SOCIETY AT ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS - Online Book

People, Society & Culture of Tunbridge Wells in the 18th Century & later.

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Royal Tunbridge Wells
Atlasses, in defiance of the Act of Parliament; and slender Court-Ladies, with French Scarffs, French Aprons, French Night-Cloaths, and French Complexions. [Loveworth : But what are the chief Diversions here ?] Each to his Inclination—Beaus Raffle and Dance—Citts play at Nine-Pins, Bowls, and Backgammon— Rakes scour the Walks, bully the Shopkeepers, and beat the Fiddlers—Men of Wit rally of Claret, and Fools get to the Royal-Oak Lottery, where you may lose Fifty Guineas in a Moment, have a Crown return'd you for Coach-hire, a Glass of Wine, and a hearty welcome—In short, 'tis a Place wholly dedicated to Freedom, no Distinction, either of Quality or Estate, but ev'ry Man that appears well, converses with the best."
Allowance must, of course, be made for dramatic licence, but on the whole the picture is not far from the truth. Further, if Addison is to be believed, the manners of the visitors were singularly easy. There is in the Spectator of September 24, 1712, an amusing letter from Matilda Mohair to Mr. Spectator, wherein she complains bitterly of the wiles of the pert creatures at Tunbridge Wells, who attempt to attract the attention, and to win the hearts, 84
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