Horses, Bets, And Other Regency Things
Regency heroes are always betting--betting on horses, betting on who's going to marry whom, betting on cards. In reality, fortunes were won and lost--by men and women--at the betting tables.
In historical novels, interesting bets happen all the time. For example, in Tracy Anne Warren's SEDUCED BY HIS TOUCH, an unreformed rake ends up getting married because he's lost a bet.
I always figured I'd have been pretty boring, if I'd lived back then. I'm just not a bettor. One of my sisters adores going to Las Vegas, but I've never even been there. Nope, the closest I get to betting is my yearly trek up to the Saratoga Racetrack.
There is much that is glamorous about Saratoga. Apparently, a seat in the clubhouse means you dress up. Men are supposed to wear "collared shirts." There are plenty of days when women wear hats. But there is another way to experience the races: general admission. So, you can see me and members of my family lugging in chairs, a cooler, blankets, and anything else we can all carry. If we are smart we bring a wagon. Sometimes we're not that smart.
Once inside the grounds, you begin your search for your plot of land. If you turn up early enough, there are picnic tables, if not, you stake a claim, lay down the blankets, and hope no one tramples on the children.
My system of "betting" is to place $2.00 on the horsie I think is pretty; or has a fun name. I once saw a 10 year old go crazy over a horse called "Ham Sandwich" who won but with really awful odds. Seems the kid got his dad to put money down on Ham Sandwhich, who then went on to win. And so, perhaps, a future bettor was born.