02 JanDiary Of A Week In The Life of a Regency Romance Era Chaperon Day Five Friday

One Week During The Season: Taken From The Diary of a Matchmaking Mama From Early 19th Century England, and presented as written over a period of seven days.  Day Five, Friday, In which we entertain at Vauxhall Gardens with supper by Gunter.

Friday.  I awakened feeling very poorly—my face all swollen with a violent toothache, caused, I’m certain, by an open window in my bedroom, for which,  I scolded the maid for her carelessness.  Lady Charlotte Stanby called this morning, and did me the honour to inform me of her daughter’s intended marriage.  I, of course, congratulated her with seeming cordiality, all the time wishing herself and her daughter at the bottom of the Red Sea.

The afternoon intolerably wet, so I remained at home.  Emily fidgeted me to death by running every five minutes to the window to watch the weather, which, fortunately for my peace, cleared up at six o’clock, so that we were able to keep our appointment, and were soon joined by our party.  I was quite pleased to see Emily walking with Lord Lovell, and contrived to divide in two parties, each of which chose which route was most agreeable, or accorded the most privacy.

Judge my astonishment, on rejoining the party, to find Emily walking with none other than the infamous Captain Lee while Lord Lovell escorted old Mrs. Munford.  How the Captain came to be there, I cannot by any possibility guess—Emily could surely not have asked him.  Ever the gracious hostess,  I managed to bow to him with only the slightest of coolness to my manner, but still, quite enough, I was certain, to convey my displeasure.   Thus, I fully expecting when we entered our carriage that he would have withdrawn, but to my infinite horror, I heard Emily say, “Oh, do pray join us, there is plenty of room for you.” I’m sure that the expression I favored my daughter with should have scorched her fair curls, had she even dared to look in my direction to see.  I nearly swooned in my dismay; but as it was quite clear that my daughter would have but ignored me,  I was obliged to bear all with the utmost resignation.

The supper passed off quite well.  I do believe a great deal of Champagne was drunk; but that was nothing to me, as Gunter provided hot meat, ice, and wine, for five shillings a head—which I think was quite reasonable. I really don’t understand all the fuss that so many families make about the expense of entertaining when one has daughters to pop off-as I’m told the young bucks of the ton vulgarly refer to it.  If managed well, parties are not so very extravagant and certainly worth the investment when one considers the advantages of presenting  well to potential suitors of one’s choosing in a more intimate setting.  Captains Fortescue, Granby, Greville, and several others, dropped in—the latter introduced to me at Mrs.Cavendish’s musicale.  He is a very quiet and rather handsome young man.  I think Emily is rather taken with him.  I certainly hope so, as I like him much better than Captain Lee, whom it would really be quite impossible for Emily to marry.

The party did not break up till three in the morning.  I never saw people dance as they did. I am happy to say, Emily was more general than usual in her attentions. Captain Lee looked very much out of spirits—for the life of me, I cannot think why.  I did not inquire, for fear of awakening those sensations I would rather have forgotten.  Perhaps it was merely a lover’s quarrel.  I do not approve of the manner in which introductions are made now-a-days. In my time, the gentleman was first introduced to the mother; but in these reforming days, there is a change in every thing, and the daughter takes precedence of the mother.  I heard, much to my surprise to-night, that Captain Greville is married—it is well I found it out so soon, for as my own dear Papa was wont to say, “It is no use wasting powder and shot on one already disposed of.”

Officially, most historians will agree that the dates of Regency Romance Era England extend only from 1811 to 1820 when King George III was deemed unfit to rule by reason of insanity and his son Prince George IV-more familiarly known to all lovers of <strong>Regency Romance</strong> era novels as Prinny-ruled by proxy as the Prince Regent.  However, as I, and  most lovers of the <strong>Regency Romance</strong> era in general will quickly tell you, they don’t really care so much for the formal politics of the era as they do the culture, architecture, literature, fashions, and romanticized societal norms.  It is, in fact, the unique culture of the era and the romantic doings of the wealthy classes as most often presented by Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer that draw the Regency lover’s attention and hold our hearts.  Therefore, for these purposes, this most romantic of eras can easily be extended from 1795 when The Prince Regent wed Caroline of Brunswick, until his death as King George IV in 1830, and even beyond, until the death of his brother and heir William IV in 1837, when Queen Victoria ascended the British throne ushering in an era of change.

Teresa Thomas Bohannon
Author of the Regency Romance novel
A Very Merry Chase.

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