Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Rake's Inherited Courtesan

by Ann Lethbridge
It is the writer's day today.

Since today is the last day of April and the last day you will find The Rake's Inherited Courtesan in stores in North America, (if there are any left), I thought I would give you a little reminder. However, don't forget, it can also be found at the following on-line stores:

From The Publisher:

In the US:
From :Amazon
From: Barnes and Noble
From Borders

In Canada:
Chapter's Indigo

In the UK: (in June, preorder now):
Mills & Boon
Blackwell Books
Foyles for Books

We will continue with London next time. Until then Happy Rambles.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Making Your Debut in the Regency

by Michele Ann Young
A while back I did an article on the peerage and there was a bit of a discussion about whether the debutante thing was popular during the Regency.
The picture is of a Court Dress from 1817.

The London Season started in March/April time and went to sometime in June. It was tied to Parliament. Each year the Queen held Presentation Drawing Rooms two or three times a week during the Season. Wives and daughters of peers, members of parliament, or the landed gentry were allowed to be formally presented at Court. For the daughter, this was called her come-out or her debut. Young men made their bows.

When the young lady in question was about 17 or 18, her mother would send in a request to the Lord Chamberlain indicating she wished her daughter to be presented. Only a lady who had herself been presented could sponsor her at the drawing room. The King and Queen did not recognize anyone who had not been presented to them.

It provided the young woman with an gilt-edged entry into society. However, a young lady who had not been presented could still go to balls, routs and other entertainments, if she was invited.

here we have a lady and gentleman in court dress for 1807.

During the Regency, the presentations took place at St. James's Palace at events called Drawing Rooms. Hoops and white feather plumes, as shown in the picture above, were required dress. After waiting for hours, and only permitted to stand in the presence of the Queen, the young lady would be announced by the Chamberlain and walked to where the Queen sat and made a deep curtsy — which had been practiced and practiced while wearing the hooped skirt. A few pleasantries were exchanged, the young woman answering any question the Queen put to her, but no more. When the Queen indicated she was dismissed, the young woman made one more deep curtsey, and then walked backwards out of the royal presence all the while praying she wouldn't trip over her train.

There were several years in which no Presentation Drawing Rooms were held during the Regency because of the King's illness. Between the King's birth day in 1810, and April 30 1812, no drawing rooms were held. You can imagine the preparations and the requests after that length of time had passed.

So while presentation to the Queen was not required, it was certainly expected for the members of the ton.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Monday, April 20, 2009

Flora and Fauna of Regency Britain - April

by Michele Ann Young
April always seem like a soft month to me. New grass, soft underfoot, new leaves, soft and moist to the touch, new flowers, soft on the eye, and new fauna who are just ... soft on the heart.

Did you guess]? I like Spring.

I thought I would start with this old friend of mine, the hedgehog because they are cute, and they are the only spiny mammal in Britain.

They live on insects and grubs and they emerge from winter hibernation in early Spring, so around now. They have their four or five babies any time between April and September. They are primarily nocturnal, but can often be seen scurrying around at dusk.

My second choice for this month is Britain's Early Purple Orchid.

Yes we have our orchids too. Flourishing in particular in broadleaved woodland and coppices it is scene here amid the bluebells (which you may recall is a favorite of mine).

It is widespread throughout the British Isles, especially in the southern half of England it flowers in late April hence its appearance today.

Lots more to know, but time has run out too quickly today. So until next time, when Ann is going to talk about debutantes as a follow up to an earlier post, Happy Rambles.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The London of the Ton - Part V

by Ann Lethbridge

Here is our routine reminder. This blog will move to

The Thames River Police Continued

What kinds of crimes were committed on the River Thames that it required its own police force?

This picture is the entrance to the London docks. A great many people who worked on the river saw it as a right to help themselves to anything they could. Remembering how hard life was for the poorer members of society in this era, one can understand why. Coalheavers, for example, made it a practice to take two or three bushels of coal with them every time they left the collier they were unloading. It was this kind of stealing the magistrates office was set up to defeat.

The Police Establishment had a number of rowing galleys, each manned by a Surveyor (equivalent rank to today's Inspector) and three waterman Constables under the direction of a Superintending Surveyor. He had his own supervision galley with a crew of four. All Surveyors were empowered both by the crown (an oath taken before the magistrates) and also sworn and issued with an excise warrant by Customs and Excise Service.

Additionally during those two years, many ship and quay guards were also employed on a part time basis. They were visited and supervised by the boat patrols, these constables were employed only when the West India fleets were in the river and being discharged when there was no need for them. They were in time to become the first River Police Special Constables.

The same vigilance which had suppressed thieving had also put a considerable stop to smuggling which 'was an organised system and carried to extraordinary heights by the aid and connivance of many of the revenue officers.' Even 'the almost incredible plunder of Naval stores from the King’s Yards at Deptford and Woolwich had been suppressed to some degree' by the attention on land and water of the Thames Police, whose boats sometimes went as far as Sheerness and Chatham.

They also had to deal with foreign sailors who often became desperately short of funds and were known to plunder and engage in knife fights.

The Thames Police Institution was given another seven yeas of life by Act of Parliament in 1814, and in 1821 an Act for the More Effectual Administration of the Office of Justice of the Peace in the Metropolis and for the More Effectual Prevention of Depredations on the River Thames brought the River Court (but not Bow Street) under the same umbrella as the other seven public offices.

In 1839 Metropolitan Police Courts Act brought all the metropolitan police offices, including Bow Street, into one organisation, changed their description from 'Office' to 'Court', authorised the establishment by Order in Council of other courts, and limited the number of magistrates to 27.

As the result of this and of the Metropolitan Police Act, 1839, the Thames Magistrates ceased to be responsible for the control of the Marine Police, which became the Thames Division of the Metropolitan Police.

For much deeper look at this very interesting police force do visit the Museum website at

Until next time, happy rambles.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter

Posted by Michele Ann Young

Today, Good Friday, my daughter and I are making hot cross buns.

Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
one ha' penny,
two ha' penny,
hot cross buns.

If you have no daughters,
give them to your sons,
one ha' penny,
two ha' penny,
Hot Cross Buns

The first recorded use of the term "hot cross bun" is 1733 although it is believed that buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre (the cross is thought to have symbolised the four quarters of the moon);
Others claim that the Greeks marked cakes with a cross, much earlier.

James Boswell recorded in his Life of Johnson (1791): 9 Apr. An. 1773 Being Good Friday I breakfasted with him and cross-buns. The fact that they were generally sold hot, however, seems to have led by the early nineteenth century to the incorporation of hot into their name."

As you can see, this was definitely an ongoing tradition and would have been part of an English family breakfast on Good Friday

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Regency Fashion ~ April

Ooops, sorry I'm late. Down to the wire on edits. Don't forget the Regency Ramble is moving house to

Fashions for April

Are we expecting snow? Well I doubt that they were in London, but we have it here in Toronto today. And its not April fool's day.

These are from the 1810 La Belle Assemblee

Evening Dress.
A robe of amaranthus figured sarsnet, made to sit high in the neck, with a full cuff of lace; long sleeves with short loose tops trimmed with swansdown. A turban of amaranthus crape and velvet. Gold brooch and earrings. Swansdown muff. White kid gloves and shoes. Hair in light ringlet curls.

Evening Dress.
A round dress of white muslin made high over the bosom, with short sleeves trimmed with lace, and ornamented round the bottom with three rows of small tucks. A spotted ermine tippet. A cap composed of fluted satin and lace, bound in tight to the head, and ornamented with a full bunch of apple blossoms. Earrings and broach of gold. Gloves and shoes of white kid. Hair in light round curls.

Curls come other than round? Who new. I guess they mean what I call kiss curls. Remember those?

And if we were dressing in swansdown and fur in 1810. outside in 1817 we were looking like this:

From La Belle Assemblee April 1817.

Walking Dress

Round dress of fine cambric, under a pelisse of emerald-green reps sarsnet, ornamented and faced with flutings of green and white satin, elegantly finished by British silk trimming; the waist girt by a rich silk cordon of the same manufacture, with full tassels. Spring bonnet of green curled silk, the crown and ornaments of white satin and emerald-green, to correspond with the pelisse. Green satin half boots and Limerick gloves. Berlin ridicule of green and white satin.

The only comment I had about this one was - its very green.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Minuet

The regency equivalent of Happy Dancing. Well here it is, my first book with Harlequin Historicals, on the shelves. Which reminds me, we really should do something about dancing here at the Regency Ramble.

I have a similar picture from another store, but really how man pictures of the same book do you need to see to believe that the book is on shelves in Walmart and our local Shoppers Drug Mart.

If anyone else spots one, I'd love to hear about it.

Off to hunt the rest of my local area.

Back to normal programming next week. Promise. We will start with our Fashions for April.

Squeeee. OK I am excited.

This is the new Regency Ramble. You have come to the right place. See as I promised all the archives and the links are here.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.