In my collection of old books and documents I have several copies of The Sporting Magazine from the years 1797 and 1798. The Sporting Magazine was a monthly publication for gentlemen. Most of the articles chronicled racing events and reports on stag and fox hunting; but they also contain some excellent feature articles, too.
The features cover diverse topics. I’ve read articles on the history of boxing, the proper equipment for anglers, some poetry, and even reviews of new plays being performed at London theaters at the time.
But my favorite elements of the magazine are the little news items that the editors fit in between the larger articles. Here’s a sample:
The motto “Honi foit qui mal y pense” is the motto of the Most Noble Order of the Garter and translates as “Shame on him who thinks evil of it.”
This story really tickled me—first because it’s just plain funny; and, second, in an era of strict etiquette and court manners, Princess Elizabeth sounds like she would have been a very interesting young woman to know.
I love the “The garter was white” as the last line and imagine the male readers all nodding knowingly when they read it.