This week I'm reading The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington for my Classics Club Spin challenge.
It's a lovely old-fashioned read so far, but a few words in particular have puzzled me.
Pg 9: "The house was the pride of the town. Faced with stone as far back as the dinig-room windows, it was a house of arches and turrets and girdling stone porches: it had the first porte-cochere seen in the town."
Girdling: n. (Arch) an ornamental band, especially one surrounding the shaft of a column.
Porte-cochere: n. (Arch.) A large doorway allowing vehicles to drive into or through a building. It is common to have the entrance door open upon the passage of the porte-cochère. Also, a porch over a driveway before an entrance door.
This is the house that Tarkington based the Amberson mansion on - Woodruff Place, Indianapolis. The columns on the porte-cochere have an ornamental band around them!
Pg 54: "...the open window afforded the occupants of the cutter a glimpse of a tired,fine old face, a silk hat, a pearl tie and an astrachan collar, evidently out to take the air."
1. The curly, wavy wool of young lambs from Astrakhan. A city of southwest Russia on the Volga River delta.
2. A fabric with a curly looped pile, made to resemble this fur.
This is an image from a James Bond movie featuring an astrakhan collar!!
Pg 109: "...it seemed to flaunt a kind of parvenu ignorance, as if it were actually pleased to be unaware that all the aristocratic and really important families were buried in the old section."
Parvenu: A person from a humble background who has rapidly gained wealth or an influential social position; a nouveau riche; an upstart, a social climber. Generally used with the implication that the person concerned is unsuited to the new social position, esp. through lacking the necessary manners or accomplishments.
Pg 120: "...his thought was that living with a person so sensitive to kindly raillery might prove lugubrious."
Lugubrious: adj. gloomy, mournful or dismal, especially to an exaggerated degree.