“Taking the Waters” in Regency England
by Leigh Michaels
When I turned my novella, Her Wedding Wager, over to the beta readers, one of them commented, “I don’t understand this sentence: ‘My uncle was taking the waters in Tunbridge Wells last summer.’
Taking the waters meant drinking or bathing in the water from a natural mineral spring, which was thought to cure pretty much everything from heart disease to infertility.
Most readers of historical romances are familiar with Bath, where many an aristocratic family visited the natural hot springs and where Romans had established the famous baths during their occupation of England. But among the other spa towns and mineral springs prominent in England was Tunbridge Wells, located southeast of London, with relatively easy access during the Regency era via a turnpike road. Not as famous as Bath, Tunbridge Wells first gained notoriety in the 17th century when the springs were discovered.
Ailing individuals who drank the water found that it smelled foul and tasted vile. “Treatments” often included drinking several glasses throughout each day.
I’m tempted to wonder if people actually felt better after their course of treatment, or if they only talked themselves into feeling better so they could stop!
What odd treatments used in the past have you heard or read about?
Leigh will gift an ebook —Gentlemen in Waiting—to one commenter.
About Her Wedding Wager
Celia’s best hope of finding a husband – and avoiding the marriage her uncle has in mind for her – is Lady Stone’s high-society wedding party. With two earls, a viscount, and a baron to choose from, Celia should be content. So why is she paying more attention to her distant cousin Simon Montrose? He’s not only the man her Uncle Rupert thinks she should marry, but Simon’s the one who bet her she can’t capture a titled gentleman before the party’s over.
Noting the way her mother’s lower lip trembled at the reminder, Celia changed the subject. “As I was about to say, Uncle Rupert, if a London Season is out of the question, then Lady Stone’s house party is by far your best opportunity to get me off your hands and married. You keep telling me that the young men I meet at the assemblies here are far beneath my touch.”
“And so they are. Haven’t seen any yet with ambition or good sense. And not a one with so much as a pair of coppers to rub together, either, which is why they cast their gaze toward my fortune. But the only man you need is right here.” Rupert waved his fork toward Simon.
Her cousin? Of course he wasn’t serious, to imply that she and Simon…
Celia couldn’t help it. She giggled.
About Magical Weddings
Her Wedding Wager is the lead-off title in the boxed set, Magical Weddings. Leigh Michaels is the award-winning author of more than 100 books, including historical romance, contemporary romance, and non-fiction. More than 35 million copies of her books are in print in 25 languages and 120 countries. She is the author of On Writing Romance and teaches romance writing online at Gotham Writers Workshop.
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Whether real or only in the hearts of the bride and groom, the magic of weddings is undeniable. And irresistible! As these 15 enchanting happily-ever-afters by bestselling and award-winning authors prove.
From sweet to spicy, the romances bundled into this set cross time and unite hearts, cast spells of laughter, battle wedding jitters and fight back tears, while weaving love’s hopeful magic throughout 1400 pages.
The boxed set includes a variety of sub-genres, lengths, and heat levels – something for everyone.
Her Wedding Wager by Leigh Michaels, National bestselling and Award-winning author. Celia’s doomed to an arranged marriage–unless she can win the most important bet of her life!
The Last Wedding at Drayhome (Breens Mist Witches) by Aileen Harkwood. Never underestimate the power of a witch and warlock in love who have nothing left to lose.
The Dress by Eve Devon. Two couples, 400 years apart. From a masquerade ball in Venice 1615 to a wedding in England 2015, can a dress laced with magic weave its spell through the fabric of time?
Second Chance Bride by Raine English, USA Today bestselling and Award-winning author. She thinks she’s marrying the man of her dreams, until a telepathic rescue dog leads her to someone else… Will this bride-to-be say “I do” to the wrong man?
Two Hearts Surrendered by Tamara Ferguson, Bestselling and Award-winning author. Will two warring hearts be strong enough to survive the ultimate battle?
Something Borrowed, Something Blue by Lynda Haviland. She has a wedding to crash–until love gets in the way!
Heart of the Secret (Witches of Lane County) by Jody A. Kessler, Bestselling and Award-winning author. A 500 year-old curse, a witch who will do anything to marry her one true love, and the heart of a secret that will either divide them or bring them together…forever.
The Jealous Love of a Scoundrel by Jane Lark, National bestselling author. How do you fight a calling that comes from your soul?
A Wedding Across the Winds of Time by Bess McBride, National bestselling author. Darius and Molly found each other Across the Winds of Time. Now, it’s time for their wedding!
Kiss This by L.L. Muir, National bestselling and Award-winning author. You never expect the florist to catch the bouquet…
Caution is a Virtue by Jennifer Gilby Roberts. How much is too much to risk for love?
Loving Lindy by Jan Romes. In order to become the bank’s new Vice President, Gunther Justin has to be “settled.” With Lindy McPherson posing as his fiancé everything is set to go off without a hitch–until real feelings get in the way.
With this Kiss by Heather Thurmeier. Does a simple kiss have enough magic to reunite lovers?
Real Magic by Elsa Winckler. She’s the bridesmaid, he’s a best man. Will the magical evening stay just that or will it turn out to be real after all?
The Wedding Guests (A Tassamara Short Story) by Sarah Wynde. When unexpected guests attend Akira and Zane’s wedding, lives will change forever. But for better or for worse?
Amazon.com • Amazon.uk • Amazon.ca
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*Sigh ,like my itchy one clicky finger needs help ! But I just can’t pass up such a good deal on a box set . I mean I could be cursed by the book gods or something lol. Anyway now that I have bought myself another treat the only odd treatment that springs to mind is when my nanna’s told me that in the depression era they would douse kids hair in turpentine and wrap in a towel for a lice treatment. There had been a breakout at my girl’s school and I freaked out not knowing what i should check for to make sure my kids didn’t have it . Well that is how they told me you could tell when there was a break out because all the kids would be sitting on the porch or yard with towels wrapped around their heads lol. I was shocked , that stuff is so strong ! I couldn’t imagine having to put it on your child’s head. Thankfully I didn’t have to do a treatment for my girls turpentine or other lol but I did also learn about using hairspray to keep them away ( which of course I don’t know if we just got lucky or if it did work ). Thank you Susana and Leigh , I always enjoy reminiscing about my nanas! Ohh and if you ever get offered to try dandelion wine , don’t ! Ugh horrible stuff.
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Thanks for hosting me today, Susana! I am delighted to be here. Spirit, I’m shuddering with you at the idea of turpentine to treat lice. That’s one I’m glad to have safely in the past. Thanks for stopping by!
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You asked about odd treatments. This isn’t that far back but my grandmother used snuff to put on us kids whenever a bee would sting us. It was supposed to draw out the poison and help alleviate the pain. It usually took about 15-20 minutes for the pain to mellow. Not sure the snuff helped or if we were just fooled into waiting the 15-20 minutes for it to go away. LOL! Grandmas are sneaky like that.
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Hi, Leigh! And thanks for promoting our boxed set, Susana! 😀 I’m still laughing about the “dandelion wine” comment. So many weird treatments in our past, but I can’t help picturing the father in that movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. You know, the guy that thought Windex could cure anything…even acne. 🙂
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Very helpful explanation of “taking the waters,” Leigh. Thank you! … I’m drawing a blank on odd treatments, despite the fact that my parents have told me many from their day. The only thing I can think of is iodine — my mom used to put that directly onto every cut and scrape. Her motto was that if it didn’t hurt, it wasn’t killing germs. I remember iodine hurting so it must’ve been an awesome germ killer. LOL
I will admit that I have adopted her belief because if things that are supposed to kill germs don’t sting, I don’t buy them. 😀 Hence my use of the original non-flavored Listerine — nasty stuff that makes my eyes water. Definitely wakes me up in the morning. 🙂
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Here’s one I came across, poor children: “A mouse rotted and given to children to eat remedieth pissing the bed.”
The Widow’s Treasure (1595).
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Aleen, that’s the strangest remedy I’ve ever heard of — and it wins you the prize! Congratuiations!