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Memoirs of a Highland Lady: Resentment and Recovery

1815-1816

Had I been left in quiet, to time—my own sense of duty, my conviction of having acted rightly, a natural spring of cheerfulness, with occupation, change, etc., all would have acted together to restore lost peace of mind, and the lesson, severe as it was, would have certainly worked for good, had it even done no more than to have sobered a too sanguine disposition. Had my father’s judicious silence been observed by all, how much happier would it have been for every one. Miss Elphick returned to us in June, and I fancy received from my Mother her version of my delinquencies, for what I had to endure in the shape of rubs, snubs, and sneers and other impertinences, no impulsive temper suh as mine could possibly have put up with. My poor Mother dealt too much in the hard hit line herself, and she worried me with another odious lover. Defenceless from being blameable, for I should have entered into no engagement unsanctioned, I had only to bear in silence this never ending series of irritations. Between them, I do think they crazed me. My own faults slid into the shade comfortably shrouded behind the cruelties of which I was the victim, and all my corruption rising, I actually in sober earnest formed a deliberate plan to punish my principal oppressor—not Miss Elphick, she could get a slap or two very well by the way. My resolve was to wound my Mother where she was most vulnerable, to tantalize her with the hope of what she most wished for, and then to disappoint her. I am ashamed now to think of the state of mind I was in; I was astray indeed with none to guide me, and I suffered for it, but I caused suffering, and that satisfied me. It was many a year yet before my rebellious spirit learned to kiss the rod.

Our first three weeks at home [Doune] were very quiet, no company arriving, and my father being absent at Inverness, Forres, Garmouth, etc. on business. We had all our humble friends to see, all our favourite spots to visit. To me the repose was delightful, and had I been spared all those unkind jibes, my irritated feelings might have calmed down and softened my temper; exasperated as they continually were by the most cutting allusions, the persuasion that I had been most unjustly treated and was now suffering unjustly for the faults of others, grew day by day stronger and stronger, and estranged me completely from those of the family who so perpetually annoyed me. Enough of this. So it was, so it ever was, blame me who will.

[Edinburgh] A long illness beginning with a cold confined me there during the early part of the winter, and when I began to recover I was so weakened dear and kind Dr Gordon, who had attended me with the affection of a brother, positively forbade all hot rooms and late hours. It was a sentence I would have bribed him to pronounce, for I was sick of those everlasting gaieties, and with his encouragement and the assistance of a few other friends I was making for my self, I was able to find employment for time infinitely more agreeable than that round of frivolous company… My Mother did not at all approve of this secluded life. In heart she loved both dress and visiting; besides, she did not wish it to be thought that I was breaking my heart, or had had it broken by cruel parents. Spectre as I was, she really believed half my illness feigned.

By the end of February, this winter of 1816, I was able to indulge my Mother with my company even to a Ball or two. Though received by the world with as much indulgence as before, I had the prudence to dance little, generally sitting by Mrs Rose… There was one I seldom refused—no lover, but a most true and agreeable friend, the best dancer in Edinburgh, Campbell Riddell, who, the a younger son and very little likely to make a living at the Bar, a profession quite unsuitable to him, was the favourite of all the belles, and more than tolerated by the mothers. We were very happy, he and I, together, I was hardly so intimate with any other young man, and long years after when we met in Ceylon we both recollected with equal pleasure the days of our innocent flirtation.

1816-1817

Atholl Crescent in Edinburgh

Another friend I made this year who remembered to ask about me very lately, Adam Hay, now Sir Adam. He was Sir John Hay’s third son when I knew him. John died. Robert the very handsome sailor was drowned, so the Baronetcy fell to Adam… Adam Hay tried to shake my integrity; he advocated as he thought, the cause of his dearest friend, whose mother, dear excellent woman, having died, their sophistry persuaded them so had my promise. We had many grave conversations on a sad subject, while people thought we were arranging our matrimonial excursion. He told me I was blamed, and I told him I must bear it; I did add one day, it was no easy burden, he should not seek to make it heavier. His own sister, some time after this succeeded to my place; lovely and most loveable she was, and truly loved I do believe. Adam Hay told me of it when he first knew it, long afterwards, and I said, so best; yet the end was not yet. I had never had female friends, I don’t know why; I never took to them unless they were quite elderly.

Note: Sir Adam Hay was M.P. for Linlithgow burghs (1826-30). This tantalizing hint as to the identity of E.G.’s lover), alas does not appear to fit any of his four married sisters.

From Wikipedia:

Sir Adam Hay, 7th Baronet (14 December 1795-18 January 1867) was a Scottish baronet and politician.

He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Lanark Burghs from 1826 to 1830.

He was the brother of Sir John Hay, 6th Baronet (1788-1838).

He lived at 12 Atholl Crescent in Edinburgh’s West End.

From Wikipedia:

Campbell Drummond Riddell (9 January 1796 – 1858) was an Australian Colonial public servant who served as Colonial Treasurer.

Riddell was the son of Thomas Milles Riddell (d.1796) and Margaretta, née Campbell. He was the grandson of Sir James Riddell Bt who was created first baronet, of Ardnamurchan, Argyllshire, Scotland.

He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, but he did not take a degree. Upon joining the Colonial Service he served in Ceylon, where he met and married his wife, and later in Sydney, New South Wales where he served as the Colonial Treasurer.

After retiring from the colonial service he was appointed to the New South Wales Legislative Council. He also served as President of the Australian Club.

He died in England in 1858.

Memoirs of a Highland Lady

‘I was born on the 7th May 1797 of a Sunday evening at No. 5 N. side of Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, in my father’s own lately built house and I am the eldest of five children he and my mother raised to maturity.’ Thus opens one of the most famous set of memoirs ever written. Since its first bowdlerised edition in 1898, they have been consistently in print. This is the first ever complete text. Written between 1845 and 1854 the memoirs were originally intended simply for Elizabeth’s family, but these vivid and inimitable records of life in the early 19th century, and above all on the great Rothiemurchus estate, full of sharp observation and wit, form an unforgettable picture of her time. The story ends with the thirty-three-year-old Elizabeth finding her own future happiness in marriage to an Irish landowner, Colonel Smith of Baltiboys. ‘A masterpiece of historical and personal recall.’ Scotsman

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Memoirs of a Highland Lady: “the short romance which changed all things in life to me.”

In which our heroine discovers an ancient feud…

and becomes the victim of her parents’ shortcomings

The first year my brother was at College he made acquaintance with a young man a few years older than himself, the son of one of the Professors. His friend was tall, dark, handsome, very engaging in his manners, very agreeable in his conversation, and considered by all who had been employed in his education to possess abilities quite worthy of the talented race he belonged to. The Bar was to be his profession, more by way of occupation for him in the meanwhile than for any need he would ever have to practise Law for a livelihood. He was an only son. His father was rich, his mother had been an heiress, and he was the heir of an old, nearly bedrid bachelour Uncle who possessed a very large landed property on the banks of the Tweed. Was it fair, when a marriage was impossible, to let two young people as him and me pass day after day for months familiarly together.

When we all removed to Edinburgh William lost no time in introducing his friend to us; all took to him amazingly; he was my constant partner, joined us in our walks, sat with us every morning, was invited frequently as company and was several times asked to stay and partake of the family dinner. It never entered my head that his serious attentions would be disagreeable, nor my Mother’s, I really believe, that such would ever grow out of our brother and sister intimacy.

Then came Miss Baillie’s fête, and the poem in which I figured so gracefully. It was in every mouth, for it itself it was a gem, and I was so completely the genius of it, none but a lover could have mingled so much tenderness with, his admiration. On the poet’s next visit my Mother received him very coldly. At our next meeting she declined his now regular attendance. At the next party she forbade my dancing with him: after the indelicate manner in which he had brought my name before the publick in connexion with his own, it was necessary to meet so much forwardness by a reserve that would keep such presumption at a proper distance. I listened in silence, utterly amazed, and might in such perfectly submission habits of obedience had we been brought up, have submitted sorrowfully and patiently, but she went too far. She added that she was not asking much of me, for this disagreeable young man had no attaching qualities; he was neither good looking, nor well bred, nor clever, nor much considered by persons of judgment, and certainly by birth no way the equal of a Grant of Rothiemurchus.

I left the room, flew to my own little attick, what a comfort that corner all to myself was then and often afterwards to me. I laid my head upon my bed, and covering my face with my hands, vainly trying to keep back the tears… Long I staid there, half thinking, half dreaming, till a new turn took me, the turn of unmitigated anger. Were we puppets, to be moved about with strings. Where we supposed to have neither sense nor feeling. Was I so poor in heart as to be able to like today, and loathe tomorrow, so deficient in understanding as to be incapable of seeing with my eyes, hearing with my ears, judging with my own perceptions. This long familiar intimacy permitted, then suddenly broken upon false pretences. They don’t know me, thought I; alas, I did not know myself. To my mother throughout that miserable day I never articulated one syllable. My father was in London.

My first determination was to see my poet and inquire of him whether he were aware of any private enmity between our houses. Fortunately he also had determined on seeking an interview with me in order to find out what it was my mother had so suddenly taken amiss in him. Both so resolved, we made our Meeting out, and a pretty Romeo and Juliet business it ended in. There was an ancient feud, a College quarrel between our fathers which neither of them had ever made a movement to forgive. It was more guessed at from some words his mother had dropt than clearly ascertained, but so much he had too late discovered, that a more intimate connexion would be as distasteful to the one side as the other.

We were very young, we were very much in love, we were very hopeful. Life looked so far, it had been latterly so happy. We could conceive of no old resentments between our parents that would not yield to the welfare of their children. He remembered that his father’s own marriage was an elopement followed by forgiveness and a long lifetime of perfect conjugal felicity. I recollected my mother telling me of the Montague and Capulet feud between the Neshams and the Ironsides, how my grandfather had sped so ill for years in his wooing, and how my grandmother’s constancy had carried the day, and how all parties had ‘as usual’ been reconciled… These lessons had made quite as much impression as more moral ones. So, reassured by these arguments, we agreed to wait, to keep up our spirits, to give time to be true and faithful to each other, and to trust to the Chapter of accidents.

In all this there was nothing wrong, but a secret correspondence in which we indulged ourselves was a step into the wrong, certainly… One of these stray notes from him tome was intercepted by my mother, and some of the expressions employed were so starting to her that in a country like Scotland, where so little constitutes a marriage, she almost feared we had bound ourselves by ties sufficiently binding to cause considerable annoyance, to say the least of it. She therefore consulted Lord Gillies as her confidential advisor, and he had a conference with Lord Glenlee, the trusted lawyer on the other side, and then the young people were spoken to, to very little purpose.

What passed in the other house I could only guess at from after circumstances. In ours, Lord Gillies was left by my Mother in the room with me; he was always gruff, cold, short in manner, the reverse of agreeable and no favourite with me, he was ill selected for the task of inducing a young lady to give up her lover… He counseled me, by every consideration of propriety, affection, and duty, to give ‘this foolish matter up.’ Ah, Lord Gillies, thought I, did you give up Elizabeth Carnegie? did she give up you. When you dared not meet openly, what friend abetted you secretly*. I wish I had had the courage to say this, but I was so nervous at his knowing my story, so abashed at our conversation that words would not come, and I was silent. To my mother I found courage to say that I had yet heard no reasons which would move me to break the word solemnly given, the troth plighted, and could only repeat what I had said at the beginning that we were resigned to wait.

Lord Glenlee had made as little progress; he had had more of a storm to encounter, indignation having produced a flow of eloquence. Affairs therefore remained at a stand still. The fathers kept aloof—mine indeed was still in London; but the mothers agreed to meet and see what could be managed through their agency. Nothing very satisfactory. I would promise nothing, sign nothing, change nothing, without an interview with my betrothed to hear from his own lips his wishes. As if my mind had flown to meet his, he made exactly the same reply to similar importunities. No interview would be granted, so there we stopt again. A growing fancy early perceived might have been easily diverted. It was a matter of more difficulty to tear asunder two hearts too long united.

At length his mother proposed to come and see me, and to bring with her a letter from him, which I was to burn in her presence after reading, and might answer, and she would carry the answer back on the same terms. I knew her well, for she had always been kind to me and had encouraged my intimacy with her daughters; she knew nothing of my more intimate relations with her son. The letter was very lover like, very tender to me, very indignant with every one else, very undutiful and very devoted, less patient than we had agreed on being, more audacious than I dared to be. I read it in much agitation—read it, and then laid it on the fire. ‘and now before you answer it, my poor dear child,’ said this most excellent and most sensible woman, ‘listen to the very words I must say to you,’ and then in the gentlest manner, as a tender surgeon might cautiously touch a wound, rationally and truthfully, she laid all the circumstances of our unhappy case before me, and bade me judge for my self on what was fitting for me to do. She indeed altered all my high resolves, annihilated all my hopes, yet she soothed while she probed, she roused while seeming to crush and she called forth feelings of duty, of self respect, of proper self sacrifice, in the place of the mere passion that had hitherto governed me. She told me that although she had considered my education to have been in many respects faulty, the life I led frivolous and that there was much in my own unformed character to condemn, she would have taken me to heart as her daughter, for the pure, simple nature that shone through all imperfections, and for the true love I bore her son. She knew there was a noble disposition beneath the little follies, but her husband she said would never think so, never ever endure an alliance with my father’s child. They had been friends, intimate friends, in their School and College days; they quarreled, on what grounds neither of them ever had been known to give to any human being the most distant hint, but in proportion to their former affection was the inveteracy of their after dislike… My father had written to my mother that he would rather see me in the grave than the wife of that man’s son. Her husband had said to her that if that marriage took place he would never speak to his son again, never notice him, nor allow of his being noticed by the family. She told me her husband had a vindictive as well as a violent and a positive temper, and that she suspected there must be a touch of the same evil dispositions in my father, or so determined an enmity could not have existed… At their age she feared there was no cure… She said we had been cruelly used, most undesignedly; she blamed neither so far, but she had satisfied her judgment that the peculiar’ situation of the families now demanded from me this sacrifice; I must set free her son, he could not give me up honourably.… She said what she liked, for I seldom answered her; my doom was sealed; I was not going to bring misery in my train to any family, to divide it and humiliate myself, destroy perhaps the future of the man I loved, rather than give him or myself some present pain…

I told her I would write what she dictated, sign Lord Glenlee’s ‘renunciation,’ promise to hold no secret communication with her son. I kept my word; she took back a short note in which… I gave him back his troth. He wrote, and I never opened his letter; he came and I would not speak, but as a cold acquaintance. What pain it was to me those who have gone through the same ordeal alone could comprehend. His angry disappointment was the worst to bear; I felt it was unjust, and yet it could not be explained away, and pacified. I caught a cold luckily, and kept my room awhile. I think I should have died if I had not been left to rest a bit.

Adam Gillies, Lord Gillies (1760-1842)

*I searched in vain for any information about Lord Gillies’ illicit marriage to Elizabeth Carnegie. Lord Gillies was a Scottish judge (and somewhat of a hypocrite, it seems).

Memoirs of a Highland Lady

‘I was born on the 7th May 1797 of a Sunday evening at No. 5 N. side of Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, in my father’s own lately built house and I am the eldest of five children he and my mother raised to maturity.’ Thus opens one of the most famous set of memoirs ever written. Since its first bowdlerised edition in 1898, they have been consistently in print. This is the first ever complete text. Written between 1845 and 1854 the memoirs were originally intended simply for Elizabeth’s family, but these vivid and inimitable records of life in the early 19th century, and above all on the great Rothiemurchus estate, full of sharp observation and wit, form an unforgettable picture of her time. The story ends with the thirty-three-year-old Elizabeth finding her own future happiness in marriage to an Irish landowner, Colonel Smith of Baltiboys. ‘A masterpiece of historical and personal recall.’ Scotsman

Amazon

1814 Vauxhall and Drury Lane: The Belles’ Time Travel Machine

I hope you enjoyed your stay in WWI France via Caroline Warfield’s Blog. You are now once again in Regency England! A Malicious Rumor in the Bluestocking Belles’ Never Too Late anthology—takes place this year (as well as The Umbrella Chronicles: George and Dorothea’s Story, but you have already been there, right?), but we hope this is not your last stop via The Bluestocking Belles’ Time Machine.

Miss Alice Crocker and Mr. Peter de Luca from A Malicious Rumor are both employees of Vauxhall Gardens. Alice is a gardener and Peter is a violinist. Peter was unfairly dismissed from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and Alice and her grandfather help him seek justice.

Events at Vauxhall Gardens in 1814

The season began on 15 June and ended on 26 August. The finale was highlighted by a double display of fireworks by Mons. Bologna and Signor D. Mortram.

Fireworks temple

Mme. Sarah Hengler (wife of Michael Hengler who died in 1802) performed fireworks and illuminations that year.

Mme. Sarah Hengler

Sig. Vincento de Mortram, Mme. Hengler’s rival, also performed fireworks at Vauxhall that year.

Mrs. Maria Theresa Bland was a featured performer that summer. Mrs. Bland was married to the brother of Mrs. Jordan of Covent Garden. Her mezzo-soprano voice was ideal for the singing of English ballads. Her sons Charles and James were also singers.

Maria Theresa Bland, née Romanzini

Charles Dignum first appeared in 1794, but became notable at Vauxhall during the first two decades of the 19th century. He was well-known for his duets with Mrs Bland, especially Long Time I’ve Courted You, Miss,  a dialogue between a shy sailor and a flirtatious lady.

Charles Dignum

Charles Burney, father of novelists Frances (Fanny) Burney and Sarah Burney, who played the violin and viola at Vauxhall, died that year.

Charles Burney

Natale Corri, brother of Domenico Corri who was the manager of Vauxhall in 1812, composed for the Pandean band from 1810-1815.

Pandean Band

James Hook was keyboard player and composer at Vauxhall from 1772–1821. Hook wrote over two thousand songs for Vauxhall, and played organ concertos on many thousands of occasions.

James Hook by Lemuel Francis Abbott

Mr. F. Ware was music leader that year.

Mr. Burgess was punch maker for Vauxhall that year, and for a total of 40 years.

Mrs. Margarit Ross was housekeeper from 1811-1834. A permanent employee who was also in charge of the bars, Mrs. Ross kept one female assistant throughout the year. In 1822 she was paid £100 per annum.

Mr. C.H. Simpson was Master of Ceremonies from 1797-1835. In 1823, he was making £34 per season.  “…the wondrous master of the ceremonies, the ‘gentle Simpson, that kind smiling idiot,’ whose personality is preserved in the wonderful etching by Robert Cruikshank…” (Amusements of Old London, William Boulton, 1901).

Robert Cruikshank, C.H. Simpson Esq.

Mr. Charles Taylor was Director of Music that year. He was one of the longest-serving and most popular Vauxhall singers, especially noted for his comic songs. He made the speech on the last night of the season several times.

Mr. Jonathan Tyers Barrett and Rev. George Rogers Barrett, both grandchildren of Vauxhall founder Jonathan Tyers, co-owned Vauxhall after the death of Jonathan Tyers Jr. in 1792 until it was sold in 1821.

Events at Drury Lane

Edmund Kean played Shylock in The Merchant of Venice for the first time on 26 January. On 12 February, he played Richard III.

On 2 March, Jane Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra: “Places are secured at Drury Lane for Saturday, but so great is the rage for seeing Kean that only a third and fourth row could be got.” On 5 March: “We were quite satisfied with Kean. I cannot imagine better acting, but the part was too short; and, excepting him and Miss Smith, and she did not quite answer my expectation, the parts were ill filled and the play heavy.”

Sarah Smith Bartley

Edmund Kean played Hamlet for the first time on 12 March. On 5 May: first performance as Othello. On 7 May: first performance as Iago. On 25 May: a benefit and first performance of Luke in Riches. On 5 November: first performance as Macbeth.

Farewell—and a Giveaway

Thank you for dropping in. Your next stop will be on Sherry Ewing’s blog on Tuesday, but you might want to go back to The Bluestocking Belles Time Machine and hop around at will. I wish you safe travels.

Don’t forget, each comment on every stop of the Time Machine will be counted as an entry to win a grand prize of a $25 gift voucher from Amazon and a print copy of Never Too Late.

In addition, one random commenter here will win all three of these prizes at the end of December.

William Shakespeare Ornament

 

Vauxhall Charm Bracelet

 

Supper-boxes Necklace

Adieu, Time Traveler. Try not to land in the midst of the Black Plague, the Great Fire of London or the sack of Rome!

About Never Too Late

Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday Anthology.

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About A Malicious Rumor

Excerpt from A Malicious Rumor

Alice found her feet tapping in time to the music of the orchestra rehearsal while she inspected the site for the new illumination, which would honor the new Duke of Wellington after his victory over Bonaparte at the Battle of Paris. If only the designer had included the measurements! It was difficult to decide how to arrange the plantings without some inkling of the space requirements. With luck, the fellow himself would arrive soon, since the spectacle was planned to open the next day.

Miss Stephens must be singing tonight, she thought as she found herself humming the tune of the popular Northumberland ballad about a brave lass who rowed out in a storm to save her shipwrecked sailor beau.

O! merry row, O! merry row the bonnie, bonnie bark,

Bring back my love to calm my woe,

Before the night grows dark.

She liked the idea of a woman rescuing her man instead of the other way around. It might seem romantic to be rescued by a handsome prince, but one could not always be a damsel in distress, could one? Alice knew from her mother’s marriage that there was no happiness or romance in a marriage where one partner held all the power. She herself had no intention of placing herself in the power of any man. She would be responsible to no one but herself—and perhaps her employer, as long as she was permitted to work for a living. She narrowed her eyes. She could work as well as any man, better than some, in fact. Why did so many men feel threatened by that?

Memoirs of a Highland Lady: Harvest Home

Harvest Home

We had three harvest homes to keep in Rothiemurchus: a very small affair indeed at the Croft; a luncheon in the parlour for us children only, and a view of the barn prepared for the dinner and dance to the servants. It was a much merrier meeting at the Dell; my father and mother and all of us, stuffed into the carriage, or on it, drove there to dinner, which was served in the best parlour, my father at the head of the table, Duncan McIntosh at the foot, and those for whom there was not room at the principal board went with at least equal glee to a side table. There was always broth, mutton boiled and roasted, fowls, muirfowl*****—three or four pair in a dish—apple pie and rice pudding, such jugs upon jugs of cream. Cheese, oatcakes and butter; thick bannocks of flour instead of wheaten bread, a bottle of port, a bottle of sherry, and after dinner, do end to the whiskey punch. In the kitchen was all the remains of the sheep, more broth, more mutton, haggis, head and feet singed, puddings black and white, a pile of oaten cakes, a kit of butter, two whole cheeses, one tub of sowans*, another of curd, whey and whiskey in plenty. The kitchen party, including any servants from house or farm that could be spared so early from the Croft, the Doune, or Inverdruie, dined when we had done, and we ladies, leaving the gentlemen to more punch, took a view of the kitchen festivities before retiring to the bed chamber of Mrs McIntosh to make the tea. When the gentlemen joined us the parlour was prepared for dancing. With what extasies we heard the first sweep of that masterly bow across the strings of my father’s Cremona. It had been my grandfather’s. A small very sweetly toned instrument lent to Mr McIntosh to be kept in order. He thought it wanting in power, his reels could not be given with spirit from it, so he enlarged the S holes. What became of this valuable instrument I know not. It had been spoiled. The first Strathspey**** was danced by my father and Mrs McIntosh; as the principal personages. The other pair to form the foursome was of less consequence. If my mother danced at all, it was later in the evening. My father’s dancing was peculiar; a very quiet body and very busy feet, they shuffled away in time quick time steps of his own composition, boasting of little variety, sometimes ending in a turn about which he imagined was the fling; as English it was altogether as if he had never left Hertfordshire. My Mother did better, she moved quietly in highland matron fashion, ‘high and disposedly’ like Queen Elizabeth and Mrs McIntosh, for however lightly the lasses footed it, Etiquette forbade the wives to do more than ‘tread the measure.’ William and Mary moved in the grave style of my Mother; Johnny without instructions danced beautifully; Jane was perfection, so light, so active, and so graceful; but of all the dancers there, none were equal to little Sandy**, the present Factor, the son of Duncan McIntosh, though no son of his wife.

Harvest Home

We were accustomed to dance with all the company, just as if they had been our equals; it was always done and without injury to either party. There was no fear of undue assumption on the one side, or low familiarity on the other; a vein of thorough good breeding ran through all the ranks, of course influencing the manners and rendering the intercourse of all most particularly agreeable. About midnight the carriage would be ordered to bring our happy party home. It was late enough before the remainder separated.

The Doune harvest home was very nearly like that at the Dell, only that the dinner was in the farm kitchen and the ball in the barn, and two fiddlers stuck up on tubs formed the orchestra. A whole sheep was killed, and near a boll*** of meal baked, and a larger company was invited, for our servants were more numerous and they had leave to bring a few relations. We always went down to the farm in the carriage drawn by some of the men, who got glasses of whiskey apiece for the labour, and we all joined in all the reels the hour or two we staid, and drank punch to every body’s health made with brown sugar, and enjoyed the fun, and felt as little annoyed by all the odours of the atmosphere as any of the humbler guests to whom the Entertainment was given.

*sowans: Oats and meal steeped in water for a week until sour, when they are strained; the jelly-like liquor is left to ferment and separate; the solid matter is sowans.

**Mr McIntosh spent the winter isolated in the forest “with no companion but Mary, of a certain age, and never well-favoured. The result was Sandy, a curious compound of his young handsome father and plain elderly mother. It was this Mary who was the cook at Inverdruie, and a very good one she was, and a decent body into the bargain, much considered by Mrs McIntosh. There was no attempt to excuse, much less to conceal her history; in fact, such occurrences were too common to be commented on… [Mrs McIntosh] had brought little Sandy home at her marriage and as much as lay in her power acted a mother’s part by him; her children even accused her of undue partiality for the poor boy who was no favourite with his father. If so, the seed was sown in good ground, for Sandy was the best son she had. It was a curious state of manners, this.

***boll: 6 bushels or 48 gallons

****the Strathspey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrzxO_MUVW0, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strathspey_(dance)

*****muirfowl (red grouse)

 

 

Memoirs of a Highland Lady

‘I was born on the 7th May 1797 of a Sunday evening at No. 5 N. side of Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, in my father’s own lately built house and I am the eldest of five children he and my mother raised to maturity.’ Thus opens one of the most famous set of memoirs ever written. Since its first bowdlerised edition in 1898, they have been consistently in print. This is the first ever complete text. Written between 1845 and 1854 the memoirs were originally intended simply for Elizabeth’s family, but these vivid and inimitable records of life in the early 19th century, and above all on the great Rothiemurchus estate, full of sharp observation and wit, form an unforgettable picture of her time. The story ends with the thirty-three-year-old Elizabeth finding her own future happiness in marriage to an Irish landowner, Colonel Smith of Baltiboys. ‘A masterpiece of historical and personal recall.’ Scotsman

Amazon

Memoirs of a Highland Lady: “Duchess of Sussex”

Ramsgate, Kent

“Duchess of Sussex”

Lady Augusta Murray

Mrs. Peter Grant had taken a house for us on the East Cliff, a very fine situation with a splendid sea view. We were at some distance from the town, a sort of Common all round us, and one house only near; it was indeed attached to ours, the two stood together alone, out of the way of all the rest of Ramsgate. Our neighbor was Lady Augusta Murray, called by her friends the Duchess of Sussex, although her marriage to the Duke, which really did take place abroad, was null in this country. She had been created Baroness D’Ameland, and had a pension settled on her of £3000 a year, on which to bring up her two children, a boy and girl, fine, large, handsome young people, unduly imbued with the grandeur of their birth. She never committed herself by calling herself or them by any title: ‘My boy, my girl,’ she always said in speaking of or to them. The Servants, however, mentioned them as the Prince and Princess, as did all the acquaintances who visited at the house. Prince Augustus was about 17, extremely good looking, though rather inclined to be stout; very good natured he was too, amiable and devoted to his mother. He was going into the army under the name of D’Este, a bitter pill to the Duchess, although it was one of the royal surnames, and had been chosen for his son by the Duke himself. Princess Augusta was some years younger than her brother though she looked nearly as old. She was but 12, and particularly handsome on a large scale, a fine figure, and fine features, with a charming expression of countenance. The Duchess’s house was small, though larger than ours, for she had turned the whole ground floor into one room, a library and built a dining room out behind. The drawing room floor was her own apartment, containing bedroom, sitting room, and her maid’s room; the floor above was equally divided between her son and daughter. She kept no horses, for she never drove out. She passed most of her time in a very large garden, well walled in, which covered a couple of acres or more, and extended all down the slope of the cliff to the town. Our two families soon became intimate, the younger ones especially passing the greater part of the day together, a friendship beginning then which never entirely ceased while the opportunity served to bring any of us together. The advances, however, were amusing. The Duchess, as a royal personage, must be waited on. My Mother, who was very retiring, would not take such a step forward as the leaving her name at the great lady’s door. My father, who had bowed, and been spoken to when gallantly opening gates, could do no more without his wife; so all came to a full stop. Meanwhile, Jane and I, who had made acquaintance out of the free Common of the downs with the little Princess, untroubled by any notions of etiquette, enjoyed our intercourse with our new acquaintance amazingly; Jane and she soon becoming fast friends. One evening she approached the paling which separated our two small gardens just as my Mother was stepping over the gravel towards the carriage to take her airing. I shall never forget the picture; she leaned on the top rail, her large leaved Tuscan hat thrown back off her dark close cropped hair, and her fine countenance brightened by the blush of girlish modesty, while she held up a small basket full of fine peaches, an offering from her mother. A visit of thanks was of course necessary, and found agreeable. A few days after the Duchess bade Jane tell her Mama that she had returned her call when her Mama was unluckily out, and that she hoped they would be good neighbors. On this hint we all acted. We never expected H.R.H. to call nor even believed in the reported first call. My Mother occasionally went in there with some of us. My father constantly; indeed, he soon became her confidential adviser in many of her difficulties, trying to get her through some of the troubles which harassed her existence. We were all made very happy by this addition to our Ramsgate pleasures; we liked the place itself and our life there, and above all we liked our neighbors.

From Wikipedia:

Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex

Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (27 January 1773 – 21 April 1843) was the 6th son and 9th child of King George III and his consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He was the only surviving son of George III who did not pursue an army or navy career.

While travelling in Italy, the prince met Lady Augusta Murray (1768–1830), the second daughter of the 4th Earl of Dunmore. The couple secretly married in Rome on 4 April 1793. The King’s minister of Hanover affairs Ernst zu Münster was sent to Italy to escort him back to London.

The couple married again without revealing their full identities at St George’s, Hanover Square, Westminster, on 5 December 1793. Both marriages took place without the consent, or even the knowledge, of his father.

In August 1794, the Prerogative Court annulled the prince’s first marriage on the grounds that it contravened the Royal Marriages Act 1772, not having been approved by the King. However, Prince Augustus Frederick continued to live with Lady Augusta until 1801, when he received a parliamentary grant of £12,000 and the couple separated. Lady Augusta retained custody of their children and received maintenance of £4,000 a year. Their two children were named Augustus Frederick d’Este and Augusta Emma d’Este, both parents being descended from the royal House of Este. In 1806, their mother, Lady Augusta, was given royal licence to use the surname “de Ameland” instead of Murray.

Memoirs of a Highland Lady

‘I was born on the 7th May 1797 of a Sunday evening at No. 5 N. side of Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, in my father’s own lately built house and I am the eldest of five children he and my mother raised to maturity.’ Thus opens one of the most famous set of memoirs ever written. Since its first bowdlerised edition in 1898, they have been consistently in print. This is the first ever complete text. Written between 1845 and 1854 the memoirs were originally intended simply for Elizabeth’s family, but these vivid and inimitable records of life in the early 19th century, and above all on the great Rothiemurchus estate, full of sharp observation and wit, form an unforgettable picture of her time. The story ends with the thirty-three-year-old Elizabeth finding her own future happiness in marriage to an Irish landowner, Colonel Smith of Baltiboys. ‘A masterpiece of historical and personal recall.’ Scotsman

Amazon

The moral training of great men began in a cabin: Memoirs of a Highland Lady

Willie Grant was a fine handsome boy, a favourite with every body and the darling of his poor father, who had but this bright spot to cheer his dull home horizon. All this summer Willie had come to the Doune with the parson every third Sunday; that is, they came on Saturday, and generally remained over Monday. He was older than any of us, but not too old to share all our out of doors fun, and he was full of all good, really and truly sterling. We were to love one another for ever, yet we never met again. When we returned to the highlands he was in the East India Military College, and then he sailed, and though he lived to come home, marry, and to settle in the highlands, neither Jane nor I ever saw him more. How many of these fine lads did my father and Charles Grant send out to India? Some that throve, some that only passed, some that made a name we were all proud of, and not one that ever I heard of that disgraced the homely rearing of their humbly positioned but gentle born parents. The moral training of those simple times bore its fair fruits: the history of half the great men in the last age began in a cabin.

Colquhoun Grant, Gentleman Spy

Sir Charles Forbes was the son of a small farmer in Aberdeenshire. Sir William Grant, the Master of the Rolls, was a mere peasant—his Uncles floated my father’s timber down the Spey as long as they had strength to follow the calling. General William Grant was a footboy in my Uncle Rothy’s family. Sir Colquhoun Grant, though a woodsetter’s child, was but poorly reared, in the same fashion as Mrs. Pro’s fortunate boys. Sir William Macgregor, whose history should we tell it was most romantick of all, was such another. The list could be easily lengthened did my memory serve, but these were among the most striking examples of what the good plain schooling of the dominie, the principles and the pride of the parents, produced in young ardent spirits: forming characters which, however they were acted on by the world, never forgot home feelings, although they proved this differently. The Master of the Rolls, for instance, left all his relations in obscurity. A small annuity rendered his parents merely independant of hard labour; very moderate portions just secured for his sisters decent matches in their own degree; an occasional remittance in a bad season helped an Uncle or a brother out of difficulty. I never heard of his going to see them, or bringing any of them out of their own sphere to visit him. While the General shoved on his brothers, educated his nephews and nieces, pushed the boys up, married the girls well—such of them at least as had a wish to raise themselves and almost resented the folly of Peter the Pensioner (see below), who would not part with one of his flock from the very humble home he chose to keep them in. Which plan was wisest or was either quite right? Which relations were happiest—those whose feelings were sometimes hurt, or those whose frames were sometimes over wearied and but scantily refreshed? I often pondered in my own young enquiring mind over these and similar questions…

Peter the Pensioner

We knew him always as Peter the Pensioner, on account of sixpence a day my father got him from Greenwich, in lieu of an eye he had lost in some engagement. He lived in one of a row of cottages on the Mill town moor, with a very large family of children, all of whom earned their bread by labour. We had a son in the wood work and a daughter as kitchenmaid during the time their uncle the General was paying a visit to us.

Memoirs of a Highland Lady

Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus

Never Too Late: A Bluestocking Belles Collection

Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday and More Anthology.

Special Pre-order Sale just $0.99 

After November 15th: $2.99

We’re still working on the rest of the retailer links but just in case you want to take advantage of our special pre-order price, jump on over to Amazon and order your copy now. The release date for NEVER TOO LATE is November 4th. Remember, 25% of the sales from the Belles’ box sets benefit our mutual charity, The Malala Fund. You, too, can make a difference in the life of a young woman or child by contributing to this worthy cause!

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The Piper’s Lady by Sherry Ewing

True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?
Coira does not regret traveling with her grandfather until she is too old to wed. But perhaps it is not too late? At Berwyck Castle, a dashing knight runs to her rescue. How can she resist?

Garrick can hold his own with the trained Knights of Berwyck, but they think of him as a piper, not a fighter. When his heart sings for the new resident of the castle, he dares to wish he is something he is not. Will failure to clear her misunderstanding doom their love before it begins?

Excerpt

“You saved me,” she whispered in a shaky tone. “You are truly a gallant knight to rescue me. Your liege lord must value you as one of his warriors.”

Warrior? Him? He opened his mouth to correct her assumption but could not find the words. He knew she would think less of him if she but knew he was only the clan’s piper.

“Are ye harmed?” he murmured, still holding the pleasing womanly curves of the lady who had not yet moved from atop him. Her brow rose, and Garrick inwardly cursed knowing there was no way to hide his Scottish accent.

“Nay, but only because of your ability to move so quickly. Thank you, Sir…” She left her sentence linger in the air between them.

“Garrick,” he answered, giving her his name, “of Clan MacLaren.”

“My thanks, Sir Garrick,” she replied with a kind smile.

They seemed to come to the realization the lists had become eerily silent with the exception of one person running in their direction.

“Get your hands off her!” a voice bellowed.

Before either of them could move, the woman was ripped from his arms, and Garrick saw her enveloped in the fierce embrace of Morgan. Her arms wrapped around his neck, and Garrick could not help the feeling of jealousy assaulting his emotions and tugging at his heartstrings.

“Coira! By St. Michael’s Wings you gave me such a fright, woman,” Morgan scolded in concern. Setting her down upon her feet, he proceeded to clasp both her cheeks afore placing kisses on each.

Her Wounded Heart by Nicole Zoltack

An injured knight trespassing on Mary Bennett’s land is a threat to the widow’s
already frail refuge. Even so, she cannot turn away a man in need and tells him he has her husband’s leave to stay until Christmas.

Doran Ward wishes only to survive for one more day. However, as he begins to
heal and to pay for his lodgings by fixing the rundown manor, the wounds to Mistress Bennett’s heart intrigue him.

Can two desperate souls find hope in time for Christmas?

Excerpt 

To her surprise, her guest had laid out a few vegetables, and she set about cutting them without saying a word to him.

At one point, he reached across her for another knife.

She stiffened and jerked back.

“My apologies,” he said. “I did not mean to startle you.”

“Do not touch me,” she said, fear melting into anger in her voice. “My husband is a very strong and angry man. He shall take exception to anyone who dares to touch me.”

“Will he be joining us for dinner?” he asked as if unfazed.

She did not like to lie to him. Lying, after all, was a sin. But she also must protect herself.

“No,” she said shortly. “He already ate and has retired for the evening.”

“So it shall be only the two of us?” He glanced over his shoulder at the chunks of meat he had cooking over the fierce fire.

“Aye. You can brine-cure the meat we do not eat.”

“Very well.” He never did grab the knife but returned to tending to the meat.

Soon enough, she added the vegetables to a pot, along with some of his meat. A short time later, the stew was finished.

The man brought over two bowls. She stared at the wooden spoons in her hands. Her husband had lost their silver in yet another game.

Another sign to alert him that all is not well here.

Head back, she took a deep breath. Matters such as they were, she had no other recourse. As cold as the house was despite fires, she could not imagine anyone surviving the night out of doors. Would her good intentions spell even more doom for herself?

A Year Without Christmas by Jessica Cale 

London, 1645

Edward Rothschild returns home from war defeated in more ways than one. His friends killed and his property seized, he is an earl in name only. His family and his servants have all deserted him– all except his housekeeper, Lillian Virtue.

Lillian feels like home in a way that nothing else does, but as his servant and a recent widow, it would be impossible for them to be together. Then again, Christmas has been banned and the social order fractured; can one more impossible thing happen this year?

Excerpt

Somerton’s smile was like a bolt of lightning, a sudden flash of terrifying intensity that surprised them both. One shot of light across the darkness of his face and it was gone.
Her knees failed her suddenly and Lillian caught herself on the edge of the table just as Somerton reached out to catch her arm. His hand closed around her elbow and sent a shock up her spine.

“Are you well?”

Lillian had always held her master in the highest regard, but some part of her had feared him, as well. It was not only that her position depended upon his good graces, but he had seemed more than human to her. His presence was overwhelming and perhaps otherworldly; he had a spark of the infinite that suggested a link to the Divine. She could have easily taken him for a priest or a saint.

She had known he was objectively handsome; what she had not realized was that she thought he was handsome.

She felt her blush deepen and took a steadying breath. “Quite well, my lord. Forgive me.”
He frowned as he examined her face. “You look peaked. Join me for coffee.”

Somerton wanted her—Lillian Page, no, Virtue—to sip coffee with him in his private bedchamber? It was inappropriate, to say the least, but when she opened her mouth to object, all that came out was, “I only brought one cup.”

The Night of the Feast by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

As a spy deep in the heart of Revolutionary France, Michael St. John hopes to make amends for a wasted life his by helping the citizens of the Vendée stage a counter-revolution.

Jacqueline Archambeau, tavern owner and cook, accepts that life and love have passed her by. She never dreamed she would fight her own countrymen for the right to keep her customs and traditions.

When they plot together to steal plans at a regimental dinner will they risk their lives—and their hearts?

Excerpt 

Bonjour.” The smile on Jacqueline’s face was unexpected, as was the greeting and he found himself returning it.

Until he felt the unmistakable press of a gun barrel at his lower back. It seemed that Madame Jacqueline was not alone.

“Your knife, monsieur.” Jacqueline held out her hand.

Michael obliged, handing the weapon over hilt first.

“So, Jacques is really Jacqueline?” he asked, feeling like the world’s greatest fool.

“And I’ll take any other weapons you might have on your person,” she continued.

He hesitated, and the barrel pressed at his back became silently insistent.

“Please?” she asked as pleasantly as if she had simply asked him to pass the butter.

Michael raised his arms, threaded his fingers, and placed them at the back of his head.

“You’ve completely disarmed me, madam, but you are welcome to check for yourself.”

Hazel eyes clouded with mistrust. Jacqueline glanced to the person behind him as though looking for instruction.

“Who sent you?”

The voice behind him was that of another woman.

Michael gritted his teeth. He would kill Colonel Jeffers when they next met. The man knew his contacts were women and thought it amusing not to tell him. To further his bona fides, Jeffers had even made him memorize the first stanza of a poem, Ode To Him Who Complains, no less, by scandalous poetess Mary Darby Robinson.

The Umbrella Chronicles: George & Dorothea’s Story

by Amy Quinton 

Lord George St. Vincent doesn’t realize it, but his days as a bachelor in good standing are numbered.

He has a fortnight, to be precise—the duration of the Marquess of Dansbury’s house party.

For I, Lady Harriett Ross, have committed to parting with several items of sentimental worth should I fail to orchestrate his downfall—er, betrothal—to Miss Dorothea Wythe, who is delightful, brilliant, and interested (or will be).

If I have anything to say about matters, and I always have something to say about matters, they’re both doomed.

Did I say doomed? I mean, destined—for a life filled with love.

Excerpt 

Without a doubt, he made her breath catch every single time he looked her way, even if only looking past her, which was pretty much all the time and kind of pitiful. But who cared? It was another secret that was all hers.

Besides, she was undoubtedly not the only woman who struggled to breathe in his presence.

Dory clenched her hands into fists and reminded herself for the millionth time that she was more of the glasses and books type (of which there were far too few in the world) than the roguish smile and flirty type (of which far too many abounded). Hence, her easy slide into spinsterhood at the ripe age of thirty-one.

Yes. St. George was blond and slender and solidly built. And he was beautiful, somehow elegantly masculine, and gloriously tall. She wasn’t the only person that understood this. Everyone acknowledged these traits as if they were all a set of facts that could be found in any book on science. Or a math fact, a proven geometrical theorem.

Like the bluestocking she was, Dory imagined writing proofs over the theory of his gentlemanly beauty. Given George St. Vincent is taller than most men. Given St. Vincent has blue eyes the color of the sky and blonde hair the color of wheat. Given George St. Vincent has a blinding smile and broad shoulders. Prove George St. Vincent is the most swoonworthy man in all of England.

Dory chuckled to herself, though she felt on the verge of hysterics.

But all of that didn’t mean he was a worthy man for her affections.

A Malicious Rumor by Susana Ellis

Vauxhall gardener Alice Crocker has had to defend herself from encroaching males all her life, but the new violinist is a different sort. So when she discovers that he is the victim of a malicious rumor, she naturally wants to help.

Peter de Luca greatly admires the lady gardener, but this is his problem to resolve.

What will it take to prove to this pair that they would be stronger together as a harmonious duo than two lonely solos?

Excerpt

Alice found her feet tapping in time to the music of the orchestra rehearsal while she inspected the site for the new illumination, which would honor the new Duke of Wellington after his victory over Bonaparte at the Battle of Paris. If only the designer had included the measurements! It was difficult to decide how to arrange the plantings without some inkling of the space requirements. With luck, the fellow himself would arrive soon, since the spectacle was planned to open the next day.

Miss Stephens must be singing tonight, she thought as she found herself humming the tune of the popular Northumberland ballad about a brave lass who rowed out in a storm to save her shipwrecked sailor beau.

O! merry row, O! merry row the bonnie, bonnie bark,

Bring back my love to calm my woe,

Before the night grows dark.

She liked the idea of a woman rescuing her man instead of the other way around. It might seem romantic to be rescued by a handsome prince, but one could not always be a damsel in distress, could one? Alice knew from her mother’s marriage that there was no happiness or romance in a marriage where one partner held all the power. She herself had no intention of placing herself in the power of any man. She would be responsible to no one but herself—and perhaps her employer, as long as she was permitted to work for a living. She narrowed her eyes. She could work as well as any man, better than some, in fact. Why did so many men feel threatened by that?

Forged in Fire by Jude Knight

Burned in their youth, neither Tad nor Lottie expected to feel the fires of love. The years have soothed the pain, and each has built a comfortable, if not fully satisfying, life, on paths that intersect and then diverge again.

But then the inferno of a volcanic eruption sears away the lies of the past and frees them to forge a future together.

Excerpt

She was nothing to him. He was sorry for her, that was all. As he’d be sorry for anyone stuck in her predicament. She’d be better off staying in New Zealand, where Mrs. Bletherow’s malice couldn’t reach her. There was work in Auckland, in shops and factories. Not that a proper English lady would consider such a thing.

She could do it, though. She wasn’t as meek as she pretended. He’d seen the steel in her, the fire in those pretty hazel eyes.

The word ‘pretty’ put a check in his stride, but it was true. She had lovely eyes. Not a pretty face, precisely. Her cheeks were too thin, her jaw too square, her nose too straight for merely ‘pretty’. But in her own way, she was magnificent. She was not as comfortably curved or as young as the females he used to chase when he was a wild youth, the sort he always thought he preferred. Not as gaudy as them, with their bright dresses and their brighter face paint. But considerably less drab than he had thought at first sight. She was a little brown hen that showed to disadvantage beside the showier feathers of the parrot, but whose feathers were a subtle symphony of shades and patterns. Besides, parrots, in his experience, were selfish, demanding creatures.

 

Roses in Picardy by Caroline Warfield

 After two years at war, Harry is out of metaphors for death, synonyms for brown, and images for darkness. Color among the floating islands of Amiens and life in the form of a widow and her little son surprise him with hope.

Rosemarie Legrand’s husband died, leaving her a tiny son, no money, and a savaged reputation. She struggles to simply feed the boy and has little to offer a lonely soldier.

Excerpt

Are men in Hell happier for a glimpse of Heaven?”

The piercing eyes gentled. “Perhaps not,” the old man said, “but a store of memories might be medicinal in coming months. Will you come back?”

Will I? He turned around to face forward, and the priest poled the boat out of the shallows, seemingly content to allow him his silence.

“How did you arrange my leave?” Harry asked at last, giving voice to a sudden insight.

“Prayer,” the priest said. Several moments later he, added, “And Col. Sutherland in the logistics office has become a friend. I suggested he had a pressing need for someone who could translate requests from villagers.”

“Don’t meddle, old man. Even if they use me, I’ll end up back in the trenches. Visits to Rosemarie Legrand would be futile in any case. The war is no closer to an end than it was two years ago.”

“Despair can be deadly in a soldier, corporal. You must hold on to hope. We all need hope, but to you, it can be life or death,” the priest said.

Life or death. He thought of the feel of the toddler on his shoulder and the colors of les hortillonnages. Life indeed.

The sound of the pole propelling them forward filled several minutes.

“So will you come back?” the old man asked softly. He didn’t appear discomforted by the long silence that followed.

“If I have a chance to come, I won’t be able to stay away,” Harry murmured, keeping his back to the priest.

“Then I will pray you have a chance,” the old man said softly.