A Lesson in Regency Etiquette by Christi Caldwell


[Note from Frolic: Today, we welcome author Christi Caldwell to the site. The characters from her latest book, Along Came a Lady. Let’s take a look!]

Frolic: Thank you so much for joining the readers at Frolic today. We’re so excited to have you share your insight on etiquette in Regency, England. 

Edwina Dalyrmple: Thank you so much for having me. I have an entire lesson planned to share with you. After all, as one of the most sought-after governesses for clients seeking to prepare their daughters for their place in High Society, lessons on etiquette are what I’m first and foremost proficient on. 

However, it occurred to me given the unconventionality of my latest assignment, more specifically, the unconventionality of my latest student **casts a sideways glance to the gentleman seated beside her**, I found myself preparing an altogether different lesson that that which I originally planned. 

Rafe Audley: **stares on with growing horror**

Edwina: Given my latest student is a grown gentleman, who also happens to be the foreman for a mine in Staffordshire, it only seemed appropriate to provide an etiquette lesson on the rules as they applied to gentlemen in Regency, England.

Rafe: Oh, God. No. 

Edwina: Oh, hush. *Leans in and whispers* And you well know such language is not permitted. 

Rafe: The situation merits it. It absolutely does.

Edwina: *ignoring Rafe’s muttering, she looks to the Frolic interviewer, and smiles* As I was saying, most well-read historical romance readers are quite aware of many of the common rules for ladies in Regency, England. Ladies wear white, fainting is a very appropriate response for a woman confronted with crude behavior, and one must always keep composed. Do wait to be introduced to a man. Do not mingle with men. Never, ever. Do not stroll with a gentleman who isn’t your family member. Do—

Rafe: Edwina…

Edwina: *smiles* oh, yes. Returning to today’s lesson…as the rules which apply to gentlemen tend to be lesser known, I thought it might be beneficial for me to talk on some of the topics I’ve most recently covered with Mr. Audley.   

Rafe: *groans* I should have let you continue with those nonsense lessons for ladies. *turns to Frolic interviewer* You’d rather that, wouldn’t you?

Edwina: **to interviewer** Do not mind him. We’re still in the early stages of Mr. Audley’s instruction. Now, first and foremost in terms of the first meetings between a lady and gentleman…a gentlemen must always be introduced first to a lady, and never should a lady be introduced first to a man. There is a well-established rule that such introductions should only happen when there is an assurance that the pair in question will get on well with one another. 

However, those introductions cannot take place unless permission has been secured by the young woman. 

Frolic:  How does anyone have an assurance that the pair in question will get on well with one another?

Edwina: Why, temperaments, of course. 

Rafe: *mumbling to himself* Of course

Edwina: And not to be dismissed is just how connected members of the ton in fact, are. As such, family members of the prospective couple will be very much aware as to whether a lady and gentleman will be compatible. Furthermore—

Rafe: Compatible? Sounds romantic, darling.

Edwina: Do not interrupt one who is speaking, Mr. Audley. Listening is as important a skill as it demonstrates an interest in the one who is speaking. *smiles widely and turns back to the Frolic interviewer* You see, Mr. Audley seems very gruff and surly, however, deep down he is a romantic. 

Rafe: I was being sarcastic. 

Edwina: *blinks several times* Oh. Hmph. Well then, continuing. Handshakes are forbidden, with the bow being the proper display of courtesy when a gentleman is introduced to a lady. Now, when a gentleman wishes to further his acquaintance with a lady, and as the relationship progresses to a courtship, there are specific rules as to when meetings must take place. Those times also vary depending upon the season. During the summer, afternoon visits are to occur between 3:00 and 5:30 pm, with that window shifting slightly to 6 pm in the winters. 

Now, when a gentleman arrives at the respectable hours set for meetings, he must always remember to arrive with his hat, along with some riding accessory. Such articles in hand will signal to the hostess that a gentleman isn’t too comfortable. 

Rafe: Yes, Heaven forbid, a fellow be comfortable. 

Edwina: *smiles** Exactly!” *looks back to interviewer and whispers* “And do you notice how Mr. Audley did not take the Lord’s name in vain that time? He is learning. 

Frolic: I did.

Rafe: Edwina

Edwina: **blushes** No first names, Mr. Audley. It is entirely too familiar. Where was I?

Frolic: You were saying—

Rafe: You were pointing out all the ways I should be uncomfortable when paying a visit to a lady whose hand I shouldn’t touch.

Edwina:  Precisely! And his visit to the lady must never last longer than twenty minutes—

Rafe: Never tell me…I don’t want to get too comfortable.

Edwina: **smiles** Exactly! You are getting this quite nicely, Mr. Audley.

Rafe: Sarcasm again, darling. I was—

Frolic: *clears throat* You were talking to us about when a gentleman pays someone a visit, Ms. Dalrymple. What might be some topics they might speak about, without worries of violating propriety? 

Edwina: Splendid question! Just to remind your audience of modern readers…the subjects a gentleman is free to discuss will depend upon whether he is visiting a fellow gentleman or a young lady. A gentleman is required to be well-versed in a variety of topics, so that he might speak with confidence in any audience. And in the absence of any familiarity on a subject of interest, he should always resort to discussions on current or recent events which have occurred.  Though, if a gentleman is paying a visit to an educated lady, he must never speak on matters of politics and science. 

Rafe: *snorts* With your wit, darling, you can’t possibly believe that?

Edwina: *her eyes go soft* It is the rule of Polite Society.

Rafe: **leans closer* Do you truly believe a gentleman shouldn’t talk to a woman about such important topics?

Frolic: *leans in*

Edwina: You know it pains me to agree with you on this, Mr. Audley. 

Rafe: *sits back and smiles smugly* 

Frolic: I’m afraid we are all out of time. 

Edwina: Oh, that is moost unfortunate! I cannot thank you enough for welcoming me to join you. It was such fun. **looks over to Rafe**

Rafe: **shakes his head**

Edwina: *nods once, ands stares harder…and whispers* Rise when a lady takes her leave, Mr. Audley.  

Rafe: *jumps up and bows* I can’t believe I’m bowing like a gentleman.Edwina: I can. Because that is what you are, Mr. Audley. You are the son of a duke.

About the Author:

Christi Caldwell is the USA Today bestselling author of the Sinful Brides Series and the Heart of a Duke Series. She blames novelist Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. She enjoys torturing her couples before they earn their well-deserved happily ever after. Originally from Southern Connecticut, Christi now resides in North Carolina, where she spends her time writing and being a mommy to an energetic little boy and mischievous twin girls who offer an endless source of story ideas. Learn more at christicaldwell.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

Along Came a Lady by Christi Caldwell, out now!

The brooding, illegitimate son of a duke meets his match in the determined woman hired to transform him into a gentleman from USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell—perfect for fans of Bridgerton.

Rafe Audley lives to thwart his father, the Duke of Bentley. The ne’er do well who abandoned his children claims he wants to make up for his failures, but Rafe only cares about protecting the people of his mining community and providing for his three siblings, who’ve been his sole responsibility since childhood. So far, Rafe has turned away the duke’s man of affairs, solicitor, and other interlopers, until the clever duke sends the unlikeliest of people to convince Rafe to join English High Society—a bold and intriguing woman.

Edwina Dalrymple has never failed a charge. She’s quite adept at successfully transforming young women of the gentry and daughters of newly minted lords to take their place in society. Taming a bastard son of a duke will be child’s play, plus this job promises to enhance her reputation within the ton. All she has to do is fetch the wayward Rafe and groom him to be presentable to Polite Society.

As the tenacious teacher and her domineering, stubborn, refuses-to-be-taught pupil engage in a fiery battle of wills, their chemistry ignites and the true lesson becomes clear: opposites attract and hearts must be heard.

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