The Art of Deception 39

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 time Sally and her fiance met a strangely assertive maid in the Avonside garden (which I should call the parade). The maid didn’t leave, and she had good reasons not to.

“Didn’t you hear me; you may go; please go; now.”

Instead of leaving, the maid stood her ground and said, “Sally, Don’t you recognize me?”

“Alice, what are you doing in that get up?”

“I can’t stay long; I’m desperately sorry for last night.”

“You should be; that was rude; have you grown so above us?”

“No, it’s just, I’m tracking a French spy and you nearly gave the game away.”

“A spy, how exciting; isn’t it exciting Robert?” Sally’s eyes glowed at the idea.

Mr Mapleton said, “I suppose it is; too dashed exciting for me.”

“In any case,” Alice continued, “before I leave, you both have my best wishes; seeing you last night together, I can’t imagine a better match – for either of you.”

Now that you’ve read my hackery, please see the talented writers in Weekend Writing Warriors.

My apologies for creative punctuation.

Still working on a cover idea – hard even though I’m a dashed good photographer (if I say so myself).

The militia (Shown here in Gilray’s cartoon “repel all invaders”) will soon make an appearance. Great Britain is on a war-footing with that Corsican monster just miles away over the channel. Mind you the monster would have said kilometres, and his ‘Million man’ army was significantly smaller than a million soldiers (about 100,000 strong). Whatever Napoleon was, and he was many things (mostly bad), he was a master of publicity.

Nearly all the men in England were enrolled in their local militias – but the militias were not anywhere as well organized or skilled as the regulars. Jane Austen’s villain Mr Wickham would have fit right in with them. How he would fare when promoted to the regulars was another question.

Gilray’s cartoon shows typical upper class condescension (in the modern meaning) about the rest of the country. The sorry-looking militia men are all tradesmen (a cobbler, a mason, a painter (Gilray himself?), a tailor, a barber), and they’re led by a baker.

Frankenkitty is available.
Frankenkitty What happens when teenagers get to play with Dr Frankenstein’s lab notebooks, a few odd chemicals and a great big whopping coil? Mayhem, and possibly an invitation to the Transylvanian Neuroscience Summer School.

Like poor Cecelia, ” The Curious Profession of Dr Craven” is back from the dead.

I’ve released a sweet regency romance, Miss DeVere Miss_devere_1 This is a fun read.

Get Free Stuff and try out my landing page. There are three free complete short stories (including an ARC for Frankenkitty) available after you’ve gone through the hoops.

Author: rharrisonauthor

International man of mystery. Well not really, although I can mangle several languages and even read the occasional hieroglyphic. A computer scientist, an author and one of the very few people who has both an NIH grant and had a book contract. An ex- booktrope author and a photographer.

16 thoughts on “The Art of Deception 39”

  1. As always, I love your pictures. The dialogue is great. I know we’re all constrained by the length of our snippets. I hope in your finished ms you add reactions and other descriptions to the dialogue.


  2. These sound like interesting characters in a rather interesting situation, if Alice has just revealed she’s a spy. But it was a bit hard to follow because I wasn’t always sure who was speaking. I agree with Diane, you should add reactions, descriptions, and names, like you did at the end. Good luck with this piece! The Georgian period is one of my favorites.


  3. Somehow I wasn’t surprised the maid was actually Alice, which is no criticism! Enjoyed the scene – her friends are pretty clueless, but I guess it’s part of the “invisibility” of the servants in that era. Enjoyed the vintage illustrations and further details.


    1. Thank you. It shouldn’t be a surprise – given that it was part of her training (though that was many weeks ago). The more I study Gilray’s cartoon the more little details I find. The painter has his brown-bess on the wrong shoulder. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Giles cartoons (UK 1930’s – 1980’s or 1990’s) but they had the same level of slightly off the wall detail.


    1. He’s actually going to be important, not actually involved in the soon to become action, but knowledgeable about a few irregularities in the wool trade. (There was a surprising amount of commerce between Britain and the continent – the French had great difficulty producing enough cloth, but I will say no more.)


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