During the 18th century, fans were used by ladies for more than keeping cool; they were used as a form of expression. More than any other article of fashion, the fan became part of a lady's body language. Supposedly, there even existed a 'language of the fan' whereby ladies could send messages across a room without saying a word. To use this language, it was essential to know your right from your left!
To hold it in the upright hand facing the face: Follow
To hold it in the left hand facing the face: I desire a
To put it against the left ear: I desire that you left
To slip it on the forehead: You changed.
To let it slip in the hand: I hate you.
To whirl in the upright hand: I like someone of other.
To cause to slip on the cheek and to bear on it the
chin: I like you.
To present it closed: Do you like me?
To do it to slip in front of the eyes: I am grieved.
Touch the extremity of the finger: I desire to speak
To put it motionless on the upright cheek: Yes.
To put it motionless on the left cheek: No.
Open it slowly: I am married.
Open it quickly: I am engaged.
To bear on it the lips: Kiss me.
To carry it open in the left hand: Come to speak me.
To place it behind the head: Do not forget me.