Get Free Read & Download Files The Corinthian Georgette Heyer PDF. THE CORINTHIAN GEORGETTE HEYER. Download: The Corinthian Georgette Heyer. Sparkling wit with a Shakespearean twist. Walking home at dawn, quite drunk, Sir Richard Wyndham encounters heiress Penelope Creed climbing out her. Georgette Heyer's novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades. English Heritage has awarded Georgette Heyer one of their prestigious .
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Someone was climbing out of a second-storey window of one of the prim houses on the opposite side of the street. Sir Richard stood still, and blinked at this. Georgette Heyer's Regenc y World A conservatory was the perfect place for a In The Corinthian it was the under-footman who discovered, as he went about. The Corinthian (Beau Wyndham). Home · The Corinthian (Beau Wyndham) Author: Heyer Georgette Old Smyrna: The Corinthian Pottery. Read more.
Someone was climbing out of a second-storey window of one of the prim houses on the opposite side of the street. Sir Richard stood still, and blinked at this unexpected sight. His divine detachment still clung to him; he was interested in what he saw, but by no means concerned with it. His somewhat sleepy gaze discovered that whoever was escaping from the prim house was proposing to do so by means of a knotted sheets, which fell disastrously short of the ground. By the time he had reached the opposite kerbstone, the mysterious fugitive had arrived, somewhat fortuitously, at the end of his improvised rope, and was dangling precariously above the shallow area, trying with one desperate foot to find some kind of resting-place on the wall of the house. Sir Richard saw that he was a very slight youth, only a boy, in fact, and went in a leisurely fashion to the rescue. The fugitive caught sight of him as he descended the area-steps, and gasped with a mixture of fright and thankfulness:
My cousin tries to be a dandy, but he has a face like a fish. They want me to marry him. We had better repair to my house to discuss this matter. Sir Richard sighed. How old are you? Miss Creed worked this out. Let it suffice that I have not the slightest intention of making love to you. You carry your wine very well. My cousin becomes excessively silly. Where are we now?
I live in St. James's Square. Why do they want you to marry your cousin? You see, my father had no other children, and I believe I am most fabulously wealthy, besides having a house in Somerset, which they won't let me live in. When he died I had to live with Aunt Almeria. I was only twelve years old, you see.
And now she is persecuting me to marry my cousin Frederick. So I ran away. Why Holborn? Why Bristol?
I haven't seen him for nearly five years, but we used to play together, and we pricked out fingers - mixing the blood, you know - and we made a vow to marry one another when we were grown-up. Oh, my God! And say it was your duty? And plague your life out? And cry at you? So I stole Geoffrey's second-best suit, and climbed out of the window. He is at Harrow, and his clothes fit me perfectly. Is this your house? You need have no fear. A lamp was burning in the hall, and a candle was placed on a marble-topped table, in readiness for Sir Richard.
He kindled it by thrusting it into the lamp, and led his guest into the library. Here there were more candles, in chandeliers fixed to the wall. Sir Richard lit as many of these as seemed good to him, and turned to inspect Miss Creed.
She had taken off her hat, and was standing in the middle of the room, looking interestedly about her. Her hair, which clustered in feathery curls on the top of her head, and was somewhat raggedly cut at the back, was guinea-gold; her eyes were a deep blue, very large and trustful, and apt at any moment to twinkle with merriment. She had a short little nose, slightly freckled, a most decided chin, and a pair of dimples. Sir Richard, critically observing her, was unimpressed by these charms.
He said: She raised her candid eyes to his face, and said: Come here! Never mind; sit down, and let us talk this matter over. My recollection is none of the clearest, but I fancy you said you were going into Somerset to marry a friend of your childhood.
And you propose to undertake this journey as a passenger on an Accommodation coach?
You cannot interfere in my affairs merely because you helped me out of the window. Something tells me I ought to restore you to the bosom of your family. There was a pause. Sir Richard unfobbed his snuff-box with a flick of one practised finger, and took a pinch. Richmond Darracott in The Unknown Ajax preferred to challenge his sporting cousin Vincent to a game of billiards rather than spend the evening playing cards with his mother and grandfather in the long drawing-room.
The master of the house usually had a study and his wife had a small sitting room or boudoir next to her bedroom. Conservatories were also popular during the period and were generally built on the south side of the house to catch the sun. Many aristocratic 42 Jennifer Kloester houses had their own private chapel, either in the house or as a separate building.
With a large contingent of servants to ensure there was always plenty of good food, cosy fires, pleasant rooms and personal service, the country house was ideal for playing host to large numbers of guests. For several months of the year the family and their guests spent their days enjoying or enduring the rituals of country living. For women this usually meant taking pleasure in the garden or going for a walk, ride or drive in the countryside or parkland belonging to the estate.
If they preferred being indoors, or if the weather was inclement, they could read, write, embroider, paint or indulge their musical tastes on the pianoforte or harp. Men had a wider range of activities available to them and could spend entire days out of doors with their dogs tracking game, shooting or fishing, with fox-hunting in the winter. Land was a precious and jealously guarded commodity and a son and heir who exploited his estate for his sole benefit instead of maximising its productivity for the benefit of his family, his tenantry and the wider community , or who lost any part of his holdings through waste, mismanagement or profligate behaviour, was often looked down upon or even despised by the ton.
Even for those landowners, such as Stacy Calverleigh in Black Sheep, who took no direct interest in their estates—leaving their management to an agent or bailiff—the idea of having to sell part of their land to fund debt was abhorrent.
Some members of the aristocracy took an active interest in the management of their estates, ensuring that the land was worked effectively, tenants cared for and improvements made.
In A Civil Contract, Adam Deveril was keenly interested in agriculture and making the most of his acres. To some it did not matter whether the income from their land came from the rents paid by tenant farmers, mining leases and the royalties paid on the coal, iron, tin or other metals dug from their land, from building leases or from the money paid to cut a canal through their estate.
While the Regency lasted, land still equated to wealth, to power and to status and as such it remained an essential part of upper-class Regency life. Etiquette and protocols were often a mass of contradictions both within and between the classes. A man could marry for love or convenience or money or power, but he was not bound to be faithful. Discretion was hoped for, even expected, but if he failed in its delivery a man could still be accepted into the heart of the ton.
Given the nature and indulgences of the Prince Regent himself, this was not surprising. Although often well intentioned and with an eye for beauty and a love of the arts, the Prince Regent and his royal brothers in particular the Dukes of Clarence, Cumberland and York seemed to lead the way in almost every area of vice. In his daily life the Regency man enjoyed a much wider range of entertainments than his female counterpart.
In elite social circles a man was expected to be elegant in both dress and manner when in public and to pay due deference to women and his social superiors. In public a man was expected to adhere to the modes and manners of polite society in which, for example, open shows of affection were considered inappropriate and a kiss between a man and a woman denoted an intention to marry— assuming they were of the same class.
In general, the lower classes were expected to understand this sort of behaviour as the way of the Quality and accept that no serious relationship could be expected to result from it. In The Well-bred men were often seen enjoying the company of loose women, or Cyprians, in the foyer of Covent Garden.
Paradoxically, upper-class society perceived his sin not in having fathered an illegitimate infant or having multiple affairs but in his not providing for the child. The upper class, despite its insistent demands for propriety, was extraordinarily inconsistent in its responses to the excesses of behaviour by the ton.
If he were an eldest son and the heir to an estate he was expected to marry before he was too old to father a son to carry on the family name. A married man was expected to support his wife and children materially and be discreet in managing his extramarital affairs or in keeping a mistress. A formal education was considered essential for the upper-class man and he began learning his letters at an early age.
At five or six he usually entered the home schoolroom where he was taught by a governess, or a tutor if he had no sisters. There were happy moments, however, and many pupils greatly enjoyed the freedoms that life away from home offered and engaged in all manner of pranks and activities both inside and outside the school grounds. University was considered important, not so much for its academic opportunities serious study was an option rather than a requirement but for the social life and the friends and contacts which could be made there.
Viscount Pevensey and his devoted and foolish friend, Cornelius Fancot, met at Harrow and embarked on a riotous career of pranks, dares and wagers which, in April Lady, continued during their time at Oxford and became the highlight of their bachelor life in London.
Some students did engage in academic life, however, and serious-minded young men such as Aubrey Lanyon in Venetia, who was entered at Trinity College Cambridge, aspired to be scholars and win a fellowship. Young men usually spent two or three years at the university before entering society as fully fledged adults.
His day often did not begin until after noon, when he arose, ate a leisurely breakfast, and spent considerable time dressing before setting off for his club around three. At five he might join the promenade in Hyde Park, there to admire the ladies, converse with friends or show off his riding or driving style if he was an accomplished equestrian or whip. A well-bred bachelor, such as Freddy Standen in Cotillion, was a favourite among society hostesses who could rely on him to make up the numbers at a dinner party or be an agreeable guest at a ball.
A bachelor was also more at liberty than most married men to extend an evening spent at a ball, party, masquerade or the opera, into an all-night affair and thought nothing of drinking at his club, visiting a gaming hell or imbibing rough liquor in the seedier parts of town until after sunrise.
Outside of the Season, a personable bachelor like Felix Hethersett in April Lady might join the fashionable set at a seaside resort or accept an invitation to stay at a country house where he could begin shooting in late August and if he could afford it join the hunt from November.
Even for those single men compelled to 54 Jennifer Kloester Like many young men of his day Bertram Tallant in Arabella wanted nothing more than to join a Hussar regiment. Although the younger sons of the nobility did not have to fulfill the expectations and responsibilities incumbent on the eldest son, neither did they enjoy the wealth and power that came with his inheritance.
Although in some cases younger sons like Claud Darracott in The Unknown Ajax inherited land or money from their mothers or other relatives, most relied on the income usually a competence only supplied to them by the family estate and which could sometimes be paid at the discretion of the heir.
While such an allowance might enable them to live a pleasant bachelor existence it was rarely enough to support a family. They could enter the navy—and gain a suitable position through patronage of the kind Mr Beaumaris planned for Harry Tallant in Arabella—or join the army by buying a commission into a regiment. For the less bold, taking Holy Orders and becoming a beneficed clergyman was generally an undemanding way of life which enabled many practitioners to continue to enjoy the popular activities of the period—riding, hunting, drinking and gaming—without censure, and, for those who wished to marry, a well-endowed living provided ample means for supporting a wife and family.
The Reverend Hugh Rattray in Cotillion, while conscientious in the performance of his clerical duties, was also a sporting man and prided himself on his athletic prowess. The other main occupation for an upper-class man was in politics, either as a member of the House of Commons, or through service in the diplomatic corps or the Foreign Office.
For some men it was also possible 56 Jennifer Kloester to acquire a government sinecure or subsidy through appointment to public office. Sinecures were a form of government patronage often used by the King or his ministers to secure political support from powerful families or individuals.
There were many positions in the gift of the government which could be bestowed on the men and women of the aristocracy and their dependants and they often paid handsomely. During the Regency, parliament was made up of the monarch, the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Whigs and Tories were not political parties in the modern sense of having a defined organisation but were two entities loosely held together by common philosophies, shared interests and the desire for power. Individual MPs were free to move between the parties and vote according to their conscience or personal interest, although family allegiances, traditional beliefs, friendship and patronage all played a part in determining where their loyalties lay.
Although they had their differences, both Whigs and Tories came from the upper class and whether they were an aristocrat, member of the gentry or rich financier, they had many things in common—including an allegiance to the Church of England, a desire to protect their interests and a belief in a natural social order which placed them firmly at the top of the heap.
Although his father had been a Whig, Adam Deveril, the new Viscount Lynton in A Civil Contract, shocked his friends by choosing to take his seat in the House of Lords as a Tory so that he might better support the Duke of Wellington in his fight against Napoleon. The Tories were traditionally the more conservative of the two parties and were often identified as supporters of the Crown and allies of the Church of England.
During the Regency two Tory prime ministers held office: Spencer Perceval from until his assassination in and Lord Liverpool from to The Whigs tended to be identified with the great landowners, and with parliamentary rather than kingly authority. Although they were, like the Tories, mostly conservative, the Whigs were more tolerant of religious dissent and more likely to favour cautious reform. During the Regency the Whigs struggled for political unity but were constantly put at a political disadvantage by internal divisions and a failure to find one leader among the various Whig factions—all of whom had their own interests to promote.
In Sylvester, the hero startled his mother when he asked her advice about the list he had made of well-born ladies from which he planned to choose his wife since he seemed to assume that any of the ladies under consideration would be his for the asking. For the upper-class man, marriage usually meant finding a partner from within his own social sphere and, if possible, selecting a bride with a large dowry.
An eldest son with lands to inherit but no fortune to go with them would often seek an heiress or a bride with a 58 Jennifer Kloester sizeable dowry or marriage portion—even if it meant stepping down the social ladder to find her. Stacy Calverleigh in Black Sheep was determined to win himself a bride with a large fortune and was quite prepared to marry a female from a lower social class to do so, while, despite her merchant-class origins, the possession of a large fortune made Tiffany Wield of The Nonesuch an attractive prize to many better-born men.
During the Regency many daughters of the new wealthy merchant class married into the aristocracy and both genetically and financially brought new lifeblood to the upper class.
For a younger son of noble birth but modest means, the hope was that he would marry an heiress or at least a well-born woman of property. The difficulty was that younger sons were considered, for the most part, a very poor bargain when compared with the eldest son and heir, and they often married those younger daughters of the nobility who had not managed to find a wealthier husband. As the elder of aristocratic twin brothers, Evelyn Fancot of False Colours was deemed a far more desirable parti than his equally handsome and charming sibling, Kit.
Although arranged marriages were less common during the Regency than they once had been, among the aristocracy and the royal family they were considered an important way of safeguarding or strengthening bloodlines, family fortunes and inheritances. The Duke of Sale felt compelled to offer for the hand of Lady Harriet Presteigne when it was made clear to him in The Foundling that his uncle had arranged the marriage and Lady Harriet was expecting his proposal.
It was rare, however, even for an eloped couple to marry outside their social circle or where there was no fortune on at least one side. The term generally referred to the bloods or sporting types, but could also mean a man of spirit. The beau: Despite the literal meaning of the word, a man did not have to be handsome to be a beau.
A beau was a leader in society like Sir Richard Wyndham of The Corinthian and while he was often an arbiter of fashion, he could also acquire the nickname as a result of his manners, eccentricities, noble rank, clever wit or some other trait that set him apart or made him notorious.
The Corinthian: This term described the well-dressed athlete. He generally excelled in all the sporting pursuits including fencing, single-stick, boxing, hunting, shooting and tooling his carriage—usually a curricle—preferably with the kind of skill that would see him admitted to the FourHorse Club.
The Regency was the great age of the dandy and they were the leaders of fashion during this period. Until Brummell was their king; it was he who ordained that a well-dressed man concentrated on clean linen, exquisite tailoring, a perfectly tied neckcloth, a dark, well-cut coat and a general air of understatement. The elite circle of men who gambled, drank and played together set the fashion for a host of eager imitators, many of whom aspired to join their ranks.
Mere clothes could not make a man a dandy, however, nor grant him admission to the inner ranks of the dandy set. A true dandy, such as Gervase Frant, seventh Earl of St Erth, esteemed not just the cut of his coat, but also wit, learning, artistic appreciation, a reserve of manner that seemed like arrogance to lesser mortals, and a demeanour so calm that nothing could impair it. A dandy was generally uninterested in sporting ventures, although he might be proficient in some or all of them.
The Nonesuch or Nonpareil: He was the incomparable man, one who excelled in all the manly pursuits but was also an arbiter of fashion and a leader in all things aesthetic. He was a man of taste, a person people deferred to, watched and often slavishly copied. He was a setter of fashion, not merely a follower, and, as Sir Waldo Hawkridge explained to Miss Trent in The Nonesuch, his appellation was applied by those who admired his handling of the ribbons, his manners, dress and his athletic ability.
Pinks and tulips: These names of beautiful flowers were used by the Regency sporting journalist Pierce Egan to denote exceptionally well-turned-out gentlemen.
A pink was a man at the height of fashion and a tulip was a fine fellow who dressed well. Like the dandy, the fop took an absorbing interest in his clothes. Unlike the dandy, however, the fop dressed for show, adorning his person with clothes of bold or unusual design or hue and embellishing them with ostentatious jewels, frills and furbelows. The fop craved attention and did everything in his power to draw the eye of the passer-by.
He was frequently a chatterer and usually deemed a vain fool by his peers. Sir Nugent Fotherby in Sylvester was the epitome of a fop with his rings, diamond pin, fobs and seals, his extravagant neckcloth, exotic waistcoats and specially designed boots.
Many fops aspired to set a trend or create a new fashion and some took their clothes to extraordinary extremes—such as wearing their shirt collars so high that they could not turn their heads or wearing voluminous trousers or coats with overlong tails.
A fop such as Sir Nugent Fotherby in Sylvester drew every eye with his extravagant dress and accessories. A Bartholomew baby: A person dressed in tawdry or gaudy clothes like the dolls on sale at Bartholomew Fair. A coxcomb: A particularly foolish and conceited fop. While the general expectation was that a woman should be docile and tractable and look to the man for leadership, in many cases women found their own paths to some form of independent thought or behaviour.
Within the highly structured class system of England during the Regency, one of the ways in which the aristocracy kept themselves apart from the masses was by creating their own rules, restrictions and a system of etiquette that enabled them to recognise and connect with those of their own order. This system of behaviour was instilled into young women from an early age and they quickly learned that to forget propriety or step outside the rules was the prerogative only of the royal, the very rich, the eccentric or the outcast.
Propriety demanded that emotions be kept tightly controlled in public, and it was expected that most situations would be met with composure and an appropriate degree of gravity. The social, cultural, economic and intellectual restraints imposed on Regency women—and single girls in particular—repressed many of their natural inclinations and life could be tedious for an upperclass lady faced with a limited number of activities with which to occupy her time and mind.
The death of a family member, even a distant connection, could restrict her activities still further as society expected dutiful females to be in mourning and observe the proprieties by absenting themselves from dances, balls and most other social events, usually for quite some time. For some women these limits on behaviour and occupation often resulted in bouts of illness and the regular use of opiates such as laudanum. Although a woman was denied the freedoms available to a man, there were some significant exceptions to the apparently rigid rules of etiquette and manners, but only for those firmly established within the ton.
Much might be forgiven the lady of impeccable lineage, and a great deal allowed to the girl of vast fortune, although London society could be ruthless in excluding anyone judged to have stepped outside the bounds of propriety. As the centre of the Regency world, London had its own particular set of rules which differed—mainly by degree—from the rules directing behaviour in rural England or in the family home.
Some activities such as waltzing that were severely frowned on in more rural regions, might be permissible, even fashionable, in London; yet sometimes the reverse was true—a young woman, for instance, might indulge in certain activities in her home district such as carriage-racing or riding alone that, if repeated in the metropolis, would see her frowned upon or even ostracised in polite circles.
For those bred to its rules and expectations, however, the social whirl of the London Season could be a glittering, exciting, romantic world full of promise and possibilities.
All the Accomplishments Beyond learning to read and acquiring enough arithmetic to manage the household accounts, girls were not expected to acquire an education in the same way as boys. Although it was not uncommon for upper-class women to learn French or Italian this was perceived as a useful social skill rather than an intellectual endeavour. Children of both sexes participated in physical games with friends or siblings, but young women were expected to become less boisterous as they approached adolescence and confine their main physical activities to walking or riding.
In addition to knowing how to behave it was also vital for a debutante to demonstrate her prowess in at least one of the accepted female accomplishments. Singing, watercolour painting, fine embroidery, dancing, sketching and the ability to play an instrument, such as the harp or the pianoforte, were considered essential skills for the young lady about to make her come-out.
Grace, elegance, poise and good posture were deemed evidence of good breeding, and simplicity of presentation—without affectation, simpering or false modesty—when singing, reciting poetry or playing an instrument was applauded as entirely becoming to a virtuous young woman. Judith Taverner won approval for 70 Jennifer Kloester her unaffected performance on the piano during her week-long stay with the Duke and Duchess of Rutland at Belvoir Castle in Regency Buck, and Charis Merriville in Frederica was judged to have a simplicity of manner which only enhanced her beauty.
In addition to practical skills, books and magazine articles encouraged wellbred women to cultivate a manner which was charming yet simple, amiable though reserved, sensitive but not overmuch and expressive yet refined.
Making a Come-out By seventeen, and sometimes earlier, a girl was able to begin spreading her social wings and might attend certain sorts of smaller parties, family dinners and minor assemblies in places such as the resort towns of Bath or Harrogate.
A woman attended a drawing-room in full Court dress in the form of a grande toilette consisting of a magnificently embroidered or ornamented silk, satin or lace dress over a hooped skirt, her finest jewels, and a headdress with as many as eight ostrich feathers.
The haughty but elegant Lady Nassington of A Civil Contract kindly chaperoned Jenny Chawleigh to her presentation and enabled Jenny to feel more confident about meeting the Queen and the Princesses. Most girls came out into society by eighteen and hoped to be married within their first Season, or at least receive an offer as Letty proudly told her cousin John she had done in The Toll-Gate.
Mothers, Wives, Widows and Daughters From the moment of birth, an upper-class Regency child would be shared to varying degrees between parents and servants. Although a mother might choose to breast-feed her baby, as Jenny Chawleigh did in A Civil Contract, it was not uncommon for well-born ladies to engage a wet-nurse to attend the infant.
A good upper-class mother would ensure that her daughter had at least one London Season with a presentation at Court, and that she was exquisitely gowned and thoroughly schooled in the ways of the world. Lady Laleham in Bath Tangle was a well-known social climber who contrived to visit the Spenborough home when she knew the rich and eligible Marquis of Rotherham was also visiting. In the case of Tiffany Wield, the spendthrift heiress of The Nonesuch, this was held to be a good thing but for many women the loss of autonomy was unpalatable.
As a wife she was viewed by the law as being one with her husband, and consequently she lost her legal status as a separate individual and with it the considerable legal rights available to her as a single woman. If a 74 Jennifer Kloester husband predeceased his wife her property reverted to her and if she died childless it would revert to her heirs. If her husband was alive and she died leaving children, he held her property until his death when it passed to her heirs.
The only offset to the injustices meted out to wives under Common Law was the provision of another type of law known as Equity.
A husband was legally bound to support his wife so long as they shared a bed and board and if she committed a crime other than murder or high treason while her husband was present, under the law he was held to have coerced her and she was automatically deemed innocent. Lady Barbara Childe revelled in her freedom as a dashing young widow and, in An Infamous Army, vowed never to remarry. In some cases a widow was also provided with a dower house, usually set at a small distance from the main house on the principal estate.
By the time of the Regency a widow with property and an independent income was in a better position to protect her assets from the possibility of them being dissipated by a second husband in the event of a remarriage.
The freedom enjoyed by those financially independent widows meant that they were often cautious about re-entering the marriage state. In some families, if the parents were able to arrange an eligible match, they hoped that the girl might feel affection for the chosen bridegroom; but if not, she was expected to swallow any aversion and marry him anyway.
Some parents, such as Lady Ombersley in The Grand Sophy, held in abhorrence the notion of compelling a loved daughter to marry against her will; on the other hand, a girl who found herself in love would be able to contemplate marriage with a man only if he were of good birth or had a substantial estate or fortune.
Love alone was not enough within the upper class. On the Marriage Mart Marriage was a vital issue for upper-class Regency women. It offered the possibility of a degree of freedom and independence that was not generally available to them as single women and could also save them from the stigma of spinsterhood.
Once they had made their debut, most girls expected to be married or at least betrothed in their first Season and certainly by the second or third. At twenty-nine Annis Wychwood in Lady of Quality was unusual in having decided she had no wish to be married and rejecting every eligible offer made to her since her come-out.
In upper-class circles the main marriage mart was London during the Season, where the constant round of social events and activities provided ample opportunity to mingle with eligible men and find a suitable partner for an unmarried daughter. One of the main aims of the London Season was for families of the same class to interact in a range of social settings and for their children to contract suitable alliances.
For women, a creditable marriage was the great aim, a brilliant marriage was the great hope. Sixteen was the legal age to marry in Scotland and parental consent was not needed. For those in love and below marriageable age, for older men seeking a younger bride or for a rake or fortune-hunter dangling after a rich young heiress, Gretna Green was the obvious destination.
Many couples made the journey along the Great North Road from London. It was a long drive by coach and, even undertaken at speed or in fear of pursuit by outraged relatives, took several days.
It was also a costly venture as Gerard Monksleigh discovered in Bath Tangle when he calculated the post-charges for a journey of over three hundred miles.
Under Scottish law a couple wishing to marry needed only to commit to one another in the presence of at least two witnesses to make their union 78 Jennifer Kloester Faced with parental opposition to their marriage, a desperate young couple might consider a flight to Gretna Green. The idea of being married over the anvil has passed into folklore since then and may originally have been a matter of convenience.
It was therefore easy to find and the blacksmith, used to being awoken at all hours for shoeing, was possibly more amenable than most to being disturbed by anxious couples wishing to tie the knot. Most inappropriate matches could be circumvented as long as the correct protocols for arranging a marriage were followed.
A man wishing to offer marriage approached the parents first, sought an interview with the father or the mother if a widow and made his intentions known. These would then be conveyed by her parents to the young woman who might be given the opportunity to respond.
Or, if the parents were happy with the match, they would give their permission for the man to approach his intended himself and endeavour to persuade her to accept him. This was especially so in cases where the bride was bringing a fortune or estates to a less well-heeled but impressively well-born suitor.
Once a couple had agreed to wed a notice was sent to the papers announcing the betrothal. From this point it was virtually impossible for a man to withdraw without committing breach of promise for which he could be sued or worse, damaging his honour and reputation.
A woman who gave back her ring after the wedding arrangements were finalised as Lady Serena Carlow did in Bath Tangle risked being branded a jilt and could suffer socially as a consequence. An engagement period was usual and it was necessary to call the banns on three Sundays in a row before a marriage could proceed. Marriage afforded a degree of independence and a freedom not available to the single upper-class woman as Lady Buckhaven was pleased to discover in Cotillion.
A married woman could go out unchaperoned; she could have a range of male friends; she could go out with another man socially; she could even take a lover—provided that she was discreet and had already done her duty by presenting her husband with an heir. Most upper-class women were conscious of the elasticity of morality once they were married, and of the fact that this could and would very often apply—although often unequally—to both husband and wife.
For many women it was far better to marry a man who had no thought of fidelity or for whom they had no particular affection and be mistress of their own household, than to remain for ever a dependant in the parental home. And if they were unhappy, there was always the hope that their husband might die on the battlefield, the hunting field, in a duel or from an excess of drink.
Although arranged marriages were often successful, during the Regency love-matches became increasingly common as more and more men and women sought the fulfilment to be found in a relationship based on genuine affection, mutual respect and love. If independent living was not an available option—more often the case owing to the extremely limited means by which a woman could obtain an income during the Regency—then she would probably become a dependant in the household of a family member. It could be an unenviable position, however, for spinsters were generally considered inferior beings and the maiden aunt, sister or daughter denied marriage often found herself an object of pity to be shunted between relatives and treated little better than a domestic servant.
For those gently born women without family upon whom they could depend, one of the few paid occupations available to them was that of companion or governess. A few women, such as Ancilla Trent in The Nonesuch, deliberately chose to support themselves through teaching rather than burden their families, but for those women of good birth such a decision generally placed them outside their accustomed social circle.
Although there were a few exceptions, the many constraints placed upon women during this period and social expectations in general made it very difficult to aspire to any status other than that of wife and mother regardless of intellect or scholarly interests.
For those women unable to marry the prospects could be bleak. Parliament began sitting in January—the signal for the move to town to commence—but many families delayed their return to the metropolis as the Season did not get into full swing until March or April.
Arabella, growing up in the very restricted society of Heythram in Yorkshire, longed to visit London where she might enjoy the balls, assemblies, theatre parties and other pleasures of the Season. London could be unbearable in the summer months and was thought by many to be fetid and unhealthy.
A return to town in September was considered acceptable, however, and many among the upper class came back to London for the Little Season, which lasted until early November when the fox-hunting began and there was a general retreat to the country. The Little Season also provided an opportunity for some girls to be brought out in advance of the Season proper and to try their social wings a little before embarking on the intense round of engagements that made up the Season.
Determined from the outset to make the club sought-after and exclusive, Almack set up a management committee of high-born ladies responsible for administering the vouchers which were the only means of gaining the tickets required for entry to the rooms. Undoubtedly, part of the attraction was the difficulty in acquiring the necessary voucher.
With the number on the list never exceeding two thousand, only those ladies and gentlemen who met with the approval of one or more of the lady patronesses would be so honoured. As Eugenia Wraxton warned Miss Stanton-Lacy in The Grand Sophy, neither birth nor fortune could guarantee a voucher, although beauty, wit and careful dressing could open the doors, and a graceful dancer or person of taste might win approval and thereby gain admittance to the hallowed rooms. The allocation of vouchers was decided in a weekly meeting during which the committee determined who, in addition to those already in the visiting books, would receive the coveted honour.
Self-elected to their roles as arbiters of taste and fashion, the patronesses were frequently despotic in their rule and arbitrary 88 Jennifer Kloester in the selection of attendees. Offending any one of them could mean permanent exclusion from the club.
Even the most nobly born persons were subject to their whims and idiosyncratic rules and many among the aristocracy sought their approval in vain. For those fortunate enough to gain admittance a set of strict rules was laid down and even the most notable in society were required to abide by them.
The Duke of Wellington was turned away from the doors on two occasions: Peregrine Taverner in Regency Buck was another who discovered to his chagrin just how inflexible were the rules and how despotic the patronesses. For many in the upper class it was the place to find a marriage partner, for, although the dancing was carefully regulated and the supper unremarkable, the company to be found there was guaranteed to be of the highest order.
To receive a voucher was the ultimate in social cachet. Acceptance by the ton was for many the ultimate goal and the ultimate achievement. No more than six or seven women formed the committee at any one time and in five were well-born English ladies and two were foreigners. Between them these women formed a cabal that wielded an extraordinary influence in London society for years. She married George, Viscount Villiers, and became Lady Jersey when her husband inherited the title and became the fifth Earl of Jersey.
Though not considered to be a great beauty, Sarah was intelligent and energetic, with a sense of Lady Jersey. She married the well-known dandy William Philip Molyneux, 2nd Earl of Sefton, and she and her husband became notable society hosts with a wide circle of friends among members of the aristocracy.
Neither as powerful as Lady Jersey nor as exclusive, Lady Cowper was the most popular of the patronesses. She was admired for her wit, her tact and her affability. It was Lady Cowper who was most likely to smooth over quarrels among the patronesses or smile Lady Castlereagh. She was not as powerful a patroness as Lady Jersey or Lady Cowper but to win her approval, as Jenny Chawleigh did in A Civil Contract, could ensure acceptance by the ton.
She was the most difficult of all the patronesses to please, with an icy demeanour that tended to thaw only in the company of other strait-laced women such as Eugenia Wraxton of The Grand Sophy.
Countess Lieven was a determined woman, clever, haughty and arrogant, and she counted among her friends some of the great political leaders of the day including the Duke of Wellington, George Canning and Earl Grey.
A pretty woman, she was short and plump but with an animated personality, an occasional propensity for spite, a penchant for etiquette and a disdain of social climbers. It was Princess Esterhazy who angered Judith Taverner in Regency Buck with her mocking look and untimely laughter, and it was to the Princess that Mr Beaumaris applied for permission to ask Arabella to dance the waltz with him in Arabella.
Birth and family were vital for social acceptance, although close connections and approval by those already in the upper echelons could pave the way for a few in society who were neither well-born nor well-heeled but whose wit or elegance set them apart.
Most people in society came from the ranks of the landed aristocrats. Those of royal blood, members of the great houses, those of ancient lineage—with or without a title—and members of wellborn families, could all take their place in the elite inner circle. A double standard was usually applied wherever royalty or the upper echelons of the aristocracy were concerned. In the upper classes, however, such conduct, while giving rise to gossip and creating a degree of scandal, was frequently overlooked.
The Prince Regent himself had numerous affairs, contracted an illegal marriage and treated his wife and daughter with rough disdain. Lady Oxford, Lady Melbourne and the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, among others of the nobility, all had affairs, produced illegitimate offspring or ran up huge gambling debts without serious consequence in terms of their social standing.
Even women of the ton could find themselves ostracised if they cuckolded their husband by running off with another man—particularly if their lover was of a lower social standing. In The Quiet Gentleman, the first wife of the sixth Earl of St Erth had her name obliterated from the family records after she ran away with a well-known libertine.
A man could be excluded from society for dishonourable behaviour such as failure to pay his gaming debts or other debts of honour, cheating at cards, attacking an unarmed opponent, improper conduct in a duel, or for running off with a married woman.
Depending on the offence, people who committed certain social solecisms could find themselves gradually frozen out of society. The cut direct was generally used sparingly as it was a powerful weapon in the social armoury, always done in public and always after making eye contact with the person to be cut, at which point the person making the cut would slowly and deliberately turn his or her head away.
Excluding social transgressors by deliberately refusing to speak or associate with them was a socially devastating way of dealing with 96 Jennifer Kloester those who had crossed the social bounds.
Beau Brummell was probably unique in maintaining his position in society even after receiving the cut direct from the Prince Regent. Rules and Etiquette Rules and etiquette were particularly prevalent among the upper classes with some kind of protocol laid down for every social situation.
Very few of these rules were written down, however, and variations could apply depending on the circumstance.
Formal evening dress was essential: As Mrs Scattergood sternly told Perry in Regency Buck, under no circumstances were men to be admitted wearing ordinary breeches, trousers or pantaloons. In society there were a great many other rules and points of etiquette which were understood and generally observed.
In addition to the more deep-seated social structures that dictated the mating game, the choice of spouse and the conduct of married couples, many of the rules governed the behaviour between men and women and between the various ranks in the social hierarchy.
Morning calls were generally undertaken in the afternoon. A morning call did not usually exceed half an hour. In London, a woman paid morning calls to her social equals or inferiors but not to her social superiors until they had called on her or left a card. A person new to the city or country area waited for calls of ceremony to be made to them by those already established before they made a call of their own.
In the country it was acceptable for a man to make a call or leave a card with someone of higher social standing if they were new to the neighbourhood. A gentleman calling on a family asked for the mistress of the house if the visit was a social one, and the master if it was a business call. A card was left if the lady of the house was indisposed or not at home. Callers were received by men in their business room or library, by women in the morning room or in their drawing-room.
A lady was permitted to drive her own carriage, but only about the town attended by a groom, or by herself on the family estate. A lady never drove on the open road or engaged in any kind of public contest or race. It was acceptable to go out riding or driving with a man as long as a groom or other chaperone was in attendance. It was acceptable to go out driving or riding with a man without a chaperone if he was a relative or close family friend.
A lady could ride a horse and even hunt as long as she was correctly attired and rode side-saddle. Galloping in Hyde Park was prohibited. During the season it was essential to be seen in Hyde Park during the promenade hour of 5.
Servants and social inferiors were always kept at a proper distance but without arrogance, pride or aloofness. Servants were spoken to with exactly the right degree of civility and never with the casual informality with which a person would speak to an equal. Neither a lady nor a gentleman discussed private business in the presence of servants. Servants were generally ignored at mealtimes. It was essential to dress for dinner.
When going in to dinner, the man of the house always escorted the highest-ranking lady present. The remaining dinner guests also paired up and entered the dining room in order of rank.
Dinner guests were seated according to rank, with the highestranking lady sitting on the right-hand side of the host, who always sat at the head of the table.
A hostess should never give the signal to rise from the table until everyone at the table had finished. Overt displays of emotion were generally considered ill-bred. Laughter was usually moderated in polite company, particularly among women.
Men could give themselves up to unrestrained mirth, provided they were in the company of other men or among women of low repute. Well-bred persons controlled their features, their physical bodies and their speech when in company. A lady always spoke, sat and moved with elegance and propriety.
A bow or curtsy was always made when meeting or speaking to royalty. Children always bowed or curtsied on meeting their parents for the first time each day.
A bow or curtsy was executed according to the status and relationship of the person encountered and with regard to the particular circumstance. A bow was made on entering or leaving a room, at the beginning and end of a dance, and on encountering any person one wished to acknowledge. Debutantes did not stand up for more than two consecutive dances with the same partner. A person did not go into society while in full mourning.
Half mourning usually grey or lilac could be worn after an acceptable period of mourning had been observed and the mourner could choose to attend social functions but not fully participate in them. These were often the tiny details and nuances of socially acceptable behaviour that were instilled from an early age and which were often only discussed in private. No lady was to walk or drive unattended down Piccadilly.
No female was to refer to any of those male activities about which a lady should feign ignorance. A husband was expected to keep his indecorous activities and less cultured friends separate from his marriage. A married woman could take a lover once she had presented her husband with an heir and so long as she was discreet about her extramarital relationships. Women were expected to be ignorant of any proposed duel. A lady did not engage in any activity that might give rise to gossip.
Subjects of an intimate nature such as childbirth were never discussed publicly. When out socially a lady did not wear a shawl for warmth no matter how cold the weather. It was unacceptable to owe money to a stranger. It was acceptable to owe money to a tradesperson.
It was considered bad form to borrow money from a woman. A female did not engage in finance or commerce if she had a man, such as a husband, father or brother, to do it for her. A lady did not visit a moneylender or a pawnbroker.
Extremes of emotion and public outbursts were unacceptable, although it could be acceptable for a woman to have the vapours, faint, or suffer from hysteria if confronted by vulgarity or an unpleasant scene.
A well-bred person maintained an elegance of manner and deportment. A well-bred person walked upright, stood and moved with grace and ease. A well-bred person was never awkward in either manner or behaviour and could respond to any social situation with calm assurance. A well-bred person was never pretentious or ostentatious. Indiscretions, liaisons and outrageous behaviour were forgivable but vulgarity never was.
For many in the Regency, and particularly the upper classes, reputation was everything. Scandal was the means by which most Jennifer Kloester errant individuals lost their social standing but it was also the lifeblood of high society; the delight of both ladies and gentlemen who exchanged crim.
Criminal conversation crim. Their various affairs, monetary embarrassments, debaucheries and excessively hedonistic behaviour were frequently scandalous and the delight of many of the great caricaturists of the day. Satirical cartoons by Rowlandson, Cruikshank and Gillray would appear en masse in London printshop windows, drawing huge crowds of appreciative onlookers. The marriage was illegal because, as a Catholic, Mrs Fitzherbert was ineligible to wed a future English monarch, and the Prince was not yet twenty-five and therefore in breach of the Royal Marriage Act.
In , huge debts saw the Prince contract a hasty marriage to his cousin, Caroline of Brunswick, in return for the payment of his debts and a larger allowance from parliament. The couple separated soon after the wedding, but not before Caroline had conceived a daughter and heir to the throne, Charlotte. Never comfortable in his role as either husband or father, throughout the Regency the Prince behaved in a way that remained a constant source of scandal.
Ever self-indulgent, despite his many attributes, the Prince engaged in a series of affairs with older women, spent vast sums on cosmetics, clothes, food, wine and entertainment, and on pet projects such as Carlton House and the Brighton Pavilion.
As Commander-in-Chief of the army the Duke signed off the lists of new commissions and it was alleged that his mistress could not have engaged in selling these without his cooperation. The Duke was forced to face a parliamentary inquiry and was eventually cleared of the charge but not before his love letters had been read out and reprinted in a series of best-selling scandal sheets which eventually forced him to resign from the army. Another brother, the Duke of Clarence, well known for his dalliances and in particular for his ten illegitimate children with his long-time mistress, the actress Mrs Jordan, sought relief from his debts by proposing to the very rich Miss Taverner in Regency Buck.
Outside the royal family, society was constantly abuzz with the latest on-dits, discussing every sordid or delicious detail of the newest infidelity, elopement, illegitimate offspring, bankruptcy, social faux pas or other dishonourable act committed by a member of the ton. Whether society forgave or tolerated indiscretions mainly depended upon the birth and circumstances of the perpetrator.
Above all, high society disdained open displays of emotion and any form of vulgarity. By indulging her feelings for all to see and publishing a scandalous novel, Glenarvon, in which she satirised those in society whom she perceived to be her enemies, Caroline committed the ultimate social sin.
One of the main characters in the book and the object of her desperate passion, Lord Byron, was himself the subject of several scandalous reports which engrossed and titillated society for several years. Dancing was one of the few social activities in which men and women could participate together. In Cotillion, for example, Lady Buckhaven prevailed upon her brother Freddy to teach their cousin Kitty the steps of the waltz and the quadrille in order to further her chances of making a good match.
The English country-dance had been popular since the seventeenth century and allowed for a large number of dancers in each set.
As the dance progressed, the top couple would move one spot further down the line after each figure and eventually take their place at the bottom of the set, by which time the original last couple had become the first. The cotillion was a form of French contredanse which was itself a version of the English country-dance. A regular cotillion consisted of ten changes with a figure performed between each change. The changes were generally the same within each cotillion, but the figures between them were different for each dance.
Similar to the cotillion, the quadrille was introduced early in the Regency and consisted of five figures and no changes using the same square formation of eight dancers. When it was first introduced the quadrille proved difficult for many unwary dancers and so cards were produced Jennifer Kloester with directions for the correct execution of the various figures and changes. Marianne Bolderwood at her first ball in The Quiet Gentleman found that she had to concentrate carefully on the steps of the quadrille while her partner, Gervase, executed even the most difficult steps with considerable grace.
Some of the great ladies of the day, such as the Duchess of Devonshire, organised morning classes in their homes where several young women could learn the dances together.