The Art of Deception 50

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar.  The conversation between Roderick, Hannah, and Alice started last week continues.


“Precisely … though you did a bit more than that; I’d say you thoroughly earned your reward.”

“Her reward?”

“Her freedom, I’d left instructions with our Minister to purchase her and then send her and Thomas north; things didn’t work out so smoothly.”

Hannah said,“Y’all can say that again; you was, what was it – person not great.”

“Persona non gratia.”

Alice asked, “Why’d you have to leave?”

“Her husband left one of my burglar’s tools in the President’s House when he visited her one night; unfortunately, it was stamped ‘Sheffield’ so I had a little meeting with one Captain Lewis, personal aide to his Excellency President Jefferson.”

“They was goin’ to sell me down river,” Hannah spat out, “Out picking tobacco in the sun, like a field nigger.”

“So I really didn’t have much of a choice … Well I did, I suppose; be completely without honour or common decency.”

Hannah explained for him, “He brought his picklocks, freed us and burnt down the slave pen.”

12241791_735836876546522_6197947469406170479_nNow that you’ve read my hackery, please see the talented writers in Weekend Writing Warriors.


My apologies for creative punctuation.

slave_shackles_wva Today’s snippet ties up a sub-plot started early in the story.  Roderick was a practical emancipationist. One may ask why Thomas didn’t free his wife. The answer is that as a black man, he would have been shot or imprisoned or worse if he were caught hanging around the slave pens in the evening. Sir Roderick, of course, could simply be “inspecting the merchandise.”

0111_whittier_slave

Emancipation wasn’t yet in force in England. However, the movement to free the slaves was well underway at the time of this story. It wasn’t quite fully respectable, being associated with “non-conformists” who weren’t members of the Church of England. Without being preachy, I always remember that the hymn “Amazing Grace” was written by a reformed slave captain.
gilray_corner

The idea of freeing slaves was not popular with the aristocracy. The lower left corner of the Gilray cartoon from last week shows an apish caricature of Africans signing an anti-slavery petition in the context of a gin-soaked and riotous assembly.

 

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.
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.

Advertisements

The Art of Deception 49

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

12241791_735836876546522_6197947469406170479_n

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?”

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


My apologies for creative punctuation.

gillray_copenhagen_house

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.
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.

The Art of Deception 48

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

12241791_735836876546522_6197947469406170479_n

This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar.  In the last installment, Lord Grey met with both Roderick and Alice. Lady Grey has brought her daughter and Alice to pay a social call on Roderick. We meet with Thomas and his wife again.


Once inside, it was clear that the work on opening up the house had only just begun; Holland covers were on almost all of the furniture and the front parlour hung with dusty cobwebs, “Massa’s in back; Thomas and I cleared out the dining parlour.”

Lord Roderick, apparently was listening, “Hannah,” he called from deep within the building, “I’m not ‘Massa’, I’m Roderick, Lord Fitzpatrick.”

“Yes, Massa, Lord Fitzpatrick is in the parlour, if you’d follow.”

She led them to a small room, away from the noise of the street and conveniently lit only by windows that opened onto the garden; It was comfortably furnished; clearly, a quiet place to remove to when the strain of life in London required a short break.

Roderick rose from his seat when the women entered the room, “Lady Grey,” he bowed, “Miss Grey and Miss Green; enchanted to see you again.”

Lady Grey was frosty, “That was the most unusual of receptions – have we met?”

“Five years ago, before I was posted to Washington, to keep an eye on those damned rebellious colonists.”

“And you’ve only just returned?”

“As you can see … apparently I met your niece in Bristol.”

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


My apologies for creative punctuation.

taming-of-the-shrew-gillray

Nothing under the sun is new. The late Georgian/Early Regency was a time fraught with fearsome change and political turmoil.

This Gilray cartoon from 1791 shows William Pitt taming Catherine II of Russia, one of her advisors and the King of Prussia. She had tried to interfere with internal affairs in various parts of Europe and the Middle East. Pitt is shown as Petruchio (e.g. ‘Little Rock’ or more figuratively ‘Clod hopper’) from Shakespeare. He’s joined by other members of his government as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. A mixed metaphor to say the least. King George III, descending on his way into madness after the loss of his American colonies (other than Canada), is kissing the horse’s tail. It could be worse.

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.
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.

The Art of Deception 47

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

12241791_735836876546522_6197947469406170479_n

This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar.  Last week saw the return, at least by reference, of Thomas and a discussion of Miss Haytor.


Lord Grey cleared his throat, “Miss Green is a professional; no others, not that I’m aware of.  You will need more servants, of course, but your servants started removing the Holland covers and cleaning out the place; should be comfortable, but not.”

“Not up to the standard expected of me.”

“Precisely; however, I should like it if you and Miss Green should discuss your social plans. Perhaps my dear wife and daughter can escort their cousin for a courtesy visit this afternoon; Lady Grey can help arrange for suitable servants; can’t just have any riff-raff in your house, never know what you’ll find. In the meantime, I need to return Miss Green home; before they worry about us.”

Lord Roderick rose, bowed, and said, “That seems wise; Miss Green, say three?”

“I’d be delighted, and I promise not to punch you this time; as long as you don’t rip my gown again.”

Lord Grey approved of the meeting, “Excellent, I see you’re off to a good start, capital; three it is.”

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


My apologies for creative punctuation.

 

an-old-maid-on-a-journey-1804-gilray

Servants were a problem. The bell pull to call them had recently been invented (recently in the relatively slow time frame of the Georgian world – about 1750), so they no longer slept by your door. Still keeping things private was not easy. So Sir Roderick and Lord Grey are correct to be worried about trustworthy servants and not just any riff-raff. The Gilray cartoon shows an old-maid accompanied by a maid/companion and two footmen. You may notice that the footmen aren’t in uniform. It wasn’t until quality cloth became cheap enough in the early years of Queen Victoria that servant uniforms became universal. Before then you could tell a servant from the quality by the quality of their cloth.  (By the way – notice one of the footmen is teasing a cat with the lady’s singing bird.)

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.
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.

The Art of Deception 46

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

12241791_735836876546522_6197947469406170479_n

This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar.  Roderick had just enquired after his valet/chief co-conspirator Thomas in last week’s snip. This week we find out where he is, and a few other things.


“He and his wife are at your townhouse, surely-”

“I came here directly; stayed with Edward Spode last night as we arrived from Bath late in the evening; the poor man is besotted about some blasted female. She disappeared from Bath and we can’t find her.”

Alice suggested, with a hint of laughter in her voice, “Lucinda Haytor?”

“That’s the name; how did you know? Wait, don’t tell me … she’s another agent.”

“I won’t then, she’s a student at Mrs Hudson’s private academy. I gather Mrs Hudson would like her to move on, but not to active service and if Mr Spode is cleared, I can put her in contact with him.”

Roderick turned to Lord Grey, “Any other amateur young women I should know about?”

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


My apologies for creative punctuation.

 

Champagne – likely to be consumed about this time – either to celebrate the new or console one to the losses of the old, is widely thought to be a French invention. Thanks to the Treaty of Versailles the name is legally bound to the Champagne region of France – except in the USA which never signed the treaty (so we’re technically still at war with Imperial Germany).

What’s interesting is that Champagne has deep English roots – a Dr Christopher Merret, from Gloucester, published the mechanics of sparkling wine in a 1662 paper to the royal society. It was sparkling cider, not white wine, but Dom Perignon’s “I’m drinking stars” moment shouldn’t have been a big surprise.  (There are reports of sparkling cider and wine going back to the 1630’s in England.)

The modern process of producing champagne in large quantities and with something that resembles reliability is a French invention. So this “We did it first” is a case of sour grapes. None the less, it was the English who first made bottles that were strong enough to safely hold the sparkling wine.

The featured image shows a collection of 18th and 19th century wine bottles from the society for historical archaeology.

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.
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.

The Art of Deception 45

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

12241791_735836876546522_6197947469406170479_n

This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar.  Alice remained silent last week, even though she had her doubts about the situation. This week ties up a few ends from the the first part of the book with the reappearance of Thomas, Roderick’s trusted valet/man of work/co-conspirator.


“Good, glad to see you agree. … Roderick, your, ah, shipment arrived last month; wise move to send it separately.”

Roderick replied, “Thought it best if they came on a ship from Philadelphia. Good thing, you should have seen Captain Lewis’ face when he searched the packet ship off New York City. Came in on one of their faster ships at full speed, topsails and gallants fluttering, and stopped us on the Lower Bay. Of course, there was nothing to find. Thomas was already on his way.”

“I extracted the goods. Well done, I must add, that codebook and copy of Mr Jefferson’s machine will be most useful, and the F.O. appreciates your copy of the secret agreement about Louisiana and the possibility of using Colonel Burr for our ends. Always best to be one step ahead of the opposition.”

Roderick asked, “Where is Thomas?”

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


My apologies for creative punctuation.

 

The Christmas (and by the way I hope you are having a good one, or if you don’t celebrate it a happy holiday season in any case. Io Saturnalia!) traditions we celebrate today really had their start in the Victorian era. There’s the Dickens to pay for that. Seriously, modern traditions stem from a sentimental resurgence in the 1820-1830’s coupled with some German traditions brought over by Prince Albert. Charles Dickens did his bit to bring them about.

That said, Christmas was a time to gather family, feast, and celebrate that you’d made it through another year.  Sounds like the right idea to me.

 

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.
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.

The Art of Deception 44

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

12241791_735836876546522_6197947469406170479_n

This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar.  Last week continued Alice’s formal introduction to Sir Roderick – who she had chased through Bristol and Bath while she thought he was a French spy. Neither of them is overly keen on the other right at this moment.


Roderick objected, “Sir, she had me arrested in Bristol, and then in Bath; I’d rather not say, Sir; it still hurts; she assaulted two militia-men and … What a tangle.”

“So I understand … why didn’t you give her the recognition signal?”

“I did, or has it changed since I’ve been out of the country?”

Alice asked, “What recognition signal, Uncle … I still can’t-”

Lord Grey laughed at the idea, “Nonsense; Alice my dear, Roderick is an accomplished agent; One of the best, ever; I can’t imagine a better mentor for you. Besides, whether you like him or not, his re-emergence into society will provide an excellent cover story; you only have to dance with him, once or twice a night at diverse assemblies. Surely, that cannot be too objectionable; it’s not like I’m asking you to accept his hand.”

Alice’s expression suggested it might be, but she remained silent.

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


My apologies for creative punctuation.

The dates are off by a few months but one of the things Roderick brings with him is correspondence with Aaron Burr, the then vice-president of the United States.

vanderlyn_burr

Most people remember Burr for his duel with Alexander Hamilton. However he was in contact with the British ambassador Anthony Merry (who appears earlier in this sequence).  He, Burr that his, offered to bring part or all of the Louisiana purchase to the British for the measly sum of half-a-million dollars. That and an naval fleet. Jefferson found out and had him tried for treason. The evidence was inconclusive, but Burr joined people like Benedict Arnold in the anti-hagiography of American history. Foreign involvement in American politics goes back a long time.

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.
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.