Monday, November 18, 2013

Daily Life of a Young Regency Gentleman

Daily Life of a Young Regency Gentleman by Suzi Love

I was demonstrating the extravagance and ridiculousness of the Daily Life of an Aristocrat in Regency England through the caricatures prevalent at the time, and having so much fun that I thought I'd do a Young Regency Gentleman separately.  

The whole family can be found today at Historical Hearts sister group in America, Hearts Through History

 The Regency Son (Young Buck)

This young gentleman had very little to do in his day except ensure that he looked the height of fashion and to entertain himself, because no gentleman dirtied his hands with work, other than helping run his family estates or manage finances. Most though, left that to a parent or guardian.  

As he probably didn't crawl into bed until around four or five in the morning, he sleeps late, after which his valet will shave him and help him dress. If he is living in his parent's home, he'll wander down to the breakfast room and call for eggs and ale to help sort his fuzzy mind and prepare him for what is sure to be another long day of carousing.  

 If a young gentleman had money in his pockets from his quarterly allowance, there were plenty of places he could spend it.  All young men liked to think they were top-notch sportsmen so they may visit Gentleman Jackson's boxing rooms to limber up. 

Or perhaps the young buck preferred racing his curricle against his friends, neck or nothing, down the streets. Naturally there would be bets placed on the race because gambling was a way of life for these indolent gents.

Other daily pursuits may be a visit to Tattersall's to inspect the horse flesh, ice skating, riding on Rotten Row, and then there was always the five pm parading in Hyde Park to ogle the season's parade of young ladies. 

Because ballrooms were always such a crush that it was often impossible to even have a dance with the season's most sort after elegant young ladies.   

To be classed as a gentleman, you needed to have, not only money, but land. And the longer the land had been in your family, the higher on the social ranking you were.  

Not all the young bucks around London were titled, but if one had a title and money, they were chased by every eligible young girl and her matchmaking mama. Though, just as it was the ambition of every young lady to 'catch' a husband, it was the desire of every young man to avoid matrimony until they had sown plenty of wild oats. 

The young man's friends may help him decide what activities they would engage in. 

Perhaps a dog or cock fight? 

A mill where two burly boxers would pummel each other's faces until one was declared winner and bets could be settled? 

And later that night they would all head to the gambling hell in vogue for a few hours of cards. The dark rooms, smoky interiors, and drunken men could be ignored if a young buck had a buxom young girl sitting on his lap.  

Having filled in their morning, the men wander into Town James to meet their cronies for luncheon. 

Thanks goodness it's time for a few bottles of claret!!

 Just the thing for fixing a hang-over and a great place to discuss how to eke out their never-enough allowances until they can put the bite on their fathers for a little more spending money.

Sometimes, a young man's mother insists he do the rounds of the more conservative entertainments for the evening, playing escort to the women in his family. 

Heaven forbid he be forced to attend Almack's more than one Wednesday in a month, because the punch is insipid, the cake stale, and the dowagers control the ins and outs with a far-too-watchful eye. No chance to say more than hello to the pretty girls there.  

Much better to leave early and visit that lovely new actress and hope he could persuade her to have a late supper with him. 

And later in the week was the Cyprian's Ball, a much more exciting affair than the balls, routs, and musicals his family was invited to.  

He didn't have enough money to set up a mistress, of course, but it was a chance to openly flirt with numerous glorious ladies. 

And then, the next day, a young man's routine of entertaining himself started all over again.   What do you think? A good life for a bachelor? 

    Suzi Love can be found here : - 

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Maggi Andersen said...

Great article! There are a few pursuits these young bucks got up to that I wasn't aware of, Suzi.

Venetia Green said...

What a endless, dissolute round of hedonistic indulgence you have painted us, Suzi! Was a Georgian buck's life really and truly so devoid of meaning? Mind you, I can think of quite a few young Aussie gents who would fit right in ...

Suzi Love said...

They led a ridiculously lazy and self-centred life, didn't they? Nothing to do every day except work out which amusements they would attend.
And yes, many young Aussie males would fit into that lifestyle perfectly.

Geri Walton said...

Ahh, to have been a male during these times. Very interesting post Suzi.