Uther Pendragon: Blog

Zeno

September 20, 2018
Posted at 2:36 pm
Updated: September 20, 2018 - 2:38 pm
 

The alphabetical-dialogue story series has, at last, come to an end.

These are all old stories, but somehow I hadn't posted N - Y on SOL. I had Zeno up, but I took it off the series to keep the order consistent. Now that Yield has been published, I can put Zeno back in.

Gretna Green

September 18, 2018
Posted at 3:16 pm
Updated: September 20, 2018 - 2:40 pm
 

In 1754, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act. The act, however, did not cover the United Kingdom; it merely covered England and Wales. A parent could veto the marriage of any child under the age of 21.

Now, for most of the residents of England and Wales, this rule was absolute. Travel to Scotland was only slightly more thinkable than travel to the moon. To those with whom Regency Romances deal -- the aristocracy and the upper reaches of the gentry -- travel to Scotland was possible, and elopement to Scotland was one option that young couples thwarted of marriage would, at least, consider.

A road was constructed in 1770 which was the fastest land route from much of England to Scotland. Gretna Green was the first village in Scotland on that road.

Gretna Green became synonymous with elopement. Couples could elope to many places -- from London, a trip by sea would probably have been faster in those days -- but you only threatened to elope to Gretna Green.

While the act applied equally to sons and daughters in wording, among the people who counted at The Season, few men were married before age 21, and most women were.

A girl was typically 16 when she took "her Season." While The Ton attended balls for every Season thereafter, the next stratum of society down did not. A girl who turned 18 unwed was a reject, and she had to choose between spinsterhood and a less suitable marriage than she had previously considered.

In such a social milieu, waiting until you are 21 was an intolerable torture.

What would a pound buy in 1800?

September 17, 2018
Posted at 2:19 pm
 

A biography of Beau Brummell suggested that a pound was about $100 of current American purchasing power.

Picketeny suggests that 1000 pounds a year or a little less was considered necessary for a "Comfortable" life of the gentry. That is consistent.

We should have 3 cautions on that comparison, though.

1) Not the wild splurges of the Prince Regent could buy him a cell-phone -- nor a sewing machine or a flush toilet, for that matter.

2) Some of the things which are/were available in both times have different relative values in the two periods. Aluminum and silver were of comparable worth back then.

3) The cost of services in goods was much lower back then. Wesley paid his traveling preachers 12 pounds a year _plus expenses_.

If we take that $100 value for a pound, that would mean that a shilling was worth about $5, a penny about 40 cents, and s farthing about a dime.

Xylem

September 7, 2018
Posted at 12:52 pm
 

Okay, purists.

Technically, "Xylem" means the woody part of a plant, and he isn't a plant.

OTOH, somebody write an all-dialogue story with a title which fits it better starting with the letter X. Then, I'll listen.

Typos on old stories.

September 4, 2018
Posted at 1:46 pm
 

I've been posting stories I had on ASSTR but not here on SOL.

A few readers have noticed typos. I read the stories carefully, but I make errors. The point that shocks me is that these stories were up on ASSTR for years and posted at least once on ASSM.

I didn't hear from anybody there.

Anyway, if you see something, say something -- preferably in an e-mail.