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A Columbus Day Potpourri

It is Columbus Day, a federal holiday here, but one lots of employers trade for the day after Thanksgiving.

Did you know that Christopher Columbus asked King Henry VII of England for the money to fund his search for a shorter route to the Far East? King Henry said no.

He also was the first to bring cocoa beans to Europe, only he didn’t really appreciate this finding.
After he robbed the cargo of a Mayan trader, he made this comment:
“They seemed to hold these almonds (the cocoa beans) at a great price; for when they were brought on board ship together with their goods, I observed that when any of these almonds fell, they all stooped to pick it up, as if an eye had fallen”

We, of course, understand that extreme need for chocolate.

Take this Christopher Columbus multiple choice quiz
My favorite:
Why were his crew extremely nervous?
A. Columbus had a drinking problem so he was a bit odd at times
(Did I tell you this quiz was intended for children?)

But Columbus has not much to do with the Regency…

So, I thought you might be interested in the legalities that formed the basis of Scandalizing the Ton. These came from Nancy Mayer of the Beau Monde Chapter of RWA, who helped with this part of the story.

It has to do with a posthumous child, the unborn child of a deceased earl, in this case.

The title and inheritance cannot pass until ten months after the father’s death so that, should the man be married, his wife has time to produce the baby. If this baby is a boy he will inherit.

The wife was not allowed to say whether or not she had intercourse; the paternity of the child could only be contested if it could be proved the wife had not been in proximity of her husband. In Scandalizing the Ton, I had to be sure that Lydia’s deceased husband had been with her within a month of her encounter with Adrian. (The time sequence of Scandalizing was another thing that took some careful thinking)

Here’s a real kicker. If a widow marries again and bears a child within the ten months, she can decide whose child it is; that is, she can say it is her deceased husband’s child or her new husband’s child. The child is the legal child of whichever husband she selects.

Of course, this is not true today, but there weren’t any paternity tests in the Regency.

And speaking of Scandalizing the Ton (do I talk about anything else these days?), our sometimes commenter here, the lovely Mallory Pickerloy, went on a search for Scandalizing the Ton at her local Wallmart and she took photos.

Here’s the display of Harlequin Historicals

And here is a photo of a whole shelf. Can you see Scandalizing the Ton in there? (this is a little like Where’s Waldo?)

Here’s the photo of the whole book department there, which is a large one.

Thank you, Mallory! I am very tickled that you took the photos!!

Any other Scandalizing the Ton sightings?

Thanks to everyone who visited me yesterday. I’ll announce a winner a little later today.

(I’m also blogging about sprucing up your Golden Heart entry at Wet Noodle Posse today)

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Louisa Cornell
14 years ago

She could decide who the father was? Wow! Now that is a kicker! So, if new hubby is a mere mister and broke you could name the titled guy, take the money and enjoy a nice life with hubby number two. That could be a real troublemaker of a decision.

I can SO understand the natives grabbing those cocoa beans!

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

And if the new husband is a duke, she could pick him and, if a son, that child would inherit. Can you imagine what the duke’s family would say about that? Or the gossip if he came out the spitting image of the deceased husband?

Hope you have a great day, Louisa!

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

I don’t get off work for Columbus Day. 🙁 I’m not surprised to hear that about Henry VII, the old penny-pincher!

I saw Scandalizing… at my local Super Wal Mart (the only place around here that carries the HH line). I go every month to check on titles and count copies, LOL

Santa
14 years ago

Not successful in spotting or picking up Scandelizing but, fear not, I’ll keep perusing it with quest-like fervor.

Theresa Ragan
14 years ago

Love the pictures and all the fun facts about Christopher Columbus. Love the part about everyone scrambling to pick up the cocoa beans! Ha!

Must go find your book! Loved those pictures. Thanks for sharing, Diane.

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Santa! I’m desolated that you could not find the book! Any bookstore can order it for you and there is always eHarlequin or the other online sites.

Theresa, I hope you have better luck finding the book.

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

I can well imagine scrambling after a cocoa bean. Ha! Ignorant Columbus. Perhaps Henry VII knew that this was a dim bulb in an ambitious body and so was not willing to fund his travels. Given where Columbus thought India was, Henry was right.

I’m curious about the ten month limit. Why not the gestatory nine months? Why an extra ten months (which is what STT counts on)?

Barbara
14 years ago

Diane,

Wow. Very interesting information. It is amazing the things we learn about history. And the things people were allowed to do!

And thanks for the response to my question yesterday.

Barbara

Mallory Pickerloy
14 years ago

I have always liked Columbus history, and always enjoy reading on him.

Really love reading the historical insights of your stories Diane. Always fascinating! I read your lovely interview from yesterday and all those comments as well! I also love the way you used the pictures of your Scandalizing The Ton on display in Wal-Mart in todays post! I’m very happy you loved those pictures as much as I did!

What I did I do today? I finished putting books up on the new shelf that was installed in my room yesterday. (shelf I painted yesterday) And of course as always, writing. And taking care of Ginger’s new case of ear mites-which is being treated. And poor Ginger’s not feeling well from the ear medication.

robynl
14 years ago

we are celebrating Thanksgiving Day here and I have a 12 hr. shift to work. But I will be getting leftover turkey and pumpkin pie at work; yippee!!

I am in awe as the others re: the woman can decide who the father was/who she wanted as the father; my goodness, very interesting.

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Keira said: I’m curious about the ten month limit. Why not the gestatory nine months? Why an extra ten months (which is what STT counts on)?

I would suppose that they figured out that it generally took nine months to produce a baby, but I guessed the 10 mos was to accomodate those babies who are born late. Many of us have seen our “due dates” come and go. Lydia, of course, was cutting things to the wire, but she never thought she could carry a baby to term.

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Barbara, so glad to have you here!!!!

Mallory, thank you again for your photos. I wish that I had some new bookshelves. I have my books double-stacked on my shelves. Hope your Ginger is feeling better. I’ve dealt with ear mites before!

robynl, so good to have you stop by! You are making me hungry for turkey and pumpkin pie! (Although we had turkey chili tonight)

You said, I am in awe as the others re: the woman can decide who the father was/who she wanted as the father; my goodness, very interesting.

That is pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Cara King
14 years ago

Sorry I’m so late commenting, Diane! I had family visiting, and so that’s my excuse. 🙂

And I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to get to a bookstore in the longest time! But when I do, I’ll pick up Scandalizing… (My local Borders always gets HHs…)

So, if new hubby is a mere mister and broke you could name the titled guy, take the money and enjoy a nice life with hubby number two.

Though the catch is, if you tell them your son is your wealthy dead husband’s heir, you may not have the raising of him…

I’m curious about the ten month limit. Why not the gestatory nine months? Why an extra ten months (which is what STT counts on)?

Haven’t doctors recently said that the actual average pregnancy duration is more like 9 1/2 months anyway? So perhaps Regency folks were extra perceptive here!

Cara

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