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Monday, 22 October 2012

Regency Mourning Dress conventions at Court

Do you know what constituted mourning wear in the Regency period, or how long it had to be worn for? Here are some details on what Regency courtiers were expected to wear whilst mourning the death of the Duke of Sleswick Holstein Augustenbourg, from Bell's Weekly Messenger December 1814
For the first two weeks, ladies to wear black silk, fringed or plain linen, white gloves, necklaces and earrings, black or white shoes, fans and tippets. Undress, white or grey lustrings, tabbies or damask.
Gentlemen to wear black, full-trimmed, fringed or plain linen, black swords and buckles. Undress- grey frocks.
For the ensuing two weeks, ladies to wear black silk or velvet, coloured ribbons, fans and tippets, or plain white, or white and gold, or white and silver stuffs, with black ribbons.
The gentlemen to wear black coats, and black or plain white, or white and gold, or white and silver stuff waistcoats, full trimmed, coloured swords and buckles.
At the end of the month, the Court was permitted to go out of mourning.
Bell's Weekly Messenger December 1814

Friday, 19 October 2012

Regency etiquette

"One of the chief beauties in a female character is that modest reserve, that retiring delicacy, which avoids the public eye and is disconcerted even at the gaze of admiration. When a girl ceases to blush, she has lost the most powerful charm of beauty. That extreme sensibility which it indicates may be considered as a weakness and encumbrance to the other sex but in females is peculiarly engaging. Nature has made them to blush when they are guilty of no fault and has forced men to love them because they do so."
The Female Instructor 1811 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Georgette Heyer quiz answers

Here are the answers to my little quiz about Georgette Heyer's historical books-
1. The Black Moth
2. 15
3. Lord John
4. Sylvester
5. Captain John Staple in "The Toll Gate"
6. Deborah Grantham
7. The Earl of Worth
8. Charity Girl
9. Frederica Merriville's
10. Gervase Frant in "The Quiet Gentleman"

Don't miss my next quiz, out soon, on Regency celebrities!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

The incredible number of stitches in a Regency gentleman's shirt

From Hone's Everyday Book 1826
The following list came from a lady who counted the number of stitches in a shirt she made for her grandfather in the Regency period.
Stitching the collar, 4 rows...3,000 stitches
Sewing the ends...500
Button-holes and sewing on buttons...150
Sewing on the collar and gathering the neck...1,264
Stitching the wristbands...1,228
Sewing the ends...63
Hemming the slits...264
Gathering the sleeves...840
Setting on to wristbands...1,468
Stitching shoulder straps, 3 rows each...1,880
Hemming the neck...390
Sewing the sleeves...2,554
Setting in sleeves and gussets...3,050
Taping the sleeves...1,526
Sewing the seams...843
Setting side gussets...424
Hemming the bottom...1,104
This list elicited the following response from the author of the book-
"The immense work in a shirt is concealed, and yet happily every "better half" prides herself on thinking she could never do too much towards making good shirts for her "good man". Is it not in his power to relieve her from some of this labour? Can he not form himself and friends into a "society of hearts and manufactures", and get shirts made, as well as washed, by machinery and steam?"

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Vote for my Regency Romance!

Can I just remind people that I have a book in the So you think you can write competition, a Recency romance with a dashing hero and some nasssssty villains muddying our heroine's life... Please consider voting at Thank you so much- we struggling writers really appreciate the support. After Thursday we'll stop bugging you, honest!

Quiz- How well do you know your Georgette Heyer?

Just a short fun quiz for those of you who enjoy a rollicking Regency tale- answers in my next blog.

1.What was the title of Georgette Heyer's first novel?

2. How old was she when she first wrote it?

3. Which book is alternatively titled "The Wicked Uncle"?

4. Which Georgette Heyer hero has to respond regularly to the cry of "Gate!"?

5. In which novel does Viscount Desford befriend runaway Cherry Steane?

6. At whom does Max Ravenscar set his cap in "Faro's Daughter"?

7. Whose return after the Battle of Waterloo is not welcomed by his relations?

8. What was the title of Georgette Heyer's last novel?

9. Whose sister does the Marquis of Alverstoke "bring out"?

10. Who becomes Miss Judith Taverner's unwelcome guardian in "Regency Buck"?

Monday, 8 October 2012

An early form of chain-letter?

From The Annual Register 1832
Superstition, Dublin
The cholera having begun its ravages in Ireland, the peasantry procured a sovereign charm against its influence, which was described as follows in the Irish journals of the day: -- these three days past the country has been in an extraordinary state of excitement.  Messengers are running and riding through the counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Wicklow, Westmeath, Dublin, King and Queen's county, Meath, Wexford and Longford leaving a small piece of turf at every cabin, with the following exhortation; "The plague has broken out, take this, and while it burns, offer up seven Paternosters, three Ave Marias and a Credo, in the name of God and the holy St John that plague may be stopped!"  The messenger lays each household under an obligation to kindle his piece of turf, set fire to seven other pieces, quench them and run through the country to seven other houses wherein no turf has yet been left and to repeat the same exhortation and under a penalty of falling victim to the cholera himself!  Men, women, and children are seen traversing the country in every direction with this charmed turf, each endeavouring to be foremost in the finding of unserved houses.  It is certain that the whole of the central counties of Ireland are thrown into a singular state of agitation.  Yesterday, along the whole line of the Grand Canal from Dublin to Shannon Harbour, people might be seen running.  The captain of one of the packet boats that arrived in the city last night, saw a turf cutter running along the bank in the Bog of Allen, to whom he owed some money for fuel.  He called to him, "Paddy, get in and I'll pay you now."  "I can't," replied Paddy, still running, "I've to serve seven houses yet with the holy turf and I'd rather lose the money than earn the cholera."  The priests, into whose parish is this wildfire has spread, confess themselves as ignorant of its origin as the peasantry.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

An historical UFO?

Excerpt from "The Annual Register" 1832- an historical report of a UFO?

Alpine Phenomena- After six o'clock in the morning of the 14th of November (says a letter from Bruneck in the Tyrol) a bright stream of light suddenly descended from the centre of the firmament nearly down to the ground, and was then drawn gradually up again to the middle of the sky, whence, for several seconds, it stretched itself out towards the north in a long ray of light which first appeared in a straight, and then changed to a wavy line; after this it gathered into a light orb, resembling a white cloud, and remained stationary in the centre of the firmament for a full quarter of an hour, when it disappeared with the break of day.  The appearance was accompanied by so vivid a degree of illumination that the smallest pebble in the road was readily distinguishable, and those who were abroad at the time were completely panic struck.  The sky, instead of being muddy with vapour, as is customary at this season, and at this time of the morning, was clear and cloudless, and the air remarkably serene and tranquil.  Between five and six o'clock, however, an unusual number of falling stars were observed in various parts of the heavens.

Vote for Regency Romance!

Will "Torn by Temptation" be the next historical romance sensation? Will Katherine F White be the name on everybody's lips? Weeee-ll...maybe. But if you're passionate about Regency romance and love an exciting story, have a look at my first chapter on the So you think you can write website and vote...and vote again. Thank you.

This year's Soyouthinkyoucanwrite competition is nearly over- check out http:/ (my own entry) or sample some of the 500 plus other aspiring authors. You can vote once every 24 hours. If you have trouble on return visits to the website, try Googling it afresh rather than following your backtrail. Good luck to everyone else who has entered this fantastic competition.
Voting ends on October 11th- I'll let you know if I'm lucky enough to get through to the final 28. In the meantime, pop back here to see what I've discovered in my Georgian archives- tittle-tattle, great doings, court news, who's who in Georgian England, savouring the seasons, Regency fashions, sensational stories, murder most foul, the laws of the land and divers amusements.