
  • S’envoyer en l’air – “To be sent into the air” – casual, no-strings-attached whoopie. 
  • Avoir du monde au balcon – Er, “to have people on the balcony.” It means that your lady-friend fills out her top. 
  • Tremper son biscuit – “To dip the biscuit” – a person who likes to get naughty with everyone. 

Here are more, for fun:

Tonight was Saturnalia, the official beginning of the holiday season at the chateau. 

Saturnalia, which celebrates the agricultural god Saturn, traditionally fell on 17 December and lasted until the Julian solstice on 25 December. Celebrants observed Saturnalia much the way Deb depicts the holiday in Shadow of Night — feasting, dancing, gambling, singing, music, and gift-giving. There was also a strong tradition of role reversal — by some accounts, masters served their slaves, in others, slaves were allowed the rights and privileges of ordinary citizens

Hey, girl. You wanna play topsy-turvy? *wink wink*

It’s no coincidence that the Christian feast of Christmas falls on 25 December: as the Bible does not give a particular date for celebrating the birth of Christ, churches settled on combining the Christmas celebration with that of Saturnalia somewhere in the 4th century C.E. Pope Julius I apparently believed that combining celebrations would encourage more converts to Christianity. 

If you’re looking to celebrate Saturnalia, take a page out of Philippe’s book — decorate outdoor trees with stars, suns, and moons, drape greenery over doors, windows, and people, and throw a party. If you can do so safely, cause a festive ruckus in your street and organize a parade. 

The clock was unlike any I’d ever seen before. A carved and gilded cabinet surrounded a water barrel. A long copper pipe stretched up from the barrel and dropped water into the hull of a splendid model ship suspended by a rope wound around a cylinder. 

In the Real-Time Reading Companion, Deb indicates that Philippe’s clock is the missing water clock of mathematician and cartographer Oronce Fine. The water clock, or clepsydra, dates back to 1500 BCE. Sadly, I couldn’t find an image of a water clock from the same era, but you can read about the evolution and function of water clocks here

Friday marked the shortest day of the year and the celebration of Yule.

The pre-Christian Scandinavian festival of Yule lasts for twelve days and celebrated the “re-birth” of the sun at the winter solstice. Yule celebrants lit bonfires, toasted trees, fields, and crops with wassail (spiced cider), and went between houses with pomanders and other fragrant gifts. The European pagan tradition also recognizes and celebrates Yule and gave us the Yule log — the burning of the log banished evil spirits and brought luck for the coming year. The pagan rituals also celebrate the return of the Oak King, who presides over the warmer half of the year, and the retreat of the Holly King, who rules in the dark winter months. 

If you’re interested in celebrating some Yuletide traditions in your own home, consider taking a solstice walk to gather a Yule log for burning in your hearth. You could create a Yule altar filled with “solar-related botanicals” such as cinnamon, star anise, and cloves. You could incorporate gratitude for the return of the sun in your meditation or yoga practice. Give the gift of seeds to those you love to celebrate the coming spring. If you’re feeling super festive, you might make something special, like this wassail, to share with your friends. If you’d like alcoholic wassail (*raises hand*), you might try this version. 

We covered this chapter of Shadow of Night in Episode 25 – Partyfamilias. Until next time, we hope that you and your loved ones celebrate a healthy and happy Saturnalia, a blessed solstice, and a merry Yule. Feel free to join our Facebook group, or shoot us an e-mail at chamomileandclovecast@gmail.com. You can also follow us on Twitter @chamomilenclove.

Merry merry,

xoxo

Cait and Jen