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Tag: Marquis of Aldridge

A chance resemblance leads Society astray

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.

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.

#~*~^~*~#

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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.

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