Back to Top

Tag Archives: Boxing

From that nut, Ephraim Hardcastle of Walnuts and Wine

It is yet a maxim with some remnants of the old school of curmudgeon ledger-men, that to buy a picture is to “hang your money on the wall.” The same narrow notions applied to books — “What, lock your money up in calfskins!”

Editorial note: 1820: Calfskin. 2013: my iPad. I wonder what Mr. Hardcastle would say about that?

The stock of literature, with those who accumulated stock, besides the Holy Bible, usually consisted of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, the same lively writer’s Holy War, Fox’s Book of Martyrs, the Old Whole Duty of Man, a mutilated Baker’s Chronicle, some odd volumes of Jacob Tonson’s duodecimo Spectator, and Herman Moll’s Geography, commonly with torn maps, the Tale of a Tub, Milton’s Paradise Lost (never read), Culpepper’s Herbal, or Every Man his own Physician (the good lady’s book, under lock and key), the Complete Letter Writer, belonging to Miss, with Robinson Crusoe, Robin Hood’s Garland, and the Seven Champions of Christendom, the property of Jem and Jack.

Yes, gentle reader, reading has made a wonderful revolution in manners: every pretty miss can name the stars; and Newton, Descartes, and Tycho Brahe, are known to have been neither Egyptian, Roman, nor Greek; and the boys and girls may account for an eclipse, without being checked by papa with, “Such things are presumptuous, child.” In short, your magazinists and reviewists, your essayists and journalists, have brought your book-makers into vogue, until, such are the fruits of this scribbling era, “we philosophers, poets, and wits,” as a learned friend of mine has said, “no longer make a stir as heretofore in a party, like unto a stone, that, thrown into quiet water, maketh a disturbed circle from bank to bank:”—-no, “we make our entrance and our exit much like other harmless folks:” and this! in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and twenty! —” So runs the world away.”

All-righty! Reading is GOOD for you. Even if it does mean pretty girls can name the stars.

He says that almost like it’s a bad thing. Or so ironically cute. Look at the pretty girl, naming the stars like she’s not going to be popping ’em out like kittens pretty soon.

I have my curmudgeonly moments, and this is one of them.

Watch this Segue

I feel it’s only appropriate to follow that with this, taken from the front matter of an 1825 book on boxing, since, it turns out The Next Historical requires that I know something about Regency era boxing:

A Romance. Price 6s.

In Two elegant Volumes, 12mo. Price 12s. Boards
Of the Drury-Lane Company of Comedians.

In a few Days will be Published.

A Romance. In Three Volumes, Price 18s. Boards.

In Four Volumes, Price 1L. 1s. Boards.
By W. G. Thomas, Esq.

And so, we see that Romance is cheap. Alas, THE KNIGHT, THE DAEMON, AND THE ROBBER CHIEF, while listed in several Circulating Library catalogs, does not seem to be in Google Books. I found The Actor’s Budget. My God. That’s all I’ll say. The Eve of San Marco isn’t in Google books and neither is The Sprite and the Lady and the 12 whatever’s we ought not to forget. It’s MUCH more expensive that the daemon book. Interesting that it doesn’t say it’s in boards. Wonder why not? It’s their LEAD title!

I’m finishing up The Next Historical and as it turns out there’s boxing in this story. Which, to be honest, I should have known all along. First off, Bracebridge (the man who loved and lost Anne in Lord Ruin) was a man with a history of brawling as a young man. Thale, who also appeared in Lord Ruin, boxes and was often bruised as a result. [Insert author waffling about stuff] and so! There is boxing in this book.

Here’s the sum total of my boxing knowledge:

  1. Mohammed Ali was The Greatest
  2. Dolph Lundgren in Rocky was SMOKING hot.
  3. Rope-A-Dope
  4. Float like a Butterfly
  5. Mike Tyson bit off someone’s ear
  6. THE boxing establishment in the Regency was Gentleman Jack’s and men went there and did … boxing.
  7. My first Georgette Heyer ever was Regency Rake, which has the hero at some kind of boxing thingee.
  8. Sugar Ray Leonard: also SMOKING hot. And best nickname ever.

Even I know that’s not enough to inform a book.

To Google Books Advanced Search, Robin!

Yes, I am batman in this analogy. But awesomer.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned so far, subject to confirmation.

The actual fighting in boxing matches were referred to as battles. The men who boxed professionally were strong and fit. Some of them tremendously so. There were several Jewish boxers, referred to in terms we now find offensive. Many of the men weren’t particularly tall. Not so surprising since they came from the laboring class and, one presumes, were probably less likely to have the kind of nutrition and health that would put calories toward growing tall.

Not everyone agreed that pugilism was The Best Thing Ever. Witness these comments:

Arguments Upon Boxing Or Pugilism: Which Will Always be Proper for Perusal, So Long as the Brutal Practice of Boxing Shall Continue; But More Especially Applicable Now, as the Subject Has Just Been Discussed at the British Forum, No. 22, Piccadilly

William P. Russel

Yet in contempt of all law the brutal custom of pugilism is daily practised amongst us Even the magistracy itself is openly insulted by the previous notice of these murderous combats which is given in the public newspapers the editors of which by disgracing their columns with a disgusting minuteness of detail after the battle is over give a lamentable proof of their own vitiated taste and feelings and thus prostitute the liberty of the press to the great injury of the public morals Pugilism is a science which might have been very suitably displayed in a Roman amphitheatre before an assemblage of Heathen spectators but is surely a disgraceful practice in a christian country. The laws no doubt are sufficient to restrain these daring offenders against public order were there not a culpable remissness in enforcing them.
Footnote: The magistrates of the county of Cambridge very laudably passed certain resolutions at the last Christmas quarter sessions to prevent the disgraceful practice of prize fighting. Mr justice Grose in his charge to the grand jury at the last Lent assizes highly commended their conduct and called upon the public in general to assist them in their endeavours and observed that if after such notice any persons should abet such practices they would on conviction be liable to twelve months imprisonment.
Cambridge Chronicle March 19th 1808

A Concise View of the Constitution of England
By George Custance

Let no one however imagine that Pugilism has no influence upon courage. It is my firm belief that true courage is destroyed and a bastard feeling substituted by the Science of Defence. I do not mean to say that Pugilists are not daring and fearless, that they are not reckless of all personal danger but I assert that in them unsophisticated manhood is despoiled. True courage will always show itself in its exercise while it will invariably fly to the aid of the innocent and the injured it will never wantonly attack the defenceless. It is and must be otherwise with Boxers. Like that of a butcher it is the trade of a Pugilist to become ferocious.

Remarks on The Influence of Pugilism on Morals, Being the Substance of a Speech Delivered at the NEWCASTLE DEBATING SOCIETY on the Fourth of November 1824 BY WILLIAM VASEY

Keeping that in mind, here’s this:

This last method, much to our disgrace, is but too generally resorted to by the inhabitants of some of the counties in England, but boxing is there an art neither known nor understood; and, it is a singular and striking fact, that in every part of this kingdom where the manly system of pugilism is not practised, all personal disputes are decided by the exertion of a savage ferocity; and a fondness for barbarous sports is found predominantly to prevail.
Having then shewn, beyond the power of refutation, the superiority of Pugilism, and how strongly it stands entitled to advancement, in order to foster manly fortitude and vigour, can it possibly be doubted but that by the introduction of such a system, and the laws of honour by which it is regulated, the life of man would be more respected, barbarous propensities subdued, and our character rescued from the stigma of savage rudeness.

Pancratia, or, A history of pugilism

It is from such open and manly contests in England, my Lord, that the desperate and fatal effects of human passion are in a great measure, if not totally, prevented; the use of the poisonous draught shuddered at; secret revenge found to have no lurking place in the breast of a Briton; and the application of the dagger abhorred.

Boxiana: During the championship of Cribb, to Spring’s challenge to all England, by Pierce Egan

Suffice it to say, every period book (so far) on the subject goes to great pains to explain why boxing was wonderful despite the fact that it’s fighting. Which suggests to me several things; there were VERY strong opinions on the subject. The fact that there were laws against the practice suggests that the Boxing camp felt defensive– over and above the usual prose you see of the time. Because back then, you didn’t just say porridge was good for you. You had to write a treatise on the benefits porridge!

Yet, the laws were loosely enforced, and surely the sport’s popularity with the upper class is a reason. One account mentions how one of the combatants in a match disrupted by the authorities was taken up and heavily implied it was a disgrace that he wasn’t bailed out sooner than he was. From that, I deduce there was a code of honor; one did not let a boxer cool his heels in the hoosegow. If you had money, you bailed him out. That, too, stands to reason. You’re not going to get men to box professionally with that sort of risk.

Boxing was heavily class-ist. The great boxers weren’t noblemen, after all, they were men who labored. There are hints of gentlemen (“amateurs”) who fought at matches, but I’ve not (yet) found an account in which such as match is described blow-by-blow (literally, sometimes). There was also big money: From 10 pounds to over 1,000. The matches I’ve seen described, which were no doubt the ones worth recording, commonly had quite large stakes. The winner usually took 2/3’s, the loser the rest.

Very interesting reading.

A book I’ve been waiting for is out! Naturally I bought it immediately. The author, Luke Williams, and I got in contact, and he graciously agreed to be interviewed here at the Riskies. I’m giving away a copy of his book to one commenter, rules below.

The book is Richmond Unchained, the Biography of The World’s First Black Sporting Superstar. Richmond was a boxer from the Regency era whose name would be encountered by any author doing research into boxing of the era. This is one of the most interesting, engaging biographies I’ve read in some time and I highly recommended it to anyone and everyone.

I’m not kidding you here, I stayed up late three nights running because I had to find out what happened. This is a well-written, meticulously documented, and completely engaging story of a man who deserves to be better known. With its wealth of historical and social detail, this book should be on every historical author’s shelf.

You can increase your chances of winning because over at my blog I have a guest post by Williams which is also fascinating reading and I’m giving away a copy there, too.

Richmond Unchained takes an unflinching look at the history of American slavery and Britain’s own in the slave trade and slavery. It places the racism of the time squarely in the middle of a compelling story of a man who lived with the consequences. It’s not possible to read this book and see that not enough has changed.

Richmond’s life is compelling and riveting. As you’ll see in the interview, it took Williams 12 years to complete the book, and his care and attention to detail and chronology shows.  From slavery to a position of honor at the coronation of George IV — Richmond is a man who lived an extraordinary life.

About Luke G. Williams

Author Luke Wiliams holding a drink by a pool and wearing a hat totally chilling out

Luke G. Williams, chilling

Luke G. Williams has been a journalist and writer for 16 years. He has worked as a full-time staff writer for, and, while his freelance work has been published in various outlets including The Guardian, Sunday Express, Snooker Scene, The Independent and 007 Magazine. He has appeared on numerous TV and radio channels, including ITV London, and BBC Radio Five Live. His first book, Masters of the Baize (co-authored with Paul Gadsby) was published in 2005, and was named Book of the Week by The Sunday Times newspaper. He edited the boxing writing anthology Boxiana: Volume 1 (2014) and is the author of Richmond Unchained: The Biography of the World’s First Black Sporting Superstar (2015). Luke lives in London and is the assistant headteacher of a successful secondary school.

About Richmond Unchained

Cover of Richmond unchained. A VERY VERY fit black man with no shirt and yellow beeches in a boxing post. Yeah. He's hot.

Cover of Richmond Unchained

Today Bill Richmond is largely unknown to the wider public, but he was one of the most significant sportsmen in history and one of the most prominent celebrities of Georgian times. Born into slavery in Staten Island, Richmond won his freedom as a young boy and carved a new life for himself in England as a cabinet maker and then a renowned prizefighter and trainer. His amazing life encompassed encounters and relationships with some of the most prominent men of the age, including Earl Percy, William Hazlitt, Lord Byron, the Prince Regent and Lord Camelford. His fame was such that he fulfilled an official role at the coronation celebrations of King George IV in 1821. The story of Bill Richmond is an incredible tale of personal advancement, as well as the story of a life informed and influenced by a series of turbulent historical events, including the American War of Independence, the fight for black emancipation and Britain’s long-running conflict with Napoleon Bonaparte.

(You see??? You see!!! If you write Regency Romance, you need this book. If you love the history, you should read this book.)

Get Richmond Unchained

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amberley Books (UK) | B&N | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks

What They’re Saying

Over many years of dogged research, Luke Williams has assembled a wonderful array of new sources to flesh out the fascinating life of a man famed in his own era, but who is only recently being rediscovered by historians. Williams challenges the fanciful Wikipedia myths, and instead reveals the truth to be far more compelling. Richmond was a complex man living in complex times, and has long deserved a biography. It’s heartening, then, that the life of Britain’s first Black sports star is carefully examined by a writer with an obvious passion for his subject.
Greg Jenner, historical consultant CBBC’s Horrible Histories, author A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life

Richmond Unchained is an accomplished and absorbing study of life and sport in Georgian Britain … A fascinating, and deeply researched, account of one man’s trials and triumphs as he breaches the prizefighting citadel that was Georgian London … A compelling blend of sporting and socio-cultural history, chronicling Richmond’s remarkable journey and eventual recognition as one of prizefighting’s foremost ambassadors … An enthralling odyssey, recounting Richmond’s stellar achievements fought for against the intriguing backdrop of the Georgian prizefighting world … An engrossing biography, and cultural evaluation, that accurately captures the essence of the conflicting qualities of Georgian London’s prizefighting scene.
David Snowdon, author Writing the Prizefight, Winner 2014 Lord Aberdare Prize

This modern biography of Bill Richmond, Britain’s first black boxing superstar, is in my opinion quite simply the most well written, thoroughly researched and historically accurate work of its kind ever produced. Not only does the author touch upon and explore many of the known and lesser known mysteries and themes of Richmond’s life, he also manages to successfully explain the often complicated background history of his times, and does so in a highly readable and fascinating way. If you are interested in sport, or in British social history, or in reading about an icon and trailblazer for black athletes of today, then this book should be top of your current reading list. I think this book is also going to be an inspiration for many people for a long time into the future, and all credit to the author for bringing this boxing legend out of his current state of relative obscurity and putting him back in his rightful place as the founding father of black boxing, not just in Britain, but also the world.
Alex Joanides, boxing historian,, editor Memoirs of the Life of Daniel Mendoza (2011 edition)

The Interview!

First, thank you so much, Luke, for agreeing to be interviewed! I loved your book and I’m really excited to have you here!

Q: In your book, you mentioned that your father gave you a copy of the book Black Ajax. Was that an out-of-the-blue gift or did your father have some specific reason to believe you’d enjoy that book?
A: I was incredibly lucky growing up to have a mother and father who really encouraged me to read and develop a love of books. My dad was obsessed with books, in fact I can’t remember a single birthday or Christmas gift from him that wasn’t a book! His other obsessions were betting on horse races (not large amounts I hasten to add), Buddhism and pretty much all sports. An eclectic set of interests! Boxing was one of the many sports we watched together and I developed a real interest in the sport’s rich history, particularly its importance socially and culturally. My dad knew this and when he saw a copy of Black Ajax in a bookshop in central London he guessed I would enjoy it and, boy, was he right! It’s a wonderful novel.

Q: I’ve read a lot of books about historical periods or events that are pretty thin on crucial information like dates. Your book almost always uses specific dates with month, day and year (or for you folks over the pond, day, month, year) and you note when documentation is unclear as to date. Naturally that involves some painstaking documentation and note taking. Did you have a system? How did you keep all the chronologies straight?

A: I’m so glad you picked up on this and asked about it. I realised when researching the book that a lot of information already out there about Bill Richmond was either wrong, exaggerated or had been misinterpreted. Mainly this is because boxing historians who have written about him have solely relied on Boxiana by Pierce Egan, and books such as Miles’ Pugilistica and Fleischer’s Black Dynamite which simply aren’t written with any historical rigour whatsoever or reference to any primary sources. One of my principal aims with Richmond Unchained was to assemble the most complete factual account of Bill’s life that I could so that the real facts were on record somewhere. That meant returning to birth records, marriage records, tax records etc and original newspaper reports, rather than later recycled accounts. This depth of research explains why the book took about 12 years to complete from conception to publication! I used a pretty straightforward system – I filed all my paper research by month and year in chronologically ordered folders and, once my research graduated online as the Internet took off, I did the same thing with scans of material I assembled. It was a huge undertaking, but I couldn’t even start writing the book until this volume of research had been completed.

Q: When I was looking around the web I came across your author photo. After careful examination, on the left side of the picture by your shoulder, there is clearly an aquatic creature in attack mode. Is that a Great White or the Loch Ness Monster? Which would you rather face in a duel? In a battle to the death between the shark and Nessie, who wins and why?

A: LOL! You know what? I can resolve the mystery for you of this sea creature. That mysterious shadow is actually a result of my incredibly poor photo-shopping skills. This photo was taken by the pool of a hotel in Los Angeles and originally the shadow was a female swimmer who had a rather pained expression on her face so I tried to remove her! As for Nessie versus a shark, I see Nessie as an elusive Bill Richmond type, whereas the shark would just plough forward relentlessly like Jack Holmes or Tom Shelton. Nessie / Richmond would use superior stealth and movement to tire the shark out and win with ease.

Q: Set aside for the moment the need to draw conclusions only from documented facts. Given everything you’ve read, what do you believe happened in the first Cribbs vs. Molineaux fight. How much of what happened do you think Richmond probably anticipated or was prepared for?

A: That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it? In a nutshell, I believe that Molineaux was cheated, although I don’t think we can ever prove this beyond doubt. I think there was a ‘long count’ of some sort at some stage as well as a ring invasion, which helped tip the balance in Cribb’s favour. I think that in the back of his mind, and based on his experiences in the ring and growing up in England, Richmond knew that such shenanigans were possible. However optimistically, and perhaps naively, I think he believed these obstacles could be overcome. I know one thing for sure – if time travel is ever invented the first place I am going is Copthall Common on 18 December 1810 because I am desperate to know what actually happened!

Q: My guess is you might be a fan of boxing in general. If Richmond were transported from the past to now, what you do think he’d make of the current state of boxing? Which fighters might he admire? My impression from reading your book was that Richmond was something of a technical innovator in the sport. Do you agree?

A: Yes, I’m still a fan of boxing. I’ll admit that I’ve had my moments where I have fallen out of love with the sport, but I always seem to return to it. I don’t think Bill would be particularly impressed with the state of boxing today. I think he would admire Floyd Mayweather on a technical level, but not on a personal level, as he is pretty far removed from the concept of the gentleman pugilist epitomised by Bill Richmond! Bernard Hopkins would also win Bill’s admiration for the way that, like Bill, he has led an abstemious and disciplined existence, allowing him to box well beyond an age which conventional wisdom holds is advisable. I do believe that Richmond was something of a pugilistic innovator as well as one of the earliest and most effective trainers and fight promoters. Bill probably didn’t originate the concept of ‘boxing on the retreat’, but certainly it was an art that he perfected and succeeded in winning praise for, putting paid to accusations that such a style was ‘unmanly’.

Q: I was intrigued by the photo of you and Earl George Percy unveiling the long overdue tribute to Bill Richmond. Has the connection between the Percy family and Richmond been family lore for them (if you know) or was it something they learned of later? If there were to be a more substantial memorial of Richmond, what form would you like to see that take?

A: It was incredibly gracious and generous of George to unveil the tribute. I managed to meet him through a mutual friend who has a great interest in Georgian boxing. George told me that he only found out about the connection between his family and Bill a couple of years ago, so I think it was a piece of family folklore that had become somewhat lost in the mists of time. Once he found out, he was intrigued and looked through the archives at his family residence Alnwick for more information, but there is very little there. When my friend informed George about my book he was very excited and intrigued and kindly agreed to act as guest of honour at our event. I’m really pleased with the memorial and the kindness displayed by Shepherd Neame brewery in arranging it after I suggested the idea to them. If another memorial was to appear to Bill I would love it to be a statue on a plinth in Trafalgar Square – close to where his Horse and Dolphin pub once stood. (Hey, I can dream, right?)

Q: I would love to see a movie or BBC production about Richmond. Idris Elba could play Richmond. Who would you cast in such a production?

A: This is one my dream scenarios as I think that Bill’s life story is crying out for a multi-part BBC or HBO mini-series! I’m a huge admirer of Idris Elba, ever since I first saw him in The Wire (incidentally the best TV series ever made IMO), however he doesn’t quite fit my mental image of Bill, largely because of his build, which is larger and more imposing than Bill’s. If Idris was a little younger then I think he’d be a great Tom Molineaux. I’d cast Chiwetel Ejiofor as Bill – I think he is one of the best actors working today. His build is right for Bill, and he would be equally comfortable with the urbane and erudite side of Bill’s personality, as well as the physical challenges. He is such a versatile performer, who possesses such depth of dramatic power. Funnily enough, I went to high school with Chiwetel and had the pleasure of acting with him in a several productions. If we needed a younger actor as Bill, perhaps to play him in his late teens or twenties, then Michael B. Jordan, based on the charming mixture of vulnerability and strength he displayed in the brilliant Friday Night Lights, would be a good choice, if he could master the English accent which I’m sure Bill possessed.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Fatherhood! My wife is expecting our first child any week now, which is incredibly thrilling. In terms of my writing and research, I want to continue to spread the word about Bill Richmond. I’ve lived with his story for so long and have such admiration for him that I want as many people as possible to know about his life. I would love it if my book resulted in more information about Bill emerging, particularly in terms of tracing any descendants. If that’s the case then I would love to produce a revised edition of Richmond Unchained in the future. I’d also like to have an expanded edition published which includes all the references and sources which couldn’t fit in with the page restrictions I was working with.

(I’ve made a start posting these on my blog at I have a couple of other ideas for books I’d like to write, which would also connect with Georgian boxing, however the process of research is so painstaking that I think any further book is a long way off. Above all, I’m looking forward to spending time with my wonderful wife and baby, and continuing in my role as assistant head-teacher of a fantastic school in south London where I have now worked for 11 years.

The Giveaway

I’m giving a copy of the book to one commenter. It’s out in digital format now, print forthcoming. So I can send you your choice. If you’re in the US, it should be pretty easy. If you’re outside the US, it’s a little trickier, but we’ll work it out. I might not be able to get you a digital copy.

Rules: Must be 18 to enter. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Prize will be awarded to an alternate winner if the winner does not respond to notifications from me.

To enter, leave a comment to this blog post. If you have questions for Luke, ask away! It would be awesome if you comment about the post, but telling me what color breeches you think Richmond should be wearing is fine. (It’s yellow on the book cover.) Leave your comment by 11:59:59 PM Eastern Time Thursday September 10, 2015.

Today I’m talking about one of the favorite occupations (no, not that one) of the Regency gentleman. Now, I’m always flummoxed by what the wealthy and idle did all day, other than change clothes, particularly those gentlemen who seem to have time on their hands in a testosterone-rich, nationalistic era.

Boxing, or beating the crap out of each other with bare fists, was a favorite occupation, whether as spectator or participant (although the lines were somewhat blurred). Today is the anniversary of the 1810 match between Tom Molineaux, a former slave from Virginia, and Tom Cribb, the English champion. Cribb won, just. Molineaux’s finger was broken in a fracas with Cribb’s supporters after nineteen rounds. In the twenty-eighth round, Molineaux knocked Cribb out but was accused of hiding lead bullets in his fists, and during the argument Cribb revived and the fight continued. Molineaux slipped and hit his head on one of the ring posts, and fought on, but was beaten in the thirty ninth, or fortieth round. More here.

All good clean fun, according to the official rules of boxing at the time (pre-Queensberry, remember) which were as follows:

  • Fights are with bare fists.
  • No kicking, biting, gouging, or elbowing.
  • Grappling and throws are allowed above the waist.
  • A round ends when one fighter is knocked down. Fighters are given 30 seconds to rest, and the next round begins.
  • There are no judges to score the bout.

Yet boxing was regarded as a science, hence Pierce Egan’s definition, the sweet science of bruising, in his work Boxiana. Another English boxing champion, Daniel Mendoza of Portugese-Jewish descent, wrote a Treatize on Boxing. Mendoza was famous for revolutionizing the style of boxing; although he weighed only 160 lbs and stood 5′ 7″ tall, he was the first fighter to actually float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Eighteenth century style demanded that opponents stood facing each other and just hit each other. Some spectators thought Mendoza’s style ungentlemanly.

And isn’t it interesting that an openly Jewish boxer and a black boxer found fame in England?

Here’s an excerpt from Improper Relations (February 2010, still 53% off with free shipping, hint, hint) regarding boxing:

Much to my relief, I am not to be the principal in a family drama. My brother George has appropriated that role, stretched upon the couch (his muddy boots still on his feet, something only he and Henry would be allowed to do), while my mama laments and groans, a basin in her hand.

“Why, George, what’s the matter?” I ask.

He sits up. “Capital fellow, Shad!” I see now he has a dreadful black eye, and his appearance is not improved by a beefsteak dribbling blood onto his neckcloth. “Did a few rounds with me at Jackson’s, and you should see his right hook! Tremendous fellow, excellent sportsman, damned fast on his feet—”

My mother makes a tremulous whimpering sound at his strong language.

“Beg your pardon, ma’am,” he continues. “I wasn’t too keen on the idea of you marrying him, Lottie—he’s a trifle high in the instep I thought, for a fellow who’s got an estate in a pretty bad way, won’t enclose, you see, so he’s squandering money on his tenants, bad money after good. Or do I mean good after bad? So—”

“You mean Shad did that to you?” I’m horrified.

“Yes, and he got a few blows in on my ribs. Thought he’d broken one, but it’s not so bad now—”

“Pray, lie down, Dearest Boy,” my mother intones.

She places her basin on a small table to reach for her decanter of cordial.

“Are you completely mad, George?”

He shrugs, the same stupid proud grin on his face. “Damned gentlemanly of him to invite me to a round, that’s all I can say. I’ll be proud to shake his hand and call him brother.”

“But you wanted to kill him last night.”

“Oh, that…” he waves a hand. “We’re the best of friends, now.”

I’m not going to ask you if you’ve hit anyone recently, but what Regency pastimes do you find mindbogglingly idiotic? And which do you think you’d have enjoyed?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 11 Replies
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By