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Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category

Writing was such an important task that desks were specifically designed for the task. Heaven forefend one was reduced to writing at one’s toilet table or on something else. As with most everything else at the time, writing tables were bespoke. Although, I imagine many of the ones used at the time had been around for years.

Here are some that would have been used during the Regency.

gillows-writing-desk-kidney-shaped-burr-walnut-and-satinwood-inlaid-writing-d

Regency era writing deskWriting deskWriting desk2

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Your letter has been written, sanded, and now you need to send it off. But during the Regency there are no envelops. They are an 1845 invention. So you had to know how to properly fold a letter before sending it. The illustration below takes you through the steps.

Regency letter folding

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Last time we looked at actually writing the letter. So what did one do before sending the missive? The next step was sanding the letter. This was done by using “pounce”, a sand made from dried and ground cuttlefish bones. Pounce was sprinkled lightly over the paper to dry the ink. Once the ink was dried (about 10 seconds), the remaining pounce was poured back into the container.

Here are some examples of pounce pots. The first image is to give you an idea of the scale of a pounce pot. As you can see, they were quite small and could be as simple or elaborate as one wished.

Pounce pot 2

Pounce potPounce pot owl

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When last we left this subject the prospect of divorce seemed pretty dismal. But there was an alternative. Like marriage, divorce in Scotland was much easier, as long as the conditions were met and women could sue for divorce on the basis of adultery. In order to apply for a divorce in Scotland the adultery had to occur in Scotland, and the guilty party had to have lived there for six weeks. Naturally, this was much easier to accomplish if the husband agreed to the divorce.
Use for divorce
 
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Proposal

During the Regency once a gentleman asked for a lady’s hand and she accepted, he was stuck. There was no way he could honorably jilt her without ruining her reputation. Why? Because if he broke the engagement, it was presumed that she was not of good character.

The lady, however, could break a betrothal for any number of reasons without ruining either of their reputations. The main reason used was that she discovered they would not suit. The only time jilting a gentleman could cause a scandal is if it happened very close to the wedding date. Still, that wouldn’t last long.

There have been some very funny scenes in books that revolve around gentlemen attempting to convince a lady to break a betrothal. Two that come immediately to mind are The Grand Sophy and The Bath Tangle, both by the great Georgette Heyer.

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Hackney Coaches.

If one had to get around Town and couldn’t afford to either keep a town coach or hire one for the Season, hackney coaches (or cabs) were the answer.

Hackney’s had been around since the early 17th century and an owner had to be licenses to operate the coach.

Almost all hackney started out as private town coaches that had been purchased used. They were generally pulled by a pair of horses. Many hackney owners had three horses so that they could be rotated, and so that the owner had a spare horse in the event one horse was injured or died.

By the early 19th century there were over 1000 hackney coaches operating in the London area.

By the mid-1830’s the Handsome cab was invented and began replacing the older hackney coaches.

Much has been made in modern romances of the lack of cleanliness in Hackneys. I am going to hazard a guess that the condition of the coach depended upon which part of London the owner was operating.

If you want to know more, here is an interesting article on hackneys. http://www.georgianindex.net/transportationLondon/Hackney_Coach.html

The first image is of a hackney. The second is a Handsome cab.

Hackney carriage 1

Handsome coach

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Barouche carriages were known for their elegance and expense. These four-wheeled vehicles had a cabriolet top light construction. They were only suitable for good weather in the spring, summer, and early autumn. The carriage was built to be driven by a coachman. As you can see from the images, the sides were low enabling the inhabitants to see and be seen.

Barouche 1

 

barouche 2

 

 

 

The barouche was generally used in Town. If driven in the country the roads would have to be very good.

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