Letter to A Regency Son During Summer

Dear Heir,

Your tutor has gone back to the benighted rural village from which he comes, and he does not return until September. Which means that you have nearly three months of free hours. Mother, however, still has her correspondence, her visits to the poor, her sewing, her planning on dinner parties and general running of the household.

Mother does not get any months off from her life.

Not that she is envious, or anything.

Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of what you could do to occupy your time during the summer months. Please refer to this list before demanding to know what I have planned for you on any particular day.

Go fishing, either on our property or our neighbor’s.
If it is our neighbor’s, make sure the neighbor does not know. Until you fall in and need rescue from the neighbor’s equal-aged daughter.

Make sure to knock all equal-aged girls out of trees, mock their lack of sports ability, pull on their pigtails and generally do things to ensure they a) hate you now and b) will love you later.

Go for long walks where you dream of what you could do if you were not the heir.

Indulge in your scientific obsession, especially if you plan on becoming an intense reserved man in the future. Woman you end up with will be fascinated with your preoccupation and knowledge, not to mention passion.

Speaking of passion, steer clear of those maids who have a come-hither look. You will either a) have a miserable experience that will taint your life or b) end up being a father. Perhaps both. Either way, not so good.

Spend hours thinking of ways in which I am the ideal, or not ideal, mother against whom you will compare all other women.

Please feel free to add to this list, as needed; your younger brothers will soon have their own books, and will need other diversions from which to draw inspiration.



What else could my heir do this summer? What are your kids up to?


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Diane Gaston
13 years ago

My children, thank the heaven, have reached adulthood, but, because of my husband’s lack of fortune and the little I earn with my scribblings, my son and daughter have been forced to go into trade.

At least their wages provide for their entertainment and such, but I am sorry to say they have not yet made their fortunes. My husband and I must make do on our pawltry allotment.

But my children are grown and less likely to put frogs in their pockets and track mud on my Aubusson carpet. One must be grateful for small things.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

My “children” are at doggie day camp today, where there is a swimming pool, playground equipment, “camp counselors” to play with them, cozy cots for naps, flat screen TVs playing things like “Milo and Otis” and the Animal Planet channel, and hom-baked organic snacks. I’m sure they are having a much better time than I am here at work.

Why can’t adults have summers off, too???

Jane Austen
13 years ago

My child is also my dog. She is at home in an air conditioned room with a bed and treats (homemade by me) and the TV on animal planet. She may not have someone to play with her, but when I get home we go next door and play with our new friend, Buddy. She will also get to go to WV and “camp” at Auntie PJ’s with her cousins Muddler and Breece.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

Okay, now I wish I had a dog’s summer ๐Ÿ™‚

13 years ago

Oh very funny!

Jane George
13 years ago

My first-born and heir matriculates from “public” school this evening. (I even ironed his gown.)

He shall spend his carefree summer days before entering University delivering pizzas to the members of the aristocracy. Pepperoni, maybe even the dreaded mushroom.

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

Man, a dog’s life sounds kinda awesome, doesn’t it!

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

Wonderful letter, Megan!

My children are either of the canine or feline persuasion. Their summer occupation will vary depending on whether they are house dogs, cats, or outside dogs. The outside dogs have hug runs with tin roofs, patios and kiddie pools to wade in. Mom fills the kiddie pools every morning and often empties bags of ice into them.

The inside dogs and the cats can usually be found lounging on the bed in front of the window AC watching soap operas and talk shows.

I, meanwhile, drive to work, deal with horrible customers and insane employees – all to keep these “children” in the style to which they have become accustomed.

And they are supposed to be the dumb ones!

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“Man, a dog’s life sounds kinda awesome, doesn’t it!”

Especially if they live at my house, or with Jane Austen or Louisa. ๐Ÿ™‚ Right now my Poodle Abigail is watching TV, barking madly at the Jonas Brothers for some reason known only to herself, while the Pug Victoria chews a rawhide stick…

Congrats to your heir, Jane George! Mushroom pizza isn’t so bad ๐Ÿ™‚

Janet Mullany
13 years ago

Your heir should not neglect his studies. I suggest you make him write Latin verse for at least three hours a day and recite it to you at dinner.

Doggie day camp sounds sorta nice; wouldn’t mind going myself.

Enid Wilson
13 years ago

Such intelligent advice! How about encouraging him to attend a ball? Make sure he does not slight any young girl who have fine eyes and wit.

Steamy Darcy