March 16th, 2010

A recoverable faux pas in early 19th-c. society

Background: Editing the same fantasy novel as mentioned before in this group, set (mostly) on the Balkan Peninsula in the very early 19th century--circa 1810-1820 from the evidence. We're up to Book Two, from the point of view of a teenaged bluestocking. She has been getting maliciously bad advice from a woman who expects to become her stepmother.

"I remembered the last time my father had asked Allura to advise me, before a small dinner party honoring an aged friend of his. I’d paid enough attention to my Venetian studies [at a "female seminary"] and observed enough of Kalzov society [they live in the fictional Kalzov Valley] to doubt her strange advice. When against my better judgment I had actually followed it--just once--the effect was exactly what I expected, making me seem a foolish girl, not the polished sophisticate Allura wanted me to become … or said she did."

Problem: I would really like to make the bad advice she followed more concrete, but my imagination is failing utterly. Note that whatever Dragana's gaffe, it CANNOT make her a pariah or be talked about weeks afterward; preferably, she should be able to shrug it off immediately as an unfortunate joke. (This is also why it's a small dinner party and the honoree is an aged friend: So that nothing irrecoverable happens in the presence of eligible young men.)

Previous research, such as it is: Over the years I've read several Regency romances and actual Austen novels, Sherlock Holmes and other mysteries set in various stretches of the 19th, etc. I've seen some similar stuff on TV.

I can't think what to websearch that has any reasonable hope of helping, although I've tried
gaffe OR "faux pas" childish OR missish OR girlish "19th century" "comedy of manners"
and gotten 58 Google hits, none useful.  Similarly on
gaffe OR "faux pas" childish OR missish OR girlish "Regency Romance"
(which manages to catch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:  The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!, a production whose title is, sadly, its funniest part),
Without either last phrase but including "19th century", the hits rise to 3,460 without apparently improving in relevance to my difficulty.

Handgun controls/policing of in late 70's early 80's Britain

I'm writing a fic set in the late 1970's/early 80's and need to know how the law operated then in relation to handgun (pistol) ownership. Internet searching is difficult as most sites reference the 1996 legislative changes. What I've got so far (please tell me if any of this is wrong):
- handgun owners had to be licensed by the police. You couldn't get a firearms certificate if you had a criminal record or a history of mental illness.
- I haven't found anything about a system for licensing the weapons themselves.
- In practise you needed a legitimate excuse for owning a handgun, which in most cases meant belonging to a target shooting club to get a firearms certificate that covered handguns. You also needed secure storage for your guns (subject to inspection). However there were no attendance requirements for maintaining said certificate.
- Trophies of War' (e.g. German officer's pistols) weren't specified as such, only later did legislation rule they had to have been acquired before 1946.

More detail needed! Questions:
(1) How easy was it to join a shooting club?
(2) Was there a 'statute of limitations' in regard to criminal record? For example, could someone who got caught for B&E when he was 18, but hadn't reoffended since then and was now 35 get a firearms certificate?
(3) What would happen if someone 'acquired' a WWII pistol 'back then' and wanted to sell it? Would a simple "my father died and this is what he left me" suffice? Who would they take it to - a "gunsmith", a "gun shop"?

Thanks in advance.