In Maria’s estimation, marriage served only to increase Adelaide’s extravagance.
“..(Adelaide) has wedded a man so wealthy, that Mexico and Peru seem to be at his command; so much the worse, perhaps, for her, for she is naturally extravagant, and will think his riches inexhaustible.”
— “Letter from a Young Married Lady to her Sister in the Country,” La Belle Assemblée, August, 1818
Surely Heyer’s Ianthe was based on Adelaide, and the preposterous Sir Nugent Fotherby on the man who could bail out entire nations–the Honorable Frederic Cleveland.
Nine years older than his teenage bride, Cleveland owned over thirty “blood” horses, possessed an extensive country estate and funds enough to support the staggeringly expensive habits of a sporting Corinthian:
“..he is fond as ever of his dogs and horses; he is a modern charioteer, a great encourager of pugilism,…most admirable skill in horseflesh.”
Maria marveled to her sister over the fashionable couple’s two (!) separate boxes at the Opera and the immense sums Adelaide pays for milliners’ wares–a continual stream of pelisses, bonnets, bronze half-dresses and furbelows–only to discard them almost at once. She doesn’t ask the price of the trimmings sent “enough for ten months at least,” only that the bills be sent to her husband, who had already proven himself indulgent on the matter of the “vulgar” white bridal dress.
Indeed, Adelaide thinks nothing of throwing down an expensive cashmere shawl for her lap dog or Cleveland’s pointers to rest upon.
After observing this increased profligacy, even dashing aunt Lady Worthington was moved to reprove her niece:
“..Lose not your hours, my dear Adelaide, in fashionable follies: do not act like too many votaries of dissipation, as if youth and life were eternal.”
Throwing down an expensive shawl for her dogs to sleep on? Sounds perfectly reasonable to me!
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But cashmere? What a votary of dissipation you are, my dear–all in good fun, of course!
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Reblogged this on Ella Quinn ~ Author and commented:
For your reading pleasure!!
Thanks for reposting this on your excellent blog, Ella!