Many modern newspapers carry a column titled News of the Weird. But weird behavior is not just a modern phenomenon. Below are some of my favorite Regency oddities:
May 10, 1803
Following an argument with his postilion, Napoleon snatched up the reins himself and promptly drove his phaeton into a gate post.
Aug 7, 1810
Two men, while playing at quoits, argued over which of them had thrown nearest to the hod. The contention was referred to a shoemaker who, after he had announced his decision, jokingly suggested that the winner hurl the quoit so he could catch it. The latter did so, and struck the shoemaker on the temple, killing him.
Mar 25, 1811
For a wager, a blacksmith in Strout ate a pint of periwinkles, including the shells, in ten minutes, then repeated the feat on a second wager. He then died.
Oct 3, 1811
A cricket match between noblewomen from Surrey and Hampshire lasted three days, Hampshire winning.
Aug 25, 1812
A climbing boy at work in a Falkingham inn met his mother from whom he’d been abducted the previous January.
Oct 17, 1814
A 3500-barrel vat of beer ruptured in St. Giles, flooding streets, destroying two houses, and killing 9 people.
A man sold his wife at auction in Pontefract, offering her at a minimum bid of one shilling and ‘knocking her down’ for eleven shillings.
Oct 20, 1816
The Exeter mail coach was attacked by a lioness. Two passengers fled to a nearby house. The guard dissuaded the driver from attacking the beast with a pocket knife. The lioness was finally recaptured by the traveling menagerie from which it had escaped. The mauled horse survived and was exhibited alongside the lioness for years afterward.
Allison Lane is the author of 22 Regency novels and 7 Regency novellas. All are available in digital format from Amazon, B&N, etc, with her most recent novella also available in print in the anthology A Regency Holiday. Find out more about Allison and her books by visiting her webiste, http://www.eclectics.com/