Quoted from 'Victorian Mourning Customs from Collier's Cyclopedia published in 1901'
"Who breathes must suffer, and who thinks must mourn," and we have perforce to turn our minds to the inevitable and share "the common lot of man." In times of mourning it seems doubly hard to arouse ourselves, and allow the question of what to wear? ....It will be as well to consider in succession the different degrees of mourning, and their duration.... The first mourning is worn for twelve months. Second mourning twelve months also (different depending on the relationship to whom has passed)....Widow's first mourning lasts for a year and a day. Second mourning cap left off, less crape and silk for nine months (some curtail it to six), remaining three months of second year plain black without crape, and jet ornaments. At the end of the second year the mourning can be put off entirely; but it is better taste to wear half mourning for at least six months longer...exchanging black for light grey or lilac."
* * * * *
"..it was some time before we grasped the fact that Father was dead. Snivelling a little, we crept out and found Mohter and Auntie in the laundry where they were poling with long sticks at a copperful of black dye into which every garmet Mother possessed with the possible exception of her corsets, had just been thrown." Eugenie McNeil - Melbourne Hawthorn Press, 1972, p.4