A Rainy Day in the Country

So, you’re at a house party somewhere in the country (because, where else would you host a house party?) and it’s raining.  It’s been raining for days.  There’s no chance of a walk, a ride, a little shooting.  No impulse to sit in the garden.  You’re sitting around the drawing room gazing at the other guests and trying not to yawn.  If your hostess has prepared for such an eventuality (and one might hope she would), she will be able to offer you a selection of indoor pastimes.

fish
Fish token

There is, of course, the inevitable card table.  There were many types of games available to the Regency house party.  And I’m sure the hostess would be able to provide fish (gaming tokens) so that you may gamble on the outcome.

filigree-tea-caddy
Filigree tea caddy

Not into card games?  Perhaps you’d like to do some needlework.  Surely you brought yours with you.  Or you can take up some that is undoubtedly provided for your sewing pleasure.  Not into needlework?  How about filigree (or quilling).  You probably have to be better coordinated than I am to do this successfully.   This is narrow strips of parchment, vellum, even paper, rolled in spirals and scrolls and edge-glued to a flat surface.  These can present patterns formed by their exposed edges which remarkably resemble metal filigree.  You can produce some pretty amazing things with this technique.

19th Century Depiction of Billiards by E.F. LambertNo doubt, the gentlemen are off in the billiard room, smoking and gossiping (although they’ll tell you they never gossip).  Maybe you’d like to join them?  It must be more interesting than needlework.  Maybe they’ll teach you something you don’t know or let your try their cigar.  It might be worth a visit.

lovers-vowsPerhaps your host and hostess have arranged something special for this house party.  Perhaps you and your fellow merry-makers are not sitting around yawning. Perhaps you’re rehearsing for the private theatrical to be staged later in the party.  Is it Lover’s Vows as they were rehearsing in Mansfield Park before Sir Thomas came home and spoiled all the fun?  Or something even more risque?

Of course, there will be dancing, there will be eating, there will be music. I’m sure Miss Bennington has a lovely voice and Mrs. Lesley is a virtuoso on the pianoforte.  And if they’re not, they’ll perform for you anyway.

What would you be doing on a rainy day at the Earl’s estate?  Billiards? Risque rehearsals? Or something quieter?  Perhaps sneaking off to the library in search of a good book.

About Myretta

Myretta is a founder and current manager of The Republic of Pemberley, a major Jane Austen destination on the web. She is also a writer of Historical Romance. You can find her at her website, www.myrettarobens.com and on Twitter @Myretta.
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5 Responses to A Rainy Day in the Country

  1. Karen H in NC says:

    Interesting post. Hard to put in perspective with the fast-lane life we all lead today. How bored would be all be if it were suddenly 1813 instead of 2013? I think I would hide out in the library and read.

  2. Elena says:

    I haven’t much experience with card games and I’m guessing a lot of avid Regency gamesters would not be patient enough to teach me. If there were theatricals, I’d be more likely to be helping with costumes or scenery than acting.

    I’d love to do some chamber music, if there were kindred spirits. I also love crafts of all sorts. That filigree work looks like fun! And if there’s a good library, boredom would not be a problem for me.

  3. I could happily spend hours in the library of a country house. Give me a cozy window-seat with a view of the rain falling on the gardens and a good book and I would be in heaven.

    I do play whist and I would enjoy that as well.

    Musical pursuits sound like fun as well.

  4. diane says:

    I’m pretty sure I’d be at a card table, happily risking my fish!

  5. librarypat says:

    I would definitely be in the library. I would have brought my needlework with me so I could indulge in both of these enjoyable past times. I would be tempted to sneak into the billiard room, but probably wouldn’t.
    The filigree box is lovely. I don’t know that I have see this type of work before. I can see it being a past time for ladies of leisure. Thanks for an interesting post.

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