Dogs in the Regency

Mr. Teasy Weasy looking as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. Hah!

Do dogs have table manners? Well it might be the sort of requirement one would ask of a dog in the Regency. Mine certainly doesn't. Which is what generated me thinking about posting on dogs again. My sweetie-pie demonstrated his lack of table manners on
Thanksgiving at my in laws. After we left the table and were sitting outside on the patio, my brother-in-law leaped from his seat, pointed in through the window. "Is that your dog?"

There was Teaser, like a statue, four feet square in the center of the table checking out the crumbs. And not for the first time. But we in our house have learned never to put edibles on the table without someone there on guard. It took a half a pound of butter and a steak to get the message, but we are now well trained.

However, Teaser is a pound puppy, and didn't arrive in my house until he was six. So we can forgive him. Fortunately, he is small, a Maltese. But I must say, I would not like him to lead my brother-in-laws Golden Retriever astray, especially not on his antique dining room table, which fortunately was still covered by its table cloth.

While people did have dogs as pets in the Regency, and a pug is always a safe bet for this, many dogs were working animals.

I will put up more of the pet-style dogs in a future post, but we should remember that people still hunted their meat, be it animals or birds and they were important to the supply of food for guarding sheep and such like.

The Spaniel is one such dog used for hunting. This 1815 picture is of a Water Spaniel. Apparently water spaniels, and in particular the Tweed Water Spaniel, are the forerunner of the Golden Retriever, which was not a recognized breed until 1835. So no Golden Retrievers in books about the Regency please.

Spaniels were bred to flush game out of dense brush. By the late 1600’s spaniels had become specialized into water and land breeds. The English water spaniel (extinct) was used to retrieve water fowl shot down with arrows. Land spaniels were comprised of setting spaniels—those that crept forward and pointed their game allowing hunters to ensnare them with nets, and springing spaniels—those that sprang pheasants and partridges for hunting with falcons, and rabbits for hunting with greyhounds. During the 17th century, the role of the spaniel dramatically changed as Englishmen began hunting with flintlocks for wing shooting. Goodall & Gasow (1984), write the spaniels were "transformed from untrained, wild beaters, to smooth, polished gun dogs."

Springing spaniels would lay the foundation of all modern day flushing spaniels. In a single litter of springer spaniels, the larger pups would become springer spaniels, the smaller pups would become cocker spaniels, and the medium-sized pups would become Sussex spaniels: Size alone was the only difference.


They were used as harriers originally, for hunting hare and rabbit. They used scent, not speed and were followed on foot. Secord's caption to this picture says, "The Beagle, one of the oldest breeds of dogs, is a scent hound developed in England to hunt in packes." I would also find this picture useful to describe countryside and the gentlemen themeselves.

One last dog, then I must go.


In the late eighteenth century, the Bloodhound was used to pursue deer which had been shot and injured but not killed. More chillingly, we are aware that these dogs were used to hunt escaped prisoners.

I think Teaser would be proud if he knew he had inspired yet another post on dogs, but the little rascal's fast asleep under my desk.

Until next time when I will try to find some more interesting dogs for you, Happy Rambles, and may your dog remain under your table.

Gentlemen's Clubs Part III

There were many more clubs in London During the Regency.

I am going to touch on a couple of other famous ones, and on Thursday a list of some others that you might be interested in and provide a list of Hotels each catering to a different clientele.


During the twelve years of its life, from 1807 to 1819, no club was more notorious than Watier’s, It was located at 81 Piccadilly. While there are at least two different accounts of the origin of this club, the one I like the best is that after members of White’s and Brooks’s complained of the food to Prinny— the Prince Regent, the Prince helped his French chef set up a club where excellent food was paramount.
Watier’s was also known as The Dandy Club. Lord Byron wrote that although he was not a dandy, they were kind to him. He put it down to the fact that he had once been a dandy himself, although during this period he was considered part of the literary set.
Some of the famous dandies were of course Brummell, Mildmay, Alvanley and Pierrepoint.

Above is a picture of Lord Alvanley. He was not a handsome man, but he was extraordinarily good natured.
Byron speaks quite wistfully of the Dandy Balls that Watier’s got up and the famous masquerade at Burlington House and Garden for Wellington in a letter to Lady Blessington in 1823.

The play, mostly Macao, a version of vingt-et-un. was disastrously deep. Thousands passed from one to another with as much facility as marbles.

Four-Horse Club
Originally one of the clubs frequented by the notorious Earl of Barrymore, the Four-Horse club had been a wild group of young men who enjoyed bribing coachmen to give them the reins to the vehicles and then driving them at break-neck speeds along the very poor British Roads.
By the early nineteenth century it was a respectable club for superb drivers. At its peak it only had some 30-40 members.
It was often also called the Four-in-Hand Club, the Whip Club or the Barouche Club - the last from a description in "The Sporting Magazine" of Feburary 1809.
Club rules stated the barouches should be yellow bodied with 'dickies', the horses should be Bays, with rosettes at their heads and the harnesses should be silver-mounted. However Mr Annesley - a club member, drove roans, Sir Henry Peyton drove Greys so the color of the horses wasn't as strictly enforced as the color of the carriage.

The uniform of the club was strictly enforced. A drab coat that reached to the ankles with three tiers of pockets and mother of pearl buttons as large as five shilling pieces. The waistcoat was blue with yellow stripes an inch wide, the breeches of plush with strings and rosettes to each knee. It was fashionable that the hat should be 3 1/2 inches deep in the crown.
The first meeting of the Four-Horse club was held in April 1808 and subsequent days of meeting were the first and third Thursdays in May and June. The members assemble at Mr. Buxton's house in Cavendish Square and drove to Salt Hill to dinner at the Windmill first and then the next time at The Castle alternating between the two.
The procession was always the same. Club rules stated that each member in single file, no overtaking was allowed, and no one to exceed a trot. The procession set out from London to Salt Hill at noon, following along the Bath Road. It was 24 miles to Salt Hill so the club lunched at the Packhorse on Turnham Green and then took further refreshment at the Magpies on Hounslow Heath. They ran to Salt Hill where they remained overnight.
There popularity of the Four-Horse club began to wane around 1815 and it was disbanded in 1820. It was revived briefly in 1822 and finally died out in 1824.
The last post on this subject on Thursday, and then we take a look at the Flora and Fauna of October.
Happy Rambles.

Gentlemen’s Clubs – Part II.


I promised this on Monday, but the excitement of getting the contract for my next book quite took over the rest of my life.

Boodle. Now there is a name to conjure up an image. Portly. Large red-veined nose and definitely bald. And jolly.

Let’s us see what history says about it. But first, here is a picture of how the club looks today. Far more elegant than White’s don’t you think?

Named after its first manager, Boodle’s began in 1762 and is of course located in St. James, number 28 to be precise. It started as a political club, like many of the others, but that didn’t last long. While the Beau and Wellington and Wilberforce held memberships, it was mostly frequented by country gentlemen who came for the excellent menu and for gambling. The last very nearly goes without saying. As you can see quite clearly from the picture, it also had a famous front bow window.

Men dropped unbelievable sums of money wagering on games--- cards and dice.
Hazard was a dice game.
E.O a wheel game E.O. stood for even-odd. It was made illegal in 1745
but that did not stop the clubs.
Faro- also illegal
Whist was the forerunner of modern bridge.

These are only some of the games the gentlemen played. I will have longer article on them another time.


Brooks’s rose phoenix like upon the ruins of Almack’s Club, and hoisted the Whig colors at number 60 St James Street. No bow window and to me it seems a much more solomn looking building than the other two we've looked at. Don't you just itch to peek inside. I would love to dress up as a man and slip through the hallowed portals as Caro's nemisis did in No Regrets. Now that is not very kind of me, because you will have to wait until November 2007 to find out what I mean.

It was here that Chales James Fox and other great Whigs, won and lost hundreds of thousands, frequently remaining at the table for hours.

Brooks’s, too, boasted of the name of the Prince of Wales on its roll of members, but his Royal Highness withdrew when his friends Tarleton and Payne were blackballed, and founded for himself and his friends a new club, to which his house-steward Weltzie, gave his name. Sheridan, in spite of the opposition of George Selwyn, became a member of Brooks’s, and wrote a rhymed epitaph on the founder:

“Alas! That Brooks, returned to dust,
Should pay at length the debt that we,
Averse to parchment, mortgage, trust,
Shall pay when forced—as well as he.
And die so poor, too! He whose trade
Such profit cleared by draught and deed.
Though pigeons called him murmuring Brooks,
And dipped their bills in him at need,
At length his last conveyance see,
Each witness mournful as a brother,
To think that this world’s mortgagee
Must suffer judgment in another!
Where no appeals to Courts can rest,
Reversing a supreme decree;
But each decision stands confessed
A final precedent in re.”

There are many tales of gambling by the most famous men of the day here at this club, fortunes won and lost, and debts owed to the fashionable moneylenders Howard and Gibbs, sometimes known as cent percenters. When one remembers that ordinary folk could go to debtors prison, the risk for these men was very great indeed.

With your indulgence, I will continue with my tour of the Gentlemen’s clubs, cover some of the famous ones and some of the less known.
Until next time, happy rambles.

The London Club Scene

When you say it that way it sounds rather modern, doesn’t it. But I am talking about the 1800’s.

On a recent visit to England, DH and I traveled up to London from one of the villages in Kent on the train. I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how clean modern and efficient it all was. It was certainly a far cry from the day when I used to travel to the City to work every day. Mind you, we did take advantage of the cheap day ticket, traveling up at back to Victoria in between the rush hours.

We planned our route through the St. James area, the area most frequented by men in the Regency era using “Georgette Heyer’s Regency England” by Teresa Chris, a wonderfully vivid description with references to all Ms. Heyer’s beloved characters and a walking tour of London. I highly recommend this reference work if you can find it. As you can see, it was an overcast day, and we felt the occasional rain drop. This sky is so typical of England in the Spring.

Since no regency novel is complete without a visit to one of the Gentlemen’s Clubs in St James, we started at White’s— for it is there that Simon St. John, the hero of my book “Pistols at Dawn”, first showed that a good and loyal friend lay beneath his hard façade. Finding a very inebriated Lethbridge at White’s one evening Simon helped his friend home and defended him when they were attacked by some very nasty footpads in one of London’s back alleys.

White's began in 1693. It is at 37 St James Street and this is what it looked like the day we visited. I must say I was disappointed to find it wrapped in polythene, like someone’s left over dinner. But look. There is the bow window, where Mr. Brummell, the Beau himself, and Lord Alvenley, founding members of he famous bow window set would pass judgment on lesser mortals passing by in the Street. It gave me chills, I must say. By the way, that bow window was not added until 1811.

White’s was only one of the gentlemen’s clubs in the Regency, but a very important one. Well it had to be if Beau Brummell belonged to it. The picture to the right is a portrait of the Beau. In order to be a member, one had to be nominated “put up for membership” by someone who already belonged. Then the leaders of the club voted. Woe betide you if you were “blackballed” by someone like Brummell.

There were strict rules of conduct in the clubs.
Number one. No women. I wonder if it stemmed back to the English public school system, where boys developed such strong friendships that were separate and apart from any kind of social interaction with women and therefore they felt most comfortable in an all male environment. Of course they also indulged in too much drinking and gambling, although the worst of that went on in the less salubrious hells where pugilists rubbed elbows with the nobs. I think if you read the excerpt from “Pistols at Dawn” on my website, you will see that Simon certainly regretted his visit to one of those hells.

Each club had its own betting book. When a gentleman proposed a wager, it was duly written in the book. When the day of reckoning came, the loser had to pay his debts at once, or consider himself dishonored. He would never be able to show his face in polite society again.

Here are a few of the bets taken from White's betting book:
Mr. Greville bets Lord Clanwilliam ten guineas, that Lord Stewart will be married to Lady F. Vane in six months.—June 18, 1818 [Clanwilliam paid].
Sir Georrge Warrender bets Lord Alvanley five pounds that Colonel Stanhope and Mr. Lucy will be found by a committee of the House of Commons not duly elected.-June 28, 1818. [Alvanley paid.]
Mr. Mills bets Lieutenant General Mackenzie a pony, that Lord Stewart goes to Vienna before he marries Lady Frances Vane. [Mills paid].
Lientenant-General Mackenzie bets Lord Yarmouth sixty guineas to fifty, that the Duke of Cambridge has a child before the Duke of Clarence.
Lord Sefton bets Sir Joseph Copley fifty guineas, that Lisbon and Cadiz will be in Buonaparte’s possession on or before the first of April next.—Jan. 17, 1809 [Copley paid.]

Did you see the reference to a "pony" Not it is not a horse. Send me an e-mail telling me what that means and I will put you in my draw for a free copy of Pistols at Dawn.

Well that’s enough information for one night. Next day — let’s pay a visit to Boodles.