Saturday, May 20, 2017

Interview with John Anniscote, Duke of Guysbridge

Q: Today we’re speaking with the new Duke of Guysbridge. Congratulations on your recent elevation, your grace. How did you feel when you received the news of your brother’s death?
A. I confess ‘twas a surprise, though it should not have been, considering his habits.

Q. What are your plans for the future, sir?
A. I hardly know. I must undo years of neglect of the family properties and I suppose I must marry and beget an heir.

Q. Do you have any young lady in mind?
A. My dear fellow, until my brother broke his neck, no hostess in England would introduce me to any unmarried lady.

Q. And yet the ladies are fascinated by you, though your dress is almost Puritan in its simplicity. You seldom wear an embroidered or brocade waistcoat, your coats are of the plainest and always in dark colors—
A. (Laughs somewhat derisively) When I was 18, my dear papa gave me a living allowance of £25 per quarter. He intended to buy me a commission—probably in a line regiment, that being less costly than cavalry—and thought to starve me into accepting. Try living in London on that amount, with lodgings at £7 the quarter, and silk stockings at 17 shillings. Dark fabric shows wear less than light colors.

Q How could you possibly live like a gentleman on such a pittance, your grace?
A I had clothing and I was careful with it. When I needed a garment I bought it from a Monmouth Street bow-wow shop—a seller of used clothing. Valets and maids, you know, are often given their employers’ castoffs, and sell them to dealers. I avoided expensive entertainments. And I supplemented my income by gambling, for I played cards with my grandsire as a boy, and learned to be very good at it.

Q: Do you have any advice for young people, sir?
A. Study. Read. Always behave with perfect courtesy—unless you intend to be rude. Learn to dance. For boys, I recommend fencing lessons.

Q. But not for girls?
A. Ah … I believe a lady’s hoop and profusion of petticoats would prove a bar to fencing. However, a dainty pocket pistol, of no more than seven inches or so in length, can be carried in her muff. A stout hairpin is also useful in discouraging unwanted attentions. Now if you will excuse me, I am due to meet with my second to arrange an affair of honor.

Kathleen Buckley

1 comment:

Sabrina A. Fish said...

A member of the peerage with some sense! How refreshing! I look forward to reading his story and seeing which young lady is lucky enough to catch his attention.