Sunday Snippet, Awkward.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane.

The Master was introduced here. He was somewhat annoyed at the disturbance, but willing to see that his guests were properly entertained.  The housekeeper, Mrs Hobbes, leads Rachel and Lucy to their rooms to prepare for dinner The carriage wright makes a cameo appearance in a previous snippet.

Last week saw the arrival of Rupert’s Uncle George and a hint at the complicated family history – a history that was not completely … harmonious.

After a peek into Rupert’s history, George makes a somewhat unusual proposition to Rachel which was continued. The rain finally scuds off to the North Sea leaving a fine day – for riding and other things. Rachel, unsure of her own feelings, arranged for her companion to use the only sidesaddle.  Meanwhile Rupert and Rachel discover a shared interest in music, which leads to a proposal.  George has just returned from finding a magistrate to deal with a mob. At the ball a slippery character from the past makes his first appearance. George disposes of him, for the time being, in the this snippet.  Rupert explained about his previous work in chemistry and Mr Oliver returned equipped with a search party.

Rachel gets a start on clearing the mess, in the library, because she can actually read the titles.  George’s fiance helps her. The evening ended with an excursion. George has just closed the door on his mother at her morning toilette. After George works on his declensions, they decide to visit the army encamped in Pontefract.  They returned empty handed, but Rupert and Charity didn’t.

Butterfly collecting ctd.


Rupert came bouncing back with Charity in tow. Rachel looked up from the desk where she struggled with the letter. “My Dear Lord Bromley,” was about as far as she had written. There’s so much I could say, and so little I can.

“Good hunting Rupert?”

“Yes, for Charity – a blue skipper and others. Did you have luck?”

“Not directly. Mr Oliver brought back your missing notebook.”

“He did?”

“George said it was interesting because it was mostly blank.”

“What! Are you sure?”

“It’s in the library. George too, unless he finished his express.”

“Excuse me,” Rupert gave the two women a quick bow and ran.

Charity remained, standing. “I think you are so lucky Rachel. So lucky with Lord Hartshorne. I mean, to be engaged to him.”

Rachel smiled at her. “Yes, I suppose I am. George, your George is no mean bit either. You could do far worse and not much better.”

“I wish he were more serious, cultured.”

“That frippery manner conceals a good mind and a sound heart. I’m sure he’ll settle down with matrimony.”

“His mother thinks he’s more than a bit of a fool and needs a strong hand guiding him.”

“That, I can assure you, isn’t at all true. It’s an act, an affectation.”

Charity blinked in confusion, then changed the subject. “Did you know Mr Oliver called while you were out?”

“We saw him.”

“He was closeted with Lady Bedlington for ever so long. They were talking when we, Rupert and I, left to look for butterflies.”

“I know.”

“He said something, I didn’t hear it all, about documents and you.”

“The man’s a forger and a villain. He drove my father into deep water, far over his head.” Rachel paused, “In a way I owe him thanks. Wouldn’t have met Rupert otherwise.”

“It sounded as if Lady Bedlington was pleased with what she heard.”

Rachel sighed, “Why am I not surprised? She thinks I’m an adventuress … out to steal Rupert’s fortune.”

“Weren’t you searching for a husband?”

“Yes, but there’s a difference between that and being an adventuress.”

“There is?”

“Don’t you want to be married?”

“To George?”

“To someone. Charity, I’ve faced the alternative. Even an imperfect marriage is a better fate.”

Charity sighed, “I- I suppose you’re right.”

****

After dinner, after port and snuff, and when the men had finally joined the ladies in the drawing room, George attracted Charity’s attention. “It’s a fine night, Miss Deacon. Why don’t you show me the stars? You were saying you needed to improve my mind.”

“If you’d like.”

“I’d best take advantage of the chance. I’m afraid I must run off to the village in the morning.”

“London?” Rachel asked, “Why?”

“With the end of the war, the expresses don’t run this far. Not regularly in any case. They’ve let themselves go slack.”

“But?” Charity said, “Why do you have to do it?”

“A matter has arisen, an old but in a way still very pressing matter, and I need to tell, ah … an old friend about it.”

Rachel, all ears, said, “Is this that Lord Grey you mentioned?”

“Maybe,” He flashed her a smile, “Then again, maybe not. I’ll either be back or Old Gas can see you into town himself.”

“Here,” Rupert objected, “I’m not sure I like this. Me in charge of Lady Bedlington.”

“More likely you in her charge. Charity,” he offered his arm, “The stars are out and it’s a surprisingly clement evening.”

Charity glanced around, “We’ll need a chaperon, Rupert?”

Lucy rose, “Miss Deacon, I’d be glad to see the stars. His lordship should pay attention to my mistress.”

“Yes he should,” Rachel laughed, “Would you care to see the stars as well, Lord Hartshorne? We should keep your uncle out of trouble.”


I have to apologize on being a little remiss at replying and various social obligations. It is surprising what a broken ankle will do to your energy level (Even after several weeks, it’s mending but a royal PITA – I find out Wednesday if I can take the boot off. Here’s hoping. I’m getting antsy to ride my bike – the one with a decent sized motor).

This story is set at one of those “interesting” times in history. Remember the Chinese curse “May you be born in interesting times?” Public, if not private, morals were beginning to change from something the 1960’s would consider risque to the tight prudery of the Victorian era. (Mind you something like 20% of births in the 1880’s were “premature” in date but not fact. So chaperons were not quite as effective as they thought.)

In the background, that evil Corsican, Napoleon was exiled to Saint Helena. St. Helena is almost literally the end of the world. In India you can buy ‘Hitler’ branded goods. I just ate at a restaurant called “Napoleon’s” which is much the same thing. Many of Napoleon’s allies wanted to rescue him, but I get ahead of the story.

The first industrial revolution is well underway, with societal dislocations that mimic the tensions in our own. Suddenly skilled labour is no longer as important as it was. It no longer mattered if you could assemble a brown bess by yourself with your eyes closed. Now all that mattered was could you feed a machine.

Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page. We actually are preparing books for publication and have some sort of plan – amazing as that seems.

 

Sunday Snippet, Lepidoptera.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane.

The Master was introduced here. He was somewhat annoyed at the disturbance, but willing to see that his guests were properly entertained.  The housekeeper, Mrs Hobbes, leads Rachel and Lucy to their rooms to prepare for dinner The carriage wright makes a cameo appearance in a previous snippet.

Last week saw the arrival of Rupert’s Uncle George and a hint at the complicated family history – a history that was not completely … harmonious.

After a peek into Rupert’s history, George makes a somewhat unusual proposition to Rachel which was continued. The rain finally scuds off to the North Sea leaving a fine day – for riding and other things. Rachel, unsure of her own feelings, arranged for her companion to use the only sidesaddle.  Meanwhile Rupert and Rachel discover a shared interest in music, which leads to a proposal.  George has just returned from finding a magistrate to deal with a mob. At the ball a slippery character from the past makes his first appearance. George disposes of him, for the time being, in the this snippet.  Rupert explained about his previous work in chemistry and Mr Oliver returned equipped with a search party.

Rachel gets a start on clearing the mess, in the library, because she can actually read the titles.  George’s fiance helps her. The evening ended with an excursion. George has just closed the door on his mother at her morning toilette. After George works on his declensions, they decide to visit the army encamped in Pontefract.  They returned empty handed.

Butterfly collecting.


 

“He was gambling on that being well after he had left, or that he’d have the time to copy it out. We interrupted him.” George smiled at the thought then laughed as he said. “Shall we find the light of my life, my Charity?”

Having knocked on Rupert’s workshop without success, George found Mr Brindle, “Ah Edward, have you seen Miss Deacon?”

Austere at the informality and disapproving of the intelligence he had to bring, Mr Brindle’s habitual frown deepened when he replied, “Lord Bedlington.”

“George.”

“Lord Bedlington, Miss Deacon and the Master have gone for a walk on the downs. I believe they are hunting Lepidoptera. At least, they had nets and a collecting box.”

“Sounds a wholesome activity. It sounds like Gas is taking after his parents after all.”

“It was not clear that they were chaperoned.”

George cocked an eyebrow, “I shouldn’t worry about that. Charity’s a rock. Trust her with my life, you know.”

Mr Brindle’s expression indicated he thought that might be a misplaced trust, but as a well-trained servant, he kept his opinions to himself.

George continued, addressing Rachel, “Ma’am” he bowed, “Perhaps you and Miss Holloway would care to find his Lordship. I, on the other hand, am dreadfully tired. Need to write a missive to my friends in London. Let them know the good news.”

“If you’re taking your letter to the post, I should write to my cousin once more. To let him know I’m still on my way.”

“Yes … there is that. I was thinking of a faster, somewhat more expensive missive.” He gave her a smile, “More than a shilling a sheet, if you must know.”

“Oh. That. I’m sorry, must seem so very dense.”

Mr Brindle coughed, “Ma’am, I shall have a page carry your letter to the village for posting.”

Rachel smiled at him, “Thank you Brindle.”


I have to apologize on being a little remiss at replying and various social obligations. It is surprising what a broken ankle will do to your energy level (Even after several weeks, it’s mending but a royal PITA).

Lepidoptera are butterflies, which Rachel must be feeling by now. Bees are hymenoptera, but the subject of this Gilray cartoon. Various wasps, representing everything from Catholic emancipation to the radical republicans are raiding the treasury. Pitt the younger is by now (1808) no longer involved in politics (in the poetic French phrase he is eating dandelions from the roots). Other less memorable members of government (including one who looks suspiciously like a Wellesley – probably Arthur’s older brother) are defending the hive.

Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page. We actually are preparing books for publication and have some sort of plan – amazing as that seems.

 

Sunday Snippet, Empty handed.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane.

The Master was introduced here. He was somewhat annoyed at the disturbance, but willing to see that his guests were properly entertained.  The housekeeper, Mrs Hobbes, leads Rachel and Lucy to their rooms to prepare for dinner The carriage wright makes a cameo appearance in a previous snippet.

Last week saw the arrival of Rupert’s Uncle George and a hint at the complicated family history – a history that was not completely … harmonious.

After a peek into Rupert’s history, George makes a somewhat unusual proposition to Rachel which was continued. The rain finally scuds off to the North Sea leaving a fine day – for riding and other things. Rachel, unsure of her own feelings, arranged for her companion to use the only sidesaddle.  Meanwhile Rupert and Rachel discover a shared interest in music, which leads to a proposal.  George has just returned from finding a magistrate to deal with a mob. At the ball a slippery character from the past makes his first appearance. George disposes of him, for the time being, in the this snippet.  Rupert explained about his previous work in chemistry and Mr Oliver returned equipped with a search party.

Rachel gets a start on clearing the mess, in the library, because she can actually read the titles.  George’s fiance helps her. The evening ended with an excursion. George has just closed the door on his mother at her morning toilette. After George works on his declensions, they decide to visit the army encamped in Pontefract.

After Pontefract.


George, Lucy and Rachel rode back to the Hall in silence. Mr Harding or Oliver or Jones wasn’t in the camp, and if he had the notebook he’d cached it well. It wasn’t in his tent.

Rachel watched the country slide by as the horses pulled their carriage. She turned back and said, “Well, I hope that’s the last we see of him.”

George replied, “Pity about that notebook. Wonder if one of the soldiers took it after all.”

“I’m sure he has it. Never loses anything that’s to his advantage. Do you remember Lucy, when he turned up at the solicitors, during probate?”

Lucy nodded, “All those bills. You almost had to sell the hall to meet them.”

George’s eyebrow raised, “Indeed. That’s interesting.”

“Interesting to you, Lord Bedlington. A disaster for us.”

“No, not what I meant. I’ve seen this fellow before, or at least heard of him. … I mean from before the last few days. Dashed if I can remember where.”

“Well, for me, I still hope that’s the last we see of him.”

The carriage pulled up near the front of the Hall. A pair of footmen promptly appeared and helped them alight.

George stretched in the fading afternoon light, “Good to be back. Have to see about getting you to London. … I suppose it depends on my dear Mater’s plans. Maybe you can ride with her. It might help things if she gets to know you better.”

Rachel replied, “I’m not sure of that. She disapproves of me, on principle. Thinks I’m taking advantage of Rupert. She almost called me an adventuress to my face. Who knows what she’s said behind my back.”

“Yes … well … you know, she’s sort of, um, stuck in her ways. Pity, but that’s how it is. You’ll have to charm her. I mean she’s Gas’s grandmother.”

“Lord Hartshorne, Rupert’s step-grandmother. I’ll do my best.”

“Good girl. Gas is getting a good bargain. I must admit my suggestion has proven fortuitous.”

“Please remember that my fiancé doesn’t like that nickname.”

“But I do. There’s that, you know.”

An unpleasantly familiar voice met them as they approached the parlour. George stopped and quieted Rachel. He whispered, “Listen.”

Lady Bedlington said, “Mr Oliver, thank you. We’ve been looking all over for that book. My grandson will be ever so pleased that you found it.”

“One of the men took it. I’m simply happy to be the agent of its return.”

“And that other thing, those papers of yours, they will be most useful.”

“Glad to be of service.” The sound of chairs scraping along the floor echoed from the room. Evidently Mr Oliver rose and bowed to Lady Bedlington.

George pulled Lucy and Rachel into the library, with a whisper, “Best if we’re not seen.” They watched while Mr Oliver whistled his way to the front door, and then strode towards the stables.

“Pleased with himself, isn’t he?”

“I’d say so.” George replied, “Wonder what mischief he’s done?”

Rachel said, “Who knows.”

George shrugged, “Must see how Mother is, and then you should find Gas. I hope Charity has recovered.”

“Yes, Charity.” Rachel replied, in a curiously toneless voice.

“Once more into the breech dear friends.” George led the way to the parlour.

Inside Lady Bedlington greeted them with a smile. A knowing smile that seemed almost a leer to Rachel. “You just missed a visit from an excellent young man. A Mr Oliver.”

“We did Mother?”

“Yes. He was returning that missing notebook of Lord Hartshorne’s. One of the soldiers had taken it.”

George hurriedly asked, “May I see it?”

Lady Bedlington pointed to a bound volume on the table. “If you insist.”

Hastily picking it up, George quickly flipped through the pages. His mother continued, “I didn’t know you were interested in chemistry, George.”

“I’m not particularly, but this book interests me.”

“Why?”

“That would be telling. Let’s just say I’ve acquired a recent interest in natural philosophy.” He snapped the book shut and stared at the ceiling for a moment. “Interesting, dashed odd, but interesting.” Then he slipped the book into the shelves with the other laboratory notebooks.

“George,” Rachel started to say, then seeing his mother glare at her, “Lord Bedlington, what’s interesting?”

“Must find Gas. I mean Rupert. See that he’s keeping out of trouble.” George bowed to Lady Bedlington, and then to Rachel. She didn’t take his hint and followed him out of the room.

Once out of immediate earshot, Rachel asked, “George, what was in the book?”

“Nothing.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Exactly what I said. It was blank. Other than the first few pages. Something tells me Rupert wouldn’t have left it that way. I think it’s a fake or a copy.”

“Surely, Mr Oliver would know that it would eventually be opened.”

“He was gambling on that being well after he had left, or that he’d have the time to copy it out. We interrupted him.” George smiled at the thought then laughed as he said. “Shall we find the light of my life, my Charity?”

 


I have to apologize on being a little remiss at replying and various social obligations. It is surprising what a broken ankle will do to your energy level (Even after several weeks, it’s mending but a royal PITA).

General Byng is a minor, but real character in this story. After Waterloo he and his soldiers camped near the town of Pontefract. Camp Hill is now covered with houses, but you can still find references to it in the street names.  He was deeply involved in putting down the Pontefract uprising, and marginally involved in the Peterloo massacre. (He left his command temporarily to attend to a horse race at York – no word of whether his two horses won. His second in command lost control of the situation and the cavalry charged into the otherwise peaceful protest.) In any case, his politics seemed to have changed because he was a supporter of the reform bill, which tried to deal with many of the issues that caused these uprisings.  (It raised the number of eligible voters from 500,000 to 814,000. Mind you there were 14 Million people in Britain at the time. Come to think of it, that’s not much bigger than Atlanta.)

Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page. We actually are preparing books for publication and have some sort of plan – amazing as that seems.

 

Sunday Snippet, A Search

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane.

The Master was introduced here. He was somewhat annoyed at the disturbance, but willing to see that his guests were properly entertained.  The housekeeper, Mrs Hobbes, leads Rachel and Lucy to their rooms to prepare for dinner The carriage wright makes a cameo appearance in a previous snippet.

Last week saw the arrival of Rupert’s Uncle George and a hint at the complicated family history – a history that was not completely … harmonious.

After a peek into Rupert’s history, George makes a somewhat unusual proposition to Rachel which was continued. The rain finally scuds off to the North Sea leaving a fine day – for riding and other things. Rachel, unsure of her own feelings, arranged for her companion to use the only sidesaddle.  Meanwhile Rupert and Rachel discover a shared interest in music, which leads to a proposal.  George has just returned from finding a magistrate to deal with a mob. At the ball a slippery character from the past makes his first appearance. George disposes of him, for the time being, in the this snippet.  Rupert explained about his previous work in chemistry and Mr Oliver returned equipped with a search party.

Rachel gets a start on clearing the mess, in the library, because she can actually read the titles.  George’s fiance helps her. The evening ended with an excursion. George has just closed the door on his mother at her morning toilette. After George works on his declensions, they decide to visit the army encamped in Pomfret.

Pomfret.


 

Once the carriage pulled up in front of the Hall, Rupert remembered that his workshop needed his attentions. “Sorry, George, but it’s a total wreck. I daren’t let Brindle or the servants in – they could hurt themselves. Do you mind going without me?”

George replied, “Coward.”

Rupert smiled in his embarrassment. “Let’s just say I’m glad to be shot of Camp Hill. It was hard enough to get away from it yesterday. I’m not sure I’d like to return.”

Rachel said, “He has a point, Ge-,” seeing Charity’s brow furrow, she continued, “Lord Bedlington. It must have been worrying.”

Charity added, “I’m feeling a bit tired, George my love. Do you mind if I stay?”

“No, I suppose not, it’s just I’d thought, well maybe, you’d have enjoyed a ride with me … and Lady Hayforth.”

“I would, but not today. I’ll keep your nephew out of trouble.”

So without much further discussion, the carriage, bearing George, Rachel, and of course – for proprieties sake, Miss Holloway, sped off for General Byng’s camp. It was just this side of Pontefract, an easy five mile ride.

George stretched back in his seat, evidently enjoying the space. Rachel asked, “What should we expect?”

“In Pontefract or General Byng’s camp?”

“Either.”

“The town’s a little market. Used to be an important place, back in the day. Parliament and Cromwell saw that it would stay a minor town.”

“I see.”

“They grow liquorice if that helps.”

Rachel smiled, “I suppose it might. And the camp?”

“A yes. That’s different. Tents, soldiers and officers.”

“Officers?” Lucy asked. “Handsome ones?”

“Yes Miss Holloway. What did you expect?”

“Handsome officers,” Lucy muttered to herself. “I wonder.”

Rachel gave her a friendly push, “After I’m married, Lucy. For now, I still need a companion.”

****

General Sir John Byng stared at this interloper. “Lord Bedlington. Why should I search Mr Oliver and his rooms for this book?”

“Because I’m asking you nicely.”

“That’s not a sufficient reason.”

“I thought as much.” George calmly turned to Rachel and Lucinda, “I’m afraid I shall have to ask you to leave.” He nodded to the General’s secretary, “Unless you are cleared, you as well.”

Rachel gasped, “You’re not going to fight?”

“Oh, no, not at all.” George laughed, “It’s just, um, you see … I can’t show it to you. Please do as I say, and it won’t be long.”

General Byng continued his hard stare, “You’re one of those ‘funnies’ aren’t you? I don’t approve of the funnies. Caused no end of trouble for us real soldiers.”

“Let’s say, I work with the F.O. shepherding dodgy diplomats around the village. Not really one of the funnies, but I know my share of them.”

“You can document this?”

“But of course, my dear general.” He bowed to Rachel and Lucinda, “Now if you’d leave us.”

The guards pulled the flap away when Rachel and Lucinda walked out. They stood there blinking in the bright daylight.

“Rachel,” Lucy said, “Isn’t that Mr Oliver?”

The man in question strode towards them and said, “Lady Hayforth, what brings you to Pontefract? To see the castle Pomfret where good King Richard was murdered or is it to shop in the market?”

“Neither. Lord Bedlington thought it would be good of us to show our support for the soldiers with a visit to their camp. He’s inside arranging the details of a tour with General Byng. We felt we needed some air.”

“Indeed.” Mr Oliver went a shade of puce; then paled to a decidedly grey colour. “Give him my regards.” He turned and hurried away.

Lucy said, “Odd that.”

“Yes.” Dashed odd. He’s worried. Why?

The presence of two young women outside of the General’s tent quickly drew attention. Lucy was chatting with a decidedly good-looking young lieutenant while another, equally gallant and possibly more dashing, tried to attach Rachel’s attentions. He pointed out that there was another ball in a couple of weeks.

“Could I have the honour of a dance?”

“Maybe, but I hope to be in London by then.”

“London, Ma’am? What could London offer that we don’t have here?”

Culture and society, not to mention skilful dancing and men who didn’t stink of horses, “I don’t know, but those are my plans.”

“Is there nothing that would dissuade you?”

“I’m sorry, but I promised my cousins that I’d visit.”

“Lucky cousins, to have such a.”  He stopped and saluted. General Byng and Lord Bedlington emerged from the tent. His friend, who had been chatting to Miss Holloway, was not as observant. He drew a sharp reprimand and the night watch for a week.

George said, “Lady Hayforth, Miss Holloway, if you’ll accompany us?”

General Byng glared at him, but mindful of George’s credentials kept quiet.

“Do you need us?”

“No, but I would feel better were you not far away. Mr Oliver or Harding is a slippery customer.”

“Then,” Rachel curtsied, “It will be my pleasure to accompany you.”


I have to apologize on being a little remiss at replying and various social obligations. It is surprising what a broken ankle will do to your energy level.

Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page. We actually are preparing books for publication and have some sort of plan – amazing as that seems.

One of our books is in Patty’s Promos. There are more than a few great authors (like 99 of them), but do take a look.

Sunday Snippet, It’s Missing.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane.

The Master was introduced here. He was somewhat annoyed at the disturbance, but willing to see that his guests were properly entertained.  The housekeeper, Mrs Hobbes, leads Rachel and Lucy to their rooms to prepare for dinner The carriage wright makes a cameo appearance in a previous snippet.

Last week saw the arrival of Rupert’s Uncle George and a hint at the complicated family history – a history that was not completely … harmonious.

After a peek into Rupert’s history, George makes a somewhat unusual proposition to Rachel which was continued. The rain finally scuds off to the North Sea leaving a fine day – for riding and other things. Rachel, unsure of her own feelings, arranged for her companion to use the only sidesaddle.  Meanwhile Rupert and Rachel discover a shared interest in music, which leads to a proposal.  George has just returned from finding a magistrate to deal with a mob. At the ball a slippery character from the past makes his first appearance. George disposes of him, for the time being, in the this snippet.  Rupert explained about his previous work in chemistry and Mr Oliver returned equipped with a search party.

Rachel gets a start on clearing the mess, in the library, because she can actually read the titles.  George’s fiance helps her. The evening ended with an excursion. George has just closed the door on his mother at her morning toilette.

A Pleasant Morning’s Inquisition, ctd.


Miss Graves nodded, “I wish I understood My Lady. Trying to keep poor Lord Hartshorne from marrying. It’s a shame and so beneath her.” Confidences over, she curtsied to George and entered the room.

George shrugged and started down the hallway towards the stairs. He didn’t get far. “My dear Lady Hayforth, you look positively radiant this morning.”

Rachel blushed, “Oh stop it. I don’t hold a candle to the sun of Miss Deacon, and you know it.”

“If you’d rather, I could say you look worn and exhausted … positively haggish.”

“That’s not true either.”

“No. But you are looking in good health. One of the prettier sights I’ve seen so far this day.”

“Thank you, but I’m certain Charity would disagree.”

A door opened behind them and Charity asked, “I’d disagree with what, Rachel?”

“Lord Bedlington’s been telling me sweet lies. Ones he should tell you.” Though not lies, you’re so tall, so beautiful. I don’t compare.

“George, stop flirting… so unseemly. I’d like to breakfast and then we should review your Greek. No point in learning Hebrew if your Greek is lacking.”

George smiled at her, and then at Rachel, “See, I told you she wanted to improve my mind.”

They were sitting at the breakfast table, with Charity questioning George on his Greek declensions when Rupert burst in. “It’s missing!”

“What’s missing?”

“That volume, volume nine, from my notes.”

Rachel said, “That’s what I told you.”

“I know, but I thought it was just misplaced. It’s gone. Nowhere.”

George, glad for a diversion from endless arcane variations of difficult words, asked, “Did you check your workshop?”

“Of course. Everywhere.”

“What was in it?”

“Things. I shouldn’t say more.”

Rachel said, “Those things you worked on during the war?”

Rupert nodded.

She continued, “I think we have a problem. George, you might want to send an express to your friend Poodle, or did I get the name wrong?”

“No. Poodle’s the fellow.  They’re some dashed odd characters associated with the F.O. It’s either him or ah, Lord Grey. Maybe both.” He rose and bowed to Charity, “You’ll have to excuse me, my love. The Greek verbs can wait.” He chuckled, “They’ve been waiting for me all these years, so what’s a few more hours?” With that, he left for the library.

Rupert watched him go. “I don’t know what else it could be. It couldn’t have been that Mr Oliver. I mean he was with General Byng.”

“Who else?” Rachel said, “Either him or one of the soldiers. I doubt most of the soldiers could read.”

“But?”

“I think we should do our patriotic duty and pay a visit to General Byng’s camp. Show we support our gallant Hussars … and ask a few discrete questions.”

Rupert smiled, “Show there are no hard feelings?”

“And inquire after poor Lewis. With that hand and all. You did warn him.”

Bowing, Rupert replied, “That’s true. I’ll see if my Uncle needs my help.”

After he left, Charity asked Rachel, “Why is Rupert being so mysterious?”

“He made explosives, fulminating compounds is what he called them, during the war.  I’d bet a farthing to a pony that the missing notebook is the one where he kept his notes.”

“Oh.” Charity paled showing her dismay, “His work could be dangerous?”

“More like exciting. Though I’m surprised about his notebook. If it’s so secret why did he have a copy here?”

“I’m sure he had good reason.”


I have to apologize on being a little remiss at replying and various social obligations. It is surprising what a broken ankle will do to your energy level.

Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page. We actually are preparing books for publication and have some sort of plan – amazing as that seems.

Mr Oliver’s signature.

Mr Oliver was a real individual. This is his signature on his report about the Pentrich uprising. The report neglects to mention his role in causing the uprising. Can you spell ‘entrapment’? He was a shadowy individual, who in the days before positive identification, came and went under many names and guises. Not all of them were honourable.

Sunday Snippet, Morning Toilette.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane.

The Master was introduced here. He was somewhat annoyed at the disturbance, but willing to see that his guests were properly entertained.  The housekeeper, Mrs Hobbes, leads Rachel and Lucy to their rooms to prepare for dinner The carriage wright makes a cameo appearance in a previous snippet.

Last week saw the arrival of Rupert’s Uncle George and a hint at the complicated family history – a history that was not completely … harmonious.

After a peek into Rupert’s history, George makes a somewhat unusual proposition to Rachel which was continued. The rain finally scuds off to the North Sea leaving a fine day – for riding and other things. Rachel, unsure of her own feelings, arranged for her companion to use the only sidesaddle.  Meanwhile Rupert and Rachel discover a shared interest in music, which leads to a proposal.  George has just returned from finding a magistrate to deal with a mob. At the ball a slippery character from the past makes his first appearance. George disposes of him, for the time being, in the this snippet.  Rupert explained about his previous work in chemistry and Mr Oliver returned equipped with a search party.

Rachel gets a start on clearing the mess, in the library, because she can actually read the titles.  George’s fiance helps her. The evening ended with an excursion.

A Pleasant Morning’s Inquisition.


 

That morning, Lady Bedlington requested her son’s company while she drank her chocolate in her room, prior to emerging from her lair.

Sitting stiffly upright in her bed she asked him, after he gave her a dutiful son’s peck on the cheek, “What can you tell me about this Lady Hayforth?”

“Not much, she was on her way to London, to stay with Lord Bromley … To try her hand at the marriage market. Her carriage broke down outside of Rupert’s pile.”

“An adventuress?”

“I don’t think so. Not if she’s Bromley’s cousin … he’s a stiff-rumped fellow of the first rank. Couldn’t be, at least not more of an adventuress than any other unmarried woman in search of a husband.”

“I doubt that.”

“Well … Mother, she has behaved with grace, good manners, and genteel conduct. I gather Rupert’s proposal came as something of a surprise to her, but I think it will be the making of the two of them.”

Lady Bedlington studied the faded wallpaper in her room while she tried to remember the Hayforths. Eventually she said, “I place her, not her, but her family, now. Her father tried to keep up with Brummel and that set. Run off his legs.”

“When was that?”

“Years ago. You were still in school. It was the talk of the ton. She’s a queer one, George, dashed smoky.”

“I don’t know Mother. She seems pleasant enough. Not at all what I’d expect for an avaricious ladybird.”

“As if you would know.”

“I haven’t lived a completely sheltered life. Until I met Miss Deacon, I carefully avoided the Parson’s trap … which I assure you was laid for me by many an ambitious mother, baited with her desirable miss.”

“I must admit, George, that I find it most reassuring that you are engaged to Charity and out of this harpy’s reach. Poor Rupert. We shall just have to see what we can do.”

“Mother, I’m not…”

“Nonsense. Time that I finished my morning toilette. Would you send Graves in?”

“All I will say, Mother, is that Lady Hayforth is a pleasing and rational young lady with excellent manners.”

“Right, next you’ll tell me about a new patent to make purses from sow’s ears. Where’s Graves?”

George, still unconvinced, nodded his agreement. He also made sure to shut the door before he sighed in relief.

Miss Graves was waiting outside the door. “How is she?”

“Irritable … still upset that old Gas is donning leg shackles. Shame, because it’s the best thing he could do. It’s made him almost human.”

Miss Graves nodded, “I wish I understood My Lady. Trying to keep poor Lord Hartshorne from marrying. It’s a shame and so beneath her.” Confidences over, she curtsied to George and entered the room.


Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page. We actually are preparing books for publication and have some sort of plan – amazing as that seems.

Did they stink?

Lady Beddlington is performing her toilette in the morning. One always wonders about the smell.

While formal baths were rare and showers, other than rain, non-extant, most people managed to stay vaguely clean. I actually have experience this, when backpacking with the scouts at Philmont. What you do is to sponge bathe the “pits and smelly bits.” It’s surprisingly effective. While there were people who stank, most notably Princess Caroline of Brunswick (of the “you think my hands are dirty, you should see my feet” fame), most people managed to keep their bodies clean. At least if you kept the windows open.


This painting, in 1798, of Princess Caroline, is one of the few that makes her look attractive. She had a difficult, highly restricted, childhood. Marrying George, the Prince of Wales, was an improvement, no matter how badly that marriage turned out.

Sunday Snippet, Stars.

A Formulaic Romance

This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.

It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane.

The Master was introduced here. He was somewhat annoyed at the disturbance, but willing to see that his guests were properly entertained.  The housekeeper, Mrs Hobbes, leads Rachel and Lucy to their rooms to prepare for dinner The carriage wright makes a cameo appearance in a previous snippet.

Last week saw the arrival of Rupert’s Uncle George and a hint at the complicated family history – a history that was not completely … harmonious.

After a peek into Rupert’s history, George makes a somewhat unusual proposition to Rachel which was continued. The rain finally scuds off to the North Sea leaving a fine day – for riding and other things. Rachel, unsure of her own feelings, arranged for her companion to use the only sidesaddle.  Meanwhile Rupert and Rachel discover a shared interest in music, which leads to a proposal.  George has just returned from finding a magistrate to deal with a mob. At the ball a slippery character from the past makes his first appearance. George disposes of him, for the time being, in the this snippet.  Rupert explained about his previous work in chemistry and Mr Oliver returned equipped with a search party.

Rachel gets a start on clearing the mess, in the library, because she can actually read the titles.  George’s fiance helps her.

A Surprise Visit, The Hero’s Return.


Charity said, “Poor girl. I’m helping George, my George, to remedy the defects in his education. Would you like to join us?”

“Very much.”

Supper was over by the time George and Rupert returned from General Byng’s camp. They stumbled into the front parlour, tired and dishevelled. Definitely in need of a restorative brandy, or two, or maybe three.

George was the first to speak, “Charity?”

“I was worried, you didn’t write.”

“I did, and we were planning to return to the village soon. Sorry if I missed a day or two with the excitement, but you mustn’t worry.”

Charity fanned herself, “Four days.”

“That can’t be. I just sent you my answers to your questions about Kant’s philosophy.”

“Your answers? I heard that Lord Hartshorne helped you, practically wrote the answers for you.”

Lady Bedlington added her mite as well, “Your conduct has been most unsatisfactory, George. The Hall a mess and I find my grandson engaged to be married to an adventuress.”

“She’s not an adventuress, Mother. She’s a,” he caught himself before he said lovely, “well-behaved young woman who will be a credit to our family.”

“I’m surprised and upset. Why Miss Deacon could be within her rights … I mean keeping such low company and encouraging your nephew.”

George could see Rachel’s face whiten at the implied insults. Rupert missed it. Still Rupert said the right things, “I say, you’ve done a fantastic job putting things to right Rachel. It can’t have been easy.”

“It wasn’t, but you really should thank Miss Holloway and Mrs Hobbes. I put books away in the library, with Charity’s help.”

Charity smiled at Rupert, “What an impressive collection you have, and they were read, the spines cracked.”

“Of course, what good’s a book if you don’t read it?”

“That reminds me,” Rachel said, “It looked like one of your notebooks was missing. I found a volume 8 and volume 10, but no volume 9.”

“Really? That’s odd. Must have been misplaced. Look for it in the morning. George, I know it’s not done, but I feel the need of something stronger than tea. Then if Lady Hayforth is able to accompany us, I should like to look at the stars. There were some moments today when I wasn’t sure I’d see them again.”

George laughed, “Gas, O yea of little faith, trust your Uncle Bedlington to fix things. Nevertheless, I won’t say no to that restorative.”

Charity’s gaze glanced from Rupert to George to Rachel and then back to Rupert. “I’d like to see the stars too.”


Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page. We actually are preparing books for publication and have some sort of plan – amazing as that seems.

One of the inconsistencies in Regency history is the existence/role of the militia. General Byng’s regiment, which takes a role in this part of the story is based on reality. They were camped where and when the story has them camped. They did take an active role in putting to the Pentrich rising to bed and were aided by a shadowy “Oliver the Spy.” On the other hand, they should have been disbanded by this time according to other references.

The massacre at Peterloo (1819) shows how the militia tended to deal with dissent. There is a reason that the right to assemble made it into the American constitution.

There was not anything at this time that really was a police force in the modern sense. The town watch and constables where holdovers from the middle ages (see Much ado about nothing scene 4 to see how the Bard of Avon considered them). The Bow Street runners were something like Federal Marshals, but there were only 6-8 of them at any time. Not exactly Scotland Yard or the FBI.

It wasn’t until Robert Peel, as home secretary, started reforming the criminal laws and police in his first term (1822-1827), that a modern police force arose in the UK. Hence the slang terms of “peelers” and “bobbies.”