Wednesday 19 February 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Ohhhh I'm reading the most delightfully sweet, romantic book right now and I want to share the love as loudly and as often as I can.

Last year I reviewed The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough.
It has been a favourite comfort read of mine for quite some time, but research for my post led me to discover the plagiarism charges against McCullough for similarities to The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery (of Anne of Green Gables fame).

I had never heard of The Blue Castle but my desire to read it blossomed then and there.

I'll write a longer post when I finish it, but for now here are some lovely old-fashioned words for Wondrous Words Wednesday.

pg 8 "The other picture was a faded, passe-partouted engraving of Queen Louise coming down a stairway."

Passe-Partout (or passepartout) is the French term for a mat, paper or, more usually, cardboard sheet with a cutout, which is placed under the glass in a picture frame. A picture is placed beneath it, with the cutout framing it. 
The passe-partout serves two purposes: first, to prevent the image from touching the glass, and second, to frame the image and enhance its visual appeal. The cutout in the passe-partout is usually beveled to avoid casting shadows on the picture.

pg 25 "On the steep mountain trails around her Blue Castle only gaily caparisoned steeds might proudly prance."

caparison is a covering, or cloth, laid over a horse or other animal, especially a pack animal, or horse of state.

pg 31 "Just where Lover's Lane debouched on the street, an old car was parked."

Debouch from French origin meaning to cause to emerge, and is a term used in river, stream, and glacier geography.

pg 51 "Uncle Herbert's house, a large, pretentious peppered with meaningless bay windows and excrescent porches."

Excrescence (architecture), an outgrowth of the main body of a building that does not harmonize well with the main body.

pg 155 "Some nights the whole outer world seemed given over to the empery of silence."

empery (archaic) Absolute power or authority.

(with thanks to Wikipedia for tonights definitions.)


  1. I still haven't read Ladies of M - despite putting it on my wishlist way back when you first mentioned it. I do love The Blue Castle a lot - total sentimental immersion read!

  2. Wow, that book is full of great words! Some horses near us had caparisons on them last week because of the cold but I just called them coats. lol Thanks for playing along!

  3. Passe-partout was the name of the sidekick in Around the World in 80 Days; I assumed it had an actual meaning, but never knew what it was, so thank you for that. I have an older post that contains a visual example of a caparison on my blog. I had never heard of or seen empery before, and it's a great word.

    1. Thanks J, I knew that Passe-partout sounded familiar but could not remember why!

    2. Yes! When I googled it, the character name came up as the first option :-D

  4. I think passe partout is the only one I have seen before.

  5. I read this one last year! I'm so glad you're loving it.

  6. Thanks for sharing all these great words. I am going to add The Blue Castle to my growing wishlist.

  7. All completely new, and humbling, for me. Thanks for the education! (And for clarifying why L.M. Montgomery sounded familiar! My daughter loved all of the Anne of Green Gables books (yes, it's a series!)

  8. Anonymous20/2/14

    They were all new to me, interesting words.

  9. Thanks for looking up caparisoned! I ran across that word a couple of weeks ago and never got around to looking it up. Now, I can picture it.

    Joy's Book Blog

  10. The Blue Castle is one of the last couple of LMM's books that I have never gotten around to reading. I really must remedy that. Have you read any of her published journals? I simply adore them. And yes, she is always a fabulous source for words. Oh, how Anne expanded my adolescent vocabulary!

  11. Just replying to your comment on my post :) For some reason I couldn't reply directly from there. I am enjoying Parade's End but as you say have discovered the dictionary is a necessity to keep alongside. Thank you for visiting me. Booketta

  12. Anonymous21/2/14

    What a great post! I love the sound of "empery" -- that's a new one for me!


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