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Riot at Reform Meeting–Militia Called in to Keep Peace

From Our Yorkshire Correspondent

A meeting held today in York ended in a riot, which was put down by a troop of militia. The meeting was well attended by a wide variety of people, including a number who might properly be called ladies and gentlemen. The first speaker, who spoke at length on the iniquities of the legislation suspending habeas corpus, was allowed to complete his oration unmolested. Possibly because he had put his audience to sleep.

It was not so for the second speaker, whose fiery oration on the topic of rotten boroughs had barely started when it was cut off by a flying vegetable, and then several such projectiles. Several in the crowd took exception to the missile throwing, and within moments, the hall was in chaos, with some scurrying for safety and others wading into the fight.

Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, some say because of the arrival of armed militia men and others despite this intervention. Several ladies were spirited out the door by burly footmen, one was  escorted away by a clergyman, and  yet another was rescued from the middle of the riot by a gentleman who proved to be Lord D F. This gentleman is not only an army officer (retired) but also the scion of a noble house and a protege (some say a half-brother) of a notable duke who, before his marriage and his elevation to the title, often entertained readers of this paper with his amours.

Our readers will stare when they learn that lady our officer saved — first from the rioters and then from the militia — had no maid with her but was accompanied by a monkey!

Several reputable observers claim that those who lobbed the first object were not reformers at all, but rather pro-Government trouble-makers, or possibly even paid agitators sent to cause trouble. Certainly there can be no greater evidence of the innocence of at least some of those who attended than the little lady with the winsome smile and her mischievious simian. Who, after all, would take a monkey to a riot?

One hopes that the young lord’s patron will receive a scathing denunciation of the government’s tactics in denying Englishmen (and women) their right to meet in peaceful discussion.

One also hopes that we will find out the names of the young lady and her pet, and whether the first meeting we observed between her and Lord D F was followed by further meetings in pleasanter circumstances.

This reform meeting appears in “Lord Cuckoo Comes Home”, Jude Knight’s contribution to the Desperate Daughters box set.

Please do buy the book. Nine wonderful stories in 772 pages, only 99c for the ebook until the week of publication.

Read more and find buy links here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/desperate-daughters/

 

Suspicious Behavior in York

Dear Euphemia,

Can you enlighten me about the boisterous clan of Bigglesworth women that have invaded York Society this Season? The younger daughters are being launched (one might say cast upon us) and are being feted hither and yon as “the Seahaven Diamonds.” Anyone who is anyone scurried about hoping for invitations to the grand ball they hosted to celebrate said launch, though my own invitation went astray. But that is neither here nor there.

York is virtually crawling with Bigglesworth women. One cannot pay a morning call on a friend without encountering two or three of them, as if they travel in packs. One encounters them in the shops. Some were seen dragging some poor bored children along the walls for a history lecture. Others are rather too cozy with the horse racing scene. Always they are dressed fashionably, which leads one to wonder. How are they managing the expense?

You live near Starbrook and are quite cozy (or so you claim) with the new Earl of Seahaven’s Dear Wife. You gave me the impression in times past that the earl left the widowed countess with little or nothing. How did that chit, the former countess—the fifth wife in a row who failed to produce a male child—manage a season for all those stepdaughters, even the ones clearly on the shelf? Can you enlighten me?

One wonders whether one ought to befriend some or all, or even if one ought to receive them. As if the number and questionable situation weren’t enough, morals are in question. My maid heard a story from our footman who took ale with another footman, one that had been hired by the Bigglesworths—temporarily, mind you, to handle the undiscerning crowds that descended on them after their ball. That person testified that at least one of those young women was seen creeping out of a closet with her clothing askew and her hair out of place in the company of Viscount Stanbeck’s shabby younger brother who purports to be a curate. What must they teach young clergy these days?

Do write back quickly. The Season moves swiftly, and that baggage and her tribe of daughters are everywhere. Ought I avoid them?

Sir William, my dear husband, sends his regards.

Yours

Marian, Lady Smithers

About the Book: Desperate Daughters

Love Against the Odds

The Earl of Seahaven desperately wanted a son and heir but died leaving nine daughters and a fifth wife. Cruelly turned out by the new earl, they live hand-to-mouth in a small cottage.

The young dowager Countess’s one regret is that she cannot give Seahaven’s dear girls a chance at happiness.

When a cousin offers the use of her townhouse in York during the season, the Countess rallies her stepdaughters.

They will pool their resources so that the youngest marriageable daughters might make successful matches, thereby saving them all.

So start their adventures in York, amid a whirl of balls, lectures, and al fresco picnics. Is it possible each of them might find love by the time the York horse races bring the season to a close.

Among them?  “Lady Dorothea’s Curate,” by Caroline Warfield

Employed at a hotel in order to assist her stepmother, Lady Dorothea Bigglesworth had no use for a title. It would only invite scorn, or, worse, pity. Plain Miss Doro Bigglesworth suited her fine.

Ben Clarke dedicated his life to helping the neediest. It gave his life meaning. He tended to forget the younger son of a viscount went by “Honorable.”

Working together at Pilgrim’s Rest, neither saw the need to mention it to the other, before fate separated them. When they were formally introduced after an unexpected reunion— in a ballroom in York—shock rocked them both. Can their budding love survive?

You can find links to various vendors here:

https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/desperate-daughters/

Who is the dowager Countess of Seahaven?

Who is the dowager Countess of Seahaven? It is a question that will be on the lips of many this Season in York.

You may remember that the Earl of Seahaven produced no legitimate sons, despite an effort that almost matched that of the famous Tudor king.  Indeed, some wits dubbed him Henry the Fifth!

Not that the late earl lacked children. Five wives produced ten daughters between them, the last born posthumously to the dowager aforementioned a little more than four years ago..

But what became of the dowager, her daughter, and her nine stepdaughters?

Until today, the Polite World has not been able to answer this question.

However, dear readers, your Teatime Tattler correspondent has been indefatigable in search of the truth, which will be of more interest today than ever, given circumstances.

For Lady Seahaven and her charges are about to burst on the social scene here in York. Your correspondent has learned that the dowager is related to a respected, if eccentric, stalwart of York Society, Lady Rose St Aubyn.

Lady Rose is once again off on her travels, and has arranged for her niece to take over her townhouse.

So we in York are going to be privileged to see the debut of the countess and six of her stepdaughters. (The eldest had a London Season more than a decade ago, but did not take.)

Your correspondent went hunting for more information about the mysterious ladies.

The current Lord Seahaven was unhelpful. All he would tell us was that the ladies did not live in any of his properties, and that the fifth and surviving wife of his predecessor was no lady.

“Her parents were tradespeople, and I will leave it to you to figure out how a female like that enviegled her way into the earl’s bed,” he said.

Given that the lady is an acknowledged St Aubyn, I think we can ignore the earl’s remark. He was, before his unexpected assension to the oak leaves, a minor merchant himself.

However, while we know where the Seahaven ladies will be by the end of March (in Lady Rose’s townhouse), we have been unable to discover where they have lived in the four years since the old earl died.

Dear reader, we will watch this York Season with great interest, and will be sure to keep you informed.

Desperate Daughters

The next Bluestocking Belles Collection with Friends is out on May 8th, and tells the story of nine ladies, all related, who discover happiness awaiting them in York in the season.

Now on preorder at only 99c. Price reduction ends with publication. Click on the project page for more information and buy links.

Is the duchess having an affair?

“There’s a story here, Sam,” William Scattermole insisted. “Come on! Everyone will want to read it. The Duchess of Haverford is secretly meeting with the Duke of Winshire? The man she wanted to marry when she was a debutante?” 

He waved the article he wanted Sam to print. “I saw them with my own eyes, going into the same private meeting room at your aunt’s bookshop. They were alone there for a full hour. What were they doing? I can’t tell you that. But I can guess, and so can our readers.”

“Not happening,” Sam told him. “We’re not printing that article, Will, and every newspaper printer in London will say the same.”

“But it’s news!” Will insisted.

Sam sighed. The boy was keen, he’d give him that. And a good writer, or he would be when he learned the use of a fullstop. One of the sentences in the article under discussion was one hundred and fifty three words long! But Will had not yet learned the realities of survival for Society commentators.

“Look, Will. Let me explain this to you point by point. First, what do you think the Duke of Haverford will do if I publish this story about his mother?”

“What can he do,” Will said, belligerently. “It’s the truth. Besides, we’d call her the Duchess of H. Like we usually do, to disguise her identity. People will know we mean her, but they won’t be able to do anything about it because we didn’t use her name.”

Perhaps the boy was an idiot. “That works for Mrs H., or even Lady H. But Will, how many Duchesses of H. and Dukes of W. are there? Disguising the name isn’t going to do us any good at all, and I don’t think you want two dukes out for your blood. I certainly don’t.”

“But it’s the truth,” Will insisted.

“Perhaps.” Sam held up his hand to stop Will’s objection. “I don’t doubt what you saw, Will, but my second point is that your article makes the direct inference that their graces are having an affair. You saw them enter a room, Will. You didn’t see what happened inside it. She’s a lady in her fifties with two adult sons. He must be sixty if he is a day. If they were having an affair, wouldn’t they be looking for more comfort than a room with upright chairs and a table?”

From the look on his face, Will was as uncomfortable with thinking about a dignified matron like the duchess in intimacy on said table or against the wall. He faltered, and then rallied. “We could soften that a little, perhaps.”

“Is there a story without it?” Sam asked. “They are both known for their charitable works, and the duchess has used my aunt’s rooms for philanthropic meetings before. Duke of W. and Duchess of H. meet to talk about scholarships for deserving students. Not much of a story there.”

It took a bit more persuasion, but eventually Will accepted Sam’s dictate. He cheered up when Sam gave him the job of looking into the rumour that the Earl of Ruthford had publicly accused his wife of infidelity, and the pair of them only married a matter of weeks.

“That’s safe enough,” he told Will. “There are any number of Lords and Ladies R.”

Once Will was gone, he counted off the other three points in favour of squashing the story.

“Three, one of our secret investors happens to be the Duke of Haverford, and while I’ve never hesitated to write about him, I’m not going to risk writing about his wife or mother. Not after what he said to me last year, when I published the rumours about Lady C, as she was then.”

He shuddered at the memory.

“Four, I know, better than most, how much good Her Grace does, using her status and her reputation as a most upright and moral lady. I’m a hardened newspaper man, but I’m not going to interfere with her work by painting her as a hypocrite.”

But the last reason trumped all the rest, and was the one he was least likely to disclose to anyone else. If there was one person in the world he feared, it was the formidable lady who ran the Book Emporium and Tea Shoppe. Miss Clemens prided herself on keeping the secrets of her guests (as she preferred to be known). He winced at the mere thought of her reaction to Will’s article.

He opened the folded paper that Will had left behind and read it again. Yes. William showed promise. But this article must never see the light of day.



Paradise Triptych

By Jude Knight

Long ago, when they were young, James and Eleanor were deeply in love. But their families tore them apart and they went on to marry other people. Paradise Triptych tells their story in three parts.

Paradise Regained

James Winderfield yearns to end a long journey in the arms of his loving family. But his father’s agents offer the exiled prodigal forgiveness and a place in Society — if he abandons his foreign-born wife and children to return to England.

With her husband away, Mahzad faces revolt, invasion and betrayal in the mountain kingdom they built together. A queen without her king, she will not allow their dream and their family to be destroyed.

But the greatest threats to their marriage and their lives together is the widening distance between them. To win Paradise, they must face the truths in their hearts.

Paradise Lost

In 1812, the suitor Eleanor’s father rejected in favour of the Duke of Haverford has returned to England. He has been away for thirty-two years, and has returned a widower, and the father of ten children.

As the year passes, various events prompt Eleanor to turn to her box of keepsakes, which recall the momentous events of her life.

Paradise Lost is a series of vignettes grounded in 1812, in which Eleanor relives those memories.

Paradise At Last

Now Haverford is deceased nothing stands between the Duchess of Haverford and the Duke of Winshire. Except that James has not forgiven Eleanor for putting the dynasty of the Haverfords ahead of his niece’s happiness.

Can two star-crossed lovers find their happiness at last? Or will their own pride or the villain who wants to destroy the Haverfords stand in their way?

Paradise Triptych contains two novella and a set of memoirs: Paradise Regained (already published), Paradise Lost (distributed to my newsletter subscribers) and Paradise At Last (new for this collection).

Order your copy now: https://books2read.com/Triptych

If the Presses Can’t Roll, Heads Must!

Sam Clemens, Editor and Proprietor of The Teatime Tattler, favourite newsheet of the ton, regards his brand new expensive Koenig’s steam printing press in disgust.

“What is wrong with this printing press, ladies and gentlemen?” he asks the assembled staff of that celebrated journal of the scandals and idiosyncracies of those in high places.

Printers, typesetters, journalists, and office clerks stare at the gleaming machine, but none is prepared to venture an opinion. It is clear that Mr Clemens is building up a head of steam, and his staff know better than to attract his fire.

He does not, in any case, expect an answer. He will tell them what is wrong. “It is not printing! And why? Because we have no new booked until March!”

He rounds on the assembled personnel, who fall back a step or two in their haste to avoid his accusing eye. “Four weeks of holiday, ladies and gentlemen! Four weeks, I gave you, and have you thought of The Teatime Tattler in that time? I put it to you that you self-evidently have not! Get out there and find news! I have six weeks to fill this month and next, and if it is not filled by this Friday, heads will roll! The rest of the year, too! We have spaces through to December, and authors out there with books to sell and gossip to share. Go on. What are you waiting for! I need stories! I need ladies in despair, men in crisis, mothers in tears, fathers in flight, communities in outrage! Out! Out! Out!”

He herded them towards the door, from the most senior wordsmith to the most junior copy boy.

“And I’d better go myself,” he added, grabbing his hat, a notebook, and several sharpened pencils. “The presses must roll!”

Can You Help Sam’s Staff Keep Their Heads?

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The Teatime Tattler publishes a guest author every Wednesday. For more information about what we require and a link to our booking sheet, see:

Mr. S. Clemens welcomes guest contributors to the Teatime Tattler

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