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Letters in the Regency period, a daily gratitude.

Quill pen2Letters were a Regency lady’s constant companion. They were her means of communicating with her world. Without telephones, email, texting, Twitter or Facebook, she had to write a goodly number every day. We take our modern communication methods for granted but we should be grateful for them. In the Regency you would receive a dinner invitation, and be expected to reply to it in a timely fashion. The latest on-dits (gossip) with your closest friends also came sealed in an envelope. If a letter arrived smelling of rose geraniums you could be sure that Grandmamma was anxious to make herself perfectly clear on something very close to her heart. Friends were even known to have bitter fights via the post.

A letter was written on a single sheet of paper which was then folded so that the message was on the inside and address on the outside. Extra sheets cost more to send so letters were sometimes written both vertically and horizontally on the same side of the page. It was then folded with the ends tucked inside and usually sealed with a paste wafer, or red sealing wax. The sender did not pay the postage. That was up to the receiver. Aren’t you glad you live in the twenty-first century?

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A Regency Christmas or Christmastide

What would Christmastide be like in Regency England? On the twenty-fourth of December you would go out into the countryside to gather fresh greenery to decorate your home; boughs of evergreens, rosemary, laurel, holly and mistletoe. It was bad luck to do this even one day earlier. You’d prepare a drink for the wassailers who would come singing to your door. This could be either warmed ale, wine or cider, depending which part of the country you lived in, with spices, honey and sometimes an egg added. On Christmas Eve you would light the Yule candle which then burned until dawn. On Christmas morning it was off to church. Christmas was primarily a religious festival, but a goose was roasting in the oven for your return and perhaps a boar’s head. The feast ended with a Christmas pudding. Continue reading “A Regency Christmas or Christmastide”