Saturday, 2 March 2013

Gossip, gossip ...

Today I’m doing a guest blog here: Reading Between the Wines Book Club to promote my historical romance ‘The Rebels’ Promise’. I’ve taken a point in the story when Jack and Rosie (my hero and heroine) have a blazing row on the dance floor. Then I wrote the following day’s gossip column. 

I have also blogged about 18th century scandal sheets on my own blog here: Georgian Romance Writer

Georgette Heyer used gossip and scandal-mongers well in her books to move the story along (think Crosby Drelincourt in ‘A Convenient Marriage’). There is always the ever present lurking fear amongst her characters of being labelled bad ton. And there are some mentions of the newspapers as a source of gossip. Serena, for example, in Bath Tangle misses all the London gossip when she is forced into seclusion while she is in mourning for her father. She has to rely on her aunt to write to her with all the salacious ‘crims cons’.

Newspapers did ‘protect’ the identity of their subjects by leaving out letters of their surnames. But, of course, filling in the blanks just added to the fun!

Examples of some real gossip columns of the 18th century include the following stories:

‘An assignation at the White Hart at St. Albans between L--- G-------- and a certain great D--e, was disconcerted by the forcible intrusion of my lord’s gentlemen.’ (1769) From this readers could easily identify the the Duke of Cumberland, and his lover, Lady Grosvenor.

In 1772 ‘Town and Country Magazine’ reported on a lengthy affair between Mrs L-fle and Lord H-n complete with information about when they first met, when they consummated their love and their friends and families.

‘Courtesans’ was a publication dedicated to exposing society’s ‘gold-diggers'. In it Mrs H-tt-n was attacked for being ‘expensive in dress, extravagant in the indulgence of her palate, violently addicted to wine and strong liquors which she often drinks to excess, not infrequently to intoxication’.

And, of course, the broadsheets enjoyed mocking the badly dressed! ‘Mrs Tawdry is desired not to be so fantastically whimsical in her dress...nothing is more disagreeable and ridiculous than to see a woman of her years affect the gay, youthful airs of their daughters. And, by the by, she is reminded that if she will be so preposterously gaudy and flaunting, that if there was little more economy observed in her dress, she would not be altogether the subject of so much laughter.’ Ouch!

So which, I wonder, of GH’s characters would merit their own mention in the scandal sheets?

Would it be the shocking news that Miss Wr-xt-n has ended her engagement to Mr R-v-nh-ll and that the lady will now marry Lord Br-mf-rd, while the gentleman has become engaged to his cousin Miss St-nt-n L-c-y?

Or perhaps the moment when the Duke of S-lf-rd was left high and dry on the dance-floor when Miss M-rl-w, clearly distressed, left him in the middle of a dance?

And how would they begin the report the story that Lord V-d-l, having fatally wounded a man in a duel has been forced to flee the country. However, instead of taking with him his new mistress, he has accidentally abducted her innocent sister, Miss Ch-ll-n-r?

How many column inches would it take to recount the twists and turns of the scandalous conduct of the Comte de S—nt V-r- in ‘These Old Shades’ or the Duke of –nd-v-r in ‘The Black Moth’?

One thing is for sure, however, gossip and celebrity are not new … and they never go out of fashion!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Puce has had its chance

Well done to everyone who rose to the puce challenge. I thought it was time to put you all out of your puce induced misery!
For each of the following, I asked if you could identify the book and, where applicable, say who X is. The answers are below each extract.
1. ... Lady X had exclaimed: "Oh, you are before me! Torquil, my son!" She moved forward, in a cloud of puce satin and gauze, holding out her hands to him.
Lady Broome, Cousin Kate
2. "Raise you a hundred, gentlemen," X said, and lay back in his chair, feeling in his capacious pocket for his snuff-box. He pulled it out, and opened it, and took a pinch, flashing a quick look around the table. A gentleman in puce satin, and a very large stock buckle, protested that fifty was deep enough.
Lord Vidal, Devil's Cub
3. Miss X, whose striking beauty could well support the trying colour, was wearing a new gown of pale puce satin and net to the ball, and with this George's violets could not be said to agree.
Isabella Milbourne, Friday's Child
4. Critically surveying the sketch and mentally eradicating from it such additions to the ensemble as a purple-puce shawl, a tiara and a black lace head-veil, X came to the conclusion that Charis' instinct had not betrayed her.
Frederica Merrivile, Frederica
5. "But De Chambert wears puce small-clothes," objected X. "Does he? Mordieu, I'd like to see that!..."
Philip Jettan, Powder and Patch
6. "Yes, quite important. I think the new habit, the coat dos de puce - or is that a thought sombre for the errand? I believe the blue velvet will be more fitting. And the perruque á bourse? You prefer the Catogan wig, perhaps, but you are wrong, my dear boy, I am convinced you are wrong ..." 
The Earl of Rule, The Convenient Marriage
7. "On no account!" said X decidedly. She waited until Mr Wychbold's attention was claimed by a lady in puce satin, and then turned towards her companion, and said forthrightly: "Are you a very good dancer, sir?"
Sophy Stanton-Lacy, The Grand Sophy
8. One of these was my Lord March; the other was a slight, elderly gentleman with arresting grey eyes, a nose inclined to be aquiline, and thin smiling lips. He was magnificently attired in puce satin, with an embroidered waistcoat. His wig must surely have come straight from Paris.
The Masqueraders (a description of 'the old gentleman')
9. Undismayed by a gown of puce satin, lavishly adorned with lace and diamonds, and by a headdress supporting a plume of curled feathers clasped by a glittering brooch of opulent dimensions, he had seized the first opportunity that offered of approaching Mrs. Underhill, when the gentlemen joined the ladies after dinner; and it was he who made Sir X known to her.
Sir Waldo Hawkridge, The Nonesuch
10. Below, in the hall, gathered about the fire, the gentlemen were waiting, his Grace with orders glittering on a coat of purple satin; Lord Rupert in a pale blue, with much rich lacing, and an elegant flowered waistcoat; Marling in puce; and Davenant in maroon. X paused half-way down the stairs and unfurled her fan. 
Leonie de Bonnard (de Saint-Vire), These Old Shades 
11. This speech might have been designed to put X at her ease, but she still felt, as she descended from the chaise, that perhaps a puce silk dress, a velvet pelisse, and a feathered bonnet were a little out of place at Fontley. 
Jenny Chawleigh, A Civil Contract
12. Miss X ... an elderly lady whose grey locks had been crimped into ringlets which dangled on either side of an amiable countenance. The absence of a cap proclaimed her spinsterhood; she wore a high-gown of an unbecoming shade of puce; and carried a reticule in one bony hand.
Miss Fishguard, Cotillion
13.The boxes began to fill up, and presently, in the one beside X's, she observed Sir James Filey, gorgeous in a coat of puce brocade, and leaning over a chair in which a scared-looking child with pale golden ringlets and forget-me-not blue eyes sat bolt upright, clutching a fan between her mittened hands. 
Mr Ravenscar, Faro's Daughter
14. "The gentleman" - Moggat laid ever so little stress on the word - "is tall, sir, and -er-slim. He is somewhat dark as regards eyes and brows, and he is dressed, if I may say so, exceedingly modishly, with a point-edged hat, and very full-skirted puce coat, laced, French fashion, with - "
Powder and Patch
15. "The doctor is a worthy individual, Jim, but he knows even less of the art of dressing than you do. He does not understand the soul-agony of a man who makes his first appearance in puce."
The Black Moth (Jack Carstares talking to his groom/valet)
16."A jest- the merest jest, I assure you! I had not the least intention - la, do but observe the creature in the puce satin over there!"
The Convenient Marriage (Mr Crosby Drelincourt)
17. Lady X was complimenting Madame de Saint-Vire on her gown. "I declare that shade of blue is positively ravishing!" She said. "I searched the town for just such a tafetta not so long ago. La, there is that lady in puce again! Pray who may she be?"
Lady Fanny Marling, These Old Shades
18. The Earl had changed his travelling dress for an evening toilet of puce velvet, with a flowered waistcoat and satin small clothes. He came across the room to X's side, and bent to kiss her hand. 'None other, my dear. Am I -now don't spare me- am I perhaps de trop?'
Horatia, Countess of Rule, The Convenient Marriage
19. She turned around to look at him. 'Puce...'tis not the colour I should have chosen, but 'tis well enough."
The Black Moth (Lady Lavinia Carstares talking to her husband, Richard)
20. "Any pleasure Lady Theresa might have derived from the ball had been destroyed by the sight of Cordelia Monksleigh, in a hideous puce gown, standing at the head of the great stairway to receive the guests. She had been unable to banish the reflection that there, but for her own folly, might have stood X, though not, she trusted, in puce."
Lady Serena Carlow, Bath Tangle
21. "If he thinks my ribbons insipid I am astonished that he hadn't the effrontery to say that your dress was commonplace! Depend upon it, he thinks you would look more becomingly in purple, or puce, or scarlet! Odious creature!" 
April Lady (Letty, talking to Nell about her cousin Felix) 
22. Nothing, thought X, could have been more opportune! Lucy was by far too unaffected to have purposely placed herself beside a plain young female in a dress of a particularly harsh puce, but the effect could not have been more advantageous.
An Infamous Army, Judith (Countess of Worth)
23. ... the ladies fell into enthusiastic discussion of current fashions, Miss X showing Lady Buckhaven the picture of a ravishing Chinese robe of lilac silk which she had discovered in one of the numbers of "La Belle Assemblee", and Lady Buckhaven arguing that a light puce would be more becoming to her new friend.
Kitty Charing, Cotillion
24. X went to his hostess and dropped on one knee to kiss her hand. He was dressed in puce and old gold. Jenifer thought she had never seen anything so gorgeous, or so astonishing.
Philip Jettan, Powder and Patch 
25. Encountering at first one or two stares from young bucks, X felt rather conspicuous in being quite unattended, but her alarming frown stood her in good stead, and a rakish gentleman in puce satin who had taken a step in her direction retreated hastily.
Horatia (Countess of Rule), The Convenient Marriage 
26. The puces swore faintly at the scarlet uniforms; the celestial blues and pale greens died; but the white satin turned all the gold-encrusted magnificence into a background to set it off.
An Infamous Army
27. "No, and I am so glad. And now go on and put on that new puce coat. 'Tis prodigious modish, and I want you to look very nice to-night."
These Old Shades (Lady Fanny Marling talking to her husband, Edward)
28. Out came the cambrics and the muslins: lilac, Pomona green and pale puce, made into wispy round dresses figured with rosebuds, with row upon row of frills round the ankles.
An Infamous Army
29. "I have conceived a dislike--nay, a veritable hatred--for puce. I will wear blue."
The Black Moth (Jack Carstares)

Your puce tab
20+        Well done, you took the shine out of everyone else!
15-20     Not bad, you came within an ames-ace!
5-15       Not a mean bit, yet!
Below 5  Sorry, you made a bit of a mull of it!

Thank you all for taking part and making puce into a popular pastime!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Mr Darcy versus Mr Beaumaris (continued) ...

Following on from my previous post about which Heyer hero most closely resembles Mr Darcy …
Both Mr Darcy and Mr Beaumaris initially make a good impression. Both are subsequently, however,  discovered to be insufferably proud and to hold an inflated opinion of their own importance!
Mr Darcy:
Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged, by the scarcity of gentlemen, to sit down for two dances; and during part of that time, Mr. Darcy had been standing near enough for her to overhear a conversation between him and Mr. Bingley, who came from the dance for a few minutes to press his friend to join it.
"Come, Darcy,'' said he, "I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.''
"I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with.''
"I would not be so fastidious as you are,'' cried Bingley, "for a kingdom! Upon my honour I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life, as I have this evening; and there are several of them, you see, uncommonly pretty.''
"You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room,'' said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Bennet.
"Oh! she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you.''
"Which do you mean?'' and turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.''
Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings towards him. She told the story however with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous.
Mr Beaumaris:
Across the lower hall, the door into the library stood ajar. Lord Fleetwood’s voice, speaking in rallying tones, assailed the ladies’ ears.  ‘I swear you are incorrigible!’ said his lordship. ‘The loveliest of creatures drops into your lap, like a veritable honey-fall, and you behave as though a gull-groper had forced his way into your house!’
Mr Beaumaris replied with disastrous clarity: ‘My dear Charles, when you have been hunted by every trick known to the ingenuity of the female mind, you may more readily partake of my sentiments upon this occasion! I have beauties hopeful of wedding my fortune swoon in my arms, break their bootlaces outside my London house, sprain their ankles when my arm is there to support them, and now it appears that I am to be pursued even into Leicestershire! An accident to her coach! Famous! What a greenhorn she must believe me to be!’

Of course, both men, as the story unfolds, fall in love with the heroine. Arabella and Lizzie are both spirited, pretty and ‘unusual’ but there are differences between the two heroines as well.
I think the main difference between Mr Darcy and Mr Beaumaris is less to do with their personalities and more to do with the way the author reveals their character to us. In Arabella, we hear Mr Beaumaris’s point of view, we get to know that he is falling in love with Arabella and we get delightful glimpses of his character through his humorous interactions with Ulysses (the stray dog Arabella persuades him to adopt). Darcy is much less open to the reader, although we get an occasional glimpse of his changing feelings.
This post attracted a lot of comment and a strong argument was put forward that there is another Heyer hero who is more like Darcy … Sylvester. I must admit, that did get me thinking! Sylvester is one of the wittiest  Heyer novels and I love the heroine, Phoebe.
There was also another lively debate on the Georgette Heyer Appreciation Group (on Facebook) about Worth. Regency Buck was Georgette Heyer’s first Regency and it seems to be like Marmite, you either love it or loathe it! I feel a whole new post coming on … 

Friday, 8 February 2013

Mr Darcy versus Mr Beaumaris ...

The recent 200th anniversary celebrations for Pride and Prejudice, started me thinking about Georgette Heyer’s heroes. And, specifically, about how they compare to Fitzwilliam Darcy.
The Heyer hero who appears to me to be most like Darcy is Mr Beaumaris, from Arabella.
There are obvious similarities between Darcy’s first meeting with Elizabeth Bennet and Arabella Tallant’s unexpected descent upon Mr Beaumaris in his hunting lodge.  But are there other ways in which they are alike?
They are of a similar age. Mr Darcy is 28 and Mr Beaumaris is 30. It is also interesting that both men are referred to by their title throughout the book, thus highlighting the formal approach and general 'stand offishness' of the character himself.
Their physical appearance is also similar. I know many people automatically picture Colin Firth when they hear the name ‘Darcy’. I saw Rufus Sewell in the role on stage many years before the BBC adaptation was made and, therefore, he is my Darcy. I don’t have as clear a picture in my head of Mr Beaumaris … but he doesn’t look like either of them!      
Jane Austen introduces us to Mr Darcy with:  
‘… his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening …’
Georgette Heyer spends much longer on her description of Mr Beaumaris:  
‘Mr Beaumaris’s habitual aspect was one of coldness, and reserve, but sometimes he could smile in a way that not only softened the austerity of his countenance but lit his eyes with a gleam of the purest amusement ... Those who had never seen it were inclined to think him a proud, disagreeable sort of man, though only the most daring would ever have uttered aloud such a criticism of one who, besides possessing all the advantages of birth and fortune, was an acknowledged leader of society.’
‘No one she had ever seen approached the elegance of Mr Beaumaris.’
‘A very good form, too, she noted with approval. No need of buckram wadding, such as that Knaresborough tailor had inserted into Bertram’s new coat, to fill out those shoulders! And how envious Bertram would have been of Mr Beaumaris’s fine legs, sheathed in tight pantaloons, with gleaming Hessian boots pulled over them!  … Arabella was not perfectly sure that she admired his style of hairdressing – he affected a Stanhope crop – but she did think him a remarkably handsome man, as he stood there, laughter dying on his lips, and out of his gray eyes.’ 
To be continued ...

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Heyer Heroes

My two favourite Heyer heroes could not be more different. So much so that I decided to do a direct comparison between them.

The Honourable Freddy Standen
Jasper, Lord Damerel
Set in (approx.)
Love interest
Kitty Charing
Venetia Lanyon
Hero's age
21 (approx.)
Physical appearance
The young gentleman who alighted from the chaise must have been recognized at sight by discerning as a Pink of the Ton … none but a regular Dash, patronizing the most exclusive of tailors , could have presented himself in so exquisitely moulded a riding-coat, such peerless breeches, or such effulgent top-boots. The white tops of these, which incontrovertibly proclaimed his dandyism, were hidden by the folds of a very long and voluminous driving-coat, lined with silk, embellished with several shoulder-capes, and secured across his chest by a double row of very large buttons of mother of pearl. Upon his brown locks, carefully anointed with Russian oil, and cropped a la Titus, he wore a high-crowned beaver-hat, set at an exact angle between the rakish and the precise; on his hands were gloves of York tan; under one arm he carried a malacca cane. When he strolled into the inn, and shed the somewhat deceptive driving-coat, he was seen to be a slender young gentleman, of average height and graceful carriage. His countenance was unarresting, but amiable; and a certain vagueness characterized his demeanor. When he relinquished his coat, his hat, his cane and his gloves into the landlord's hands, a slight look of anxiety was in his face, but as soon as a penetrating glance at the mirror had satisfied him that the points of his shirt-collar were uncrumpled, and the intricacies of a virgin cravat no more disarranged than a touch would set to rights, the anxious look disappeared, and he was able to turn his attention to other matters.
She was not acquainted with many men of mode, but although he was dressed like any country gentleman a subtle difference hung about his buckskins and his coat of dandy gray russet. No provincial tailor had fashioned them, and no country beau could have worn them with such careless elegance. He was taller than Venetia had at first supposed, rather loose-limbed, and he bore himself with a suggestion of swashbuckling arrogance. As he advanced upon her Venetia perceived that he was dark, his countenance lean and rather swarthy, marked with lines of dissipation. A smile was curling his lips, but Venetia thought she had never seen eyes so cynically bored.

Then, as she stared into his eyes she saw them smiling yet fierce, and a line of Byron’s flashed into her head. There was a laughing devil in his sneer.

Known as
A Pink of the Ton
The Wicked Baron
Heir to Lord Legerwood, will inherit a large fortune 
Has squandered his fortune and come home to avoid his creditors
His London lodgings and his father's estate
The Priory
Most likely to utter
“Dash it all, Kit!”
A Shakespearean quotation
Memorable lines
‘The lost bride of Netherby ne’er did they see! So daring in love, and so dauntless in war. Have ye e’er heard of a gallant like young Lochinvar?’
‘Sounds to me like a dashed loose-screw,’ said Freddy disapprovingly.

Freddy, who had been surveying her with an expression on his face of strong disapproval, said despairingly: 'Pink! Dashed if I know why it is, but a female's only got to have a yaller head, and nothing will do for her but to wear pink! Can't be surprised Buckahaven's gone to China, can you?'

'Seems a good enough sort of a fellow,' Freddy said cautiously. 'Mind, I didn't like his waistcoat, but then, I don't like yours either, coz, so I daresay it don't signify.'

Freddy looked pleased. ‘Elegant little thing, ain’t she?’ His brow clouded. ‘Shouldn’t have worn those topazes, though. Wouldn’t let me give her a set of garnets. Pity!’

‘I do think,’ said Kitty fervently, ‘that Freddy is the most truly chivalrous person imaginable!’
Freddy’s sister, regarding her with awe, opened her mouth, shut it again, swallowed, and managed to say, though in a faint voice: ‘Do you, indeed?’

‘You would say – un enlevement?’
Freddy sighed. ‘No, I wouldn’t. Keep telling you I don’t speak French.’

‘… you laid the cleverest trap for Freddy that I have ever been privileged to see! You cunning little jade!’
It was at this point that Mr Standen, that most exquisite of Pinks, astounded the assembled company, himself included, by knocking him down.
‘Fair Fatality, you are the most unusual female I have encountered in all my thirty-eight years!’

‘Beyond my gates I make you no promises: don’t trust me! Within them –‘ He paused, his smile twisting into something not quite a sneer yet derisive. ‘Oh, within them,’ he said in brittle self-mockery, ‘I’ll remember that I was bred a gentleman!’

‘I’ve seldom been here myself. But I prefer the nearer prospect.’
‘Do you? Just green trees?’
‘No, a green girl. That is why I’ve remained here. Had you forgotten?’

‘I might fall out of love as easily as I fell into it: that wouldn’t amaze you, would it?’

‘What were you doing when you were nine years old, my love?' he asked.
It was so unexpected that she could only blink.
‘Tell me!’
‘I don’t know! Learning lessons, and sewing samplers, I suppose – and what in the world has that to say to anything?’
‘A great deal. Do you know what I was doing at that date?’
‘No, how should I? I don’t even know how old you were – at least, not without doing sums, which I abominate. Well, if you are eight-and-thirty now, and I am five-and-twenty –‘
‘I’ll spare you the trouble: I was two-and-twenty, and seducing a married lady of quality.’
‘So you were!’ she agreed affably.

‘If the gods would annihilate but space and time – but they won’t, Venetia, they won’t!’  
‘You don’t feel you could marry me instead? Got no brains, of course, and I ain’t a handsome fellow like, Jack, but I love you. Don’t think I could ever love anyone else. Daresay it ain’t any use telling you, but – well, there it is!’
‘Well, my dear delight?’ he returned, a glint in his eyes.
‘Do you think you will make me unhappy?’
‘I don’t – but I will offer you no promises!’

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Masqueraders

Working through Georgette Heyer’s Georgian and Regency romances in order, means we must start with ‘The Masqueraders’ which is set in 1746, just after the Jacobite rebellion. Prudence and and her brother Robin have spent most of their lives pretending to be other people. They are adventurers, and have participated in many wild schemes dreamed up by their father, who they refer to as the 'Old Gentleman'. Their most recent exploit was participating in a failed attempt to restore the Stuart kings to the throne. In order to escape exposure as Jacobite rebels, Prudence and Robin change not only their identities, but their genders. Prudence becomes Peter and Robin his sister Kate. In these disguises, Peter and Kate become the toast of the town ...
Cross dressing siblings, mistaken and disguised identities, swindles, intrigue, masked balls, duels ... The Masqueraders has everything a historical romance needs, including an unexpected twist in the ending.

Mr Merriot cocked an eyebrow at Kate, and said: - "Well, my dear, and did you kiss her good-night?"
Miss Merriot kicked off her shoes, and replied in kind. "What, are you parted from the large gentleman already?"
Mr Merriot looked into the fire, and a slow smile came, and the suspicion of a blush.
"Lord, child!" said Miss Merriot. "Are you for the mammoth? It's a most respectable gentleman, my dear."
Mr Merriot raised his eyes. "I believe I would not choose to cross him," he remarked inconsequently. "But I would trust him."
Miss Merriot began to laugh. "Be a man, my Peter, I implore you."
"Alack!" sighed Mr Merriot, "I feel all a woman.”

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Hats off to Heyer

Georgette Heyer was determined to make her novels as historically accurate as possible and she collected reference works and research materials to use while writing. At the time of her death she owned over 1,000 historical reference books, including Debrett’s and an 1808 dictionary of the House of Lords. In addition to the standard historical works about the medieval and eighteenth-century periods, her library included histories of snuff boxes, sign posts, and costumes. She often clipped illustrations from magazine articles and jotted down interesting vocabulary or facts onto note cards, but rarely recorded where she found the information. Her notes were sorted into categories, such as Beauty, Colours, Dress, Hats, Household, Prices, and Shops; and even included details such as the cost of candles in a particular year. Other notebooks contained lists of phrases, covering such topics as 'Food and Crockery', 'Endearments', and 'Forms of Address'. One of her publishers once attempted to offer editorial suggestions about the language in one of her books but was promptly informed by a member of his staff that no one in England knew more about Regency language than Georgette Heyer. Georgette Heyer takes great pleasure in the details of appearance in her books. She writes in meticulous detail about hats, pelisses, muffs, promenade dresses, carriage dresses, ballgowns, Hessians (never worn with anything but pantaloons), Belcher neckcloths, caped greatcoats, and gloves. 
Who says: "Take my hat – no, Crawley had best take my hat, perhaps. And yet, if he does so, who is to assist me out of my greatcoat? How difficult all these arrangements are! Ah, a happy thought! You have laid my hat down, Crawley! I do not know where I should be without you."  
Offensive Hats
In 'The Grand Sophy', why is Lord Charlbury offended by Cecilia’s hat

In which book does Pelham use Croby Drelincourt’s hat as an excuse to call him out? 
Whose hat offends Freddy Standen? 
In 'Faro’s Daughter', why does Deb Grantham deliberately wear a vulgar hat
Describe the hat that shocks Sherry (that Hero wants to buy)? 
In 'The Talisman Ring', how is Basil’s hat (which offends Eustacie) described? 
In 'The Foundling', Harriet orders two hats from the milliner. Who suggests she need not wear them?
Can you think of any other offensive Heyer hats?