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.
She turned and ran. They ran faster. With no other choice, she cut across to the riverbank and slid behind a willow. The branches tore at her and the mud squeezed between her toes on her right foot. The shoe was somewhere. She waited, breathless, squeezing herself into the smallest ball she could.
The men, Henri, Lars, and the other hand – whose name she never learned, stopped on the lane. “Damnation, Lars, we almost had her. I’m sure she was that chit.”
Lars chuckled, “Shit you mean.”
Henri disapproved, “This isn’t the time for japes.”
“Well, Mi’lor what should we do?”
“Nothing for it, but to keep walking. Monsieur Oliver must be nearby. He said.”
Lars groaned, “I know. He said he’d meet us in Hook. That was days ago, and when we still had the copy.”
“And the money to pay for the original. We’ll just have to persuade him by other means.”
Rachel heard the men chuckle at the joke.
Then they walked on, slowly, down the lane.
Rachel cautiously unrolled herself. She saw the missing shoe, and picked it up. I can’t follow on the lane. They’ll see me.
She worked her way along the bank back toward Hook, staying low and watching for the men. The mud sucked at her shoes. Eventually she took them both off and held them. The cold slime engulfed her feet and squished up to her ankles. If Rupert could see me now. Doubt that precious Charity could do this.
Rachel followed the bank, bending low and dodging from bush to bush, hoping to be unseen. Her dress dragged in the ooze.
A hundred yards further, That’s all, only a hundred yards, the dock. There a fisherman talked to the three men. Those three men. Them. All of them, and they did not look happy.
While the UK in general, and England in specific, has many miles of lovely sandy beaches, it also has many miles of shingle (stony beaches) and even more miles of muck. Black stinking oozy muck. Great stuff for the kids. Great stuff, that is if you have a modern washing machine.
One of the many big differences between the Regency and now is the ease of cleaning clothes. Bung them in the machine with a dash of persil, press the button, wait, and they’re clean. Through the end of the Victorian period laundry was difficult, dirty, and not at all fun. Rachel is not doing Elizabeth any favors by getting her gowns so mucky. Someone will have to pay for their cleaning. It was not uncommon for guests to receive a laundry bill when they left. Something like, “Sorry Lord Percy, the bread, the wine, and even the thou are free, but your clothes are going to cost you.” A laundry bill plays an important role in “Northanger Abbey.” when the heroine, Catherine, thinks she’s found a compromising paper in a nighttime excursion. Only it’s a laundry bill – for Eleanor Tilney’s erstwhile fiance perhaps, but still only a laundry bill.
One of our books, set at GSU, made it to the university reddit. No sales, but still a nice thing to have happen.