Becoming a Regency Woman?

Cat_243_dover by Mary Jo

I noticed this juicy question on the Topic List our Whipmistress maintains, and decided it was a perfect choice for a blog by a Wench with more opinions than time. <g>  Maureen Emmons asked, “I am wondering what you would have to change about yourself to fit into the historical time period that you are currently writing in?”

Let me count the ways!  To begin with, I’d probably be dead and the issue would be moot.  I’m told that as an infant, I had pneumonia and the doctor came to the house and gave me penicillin. Since there were no antibiotics in the Regency, I might well have become just another example of infant mortality.  (Historical note: there were some folk medicine practitioners who used a gloopy mixture involving moldy bread which could have been a de facto version of penicillin, but this wasn’t a widespread treatment.) 

Annie_get_your_gun Assuming I didn’t die in the cradle in the late 18th century, who else would I have to change to be a Regency lady?  For starters, I’d have to give up a whole lot of independence, not to mention that distressing tendency I had as a child to want to prove I was smarter than any of the boys in the class.  “Anything you can do, I can do better.” 

I’m sure that there have always been females who have known they were the equal or superiors of the males in the vicinity—and even in the 21st century, we get grief for it.  Competition is so unladylike. 

There were independent, self-supporting women in the Regency.  There have been in all eras.   But usually that path was from necessity, not choice.  Through the centuries, women have become alewives or laundresses or taken on other trades.  Not many became self-supporting writers as I have.  (Actually, that’s rare even now, but at least it’s not unthinkable.) 

Historically, marriage was an economic partnership, with each party contributing essential services.  Most often this took the form of the husband working to put food on the table and a roof over the family heads, either through subsistence farming or wages while the wife bore children, cooked, cleaned, ran the household, and cared for anyone who needed care. 

Things have not entirely changed—it’s still a model that works well.  But now we have many more choices.  In the Regency, the choices I’ve made for my current life would have been highly unlikely.  Instead of going to school and taking academic courses, I’d have had to spend my late adolescence surveying the eligible local men to decide which would be the best bet as a husband—someone who would take good care of me and the children I hoped to have, and was also someone I liked well enough to live with. 

This was a HUGE decision.  In the Regency, if you married someone you were mated for life.  Occasionally there were legal separations, and in a bad marriage, death probably started looking like a decent option.  But there were a bare handful of divorces, since it took an act of Parliament (and a lot of money) to get a divorce. 

What would I have to change in order to fit into daily life?  For one thing, I’d have to get used to different clothes, such as wearing skirts all the time.  From an anthropological point of view, dress style Eskimos tends to follow climate.  In very cold areas, everyone tends to wear trousers—think Eskimos.  In very hot areas, everyone tends to wear some form of skirt.  Think the sarongs and loose robes of Asia, or the sometimes minimalist clothing of equatorial Africa. 

In temperate zones clothing tends to follow lifestyle.  Men who were out and about in the world, riding, working the farm, etc, wore trousers.  Women, with a more home centered life, wore skirts because homes were warmer than fields.  These practical customs became enshrined as something next door to divine law:  It was shocking, SHOCKING!, for females to wear trousers, and even worse for men to wear skirts.  (Someone, probably Jo, could write a lovely blog about how dressing in drag is considered the height of British male humor, but that’s another topic.  <g>)

Kate_hepburn_in_trousers These days, women are as likely to be out and about as men, so many of us wear trousers most of the time.  What was shocking in ‘30s Hollywood—think Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn in their trousers—became a way of life starting in the 1960s and 1970s.  I’m old enough to remember the dress codes that were common.  Offices and restaurants where women had to wear dresses all the time.  Ugh! 

To some extent, I’m weather oriented about dress—in the heat of summer, I often wear long, loose skirts.  But 98% of the time (at a conservative estimate), I wear trousers, and I’d hate to give up that freedom.

Assuming I could adjust to living a quiet, home centered Regency life, I’d still have to learn to wear the clothes.  Properly made stays aren’t uncomfortable, but they do require different movements.  When Regencycorsetfrontmm_2 Wenchling Nina wore accurate Regency dress for a historical weekend, she found that her correct corset meant that she had no upper body strength: she couldn’t even lift a small suitcase out of the trunk of her car.  She had to learn a new way of moving that was forced on her by her clothing.  This included not being able to lift her arms even as high as her shoulders. 

For modern women who are used to freedom of moment, this would be a dramatic change.  <mjp picturing herself lying on the floor to coax a cat out from under the sofa. Would that be possible in Regency garb?  Difficult, at the least!) 

What about eating?  That I can actually address from experience, since I lived in England for two years in the 70s, and that gave me a sense of lived closer to the natural cycle.  Refrigerators were often tiny, what we call office size, if houses had them at all.  In the cool English climate, food didn’t spoil quickly, and besides, women usually went to the shops for food several times a week, even daily. 

Most interestingly, the English ate much closer to the seasonal calendar.  In the U.S., most produce was (and is) available any time of the year.  The tomatoes might bounce like rubber balls and the strawberries have no flavor, but you can buy them in December.  In England, you only ate strawberries for the few weeks in early summer when they were in season—but you really appreciated them, and the flavor was fabulous.  All this would be even more true during the Regency.

Gooseberries In the nature of things, Regency people were “locavores”—people who ate food produced locally and seasonally.  That could be a whole blog in itself.  (No orange juice!  No olive oil!  But lots of gooseberries in season. 

I could prattle on indefinitely, but shall control myself for today.  Maybe I’ll come back to this topic another day. But for now—Maureen, I owe you a book!  If you go to the book list pages of my website, www.maryjoputney.com, you can look for a book of mine you might enjoy.  If it’s in mass market and I have sufficient copies, I’ll sign and send.  (You can e-mail me from the contact link on my website.)

Regency_gown Finally, since many of you are very knowledgeable about the Regency—what aspects of your life now would have to change to be a Regency woman?  What would be hardest—and would anything be easy?!!

Mary Jo

95 thoughts on “Becoming a Regency Woman?”

  1. I remember the PBS TV series THE 1900 HOUSE; what impressed me most was the difficulty of housekeeping. It took three days to do the laundry–and that was just sheets and undergarments. Outer garments weren’t washed but were sort of dry-cleaned. And one had to do the wash with lye soap; and the only remedy for your poor abused hands was spermaceti ointment which you had to make yourself.
    Of course, if you could choose to be born to an aristocratic household, you’d have servants to do this. But I’m assuming we’d be more or less our same social class, which for me would be something like middle to lower-upper (daughter of Army officer). Which would mean you’d have to pitch in to help the maid-of-all-work.
    Also, I’m diabetic. No insulin. Very nearsighted. No trifocals. No computers! *shock!*horror!* And I probably would have my reading restricted by my male relatives, if any. (I’m sure my father would disapprove of most of the stuff I read.)
    And, worst of all (though irrelevant at my age):
    NO TAMPONS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  2. I remember the PBS TV series THE 1900 HOUSE; what impressed me most was the difficulty of housekeeping. It took three days to do the laundry–and that was just sheets and undergarments. Outer garments weren’t washed but were sort of dry-cleaned. And one had to do the wash with lye soap; and the only remedy for your poor abused hands was spermaceti ointment which you had to make yourself.
    Of course, if you could choose to be born to an aristocratic household, you’d have servants to do this. But I’m assuming we’d be more or less our same social class, which for me would be something like middle to lower-upper (daughter of Army officer). Which would mean you’d have to pitch in to help the maid-of-all-work.
    Also, I’m diabetic. No insulin. Very nearsighted. No trifocals. No computers! *shock!*horror!* And I probably would have my reading restricted by my male relatives, if any. (I’m sure my father would disapprove of most of the stuff I read.)
    And, worst of all (though irrelevant at my age):
    NO TAMPONS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  3. I remember the PBS TV series THE 1900 HOUSE; what impressed me most was the difficulty of housekeeping. It took three days to do the laundry–and that was just sheets and undergarments. Outer garments weren’t washed but were sort of dry-cleaned. And one had to do the wash with lye soap; and the only remedy for your poor abused hands was spermaceti ointment which you had to make yourself.
    Of course, if you could choose to be born to an aristocratic household, you’d have servants to do this. But I’m assuming we’d be more or less our same social class, which for me would be something like middle to lower-upper (daughter of Army officer). Which would mean you’d have to pitch in to help the maid-of-all-work.
    Also, I’m diabetic. No insulin. Very nearsighted. No trifocals. No computers! *shock!*horror!* And I probably would have my reading restricted by my male relatives, if any. (I’m sure my father would disapprove of most of the stuff I read.)
    And, worst of all (though irrelevant at my age):
    NO TAMPONS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  4. I remember the PBS TV series THE 1900 HOUSE; what impressed me most was the difficulty of housekeeping. It took three days to do the laundry–and that was just sheets and undergarments. Outer garments weren’t washed but were sort of dry-cleaned. And one had to do the wash with lye soap; and the only remedy for your poor abused hands was spermaceti ointment which you had to make yourself.
    Of course, if you could choose to be born to an aristocratic household, you’d have servants to do this. But I’m assuming we’d be more or less our same social class, which for me would be something like middle to lower-upper (daughter of Army officer). Which would mean you’d have to pitch in to help the maid-of-all-work.
    Also, I’m diabetic. No insulin. Very nearsighted. No trifocals. No computers! *shock!*horror!* And I probably would have my reading restricted by my male relatives, if any. (I’m sure my father would disapprove of most of the stuff I read.)
    And, worst of all (though irrelevant at my age):
    NO TAMPONS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  5. I remember the PBS TV series THE 1900 HOUSE; what impressed me most was the difficulty of housekeeping. It took three days to do the laundry–and that was just sheets and undergarments. Outer garments weren’t washed but were sort of dry-cleaned. And one had to do the wash with lye soap; and the only remedy for your poor abused hands was spermaceti ointment which you had to make yourself.
    Of course, if you could choose to be born to an aristocratic household, you’d have servants to do this. But I’m assuming we’d be more or less our same social class, which for me would be something like middle to lower-upper (daughter of Army officer). Which would mean you’d have to pitch in to help the maid-of-all-work.
    Also, I’m diabetic. No insulin. Very nearsighted. No trifocals. No computers! *shock!*horror!* And I probably would have my reading restricted by my male relatives, if any. (I’m sure my father would disapprove of most of the stuff I read.)
    And, worst of all (though irrelevant at my age):
    NO TAMPONS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  6. I’ve always been struck by the difficulty of communication. You might be writing to your husband, only to find out he’d been dead for months. Travel was only for the intrepid. The world was simply a much smaller place for most people.

    Reply
  7. I’ve always been struck by the difficulty of communication. You might be writing to your husband, only to find out he’d been dead for months. Travel was only for the intrepid. The world was simply a much smaller place for most people.

    Reply
  8. I’ve always been struck by the difficulty of communication. You might be writing to your husband, only to find out he’d been dead for months. Travel was only for the intrepid. The world was simply a much smaller place for most people.

    Reply
  9. I’ve always been struck by the difficulty of communication. You might be writing to your husband, only to find out he’d been dead for months. Travel was only for the intrepid. The world was simply a much smaller place for most people.

    Reply
  10. I’ve always been struck by the difficulty of communication. You might be writing to your husband, only to find out he’d been dead for months. Travel was only for the intrepid. The world was simply a much smaller place for most people.

    Reply
  11. An interesting topic. The most difficult for me would be the ability to read what I would like and not just what was perscribed. Of course there is the very real possibility that I would be part of the lower classes so that would inhibit me even more. At least lower class dressing was a little more practical. Learning how to cook over a fire would be a pretty good challenge too.
    I am already trying to eat local and in season.
    Take care!

    Reply
  12. An interesting topic. The most difficult for me would be the ability to read what I would like and not just what was perscribed. Of course there is the very real possibility that I would be part of the lower classes so that would inhibit me even more. At least lower class dressing was a little more practical. Learning how to cook over a fire would be a pretty good challenge too.
    I am already trying to eat local and in season.
    Take care!

    Reply
  13. An interesting topic. The most difficult for me would be the ability to read what I would like and not just what was perscribed. Of course there is the very real possibility that I would be part of the lower classes so that would inhibit me even more. At least lower class dressing was a little more practical. Learning how to cook over a fire would be a pretty good challenge too.
    I am already trying to eat local and in season.
    Take care!

    Reply
  14. An interesting topic. The most difficult for me would be the ability to read what I would like and not just what was perscribed. Of course there is the very real possibility that I would be part of the lower classes so that would inhibit me even more. At least lower class dressing was a little more practical. Learning how to cook over a fire would be a pretty good challenge too.
    I am already trying to eat local and in season.
    Take care!

    Reply
  15. An interesting topic. The most difficult for me would be the ability to read what I would like and not just what was perscribed. Of course there is the very real possibility that I would be part of the lower classes so that would inhibit me even more. At least lower class dressing was a little more practical. Learning how to cook over a fire would be a pretty good challenge too.
    I am already trying to eat local and in season.
    Take care!

    Reply
  16. In the Regency period I would not be allowed to be a nurse or a university professor. Most women did simple nursing care for family members or staff who were ill, but there was no formal training and really not much to do except provide comfort (which is no small thing. People who were nurses (those not in a religious community) were considered to be of low character: drunkards, thieves and “no better than they should be.” So no decent women were allowed to pursue nursing as a calling.
    Further, I would have died in childbirth when my eldest came along. I am very grateful to live in this day of modern medicine.
    I think that if women of that time knew that there were a possibility of the freedoms of today they would chafe at the restrictions. But having been socialized on what options were available, they’d make the most of what they could do and still retain their good name.

    Reply
  17. In the Regency period I would not be allowed to be a nurse or a university professor. Most women did simple nursing care for family members or staff who were ill, but there was no formal training and really not much to do except provide comfort (which is no small thing. People who were nurses (those not in a religious community) were considered to be of low character: drunkards, thieves and “no better than they should be.” So no decent women were allowed to pursue nursing as a calling.
    Further, I would have died in childbirth when my eldest came along. I am very grateful to live in this day of modern medicine.
    I think that if women of that time knew that there were a possibility of the freedoms of today they would chafe at the restrictions. But having been socialized on what options were available, they’d make the most of what they could do and still retain their good name.

    Reply
  18. In the Regency period I would not be allowed to be a nurse or a university professor. Most women did simple nursing care for family members or staff who were ill, but there was no formal training and really not much to do except provide comfort (which is no small thing. People who were nurses (those not in a religious community) were considered to be of low character: drunkards, thieves and “no better than they should be.” So no decent women were allowed to pursue nursing as a calling.
    Further, I would have died in childbirth when my eldest came along. I am very grateful to live in this day of modern medicine.
    I think that if women of that time knew that there were a possibility of the freedoms of today they would chafe at the restrictions. But having been socialized on what options were available, they’d make the most of what they could do and still retain their good name.

    Reply
  19. In the Regency period I would not be allowed to be a nurse or a university professor. Most women did simple nursing care for family members or staff who were ill, but there was no formal training and really not much to do except provide comfort (which is no small thing. People who were nurses (those not in a religious community) were considered to be of low character: drunkards, thieves and “no better than they should be.” So no decent women were allowed to pursue nursing as a calling.
    Further, I would have died in childbirth when my eldest came along. I am very grateful to live in this day of modern medicine.
    I think that if women of that time knew that there were a possibility of the freedoms of today they would chafe at the restrictions. But having been socialized on what options were available, they’d make the most of what they could do and still retain their good name.

    Reply
  20. In the Regency period I would not be allowed to be a nurse or a university professor. Most women did simple nursing care for family members or staff who were ill, but there was no formal training and really not much to do except provide comfort (which is no small thing. People who were nurses (those not in a religious community) were considered to be of low character: drunkards, thieves and “no better than they should be.” So no decent women were allowed to pursue nursing as a calling.
    Further, I would have died in childbirth when my eldest came along. I am very grateful to live in this day of modern medicine.
    I think that if women of that time knew that there were a possibility of the freedoms of today they would chafe at the restrictions. But having been socialized on what options were available, they’d make the most of what they could do and still retain their good name.

    Reply
  21. I’m another who would have died early without modern medicine, having had an ectopic pregnancy at 30. But passing lightly over that, the question that occurs to me is, what of my modern self could I KEEP if I were a Regency woman? It seems to me that even one’s intelligence would have been compromised by the lack of available reading materials and education. As the daughter of a clergyman (which I am) my days would no doubt have been devoted to good works, and my most likely marital prospect would have been my father’s curate! I would have lacked the means to travel as far as my curiosity would have led me, unless my curate-husband had a calling to the mission field–and I’m not even sure there was much of that available in the Regency period. I was a rather shy child, and very likely would have remained so back then, whereas in Real Life I’ve become quite outgoing. I really wish there were some way to find out what the lives of my ancestors of that period WERE like. It’s somehow astonishing to realize that we all have great-great-however-many-times grandmothers and grandfathers who actually did live then, and survived long enough to reproduce. Oh, for a time machine!

    Reply
  22. I’m another who would have died early without modern medicine, having had an ectopic pregnancy at 30. But passing lightly over that, the question that occurs to me is, what of my modern self could I KEEP if I were a Regency woman? It seems to me that even one’s intelligence would have been compromised by the lack of available reading materials and education. As the daughter of a clergyman (which I am) my days would no doubt have been devoted to good works, and my most likely marital prospect would have been my father’s curate! I would have lacked the means to travel as far as my curiosity would have led me, unless my curate-husband had a calling to the mission field–and I’m not even sure there was much of that available in the Regency period. I was a rather shy child, and very likely would have remained so back then, whereas in Real Life I’ve become quite outgoing. I really wish there were some way to find out what the lives of my ancestors of that period WERE like. It’s somehow astonishing to realize that we all have great-great-however-many-times grandmothers and grandfathers who actually did live then, and survived long enough to reproduce. Oh, for a time machine!

    Reply
  23. I’m another who would have died early without modern medicine, having had an ectopic pregnancy at 30. But passing lightly over that, the question that occurs to me is, what of my modern self could I KEEP if I were a Regency woman? It seems to me that even one’s intelligence would have been compromised by the lack of available reading materials and education. As the daughter of a clergyman (which I am) my days would no doubt have been devoted to good works, and my most likely marital prospect would have been my father’s curate! I would have lacked the means to travel as far as my curiosity would have led me, unless my curate-husband had a calling to the mission field–and I’m not even sure there was much of that available in the Regency period. I was a rather shy child, and very likely would have remained so back then, whereas in Real Life I’ve become quite outgoing. I really wish there were some way to find out what the lives of my ancestors of that period WERE like. It’s somehow astonishing to realize that we all have great-great-however-many-times grandmothers and grandfathers who actually did live then, and survived long enough to reproduce. Oh, for a time machine!

    Reply
  24. I’m another who would have died early without modern medicine, having had an ectopic pregnancy at 30. But passing lightly over that, the question that occurs to me is, what of my modern self could I KEEP if I were a Regency woman? It seems to me that even one’s intelligence would have been compromised by the lack of available reading materials and education. As the daughter of a clergyman (which I am) my days would no doubt have been devoted to good works, and my most likely marital prospect would have been my father’s curate! I would have lacked the means to travel as far as my curiosity would have led me, unless my curate-husband had a calling to the mission field–and I’m not even sure there was much of that available in the Regency period. I was a rather shy child, and very likely would have remained so back then, whereas in Real Life I’ve become quite outgoing. I really wish there were some way to find out what the lives of my ancestors of that period WERE like. It’s somehow astonishing to realize that we all have great-great-however-many-times grandmothers and grandfathers who actually did live then, and survived long enough to reproduce. Oh, for a time machine!

    Reply
  25. I’m another who would have died early without modern medicine, having had an ectopic pregnancy at 30. But passing lightly over that, the question that occurs to me is, what of my modern self could I KEEP if I were a Regency woman? It seems to me that even one’s intelligence would have been compromised by the lack of available reading materials and education. As the daughter of a clergyman (which I am) my days would no doubt have been devoted to good works, and my most likely marital prospect would have been my father’s curate! I would have lacked the means to travel as far as my curiosity would have led me, unless my curate-husband had a calling to the mission field–and I’m not even sure there was much of that available in the Regency period. I was a rather shy child, and very likely would have remained so back then, whereas in Real Life I’ve become quite outgoing. I really wish there were some way to find out what the lives of my ancestors of that period WERE like. It’s somehow astonishing to realize that we all have great-great-however-many-times grandmothers and grandfathers who actually did live then, and survived long enough to reproduce. Oh, for a time machine!

    Reply
  26. I’m yet another one who probably would’ve been dead by now in the Regency. I developed preeclampsia when I was pregnant with my daughter, which is often lethal for both mother and baby if left untreated. HOWEVER, if I’d had a doctor who believe in regular bleeding, it might’ve lowered my blood pressure enough to give me a chance…

    Reply
  27. I’m yet another one who probably would’ve been dead by now in the Regency. I developed preeclampsia when I was pregnant with my daughter, which is often lethal for both mother and baby if left untreated. HOWEVER, if I’d had a doctor who believe in regular bleeding, it might’ve lowered my blood pressure enough to give me a chance…

    Reply
  28. I’m yet another one who probably would’ve been dead by now in the Regency. I developed preeclampsia when I was pregnant with my daughter, which is often lethal for both mother and baby if left untreated. HOWEVER, if I’d had a doctor who believe in regular bleeding, it might’ve lowered my blood pressure enough to give me a chance…

    Reply
  29. I’m yet another one who probably would’ve been dead by now in the Regency. I developed preeclampsia when I was pregnant with my daughter, which is often lethal for both mother and baby if left untreated. HOWEVER, if I’d had a doctor who believe in regular bleeding, it might’ve lowered my blood pressure enough to give me a chance…

    Reply
  30. I’m yet another one who probably would’ve been dead by now in the Regency. I developed preeclampsia when I was pregnant with my daughter, which is often lethal for both mother and baby if left untreated. HOWEVER, if I’d had a doctor who believe in regular bleeding, it might’ve lowered my blood pressure enough to give me a chance…

    Reply
  31. Hi Mary Jo!
    Thank you for picking my question. When I think of living during the Regency I realize how different it would have been to raise a daughter at that time. We had our daughter almost twenty years ago and we never had to tell her she couldn’t do something because of her gender.

    Reply
  32. Hi Mary Jo!
    Thank you for picking my question. When I think of living during the Regency I realize how different it would have been to raise a daughter at that time. We had our daughter almost twenty years ago and we never had to tell her she couldn’t do something because of her gender.

    Reply
  33. Hi Mary Jo!
    Thank you for picking my question. When I think of living during the Regency I realize how different it would have been to raise a daughter at that time. We had our daughter almost twenty years ago and we never had to tell her she couldn’t do something because of her gender.

    Reply
  34. Hi Mary Jo!
    Thank you for picking my question. When I think of living during the Regency I realize how different it would have been to raise a daughter at that time. We had our daughter almost twenty years ago and we never had to tell her she couldn’t do something because of her gender.

    Reply
  35. Hi Mary Jo!
    Thank you for picking my question. When I think of living during the Regency I realize how different it would have been to raise a daughter at that time. We had our daughter almost twenty years ago and we never had to tell her she couldn’t do something because of her gender.

    Reply
  36. Apart from what everyone has already mentioned – no electricity! Everything was so much darker and the rhytm of life was more attuned to the natural cycle… as a veteran “in bed” reader, I’d find it very hard. Also, the lack of privacy would really bother me. It was pretty common to share rooms with siblings all your life. Even if you had a room of your own (if you were well-born enough to afford it) you had to be chaperoned all the time. I am so glad I do not live under such circumstances, it must be so annoying to always have another person present….

    Reply
  37. Apart from what everyone has already mentioned – no electricity! Everything was so much darker and the rhytm of life was more attuned to the natural cycle… as a veteran “in bed” reader, I’d find it very hard. Also, the lack of privacy would really bother me. It was pretty common to share rooms with siblings all your life. Even if you had a room of your own (if you were well-born enough to afford it) you had to be chaperoned all the time. I am so glad I do not live under such circumstances, it must be so annoying to always have another person present….

    Reply
  38. Apart from what everyone has already mentioned – no electricity! Everything was so much darker and the rhytm of life was more attuned to the natural cycle… as a veteran “in bed” reader, I’d find it very hard. Also, the lack of privacy would really bother me. It was pretty common to share rooms with siblings all your life. Even if you had a room of your own (if you were well-born enough to afford it) you had to be chaperoned all the time. I am so glad I do not live under such circumstances, it must be so annoying to always have another person present….

    Reply
  39. Apart from what everyone has already mentioned – no electricity! Everything was so much darker and the rhytm of life was more attuned to the natural cycle… as a veteran “in bed” reader, I’d find it very hard. Also, the lack of privacy would really bother me. It was pretty common to share rooms with siblings all your life. Even if you had a room of your own (if you were well-born enough to afford it) you had to be chaperoned all the time. I am so glad I do not live under such circumstances, it must be so annoying to always have another person present….

    Reply
  40. Apart from what everyone has already mentioned – no electricity! Everything was so much darker and the rhytm of life was more attuned to the natural cycle… as a veteran “in bed” reader, I’d find it very hard. Also, the lack of privacy would really bother me. It was pretty common to share rooms with siblings all your life. Even if you had a room of your own (if you were well-born enough to afford it) you had to be chaperoned all the time. I am so glad I do not live under such circumstances, it must be so annoying to always have another person present….

    Reply
  41. I should also point out that Jane Austen seems to have died of the now-extremely-curable Hodgkin’s lymphoma; and Ada Byron Lovelace was bled to death in an effort to cure some form of uterine cancer, also very treatable these days.

    Reply
  42. I should also point out that Jane Austen seems to have died of the now-extremely-curable Hodgkin’s lymphoma; and Ada Byron Lovelace was bled to death in an effort to cure some form of uterine cancer, also very treatable these days.

    Reply
  43. I should also point out that Jane Austen seems to have died of the now-extremely-curable Hodgkin’s lymphoma; and Ada Byron Lovelace was bled to death in an effort to cure some form of uterine cancer, also very treatable these days.

    Reply
  44. I should also point out that Jane Austen seems to have died of the now-extremely-curable Hodgkin’s lymphoma; and Ada Byron Lovelace was bled to death in an effort to cure some form of uterine cancer, also very treatable these days.

    Reply
  45. I should also point out that Jane Austen seems to have died of the now-extremely-curable Hodgkin’s lymphoma; and Ada Byron Lovelace was bled to death in an effort to cure some form of uterine cancer, also very treatable these days.

    Reply
  46. From MJP:
    It’s not surprising that medical care comes up over and over in these comments. Modern medicine makes such a HUGE difference.
    As Kathy says, if we were actually born and raised in the Regency, we’d be socialized to accept the world as it was, and probably wouldn’t have chafed too much at the restrictions.
    But looking back from now—I much prefer to do it in fiction!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  47. From MJP:
    It’s not surprising that medical care comes up over and over in these comments. Modern medicine makes such a HUGE difference.
    As Kathy says, if we were actually born and raised in the Regency, we’d be socialized to accept the world as it was, and probably wouldn’t have chafed too much at the restrictions.
    But looking back from now—I much prefer to do it in fiction!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  48. From MJP:
    It’s not surprising that medical care comes up over and over in these comments. Modern medicine makes such a HUGE difference.
    As Kathy says, if we were actually born and raised in the Regency, we’d be socialized to accept the world as it was, and probably wouldn’t have chafed too much at the restrictions.
    But looking back from now—I much prefer to do it in fiction!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  49. From MJP:
    It’s not surprising that medical care comes up over and over in these comments. Modern medicine makes such a HUGE difference.
    As Kathy says, if we were actually born and raised in the Regency, we’d be socialized to accept the world as it was, and probably wouldn’t have chafed too much at the restrictions.
    But looking back from now—I much prefer to do it in fiction!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  50. From MJP:
    It’s not surprising that medical care comes up over and over in these comments. Modern medicine makes such a HUGE difference.
    As Kathy says, if we were actually born and raised in the Regency, we’d be socialized to accept the world as it was, and probably wouldn’t have chafed too much at the restrictions.
    But looking back from now—I much prefer to do it in fiction!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  51. If I made it far enough for it to be an issue, I think I’d miss reading; books were scarce and comparatively expensive. I’d be stuck reading the few good ones over & over, and praying for something new & good to come my way. I’d miss my good reading light; candlelight flickers, which bothers my eyes, and I’d probably have been too busy during daylight hours to be reading. I’d also miss makeup; the concoctions regency ladies put on their eyes and faces make me shiver just thinking about it. Most of all I think I’d miss my present day feeling of connection with the world outside my little area. I don’t much like the news sometimes, but I want to know what it is.

    Reply
  52. If I made it far enough for it to be an issue, I think I’d miss reading; books were scarce and comparatively expensive. I’d be stuck reading the few good ones over & over, and praying for something new & good to come my way. I’d miss my good reading light; candlelight flickers, which bothers my eyes, and I’d probably have been too busy during daylight hours to be reading. I’d also miss makeup; the concoctions regency ladies put on their eyes and faces make me shiver just thinking about it. Most of all I think I’d miss my present day feeling of connection with the world outside my little area. I don’t much like the news sometimes, but I want to know what it is.

    Reply
  53. If I made it far enough for it to be an issue, I think I’d miss reading; books were scarce and comparatively expensive. I’d be stuck reading the few good ones over & over, and praying for something new & good to come my way. I’d miss my good reading light; candlelight flickers, which bothers my eyes, and I’d probably have been too busy during daylight hours to be reading. I’d also miss makeup; the concoctions regency ladies put on their eyes and faces make me shiver just thinking about it. Most of all I think I’d miss my present day feeling of connection with the world outside my little area. I don’t much like the news sometimes, but I want to know what it is.

    Reply
  54. If I made it far enough for it to be an issue, I think I’d miss reading; books were scarce and comparatively expensive. I’d be stuck reading the few good ones over & over, and praying for something new & good to come my way. I’d miss my good reading light; candlelight flickers, which bothers my eyes, and I’d probably have been too busy during daylight hours to be reading. I’d also miss makeup; the concoctions regency ladies put on their eyes and faces make me shiver just thinking about it. Most of all I think I’d miss my present day feeling of connection with the world outside my little area. I don’t much like the news sometimes, but I want to know what it is.

    Reply
  55. If I made it far enough for it to be an issue, I think I’d miss reading; books were scarce and comparatively expensive. I’d be stuck reading the few good ones over & over, and praying for something new & good to come my way. I’d miss my good reading light; candlelight flickers, which bothers my eyes, and I’d probably have been too busy during daylight hours to be reading. I’d also miss makeup; the concoctions regency ladies put on their eyes and faces make me shiver just thinking about it. Most of all I think I’d miss my present day feeling of connection with the world outside my little area. I don’t much like the news sometimes, but I want to know what it is.

    Reply
  56. A while ago I rented the PBS series “Regency House Party” – where they put a bunch of people into a house in the country & had them live as they did during the regency period. They selected people of different classes & occupations & put them in corresponding classes & occupations in the house. It was pretty interesting & the thing that most of the ladies complained about was the boredom. The men got to go off horseback riding, hunting, and other manly outdoor activities, whilst the women mostly had to stay inside with their needlework & books.
    I have to say I agree with them. It would drive me nuts. Aside from the fact that I can’t thread a needle without assistance, I golf, I row on a crew of 8, and this summer I’m riding my bicycle (astride) across the state of Iowa with 2 guys, neither of whom are my husband, brother, father or uncle.
    So I guess I’d have to agree with everyone else here who says lack of freedom. And tampons. Yeesh.

    Reply
  57. A while ago I rented the PBS series “Regency House Party” – where they put a bunch of people into a house in the country & had them live as they did during the regency period. They selected people of different classes & occupations & put them in corresponding classes & occupations in the house. It was pretty interesting & the thing that most of the ladies complained about was the boredom. The men got to go off horseback riding, hunting, and other manly outdoor activities, whilst the women mostly had to stay inside with their needlework & books.
    I have to say I agree with them. It would drive me nuts. Aside from the fact that I can’t thread a needle without assistance, I golf, I row on a crew of 8, and this summer I’m riding my bicycle (astride) across the state of Iowa with 2 guys, neither of whom are my husband, brother, father or uncle.
    So I guess I’d have to agree with everyone else here who says lack of freedom. And tampons. Yeesh.

    Reply
  58. A while ago I rented the PBS series “Regency House Party” – where they put a bunch of people into a house in the country & had them live as they did during the regency period. They selected people of different classes & occupations & put them in corresponding classes & occupations in the house. It was pretty interesting & the thing that most of the ladies complained about was the boredom. The men got to go off horseback riding, hunting, and other manly outdoor activities, whilst the women mostly had to stay inside with their needlework & books.
    I have to say I agree with them. It would drive me nuts. Aside from the fact that I can’t thread a needle without assistance, I golf, I row on a crew of 8, and this summer I’m riding my bicycle (astride) across the state of Iowa with 2 guys, neither of whom are my husband, brother, father or uncle.
    So I guess I’d have to agree with everyone else here who says lack of freedom. And tampons. Yeesh.

    Reply
  59. A while ago I rented the PBS series “Regency House Party” – where they put a bunch of people into a house in the country & had them live as they did during the regency period. They selected people of different classes & occupations & put them in corresponding classes & occupations in the house. It was pretty interesting & the thing that most of the ladies complained about was the boredom. The men got to go off horseback riding, hunting, and other manly outdoor activities, whilst the women mostly had to stay inside with their needlework & books.
    I have to say I agree with them. It would drive me nuts. Aside from the fact that I can’t thread a needle without assistance, I golf, I row on a crew of 8, and this summer I’m riding my bicycle (astride) across the state of Iowa with 2 guys, neither of whom are my husband, brother, father or uncle.
    So I guess I’d have to agree with everyone else here who says lack of freedom. And tampons. Yeesh.

    Reply
  60. A while ago I rented the PBS series “Regency House Party” – where they put a bunch of people into a house in the country & had them live as they did during the regency period. They selected people of different classes & occupations & put them in corresponding classes & occupations in the house. It was pretty interesting & the thing that most of the ladies complained about was the boredom. The men got to go off horseback riding, hunting, and other manly outdoor activities, whilst the women mostly had to stay inside with their needlework & books.
    I have to say I agree with them. It would drive me nuts. Aside from the fact that I can’t thread a needle without assistance, I golf, I row on a crew of 8, and this summer I’m riding my bicycle (astride) across the state of Iowa with 2 guys, neither of whom are my husband, brother, father or uncle.
    So I guess I’d have to agree with everyone else here who says lack of freedom. And tampons. Yeesh.

    Reply
  61. (singing with monty python voice) i’m a lumberjack and i’m ok, i work all night and i sleep all day! i dress in women’s clothing and hand around in bars! oh, i’m a lumberjack…

    Reply
  62. (singing with monty python voice) i’m a lumberjack and i’m ok, i work all night and i sleep all day! i dress in women’s clothing and hand around in bars! oh, i’m a lumberjack…

    Reply
  63. (singing with monty python voice) i’m a lumberjack and i’m ok, i work all night and i sleep all day! i dress in women’s clothing and hand around in bars! oh, i’m a lumberjack…

    Reply
  64. (singing with monty python voice) i’m a lumberjack and i’m ok, i work all night and i sleep all day! i dress in women’s clothing and hand around in bars! oh, i’m a lumberjack…

    Reply
  65. (singing with monty python voice) i’m a lumberjack and i’m ok, i work all night and i sleep all day! i dress in women’s clothing and hand around in bars! oh, i’m a lumberjack…

    Reply
  66. ***It was pretty interesting & the thing that most of the ladies complained about was the boredom. The men got to go off horseback riding, hunting, and other manly outdoor activities, whilst the women mostly had to stay inside with their needlework & books.***
    The “hostess” (air quotes NECESSARY) utterly failed in her duty to her guests. I raved about his for weeks. Any hostess worth her salt would have had a slew of activities planned for her female guests, and many of those activities would have been co-ed, as the whole point of the house party in question was match making. The fact that nothing was arranged for them was a major social faux pas, and would have ensured that no one would ever want to return to this woman’s home. Where were the carriage drives? The pic-nic lunches? The excursions to the local sights? The archery parties? Why were none of the women allowed to go riding? Why why WHY? And don’t get me started on the bizarre stricture that a woman wasn’t allowed to LEAVE HER ROOM without her companion. That was utterly ridiculous. The whole show was a bust IMO.

    Reply
  67. ***It was pretty interesting & the thing that most of the ladies complained about was the boredom. The men got to go off horseback riding, hunting, and other manly outdoor activities, whilst the women mostly had to stay inside with their needlework & books.***
    The “hostess” (air quotes NECESSARY) utterly failed in her duty to her guests. I raved about his for weeks. Any hostess worth her salt would have had a slew of activities planned for her female guests, and many of those activities would have been co-ed, as the whole point of the house party in question was match making. The fact that nothing was arranged for them was a major social faux pas, and would have ensured that no one would ever want to return to this woman’s home. Where were the carriage drives? The pic-nic lunches? The excursions to the local sights? The archery parties? Why were none of the women allowed to go riding? Why why WHY? And don’t get me started on the bizarre stricture that a woman wasn’t allowed to LEAVE HER ROOM without her companion. That was utterly ridiculous. The whole show was a bust IMO.

    Reply
  68. ***It was pretty interesting & the thing that most of the ladies complained about was the boredom. The men got to go off horseback riding, hunting, and other manly outdoor activities, whilst the women mostly had to stay inside with their needlework & books.***
    The “hostess” (air quotes NECESSARY) utterly failed in her duty to her guests. I raved about his for weeks. Any hostess worth her salt would have had a slew of activities planned for her female guests, and many of those activities would have been co-ed, as the whole point of the house party in question was match making. The fact that nothing was arranged for them was a major social faux pas, and would have ensured that no one would ever want to return to this woman’s home. Where were the carriage drives? The pic-nic lunches? The excursions to the local sights? The archery parties? Why were none of the women allowed to go riding? Why why WHY? And don’t get me started on the bizarre stricture that a woman wasn’t allowed to LEAVE HER ROOM without her companion. That was utterly ridiculous. The whole show was a bust IMO.

    Reply
  69. ***It was pretty interesting & the thing that most of the ladies complained about was the boredom. The men got to go off horseback riding, hunting, and other manly outdoor activities, whilst the women mostly had to stay inside with their needlework & books.***
    The “hostess” (air quotes NECESSARY) utterly failed in her duty to her guests. I raved about his for weeks. Any hostess worth her salt would have had a slew of activities planned for her female guests, and many of those activities would have been co-ed, as the whole point of the house party in question was match making. The fact that nothing was arranged for them was a major social faux pas, and would have ensured that no one would ever want to return to this woman’s home. Where were the carriage drives? The pic-nic lunches? The excursions to the local sights? The archery parties? Why were none of the women allowed to go riding? Why why WHY? And don’t get me started on the bizarre stricture that a woman wasn’t allowed to LEAVE HER ROOM without her companion. That was utterly ridiculous. The whole show was a bust IMO.

    Reply
  70. ***It was pretty interesting & the thing that most of the ladies complained about was the boredom. The men got to go off horseback riding, hunting, and other manly outdoor activities, whilst the women mostly had to stay inside with their needlework & books.***
    The “hostess” (air quotes NECESSARY) utterly failed in her duty to her guests. I raved about his for weeks. Any hostess worth her salt would have had a slew of activities planned for her female guests, and many of those activities would have been co-ed, as the whole point of the house party in question was match making. The fact that nothing was arranged for them was a major social faux pas, and would have ensured that no one would ever want to return to this woman’s home. Where were the carriage drives? The pic-nic lunches? The excursions to the local sights? The archery parties? Why were none of the women allowed to go riding? Why why WHY? And don’t get me started on the bizarre stricture that a woman wasn’t allowed to LEAVE HER ROOM without her companion. That was utterly ridiculous. The whole show was a bust IMO.

    Reply
  71. ***The “hostess” (air quotes NECESSARY) utterly failed in her duty to her guests.***
    That’s a pretty dang good point! Especially since the “hostess” (air quotes tm) was kinda snooty about being so knowledgeable of the time and was kind of there to direct the younger people and keep them in line with the regency manners & customs.
    I forgot about the matchmaking part. She just kind of assumed that people would “hook up” according to their respective social status and let it go at that.
    Now I’M up in arms about it too!!!

    Reply
  72. ***The “hostess” (air quotes NECESSARY) utterly failed in her duty to her guests.***
    That’s a pretty dang good point! Especially since the “hostess” (air quotes tm) was kinda snooty about being so knowledgeable of the time and was kind of there to direct the younger people and keep them in line with the regency manners & customs.
    I forgot about the matchmaking part. She just kind of assumed that people would “hook up” according to their respective social status and let it go at that.
    Now I’M up in arms about it too!!!

    Reply
  73. ***The “hostess” (air quotes NECESSARY) utterly failed in her duty to her guests.***
    That’s a pretty dang good point! Especially since the “hostess” (air quotes tm) was kinda snooty about being so knowledgeable of the time and was kind of there to direct the younger people and keep them in line with the regency manners & customs.
    I forgot about the matchmaking part. She just kind of assumed that people would “hook up” according to their respective social status and let it go at that.
    Now I’M up in arms about it too!!!

    Reply
  74. ***The “hostess” (air quotes NECESSARY) utterly failed in her duty to her guests.***
    That’s a pretty dang good point! Especially since the “hostess” (air quotes tm) was kinda snooty about being so knowledgeable of the time and was kind of there to direct the younger people and keep them in line with the regency manners & customs.
    I forgot about the matchmaking part. She just kind of assumed that people would “hook up” according to their respective social status and let it go at that.
    Now I’M up in arms about it too!!!

    Reply
  75. ***The “hostess” (air quotes NECESSARY) utterly failed in her duty to her guests.***
    That’s a pretty dang good point! Especially since the “hostess” (air quotes tm) was kinda snooty about being so knowledgeable of the time and was kind of there to direct the younger people and keep them in line with the regency manners & customs.
    I forgot about the matchmaking part. She just kind of assumed that people would “hook up” according to their respective social status and let it go at that.
    Now I’M up in arms about it too!!!

    Reply
  76. I saw that series, too, and was appalled by the great gap between the research that went into the setup, on the part of the producers, and the total ineffectiveness of the characters, presumably due to lack of care on the part of the casting director.
    However, I was intrigued to notice resemblances in behavior between a number of the participants and Jane Austen characters and real-life Regency figures. The hostess, who wound up having an affair with the most eligible bachelor, was Frances, Lady Jersey (senior) to the life; and I’m sure I spotted Catherine Morland in there somewhere…

    Reply
  77. I saw that series, too, and was appalled by the great gap between the research that went into the setup, on the part of the producers, and the total ineffectiveness of the characters, presumably due to lack of care on the part of the casting director.
    However, I was intrigued to notice resemblances in behavior between a number of the participants and Jane Austen characters and real-life Regency figures. The hostess, who wound up having an affair with the most eligible bachelor, was Frances, Lady Jersey (senior) to the life; and I’m sure I spotted Catherine Morland in there somewhere…

    Reply
  78. I saw that series, too, and was appalled by the great gap between the research that went into the setup, on the part of the producers, and the total ineffectiveness of the characters, presumably due to lack of care on the part of the casting director.
    However, I was intrigued to notice resemblances in behavior between a number of the participants and Jane Austen characters and real-life Regency figures. The hostess, who wound up having an affair with the most eligible bachelor, was Frances, Lady Jersey (senior) to the life; and I’m sure I spotted Catherine Morland in there somewhere…

    Reply
  79. I saw that series, too, and was appalled by the great gap between the research that went into the setup, on the part of the producers, and the total ineffectiveness of the characters, presumably due to lack of care on the part of the casting director.
    However, I was intrigued to notice resemblances in behavior between a number of the participants and Jane Austen characters and real-life Regency figures. The hostess, who wound up having an affair with the most eligible bachelor, was Frances, Lady Jersey (senior) to the life; and I’m sure I spotted Catherine Morland in there somewhere…

    Reply
  80. I saw that series, too, and was appalled by the great gap between the research that went into the setup, on the part of the producers, and the total ineffectiveness of the characters, presumably due to lack of care on the part of the casting director.
    However, I was intrigued to notice resemblances in behavior between a number of the participants and Jane Austen characters and real-life Regency figures. The hostess, who wound up having an affair with the most eligible bachelor, was Frances, Lady Jersey (senior) to the life; and I’m sure I spotted Catherine Morland in there somewhere…

    Reply

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