Coveted Almack’s Vouchers
by Wareeze Woodson
Almack’s Assembly Rooms opened its doors on King Street, St. James, in London, on 20 February 1765 and reigned until 1871. Assemblies were held on Wednesday nights, admitting only those fortunate enough to be allowed to purchase vouchers.
Much sought after, each voucher could be purchased at the cost of ten guineas for an annual, nontransferable ticket. The price, not being a real issue, allowed the Lady Patronesses to approve or disapprove of the person wishing to obtain such a gateway into the Ton (Polite Society with a capital S).
Wealth alone could not persuade the six or seven patronesses to look upon one with favor. Behavior, breeding and a noble title were helpful, but couldn’t guarantee admittance. Only three-quarters of the hereditary nobility were considered worthy.
Amelia Stewart, Viscountess Castlereagh— Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey—Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper—Maria Molyneux, Countess of Sefton—The Hon. Sarah Clementina Drummond-Burrell, Clementina—Dorothea Lieven, Countess de Lieven—Countess Esterhazy all met on Monday night during the social season to
discuss and decide who to remove from the list or whom to add to the august membership.
At least one of the patronesses must send a person permission to apply for a voucher otherwise that person would be excluded, absolutely ruinous to one’s reputation. It represented a breath-taking horror indeed if a member lost one’s voucher. If so sad an occurrence happened, it meant a patron had been deemed no longer worthy, excluded and banned from the club, a total disaster for
those wishing to maintain their position in the ton.
The Almack’s Assembly Rooms were the only establishment to allow admittance of both ladies and gentleman into the same elite club. Before that, all the balls and social gatherings were held in private homes. The strict rules created a temple of exclusivity to which one could belong.
An Enduring Love by Wareeze Woodson
An Added Bonus
Letters discovered in the belongings of the
villain. These letters are not revealed in the book but are held in my heart and give insight to the story. A tidbit solely for you.
The Year of Our Lord
My Dearest Husband,
I write with my heart filled with sorrow. My beloved mother has passed on to join my father in Heaven. I can only be happy for her although sadness weighs me down. I am now acquainted with deep sadness and how you must mourn for your father. Grief makes it hard to write, but you deserve to know why I am delayed in departing this land.
At the moment, I am trapped in Latvia due to the up-rising in my country. I do not know how long it may be before I am allowed to travel to England to join you.
There is a guard placed outside my gate to prevent my departure at present, but I will travel to Rica at the first opportunity and board a ship to London. Perhaps all will settle quickly. I can only pray it shall be so.
I cannot wait to be in your arms again, to kiss your dear face and gaze into your eyes once more. With words, you painted a lovely picture of your home in England and of your relatives. The thought of meeting your family holds much pleasure for me, especially since I am now alone.
Take care, My Love. I shall write to let you know as the hour of my departure grows closer. Keep safe and know you have my enduring love.
Another letter confiscated by the villain.
The Year of Our Lord 1814
My Dearest Husband,
I have not received any word from you since you sailed away from Latvia. I hope you are well. I must write quickly in order to send this to you. There is still a guard at my gate.
With your connection in the government, perhaps you can return and help me travel to England. There will be one added person in
need of your assistance, our son. If you cannot come at once, please write. I am most anxious to hear from you.
Never forget my enduring love. Anxiously