The Art of Deception 47

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

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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

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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

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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

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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.

The Art of Deception 43

The Art of Deception

or Pride and Extreme Prejudice

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This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar.  Last week Alice met the agent she would work with. It was … something of a surprise. The conversation continues.


Alice stood and pointed, “You!”

“You!”

“What are”

“You”

“Doing”

“Here?”

Roderick ignored Alice and demanded, “That was my question, I can’t possibly work with her, Lord Grey.”

“Nor I him, please Uncle.”

Lord Grey beamed at them, “I see you’ve met; excellent; saves time on tedious introductions.”

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


My apologies for creative punctuation.

The discussion will shortly turn to various items Sir Roderick brought back from “those rebellious colonists.” One of the things he absconded with is a copy of “Mr Jefferson’s machine.” Thomas Jefferson is one of the several inventors of a wheel cipher.

m94-c-1200 The wheel cipher, in this case a more modern implementation that was used until the start of the second world war, is not bad. It would have been difficult for 19th century cryptographers to break. But not impossible.
m-138-a_strip_cipher_2 The US has a long history of using this system or its logical equivalent – strip ciphers. The message is put in one column and then some other column is read out as a cipher. Paper strips replaced the wheel cipher because they’re easier to change and more important in a battlefield situation, easier to destroy. Since nearly every soldier smoked, and the paper was typically nitrated, it would only take a touch of flame to hide the key.

These ciphers also illustrate an important concept in security. They (the modern ones) were not intended for top secret communications, but instead were used to handle tactical secrets. For example, to let the artillery know which German hill to shell without letting the Germans know until the shells fell on them.

It may seem strange that the British are still referring to the Americans as colonists. It took another war to finally convince them that independence was here to stay. The bad feelings lingered into the start of the first world war, where had the Germans been vaguely clueful, we could have come in on their side. The statue of Baron von Steuben at Valley Forge NHP was donated in 1915 by the ‘German-American Bund’ and German language newspapers were common in the US until the Zimmerman telegram and the Lusitania.

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 42

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 Alice sat, nervous, in her uncle’s office while he reviewed her work. Pleased with it, this week he elevates her to active status and introduces the agent with whom she will work.


“Yes, I’m assigning you to work with one of our best agents, Roderick, Lord Fitzpatrick; he’s just back from a long stint in the Americas.”

“Sounds delightful, is he handsome?”

“I’m sure you’ll like him; just the man to squire you around the assemblies; one of the leading tulips of the ton, a real nonesuch. Odd thing is, he also reported finding a French agent, in Bristol and then Bath; the agent hit him so hard that he ended up in the hospital overnight; do you think it was the same one?”

Alice pondered his words for a few moments, and said, “Might be, he was … rather obvious about it.”

“Funny thing that, Lord Roderick said she was-”

The servant knocked on the door.

“Come in.”

He and Lord Roderick entered.

Alice stood and pointed, “You!”

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


My apologies for creative punctuation.

promo_dec_16

Lots of great books and one of mine (Frankenkitty)
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).

 

first_motorcycle_and_gasoline_vehicle
This is a little later (1880’s), but shows the first gasoline vehicle. Note that it’s a motorcycle. I doubt Herr Benz wore “All The Gear All The Time,” but then he didn’t have to worry about those new fangled automobiles on his roads.

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 41 London

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.  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.”

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


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.

brit_tel_op

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.
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.