A Brougham, a Lightbulb and a Chamber Pot
I love history. I’m talking love like biscuits love gravy, like chicken wings love sauce, like credit card companies love me. It’s irrational, this crazy passion I have for times past. I blame Cinderella. No, really. I do. See, when I was little, I thought that whoever lived back in “olden times” got to marry a prince if they were super nice. Talking to the mice and birds was pretty cool too. But the whole princess thing? I was totally sold. The fact I was a total tomboy didn’t count against me since I had the qualifying princess quality: I was nice. I used to daydream about meeting my own prince charming and living in a castle and doing whatever it was princesses did before they became queen. And let’s face it — becoming queen was just cool.
I also love all things British. All. The. Things.
As I grew older, my obsession with the two merged and, low and behold, I discovered both Regency and Victorian romance novels. I was in heaven. Aristocracy was in, they were in love and they rode around in very cool carriages while thee-ing and thou-ing. It was heaven! There were people to cook and clean and sew and mend and garden and do the stable work. Everyone had these people, right? Uh-huh. I thought so too. Imagine my dismay when I realized the brutal untruth of this assumption. Not everyone could be titled, and I was far from likely to be the one to marry into the aristocracy. I was more likely to be executed or, at the very least, sent to Australia for being a heretic. (This became abundantly clear the day I learned wives were property of their husbands and could, literally, be sold if they were “bad.”)
Why, then, am I so enamored with Victorian England in particular? Because I wouldn’t have been bad. I have decided I would have been a duchess. Less responsibility than a princess but still top of the food chain. I would have been wildly loved and, in return, loved a duke. We would have traveled Hyde Park in a phaeton, attended balls and dinners in a brougham with the family crest on the side. Lights had been invented and we would have been on the cutting edge of innovation. There would have been houses and land and trips and love. Grand, grand love. And water closets had also been invented, so no chamber pots! Win!
In truth, I’m just modern day me. I’m not British, not a duchess and not rich. My “cutting edge of innovation” is a MacBook Pro that has functions I have no idea how to utilize (PhotoShop, anyone?). My carriage is a mid-size SUV. But prince charming? Got it in one. I married him.