I’ve been quiet lately introverted. Reverting to some old favourites. Old based not just on the regularity with which I return to the faithfuls but also in terms of the setting.
I’ve listened to Pride and Prejudice as an audiobook which I do annually when I need a bit of TLC and gain watched the BBC version (I mean Colin Firth isn’t bad to behold), and revisiting the “Pride and Prejudice from Mr Darcy’s point of view” options that I’ve collected over the years. I have my favourite which is the 3 part series; Pamela Aiden’s Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman.
As appears to happen to me I then start googling and YouTubeing around the topics I’ve read, and in this case dreaming that a little bit more of the Regency lifestyle was present in the modern world.
I’m thinking more of the senses of etiquette and occasion, letter writing and calling cards and yes perhaps a slightly slower pace to some things like making plans to socialise by letter well in advance and thereby harder to just flick off a sms to change.
“I propose myself the satisfaction of waiting on you and your family on Monday the 18th ……You may expect me by 4 in the afternoon”
(Mr Collins taken from the mini series).
I’m not decrying modern technology. I’m blogging about this after all. But maybe the pace means things are taken for granted, and the healthy sense of marking occasion is missing. I also acknowledge that the Regency period was not all rosy, or romantic (which is covered more in the Aiden books and part of their appeal to me). Yes, I also know that a single woman at my age who used a wheelchair would not be welcome in society if I was even alive. But I’m after relief and the lessons that I like.
I’ve bene drawn over the last few years to wanting to write letters again and mark things with gratitude. So on the back of my annual Bennet/Darcy/Bingly fest, I ordered personalised thank you cards and return address labels from Vistaprint and while waiting have sent off 2.
I also found this, which includes this list as the Maxims and Rules for the conduct of women, published in 1806.
1. In the exterior, decency and cleanliness.
2. In demeanor, reason and simplicity.
3. In actions, justice and generosity.
4. In language, truth and perspicuity.
5. In adversity, fortitude and pride.
6. In prosperity, moderation and modesty.
7. In company, affability and ease.
8. In domestic life, rectitude and kindness, without familiarity.
9. Fulfil duties according to their order and importance.
10. Never allow yourself any thing but what a third enlightened and impartial person would allow you.
11. Avoid giving advice.
12. When you have a duty to fulfil, consider dangers only as inconveniences, and not as obstacles.
13. Sacrifice every thing to peace of mind.
14. Combat adversity, as disease, with temperance.
15. Be anxious only to do what is right, paying as much respect as possible to the world and to the law of decorum; but, having observed this rule, be indifferent to public opinion.
16. Never indulge in any but innocent raillery, which is not injurious to principles, nor painful to persons.
17. Despise interest, and employ it nobly.
18. Deserve respect.
Quite apart from wishing to say that I think these same rules could apply to the Gentlemen too, I think we could all do worse.
But then there I go breaching Rule No 11.
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