The fallen woman

Black_lace_barbie2 From Loretta:

In historical romances, we often encounter women who become prostitutes or courtesans in order to survive.  An innocent girl is seduced by a blackguard and cast out by her family.  A widow finds herself penniless.  A governess is impregnated by the dissolute master of the house.  Forced to fend for themselves, the women resort to the oldest profession.

It didn't always happen that way, though.

Harriette_wilsons_memoirs “I shall not say why and how I became, at the age of fifteen, the mistress of Lord Craven.  Whether it was love, or the severity of my father, or the depravity of my own heart, or the winning arts of the noble Lord, which induced me to leave my paternal roof and place myself under his protection, does not now much signify:  or if it does, I am not in the humour to gratify curiosity in this matter.”

Thus begin the Memoirs of Harriette Wilson (1786-1846), the most famous of the Regency era’s courtesans.  (Note re my last blog:  Harriette was 15; the Earl of Craven was 31).  She wasn’t the only one in her family to flee respectability.  Her sisters left home, too (one at thirteen), to become Fashionable Impures.  Harriette_wilson01wkHarriette was and is the memorable one, however.  Her memoirs, first published in 1825, are amazingly readable, and that is not something one can say about most early 19th C prose.  As I’ve noted before, there’s a reason some authors live on and others don’t.

The memoirs offer many clues to Harriette’s popularity.  Apparently, she was not deemed a great beauty.  But she was great fun, as the insouciant beginning of her tale promises. Though what passed for wit then might make us scratch our heads, she could hold her own with the men.  She was a saucy wench.

Being entertaining was a crucial skill in a courtesan’s repertoire–but to understand this, we need to understand what a courtesan was, and how she differed from prostitutes.

My shorthand definition of a courtesan is usually “high priced call girl.”  That’s grossly oversimplifying and perhaps misleading.  It’s hard to convey to a 21st century world what courtesans were.

Harris_list_covent_garden_ladies_17Something like high-priced call girls did exist in Georgian times.  One finds in Harris's List of Covent-Garden Ladies a “Miss ___, at Mrs. Ross’s, No. 7, Wardour-street.” She charged five guineas, where the majority charged half a guinea to a guinea.  A guinea was one pound, one shilling.  In today's money, that seems to be nearly £100 (about $200). 

Veronicafrancowk Women like Harriette were more closely related to the courtesans of, say, 17th century Venice (this painting is of the famous Veronica Franco) or ancient Greece, though not quite the same, either.  The courtesans of earlier times were very well educated and cultured.  They might dance, sing, play an instrument, write poetry (as Franco did).  Harriette and her ilk were not educated in this way, yet they filled a similar function.  Men associated with courtesans not simply for sex but for conversation and entertainment, in societies where marriages were made for political and dynastic reasons and wives and husbands tended to live in separate worlds.

Cyprians_ball Courtesans lived in the man’s world, a freer world.  They paid a high price for their freedom, but one can understand why some chose this life.  The aria “Sempre libera,” from La Traviata, might well be their theme song.

1819eveningdressackermannswiki The respectable woman woman was bound by rules.  No sex or even knowledge of sex before marriage.  Stand so, sit so, speak so.  She doesn’t want to appear too intellectual or too opinionated.  Until she’s launched into Society, she’s had little to do with gentlemen outside her family.  Being closely chaperoned, she’s not likely to learn much more about them until she marries one of them.  Our young lady may be beautiful and have a delightful personality –but she’s an innocent, and men are expected to be on good behavior with her. 

Tom_kate_waltz With the Harriette Wilsons of the world, men behaved more or less as they did among themselves.  With such women, the men could behave as they did with other men.

Scholars and others have pointed out that the only time a woman had power over men was during courtship.  A gently bred girl gets a taste of this power (if she’s popular) during her Season, and one can certainly understand her wishing to prolong the experience. 

Harrietwilsonla_coterie_deboucheBut courtesans wielded such power over the course of their careers.  They suffered the same–if not worse–vicissitudes their more respectable sisters endured but they had the power to say yes or no to men.  If her protector was unsatisfactory, a courtesan could replace him.  She might travel where she liked, see whom she liked, without asking anybody’s permission.  She did not have to mind her Ps and Qs.  She could tell dirty jokes, though she would avoid appearing too coarse.  In short, she might behave more like a man.

For women like Harriette,Harriette_wilson01wk_2  the path to sin was the road to freedom.

This isn’t to say it couldn’t be the road to misery, or that choosing this path wasn't an enormous gamble, with the odds against her.  A courtesan’s career was bound to be brief, and though Harriette lived a long life, many died young, often in the gutter. OTOH, being respectably married wasn’t security for everyone.  A spouse might gamble away the family fortune. (Harriette did marry, and it was her husband who spent the money she’d made with her memoirs.)  For the courtesan, venereal disease was practically a certainty.  Yet it was a possiblity for the respectable wife of any man who’d had premarital or extramarital sex–and a large segment of the male aristocracy was promiscuous.  The courtesan risked death in childbirth and miscarriage, and the death of children, as other women did.  Titled ladies had no guarantees their marriages would be safe or stable.  They might be abused or abandoned or divorced.  Meanwhile, a courtesan might marry a nobleman.  (Harriette’s sister Sophia married Lord Berwick–when he was forty-two and she was still a teenager.)  Life wasn't easy on women, respectable or not.  It's not hard to understand why some women went for pleasure and freedom:  Play now, pay later.

Harriettewilsonchawton_2 Why did Harriette run away with Lord Craven?  Was it for any of the reasons she suggested?  Or was she a woman who chafed at the restrictions of her time–a woman better suited to the world of the early 21st century, say, than the early 19th?  We’ll never know for sure.  But when I recall that she was a teenager when she bolted, I find myself thinking that maybe Harriette was one of those girls who just wanted to have fun.  At 15, how many think of consequences?

photo credit (image of Harriette from Frontispiece of the 1825 edition)

Yswfrontsm200dpi So let’s have some fun and pretend.  Imagine you’re a young woman of Harriette’s time.  What path do you think you'd follow?  Would you believe in the rules and do your best to follow them?  Would you follow the rules but chafe under them?  Or would you to take the gamble of being a Bad Girl?

165 thoughts on “The fallen woman”

  1. I think it would depend in large measure on what world I was born into. There’s a fascinating biography by Henry Blyth, who wrote several books on the Regency and Victorian sport, gambling, and rakes, of one of the most famous of “les grandes horizontales,” the courtesan known as “Skittles,” who was at one time the mistress of Bertie, the future King Edward VII. She got her name because before she hit the big time, she had a job as a pinsetter in a skittles (bowling) alley. Harriette Wilson was one of the fifteen children of Swiss clock maker, John James Dubouchet and his wife Amelia (sez Wikipedia). Sounds like the world of the Fashionably Impure was a big step up for her financially, too.
    If I were poor, without much prospect of bettering myself legitimately, and without strong moral/religious values, yet pretty and clever and shrewd, I might just take a really good offer.
    Unfortunately, the more common story was that of the young girl from the country coming to London to seek employment as a housemaid, met at the coaching inn by a respectable-looking lady who offered her such, then imprisoned in a brothel, drugged, raped repeatedly, and forced into a life of prostitution. When she passed her prime, she’d probably be turned out into the streets to drink herself to death with Blue Ruin, and sell herself for a penny to strangers in dark alleys–exactly like the poor women who later became victims of Jack the Ripper. If one is going to be a successful courtesan, it’s better to be Marie, Comtesse d’Agoult (Liszt’s mistress) and have a wealthy family, an ex-husband or two, and a salon that is a magnet for artists of all sorts.
    If I were a cit from a reasonably prosperous family, I think I’d either marry respectably or try for a comfortable spinsterhood.
    If I were the daughter of a proper English aristocratic family (unlike wicked Marie), I’d have a horror of being cast out of Society and follow all the rules until I was safely (and prosperously) married. Once I’d presented my husband with an heir, and possibly a spare, my options would be wide open…
    (I met Marie in the wonderful film IMPROMPTU, starring Judy Davis as George Sand and Hugh Grant as Chopin. Bernadette Peters was wonderful as Marie.)

    Reply
  2. I think it would depend in large measure on what world I was born into. There’s a fascinating biography by Henry Blyth, who wrote several books on the Regency and Victorian sport, gambling, and rakes, of one of the most famous of “les grandes horizontales,” the courtesan known as “Skittles,” who was at one time the mistress of Bertie, the future King Edward VII. She got her name because before she hit the big time, she had a job as a pinsetter in a skittles (bowling) alley. Harriette Wilson was one of the fifteen children of Swiss clock maker, John James Dubouchet and his wife Amelia (sez Wikipedia). Sounds like the world of the Fashionably Impure was a big step up for her financially, too.
    If I were poor, without much prospect of bettering myself legitimately, and without strong moral/religious values, yet pretty and clever and shrewd, I might just take a really good offer.
    Unfortunately, the more common story was that of the young girl from the country coming to London to seek employment as a housemaid, met at the coaching inn by a respectable-looking lady who offered her such, then imprisoned in a brothel, drugged, raped repeatedly, and forced into a life of prostitution. When she passed her prime, she’d probably be turned out into the streets to drink herself to death with Blue Ruin, and sell herself for a penny to strangers in dark alleys–exactly like the poor women who later became victims of Jack the Ripper. If one is going to be a successful courtesan, it’s better to be Marie, Comtesse d’Agoult (Liszt’s mistress) and have a wealthy family, an ex-husband or two, and a salon that is a magnet for artists of all sorts.
    If I were a cit from a reasonably prosperous family, I think I’d either marry respectably or try for a comfortable spinsterhood.
    If I were the daughter of a proper English aristocratic family (unlike wicked Marie), I’d have a horror of being cast out of Society and follow all the rules until I was safely (and prosperously) married. Once I’d presented my husband with an heir, and possibly a spare, my options would be wide open…
    (I met Marie in the wonderful film IMPROMPTU, starring Judy Davis as George Sand and Hugh Grant as Chopin. Bernadette Peters was wonderful as Marie.)

    Reply
  3. I think it would depend in large measure on what world I was born into. There’s a fascinating biography by Henry Blyth, who wrote several books on the Regency and Victorian sport, gambling, and rakes, of one of the most famous of “les grandes horizontales,” the courtesan known as “Skittles,” who was at one time the mistress of Bertie, the future King Edward VII. She got her name because before she hit the big time, she had a job as a pinsetter in a skittles (bowling) alley. Harriette Wilson was one of the fifteen children of Swiss clock maker, John James Dubouchet and his wife Amelia (sez Wikipedia). Sounds like the world of the Fashionably Impure was a big step up for her financially, too.
    If I were poor, without much prospect of bettering myself legitimately, and without strong moral/religious values, yet pretty and clever and shrewd, I might just take a really good offer.
    Unfortunately, the more common story was that of the young girl from the country coming to London to seek employment as a housemaid, met at the coaching inn by a respectable-looking lady who offered her such, then imprisoned in a brothel, drugged, raped repeatedly, and forced into a life of prostitution. When she passed her prime, she’d probably be turned out into the streets to drink herself to death with Blue Ruin, and sell herself for a penny to strangers in dark alleys–exactly like the poor women who later became victims of Jack the Ripper. If one is going to be a successful courtesan, it’s better to be Marie, Comtesse d’Agoult (Liszt’s mistress) and have a wealthy family, an ex-husband or two, and a salon that is a magnet for artists of all sorts.
    If I were a cit from a reasonably prosperous family, I think I’d either marry respectably or try for a comfortable spinsterhood.
    If I were the daughter of a proper English aristocratic family (unlike wicked Marie), I’d have a horror of being cast out of Society and follow all the rules until I was safely (and prosperously) married. Once I’d presented my husband with an heir, and possibly a spare, my options would be wide open…
    (I met Marie in the wonderful film IMPROMPTU, starring Judy Davis as George Sand and Hugh Grant as Chopin. Bernadette Peters was wonderful as Marie.)

    Reply
  4. I think it would depend in large measure on what world I was born into. There’s a fascinating biography by Henry Blyth, who wrote several books on the Regency and Victorian sport, gambling, and rakes, of one of the most famous of “les grandes horizontales,” the courtesan known as “Skittles,” who was at one time the mistress of Bertie, the future King Edward VII. She got her name because before she hit the big time, she had a job as a pinsetter in a skittles (bowling) alley. Harriette Wilson was one of the fifteen children of Swiss clock maker, John James Dubouchet and his wife Amelia (sez Wikipedia). Sounds like the world of the Fashionably Impure was a big step up for her financially, too.
    If I were poor, without much prospect of bettering myself legitimately, and without strong moral/religious values, yet pretty and clever and shrewd, I might just take a really good offer.
    Unfortunately, the more common story was that of the young girl from the country coming to London to seek employment as a housemaid, met at the coaching inn by a respectable-looking lady who offered her such, then imprisoned in a brothel, drugged, raped repeatedly, and forced into a life of prostitution. When she passed her prime, she’d probably be turned out into the streets to drink herself to death with Blue Ruin, and sell herself for a penny to strangers in dark alleys–exactly like the poor women who later became victims of Jack the Ripper. If one is going to be a successful courtesan, it’s better to be Marie, Comtesse d’Agoult (Liszt’s mistress) and have a wealthy family, an ex-husband or two, and a salon that is a magnet for artists of all sorts.
    If I were a cit from a reasonably prosperous family, I think I’d either marry respectably or try for a comfortable spinsterhood.
    If I were the daughter of a proper English aristocratic family (unlike wicked Marie), I’d have a horror of being cast out of Society and follow all the rules until I was safely (and prosperously) married. Once I’d presented my husband with an heir, and possibly a spare, my options would be wide open…
    (I met Marie in the wonderful film IMPROMPTU, starring Judy Davis as George Sand and Hugh Grant as Chopin. Bernadette Peters was wonderful as Marie.)

    Reply
  5. I think it would depend in large measure on what world I was born into. There’s a fascinating biography by Henry Blyth, who wrote several books on the Regency and Victorian sport, gambling, and rakes, of one of the most famous of “les grandes horizontales,” the courtesan known as “Skittles,” who was at one time the mistress of Bertie, the future King Edward VII. She got her name because before she hit the big time, she had a job as a pinsetter in a skittles (bowling) alley. Harriette Wilson was one of the fifteen children of Swiss clock maker, John James Dubouchet and his wife Amelia (sez Wikipedia). Sounds like the world of the Fashionably Impure was a big step up for her financially, too.
    If I were poor, without much prospect of bettering myself legitimately, and without strong moral/religious values, yet pretty and clever and shrewd, I might just take a really good offer.
    Unfortunately, the more common story was that of the young girl from the country coming to London to seek employment as a housemaid, met at the coaching inn by a respectable-looking lady who offered her such, then imprisoned in a brothel, drugged, raped repeatedly, and forced into a life of prostitution. When she passed her prime, she’d probably be turned out into the streets to drink herself to death with Blue Ruin, and sell herself for a penny to strangers in dark alleys–exactly like the poor women who later became victims of Jack the Ripper. If one is going to be a successful courtesan, it’s better to be Marie, Comtesse d’Agoult (Liszt’s mistress) and have a wealthy family, an ex-husband or two, and a salon that is a magnet for artists of all sorts.
    If I were a cit from a reasonably prosperous family, I think I’d either marry respectably or try for a comfortable spinsterhood.
    If I were the daughter of a proper English aristocratic family (unlike wicked Marie), I’d have a horror of being cast out of Society and follow all the rules until I was safely (and prosperously) married. Once I’d presented my husband with an heir, and possibly a spare, my options would be wide open…
    (I met Marie in the wonderful film IMPROMPTU, starring Judy Davis as George Sand and Hugh Grant as Chopin. Bernadette Peters was wonderful as Marie.)

    Reply
  6. As Talpianna says, so much depends on one’s family circumstances. I think I might have got involved with the radicals, but unlike Wollstonecraft I’d have been a lot less idealistic with regards to my personal relationships and wouldn’t have had anything to do with someone like Gilbert Imlay.
    In the Middle Ages I think I’d have wanted to be a nun, and hopefully I’d have been allowed to copy out manuscripts.

    Reply
  7. As Talpianna says, so much depends on one’s family circumstances. I think I might have got involved with the radicals, but unlike Wollstonecraft I’d have been a lot less idealistic with regards to my personal relationships and wouldn’t have had anything to do with someone like Gilbert Imlay.
    In the Middle Ages I think I’d have wanted to be a nun, and hopefully I’d have been allowed to copy out manuscripts.

    Reply
  8. As Talpianna says, so much depends on one’s family circumstances. I think I might have got involved with the radicals, but unlike Wollstonecraft I’d have been a lot less idealistic with regards to my personal relationships and wouldn’t have had anything to do with someone like Gilbert Imlay.
    In the Middle Ages I think I’d have wanted to be a nun, and hopefully I’d have been allowed to copy out manuscripts.

    Reply
  9. As Talpianna says, so much depends on one’s family circumstances. I think I might have got involved with the radicals, but unlike Wollstonecraft I’d have been a lot less idealistic with regards to my personal relationships and wouldn’t have had anything to do with someone like Gilbert Imlay.
    In the Middle Ages I think I’d have wanted to be a nun, and hopefully I’d have been allowed to copy out manuscripts.

    Reply
  10. As Talpianna says, so much depends on one’s family circumstances. I think I might have got involved with the radicals, but unlike Wollstonecraft I’d have been a lot less idealistic with regards to my personal relationships and wouldn’t have had anything to do with someone like Gilbert Imlay.
    In the Middle Ages I think I’d have wanted to be a nun, and hopefully I’d have been allowed to copy out manuscripts.

    Reply
  11. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about “fallen” women lately. Most in fiction haven’t fallen too far, lest the reader feel a touch of revulsion. We were all raised with the good girl-bad girl lecture. “The depravity of my own heart” seems to sum up desperate teen-age hormones as well as anything. Hariette was just a little more curious than most.
    I have no idea what I’d do. When I was 15, I was smugly good. I’d like to think I might kick up my heels a little, but I’m not sure I would. Fascinating post, Loretta!

    Reply
  12. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about “fallen” women lately. Most in fiction haven’t fallen too far, lest the reader feel a touch of revulsion. We were all raised with the good girl-bad girl lecture. “The depravity of my own heart” seems to sum up desperate teen-age hormones as well as anything. Hariette was just a little more curious than most.
    I have no idea what I’d do. When I was 15, I was smugly good. I’d like to think I might kick up my heels a little, but I’m not sure I would. Fascinating post, Loretta!

    Reply
  13. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about “fallen” women lately. Most in fiction haven’t fallen too far, lest the reader feel a touch of revulsion. We were all raised with the good girl-bad girl lecture. “The depravity of my own heart” seems to sum up desperate teen-age hormones as well as anything. Hariette was just a little more curious than most.
    I have no idea what I’d do. When I was 15, I was smugly good. I’d like to think I might kick up my heels a little, but I’m not sure I would. Fascinating post, Loretta!

    Reply
  14. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about “fallen” women lately. Most in fiction haven’t fallen too far, lest the reader feel a touch of revulsion. We were all raised with the good girl-bad girl lecture. “The depravity of my own heart” seems to sum up desperate teen-age hormones as well as anything. Hariette was just a little more curious than most.
    I have no idea what I’d do. When I was 15, I was smugly good. I’d like to think I might kick up my heels a little, but I’m not sure I would. Fascinating post, Loretta!

    Reply
  15. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about “fallen” women lately. Most in fiction haven’t fallen too far, lest the reader feel a touch of revulsion. We were all raised with the good girl-bad girl lecture. “The depravity of my own heart” seems to sum up desperate teen-age hormones as well as anything. Hariette was just a little more curious than most.
    I have no idea what I’d do. When I was 15, I was smugly good. I’d like to think I might kick up my heels a little, but I’m not sure I would. Fascinating post, Loretta!

    Reply
  16. There’s a lot implied in the small amount that Harriette did write, and it raises a lot of questions. For example, she writes that she left her “paternal roof,” which more or less implies that she was living at home until she accepted her first offer of protection.
    Since there weren’t all that many lords to go around, and they didn’t have a lot of reason to cross the path of respectable artisan families, where did she meet Lord Craven? Once the first daughter had undertaken this career trajectory, it’s more comprehensible that some other of the family’s daughters did the same, but one would like to know how the pattern started — how they met.
    Some respectable/aristocratic families “protected” their daughters from a knowledge of sex, but others did not. In a world in which animal breeding was a common topic of conversation . . .
    Of course, there may well have been some confusion. As late as my era of the 1950s, there was one active 4-H member, a girl who did livestock projects, who nonetheless let her boyfriend “go too far” in the parlance of the day because it had never occurred to her that face-to-face activity might . . . Well, you get the idea. In her world view, kissing and hugging were harmless non-sexual activities by which aunts and grandparents greeted family members, older cousins picked up the little ones and swung them around, etc.

    Reply
  17. There’s a lot implied in the small amount that Harriette did write, and it raises a lot of questions. For example, she writes that she left her “paternal roof,” which more or less implies that she was living at home until she accepted her first offer of protection.
    Since there weren’t all that many lords to go around, and they didn’t have a lot of reason to cross the path of respectable artisan families, where did she meet Lord Craven? Once the first daughter had undertaken this career trajectory, it’s more comprehensible that some other of the family’s daughters did the same, but one would like to know how the pattern started — how they met.
    Some respectable/aristocratic families “protected” their daughters from a knowledge of sex, but others did not. In a world in which animal breeding was a common topic of conversation . . .
    Of course, there may well have been some confusion. As late as my era of the 1950s, there was one active 4-H member, a girl who did livestock projects, who nonetheless let her boyfriend “go too far” in the parlance of the day because it had never occurred to her that face-to-face activity might . . . Well, you get the idea. In her world view, kissing and hugging were harmless non-sexual activities by which aunts and grandparents greeted family members, older cousins picked up the little ones and swung them around, etc.

    Reply
  18. There’s a lot implied in the small amount that Harriette did write, and it raises a lot of questions. For example, she writes that she left her “paternal roof,” which more or less implies that she was living at home until she accepted her first offer of protection.
    Since there weren’t all that many lords to go around, and they didn’t have a lot of reason to cross the path of respectable artisan families, where did she meet Lord Craven? Once the first daughter had undertaken this career trajectory, it’s more comprehensible that some other of the family’s daughters did the same, but one would like to know how the pattern started — how they met.
    Some respectable/aristocratic families “protected” their daughters from a knowledge of sex, but others did not. In a world in which animal breeding was a common topic of conversation . . .
    Of course, there may well have been some confusion. As late as my era of the 1950s, there was one active 4-H member, a girl who did livestock projects, who nonetheless let her boyfriend “go too far” in the parlance of the day because it had never occurred to her that face-to-face activity might . . . Well, you get the idea. In her world view, kissing and hugging were harmless non-sexual activities by which aunts and grandparents greeted family members, older cousins picked up the little ones and swung them around, etc.

    Reply
  19. There’s a lot implied in the small amount that Harriette did write, and it raises a lot of questions. For example, she writes that she left her “paternal roof,” which more or less implies that she was living at home until she accepted her first offer of protection.
    Since there weren’t all that many lords to go around, and they didn’t have a lot of reason to cross the path of respectable artisan families, where did she meet Lord Craven? Once the first daughter had undertaken this career trajectory, it’s more comprehensible that some other of the family’s daughters did the same, but one would like to know how the pattern started — how they met.
    Some respectable/aristocratic families “protected” their daughters from a knowledge of sex, but others did not. In a world in which animal breeding was a common topic of conversation . . .
    Of course, there may well have been some confusion. As late as my era of the 1950s, there was one active 4-H member, a girl who did livestock projects, who nonetheless let her boyfriend “go too far” in the parlance of the day because it had never occurred to her that face-to-face activity might . . . Well, you get the idea. In her world view, kissing and hugging were harmless non-sexual activities by which aunts and grandparents greeted family members, older cousins picked up the little ones and swung them around, etc.

    Reply
  20. There’s a lot implied in the small amount that Harriette did write, and it raises a lot of questions. For example, she writes that she left her “paternal roof,” which more or less implies that she was living at home until she accepted her first offer of protection.
    Since there weren’t all that many lords to go around, and they didn’t have a lot of reason to cross the path of respectable artisan families, where did she meet Lord Craven? Once the first daughter had undertaken this career trajectory, it’s more comprehensible that some other of the family’s daughters did the same, but one would like to know how the pattern started — how they met.
    Some respectable/aristocratic families “protected” their daughters from a knowledge of sex, but others did not. In a world in which animal breeding was a common topic of conversation . . .
    Of course, there may well have been some confusion. As late as my era of the 1950s, there was one active 4-H member, a girl who did livestock projects, who nonetheless let her boyfriend “go too far” in the parlance of the day because it had never occurred to her that face-to-face activity might . . . Well, you get the idea. In her world view, kissing and hugging were harmless non-sexual activities by which aunts and grandparents greeted family members, older cousins picked up the little ones and swung them around, etc.

    Reply
  21. Sadly, knowing what I was like as a teenager, I know I’d have toed the line. I was just a quiet little mouse of a thing, so I don’t picture myself being any different in any other era….
    Once I’d left home though……

    Reply
  22. Sadly, knowing what I was like as a teenager, I know I’d have toed the line. I was just a quiet little mouse of a thing, so I don’t picture myself being any different in any other era….
    Once I’d left home though……

    Reply
  23. Sadly, knowing what I was like as a teenager, I know I’d have toed the line. I was just a quiet little mouse of a thing, so I don’t picture myself being any different in any other era….
    Once I’d left home though……

    Reply
  24. Sadly, knowing what I was like as a teenager, I know I’d have toed the line. I was just a quiet little mouse of a thing, so I don’t picture myself being any different in any other era….
    Once I’d left home though……

    Reply
  25. Sadly, knowing what I was like as a teenager, I know I’d have toed the line. I was just a quiet little mouse of a thing, so I don’t picture myself being any different in any other era….
    Once I’d left home though……

    Reply
  26. Well, Loretta, you know which camp I’m in! *g*
    Yes, the life of a concubine/kept woman would have been perilous and insecure, but then, for many women, being a wife was even worse. By law whatever was yours was your husband’s first, and he could do whatever he pleased with it and with you. Husbands pretty much held all the cards. If a marriage was happy, then this was fine, but if it wasn’t, then the wife’s lot could be sad indeed.
    I can’t wait to read your Bad Girl book!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  27. Well, Loretta, you know which camp I’m in! *g*
    Yes, the life of a concubine/kept woman would have been perilous and insecure, but then, for many women, being a wife was even worse. By law whatever was yours was your husband’s first, and he could do whatever he pleased with it and with you. Husbands pretty much held all the cards. If a marriage was happy, then this was fine, but if it wasn’t, then the wife’s lot could be sad indeed.
    I can’t wait to read your Bad Girl book!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  28. Well, Loretta, you know which camp I’m in! *g*
    Yes, the life of a concubine/kept woman would have been perilous and insecure, but then, for many women, being a wife was even worse. By law whatever was yours was your husband’s first, and he could do whatever he pleased with it and with you. Husbands pretty much held all the cards. If a marriage was happy, then this was fine, but if it wasn’t, then the wife’s lot could be sad indeed.
    I can’t wait to read your Bad Girl book!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  29. Well, Loretta, you know which camp I’m in! *g*
    Yes, the life of a concubine/kept woman would have been perilous and insecure, but then, for many women, being a wife was even worse. By law whatever was yours was your husband’s first, and he could do whatever he pleased with it and with you. Husbands pretty much held all the cards. If a marriage was happy, then this was fine, but if it wasn’t, then the wife’s lot could be sad indeed.
    I can’t wait to read your Bad Girl book!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  30. Well, Loretta, you know which camp I’m in! *g*
    Yes, the life of a concubine/kept woman would have been perilous and insecure, but then, for many women, being a wife was even worse. By law whatever was yours was your husband’s first, and he could do whatever he pleased with it and with you. Husbands pretty much held all the cards. If a marriage was happy, then this was fine, but if it wasn’t, then the wife’s lot could be sad indeed.
    I can’t wait to read your Bad Girl book!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  31. Very provocative post, Loretta.
    I’d like to think I could be one of those successful courtesans who ran a much sought after salon. To be surrounded by so many men vying for my attentions… To control those near and far with intrigue and mystery… To fulfill needs Upper Society Women wouldn’t or couldn’t. Ahhhh, the power! My personality type is right for it and I’ll take a herd of men to a clutch of women in conversation, any day. (no offence, please. WWs rocks!)
    But, I think the game would get old. There’s something vitally important about being loved for who you are, warts and all. The HEA readers seem to demand

    Reply
  32. Very provocative post, Loretta.
    I’d like to think I could be one of those successful courtesans who ran a much sought after salon. To be surrounded by so many men vying for my attentions… To control those near and far with intrigue and mystery… To fulfill needs Upper Society Women wouldn’t or couldn’t. Ahhhh, the power! My personality type is right for it and I’ll take a herd of men to a clutch of women in conversation, any day. (no offence, please. WWs rocks!)
    But, I think the game would get old. There’s something vitally important about being loved for who you are, warts and all. The HEA readers seem to demand

    Reply
  33. Very provocative post, Loretta.
    I’d like to think I could be one of those successful courtesans who ran a much sought after salon. To be surrounded by so many men vying for my attentions… To control those near and far with intrigue and mystery… To fulfill needs Upper Society Women wouldn’t or couldn’t. Ahhhh, the power! My personality type is right for it and I’ll take a herd of men to a clutch of women in conversation, any day. (no offence, please. WWs rocks!)
    But, I think the game would get old. There’s something vitally important about being loved for who you are, warts and all. The HEA readers seem to demand

    Reply
  34. Very provocative post, Loretta.
    I’d like to think I could be one of those successful courtesans who ran a much sought after salon. To be surrounded by so many men vying for my attentions… To control those near and far with intrigue and mystery… To fulfill needs Upper Society Women wouldn’t or couldn’t. Ahhhh, the power! My personality type is right for it and I’ll take a herd of men to a clutch of women in conversation, any day. (no offence, please. WWs rocks!)
    But, I think the game would get old. There’s something vitally important about being loved for who you are, warts and all. The HEA readers seem to demand

    Reply
  35. Very provocative post, Loretta.
    I’d like to think I could be one of those successful courtesans who ran a much sought after salon. To be surrounded by so many men vying for my attentions… To control those near and far with intrigue and mystery… To fulfill needs Upper Society Women wouldn’t or couldn’t. Ahhhh, the power! My personality type is right for it and I’ll take a herd of men to a clutch of women in conversation, any day. (no offence, please. WWs rocks!)
    But, I think the game would get old. There’s something vitally important about being loved for who you are, warts and all. The HEA readers seem to demand

    Reply
  36. I’d have been a respectable older unmarried aunt, working as a teacher in a private Acadamy, good not because I was unusually virtuous but because I simply didn’t get offered any temptation… but I would have had sympathy for those who fell from grace because I would have remembered my own youthful lack of judgement…. I can state this with certainty because…that exactly describes my life NOW! LOL!

    Reply
  37. I’d have been a respectable older unmarried aunt, working as a teacher in a private Acadamy, good not because I was unusually virtuous but because I simply didn’t get offered any temptation… but I would have had sympathy for those who fell from grace because I would have remembered my own youthful lack of judgement…. I can state this with certainty because…that exactly describes my life NOW! LOL!

    Reply
  38. I’d have been a respectable older unmarried aunt, working as a teacher in a private Acadamy, good not because I was unusually virtuous but because I simply didn’t get offered any temptation… but I would have had sympathy for those who fell from grace because I would have remembered my own youthful lack of judgement…. I can state this with certainty because…that exactly describes my life NOW! LOL!

    Reply
  39. I’d have been a respectable older unmarried aunt, working as a teacher in a private Acadamy, good not because I was unusually virtuous but because I simply didn’t get offered any temptation… but I would have had sympathy for those who fell from grace because I would have remembered my own youthful lack of judgement…. I can state this with certainty because…that exactly describes my life NOW! LOL!

    Reply
  40. I’d have been a respectable older unmarried aunt, working as a teacher in a private Acadamy, good not because I was unusually virtuous but because I simply didn’t get offered any temptation… but I would have had sympathy for those who fell from grace because I would have remembered my own youthful lack of judgement…. I can state this with certainty because…that exactly describes my life NOW! LOL!

    Reply
  41. I don’t know that I’d believe in the rules or like them but I think I’d follow them. I think a young woman who chose a path such as Harriet did would have to have quite a bit of confidence and I think it would be a bigger gamble than the woman who made a respectable marriage.

    Reply
  42. I don’t know that I’d believe in the rules or like them but I think I’d follow them. I think a young woman who chose a path such as Harriet did would have to have quite a bit of confidence and I think it would be a bigger gamble than the woman who made a respectable marriage.

    Reply
  43. I don’t know that I’d believe in the rules or like them but I think I’d follow them. I think a young woman who chose a path such as Harriet did would have to have quite a bit of confidence and I think it would be a bigger gamble than the woman who made a respectable marriage.

    Reply
  44. I don’t know that I’d believe in the rules or like them but I think I’d follow them. I think a young woman who chose a path such as Harriet did would have to have quite a bit of confidence and I think it would be a bigger gamble than the woman who made a respectable marriage.

    Reply
  45. I don’t know that I’d believe in the rules or like them but I think I’d follow them. I think a young woman who chose a path such as Harriet did would have to have quite a bit of confidence and I think it would be a bigger gamble than the woman who made a respectable marriage.

    Reply
  46. If we’re postulating the same personality then that we have now, I’d probably have talked somebody-or-other into running off with me by the time I was 16-17. Beyond that, who can say? However great one’s curiosity, however little one cares to toe the line of social acceptability, there still remains, for me, a certain distaste for the idea of being paid for sexual favors. I would hope, for my early-19th-Century self, a recovery from youthful indiscretions and a subsequent life within the limits of acceptable unconventionality, rather than the precarious existence of the demimondaine.
    I don’t mind taking risks… as long as they pay off!!

    Reply
  47. If we’re postulating the same personality then that we have now, I’d probably have talked somebody-or-other into running off with me by the time I was 16-17. Beyond that, who can say? However great one’s curiosity, however little one cares to toe the line of social acceptability, there still remains, for me, a certain distaste for the idea of being paid for sexual favors. I would hope, for my early-19th-Century self, a recovery from youthful indiscretions and a subsequent life within the limits of acceptable unconventionality, rather than the precarious existence of the demimondaine.
    I don’t mind taking risks… as long as they pay off!!

    Reply
  48. If we’re postulating the same personality then that we have now, I’d probably have talked somebody-or-other into running off with me by the time I was 16-17. Beyond that, who can say? However great one’s curiosity, however little one cares to toe the line of social acceptability, there still remains, for me, a certain distaste for the idea of being paid for sexual favors. I would hope, for my early-19th-Century self, a recovery from youthful indiscretions and a subsequent life within the limits of acceptable unconventionality, rather than the precarious existence of the demimondaine.
    I don’t mind taking risks… as long as they pay off!!

    Reply
  49. If we’re postulating the same personality then that we have now, I’d probably have talked somebody-or-other into running off with me by the time I was 16-17. Beyond that, who can say? However great one’s curiosity, however little one cares to toe the line of social acceptability, there still remains, for me, a certain distaste for the idea of being paid for sexual favors. I would hope, for my early-19th-Century self, a recovery from youthful indiscretions and a subsequent life within the limits of acceptable unconventionality, rather than the precarious existence of the demimondaine.
    I don’t mind taking risks… as long as they pay off!!

    Reply
  50. If we’re postulating the same personality then that we have now, I’d probably have talked somebody-or-other into running off with me by the time I was 16-17. Beyond that, who can say? However great one’s curiosity, however little one cares to toe the line of social acceptability, there still remains, for me, a certain distaste for the idea of being paid for sexual favors. I would hope, for my early-19th-Century self, a recovery from youthful indiscretions and a subsequent life within the limits of acceptable unconventionality, rather than the precarious existence of the demimondaine.
    I don’t mind taking risks… as long as they pay off!!

    Reply
  51. I agree that what I — or probably any of us — would have done200 years ago would depend on the situation in which we began. But I also think that how much “freedom” a lady or a courtesan had would depend very much on her individual circumstances. Yes, a married woman had very little legal protection if she was married to a bum, but she did have social and familial protection, and she could not be casually discarded when the grey hairs and wrinkles appeared. And surely there were happy marriages even outside the HEA of the romance novel.
    The courtesan might have the “freedom” to tell a bawdy joke, but if she bored or offended her patron, or if his circumstances changed, she was out on her ear. And who is to say that the available patrons would not be repulsive old lechers of disgusting habits?

    Reply
  52. I agree that what I — or probably any of us — would have done200 years ago would depend on the situation in which we began. But I also think that how much “freedom” a lady or a courtesan had would depend very much on her individual circumstances. Yes, a married woman had very little legal protection if she was married to a bum, but she did have social and familial protection, and she could not be casually discarded when the grey hairs and wrinkles appeared. And surely there were happy marriages even outside the HEA of the romance novel.
    The courtesan might have the “freedom” to tell a bawdy joke, but if she bored or offended her patron, or if his circumstances changed, she was out on her ear. And who is to say that the available patrons would not be repulsive old lechers of disgusting habits?

    Reply
  53. I agree that what I — or probably any of us — would have done200 years ago would depend on the situation in which we began. But I also think that how much “freedom” a lady or a courtesan had would depend very much on her individual circumstances. Yes, a married woman had very little legal protection if she was married to a bum, but she did have social and familial protection, and she could not be casually discarded when the grey hairs and wrinkles appeared. And surely there were happy marriages even outside the HEA of the romance novel.
    The courtesan might have the “freedom” to tell a bawdy joke, but if she bored or offended her patron, or if his circumstances changed, she was out on her ear. And who is to say that the available patrons would not be repulsive old lechers of disgusting habits?

    Reply
  54. I agree that what I — or probably any of us — would have done200 years ago would depend on the situation in which we began. But I also think that how much “freedom” a lady or a courtesan had would depend very much on her individual circumstances. Yes, a married woman had very little legal protection if she was married to a bum, but she did have social and familial protection, and she could not be casually discarded when the grey hairs and wrinkles appeared. And surely there were happy marriages even outside the HEA of the romance novel.
    The courtesan might have the “freedom” to tell a bawdy joke, but if she bored or offended her patron, or if his circumstances changed, she was out on her ear. And who is to say that the available patrons would not be repulsive old lechers of disgusting habits?

    Reply
  55. I agree that what I — or probably any of us — would have done200 years ago would depend on the situation in which we began. But I also think that how much “freedom” a lady or a courtesan had would depend very much on her individual circumstances. Yes, a married woman had very little legal protection if she was married to a bum, but she did have social and familial protection, and she could not be casually discarded when the grey hairs and wrinkles appeared. And surely there were happy marriages even outside the HEA of the romance novel.
    The courtesan might have the “freedom” to tell a bawdy joke, but if she bored or offended her patron, or if his circumstances changed, she was out on her ear. And who is to say that the available patrons would not be repulsive old lechers of disgusting habits?

    Reply
  56. The question of security came up as I was reading THE GENTLEMAN’S DAUGHTER and came upon a stunningly unhappy marriage: “‘My husband is my terror my misery! and I have little doubt, will be my death.'” Ellen Stock’s brother was a barrister, yet he “refused to defend his sister’s interests in negotiation of the deed of separation, pleading his fear of inordinate expenses and that supporting her would lead [her husband] to give up the lease on [her mother’s] premises.” He was afraid of the family losing rent money!
    Absolutely, there were happy marriages; I hope I did not indicate otherwise. But just as certainly, there were miserable ones. Married women did have family to protect them…but the family didn’t always, as Ellen Stock’s and other cases indicate. This was what got me thinking about the gamble Harriette took. Initially, it just seemed crazy dangerous to me, but the more I thought about the situation of women at the time, I began to see various reasons for some women to take this road–not because they were forced to but because, for one reason or another (and there were some attractive reasons), they chose to. Meanwhile, I still can’t make up my mind what I would have done.

    Reply
  57. The question of security came up as I was reading THE GENTLEMAN’S DAUGHTER and came upon a stunningly unhappy marriage: “‘My husband is my terror my misery! and I have little doubt, will be my death.'” Ellen Stock’s brother was a barrister, yet he “refused to defend his sister’s interests in negotiation of the deed of separation, pleading his fear of inordinate expenses and that supporting her would lead [her husband] to give up the lease on [her mother’s] premises.” He was afraid of the family losing rent money!
    Absolutely, there were happy marriages; I hope I did not indicate otherwise. But just as certainly, there were miserable ones. Married women did have family to protect them…but the family didn’t always, as Ellen Stock’s and other cases indicate. This was what got me thinking about the gamble Harriette took. Initially, it just seemed crazy dangerous to me, but the more I thought about the situation of women at the time, I began to see various reasons for some women to take this road–not because they were forced to but because, for one reason or another (and there were some attractive reasons), they chose to. Meanwhile, I still can’t make up my mind what I would have done.

    Reply
  58. The question of security came up as I was reading THE GENTLEMAN’S DAUGHTER and came upon a stunningly unhappy marriage: “‘My husband is my terror my misery! and I have little doubt, will be my death.'” Ellen Stock’s brother was a barrister, yet he “refused to defend his sister’s interests in negotiation of the deed of separation, pleading his fear of inordinate expenses and that supporting her would lead [her husband] to give up the lease on [her mother’s] premises.” He was afraid of the family losing rent money!
    Absolutely, there were happy marriages; I hope I did not indicate otherwise. But just as certainly, there were miserable ones. Married women did have family to protect them…but the family didn’t always, as Ellen Stock’s and other cases indicate. This was what got me thinking about the gamble Harriette took. Initially, it just seemed crazy dangerous to me, but the more I thought about the situation of women at the time, I began to see various reasons for some women to take this road–not because they were forced to but because, for one reason or another (and there were some attractive reasons), they chose to. Meanwhile, I still can’t make up my mind what I would have done.

    Reply
  59. The question of security came up as I was reading THE GENTLEMAN’S DAUGHTER and came upon a stunningly unhappy marriage: “‘My husband is my terror my misery! and I have little doubt, will be my death.'” Ellen Stock’s brother was a barrister, yet he “refused to defend his sister’s interests in negotiation of the deed of separation, pleading his fear of inordinate expenses and that supporting her would lead [her husband] to give up the lease on [her mother’s] premises.” He was afraid of the family losing rent money!
    Absolutely, there were happy marriages; I hope I did not indicate otherwise. But just as certainly, there were miserable ones. Married women did have family to protect them…but the family didn’t always, as Ellen Stock’s and other cases indicate. This was what got me thinking about the gamble Harriette took. Initially, it just seemed crazy dangerous to me, but the more I thought about the situation of women at the time, I began to see various reasons for some women to take this road–not because they were forced to but because, for one reason or another (and there were some attractive reasons), they chose to. Meanwhile, I still can’t make up my mind what I would have done.

    Reply
  60. The question of security came up as I was reading THE GENTLEMAN’S DAUGHTER and came upon a stunningly unhappy marriage: “‘My husband is my terror my misery! and I have little doubt, will be my death.'” Ellen Stock’s brother was a barrister, yet he “refused to defend his sister’s interests in negotiation of the deed of separation, pleading his fear of inordinate expenses and that supporting her would lead [her husband] to give up the lease on [her mother’s] premises.” He was afraid of the family losing rent money!
    Absolutely, there were happy marriages; I hope I did not indicate otherwise. But just as certainly, there were miserable ones. Married women did have family to protect them…but the family didn’t always, as Ellen Stock’s and other cases indicate. This was what got me thinking about the gamble Harriette took. Initially, it just seemed crazy dangerous to me, but the more I thought about the situation of women at the time, I began to see various reasons for some women to take this road–not because they were forced to but because, for one reason or another (and there were some attractive reasons), they chose to. Meanwhile, I still can’t make up my mind what I would have done.

    Reply
  61. I looked at the more detailed version. It does explain how the girls met the men whose mistresses they eventually became (Harriette was the third of the family to take up the lifestyle). Overall, though, my major impression was that as a girl she probably had some form of ADHD.

    Reply
  62. I looked at the more detailed version. It does explain how the girls met the men whose mistresses they eventually became (Harriette was the third of the family to take up the lifestyle). Overall, though, my major impression was that as a girl she probably had some form of ADHD.

    Reply
  63. I looked at the more detailed version. It does explain how the girls met the men whose mistresses they eventually became (Harriette was the third of the family to take up the lifestyle). Overall, though, my major impression was that as a girl she probably had some form of ADHD.

    Reply
  64. I looked at the more detailed version. It does explain how the girls met the men whose mistresses they eventually became (Harriette was the third of the family to take up the lifestyle). Overall, though, my major impression was that as a girl she probably had some form of ADHD.

    Reply
  65. I looked at the more detailed version. It does explain how the girls met the men whose mistresses they eventually became (Harriette was the third of the family to take up the lifestyle). Overall, though, my major impression was that as a girl she probably had some form of ADHD.

    Reply
  66. If I was like what I am today, I’d probably be some spinster aunt living off of my brother dreaming of some hunky guy or whatever the term would have been then.
    Didn’t Harriette life end with her husband using the money she earned from her memoirs and her dying in poverty? And, what must her life have been like for her to blackmail her former clients to keep their names out of her memoirs?
    I’m not sure any woman of that time period had much freedom.

    Reply
  67. If I was like what I am today, I’d probably be some spinster aunt living off of my brother dreaming of some hunky guy or whatever the term would have been then.
    Didn’t Harriette life end with her husband using the money she earned from her memoirs and her dying in poverty? And, what must her life have been like for her to blackmail her former clients to keep their names out of her memoirs?
    I’m not sure any woman of that time period had much freedom.

    Reply
  68. If I was like what I am today, I’d probably be some spinster aunt living off of my brother dreaming of some hunky guy or whatever the term would have been then.
    Didn’t Harriette life end with her husband using the money she earned from her memoirs and her dying in poverty? And, what must her life have been like for her to blackmail her former clients to keep their names out of her memoirs?
    I’m not sure any woman of that time period had much freedom.

    Reply
  69. If I was like what I am today, I’d probably be some spinster aunt living off of my brother dreaming of some hunky guy or whatever the term would have been then.
    Didn’t Harriette life end with her husband using the money she earned from her memoirs and her dying in poverty? And, what must her life have been like for her to blackmail her former clients to keep their names out of her memoirs?
    I’m not sure any woman of that time period had much freedom.

    Reply
  70. If I was like what I am today, I’d probably be some spinster aunt living off of my brother dreaming of some hunky guy or whatever the term would have been then.
    Didn’t Harriette life end with her husband using the money she earned from her memoirs and her dying in poverty? And, what must her life have been like for her to blackmail her former clients to keep their names out of her memoirs?
    I’m not sure any woman of that time period had much freedom.

    Reply
  71. Provocative post Loretta. It reminded of one of the women who participated in Regency House Party. After her week spent at a great country house and finding out about all the restrictions an early 19th century miss had on her person, this young woman opted to be a courtesan! I have to say that I agree with her. Although making a great match would be stupendous, it all depended on a girl’s family and her dowry. If the family couldn’t offer a big enough dowry, your choices were limited. And I’ve always had a soft spot for women like Elizabeth Armistead who married Charles James Fox.

    Reply
  72. Provocative post Loretta. It reminded of one of the women who participated in Regency House Party. After her week spent at a great country house and finding out about all the restrictions an early 19th century miss had on her person, this young woman opted to be a courtesan! I have to say that I agree with her. Although making a great match would be stupendous, it all depended on a girl’s family and her dowry. If the family couldn’t offer a big enough dowry, your choices were limited. And I’ve always had a soft spot for women like Elizabeth Armistead who married Charles James Fox.

    Reply
  73. Provocative post Loretta. It reminded of one of the women who participated in Regency House Party. After her week spent at a great country house and finding out about all the restrictions an early 19th century miss had on her person, this young woman opted to be a courtesan! I have to say that I agree with her. Although making a great match would be stupendous, it all depended on a girl’s family and her dowry. If the family couldn’t offer a big enough dowry, your choices were limited. And I’ve always had a soft spot for women like Elizabeth Armistead who married Charles James Fox.

    Reply
  74. Provocative post Loretta. It reminded of one of the women who participated in Regency House Party. After her week spent at a great country house and finding out about all the restrictions an early 19th century miss had on her person, this young woman opted to be a courtesan! I have to say that I agree with her. Although making a great match would be stupendous, it all depended on a girl’s family and her dowry. If the family couldn’t offer a big enough dowry, your choices were limited. And I’ve always had a soft spot for women like Elizabeth Armistead who married Charles James Fox.

    Reply
  75. Provocative post Loretta. It reminded of one of the women who participated in Regency House Party. After her week spent at a great country house and finding out about all the restrictions an early 19th century miss had on her person, this young woman opted to be a courtesan! I have to say that I agree with her. Although making a great match would be stupendous, it all depended on a girl’s family and her dowry. If the family couldn’t offer a big enough dowry, your choices were limited. And I’ve always had a soft spot for women like Elizabeth Armistead who married Charles James Fox.

    Reply
  76. In the Century Lives & Letters edition of Harriette’s memoirs, editor Lesley Blanch theorizes that it was Harriette’s scoundrel husband, Colonel William Henry Rochfort “who is detected behind the phrase ‘two hundred pounds by return of post, to be left out.'”–the blackmail aspect, IOW, may not have been Harriette’s idea.
    The Wellington quote is, I agree, priceless.
    For those who’ve never read the Memoirs, I ought to point out that they are not very racy. Since the edition was first published in 1957, Wench Susan/Miranda & I (specializing lately, in bad girls of different eras), have wondered if they were bowdlerized–or if they’re simply typical of the growing prudishness of the time.

    Reply
  77. In the Century Lives & Letters edition of Harriette’s memoirs, editor Lesley Blanch theorizes that it was Harriette’s scoundrel husband, Colonel William Henry Rochfort “who is detected behind the phrase ‘two hundred pounds by return of post, to be left out.'”–the blackmail aspect, IOW, may not have been Harriette’s idea.
    The Wellington quote is, I agree, priceless.
    For those who’ve never read the Memoirs, I ought to point out that they are not very racy. Since the edition was first published in 1957, Wench Susan/Miranda & I (specializing lately, in bad girls of different eras), have wondered if they were bowdlerized–or if they’re simply typical of the growing prudishness of the time.

    Reply
  78. In the Century Lives & Letters edition of Harriette’s memoirs, editor Lesley Blanch theorizes that it was Harriette’s scoundrel husband, Colonel William Henry Rochfort “who is detected behind the phrase ‘two hundred pounds by return of post, to be left out.'”–the blackmail aspect, IOW, may not have been Harriette’s idea.
    The Wellington quote is, I agree, priceless.
    For those who’ve never read the Memoirs, I ought to point out that they are not very racy. Since the edition was first published in 1957, Wench Susan/Miranda & I (specializing lately, in bad girls of different eras), have wondered if they were bowdlerized–or if they’re simply typical of the growing prudishness of the time.

    Reply
  79. In the Century Lives & Letters edition of Harriette’s memoirs, editor Lesley Blanch theorizes that it was Harriette’s scoundrel husband, Colonel William Henry Rochfort “who is detected behind the phrase ‘two hundred pounds by return of post, to be left out.'”–the blackmail aspect, IOW, may not have been Harriette’s idea.
    The Wellington quote is, I agree, priceless.
    For those who’ve never read the Memoirs, I ought to point out that they are not very racy. Since the edition was first published in 1957, Wench Susan/Miranda & I (specializing lately, in bad girls of different eras), have wondered if they were bowdlerized–or if they’re simply typical of the growing prudishness of the time.

    Reply
  80. In the Century Lives & Letters edition of Harriette’s memoirs, editor Lesley Blanch theorizes that it was Harriette’s scoundrel husband, Colonel William Henry Rochfort “who is detected behind the phrase ‘two hundred pounds by return of post, to be left out.'”–the blackmail aspect, IOW, may not have been Harriette’s idea.
    The Wellington quote is, I agree, priceless.
    For those who’ve never read the Memoirs, I ought to point out that they are not very racy. Since the edition was first published in 1957, Wench Susan/Miranda & I (specializing lately, in bad girls of different eras), have wondered if they were bowdlerized–or if they’re simply typical of the growing prudishness of the time.

    Reply
  81. Loretta, have you ever heard of Madeleine Smith?
    Madeleine Smith (1835–c.1920) was a nineteenth century Glasgow socialite who was the defendant in a sensational murder trial in Scotland in the summer of 1857.
    Although she is widely regarded as a convicted murderess, in fact, the verdict given at her trial was “not proven.”
    The most sensational aspect of the trial was her love letters to the victim, which were considered so lurid at the time that the newspapers wouldn’t quote all of them. One paper condemned her morals as follows:
    The Glasgow Sentinel: “[Madeleine Smith was] as much the seducer as the seduced. And when once the veil of modesty was thrown aside, from the first a very frail and flimsy one, the woman of strong passion and libidinous tendencies at once reveals herself…. [Madeleine is] one of those abnormal spirits that now and then rise up in society to startle and appall us….”
    I have read the letters, which were eventually published in the NOTABLE SCOTTISH TRIALS series edited by William Roughead. These days, they’d scarcely raise an eyebrow. So it’s entirely possible that Harriette’s memoirs weren’t all that lurid–after all, the main selling point was the name-dropping.
    As for Madeleine: The “did she or didn’t she?” debate continues, and the doubt of her innocence even reached to her legal defender, John Inglis: he was once asked at a dinner party if he truly believed that Madeleine was innocent of the murder charge. After a thoughtful pause, he said simply that he would “rather have danced than supped with her.”

    Reply
  82. Loretta, have you ever heard of Madeleine Smith?
    Madeleine Smith (1835–c.1920) was a nineteenth century Glasgow socialite who was the defendant in a sensational murder trial in Scotland in the summer of 1857.
    Although she is widely regarded as a convicted murderess, in fact, the verdict given at her trial was “not proven.”
    The most sensational aspect of the trial was her love letters to the victim, which were considered so lurid at the time that the newspapers wouldn’t quote all of them. One paper condemned her morals as follows:
    The Glasgow Sentinel: “[Madeleine Smith was] as much the seducer as the seduced. And when once the veil of modesty was thrown aside, from the first a very frail and flimsy one, the woman of strong passion and libidinous tendencies at once reveals herself…. [Madeleine is] one of those abnormal spirits that now and then rise up in society to startle and appall us….”
    I have read the letters, which were eventually published in the NOTABLE SCOTTISH TRIALS series edited by William Roughead. These days, they’d scarcely raise an eyebrow. So it’s entirely possible that Harriette’s memoirs weren’t all that lurid–after all, the main selling point was the name-dropping.
    As for Madeleine: The “did she or didn’t she?” debate continues, and the doubt of her innocence even reached to her legal defender, John Inglis: he was once asked at a dinner party if he truly believed that Madeleine was innocent of the murder charge. After a thoughtful pause, he said simply that he would “rather have danced than supped with her.”

    Reply
  83. Loretta, have you ever heard of Madeleine Smith?
    Madeleine Smith (1835–c.1920) was a nineteenth century Glasgow socialite who was the defendant in a sensational murder trial in Scotland in the summer of 1857.
    Although she is widely regarded as a convicted murderess, in fact, the verdict given at her trial was “not proven.”
    The most sensational aspect of the trial was her love letters to the victim, which were considered so lurid at the time that the newspapers wouldn’t quote all of them. One paper condemned her morals as follows:
    The Glasgow Sentinel: “[Madeleine Smith was] as much the seducer as the seduced. And when once the veil of modesty was thrown aside, from the first a very frail and flimsy one, the woman of strong passion and libidinous tendencies at once reveals herself…. [Madeleine is] one of those abnormal spirits that now and then rise up in society to startle and appall us….”
    I have read the letters, which were eventually published in the NOTABLE SCOTTISH TRIALS series edited by William Roughead. These days, they’d scarcely raise an eyebrow. So it’s entirely possible that Harriette’s memoirs weren’t all that lurid–after all, the main selling point was the name-dropping.
    As for Madeleine: The “did she or didn’t she?” debate continues, and the doubt of her innocence even reached to her legal defender, John Inglis: he was once asked at a dinner party if he truly believed that Madeleine was innocent of the murder charge. After a thoughtful pause, he said simply that he would “rather have danced than supped with her.”

    Reply
  84. Loretta, have you ever heard of Madeleine Smith?
    Madeleine Smith (1835–c.1920) was a nineteenth century Glasgow socialite who was the defendant in a sensational murder trial in Scotland in the summer of 1857.
    Although she is widely regarded as a convicted murderess, in fact, the verdict given at her trial was “not proven.”
    The most sensational aspect of the trial was her love letters to the victim, which were considered so lurid at the time that the newspapers wouldn’t quote all of them. One paper condemned her morals as follows:
    The Glasgow Sentinel: “[Madeleine Smith was] as much the seducer as the seduced. And when once the veil of modesty was thrown aside, from the first a very frail and flimsy one, the woman of strong passion and libidinous tendencies at once reveals herself…. [Madeleine is] one of those abnormal spirits that now and then rise up in society to startle and appall us….”
    I have read the letters, which were eventually published in the NOTABLE SCOTTISH TRIALS series edited by William Roughead. These days, they’d scarcely raise an eyebrow. So it’s entirely possible that Harriette’s memoirs weren’t all that lurid–after all, the main selling point was the name-dropping.
    As for Madeleine: The “did she or didn’t she?” debate continues, and the doubt of her innocence even reached to her legal defender, John Inglis: he was once asked at a dinner party if he truly believed that Madeleine was innocent of the murder charge. After a thoughtful pause, he said simply that he would “rather have danced than supped with her.”

    Reply
  85. Loretta, have you ever heard of Madeleine Smith?
    Madeleine Smith (1835–c.1920) was a nineteenth century Glasgow socialite who was the defendant in a sensational murder trial in Scotland in the summer of 1857.
    Although she is widely regarded as a convicted murderess, in fact, the verdict given at her trial was “not proven.”
    The most sensational aspect of the trial was her love letters to the victim, which were considered so lurid at the time that the newspapers wouldn’t quote all of them. One paper condemned her morals as follows:
    The Glasgow Sentinel: “[Madeleine Smith was] as much the seducer as the seduced. And when once the veil of modesty was thrown aside, from the first a very frail and flimsy one, the woman of strong passion and libidinous tendencies at once reveals herself…. [Madeleine is] one of those abnormal spirits that now and then rise up in society to startle and appall us….”
    I have read the letters, which were eventually published in the NOTABLE SCOTTISH TRIALS series edited by William Roughead. These days, they’d scarcely raise an eyebrow. So it’s entirely possible that Harriette’s memoirs weren’t all that lurid–after all, the main selling point was the name-dropping.
    As for Madeleine: The “did she or didn’t she?” debate continues, and the doubt of her innocence even reached to her legal defender, John Inglis: he was once asked at a dinner party if he truly believed that Madeleine was innocent of the murder charge. After a thoughtful pause, he said simply that he would “rather have danced than supped with her.”

    Reply
  86. Talpianna, your story about Madeleine Smith rang a bell, and I re-discovered her in a collection on my shelves, Victorian Murderesses. I never read the original account, only the short version in the collection, but that quotation from the Glasgow Sentinel does not surprise me, with its emphasis on her “libidinous tendenecies”–I have to wonder what they had to say about the guy she was accused of murdering, who planned to use her steamy (?) letters to blackmail her. Good point about Harriette’s “expose.” The emphasis might well have been on the name-dropping–and what was deemed racy then might seem tame by our standards. But I can’t help wondering about it–mainly after finding out that the 1929 edition of her memoirs is 8 volumes! One book in several volumes would be perfectly normal in, say, 1829. But in 1929? I can’t help thinking my edition is missing something.

    Reply
  87. Talpianna, your story about Madeleine Smith rang a bell, and I re-discovered her in a collection on my shelves, Victorian Murderesses. I never read the original account, only the short version in the collection, but that quotation from the Glasgow Sentinel does not surprise me, with its emphasis on her “libidinous tendenecies”–I have to wonder what they had to say about the guy she was accused of murdering, who planned to use her steamy (?) letters to blackmail her. Good point about Harriette’s “expose.” The emphasis might well have been on the name-dropping–and what was deemed racy then might seem tame by our standards. But I can’t help wondering about it–mainly after finding out that the 1929 edition of her memoirs is 8 volumes! One book in several volumes would be perfectly normal in, say, 1829. But in 1929? I can’t help thinking my edition is missing something.

    Reply
  88. Talpianna, your story about Madeleine Smith rang a bell, and I re-discovered her in a collection on my shelves, Victorian Murderesses. I never read the original account, only the short version in the collection, but that quotation from the Glasgow Sentinel does not surprise me, with its emphasis on her “libidinous tendenecies”–I have to wonder what they had to say about the guy she was accused of murdering, who planned to use her steamy (?) letters to blackmail her. Good point about Harriette’s “expose.” The emphasis might well have been on the name-dropping–and what was deemed racy then might seem tame by our standards. But I can’t help wondering about it–mainly after finding out that the 1929 edition of her memoirs is 8 volumes! One book in several volumes would be perfectly normal in, say, 1829. But in 1929? I can’t help thinking my edition is missing something.

    Reply
  89. Talpianna, your story about Madeleine Smith rang a bell, and I re-discovered her in a collection on my shelves, Victorian Murderesses. I never read the original account, only the short version in the collection, but that quotation from the Glasgow Sentinel does not surprise me, with its emphasis on her “libidinous tendenecies”–I have to wonder what they had to say about the guy she was accused of murdering, who planned to use her steamy (?) letters to blackmail her. Good point about Harriette’s “expose.” The emphasis might well have been on the name-dropping–and what was deemed racy then might seem tame by our standards. But I can’t help wondering about it–mainly after finding out that the 1929 edition of her memoirs is 8 volumes! One book in several volumes would be perfectly normal in, say, 1829. But in 1929? I can’t help thinking my edition is missing something.

    Reply
  90. Talpianna, your story about Madeleine Smith rang a bell, and I re-discovered her in a collection on my shelves, Victorian Murderesses. I never read the original account, only the short version in the collection, but that quotation from the Glasgow Sentinel does not surprise me, with its emphasis on her “libidinous tendenecies”–I have to wonder what they had to say about the guy she was accused of murdering, who planned to use her steamy (?) letters to blackmail her. Good point about Harriette’s “expose.” The emphasis might well have been on the name-dropping–and what was deemed racy then might seem tame by our standards. But I can’t help wondering about it–mainly after finding out that the 1929 edition of her memoirs is 8 volumes! One book in several volumes would be perfectly normal in, say, 1829. But in 1929? I can’t help thinking my edition is missing something.

    Reply
  91. Well, it’s always possible that the 1929 edition is vastly annotated, I suppose.
    I first encountered Madeleine in the writings of one of her greatest admirers, William Roughead. I’ve read all of his essays that I could get my hands on. His writing was much admired by Henry James, and he also corresponded with Edmund Pearson, the dean of American crime writers (and the coiner of the perfect description of Lizzie Borden: “unfilial”).
    LOVERS ALL UNTRUE by Norah Lofts, which I read in my teens, is based on Madeleine’s story.

    Reply
  92. Well, it’s always possible that the 1929 edition is vastly annotated, I suppose.
    I first encountered Madeleine in the writings of one of her greatest admirers, William Roughead. I’ve read all of his essays that I could get my hands on. His writing was much admired by Henry James, and he also corresponded with Edmund Pearson, the dean of American crime writers (and the coiner of the perfect description of Lizzie Borden: “unfilial”).
    LOVERS ALL UNTRUE by Norah Lofts, which I read in my teens, is based on Madeleine’s story.

    Reply
  93. Well, it’s always possible that the 1929 edition is vastly annotated, I suppose.
    I first encountered Madeleine in the writings of one of her greatest admirers, William Roughead. I’ve read all of his essays that I could get my hands on. His writing was much admired by Henry James, and he also corresponded with Edmund Pearson, the dean of American crime writers (and the coiner of the perfect description of Lizzie Borden: “unfilial”).
    LOVERS ALL UNTRUE by Norah Lofts, which I read in my teens, is based on Madeleine’s story.

    Reply
  94. Well, it’s always possible that the 1929 edition is vastly annotated, I suppose.
    I first encountered Madeleine in the writings of one of her greatest admirers, William Roughead. I’ve read all of his essays that I could get my hands on. His writing was much admired by Henry James, and he also corresponded with Edmund Pearson, the dean of American crime writers (and the coiner of the perfect description of Lizzie Borden: “unfilial”).
    LOVERS ALL UNTRUE by Norah Lofts, which I read in my teens, is based on Madeleine’s story.

    Reply
  95. Well, it’s always possible that the 1929 edition is vastly annotated, I suppose.
    I first encountered Madeleine in the writings of one of her greatest admirers, William Roughead. I’ve read all of his essays that I could get my hands on. His writing was much admired by Henry James, and he also corresponded with Edmund Pearson, the dean of American crime writers (and the coiner of the perfect description of Lizzie Borden: “unfilial”).
    LOVERS ALL UNTRUE by Norah Lofts, which I read in my teens, is based on Madeleine’s story.

    Reply
  96. I had posted a reply to you, Loretta, which first appeared and then disappeared. I think the same thing happened to a comment by Patricia at the end of the comments on the previous post. I talked a good deal about William Roughead, whose essays introduced me to the fair Madeleine, and mentioned Edmund Pearson, who coined the perfect adjective for Lizzie Borden–“unfilial.”

    Reply
  97. I had posted a reply to you, Loretta, which first appeared and then disappeared. I think the same thing happened to a comment by Patricia at the end of the comments on the previous post. I talked a good deal about William Roughead, whose essays introduced me to the fair Madeleine, and mentioned Edmund Pearson, who coined the perfect adjective for Lizzie Borden–“unfilial.”

    Reply
  98. I had posted a reply to you, Loretta, which first appeared and then disappeared. I think the same thing happened to a comment by Patricia at the end of the comments on the previous post. I talked a good deal about William Roughead, whose essays introduced me to the fair Madeleine, and mentioned Edmund Pearson, who coined the perfect adjective for Lizzie Borden–“unfilial.”

    Reply
  99. I had posted a reply to you, Loretta, which first appeared and then disappeared. I think the same thing happened to a comment by Patricia at the end of the comments on the previous post. I talked a good deal about William Roughead, whose essays introduced me to the fair Madeleine, and mentioned Edmund Pearson, who coined the perfect adjective for Lizzie Borden–“unfilial.”

    Reply
  100. I had posted a reply to you, Loretta, which first appeared and then disappeared. I think the same thing happened to a comment by Patricia at the end of the comments on the previous post. I talked a good deal about William Roughead, whose essays introduced me to the fair Madeleine, and mentioned Edmund Pearson, who coined the perfect adjective for Lizzie Borden–“unfilial.”

    Reply
  101. Yes, Typepad has been doing some weird stuff. Your comment came to me in my email, and I was just about to cut and paste it back into place when it reappeared. Yesterday, Jo’s entire post disappeared, then reappeared. I will ask our blogmistress to find out what up. Poltergeists?

    Reply
  102. Yes, Typepad has been doing some weird stuff. Your comment came to me in my email, and I was just about to cut and paste it back into place when it reappeared. Yesterday, Jo’s entire post disappeared, then reappeared. I will ask our blogmistress to find out what up. Poltergeists?

    Reply
  103. Yes, Typepad has been doing some weird stuff. Your comment came to me in my email, and I was just about to cut and paste it back into place when it reappeared. Yesterday, Jo’s entire post disappeared, then reappeared. I will ask our blogmistress to find out what up. Poltergeists?

    Reply
  104. Yes, Typepad has been doing some weird stuff. Your comment came to me in my email, and I was just about to cut and paste it back into place when it reappeared. Yesterday, Jo’s entire post disappeared, then reappeared. I will ask our blogmistress to find out what up. Poltergeists?

    Reply
  105. Yes, Typepad has been doing some weird stuff. Your comment came to me in my email, and I was just about to cut and paste it back into place when it reappeared. Yesterday, Jo’s entire post disappeared, then reappeared. I will ask our blogmistress to find out what up. Poltergeists?

    Reply
  106. Loretta, I’m afraid I’d have to be one of those ladies who followed the rules. I have my own little rebellious streak, but I’ve found that there are ways to be rebellious within the confines of “rules.” *g*

    Reply
  107. Loretta, I’m afraid I’d have to be one of those ladies who followed the rules. I have my own little rebellious streak, but I’ve found that there are ways to be rebellious within the confines of “rules.” *g*

    Reply
  108. Loretta, I’m afraid I’d have to be one of those ladies who followed the rules. I have my own little rebellious streak, but I’ve found that there are ways to be rebellious within the confines of “rules.” *g*

    Reply
  109. Loretta, I’m afraid I’d have to be one of those ladies who followed the rules. I have my own little rebellious streak, but I’ve found that there are ways to be rebellious within the confines of “rules.” *g*

    Reply
  110. Loretta, I’m afraid I’d have to be one of those ladies who followed the rules. I have my own little rebellious streak, but I’ve found that there are ways to be rebellious within the confines of “rules.” *g*

    Reply
  111. Re the strange disappearing comments–I just noticed now a little arrow at the bottom of comments, which appears to divide them into “pages,” where before we saw all the comments in a single column.

    Reply
  112. Re the strange disappearing comments–I just noticed now a little arrow at the bottom of comments, which appears to divide them into “pages,” where before we saw all the comments in a single column.

    Reply
  113. Re the strange disappearing comments–I just noticed now a little arrow at the bottom of comments, which appears to divide them into “pages,” where before we saw all the comments in a single column.

    Reply
  114. Re the strange disappearing comments–I just noticed now a little arrow at the bottom of comments, which appears to divide them into “pages,” where before we saw all the comments in a single column.

    Reply
  115. Re the strange disappearing comments–I just noticed now a little arrow at the bottom of comments, which appears to divide them into “pages,” where before we saw all the comments in a single column.

    Reply
  116. This is not responsive, but has anyone read Forever Amber? A very old fallen-woman novel. It was one of the first “romance” novels I read (a long time ago).

    Reply
  117. This is not responsive, but has anyone read Forever Amber? A very old fallen-woman novel. It was one of the first “romance” novels I read (a long time ago).

    Reply
  118. This is not responsive, but has anyone read Forever Amber? A very old fallen-woman novel. It was one of the first “romance” novels I read (a long time ago).

    Reply
  119. This is not responsive, but has anyone read Forever Amber? A very old fallen-woman novel. It was one of the first “romance” novels I read (a long time ago).

    Reply
  120. This is not responsive, but has anyone read Forever Amber? A very old fallen-woman novel. It was one of the first “romance” novels I read (a long time ago).

    Reply

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