Search Results for: Lady P

Episode #9: In Which Lady P Depletes the Cooking Sherry During Her Discussion of Caroline of Brunswick

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Lady Pendleton, Damian Ashby’s eccentric aunt (see the epilogue to Treasuring Theresa on Susana’s web site), is visiting Susana from the early 19th century. She’s intrigued by life in 21st century Toledo, Ohio, and, of course, Susana is thrilled to have the opportunity to pick her brain about life in Regency England. It certainly gives her a great deal to write about in Susana’s Parlour!

Susana [to the Reader]:

In our last encounter, Lady P enlightened us on the Prince of Wales’ illegal marriage to a twice-widowed Catholic lady unsuitable in every way to be Queen Consort of England. Following that, he married—for reasons of state—his first cousin, Caroline of Brunswick, daughter of his father’s sister. I’ve read of what a dreadful disaster that was, but I wanted to pick Lady P’s brain about it.

Lady P:

Really, Susana! Pick my brain, indeed! What an indelicate turn of phrase!!

Susana:

It’s just an expression, your ladyship. It means—well, I should have said only that I’m curious to learn what you have to say about the Prince’s choice of wife.

Lady P [shuddering]:

Naturally I have a great deal to say about it, but first I must shake off the image of some quack physician performing surgery on my brain. Is there anything left of the cooking sherry?

Susana:

No, you finished that one off last week after watching the finale of Downton Abbey, don’t you remember? But don’t despair—I bought a new bottle yesterday at the Kroger store.

[A slight pause while Susana leaves the room and returns with a glass of wine for Lady P.]

Lady P [after draining half the glass and dabbing at her lips with a handkerchief]:

Just the thing. I do enjoy a little wine in the evening, you know. What a pity you have no wine cellar. Why, in my day, every reputable household had a wine cellar and a stock of good wine. Even though you yourself do not indulge, Susana, you ought at least to think of your guests!

Susana [shrugging]:

My friends and I usually go out. In any case, if your ladyship is properly refreshed, I wonder if we could resume our conversation about the Princess of Wales. I have heard that she and the Prince detested each other on sight. Is that true, do you think?

caroline2Lady P:

That was indeed the on dit, and I must say, I could believe it. The Prince arrived late to his wedding, and in a most intoxicated state, too. Lady Bessborough—Georgiana’s sister Harriet, you know—told me that the night before he’d written a note declaring his everlasting love to Maria Fitzherbert—with whom he was estranged at the time—and he made out a will leaving everything he owned to her as well. Harriet was much distressed to see the state he was in.

Susana [shaking her head]:

Then why was she chosen in the first place? He was a grown man; surely he could have found a way to avoid it if he’d wished to.

Lady P:

Was he? A grown man, I mean. Much of the time his behavior resembled that of an over-indulged child. [Looking around nervously] I suppose I can say that with impunity since he’s been dead for nearly two centuries, but truly, my dear, the Prince of Wales was never the man his father was, the madness notwithstanding. [Sighing] In any case, the Prince had accumulated such debts that Mr. Pitt—the Prime Minister, you know—promised to give him a substantial increase in income if he were to make a suitable marriage.

Susana:

So…he was forced to marry Caroline of Brunswick to pay his debts? Did he have no other prospective brides to choose from?

Lady P:

Well, when you eliminate the Catholic royalty and those who were already wed, there were only two who were eligible, both of them his first cousins. Princess Louise of Mecklenberg-Strelitz was his father’s brother’s daughter, and frankly, she was the prettier of the two and seemingly possessed of the better temperament. There were rumors of Princess Caroline’s scandalous behavior even then, you see.

Susana:

Then why did he choose her? Did she have a larger dowry?

Lady P [clucking]:

The on dit was that Lady Jersey—the Prince’s mistress at the time—chose her because she seemed a less formidable rival.

Susana:

So…he allowed his mistress to choose his wife?

Lady P:

If you believed the Prince to be a man of integrity and good character, my dear Susana, then you have not been attending my words at all. The man had no intention of forming a true marriage, and even though he had broken with Maria, in some manner he still considered her his true wife and resented the necessity of making another connection for state purposes.

Susana:

So he didn’t really care who he married.

Lady P:

Whom, my dear. Not who. No, I don’t suppose he did. Consequently, when he ended up with a wife as odious as Caroline, nearly everyone secretly believed his punishment was well deserved.

Susana:

Did you agree with them, Lady P?

Lady P [sighing]:

As many faults as the Prince had, my dear, they were nothing compared to those of Caroline of Brunswick. Those who defended her when apprised of his cruel treatment—and that was nearly the whole of England, you know—could hardly have been well acquainted with her. Well, Sally Jersey was an exception, but then, Sally never did approve of the Prince, since she was forever having to live down the fact that her mother-in-law had been his mistress for a time, and had, in fact, chosen Caroline for him in the first place.

Susana:

Sally Jersey, one of the patronesses of Almack’s? Who would refuse vouchers to young ladies who did not demonstrate the utmost propriety in their conduct?

Lady P:

The same.

carolineSusana:

What did you think of Caroline, Lady P?

Lady P [throwing up her arms]:

She was truly dreadful, Susana. She rarely bathed, ate and drank to excess, was most immoderate in her dress and speech, and it was said that she was not chaste. But you should really ask Leticia, Lady Beauchamp, since she served—most unwillingly, I must say—as one of the Princess’s ladies-in-waiting.

Susana:

Lady Beauchamp? Where have I heard that name before?

Lady P:

She was an acquaintance of Theresa’s, you know, Damian’s wife?

Susana:

Ah, yes. But they were hardly bosom friends, as I recall.

Lady P [smiling]

Oh my, not at all. But they were merely young girls at the time, and you know how catty young girls can be. But then…perhaps we should arrange to have Leticia come for a visit sometime soon. I think you would enjoy—how did you put it—performing surgery on her brain for a time.

Susana:

Picking her brain is the proper expression, Lady P.

Lady P:

It is not proper at all, Susana, and you know it quite well. I do feel the need for another glass of that cooking sherry, if you don’t mind.

Susana [to the Readers]:

That’s all for this episode. But I am intrigued by the idea of speaking with Leticia, Lady Beauchamp. Perhaps Lady P will be able to persuade her to come for a brief visit to tell me about her experiences with the infamous Princess of Wales who was never allowed to be Queen. I can’t promise anything, however. This time travel thing can be very complicated.

As always, please do comment if you have any questions you’d like to ask Lady P about the late Georgian/Regency era. She does love to chat!

The Lady P Series

Episode #1: Susana’s Adventures With Lady P: The Introduction

Episode #2: Lady P Talks About… Pride and Prejudice?

Episode #3: Lady P and the Duchess Who Lost a Billion Dollars

Episode #4: Lady P and the Face On the $100 Bill

Episode #5: In Which Lady P Discovers Sparkly Fabrics and Ponders Violating the Prime Directive

Episode #6: Lady P Dishes the Dirt on the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #7: The Political Exploits of Lady P and the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #8: Lady P and the Prince Regent’s Illicit Marriage

Episode #9: In Which Lady P Depletes the Cooking Sherry During Her Discussion of Caroline of Brunswick

Episode #10: Lord Byron: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

Episode #11: In Which Lady P Talks About Hannah More and the Rights of Women

Episode #12: Lady P’s Revelations Regarding George III and His Peculiar Progeny

Episode #13: Lady P Discusses the Luddite Uprising, the Assassination of Spencer Perceval, and the General Unfairness of Life

Episode #14: In Which Leticia, Lady Beauchamp, Pops In For an Interview On Her Personal Acquaintance With Princess Charlotte of Wales

Episode #15: Lady P On Assignment in 1814 Kent

Lady P Quizzes Jane Livingston, the Hero’s Sister From “A Twelfth Night Tale”

Episode #8: Lady P and the Prince Regent’s Illicit Marriage

Lady Pendleton, Damian Ashby’s eccentric aunt (see the epilogue to Treasuring Theresa on Susana’s web site), is visiting Susana from the early 19th century. She’s intrigued by life in 21st century Toledo, Ohio, and, of course, Susana is thrilled to have the opportunity to pick her brain about life in Regency England. It certainly gives her a great deal to write about in Susana’s Parlour!

Susana [to the Reader]:

regentThe Prince of Wales became Regent in 1811 when his father was deemed unable to reign due to madness. He is often caricatured in historical fiction. Dubbed as “Prinny,” (and other, less polite sobriquets), the king’s eldest surviving son was intemperate in just about every area of his life and generally disliked by the populace.

So naturally, one of the first topics I broached with Lady Pendleton when she arrived on my doorstep was the Prince Regent and what he was like. And she did have a lot to say…but then, she usually does, doesn’t she?

Lady P:

I didn’t meet the Prince Regent until just after my marriage, and although we traveled in the same social circles, Pendleton did not approve of him, and not just because of politics. The Prince was a confirmed skirt chaser before his eighteenth birthday, and he tended to be attracted to older women. Though not normally a jealous man, Lord P did not like to see me much in company with him. I mean, how does one turn down the attentions of a future monarch without incurring rancor and courting future ill-will? No indeed, Pendleton remained riveted to my side whenever we accepted invitations to Carlton House or any event at which the Prince was expected to put in an appearance. [Sighing] Of course, my dear husband never knew of the handful of times I met the Prince at one of Georgiana’s salons at Devonshire House. But then, Lord P would never have countenanced my attendance at a Whig affair, so I simply omitted mentioning it. For his own good, of course.

maria_fitzAlthough I saw His Royal Highness eyeing my form with appreciation on occasion, he never importuned me in any way. No doubt it was due to the fact that he was already infatuated with Maria Fitzherbert, who, like me, was a half dozen or so years older than he was. He’d already had several mistresses by then, including that unfortunate actress, Mary Robinson, but this was different. He was well and truly besotted with Mrs. Fitzherbert.

Susana:

Is it true that he contracted an illegal marriage with her?

Lady P:

Oh, indeed he did. Georgiana told me she was particularly asked by His Highness to assist Mrs. Fitzherbert’s acceptance in the ton. Of course, she could not refuse, although it was exceedingly distasteful to her. She and Maria detested one another, and as fond as she was of the Prince, Georgiana could not like the rashness of his actions in making such an imprudent marriage. Besides the fact that the law prohibited him from marrying without the approval of his father, she was twice-widowed already and a Catholic. [Shaking her head] Could he have found anyone less suitable to be spouse of a king?

Susana:

So it was widely known that he had married without permission. Did his parents know? I wonder how they could countenance his marriage to Princess Caroline, then. Would that not be bigamy?

Lady P:

Well, even when he was sane, George III despised his eldest son. His illness notwithstanding, the old king was a conscientious ruler and I’m certain he despaired of the nation’s future well-being under his dissipated, self-indulgent son. [Shrugging] As to the unsuitability of his marriage, well, there was nothing to be done but to ignore it. I’m sure Maria was offered money to destroy the marriage lines and take herself off, but she was a good Catholic and considered herself married in the eyes of God. Well, the Pope himself declared the marriage valid.

Susana:

Ah yes, no doubt he had hopes of bringing the English back into the True Faith.

Lady P [snickering]:

As if that would ever have happened! Although he lived on and off with her for the better part of two decades, the Prince philandered with others during that time, and even severed his relationship with her just prior to his marriage to that German princess, Caroline. When that turned out to be a colossal disaster, he reconciled with Maria briefly, but when that ended as well, the affair was well and truly over and one couldn’t even mention her name without incurring tirades of anger and bitterness.

Susana:

And yet, didn’t he make a request to be buried with her cameo, or some such trinket?

mariaseyeLady P [sighing]:

It was a miniature of her eye, something she’d given him in the early days to remind him of her—that she was watching him—when they were apart. Despite everything that happened, he kept it, and they said he did speak of her affectionately at the end.

But she was a fool for throwing her lot in with him in the first place. Royal princes don’t marry commoners, and royal heirs marry for state reasons. At least they did in my day. I must confess that it warmed my heart to watch Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton on that computer contraption of yours, although I find it fascinating that she is related to Lord Shelbourne, who was prime minister for a year or so before Charles James Fox’s Whigs trounced him out of office. Why, Lord P and I knew him well.

Susana:

It’s a small world, or so they say.

Lady P:

Indeed it is. Everyone is related to everyone else. It is enough to boggle the mind. I wonder if you and I could be related to each other, Susana? Have you ever thought of that possibility?

Susana [chuckling]:

Well, you do bear a certain resemblance to my mother. But no, I haven’t yet found a connection. I wonder if a DNA test would help?

Lady P [puzzled]:

A DNA test? What can that be? Do explain yourself, Susana.

Susana [to the Reader]:

Well, our conversation took a different direction at that point, but I’m sure I shall have an opportunity to pick her brain further about the Prince Regent at another time.

As always, please do comment if you have any questions you’d like to ask Lady P about the late Georgian/Regency era. She does love to chat!

The Lady P Series

Episode #1: Susana’s Adventures With Lady P: The Introduction

Episode #2: Lady P Talks About… Pride and Prejudice?

Episode #3: Lady P and the Duchess Who Lost a Billion Dollars

Episode #4: Lady P and the Face On the $100 Bill

Episode #5: In Which Lady P Discovers Sparkly Fabrics and Ponders Violating the Prime Directive

Episode #6: Lady P Dishes the Dirt on the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #7: The Political Exploits of Lady P and the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #8: Lady P and the Prince Regent’s Illicit Marriage

Episode #9: In Which Lady P Depletes the Cooking Sherry During Her Discussion of Caroline of Brunswick

Episode #10: Lord Byron: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

Episode #11: In Which Lady P Talks About Hannah More and the Rights of Women

Episode #12: Lady P’s Revelations Regarding George III and His Peculiar Progeny

Episode #13: Lady P Discusses the Luddite Uprising, the Assassination of Spencer Perceval, and the General Unfairness of Life

Episode #14: In Which Leticia, Lady Beauchamp, Pops In For an Interview On Her Personal Acquaintance With Princess Charlotte of Wales

Episode #15: Lady P On Assignment in 1814 Kent

Lady P Quizzes Jane Livingston, the Hero’s Sister From “A Twelfth Night Tale”

Episode #7: The Political Exploits of Lady P and the Duchess of Devonshire

Lady Pendleton, Damian Ashby’s eccentric aunt (see the epilogue to Treasuring Theresa on Susana’s web site), is visiting Susana from the early 19th century. She’s intrigued by life in 21st century Toledo, Ohio, and, of course, Susana is thrilled to have the opportunity to pick her brain about life in Regency England. It certainly gives her a great deal to write about in Susana’s Parlour!

red_3smLady P: I’m afraid you find me alone this morning, since Susana is so occupied with her accounts that she begged me to talk to you on my own. Of course, I did tell her that it isn’t strictly necessary to pay the tradesmen’s bills on time; mine are often several months in arrears—due to my demanding schedule, you know—but the merchants with whom I do business have no concerns about being paid eventually. [Sigh] But she insists that there are dreadful penalties for tardiness in meeting one’s obligations, such as one’s credit rating being lowered, whatever that means, so I graciously agreed to serve in her stead once again.

devonshireShe just finished reading a biography written about my good friend Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, and she said she thought her readers would enjoy hearing about Georgiana’s political exploits, and mine too, of course, since I did campaign with her on several occasions.

Well, I suppose I must first mention the brilliant salons at Devonshire House where all the important players in the Whig Party used to meet and have the most intriguing discussions. I was able to attend only a handful of times when Pendleton was out of town—he would never countenance that sort of thing, you know, being a Tory from way back, although I did try at first to explain to him that politics is not something that can be inherited like money or a house—but when I did I was simply fascinated. Georgiana was astonishingly intelligent, you know. If she hadn’t been a female, I’m sure she would have risen to Prime Minister, and I can assure you that if she had, the country would have fared ever so much better than it did at the hands of the men! Not to mention her sense of fashion.

cjfoxBut…no, those of the female sex were not even allowed to vote, so it was quite a scandal when Georgiana and her sister and several other prominent women marched in favor of Charles James Fox in the early days. Charles was a distant cousin, you see, and they were quite cozy with one another. It was really quite something to see, Georgiana leading the women, all carrying signs, through the streets as the onlookers cheered. She had such a presence, you know. I believe she could have convinced them to vote for a monkey and they’d have done so quite happily.

Why, I’ll never forget the day an Irish dustman approached her as she was descending from her carriage and said, “Love and bless you, my lady, and let me light my pipe in your eyes.” [Chuckle] She was forever saying that “After the dustman’s compliment, all others are insipid.”

But Devonshire put his foot down after someone started a rumor that she was selling kisses for votes—how ridiculous that was, but people will believe the most ridiculous things when they see those scandalous prints that make the rounds. So she had to restrict her political activities to less public venues, although everyone knew she still had the ear of all the prominent Whigs of the time.

Georgiana had a great many faults, of course, but I do give her credit for her role in opening the door for the female sex in the political arena. Why, at the time I really expected that women’s suffrage was right around the corner; how shocked and disappointed I was to learn afterward that it was a good hundred years before women were allowed the right to vote. [Shaking her head] That daughter of Kent’s—what was her name?—Victoria—has a lot to answer for, I vow, for her part in setting the cause of women back for so many decades!

Lady P: Oh dear, Susana says I have neglected to mention that the Whigs—or at least the modern Whigs of my day—supported changes in government and society, giving more rights and power to the middle and lower classes and less to the wealthy aristocrats. Why, Georgiana and Fox both supported the American Revolution, and were called traitors by the Tories for it on many an occasion, even after the war was lost. And Georgiana did support the French Revolution at first, even being a particular friend of Marie-Antoinette, until she saw firsthand what was happening there with the guillotine and all. No, she always used to tell me that she hoped that dealing with the situation with the lower classes before it got to the breaking point would stave off the occurrence of such a horrific uprising here in England.

Because really, even if there are as many as ten thousand of us in the ton, we are greatly outnumbered by the common folk, and one can only press them so far before someone draws their attention to the strength of their numbers and leads them into an uprising. [Shuddering] That’s why Pendleton and the Tories opposed education for the masses. Ignorance makes them more malleable, of course. What would he say if he were here to know that Damian’s wife Theresa supports a free school for the common folk in Granville and Letchworth? Thankfully, he passed on to his reward long before. I miss him dreadfully, of course, but he could be so obstinate at times. I always attributed it to that Scottish great-grandmother of his…

And, as always, please do comment if you have any questions you’d like to ask Lady P about the late Georgian/Regency era. She does love to chat!

The Lady P Series

Episode #1: Susana’s Adventures With Lady P: The Introduction

Episode #2: Lady P Talks About… Pride and Prejudice?

Episode #3: Lady P and the Duchess Who Lost a Billion Dollars

Episode #4: Lady P and the Face On the $100 Bill

Episode #5: In Which Lady P Discovers Sparkly Fabrics and Ponders Violating the Prime Directive

Episode #6: Lady P Dishes the Dirt on the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #7: The Political Exploits of Lady P and the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #8: Lady P and the Prince Regent’s Illicit Marriage

Episode #9: In Which Lady P Depletes the Cooking Sherry During Her Discussion of Caroline of Brunswick

Episode #10: Lord Byron: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

Episode #11: In Which Lady P Talks About Hannah More and the Rights of Women

Episode #12: Lady P’s Revelations Regarding George III and His Peculiar Progeny

Episode #13: Lady P Discusses the Luddite Uprising, the Assassination of Spencer Perceval, and the General Unfairness of Life

Episode #14: In Which Leticia, Lady Beauchamp, Pops In For an Interview On Her Personal Acquaintance With Princess Charlotte of Wales

Episode #15: Lady P On Assignment in 1814 Kent

Lady P Quizzes Jane Livingston, the Hero’s Sister From “A Twelfth Night Tale”

Episode #6: Lady P Dishes the Dirt on the Duchess of Devonshire

Lady Pendleton, Damian Ashby’s eccentric aunt (see the epilogue to Treasuring Theresa on Susana’s web site), is visiting Susana from the early 19th century. She’s intrigued by life in 21st century Toledo, Ohio, and, of course, Susana is thrilled to have the opportunity to pick her brain about life in Regency England. It certainly gives her a great deal to write about in Susana’s Parlour!

Susana (To the Reader): I’ve always been fascinated by what I’ve heard about Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, who was a great-great-great aunt of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and who counts among her descendents (through her illegitimate daughter, Eliza Courtenay) Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Lady P discussed her problem with gambling in Episode #3, but seeing as she and the Duchess were contemporaries—Lady P is two years older—I’ve asked her to tell us a bit about the infamous Duchess’s life.

carolinelambLady P: Lady Caroline Lamb, that silly woman who chased after Lord Byron even after he cast her off, was the daughter of Georgiana’s sister Harriet…if you recall, Harriet was the one who had to be bailed out of the Fleet for debt. Truly, there is something seriously not right about that Caroline. I suppose it’s not to be surprised at, since Bessborough, her father, was such a brute that Harriet and Caroline departed his house and lived with the Devonshires. Caroline grew up there, along with Georgiana’s children, and, of course, the illegitimates.

Susana: Illegitimates?

Lady P: Well, that is the polite term for them. I’ve heard them called worse, let me tell you. First, there was the duke’s daughter by the maid, Charlotte, I believe was her name. Georgiana took her in after her mother died…at the Duke’s request.

Susana: That was generous of her. There were more, you say?

eliz.fosterLady P: Indeed. Georgiana became great friends with a woman estranged from her husband, one with a shady past, if you ask me. That was Lady Elizabeth Foster, and dear Georgiana took pity on her and invited her to stay with them until her situation improved. No money, you see, and no home either.

Susana: The Duchess seems a very kind person indeed.

Lady P: Harrumph! I told her on many an occasion that she was far too kindhearted for her own good. Why, everyone saw through that conniver, Bess Foster, except for Georgiana. And the Duke, of course. She lived with them for twenty-five years, mind!

devonshire_dukeSusana: She was friendly with the Duke as well?

Lady P: Oh, very. She gave birth to two illegitimate children by him!

Susana: Goodness! And Georgiana knew this was going on?

Lady P: Of course she did. Everyone knew. Not that she was happy about it, mind. But by that time, she was far too dependent on Bess to cast her aside. It’s not like she and the Duke were a love match, you know. And Bess helped her deal with her creditors too; I don’t think she could have managed without her.

Susana: This blows my mind. So the Devonshires lived in a ménage à trois surrounded by illegitimate children for twenty-five years, and yet Georgiana was an acclaimed leader of the ton?

devonshireLady P: Indeed. You see, Georgiana’s personality was such that she made it the fashion to be different. You should have seen the hats she wore…some of them scraped the ceiling and one nearly caught fire when it brushed against a chandelier! She was a great friend of Marie-Antoinette, you know, before the Revolution. Georgiana ruled the French court as well, when she was in France. Everyone sought to imitate her.

Susana: Including her lifestyle?

Lady P: Dear Susana, you mustn’t assume that the leaders of the ton actually practiced the morals they espoused for others. No, indeed. Society was full of rakes and drunkards and wife beaters even then. People whispered about the Devonshires, of course, and perhaps even spoke of them openly, but it didn’t stop them from worshipping her. Not even when she fled to France to give birth to her own illegitimate daughter.

Susana: No, really?

Lady P: Georgiana was no paragon, you know. She had love affairs of her own. She fell in love with Charles Grey, who was seven or eight years younger than she, and would have run away to live with him had the Duke not threatened to keep her children from her. As it was, the Duke banished her to France to have Grey’s daughter, and Eliza was raised by Grey’s parents as their own daughter.

Susana: So Georgiana had to give her daughter up while the Duke’s illegitimate children lived in the household with his legitimate children? How hypocritical!

Lady P: That is the way of things where I come from. The men rule—or think they do—and their wives or daughters have little recourse but to become beggars or do as I did, and become an expert at diversion.

Susana: Diversion?

Lady P: Well, I certainly never told Pendleton I had become a Whig follower. He was a Tory through and through, and he would never have allowed me to join Georgiana in her marches for Charles Fox. No indeed. So I never mentioned it, and whenever he asked me what I had done on those days, I simply told him I was at the milliner’s and began chattering away about lace and ribbons and the latest fashions until he changed the subject or stalked off. Of course, now that I am widowed, I can do as I please. Of course, I do miss my dear Pendleton, but I must confess, the freedom of widowhood is much to be desired.

Susana (To the Reader): Our time is up for today, but I’ve asked Lady P to continue her memories of the Duchess, particularly her political activities, in our next episode. Thanks for dropping by.

And, as always, please do comment if you have any questions you’d like to ask Lady P about the late Georgian/Regency era. She does love to chat!

The Lady P Series

Episode #1: Susana’s Adventures With Lady P: The Introduction

Episode #2: Lady P Talks About… Pride and Prejudice?

Episode #3: Lady P and the Duchess Who Lost a Billion Dollars

Episode #4: Lady P and the Face On the $100 Bill

Episode #5: In Which Lady P Discovers Sparkly Fabrics and Ponders Violating the Prime Directive

Episode #6: Lady P Dishes the Dirt on the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #7: The Political Exploits of Lady P and the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #8: Lady P and the Prince Regent’s Illicit Marriage

Episode #9: In Which Lady P Depletes the Cooking Sherry During Her Discussion of Caroline of Brunswick

Episode #10: Lord Byron: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

Episode #11: In Which Lady P Talks About Hannah More and the Rights of Women

Episode #12: Lady P’s Revelations Regarding George III and His Peculiar Progeny

Episode #13: Lady P Discusses the Luddite Uprising, the Assassination of Spencer Perceval, and the General Unfairness of Life

Episode #14: In Which Leticia, Lady Beauchamp, Pops In For an Interview On Her Personal Acquaintance With Princess Charlotte of Wales

Episode #15: Lady P On Assignment in 1814 Kent

Lady P Quizzes Jane Livingston, the Hero’s Sister From “A Twelfth Night Tale”

Episode #5: In Which Lady P Discovers Sparkly Fabrics and Ponders Violating the Prime Directive

Lady Pendleton, Damian Ashby’s eccentric aunt (see the epilogue to Treasuring Theresa on Susana’s web site), is visiting Susana from the early 19th century. She’s intrigued by life in 21st century Toledo, Ohio, and, of course, Susana is thrilled to have the opportunity to pick her brain about life in Regency England. It certainly gives her a great deal to write about in Susana’s Parlour!

Susana (To the Reader): Today we are shopping for the fabric for the Regency ball gown I mentioned in the first post about Lady P’s visit. We postponed the trip for a couple of weeks because we thought there was going to be a big sale at JoAnn’s at the end of the month. Actually, we discovered the sale was already over! But Lady P was far too wired for shopping to tolerate another delay, so we forged ahead to the fabrics. As you might imagine, Lady P was overwhelmed by the selection!

Lady P: Here I thought Ellington’s Emporium well-stocked with the latest textiles! They have nothing on this-this Joanne’s…is that the name of the linen-draper? Or perhaps his wife’s?

Susana: Joanne’s, yes. It’s a national chain—that is, there are many stores of the same name around the country for those who enjoy sewing and handcrafts.

Lady P: So there isn’t any person named Joanne, then?

Susana: I don’t really know. No one here, at any rate.

Lady P: Young people! Too self-absorbed to ask obvious questions! Goodness! Are those tiny diamonds woven somehow into the cloth?

Susana: Oh no, just something sparkly. Sparkly is the fashion these days.

Lady P: Yes, I see. Everything here is glittering like treasure. Goodness, I’d love a gown made up of this aubergine material. Little sparkling flowers all over it! What about you? I daresay this would become you as well.

Susana: Uh, no. Purple is definitely not my color. And besides, I’m looking for a fabric similar to what was used in 1813 England. Sparkly fabric would be a dead giveaway.

Lady P: What a pity. These are so beautiful. I have half a mind to have a whole new wardrobe made up to take back with me to my own time. Why, I would be a sensation! The talk of the town! And dear Theresa could use some new additions to her wardrobe after her latest lying-in. She’s expecting her third, you know. Amelia came first, and then little Charles Robert, the heir. Named after her father, you know.

Susana: How lovely! I’d love to meet Theresa someday. But…no, you can’t take back anything from this time period when you return to the 19th century.

Lady P: Poppycock! Of course I can!

Susana: Anyone who watches science fiction knows that you can’t meddle with history. It has to follow its natural course. Otherwise, the future might evolve differently and people like me might not even exist.

Lady P: Well, of course that would be a shame, but then, if you didn’t exist, you wouldn’t even know it, would you?

Susana: Hmm… no, I suppose not.

LadyP2Lady P: Perhaps the new future would be a better one than it would have been. Have you considered that?

Susana: Well, uh, not really.

Lady P: Even so, Susana, I hardly think that taking back a trunk of new gowns with—what do you call them–—sparkly fabric?—would upset the future world all that much.

Susana: Well, perhaps not, but how would you explain having such unusual gowns in the 19th century? If you tell the truth, who will believe you? At best, they will confine you to Bedlam. At worst, they might burn you at the stake as a witch.

Lady P: Nonsense! Witches are no longer burned at the stake in England, Susana.

Susana: Nonetheless…

Lady P: I shall have to think on it. Now… if you must have the sort of fabric from my time, let’s look at the silks and muslins and see what we can come up with. I still think you would look well in orange or yellow…

fabric2smSusana (to the Reader): They told me finding the appropriate fabric for a reproduction gown would be difficult, and they were right! Sparklies aside, they just don’t make fabrics the way they used to. After several false starts, we finally settled on the cream taffeta pintuck for the gown and the blue satin for the coat. And we’re making a chemise as well. The gown is supposed to be lined, as is the coat, and I’m wondering how comfortable it will be to wear five layers of fabric in a crowded exhibit hall at the convention. Can we get away with not lining the gown and hoping that the chemise keeps it from being too revealing? Decisions, decisions!

In the meantime, I’ve been showing Lady P some episodes of Star Trek that feature the Prime Directive. As much as I enjoy having her here, I am not keen on disrupting the past and thus inadvertently starting World War III. But it’s an uphill battle. She seems to grasp certain concepts quite quickly, but those she finds inconvenient she persists in misunderstanding. Like a few other people I know.

As always, please comment if you have any specific questions you’d like Susana to pose to Lady P while she is here.

The Lady P Series

Episode #1: Susana’s Adventures With Lady P: The Introduction

Episode #2: Lady P Talks About… Pride and Prejudice?

Episode #3: Lady P and the Duchess Who Lost a Billion Dollars

Episode #4: Lady P and the Face On the $100 Bill

Episode #5: In Which Lady P Discovers Sparkly Fabrics and Ponders Violating the Prime Directive

Episode #6: Lady P Dishes the Dirt on the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #7: The Political Exploits of Lady P and the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #8: Lady P and the Prince Regent’s Illicit Marriage

Episode #9: In Which Lady P Depletes the Cooking Sherry During Her Discussion of Caroline of Brunswick

Episode #10: Lord Byron: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

Episode #11: In Which Lady P Talks About Hannah More and the Rights of Women

Episode #12: Lady P’s Revelations Regarding George III and His Peculiar Progeny

Episode #13: Lady P Discusses the Luddite Uprising, the Assassination of Spencer Perceval, and the General Unfairness of Life

Episode #14: In Which Leticia, Lady Beauchamp, Pops In For an Interview On Her Personal Acquaintance With Princess Charlotte of Wales

Episode #15: Lady P On Assignment in 1814 Kent

Lady P Quizzes Jane Livingston, the Hero’s Sister From “A Twelfth Night Tale”

Episode #4: Lady P and the Face On the $100 Bill

ben_franklin

Lady Pendleton, Damian Ashby’s eccentric aunt (see the epilogue to Treasuring Theresa on Susana’s web site), is visiting Susana from the early 19th century. She’s intrigued by life in 21st century Toledo, Ohio, and, of course, Susana is thrilled to have the opportunity to pick her brain about life in Regency England. It certainly gives her a great deal to write about in Susana’s Parlour!

Susana (to the Reader): One of my traditional New Year’s goals is to work on clearing up the clutter in my basement office. I use a FlyLady timer that my friend Ellen sent me and tackle the mess fifteen minutes at a time. Well, I was going through some of the travel paraphernalia I brought back from England last May, and I found a $100 bill I had taken along just in case my debit card got eaten up by some greedy ATM. Since I usually carry around $60 or less at one time, I was just about to take out a bank deposit envelope when Lady P caught sight of the picture of Benjamin Franklin on the bill and mentioned that her father had been a great friend of his and that she had met him several times during her come-out. And she did have some fascinating things to say about this famous American statesman and his progency that you may not have heard before.

Lady P: My father dabbled a bit in science, you know. Younger sons do need to find something to occupy their time, even if they marry heiresses, as Papa did. In any event, Papa was a great patron of the sciences, and he and Mr. Franklin took to each other immediately. Papa visited his lodgings on Craven Street quite often to conduct experiments and whatnot.

Susana: How fascinating that you were able to meet Benjamin Franklin! What was he like?

Lady P: Quite a charming man. Not a dasher, you understand, though exceedingly well-groomed. But his witty conversation and elegant manners…goodness, if his son William had inherited even a small portion of his father’s charm…I daresay he could have married into the ton, despite his unfortunate birth.william_franklin

Susana: Unfortunate birth?

Lady P: Indeed. He was a natural son, you know. Acknowledged, of course, and a British Loyalist all his life. Much better looking than his father, even in his sixth decade, as he was when I met him in the 1790’s, but certainly lacking his father’s éclat. you understand. Landed on his feet, though. Married a sugar heiress, I believe.

Susana: An illegitimate son who was a British Loyalist. Fascinating.

Lady P: Not so unusual. Like many colonists, the elder Mr. Franklin had divided loyalties. Why, Papa told me that many a time Mr. Franklin bemoaned the fact that neither side was willing to compromise on their positions. In the end, he took the side of the colonists and never returned to England, but his son William did. Fathered an illegitimate son of his own, too. Who in turn fathered two illegitimate children by two different women.william_temple

Susana: Oh dear. So many illegitimate children! Must have been quite scandalous at the time!

Lady P: Not really. Natural children are quite common. Our Englishwomen are known for their attraction for the male sex, you understand. It’s all in the complexion.

Susana: Er, yes. Of course.

Lady P: Dear Pendleton, of course, was much too prudent to indulge in such behavior, but his uncle–goodness, I could tell you endless stories about his escapades. Poor Aunt Lavinia was forever being humiliated…

Unfortunately, Susana never did finish de-cluttering her office. But she has pages and pages of notes about late 18th/early 19th century scandals that she plans to turn into a book one day. Lady P predicts an instant best-seller.

See you on Monday! As always, please comment if you have any specific questions you’d like Susana to pose to Lady P while she is here.

The Lady P Series

Episode #1: Susana’s Adventures With Lady P: The Introduction

Episode #2: Lady P Talks About… Pride and Prejudice?

Episode #3: Lady P and the Duchess Who Lost a Billion Dollars

Episode #4: Lady P and the Face On the $100 Bill

Episode #5: In Which Lady P Discovers Sparkly Fabrics and Ponders Violating the Prime Directive

Episode #6: Lady P Dishes the Dirt on the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #7: The Political Exploits of Lady P and the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #8: Lady P and the Prince Regent’s Illicit Marriage

Episode #9: In Which Lady P Depletes the Cooking Sherry During Her Discussion of Caroline of Brunswick

Episode #10: Lord Byron: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

Episode #11: In Which Lady P Talks About Hannah More and the Rights of Women

Episode #12: Lady P’s Revelations Regarding George III and His Peculiar Progeny

Episode #13: Lady P Discusses the Luddite Uprising, the Assassination of Spencer Perceval, and the General Unfairness of Life

Episode #14: In Which Leticia, Lady Beauchamp, Pops In For an Interview On Her Personal Acquaintance With Princess Charlotte of Wales

Episode #15: Lady P On Assignment in 1814 Kent

Lady P Quizzes Jane Livingston, the Hero’s Sister From “A Twelfth Night Tale”

Episode #3: Lady P and the Duchess Who Lost a Billion Dollars

Lady Pendleton, Damian Ashby’s eccentric aunt (see the epilogue to Treasuring Theresa on Susana’s web site), is visiting Susana from the early 19th century. She’s intrigued by life in 21st century Toledo, Ohio, and, of course, Susana is thrilled to have the opportunity to pick her brain about life in Regency England. It certainly gives her a great deal to write about in Susana’s Parlour!

Susana (to the Reader): Lady P took to driving like a duck to water, except that she has no sense of distance and thought she had to press the accelerator down to the floor. There was a point when I saw a pole looming closer and closer and was convinced we were both goners when she jerked the steering wheel and swerved away, narrowly missing it, but running straight through a deep pothole that would have jerked us out of our seats had we not been wearing seat belts. To make a long story short, the car is in the shop for the next several days—I told them to take their time fixing it—and so Lady P and I are walking and begging rides with friends for awhile.

My next-door neighbors, Stephanie and Derrick, invited us to go with them to the Hollywood Casino that opened last year in Rossford, and Lady P wanted to know more about it.

Lady P: A casino? Where people play games of chance and lose their fortunes?

Susana: Well, I don’t know about that last part. I think a few people must win. But there are other things to do there besides gamble.

Lady P: Oh, I know about that. Pendleton told me about the painted ladies upstairs.

Susana: Oh no! I didn’t mean that. I mean, there are no painted ladies there. There are several restaurants—my friend Ray works as a cook there and he says the food is excellent.

Lady P: So people go there only for a good meal?

Susana: I think they have entertainment and dancing on weekends. But…I don’t suppose that would appeal to you.

Lady P: Why not? I was told once by my friend Charles James Fox that I am one of the best dancers in the ton.

Susana: Er, it’s not that kind of dancing. It’s modern dancing. But perhaps you’d be more interested in the slots.

Lady P: The slots? Is that a dance?

Susana: No, the slots are machines into which you insert money, push down a lever to make the pictures spin, and if you get just the right combination, you win more money.

Lady P: And if you don’t?

Susana: You lose. Most of the time you lose, actually. But it’s fun to watch the little pictures spinning around and the excitement of waiting for the machine to stop to find out if you won anything. And the clanging and ringing noises the machines make too. I like the slots.devonshire

Lady P: How much money have you won from the machines?

Susana: Well, once I won about 150 quarters, but I spent them all trying to win more, and ended up losing about $60 overall.

Lady P: Indeed. You sound very much like dear Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire. Such a lovely woman, before she took ill. Very popular, quite a leader of society. Charles Fox was her cousin, in fact. I was sincerely fond of them both, but they had quite an appetite for games of chance. Especially Georgiana. I knew her since her marriage, and every time I saw her—at parties or balls or even political dinners—she’d find her way to start some sort of game of chance. Why, at Lady Fontaine’s Venetian breakfast, she took a deck of cards out of her reticule and won 400 guineas from her hostess’s mother. Of course, the next night she lost 1,700 and had to beg her husband for the money to pay it. But instead of paying the debt, she had the notion to try to increase it, and before she knew it, she had lost all of it, plus more.

Susana: I imagine her husband was livid.

Lady P: You don’t think she ever told him, do you? Indeed not. She simply couldn’t bring herself to do it, unless the dunns were at her door. In any case, Pendleton told me Devonshire was similarly afflicted. Quite a pair, those two. Why, I heard she had lost nearly a million pounds in her lifetime; there’s no telling how much more he lost.

Susana: A million pounds? Why…that would be—let’s see, where’s my calculator—oh my goodness—over a billion dollars today!

Lady P: Indeed. Georgiana told me once that her pin money was 4,000 pounds a year, which would be enough to provide her all the gowns and fripperies she could possibly desire. Her sister Harriet had only 400 pounds, but she managed to drive her family into bankruptcy. Georgiana had to bail her out of the Fleet Prison when she was arrested for debts.cjfox

Susana: The gambling fever tends to run in families. You say her cousin was a gambler too?

Lady P: Such a shame. He was an amiable gentleman. Even after he got so fat and they circulated all those cartoons ridiculing him. But he had no self-restraint at all, poor man. Pendleton told me the night before he died, Fox had been drinking most intemperately, and the doctors said his liver was hard as a rock.

Susana: Oh dear. I’m suddenly not feeling like a trip to the casino. What would you think, my lady, if we were to order a pizza again tonight?

Lady P: Italian food again? In my day, it was French food that everyone doted on.

Susana: There is no French restaurant in Toledo, and we have no vehicle to travel up to Detroit, so it’s either pizza or the McDonalds across the street.

Lady P: I suppose the pizza will do, since you only have the one vehicle. But no anchovies this time, if you please. Wine too, if they have it. I didn’t care for that strange bubbly drink they brought last time.

Susana: They don’t sell alcoholic beverages, but I have some red wine somewhere.

Lady P: Excellent. And then perhaps I can tell you about the discussion I had with Pendleton when he returned from White’s in the early hours of the morning with pockets to let after losing a hundred pounds. Well, we were newly married at the time, and after the talking-to I gave him, he never did it again. Have I mentioned that I can be quite convincing at times…?

Susana (to the Reader): As you can see, Lady P thrives on recounting all of her experiences in Regency England. If you have any questions you would like to ask her, or possible suggestions for outings—when the car is repaired, of course—please mention it in your comments, and I’ll do my best to get answers for you.

The Lady P Series

Episode #1: Susana’s Adventures With Lady P: The Introduction

Episode #2: Lady P Talks About… Pride and Prejudice?

Episode #3: Lady P and the Duchess Who Lost a Billion Dollars

Episode #4: Lady P and the Face On the $100 Bill

Episode #5: In Which Lady P Discovers Sparkly Fabrics and Ponders Violating the Prime Directive

Episode #6: Lady P Dishes the Dirt on the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #7: The Political Exploits of Lady P and the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #8: Lady P and the Prince Regent’s Illicit Marriage

Episode #9: In Which Lady P Depletes the Cooking Sherry During Her Discussion of Caroline of Brunswick

Episode #10: Lord Byron: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

Episode #11: In Which Lady P Talks About Hannah More and the Rights of Women

Episode #12: Lady P’s Revelations Regarding George III and His Peculiar Progeny

Episode #13: Lady P Discusses the Luddite Uprising, the Assassination of Spencer Perceval, and the General Unfairness of Life

Episode #14: In Which Leticia, Lady Beauchamp, Pops In For an Interview On Her Personal Acquaintance With Princess Charlotte of Wales

Episode #15: Lady P On Assignment in 1814 Kent

Lady P Quizzes Jane Livingston, the Hero’s Sister From “A Twelfth Night Tale”

Episode #2: Lady P Talks About… Pride and Prejudice?

Lady Pendleton, who is visiting Susana from the 19th century, is the aunt of Damian Ashby, the Earl of Granville, the hero of Treasuring Theresa. In last week’s installment, Lady P agreed to assist Susana in her project of creating a Regency ball gown, and they have included a trip to the linen-draper’s—that is, Joanne’s—in the near future. In the meantime, Lady P, when not experimenting with modern-day gadgets, entertains us with tales of life in Regency England…and a myriad of other things we’d never have thought to ask. Enjoy!

Lady P:

Goodness, I hardly know where to start. I’ve never done this before, of course. I suppose I should mention that Susana could not be with us this morning because she has an appointment with…oh dear, I can’t seem to recall his name—some Italian fellow, a bone doctor, I believe—for a consultation. I told her physicians are nearly always quacks and offered her some of the special elixir my apothecary mixes up for me, but she insisted she’d rather get the quack’s opinion first. Ah well, so be it. I did offer, after all.

Although… I think I’ll have a dose or two of Mr. Mullens’s miraculous potion before I continue my commentary. Always seems to clear my head.

Ah, yes. Much better. Well, Susana thought I might talk about that most excellent novel, Pride and Prejudice, by Miss Austen. As a matter of fact, I started to watch the—uh—play—on that curious picture machine, but I discovered I could not manage to operate it in her absence, so I found a copy of the book instead. Such a delightful story, as I recall.

My good friend Sally Jersey recommended the novel to me as superior over Mrs. Radcliffe’s, so I purchased the three volumes at Hatchard’s. I recall that I was visiting Granville Manor at the time I started reading it—my nephew Damian and his wife had invited me for the Christmas holidays and I was laid up for a time after a fall. Little Amelia’s nursemaid had neglected to put away the child’s toys, you know, and I did give her quite a scolding about it, but Theresa had it in mind to pardon her—she’s far too tenderhearted, especially when she is enceinte, but there it is.

In any event, I took the opportunity to begin reading the first volume, and I found it so engrossing that I did not wish to stop. That Mrs. Bennet—the girls’ mother, you know—was such a character. I suppose most people know someone like that, silly and frivolous and without the least knowledge of how to get on in society. My husband’s mother was such a one. Always railing at someone—usually her husband—although he quite deserved it, the way he treated her. What chance did she have to become anything other than what she was? Pendleton and I avoided her as much as possible, but there were always holidays, and then when she took ill and came to live with us…well, the servants took the brunt of it, I’m afraid. I made sure to give them extra vails at Christmastime.

Of course, I was a much more sensible woman, more like Miss Elizabeth herself, I daresay. Which is undoubtedly why Pendleton and I rubbed along so well together. He enjoyed his clubs and sporting events and left the rest to me. Why, many a time he said to me, “My dear Agatha, I could not have found a better wife had I been looking for one,” and quite true it was, too. His mother was pushing the Notting heiress at him, and had I not stepped in to rescue him, it’s quite probable my daughters would have had a fool for a mother.

Ah well, where was I? Oh yes, Miss Austen’s novel. So true to life. My older sister Edith—Damian’s mother, you know—was much like Elizabeth’s sister Jane, although her husband was a great deal more sensible than Bingley…much more like Mr. Darcy. And Lady Catherine de Bourgh reminded me so much of my Great-Aunt Harriet. Her husband was only a baronet, but you would think she was a duchess for all that she lorded it over the rest of us…boasting about those children of hers—such a shame that she passed away and can’t see what a scapegrace that Richard of hers has turned out to be.

Oh dear, was that the clock chiming? How the time has flown! I’m afraid I must be going now. Susana will be home at any moment and she has agreed to teach me how to drive a motor vehicle! Of course, she wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about it, but I simply would not take no for an answer. These 21st century vehicles are far superior to the horse-drawn carriages from my era. The speed alone…and well, no indelicate odors from the horses to deal with! I insist on learning to operate one. Why, I could drive a curricle with nearly as much skill as my nephew, and he was a member of the Four-in-Hand Club. This is just a machine, after all, not a live horse with a mind of its own. I’m sure I shall be a true proficient after a bit of practice.

Susana’s turn:

After the experience with the Russian exchange student, I promised myself I’d never teach another person to drive again, but Lady P has a mind of her own. I’ll take her over to the shopping center parking lot—early, when no one else is there—and keep my foot as near the brake as I can. There’s no way she’s going anywhere near the road. I’m not that crazy. Besides, she’ll never get a driver’s permit without a birth certificate, and even if they issued them in 1755, there would be a lot of raised eyebrows at the DMV when she produced it.

We’ll be back next week. We’ve decided to hold off on the shopping expedition because Joanne’s has announced a big sale toward the end of the month, so that Lady P can have a new gown as well. I’m afraid her grasp of economizing is bit sketchy…she doesn’t quite grasp that the MasterCard eventually has to be paid and is not just a magical piece of plastic.

As always, please comment if you have anything you’d like Susana to ask Lady P while she’s here.

The Lady P Series

Episode #1: Susana’s Adventures With Lady P: The Introduction

Episode #2: Lady P Talks About… Pride and Prejudice?

Episode #3: Lady P and the Duchess Who Lost a Billion Dollars

Episode #4: Lady P and the Face On the $100 Bill

Episode #5: In Which Lady P Discovers Sparkly Fabrics and Ponders Violating the Prime Directive

Episode #6: Lady P Dishes the Dirt on the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #7: The Political Exploits of Lady P and the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #8: Lady P and the Prince Regent’s Illicit Marriage

Episode #9: In Which Lady P Depletes the Cooking Sherry During Her Discussion of Caroline of Brunswick

Episode #10: Lord Byron: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

Episode #11: In Which Lady P Talks About Hannah More and the Rights of Women

Episode #12: Lady P’s Revelations Regarding George III and His Peculiar Progeny

Episode #13: Lady P Discusses the Luddite Uprising, the Assassination of Spencer Perceval, and the General Unfairness of Life

Episode #14: In Which Leticia, Lady Beauchamp, Pops In For an Interview On Her Personal Acquaintance With Princess Charlotte of Wales

Episode #15: Lady P On Assignment in 1814 Kent

Lady P Quizzes Jane Livingston, the Hero’s Sister From “A Twelfth Night Tale”

Episode #1: Susana’s Adventures With Lady P: The Introduction

Susana (to the Reader): I first met Lady Pendleton when I was writing Treasuring Theresa: The Epilogue, where Theresa—now Lady Granville—accompanies her husband to London to take up their social duties. Theresa did not have a successful Season seven years before when she first came out, and she was definitely not looking forward to this one. Her own Great-Aunt Tabitha was elderly and not in health, so Damian’s Aunt Agatha—his mother’s younger sister—came to the rescue. She accompanied Theresa on her rounds to the modiste’s and the linen-draper’s and the other shops in order to acquire a wardrobe suitable for a countess. While Lady Pendleton’s sense of fashion may be a bit on the outrageous side, she did give Theresa much to think about when she suggested that it was her own immaturity that was to blame for her unsuccessful Season.

Lady Pendleton: Well, really, Miss Ellis. Do you consider that a proper introduction? You say my fashion sense is outrageous, when what you are wearing—well, in my day a young lady would never have been seen wearing trousers, let alone skin-tight hose like Henry VIII used to wear—or so I’m told. I’m not quite that old, you know.

Susana: I do apologize, my lady. Please call me Susana. I was simply referring to your… uh… unusual color choices and spectacular headwear. You were rather… ahead of your time, I believe.

Lady P: How would you know? You were not born yet. I lived it!

Susana: Well, I’ve read quite a lot of Regency romance novels, you see, and—

Lady P: Romance novels, indeed! I used to find them in my daughter’s room and took them for myself. (Completely unsuitable for a young girl, doncha know?) Have you read A Sicilian Romance? The Mysteries of Udolpho? No? Mrs. Radcliffe had much more of a sense of the dramatic than your… what was her name… Nora Roberts? Where are the castles? The dark, mysterious barons? The exotic locales? Not to mention innocent young girls. In my day—

Susana: But surely Georgette Heyer’s Regencies—

Lady P: Pshaw. Her stories never had any drama. Although I did rather like that Frederica character a great deal. Had spunk, that girl. Reminds me of my niece-by-marriage, Theresa. And myself, of course, when I was younger. We make our own style, you know, while the others merely follow it.

Susana: I see. Well, if that’s the case, perhaps you could help me in a little sewing project I’m planning. A Regency gown with a matching pelisse. I’ve purchased the pattern already.

Lady P: The pattern? Oh, I see. Rather a plain style, but I suppose with the right material—and some ruffles and bows—we can remedy that quite easily. Do you sew, my dear?regencypattern

Susana: Well, I have a sewing machine, but I’m a better cook than seamstress.

Lady P: A machine? For sewing? Preposterous! In my day, all young ladies could sew a fine seam, although I own that I never made my own gown. Mostly handkerchiefs and doll’s clothing until I got older and worked my own chair covers. But…you say you can cook? I don’t suppose you have some tea and biscuits handy, have you? I’m sharp-set and parched after traveling two centuries through time! Quite exhausting, really.

Susana: Well, I have some chai tea and a package of Oreos…

Lady P: I suppose that will have to do. Although I have to say I have never heard of chai tea, and…what else did you mention?

Susana: Oreos. A sort of cookie…I mean biscuit. Chocolate with vanilla in the center.

Lady P: Chocolate? In a biscuit? Singular. Well, get on with it, girl, and afterward, we shall head for the linen-draper’s to look over his selection of material for your gown. I think bright orange might do well for you…

To be continued

Next installment: Lady Pendleton and Susana search for appropriate fabrics at Joanne’s in Toledo, Ohio. While you’re waiting, take a look at Susana’s “Regency Fabrics” board on Pinterest.

The Lady P Series

Episode #1: Susana’s Adventures With Lady P: The Introduction

 

Episode #2: Lady P Talks About… Pride and Prejudice?

Episode #3: Lady P and the Duchess Who Lost a Billion Dollars

Episode #4: Lady P and the Face On the $100 Bill

Episode #5: In Which Lady P Discovers Sparkly Fabrics and Ponders Violating the Prime Directive

Episode #6: Lady P Dishes the Dirt on the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #7: The Political Exploits of Lady P and the Duchess of Devonshire

Episode #8: Lady P and the Prince Regent’s Illicit Marriage

Episode #9: In Which Lady P Depletes the Cooking Sherry During Her Discussion of Caroline of Brunswick

Episode #10: Lord Byron: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

Episode #11: In Which Lady P Talks About Hannah More and the Rights of Women

Episode #12: Lady P’s Revelations Regarding George III and His Peculiar Progeny

Episode #13: Lady P Discusses the Luddite Uprising, the Assassination of Spencer Perceval, and the General Unfairness of Life

 

Episode #14: In Which Leticia, Lady Beauchamp, Pops In For an Interview On Her Personal Acquaintance With Princess Charlotte of Wales

Episode #15: Lady P On Assignment in 1814 Kent

Lady P Quizzes Jane Livingston, the Hero’s Sister From “A Twelfth Night Tale”

Memoirs of a Highland Lady: Colonel and Mrs. Smith

1829

[Colonel Smith] had come down from Satara, where he commanded, for change of air, not being well. He lived with his friend Doctor Eckford, and we frequently met them in the evenings driving out together and sometimes we met them in society, but our paths did not seem to cross. He paid no particular attention to me neither do I recollect being at all occupied about him, nor did he dine once in my father’s house till many months after we had become acquainted. My father and he had got on a sort of pleasant intimacy ages before he seemed to think of me. We used to meet generally in the mornings. We rode always, my father and I, on the Breach Candi road, which was close to us and agreeable from its skirting the sea, and probably the breeze and the sun rise pleased our new companion, as he came a considerable distance to enjoy them. He also seemed to like political disquisitions, for he and my father rode on before deep in Catholick claims which were then being finally discussed in Parliament, while I had plenty to do, by myself, in managing that dreadful Donegal and watching the Parsees’ morning adoration of the sun…

These rides in this guise continued all the cold weather, our party latterly reinforced by my cousin John Cumming, who was staying with us, and who sometimes got twisted out of his usual place by me to the side of my father, Colonel Smith exchanging with him for a turn or two, to my father’s regret, who on these occasions observed that the Captain had inopportunely interrupted a very interesting argument on the influence of the Irish priesthood over the flocks; that poor Smith was a sad Orangeman, quite benighted, but honest and worth enlightening. It was Mr Gardiner and his radicalism over again.

So began my happy future to gleam on me, particularly after a few, half laughing, half earnest, hints from Dr Eckford, whom my Mother about this time began to talk of as Love’s messenger, and then styled roundly Cupid. Such a Cupid. Children, you have seen him, I need say no more. Cupid knew his business well. He threw shafts and bow away as unsuitable to a staid Brigadier and a maiden past her prime. His object was to touch the lady’s reason, which he did, no matter how, and the parents too, a matter effected principally by the Irish acres, warranted not to be bog. Who would have thought a marriage thus systematically arranged could have turned out so well.

[Satara] was but 30 miles, every comfort was already there in my Colonel’s bungalow, most of my wardrobe was with me, and some furniture. A clergyman was at hand—the smiling one—the Judge could grant the license, and the Resident do the rest.

My father was delighted, particularly when he heard all the particulars of the Irish estate, the bachelour brother etc. He was charmed, too, at the idea of the mountain wedding, so queer, so primitive. I think he wanted to get rid of me with as little expense, too, as possible. Not so my Mother. She had no wish for any marriage, it would only throw so much more trouble on her. She did not see that either of my sisters had done much for herself by her determination to marry. Jane married to an old man who might be her grandfather, hideously ugly, and far from rich. Mary shut up with her airs and her baby, never seeing a creature, nor of any use to any one. She did not understand this craze for marrying; pray, who was to write all the notes. Colonel Smith was no great catch, just a soldier. An Irish lad who went out as a Cadet, like George McIntosh of the Dell and 50 more such, and a marriage huddled up in that sort of way, in a desert, on a mountain, without a church, or a cake, or any preparations, it would be no marriage at all, neither decent nor respectable; she, for one, should never consider people married who had been buckled together in that couple beggar fashion. If there were to be a marriage at all it should be a proper one, in the Cathedral at Bombay by the clergyman who there officiated, friends at the wedding, and every thing as it ought to be.

St. Thomas’s Cathedral, Mumbai

So there was no help, she was resolute. We had to travel down the ghaut, and along the plains, a 100 miles, I think, for she would have no more sea, and travel back again after the ceremony, at the loss of a month’s extra pay, for the Colonel did not receive his allowances when on leave.

A fine long marriage Settlement was prepared, for days before our marriage, news arrived of my Colonel’s brother’s death which made him possessor of the Irish estate, then valued at about £1200 a year. As we had only been 16 months in India, my father told me he would offer me no additions to a wardrobe he presumed must still be amply provided, he would only buy from Mary her habit, which she had never worn as she never rode and give me that, as my own was growing shabby. My dresses in that climate had grow shabby too—but luckily a box arrived from the London dressmaker on chance, containing 3 very pretty new gowns for me, and a pelisse and hat and feathers for my Mother which she not fancying made over to me. My Colonel too sent me a pretty purse with 30 gold mohurs* in it and he ordered mourning for me as he wished me on reaching Satara to put it on for his brother.

My father gave me 20 gold mohurs* on my Wedding morning, as I had not spent all Uncle Edward had given me on landing, I felt quite rich for the first time in my life; and I never felt poor again, for though circumstances reduced our future income infinitely below our expectations, we so managed our small income that we never have yet owed what we could not pay, nor ever known what it was to be pressed for money.

My Colonel was married in his Staff uniform, which we thought became him better than his Cavalry light gray. There was a large party of relations, a few friends, and the good Bishop, then only Mr Carr, married us. My Mother, who had become reconciled to my choice, outraged all propriety by going with me to the Cathedral; both she and I wished it, as I was to proceed across the bay immediately after the ceremony. So it all took place, how, I know not, for between the awfulness of the step I was taking, the separation from my father and mother, whose stay I had been so long, and the parting for an indefinite time from poor Mary, I was very much bewildered all that morning, and hardly knew what was doing until I found myself in the boat, sailing among the islands, far away from every one but him who was to be in lieu of every one to me for ever more. The first movement that occurred to me was to remember Fatima’s advice—retired to the inner cabin, take off all my finery.

I had been married in white muslin, white satin, lace, pearls, and flowers and put on a cambrick wrapper she had sent on board and had laid ready. The next, to obey my new master’s voice and return to him in the outer cabin, where, on the little table, was laid an excellent luncheon supplied privately by my mother, to which, as I had certainly eaten no breakfast, I, bride as I was, did ample justice. Indeed we both got very sociable over our luxurious repast and quite enjoyed the nice cold claret that accompanied it.

[Our home] was the usual Indian bungalow, one long building divided into two rooms, with Verandahs all round subdivided into various apartments. The peculiar feature of this very pretty cottage was that the centre building to the front projected in a bow, giving such a charming air of cheerfulness to our only sitting room, besides very much encreasing its size; the Verandah to one side held the sideboard and other necessaries for the table, the other Verandah acted as entrance hall and anteroom. There were no walls on either side between the house and the Verandah, only pillars to support the roof. The back part of the long building was the bedroom, one side Verandah the Colonel’s dressing room, the other mine, and the one at the end was furnished in boudoir fashion for me. The bathrooms were in a small court adjoining, the servants’ offices at a little distance, and any strangers who came to see us slept in tents. Was there ever any establishment more suited to the country.

The Smiths had to leave India because of the Colonel’s illness; Elizabeth refers to it as asthma. The Colonel managed to survive the difficult voyage back to England, and the memoir ends with the birth of their daughter Jane.

And here I think I’ll leave my Memoirs for the present. You know, dear children, what my Irish life had been, the friends we found, the friends we made, the good your dear father did. Ten months in Dublin sufficed to shew us a town life was not then suited to us. We resolved to settle among our own people, your father finding in his own old neighbourhood all those companions of his youth whom he had left there more than thirty years before. A very happy life we led there. First in the pretty cottage at Burgage which we improved without, and within, and made so comfortable, and then in our own fine house built by ourselves, such a source of happy occupation to the Colonel for years and the means of raising his tenantry from debt and apathy and wretchedness to the thriving condition in which we now have them. It would take a volume to describe our slow but regular march of improvement, never wearying in well doing, bearing patiently with ignorance and all its errours, and carefully bringing up our own dear children to follow us in doing likewise. One only trouble assailed our happy home, the want of health—that miserable asthma breaking him and breaking me and stepping in between us and many enjoyments. The purse, though never heavy, was never empty, our habits being simple. On looking back I find little essential to regret and much, Oh so much, to be truly thankful for.

Dublin, February 1854

E.S.

*The chief gold coin of British India

Notes

• Elizabeth’s niece (her brother John’s daughter) was Jane Maria Strachey, an English diarist and suffragette. Jane was also instrumental in editing and publishing her aunt’s memoirs.

• Elizabeth’s brother William married Sarah Martha Siddons, daughter of the renowned actress.

More of Elizabeth Grant’s Memoirs

A Highland Lady in Dublin

A Highland Lady in France

Memoirs of a Highland Lady