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?