A Formulaic Romance
This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.
The story starts with Rachel, Lady Hayforth, throwing the dice in a desperate try at the marriage mart and coming up short when her carriage breaks down in the middle of nowhere. After a complicated string of happenings, she ends up engaged to Rupert, Lord Hartshorne, an aspiring chemist who did mysterious things for the war office in the recent past. His notebooks have gone missing, and a mysterious Mr Oliver is involved. Last week Rachel and her friends went to look at the stars after an eventful afternoon. George has left for the village. One might think that Rachel’s life would get simpler without this distraction, but that would be no fun.
Rupert showed he has something that connects his shoulders to his hips. Last week, the start of a new chapter shows that another of his talents is important. We discovered why it was so important that Rupert come with Sir Roger recently. Rachel awoke below decks in a ship (a channel barge). Despite the sterling reputation of the English as cooks, the crew ask Rachel to cook for them. Her choice of seasonings has their desired effect. The morning after she gave thanks for her deliverance she writes to let her friends know where she is. Things, however, are afoot and the game is on – especially with the reappearance of Mr Oliver.
When you’ve finished with this tripe, take a look at the better authors in Snippet Sunday.
This discussion would have continued, but the front door to the vicarage slammed. Then the door to the parlour burst open and Miss Fowler shot in.
“You!” she pointed at Rachel, “You, you viper, you heartless … vixen!”
Then as suddenly as she appeared, she retreated. They heard her run up the stairs to her room, then the door slam behind her.
“What was that about?” Rachel asked.
“I think our cover is blown.” George replied, “If you’ll pardon me, I must dash.”
Rachel rushed to follow George, only to see him sprint away along the High street. She turned and ambled her way back to the vicarage. I suppose he knows what he’s about.
Dr Fowler waited at the front door for her to return. She said to him, “It looks like Miss Fowler won’t be eloping after all.”
The faint sounds of a young woman sobbing could be heard from upstairs. Mrs Fowler’s plaintive bleating voice, dimmed only by the distance, said, “Elizabeth, dear, what is it?”
The wailing only grew louder, Elizabeth less consolable.
Rachel continued, “I’m sorry Dr Fowler, if I caused distress. It is a horrible way to repay your kindness.”
He nodded, “Did you say this Mr Richards was also known as Mr Oliver?”
“Yes. That and Mr Harding. Likely other names too.”
“A thoroughly bad piece of work.” He clicked his tongue, “She’ll forget him soon enough. Silly chit.” He motioned towards the parlour, “Let me show you something, from the Leeds Mercury.”
Rachel followed him.
He pulled a newssheet from his desk and pointed to a column by Mr Baines, correspondent from Wakefield. “This week’s paper. I’d say she’s had a lucky break. Thank you.”
Rachel read the column. It was about the recent Pentridge riots. “It says, he, Mr Oliver, was an agent provocateur. That he arranged the whole thing, together with General Byng and a Lord Sidmouth.”
Dr Fowler coughed to clear his throat and said, “Men, good men, otherwise innocent men, will hang because of him. Not what I want as a son-in-law.”
They both listened to Elizabeth’s sobs, muffled by the walls, but real enough evidence of her distress.
He continued, “She’ll cry herself out. Poor lass.”
The sounds grew, if anything, louder. “I only hope she’ll finish soon.”
Will she ever stop? Rachel said, “Do you mind if I go for a walk? For an hour or so.”
It’s been one of those “interesting” times. Hence the gap of almost two months. I … we could do with less excitement in our lives at the moment.
One of the better excitements was one of us winning an award for best paper at an IEEE meeting (NAFIPS). It’s crazy technical stuff, but here’s a link to the slides if you’d like to see them.
Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page. The first book in our series, The Art of Deception is now available for sale with an extract on instafreebie as a teaser.