A Marquis, a Dog, and Cows in London Parks

Cows in London's Park are nothing new or revolutionary, as much as councils may try to make it look that way. There were cows (as part of the amusements offered) there in Georgian time. Georgette Heyer's heroine finds that out to her chagrin when she takes her oversize dog walking one day. And that is just one of the many scrapes she and her family get into.

Georgette Heyer's Frederica is the perfect book if you have the time to read from cover to cover. A family of five country bred children come to the bustle of London with ideas and little money. The oldest girl is 24 and runs the show (that's Frederica), her younger brother is the nominal head of the family, and then they go down to the youngest 12 year old boy. And most of the scrapes they get into are virtually inevitable; at least if you can follow the youngest's line of thought.

Arriving in London, they contact a distant relative, a Marquis, to get an introduction into the right circles. Having stayed in the country all their lives, they are unaware that he is neither very interested in helping anyone nor the person to know the right people (as in advantageous to their future). But he is pestered by other poor relatives, too, and they are looking for money not just introductions. In comparison, the request of these much poorer relatives seem reasonable.

When he sees the chance to spike the wheels of his exasperating sister and cousin with Frederica's beautiful sister, he actually pounces at the chance to help them. Or rather, he pounces at the chance to make his sister as uncomfortable as possible. A great ball at his London townhouse for three debutante relatives is organised aimed at showing up his niece and his cousin's daughter with the beautiful newcomer. With that, he reckons, he will get everyone out of his hair.

He hadn't counted on Frederica's dog, or on her younger brothers who have much less inhibitions on calling on his good offices than the girls. Again, they don't ask for money, but they have ideas of how he could help them. Bit by bit, the marquis is drawn into the family circle as the genie who is able to sort out the mess the children make out of their stay in London.

Georgette Heyer's Frederica is available on Kindle. The book gives an excellent view of life in London at a time when steam engines were all the rage. It gives insights into the running of a household on little money but still being part of the well-to-do. And the story is an amusing series of happenings that just draw readers through the pages.

Further reading:
Who Would Want to go to Dijon?
English Intrigue in Louis XV's France
How a House Became a Home in Georgian London