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Showing posts from January, 2019

The Cato Street Conspiracy

Conspiracy and treason go hand in hand. Throughout history, conspirators have huddled in back rooms and dark corners in secret, concocting schemes that are both dangerous and illegal. So it’s no surprise that their plans often spiral out of control and end in disaster. 
A good example of a conspiracy plot gone wrong happened during the Regency. It’s been dubbed the Cato Street Conspiracy because of where the conspirators were caught. This is a tale that, according to historian J.B. Priestley (author of The Prince of Pleasure and his Regency) “begins in absurdity and ends in horror.”
The year was 1820. Though the Napoleonic Wars were over, Britain had paid a heavy price for its victory against the French. The costs of the war had strained the country’s economy. The working classes were hit hard by periods of famine, rising food prices due to the Corn Laws, and high unemployment, the latter driven by soldiers returning from the battlefields of Europe and looking for work. And of course, t…

Twelfth Night

Happy Twelfth Night! In Georgian and Regency times, Twelfth Night was a holiday celebrated with lots of merry-making, including feasts, wassail punch, carols, games, parties, and dances. What's more, the festivities were often laced with what we might consider some gender-bending fun.
Twelfth Night is connected to the Feast of the Epiphany in Western Christian liturgy, a religious holiday commemorating the visit of the Magi (also known as the Three Wise Men or Three Kings) to the Christ child. 

And if you’re familiar with the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you may recall that in the song the nearly 2-week long daily gift frenzy that begins on Christmas Day ends with Twelfth Night.
A popular way to celebrate this final night of Christmastide was with a costume ball. Twelfth Night masquerades were often marked with cross-dressing and role reversals, with women and men, and servants and masters, switching roles for fun.

Often a lucky boy and girl would be chosen to preside as king…