Marissa and I have written about La Belle Assemblée many times. With articles on managing households, updates on advancements, and those all-important fashion forecasts, the publication served to educate and entertain. But one section, the Provincials column, could be the most interesting. It shared stories from around England: births, deaths, and marriages of famous people; important court cases; and legends in the making. Sometimes, though, it passed along juicy tidbits of gossip. Take these examples from the October 1810 edition:
- Mrs. Dicken, wife of Mr. Dicken, baker, Daventry, was lately delivered of three fine children. This birth has increased the family five in number in the course of twelve months and three days. The children are all well, and the mother in a fair way of recovery. It is somewhat singular likewise, that she was delivered by a blind Accoucheur [male midwife].
- Lately as Mr. J. Adams of Norwich, and Mr. J. Broad, of Drury-lane, were returning to the former place in a chaise, through the village of Thorpe, their horse having taken fright, ran the wheel of the chaise against a post, and they were both thrown out of the chaise with great violence. Mr. Broad at the time had a severe attack of the gout, but the shock being so sudden the gout immediately left him; he afterwards walked to Norwich, a distance of three miles, without the least inconvenience, excepting a few bruises, nor has he had the least symptom of gout since.
- A couple who had agreed to be married at a church near Lewes, set out from their home, accompanied by the bride-maids, etc. to have the ceremony performed; and had actually reached the church door, when a qualm of conscience, or some other qualm, occasioned the bride to change her mind, and she actually ran off, leaving the disappointed bride-groom, bride-maids, father, parson, and clerk, in a state of utter astonishment. The damsel, however, afterwards attended the altar and the indissoluble knot was tied.
- Married.—Lately, Mr. Thomas Wray, blacksmith, to Miss Susannah Hodgson, both of Wensleydale, in this county. The bridegroom has had the banns published with eighteen different females, and been twice married; this last marriage, however, was by license. He has for some time past gone on crutches, but was so elated with joy on this happy occasion, as to be able to lead his bride to the hymeneal altar with the assistance only of a walking-stick.
Hm. I think I’d prefer to stay out of that particular publication.