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Last updated 21/1/2024


Parriana by E H Barker, 1828

Part 1 of 'Parriana' by E H Barker was published by Henry Colburn in London in 1828.

A full copy of the work can be found online here.

Unfortunately there is no accompanying illustration to identify the nature of the paper-darts described in these passages.

However, it seems to me that the words 'I placed them between my forefingers' are sufficient to show that the paper-darts in question are thrown by hand. They are not therefore small paper cones shot from a blowpipe. Of the two remaining possibilities, wooden darts fitted with paper flights, would I think, make too much of an impact on landing in a wig to make it possible for their unexpected arrival to be ignored. This only leaves the Paper Dart / Arrow design (that we now think of as a paper plane) and I believe it is reasonable to accept that it is this design which is being referred to here.

The second passage states that the incident described occurred 'Very many years ago', however no more specific date is given.



Page 229 states 'he was so good natured as to allow us to fill his wig with twisted papers, 'like quills upon the fretful porcupine.'' The last words are a quotation from Hamlet by William Shakespeare, although in the original it is 'like quills upon the fretful porpentine'.


A note in the 'Addenda and Corrigenda' throws more light on this passage and identifies the 'twisted papers' as 'paper-darts'.