The Art of Deception
or Pride and Extreme Prejudice
Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar. Last week, Mr Spode took Lucy and Alice for a ride. His, and their, plan was to provide a distraction to cover a room search. They’ve reached the monument and are on the way back when Alice discovers her horse isn’t quite as suitable for young ladies and invalids as she thought.
Her mare, realizing that this was now the return journey and that she was in front, took off; first at a trot, then a canter and finally, when a dog from one of the farms by the lane barked at her, a full-fledged gallop; Alice was no mean horsewoman, but riding a bolting horse is never easy or enjoyable.
Fortunately, a man who was riding a horse uphill in front of her, realized what was happening and urged his horse to the rescue; as she bolted past him, he galloped along her left side and by urging his horse to turn to the right eventually forced the two animals into a field; they circled, in successively smaller circles, until her mare calmed.
Finally able to look up from trying to control her mare, Alice turned to thank her saviour, “Mr Stanton! What are you doing here? I thought you were ill.”
“Well, I have felt better, but a change of air seemed an excellent idea; I remembered that your party was bound for the monument and decided to seek your company.”
“I’m glad you found me,” Alice was still a little breathless, “I’m not sure what I would have done.”
“You were holding your own; I haven’t seen such a fine display of horsemanship in a long while.”
My apologies for creative punctuation.
You may wonder how Roderick could arrange for Alice’s slug of a horse to bolt. It’s not as if he could put corundum powder on the steering gear (as in an Inspector Foyle story) or let most of the petrol out of the tank as Jeeves does in “the old school chum.” He couldn’t arrange for the horse specifically to bolt, but he could ensure that there would be some crisis or another by “figging” or “gingering up” the horse. Figging is an old horse cooper’s trick where an irritant is shoved up the horse’s backside. It gives the animal the appearance of spirit and was used to pass off an old or sick animal as healthy. Needless to say, it is unethical and cruel. People still occasionally try it in dressage where the conformation of the horse’s tail is important. It’s also, apparently, a common practice in BDSM – at least to judge from what I found when I searched for a relevant illustration. Roderick only uses it because he believes he is chasing a French spy – a serious matter. After all, she’d do the same, or worse, to him if she had the chance.
Like poor Cecelia, “The Curious Profession of Dr Craven” is back from the dead.
I’ve released a sweet regency romance, Miss DeVere This is a fun read.
Frankenkitty is available.
What happens when teenagers get to play with Dr Frankenstien’s lab notebooks, a few odd chemicals and a great big whopping coil? Mayhem, and possibly an invitation to the Transylvanian Neuroscience Summer School.