... among the bric-a-brac of the centuries. I think the following memorial inscription is quite well-known:
"Reader! If thou hast a Heart formed for Tenderness and Pity, Contemplate this Spot. In which are deposited the Remains of a Young Lady, whose artless Beauty innocence of Mind and gentle Manners once obtained her the Love and Esteem of all who knew her. But when Nerves were too delicately spun to bear the rude Shakes and Jostlings which we meet with in this transitory World, Nature gave way. She sunk and died a Martyr to Excessive Sensibility. MRS. SARAH FLETCHER Wife of Captain FLETCHER departed this Life in the Village of Clifton on the 7 of June 1799 In the 29 Year of her Age. May her Soul meet that Peace in Heaven which this Earth denied her."
So ... when did exclamation marks start appearing on memorials? When did the limitation of capitalisation to nouns (not precisely applied here), German Style, become the rule? When did Nerves become important? When did She sunk become a tolerable English aorist?
What would Jane Austen have thought of this? Sense and Sensibility was published in 1811. I wonder if Captain Fletcher was ... not a naval officer but a Wickam-style redcoated libertine.