Beau Brummell is known for the style of clothing he wore and his wit. But in a time when daily bathing wasn't necessarily the thing to do, particularly in warm water, Brummell was ahead of his time.
He may have made his place in Regency history due to his fashion sense, but without the hygiene, I doubt it would have mattered what he wore.
Unable to sustain the lifestyle that he so loved, Beau spent time in a debtor's prison, and his later years were plagued with illness. I wish life had been kinder to him, and he had been kinder to others.
Perhaps his perfect clothing and his criticisms of others helped him gain popularity, but his insults of others and his expenditures led to his downfall.
But Regency history wouldn't be the same to me without the thought of clean cravats, warm water and elegant clothing.
In my original manuscript, I used the words "dust bin." I thought it sounded more glamorous than a simple trash can. But then someone corrected me, and I paused when I realized she was right.
In the Regency, they had a bone and rag collector, but no need for dust bins.
Without the manufactured substances we have today, remnants from daily life could be burned in the household stove.
Comparatively, as far as history is concerned, dust bins are a modern invention. And recycling—it's probably as old as humanity.
Court records of the past can raise more questions than they answer, but imagination can fill in the blanks.
In March of 1840, William Henry Fowler was indicted for fraud. Apparently he had added a wedding in the vicar's marriage register between another Fowler, George, and a Hannah Bassett. But the forgery listed the marriage as taking place 114 years earlier. In 1726.
He pleaded guilty and judgment was respited.
Since judgment was lenient, I can't think the judge saw malicious intent in the case. William Fowler, age 42, in my romantic view, just wanted his grandparents or great grandparents to have been married, and perhaps he did it to show a relative that, yes, of course a marriage had taken place.
Another man had one too many marriages on record.
Thomas Phelps was charged with bigamy in 1848. But he seemed to hint that it could have been another Thomas Phelps who married the first time. The witness, who had also been present at the first wedding said that he remembered seeing the face of Phelps before, but it had been twenty years since he'd seen him, and it was hard to be certain it was the same man.
The second woman admitted she had married Phelps, but she'd thought him a man named John Tanner.
Phelps sealed his own fate when he admitted that he hadn't seen or heard from his first wife in six years and wasn't sure if she was alive or dead.
The sentence—guilty and nine months in jail. He would have been more convincing if he hadn't changed his name.
A Dark-eyed Junco watching the bird feeder, easily perching with its claws.
The turkey vulture supposedly has weak feet, and the lack of feathers on its head is thought to reduce transmission of disease from the carrion (Yuk!) it feeds on.
This one was sitting in a dead tree waiting to get a whiff of anything already beyond help. At certain times of the year, they're very common in my area. Perhaps it does consider its claws a fashion statement.
Some days, it doesn't feel like the birds have left the dinosaur world so far behind.
A female Red-bellied Woodpecker
Author's Note: I've used some of these photos of birds from my yard in other posts.
Sometimes it's just too tempting.
Most people respect clergy, and for some, it's just too much of a temptation not to pretend to be one.
In September of 2017, a 19-year-old dressed as a clergyman to gain access to Milan's cathedral. His clothing didn't match the religion he claimed, so there's something to be learned. If you're going to pretend to be someone ecclesiastical, you might want to go where less pious people congregate instead of a cathedral.
Another man sat outside a church in New York and pretended to be a priest in 1995. He had more success at convincing people he was spiritual, even listening to a few confessions. The problem was that he tended to overstep his bounds by promising to perform a wedding, a baptism and an investment of a widow's savings.
It's more common to think of a man who is impersonating a clergyman as a con artist. Most research on the subject tends to end in a story of taking money from people that the fake clergy pretended to help. In reality, the impersonation tends to end in arrest.
In novels, including mine, they're usually redeemed at the end.
If you could paint artwork insured for more than 700 million dollars, wouldn't your head swell a little? And wouldn't you expect to live in a really nice house—not just work for the man who lives in the really nice house?
When Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa he couldn't have realized it would become such a famous painting.
Prior to 1911, it was housed in the Louvre. Then the painting went on loan, only not in the usual way. An art thief took it home and stored it in the base of a trunk for approximately two years. He served seven months in prison for taking the portrait, and probably increased the value of the smiling lady due to the additional publicity of her theft and return.
He definitely increased her security detail.
I imagine the ghost of Leonardo walking into the Louvre with all the other tourists, and having a smug smile on his face as he looks at his work. And then probably shrugging off the value, shaking his head, and going to look at the other artists' work.
Two little eyes peered up at me from the wood at my feet. A tree frog stared at me, hiding. He had nothing to be afraid of from me, except my camera.
Tree frogs will always be welcome to me because they signal to me that the ecology in my area is good, and I like the sounds they make.
But not all animals, reptiles and insects are so welcome. When I see a wasp, I generally avoid it. But this one seemed to be batting its head against the stem. I've had those days too.
And sometimes, no matter how creepy you are, nothing tastes good.
Even though the hummingbird moth isn't on my favorites list, I was glad he stopped long enough to let me see him. He was hidden well in the grasses, but the grass also helped hide me so I could sneak closer.
Monet's Garden at Giverny, France (Fotolia Photo)
Claude Monet is perhaps the most famous artist known for repeatedly painting the same subject over and over. He loved painting water lilies. The garden was a passion for him, much the same as art, so he blended the two, almost like he blended the colors in his work.
In the last twenty years of his life he focused mainly on painting the pond he'd created on his own property, and the lilies he'd transplanted there. Often gardeners worked for him, maintaining the picturesque setting.
Perhaps he didn't paint the lilies and the garden as much as he created a living painting around him.
Perhaps I'd like to do the same—only without the expense of a gardener—on the trails behind my house.
...with the wild flowers, including the blackeyed susan.
Writer's find motivation where ever they can. Sometimes the quotes of other writers inspire us to finish a book.
Today, the lovely and lively Alicia Dean is letting me be a guest on her blog. I'll be sharing ten favorite writing quotes... Well, maybe just nine as I couldn't think of a tenth one. Or maybe nine and a half.
Please join us, and feel free to comment and ask questions about writing. Here's the link: https://aliciadean.com/alicias-blog/
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