When reading my new Regency Romance, The Taming of Lady Kate, keep the following things in mind:
- The dialogue is more extravagant than in common use today. Use of contractions should be limited to gentlemen speaking to one another. Contractions were considered slang, and therefore not genteel speech.
- There is a lot more detailed description of dress and appearance than in other forms of fiction.
- There is a lot of peculiar slang used among gentlemen. All of mine is authentic.
- The term “ton” is a French word (French was heavily interlarded into their speech at the time) which meant the upper ten thousand in society. Your behavior or person could be “bad” ton or “good” ton.
- A lady could be ruined very easily by any one of the following things: a. Riding in a closed carriage alone with a gentleman (to whom she is not affianced); b. Being alone in a room with a closed door with a gentleman to whom she is not affianced; c. Being caught kissing a gentleman to whom she is not affianced; d. Riding or driving down St. James’s St.; Living alone without a companion (elderly ladies) or chaperone (young ladies); Going anywhere alone without a chaperone (even shopping or visiting); Visiting a gentleman’s lodgings even if one did not enter; Dancing more than twice with the same gentleman in one evening (even if one was engaged); Waltzing without the permission of one of the patronesses of Almack’s
- The order of rank among the nobility is as follows: a. Duke, Duchess; Marquis, Marchioness; Earl, Countess; Baron, Baroness; Viscount, Viscountess; Baronet, Lady
- A “Corinthian” was a gentleman who excelled at sport: Gentleman Jackson’s and Cribb’s Parlor were the meccas of the art of boxing; Manton’s was the Gentleman’s shooting gallery; Tattersall’s (or Tatt’s) was the place gentleman gathered to look at horses for sale or to buy said horses; High Perch Phaetons or Curricles were sporting vehicles favored by Gentlemen for racing.
- The only acceptable sources of wealth for gentlemen were: Inheritance; Gambling; Army or Navy; Church; The Arts
- The worst thing a gentleman could do was to cheat at cards
- If a gentleman killed someone in a duel, he could “clean his slate” by fleeing to the Continent for at least a year.
- Tories (conservatives) frequented White’s Gentlemen’s Club. Whigs (liberals) frequented Brook’s.
- Children of peers (nobility) were know as Lady (first name) or Lord (first name) unless they had a title of their own.
- Gentlemen were referred to by their friends by the name of their property, i.e., Northbrooke, Walsingham. Their social inferiors referred to them as my lord. Social equals who were not intimates referred to them as your lordship. (Unless person in question is a duke, in which case it is Your Grace).
- The Season lasted from April to mid-June, coinciding with the time Parliament was in session. During this time, debutantes were presented to the Queen, and made their come out in Society. London was often referred to as the Marriage Mart during this season. Being presented at Almack’s Assembly Rooms was essential for the success of a season. To do so, one needed a voucher from one of the Patronesses.
- Anyone “in trade” “smelled of the shop” and was considered a “cit.” Not eligible for ton.
- Ladies were called “Originals” if they were “out of the common way.” Both Lady Clarice and Lady Susannah (Sukey) were Originals. So was Kate. One had to be very very careful not to become vulgar or “fast” if one aspired to be an Original.
- The fashionable hour for riding in Hyde Park was 5 pm. One could ride in Rotten Row at Hyde Park early in the morning (galloping). At 5, the object was only to see or be seen.
It is my belief that the attraction of Regencies for readers is this rigid structure of rules which set up a very rigid world. Getting around or co-existing with these rules is often the theme of a Regency. Favorite plots revolve around marriages of convenience, elopements, rescues, but like Jane Austen’s works (upon which Regencies are based) the ultimate goal of each book is always a happy marriage. My books are considered “clean” and are modeled after my favorite Regency author Georgette Heyer. Many of her books are “laugh out loud” funny, but all have rare wit and grace. All my previous books (except my first Regency) have been serious. I have come to believe that we all deserve a laugh and a happy ending once in awhile. Regencies have long been my “dessert.”