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The Bristol Heiress, by Eleanor Sleath, Printed at the Minerva Press, for Lane, Newman and Co., Leadenhall Street, 1809.

Volume 5

Volume 5 because that’s the only one that was for sale… Anybody have Vols 1-4?

Lady Mirvin, who, during the lifetime of the Earl her father, had been restrained from incurring the fatal mischiefs which sooner or later pursue those who are inclined toward the dangerous pleasures of the gaming-table, now indulged in them to excess ; and as those who have deviated from the paths of prudence themselves too often delight in observing the effects of their own pernicious example upon others, she complimented Caroline upon her talents for play ; was sure, she said, when a little more accustomed to it, she would have extraordinary luck, and concluded with observing, that it had really been the opinion of the town at large that Lady Castleton was afraid of her money. Caroline coldly answered that she had declined it party from motives of disinclination, and partly because she had never been used to play at Portland-Place, her father having absolutely interdicted her appearing at her aunt’s card-tables.

” Lord Castleton, I suppose,” said Lady Mirvin, ” does not disapprove of play, though I believe he does not engage in it himself to any extent?”

” I cannot exactly say how much he may approve of it,” said Caroline ; ” but I recollect he seemed somewhat pleased when I told him I never did play.”

” Well, if he should happen to express any disapprobation, how in such a case do you design to act?”

Well. There you go. The first two pages of Eleanor Sleath’s The Bristol Heiress. I preserved some of the odd punctuation — the spaces around the semicolons and after the initial quotation marks. Though maybe that’s more to do with the size of the actual bit of metal?

Interesting conversational rhythms. I particularly like the phrase I never did play and will probably look for the chance to use it should I ever be so lucky as to contract for more historicals.

I’ve read the volume. If you think that Lady Mirvin is trouble, you’re right. And if you think that Caroline (aka Lady Castleton) is headed for trouble, too, you’d also be right. I was shocked by the outcome to be honest.

Given some of the common prejudices we have about the Regency (Okay so technically this isn’t the Regency, but let’s pretend we got it from the Subscription library in late 1811) what do you think about the author’s casual use of Caroline instead of any of the terms we think would be used today: (lady, Lady Castleton, ladyship

And what about that honking long opening sentence? I thought I’d never get to a period!

Does anybody want to find out more?

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Remember me mentioning my Annual Registers? Annual Registers were compilations of important information of the previous year: world events, politics, news stories, births, deaths, marriages, promotions, even poetry sometimes. I wrote a bit more about them at History Hoydens last week.

When we both were very new Regency authors, my friend Kathryn Caskie called me to say that an antiquarian bookseller had several Annual Registers he was willing to sell, enough for each of us to have a complete set of 1810 to 1820. Was I interested? Was I!!! He sold them for $20 each, which was a bargain for us and a steal for him, because they were in such bad shape he probably would have thrown them away.

Here’s what they looked like, covers falling off, binding torn or missing, tape holding them together:
I priced rebinding, but it was much too expensive and I couldn’t justify spending more money on these books. They were usable and that was enough for me.

Then my husband’s friend came to visit. He’s a printer, which I always knew, but I didn’t know he was also a bookbinder! He had an old binding device and materials which he gave me with instructions on how to rebind my books!

Today I mustered the courage to give it a try. Here’s how I did it.

Step 1. I gathered the materials. (This is my dining room)

Step 2. I removed the old binding (I’m going to use that rolling pin)

Step 3. Next I lined up the cardboard.

Step 4. Then I glued it down and used the rolling pin to press it down and force out all the air bubbles. (This is my second try, using black cardboard)

Step 5. I glued on the inside lining and positioned the binding glue strip.

Step 6. I then placed the pages in the new binding and put it in the machine.


I’m a little sad to let the old binding go, especially on the books that have the least damage, but now I’ll be able to handle the books without them falling apart and crumbling in my hands and without the pages coming loose.

Have you ever rebound books? Or have you ever taken a chance on doing any kind of craft that you never did before?

(I can’t wait until tomorrow and Cara’s discussion of Northanger Abbey!)


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