Regency People

The Prince of Wales, Continued

Last time I talked a little about the up bringing of the Prince. It should be noted that even for this time period, he had a limited education. He spoke French without an accent, and had studied a little latin, but he had no education in mathematical sciences or philosophy. We know that his father thought he should learn gardening and bread making, but it seems he neglected a higher level of education.

A friend of George Washington says in 1789
"nor has the society he has kept been such as to supply the void of education. It has been that of the lowest, the most illiterate and profligate persons of the kingdom, without choice of rank or mind, and with whom the subjects of conversation are only horses, drinking matches, bawdy houses and in terms the most vulgar."

We will meet some of these people later.

A portrait of Maria Anne Fitzherbert

The same friend says:

In the article of women, nevertheless he is become more correct, since his connection with Mrs. Fitzherbert, who is an honest and worthy woman; he is even less crapulous than he was.

You might guess that the whole reason for the quote is the capulous word meaning effects of drunkeness. I learned a new words today. It seems to be been in use for a short period of time, but it certainly seems to fit.

My last quote is as follows:

"He possesses good native common sense; is affable, polite and very good humoured."

He loved fine art, much of the royal collections of art were started by him. And architecture. The Brighton Pavilion might be a bit odd, but is it any odder than Hurst Castle?

Wellington said George was "a magnificent patron of the arts...the most extraordinary compound of talent, wit, buffoonery, obstinacy, and good feeling — in short a medley of the most opposite qualities, with a great preponderence of good — that I ever saw in any character in my life."

Bu our standards today he was highly immoral or amoral. There were certainly better men than he, in his own time, and there were many who were worse. Some of them his friends, but still I feel just a tad sorry for him.

That's it for my walk in the Regency today. Until next time, Happy rambles.

Regency People

First, if you are wondering where to buy The Lady Flees Her Lord, I have to tell you that the book should be in stores any day now. Sometimes it takes a while to get them into the stores, so it will be there by the end of the month. As soon as I get word it is out there, I will send out the newsletter. I have a Prinny story all ready to go, and can't wait to get it to you.

I thought it might be fun to start a new regular feature on some of the wonderful real characters who people the Regency. People my characters might run into during the course of a book.

These will only be little snippets, not detailed research, after all there are hundreds of books in the library which can do a far better job than I. I will not restrict myself to the Regency of 1811 - 1820, because that is an event rather than an era or a sense of life and style.

I wanted to start with George Prince of Wales, because it is he who gives us our Regency era, however.

I think I am a bit of an odd duck, because I have a lot of sympathy for the George, as anyone who has read my newsletters will know. He really was a product of the Georgian era, a lusty, self indulgent time with some of the remnants of the Stuarts well entrenched in society.

This picture of him is by Gainsborough in 1782. He is twenty in this picture. He desperately wanted to join the army as did his favorite brother Frederick, the Duke of York. His father would not let him leave the country, or actually do anything at all in government. He had no responsibilities. Is it any wonder that later on he was indecisive, and self indulgent.

He was not as arrogant as he is painted, he said of his appearance around this time that he is inclined to be fat, although he thought his eyes were fine. One of his gentlemen, Lake, is very aware that because he was so sheltered growing up, he is far too eager to please and to make friends, which means he is easily imposed upon and encouraged to do outrageous things.

He is also constantly criticized by his father, who's favorite son is Frederick. Not an easy thing for a young man to endure. Therefore, he rebels. He becomes friends with a wild bunch, Chesterfield, St. Leger, and Windham ~ the latter are two rakes "whom all good men despise".

Meanwhile, his father refuses him permission to go to balls, and let us face it there is very little else to do at this time, as well as gives him long list of things he is not allowed to do, and to make matters worse gives him nothing worthwhile to do.

Can you imagine us treating our children like that?

In 1782, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire says he is striking to look at, but not perfect, inclined to be fat, of pleasing height, reasonably intelligent, but because he has been kept in too strict confinement, ogling women have given him the impression his is much sought after by the opposite sex. So this is the teenage young adulthood of this prince. It is completely unlike the experience of anyone else, even his brothers. And I for one feel sorry for him. Although I do not excuse his antics.

Well, that is all for today, and I think we will visit Prinny again before we move on to some of the other characters of his time.

Regency Bath - Part I

I promised you some blogs on my visit to Jane Austen's Bath last month. In reality Jane Austen's Bath is a little earlier than the Regency. Both her visit to Bath as a young woman, after which she wrote Northanger Abbey, and the period during which she lived in Bath 1804 - 1806 were in advance of the time during which Prinny was Prince Regent in 1811.

Given that at this time of year, mornings and early evenings are gloomy in England, we set off about nine-thirty so as to have good light, and less traffic. We decided to take the A36 since it joins the A303 from Andover in Hampshire which is a nice quiet road out of that runs past Stonehenge. We are now in Wiltshire on the magnificent expanse of Salisbury Plain. Nothing quiet like Stonehenge in the pale light of a winter's day to set the imagination wheeling back in time, I can tell you.

Mother and I reminisced about bygone family picnics, the stones as our backrest, on our annual trips to the coast. There was a real sense of human history to those moments. We were saddened to think that these days, because people cannot be trusted to respect such ancient monuments, there is a fence between the henge and the visitor. However, as a side note, if you want to have that tactile connection to the past I highly recommend the Avebury henge, but only if you promise to be kind to these stone warriors of time. But more about that on another occasion.

Our journey took about an hour and a half and we enjoyed some magnificent countryside, the open vistas of Salisbury Plains, and the rolling hills of Somerset, the county in which Bath is located. Bath sits on the River Avon. As we drove down the hill via what would have been the approach to Bath from London in the old days, the wonderful bath-stone terraced houses clung to the hillside opposite. Mother, who had not been to Bath before was impressed. A major achievement, if I may so so. lol. This image gives you a sense of it, but is from Wiki, since driving and photographing do not make a good combination.

Our route took us past the Jane Austen Center, through Queens Square and to our final destination, alack not a Regency house, but a Victorian B & B.

Once we settled into our digs, which would make a story in itself, including me pinching my finger in mother's wheelchair, we began our rambles. And I look forward to telling you all about them and sharing my photos next time. I believe long blogs tend to lose the interest of readers, so I prefer to give you smaller chunks. But I am happy to taken any feedback on this format.

And don't forget, if you enjoy a quick read with characters set in Regency times, my short story, Christmas Masquerade is now in e-book format for the low price of $1.60 and for those who like to settle beside the fire with a long story, No Regrets is in a store near you. Ok so shameless self-promotion, but if I don't do it, who will.

Until Monday and Regency Bath- Part II, Happy rambles.