A Chatelaines’ Chatelaines

21 Jun

chatelaines – n.  mistress of a large house, or a clasp for a purse or bunch of keys

Classical Usage:  When Emma was fifteen and living in the convent she began reading love stories, and of course then daydreaming about being in them.  She would have liked to live in some old manor, like those long-waisted chatelaines who spent their days leaning out of fretted Gothic casements, elbow on parapet and chin in hand . . . just about a page later she is looking through the engravings in old books.  One shows a girl in a white dress, a chatelaine bag fastened to her belt.

Classically Mad Usage:  Well, I don’t feel so bad for not getting this one from the context since it was used in Chapter VI of Part One both ways.  Maybe I’ll try to do the same, just to keep people hopping, like this:  “Even though we only have three bedrooms I feel like a chatelaines when I lose my keys somewhere inside the house.  Maybe it would help if I got a chatelaines.”


Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Madame Bovary


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3 responses to “A Chatelaines’ Chatelaines

  1. Christine

    June 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I saw a few for sale on etsy: the clasp version, not the mistress version. We could start a trend.


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