Lady L’s Outrage
“MATRIMONY – A lady of good birth and breeding, and without a stain on her character wishes, for reasons which will be revealed to any successful candidate to MARRY a young man of sufficient fortune and gentility to keep her in the state to which she is accustomed. His age should not exceed thirty years, and he should be of pleasant and amiable disposition. His income not to be less than two hundred guineas per annum. Reply post-paid only, to DC, care of the Landlord, ‘The Bell’, Saxmundham.”
“I ask you, what sort of woman of good birth and breeding writes a letter to the newspaper like that? Of course, once it came out that it was one of those shameless Brandon women, it became quite clear. Did you know the Brandons haven’t been free of scandal since the first Baron ran off with a nun in the fourteenth century? And recently there was that Crim. Con. case brought by the current baron, and his niece went off with one of the most notorious rakes in the land.
But I was telling you about how this shameless hussy somehow managed to entrap the most eligible bachelor of all, the Honourable Mr. Percival Braidwood, whose blond locks gleam like gold and who has the profile of a Greek god. Add that to his fortune, reputed to be a cool ten thousand a year, and that before he inherits the baronetcy, and you can see why it’s just not fair that this nobody second cousin or whatever she is should win him. It was a trick, of that I’m sure. How she got him to answer such an advertisement is beyond me, or maybe she just took advantage of him staying in an inn where she was perusing likely candidates. I am certain she must have managed to arrange for him to compromise her in some way, and he such a gentlemen he had no choice but to offer marriage!
Am I jealous? Of course I’m jealous! I spent the entire season trying to catch Mr. Braidwood’s attention, and I am beautiful and accomplished, and an excellent conversationalist, as well as being fashionably dark. We were a perfect foil, my raven locks and his golden ones. It goes to prove, doesn’t it, that he must have been trapped, because why else would he end up married to a blonde whose hair isn’t even dark enough in colour to call a proper blonde?
Oh, no, I don’t want to give my name; well, if you must, write it down as Lady L. Listen, if you breathe a word to the Honourable Mrs. Eldridge that I spoke about her brother’s bride, I shall find ways to make it very uncomfortable for you. What does she say? Oh, Isolde is putting a brave face on it and declaring it a love match. A love match? Why, she obviously doesn’t know that this chit Diana, or whatever her name is, placed an advertisement in two provincial newspapers, and I found out about it which is why I came to you with the full story. I even found one of her disappointed suitors, whose hand and heart she spurned for greater wealth, despite the poor man being a widower with young children. No of course I wouldn’t marry an impoverished rector with brats, what do you take me for?
There was no call to say that, fellow.”
The Advertised Bride
The Advertised Bride was written with much input from my mother, who died while I was writing it, and I want to dedicate it not only to her, but to all women who have escaped from abusive families. As well as having escaped an abusive father, my mother helped set up a local women’s refuge. I hope Dinah’s escape will be inspirational for other women who feel trapped.
“Dinah, such a long face! Surely you do not long for a husband to argue comparisons over?”
“No, and that’s the problem!” cried Dinah. “I am to be married after Christmas, and to a horrid old man who leered at me, and he has sweaty hands, and skin like mahogany, all wrinkled like a walnut, and Papa is not to be argued with over it. Indeed, I am afraid he will take me away, for Uncle Adam put him in a passion, criticising Marjorie’s husband.”
“Oh dear,” said Imogen. “Well, there is nothing else for it; you will have to get married before the end of the holidays. Have you any beaux?”
“No, I have never even been to a dance. I’m only sixteen and Mama said I should come out when I was seventeen. I shan’t be seventeen until April and that will be too late, and besides, Papa will say that coming out is unnecessary as he has found me a husband.”
“I can only see one course open to you, then, as I do not think you could manage to run away as I did without help,” said Imogen.
“You must think me very poor spirited,” said Dinah.
“No, my dear, I think you very much downtrodden, like a governess to horrible children, only your father is more childish than the most horrible child I have ever heard of,” said Imogen. “Fancy not being able to control his temper at his age!”
“I don’t think he ever had to,” said Dinah. “What idea did you have?”
“Why, insert an advertisement in the Ipswich Journal and the Norfolk Chronicle that you are looking for a husband, and then marry the one you like the most,” said Imogen. “I will help you to interview those who take your interest from their letters.”
“But Imogen, Papa might see the advertisement!” cried Dinah.
“Silly, you do not put it in your name,” said Imogen. “You write something like ‘Young lady seeks matrimony with a man of sufficient means and gentility to support a wife of breeding, no older than thirty. Send post-paid envelope to … oh, to some inn.”
About the Author
Sarah Waldock grew up in Suffolk and still resides there, in charge of a husband, and under the ownership of sundry cats. All Sarah’s cats are rescue cats and many of them have special needs. They like to help her write and may be found engaging in such helpful pastimes as turning the screen display upside-down, or typing random messages in kittycode into her computer.
Sarah claims to be an artist who writes. Her degree is in art, and she got her best marks writing essays for it. She writes largely historical novels, in order to retain some hold on sanity in an increasingly insane world. There are some writers who claim to write because they have some control over their fictional worlds, but Sarah admits to being thoroughly bullied by her characters who do their own thing and often refuse to comply with her ideas. It makes life more interesting, and she enjoys the surprises they spring on her. Her characters’ surprises are usually less messy [and much less noisy] than the surprises her cats spring.
Sarah has tried most of the crafts and avocations which she mentions in her books, on the principle that it is easier to write about what you know. She does not ride horses, since the Good Lord in his mercy saw fit to invent Gottleib Daimler to save her from that experience; and she has not tried blacksmithing. She would like to wave cheerily at anyone in any security services who wonder about middle aged women who read up about making gunpowder and poisonous plants.