My Blog List

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Regency Gentleman

The rules of the Regency were a myriad of does and don'ts. Even the men did not escape, though they had far more freedom. Remember when you were told the man always walks on the side of the lady closest to the street? In the late 18th and 19th centuries there was a very good reason for that.
Whether dirt or cobbled, the gutters of the streets were filled with refuse of the most disgusting kinds. Rain puddles and horse droppings also pervaded the avenues. Thus the man walked next to the street to protect the lady from splashes of mud and garbage or heaven forbid, a runaway horse-drawn vehicle.
When alone in a carriage with a lady, he must take the seat facing backwards across from her. They may not sit side by side unless they are related.
He must never introduce himself to a female he does not know but must be introduced by a mutual friend or relative. The gentleman is always introduced to the lady, never the other way around.
   Education was not compulsory, but most upper class boys attended boarding schools or universities, ie Eton, Cambridge or Oxford. Their studies consisted of the classics, mathematics, history law and philosophy.
Here many made life-long friends.

Away from their homes and the discipline of parents and the guiding hand of a governess or tutor many fell into gambling, drinking and wenching. Thankfully, they matured and went on to become the handsome, debonair heroes of our modern day writers. Unless, of course, you like your hero a bit more mysterious and unpredictable.

1 comment:

Palooski65 said...

I love your post on Victorian manners. I have a book "Do's and Don'ts of Yesteryear" by Eric Sloane that are Early American manners/wisdom carried over from your period. One of my favorite "Don'ts" from the book: "Don't be a "swell" or a "dude" or whatever the fop of the period is called. Don't cha love it??
Congratulations on the Feb. release of your book.