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Archive for January, 2019

Those of us who read and write Regencies know about Almack’s. But how much of what we know is fact or fiction? In the process of writing my next book, I wanted to know name of the gate-keeper (actually the owner who also acted as the majordomo). I had his name before, but couldn’t find it. During my research I found several contemporary articles that all claimed that the Patronesses selected the male dance partners for each of lady making her come out. Roughly 700 people received vouchers for Almack’s. I have no idea how many of those recipients were young ladies just out. The largest crowd present was 650, although the rooms could really only hold about 600. And one did not know who would be present on any given Wednesday. Therefore, I doubted that the Patronesses selected every dance partner. Therefore, I went researching and found this article that was writing in 1837. A bit after out time, but he does go over the history of Almack’s. There is a lot to interest one in the article, but focused on the one piece of information I wanted, I found one poem that answered my question. The poem is actually about ladies and gentlemen falling down while on the dance floor. Though it clearly states that young men ask ladies to dance.

An ALMACK’S GALLOPADE

Now Weippert’s harp each youthful breast inspires,

A space is clear’d, the dancers take their ground,

Each dancing beau claims her he most admires—

With pleasure here all youthful hearts rebound.

[-38-] But see the galoppe’s graceful, joyous strain,

Makes the red rose mount high in beauty’s cheeks,

Old damsels round for partners hunt in vain,

Th’ unrivall’d one his favour’d fair one seeks.

Enchanting dance !—the growth of German land—

At thy gay signal fairy feet are flying;

Soft vows are made, and broke, as hand in hand

The dancers rush in speed each other vying.

Let’s mark the num’rous vot’ries of the dance;—

L— first rushes like a headstrong filly,

Cranstoun and Walpole may be said to prance,

Smith’s so, so,—and ditto, Baron Billie.

E’-en envy now is mute at Erskine’s grace,

While Hillsborough a Hercules advances;

Who can cease gazing on Alicia’s face,

Till Blackwood smiles, or Fanny Brandling dances.

St. John,—sweet Maynard,—pretty Stanhope glide,

And lively Hill inciting gentle Karr,

Meade and Regina ambling side by side,

In dancing this, are all much on a par.

Oh! now observe, Maude, Littleton, and Brooke,

Flowers so pure, you’d deem from heav’n they fell,

While N,—t—n, queen-like in her very look,

Would make a desert bliss,—a heav’n of hell.

[-39-] Desperate rush a band of raw recruits,

With ardent minds, and no regard to time—

I beg their pardon, but they are such brutes,

They must excuse my writing such a line.

Hark! a sound as if from a percussion,

Follow’d by piercing shrieks, arouse our fears;

Chaperons rise alarm’d, and dread concussion—

A prostrate beauty is dissolv’d in tears.

Think not the prospects of the night are turned,

For a bright vision glances in the ring;

No sooner is he seen, than all are spurn’d,

They seem his subjects,—he appears their king,

* * * in whom the gift of dancing lies,

For graceful ease none can with him compare,

” Swift as an arrow from the shaft he flies”-—

Envied by men, and worshipp’d by the fair.

See him, like the forked lightning flashing,

No ear can catch the sound of his footfall,

Down the room the gallant * * * dashing,

The pride of Almack’s—darling of a ball.

All things at length must cease, and so must this;

I’ll end what bumpkins call the gallopade;

Sweet unmeant speeches pass from Miss to Miss,

All go to flirt, drink tea, and lemonade.

[-40-] The galoppe’s ended, so my lay must stop;

As a finale I propose to sing,

(While love—sick beaux, to belles the question pop,)

With loyal heart and voice—Long live the King!

Now whether or not at one time the Patronesses picked dance partners is another question. I do know from other research that the first time a young lady danced at Almack’s a Patroness had to recommend a gentleman as a partner.

almack27svoucher

almacks_image01

http://www.victorianlondon.org/publications/thegreatmetropolis1.htm

#RegencyTrivia #HistoricalRomance #ReadaRegency #Regency

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I went down a rabbit hole doing some research today and found a site on Georgian and Regency fans. Most authors mention fans in their books, so I thought I’d show you what some of the fans you might read about look like.

The first image is of a brisé fan. It date from 1810-1820. Note how delicately carved the bone sticks are. The main part of the fan is silk and is hand painted.

brise fan

The second fan dates to between 1780 – 1790. The fan is made of carved and pierced ivory sticks and a hand painted vellum (swanskin) leaf. The sticks show flowers, flaming hearts and doves. The front leaf is hand painted with a central scene of a courting couple in a country house garden. Because of the image, it’s called a courting fan. She is “fishing” for a husband and he is trying to lead her astray into the garden! The reserves show a vase and the altar of Hymen including two doves and a dog, surrounded by garlands of flowers. The reverse is hand painted with a small group of fruit.

painted silk fan

 

1815-1830 French Dance Fan. The second fan is also a brisé fan. It is made of bone guardsticks and inner cardboard sticks are connected via a silk ribbon. The inner sticks are covered with a thick plaster like white paint on the front and back and the edges of the front of the fan is hand painted with highly stylized foliage and flowers. The center and back were left undecorated, because the fan would have come with a small bejeweled stylus (encased within the left guardstick) with which the owner was able to write down her dance partners on the inner sticks of the fan.

fan, french dance

#RegencyTrivia #Regency #ReadaRegency #HistoricalFiction

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mistress of the manor

How much did the lady of the house have to do with running the household? She was completely in charge of it. If she could afford it she had help in the form of a housekeeper, cook, butler, footmen and maid. The housekeeper would keep her apprised of things that were needed, i.e. linens, or if there was damage to anything in the house. She would also inspect and inventory household items with the housekeeper. The cook would give her menus to approve or to make changes to. The lady of the house would, many times, have her own recipes and remedies that had been handed down in her family.

Although the butler actually worked for the master of the house, he was responsible for serving the lady tea, refusing visitors, inquiring if the lady was receiving, instructing footmen to run errands for her, directing the footmen in the meal service and numerous other things. Therefore, the butler also took orders from her.

Most members of the gentry had at least a cook and one or two maids of all work. Any household who could afford it had a butler and a footman.

#RegencyTrivia

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