People always need ways to distract themselves and entertain themselves. People in the 18th century were no different in that regard! I’ve mentioned before some of the activities they enjoyed then, like dancing, but what else did they do for fun and socialization?
Well, they played instruments like the harpsichord and flute. Sang songs. Martha Washington received a song book from George as a gift, for example. They read novels and histories. Martha read a wide variety of books, which included her bible.
They rode on hobby horses as children. They went for horseback rides and carriage rides, opportunities for both exercise and to visit with friends and family. I read recently where pregnant women were encourage to take a carriage ride with gentle motion as a form of exercise. Men and ladies also got together for horse races and dog races routinely up until the American Revolution when that was stopped as being to royal like, too British. Racing commenced after the war ended though.
They also played badminton and cards and dominoes, as seen in this picture I took (I believe in 2015 at the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum of Colonial Williamsburg). I can imagine them playing card games like whist sitting around a table with their friends. Maybe a glass of Madeira at their elbow.
How are you entertaining yourself nowadays? What board or card games do you play?
Until next time, thanks for reading!
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Martha “Patsy” Custis manages an immense eighteenth-century plantation in the Virginia colony. But as a young widow she’s hard pressed to balance her business and to care for her two young children. They need a father and protector. She needs a husband and business partner…one she can trust, especially now as tensions rise between the motherland and the American colonies. Her experience and education have sustained her thus far but when her life veers in an unexpected direction, she realizes she has so much more to learn.
Colonel George Washington takes an interest in her and she’s surprised to find him so sociable and appealing. They form an instant bond and she is certain he’ll be a likeable and loving husband and father figure for her children. She envisions a quiet life at Mount Vernon, working together to provide for their extended family.
But when trouble in the form of British oppression, taxes, and royal arrogance leads to revolt and revolution, George must choose between duty to country and Martha. Compelled to take matters into her own hands, Martha must decide whether to remain where she belongs or go with her husband…no matter what the dangerous future may hold.