D.W. Wilkin: Caution’s Heir

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My Dear Lady Chevly

You know that as we are the closest of friends I never in all the long years that we have known each, resort to gossip.

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Oops, ink spill, I have to cut a new quill.

I know you are thinking of the time I shared that delicious piece about Devonshire, and then well the other time about Caro Lamb, but who wasn’t talking about Caro then. Poor creature.

Very well, I am sure you want to know as quickly as I can relate it, especially before someone mentions it and you are nabbed. I so hate being betwattled that way.

It is Bartle’s nephew, Daventry. Oh, I know you know all about how he took that fool Hroek for everything he had. And how your Chevly was there and said that Daventry was a gentleman through and through, trying to make light of the bet and return it all to Hroek. Shame that the man was not like his elder brother. Now that was a marquess!

And I well remember how we both made eyes at the man when he came to Town. The old marquess, not his nit of a brother. Well, did you know that the new one had a daughter? I surely didn’t. She’s never been to Town nor had a season at all. Well, of course not if she’s never been to Town. Louisa. That is her name. Lady Louisa Booth.

Well, she is in London now. Showed up at the Earl of Daventry’s house this very morning. She and her companion and claimed that as how Daventry won everything from her father, who has apparently fled for the Americas, including all in his house, Daventry had won her too!

I know you must be choking, as I was when my maid ran in to inform me of all that was taking place about Golden Square. I haven’t got more than a glimpse of the girl through the window, and she looks fetching from what I can see. Wouldn’t that just choke Bartle as if she swallowed a fish bone. Her nephew married to a penniless chit, when she hopes to snare a fortune for the man and repair the wealth that her brother the Duke has wasted.

I intend to drop my card over there later and hope that the girl will call upon me. I will write as soon as she does.

Yours,

Dartenmore

About Caution’s Heir

coverTeaching a boor a lesson is one thing.

Winning all that the man owns is more than Lord Arthur Herrington expects. Especially when he finds that his winnings include the boor’s daughter!

The Duke of Northampshire spent fortunes in his youth. The reality of which his son, Arthur the Earl of Daventry, learns all too well when sent off to school with nothing in his pocket. Learning to fill that pocket leads him on a road to frugality and his becoming a sober man of Town. A sober but very much respected member of the Ton.

Lady Louisa Booth did not have much hope for her father, known in the country for his profligate ways. Yet when the man inherited her gallant uncle’s title and wealth, she hoped he would reform. Alas, that was not to be the case.

When she learned everything was lost, including her beloved home, she made it her purpose to ensure that Lord Arthur was not indifferent to her plight. An unmarried young woman cast adrift in society without a protector. A role that Arthur never thought to be cast as. A role he had little idea if he could rise to such occasion. Yet would Louisa find Arthur to be that one true benefactor? Would Arthur make this obligation something more? Would a game of chance lead to love?

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Caution’s Heir Website

About the Author

UntitledAn award winning author, Mr. Wilkin is a graduate in history. He has been writing in various genres for thirty years. Extensive study of premodern civilizations, including years as a re-enactor of medieval, renaissance and regency times has given Mr. Wilkin an insight into such antiquated cultures.

Trained in fighting forms as well as his background in history lends his fantasy work to encompass mores beyond simple hero quests to add the depth of the world and political forms to his tales.

Throughout his involvement with various periods of long ago days, he has also learned the dances of those times. Not only becoming proficient at them but also teaching thousands how to do them as well.

Mr. Wilkin regularly posts about Regency history at his blog, and is a member of English Historical Fiction Authors. His very first article was published while in college, and though that magazine is defunct, he still waits patiently for the few dollars the publisher owes him for the piece.

Mr. Wilkin is also the author of several Regency romances, and including a sequel to the epic Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. His recent work, Beggars Can’t Be Choosier has won the prestigious Outstanding Historical Romance award from Romance Reviews Magazine.

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Maggi Andersen: What a Rake Wants (The Spies of Mayfair Series)

Interview With Maggi Andersen

Susana: What inspired you to start writing?

Maggi: I needed little inspiration I remember writing at a very young age. When I had the time to devote to a career in writing, I took it up seriously.

Susana: How long have you been writing?

AuthorPicMaggi: I began 15 years ago. I wrote my first book for my master’s degree. It was a murder mystery titled Murder in Devon.

Susana: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Maggi: Patience is something writers need in spades, although these days it’s not nearly as bad as it was years ago, when we had to post everything and wait months for a reply. It takes time to find your voice and learn your craft though. Don’t be too hasty sending off your work. Make sure it’s as perfect as you can get it. Put it aside for as long as you can and then look at it with new eyes. You’ll be surprised at the mistakes you’ll find, and what you can see to improve it. Wait a few weeks if you can. Another example of why we need patience! J

Susana: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Maggi: No, never. I don’t believe in it. If I run out of ideas, I just start writing. The creative brain kicks into action and something will come. You can always edit the first draft. You can’t edit a blank page.

Susana: What comes first: the plot or the characters?

Maggi: When I first began writing it was plot driven, but now the characters drive the story. Sometimes, without me at the wheel.

Susana: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Maggi: I tend to be a bit of both. I know the ending. It’s not hard it’s a romance! I plot a scene ahead but that can change as the characters lead me off somewhere surprising. I like the panster element in my writing because it can go off on tangents I would never have thought of plotting the story. A spy story or mystery needs more plotting. I like to end up with a reasonable first draft.

Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Maggi: Flynn, Lord Montsimon is playing the game of a rake due to the hurt he suffered as a child in Ireland. It takes a woman like Lady Althea Brookwood to show him his true feelings and melt his heart. My inspiration for Flynn came from Errol Flynn, the Australian actor. Despite his racy reputation, Flynn was known to be a cultured gentleman. I love his movies, who doesn’t like Captain Blood?

Susana: Are you working on something at present that you would like to tell us about?

Maggi: I’m writing another Regency series, The Baxendale Sisters. The first is Lady Honor’s story. The book is titled: Honor’s Debt.

Susana: What are you reading now?

Maggi: Not a historical. Slow Hand by Victoria Vane. It’s great!

Susana: What author or authors have most influenced your writing?

Maggi: Surprisingly, Harlan Coben. A suspense writer can learn a lot from the way he crafts his stories. My love of historials came from Georgette Heyer, Victoria Holt, Eloisa James and Jane Austen. I like Julia Quinn and Anna Campbell too.

Susana: What is your work schedule like when writing?

Maggi: I spend long hours at my desk every day. (My husband is retired from the law and does the cooking). I don’t write at night, I join him to watch something on the television or read.

Susana: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Maggi: I dreamed of living in an English country village while writing. (My artist mother was born of English parents, and this was her dream too) I now live in a quaint, Australian country village in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, where tourists come to see the spring gardens. And I spend my days writing, so I guess I’ve come close to living my dream.

Susana: What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

Maggi: My love of all kinds of cheeses, which comes from my Danish father. Least favorite, any kind of offal. I remember my Dad loved brains and my mother would cook them for him on his birthday. Yuk!

Susana: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

Maggi: My first job was in a bank, and for a creative person like me, I found it difficult and boring. I can balance a check book though.

Susana: Is there a writer you idolize? If so, who?

Maggi: I’d have to say Mary Stewart who died recently in her 90s. She was a poet and wrote the first romantic suspense novels. I have her entire library.

Question for the Readers: What problem didn’t occur to Althea when she chose the gown she wore?

About What a Rake Wants

WARW2 copyKing George sends his private investigator, an Irishman, Kieran Flynn, Lord Montsimon, on a mission, the reason for which is unclear. Is it a plot against the Crown? Or something entirely unrelated? Flynn’s inquiries lead him to the widow, Lady Althea Brookwood. Known amongst the ton as a rake, Flynn is rarely turned down by a lady, and when Althea refuses not just him but many other men, he becomes intrigued.

After her neighbor, Sir Harold Crowthorne informs Lady Althea that he means to take her country property, Owltree Cottage, by fair means or foul, she must search for help. The first man she turns to is promptly murdered and the second lies to her. That leaves Flynn, Lord Montsimon, a man she has been studiously avoiding. But Montsimon is decidedly unhelpful, and more than a little mysterious. Her only option is to seduce him. Lady Althea has little confidence that she will succeed, especially as before her husband was killed in a duel, he often told her she was quite hopeless at intimacy.

When a spy is murdered, Flynn wonders just what Althea knows and what her involvement might be with the man the king wants Flynn to investigate.

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Excerpt

(Lord Montsimon and Lady Althea Brookwood are forced to share a bed for the night.)

The attic room had a low, sloping ceiling. A green hook rug covered the floor and a jug, basin, and towels had been placed on the tall dresser. A straight-backed chair sat in the corner and the bed against the far wall. Mrs. Fletcher’s description of the bed had been accurate: the small wooden bedstead was covered in a bright quilt and not designed for two. Althea stared at it, her throat tight with dismay, as Montsimon shut the door. His nearness in the small space was overwhelming.

Seemingly unaffected, Montsimon peeled off his coat and sat on the feather-filled mattress, which sank visibly under his weight. He looked annoyingly at home. He tugged at his cravat then undid the buttons on his shirt to reveal a strong throat and a glimpse of dark chest hair. She took in the male strength, the cleanliness and beauty of him and turned away to fuss with her cloak before hanging it over the chair.

“Would you help me off with my boots?”

“I’m hardly a valet,” she said, sounding peevish.

“Not as strong, but we shall manage,” he said with a grin. His waistcoat joined his coat on the chair. How much was he going to remove? She wished her breath would slow.

Althea took hold of the mud-splashed, black leather Hessian boot and pulled. It didn’t budge.

“Perhaps a bit harder?”

Annoyed by his manner, she gave a violent yank. The boot slid down Montsimon’s well-defined calf so fast she fell onto her derriere on the hard plank floor.

“Are you all right?” His grin widened as he leapt up.

“Perfectly.” She waved his hand away and climbed to her feet, resisting a rub of the damaged area. “Your other foot if you please.”

“If you’re sure?” he asked with a burst of laughter.

With a dismissive scowl, she planted her feet and taking a firm hold of the boot, eased it down more gradually. It slid off his leg without further mishap. There was something disturbingly intimate about his broad chest encased in white linen, the form-fitting grey trousers and his big stockinged feet. Had she ever seen Brookwood this way? He always came to her chamber dressed in his banyan and slippers. And she had dreaded the sight of him.

Montsimon stood, ducking his head under a beam. “You’ll never manage that dress on your own.”

She crossed her arms. “I’m keeping it on.”

“Such a pretty gown was meant for a drawing room, not for sleeping in.”

“Nevertheless, I shall sleep in it.” She perched on the chair and took off her shoes.

He frowned. “Give me a look at those.”

“Why?” She handed them to him.

He turned a shoe over in his big hands. The sole of one had worn through. “These are about to fall apart. I had no idea you wore such flimsy shoes.”

“They are meant for drawing rooms, my lord. As is my dress.”

“That gown will look like a rag in the morning. As you have nothing else to change into, you will have to bear it until we return to London.”

Why did he so often make sense? She brushed down her skirts, which were already dreadfully crushed, and was forced to agree. She wasn’t a shy, green girl; she just didn’t want to inflame Flynn’s passions. It would take very little, she suspected. But her underwear covered her and was perfectly modest. “The bed is too small. A gentleman would sleep in the chair.”

His eyebrows flew up. “It’s made of wood.”

“Obviously.”

He flapped a hand in dismissal. “I intend to sleep in that bed, my lady. Where you choose to sleep is entirely up to you. I’m going downstairs to wash at the pump. While I’m away, you can undress and hide beneath the covers.” He paused, one hand on the doorknob. “Again, do you require help to undo those impossible little buttons at your back?”

“Odd that this problem didn’t occur to me when I chose to wear it.” Her lips puckered in annoyance. While they were arguing, what remained of the night was passing. She turned her back. “If you will.” If he treated her like a servant, she would do likewise.

Her hair had begun to escape the topknot, and she swept it up out of the way, scattering pins. She tingled under the gentle touch of his fingers as they moved down her back. Her gown fell away. “What are you doing?”

“Unlacing your stays. You can’t sleep in this uncomfortable garment!”

“I had intended to,” she said, pulling away as he tugged at the laces. Too late, she felt them give.

“You have lovely hair, Althea,” he said softly.

His use of her name was very seductive. Her pulse skittered alarmingly. She spun around, clutching the bodice of her dress to her chest as her stays slipped to the floor.

Montsimon looked her up and down, warm approval in his gaze.

She backed away from him, longing for the shelter of darkness. “Once I’m in bed, shall I blow out the candle?”

“If you wish.” Montsimon closed the door behind him.

About the Author

Maggi Andersen lives with her lawyer husband in a quaint old town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia. She began writing fiction after raising three children and studying for a BA and an MA in Creative Writing.

When not creating stories, Maggi reads, enjoys her garden, goes for long walks and feeds the local wildlife. Her six kookaburras (Australian Kingfishers) prefer to be hand fed.

An Amazon bestselling Regency author, Maggi writes in several genres, contemporary and historical romances and young adult novels. Having grown up reading Enid Blyton and Georgette Heyer, Maggi’s romances are filled with adventure, mystery or intrigue, but always with a happy ending.

Her latest releases:

The Spies of Mayfair Series

A Baron in Her Bed

Taming a Gentleman Spy

What a Rake Wants

Website

Historical Tidbit

Did you know that in the fifteenth century, only a few could afford glass windows? They became more common in the sixteenth but were still expensive. When people moved they took their windows with them! Tudor windows were small pieces of glass held together by strips of lead in a criss-cross or lattice pattern. To make a pane of glass, a blog of glass was blown into a cylinder-shaped bubble, which was placed on a cooling table. Then afer the bubble cooled, it was cut in half producing a small piece.

The poor, however, still had to make do with strips of linen soaked in linseed oil.

Hardwick Hall, owned by Dowager Countess of Shrewsbury, was famous for its Tudor windows. It inspired a rhyme: “Hardwick Hall more glass than wall.”

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Marlow Kelly: A Woman of Honour

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About A Woman of Honour

Duncan Campbell wakes to discover he is imprisoned with a woman in his enemy’s dungeon in the Highlands of Scotland. The disenchanted warrior hopes his last few moments on earth will be spent in the arms of the sweet-voiced Isabel. If only she will cooperate.

Isabel Douglas has no intention of obliging the crude captive. The penniless noblewoman considers herself too tall and thin to be desirable. She intends to become a nun. But first, disguised as a boy, she must deliver an important letter to Scotland’s hero in hiding, King Robert the Bruce.

Together, the pair make a daring escape that plunges them into the bleak countryside in the middle of winter. In the struggle to survive, they learn the true strength of their feelings for each other. But when Duncan’s animosity towards the king becomes evident, Isabel must decide between her heart and her country.

Excerpt

Cover_A Woman of Honour copyDuncan Campbell drifted into consciousness and opened his eyes to absolute blackness. He lay perfectly still on the cold, dirt floor listening. A small rustle of fabric echoed in the darkness. He cocked his head, getting a sense of the sound’s location, then rose to his feet.

“Tell me who you are before I tear you apart,” he roared, seizing his opponent. Whoever it was didn’t answer, just silence. A fist punched him on the nose. Pain ricocheted through him, and he grabbed his face. In the dark, he lost his balance and fell in the dirt, cradling his head in his hands.

“Oh my, are you all right?” asked a small voice.

“No, I’m not.”

“You threatened me, and I wanted to give you fair warning I will fight back if you touch me.”

The lyrical voice stunned him. A woman? She spoke Gaelic with a strong, lowland accent. He shook off the pain and asked, “Where am I?”

“Dunstaffnage Castle. Don’t you remember your capture? I’ve heard of people getting a bump on the head and not remembering their own name. Is that what happened to you? Did you bump your head?”

Lord, she was talkative.

“Is it?”

“I remember I was hit from behind scouting the bast….Are we in the dungeon?” He rose to his feet.

“Yes.”

He grunted. On the bright side he hadn’t gone blind. On the other hand they were in a dank, windowless cell with no hope of escape. There wasn’t even a sliver of light coming through the door.

About the Author

After being thrown out of England for refusing to drink tea, Marlow Kelly made her way to Canada where she found love, a home and a pug named Max. She also discovered her love of storytelling. Encouraged by her husband, children and let’s not forget Max, she started putting her ideas to paper. Her need to write about strong women in crisis drives her stories and her curiosity regarding the lives and loves of historical figures are the inspiration for her characters.

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The Exeter Road: Stonehenge, Dorchester and the Sad Story of the Monmouth Uprising

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The following post is the tenth of a series based on information obtained from a fascinating book Susana recently obtained for research purposes. Coaching Days & Coaching Ways by W. Outram Tristram, first published in 1888, is chock full of commentary about travel and roads and social history told in an entertaining manner, along with a great many fabulous illustrations. A great find for anyone seriously interested in English history!

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A = Stonehenge, B = Sedgemoor

Stonehenge

Mr. Outram declines to say much about Stonehenge

because everybody has written about it, and most people have read what has been written. If anybody however has not seen it, should chance to be in the neighbourhood I would advise them (without troubling themselves much beforehand as to whether it is Druidical, or post Roman, or built by the Belgae) to approach it from Amesbury about sunset, when they will see what they will see, and return home—or I am in error—well-pleased with what they have seen.

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The Woodyates Inn and the Taking of Monmouth

James Scott, Duke of Monmouth was the illegitimate son of Charles II and his mistress, Lucy Walter. There were rumors of a marriage between the two, which would have made the duke heir to the throne, but Charles II himself maintained that his only wife was the queen, Catherine of Braganza. Unfortunately, he and Catherine never had any children, so when he died, the throne passed to his brother, who became James II.

James Scott, Duke of Monmouth

James Scott, Duke of Monmouth

James had Catholic leanings and was married to a Catholic wife, and  this caused a great deal of unrest. Few people wanted to see the sort of bloody inquisition that occurred in the reign of Mary I. Monmouth was good-looking and as charming as his father and decidedly Protestant, so there were many who preferred to believe that he was the true heir, as he did himself, declaring on multiple occasions that he was the true King and even undergoing a coronation of sorts.

It was not to be, however. Monmouth’s forces were defeated by King James II’s armies on the

bleak plain of Sedgemoor, and crushed for ever the daring hopes of the brilliant young nobleman who was for so long the darling of the West. The memory of Monmouth is still preserved about Woodyates. It was close to the Woodyates Inn that the giving in of the desperately ridden horses stopped the flight of Monmouth, Grey, and Buyse to the sea. Here the fugitives turned their horses loose, concealed the bridles and saddles, disguised themselves as rustics, and made their way on foot towards the New Forest; and quite close by they fell into the hands of James’s troopers. Monmouth himself was taken on the Woodlands Estate near Horton, his captors failing for some moments to recognise in the gaunt figure, crouching in a ditch, dressed like a shepherd, with a beard of three days’ growth, already prematurely grey, the once brilliant and graceful son of Charles II and Lucy Walters.

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Monument of the Battle of Sedgemoor

Dorchester and the Bloody Assize of Judge Jeffreys

A = Sedgemoor B = Dorchester

A = Sedgemoor, B = Dorchester

Although he begged forgiveness of his uncle and converted to Catholicism, the wayward Monmouth was executed for treason at Tower Hill. The disposition of his followers is described below.

“The court, writes Macaulay, “was hung, by order of the chief justice, with scarlet, and this innovation, seemed to the multitude to indicate a bloody purpose. It was also rumoured that when the clergyman who preached the assize sermon enforced the duty of mercy, the ferocious countenance of the judge was distorted by an ominous grin. These things made men augur ill of what was to follow.

“More than three hundred prisoners were to be tried. The work seemed heavy, but Jeffreys had a contrivance for making it light. He let it be understood that the only chance of obtaining pardon or respite was to plead guilty. Twenty-nine persons who put themselves on their country and were convicted were ordered to be tied up without delay. The remaining prisoners pleaded guilty by scores. Two hundred and ninety-two received sentence of death.”

Charles Jeffreys, the Hanging Judge

George Jeffreys, the Hanging Judge

James II Deposed

With the birth of a son from his Catholic wife in 1688, the unrest about a Catholic heir increased, and James was deposed, to be replaced by his daughter from his first wife, Mary II, and her husband, William III.

The Exeter Road: The Weyhill Fair, Amesbury Abbey and the Extraordinary Duchess of Queensberry

dust jacket

The following post is the ninth of a series based on information obtained from a fascinating book Susana recently obtained for research purposes. Coaching Days & Coaching Ways by W. Outram Tristram, first published in 1888, is chock full of commentary about travel and roads and social history told in an entertaining manner, along with a great many fabulous illustrations. A great find for anyone seriously interested in English history!

map

The Weyhill Fair

The Telegraph, rival of the Quicksilver which our author repeatedly states can do 175 miles in eighteen hours, used to pass through Weyhill, which was famous for its annual fair, “which would make those people who have never seen one stare.”

This festivity, which is indeed quite an un-English and out-of-the-way sight, begins on October 10th (Michaelmas Eve) and goes on for six days, during which all the country-side seems to have broken loose, and high junketings are to be seen. Besides junketings (which prevail chiefly on the last day of the fair in connection with peep-shows of the most blood-curdling description, whirligigs, merry-go-rounds, rifle galleries, and gingerbread) are also to be seen wonderful shows of sheep, magnificent cheeses, the finest hops in England displayed in the Farnham Row, great exhibits of machinery and enormous carthorses, and, enveloping all, a Babel indescribable.

Amesbury and the Abbey

Amesbury is where Guinevere arrived “somewhat late at night, after a ride across the Plain” after her affair with Lancelot was discovered.

“…hither came Queen Elfrida in 980…after her murder of her stepson Edward at Corfe; and, bent like all medieval murderesses suffering from a temporary mental depression, on building a church. When she came to the point however, and had interviewed the architect and the abbot, she went the whole hog and built an abbey.”

Amesbury Abbey (the church)

Amesbury Abbey (the church)

Prior to Henry VIII’s dissolution, the abbey played host, when “the Exeter road at that time was but a medieval cart-track, and a very bad one too,” to Eleanor of Brittany, sister of Prince Arthur and Mary, sixth daughter of Edward I. “Eleanor, Queen of Henry III, died here, and Katharine of Aragon stayed for a while here on her first arrival in England in 1501.”

Following the dissolution, “the abbey of Amesbury became Amesbury Abbey and passed from the Earl of Somerset, to whom it was granted by Henry VIII, into the respective hands of the Aylesburys, Boyles, and Queensberrys…”

The Abbey eventually became the parish church, and the nearby mansion of the same name built by Inigo Jones is now part of a group by the same name that operates nursing and retirement homes in the area.

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Amesbury Abbey (the stately home)

This is where Kitty, “the charming Duchess of Queensberry played the Lady Bountiful in the place, and by entertaining Prior and Gay the Abbey graced the quaint old Wiltshire town with the memories of two of the not least celebrated of the English humorists.”

The Duchess of Queensberry

According to the Douglas family history, Catherine Douglas, née Hyde, was an outspoken, rather eccentric woman who “loved walking, avoided alcohol and was an enthusiastic planter of trees at her husband’s estates.” She’d grown up “in a household frequented by literary celebrities,” and it was she about whom Prior wrote the poem “The Female Phaeton: Upon Lady Kitty’s First Appearing in Public” when she was sixteen.

Catherine Douglas, Duchess of Queensberry

Catherine Douglas, Duchess of Queensberry

Following her marriage to Charles Douglas, 3rd duke of Queensberry, the acclaimed beauty Kitty became an avid patron of the arts, to the point of being exiled from court when her defense of the playwright John Gay offended King George II. Gay spent the last years of his life at the Abbey, where he wrote the Beggar’s Opera, and was given a lavish funeral at his death in 1732.

The Douglas family history fails to mention the fascinating story of Julius Soubise, a Negro slave from the West Indies who was given to the duchess in 1764 when he was ten years old. She gave him a privileged life, treating him as her own son, and he became a noted fencing and riding master, a member of the most exclusive clubs, and quite popular among upper-class social circles. A violinist and singer, he trained in oratory with the actor David Garrick. At times he claimed to be African royalty, calling himself “Prince Ana-Ana-maboe” or the “Black Prince.” It was rumored that the duchess and her protégé had a sexual relationship, so perhaps that is the reason Soubise was left out of the family history. Is it only coincidence that the duchess died two days after Soubise sailed for India?

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Julius Soubise

One reason I love delving into these family histories is the interesting things you find. The 3rd Duke of Queensberry, it turns out, succeeded his father “due to special remainder,” when his older brother James was declared insane. Both of the 3rd duke’s sons predeceased him and the title passed to a distant cousin, William Douglas, who later became a friend of the Prince of Wales.

The Duchess of Queensberry Rules

Actually, it was the 9th Marquess of Queensberry to whom the  1867 code on which modern boxing is based can be attributed (although he was not the author, merely the endorser). This code, meant for both amateur and professional matches, is and was the first to mention the use of gloves for boxing. The dear duchess had nothing to do with it, having passed on ninety years earlier.

Beth Trissel: Traitor’s Legacy

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About Traitor’s Legacy

1781. On opposite sides of the War of Independence, British Captain Jacob Vaughan and Claire Monroe find themselves thrust together by chance and expediency.

Captain Vaughan comes to a stately North Carolina manor to catch a spy. Instead, he finds himself in bedlam: the head of the household is an old man ravaged by madness, the one sane male of the family is the very man he is hunting, and the household is overseen by his beguiling sister Claire.

Torn between duty, love, and allegiances, yearning desperately for peace, will Captain Vaughan and Claire Monroe forge a peace of their own against the vagaries of war and the betrayal of false friends?

Excerpt

Cover_TraitorsLegacy copyShe fixed those wonderful eyes on him, more lethal than a backwoods rifleman. “Shall I lead the way, Captain?”

“Certainly.” He’d be tempted to follow her anywhere. A most unsettling thought.

Nothing about this fetching young lady struck Vaughan as calculating, but for the sake of her adored brother and sacred revolution he strongly suspected she’d try to deceive him. He’d hate to have to make her arrest. In fact, he should loathe it to his core. And he’d only just met her.

Why did she have such a potent effect on him, and why did it seem his fate to encounter beguiling females on the wrong side of this infernal conflict? If they weren’t Rebels to begin with, they inevitably adopted the cause.

Could he persuade Miss Monroe of her duty to the king, to him, and win her allegiance? Perhaps. She’d conducted herself splendidly thus far, and for such a prize he was willing to give his all.

About the Author

Author Beth Trissel copyMarried to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my children, grandbabies, and assorted animals. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. In addition to American settings, I also write historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles, and nonfiction about gardening, herbal lore, and country life.

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The Exeter Road: Basingstoke, Andover and Salisbury and the Events They Witnessed

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The following post is the eighth of a series based on information obtained from a fascinating book Susana recently obtained for research purposes. Coaching Days & Coaching Ways by W. Outram Tristram, first published in 1888, is chock full of commentary about travel and roads and social history told in an entertaining manner, along with a great many fabulous illustrations. A great find for anyone seriously interested in English history!

Basingstoke

In 1645 Cromwell took Basing House after a four-year struggle, stripped the lead off the roof of the Abbey in order to cast bullets, leaving the house in ruins. Basingstoke, however was a popular place for coaches to stop for meals.

Between Basingstoke and Andover is a “desolate country” where coaches could make good time. The White Hart in Whitchurch was a “bustling place” where coaches from London to Salisbury and Oxford to Winchester crossed each other.” (Note: it’s still there and has fifteen rooms available should you desire to stay there!)

Andover

Here Henry VII rested from his labours after suppressing the insurrection of Perkin Warbeck; but whether the miserly Tudor put up at the Star and Garter, or the everlasting White Hart, or their medieval equivalents, if there were any, is more than I can say. It was upon Andover to link another royalty with the place, that James II fell back, after the breaking-up of the camp at Salisbury. Here it was that he was deserted by Prince George [Prince of Denmark, his daughter Anne's husband], remarkable for his impenetrable stupidity and his universal panacea for all contingencies in a catch-word. Whatever happened, “Est-il possible?” was his exclaim. He supped with the king, who was at the moment overwhelmed naturally enough with his misfortunes, said nothing during a dull meal, but directly it was over slipped out to the stable in the company of the Duke of Ormond, mounted, and rode off. James did not exhibit much surprise on learning the adventure, being used to desertion by this time. He merely remarked, “What, is ‘Est-il possible?’ gone too! A good trooper would have been a greater loss;” and left for London—I was going to say by the next coach.

Two important coaching roads diverge about a half-mile out of Andover, which was also the scene of an escaped lioness on the Exeter Mail on October 20, 1816.

Salisbury

salisbury-cathedral-whats-on-in-salisbury“One of the most picturesque towns in the south of England,” Salisbury, where the Quicksilver (which could do 175 miles in 18 hours, our author notes repeatedly) stopped to change horses, “is almost exactly half way between Exeter and London.”

The town of Salisbury, which is eighty miles seven furlongs from Hyde Park Corner, is chiefly remarkable for its cathedral; and it owes this agreeable notoriety to the north wind. This may sounds trange in the ears of those who have not, attired as shepherds, highwaymen or huntsmen, braved the elements in the surrounding plain. Those however who have enjoyed this fortune, will not be surprised to learn, that when the winds raged in the good old days of 1220 round the original church of Old Sarum, which was quite unprotected and perched upon a hill, the congregation were utterly unable to hear the priests say mass; and no doubt they were unable to hear the sermon too. This fact much exercised the good Bishop Poore; and so, a less windy site having opportunely been revealed to him in a dream by the Virgin he got a license from Pope Honorius for removal. Which done—with a medieval disregard for the safety of the local cowherd or government inspector—he aimlessly shot an arrow into the air from the ramparts of Old Sarum, and (unlike Mr. Longfellow’s hero), having marked where it fell, there laid the foundations of the existing beautiful church.

The first among the myriad of royal visitors to Salisbury was Richard II, “who was here immediately before his expedition to Ireland, where he should clearly never have gone.” Apparently the town was not at all impressed with his “amiable inclination towards charging his subjects with his outings,” considering the fact that his household consisted of “ten thousand persons, three hundred of whom were cooks” and for him they had to provide tables. The town “a short time after expressed their thanks for his visit, by, with almost indecent alacrity, espousing the cause of Henry.”

In 1484

Richard III

Richard III

…the hunchbacked Richard honoured Salisbury with his presence; but he was not I expect in the best of tempers, for here to him was brought the Buckingham we have all read of in the play, who had just seized the fleeting opportunity to head an insurrection against the king, in an unprecedentedly wet season in Wales. The result was that he was unable to cross the Severn, and this misfortune brought him too to Salisbury, where Richard was waiting to superintend his execution at what is now the Saracen’s Head.

In the courtyard of this inn, which was then called the Blue Boar, and not “in an open space,” as Shakespeare has described it (as if he were speaking of Salisbury Plain), Buckingham had his head cut oft according to contemporary prescription. We have none of us seen the episode presented on the stage, but we have read the carpenters’ scene, which Shakespeare wrote in, to give the gentleman who originally played Buckingham a chance, and allow a few moments more preparation for Bosworth Field. And we may recollect that it consists princiapply in Buckingham asking whether King Richard will not let him speak to him, and on being told not at all, informing the general company, at some length, that it is All-Souls’ Day, and that as soon as he has been beheaded, he intends to commence “walking”.

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Although the inn has been replaced by Debenham’s, a department store, some say they have seen or experienced the Duke’s ghost, so ladies, you might want to reconsider using the dressing rooms there—just an FYI.

After Richard and Buckingham, there came to Salisbury in the way of kings, Henry VII in 1491. Henry VIII in 1535 with Ann Boleyn, already in all probability engaged in those sprightly matrimonial differences as to men and the things which culminated the year following on Tower Green. Next in order, came to Salisbury, Elizabeth, bound for Bristol, bent, as on all her royal progresses, on keeping her nobility’s incomes within bounds, and shooting tame stags that were induced to meander before her bedroom windows. After the virgin queen came James I, who liked the solitudes which surrounded the Salisbury of those days, for the two-fold reason, firstly, because they saved him in a large measure from the invasion of importunate suitors (who were afraid of having their purses taken on Salisbury Plain before they could proffer their supplications), and, secondly, because they were well stocked with all sorts of game on which he could wreak his royal and insatiable appetite for hunting. The “open” nature of the country might perhaps be added as another reason for the sporting king’s liking for the place: for James was no horseman, and as he was in no danger of meeting a hedge in an area of thirty miles, the going must have suited him down to the ground.

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh

It was also hear that Sir Walter Raleigh, upon his return to England from an unsuccessful expedition to Spain, tried to gain audience with James to explain himself and beg pardon, but was forced to return to London where he was imprisoned and executed.

The merry monarch [Charles II] was here twice, but on neither occasion, I suspect was he peculiarly merry; for after the battle of Worcester, when he lay concealed near the town for a few days, and his companions used to meet at the King’s Arms in John Street, to plan his flight, the Ironsides were much too close on his track to allow opportunity for jesting; and when he came here as king in 1665, all but the most forced mirth was banished from a court which dreaded every day to be stricken by the plague.