Wax-candles in the schoolroom!

Category: Daily Life | Type: Historical | Title: Emma (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Vol: Volume II | Ch: Chapter XVII

The exclamation point denotes the extravagance of wax-candles for a school-room. And by it Austen calls attention to the stupidity of measuring someone's being in "the first circle" on the basis of wax.

Wax candles were made from beeswax, tallow from an animal. Beeswax gave a brighter, cleaner-burning light.

In George Eliot's Felix Holt: The Radical, a poor dissenting minister is embarrassed by his luxurious use of "a wax-light" and explains that it is a gift from his daughter and comes from her earnings (Chapter V). 

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