Tag Archive | Scotland

Memoirs of a Highland Lady: Frugality, Practicality, and Much Reflection

The Doune, the seat of the William Grant family

In July then, 1820, we returned to the highlands, which for seven years remained the only home of the family. My Mother resisted all arguments for a return to Edinburgh this first winter, and they were never again employed. She had begun to lose her brave heart, to find out how much more serious than she had ever dreamed of had become the difficulties in which my father was involved, though the full extent of his debts was concealed for some time longer from her and the world. Some sort of a Trust Deed was executed this summer, to which I know our Cousin lame James Grant, Glemoriston’s Uncle, was a party. William was to give up the Bar, and devote himself to the management of the property. Take the forest affairs into his own hands… My father was to proceed as usual; London and the House in Spring, and such improvements as amused him when at home.

My Mother did not enjoy a country life; she had therefore the more merit in suiting herself to it. She had no pleasure in gardening or in wandering through all that beautiful scenery, neither had she any turn for Schools, or ‘cottage comforts,’ or the general care of her husband’s people, though in particular instances she was very kind; nor was she an active housekeeper. She ordered very good dinners, but as general overseer of expenditure she failed… She had no extravagant habits, not one; yet for want of supervision the waste in all departments of the household was excessive. Indolently content with her book, her newspaper, or her work, late up and very late to bed, a walk to her poultry yard which was her only diversion was almost a bore to her, and a drive with my father in her pretty pony carriage quite a sacrifice. Her health was beginning to give way and her spirits with it.

Managing the Estate

William was quite pleased with the change in his destiny; he was extremely fond of commanding, very active in his habits, by no means studious, and he had never much fancied the Law. Farming he took to eagerly, and what a farmer he made. They were changed times to the highland idlers. The whole yard astir at five o’clock in the morning, himself perhaps the first to pull the bell, a certain task allotted to every one, hours fixed for this work, days set apart for that, method pursued, order enforced. It was hard, up hill work, but even to tidiness and cleanliness it was accomplished in time. He overturned the old system a little too quickly, a woman would have gone about the requisite changes with more delicacy; the result, however, justified the means.

Rothiemurchus

The forest affairs were at least equally improved by such active superintendence, although the alterations came more by degrees. I must try and remember all that was done there, and in due order if possible. First, the general felling of timber at whatever spot the men so employed found it most convenient to them to use their axe on a marked tree, was put a stop to. William made a plan of the forest, divided it into sections, and as far as was practicable allotted one portion to be cleared immediately, enclosed by a stout fencing, and then left to nature, not to be touched again for fifty or sixty years. The ground was so rich in seed that no other care was requisite. By the following Spring a carpet of inch high plants would be struggling to rise above the heather, in a season or two more a thicket of young fir trees would be found there, thinning themselves as they grew, the larger destroying all the weaker. Had this plan been pursued from the beginning there would never have been an end to the wood of Rothiemurchus.

The order he got that farm into, the crops it yielded afterwards, the beauty of his fields, the improvement of the Stock, were the wonder of the Country. This first year I did not so much attend to his doings as I did the next, having little or nothing to do with his operations. Jane and I rode as usual. We all wandered about in the woods and spent long days in the garden, and then we had the usual Autumn Company to entertain at home and in the neighbourhood.

Managing the Household

At the end of this year my sisters and I had to manage amongst us to replace wasteful servants and attend to my Mother’s simple wants… My Mother placed me in authority, and by patience, regularity, tact and resolution, the necessary reforms were silently made without annoying any one. It was the beginning of troubles the full extent of which I had indeed little idea of then, nor had I thought much of what I did know till one bright day, on one of our forest excursions, my rough pony was led through the moss above Auchnahartenich by honest old John Bain. We were looking over a wide, bare plain, which the last time I had seen it had been all wood. I believe I started. The good old man shook his gray head, and then, with more respect than usual in his affectionate highland manner, he told me all that was said, all that he feared, all that some one of us should know, and that he saw ‘it was fixed’ that Miss Lizzie should hear, for though she was ‘lightsome’ she would come to sense when it was wanted to keep her Mama easy, try to get her brothers on and not refuse a good match for herself, or her sisters should it come their way. Good, wise John Bain—‘A match for me!’ that was over, but the rest was easy, could at least be tried. ‘A stout heart to a stiff brae’ gets up the hill. I was ignorant of household matters, My kind friend the Lady Belleville was an admirable economist, she taught me much. Dairy and farmkitchen matters were picked up at the Deli and the Croft, and with books of reference, honest intentions, and untiring activity, less mistakes were made in this season of apprenticeship than could have been expected. And so passed the year of 1821.

It was new to me to think. I had never thought before. I often lay awake in the early summer morning looking from my bed through the large south window of that pretty ‘White room,’ thinking of the world beyond those fine old beech trees, taking into the picture the green gate, the undulating field the bank of birch trees, and the Ord Bain, and on the other side the height of the Polchar, and the smoke from the gardener’s cottage; wondering, dreaming, and not omitting self accusation, for discipline had been necessary to me, and I had not borne my cross meekly. My foolish, frivolous, careless career and its punishment came back upon me painfully, but no longer angrily; I learned to excuse as well as to submit, so kissed the rod in a brave spirit which met its reward… my wise Aunt found me a new and most pleasant employment. She set me upon writing essays, short tales, and at length a novel. I don’t suppose they were intrinsically worth much, and I am sure I do not know what has become of them, but the venture was invaluable. I tried higher flights afterwards with success when help was more wanted.

All this while, who was very near us, within a thought of coming on to find us out, had he more accurately known our whereabouts. He who hardly seven years after became my husband. He was an Officer of the Indian Army at home on furlough*, diverting his leisure by a tour through part of Scotland; he was sleeping quietly at Dunkeld while I was waking during the long night at the Doune. Uncle Edward, his particular friend, had so often talked of us to him that he knew us almost individually, but for want of a letter of introduction would not volunteer a better acquaintance. It was better for me as it was. I know well, had he come to Rothiemurchus, Jane would have won his heart. So handsome she was, so lively, so kind, a sickly invalid would have had no chance with him. Major Smith and Miss Jane would have ridden enthusiastically through the woods together, and I should have been unnoticed. All happens well, could we but think so; and so my future husband returned alone to India, and I had to go there after him!

*An extended leave. Born in 1780, the second son of a Co. Wicklow landowner, Henry Smith had been admitted to the King’s Inn, after which he enrolled as a Cadet in the East India Company Cavalry. He was promoted Major in 1820 and was to be Lieutenant Colonel four years later.

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: 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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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

Lovat, the Chief of the Clan Fraser: Memoirs of a Highland Lady

Lovat, the Chief of the Clan Fraser

Archibald Campbell Fraser

The peerage had been forfeited by the wicked lord in the last rebellion, the lands and the Chieftainship had been left with a cousin, the rightful heir, who had sprung from the common stock before the attainder. He was an old man, and his quiet, comfortable wife was an old woman. They had been at Cluny, the Lady of the Macpherson Chieftain being their niece, or the laird their nephew, I don’t exactly know which; and their servants told ours they had had a hard matter to get their master away, for he was subject to strange whims, and he had taken it into his head when he was there that he was a Turkey hen, and so he had made a nest of straw in his carriage and filled it with eggs and a large stone, and there he sat hatching, never leaving his station save twice a day like other fowl, and having his supplies of food brought to him. They had at last to get the Lady Cluny’s henwife to watch a proper moment to throw out all these eggs and to put some young chickens in their place, when Lovat, satisfied he had accomplished his task, went about clucking and strutting with wonderful pride in the midst of them, running about to collect his flock, flapping the tails of his coat as the hens do their wings in like circumstances. He was quite sane in conversation generally, rather an agreeable man I heard them say, and would be as steady as other people for a certain length of time; but every now and then he took these strange fancies, when his wife had much ado to bring him out of them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archibald_Campbell_Fraser_of_Lovat

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

Collette Cameron: Passion and Plunder

Scottish Heather Honey

I never know what random thing my latest story will have me poking around the Internet in search of. For my Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, I’ve mentioned the use of heather in several of the books, hence the title. In books five and six, I ventured into the healing qualities of honey. I’d heard of the skin and medicinal benefits of honey before, and I was curious if honey from heather might have unusual properties. I was delighted at what I uncovered.

By Vicky Brock from Glasgow, UK – Honey Show 2, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35024402

As you no doubt already know, all honey provides many benefits:

  • Reduce throat irritation and cough
  • Heals wounds and burns
  • Reduce ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders
  • Cancer and heart disease prevention
  • Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal

Made by bees brought to the Highlands in August for the express purpose of collecting nectar from heather blossoms, Scottish heather honey is touted as having “magical healing powers” and is referred to by the Scots as the “Champagne of all honeys.” Dubbed the “Rolls Royce” of honey in Britain, many claim it’s a cheaper alternative to New Zealand’s much praised Manuka honey. A recent study found heather honey to be more effective in treating topical infections than Manuka honey.

Scottish heather honey possesses an extraordinary antiseptic property, which makes it a favored natural remedy for treating cuts and wounds. I used that tidbit in book number six in the series. It has exceptional anti-bacteria fighting abilities and is known to treat MRSA as well as three other bacteria. It’s also a powerful anti-oxidant and contains high amount of minerals and proteins. An unusual feature of the dark amber honey is its texture, characterized by high thixotropy (extremely viscous). When at rest, it’s jelly-like, but when stirred or agitated, it becomes syrupy like other honeys until it settles into a gel again. It also has a high water content.

People either adore the medium-to-strong, even slightly bitter, woody taste and lingering peaty aftertaste, or dislike the flavor intently. Scottish Heather Honey is delicious in many dishes, but isn’t recommended for tea as the flavor is too strong for the brew. And yes, it’s used in the preparation of many alcoholic spirits such as mead. Those clever Scots.

Unfortunately, honey couldn’t cure my heroine’s father in Passion and Plunder, my fifth book in my Highland Heather Romancing a Scot series, but used in a salve in the sixth book, it helped heal my hero’s scars.

Are you a fan of honey? Any particular kind? Blackberry is mine. I love it in tea and with a special kind of biscuit made from my great-grandmother’s recipe. (You’ll find the recipe in my June 1 newsletter)

About Passion and Plunder (Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, #5)

Would you sacrifice everything for the person you love, knowing you can never be together?

A desperate Scottish lady

Lydia Farnsworth—the sole surviving heir to the Laird of Tornbury Fortress—has lost nearly everyone she loves. Now her father lies on his deathbed. And as if this isn’t dire enough, he’s invited men from the surrounding area to a warrior’s contest—the winner to claim Lydia as his bride.

A Scotsman dueling with his past

Alasdair McTavish, son of Craiglocky Keep’s war chief, is a seasoned warrior in his own right. So when he’s sent to Tornbury to train the Farnsworth soldiers, he’s more than equal to the task.

When a dangerous adversary makes a move against Lydia, a dastardly scheme comes to light, and Alasdair realizes only he can protect Lydia.

Don’t miss the 5th installment in this sweeping historical Highland romance series—get your copy of Passion and Plunder for a romantic Scottish adventure you won’t want to put down.

 

Passion and Plunder releases May 24, but you can pre-order it now.

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Giveaway Link

Excerpt

Mustering her courage, she reluctantly raised her focus from the soft, worn leather encompassing his ridiculously broad chest.

“Dinna look so woebegone, lass.”

“What are we to do?” She stared up at him, refusing to permit her surge of tears to fall. “Da wouldn’t have forced either of my brothers to marry before assuming the lairdship. This stipulation reveals his lack of faith in me. In my gender.”

“Nae, he wouldn’t, but I think he believes he be protectin’ ye.” A throaty quality deepened his voice as he drew her into his arms. One large hand framing a shoulder and the other cupping her waist, he pressed her near.

God help her, his strong, comforting embrace felt splendid, like a long overdue homecoming. So secure and safe.

And a bit terrifying too.

She wanted to wrap her hands around his large frame, bury her head in his shoulder, and stay snuggled there for hours.

Perchance days.

Forever.

Desire blazed in his eyes as he tilted her chin upward at the same moment he dipped his lower. Her woman’s intuition recognized the passion bubbling beneath his composed demeanor.

About the Author

A bestselling, award-winning author, Collette Cameron pens Scottish and Regency historicals featuring rogues, rapscallions, rakes, and the intelligent, intrepid damsels who reform them.

Blessed with three spectacular children, fantastic fans, and a compulsive, over-active, and witty Muse who won’t stop whispering new romantic romps in her ear, she still lives in Oregon with dachshunds, though she dreams of living in Scotland part-time.

Admitting to a quirky sense of humor, Collette enjoys inspiring quotes, adores castles and anything cobalt blue, and is a self-confessed Cadbury chocoholic. You’ll always find dogs, birds, occasionally naughty humor, and a dash of inspiration in her sweet-to-spicy timeless romances.

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Callie Hutton: The Highlander’s Accidental Bride (Giveaway)

Dearest Mother,

This is a difficult letter to write since I have done something very foolish. Please do not think from my actions that I in any way disavowed your upbringing or teachings. I was merely not in a frame of mind at the time to consider my words.

First, it saddens me to inform you that the driver and footman you hired to accompany me and my maid on the journey to visit Sybil was killed in a carriage crash. The carriage was also destroyed in the accident.

Alice and I are unhurt, however. We met two lovely gentlemen on the road, professors at the University of Scotland, who assisted us to reach the nearest inn. Mother, you will never guess, but one of the professors is cousin to Lady Margaret’s husband, Laird Duncan McKinnon! I was quite relieved to discover that since Professor McKinnon offered—well actually I asked—his company for the remainder of the journey to Sybil’s home.

It was while traveling with the professor that my situation… changed. It appears somehow in the confusion of trying to obtain a room at an inn that was quite full, I inadvertently… Well, I accidentally…

I wish there was another way to say this. But, I unintentionally…

Mother – I am married.

Love,

Sarah

A bit of history on ‘irregular marriages’ from Wikipedia:

Under early modern Scots law, there were three forms of “irregular marriage” which can be summarized as the agreement of the couple to be married and some form of witnessing or evidence of such. An irregular marriage could result from mutual agreement, by a public promise followed by consummation, or by cohabitation and repute. All but the last of these were abolished by the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1939, from 1 January 1940. Prior to this act, any citizen was able to witness a public promise… A marriage by “cohabitation with repute” as it was known in Scots Law could still be formed; popularly described as “by habit and repute”, with repute being the crucial element to be proved. In 2006, Scotland was the last European jurisdiction to abolish this old style common-law marriage or “marriage by cohabitation with repute”, by the passing of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_in_Scotland.

If you lived in the Regency period, what would you hate the most? What would you like the most? One commenter will win a $5 Amazon gift card, along with an ebook copy of the USA Today best-selling book The Elusive Wife. That book is the first in the Marriage Mart Mayhem series. If the winner has already read it, they can select any other book in the series.

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About The Highlander’s Accidental Marriage

On the way to visit her twin sister in the Highlands, Lady Sarah Lacey makes a huge mistake which has the ability to change her life’s plans… Now what does she do?

Lady Sarah Lacey is on her way to the Highlands to visit her twin sister, Lady Sybil MacBride, when she meets with an accident. Stranded on the road, she encounters Professor Braeden McKinnon, traveling to his home near Sarah’s destination. She cajoles him into escorting her and her maid.

As they take to the road together, Braeden finds the fiery Lady Sarah a handful of trouble. But nothing prepares him for the words she utters in front of witnesses that binds them together in matrimony. Waiting for word that he has been selected to work on an archaeological dig in Rome, he had no intention of taking a wife for a long time. Now that she has accidentally married them, however, perhaps it would not be such a bad thing, after all.

Except Sarah has no intention of being anyone’s wife. She has other plans…

http://calliehutton.com/the-highlanders-accidental-marriage-marriage-mart-mayhem-book-6/

Excerpt

She smiled at him. “Yes. I am ready.” Without another word, she sashayed over to his horse and stood next to it, her eyebrows raised. “Well. Are we leaving?”

Professor McKinnon had to shut his mouth, which hung open. He stomped over and, grasping her waist, flung her onto the horse’s back. She immediately began to slide to the other side, the weight of the wet clothes pulling her over. He reached out and grabbed her, tugging her the other way. Her arms flailing, she slid toward him and fell off, landing on him, sending both of them into the mud.

She lay sprawled on top of his muscular body, not more than an inch from his surprised expression. Mud splattered his spectacles as well as the rest of his face. Unable to help herself, she burst out laughing. He glowered at her and then his muscles relaxed, a slight smile teasing his lips which turned into a grin. “I’d love to lie here with ye on top of me, lass, but I dinna think we’ll get very far if ye do. ’Tis not fond of an audience, I am.”

About the Author

Cropped copyUSA Today best selling author of The Elusive Wife, Callie Hutton writes both Western Historical and Regency romance, with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance Reviews). Callie lives in Oklahoma with several rescue dogs, her daughter, son, daughter-in-law, twin grandbabies (thankfully all not in the same house), and her top cheerleader husband of thirty-nine years. Callie loves to hear from readers, and would welcome you as a friend on Facebook. You can contact her through her website: www.calliehutton.com.

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2016 releases

Stephen’s Bride, April

Wild Western Women Boxed Set, Volume 3, April

The Earl’s Return, Marriage Mart Mayhem #7, August

Wild Western Women Christmas Boxed Set, October

The Christmas Wager, Marriage Mart Mayhem novella, November

The Matchmaker Series, Book One, December

 

Alicia Quigley: The Highlander’s Yuletide Love

We all enjoy our family Christmas traditions at this time of year, and for many of us that includes putting our feet up with a nice romance novel in between decorating trees, wrapping presents, baking cookies, and all of the other Christmas fun. When the setting is the Regency period, we need to have a look at how people celebrated the season at the time. Last year I published The Yuletide Countess, and this year’s Christmas release is a sequel, The Highlander’s Yuletide Love. Both take place in Scotland in the late Regency period.

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Hogmanay

Early 19th century Christmas customs in England differed quite a bit from ours, and those in Scotland still more. For example, the Christmas tree only became common in the Victorian era, although their presence in the German-influenced royal court was documented in the 1700’s. In Scotland, there was an even bigger difference. In much of Scotland, Protestant believers viewed Christmas as a holiday that was far too Catholic, and it was seldom celebrated.

Before the Reformation occurred in 1560, Scotland celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday, in much the say way as other European countries. However, the Church of Scotland associated it with Catholicism and frowned on it. In 1640, the Scottish Parliament actually made what were referred to as “Yule vacations” illegal. Even though this was repealed in 1686, the Grinch pretty much stole Christmas in Scotland for the better part of the next 400 years! It only became a public holiday in 1958.

However, all was not cold and dark in Scotland during Yule season. Hogmanay, or New Years, had a long history of celebration including gift giving to family and friends and any number of other local superstitions and traditions. One of the best known is First Footing, or the arrival of the first guest on New Year’s Day.

A tall dark man (much like the hero in The Highlander’s Yuletide Love) bearing gifts as the “first foot” was supposed to be a sign of good luck. Gifts were also given to friends and family members on Hogmanay. Various regions of Scotland also had specific traditions. In The Highlander’s Yuletide Love, the hero hails from the Trossachs, a region near Loch Lomond. Traditionally, the men of this area would march in torchlight procession to the top of the Lomond Hills as midnight approached.

The English custom of Boxing Day, in which gifts were given to servants, tradesmen, etc. on the day after Christmas, also had an analog in Scotland. On the day after New Years day, known in the 19th century as Handsel Day one would give gifts or money to those who had waited on or worked for you during the year. The word “handsel” originates from an Old Saxon word that means, “to deliver into the hand”. During the 19th century, both of these holidays were celebrated on the first weekday after Christmas or Hogmanay, rather than always on the day after as is the present custom.

The Highlander’s Yuletide Love Final-FJM_Kindle_1800x2700 copy

Excerpt 

It was the fashionable hour of the promenade, and all around them the cream of London society swirled, the ladies glowing in their finest walking dresses, strolling arm in arm or riding in elegant carriages, while the men tooled their phaetons or rode well-bred horses. They circled one another, now and then stopping to converse, all eager to learn of the latest scandal or fashion.

Isobel tucked her arm through Sophy’s. “I think we shall outshine all the other ladies here this afternoon,” she teased.

Sophy took in Isobel’s elegant appearance in her plumed bonnet and emerald green pelisse worn over a pale yellow muslin gown. “You look fine indeed, but Miss Durand has been acclaimed the beauty of this Season, and I fear we cannot challenge her,” she laughed.

Isobel made a wry face. “That simpering nitwit? I’ve never understood what Society sees in her. Let us enjoy our drive all the same.”

Their carriage moved some ways down the path, the ladies nodding here and there to an acquaintance, and even stopping once or twice to talk briefly. Suddenly Isobel gave a little start.

“There is Colonel Stirling!” she said. “How very surprising. I haven’t seen him for an age. Francis will be delighted to know that he is in Town.”

As it would be bad ton to display her very real pleasure at seeing a friend, she waved rather languidly at a tall gentleman some distance down the path from them. He clearly saw and recognized the occupant of the barouche, and, nodding at the gentleman he was conversing with, made his way towards Isobel’s carriage.

As he drew nearer, Sophy noted the breadth of his shoulders, his narrow waist, and the powerful thighs under his fawn-colored pantaloons. His gait had the ease of an athlete, and she perceived as he reached the barouche that he was very handsome; a strong jaw, straight nose, golden brown eyes, and cropped black hair were set off by the elegant tailoring of his black coat, his perfectly arranged neckcloth, and gold-tasseled Hessians which he appeared to have been born in, so closely did they fit about the ankle.

Despite his attractiveness, Sophy also perceived an aura of arrogance surrounding him, as though he held himself aloof from his fellows, but it was countered by an air of confident masculinity that was extremely appealing. As he sauntered towards them, she was confused by the conflicting impressions that flooded her. She tried to imagine painting such a man; one whose surface was so alluring, yet who also possessed an inner chilliness, and found her mind awash in ways of translating such conflicting impressions into images. As a result, when Colonel Stirling arrived beside the barouche and Isobel introduced him, she found herself in a state of confusion.

“Lady Sophia Learmouth, may I present Colonel Stirling? He is a dear friend of Exencour’s,” she heard Isobel say.

The Colonel bowed elegantly. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lady Sophia. I believe I have encountered your father upon occasion.”

Sophy did her best to bring her thoughts back to the moment. “Oh thank you, Colonel Stirling. I’m delighted to be sure.”

She flushed slightly at her nonsensical response, and saw with a twinge of annoyance that Colonel Stirling, whose face had shown a touch of curiosity, now assumed a look of bland politeness. He had clearly dismissed her as a foolish girl beneath his notice, and the thought stung.

Isobel stepped in, drawing the colonel’s attention. “Have you been long in London? I hadn’t heard from Exencour that you were here, and I feel certain he would have mentioned it if he had encountered you. He speaks often of you, you know.”

A smile glimmered on the colonel’s lips. “No, Lady Exencour, I have missed much of the Season, and I seldom venture to London of late. After the death of my older brother this past year, I decided it would be best to spend some time in Scotland with my father, learning more about the estate. I shall have to sell out, I suppose, if I am to be the next laird.”

“My condolences, Colonel Stirling. You must feel the loss of your brother deeply,” Sophy said gently.

Ranulf switched his gaze from Isobel to her companion, and looked at Sophy closely for the first time. Her charming bonnet made of chip, trimmed with a garland of pink silk roses and matching silk gauze ribbons framed an expressive face, with large blue eyes fringed by dark lashes and a mouth that was full, yet surprisingly firm. Dark curls peeked out from under her hat, emphasizing the slim column of her neck. He raised his eyebrows.

“Why would you think I must necessarily miss my brother, Lady Sophia?” he asked, his voice faintly mocking. “My chief memories are of him teasing me mercilessly when we were boys, and as I embarked on a military career over a dozen years ago, I’ve seen little of him since.”

A spark of annoyance lit Sophy’s eyes. “I was being polite, and attempting to sympathize, Colonel Stirling, as you doubtless know. But I can tell you that I have a brother as well, and, as much as I wish to throttle him from time to time, if he were to suddenly disappear from my life, I would be heartbroken,” she replied, a touch of acid in her voice.

The smile grew broader, and Sophy blinked as the colonel’s handsome face grew even more attractive. “Well said, Lady Sophia. I do indeed miss my brother a great deal, if only because his death makes me take on the responsibilities of the family lands.”

Isobel glanced from Sophy to the colonel, her eyes alight with curiosity. “Colonel Stirling’s father is the Laird of Spaethness,” she said.

Sophy received the information with apparent disinterest. “Are you from the Highlands, then?”

“Yes, Spaethness is in Argyll, hidden away in the Grampians,” he replied. “We are wild Highlanders through and through.”

“No wild man out of the glens has his coats made by Weston, as yours clearly is, or wears boots with a shine such as yours,” said Sophy dryly.

A touch of amusement crept into his sleepy eyes. “I see I shall have to take my tales of kelpies and banshees elsewhere then.”

Sophy gave a gurgle of laughter despite her annoyance. “I may be a lowlander, but you must definitely find a more gullible female to impose upon than me.” She turned toward him and their eyes met and, though she relished the opportunity to give this confident gentleman a bit of a set down, she realized she had not managed to chase away the pull of his personal magnetism.

After a moment he looked away and gave her a careless reply. The conversation turned to the doings of the Season, and particularly of the Exencours’ and Colonel Stirling’s mutual acquaintance, while Sophy listened in silence. After a few minutes Isobel held her hand out to the colonel with a cheerful smile.

“We must not keep you any longer,” she said. “But do call upon us at Strancaster House. Francis will be very pleased to see you again.”

“I am always happy to see Lord Exencour, and his charming wife as well,” said the colonel. He turned to Sophy, and nodded. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Lady Sophia.”

Sophy inclined her head coldly, not failing to note that this caused the colonel’s lips to twitch slightly. She watched, annoyed, as he bowed politely while the barouche pulled away.

About the Author

AQ Twitter Avi copyAlicia Quigley is a lifelong lover of romance novels, who fell in love with Jane Austen in grade school, and Georgette Heyer in junior high.  She made up games with playing cards using the face cards for Heyer characters, and sewed regency gowns (walking dresses, riding habits and bonnets that even Lydia Bennett wouldn’t have touched) for her Barbie.  In spite of her terrible science and engineering addiction, she remains a devotee of the romance, and enjoys turning her hand to their production as well as their consumption.

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