Anne here. I'm heading towards a looming deadline, and so instead of a learned blog, I'm going to play a little game of let's pretend.
It's a cold, wet Regency-era English evening. You're staying in for the night. There's no assembly to attend, no party, no play or concert or any other entertainment provided. You'll have to entertain yourself. Rain is spattering on the windows, and there's wind whistling through the chimneys, but inside the lanterns are lit and a cosy fire is crackling. Nevertheless, a long evening stretches before you. What are you going to do?
What would you read? A witty Jane Austen novel, a dramatic tale by Mrs Radcliffe , Sir Walter Scott, an improving tale by Maria Edgeworth, a scary one by "Monk" Lewis or Wilkie Collins, or is poetry your choice tonight? Shelley? Byron's latest, or some classic Shakespeare?
Sewing? Would you be doing fine embroidery, or sewing a garment, perhaps? Or maybe you'd be sewing a patchwork quilt like this one Jane Austen and her sister and mother sewed.
Knitting, tatting or knotting?
Or maybe you're a knitter, making mittens, or caps, or a warm woolen scarf or muffler. Or bootees or slippers or socks, perhaps. Or are you a tatter making pretty lace borders. Or a knotter. You might do hairwork, braiding and curling the hair of a loved one (or your own hair, or even your dog's hair) into jewellery or using it to create some kind of picturesque scene.