Arietta Richmond - Author

Immerse Yourself in Regency Historical Romance

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Valentine’s Day in the Regency Period

I have to say, up front here, that most Regency authors take a lot of liberty with history, when it comes to most  holidays.  That’s fair – after all, our readers
want a good story, with concepts that they relate to, for the season.  But let’s
take a quick look at what Valentine’s Day celebrations were actually like in
the Regency period.

The beginnings of Valentine’s Day go back to the third century!  Saint
Valentine was a priest at that time, and was imprisoned for a long time.  He
was not sainted until considerably later. There are a range of versions of his
story told, and it is uncertain which are true, but the core of today’s Valentine’s Day traditions, and those engaged in during the Regency period, go back to one element of the stories told.

According to those stories, whilst imprisoned, Saint Valentine wrote letters to a woman that he had come to love, and signed them ‘your Valentine’.

Everyone loves a good story, and through the centuries the whole thing was romanticised.  In the 1600s and 1700s people began to give love favours and small gifts on Saint Valentine’s Day, and by the Regency period, that had become a very common thing to do – mainly men giving favours to the women that they were courting, or to their mistresses in some cases.  It was less common amongst those who were already married.

At that point, the favours and tokens given were all hand made, and could be of any style or construction – it was the thought behind them that mattered.  In the early 1800s it became more common for a favour to include, in some way, poetry.

Cards decorated with lace and ribbon were made by hand, often by the giver.  Around 1815 or so, enterprising people saw the opportunity, and began to mass produce those cards, still, initially, by hand.  Rapidly after that, however, machine made cards came into existence, featuring things like machine cut paper lace. These became called ‘mechanical valentines’.

The advent of more affordable and reliable mail services in the early 1800s, in combination with ‘mechanical valentines’,  allowed a massive expansion of the giving of the cards – with hundreds of thousands of them being posted around the date of Saint Valentine’s Day each year by approximately 1820.

As machine made, mass produced cards became easily available, the hand made, beautifully decorated versions became a more exclusive product, reserved for those who could afford to pay for that level of quality.

In some ways, it is surprising how much the ‘commercial’ aspects of the Regency Saint Valentine’s Day celebrations resemble those of today.  In other ways, we can see that the Day was still seen as more of a religious holiday (and was still called Saint Valentine’s Day), and that the way that it was celebrated was limited to the giving of cards or favours.  It is a fascinating time in the evolution of the celebration, as the concept of mass produced cards began to drive a commercial approach.

If you had lived in the Regency period, consider – how would you have celebrated Saint Valentine’s Day?

Christmas Decorations and Celebrations

I have to say, up front here, that most Regency authors take a lot of liberty with history, when it comes to Christmas.  That’s fair – after all, our readers want a good story, with concepts that they relate to, for the season.  but lets take a
quick look at what Christmas celebrations were actually like in the Regency

Christmas Trees – were still pretty much unknown in England, with the first having been introduced by the German born Queen Charlotte in 1800.  The upper aristocracy did take up the idea, as copying the royal family was always seen as good form, but the tradition of a decorated Christmas tree was slow to spread.

Decorations, if there were any, were likely to be edible – gingerbread men, small cakes, sweets tied in paper etc.  There were some indications that other paper decorations did sometimes occur, but we have no detailed evidence for them.

Other Christmas Decorations – were mostly greenery and berries.  Greenery used, apart from pine boughs, was rosemary, bay, holly, laurel, and mistletoe.  This was a longstanding tradition, going back to medieval times and earlier.  There are references to kissing under the mistletoe as early as the late 1600s as well.

Christmas Traditions – in Regency times, many of the older Christmas traditions had fallen out of favour, being seen as rather unsophisticated, but many of the country people still held to them.  This included the concept of the Yule Log, or Christmas Fire, and the wassailers – people who went from house to house, singing and pretty much begging for food and drink in return.  The Christmastide was the period from Christmas Day to Twelfth Night, and celebrations might happen across the whole period.  Much less importance was placed upon the gathering of family at this time of year then, than is now.

Christmas Food – There were very few, if any, foods that were regarded as especially for Christmas – it was more about having good food in general, and being charitable, by sharing that with neighbours, and with the poor.

So – there is a quick summary – rather flat compared to some of the Christmas extravagance that we see today, isn’t it!  The important things to see here, are that the royal family instigated changes in what was done, the poorer and country people were more likely to celebrate than the aristocracy, and the aristocracy who did celebrate were likely to do charitable deeds as part of it.

As you enjoy your Christmas, consider – who would you rather have celebrated Christmas with, in the Regency period?


Mirrors are another thing that we take for granted today.  They are everywhere – not just in our bathrooms and bedrooms, but as decoration in buildings, in lifts and in other places, as well as in our homes.  We use them to make rooms seem bigger, or in small chips to add glitter and brightness to all sorts of things.

In the Regency era, it was rather different.  Mirrors were another thing that
was mostly limited to the very wealthy.

Early mirrors were made of polished metal, or sometimes obsidian or stone,  (going back many centuries) but even that required having enough wealth to afford one.

Glass mirrors with metallic backings were experimented with for many centuries, but no reliable and effective process was developed until around 1835, when a German chemist developed the process to lay down a very thin layer of silver on one side of a glass sheet, using a chemical process, to create the first mirrors of the style that is common today (although today’s mirrors use a thin layer of aluminium).

There were silver backed mirrors from around the 1600s, but they used larger amounts of silver, which was not as evenly applied, and produced a much less effective mirror. Another metal backed mirror was invented by the Venetian glassmakers in the 1600s – they coated the back of a glass plate with mercury!  It produced a beautiful undistorted reflection – but was difficult to create and had obvious (but unknown to them) health risks!

In Regency times, mirrors made from polished steel were available, and some small glass mirrors, with metallic backings of various kinds.  The larger mirrors found in some aristocratic homes were amazingly expensive, and possessing one, or more, was an ostentatious statement of wealth. Each of those mirrors was either backed with manually applied silver leaf, or with a tin/mercury amalgam, which was also hand worked to get a thin flat layer.  The metal was applied to the back of the mirror, usually then painted on the back to protect it, and the whole enclosed in a frame to make sure the layers stayed in place.  These methods also meant that mirrors were rather heavy!.

So – next time you casually glance at a mirror to check your hair, spare a thought for our Regency heroes and heroines, trying to look their best for a Ball, with minimal mirrors available!

Chandeliers – and Other Lighting.

Let’s actually think about lighting.  Today, we tend not to – we turn the switch and the light comes on (unless there is a power outage…..).  But…. in Regency
times, there was no electricity yet…. so….. how did they light their houses?
how did they light those big ballrooms?  how did chandeliers work,  if they
weren’t wired in?

Starting with the obvious – all lighting had to come from fire, in some form.
Be that rushlights, oil lamps, candles, or the very new (and expensive still) gas
lamps.  Candles came in two main types – beeswax, regarded as the superior
form, as they smelled good, burned with a whiter light, and lasted longer than
the other type, which were made from tallow (rendered animal fat).  The very poor could not afford candles, and used rushlights – strips of dried rushes (the plant that grows in the edge of streams and lakes), twisted together to form a sort of candle shape and lit on one end.

The common people used tallow candles, and maybe oil lamps if they could afford one (many different types of oils were used in these, including whale oil, which, apparently, didn’t smell very nice at all!).  The wealthy used beeswax candles and higher quality oil lamps.  The very wealthy used high grade beeswax candles, oil lamps, and, if they were open to new inventions, had gas lamps installed with piped gas.  No matter who you were, there was no easy ‘flip a switch’ to get light – you needed a flint and steel to strike a spark to light your candle or lamp, or a fire in your hearth to light it from.

But what about those chandeliers?  We see pictures of the ballrooms of stately homes, with huge chandeliers, draped with many amazing sparkling crystals, way up high near the ceiling.  How did they light those?  How did they even get to them, to light them?

The basic facts – chandeliers had all of those dangling crystals, not because they looked pretty (although they did) but because the crystals reflected and re-reflected the light, multiplying it manyfold, to better light a big space.  Most chandeliers had dozens, or, in some cases, hundreds, of candles mounted on them, to create enough light to reflect.  The really interesting bit was how they lit them.  Most of the time, the candles were not even in the holders on the chandelier – the ballroom, when not in use for a major function, would be lit by normal candles or gas lights in sconces mounted around the walls.

When a big function or ball was planned, the chandeliers were put to use.  Each chandelier was suspended from a big chain, which went up to a large (very securely mounted) metal ring at the ceiling.  But the chain didn’t stop there – it was long, and went through the ring, across to another ring on the ceiling at the side of the room, through that, and down to an anchor point at floor level, where a large amount of chain was coiled around special mountings.  So, to fit the candles and light them, the chain was uncoiled and the chandelier was slowly and carefully lowered to the floor, with the chain carefully paid out to do so.  Once the candles were fitted, and lit, it was equally carefully hauled back up, and the chain anchored and coiled again.  If you were wealthy enough, you might actually have a mechanical winch for your chandeliers, but, mostly, it was the brute strength of your assembled footmen that did the job.

So next time you just flip a switch, and bright light fills your house, spare a thought for the challenges of lighting in Regency times!

How Did They Buy and Store Food?

Today, we go to the supermarket to do our weekly (or sometimes daily) shopping, we bring it home and store a lot of what we buy in the refrigerator, and we
think nothing of being able to get a wide range of fruits and other foods all
year round, even though we know that those things are only in season near
us for a few months of the year.  But what happened in Regency times?

In Regency times there were no refrigerators……  there was no supermarket…….  there was no easy global transportation….

So what did they do?

Lets start with the shopping.  In major cities and towns, there were large farmer’s markets – places where anyone who grew produce of any kind, to sell, came each day to sell, and the housewives, or the cooks and housekeepers of the nobility, came early each morning to buy.  Because there was no refrigeration (unless you were a wealthy aristocrat and could afford to have large blocks of ice brought in regularly, at great expense…), it was critical that the end consumer get the foods as soon as possible after they were picked / killed / baked, so that they could be consumed before they went off.

There were bakers, who baked bread and cakes every day, there were butchers, although the way that they operated was very different from today, and meats were often rather more ‘aged’ when they got to the consumer than we would consider acceptable now. There were starting to be a range of ‘dry goods stores’ which stocked flours, nuts, dried foods (always air dried and sun dried..) etc, that would not go off so easily.

So a wide range of food was available on any one day.  But that range varied wildly throughout the year, as, with horses the primary form of transport, things could not easily or quickly be brought long distances and stay fresh (or anything close to it).  There were some vendors, who sold to the nobility, who did have special carriages designed to transport food with large blocks of ice to preserve it longer, but obtaining the ice was costly (in summer – winter made that a lot easier…..).

Once the daily shopping was done (and that could be a huge thing in itself, for a large home of the aristocracy, especially if a Ball or other large entertainment was planned), and everything brought home, how was it stored?

Almost all houses had cellars.  Not just for wine (although that was stored there too), but for food storage.  Why a cellar? because cellars are colder than above ground, and stay that way for most of the year, kept cool by the earth around them.  If it was available at that time of year, and could be afforded, blocks of ice might also be bought and put in the cellar to make it colder still. So foods that needed to be kept fresh (like meats and fruit) were stored in cellars.  But cellars could be a bit damp, so foods that needed to stay dry (like flour, nuts, dried fruit, dried herbs etc) were stored in large pantry rooms on the ground floor of the house, usually next to the kitchen.

Purchased foods were also supplemented by foods grown in the kitchen garden attached to the house (almost all houses in the country would have a food producing garden, and any house in the city with even a small amount of garden would have part of it planted with herbs and foods). Herb gardens were very popular with the nobility, because they could be pretty, and smell wonderful, as well as provide flavours for their food, and materials for perfumes, lotions, clothes fresheners etc.

Food preserving techniques were also used whenever possible, from making jams and other preserves, to drying food, to pickling, salting, storing in oil, or storing in alcohols.  Many of the foods that we have today came into existence because someone was looking for a way to make their meagre food supplies last longer, or to keep the flavours of summer available in winter.

So next time you eat a delicious antipasto platter, or have jam on toast, think about how inventive people were in earlier times, and be thankful!

Regency Medicine and Health

Access to reasonable doctors and medical care that can save our lives in an emergency is such a given in the developed world today, that we don’t really consider what life might be like without it. When we think about the regency era, because we are thinking of England, and a fairly sophisticated society, its easy
to forget, or not realise, what a minimal medical capability there actually was then.

Certainly, they had hospitals – but they were not like the hospitals of today.
Nor were their doctors like those of today.  Much of the scientific research that has led to our medicines and ability to deal with disease had yet to be done.

Think about it –

  • There were no antibiotics and only the barest understanding of what caused infection
  • There was generally no careful cleanliness in medical situations
  • There was little understanding of the idea that apparently ‘clean’ water could carry bacteria etc
  • There was no safe general anaesthetic – there was not even the use of ether for that purpose until 1846 approx.  All major operations were done with you either awake, or dosed with laudanum (an opiate).
  • Due to that, appendicitis was pretty much a death sentence.
  • Many women died in childbirth, because, if the child was breech and could not be turned, or there were other complications, a caesarian section was certain death for the mother.  It was not performed successfully, where both mother and child lived, until 1881.
  • Even quite minor infections of cuts and scratches could lead to death, as the infection could not easily be stopped, and there was little knowledge of effectively sterilising cuts.
  • Many ‘doctors’ still believed in the concepts that used things like bleeding the sick person to attempt to treat things – thus weakening an already weak person, and often hastening death.
  • Doctors often did not bother with hand-washing, and other infection preventing activities, because they did not believe there was a need.
  • Doctors also often recommended keeping sick rooms closed up and dark, which did nothing to help with healing.
  • The most effective healers were either women who had studied herbal healing, passed down through families in many villages, and men who had been ‘barber surgeons’ on the battlefield – where the main aim was to keep the injured soldiers alive, by whatever method they could – hence they lacked prejudice and tried whatever was suggested, or appeared to work.
  • Many children died very young, through illness and accident, because vaccines were only just starting to be invented, and the sort of childhood diseases that are now rare in the world ran rampant through the population, with little available but hope to cure the child.
  • being a doctor was also not very well respected as a profession in Regency times, although that was beginning to change, with the increasing persistence of a few men who chose the profession through a genuine care for people, and began to push research along.

The only significant positive about all of this, is that everyone was exposed to all sorts of things, from the moment that they were born, and, if they survived that first few years, they had, as a result, an immune system of outstanding strength.  Most modern people from developed countries, dropped back in those times, would succumb to all sorts of nasty things immediately – we have been so protected from disease, our immune systems are just not set up to cope with that sort of onslaught!

So, next time you wish to be living in Regency times, wearing beautiful gowns and dancing at balls, think carefully – how would you face that sort of medical situation?

The Regency Era View of Beauty

Most of us are very aware, today, that our perception of what is ‘beautiful’ is affected by how the media shows things, and by the appearance of celebrities etc.  Whilst the form of media available was rather dramatically different in the Regency era, the result was not so different.

Celebrity had a huge effect in Regency times – what someone important wore would soon become all the rage.  Fashion magazines existed, and, like those of today, tended to show ladies as models, who were rather slimmer than average. Even throughout the Napoleonic wars, French influence on fashion was strong, and the most popular modistes were often of French background.

Most interesting though, is what we discover when we compare the fashion plates with portraits painted in the era.  Portraits were often painted in such as way as to show the subject in a more favourable light than perhaps their actual appearance provided.  Which makes them an even stronger indication of what was valued as beauty…..

DE ROSSI Pietro c 1800 portrait.Generally the women who were famous for being ‘diamonds of the first water’ in the Regency era were not the super slim things you might expect.  If you looked at them today, you would probably see them as short and rather plump.  Why would that be considered beautiful ?  Well, at the simplest level, a certain plumpness is a good indication of wealth – you are not starving, you can afford enough food to be plump!

Poor women were likely to be almost universally thing and bony, in that time, so to be plump was a way to show your wealthy status.  being over fat was still seen as a negative, but where the boundary between ‘just right’ and ‘too much’ lay was very different from today.  And, being plump produced another result, which suited the fashion of the day.

Although the Regency era corsets / stays, were more flexible and less limiting of movement than those from the era before, or just after, they were still designed to constrain and lift the breasts, so that the breasts were ‘nicely displayed’, framed by the rather low necklines and ‘off the shoulder’ styles of the ball gowns of the day.  A plump woman usually had breasts rather more suited to that, than a thin woman!

This focus on plumpness as beauty also reflected the evidence of wealth in a more subtle way.  Young ladies of the aristocracy did not work.  They did not even do anything particularly strenuous, beyond sometimes riding a horse, and walking.  Poor women worked – often back-breakingly hard work.  So, as an aristocratic young woman, it was rather easy to get somewhat plump – you were not exactly encouraged to do much exercise!  So, again, being a little plump was a clear sign of your place in the social order, and of your wealthy desirability.

So…. think about it…. in that era, would you have been perceived differently, from  how you are today?  And would you be happy about it?


Image courtesy of

Being Portrait of a Lady 1810 by Pietro de Rossi

The Hierarchy of Titles, and How That Related to Wealth

When I talk to people about the Regency period, I find that one of the most common areas of confusion is the Titles of the aristocracy (quite rightly too, it
is a bit complicated!).  So here is a summary of who was more important than who, and of how that did (and often didn’t!) relate to wealth.

So – the simplest part of this – Titles.  Different titles had different levels of importance.  They were, from most important down

  • Prince
  • Duke
  • Marquess
  • Earl
  • Viscount
  • Baron

Whilst each title had its own estates and responsibilities (usually – there are some types of Barons that did not necessarily have land estates attached to them), it was possible for one person to be the holder (by inheritance, and the tangled family trees of the nobility) of more than one title at a time.  When that was the case, the title holder could, as a courtesy, allow his heir to take on one of his own ‘lesser’ titles (and its lands and responsibilities).  So the heir of a Duke was often a Marquess, the heir of a Marquess an Earl etc.

Whilst the persons of the major families of the aristocracy were referred to as ‘the upper 10,000’ – because that is roughly how many of them there were – the distribution of titles was not even within that group of people.  For a title to come into existence, the King or Queen at the time had to create it, and sign formal ‘letters of patent’ which brought the title into existence, and attached estates to it, to become its holdings. Like most things that have value, scarcity adds to it – so the more important a title, the less of them there were.

For example, in 1801, there were, between England, Scotland and Ireland, only 40 extant Dukedoms in total, and a number of those were reserved for junior members of the Royal family (as they still are today).  The numbers for each title got larger, as the importance of the title got less.  There is an excellent article on this, with links out to detailed lists for each level of title, here –

So all those Dukes we meet in Regency Romances…….  were unlikely to exist – but they make for good stories!

Now lets look at the wealth associated with a title.  Just having a title might make one asset rich, but not necessarily cash rich, or saleable asset rich.  A title holder, whose property was all entailed to the title, had to ensure that their lands were well enough managed to create enough income to offset their upkeep, and still make a profit.  Bad management could easily send that equation into negative.  If the previous holders of the title had been profligate spenders, or gamblers, then a person inheriting the title might be inheriting more debt than wealth – and could not sell the entailed properties to clear it.  Some peers eventually fled the country to escape their debtors, and to escape ending up in debtors prison – rare for an aristocrat, but not unheard of.

Because of this, it was entirely possible for a Viscount, whose family were all good managers, and not prone to overspending or gambling, to end up far wealthier than a Duke who came from a long line of spenders.  Equally, it was not uncommon for astute men from the merchant class to end up overwhelmingly wealthy, as the result of good business ventures and management (like those called ‘nabobs’ who had made their money out of trading in India and importing to England).  That did not make them any better regarded by the nobility, but…. the huge dowries that they provided for their daughters did sometimes make those daughters suddenly become acceptable brides for men of the nobility – who happened to be rather in need of the cash infusion that the dowry could bring!

So – the picture that we paint in our stories is rather a fairytale version of the reality!  but its fun for us.

How Did They Clean Clothes?

That sounds like a very ordinary thing to be talking about, doesn’t it ?  Yet its actually very interesting.  So, let me set the scene, and get you thinking.  In the Regency period, there were :

  • no washing machines
  • no hot running water
  • no cold running water, for that matter
  • no modern style soaps
  • no modern style hyper effective washing powders or detergents
  • no spot removing solutions
  • no dry cleaning
  • no clothes dryers
  • no electric irons
  • no folding ironing boards

That starts to make it harder, doesn’t it?  Imagine how difficult it would be, to get even something as basic as mud off the hem of a skirt, with none of those things to help!
So – what did they have?  They had the following:

  • Big tubs and coppers, that were filled with water and heated by having a fire under them
  • Two sorts of soap – The first was a coarse soap used for washing out difficult stains and generally by the lower classes.  This was made of melted rendered animal fat, lye(which is caustic), ashes, and sand, all mixed up and set into blocks. The second was a more refined soap, very expensive, made for mainly the ladies and gentlemen of the nobility to use.  This still started with things like animal fats and ashes, but also included such things as herbs and flowers, and scent essences made from herbs and flowers.  All of the ingredients were mixed into a paste which was ‘milled’ and made as small and finely ground as possible, so that the resulting bars of soap were smooth and fine to the touch, and smelled nice.
  • Herbal cleaning mixtures – today, you can buy things like citrus based cleaners, made from the skins of oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit – those sorts of cleaners, in their original forms, were invented centuries ago.
  • The nobility, at least, had servants to do their washing for them – by hand, bent over a tub or bucket, scrubbing away at the cloth.
  • Irons – which were, literally, big shaped chunks of iron, with handles, that were set on a rack over the fire to heat, and then used to press the clothes.


Old flat clothing ironsOld engraved illustration of a washerwoman washing clothes outside. Industrial encyclopedia E.-O. Lami - 1875.






So many clothes did not last long, in good condition, because stains could not be removed, and clothes were often not washed at all, or rarely washed, because the coarse washing methods would damage the cloth or embroidery etc. Clothes never washed have a habit of starting to smell of the bodies they have been worn by……

For the nobility, this was not a problem – they got new clothes.  For the lower classes, the fact that the nobility could afford new clothes was a blessing – ladies often gave their old clothes to their maids or to the families of other staff in their households.  And the servants were happy to wear stained and smelly clothes if they were pretty, and in better condition than what they had before.

Second hand clothes were also sold – and the poorer end of the middle class would often buy second hand clothes.  These had been cleaned as well as possible, before being sold, but were still likely worn and had stains here and there.
Another way that clothes were made to last longer, was by unsewing them and ‘turning the fabric’ – literally, turning the fabric inside out, and sewing them together again.  So the inside, which was not faded from the sun, or stained by food or other spills, was now on the outside, and the dress looked better for a while, and lasted a bit longer.

So, next time you go to grumble about needing to do the washing, stop and think – imagine having to do it in Regency times…..  be grateful for that washing machine!

Regency Trivia – Bad Habits

 The main bad habits of the Regency era were not, in many ways, too different from the bad habits of today.

Gentlemen of the ton were lamentably likely to become overly engaged in gambling, drinking, drug addiction (yes, they had drugs…. just not the same ones), getting into fights, and spending all too much time in brothels.

Ladies were also prone to some bad habits, although slightly different.  Those included gambling, but in different places, and drug addiction (laudanum), gossip, overspending on fashion and extramarital affairs (if you married for political reasons, not love, wouldn’t you be tempted….).

Not so different at all.  What was different was how these things were viewed.  Amongst the ton, whilst all of these habits, of both gentlemen and ladies, were regarded as less than ideal, they were, in general, ignored – it was impolite to take note of such things.  Things might reach a crisis if a gentleman’s gambling reached the point where he was run out of money to an unrecoverable point, but that took a lot of doing.  Equally, a lady’s affairs might cause a significant scandal should she be found in bed with the wrong man, but it had to be a very bad choice for it not to be able to be hushed up, and forgotten by next season , in favour of some newer, juicier gossip.

Drugs could also become a problem.  Such things were not illegal at that point, and the most common addiction was Laudanum, which contained a large percentage of opium.  It was good in small doses, as an anaesthetic or tranquilliser, but repeated use meant larger and larger doses, and a dependency, which became debilitating.  Opium was also smoked – a habit which had been brought back from the East, and became popular in some circles, amongst poets and others who rebelled against the societal conventions.

Smoking was becoming more common, mainly cigars amongst the aristocracy, and chewing tobacco was used by the lower classes.

Alcoholic drinks were standard, ranging from an assortment of ales and beers, through cider, wine, fortifieds like sherry and port, to whisky, brandy and other strong spirits.  Alcohols were, in most places, taken instead of water, as water might be polluted and cause illness.  Water was generally only consumed by the aristocracy when it had been boiled and turned into a tea or similar herbal infusion.  A consequence of this was that alcoholic addiction became quite common, especially amongst those who could afford to indulge whenever they liked.

It is interesting to consider that, in a time when honourable behaviour was valued, they still managed to maintain that, with violence (duels, a propensity for boxing and other person to person fighting etc), drug addiction and alcoholism being ‘normal.  They did rather well, don’t you think?

Sadly, it seems that we humans are prone to the same bad behaviour, no matter what century we live in.

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