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Caroline Warfield: The Reluctant Wife

Map of Calcutta 1842, Government House to the left of the maidan

 

Government Houses

by Caroline Warfield

The Raj Bhavan, or Government House, dominates spacious grounds overlooking Calcutta’s maidan, a vast open park originally set aside for a military parade ground, in the vicinity of Fort William. Now the official residence of the Governor of West Bengal, its roots like deep in the history of English rule.

When Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley and older brother to the Duke of Wellington arrived in India as Governor General of Bengal in 1798 he discovered that his living quarters consisted of rented space on land formerly belonging to the Nawab of Chitpur. He found the situation unsuitable. Wellesley believed Bengal should be ruled from a palace, a visible seat of English power—and his own consequence. He initiated plans for such a structure soon after his arrival. The project would take over four years to complete and cost well over $4.5 million in today’s dollars.

“Palace of the Governor General at Calcutta,” The Illustrated London News, c.1850

The Bengal Presidency employed a civil engineer at the time, an Italian named Edward Tiretta. Wellesley gave responsibility for the design to a captain in the Bengal engineers, Charles Wyatt. Wyatt’s work had been primarily military, but he was, in fact, a member of a well-known family of architects. His uncle, Samuel Wyatt, had been Robert Adams’s clerk of works in the building of Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, home of he Curzon family, some years before, before going on to a number of major projects on his own.

Wyatt’s design, a central block with pavilions linked to the center by curving corridors, derived directly from the Kedleston plan, but on a grander scale to conform with Wellesley’s notions of imperial power. The expansive wings (four to Kedleston’s two) allowed good ventilation in the tropical climate and views of the twenty-seven acre park surrounding it. By 1802 the palace could be used for entertaining.

The interior of the central block included a throne room with a throne for Wellesley, council rooms, and banqueting halls. Even the drawing rooms were renowned for opulence and beauty. When Clare, heroine of my novel The Reluctant Wife, arrived for a ball in 1835 in what she had been told was one of the smaller salons, her thought was “The rest of this place must stagger visitors.”

That is precisely what Wellesley intended. From the massive facade to the four gates over which bronze lions prowled as if guarding British sovereignty, the place declared the relationship between overlord and subjects more eloquently than any document could.

James Bailie Fraser, Government House ,1824

In 1803, Wellesley took up residence. His educational projects and commercial policies—and likely his unauthorized building project as well—brought him into frequent conflict with the East India Company directors. He resigned in 1805, leaving Calcutta with a magnificent building.

When power in India transferred from the East India Company to the British Crown in 1858, the house became the residence of the Viceroy of India. When the capital of India was moved from Calcutta to Delhi in 1911, the house became the residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. Since Independence in 1947 it has been the official residence of the Governor of West Bengal. English power is gone; the house remains.

James Moffat, Southeast View, 1815

For more information:

“Government House, Calcutta.” Projects; The Association of Commonwealth Archivists and Records Managers, posted October 22, 2012. http://www.acarm.org/view.asp?ItemID=3&tname=tblComponent3&oname=Projects&pg=activities&opt=projects

“South East view of the New Government House ,Calcutta,” Online Gallery, The British Library. http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/other/019pzz000003101u00000000.html

Symons, N.V.H. The Story of Government House, Bengal Government Press, 1935. http://rajbhavankolkata.nic.in/html/storyofgovhouse.htm

About The Reluctant Wife

When all else fails, love succeeds…

Captain Fred Wheatly’s comfortable life on the fringes of Bengal comes crashing down around him when his mistress dies, leaving him with two children he never expected to have to raise. When he chooses justice over army regulations, he’s forced to resign his position, leaving him with no way to support his unexpected family. He’s already had enough failures in his life. The last thing he needs is an attractive, interfering woman bedeviling his steps, reminding him of his duties.

All widowed Clare Armbruster needs is her brother’s signature on a legal document to be free of her past. After a failed marriage, and still mourning the loss of a child, she’s had it up to her ears with the assumptions she doesn’t know how to take care of herself, that what she needs is a husband. She certainly doesn’t need a great lout of a captain who can’t figure out what to do with his daughters. If only the frightened little girls didn’t need her help so badly.

Clare has made mistakes in the past. Can she trust Fred now? Can she trust herself? Captain Wheatly isn’t ashamed of his aristocratic heritage, but he doesn’t need his family and they’ve certainly never needed him. But with no more military career and two half-caste daughters to support, Fred must turn once more—as a failure—to the family he let down so often in the past. Can two hearts rise above past failures to forge a future together?

Find it here

Excerpt

Clare had stopped listening. A prickle of awareness drew her gaze to the entrance where another man entered. He stood well above average height, he radiated coiled strength, and her eyes found his auburn hair unerringly. Captain Wheatly had come. The rapid acceleration of her heart took her off guard. Why should I care that he’s here?

“Clare? The lieutenant asked you a question.”

Lieutenant? Clare blinked to clear her head, only to see Mrs. Davis’s icy glare turned on Captain Wheatly. “Is that your strange captain from the black neighborhood?” she demanded in a faux whisper.

The lieutenant’s avid curiosity added to Clare’s discomfort. “Is that Wheatly in a captain’s uniform? I thought they might demote him after the business with Cornell,” he volunteered.

Clare forced herself to turn to the lieutenant. “Cornell?” she asked to deflect Mrs. Davis’s questions.

“Collector at Dehrapur. Wheatly assaulted the man. Unprovoked, I heard,” the lieutenant answered.

She looked back, unable to stop herself. Merciful angels, he’s seen me. She watched the captain start toward them. At least Gleason could make introductions.

The lieutenant went on as though he had her full attention. “He was in line for promotion, the one that went to your brother instead. Philip posted over there right after it happened.”

Clare found it impossible to look away. The captain gave an ironic smile when he saw her watching. Mrs. Davis gave a sharp intake of breath when she realized Wheatly’s intent. “He’s coming here? Clare, I think I should warn you that a man who has been passed over as this one was—”

Before she could finish, Colonel Davis, who had been coming from the other direction, met the captain and greeted him with a smile. Clare couldn’t hear the words, but Captain Wheatly’s self-deprecating grin seemed to indicate at least a modicum of respect. The two men approached together.

“Captain Frederick Wheatly, may I present my wife, Mrs. Davis.” The captain bowed properly, and the colonel went on, “And our house guest, Miss Armbruster.”

This time the captain’s eyes held a distinct twinkle. “Miss Armbruster and I are acquainted. I met her when she visited her brother in Dehrapur.”

“Of course, of course! I should have remembered,” the colonel said jovially. He leaned toward Clare and winked. “He’s a catch, this one. Doesn’t like to boast of his connections, but earls and dukes lurk in his pedigree. His cousin stepped down from Under-Secretary for War and the Colonies just last year!”

Captain Wheatly looked discomfited by that revelation.

Gleason looked skeptical. “The Duke of Murnane?” he gasped.

Before anyone could answer, the small orchestra hired for the occasion began to play, and the captain cocked an eyebrow as if to ask a question.

“I think the captain wants a dance, Miss Armbruster. It’s your patriotic duty to see to the morale of the troops,” the colonel said coyly.

Captain Wheatly put out a gloved hand, and she put her equally gloved hand in his. Walking away from Gleason and the Davises, she admitted two things to herself. She was glad he came, and she planned to enjoy the dance.

Children of Empire

Three cousins, torn apart by lies and deceit and driven to the far reaches of the empire, struggle to find their way home.

Giveaway

Caroline will give a kindle copy of The Renegade Wife, Book 1 in the series, to one person who comments. She is also sponsoring a grand prize in celebration of her release. You can enter it here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/2017blogtourpackage/

The prequel to this book, A Dangerous Nativity, is always **FREE**. You can get a copy here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/a-dangerous-nativity-1815/

About the 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 lets her characters lead her to adventures while she nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart. She is a regular contributor to History Imagined and to The Teatime Tattler, a blog in the shape of a fictional nineteenth century scandal sheet.

Her current series, Children of Empire, is set in the early Victorian era and focuses on three cousins, driven apart by lies and deceit, who must find their way back from the distant reaches of the empire. The second book in the series, The Reluctant Wife, set in India and England, will be released April 26.

Click here to find out more about her books.

Website • Amazon Author • Good Reads • Facebook • Twitter • Email

Susana’s Adventure at the Carriage Museum

Grand Oaks Resort

Weirsdale, Florida

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If you think you must travel across the pond to find great historical inspiration, you would be wrong! I’ve been living half the year in Florida for several years now, and just this month discovered the existence of this fabulous museum—only a half-hour drive away!

I travel to the UK every year and have seen some of the best museums and historical sites out there, and I have to rank this one right up with them. The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden is wonderful, but honestly, it doesn’t hold a candle to this one, at least in terms of carriages. The Carriage Museum here has more types of curricles and phaetons and landaus and broughams than I have ever seen in one place. I will definitely be returning here often.

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We had a lovely drive around the 340-acre property lined with scenic pastures and oak trees in a carriage drawn by two beautiful Clydesdale horses. Afterwards, we browsed in the gift shop and had lunch in the bistro. There is a luxurious spa on site that people come from all over central Florida to enjoy.

The Grand Oaks Resort is also a major center for equestrian events for spectators and competitors, including polo and dressage. Also offered are first-class boarding and training facilities. (Heather King would love this place, especially the dressage competition in mid-January!)

The Grand Oaks Resort is only an hour drive from Orlando, so if you’re heading this way to take in the Disney and other attractions, consider setting aside a day in the countryside away from the crowds. You won’t be disappointed, and neither will your family.

1874 Omnibus

1874 Omnibus

From MuseumsUSA:

The Grand Oaks Museum is home to one of the world’s largest private collections of carriages and equine artifacts. Step back in time and enjoy the elegance and pageantry of over 160 European and American Carriages, including the elaborate 1850 Armbruster Dress Chariot once owned by Emperor of Austria Franz Joseph, and his wife, Elisabeth. Our Museum uniquely offers a glimpse into the history of the relationship between man and horse and clearly defines the manner in which the horse has helped shape the history of man.

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1850 Armbruster Dress Chariot once owned by Emperor of Austria Franz Joseph, and his wife, Elisabeth

Livery

Livery

Since 1995, The Grand Oaks Museum has opened its doors to the public with an extraordinary display of historical artifacts, while educating visitors with tours, seminars and special programs in a live setting. Take a journey through time into the world of man’s most vital mode of transportation of past centuries. Museum visitors have a rare opportunity to see an English Omnibus, a horse-drawn fire fighting apparatus, a World War I supply wagon, the colorful and ornate Sicilian Caretta and a Dutch Tikker. This Tikker is one of a pair; the other was displayed by Count de Hamptinne in the Hotel Particulier in Ghent, Belgium. And that’s only the beginning of what this Museum has to offer.

Website

The Brougham (1895)

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1895 Brougham

Inspired, if not only designed by Lord Brougham, a statesman of the early 19th century, this lovely vehicle seats 2 passengers facing forward. The low-slung body affords easy entry to this elegant coach luxuriously upholstered for the comfort of a noble gentleman. The interior was often fitted with ashtrays, a clock, and mirrors.

Coachman-driven, the passenger is able to communicate with the driver through a tubular whistle hanging on the interior of the carriage. A system of long and short whistles would inform the driver to turn left, right, stop, or proceed on homeward.

Many Broughams were driven to a strong single horse; but others were set up for a pair, as this one is.

The Clarence (1897)

The Clarence, 1897

The Clarence, 1897

Like the Brougham, the Clarence is a coachman-driven vehicle, but this larger carriage affords seating for four people, two facing forward, and two riding backward. Fitted with lamps for evening use, it would carry a gentleman and his friends to the opera or a formal dinner party.

This larger vehicle required a pair of horses, and a footman in livery would ride next to the coachman to assist when passengers entered or exited the carriage. He would also “head” the pair if a vehicle waited while the party enjoyed their evening’s activities. Blankets for the horses would be carried in the boot under the coachman’s seat.

The Four-Wheel Dog Cart (1894)

Four-wheel dog cart (1897)

Four-wheel dog cart (1897)

This rare example of a Dog Cart seats six, rather than four, persons. Notice the bench seat between the front and back seats. It would be used for children or small adults agile enough to mount the carriage over the back wheel.

The wheel on the right side of the driver’s seat operates the friction brake on the back wheel of the carriage just below the level of the axle. This wheel design is generally seen on vehicles made in France, but is not favored on British carriages because the driver, or Whip, must shift his position on the seat in order to apply the brake.

This vehicle is set up for a pair of light horses.

George IV Phaeton (1910)

George IV Phaeton (1910)

George IV Phaeton (1910)

This vehicle was copied from one made for King George IV in 1824, who needed an “easy entry,” more stable vehicle than the highflyer of his youth. As more and more ladies began to take up the art of driving, the carriage design appealed, permitting them to mount the carriage easily despite their long skirts. The high curving dashboard obliterated the horses’ hindquarters from view, saving the lady any embarrassment and protecting fashionable clothing.

When driving classes for ladies were introduced at some American horse shows in the late 1890’s, Brewster and other builders quickly offered George IV Phaetons with their own unique features.

Spider Phaeton (1881)

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Spider Phaeton (1881)

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, when park driving was at its peak, the Spider Phaeton became the perfect vehicle for showing a spirited single or pair of horses. The body of the vehicle resembles that of a Tilbury Gig, and the carriage almost always has a hood. The groom’s single seat, which is often on branch irons, is connected by an iron framework, giving the appearance of lightness and elegance. The fine lines of this vehicle would flatter a horse’s action, and the lighter weight would allow the animal free flowing movement.

With open futchels, this vehicle can be put to either a pair or a single horse.

Traveling Coach (1800)

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Dating from the early 1800’s, this coach was used for long distance travel before the advent of the railroads. A luxurious vehicle, this one seats two persons facing forward with room for two seated backwards. The seats can be made into a bed where two occupants can stretch their legs out under the driver’s seat to offer the possibility of a night’s sleep, as accommodations at inns and post houses were generally poor. The body is moving on Cee-springs and is connected to the perch with leather straps to prevent excessive side sway.

This vehicle has a driver’s seat, but these coaches were often posted to allow more room for luggage and cargo to be carried. Teams of horses would be changed out a stage stops along the way.

The patina on this vehicle simulates the look of a traveling coach which has been on the road for some time. The interior is newly re-upholstered, but the other appointments are original to the carriage. The shutters can be used to shade the occupants from both daylight and inclement weather.

Goat Caleche

Goat Caleche

Goat Caleche

Another vehicle intended to be put to a goat which would have been led by a liveried groom, this beautiful caleche follows the same curving lines as its full-sized counterpart. The upholstery is light and rich in appearance, and the folding hood is lined in the same material.

A nanny might take her charges out for an afternoon stroll with this vehicle.

Hansom Cab (1895)

Hansom Cab (1895)

Hansom Cab (1895)

The Hansom Cab is named for its early designer, Mr. J.A. Hansom, but cabs used for public transport in the latter half of the 19th century bear little resemblance to earlier models.

The driver sits at the rear of the box, high above for a better view of the city. An unusually strong and quiet cab horse was required to pull the vehicle, as the shaft weight was extremely heavy. At rest, the driver would release the “spoke” under the carriage and ask the horse to back a few steps. This would help to pull some of the carriage weight off the animal’s back and save him for further work.

The public Hansom was thought to be an improper vehicle for a lady to use by herself. But many privately owned, immaculately appointed Hansoms, like this beautiful example, were used instead of a Brougham or a Victoria for simple trips around town.

Char-de-côté

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a Swiss invention, built for viewing scenery, especially lakes

Three Abreast Phaeton (1890)

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More photos on my Pinterest board.

Susana’s Adventures in England: Hanbury Hall

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Hanbury Hall and the Vernon Family

Originally built by the wealthy chancery lawyer Thomas Vernon, in the early 18th century, Hanbury Hall was the home of the Vernon family for nearly 250 years before it passed into the hands of the National Trust. Hanbury is the first of the National Trust’s properties in the West Midlands to have received a “green” make-over. Today, services such as electricity and water are brought in, but the goal is for the property to be as self-sufficient as possible, much as estates were meant to do in years past, producing meat, dairy, fruit, and vegetables for their households.

The Family

thomas-vernonThomas Vernon and his wife Mary inherited the property near Hanbury from a bachelor uncle, but it was Thomas who was responsible for acquiring the lion’s share of the 8,000 acres he left to his cousin’s son, Bowalter. Unfortunately, Bowater turned out to be a spendthrift who managed to go through much of the fortune acquired by his predecessor.

Bowater’s granddaughter Emma wed Henry Cecil, heir to the 9th Earl of Exeter, and they moved into Hanbury Hall. Unfortunately, Emma fell in love with the local church curate. When Emma confessed all to her husband, he persuaded her to break things off with the curate. But instead she ran off and escaped with her lover to Lisbon, where they were married following a scandalous divorce. Her second husband died soon, however, and Emma returned, later marrying a local lawyer.

Her humiliated first husband abandoned the place for Shropshire, posing as a gentleman farmer and marrying a farmer’s daughter. Follow his death, she and her third husband managed to regain possession, but by that time, the house had been abandoned and needed extensive repairs. Following Emma’s death in 1818, Phillips remarried and had two daughters at Hanbury Hall before moving out in 1829.

emma-and-henry

Probably the happiest inhabitants of Hanbury Hall were the Victorian Vernons, Sir Harry and Lady Georgina. Having never expected to inherit such wealth, they lived simply and happily, committed to each other and the local community.

British School; Sir Harry Foley Vernon (1834-1920), 1st Bt, MP; National Trust, Hanbury Hall; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/sir-harry-foley-vernon-18341920-1st-bt-mp-130493

Sir Harry Foley Vernon (1834-1920), 1st Bt, MP; National Trust, Hanbury Hall

Lady Georgina Sophia Baillie-Hamilton, Lady Vernon (1839-1928)

Lady Georgina Sophia Baillie-Hamilton, Lady Vernon (1839-1928)

The last Vernon, their son, Sir George, made an unhappy marriage and ended by committing suicide in 1940, thus ending the baronetcy. Eventually, the property came into the hands of the National Trust, who manages it to this day.

The House

Built of red brick, Hanbury Hall was built in the Queen Anne style, or a “William and Mary house.” Emma’s husband Henry Cecil remodeled it, creating larger rooms and enlarging the northeast pavilion, as well as landscaping the park in the style of the times. Growing up at Burghley House, he would have contact with the famous Capability Brown.

sitting-room-google

The Sitting Room was once “My Lady’s Parlour” with an attached withdrawing room. The parlour was strategically placed between the formal garden and the service quarters so that Mrs. Vernon could both entertain her guests and oversee her servants. The withdrawing room was a more private place where she could socialize with her more particular friends.

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Staircase paintings by Sir James Thornhill

Staircase paintings by Sir James Thornhill

With a strongly architectural appearance, the Main Hall has an air of masculine antiquity. The cantilevered staircase with its huge wall paintings by Sir James Thornhill, rises directly from one end of the hall. The aim of the wall paintings was to represent the staircase as an open-air gallery, the ceiling removed to admit the tumbling crowd of classical gods and goddesses.

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The Smoking Room, set at the back of the house, was a convenient location for conducting the business of overseeing the estate. Paintings of the estate and one of Bowater Vernon hunting there line the walls.

Dining Room

Dining Room

The ceiling of the Dining Room is decorated with classical paintings by Sir James Thornhill, while portraits of the Vernons line the walls.

Sir James Thornhill,self-portrait

Sir James Thornhill, self-portrait

Sir James Thornhill (1665/6-1734) was the only British large-scale painter of his time. His most famous work was the cupola at St. Paul’s Cathedral (1716), but in 1705, he was still taking smaller commissions such as this one.

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The Drawing Room takes its name from the 18th century habit of the ladies “withdrawing” from the dining room, leaving the men to discuss business and personal matters over port and tobacco.

blue-bedroom

The “flying tester” bed in the Blue Bedroom is remarkably well-preserved. The worsted damask hangings date from the 1770s and have kept much of their original color since they have not been exposed to much ultraviolet light.

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The Gothick Corridors are named after the wallpaper. The Gothick style romanticized the history of Northern Europe and was inspired by wild nature, tending toward strong colors.

Cedar Bedroom (Lady Georgina’s)

The Cedar Bedroom was Lady Georgina’s bedroom. She was married to Sir Harry Vernon in 1861 (although the baronetcy came along later).

The governess's bedroom

The governess’s bedroom

The Nursery is displayed as the Victorian Vernon children would have known it. The Day Room was a room for the governess, away from the children.

Hercules Bedroom

Hercules Bedroom

The Hercules Bedroom and Dressing-Room still appear as they must have in the 18th century. The windows have a superb view of the gardens. The Hercules Dressing-Room has a corner chimneypiece topped with a figure of Hercules.

Long Gallery

Long Gallery

The Long Gallery is actually found in a separate building, probably because it was once attached to an earlier building on the site. In Thomas Vernon’s time, it was a gentleman’s study. By Bowater Vernon’s time, it had become a picture gallery.

The Formal Gardens include the Sunken Parterre, the Fruit Garden, the Wilderness, the Grove, the Orangery, and the Bowling Green.

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Parterre Garden

In order to sustain a house like Hanbury, there had to be large areas given over to the serious production of food. “Snobs” Tunnel” led from the Walled Garden to the house, preventing the gardeners from being seen by the family when delivering produce. Behind the “polite” garden building of the Orangery lies the Mushroom House. The Victorian slate beds are still used to produce mushrooms today, as well as forcing rhubarb. There is also a 1750s Ice House, filled by ice gathered from a shallow ‘freezing pool’ on winter nights. An orchard has been largely replanted with over 136 apple trees. Beehives and chickens have also been introduced in the Walled Garden and Orchard.

Within the Park there is a wealth of archaeology from the Iron Age onwards. Traces of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation still exist, and to the south lie the remains of the vanished medieval village of Moreweysend.

Hanbury Hall and Garden, the National Trust, ©2010

shepherdess

With thanks to Heather King for being so kind as to drive Cora Lee and me to visit Hanbury Hall, along with Roxy the Quadralingual Dog!

More photos of Hanbury Hall on my Pinterest board.

Romance of London: Samuel Rogers, the Banker Poet

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.

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Samuel Rogers

From Wikipedia:

Samuel Rogers (30 July 1763 – 18 December 1855) was an English poet, during his lifetime one of the most celebrated, although his fame has long since been eclipsed by his Romantic colleagues and friends Wordsworth, Coleridge and Byron. His recollections of these and other friends such as Charles James Fox are key sources for information about London artistic and literary life, with which he was intimate, and which he used his wealth to support. He made his money as a banker and was also a discriminating art collector.

John Timbs’s Reflections

A few days after the death of Mr. Rogers, in 1855, there appeared the following interesting record of him from the practised pen of Mr. Robert Carruthers, who long enjoyed the friendship of the distinguished poet and patron of artists and men of letters.

It is not our intention to speak of the poetry of Mr. Rogers. In noticing it some time since we characterised it generally as presenting a classic and graceful beauty; with no slovenly or obscure lines; with fine cabinet pictures of soft and mellow lustre, and occasionally with trains of thought and association that awaken or recall tender and heroic feelings. No that personal interest in a living poet is withdrawn, and kindness and respect towards him are of no avail, it may be questioned whether Rogers’s poetry will maintain any prominent place in our literature. He will always be esteemed one of the purest disciples of the old classic school of Pope and Dryden—and to turn to him from the mystic ravings, tortures, and Red Indian chants of some modern poets, is like emerging from the wards of an hospital to fresh air and sunshine; but he wants vital interest, passion and strength, for universal popularity. He had not what Gray terms the “golden keys” that can unlock the gates of joy or horror, or open the “sacred source of sympathetic tears.”

Charles James Fox

Charles James Fox

It is a man of taste and letters, as a patron of artists and authors, and as the friend of almost every illustrious man that has graced our annals for the last half century and more, that Mr. Rogers has of late years challenged public attention. He was a link between the days of Johnson, Burke, and Reynolds, and the present time. He had rambled over St. Anne’s Hill with Fox and Grattan. Sheridan addressed to him the last letter he ever wrote, begging for pecuniary assistance, that the blanket on which he was dying might not be torn from his bed by bailiffs; and Rogers answered the call with a remittance of 100 l. No man had so many books dedicated to him. Byron inscribed to him his “Giaour,” in token of “admiration of his genius, respect for his character, and gratitude for his friendship.” Moore was no less laudatory, and Moore owed substantial favours to the old poet. By his mediation his quarrel with Byron was adjusted, and when Moore fell into difficulties, the liberal hand of Rogers was opened. His benefactions in this way were almost of daily occurrence. “There is a happy and enviable poet!” said Thomas Campbell one day on leaving Rogers’s house; “he has some four or five thousand pounds a year, and he gives away fifteen hundred in charity.” And next to relieving the distress of authors and others, it was the delight of Mr. Rogers to reconcile differences and bring together men who might otherwise never meet. At his celebrated breakfast-parties persons of almost all classes and pursuits were found. He made the morning meal famous as a literary rallying point; and during the London season there was scarcely a day in which from four to six persons were not assembled at the hospitable board in St. James’s Place. There discussion as to books or pictures, anecdotes of the great of old, some racy sayings of Sheridan, Erskine, or Horne Tooke, some apt quotation or fine passage read aloud, some incident of foreign travel recounted all flowed on without restraint, and charmed the hours till mid-day. Byron has described the scene of these meetings:—

george_gordon_byron_6th_baron_byron_by_richard_westall_2“Rogers is silent, and it is said, severe. When he does talk, he talks well; and, on all subjects of taste, his delicacy of expression is pure as his poetry. If you enter his house, his drawing-room, his library, you of yourself say, this is not the dwelling of a common mind. There is not a gem, a coin, a book thrown aside on his chimney-piece, his sofa, his table, that does not bespeak an almost fastidious elegance in the possessor. But this very delicacy must be the misery of his existence. Oh, the jarrings his disposition must have encountered through life!”

Byron’s sensitiveness coloured all he saw with his own feeling. There was none of this misery resulting from Rogers’s taste. He enjoyed life—had money, fame, honour, love, and troops of friends. His recipe for long life was “temperance, the bath, flesh-brush, and don’t fret.” But his house was really a magazine of marvels—the saloon of the Muses!—and its opening view on the garden and lawn of the Green Park in itself a picture. Paintings by Titian, Guido, Rubens, Claude, Raphael, and English artists, covered the walls. Every school, Italian and Spanish, had the representative, and not the least prized were the native landscapes of Wilson and Gainsborough, and the “Strawberry Girl” and “Puck” of Sir Joshua Reynolds. In the hall were Greek sculptures, busts, and vases, with endless articles of virtu. The library had its rare and choice editions—a drawing by Raphael, an original bust of Pope by Roubiliac, antique gems and cameos, and many precious manuscripts. Two of these he lately presented to the British Museum—Milton’s agreement with his bookseller for the copyright of “Paradise Lost” (for which he gave a hundred guineas), and Dryden’s contract with his publisher, Jacob Tonson. The whole arrangement of these rooms bespoke consummate taste and carelessness of cost. The chimney-piece of the drawing-room was of Carrera marble, sculptured with bas-reliefs and miniature statues by Flaxman; and the panels of a small library displayed the “Seven Ages of Man,” painted by Stothard. To comprehend how so much was done by one less than a noble, we must recollect Rogers’s bank, his exquisite taste, and his long life. He had written Journals of Conversations with Fox, Erskine, Horne, Tooke, and the Duke of Wellington (some of which we have seen), and those can scarcely fail to be both interesting and valuable.

Puck by Joshua Reynolds

Puck, Joshua Reynolds

The Strawberry Girl, Joshua Reynolds

The Strawberry Girl, Joshua Reynolds

Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore

The severity of remark alluded to by Byron as characteristic of his friend, was displayed in a certain quaint shrewdness and sarcasm with which his conversation abounded, though rarely taking an offensive form. He could pay compliments as pointed as his sarcasm. Moore has recorded the pleasure he derived from one of Rogers’s remarks—”What a lucky fellow you are! Surely you must have been born with a rose on your lips and a nightingale singing on the top of your bed.” These and many other sayings, pleasant and severe, will now be remembered. But higher associations, even apart from his genius, will be associated with the name of Samuel Rogers. His generosity and taste—his readiness to oblige and serve, or to encourage and reward the humblest labourer in the literary vineyard—his devotion to all intellectual and liberal pursuits—the jealousy with which he guarded the dignity and rights of literature—the example of a straight path and spotless life extended to more than ninety-two years; these are honours and distinctions which will “gather round his tomb,” and outlast his monument.

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Romance of London Series

  1. Romance of London: The Lord Mayor’s Fool… and a Dessert
  2. Romance of London: Carlton House and the Regency
  3. Romance of London: The Championship at George IV’s Coronation
  4. Romance of London: Mrs. Cornelys at Carlisle House
  5. Romance of London: The Bottle Conjuror
  6. Romance of London: Bartholomew Fair
  7. Romance of London: The May Fair and the Strong Woman
  8. Romance of London: Nancy Dawson, the Hornpipe Dancer
  9. Romance of London: Milkmaids on May-Day
  10. Romance of London: Lord Stowell’s Love of Sight-seeing
  11. Romance of London: The Mermaid Hoax
  12. Romance of London: The Bluestocking and the Sweeps’ Holiday
  13. Romance of London: Comments on Hogarth’s “Industries and Idle Apprentices”
  14. Romance of London: The Lansdowne Family
  15. Romance of London: St. Margaret’s Painted Window at Westminster
  16. Romance of London: Montague House and the British Museum
  17. Romance of London: The Bursting of the South Sea Bubble
  18. Romance of London: The Thames Tunnel
  19. Romance of London: Sir William Petty and the Lansdowne Family
  20. Romance of London: Marlborough House and Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough
  21. Romance of London: The Duke of Newcastle’s Eccentricities
  22. Romance of London: Voltaire in London
  23. Romance of London: The Crossing Sweeper
  24. Romance of London: Nathan Mayer Rothschild’s Fear of Assassination
  25. Romance of London: Samuel Rogers, the Banker Poet
  26. Romance of London: The Eccentricities of Lord Byron
  27. Romance of London: A London Recluse

Caroline Warfield: The Renegade Wife

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Love is worth the risk…

New cover, new release, new series! Coming in October

The heroes and heroines of Caroline Warfield’s Dangerous series overcame challenges even after their happy ending. Their children seek their own happiness in distant lands in Warfield’s new Children of the Empire series. In The Renegade Wife, first of the new series, reclusive Rand Wheatly finds contentment in his remote cabin in Upper Canada, intent on making his fortune in timber, until his precious solitude is disrupted by a woman running from an ugly past. He quickly realizes she wasn’t what she claims, but now she’s on the run again and time is running out for him to save her.

Caroline is celebrating with a GIVEAWAY on her website.

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Gina Danna: The Wicked North (Book 1 – Hearts Touched by Fire)

May I Introduce….

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By the time of the American Civil War, Victorian America followed many of Great Britain’s rules of society. Ladies looked forward to their next copy of Godey’s for the latest fashion for instance. What Queen Victoria did in London set the tide for manners and etiquette both in England and “across the pond” here in the United States. It is these actions that dictated society and guarded the sexes that give us a taste of life back then. Let us take a look at the foundation of society as set back in the mid-19th century.

Introductions: When people met back then, introductions were made based on the rules of etiquette. No man would consider simply walking up to a lady he didn’t know and say “hi”. That was considered rude and crass. If there was a lady he wished to meet, he needed to find someone who knew them both to make introductions. “Miss Smith, may I introduce Mr. Silvers of Charleston…” Now, if Mr. Silvers was of low account and totally unsuitable for the lady, this friend could deny introducing him or if it was made and she didn’t care for Silvers, she could snub him off. Really raise her nose as it were and ignore the man. This, of course, would be held against him as unworthy and the news passed quickly to avoid him.

While we are here, let us discuss names. Gentlemen and the workingman were always called Mr. Lastname while in public. Ladies were Miss if they were single or Mrs. if they were married (there was no such creature as “Ms.”). Mrs. John Smith was Mary Smith’s public name as ladies took their husband’s surname at marriage and protocol stated the first in public. If Mary was single and her father’s name was Charles Silvers, her name on invitations to her coming out ball were “Miss Charles Silvers invites…”

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At societal gatherings, like a ball, a couple was announced as Mr. Charles Silvers and lady – not even Mrs. Charles Silvers if she is his wife!

It was a gentleman’s role to protect the fairer sex. For instance, if he was with her on the boardwalk in the city, he’d place himself between the street and her to keep her away from harm if a wagon or horse got out of control and barreled into the curb or to give her another type of barrier from mud or horse dung from slinging off the road onto the curb. If she were on an outing with a servant, the maid or male servant would serve the same purpose.

If a man was courting a lady, first the man had to ask her father for permission (or her male guardian if her father was deceased). Courting had its own rules. Ladies of the lower classes could marry at age 14 – an age we writers shy from, considering today’s way of thinking. Middle to upper class ladies usually had a “coming out” at about 18 or 19 years of age. Many times this was a ball where they were introduced and they dressed in bright pastels like pink, yellow or light green, often with flowers in their hair – even if it was winter. They wore the light colors because in candle or oil light, darker color dresses blended with the walls but the light stood out.

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As they made the marriage circuit, it should be easy to find a husband in America at this time as the number of men out numbered the women prior to the War. Granted, some men headed west where land was cheap but that is another discussion. If a man wanted to court a lady, he needed to be 5 to 10 years older than her (if she was 18, he needed to be 23-28) and show he had the way and means to support her and their future children – in other words, he needed to have a job and a house, not living at home off of mom and dad.

Courting rules were simple – the couple was never allowed alone. A trusted servant or family member accompanied them – trusted by the parents, not the daughter. If she liked him enough, she might allow him to call her by her first name but it was her decision, not his. Otherwise, she was Miss Silvers.

Also, fashion had women wearing gloves whenever they were out or in formal situations. These gloves were generally white or ivory though they could match the color of her dress. Made of kid leather for the upper classes and cloth for the lower, these gloves protected her hands from the sun and other elements and from chafing. If she started to have feelings for her gentleman friend, not only would she allow him to call her by her first name, but also grant him the privilege of holding her bare hand (prior to this, only her father, brothers and lady friends could do so). And gentlemen of all classes wore gloves as well and one reason was, it was an honor and a privilege to help a lady in distress (i.e.: she fell or needed help in a carriage). If he ruined her gloves with callus on his hands, he was obligated to replace her gloves. For the workingman, kid gloves equaled more than he made in a month!

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Back to courting, there were two ways a couple could be “alone.” One was on the front porch – basically they were on display for the whole street. No hanky-panky there. The other was the front parlor. Usually the front parlor had a couple of doors to it and/or a parlor mirror. These mirrors were convex in shape and reflected EVERYTHING in the room that anyone could see as they passed the doorway. Quite a hampering device.

Rule of thumb was if they were alone anywhere else for more than fifteen minutes, she was ruined, a “soiled dove”, and no man would want her therefore the young man with her would be forced to marry her to save her reputation. The “shotgun” marriage so to speak though there no doubt was a time or two daddy stood with a loaded gun and cocked it if the man almost backed out from saying “I do.” If he was shot after the ceremony, she was a widow and in good standing. Not saying that happened but…

Divorce – unacceptable in the Victorian age. Only one ground allowed it to happen and that was infidelity, mostly by the wife. No, if you didn’t like your spouse, you might live on different floors of the house and never meet or in different houses but if invited to an event, you went together as husband and wife and put a front on for society.

If she made it to age 23 without getting a proposal (a forward lady, speaking her own thoughts or opinions and not being the demur delicate flower could steer men away), the lady was now a spinster, “put on the shelf” as it were. If she attended balls, she had to wear the darker colors of navy, dark green, etc. with no flowers in her hair and sit against the wall, resigned.

Society wasn’t designed to have ladies be “independent”. Women were under male guardianship their entire lives – first their father than husband. If a wallflower, they still were under dad and could be the mistress to their father’s home if mother was dead, the nanny to their sibling’s kids or work in a hat boutique – those were about the only options available. If they taught, they had to go out to the wild west (at this time, Kansas City represented the wild west) for lady teachers were not the norm in the 19th century and very few allowed to teach in a classroom. The west was desperate for teachers so they’d take anyone willing to travel to the sparsely settled wilderness. If in KC teaching, she meets the man of her dreams and they marry, it is expected of her to quit teaching.

Which brings us to another issue –

Work. Ladies didn’t work. The lower classes did but middle to upper were not suppose to. Even if her husband lost his job, it was unacceptable for her to work, as it’s his job to make the money to feed and support the family and hers to raise the kids and run the house (the “Spheres of Domesticity” firmly in place). Therefore, some took in mending or laundry, under the table, and kept it hidden. If discovered, it could be a problem. And as to domestic abuse, the rule was what happened behind marriage doors was no one’s business. Quite disturbing.

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This is a taste of society in Victorian America. There are plenty of etiquette books made at that time – these were for the middle and lower class and mostly for men so they’d know how to carry themselves. Upper classes were taught this as they grew up.

What time do you want to live in? Back then, it’s very polite and structured but for ladies of an independent nature, it was hell!

About The Wicked North

Bound by duty and honor to wear the Union blue, a Southern-born West Point officer fights his own desires and the need to protect the woman he abandoned, he disobeys his orders to find her, as the Army of the Potomac marches toward her family’s home near Richmond.
She has the guts and willpower to protect her home from the hated Yankee aggressors, but when that traitor to the South appears at her door, she’s torn between wanting to shoot him and to be held in his arms again. Can she forgive him for their past indiscretion or does she turn him in to be executed, a traitor to both sides? 
In the summer of 1862, her family’s plantation becomes the personal battle ground between them as deceit, betrayal and passion ignite the flames of love and hate that burn brighter than the roar of the guns and rivers of blood surrounding them.

 Excerpt

Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can, and strike him as hard as you can. And keep moving on!

General U.S. Grant, Virginia, June 1862

Emma Silvers was not afraid to shoot Yankees.

She leveled the .57 caliber Enfield rifle at the line of blue coats standing before her porch at Rose Hill that evening. She counted ten men, fully armed and wielding torches. They reeked of wet wool, sweat and gun powder–a noxious mixture combined with the scent of pink roses surrounding the house. Bile rose in her throat. She swallowed hard.

The officer took a step forward. In the dim light, she couldn’t discern his face, though she saw him flinch as she pointed the muzzle at him.

GinaDanna_TheWIckedNorth1400 copy“I want you off my land, now,” she demanded, her voice remarkably even despite her pounding heart. At twenty-two years and virtually alone, she knew one able-bodied man could easily overwhelm her. With no able men and few slaves remaining, she only had bravado left.

“Now, ma’am,” the Union officer began. He spoke like a gentleman, but, dressed in blue, he was an imposter as far as she was concerned.

Jeremiah, just behind her right shoulder, cocked the hammer on his rifle—a welcome sound to her ears. Good boy, Emma thought. If the Yankees didn’t believe she was a threat, she hoped the armed slave boy next to her got the message across. She wasn’t allowing any soldiers on her property again.

The rifle felt heavier by the minute, making her muscles ache, and she feared she’d drop it. The weapon was foreign to her hands, but as the war raged closer to her home, she learned to use it. She wasn’t very good at it, but, as close as the Yankees were, she was bound to hit one of them. She didn’t want to pull the trigger. The gun’s recoil would knock her off her feet, throwing her aim off. With so few bullets left, she’d hate to lose the shot.

The light streamed through the open front door across the officer as he stepped onto the porch. She saw his face and the nose of the gun slipped. Jack Fontaine, that good-for-nothing traitor! How dare he come here, especially after what had happened last summer? Rage took control and gave her the added strength to pull the muzzle up to his chest as she cocked the trigger.

“Emma, please,” he said softly. He looked at her the same way he had that night months ago, his green eyes glowing like emeralds in the light. She remembered those eyes, those mesmerizing emerald eyes. They were all hers the night she had lost her heart to him. The night he had betrayed her. Her anger flared. No. Not this time. Not again, she vowed. Gritting her teeth, Emma narrowed her gaze.

“Get away from me, Jack, or I swear to God, I’ll blow a hole through you and send you straight to hell!”

Inside the house, a babe wailed. Emma instinctively turned. Jack reached for her and she panicked, squeezing the trigger. The rifle exploded, throwing her backwards, pain shooting into her shoulder. But instead of falling, she found herself in Jack’s arms as they wrapped around her, shielding her back from the impact of the wooden floor.

The patrol stormed onto the porch and into the house. Lying in his embrace, his body shielding hers as his troops marched past them, Emma couldn’t breathe. Her eyes were wide open. She felt the heat of him around her. The scent of him invaded her senses. Warm, masculine, and spicy rolled into one. She fought the heat in her belly, but it was hard as his eyes locked onto hers, his lips only inches away.

She closed her eyes. Behind her, the wailing continued, and she heard the thud of soldiers’ boots inside. Her jaw tightened as she glared at him. “Get off me, Jack.”

About the Author

AuthorPic_Great and Unfortunate Desires copyA USA Today Bestselling author, Gina Danna was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and has spent the better part of her life reading. History has always been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, always dreaming of writing one of her own. After years of writing historical academic papers to achieve her undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, and then for museum programs and exhibits, she found the time to write her own historical romantic fiction novels.

Now, living in Texas,under the supervision of her three dogs, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.

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Lillian Marek: Lady Emily’s Exotic Adventure (Giveaway)

Hello Susana. Thank you for inviting me into your parlour today.

I’d like to talk about my Victorian Adventure series, which features the children of the Marquess of Penworth. They travel to exciting places and encounter dangerous villains, but there’s an aspect of their stories that you may not have noticed.

You see, in a previous life, before I discovered the joys of writing historical romance, I used to work on a newspaper. The part of the job I liked best was writing a weekly cooking column. That meant that I spent a lot of time thinking about food—not exactly a hardship for me!

As a result, I like to make sure my characters are well fed. You just know they must work up an appetite when they’re escaping from the thieves and kidnappers and other miscreants who pop up in their stories.

There are elaborate dinners, of course. We are, after all, talking about aristocrats! But sometimes they just have a snack.

Lady Elinor's Wicked Adventures copy

In the first book of the series, Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures, the family travels to Italy to explore Etruscan ruins. Elinor has some more romantic plans as well. She and Harry have been riding through the hills where a number of Etruscan tombs are located. It’s a hot day, and they stop to rest in a bit of shade:

She heaved a sigh. It wasn’t Harry’s fault that she couldn’t win his interest. It was her own fault. She had mistaken his feelings. Although she was in love with him, his feelings were only brotherly. No passion. She had no right to complain. She wasn’t just being unreasonable. She was acting like a spoiled brat. Knowing it did not make her feel any better.

“Catch.”

She turned and put up her hands just in time to catch the object Harry had sent flying in her direction.

It almost splattered in her hands. “An orange. Lovely.” She smiled in delight and started peeling it immediately.

Harry had tossed aside his coat and neck cloth too, and unbuttoned his waistcoat. He plopped down on the ground beside her and grinned. “There’s another orange for you and some rolls. I remember how cranky you get when you haven’t been fed for a while.”

She slipped the first of the orange segments into her mouth, holding a hand under her chin to catch the drips. She held the morsel against the roof of her mouth with her tongue, letting the juices wash away the feeling of dust while the sweet-sharp scent of it cleaned the air she breathed. She swallowed and turned to him with a dreamy smile. “I forgive you.”

“Forgive me?” The grin disappeared and he looked startled. “What did I do?”

“Well, if you don’t know…” She turned away and shrugged.

There was a brief silence, and then they both began to laugh.

“Idiot!” she said affectionately.

“Ninny!” he replied.

By the time they had demolished the crusty rolls and licked up the last drop of juice from the oranges, Elinor’s mood had improved mightily. She stood up and stretched before looking around. Harry was lying back and seemed to have fallen asleep. She picked up his jacket and began checking the pockets to see if he had anything else to eat. Preferably something sweet.

Lady Emily's Exotic JourneyPart of the adventure when you’re far from home is the food, which can be very unlike your usual diet, especially when your travels take you to Mesopotamia and the ruins of ancient Nineveh. In Lady Emily’s Exotic Adventure, food seems especially important to Emily the morning after her family’s arrival in Mosul. She had slept through dinner, so she wakes up very early and very hungry, She gets herself dressed and then sets out to find something to eat:

Some time later, when Lady Penworth entered the courtyard, her daughter was sitting on the side of the fountain in the dappled shade of an overhanging tree.

“Good morning, Mama.” Emily waved at a tree. “The one in the corner over there is a lemon tree but this one and the others are all orange trees. And this is Shatha. She is the cook and makes the most delicious soft, flat bread.” She smiled at the small woman dressed in multicolored garments who was bent over a brazier on which something sizzled with an appetizing meaty smell.

Lady Penworth smiled at the cook and nodded her head in greeting. “As-salaam alaikum,” she said, pronouncing the Arabic greeting carefully.

Shatha beamed back and bowed. “Wa alaikum assalaam,” she said. What followed was a spate of Arabic that sounded like questions. When the only response was blank looks, Shatha popped up and directed Lady Penworth to sit on a bench in the shade of the loggia that surrounded three sides of the courtyard. She placed a folding table beside her, which was in no time filled with bowls of yogurt and dried fruit, boiled eggs, and a plate of steaming bread.

“Have some bread and honey,” Emily said. “The honey is incredibly delicious.” She was trying to be her usual cheerful self, but given the peculiar look her mother was giving her, perhaps she was not entirely successful.

Lady Penworth did not make any comment. She did, however, beam with pleasure when Shatha produced a steaming pot of tea and some cups. “Would you care for some?” she asked, as she filled a cup.

ScandalousAdventure_ copyMy next book, A Scandalous Adventure, will be available on August 2. It sends the third daughter, Lady Susannah, on an adventure in a small German principality in the Swabia region, where a princess has been kidnapped and villains are planning to seize the throne. In this scene, Susanna and Max von Staufen are riding through the forest with a few of his men, on their way to recuse the kidnapped princess. But they cannot manage without something to eat!

Eventually—to her relief—they stopped beside a small stream to rest the horses and themselves. She sat down on a log. It was no softer than the saddle, but at least it did not move. Breakfast appeared from Josef’s saddlebags—bread, a hard yellow cheese, and garlicky sausages that he cut into chunks with his hunting knife. To wash it down, there was icy water from the stream. Like the others, she ate with her fingers and drank from a shared tin cup.

It was a meal unlike any she had ever eaten, but somehow one of the finest. Max sat beside her, close enough for her to feel the warmth of him. It was enough to make her feel safe. He always made her feel safe.

“Do you see them smile?” He smiled too. “They are yours now.”

She blinked in confusion.

“My men,” he said, tipping his head toward Josef and the two other men—they had been introduced to her as Hans and Gustav—who had ridden out with them. “You sit here and eat with them, and do not scorn their food. You ride with them and do not complain. They would have protected you in any case because you are my wife. But now, now they will follow you because you have won their respect.”

“Because I ate a sausage?” She choked down a surprised laugh. “They are easily won over.”

He continued to smile at her, and there was pride in that smile. “Not easily. Josef will have told them that you rode with him to my rescue, that you never flinched on the journey, that you never complained. And now they see for themselves that you are prepared to ride with them, to face hardship, to do what must be done. My warrior countess.”

“Goodness. All that from a sausage?” She flushed, embarrassed by the thought. She was about to protest that she was really a very conventional person, a proper English lady, but then a smile began to spread. Was she a warrior? Was that who she really was? A warrior countess. She liked that image of herself. It was certainly better than Susannah, the dutiful daughter, who always knew the proper thing to do and never caused anyone a moment’s worry. That Susannah who had somehow become very boring.

What about you? Do you like to read about food in historical romances? Or are there other things about life in the past that you want to read about? Leave a comment telling me what you think and I’ll send a copy of Lady Emily’s Exotic Journey to a random commenter.

And just for fun, I’m adding on a recipe for Hussar Rounds, a cookie that Lady Susannah might have enjoyed with her coffee while she was in Swabia.

Hussar Rounds

1 cup butter

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon almond extract

3 egg yolks

3 – 3 ¼ cups flour

1 egg white

3 tablespoon chopped almonds

jam

In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Beat in the yolks alternately with flour until firm and smooth. Shape into slightly flattened 1-inch balls and place on baking sheet. With a finger make an indentation in the middle of each cookie. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 350° for 20 – 25 minutes. Before serving, place a dab of jam in the center of each cookie. (If you use several different colors of jam, it increases the jewel-like look of the platter.)

Note: If you are going to store them (they keep well), wait with the jam until just before serving.

Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventure

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Lady Emily’s Exotic Adventure

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A Scandalous Adventure (pre-order)

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About the Author

Lil Marek copyLillian Marek was born and raised in New York City. At one time or another she has had most of the interesting but underpaid jobs available to English majors, including too many years in journalism. She greatly prefers writing fiction, where the good guys always win and the villains are properly punished.

The first book in her Victorian Adventure series, Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures, won first prize in both the Launching A Star and the Windy City Four Seasons contests. She was also a first prize winner in the Beau Monde’s Royal Ascot contest.