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|gambling and supernatural sources
Written by CarrieB
(4/5/2004 5:23 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Questions for Carrie Bebris, penned by LaurieC
]I thought it was a nice touch at the end to send the Hursts into exile because of gambling debts. We had speculated all along that Mr. Hurst had some secret, and so that was a nice resolution of that suspicion. My question is--did people then really come to America to escape gambling debts, etc.? I'd love to read more about that, if that's the case.
Gambling was a huge problem in fashionable Regency society. Gentlemen bet on cards and dice, horses, cock fights, and anything else they could come up with to wager upon. White's betting book, which Lord Chatfield mentions to Darcy, was real. So, too were the fortunes lost. There are accounts of gentlemen losing tens of thousands of pounds in a single evening at the gaming tables. Many who got in over their heads fled to the Continent (Europe), as the Hursts did, to escape their creditors. The most famous of these fallen stars was Beau Brummell himself. Once the ultimate dandy and social arbiter of the ton, he lost his fortune to gambling and extravagant living and wound up fleeing Britain for the rest of his life. Many books on Regency social history discuss the gambling problem of the era; there is a good chapter on the subject in The Regency Underworld by Donald A. Low.
]My other general questions involve your research into the supernatural themes of this book, such as mind control, charms, zombie-ism, and the like. Did you come across any interesting sources or stories that you could share?
]There was no single story or source that I used as a basis for the plot, but simply browsing through general reference books such as encyclopedias of witchcraft and herbalism was fascinating. I also talked with some practitioners of Wicca to learn more about it and avoid spreading misconceptions. One thing I stumbled across that I'll refrain from sharing is the addresses of some very bizarre websites. I'll tell you, plug words like "voodoo" into a search engine and some pretty weird stuff comes up!
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