Boats from the 1700 and 1800s

April Michelle Davis.

April Michelle Davis, a freelance editor, indexer, proofreader, and author, is a wife and mother of four. She loves to write and uses many avenues to express herself such as her websites, newsletters, blogs, and other social media outlets. April also homeschools her boys and sometimes find herself creating and writing their lessons. In addition, she has written three books (two technical and one fiction), and because of her fascination with princesses and castles, her fiction book includes a lot of history from the 1700s and 1800s. With this in mind, April has written the following post about boats.

Boats from the 1700s and 1800s traveled much slower than today’s boats because they were powered by the wind and sails and they usually followed trade patterns. In the early eighteenth century, the hulls were made from wood, which limited the size of the boat. The length of the hull was important because it added stability to keep the boat upright and provide space for the cargo of teas and spices, and even mail.

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Petit Ranelagh or the French Ranelagh

Petit Ranelagh or the French Ranelagh
Ranelagh Gardens Rotunda in London. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Petit Ranelagh or the French Ranelagh, sometimes called Garden of the Ranelagh, has an interesting history. It began in 1773, with a barrier guard and a lodge keeper named Morison (also sometimes spelled Morisan). Morison had an inn in the Bois de Boulogne. He obtained permission from the Prince de Soubise, who was the governor of the Château de la Muette, to erect a building in imitation of the one built by the first Earl of Ranelagh. The Earl of Ranelagh’s had been built on the banks of the Thames between 1688–89 and was called Ranelagh Gardens. Continue reading

Marie Antoinette’s White Hair

Pouf a la Belle Poule, Public Domain
Pouf a la Belle Poule. Public Domain.

Marie Antoinette’s hair was of intense interest to the French in the 18th century. In fact, the hairstyles she created and wore helped to establish her identity as a French queen. With the help of her hairdresser, Marie Antoinette created some of the most memorable styles, including one towering pouf that featured a French frigate, complete with masts and rigging, called Pouf a la Belle Poule. Eventually, however, the queen’s hair began falling out. Just as quickly as her towering pouf hairstyles had risen to extraordinary heights, short locks became all the rage when her hair was chopped off.

The Queen’s hair changed again after France found itself in the middle of a revolution. It was reported that suddenly the Queen’s strawberry blonde hair was white and that it became white practically over night. But the idea that a person’s hair can turn white over night, did not first happen to the French Queen. The first mention of someone’s hair turning white overnight was printed in the Talmud, where it was claimed that it happened to a 17-year-old Jewish scholar because of overwork. There were also apparently other cases of hair turning white over night, which were pointed out by one nineteenth-century doctor in the following description: Continue reading

The Actress La Clairon’s Ghost Story

La Clairon, Author's Collection
La Clairon, Author’s Collection

The girl born Clair Josèphe Hippolyte Leris became the famous French actress known as Mademoiselle La Clairon. Because of her fame, La Clairon wrote her Mémoires, a book that contained many interesting tidbits about her acting career. However, what seemed to generate the most interest from her book was “the celebrated history of the lady’s ghost.”

The ghost was “the spectre of a young Breton whom she had pitilessly left to die of love.” It seems the young Breton was so heartbroken when she refused to see him one last time, he vowed on his death-bed in 1743 to haunt her the remainder of her life. Supposedly, his vow came true because thereafter his ghost visited La Clairon in the most unexpected places, at the most unexpected times and was claimed to be “perpetual.” Continue reading

Canine Vengeance in the 1800s

Newfoundland Dog by Edwin Henry Landseer, Courtesy of Wikipedia

One nineteenth-century owner of a dog related a tale about canine vengeance. Later, his story was published in an English newspaper in 1868. Here is the story almost verbatim.

I purchased “Watch,” the hero of my tale, when he was only six months old, from a farmer in the island of Foulness. He was then, as large as an ordinary Newfoundland dog, but particularly shy and sheepish in expression; indeed, he looked and acted more like a stupid and very young calf than a puppy of ordinary intelligence, and when taken from his native home to the house of my good friend the doctor, to wait my sending for him, he melted the heart of his pretty daughter Lucy by crying (as she declared) so uncommonly like a child, that she laid his huge head in her lap in which comfortable position he soon whined himself to sleep. However, foolish he looked he soon provided himself to be of the true breed, and not to be insulted with impunity, for quiet as these dogs are, good-tempered and gentle to those who treat them well, they are fierce and unforgiving to their enemies, and are sure, sooner or later, to revenge any injury offered to them, and, as the sequel will show, “Watch” could both plan and execute his own vendetta with almost human sagacity and intelligence. Continue reading

I’m Guest Blogging

Frances Burney. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Today I am the guest of Jessica Cale at Dirty, Sexy History. Jessica is an award winning historical romance writer. Her books including Artemis and four books in her Southwark Saga series.

Frances Burney d’Arblay was an English satirical novelist, diarist, and playwright better known as Fanny Burney. In 1811, before anesthesia was invented, she had a mastectomy aided by nothing more than a wine cordial. To learn more about this event, click here.

 

 

 

Explorer, Naturalist, and Ornithologist Extraordinaire François Levaillant

Explorer, naturalist, and ornithologist extraordinaire named François Levaillant
François Levaillant. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Explorer, naturalist, and ornithologist extraordinaire François Levaillant was born on 6 August 1753 in Paramaribo, the capital of Dutch Guiana (Surinam). His father, originally from Metz, was a rich merchant and served as French Consul. His parents had a great interest in collecting objects related to natural history, and because of their interest, they frequently traveled to various parts of the colony taking him with them.

Initially, Levaillant began collecting insects and caterpillars. By the age of ten, he had a collection, which he arranged according to his own system in order to identify insects. Later when he focused on birds and used a similar system to identify them, giving only French names to species that he discovered and refusing to use the systematic nomenclature introduced by Carl Linnaeus. Thus, some of the names he used remain in use today as common names for birds. Continue reading

Cold Sea Bathing in the Georgian Era

Sea Bathing in Mid Wales c.1800. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Cold sea bathing in the Georgian Era was thought to have curative or therapeutic properties and be more than merely a cold bath. The salt made it a “medicated bath,” and as salt was considered to be a stimulant, it was also “an efficacious cleanser of the glands of the skin.” Cold bathing was also thought to be the most helpful and useful when a person required a strong shock. In addition, one person noted that cold sea bathing was also required

“where the humours are too much dispersed, and a counteracting revulsion of the solids, to promote the circulation of the blood and humours impeded, becomes necessary, and where the surface of the body requires bracing up to a more tense degree.”

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What Constitutes a Regency Betrothal

Regency Bethrothal: "Off for the Honeymoon" by Frederick Morgan
“Off for the Honeymoon” by Frederick Morgan, Courtesy of Wikipedia

During Regency times, people generally married for love. Arranged marriages usually did not occur unless you were royalty. Apparently, however, sometimes Regency people found to their surprise they were engaged. This happened because of mistakes or misunderstanding, but such mistakes or misunderstandings could be devastating or even ruinous to an innocent party. One nineteenth-century monthly periodical devoted to literature, art, and religion decided to write about betrothals. They presented the article in their 15 November 1836 issue. The article expressed five points that the writer claimed showed what constituted and what did not constitute a Regency betrothal.

Here are the five points provided almost verbatim: Continue reading

An Escape From the Guillotine During the French Revolution

escape from the guillotine
Guillotining of Nine Emigrants in 1793. Public Domain.

During the French Revolution, between 5 September 1793 and 28 July 1794, a period known as The Terror, it has been estimated that at least 40,000 people were executed, although official records cite 16,594 deaths. Those sentenced to be executed were usually guillotined the following morning after their trial. As was customary, the condemned were tied together, in sets of two, by the hands with a cord, and accompanied by a guard to the site where they were guillotined. Continue reading