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 Lady Grey, with her daughter and Alice paid a social call on Roderick. While they discussed finding properly vetted servants who would work with Thomas and Hannah – whom Roderick considers essential – Alice has slipped off. Ostensibly to help with the tea (and drawing Lady Grey’s opprobrium at her ungenteel conduct), but in reality to quiz Hannah about Roderick.
Alice most definitely was not making a cake or anything else of herself; Hannah stirred the fire and put a kettle on to boil; then they waited, watching the pot, which gave Alice a chance to ask her a few questions about her new master.
“Hannah, what was Lord Fitzpatrick doing in Washington?”
“Can’t really say, Miss.”
“What were you doing for him, then?”
Hannah continued to be evasive, “Not much.”
“You can tell me, I’m cleared; he and I are going to work together.”
“Whether we like it or not, Miss Green?” Roderick had quietly slipped into the room behind them, “Hannah, she is one of us.”
“I still can’t tell you much, Miss; I just listened to Massa Jefferson and his friends; then told Thomas what I heard.”
Alice looked at Roderick, “And Thomas told you?”
My apologies for creative punctuation.
Nothing under the sun is new. The late Georgian/Early Regency was a time fraught with fearsome change and political turmoil. This Gilray cartoon shows the unwashed and uncouth masses (in caricature) demonstrating at Copenhagen fields in 1795. The London Corresponding Society held a meeting November 12th where they demanded parliamentary reform. Reforms that would have benefited the commoners. They were dealt with by the treason act (1795) and eventually completely banned in 1799. One of the artistic touches is actually a message – the commoners are drawn as clownish, stupid figures – incapable of self-governance and requiring the firm hand of authority. A hand Pitt (featured image) was more than willing to supply. The Poor Law he shepherded through parliament laid the basis for the workhouses of Dicken’s day.
In the featured image, Pitt’s right foot (on the left) is being kissed by the members of his party (Torys) and his right rests upon the opposition (Whigs). Charles Fox is clearly visible underneath his big toe. Meanwhile he plays with the world as if it were a yoyo.
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).
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.