It’s been one of those weeks / months, and I’ve been thinking about running away. I’ll let you know whether that’s a literal escape, or a figurative one.
And while the Regency period, and in fact, most periods of any context (including our own) have both their qualities and dark underbellies, I’m ignoring the dark bits today in favor of fantasy (ironic indeed, when it’s the dark bits that most interest me about the Regency.)
Nonetheless, I thought I’d share my 10 Reasons I wish I could escape through time, and run off to the Regency.
- No social media or internet, or computers. Communication was in person or with a personal touch, hand-written. While there are many things that are wonderful about modern technology, sometimes escaping it all would be fabulous.
- Lady’s fashion. I am not a willowy individual, other than perhaps I’m as tall as some willow trees. And the high-waisted Empire gowns, and an appreciation for an, ahem, fuller figure, would leave me quite content. Plus, I’m naturally pale as a ghost, so I’d scarcely need any of that lead-powder. 😉
- The shopping. I suppose whatever manner in which I escaped to this alternative history wouldn’t let me bring back souvenirs, but still, to browse up and down Pall Mall at the height of the Season? What treasures and fascinating objects would await in those shop windows?
- The men in fitted waistcoats and jackets with tails, and one mustn’t forget the topper! Even if some gentlemen resorted to stays and eventually corsets of their own to achieve the perfect “manly figure,” there is something quite lovely about a man in a suit, and especially in one tailored so perfectly to hardly close or allow movement.
- A chance to visit the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. Indeed, it would be expensive, but fantasy allows any expense, does it not? What did the fireworks look like, and how did they differ from modern ones? What illicit behavior occurred? How did most fun-seekers behave?
- An afternoon outing in St. James’ or Hyde Park. Circling in my own fine equipage (perhaps I’d dare a sports car-like high gig? with a steady driver on the reins, of course), this was the place to see and be seen for the fashionable. What heights of extravagance were in evidence? Who was seen with who?
- The opportunity to attend readings or possibly meet some incredible authors. I hardly need mention Jane Austen, who has become almost synonymous with the period. But also Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, Lord Byron, William Blake, and Sir Walter Scott, among others.
- A night at the theaters in Covent Garden. The theaters provided a spectacle it’s difficult for the modern audience to appreciate, and was often more about being seen than watching the play itself. I’d like to do both. 😉
- The balls and entertainments! Really, how can I consider the period and the qualities without some of the lavish entertainments at the height of the social Season?
- The chance to experience history, to understand the details the history texts often neglect. While no period can claim perfection – including our own – how fascinating to be able to experience even just a day in another time period, within a culture that today, may be somewhat forgotten. We might remember the big historic dates, but how much has been neglected? How much has been brushed under the metaphorical rug? How fascinating to have a chance to see history in action – and be part of it.
So that’s my list. Have you ever wanted to experience history? The Regency Period? Another? Why?
Thanks for reading, and hope you all have a fabulous weekend. Happy writing!