Linda Banche is today’s featured Beau Monde Author and she is going to tell us her writing story.
How Much Do I Know About the Regency? More than I used to. *g* I will never know everything, but part of the fun is finding out new things.
About six years ago, when I got it into my head the idea to write a regency, I looked for library books on the subject. One of the books I found was What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool. I was in alt. Here was a list of lots of the things I read about in regencies, but had no idea what they were. Pounds and pence, Parliament sessions, Whitsunday and Michaelmas, quarter days and consols, pelisses, footmen and scullery maids. I was also totally confused. How would I ever remember all this stuff?
I recently reread the book. And, lo and behold, much of the information has become second nature. I guess I’ve learned a lot in the past few years. Some will scoff at the book. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew covers both the Regency and the Victorian eras, so not everything is valid for the Regency. And the information is general. But the book is a good overview and has an extensive bibliography and a great glossary.
I will always make errors, and I hope my readers will be forgiving because I try to get things right. If you want to see if I’ve learned anything, The Wild Rose Press has released my latest Regency novella, Gifts Gone Astray on June 29.
Thank you all,
Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity! http://www.lindabanche.com/
GIFTS GONE ASTRAY BLURB:
A gift is a wonderful surprise. Or maybe not.
At the Earl of Langley’s family gathering, everyone receives a gift, including the servants. Tutor Stephen Fairfax expects a small token, but the present from family member Mrs. Anne Copley, the widow who has caught his eye, is a dream come true.
Until he opens it. What a gift! How did that demure lady acquire such a book? And she wants to “study” the positions in it with him? If he accepts her offer, tempting as it is, he could lose his job.
Anne has no idea why Mr. Fairfax is in such a flutter. Her present is a simple book of illustrations. The subject interests them both, and she would like nothing better than to examine the book–and Mr. Fairfax–more closely.
Blurb, Excerpt and Buy Link at The Wild Rose Press:
About the Author -
Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity!
I’m Linda Banche, and I write witty, sweet/sensual Regency romances with nary a rake or royal in sight. Most contain humor, some fantasy, and occasionally a little paranormal. But comedy is my love, and I’ve created my own wacky blend of humor and Regency with stories that can elicit reactions from a gentle smile to a belly laugh.
Like many other romance authors, I read romances for years before I wrote my own. Once I tried, I quickly discovered how difficult writing is. Did I stop? No, I’m persistent–that’s French for “too stupid to quit”.
I live in New England and like aerobics and ducks. So, laugh along with me on a voyage back to the Regency era. Me and my ducks. Quack.
You can reach me here:
- Pumpkinnapper by Linda Banche (giftsofdawn.wordpress.com)
Christine Wells, today’s Featured Beau Monde Author, was a corporate lawyer before resigning to write romance novels.
She lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband and two small but very noisy boys and is a member of Romance Writers of America and Romance Writers of Australia.
A 2009 RITA nominee for THE DANGEROUS DUKE, Christine was also the first Australian to win the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award.
Find her at - Web
Bronwen Evans, today’s Featured Beau Monde Author, is a New Zealander who loves story – telling – gobbling up movies, books and theatre.
For most of her life, her head has been filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. But she’d never had the courage to write them down. In 2007, encouraged by a close friend battling a deliberating illness, Bronwen finally started down the path to publication by joining Romance Writers of Australia and Romance Writers of New Zealand.
Bronwen’s first manuscript, INVITATION TO RUIN, was completed late 2009 and was sold by her agent, Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency, to Kensington Publishing early 2010, in a two book deal.
INVITATION TO RUIN was released in March 2011, and received a 4.5 star rating from RT Book Reviews and was well received in Publishers Weekly – Evans’s debut Regency is filled with sizzling romance… Strong characterizations, smooth plotting, and plenty of explicit sex will appeal to fans of modern Regencies. (Mar.)
Bronwen’s second book, INVITATION TO SCANDAL will be released early 2012.
Postage costs in Regency Context
The cost of postage had risen in 1784 as the Chancellor of the Exchequer explained that the increases would be on the mail instead of a tax on coal. The income from letters was used to boost the funds of the Government, and the prices were raised again in 1797, 1801, 1805 and 1812.
During the wars against France (1793-1815) the income was regarded as a tax levied to help the war effort, but once Napoleon had been defeated, there was a backlash of feeling against the high rates. By this time, it was often hard to decide if it was worth sending a letter at all: the cost of a letter could be as much as a day’s wages for a working man. It became a matter of importance to get around the cost in one way or another. For instance it was cheaper to send a letter from London to Scotland by the coastal shipping – 8 pence instead of by road which cost 13½ pence (1sh.1½d).
Because the recipient usually paid the cost of the delivery, it was possible to arrange to send an empty letter (or one with an agreed error in the name or address) – so that the recipient would know the handwriting, realize that all was well with the sender, so refuse to accept it, and not have to pay.
To give some idea of comparative costs:
- in 1825 on a suggested budget of £250 a year given by Mrs Rundell in her New System of Domestic Economy for ‘a gentleman, his lady, three children and a Maid-Servant’, where food took £2.11.7d a week or £134.2.4d a year, the biggest single item was
- 10s 6d a week for butcher’s meat (18 lbs at 7d a pound, or about ½ lb each day), followed by
- 7s for beer and other liquors
- 6s for bread
- 3s 6d for 3½ lb butter
- 3s 6d for fish
- 3s for sugar (4½ lb at 8d a lb) and
- 2s 6d for tea (5 ozs at 8s a pound)
- two pounds of candles cost 1s 2d a week in 1825
- coal and wood 3s 9d
- rent and taxes were allowed at only £25 a year
- clothes (for 5) £36
- the maid £16
- the education of 3 children £10.10s.
There were small margins for recreation, medical expenses and savings, but although the family probably had more than enough food in total, it devoted only 3d each week a week to milk (2 pints) and 6d each to fruit and vegetables.
However, on an income of £1000 per annum the budget is quite different! Now there is an establishment of 10, for besides the same-sized family there is a cook, a housemaid, a nursery-maid, a coachman and a footman, whose combined wages are £87 a year ; there is also a ‘Chariot, Coach, Phaeton or other four-wheel carriage, and a pair of horses’, costing £65-17s a year in keep. The family consumes 52½ lb of meat a week – a daily allowance of ¾ lb for each person – there is now a guinea a week for drink, and ¾ lb of butter for each person. The smallest items are still fruit and vegetables (9d per person per week) and eggs and milk (4½d per week).
Taken from John Burnett, A History of the Cost of Living (Penguin Books, 1969)
Mrs Dashwood – in trying to dissuade her husband from giving his mother and sisters any money at all, points out that they will be so well off, they will need nothing.
… Altogether, they will have five hundred a year amongst them, and what on earth can four women want for more than that? They will live so cheap! Their housekeeping will be nothing at all. They will have no carriage, no horses, and hardly any servants; they will keep no company, and can have no expenses of any kind!
Only conceive how comfortable they will be! Five hundred a year! I am sure I cannot imagine how they will spend half of it
But, if, in addition to feeding/clothing the four ladies of the house, they would have to provide living quarters/food/uniform for the house servant, and if they grew their own food, they would have to employ a gardener – more outlay. Allowing for the fact that they would probably make their own clothes, they would still have to buy the materials. It would not be luxurious living by any standards.
So, it does seem as though the parsimonious Mrs John Dashwood could have convinced herself that her four indigent in-laws could manage with no financial help from their brother.
Here are some gorgeous Postage Stamp Booklet covers featuring clothing to add to our series on Posting in the Regency period. The British Post office has issued stamp booklets with illustrated covers for many years, and they ran two series showing costumes through the ages.
These three were designed by Eric Stemp, printed by Harrisons & Sons Limited.
Postage Stamp Booklet covers
Booklet issued on May 6th 1981 value: £1.40 Women’s costumes, 1800-1815
Booklet issued on Sep 30th 1981 value:£1.40 Women’s costumes, 1815-1830
Booklet issued on Feb 1st 1982 value: £1.55 Women’s costumes, 1830-1850
- Who paid the postage in the Regency period? (thebeaumondeworld.wordpress.com)
- Free Frank Marks Used for the UK Parlimentary System (thebeaumondeworld.wordpress.com)
- Clothing in the Regency Period (thebeaumondeworld.wordpress.com)
Following on from our last exploration of the what every historian ‘Must See’ when in New York City for the Romance Writers of America conference, we take another peek at the Frick Collection. Turkish Taste at the Court of Marie-Antoinette will be exhibited from June 8, 2011, through September 11, 2011.
It was during the late eighteenth century at the court of Marie-Antoinette that the Turkish style reached new heights, inspiring some of the period’s most original creations, namely boudoirs or cabinets decorated entirely in the Turkish manner.
Or for those interested in earlier periods of history, In a New Light: Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert is displayed through August 28, 2011.
- The Frick Collection New York City (thebeaumondeworld.wordpress.com)