Austen Authors is proud to announce that Tresha and Sheila L M will receive an eBook copy of Rose Fairbanks’ A Sense of Obligation as part of Rose’s “Stranger Danger” giveaway. To claim your prize, Ladies, please contact Regina Jeffers at [email protected] In your response, indicate to which email address the prize notice should be delivered. Congratulations!!
Now that I have your attention, I confess that I have never watched the television program Breaking Bad. However, the hype about the show was so successful that even non-television viewers like me have heard of it.
As I was doing research for a Regency story, I found some information about broken bones I thought I would share. I think we all know that a bad break to a bone in the Regency era was a very serious thing. In fact, one of the sources of this article called their post: Setting a Broken Bone – 19th Century Medical Treatment was not for Sissiesbecause setting broken bones was a painful procedure in a time before anesthesia.
A simple fracture of the arm might be relatively easy to put right. Muscles contracted in reaction to the injury and had to be stretched before the bone was set. Thus, the bone of a forearm could be set without too much exertion on the part of the surgeon or bone setter. Once set and placed in a sling, the arm bone required only time and rest to heal.
Larger limbs were not as simple to set. With a broken leg, the size and strength of the leg muscles far exceeded that of the arm, and the exertion to set the bone in place would have required at least two persons. A fracture in the lower leg would have been easier to remedy than a fracture of the thigh, which has the largest muscles. Thigh muscles experience a greater degree of contraction and shortening, and several assistants would have been needed to properly place those bones in their natural position. If, after all the pulling and resetting, both limbs were the same length again, the procedure was considered to be a success.
As early as the 16th century, there were apprentice barber-surgeons who learned their trade by necessity. Yet, not all bone setters were apprenticed to a medical person. If no surgeon or physician lived nearby, the local blacksmith might set bones in humans as well as animals for a fee. The apprentices were often forced into the army to treat soldiers. However, if a soldier’s bones were shattered from canon or gun fire and risked infection, the surgeon might chose to amputate before the tissue developed gangrene.
Over the centuries, scientific inventions sped up a surgeon’s or bone setter’s ability to help patients. As early as the 15th century, the printing press churned out medical manuals in which procedures were standardized and knowledge disseminated over the world. In the late 17th century, traction was being used to repair a broken bone, and in 1718, French surgeon, Jean Louis Petit, invented the tourniquet to control bleeding, a medical technique that was especially helpful during amputations.
Some bone setters were celebrated for their skill. In the early 18th century a Mrs. Mapp was legendary for her abilities. The daughter of another famous bone setter, Polly Peachum, the wife of the Duke of Bolton, Mapp was known as Crazy Sally. Nevertheless, her curesearned her upward of 100 guineas per year. Below is a quote from an article in Boston Medical and Surgeon Journal regarding Mrs. Mapp.
“Her bandages were neat, and her skill in reducing dislocations and in setting fractures was said to be wonderful. If it was known that she was going to the theatre, that was sufficient to fill the house. Her own estimate of herself is shown by an interesting incident. When passing through Kent street, she was taken for one of the King’s German mistresses, who was unpopular. A mob gathered and used threatening language. Mrs. Mapp thereupon put her head out of the window and cried, ‘Damn your bloods, don’t you know me? I am Mrs. Mapp, the bone setter,’ and drove away amid the applause of the multitude.”
Not everyone was a fan however. In the same publication was this insult: “Mr. Percival Pott, the celebrated surgeon, who was her contemporary, spoke of her claims as the most extravagant assertions of an ignorant illiberal drunken female savage.”
I will add that had Ms. Mapp appeared at my door, she would likely have been sent packing. Bless her heart. It is good thing she had an occupation because she wasn’t going to catch anyone’s eye with her beauty! And, though she was married at one time, it was said that her husband thrashed her before running off with her money.
I wanted to end by including this picture entitled The Comforts of Bath by Rowlandson. Though it was meant to make us smile, there were a great many people during Jane Austen’s time that suffered because of the lack of medical care and knowledge. As far as our health is concerned, we are truly blessed to live today.
To enter, you must sign onto the Rafflecopter form located on the Austen Authors Home Page.
Loads of ways to enter!
Summer giveaway ends on August 31, 2015
with winners chosen and announced shortly thereafter.
These are the AWESOME prizes up for grabs!
Cecilia Gray is offering one of our guests a $15 Amazon Gift Card.
Rebecca Jamison will present one lucky winner with an autographed copy of Sense and Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale.
Brenda Webb is offering two different giveaways —
The first is a copy of Fitzwilliam Darcy: A Honourable Man.
The second is a copy of Darcy and Elizabeth: A Most Unlikely Couple.
The winners may choose from a print or an eBook copy.
Regina Jeffers is offering four different prizes —
One winner will receive a copy of Juliette Shapiro’s Mr. Darcy’s Decision;
a second will receive a copy of Stephanie Barron’s Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron;
a third will receive Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park,
while a fourth will receive a DVD package containing a copy ofPride and Prejudice 2005 and a copy British Cinema Collection’s 8 Acclaimed Films (Restoration, An Ideal Husband, Tom & Viv, A Month by the Lake, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, Sweet Revenge, My Life So Far, and Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown).
Joana Starnes is offering the winner of her giveaway his/her choice of any of Joana’s novels (winner’s choice of print or eBook).The chosen winner may choose from The Subsequent Proposal, From This Day Forward: The Darcys of Pemberley, The Falmouth Connection, or The Second Chance.
Sharon Lathan is giving two prizes!
The first is one copy of her debut novel, the one that started it all, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One. Winner’s choice of eBook or signed print.
Sharon is also giving a trio of summer-themed cards, created from original Regency Era fashion plates she re-designed for the 2015 JASNA AGM.
Each card is 5×7, blank inside, and with envelope included.
Finally, Elizabeth Adams is offering an eBook copy of The Houseguest to one lucky winner,
and a second winner will receive an eBook copy of Green Card.
For much of my life, the arrival of June meant family vacations at the beaches of Alabama or Florida. Even now, when the calendar rolls over to the first of that month, I feel as though I can finally unwind and relax. A holdover, I am certain, from all the years spent waiting for the school year to end so we could take a well-needed break from our daily lives.
I cannot help but consider how a trip to the beach today compares to one in the early 1800’s. I confess that I cringe when I watch the scenes in Persuasion where the women are walking along the seashore and the bottoms of their gowns get wet. Washing clothes in that period was not an easy task, made more difficult because of the length of their gowns. Furthermore, I cannot fathom how stifling the heat must have been in the summer months when one was wearing all those clothes. Heat stroke, anyone?
Still, had a woman wished to ‘take to the water’ in order to cool themselves, they would likely have used an invention known as the bathing machine. The purpose of this invention was to keep women and their bodies out of sight, while the men were allowed to frolic freely, if on a separate section of the beach.
The bathing machines in use in Margate, Kent were described in 1805 as “four-wheeled carriages, covered with canvas, and having at one end of them an umbrella of the same materials which is let down to the surface of the water, so that the bather descending from the machine by a few steps is concealed from the public view, whereby the most refined female is enabled to enjoy the advantages of the sea with the strictest delicacy.”
Bathing machines began popping up around the 1750s as four-wheeled carts with two doors on either side that were normally rolled out to sea by a horse. Swimwear hadn’t yet been invented and most people still swam naked. Later, when early forms of swimwear were introduced, society declared that a proper woman should not be seen on the beach in her bathing suit. The bathing machine allowed bathers to change out of their clothes and into their bathing suits without being seen or having to cross the beach in improper clothing. The machine would simply be rolled out to sea and hauled back in when the beachgoer raised a small flag attached to the roof.
Once deep enough in the surf, the bather would exit the cart using the door facing the water. For inexperienced swimmers, some beach resorts offered the service of a “dipper,” a strong person of the same sex, who would escort the bather out to sea in the cart, essentially push them into the water and yank them out when they were done. As long you as you didn’t drown, this was considered a successful day at the beach.
At their most popular, bathing machines lined the beaches of Britain and other parts of the British Empire, as well as France, Germany, the United States and Mexico. Below is a panoramic view of a beach in France.
The following excerpt from The Traveller’s Miscellany and Magazine of Entertainment written in 1847 recalls the details of a luxury bathing machine. Along with the excerpt, I have included a picture of Queen Victoria’s bathing machine. I can just imagine the interior may well have rivaled the description given in the magazine.
“The interior is all done in snow-white enamel paint, and one-half of the floor is pierced with many holes, to allow of free drainage from wet flannels. The other half of the little room is covered with a pretty green Japanese rug.
In one corner is a big-mouthed green silk bag lined with rubber. Into this the wet bathing-togs are tossed out of the way. There are large bevel-edged mirrors let into either side of the room, and below one juts out a toilet shelf, on which is every appliance. There are pegs for towels and the bathrobe, and fixed in one corner is a little square seat that when turned up reveals a locker where clean towels, soap, perfumery, etc. are stowed. Ruffles of white muslin trimmed with lace and narrow green ribbons decorate every available space.”
The bathing machines remained in active use on English beaches until the 1890s, when they began to be parked on the beach and used as stationary changing rooms. When legal segregation of bathing areas in Britain ended in 1901 and it finally became acceptable for both genders to bathe together, it was the beginning of the end of the bathing machine. Most of them had disappeared in the United Kingdom by 1914, and by the 1920s, they were almost entirely extinct, except for those used by the elderly.
Still, even in this era of bikinis and topless beaches, some of the bathing machines are still in service, having been divested of their wheels to become changing cabins. The adorably photogenic and colorful little beach houses, pictured above, are the direct successors of the Georgian bathing machine and a little-known reminder of seaside history. Who knew?
Now, my question to you is this: Had you lived in that era, do you think you would have dared to take advantage of a bathing machine? Better still, would you have dared to appear in one of those bathing costumes?
Austen Authors is pleased to announce the winners of our SPRING QUARTER GIVEAWAY!
If your name is below, please contact Regina Jeffers at [email protected] to claim your prize.
If the item is an eBook, please indicate to which email address the prize notice should be delivered.
If the prize is a print book, gourmet tea, or Regency reticule, include your mailing address in the email.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!!!
Mallory Reynolds and Megan Williford will receive a copy of Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship from Sharon Lathan.
You may choose either an eBook copy or a print copy, Ladies.
Susan M. Heim won an eBook copy of Sarah Price‘s First Impressions,
while Jasmine Ausgustine will receive a print copy of the same book.
Loren and Sandy Womack Barela will receive an eBook copy of Sarah Price‘s The Matchmaker,
while Lora Fujinaga will receive a print copy of the same title.
Erin has been chosen for an eBook copy of
Rose Fairbanks‘ Undone Business;
Patrician Finnegan will received a print copy of the same novel.
Amy Livesay Hart and Debbie Fortin are the winners of an eBook bundle
from Anna Elliott that includes Georgiana Darcy’s Diary and Pemberley to Waterloo.
Donna B. and Savannah Knepp will have their choice of
“Inspired by Jane Teas” from Sara Thomas.
Each lucky lady can pick ONE flavor from the 5 choices available.
Click image for website, or this link: Inspired by Jane Teas
Katherine Reay will present
Renee Yoder a print copy of Lizzy and Jane.
Finally, Chelsea Knestrick will receive a
handmade Regency reticule from Sharon Lathan.
*Special thanks to Kathy Chopra of the Greater Louisville JASNA region for sewing this reticule. Kathy will have reticules for sale at the 2015 AGM, and is leading the Reticule Workshop.
Our SUMMER QUARTER GIVEAWAY will begin in July
with more awesome prizes from the Austen Authors!
We at Austen Authors are pleased to announce the winners from P.O. Dixon’s “A Few of My Favorite Things” post and from Brenda Webb’s “Fire-A Regency Necessity” post.
Carol Perrin will receive her choice of any of P.O. Dixon’s eBooks.
Meanwhile, Glynis and Maureen have their choice of an eBook or paperback copy of one of three of Brenda Webb’s books: Fitzwilliam Darcy: A Honourable Man; Mr. Darcy’s Forbidden Love; or Darcy and Elizabeth: A Most Unlikely Couple.
To claim your prize, Ladies, please send Regina Jeffers with a message at [email protected] – be certain to indicate your prize choice in the email. If the prize an eBook indicate to which email address the prize notice should be directed. If a print copy of the book is requested, indicate your mailing address. Congratulations!
I have enjoyed writing Regency stories for several years, and the more I write, the more I realize how much more there is to know about that era. But, if I have learned anything along the way, it is this: For a tale is to be believable, the details must also be believable.
With each new story, I find another aspect of the Regency period that I need to investigate. I’m not speaking of the protocols of courtship or station that I tend to flaunt in my ‘what if’ tales, but about everyday matters my characters would have faced—such as how to build a fire, treat a cold or how much time it took to travel from point A to point B.
Today I would like to pass along a little bit of what I learned about fire. By the fourteenth century, the “match” was known in Europe, but it was much more similar to what we think of as a wick or a fuse. It was a chemically treated cord which burned slowly but continuously, and could be used to ignite the touch-hole of a cannon or a campfire.
Fire was not truly portable until the end of the reign of George IV, and the inexpensive matches we take for granted today did not come along until the reign of Queen Victoria. But, if matches were not readily available during the Regency, how was fire managed at that time? That would commonly be by means of a tinderbox. This was a metal box, most often made of tin, with a lid that fit tightly on the box, like a modern-day canister. Often the lid would have a place for a candle so that you could use it as a holder if you wished.
A tight fit was necessary to keep the tinder in the box dry. The tinder was kept in the very bottom, under a metal disk of the same diameter as the box. Often the disc had a small handle for ease of use. This disk was the damper and was used to extinguish the tinder once its sparks had served their purpose. Resting atop the damper would be the steel striker and the flint nodule which would be stuck against each another to create sparks. Above those implements would be stored the matches, which were sticks made of deal (wood from Scots pines) dipped in sulphur or spunks (a kind of wood or fungus that smolders when ignited). These matches were nothing like the friction matches yet to be invented but were simply implements of fire transfer.
The most favored tinder material during the Regency was scorched linen, which was made by putting cloth into an almost airtight tin with a small hole in it, and cooking it in campfire coals until the smoking slowed and the cloth was properly charred. These cloths ignited with the smallest spark and were used with a flint and steel. When away from home, small pocket tinder boxes were often carried, sometimes set with a burning glass (a lens) in the lid to light the tinder directly from the sun’s rays. The poorer people working in the fields would obtain a light by simply striking a flint on the back of a knife onto a piece of touch-paper that they carried in their pockets.
How were these items used together to make fire? First, everything was removed from the tinderbox except the tinder. The steel was held over the tinder and the flint was struck against it. The steel showered sparks, and eventually a spark would ignite, at which point the fire would be encouraged by a few soft, steady breaths. Once the tinder was burning steadily, a match was applied to it. The match would ignite and be applied to a candle for light, or to a taper or paper spill to be used to light a fire laid on the hearth. As soon as the match had been ignited, the damper was put back into the tinderbox to snuff out the tinder so that it could be used again.
In most households, the kitchen fire was kept burning around the clock. At night, it was banked and covered with a metal hood pierced with many small holes, called the curfew, a corruption of the French couvre-feu, meaning “fire cover.” Each morning someone would remove the cover and use bellows to blow fresh life into the smoldering embers and then add fuel to renew the fire. As it was not always convenient to dash to the kitchen hearth for a light, many homes kept a tinderbox on each mantelpiece. A thoroughly utilitarian domestic appliance, a tinderbox might be kept out of sight in an elegant town home or an opulent country mansion, except for those made of brass or silver. Still, it was a common feature of modest houses and cottages.
Now that you know the effort required to start a fire, it’s quite understandable why the invention of the friction match was so incredibly important. Imagine rising on a cold, dark, winter morning to find that your kitchen fire had died during the night and having to fumble in the dark to find the tinderbox, grasp the cold flint and steel, and then struggle to strike enough sparks to ignite the tinder.
Whew! It makes me tired just to think about it. Aren’t you glad that we have modern heating (and air conditioning)? At least, should the electricity go off, we can strike a match and light a candle.
By the way, I had to include this picture of a silver tinderbox. I could see Mr. Darcy having one with his initials on it!
Information in this post came from Wikipedia and The Regency Redingote site.
Since Mother’s Day has just passed, I would like to give away two copies of my books. Your choice of a paperback or kindle e-book of Fitzwilliam Darcy – An Honourable Man, Mr. Darcy’s Forbidden Love or Darcy And Elizabeth – A Most Unlikely Couple! Just put a note in your comment that you would like to be included in the drawing. Giveaway closes midnight Friday (CST)