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Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Perfect Regency Woman

"One of the chief beauties in a female character, is that modest reserve, that retiring delicacy, which avoids the public eye, and is disconcerted even at the gaze of admiration.
When a girl ceases to blush she has lost the most powerful charm of beauty. That extreme sensibility which it indicates may be considered as a weakness and incumbrance to the other sex, but in females is peculiarly engaging. Pedants, who think themselves philosophers, ask why a woman should blush when she is conscious of no crime? It is a sufficient answer, that nature has made them to blush when they are guilty of no fault, and has forced men to love them because they do so."

Self-help books are nothing new. They abounded in the early Nineteenth Century, all eagerly aimed at improving minds, both male and female. One such was "The Female Instructor", an extremely useful book of the early Regency with subtitles occupying the entire front page as follows:-
or,
Young Woman's Companion:
BEING
A GUIDE TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS WHICH ADORN THE FEMALE CHARACTER
EITHER AS
A USEFUL MEMBER OF SOCIETY-A PLEASING AND INSTRUCTIVE COMPANION,
OR, A
RESPECTABLE MOTHER OF A FAMILY.
WITH MANY
Pleasing examples of illustrious females,
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
USEFUL MEDICINAL RECEIPTS,
AND A CONCISE
SYSTEM OF COOKERY
WITH OTHER VALUABLE INFORMATION IN THE DIFFERENT
BRANCHES OF DOMESTIC ECONOMY

I plan to share more of this wisdom in future.

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