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A short walk around Cape May

On the beach. (Thursday, October 4)

Victorian rigidities were such that ladies were not even allowed to blow out candles in mixed company, as that required them to pucker their lips suggestively. They could not say that they were going “to bed”–that planted too stimulating an image–but merely that they were “retiring.” It became effectively impossible to discuss clothing in even a clinical sense without resort to euphemisms. Trousers became “nether integuments” or simply “inexpressibles” and underwear was “linen.” Women could refer among themselves to petticoats or, in hushed tones, stockings, but could mention almost nothing else that brushed bare flesh.

~ Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life

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