Since I'm talking at O'Reilly's Tools of Change for Publishing conference today (I'm the last speaker), I figured I should post something book-related … so I went back to the Google Book Search well, and found this gem:
She was very simply dressed; nothing of the grande dame, en toilette de soir, about her as she received her friends. Her dark-colored gown was high nearly to the neck, with sleeves reaching to the elbow, a single row of beautiful lace falling back from the statuesque throat, and over the shapely arms. A rich cream "rose de Provence" was her only ornament. She looked dark and shadowy, yet brilliant, —with that soft brilliancy with which the flowers gleam, as they nestle in their dark-green foliage, beneath the moonlight of an Eastern night.
It's from Sorry Her Lot Who Loves Too Well by Maria Grant (1879) and I think I may have to download it and read the whole thing, just so I can understand this line:
Donna has been a Gentianella (I will not have her called a bluestocking) for years; and she could tell you astonishing things! Why, she is regularly scientific!
What's a Gentianella, that it would be contrasted with bluestocking?
The title of the book is from HMS Pinafore, btw, which I didn't know until I googled it (I'm a Penzance person, myself). And the image is from Nineteenth-Century Fashions: A Compendium. Go forth and explore.