Sophie (alias_sqbr) wrote in little_details,
Sophie
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Travel and sickness in 18th century England

I have a bunch of questions which are so blatantly about Pride and Prejudice I won't bother trying to hide it :D

1) I think I've answered this myself but if nothing else other people might like the links. The Bennets (3 members of a middle class family) are traveling from Hertfordshire to Derbyshire, 120 miles according to google maps. What method would they use (Post? This is after the book, so they have money) and how long would it take?
2) Where's a nice place to stop along the way to buy books? Northhampton seems promising, but I can't find much specific about what it was like in the 18th century apart from "large pretty market town with some parks"
3) What's a plausible illness for Anne De Bourgh to have and how would it be treated at the time?
It is apparently stable, debilitating, and chronic, and has been around for years.
It causes digestive problems.
She does not speak much and when she does it's in a "low voice" and only to people she knows (she may just be shy/unfriendly)
She has been unable to play the piano (though that may be an excuse for lack of talent :))
She is described as: sickly, cross, pale, thin, small
EDIT: I want her to have a long-term happy ending, so non-progressive/life threatening illnesesses if you can!
I personally like the idea of it having been around since at least late childhood (that would help explain the smallness, yes?)

Searches done and answers found:
1:I looked through the "travel" tag here, I KNOW people have asked this sort of thing before but I couldn't find anything on 18th century carriage travel times. The answers I found were via googling "travelling "by post"" and "how long would it take to travel by horse and carriage".

This page seems to imply a speed of 10 miles per hour, so that's 12 hours (stopping once an hour to change horses afaict). The Regency Encyclopedia (needs login) quotes both 40 and 70 miles a day as rates. So that's 2-3 days journey unless they stop off to sightsee in between, yes?

2: I googled a couple of intermediate towns, northampton was the first to look good. Then googled "northampton 18th century"

3: Looked at the references in the book, googled
"anne de bourgh", "what was wrong with anne de bourgh". I also looked up the "medicine" section of the Regency Encyclopedia so have a fair idea of general treatments (Balm of Gilead, simple food, clean air, the seaside, mild exercise, etc) but not what specific diagnosis/treatment she would have. I also found a bunch of Anne De Bourgh fanfic but that's not rally a reliable source.

This book suggest autism and gives some more references I missed above. This diagnosis does not fit my plans :)

I realise it's vague enough to be lots of things, but a few suggestions would nice. As it happens (ok, so this was partial inspiration for the story :)) I have superficially similar symptoms from a combination of general sickliness, chronic fatigue, and reflux, but would feel a bit author self-inserty if I gave her that (the reader wouldn't know, but I would!) It's more important I know what doctors of the time would think it was and how they'd treat it.

EDIT: I found this discussion of it by some P&P fans
Tags: 1810-1819, uk: history: regency period, ~medicine: illnesses to order, ~travel: pre-modern overland
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