The aristocratic social schedule revolved heavily around travel, and being in the right place at the right time. They would move to London for the social season when Parliament opened (usually around Easter). When the season ended in August, they would retire to country estates for fox hunting and grouse shooting and a series of visits to other aristocratic establishments, with guests sometimes staying for weeks or months. In the late fall and winter, they would retire to the warmer climes of the Continent to attend other cities’ social seasons or to spas for their health.
Spas and Health Resorts
- “’I saw their Lordship and Ladyship last, on their way to Cheltenham, in the Autumn, for change of air; looking outrageously healthy’” (Granby 1:116).
- “’I have a mortal horror of people who, without the excuse of their health or of business, are to be found yearly haunting Brighton and Leamington. I never knew a man or woman enter into matrimony from meeting at a place of that description without repenting it most bitterly’” (The Governess 105).
- “Brighton, if one does not find it always full, is sure to be the resort, at most times of the year, of some part of the aristocracy” (Hyde Nugent 2:208).
- “’Mamma wished us not to increase our acquaintance at watering-places, one meets with such very vulgar people’” (Almack’s Revisited 2:197).
London and the Social Season
- “Who that has visited London in November would ever wish to visit it in that month again? . . . with an atmosphere that you may handle, and scarcely a pair of fashionable lungs to gasp it down” (Granby 3:241-242).
- “At length came August – Parliament had closed its labours – London was pronounced an uninhabitable desert – the busy fry of watering-places raised their diminished heads and began to have their season, and be full, hot, noisy, dear, and disagreeable, in emulation of the great metropolis” (Arlington 1:155).
- “London! three weeks after the dissolution of parliament – horrid idea! extreme point of vulgarity! the world ought to be expunged from the English language, at least for the ensuing three months, and the letters that compose it, looked upon as the plebeian members of the alphabet” (The Baronet 178).
- “’was Lady Harold so horridly old fashioned as to consider the month of January the commencement of a London winter?’” (Harold the Exile 1:157)
- “I had already engaged my companions to sup with me at Watier’s, a new club, the headquarters of the roués” (Cecil 60).
- “Godolphin sauntered into the then arch-club of St. James’s, that reservoir of idle exquisites, and kid-gloved politicians” (Godolphin 3:50).
- “’Ibbotson’s is the best hotel in London, and extremely reasonable, but they don’t take ladies; Long’s is too noisy for us’” (Sayings and Doings, Second Series, Vol. III 232).
- “Mr. Neville was an old aboriginal Whig, who . . . lived quite as much in the window at Brooks’s as he did at his house in Berkeley-square” (Cheveley 46).
- “A few days then, beheld Lord Harold and his fair bride settled in their mansion in Portman Square, which soon became the resort of the gay and fashionable world” (Harold the Exile 3:79).
- “’Hyde Park is full of dust and dandies; and the Regent’s, of exhibitions and east wind’” (Pin Money 1:186).
- “Mrs. H lives in Bryanstone Square, and she makes it a rule never to cross Oxford Street except to the corps diplomatique, who, as foreigners, have a right to live in outlandish parts” (Yes and No 2:3-4).
- “’I should be so much afraid of getting into disgrace, by going where one ought not to go . . . to Russell Square, for instance, or the City. If any fashionable people were to know that one had ever been there, they would never speak to one again’” (Arlington 1:301).
France and Italy
- “’I hate France, and detest Italy’” (Sayings and Doings, Second Series, Vol. I 97).
- “He regretted their tour on the Continent, and attributed her [his wife’s] present dissipation to the habits acquired in Italy and at Paris” (Recollections of a Chaperon 1:81).
- “During the week spent a Bordeaux, previous to my embarkation for England, I had swallowed more oysters, perpetrated more conquests among the grisettes of the Allée de Tournon, and converted more Napoleons into Breguet watches, dozens of gloves, boxes of eau de Cologne, and extrait de millefleurs, than any other numskull in the British army” (Cecil 179).
- “The morning light displayed to me the discomforts of a bed-room in a French hotel. Cold, unpolished, brick floor, without a vestige of carpet; unwieldy velvet chairs; drawers that would not open, or, if open, would not again close” (The Private Correspondence of a Woman of Fashion 1:120).
- “The Seine is a muddy ditch, and does not bear comparison with our noble and expansive Thames” (The Private Correspondence of a Woman of Fashion 1:151-152)
- “’As soon as he got to Florence, he went, as a man of taste should, straight to the Gallery’” (Granby 1:140).
- “At Florence, I saw not a creature, and pronounced the place to be detestable” (Cecil 281*).
- “’Dear Miss Montgomery, I wonder how you can bear to live in this stupid England, after spending all your time in that dear delightful Sicily, where there are so many fetes and ridottos, and such like charming things, of which we have no notion here’” (Harold the Exile 1:179).
Scotland and Ireland
- “The King was to visit Scotland at the close of the session, and I had received a gracious invitation to be of the party. I had long been desirous to visit the capital of the ancient kingdom, with whose beauties it is a disgrace to an Englishman not to be acquainted” (Cecil 359).
- “Lady Mayfield diverted herself very tolerably, laughing with her jester, Mr Darnford, at the dialect and peculiarities of the [Scottish] natives, whom they designated the savages . . . she loved to hear a Scotch ballad recited or sung, and declared, that ‘if the performers would only get on a little faster, and not speak with such uncouth pronunciation, the thing itself was very touching and pretty’” (Conduct is Fate 2:189-190).
- “’Have you been in the Highlands, Miss Vernon? . . . It is not the place which I should propose as the most likely spot in the world to attract the attention, the admiration, of a very fine lady’” (The Three Eras of Woman’s Life 2:127).
- “It is a melancholy truth, that Dublin has, since the Union, sunk into a mere garrison town, in which the young ladies depend almost wholly for fashionable partners, whether for the dance or for life, upon the influx of officers from England” (The Davenels 1:6).
- “As the idea of residing in so barbarous a country as Ireland was by no means congenial to the fancy of a person of his refinement, he sold all his property there, and purchased an estate at an easy distance from London” (The Heir of Mordaunt 1:176).
Modes of Travel
- “’we shall be most happy to see her; but as the Castle is very full, she must not come with five carriages-and-four, as she did last year’” (Vivian Grey 1:166).
- “Young Premium has nearly lost his character by driving a square-built, striped green thing, drawn by one horse” (Vivian Grey 2:133).
- “whenever she took her airings, it was in the lofty phaeton of his Excellency, (at that time the fashionable carriage)” (Sayings and Doings, Second Series, Vol. II 300).
- “’above all things, Ma’am, ladies never lean out o their carriages either to shew themselves, or look after other people’” (Sayings and Doings, Second Series, Vol. III 237).
- “No woman looks well walking in the street: she either elbows her way in all the disagreeableness of independence, or else shuffles along as if ashamed of what she is doing; her bonnet has always been met by some unlucky wind which has destroyed half its shape, and all its set: if fine weather her shoes are covered with dust. . . . No female, at least none with any female pretensions, should ever attempt to walk, except on a carpet, a turf, or a terrace” (Romance and Reality 1:83).
- “’One of the manias of the present day, which especially excites my spleen, is the locomotive rage which seems to possess all ranks – that necessity of going out of town in the summer – people, for example, in the middle classes, who have a comfortable and well-furnished house – to live in some small cottage or miserable lodgings’” (Romance and Reality 1:233).
- “A man in his own brougham has anxieties about the stepping of his horse, or the squaring of the groom’s elbows, or a doubt whether Jones’s turn-out is not better; or whether something is not wrong in the springs; or whether he shall have the brougham out if the night is rainy” (Sketches and Travels in London 259).
- “A person of some note – a favourite Snob of mine – I am told, when he goes to dinner, adopts what he considers a happy artifice, and sends his cab away at the corner of the street; so that the gentleman in livery may not behold its umber, or that the lord with whom he dines, and about whom he is always talking, may not be supposed know that Mr. Smith came in a hack-cab” (Sketches and Travels in London 261).
- “That useful, but vulgar convenience, a hackney coach, soon conveyed Miss Falkinor and Clara Keith to the residence of the latter at Lambeth” (The Reformer 3:111).
- “’You know it is very much the fashion abroad to travel without the trouble and parade of one’s own equipage; and, in fact, Lady Harriet and I were traveling incognito’” (At Home 1: 100).
- “the ostentatious old grandee . . . had insisted on the dignity of his coach-and-six, though at every turn of the narrow streets the leaders’ heads had smashed a shop window, and the hind wheel had carried off the scraper from the opposite door” (Yes and No 2:2).
*This is from an edition other than the one held by Special Collections.