Chocolate and a Mysterious Ending ~1856

practicalamericancookery_1856_hall_ending

Source: Practical American Cookery and Domestic Economy, E. Hall, 1856.

Right after extolling the virtues of Chocolate, and prior to the General Index, we find this mysterious excerpt:

Men with unassuming wives never fail. It is the husbands of such women as Mrs. Dash and Lady Brilliant who find themselves face to face with the sheriff, and certain mysterious documents, adorned with red tape and wafers, big enough for target exercise.

No explanation provided.

Frequently, home cookery books end with publication lists of other books and regional vendors targeting the homemaker. Not so in this instance. Is this a simple footnote from E. Hall advocating for demure comportment? Is it a reference to a contemporary literary work? Does the red tape here really mean ‘red tape’? What are these documents and wafers?

If you happen to know or have any creative guesses, post a response!

Chocolate and a good mystery….a perfect pairing.

7 thoughts on “Chocolate and a Mysterious Ending ~1856

Add yours

  1. I agree with the first comment. Official documents of high importance were rolled and bound by red ribbon,(color often demonstrated the importance of the document) sealed with imprinted wax seals/precut “wafers” were affixed by wax also. Bearing the seal of whichever agency, official, noble family, etc from whence the document came. For centuries this was the custom in many countries. My guess is the reference is to perhaps divorce papers. But in 1856 that was so rare as to be nearly non-existant. Certainly no respectable, “decent” woman of the era would make mention of a then-dark and dirty deed, nee’ secret. Especially in print. I found the paragraph perplexing, definitely an obscure reference of dire warning. But of what, I’m still pondering. I’m interested to know what the meaning of such a comment would be. Just my 2 cents. Absolutely adore the blog! Dr. B.T.

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