As I’m writing my next book (which really needs a title!), picture me in a room surrounded by virtual papers flying around: Ooh regency balls! Ball gowns in 1815! Drawing room furniture! Great Regency gardens! Palladian architecture! The etiquette of dancing! What’s for supper? The evolution of a duchess’s dress!
Etc. etc. And while all these virtual papers are flying about my office, distractions do arise. A particularly notable one happened this afternoon, when I was researching Regency-era ballrooms. I was reading along and clicking on link that looked interesting. Before I knew it, I was on a page about fevers…I guess I was interested because my poor daughter is suffering from an especially brutal fever right now.
Regency medicine fascinates me! It was so bad! Over at the Historical & Regency Romance UK blog, they quoted the treatment for yellow fever in 1801:
“The men on admission were conducted to a wash house containing warm and
cold baths. They were instantly bled to the quantity from 16 to 20
ounces. They were, on revival from fainting, which generally occurred,
plunged into a warm bath in numbers of 4 to 6 together and confined in by
blankets fastened over the machine till about suffocated. From hence they
were dashed into cold baths and confined until apparently lifeless.
Immediately after, a strong emetic was administered, they were carried to bed,
and a dose of calomel and James’s powder given as a purge, which occasioned a
train of distressing symptoms for the relief of which they were bled again and
blistered from head to foot. They were bled a fourth and fifth time in the
space of 30 hours, and usually lost 60 to 70 ounces of blood.”
You gotta be kidding me! Those poor men. Rest assured, my daughter will NOT be receiving this treatment for her fever…