Jude Knight: Revealed in Mist

Revealed in Mist and the Sex Trade

In my new release, my heroine is a spy, assigned to work in the house of a courtesan. Courtesans were at the apex of the sex trade: highly-skilled entertainers who traded on their looks and sex appeal to earn a living. The book also includes a visit to a brothel, in the excerpt I share below this historical note.

At the time I write about, according to Dan Cruickshank’s The Secret History of Georgian London, one in five women in London earned income from the sale of sex. He called London:

a vast, hostile, soulless, wicked all-devouring but also fatally attractive place that makes and breaks, that tempts, inflames, satisfies, yet corrupts and ultimately kills.

15357069_723570637792505_509043981_n

Sex workers—defined as those who made some or part of their living by selling sex—ranged from those offering a quick bang up against a wall in a slum alley to those accepting gifts from hopeful admirers while mixing on the fringes of Society. And everything in between.

Most prostitutes seem to have been working class girls who, having surrendered their virtue to a man of their own class, sought some profit from their lapse. One woman said:

she had got tired of service, wanted to see life and be independent; & so she had become a prostitute…She…enjoyed it very much, thought it might raise her & perhaps be profitable

Which it was, giving her enough savings to purchase a coffee house and set up in business. For others, prostitution was seasonal, or a temporary reaction to a financial crisis. Many worked for a year or two, then took their savings home, and married or set up in business. Prostitution might also be a way to supplement income from another job; seamstresses and milliners, in particular, were so poorly paid that many of them sold their bodies as well.

Those who worked in wealthier areas, such as the West End, were more likely to find wealthy clients, and those with bit parts in the theatre, who then—as now—might be turned off in a moment if the performance did not please the audience, were well positioned to find a wealthy admirer to keep them in the style to which they would like to become accustomed.

A clever, pretty, talented girl could hope to attract a generous protector, perhaps even an admirer so besotted he would marry her. It happened, though rarely. More commonly, a man would set his mistress up in a house or apartment, and visit her when he was at leisure until he tired of her or she of him.

Many sex workers, if not most, were in less fortunate circumstances. Those running the brothels sought constantly for fresh girls to please the appetites of their customers. A girl who accepted a job, or even a bed for the night, might find herself put to work whether she wished or not, her virginity auctioned to the highest bidder, and her share of the income withheld to pay for her food, board, clothing, and whatever else the brothel-keeper could imagine.

About Revealed in Mist

15355955_723564717793097_1274535715_n

Their pasts could bring them together or separate them forever.

Prue’s job is to uncover secrets, but she hides a few of her own. When she is framed for murder and cast into Newgate, her one-time lover comes to her rescue. Will revealing what she knows help in their hunt for blackmailers, traitors, and murderers? Or threaten all she holds dear?

Enquiry agent David solves problems for the ton, but will never be one of them. When his latest case includes his legitimate half-brothers as well as the lover who left him months ago, he finds the past and the circumstances of his birth difficult to ignore. Danger to Prue makes it impossible.

SmashwordsiBooksBarnes and Noble

Excerpt

Their first stop was, predictably, a brothel, The Dancing Dove—an expensive brothel, by the youth of the workers and the quality of the fittings, but with the same sickening smells of cheap perfume, sex, sweat, and despair as the others his work had taken him into. He allowed himself to be introduced to a statuesque redhead who was considerably older than she was made up to appear.

“Fanny, show my young friend a good time, eh?” Talbot commanded, and David followed her to one of the rooms.

He had a better use for the bed than the exercise Talbot imagined. He was beginning to feel the loss of a night’s sleep.

“Don’t bother,” he told the prostitute, as she began to unbutton her blouse. “When were the sheets last changed?”

“Maybe three days.” She looked uncertainly at the bed and back at him. “How do you want me then?”

David explained. “What I’d like you to do is sit in the chair over there and wake me in half an hour. Before we leave this room, I’ll give you double what I gave your bawd. And when we get back out there, you’ll pretend to everyone, especially my friend, that we’ve coupled.”

The prostitute frowned. “You’ll pay me. Just to sleep in the bed.”

“On the bed, but yes. Miss Fanny… or is it Miss Frances…? You’re very desirable, but I’m very, very tired, and I’d rather nobody knew…”

She nodded. “It’s Dorothea, really. But Old Hatchet-Face, who owns the place, she said that was not a good name for a whore.”

“Do you have a way to tell the hour, Miss Dorothea?” He’d removed his coat, but he laid it on the bed and stretched out beside it. No point in putting temptation in the woman’s way. He’d wake in an instant if she approached the bed to check his pockets.

She nodded. “I can hear the clock tower down the street. It chimes the quarters. It’ll be just on the half I wake you.”

“Good. Thank you.” His nose wrinkled, but he’d slept in places more rank. Willing his body to relax, he closed his eyes, and Mist was suddenly there stretched beside him. No. He was here to sleep, not to fantasise about the only woman he desired.

“Mister? Mr. Walker?” He woke to the woman’s whisper. “It’s been half an hour.”

Yes. The half was still chiming. Half an hour was not enough, but it took the edge off his weariness. He’d cope.

In the main sitting area, Dorothea poured him a glass of wine and perched on the arm of his chair, leaning against him while he waited for Talbot. Her silence money safely in the pocket she had tied to her waist under her skirt, she had obviously decided to throw herself fully into her part.

Talbot arrived some minutes later, buttoning his breeches. His companion was smiling admiringly up at him, but David caught the contemptuous grimace she passed to her companions behind Talbot’s back.

“That’s the ticket,” Talbot said to David, grinning at the way Dorothea was draped over him. “Can’t get enough of you here, can they? They should pay us for servicing them. Hah! That’s a good one. They should pay us, eh?” And he slapped the bottom of his companion with expansive glee.

“You want another round, Walker? Or what about an exotic dance? I know a place where the girls…” he gestured expansively, shaping improbably curvaceous shapes in the air.

“That sounds very exciting, Sir,” David said, back to being suitably grateful. “Is it a place we could get something to eat, Sir? All that exercise…”

“Good lad. Worked up an appetite, eh? Oh, to be young again. Come on, then, lad. The night is young. We’ll stop at a coffee house and then go on to Sultan’s Palace.”

David saluted Dorothea with a kiss on the cheek and received a warm smile in return. “Best half hour I ever spent in this place,” she told him loudly, “and that’s the truth.”

Meet Jude Knight

Jude Knight copyJude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything.

Website and BlogFacebookTwitterPinterest 

Email Follow me on Amazon

Romance of London: A London Recluse

Romance of London: Strange Stories, Scenes And Remarkable Person of the Great Town in 3 Volumes

John Timbs

John Timbs (1801-1875), who also wrote as Horace Welby, was an English author and aficionado of antiquities. Born in Clerkenwell, London, he was apprenticed at 16 to a druggist and printer, where he soon showed great literary promise. At 19, he began to write for Monthly Magazine, and a year later he was made secretary to the magazine’s proprietor and there began his career as a writer, editor, and antiquarian.

This particular book is available at googlebooks for free in ebook form. Or you can pay for a print version.

suttle-house-carlisle-cumbria

Suttle House, in Carlisle, Cumbria, belonged to a George Blamire and may have been the property George inherited from his mother Jane.

A London Recluse: Mr. George Blamire

Seclusion in a vast metropolis like London—that maelstrom of human affairs—is an anomalous state of existence, which is often set down by unthinking persons as madness; or at least, not sanity:

Thin partitions do their bounds divide.

Nevertheless, this phase of life has been enjoyed by persons of a reflective turn of mind, without being associated with selfishness, or caring nothing for the outside world, but loving,

through the loopholes of retreat

To peep at such a world: to see the stir

Of the great Babel, and not feel crowd.

In one of the fine houses of the Adelphi—No. 1, in Adam Street, the house in which lived Dr. Vicessimus Knox, the “British Essayist”—there died, in September 1863, a recluse of the better class, both as regards station and intellect, and whose sympathies were with the world, though he was, as it were, shut out from its stir. Such was Mr. George Blamire, son of Dr. Blamire, of Carlisle, a gentleman possessed of considerable property, and formerly a barrister. Mr. Blamire had, for nearly twenty years, lived in Adam Street, in almost total seclusion; no person, under any pretence whatever, being allowed to enter the three rooms in his occupation on the first floor. His meals were prepared by his housekeeper, and were left on a tray at the door of the ante-room and then taken in by the deceased; and although many times in a state of ill-health, he refused to have medical aid, but used to have sent in from a chemist’s a quantity of different medicines. All communications to him were received in the same way as his meals, and for more than twelve months he never left his house. He is stated to have been a person of considerable ability, and, although very eccentric in his habits, of perfectly sound mind, and capable of managing his property, which consisted among others of large estates in Cumberland and Cardiff. Death, in such seclusion, must have come with twofold awe. It appears that Mr. Blamire’s housekeeper went up, as usual, with his dinner, but received no reply at the door, and although she frequently called him, she did not again see him alive. In two days, becoming alarmed, she made a communication to the police, and the door was broken open. The floor of the ante-room was strewn with newspapers, writings, &c., chairs, table, and other articles of furniture. The left-hand room… presented even a more extraordinary appearance. At one end was a chimney-glass some twelve feet in height, covered with dust and cobwebs. The furniture, of very handsome description, was in an equally dusty state, while the dust lay on everything to nearly an inch in thickness. The floor was strewn with trunks, papers, and books of science and law of much value. There were also three large bags filled with new boots, several silver spoons lay upon the sideboards; and packages of candles, clothing, &c, were heaped up in the utmost of confusion. Near the doorway was a painting of the Crucifixion, about 12 ft. by 4 ft., said to be of great value. In the right-hand room, furniture, books, paintings, &c., were piled together in dirt and disorder. The deceased was found lying in decomposition, having no doubt been dead several days. He was dressed, but in a very dirty state, and by his side lay the remains of some food. There was neither bed nor bedding; the deceased is stated for twenty years to have slept in the same chair. In other parts of the room were scraps of bread, bottles of wine, and medicine. Upon a further search, 7l. 17s. in a bag, a gold and silver watch, twenty-six silver articles, and other valuables, were found; while upon the floor were scattered thirty keys. Dr. Alfred Harvey afterwards examined the body and made a post-mortem examination, from which it was shown that death had resulted from exhaustion, from low fever accelerated by neglect; the verdict returned by the coroner’s jury. The deceased was a bachelor, and had no near relatives; but he was said to have been very charitable and honourable.

jan_steen_dutch_-_the_satyr_and_the_peasant_family_-_google_art_project

Jan Steen: The Satyr and the Peasant Family, once in the possession of George Blamire, was believed to have been held by the Nazis in 1940 and now found at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Mr. Blamire’s estate was found to include a vault of very old wines, including some 1720 rum that was recorked in 1826 and was upwards of 144 years old when sold at Blamire’s death. The whole stock realized above 1,700l.

Longmont's Magazine, Vol. 16

Longman’s Magazine, Vol. 16

Susanna Blamire (1747–1794), an English poet, known as The Muse of Cumberland, was likely a relative. Her poems, collected in 1842, depicted Cumbrian life and manners.

220px-susanna_blamire_cambruzzi

 

CL Gaber’s Before the Holidays Giveaway Hop

1

`*•.¸(`*•.¸(`*•.¸★¸.•*´)¸.•*´)¸.•*´

Hosted by Teaser Addicts Book Blog

.•*´(¸.•*´(¸.•*´★`*•.¸)`*•.¸)`*•.¸

We have 20 stops giving you a great chance to win AMAZING PRIZES from some Amazing ‪#‎Authors‬ and ‪#‎Bloggers‬.

Each stop is a NEW chance to WIN something great.

Susana’s Giveaway

clgaberprize

A print copy of A Twelfth Night Tale and two lovely ornaments from the UK.

Every stop is different and have different instructions to follow, BE SURE TO READ CAREFULLY SO THAT YOU ARE ENTERED CORRECTLY TO WIN.

✔Read the post below about the Bluestocking Belles’ Holiday Anthology, Holly and Hopeful Hearts and comment on the post. A random commenter will be chosen on December 13th to win the above prize. International participants welcome.

The next stop on the hop is Teaser’s Book Blog.

To enter their prize, jump to the next stop here – Teaser’s Book Blog.

bigstock-christmas-festive-decoration-divider-f-108218954

hhh-meme

8 novellas – 578 pages – $2.99

$0.99 through December!

Amazon US • Amazon UK • Amazon Australia • Amazon Canada

Smashwords • Kobo • Barnes & Noble • iBooks

A Suitable Husband, by Jude Knight

As the Duchess of Haverford’s companion, Cedrica Grenford is not treated as a poor relation and is encouraged to mingle with Her Grace’s guests. Surely she can find a suitable husband amongst the gentlemen gathered for the duchess’s house party. Above stairs or possibly below.

Valuing Vanessa, by Susana Ellis

Facing a dim future as a spinster under her mother’s thumb, Vanessa Sedgely makes a practical decision to attach an amiable gentleman who will not try to rule her life.

A Kiss for Charity, by Sherry Ewing

Young widow Grace, Lady de Courtenay, has no idea how a close encounter with a rake at a masquerade ball would make her yearn for love again. Can she learn to forgive Lord Nicholas Lacey and set aside their differences to let love into her heart?

Artemis, by Jessica Cale

Actress Charlotte Halfpenny is in trouble. Pregnant, abandoned by her lover, and out of a job, Charlotte faces eviction two weeks before Christmas. When the reclusive Earl of Somerton makes her an outrageous offer, she has no choice but to accept. Could he be the man of her dreams, or is the nightmare just beginning?

The Bluestocking and the Barbarian, by Jude Knight

James must marry to please his grandfather, the duke, and to win social acceptance for himself and his father’s other foreign-born children. But only Lady Sophia Belvoir makes his heart sing, and to win her he must invite himself to spend Christmas at the home of his father’s greatest enemy.

Christmas Kisses, by Nicole Zoltack

Louisa Wycliff, Dowager Countess of Exeter wants only for her darling daughter, Anna, to find a man she can love and marry. Appallingly, Anna has her sights on a scoundrel of a duke who chases after every skirt he sees. Anna truly thinks the dashing duke cares for her, but her mother has her doubts.

An Open Heart, by Caroline Warfield

Esther Baumann longs for a loving husband who will help her create a home where they will teach their children to value the traditions of their people, but she wants a man who is also open to new ideas and happy to make friends outside their narrow circle. Is it so unreasonable to ask for toe curling passion as well?

Dashing Through the Snow, by Amy Rose Bennett

Headstrong bluestocking, Miss Kate Woodville, never thought her Christmas would be spent racing across England with a viscount hell-bent on vengeance. She certainly never expected to find love…

About the Belles

bluestockingbelles_smallThe Bluestocking Belles, the “BellesInBlue”, are seven very different writers united by a love of history and a history of writing about love. From sweet to steamy, from light-hearted fun to dark tortured tales full of angst, from London ballrooms to country cottages to the sultan’s seraglio, one or more of us will have a tale to suit your tastes and mood. Come visit us at http://bluestockingbelles.net and kick up your bluestockinged heels!

Website & Blog (The Teatime Tattler)

FacebookTwitterPinterestAmazon Author Page

The Bluestocking Belles proudly support the Malala Fund charity. You can find out more on our website: http://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/the-bellesinblue-support-the-malala-fund/

About Amy Rose Bennett

Amy Rose Bennett has always wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories in her favorite genre. She has a passion for creating emotion-packed—and sometimes a little racy—stories set in the Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and rakish heroes always find their happily ever after.

Website and Blog • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest

About Jessica Cale

Jessica Cale is the award-winning author of the historical romance series, The Southwark Saga. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in North Carolina. Visit her history blog at www.dirtysexyhistory.com.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest

About Susana Ellis

Susana has always had stories in her head waiting to come out, especially when she learned to read and her imagination began to soar.

A former teacher, Susana lives in Toledo, Ohio in the summer and Florida in the winter. She is a member of the Central Florida Romance Writers and the Beau Monde chapters of RWA and Maumee Valley Romance Inc.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest

About Sherry Ewing

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time.

Website and Blog • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest

About Jude Knight

Jude Knight writes stories to transport you to another time, another place, where you can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, and delight in a happy ending.

A late starter, she now has the wind in her sails and a head full of strong determined heroines, heroes with the sense to appreciate them, and villains you’ll love to loathe.

Website and Blog • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest

About Caroline Warfield

Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all she is a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows while she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Website and Blog • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest

About Nicole Zoltack

Nicole Zoltack loves to write romances. When she’s not writing about gentlemen and their ladies, knights, or superheroes, she spends time with her growing family. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and visiting the PA Renaissance Faire. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on.

Website and Blog • Facebook • Twitter • Pinterest

Alina K. Field: The Marquess and the Midwife

Thank you, Susana, for hosting me today!

My Regency Christmas novella, The Marquess and the Midwife, tells the story of a Waterloo hero pursuing the woman he can’t forget, a woman who, by all the standards of polite society, has fallen out of his reach. After losing her position as a genteel companion in the home of a marquess, Ameline Dawes, the heroine of The Marquess and the Midwife, has taken up the practice of midwifery.

Prior to the late Georgian era, childbirth was generally the realm of women, though there were some men involved in the profession. The Chamberlen family of surgeons developed the use of obstetrical forceps and kept their family secret for 150 years. Another earlier male practitioner was a medical doctor, the Scottish physician, William Smellie. An 1876 annotated edition of Smellie’s Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Midwifery is available free on Google Books, and makes for fascinating reading if you’re researching this topic.

By the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century more and more male practitioners were invading this lucrative profession. Medical doctors or physicians did not provide hands-on care, so most of these man-midwifes or accoucheurs, were surgeons, like the man Ameline and her mentor call in to help with a difficult birth.

Ameline’s new profession has provided her with a purpose and a way of supporting her twin girls, and she doesn’t want to give it up, not even for the new marquess, the man who loved her, left her, and now is determined to win her back.

marquess-midwife-final-digital-copy

About The Marquess and the Midwife

Finding the woman he lost turned out to be easy. Winning her is another matter.

Once upon a time, the younger brother of a marquess fell in love with his sister’s companion. He was sent off to war, and she was just sent off, and they both landed in very different worlds.

Now Virgil Radcliffe has returned from his self-imposed exile on the Continent to take up his late brother’s title and discover the whereabouts of the only woman he’s ever loved.

Abandoned by her lover and dismissed by her employer, Ameline Dawes has found a respectable identity as a Waterloo widow, a new life as a midwife, and a safe, secure home for her twin girls. Called to London at Christmas to attend her benefactress’s lying-in, she finds herself confronted by an unexpected house guest–a man determined to woo her anew and win her again.

But, is loving the new Marquess of Wallingford a mistake Ameline cannot afford to repeat?

The Marquess and the Midwife is specially priced at 99 cents through December 31, 2016.

AmazonKoboiBooksBarnes & Noble

Excerpt

He released her and leaned back, and his shirt gaped around a starburst scar, corded and jagged right above his heart.

She gasped and reached to touch it, but he clasped her hand and pushed it away.

“Waterloo?” she whispered. “I’d heard you were wounded, but—”

“I survived,” he said in a tight voice.

Her lungs squeezed and her heart quickened. Had he? If so, it was just barely. He’d been stabbed or speared, or shot, and somehow, somehow, his great heart had carried on. This had been no minor wound. Virgil had suffered terribly.

“I want to see.” She pushed his hand away and grasped his collar. He grabbed for her hand, but she dodged him and ripped the fine cotton, rending the shirt down the front.

Ameline—”

“You have a trunk full of shirts. I want to see.” She knelt before him on the sofa, yanked the shirt down his arms, and studied his chest. Small cuts marked his side and his belly, but the mottled scar was the worst. It would have taken months to fully heal a wound like this from the inside out. He should have died.

Her vision blurred so she couldn’t see. But her hands, trained to examine a babe in the womb, they could see. She flattened her palms and set a course over the ridges knots, and hard ripples.

He surely had almost died. A world without Virgil, without his laughter, and his generally kind heart. He’d used her, true, as men did. It was in a man’s animal nature, wasn’t it? And she’d used him also, hadn’t she? Both of them grieving over his sister’s death, and comforting each other. And she was left with her girls, and things had turned out all right, hadn’t they?

Her hands cupped his shoulders and slipped over to his back. No scars there that she could feel. The ball, or saber, or… what else did men use to kill each other?… had not gone clean through. It had merely dredged a hole in his front and wreaked havoc inside him.

And nearly killed him.

She’d always pictured a wounded Virgil, binding up a minor slash and heading off to the Continent to charm actresses and diplomats’ wives, maybe taking a wife there himself, and bringing her back to breed pretty, cheerful children. Virgil, rich, content and happy.

How she’d wallowed in that vision.

The feel of the scarred skin melted away her resentment. Let him have that happy life with his marchioness and heirs. And perhaps, on a rare occasion, he could come down to Longview and visit his twins.

“Ameline.” Virgil’s breath touched her cheek.

Large hands cupped both of her hips.

Warmth spurted through her. Too late, she realized her error. She’d got too close again.

She pulled the sides of his shirt up, her gaze sliding over the rip and…

Right. He was fully erect. Of course he was.

Hot need shrieked inside her, and she battered it down and found her breath. “I apologize. My infernal curiosity.” She patted his shoulders and eased away.

His eyes had gone dark and feral, his lips parted like a hungry man ready to chomp down on a long-awaited meal. Inside, she melted more.

She took in a great breath. She must keep him talking. “How did the wound happen?” she asked.

His eyes shuttered and he yanked her hard against him, smashing his lips to hers.

About the Author

Alina K. Field copyAward winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but her true passion is the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband, her spunky, blonde, rescued terrier, and the blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring, a 2015 RONE Award finalist, Bella’s Band, and a 2016 National Reader’s Choice Award finalist, Liliana’s Letter, as well as her latest release, The Marquess and the Midwife. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!

Visit her at:

WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads

PinterestInstagram

Christmas Romance Extravaganza

christmas-ellis-susana
To celebrate the holiday season, I’ve teamed up with more than 150 fantastic romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS over $1,000 in prizes!
You can download A Twelfth Night Tale for free, plus books from authors like LUCINDA BRANT and MARY JO PUTNEY.
Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/christmas-rom.
bigstock-christmas-festive-decoration-divider-f-108218954

Christmas Special

The Bluestocking Belles

are offering our latest joint effort, Holly and Hopeful Hearts, for a bargain price of

$0.99

for all of December. That’s $2 off the normal price!
hhh-meme

Amazon US • Amazon UK • Amazon Australia • Amazon Canada

Smashwords • Kobo • Barnes & Noble • iBooks

and

The Teatime Tattler Companion to

Holly and Hopeful Hearts

15002490_707066312776271_1891446858503214038_o

Gossip and Scandal from the Teatime Tattler and other places

about the characters in Holly and Hopeful Hearts.

Download in epub • Download in mobi

redfree

Romance of London: Eccentricities of Lord Byron

Romance of London: Strange Stories, Scenes And Remarkable Person of the Great Town in 3 Volumes

John Timbs

John Timbs (1801-1875), who also wrote as Horace Welby, was an English author and aficionado of antiquities. Born in Clerkenwell, London, he was apprenticed at 16 to a druggist and printer, where he soon showed great literary promise. At 19, he began to write for Monthly Magazine, and a year later he was made secretary to the magazine’s proprietor and there began his career as a writer, editor, and antiquarian.

This particular book is available at googlebooks for free in ebook form. Or you can pay for a print version.

George Gordon, 6th Baron Byron

George Gordon, 6th Baron Byron

Eccentricities of Lord Byron

Mr. Rogers, in his Table Talk, writes:—”Neither [Thomas] Moore nor myself had ever seen Byron, when it was settled that he should dine at my house to meet Moore; nor was he known by sight to [Thomas] Campbell, who, happening to call upon me that morning, consented to join the party.  I thought it best that I alone should be in the drawing-room when Byron entered it; and Moore and Campbell accordingly withdrew. Soon after his arrival they returned, and I introduced them to him severally, naming then as Adam named the beasts. When we sat down to dinner, I asked Byron if he would take soup? ‘No; he never took soup.’—Would he take some fish? ‘No; he never took fish.’ Presently, I asked if he would eat some mutton? ‘No’ he never ate mutton.’—I then asked if he would take a glass of wine? ‘No; he never tasted wine.’—It was now necessary to inquire what he did eat and drink’ and the answer was,—’Nothing but hard biscuits and soda-water.’ Unfortunately, neither hard biscuits nor soda-water were at hand; and he dined upon potatoes bruised down on his plate and drenched with vinegar. My guests stayed till very late, discussing the merits of Walter Scott and Joanna Baillie. Some days after, meeting Hobhouse, I said to him, ‘How long will Lord Byron persevere in his present diet?’ He replied,—’Just as long as you continue to notice it.’ I did not then know what I now know to be a fact, that Byron, after leaving my house, had gone to a club in St. James’s Street and eaten a hearty meat supper… Byron had a prodigious facility of composition. He was fond of suppers, and used often to sup at my house and eat heartily (for he had then given up the hard biscuit and soda-water diet); after going home he would throw off sixty or eighty verses, which he would send to press next morning… In those days, at least, Byron had no readiness of reply in conversation. If you happened to let fall any observation which offended him, he would say nothing at the time, but the offence would lie rankling in his mind, and, perhaps, a fortnight after, he would suddenly come out with some very cutting remarks upon you, giving them as his deliberate opinions, the results of his experience of your character.”

Joanna Baillie, Scottish poet and dramatist

Joanna Baillie, Scottish poet and dramatist

 

Sir Walter Scott, Scottish historical novelist, poet, and playwright

Sir Walter Scott, Scottish historical novelist, poet, and playwright

Diane Dario: An Earl’s Christmas Embrace (The Men of Waterloo)

Regency Christmas

Now that the countdown has begun for the Holiday season, it had me wondering how did they celebrate this festive season during the Regency era.

Throughout Europe, England being no exception, the custom of giving a gift on the 6 of December, in commemoration of St. Nicholas, was widespread. Eventually, however, separate customs tended to become condensed. Thus a gift was given for New Year or Twelfth Night.

Traditional decorations included holly and evergreens. The decorations of homes was not just for the gentry: poor families also brought greenery indoors to decorate their homes but not until Christmas Eve. It was considered unlucky to bring greenery into the house before then. By the late 18th century, kissing boughs and balls were popular, usually made from holly, ivy, mistletoe and rosemary. These were often also decorated with spices, apples, oranges, candles or ribbons

Once Twelfth Night was over, all the decorations were taken down and the greenery burned, or the house risked bad luck.

The Christmas holidays lasted for several weeks, due in part to the long, cold journeys undertaken to visit family for the holidays and the guests were reluctant to leave again. This put a strain on the cook and housewife alike, and a varied and full menu had to be prepared for guests, and for the possibility of those same guests being snowbound, and not being able to depart.

Christmas pudding as we now know it first appeared in the reign of King George III. It was said to have been invented especially for him by his chief, because of his inordinate love of English puddings. Before this, the pudding was more of a pottage or porridge, with all the right ingredients we attend to associate with the traditional Christmas pudding but cooked in a large cloth and rather sloppy. Which leads us to Bullet Pudding which was a family name for Christmas Pudding or should I say, the name given to a particular pudding which turned out to be as hard as a bullet.

Imagine putting on a fine ball gown decollété, floaty and clinging, leaving no room for flannel petticoats, your hair dressed in such a way that only the flimsiest scarf can protect your head from the cold night. The coach offers little protection, draughty. What you need when you arrive at the Christmas Ball is a bowl of white soup to put color in your cheeks before greeting the other guests and old acquaintances there, already glowing from their own partaking of the soup, mulled wine and the dancing.

Anyone care for a glass of Wassail?

img_0686-copy

Excerpt

Turning toward an alcove he had spotted earlier, he couldn’t stop the tension from leaking into his voice at her teasing about the “Lord of Darkness” nonsense. “Beware, Lady Emma. Do not scoff at my actions. There is darkness in my soul. A good friend and officer died in my arms during the Battle of Hougoumont, leaving behind a widow and child. I hope you never experience the despair I’ve known, that haunts me whether I am asleep or awake. Now allow me.”

Ravenstone changed topics —and directions—abruptly, before she could respond. Touching her elbow lightly, he walked her across the ballroom to an alcove, discretely screened by potted palms. He escorted her to a green velvet chaise longue, and Lady Emma smoothed a hand over her already neatly coiffed hair. He knew her reputation would be in ruins if someone from the ton should stumble upon them in such an intimate situation without benefit of a chaperone. At this moment, though, he only wanted to be with her. His thoughts went to the painting displayed in a place of honor this very night. Of course Emma couldn’t have known it was an image of the very day he had experienced his descent into hell. His thoughts must have shown on his face, for she placed her hand lightly over his.

He abruptly changed the subject, “By the way, where is Lady Lettice? Do you think you could introduce her to me?”

Lettice felt her heart skip a beat before she thought to ask, “Hasn’t my cousin, Lord Foxington, introduced you?”

Ravenstone’s chuckle cut her off abruptly.

“Ah, look what hangs above us,” he said, lifting his eyes towards the ceiling. “I believe it’s mistletoe. You know what this means don’t you? Legend says you must accept a kiss, lest you be doomed not to receive any marriage proposals for a full year, and scorned for the lack. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to invite public disdain by denying my holiday kissing privileges.”

He slowly, slowly, took her hand, turned it over, and kissed her palm. He noticed a blush staining her décolletage. Her breath caught as his eyes fixed on the rosy glow that spread upward, and he asked, “Did you ever hear about the tradition that for every berry in the mistletoe I may give you a separate kiss?”

She slowly moved her head side to side, her eyes locked on his lips. He licked his lips, loving the way her eyes dilated at the teasing motion, then continued. “I kiss you first, then I pluck off a berry. When all the berries are gone, so are the kisses.”

With that, Ravenstone lowered his head, “First kiss.”

He spoke against the softness of her skin, and planted his lips tenderly on her forehead.

Reaching up to pluck one of the white berries, “Kiss number two,” he whispered, then kissed each eyelid in turn, finally pressing his lips on her mouth. His hands wrapped tightly in her hair, holding her head at exactly the right angle for his ministrations. His body pressed her back against the upholstered arm of the chaise, and he welcomed the heat she generated. Her response was creating such amazing sensations that he simply pressed closer.            She swayed, and he swayed with her, wrapping his arms around her, intoxicated. He just wanted to hold her close. To absorb her sweetness. Light burst inside him for the first time since that fateful day in France. He had thought he’d rather face an army of Napoleon’s men than consider marriage. But when he was with Emma, anything seemed possible.

When he was with her, he never wanted to let her out of his sight. He loved how she challenged him. Unlike the other women on the marriage mart, Emma wasn’t frightened of his stern expression. He wasn’t sure when he’d started to think of her in such intimate terms, but it felt right. She didn’t pout or flutter her eyelashes ridiculously in an attempt to make him smile. She had enough joi de vivre for them both. A few curls tumbled loose from her coiffeur. He heard her breath catch, but she remained within his embrace, and her eyes fluttered open.

“What?” Ravenstone asked.

Lettice shook her head, then giggled.

***

Mad? She must be. Lettice felt as though she were losing all sense of reality. His kisses sent her into a state of bliss that she hoped would last forever. She should stop him from taking any more liberties, push him away, but her body wanted more. For once in her life, she wanted to experience what others had. Lettice had read and overheard enough to realize what could transpire between a man and a woman. This—whatever this was—was worth the consequences.

For once in her life, she wanted to break the rules. To be very naughty. Hang the gossip. Ravenstone was so much more than she’d thought. He had depths that were calling to her at some visceral level she’d never felt before. If only…

Lettice felt Ravenstone’s lips on her neck, and her heart skipped a beat when he whispered, “Kiss number two.”

An Earl’s Christmas Embrace will be released on November 23rd.

About The Author

img_0001-copyI have been reading romance novels since my aunt introduced me at the age of fourteen and I have not stopped reading them.

Regency romances are one of my all-time favorite eras (grand ballrooms, dinner parties while sitting next to a grand duke or war hero just returned from fighting against Napoleon and the French. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?).

When I am not reading (or writing the stories I have visions in my head and are now writing), I am enjoying the joyful moments with my growing family, the ballet and romantic movies.

Writing has always been a great passion for me, a long road of many ups and downs (and lots of online writing classes) and the years it took to get the craft right, finally, all my time and efforts paid off and now my dream of becoming a published author is going to become a reality thanks to a great opportunity of winning a first chapter Facebook contest.

It just goes to prove dreams can come true as long as you do not give up on them.

Facebook GoodreadsPinterest • Amazon Author Page