The Art of Deception
or Pride and Extreme Prejudice
This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar. After the events in Bath, Alice has made her way to her uncle’s in London. Things are about to take a more serious turn.
Deep in the war office, Lord Grey gave his niece a baleful glare from the other side of his desk; then he resumed reading Mrs Hudson’s report on her as well as Miss Aldershot’s. Alice sat and watched him, nervously clenching her hands.
She had arrived in London the night before, and despite the enthusiastic greeting from her Aunt Margaret and Cousin June, there was a distance between her and her uncle; in the morning, he had proposed they go for a walk. Ostensibly, it was to work off his gout, and to show her the landmarks. In reality, it was to go to his office and evaluate her performance.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, he looked up and smiled at her, “Mrs Hudson speaks most highly of you and -”
“And?” Alice sat on the edge of her chair.
“What happened in Bath can stay in Bath; I see you put your escape and evasion training to good use.”
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). That and editing the manuscript to put more description/reaction into it. (not to mention a few thousand words).
The Telegraph enters into this story at several points. Not Morse’s electric one, but the optical telegraph. More is written about the Napoleonic “semaphore telegraph” than the British one. But Murray’s six-panelled construct linked Britain together during the war.
It was probably not as easy to read at a distance as the French semaphore system, but with six panels and 64 symbols (two to the sixth), it would have allowed relatively high rates of information flow. A message could have gone from Bristol to London in about fifteen minutes. Given that a dispatch rider would have taken all day, that is a rather significant improvement. There were several units on top of the Admiralty building and you could, for a consideration, see them in action and have the details of the mechanism explained to you.
In typical British fashion it was dismantled after the war and largely forgotten.
Frankenkitty is available.
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 This is a fun read.