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

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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.

The Art of Deception 40

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 came clean to her best friend in the last installment. She’s about to take her leave in this one.


The maid curtsied again and said in a loud voice, “Ma’am I must be about my duties.” She turned to leave and immediately ran into Mr Edward Spode; he and two militiamen had quietly been listening in the background.

“Got you,” He nodded to his two assistants, “Take her to the gaol … careful, now, French spy, you know; devilishly hard to catch this one, and be careful – she can throw a mean punch … put my friend in the hospital with it.”

“Sir, we will,” They saluted and marched Alice off between them.

Edward continued, “I need that missive.”

“It’s personal, from a good friend.”

“Well, we’ll see about that,” He snatched it from Sally and started to read.

Mr Mapleton objected, loudly, “I say; that’s not done; You do not read my fiancée’s correspondence.”

Edward ignored him; then he looked up from the letter, “That woman, who is she?”

“Alice Green, Lady Green’s daughter; there’s simply no way she could be a French spy.”

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).

Very_slippy-weather

Oops, a mistake has been made, but not by me.

This is another Gilray cartoon and it is thought the man slipping is the artist himself.  The English have long had an interesting comic tradition as this Giles cartoon shows.

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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 39

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 time Sally and her fiance met a strangely assertive maid in the Avonside garden (which I should call the parade). The maid didn’t leave, and she had good reasons not to.


“Didn’t you hear me; you may go; please go; now.”

Instead of leaving, the maid stood her ground and said, “Sally, Don’t you recognize me?”

“Alice, what are you doing in that get up?”

“I can’t stay long; I’m desperately sorry for last night.”

“You should be; that was rude; have you grown so above us?”

“No, it’s just, I’m tracking a French spy and you nearly gave the game away.”

“A spy, how exciting; isn’t it exciting Robert?” Sally’s eyes glowed at the idea.

Mr Mapleton said, “I suppose it is; too dashed exciting for me.”

“In any case,” Alice continued, “before I leave, you both have my best wishes; seeing you last night together, I can’t imagine a better match – for either of you.”

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).

british_militia
The militia (Shown here in Gilray’s cartoon “repel all invaders”) will soon make an appearance. Great Britain is on a war-footing with that Corsican monster just miles away over the channel. Mind you the monster would have said kilometres, and his ‘Million man’ army was significantly smaller than a million soldiers (about 100,000 strong). Whatever Napoleon was, and he was many things (mostly bad), he was a master of publicity.

Nearly all the men in England were enrolled in their local militias – but the militias were not anywhere as well organized or skilled as the regulars. Jane Austen’s villain Mr Wickham would have fit right in with them. How he would fare when promoted to the regulars was another question.

Gilray’s cartoon shows typical upper class condescension (in the modern meaning) about the rest of the country. The sorry-looking militia men are all tradesmen (a cobbler, a mason, a painter (Gilray himself?), a tailor, a barber), and they’re led by a baker.

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 38

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 time things came to an unseemly head on the floor of the assembly.


In the morning, Sally and her fiancé, Mr Mapleton strolled together in the lower Avonside garden, “Alice said she’d meet us here; I can’t believe she would be so rude, as cold as she was last night.”

“It certainly was unlike her; I suppose she’s jealous of us.”

“Even so, we were the best of friends; it was almost the cut direct; has she grown so high and mighty as to forget mere gentleman’s daughters?”

A servant girl approached them and curtsied, “Ma’am?”

“Yes, what is it?” Sally struggled to keep the annoyance from her voice; it wasn’t this poor maid’s fault that she’d had words with her former best friend last night.

“Ma’am, I was told to give you this,” She gave Sally a folded letter, “It’s from my mistress.”

Sally snatched it and broke the seal, “It’s for me; you may go.”

The maid stayed.

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


My apologies for creative punctuation.

It’s time for cover designs. Arggh.

servants1893

Most of us don’t have servants (indeed many of our ancestors were servants). So one thing we tend to not appreciate is their ubiquity. A maid could go anywhere without much comment. They saw things that “polite society” would miss. Rather useful for a spy, don’t you think?

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.

Frankenkitty is available.
Frankenkitty What happens when teenagers get to play with Dr Frankenstien’s lab notebooks, a few odd chemicals and a great big whopping coil? Mayhem, and possibly an invitation to the Transylvanian Neuroscience Summer School.

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 37

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 time Alice was more or less “outed” by a friend from back home. Roderick acted in a less than gentlemanly manner. This week, Alice overreacts in a less than lady-like manner, using the skills she so painstakingly learned at Mrs Hudson’s academy.


Alice had little choice. Her gown was both too long and too clingy for a solid kick and a slap to the face was unsatisfactory, so she bunched one of her fives and smashed with all her weight into Roderick’s mid-riff. He toppled over with a satisfying, at least to her, crunch, and slid along the polished floor. She hurriedly whispered, “The lower garden, Avonside, tomorrow morning,” to Sally. Then she disappeared, weaving her way through the crowd with startling ease.

Sally said to Mr Mapleton, “The garden, Avonside? What could she ever mean by that?”

“I should think she desires us to meet her there in the morning.”

Mr Spode looked up from trying to aid his friend, and noted their conversation.

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


My apologies for creative punctuation.

Tempers are flaring in this and the last post.

They’re not the only inflammable thing in the late Georgian/early Regency. The shift from wool, good domestic, “Make Britain Great Again” wool to imported cotton had consequences. One we forget about today, when nearly all cloth is treated to be flame-resistant, was fire. Getting rid of an interfering chaperone or mother-in-law, as Gilray suggests, is an added benefit.

There were others (at least if you were male).

1807-pseudo1740_Fashion-contrast_Bombazine-pun

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.

Frankenkitty is available.
Frankenkitty What happens when teenagers get to play with Dr Frankenstien’s lab notebooks, a few odd chemicals and a great big whopping coil? Mayhem, and possibly an invitation to the Transylvanian Neuroscience Summer School.

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.