EDITOR’S NOTE: DON’T PUBLISH WITHOUT REPLACING REAL NAMES WITH INITIALS. (Sam, it turned out not to be the scandal we thought, but you might be able to make something from my notes.)
Is the Baron marrying the Marquis’s mistress?
Date: 20 July 1810
Just last month, this paper reported on the scandalous behaviour of two of the ton’s most outrageous rakes. Lord Overton comes to Town for a mere three weeks per year, but his shocking exploits with the Merry Marquis during that time have given him a well deserved reputation almost equal to that of the master-rake himself.
We did not expect to see Lord O again in 1810, and can still barely believe the report we have received about the reason for his untimely return to the pleasures of the capital.
Is Lord O courting the Rose of Frampton, that glorious barque of frailty in the keeping of his dearest friend?
We cannot confirm the report, dear readers, as the Marquis has never flaunted his belle amie around town, preferring to keep her to himself. Only his closest friends have been allowed to meet the Rose, and they are almost as close lipped as the man himself, saying only that she is stunningly beautiful and devoted to the Marquis.
And yet, the lady seen at Gunthers with Lord O and a young child meets the description of the Rose in almost every particular.
Is Lord O courting the Rose of Frampton? And will this lead to a falling out between the friends?
Date: 27 July 1810
Sources in the household of the Duke of Haverford claim that Lord O and his mysterious lady were wed today in the chapel at Haverford House. The Duchess of Haverford and the Marquis of Aldridge witnessed the vows.
Dear readers, we have been assured by that the blushing bride is the same woman featured in a painting that hangs above the infamous bed of the Merry Marquis in the heir’s wing of Haverford House, scene of many a flagrant breach of decency and morals.
Date: 30 July 1810
Lord and Lady Overton were at dinner on Saturday night at the home of the Earl of Chirbury, cousin to the Merry Marquis, and on Sunday attended morning services at St George’s, where they were presented to His Grace the Duke of Haverford.
Dear readers, we had begun to conclude that Lady O’s resemblance to Lord Aldridge’s mistress was a mere coincidence when our speculations were confirmed beyond doubt. Lord A was seen out walking with the Rose of Frampton while Lord and Lady O were elsewhere in London, attending a musicale.
Yes, dear readers. The new Lady O is not the Rose of Frampton, and this newspaper apologises for any distress we may have caused by reporting the unfounded suspicions of gossipmongers and disgruntled servants.
Date: 1 August 1810
Dear readers, having been in Hyde Park at the time of the sad occasion that is the only story on everyone’s lips, we can confirm the astounding resemblance between the Rose of Frampton and Society’s newest ornament, the beautiful and gracious Lady Overton.
Yes, dear readers, the Marquis’s paramour was very like his best friend’s new wife, for we saw them both together when Lord A and the Rose rode past the Overton’s carriage.
Moments later, tragedy struck. Shall we ever know what spooked the Rose’s horse? And does it matter? It bolted, and the poor woman was thrown, dying later at Haverford House.
Date: October 1810
The Teatime Tattler is
pleased distressed to confirm that Lord Aldridge, the Merry Marquis, is once again on the prowl. He still wears a black armband in mourning for his lost mistress (and in contravention of all social norms), but is once again savouring the delectable delights of the demimonde, as represented at the the Duke of Richport’s famous yearly masquerade.
Was she? Or wasn’t she? Who was the imposter? To find out more, read A Baron for Becky. (First chapter and buy links on Jude Knight’s website, at the link.)
Becky is the envy of the courtesans of the demi-monde – the indulged Rose of Frampton, mistress of the wealthy and charismatic Marquis of Aldridge. But she dreams of a normal life; one in which her daughter can have a future that does not depend on beauty, sex, and the whims of a man.
Finding herself with child, she hesitates to tell Aldridge. Will he cast her off, send her away, or keep her and condemn another child to this uncertain shadow world?
The devil-may-care face Hugh Overton shows to the world hides a desperate sorrow; a sorrow he tries to drown with drink and riotous living. His years at war haunt him, but even more, he doesn’t want to think about the illness that robbed him of the ability to father a son. When he dies, his barony will die with him. His title will fall into abeyance, and his estate will be scooped up by the Crown.
When Aldridge surprises them both with a daring proposition, they do not expect love to be part of the bargain.