Right now this book is what keeps me company in the evenings – “English Society In The 18th Century” by Roy Porter. Such an interesting read! I’m underlining everything, or pretty much everything. I’ve always loved history , and the 18th century has been my favourite era ever since I was six or so. It’s such an interesting mix of old and new, of things we recognise and things that are foreign to us.
As always, what pains me the most about this century (and all centuries before the 20th) is how hard life must have been for people. The life expectancy was 37 years, Porter writes (in 1700, I think?), and a lot of children never lived past five years of age. He writes that parents of that time weren’t very affectionate with their children and that putting distance between themselves and their offspring might have been a way of protecting themselves from too much grief if the child died. That’s foreign to us today, in the rich part of the world, but it’s still harsh reality for parents in many poor countries. And it’s only been a hundred years or so in my own country, since people were starving and children dying here as well.
There are so many stories to tell and so much I’d like to use in my story, but I can’t fit everything in there. And naturally, since I’m writing romantic fiction I can’t be historically correct about everything. No missing teeth or unwashed bodies here. 😉
So far, Porter has also mentioned roast beef about five times and written about how it was the favourite dish of the Brits and how the country squires feasted on roast beef and beer. I guess I need to mention someone somewhere wolfing down roast beef, to make things more authentic. My boys do need to eat every now and then, after all.