Regency Chit-Chat

From La Belle Assemblée or, Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine Addressed Particularly to the Ladies – January, 1817, these amusing excerpts from correspondence concerning a county ball and feast:

The dress:

I am dressed in the flowered lustring you say becomes me so well– it really is a genteel thing–I like French nightcaps prodigiously–don’t you?  They set off a long lank yellow physiognomy wonderfully well.

Lustring fabric in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection, allegedly from a gown worn by Queen Charlotte

Lustring fabric from a gown allegedly worn by Queen Charlotte — Victoria and Albert Museum

The escort:

Mama and I are to go in the chaise and Mr. O’Flanagan escorts us–  rap, rap, rap, here he comes–no, he is not come–’twas a false alarm–  Don’t take it into your head that I am in love with the man–

Romantic rivals:

Miss Twist..–she pretends to wit but ’tis only pertness…  Miss Williams–conceited thing–she thinks she’s handsome– in her old-fashioned coal scuttle bonnet and brown silk petticoat with green flounces and furbelows–what a fright.


Chit-chat made difficile -- Les Invisibles Tete a Tete (a la le "coal scuttle bonnet")

Chit-chat made difficile pour le “coal scuttle bonnet”  —–Les Invisibles Tete a Tete 

Dining partners:

Sir Thomas is a very sensible man–he made me several compliments…  made Squire O’Flanagan quite jealous and he was so much out of temper he snuffed and snubbed everybody and was particularly snappish and surly to Mr. McGregor an exciseman who sat opposite him–

By Rowlandson - no further explanation required

By Rowlandson – no further explanation required

A fight:

..we heard high words and prodigious noises in the next room–  we all went to see what was the matter–when–horrid sight– poor Mr. O’Flanagan had one of his eyes beaten out of his head and Mr. McGregor lay stretched out on the floor just for all the world like a corpse.

–from Miss Harriet Wilkinson’s correspondence to her friend, “my dear girl,” Miss Louisa Thompson.

2 thoughts on “Regency Chit-Chat

    • That’s why I like these articles contemporaneous to the times. The meaning and context can be a challenge to grasp. To set off might mean “to improve” or otherwise make less unattractive… but I can’t swear to it. Thanks for commenting, Mimi!

      Liked by 1 person

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