Todd and I attended the Jane Austen Ball on Saturday, and it was, of course, utterly fabulous.

This is me — grinning.

Why, you ask, am I grinning? Because I finished the bottom of my dress. Finally. At the last moment. (With a lot of Todd’s help.)

Do admire the bottom of the skirt. Can you see the intricate pleating?

No? Well, it’s there. Took me way longer than I thought it would (I’m no seamstress!)

I could bore you all now with the entire history of the bottom of my Regency gown — but I won’t. (I was explaining it in great detail to one of my local RWA chaptermates who was also at the ball, and Todd sort of rescued her and implied that no human alive would want to hear so much about my hem.)

Here, also, are some pictures I took at the ball, mostly of people who have way better costumes than me.

And, yes, way better period hair. Though I was very pleased with my hair this year. I got some of it to curl!

Tea was first — six kinds of tea, plus lots of food (my favorite was the rosemary shortbread, though the cucumber sandwiches were very interesting — and I mean that in a good way, in an admiring way, as a woman who has tried several different recipes for cucumber sandwiches herself.)

Then there was a lecture on society in Jane Austen’s England — nothing I didn’t know, but entertaining nonetheless, and delivered (by the inimitable Walter Nelson) with a great deal of humor.

Did I mention that many of the costumes were amazing??? These hussars in particular had everyone staring in admiration!

(Apparently they are in a group that rides horses in costume every week and — er, that is, the horses aren’t in costume, of course — well, I don’t think they are — anyway, they ride, and train, and train others, and appear in movies, and all sorts of things. Their website, in case anyone is interested, is

Oh yes — and there was dancing. Lots and lots of dancing. We did English country dances most of the time, plus one waltz.

The music was live and lovely, and I performed four different types of hey!

Some of the more colorfully-named country dances were “Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot” (famous from the BBC/A&E Pride & Prejudice), “Irish Lamentation,” “Rakes of Rochester,” and “Lasses of Portsmouth.” (Perhaps the rakes of Rochester jilted the lasses of Portsmouth, causing much Irish lamentation. But I confess I have no idea where Mr. Beveridge’s maggot comes in!)

(Oh, I know — it’s a common problem on the “Dressed Ship,” and on “Auretti’s Dutch Skipper.”)

Now I know that all of you are going to attend next year’s Jane Austen Ball. Even those of you who live in other countries are going to fly out to Southern California to attend, right?


(For the date of next year’s ball, see

Question for the day: if you were inventing a Regency dance with an odd name, what would it be?

Cara King, author of MY LADY GAMESTER
Signet Regency — still available through Amazon!