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A lady’s maid for a must for any lady who wished to appear well turned out. She was highly trained, and she answered to no one but her mistress (unless her mistress was a daughter of the house or a ward). Gowns were very hard, if impossible, to get in and out of if one didn’t have a maid. For those who could not afford one, a regular housemaid would suffice. The problem then would be care of garments. As did valets, a lady’s maid (or dresser) was responsible for keeping the gowns, shoes, and other garments clean and in good condition. A laundress pretty much just boiled linens. They did not clean silks etc. Speaking of linens, the lady’s maid was also responsible to replacing chemises and other intimate items. Although the lady would most likely select her own stocking. She would inform her mistress when new gloves, slippers, and shoes were needed. She’d take half-boots and riding boots to be repaired.

In addition to clothing, a lady’s maid also looked after a lady’s jewelry, supervised the cleaning of her room (she did not clean it herself nor did she lay the fire when needed) and she was available several times a day and into the early morning hours for clothing changes or for anything else the lady wanted her to attend to. In my opinion, any idea that a lady would be able to undress herself after a ball or other evening event is ludicrous. She trimmed the lady’s hair and styled it, manicured her nails, assisted with her bath and hair washing, and might even advise as to the style, jewels, gowns, etc. a lady wore.

When traveling, the lady’s maid would frequently go ahead and prepare her mistress’s chamber in an inn or wherever she was staying. Thus increasing her lady’s reputation or standing.

Considering all their tasks, I find it improbably that a lady’s maid would actually accompany her mistress on walks. I suspect that if a maid did accompany the lady it would likely have been a regular maid. Prudent parents would probably have a footman accompany a lady. That said, I could be wrong. If anyone has read any accounts of who exactly accompanied a lady on walks in Town, I’d love the sources.

Aside from being one of the highest paid servants, and having the status of senior staff, one of the benefits of being a lady’s maid was that she received her mistress’s cast off garments and was able to augment her income by selling them.

Lady's Maid

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Believe In Me 1800x2700
Believe in Me is .99 until May 13th!!
 
Marriage has worked out quite nicely for her older sisters, yet Lady Augusta Vivers is certain it would end her studies in languages and geography, and stop her from travelling. But when her mother thwarts her plan to attend the only university in Europe that accepts women—in Italy—she is forced to agree to one London Season. Spending her time at parties proves an empty diversion—until she encounters the well-traveled Lord Phineas Carter-Wood. Still, Europe awaits . . .
 
Phineas has studied architecture all over the world, yet Augusta is his most intriguing discovery yet. How can he resist a woman who loves maps and far-off lands? But her longing for all things foreign hinders any hope of courtship. When he learns her cousins have offered a trip to Europe, he secretly arranges to join their party. For he is determined to show Augusta that a real union is a thrilling adventure of its own. And when their journey is beset by dangerous obstacles, he gets far more opportunity than he bargained for . . .
 
 

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It is absolutely amazing how much fabric goes into these sleeves. Also note that they are worn with puffers.
1830s puffers
 
#RegencyTrivia #Regency #ReadaRegency #HistoricalRomance

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Sorry I missed yesterday. I had a deadline.

Seals have been used on documents and letters for over a thousand years. They were used not only to seal letters, but as signatures on documents. There were two kinds of early seals, the engraved images of coats of arms that we’re used to seeing, but some were also portraits of an individual. Some seals were rings and fobs worn by a person and others, used mostly by governments, were stamps. Personal seals were often representative of the status of a person. Signet rings have been used since at least the 6th Century.

330px-Byzantine_-_Signet_Ring_-_Walters_572104_-_View_A

As you might suppose, the original users of seals were monarchs and bishops, however, by the 13th Century ordinary freemen used seals. Some seals were made of wood, but if the owner could afford it, the seal would be made of metal.

330px-NLW_Penrice_and_Margam_Deeds_2046_(Front)_(8634691430)

For a lot more detail on seals I refer you to the UK National Archives. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/seals/

Fob seal

#RegencyTrivia #HistoricalRomance #ReadaRegency

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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

#RegencyTrivia #HistorialRomance #ReadaRegency #Regency

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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

#RegencyTrivia #HistoricalRomance #ReadaRegency #Regency

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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

#RegencyTrivia #Historical #HistoricalRomance #ReadaRegency

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