Home of the Bluestocking Belles

Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Author: Rue Allyn Page 1 of 6

Here There Be Pirates

Dear Mr. Clemens,

I write with a warning for all who may consider a journey to the West Indies. The British Government wishes us to believe that Pirates no longer rule the waters of the Carribbean. That the so called ‘golden age of piracy’ ended with the captures and deaths of Edward Teach–commonly known as Blackbeard and Bartholomew Roberts. However, this is far from the case.

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

I know from my own experience that Piracy is alive and thriving in the Carribean and the coastal waters of the former Colonies. Our government calls it ‘privateering,’ and claims that such persons as Mr. LaFitte of New Orleans and the infamous Irish Red–supposedly of Jamaica have letters of marque placing them under the protection of legitimate governments and preventing our Navy from summarily executing them when captured.

This is a deception most foul and it must stop. I recently embarked on the merchant ship Tally Ho, returning to England from a visit to my sister who lives in St. Martin. We were three days out of port when sails were sighted on the horizon. Soon enough, it became obvious that the approaching ship was The Dragon’s Rest, flag ship, if you will, in the flotilla led by the pirate–I refuse to dignify this rapscallion with the title privateer, Irish Red.

The Tally Ho was out gunned and its Captain, poor man, unable to outrun or out manuever The Dragon’s Rest. We were boarded and subjected to a most humiliating search. All valuables were seized and our lives threatened, lest we refuse to give over all money, jewels and important papers. Thought what a pirate wants with bonds, certificates and government documents is beyond me.

As a last humiliation we were all assembled on the main deck and forced to kneel, heads bowed for that scum of the oceans Irish Red to inspect each of us personally. I thank heaven he chose to pass me by, though the woman next to me had her chin lifted and was forced to look the heathen in the face.

We were told that because of our cooperation our lives would be spared and the Tally Ho would not be confiscated. The pirate crew returned to their ship and departed. Thankfully no passenger was seriously hurt, although several of our valiant crew suffered wounds in attempting to prevent the pirates from boarding.

Frankly I was astonished that we escaped so easily. However, I was even more astonished to learn from the woman who was forced to face Captain Irish Red that the man is no man at all. It is an insult to the British Navy that it has allowed this renegade female to rule the Carribean for so many years. I call upon our government to do its utmost to capture this woman, and I most emphatically warn all my fellow citizens not to sail in Carribbean waters without well armed naval escort. Heed this warning or you will certainly lose your fortunes and may well lose your lives.

Sincerely yours,

She who shall never again leave England.

A word about this post. This week I will begin my next story, which centers around the character known as the pirate Irish Red. The article above lays some of the preliminary ground work for Irish Red’s book. You can expect to see more about her and her adventures in the next few months. Thank you all for reading and sharing.

About Rue Allyn:  Award winning author, Rue Allyn, learned story telling at her grandfather’s knee. (Well it was really more like on his knee—I was two.) She’s been weaving her own tales ever since. She has worked as an instructor, mother, sailor, clerk, sales associate, and painter, along with a variety of other types of employment. She has lived and traveled in places all over the globe from Keflavik Iceland (I did not care much for the long nights of winter.) and Fairbanks Alaska to Panama City and the streets of London England to a large number of places in between. Now that her two sons have left the nest, Rue and her husband of more than four decades (Try living with the same person for more than forty years—that’s a true adventure.) have retired and moved south.

When not writing, enjoying the nearby beach or working jigsaw puzzles, Rue travels the world and surfs the internet in search of background material and inspiration for her next heart melting romance. She loves to hear from readers, and you may contact her at  <a href=”mailto:contact@RueAllyn.com” title=”Contact Rue Allyn” target=”_blank”>contact@RueAllyn.com</a>. She can’t wait to hear from you.

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Scandalous Doings in San Francisco

Dateline June 1870: Dear readers, we received the following from our correspondent in the former colonies. What follows is from the pen of a lady and world traveler who has never yet led The Tattler and its readers astray.

Dear Mr. Clemens,

It has been my pleasure these past few weeks to record my experience of the first railway journey from Boston to the San Francisco Bay. I most sincerely hope to publish those records as a part of the Teatime Tattler Traveler’s Compendium in the not too distant future. However, there is one tidbit too salacious to be held back for later publication.

Miss Edith Alden

During my excursion of less than a week to California, I shared passage with a wide variety of persons. One of the most intriguing was a Miss Edith Alden of the Boston Aldens. (No relation to the distinguished family of the Marquess of Alden.) Miss Alden claimed to be traveling to San Francisco to bring her sister home to visit with their ailing grandfather. Little did I know at the time that the sister was already notorious in San Francisco and that Miss Edith Alden would soon be almost more disreputable.

I joined her in the dining car for a late tea one afternoon, as she was perusing some papers. She hurriedly folded the papers and laid them out of sight beneath her reticule. After several minutes of lively conversation, Miss Alden excused herself for a few moments, asking me if I would keep watch on her things until she returned. I of course agreed. I’d been wondering since I sat down what was in those papers that she found every excuse not to discuss. She was gone long enough that I was able to read and thoroughly memorize (being blessed with that useful talent from birth) one of the papers which was a article recently found in a Boston newspaper dated early June 1870, and I quote:

In San Francisco, given enough money, any item can be bought and any crime hidden. The photograph above, smuggled out by a resident, shows the depravity of fallen women that runs rampant through the city, even at elegant addresses like that of Madame Cerise Duval. In a peculiar twist of fate, the photographer is rumored to have been murdered by one of the residents of the house. An unidentified blonde woman, with a distinctive scar on her left temple, is said to have killed Mr. F. Lyn Whitson and absconded with the man’s photographic equipment. The woman is believed to be somewhere in the San Francisco area and is being sought for questioning.

Person in this picture is reputed to be Miss Edith Alden
during her brief stay at Madam Cerise Duval’s bordello.

I returned the newsprint to its original position beneath Miss Alden’s reticule and proceeded to carefully question her–using a technique I call misdirection–about her sister. It became very clear in little time that the woman wanted for murder of the photographer was none other than the sister, with whom Miss Alden claimed to be traveling to San Francico.

I, of course, resolved to have nothing more to do with Miss Alden, although I did learn more of her from the papers during our subsequent weeks in San Francisco. I give you the following headlines from papers much like the Teatime Tattler.

“Businessman, Dutch Trahern wins right to deflower a Boston Virgin during an auction at the Bordello of Madam Cerise Duval.”

The drawing (see 1st image above) which accompanied this startling piece of news resembles Miss Alden to a Tee. In subsequent issues of the same periodical these headlines bear testament to the lax moral character of Miss Alden and her family.

“Formerly respected businessman, Dutch Trahern is discovered living in sin with the Boston Prostitute whose supposed virginity Mr. Trahern won in a bordello auction.”

A week later the following headline appeared. “Mr. Smiley of Trahern & Smiley Import & Export breaks with partner. Threatens to sue Trahern over issues of immorality.”

Sadly, Mr. Clemens, I was compelled to leave San Francisco on my way to Hong Kong by ship before the entire tale of scandal and salacious behavior could be told. It is my hope to be able, at some point to pick up the thread of Miss Alden’s adventures. Though I most sincerely doubt, despite rumors of her marriage, the young woman has much claim to even so modest and honorific as ‘Miss.’

Submitted with my kind regards

Your traveling correspondent.,

About the Book: One Moment’s Pleasure will become a lifetime’s passion when spinster, Edith Alden, embarks on a search for her missing sister.  Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an interlude with an anonymous male Edith enters the San Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s kiss. 

Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.

Available NOW for pre-order, release date Monday April 20,2020

About Rue Allyn: Author of historical and contemporary romances, I fell in love with happily ever after the day I heard my first story. (Yes, I was a precocious little brat who read at the age of two, but I could hear much earlier than that.) I studied literature for far too many years before discovering that writing stories was much more fun than writing about them. Heck, as an author, I get to read the story before anyone else. I am happily married to my sweetheart of many, many years. Insatiably curious, an avid reader and traveler I love to hear from readers about your favorite books and real-life adventures. Crazy Cat stories are especially welcome. You can send me your words of wisdom . . . Don’t shake your head at me; all words are wise in one context or another. You can trust me on this; I’m an author. As I was saying, you can send your words of wisdom, humor, and friendship to me at Rue@RueAllyn.com. Can’t wait to hear from you. Keep up with Rue Allyn by subscribing to her newsletter and get a free copy of Knight Protector when you do.

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Fear for Their Lives and the Root Cause

Dear Readers,

As happens on occasion, The Tattler has received a cache of letters and documents exchanged between two cousins relating to historical events of the late 17th century. Whenever such papers cast light on affairs of the past that may now affect the present we feel it our duty to publish such information as may be found therein. I will not editorialize upon the contents of the letter published below except to say that any thinking person may well draw the connecting lines between the events referred to in the letter and the events now occuring on the far side of the Atlantic Ocean. Our soldiers are giving their lives to regain the lands which England settled, but the cause of that original revolt and the present difficulties without a doubt lies in free and easy access to armaments. Armaments which, as I understand it, are still being supplied to our enemies by men who dare to call themselves English, all in the name of filty lucre.

My dearest Maude,

I have very little hope that this letter will produce any change in the devestating circumstances occurring here in Plymouth colony and elsewhere throughout English territories here. However, having received information to the detriment of our people and our government representatives throughout the colonies, I am morally compelled to share that information and my outrage at the deceptions being practiced in the name of England.

I refer, my dearest cousin, to the illegal and immoral trade in weapons between a majority of English colonists and the indigenous peoples who share our marvelous new world colonies. I have received word from relatives and friends–in particular one Wm. Bradford that their lives and homes are threatened by the insidious trade in guns made with the local natives.

And I quote “Base covetousness hat got such a sway, as our own safety we ourselves betray; For these fierce natives, they are now so fill’d, with guns and muskets and in them so skill’d, as they may keep the English in awe . . .” And from a friend who experienced the very disasters so portended by Mr. Bradford “The trees stood like sentinels and bullets flew, from every bush (a shelter for their cre)/Hence came our wounds and deaths from every side, While skulking enemies squat undescried.”

As you know I reside in Boston, but I live in fear daily, The streets are crowded with survivors of the depredations of natives who seem to have taken innocent farmers in hatred with little cause. My husband assures me that there is cause enough for our new Governor has attempted to halt the illegal trade in firearms and the natives strongly object. Those objections take the form of retribution hailed in bullets upon all and sundry English.

The crux of the matter is that it is we ourselves who are to blame for this dire circumstance. Had we not initiated the trade in guns, shot, and powder, there would exist no threat to our citizens.

I write in hope that you will encourage your spouse, who stands to parliament will act to intervene in this disaster. I also wish to inform you that we will be leaving Boston to return to England within the next six months. It is entirely too dangerous here.

Most sincerely, your beloved cousin

Nan

Readers: The above letter is an imagined correspondence between two fictional women based on my reading of  Thundersticks by David L. Silverman. Mr. Silverman’s text published in 2016 sheds interesting light on the impact of guns and the gun trade on the lives of Native Americans between roughly 1600 and 1900. If you’d like more information about this book please click on the cover below.

The Tattler Apologizes

Could this be the mysterious Miss M. P. C. who requests a Tattler apology?

Dear Mr. Clemens,

I wish to respond to the very detrimental letter published in The Tattler on Jan. 18th of this year and signed D. Cummins (https://bluestockingbelles.net/danger-for-her-grace-of-h/). It can be no secret despite the use of initials that the letter is written by my cousin, Mr. Donald Cummins and includes thinly veiled and insulting references to myself Mis M. P. C and other proteges of Her Grace of H. I must admonish you, Mr. Clemens for publishing this pack of lies and speculation. The Tattler has a reputation as a scandal sheet but also a reputation for scrupulous verification of claims made by its contributors. Mr. D. Cummins knows nothing of me or my character. In fact his assertions are based on hearsay and innuendo.

The events which lead to the storm of rumor that surrounds me never occurred. I was at the time, so hurt that I had not the strength to defend myself. Thanks to the kindness of Her Grace of H, and the other members of The Ladies’ Society for the Care of the Widows and Orphans of Fallen Heroes and the Children of Wounded Veterans I have found the strength and courage to expose Mr. D. Cummins’ claims for the lies they are.

Though my circumstances have been impoverished during the past several year, I can say with pride that I have never behaved in any manner unbecoming a young woman of quality. It is due to Her Grace of H. and my fellow Ladies Society friends that I was in a position for others to recognize my true worth. Thus, I am pleased to confirm the announcement published elsewhere in this issue of the Tattler that I am engaged to wed Major Lord Arthur Trevor PenRhydderch, twenty-first Earl of Trehallow. I have been aquainted with Lord Trehallow all of my life. Since his return from the war that friendship has deepened into a love able to withstand the worst sort of rumor and innuendo. This I have gained the courage needed to rebutt the slander of Mr. D. Cummins, and respectuflly request that the Tattler publish a retraction and apology for publishing his letter.

Respectfully,

Miss, M. P. C.

Dear Readers,

It is with deep empathy that we gladly publish an apology to Miss M. P. C. However, we cannot publish a retraction because as noted in our codicil to Mr. D. Cummins’ letter, the opinions and beliefs stated therein are not those of this publication or it’s editor. In fact, we remind our readers and Miss M. P. C. of the editorial statement published in the same column as Mr. D. Cummins’ epistle. I quote, ” We publish this letter in the interests of fair play and welcome any epistles countering the concerns of its author. We cannot help but wonder if the concerned “D. Cummins.” might be a relative of the Miss C. mentioned in the letter. Perhaps a relative who has benefitted from the young woman’s difficulties and would prefer to see her banished from society rather than reformed. We are well acquainted with Her Grace of H’s kindness and wisdom. She is an unlikely dupe, so we welcome any response either in support or in opposition to the concerns noted in the letter above.”

In accordance with that invitation for responses, we publish the above letter from Miss M. P. C. and once again tender our apologies for any harm done due to a misunderstanding of this publications policies.

Sincerely S. Clemens.

Major Lord Arthur Trevor PenRhydderch, twenty-first Earl of Trehallow

About My One True Love, included in the boxset Fire & Frost:

Major Arthur Trevor PenRhyddyrch, Earl of Trehallow, returned to Wales from war and found his best friend gone. No one would speak her name let alone tell him where she might be. Then he found her in the frosty London fog of January 1814 only to lose her in the next moment.

When Miss Mary Percival Cummins saw Trevor in the fog, she ran. She knew he would hate her once he heard what others said, and the memory of their friendship was too dear for her to survive knowing he despised her.

But fate and the Duchess of Haverford had different plans. Her Grace knew, if they did not, that these two friends deserved the happiness of finding their one true love.

About Fire & Frost: The ladies of London, led by the indomitable Duchess of Haverford plot a campaign to feed the hungry, care for the fallen—and bring the neglectful Parliament to heel. Their campaign involves strategy, persuasion, and a wee bit of fun. Pamphlets are all well and good, but auctioning a lady’s company along with her basket of delicious treats is bound to get more attention. When the Thames freezes over, the ladies take to the ice at the Frost Fair. With handsome gentlemen at hand, what could be better for their purposes than a little Fire & Frost?

Buy Links (Available for Pre-order now. Release date Feb. 4, 2020):

Apple Books 

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Smashwords

Amazon US

Amazon Global: UK BR CA DE ES FR IN IT JP MX NL UK

Danger for Her Grace of H.?

What propriety is possible with women whose heads are filled with nothing but men? Can charity improve flawed character?

Dear Mr. Clemens,

I have it on very good authority that the reputations of some of the supposed ladies, who are members of the The Ladies’ Society for the Care of the Widows and Orphans of Fallen Heroes and the Children of Wounded Veterans would not bear close scrutiny. Her Grace of H, whose generosity is well known is being taken advantage of by females as scandalous as that jade, Miss M. P. C. It is all well and good for Her Grace to sponsor the woman’s employment as almoner at the Benevolent Paupers of the Apostles Hospital, where Miss C will only encounter persons of as low an order as herself. But to foist her upon society as part of the group organizing Her Grace’s latest charity ball is by far too much. Bad enough that the good folk of the ton must tolerate, those sisters, Misses M. and J. G. because of their relationship to the M of A. Now Her Grace is elevating a woman of Miss C.’s repute to the heights of society by association with the likes of  Lady T. M., sister to the reculsive Duke of E , who is involved in this charitable effort. Her ladyship is young and can be forgiven a small error in judgement. However, Her Grace cannot have considered the impact that associating with such dubious women will have on an impressionable and high-spirited young lady such as the Duke of E’s sister. Since Her Grace is always most kind and generous, her continued support of the likes of Miss C can only be a detriment to any charitable effort. What will come of those efforts of Her Grace when Miss C shows her true colors and steals every penny, like the dishonorable strumpet she is. I beg of you sir, and your good readers, encourage Her Grace of H. not to tolerate any association with Miss C. on the part of any members of the The Ladies’ Society for the Care of the Widows and Orphans of Fallen Heroes and the Children of Wounded Veterans.

With kind regards and concern for the welfare of our young ladies,

D. Cummins.

Dear Readers,

We publish this letter in the interests of fair play and welcome any epistles countering the concerns of its author. We cannot help but wonder if the concerned “D. Cummins.” might be a relative of the Miss C. mentioned in the letter. Perhaps a relative who has benefitted from the young woman’s difficulties and would prefer to see her banished from society rather than reformed. We are well acquainted with Her Grace of H’s kindness and wisdom. She is an unlikely dupe, so we welcome any response either in support or in opposition to the concerns noted in the letter above.

Sincerely

S. Clemens, Editor and Publisher

Learn more about the ‘scandalous’ Miss C. and other protege’s of the Duchess of Haverford in the Bluestocking Belles’ boxset Fire & Frost.

The ladies of London, led by the indomitable Duchess of Haverford plot a campaign to feed the hungry, care for the fallen—and bring the neglectful Parliament to heel. Their campaign involves strategy, persuasion, and a wee bit of fun. Pamphlets are all well and good, but auctioning a lady’s company along with her basket of delicious treats is bound to get more attention. When the Thames freezes over, the ladies take to the ice at the Frost Fair. With handsome gentlemen at hand, what could be better for their purposes than a little Fire & Frost?

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