NK - March Plain FAQs

harriet meeker berengaria at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 24 06:35:48 PST 1999

(Written for the March 1999 Nordic Saga)

The Plain FAQS 
by Berengaria Ravencroft (Berengaria at hotmail; 

"O Proserpina, 
     For the flowers now, that frighted thou let'st fall 
     From Dis's waggon! daffodils, 
     That come before the swallow dares, and take 
     The winds of March with beauty; violets dim, 
     But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes 
     Or Cytherea's breath; pale primroses, 
     That die unmarried, ere they can behold 
     Bright Phoebus in his strength,--a malady 
     Most incident to maids; bold oxlips and 
     The crown imperial; lilies of all kinds, 
     The flower-de-luce being one" 
                   William Shakespeare  (1564-1616)  The Winters Tale.
			 Act 4 Scene 1.

"However, I was thinking it would be nice if a piece on the fan would
be nice.  There is a widely distributed treatsie written in period by
a Spanish woman who was (I think) in Elanor of Acquitane's court.  She
explained how the fan was brought from spain to the French court and
spread to England.  The interesting thing was how the fan was used in
a "kind of code" to communicate with 'interested gentlemen' across the
room.  It's called the language of the fan....?" - Lady Isabela del 

I've always enjoyed the idea of beautiful ladies gracefully using their 
fans to telegraph what they thought like a professional baseball player.  
So, I was pretty put out when my Research Staff came back to me and told 
me the the first actual record of the Language of the Fan was in book 
called Fächer-Sprache für Damen. in 1870, by a man named Fenella.  Does 
that mean it didn't happen that way? Of course not.  This is just where 
we wander off into that place of probabilities and such.  Sure it may be 
just a Victorian fiction, but it may be something that just lay hidden 
for a few hundred years before becoming well known.  It's also possible 
we missed something somewhere.

However, here are some of the meanings that we came across:

Carrying it right hand: "You are too willing"
Carrying in right hand in front of face: "Follow me"
Carrying the fan closed and hanging from her right hand: "I'm engaged, 
or I want to be engaged"
Carrying in left hand: "Desirous of acquaintance"
Carrying in left hand, open: "Come and talk to me"
Carrying in left hand in front of face: "Desirous of acquaintance"
Clasping the hands under the open fan: "Forgive me I pray you"
Closed: "I wish to speak to you"
Closing the fan quickly and impetuously: "I'm jealous"
Covering the left ear with the open fan: "Do not betray out secret"
Drawing across the eyes: "I am sorry"
Drawing through the hand: "I hate you"
Drawing across the cheek: "I love you"
Drawing it across the forehead: "You have changed", or "We are watched"
Dropping it: "We will be friends" or "We are friends"
Fanned slowly: "I am married" or "Don't waste yourtime, I don't care 
about you"
Fanned fast: "I am engaged" or "I love you so much"
Fanning herself with her left hand: "Don't flirt with that woman"
Gazing pensively at the shut fan: "Why do you misunderstand me?"
Half-opening the fan over her face: "We are being watched over"
Hiding the sunlight. You're ugly"
Hitting any object: "I'm impatient"
Hitting her hand's palm: "Love me"
Letting the fan to drop: "I belong to you"
Looking closely at the painting: "I like you"
Moving her hair away of her forehead.Don't forget me"
Open and shut: "You are cruel"
Open wide: "Wait for me"
Passing the fan from one hand to the other: "I see that you are looking 
at another woman"
Placed on left ear: "You have changed", or "I wish to get rid of you"
Placed behind head: "Don't forget me"
Presented shut: "Do you love me?"
Presenting a number of sticks, fan part opened: "At what hour?"
Pressing the half-opened fan to the lips: "You may kiss me"
Pressing handle to lips: "Kiss me"
Resting the fan on her heart: "I love you and it makes me suffer"
Resting the fan on right cheek: "Yes"
Resting the closed fan on the right eye: "When may I be allowed to see 
Resting the fan on left cheek: "No"
Resting the fan the fan on her lips: "I don't trust you"
Running her fingers through the fan's ribs: "I want to talk to you"
Shut the fully opened fan very slowly: "I promise to marry you"
The shut fan held to the heart: "You have won my love"
Threaten with the shut fan: "Do not be so imprudent"
Touching tip with finger: "I wish to speak with you"
Touching the unfolded fan in the act of waving: "I long to be near you"
Twirled in left hand: "I wish to get rid of you" or "We are watched"
Twirled in right hand: "I love another"
With little finger extended: "Good-bye"

Armstrong, Nancy. Fans.
Fenella.  Fächer-Sprache für Damen. 1870

Alton's Millenium Question Part 2 - "And just what is this Millenium 
thing anyway, and why do we care?"

A "millenium" is a period of a thousand years.  Why we should care about 
these particular sets of thousand years is little more complicated, and 
begins very likely during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero.  
According to some scholars, this was when the Apocalypse, or Revelation, 
of St John, the final book of the New Testament was written.  And in 
that work, a metaphorical work that describes the end of the world in a 
number of horrible scenes culminating in a stark battle between good and 
evil that will destroy the world as it is known, which will then be 
followed by a thousand years of peace under the Messiah, after which the
world will truely end.  When this will take place is not discussed, but 
people seemed to become hooked on the "thousand year" idea.  The second 
part of why this was important to people in the year 1000 occured in the 
year 247 Anno Diocletiani.  In that year, a monk and scholar, named 
Dionysius, or Dennis, took it upon himself to figure out when Jesus was 
born.  We don't know what clues he used to determine that it was the 
Anno Domini 531, but he did.  Scholars today have decided that his 
dating was off by 4-7 years. I'm actually amazed that he was off only by 
that much, what with the materials at hand, and the fact that even today 
we can't agree on the date of the birth of Jesus, much less whether he 
even existed.  So, something like 400 years after this date was 
determined, with the events in the world offering plenty of omens and 
protents as described in the Revelation, people began to believe that 
the world they knew would be coming to an end.

Duncan, David Ewing.  Calendar, Humanity's Epic Struggle to Determine a 
True and Accurate Year.  1998
Lacey, Robert and Danny Danziger.  The year 1000, what life was like at 
the turn of the first millenium.  1999.

If you have any questions about things that interest you, please send 
them to me directly, or by way of Chronicler.

Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

More information about the Northkeep mailing list