Linore Rose Burkard
Those who enjoy the excitement of a western romance, with all its shoot-em-out
pistols and gunsmoke, may not realize that regency romances might also feature a
fair amount of weaponry. While the rules of engagement (for fighting, that is, not matrimony)
were vastly different than those in operation during the years of the “Wild, Wild, West,”
duelling was a real part of regency society, and war was all around. Both required weapons.
It’s impossible to give a good overview of weapons and their uses in any sense of the word
in one short blog-post, but for a few great pictures of vintage weapons, subscribe to my newsletter.
Regency weapons will be featured in an upcoming issue, including actual photos of weapons in the collection of Vonnie Hughes, a
regency romance writer. Subscribe HERE–it only takes a minute, and one new subscriber during the month
of November will win a free copy of one of my books! It could be YOU.
Beginning with the American Revolution, British and Hessian muskets and rifles were in abundance
not only in the army, but in British society. The guard and coachman on a carriage, stage coach
or the mail would carry a blunderbuss. Even some elements of the famous Red Coat–the
costume of the British soldier–became fashionable for civilians, such as the bicorne (or tricorne),
and Hessian boots. But most civilians did not cart around a heavy, awkward rifle or musket. Instead,
they favored pistols, which could fit in a coat pocket, or sit snugly inside a box made just for that
purpose, in a carriage or coach. Travelers in particular would keep a pistol tucked inside
a pocket or luggage, and the ever present threat of highwaymen, particularly at night, made this
a practical, necessary precaution.
Then there was the pistol at home in its elegant wooden box, shiny and lovely to behold, kept
stashed away somewhere until it was needed, say, for a duel. Guns of the day often had finials, silver fittings
on English walnut with intricate lacy inlays of silver wire. Popular during the regency was a British Holster Pistol,
carried by both soldiers and civilians, and made by John Richards of London. Later in the century,
cylinder engraving became an art which made many antique weapons collector’s objects from the start.
Duelling was not akin to the saloon brawl that escalated into gun shots in the West. Instead, it
was a more formal affair; but this is not to say that duels did not result from hot-headedness.
Any perceived insult against one’s self, one’s honour, one’s wife or sister could result in a duel being arranged.
The injured party would demand “satisfaction,” which in turn had to be answered–accepted by the
principal. Once the duel was agreed upon, both parties had to choose “seconds,” back up men who had
to be present at the event. Their first job was to try and effect a reconciliation, which meant trying to make the
perpetrator apologize for his offence. Failing that, they ensured that the rules were followed; that there was no foul
play; and, in the event that the dueller got cold feet or passed out, the “second” would step
in as his substitute, though in practice, this rarely if ever happened. In the event of great injury or death, the second was also
a witness, and quite possibly the only means of procuring much-needed medical attention to a wounded man.
Calling for a duel was not to be done lightly, as it could result in death. But once called, it
was a matter of honour, and few men would refuse the challenge without suffering a loss of
respect. If a man was killed as a result of a duel, his killer would be charged with murder.
Lots of old guns can be seen HERE.
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Linore Rose Burkard is the creator of “Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul.” Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the era of Regency England (circa 1811 – 1820). Fans of classic romances, such as Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Sense & Sensibility, will enjoy meeting Ariana Forsythe, a feisty heroine who finds her heart and beliefs tested by high-society London.
Ms. Burkard’s novels include Before the Seasons Ends and The House in Grosvenor Square (coming April, 2009). Her stories blend Christian faith and romance with well-researched details from the Regency period. Her books and monthly newsletter captivate readers with little-known facts, exciting stories, and historical insights. Experience a romantic age, where timeless lessons still apply to modern life. And, enjoy a romance that reminds you happy endings are possible for everyone.
Linore’s Website HERE