Flora and Fauna in Regency England - September

by Michele Ann Young

Holy smoke. I have been trying to get to this post for nearly a week. Deadlines are looming, which I love, but they tend to take all my focus. The other thing I did was to sign up for some classes. Well, you know I was worried I might become one dimensional and have nothing to talk about except the Regency and really become "Lost in Austen".

I signed up for some sewing classes and for a web design class. I am going to see if I can use dreamweaver. Who knows, but I have met some very nice people, so that is good.

Tis is a saffron milk-cap. It is an edible mushroom and while not terribly well-known, it is a great delicacy, I'm told.

It grows under pines, and is picked in early autumn. I am taking that to include September.

One would expect to find it in the north of the British Isles, most common in Scotland, though it is found in England.

The wild cherry shown here is native to England and has been identified in Bronze-age diggings. In September, the fruits begin to turn yellow, if the birds have left any on the trees, that is.

Our final September offering relates to an insect and the carnivore who eats them.

You may recognize this insect. I always called it a daddy long legs as a child, but I think that was a misnomer. It is a crane fly. These creatures hatch out in August and September and lay their eggs beneath lawns. The eggs quickly turn into larvae.

The lavae look like fat, short brown worms. Not worth a picture, but you can look them up if you feel so inclined.

And guess who likes the larvae. Well if you have ever had crane fly eggs in your lawn, you probably had a visit from the gentleman below. He loves cranefly lavae. And his rooting around looking for them will mean the end of your beautifully green lawns.

Sad to say, during the Regency, badger baiting and badger drawing were considered sports.

Dogs were pitted against badgers as can be seen in this picture from 1824. The sport had been going on since the middle ages and was another form of gambling, like dog fights and cockfights.

I'm glad it was outlawed in 1835.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

The London of the Ton - Part IV

by Ann Lethbridge

Two week until my book, The Rake's Inherited Courtesan is in stores. I must say I am getting quite excited. Expect to see me driving around my neighborhood looking to see if it is on the shelves.

In the meantime, what better way to spend a Spring day than to wander around Regency London.

More specifically St James' Street. We only have a general date - the commencement of the 19th century, but I was delighted to see both a hobby horse and a sedan chair in this picture. I also see a couple of dogs. Does anything in particular strike you about this scene?

There will be on copy of my book sent to whoever makes the most interesting observation(s).

Let us imagine we are members of the Regent's inner circle. This is something we would have seen if invited to Carlton House. It is a corner of the "Golden Drawing Room". It is an example of the Directoire Style which refers to the the post-Revolution French Directory (November 2, 1795 through November 10, 1799). The style is distinct for use of neoclassical architectural forms, minimal carving, planar expanses of highly grained veneers, and applied decorative painting.

This picture was painted in 1817 by C. Wild. I apologize for the tilted effect, but it's the best I could do.
Our last scene reminds us that not all was balls, long gowns and pretty scenes. Men were as much into their sports in those days as they are today. Lots to observe in this scene. It would certainly make an interesting scene in a novel. The Fives Court, pictured here, a centre for prize fighting and boxing in St Martins Street has certainly shown up in several I have read. Boxing gloves were fashionable by 1814, though in use before this time.

Pugilism was a favourite amusement among all classes and few if any magistrates were disposed to take much notice of them.

Other venues for practice were Daffy's Club, held at Tom Belcher's at the Castle Tavern, Holborn, a place recorded in "The London Spy"; and the Pugilistic Society, mentioned by Byron, which held its first meeting at the Thatched House Tavern on May 22nd, 1814, while exponents as Gregson and Gully, Broughton and Slack were wont to foregather at Limmer's Hotel and meet there patrons and pupils there. Gentleman Jackson gave lessons at his rooms at 13 Bond Street.

The fights themselves took place outside of cities and town, but never so far away that spectators could not drive out to them.

Well on that note, we will leave the gentlemen to their pursuits and go for tea. Until next time, happy rambles.