Monday, February 27, 2012

Posting a Letter in the Regency

It was too soon for Mary to send Sally a letter, too much to ask her to pay for so little news.

I wrote this today in my current work in progress. But was I right? I thought I had it right, but really, what do I know about sending a letter in Regency England.

After hitting the my own files and some of the sites, I discovered more than I ever wanted to know. Here are a few things I thought you might find of interest.

First of all, I was right about the receiver of the letter having to pay the cost of mailing.  In this case from St Ives in Cornwall to somewhere near Old Sarum in Wiltshire.

All letters went via London. So in this case, the letter would pass Old Sarum, then be sent back there.  Letters were charged according to distance and  and the number of sheets of paper:

Within Great Britain:-
Not exceeding 15 miles 4d
Above 15 but not more than 20 miles 5d
Above 20 but not more than 30 miles 6d
Above 30 but not more than 50 miles 7d
Above 50 but not more than 80 miles 8d
Above 80 but not more than 120 miles 9d
Above 120 but not more than 170 miles 10d
Above 170 but not more than 230 miles 11d
Above 230 but not more than 300 miles 12d
Above 300 but not more than 400 miles 13d
Above 400 but not more than 500 miles 14d
Above 500 but not more than 600 miles 15d
Above 600 but not more than 700 miles 16d
Above 700 miles 17d

 For example, a typical single page letter from Dublin to London would cost 1s 3d - a lot of money in those days, when you consider that a Dairy maid 6 pence per day, less than half this amount. Can you imagine sending a letter at the cost of a whole days pay?  Two sheets of paper doubled the cost, three tripled it. And paper was not a cheap commodity either.

This high cost is partly because you paid twice. Once to get the letter to London, and again to get it to its destination. And sometimes cities added their own charges for delivery also, usually a penny.   And this is why, out of respect, the sender would keep their information to a single page and only write if needed. To save paper they would "cross their lines"  turn the paper at right angles and write in that direction as shown in the picture. In most places one had to go the the post office to collect one's mail rather than it being delivered to the door. Which is apparently something we are returning to these days.

By the way, there were no envelopes in the Regency. The sheet of paper would contain the address on the outside, and be sealed with wax or a wafer.  Additional sheets would be folded inside.

Not all mail had to be paid for. Letters from, Members of Parliament, Commons and Lords as well as newspapers travelled for free. It was intended for official business, but as we so often read in books, Peers etc were often asked to frank  (sign and stamp the letter as official) letters for friends and relatives to save the high cost of postage . This example dates from 1930.  The postal system was overhauled not long after this and the franking of letters was abolished in 1840.

If you want to dig deeper than I do at present, I would recommend starting with

No doubt there will be a new question on my mind requiring information in the not too distant future and until then, Happy Rambles

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Royal Weddings, family weddings and more

It came as quite a surprise when I discovered that the story I did for the Royal Wedding last April, is now coming out with the other stories as a print anthology in the UK.  It's a bit like getting the wedding cake out of the freezer on the first anniversary, I suppose. 

For those of you in North America, I know you will be hugely disappointed to learn that this print version is only available in the UK.  Sigh. Oh but wait! You can order it from The Book Depository, no shipping charged for delivery.  Yay!

What do you think of the new cover, as against the generic one for the e-book? Just a bit tasty don't you think?

So back before Christmas I said I would publicly track my progress on this cross-stitch project as a way of motivating me to get it done!  This is the photo I took at the end of January. Now if you look very very carefully, and compare to the last picture (as if you would) you will see that the outside border is finished, beads and all. And I have rolled it upwards a fraction to start on the embellishment to the fountain scene. 

I have been working away during February on that scene and will post another picture at the end of the month.  And just to brag a wee bit, I also made the dress. I love the smocking part, but have to force myself to construct the garment. This one with its lack of sleeves went together very well.

I just returned from a delightful family wedding in Trinidad, hence the lack of posts, accompanied by a bit of fun in the sun on the Island of Tobago.  While the weather was a bit on the damp side, it was lovely to meet up with old friends and catch up on all the family gossip.

In true Royal Wedding tradition, I wore my fascinator.  Felt like a Princess for a day.

There you have it, what I have been up to since you saw me last. Next we return to our regular programming.  Until then, Happy Rambles.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Interview with a Rake

Here is where you pay for the research by letting me post about my book Lady Rosabella`s Ruse. Of course, you can quite easily skip the whole thing, so I don`t feel the slightest bit guilty.

None of the women at an "anything goes" house party catches Garth Evernden's jaded eye. The only one worth noting is a covered-up lady's companion with an intriguing hint of exotic beauty the eighth Baron Stanford would like to uncover…

Miss Lethbridge:   Here we are readers, at this elegant country house not far from the Kent coast where a group of rather risque ladies and gentlemen have gathered for a week or two of "fun".  At the moment, I am lying in wait for Lord Stanford, Garth Evernden, a well-known man about town.  (Smiles sweetly at the tall dark gentlemen trying to avoid her.)  Good morning Baron Stanford, isn`t it rather early for you to be up and about?

Lord Stanford:  (Impatient sigh.) Excuse me. I am rather busy at the moment. Looking for someone.

Miss Lethbridge:  (Sneaky smile. Oh goody, we are going to get some dirt. My editor will be pleased.) Really? And who would that be?

Lord Stanford:  (dark eyebrow raised) Not the sort of thing I am in the habit of revealing, madame.

Miss Lethbridge:  I thought you hated this sort of contrived  "naughtiness" where people pretend to be wicked, Garth? May I call you Garth?

Garth: (a rather bored expression crosses his face) If you wish. If I am going to be honest, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for a certain young lady. He looks around. She is the wife of a good friend of mine.

Miss Lethbridge:   Isn't that rather disloyal?  (I realize I am frowning at him and try to merely look interested. I realize by the flash of anger in his eyes I am not doing a very good job.)  Er... so that is who you are looking for this morning?

Garth:  That is who I was looking for when I arrived here yesterday.  (His smile becomes rather wolfish and I take a step back) I don't think she was all that happy to see me.

Miss Lethbridge: That pleases you?

Garth:  It's a place to start. At least I have her attention.

Miss Lethbridge:  But if you are not looking for her this morning, who are you looking for?

Garth:  Our hostess's companion, Rose. I caught her sneaking into the house last night. There is something going on with that young lady.

Miss Lethbridge: And that intrigues you, does it?

Garth:  Look, despite that she is a funny old stick, I like Lady Keswick . If this companion of hers, Rose, is up to no good, I think she ought to be warned.  And if she is up for night time assignations, then...well...  Yes, I'm intrigued. Under those widows weeds is a flower that is both  exotic and secretive. What is she hiding? .

Miss Lethbridge: So now you are in pursuit of two women?

Garth:  (wicked grin).  You didn't actually think I was going to give the plot away, did you? 

 I was hoping.   He brushes past me and heads for the breakfast room, where uninvited reporters are not permitted. Blast.  Perhaps I will get more information out of Mrs Rose Travenor. Perhaps I should hide in the garden and wait for her to appear.  And if I learn anything, anything at all, you Dear Reader, will be the first to know. Tune in again next time.  Until then, Happy Rambles

You, dear reader, can purchase Lady Rosabella's Ruse at all your favourite stores, either in person or on line.  Here are a few links for various on line places from various places around the world if you would find them helpful. While you are it it you might want to look out for The Royal Weddings Anthology out in Print this month.

Save 20% everyday at

Find "Lady Rosabella's Ruse" At Barnes and Noble

Find "Lady Rosabella's Ruse" at Chapters in Canada

"Lady Rosabella's Ruse" at Mills and Boon    

"Lady Rosabella's Ruse at Foyles" UK

Find "Lady Rosabella's Ruse" at Blackwell Books

Find "Lady Rosabella's Ruse" At Pickabook, UK - New, Secondhand, Rare Books

Find "Lady Rosabella's Ruse" on

Lady Rosabella's Ruse at