The Regency period in England contains many traits that I love, such as the dancing, the social structure, the manners, and the parties during The Season. Yes, this period also had much that was not good, like no women’s rights, no social security for the poor and disabled, and no modern medicine. These are all things, good and bad, that must be taken into account when writing in that time period.
Women of good family and status could not work in the general sense of the word, and thus have the plots of many a romance begun. She could be a governess, a companion, perhaps do some fine embroidery for richer ladies in her area. But nothing that “smelled of the shops.” Unless she wanted to give up her standing completely, and in that case she might sink so low as to become a “light skirt.” I love how many terms existed to say prostitute without actually saying prostitute. http://candicehern.com/regency-world/glossary/#slang
Men fared better, usually, because the inheritance laws were stacked in their favor. They could invest money, own property, contract for an advantageous marriage. They also could gamble away all their fortune, drink it away, or spend it on the ladies mentioned at the end of the previous paragraph. https://suite.io/rupert-taylor/2gg2238
Normally, the Eldest Son would inherit all the wealth and land from the Father. The Second Son was destined to be a soldier. The Third Son, did one exist, better make up his mind to be a Man of God. If there continued to be sons past 3, unless the family fortune endured in vast amounts, there were only a few possibilities: Medicine, Law, Science.
Sir William Knighton (1777 — 1836) Regency physician and advisor to George IV.
Slightly lower down the social scale, but at least a path capable of earning a living, a talented man could teach dancing, music, or art. He could become an actor or some special performer in Astley’s Circus. And at the very bottom of the possibilities, there is the merchant. After that, the gentleman in question sank out of view of polite society. There were jobs to be performed, but not ones acceptable to the ton. http://www.bl.uk/georgian-britain/articles/poverty-in-georgian-britain
This goes a long way to explain why many young men joined the army and fought bravely, as that was one acceptable way to earn your keep as well as, perhaps, be promoted and possibly receive a title at some point. That would eliminate the need for a parent’s approval and assistance in the man’s life. http://www.hierarchystructure.com/regency-period-social-hierarchy/
His Grace, the Duke of Wellington.
In the future, I will look more closely at these various branches of success for gentlemen. Thank you for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.