My Particular Friend footnotes: The Affair of the Reluctant Bachelor 2

Beginning with A Plan of Action:

I sniffed and said, ‘It is a matter of great import to Mr Worcester. In the matter of Miss Stilton, he might face a breach of promise.’

breach of promise: a marriage proposal is a contract and a woman could sue for damages if a man reneged on his proposal. In Sense and Sensibility, Willoughby could not be said to be in breach of promise for her never proposed to Marianne, whereas Edward Ferrars did propose to Lucy Steele, preventing him from plighting his troth with Elinor.
‘Jane, find my London commonplace books to see what there is of Mr Worcester—start two years previous—and I shall see what I can find of Sir Walter in Debrett’s.’
Debrett’s: Debrett’s Peerage & Baronetage was the who’s who of the aristocracy.

Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed.

‘Not quite as it seems, Charlotte. These incidents appear to involve the bad blood between Oxford and Cambridge.’
Oxford and Cambridge: for much of their more than 800-year history, Oxford and Cambridge were the only two universities in England and understandably a certain rivalry grew between the institutions
‘And what of Sir Walter?’ I asked.
‘He is a baronet in Surrey of great wealth and unsavoury reputation, whose family has been supplying gunpowder to the Navy for generations. He has two daughters, of whom Miss Blankenship is the eldest. I do recall now that his daughter is outspoken and has caused him no little trouble.’
baronet: a baronetage is an hereditary title but a baronet is not considered a peer. A baronet is addressed as Sir Somebody while a baronetess is Dame Somebody. The wife of a baronet is called lady. Their children have no distinction of title.

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