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Category: Regency (19th century Britain) (Page 1 of 4)

A Vauxhall Collaboration: Susana Ellis and Jonathan Tyers

Susana: I’d like to introduce Mr. Jonathan Tyers, the entrepreneur who transformed the “Old and New Spring Gardens” from a disreputable outdoor adult park into the lovely Vauxhall Gardens, popular among all levels of society. Mr. Tyers has graciously agreed to assist me in my quest to bring the gardens back to life for Anglophiles and history lovers everywhere.

Mr. Tyers: Indeed, it is so gratifying to make the acquaintance of someone who shares my passion for bringing back the simpler pleasures of life. I understand that you wish to feature some of my employees in your romantic novels?

Susana: Yes, a series of novellas and short stories, spanning the length and breadth of its existence, from the 1730’s until 1859. I-er-understand that you kept a close vigil on it even after it passed from you to your children and others over the years.

Mr. Tyers [shaking his head]: I did so as long as I could, but toward the end… well, it was too painful. Nothing lasts forever, of course.

Susana: Nonetheless, I would like to highlight the memory of Vauxhall by creating stories about some of the workers and performers who contributed to its success.

Mr. Tyers [with a knowing grin]: A capital idea! I like to believe that I had a small part in encouraging suitable matches among my deserving employees.

Susana: I believe I recall that you provided wedding rings and a fabulous dinner at your own home for two happy couples.

Mr. Tyers [chest thrust out]: Yes, indeed. We put on a feast for fifty employees to celebrate the union of two of my bar-men with two bar-maids. Provided transportation all the way to Denbies, in Dorking—more than twenty miles, you know.

Susana: I knew you would be just the one to assist me with my project!

Mr. Tyers [leaning forward]: I shall certainly do what I can, Miss Ellis. What do you wish to know?

Susana: The first story is about a woman who worked as an under-gardener in 1814, and Peter de Luca, a musician.

Mr. Tyers: Ah yes, Alice Crocker. As I recall, Nat Stephens, the head gardener at the time, insisted on hiring her as his assistant even though there were plenty of able-bodied men who could have filled the position. He insisted she could handle the physical labor required as well as anyone, and she had a knack for design like none other. Singular, I thought at the time. But she had no husband to object, and Stephens was pleased with her. A bit of a distraction for the men at first, I noticed.

Susana [grimacing]: Couldn’t keep their minds on their work, eh? She was too pretty or something?

Mr. Tyers: Not pretty. Attractive, I suppose. A Long Meg, solid and strong too. [Chuckles] Gal knew how to handle herself around lecherous men, she did.

Susana: Intriguing. I take it she wasn’t fresh out of the schoolroom, then.

Mr. Tyers [scratching his head]: Don’t know if she went to school, but she was in her caps. Near thirty, I’d guess, when she came.

Susana: I must find out more about her… her family, where she grew up, what she did before she came to work at Vauxhall, and most of all, how she learned to manage men at a time when lone women were considered fair game for predatory men.

Mr. Tyers [stepping backward]: Pray recall, Miss Ellis, that not all men were guilty of such appalling behavior.

Susana [smiling sweetly]: Of course not, Mr. Tyers. I appreciate your constant efforts to prevent such incidents during your tenure as manager of Vauxhall.

Mr. Tyers [nodding]: Indeed I did. We hired watchmen and constables…

Susana: Yes, yes. I am sure no one could have done more. Now tell me what you know of this Peter de Luca. He was a musician, I believe.

Tyers: Played the violin in the orchestra at Drury Lane. I believe Mr. Hook brought him in with several other new players at the time. Most of our musicians worked in theaters during the colder months and came to us in the summer to earn a little extra coin. Not well paid at all, musicians. Passionate about their art, though. I like to think I helped them out a bit, too, as well as entertaining the visitors. Families have to eat, you know.

Orchestra at Drury Lane, 1843

Susana: Of course. About Peter de Luca…

Mr. Tyers: Yes, well, he was Italian—popish, you know. A widower, I believe. Brought his little tyke with him at times, never caused a problem. Quite well-looking, he was. Caught the attention of many a maid. Why even Mrs. Billington fluttered her eyelashes at him…

Susana [gritting her teeth]: A womanizer? That will never do. I cannot have a hero who was a womanizer.

Mr. Tyers [opening and then closing his mouth]: Womanizer? You mean, a philanderer? I really can’t say. I saw no sign of it. Nothing outside of the usual.

Susana [with a deep sigh]: The usual. Hmm, sounds like a double-standard. I shall have to investigate this Peter de Luca more thoroughly before I match him with the excellent Miss Crocker.

Mr. Tyers [narrowing his eyes]: You are a most singular lady, Miss Ellis. Er—is this characteristic of all ladies of the future?

Susana [chuckling]: I wish! No, seriously, I just like to make sure my heroines get a hero capable of giving them their HEA.

Mr. Tyers: HEA?

Susana: Happy-ever-after. You know, the happy couple stays together into their golden years and beyond. A requirement of every genuine romance.

Mr. Tyers [smiling]: Yes, well, that is what we all hope for, do we not? By all means, let us do what we can to make suitable matches among my worthy employees.

Stay tuned for further news about Susana’s and Mr. Tyers’s matchmaking efforts in Susana’s new series, The Vauxhall Vixens.

Intrigued by Vauxhall Gardens? Join Susana on Facebook for daily tidbits about Jonathan Tyers’s successful creation.

https://www.facebook.com/vauxhallgardens/

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

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Felicia: her thoughts as she contemplates retrieving her lost daughter

In Chapter 15, Anthony, Lord Kendall, calls upon Felicia to inform her that he believes her long-lost daughter may be at the Foundling Hospital. She and her maid Maris, a loyal friend from their days at the Pleasure House, reflect on the possibility that the much-anticipated reunion may take place that very day!

The Foundling Restored to Its Mother

Felicia [eyes glowing]: Oh Maris, can this really be happening? I’ve dreamed of this moment for ever, but always in the end believing it to be impossible. [Swallowing] If she had found a suitable home, where she would be nurtured and loved, I should, of course, have been glad for her and refrained from interfering. But I had to know!

Maris [tugging a brush through Felicia’s thick, curly locks]: ‘Twas ol’ Beazley that stole ‘er from ya, may she rot in ‘ell. And tol’ ya she was dead, besides. Witch!

Felicia [nostrils flaring]: I can’t tell you how that troubled my thoughts, dear Maris, worrying over in what manner such a woman might dispose of my child, and all of them so very disheartening.

Maris: As bad as that was, ’twas better than thinkin’ ‘er dead. Gave ya somethin’ ta live fer.

Felicia [clasping Maris’s hands in hers]: It did indeed. I shall always be grateful to you for reminding me of that fact at a time when the world was black and I had no hope.

Maris [tearfully]: No need, miss. ‘Twas out of selfishness, not wantin’ ta lose the only friend I had.

Felicia [turning and giving Maris a quick kiss on the cheek]: We have been through a lot together, have we not? I could not have made it through all those months at the whorehouse without you reminding me of my responsibility to my child. I should never have met and loved Charles, God rest his generous soul, and never have obtained the means to support myself respectably.

Maris [with a secret smile]: Or met Mr. Jamison, er, Lord Kendall ‘e is now, who seemed that eager ta find yer daughter fer ya, miss.

Felicia [flushing]: Don’t tease, Maris. There can be nothing between us. He is very kind, that is all.

Maris [snorting]: Kind? Kind, you say? Ye’ve called ‘im a jackass more ‘n once, and so ‘e was too!

Felicia [tugging at her neckline]: Yes, well, perhaps he was rather disagreeable in the beginning, but it had to be a bit of a shock to discover that his uncle left half of his fortune to his mistress. I’m inclined to forgive him for all that, especially now that he has sought to reunite me with my daughter. [Rises from the chair.] Cynthia. Oh Maris, she is three years old already and her name is Cynthia! How will I ever explain how I lost her?

Maris: Jis’ like that. She was lost and ya found ‘er.

Felicia: Or Anthony did. How can I ever thank him? [Maris chuckles.] No, no, not that way. Never again that way! I shall ever after be a respectable lady, for myself first, and also for my daughter. Cynthia. She shall have everything I can give her, that I never had myself.

Maris: A father?

Felicia [turning pale]: No, but a doting mother will surely be enough. We shall be very happy, just the two of us. And you, of course, Maris. We shall find a house in the country, near a village, with children and cows and fresh air.

Maris: And Anthony?

Felicia [folding her arms across her chest]: What about him? Anthony will go on with his life, take his seat in Parliament, marry some noble young lady with whom he will have a passel of children, and become a bastion of London society. He and I will never cross paths again. And that is the way it should be.

Maris: If you say so, miss.

Felicia: I do say so. [Looks toward the window.] Is that a carriage, Maris? Where is my bonnet? Oh Maris, I’m going to be a mother! Do you think she’ll like me? What if…? If she’s been abominably treated, I shall never forgive myself. Has Mrs. Grey finished preparing the nursery, do you think?

Find out what happens when Felicia and Anthony visit the Foundling Hospital in an attempt to retrieve her daughter in the next installment of Susana’s Resilience, on wattpad.

 

Tales from a Shifting Duchy: First Day on the ‘Job’

June 6, 1814…

Stonebridge House…

Mondays. Would they forever be known as the most dreaded day of the week? Even at Stonebridge House, the servants approached all Mondays with a sense of reluctant melancholy.

Personally, I had never thought so. My father tossed me out of his house on a Wednesday on account of my having conceived a child out of wedlock. And the Duke of Stonebridge rescued me, offering me a position in his home, on a Monday, so…

But this Monday, the 6th day of June, my nerves were a jumble of fiery sparks bouncing about in the pit of my stomach and wreaking all sorts of havoc on my digestion as I worked tirelessly to shine the brass railing on the main staircase of Stonebridge House, hoping to make a good first impression on Her Grace. And not by casting up my accounts at her feet, if you take my meaning.

You see today was the first official day that Lady Grace Langley née Radclyffe would take charge as the new Duchess of Stonebridge and Mistress of Stonebridge Park…and we bloody well didn’t know what to expect.

The duke? Well, he was no help at all. When asked, he just smiled and said, “You’ll see,” then wandered off with a whistle and a bounce in his step the likes of which we’d never seen before.

Oh, now, he wasn’t a bad master. Not at all. But he’d never been so…so…jolly afore now. Yes, that’s the word for it…jolly.

Now, I’m not one to bandy words, but…this particular morning, I was near the foot of the stairs and near finished with that stubborn railing when Their Graces came a-walking down the stairs, hand-in-hand, and laughing up a storm. And Her Grace? She actually took a moment to stop and say “Good morning,” to me. I was so startled, I just…forgot to respond. Instead, I just stood there, mute, with my mouth wide open like a candidate for Bedlam. She wasn’t supposed to do that, was she?

And the duchess? She just smiled, threw me a wink, and carried on. I watched all agog as the two of them stopped near the door. They surely didn’t notice my stare for they had eyes only for each other.

After only a few murmured words, the duke left the duchess with a kiss and a “You’ll be marvelous, darling,” and that was that. I couldn’t help but blush on my lady’s behalf. It was clear she was a might nervous, judging by the twisting of her hands in her skirts. Yet it was just as clear the duke had no such reservations.

So anyways, I started to resume my polishing, but wouldn’t you know that the duke marched back in not five seconds later and give her a second kiss? I nearly gasped, I was so surprised.

Then, there was a third kiss. I swear I tried to look away, but they were simply too…sweet…to be ignored.

But then out of the blue he just growled. And swore. And marched back out the door, slamming his hat on his head in the process.

I might have thought he was angry, but the duchess? She just crossed her arms and laughed at his departing back, a little more at ease. Still, I waited with baited breath as she stood there, arms akimbo now, staring at the door.

Was she expecting him to return yet again? I held my breath in solidarity.

Five seconds passed. I thought sure he was gone this time.

Ten seconds. I looked to the duchess, amazed.

Twenty seconds and I was ready to polish again.

But then sure enough, thirty seconds later the duke ran back in, swung his lady up into his arms, and carried her upstairs as if his breeches were on fire.

Lord, I still blush to think on it.

I recall the duchess giggling all the way upstairs…right up until the door to the Master’s chambers closed with a bang!

Ooh – and that was going on 2 hours ago.

I guess, she must not be all bad, right? For him to be so openly carefree with his lady?

-Miss Eliza Smythe
Downstairs Maid
Stonebridge House

What the Duke Wants
Agents of Change, Book 1
By Amy Quinton

England 1814:  Upstanding duke desperately seeks accident-prone wife from trade…

She is from trade. He is a duke and an agent for the crown with a name to restore and a mystery to solve. Miss Grace (ha!) Radclyffe is an oftentimes hilariously clumsy, 20-year-old orphan biding her time living with her uncle until she is old enough to come into her small inheritance. Much to her aunt’s chagrin:

She isn’t:

  • Reserved – not with her shocking! tendency to befriend the servants…
  • Sophisticated – highly overrated if one cannot run around barefoot outside…
  • Graceful – she once flung her dinner into a duke’s face… on accident, of course. But she is:

But she is:

  • Practical – owning a fashion house is in her future; unless someone foils her plans…
  • In love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…
  • The Duke of Stonebridge is a man with a tragic past. His father died mysteriously when he was 12 years old amid speculation that the old duke was ‘involved’ with another man. He must restore his family name, but on the eve of his engagement to the perfect debutante, he meets his betrothed’s cousin, and his world is turned inside out… No matter:

He is always:

  • Logical – men who follow their hearts and not their heads are foolish…
  • Reserved – his private life is nobody’s business but his own…

And he isn’t:

  • Impulsive – it always leads to trouble…
  • Charming – that’s his best friend, the Marquess of Dansbury’s, area of expertise…
  • In love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…

Can he have what he wants and remain respectable? Can she trust him to be the man she needs?

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Amy Quinton is an author and full time mom living in Summerville, SC. She enjoys writing (and reading!) sexy, historical romances. She lives with her husband, two boys, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to go camping, hiking, and canoeing/kayaking… And did she mention reading? When she’s not reading, cleaning, or traveling, she likes to make jewelry, sew, knit, and crochet (Yay for Ravelry!).

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The Secretary’s Secret

Sebastian Beringer covered his notes with one arm, trying to do so in a way that would not draw fire from his angry employer. If need be, he would claim he was writing a love letter. The Merry Marquis, whose love affairs were legendary, would surely not snoop further.

On no account could he allow the man to know that he was actually writing his second article for the Teatime Tattler; not when it was the first article that had Lord Aldridge pacing the length of the study with quick, angry strides, ranting about ingratitude and charging Bas with finding out who on the crew of his sailing yacht was a cursed spy.

“You will not believe what this low-life scum wrote,” Aldridge fumed.

Bas could quote it word for word, having worked over it again and again in spare minutes, and read it six times in its splendid printed form in The Teatime Tattler. The extra money that Mr Clemens was paying would come in handy, though Lord Aldridge paid well. But the glory of being in print!

Not, of course, that he could ever claim it. That would be career suicide for a private secretary, whose job was to keep secrets. Possibly, as angry as his employer was, bodily suicide as well.

He was not quite sure what had the man in such a taking. Surely nothing in the article would come as a surprise to the London reader, already inured to scandal from the Merry Marquis and his brother, Lord Jonathan Grenford?

After all, it was a mere two paragraphs, about a yacht trip and a mysterious woman.

During his recent excursion to the ducal estate at Margate, the M.M., accompanied by his younger brother Lord J. G., sailed Lord A.’s private yacht to the southern coast of Essex, where they left it for several days.

Of what purpose was this voyage, our reader may ask? This correspondent was not in the brothers’ confidence, but can disclose that a certain woman’s name was mentioned several times. Who, you may wonder, is Antonia? And what is she to the M.M.? What, indeed, is she to Lord J.?

To find out the brothers’ destination and the identity of Antonia, read Jude Knight’s Revealed in Mist. And see below the blurb for an excerpt.

Revealed in Mist

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

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

#~*~^~*~#

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2dBfNGq

iBooks: http://apple.co/2dVsHPq

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2dCsbCg

Amazon (print): http://amzn.to/2hmIqHk

Amazon (ebook): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N7HI8IA/

Excerpt

David joined Gren and Aldridge for dinner in a private parlour Aldridge hired.

“We need to return to Margate,” Aldridge said. “His Grace said Jon was to go there and stay. I tried to leave him behind, but you know what Jon’s like. He sticks worse than a burr.”

Gren made a rude gesture. “Aldridge only let me come because he needed someone to crew the yacht,” he told David.

Aldridge just grinned. “I have a crew. And you were not much use draped over the rail puking, Jon.”

“You sailed from Margate?” David asked. “Clever.”

“Yes, to Ipswich. His Grace’s spies at the castle will think we are on a pleasure cruise for a few days. It’s good the days are getting longer. We sailed at first light yesterday, then rode all day to get here. We can make it back again by tomorrow, late afternoon, if we change horses regularly.”

A succession of maids carried in dinner: a roasted bird, a leg of lamb, and a stew, with a variety of side dishes.

“The claret is acceptable,” Aldridge decided, and they talked about food and wine till the last maid left the room, blushing and dimpling at Gren.

“I think she likes me,” he told Aldridge and David.

“Do they not all like you, Gren?” David asked with a sardonic smile.

“I expect she likes your coin,” Aldridge suggested.

Donating to a worthy cause

Dorothea looked around the private sitting room of Lady Georgiana Winderfield. Even being here was something of a miracle. To think that four months ago…

‘It is in the past, Miss Berryman,” Mr Milford would remind her, were he here. But of course the past was the point of her visit; the reason for her being invited to take tea with Lady Grace and her sister-in-law Lady Sutton.

“Georgie. There you are. I want to have a word with you. Oh. Grace. You’re here, too.” Lord Sutton barged into the room without knocking, ignoring Dorothea and addressing his two nearest female relatives. “Grace make Georgie see she cannot go on like this. Father won’t have it.”

Lady Georgiana turned to her visitor. “Miss Berryman, I do not believe you are acquainted with my brother. Sutton, Miss Dorothea Berryman.”

Dorothea, not without some trepidation, met Sutton’s gaze, her face carefully bland. Not that she expected him to recognise her. Not without the paint and the powder. Not with her hair returned to its natural brown and her clothing designed for dignity and discretion rather than seduction. Considerably more clothing than she had worn at the beginning of her last encounter with Lord Sutton.

The manners drilled into his lordship in the nursery surfaced long enough for him to bow briefly and mutter, “Miss Berryman. Charmed.” Then he returned to his grievance.

“Just look at it.” The wave of his encompassed the dozens of portraits on the mantelpiece and the walls either side of the fireplace. Every one showed the courtesan known as Lily Diamond. All were draped in black.

“It is pathetic, Georgie. You are making a laughing stock of yourself, and us.” Sutton was pacing too and fro, thumping a fist into his hand. “People are making the most outrageous of suggestions. Bad enough you even knew the woman. But to mourn her as if she were a friend? You have to stop it.”

“Lillian was my friend, Sutton. I am not interested in the opinions of those who considered her beneath them, though they were perfectly willing to partake of her charms.”

“Georgie!” Sutton cast a shocked glance Dorothea’s way. “You must forgive my sister, Miss Berryman. Her humours are unbalanced,  I fear. Georgie, you cannot discuss women like that. It is not seemly.”

Dorothea had seen Lord Sutton being very unseemly indeed, back when she had been called Fanny and had been commanded to entertain him. She managed to keep her face bland.

“Sutton, may I suggest we continue this conversation at a later time,” Lady Sutton said. “Miss Berryman is here to interest us in her charitable work.”

“Yes, Lord Sutton,” some imp prompted her to say. “I am hopeful of providing work for gentlewomen in need of some means of support. Perhaps you would care to make a donation?”

“I am sorry to interrupt, Miss Berryman.” Sutton allowed his indignation to spoil his apology. “Shouldn’t air our linen in public, but the damned woman was a bird of paradise!”

“Sutton!” His wife and sister chorused their disapproval of his language, and he flushed.

“Beg pardon,” he mumbled. “Better put me down for fifty guineas.” The thought of his own generosity buoyed him, and he bowed himself out of the room.

Lady Georgiana grinned broadly. “Well done, Miss Berryman. Your first donation. But please, continue your story. You were telling us about how Mr Wakefield and Miss Virtue paid your debt so that you could be released from the brothel.”

“Yes,” Lady Sutton agreed. “Please finish your story, and then tell us how we can help you to rescue some more damned birds of paradise.”

Dorothea is a minor character in Revealed in Mist. See the story for more about who murdered Lily Diamond, what Lady Georgie had to do with it, and the part Dorothea plays in supporting David and Prue to solve several interlocked mysteries.

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

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

 

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2dBfNGq

iBooks: http://apple.co/2dVsHPq

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2dCsbCg

Amazon (print): http://amzn.to/2hmIqHk

Amazon (ebook): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N7HI8IA/

Extract

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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