The Art of Deception
or Pride and Extreme Prejudice
This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar. Last week Roderick and Alice had a chance to talk. Both dodged around the questions they truly wanted to ask. This week’s snippet takes up at the Wednesday concert. Mr King, the “King of Bath,” has called the crowd to order and announced that Signora Catalani will begin her performance shortly.
General Dumouriez expertly culled Alice from the herd, “Mademoiselle, would you care to honour me with your company?”
Alice glanced at Miss Aldershot, who nodded her agreement, “Why certainly, I’m not sure I caught your name when we met several days ago.”
“General Charles Dumouriez, a votre service,” He bowed, keeping his eyes on hers, except when he glanced lower and smiled; he liked what he saw, and anticipated a better view later in the evening.
“That’s what I remembered,” Alice curtsied, “Shall we find seats?”
Roderick watched them, trying to stay within earshot, and hoping that she would betray herself in an unguarded moment; they found a pair of seats midway to the front; he sat several rows behind, just within earshot, and what he heard was disquieting.
“Mademoiselle, I must say that you have ankles, très charmant.”
Alice involuntarily clenched her knees together but replied, in French, “Thank you, but I was wondering how well you knew Mr Stanton?”
“Monsieur Stanton, who?”
“Monsieur Roderick Stanton.”
“Oh Roddy, a good man, but enough about him; has anyone told you that you have beautiful eyes; almost as pretty as those luscious lips or that-”
My apologies for creative punctuation.
First, many excellent and one so-so author are featured in this:
Signora Angelica Catalani (whose head adorns the post) was an exceedingly gifted singer. She somehow escaped Napoleon’s clutches to sing at the King’s theater in London in 1804. After that she went on farewell tours. Eventually she did return to Europe. While I can’t definitively place her in Bath at this time, she certainly could have been there. In any case the money was right and Wednesday night was concert night. As opposed to dress balls on Monday and fancy balls on Thursday.
I also get the impression, from looking at etchings of the time (thank you Google image search) that she was something of a pin-up girl and adorned many a college room – although decently clothed.
The Mr King I refer to was the master of ceremonies at the Bath Assembly. First the lower assembly and eventually the upper one. In true English fashion, the upper assembly was uphill from the lower one.
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.