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Friday, December 27, 2013

19th Century London at Dawn's Break

What were Londoners doing if they were not born into the class that was permitted to sleep late? Just after the break of dawn, shops – and, surprisingly, pubs (public houses) – opened. Here's an excerpt from Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, which was published in installments beginning just after the Regency, in 1837. This short excerpt paints a vivid picture of the various conveyances and workers, including milk women.
                                                                      Milk woman

            In the Bethnal Green Road the day had fairly begin to break. Many of the lamps were already extinguished; a few country wagons were slowly toiling on toward London; now and then, a stage-coach, covered with mud, rattled by: the driver bestowing, as he passed, an admonitory lash upon the heavy waggoner who, by keeping on the wrong side of the road, had endangered his arriving at the office a quarter of a minute after his time.

            The public-houses, with gas-lights burning inside, were already open. By degrees, other shops began to be unclosed, and a few scattered people were met with. Then, came the struggling groups of labourers going to their work; then, men and women with fish-baskets on their heads; donkey carts laden with vegetables; chaise-carts filled with live-stockor whole carcasses of meat; milk-women with pails; an unbroken concourse of people, trudging out with various supplies to the eastern suburbs of the town,

            [In] the City the noise and traffic gradually increased; [and in] the streets between Shoreditch and Smithfield it had swelled into a roar of sound and bustle. It was as lilght as it was likely to be, till night came on again, and the busy morning of half the London population had begun.—Cheryl Bolen, whose newest Brides of Bath Regency novel will release on Jan. 27

Monday, December 23, 2013

London Shops

London Shops
             It seems almost obligatory when writing a Regency set in London, England, to include a shopping scene. After all, the Regency is associated with style, wealth, and fashion. So how can anyone ignore the shops those three things are in bold display. However, because this has been done so much, how do you make the scene fresh?  That’s where a little research can turn up gold nuggets.
            For A Dangerous Compromise, I needed a shopping scene, of course. It was set in London, after all. And characters need to do things—they cannot always be sitting in drawing rooms or going for drives. Now scenes cannot just be thrown into a book—every scene needs a reason to exist. And every scene needs conflict. But scenes also need to be set some place—and the more specific the place used, the more vivid the scene. If the setting adds to the scene, all the better. For this book,I found just the thing in the “Soho Bazaar” in Soho Square: 
            Lady Havers soon gave them all the background any of them could want on the bazaar.
            It had only just been opened that year by a Mr. Trotter to help the widows and daughters of men who had died in the recent wars, a noble cause that thrilled Lady Havers. The bazaar occupied the northwest corner building in the Square, and vendors sold their wares in stalls set up along two floors, offering gloves, lace, jewelry—almost anything that might be crafted for sale.
            It was, in short, a paradise for Lady Havers, whose eyes lit with a rapacious glow when they entered.
            And there it was—the setting in just a few sentences. A nice transition into the scene about to take place. The setting not only provided a backdrop for the heroine to have to deal with two men who are vieing for her attention, it also provided the contrast of vendors—folks who must earn their meager livings—with those who need never work. This layered in additional conflict, which went beyond that of the characters. And it was fresh. It also happens to provide a touch of historical detail that made the scene into something more than yet another shopping scene.
            The same issue cropped up again in Under the Kissing Bough. Again, we were in London—which is why it is often so much more fun to set a book in the countryside. This time I had an engaged couple, and they could hardly leave London without first shopping for the bride. With this being an arranged marriage, I knew the scene had to highlight the conflict of two people who don’t really know each other but who are going to be tied to each other for life. I needed a setting that would emphasis the heroine’s discomfort with the situation—and which would also provide an opportunity for these two to start to find a few things in common.
            This time, I found Schomberg House—a grand mansion that had been converted into shops and a place that sold refreshments. In other words, the ideal place to show that the heroine doesn’t much like all this fuss, but she’s going to be married to an earl’s son, and this gives me a place where these two could have a few minutes alone:
            It was but a few minutes' drive to Schomberg House, a handsome, four-story mansion, built for the Duke of Schomberg in the late sixteen hundreds, but now converted into shops that offered small furniture, drapery hangings, and refreshments to those worn out by their efforts in spending money.
Eleanor looked about her, hanging back a little from the others as they entered and mounted the staircase. She had not visited here before, but she knew from reading her London guidebooks that Thomas Gainsborough had lived and painted here until 1788. That such a famous artist had occupied the house awed Eleanor, and she stared about her, wondering what he had found to inspire him to greatness.
A deep voice pulled her out of her thoughts. "Miss Eleanor?"
She glanced up into Lord Staines's handsome face. Expecting to see a frown, relief eased into her when she saw that a smile softened his mouth instead.
He gestured to the baroque grandeur, the gilt and carved wood. "Are you lost in admiration?"
"Actually, I was wondering if grand rooms inspire grand thoughts. Or do they too often instead inspire grand ambitions, and grand arrogance?"
He cocked his head and his eyes took on a sparkle. "I was about to say we have even more impressive stairs at Westerley, but now I fear I would be inviting comparison to arrogance or ambition."
…A little shy of him, she put her hand on his arm. He led her forward, talking about the quality of the refreshments to be had and offering stories about the room, which had once served as the breakfast room of the house. He seemed to be going out of his way to be pleasant, and she began to relax a little.
Those little details—the few bits of description—added just what I wanted for this scene. But where do you get such wonderful little slices of history?
One of my main sources has been Allison Aldberg, with her books Shopping in Style and The Silver Fork Society.  Both books are rather hard to come by, but offer a look into the shops of Regency England.
In London, Smithfield Market, also called West Smithfield, was one of the main London markets for cattle, sheep, hay, straw, and horses. Hungerford Market, located between the Strand and the Thames, had been built in the time of Charles II as a market for vegetables. In 1829, it was noted, however, as 'never having caught on' and a print of that era shows a less than bustling market square. Fleet Market, next to Fleet Prison, opened in 1727 and remained active until the late 1820's. As noted in London in the Nineteenth Century, "This market consisted of two rows of shops, almost the whole length of it, with a passage between, paved with rag-stones." And, of course, one cannot overlook the shops of Bond Street, and Regent Street, the shops that would develop along Oxford Street, and the beauty of the Burlington Arcade which was built in 1819 and is still as lovely as ever.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Carol of the Bells origin

Since I’m a history geek fascinated by the origins of almost everything and not limited to facts I can use in writing Regency romance novels, I decided to delve into the origins one of my favorite Christmas carols, “Carol of the Bells.”

Imagine my surprise to learn that it wasn’t originally a Christmas song, nor is it as old as many other traditional carols. 

Originally, ‘Carol of the Bells’ was an ancient, pre-Christian Ukrainian folk song or chant sung by young girls who went from house to house singing about the upcoming spring and wishing for a plentiful year. However, in 1916, a Ukrainian composer name Mykold Leontovich wrote a new version as a choir arrangement. He entitled his new piece, “Shchedryk” based on the Ukrainian word for “bountiful" which is “shchedryj" and the students at Keiv University performed it for the first time in December of 1916.

Leontovich's “Shchedryk” arrived in America in 1921 when a chorus performed it in Carnegie Hall Oct. 5, 1921. Its growing popularity led to a sold out show.

An American choir director and arranger by the name of Peter Wilhousky heard the performance of "Shchedryk" which reminded him of bells. Inspired, Wilhousky wrote a new arrangement and new lyrics which he copyrighted in 1936. By the late 1930s, “Carol of the Bells,” also known as “The Ukrainian Bell Carol” became associated with the Christmas holiday season.

Hundreds of recordings of “Carol of the Bells” continue to add to its popularity. From the classical choral version sung by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, to a fairly rock and roll version performed by Trans Siberian Orchestra, there is a version for every taste. Two of my favorites are arranged and performed by Pentatonix, and David Foster

What is your favorite version of Carol of the Bells?


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A GIFT FROM THE STARS, My Latest Regency Comedy--with SciFi Yet!

My latest Regency romance, A Gift from the Stars, is now available.

A Gift from the Stars , Book 1 of The Regency Star Travelers, is a sweet, traditional Regency romance with science fiction elements, 71,000 words.

The Regency Star Travelers--Where the Regency and outer space meet with romance.


A gift from the stars can change your life.

Miss Elizabeth Ashby loves astronomy. She especially enjoys her once-in-a-lifetime chance to observe the Great Comet of 1811. However, her excitement vanishes the night an odd-looking meteor proves to be a sky craft which lands nearby. The man who emerges from the vehicle doesn’t see her, but as he reenters his craft to fly away, he drops a small red stone.

The stone from the stars glows and sends waves of warmth and something else through Elizabeth. Her incipient cold disappears, her illness-prone mother shakes off her maladies, and everyone else who comes near the stone, which Elizabeth wears as a pendant, feels in the pink of health.

Including Mr. Jonathan Markham, who also saw the strange meteor but was too far away to determine what the object was. Gored by a bull, Jon has been slow to mend until he meets the enchanting Elizabeth. Does his sudden speedy recovery emanate from his fascination with the desirable lady? Or something else?

A sweet, traditional Regency romance novel with science fiction elements. 71,000 words. A clean read.


Lower and lower the shooting star descended, much too slowly to Elizabeth’s way of thinking. From the angle and rate of its motion, the object would likely strike the earth close by. If she could distinguish some landmarks by its glow, perhaps she could find the stone.

She craned her neck back as the meteor soared across the firmament. The unearthly rock blazed with the colors of the rainbow from friction with the air. 

Coldness pricked her spine. A meteor that enormous should race through the heavens, shrieking in outrage as its surface pounded through the atmosphere. This one was silent. And the stone—or was it a stone?—sloped down in a leisurely, graceful curve, as gently as a feather floating in a light breeze.

With eerie stillness, the object continued its glide across the ebony sky, looming ever immense as its bulk neared the ground.

She could even make out features. In her experience, meteors were dark, pitted lumps of rock or metal. This one was white, its pointed nose flaring out behind to form a stretched-out triangle, almost like a bird with unfurled wings.

And its size! Her heart in her throat, she jumped up. The thing was larger than a mail coach. And it would fall onto Sentinel Moor beside her house!

Continually slowing, the peculiar entity descended. The object slipped below the level of the high Sentinel Oak across the field, and then behind the top of the six-foot hawthorn hedge separating her garden from the meadow.

Elizabeth took a step to run around the tall shrub. Blinding whiteness exploded on the moor. She threw up her hands to shield her eyes and then tumbled to the ground.

Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble , Smashwords, Sony, Kobo, and Apple. Note, all formats are available on Smashwords.

Thank you all,
Linda Banche
Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity

Friday, December 6, 2013


by Donna Hatch

As an American with a fascination for all things Regency, I sometimes run across British vernacular that leaves me running for the dictionary. I had just such an experience a short time ago when a discussion among fellow Regency geeks--some of whom are Brits--brought up the word ha-has. Based on the context, it was clear to me they weren't talking about something funny.

In a nutshell, a ha-ha is a short retaining wall used to act as a fence to keep animals out of an area such as a garden or the front lawn of a house.

According to Wikipedia:
 ha-ha (or ha-ha wall) is a recessed landscape design element that creates a vertical barrier while preserving views. The design includes a turfed incline which slopes downward to a sharply vertical face, typically a masonry retaining wall. Ha-ha's are used in landscape design to prevent access to a garden, for example by grazing livestock, without obstructing views. In security design, the element is used to deter vehicular access to a site while minimizing visual obstruction. The name "ha-ha" derives from the unexpected (i.e., amusing) moment of discovery when, on approach, the recessed wall suddenly becomes visible. 

I found the name as charming as the concept. You can be sure such a landscape design will find its way into a future Regency romance novel that I write.

Wikipedia article: (


Friday, November 29, 2013

Lord Nelson's Pitiable Wife

Every Regency history buff knows about Lord Horatio Nelson's love for Emma Hamilton, and many of us have felt sympathy for poor Sir William Hamilton, the most openly cuckolded man in England. But few have spared a thought for Nelson's pathetic wife, the former Frances "Fanny" Nesbit.

Fanny Nesbit
Nelson met Fanny when he was 26 and in commanded of the Boreas while it spent time in the West Indies.  Just a few months older than Nelson, Fanny had been widowed three years previously when her son, Josiah, was only two years old. Upon her husband's death, she returned to the Indies to live with her uncle, a planter who was the largest land owner on the island of Nevis.

Nelson was good with the lad, and a romance with the mother blossomed. On the outside, the plain, slender woman appeared the perfect wife for a man who had grown up in a country parsonage with a curate father, like the senior Nelson, who sired five sons and three daughters. Fanny certainly was the complete antithesis to Emma Hamilton, a former courtesan.

Lord Nelson
The romance between Nelson and Fanny began, on his part certainly, as somewhat of a love match. Prince William of the Royal Navy would write, "Poor Nelson is head over ears in love." When Nelson and Fanny had to be apart, he wrote affectionately to her with phrases like this: "At first I bore absence tolerably, but now it is almost insupportable." Not exactly bursting with the passion that would later scorch the pages of his letters to Emma, but affectionate nevertheless.

They married on March 22, 1787, and set sail for England. Five peaceful years at his father's parsonage (which Edmund Nelson turned over to the newlyweds) followed before he was called back to active duty after the French Revolution. One wonders if the marriage may have been different had Fanny been able to conceive her husband's children.

Horatio and Fanny Nelson would be apart a great deal over the next six years – and indeed the remainder of their marriage – though all that he was and all that he felt (mostly about his career) he would impart to his wife in letters – even after he lost his right arm.

Emma Hamilton
Then in the summer of 1798 their lives would dramatically change when he demonstrated his superiority in naval battle strategy and gained fame across Europe as the Hero of the Battle of the Nile. Not only did he earn a peerage, but during his subsequent posting in Naples (while Fanny was glorying in the accompanying fame back in England) the beautiful wife of the elderly English ambassador at Naples threw herself at Nelson's feet – or, more appropriately, in his bed.

Nelson and his "Beloved Emma" would remain passionately in love until a musket ball killed him at Trafalgar in October 1805.

While Lord Nelson never had any compunction about later shunning his own wife at every turn, strangely, he never wished to estrange Sir William; therefore, Nelson, Lady Hamilton, and her husband would thereafter live together in a bizarre triangle – even while Emma attempted to conceal her pregnancy with Nelson's child (whom he later adopted – and adored).

Nelson did not return to England until a year and half after the Battle of the Nile, and he would return accompanied by the Hamiltons. He would tolerate Fanny's company only for a few weeks before he formerly separated from her. For her part, Fanny had attempted in every way to do all that was pleasing to her hero husband.

Though Nelson's last thoughts and last concerns were about Emma, Fanny came out the winner. Of sorts. Emma was denied the pension Nelson begged that she receive and died in poverty. Fanny would forever be Lady Nelson and receive a generous pension from a grateful nation. Sadly, both women died heartbroken.-- Cheryl Bolen, whose next Brides of Bath novel, Love in the Library, can be preordered now at all sites.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Regency Holiday Season

On November 5 bonfires burned in mockery of Guy Fawkes and memory of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament. The Feast of St. Martin, or Martinmas, fell on November 11, and St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, had his day on November 30. St. Andrew's day also marked the beginning of Advent to celebrate the four weeks before Christmas. In November, the landed gentry still dined on wild foul as well as domestic poultry—which was now getting a bit old and aged (meaning tough and needing sauces to make the meat palatable). They also had beef, venison and pork with their meals. Fish could still be caught and served, and winter vegetables graced the dining room, including: carrots, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, leeks, cabbage, celery and lettuces. With November, walnuts and chestnuts came into season.

More celebrations lead to Christmas Eve when the Lord of Misrule danced and the Mummers traveled to perform their pantomimes. Then came Christmas Day, and Boxing Day on December 26, which was St. Stephen's Day.  Boxing Day did not get its name from gift boxes, for the exchange of gifts was a German custom still new to Regency England. Instead, Boxing Day got its name from the older tradition of it being a day in which pleadings could be placed in a box for a judge to privately review. In December, besides beef and mutton to eat, pork and venison were served. Goose was cooked for more than just the Christmas meal, and there would be turkey, pigeons, chicken, snipes, woodcock, larks, guinea-foul, widgeons and grouse to eat. Cod, turbot, soul, sturgeon and eels joined the list of fish in season. Forced asparagus added a delicacy to the usual winter vegetables. Stored apples, pears and preserved summer fruit appeared on the better, richer tables. Mince pies made from mincemeat, which has no meat in it, were another traditional fare, with the tradition being that everyone in the household should stir, for luck, the mix of dried fruit and spices before it was baked.

But households also celebrated not just according to the season, but also to the customs of the area. In the Regency, local customs in the countryside might well hold to the old ways.

For one of my books, Under the Kissing Bough, I needed a Christmas wedding and customs that suited the countryside around London. In ancient days, a Christmas wedding would have been impossible for the English Church held a "closed season" on marriages from Advent in late November until St. Hilary's Day in January. The Church of England gave up such a ban during Cromwell's era, even though the Roman Catholic Church continued its enforcement. Oddly enough a custom I expected to be ancient—that of the bride having "something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in her shoe"—turned out to be a Victorian invention.

For Christmas customs, I relied on those that have carried down through the ages: the Yule log from Viking winter solstice celebrations (which gives us Yule Tide celebrations), the ancient Saxon decorations of holy and ivy, and the Celtic use of mistletoe on holy days, which transformed itself into a kissing bough. Carolers might well travel from house to house, offering song in exchange for a wassail bowl—a hot, spiced or mulled drink, another tradition left over from the Norse Vikings.

The holidays were a time of games as well, and the game of Snapdragon is a very old one. It's played by placing raisins in a broad, shallow bowl, pouring brandy over them and setting the brandy on fire. Players then must show their courage by reaching through the spirit-flames to snatch up raisins. And the game even comes with its own song:

Here comes the flaming bowl,

Don't he mean to take his toll,

Snip! Snap! Dragon!

Take care you don't take too much,

Be not greedy in your clutch,

Snip! Snap! Dragon!

Celebrations continued to mix tradition and religion when the Twelfth Night feast arrived on January 5, which combine the Roman Saturnalia with the Feast of the Epiphany, when the three wise men were said to have paid tribute to the Baby Jesus.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Regency Dances -- The Quadrille

If you've read Regency romance novels, you've probably noticed they often have ball. I, too, have written scenes taking place during balls. That's not because I lack imagination (just ask me what I think I hear when there's a bump in the night) but it's because dancing was such an intricate part of Regency life, at least for the upper classes. It was the most socially acceptable way to meet and court a potential spouse.

The dances were intricate and took quite a while to learn, which is why children were taught to dance as rigorously as they were taught to read. Dances were also done in "set" meaning sets of two, so if a lady accepted a dance from a gentleman, she was his partner for two dances.

There were many dances done during the Regency. The quadrille was a popular dance involving four couples dancing together and making intricate patterns together on the dance floor.

 Christina Guza, one of my colleagues on the Beau Monde, a Regency chapter of Romance Writers of America, found this wonderful video demonstrating the Quadrille.
As you can see, everyone needed to know exactly what to do and when to do it, or it threw off everyone else. It reminds me old fashioned square dancing, in a way, but much more complicated, and there's no "caller" to tell dancers what to do next.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Marriage and Marriage Licenses in Regency England

Ah, the ringing of wedding bells. It's a lovely, romantic sound. It always conjures in my mind true love and happily ever after.
The hope of a bright future awaiting the couple probably isn't much different now than it was centuries past. But the way people married has evolved over the years.

In Regency England, a couple could get married one of three ways: they could marry in a church after the reading of the banns, they could obtain a common license, or they could marry by special license. They could also elope and go to Scotland, but that’s a topic for different post.

A couple wishing to be wed in the traditional way had to have their ministers of their local parishes to read what was called "the banns" meaning he read their names for three Sundays in row, and also posted their names at each church for those three weeks. This was to provide anyone who knew of a good reason why they shouldn’t marry to declare it. Usually the reason someone objected was if one of them were already married, as was the case in the book Jane Eyre. If no one objected, then the couple could marry within the next three months. Marriages also had to take place between 8 a.m. and noon in one of their churches.

For those who wished to waive the reading of the banns, either because they wanted to marry sooner, or they wanted to marry in a church other than one of their home parishes, they could purchase a common marriage license. Some also probably did it as a status symbol as a way that they could afford the ten shillings that it cost to get a license. In order to marry by license, the couple had to get one from the archbishops of Canterbury and York and had to swear that there was no reason why they couldn’t marry. To obtain a marriage license, the coupleor usually just the bridegroomhad to swear that there was no reason why they could not marry. Marriages by common license required the couple to marry in a church or consecrated building.

A Special License was the third option. They were more difficult to obtain and they were also costly—to the tune of four to five pounds. They were also only issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury,and only to those of high rank. A special license gave the couple the option to marry any time or place they desired. Although they were encouraged to marry in churches, the marriage could be performed anywhere such as a home or garden. Few people were eligible to marry by special license. Only peers and their children, baronets, knights, members of Parliament, Privy Councillors and Westminster Court Judges had this option.

Since the father of Amesbury family in my Rogue Hearts Series is the Earl of Tarrington, all the sons had the option to marry by Special License at the family county seat, and, out of tradition, all of them did.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Foxhunting Season


After the fall of the leave to the last frost—that is the traditional foxhunting season, when the fields lie fallow. What we otherwise think of as November to March. However, cub hunting (when young hounds were trained with drag hunts, might begin as early as October, depending on the weather and the keeness of the hunter.
In England, the record of the oldest foxhunt dates back to mid 1600's and the second Duke of Buckingham, who hunted the Bilsdale pack in Yorkshire dales.

Each hunt is composed of a Master—usually the man who owns the hounds. The Master may employ "whipper-ins" to help keep the hounds together. Hunting is informal in the 1700s—anyone can join in to follow the hounds (as in that wonderful scene from the movie, Tom Jones, when the Squire cannot resist the call of the huntsmen's horns). Those horns are actually signals to the other huntsmen and the pack as to where the fox is headed.

The Duke of Bedford's hounds hunted actually stags until 1770's. But by 1780's fox hunting took over in popularity. Enclosure Acts and reduction of forests mean less stag hunting. And hare hunting was generally regarded as more a necessity of country life.

Hunt territories varied widely. The fifth Earl of Berkely hunted an area from Berkley Castle to Berkley Square, stretching 120 miles. Most hounds were kept by rich individuals, and they often invited local farmers to hunt with them, for very often you depended on the locals allowing your hunt access over their farms—there's still no way to predict which way a fox will run.

By 1810, there were only 24 subscription packs—or packs that you could pay to belong to and hunt, as opposed to requiring an invitation from the Master. But this would double, so that by the mid 1800's hunting became a more a matter of 'subscribing' in exchange for the right to hunt with the pack.

The golden age for hunting in Leichesterchire is 1810 - 1830. This starts off with Hugo Meynell, who hunted his foxhounds from Quorn Hall in Leicstershire from 1753 to 1800. His record run was 28 miles in 2 hours 15 minutes.

During this time, there's as many as 300 hunters stabled in Melton Mowbray--with some gentlemen keeping up to 12 hunters. You could hunt 6 days a week with the still famous packs—the Quorn, the Cottesmore, the Belvoir, the Pytchley. Lord Sefton, Master of the Quorn from 1800-02, went through 3 horses a day—which is why you might need a dozen horses.

Ptychey's record run was in 1802, when the pack covered 35 - 40 miles in 4 ¼ hours. With horse medicine being about the same as for people—horses were bled after a long, tiring day. So the life of a hunter could be a short, hard one. In Warwickshire, a hunter might fetch 200 - 500 guineas. But in Leichestershire, a hunter could cost up to 800 guineas.

Wellington's officers took to hunting in their regimental scarlet coats. These started to be called hunting pink (the story goes that this was after the tailor Mr. Pink, but there's no evidence this is true). Each hunt, however, has its own colors—a color of leather boot tops, coat color and collar color and even button design. It's said that Brummell never hunted past the first field, for he hated to get his white-leather boot tops muddied.

Ladies were also found in the field. Mrs. Tuner Farley hunted for 50 years. Lady Salisbury was master of the Hatfield Hunt from 1775 - 1819. She hunted old and blind, in her sky blue habit, with a groom leading her horse and yelling at her to, "Jump, damn you, my lady." From 1788 to 1840, Lord Darlington hunted his own hounds 4 days a week in Yorkshire and Durham, with his 3 daughters and his second wife, all in their scarlet habits.

But between late 1700's to about mid 1800's, when the jumping pommel was invented for the side saddle, ladies were more the exception than the rule, and they were more likely to be advised to "ride to the meet and home again to work up an appetite."

Traditionally, each hunt always has a designated meeting place—a gate, or an inn, or even a house. You meet, the hunt cup is taken—folks drink to stave off the cold. You might meet around 11 and hunt all day—or until it's dark. Bad weather does not stop hunting--wet weather means the scent will be high (so long as it's not pouring). Ice can be dangerous—that's when you get broken necks and legs.

A hunt really is lots of standing around. Galloping to and fro. Trotting from cover to cover, hoping to draw a fox. Some hunts kept tame foxes they could let go if the day's sport proved too slow. Some areas had to curtail their hunting to allow the fox population to come back.

Hunting was always viewed as a sport for everyone, but the reality was that it cost money to keep a pack of hounds and hunt them. However, anyone could take a horse and follow, if the master allowed it, and some followed the hunt in their carriages.