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Lost Letters of Mr. Arthur Pywll

Master Builder James St. George

Dear Readers,

The Tattler is delighted to inform you that we have discovered a treasure trove of documents dating from the year 1282. Today we offer the first in a series of letters to an anonymous friend, which are the correspondence of a highly educated commoner (no common thing in that era). Mr. Arthur Pwyll was the assistant to James St. George, Master Builder for Edward I of England. St. George is famous for building many of the castles that ring Wales and were used by Edward I to defeat the Welsh armies and bring Wales into the protective fold of British rule.

My dear friend,

Yesterday I arrived at Two Hills Keep in southeastern Wales. You will recall that my purpose here is to rebuild and improve the Keep which sustained significant damage from the Welsh who wished to leave no useful items and buildings for our brave Kind Edward. Edward wants nothing but to share England’s protection with Wales. Sadly the Welsh do not see the benefit of bending the knee to England. But I digress.

Upon my arrival at Two Hills Keep, which is in a dire state, I was greated by an angel. Well not really an angel, but a woman who harbors an angelic soul. Lady Genvieve De Sessions is the chatelaine of Two Hills Keep and the wife of Edward’s legendary knight, Sir Haven De Sessions. Sir Haven was seriously wounded in a skirmish with the Welsh. I do not call this a pitched battle, for you and I both know that had such been the case the Welsh would have won no matter how tru and perfect a knight De Sessions may be.

Lady Genvieve greeted me in person and treated me with great courtesy and kindness. She saw me fed, housed me in the guest quarters of the castle, and assigned me a servant to see to all my needs while I am at Two Hills Keep. She did not need to do so. You know I’ve spent many a night in barns and stables, and eaten food fit for swine because most titled owners of castles or keeps regard builders as mere servants. Being uneducated themselves, they have no appreciation of the long years of study and practice necessary to gain the skill of a master builder. King Edward himself, has told me I am very close to Master St. George in the skills of designing and building castles. Hence the reason he sent me to Two Hills Keep when Master St. George was otherwise occupied.

I am very intrigued by the relationship between Lady Genvieve (who is  Welsh by birth) and Sir De Sessions who appears to disdain all things Welsh excpet his wife. Any man would want Lady Genvieve. Her form is the epitome of beauty. Her hair a wild tumble of curls that cascade like sabled fire over the fine, pale column of her neck—a neck that swans would envy. She has eyes that blaze green lightning at the hint of cruelty or injustice. Aphrodite would be jeaolous of Lady Genvieve’s bone structhre, and God created this lady with generous bow-shaped lips. Her entire physical person reflects the kindness and generosity of her soul.

As you can tell I am half in love with the lady. However, to act on any tender feelings for her would be to seal my death. Sir Haven, though he seems blind to his own emotions, is vastly protective of Lady Genie as he calls her. Noblemen and women are incredibly stupid, for it seems they do not know how to recognize love. I am grateful to be a commoner who need not hide from my own feelings.

There is much more to tell about Two Hills Keep and its lord and lady, but the messenger who will carry this missive is about to leave for England. May God bless you and keep you in the palm of his hand until we meet again,

With great affection

Arthur Pwyll

Readers, watch this column for more letters from Mr. Pwyll in the coming months. We will of course bring you the latest current news as it happens.

Blurb: Baron Haven De Sessions knows a hundred reasons to despise the widow Dreyford.  The widow is entirely too independent and a suspected traitor.  Worst of all, she had been married to his best friend—a man Haven arrested for plotting against the king.  Haven believes the treacherous widow should have given up her head, not his childhood friend.  Now an oath to that same friend forces him to protect a woman he does not want and cannot trust.

Genvieve Dreyford has her own reasons to detest De Sessions.  The man is far too handsome, and his reputation as Edward I’s most ‘true and perfect’ knight has swelled the baron’s head.  Worst of all, Gennie believes he betrayed his friendship with her husband to curry favor with the English king.  Now, because of Haven De Sessions, Gennie has lost her home, her title and nearly everything she held dear.  Only for the sake of her family, will Gennie place herself in the power of a man she fears and mistrusts.

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About Rue Allyn: Hi, I’m Rue Allyn, I write heart melting romance novels. Books about characters and adventures in which love triumphs at the darkest moment. The kind of hopeful, steal-your-breath romance that melts a reader’s heart. The type of book I like to read. Hope you will too.

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Dear Mr. Clemens,

It is my duty as an honest and upright citizen to warn those in Society that a pernicious personage lives in their midst. Miss M. P. C–and I use that term Miss lightly for she has the morals of an alley cat–left her home on the Welsh border in shame. The licentious behaviour that caused her removal resulted in the death of both her parents, dare I say from grief that the daughter they had raised so betrayed the values and propriety they had tried to instill.

When and how she made her way to London, I know not. I was appalled to discover that Her Grace of H. had extended her patronage to Miss M. P. C and found the young woman a position as almoner at the Benevolent Pauper’s Hospital of the Apostles. Despite Her Grace’s undoubted good character, permitting a woman of Miss M. P. C.’s dubious character to fill the office of Almoner is not to be tolerated.

An Almoner is a person tasked with aiding the sick and injured with financial and social concerns. Such a person must be above reproach, a thing Miss M. P. C definitely is not.

I beg of you, Mr. Clemens, and your readership. Use the authority given you by the power of the pen and initiate a campaign to see this reprehensible woman removed from her position and transported from the shores of England.

Yours, Mr. D. C., a very concerned citizen

Our readers will note that The Teatime Tattler has no knowledge of Miss M. P. C. prior to receiving this letter from Mr. D. C. As every story has at least two if not more versions, we welcome information from additional sources so that we may provide our readers with the most accurate details.

Included in the Bluestocking Belles’ Regency Boxset Fire & Frost.
Available for Pre-order Now!

Lord Trevor returned from war to find his best friend gone. No one would 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.

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

Join the The Ladies’ Society For The Care of the Widows and Orphans of Fallen Heroes and the Children of Wounded Veterans in their pursuit of justice, charity, and soul searing romance.

The Napoleonic Wars have left England with wounded warriors, fatherless children, unemployed veterans, and hungry families. 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. They will use any means at their disposal to convince the gentlemen of their choice to assist.

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. Their efforts fall amid weeks of fog and weather so cold the Thames freezes over. When a festive Frost Fair breaks out right on the river, the ladies take to the ice. What could be better for their purposes than a little Fire and Frost?

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Snowy Scandal, January 20, 1814

Dear Mr. Clemens,

I realize that your readers prefer scandal of a more salacious nature than that concerning which I  pen this missive. But conditions exist throughout London that endanger all. Some background first.

As with much of London’s populace, I have eagerly anticipated the debut performance of Mr. Edmund Kean, actor, at the Drury Lane Theatre, Covent Garden on 26 January. Mr. Kean’s reputation precedes him from his stellar performances in Mr. Samuel Butler’s provincial troupe. How the proprietors of Drury Lane managed to lure Mr. Kean from a very comfortable position with Mr. Butler is a tale untold. For everyone knows that the Drury Lane Theatre is on it’s last legs and without a miracle of sorts will close it’s doors within the month.

However, I digress. The scandal to which I refer earlier was initiated by the present dire weather. All know how frigidly cold it has been. Too cold for decent folk to travel more than a few feet. Nonetheless, the problems created by the weather have been compounded by the neglect of the city to properly maintain the streets during this climatological crisis.

Ice and snow that have fallen since late December have been problem enough. Now to my dismay and the endangerment of all, snow is being removed from the rooftops in order to keep those rooftops from collapsing upon the residents below. I am delighted with the preservation of life. Be that as it may, no care is being taken with the placement of this excess snow. Workers simply push it from the roof willy nilly onto the streets below with no regard to objects or persons below. I know personally of three carriages that have been damaged from this practice. Friends have reported injury to family members and much difficulty ensues in getting aid to those so injured. ‘Tis a grievous scandal when the city cannot maintain safety in the streets. I know of no person who wishes to perish beneath a roof-load of snow and ice.

Sensible persons must of course remain indoors. But on January 26, Mr. Kean will perform Shylock at the Drury Lane Theatre. I have great concern that the streets around Covent Garden and the theatre will no be cleared sufficiently to allow ticket holders to attend this reputedly stellar performance. It is the duty of every London citizen to demand action from the city government to address this scandal promptly and make the streets safely passable.

Please, Mr. Clemens, as a person dedicated to spreading the news far and wide, do all that your prominence allows to see this dangerous and scandalous situation corrected.

Sincerely, your loyal subscriber

Lady Eloisa Harbinger,

Scandal for the Scions of Hawksedge

Dear Readers, The letter below was dated 1294 and sent to us anonymously. We are investigating the authenticity of the letter as I write this week’s column. However, publishing this epistle quickly was an opportunity not to be missed, since the letter contains information that will shake the foundations of one of England’s oldest and most noble family’s.

Dear Friend, I’ve written to you before of the young girl who some years past came to the abbey injured, alone, and unable to speak. We treated her as well as possible, helping her to learn skills that would prove useful should the time ever come when she might need to leave the abbey.

Two days past, she recovered her speech. I was called immediately. The girl, she is a young lady now, confided in me the secret of her identity. ‘Tis a secret which could get her killed, because it would destroy the current Earl of Hawksedge and make a scandal of the title and his family.

I chose to keep this information secret from the Earl despite his visit to witness the miracle of the young lady’s regained speech. The Earl would not tolerate any threat to his title, and I therefore feared for her life. Yet this young woman has done no wrong. Indeed much wrong has been done to her. I helped her to flee from the abbey, to find a home safe from discovery, and the means to earn a living.

But now I hear that the Earl has been found dead in a locked room, and the young woman, we’ll call her Larkin, was discovered wandering the keep shortly before the earl’s death was discovered.

Fortunately the man who found Larkin, Sir Talon Du Quereste, was once a herald for King Edward I, and is therefore completely trustworthy. He will discover the truth of the Earl’s death and whether or not poor Larkin was involved. There is more to the story, my dearest friend. But I dare not put the tale on ink and paper when Larkin’s life stands in the balance. ‘Twould be too easy for my words to be mis-interpreted. Then justice would never be done. I will write again when I can.

With love and affection,

Teresa Marie Clement, Abbess

Our Lady of Sorrows Abbey, Northumbria

Rue Allyn, is a Bluestocking Belle and award winning author of historical romances. You may find Rue on line via her website. Her newest release, The Herald’s Heart, is available for pre-order via this universal buy link or through Amazon. You may read an excerpt from The Herald’s Heart here.

Overheard at Gunters

Dear Readers,

The Teatime Tattler prides itself on bringing you the latest news. This fascinating conversation about an old scandal resurfacing was overheard by our intrepid reporter.

“It was all her fault.” With a superior smile, Lady Samantha Ridgewater lifted a spoonful of raspberry sorbet and popped it into her mouth.

“No, really?” queried her companion, this season’s toast, Miss Cecile Ambrose. “Are you sure?” The fair Miss Ambrose, twirled her spoon in the vanilla ice she’d ordered.

“As certain as I am that I look better in strong colors, like this sorbet, than in the pastels we young ladies are cursed to wear.”

“That much is certainly true. Pastels do your complexion no favors. You should have your maid trim all your outfits in ribbons of dark shades so you still have a strong color near your face.”

“What a splendid idea. I shall give that a try the moment we get home.”

“Now, please tell me how it is that Lady Mary Percival Cummins is at fault for the death of her parents.”

“I shouldn’t gossip.”

“No one will know, and I did tell you how to solve your wardrobe problem.”

“You are a true friend, Cecile. It really is a cautionary tale from which we can all learn a lesson.”

“Then it isn’t gossip at all. You’re passing on wisdom to a friend.”

“It happened when Lady Mary had her come out three years ago.”

“I was still in the schoolroom, but my sister Mavis was out and she told me everything. I don’t recall any mention of Lady Mary or a scandal.”

“That’s because Lady Mary, who was bold as brass, never got to London. She disgraced herself and her family before leaving that backwater where she grew up.”

“She must have done something terrible.”

Lady Samantha leaned forward, “She was found kissing a stable lad shortly after her parents announced her engagement to a local gentleman.”

“Who was the gentleman, and how did this cause her parents deaths?”

“I don’t recall who the man was.” Lady Samantha dismissed him with the wave of a hand. “But her father shot himself the next day.”

“Why in the world would he do that? The shame was his daughter’s.”

“It seems that Lady Mary’s wedding would save the family fortunes which her papa had lost through bad investments. Her mother went into a decline and died a few months later.”

“I’m sorry for the death of Lord and Lady Cummins, but their daughter got everything she deserved. Imagine risking your entire family’s well being for a kiss from some smelly stable lad.”

“That isn’t the worst of it.”

“What more could she have done?”

“When her father passed, his cousin inherited. The new Lord Cummins refused to have such a brazen wench in his home. He cut her hair and threatened to have her whipped at the carts tail if she did not leave. Lady Mary was put out to the road like so much rubbish with only the clothes on her back and not a pence to her name.”

“This was after her parents passed?”

“No, her mother was ill, but still living. I understand the new Lord Cummins allowed the woman to remain at the dower house, but because of her daughter’s reputation he refused to see the mother or speak to her.”

“What happened to Lady Mary?”

“No one knows. At the time speculation had it that she ran off to the former colonies with the stable lad. Other rumors said she’d gone to Scotland and become a whore. I only know that she’s never shown her face in London.”

“She wouldn’t dare.”

One would not thinks so, but a friend of a friend says he saw her at the kitchen door of Haverford House.

Dear Readers,

The above conversation will introduce you to the heroine of my next novella with the Bluestocking Belles. As yet, I have no title for the story, and I am just beginning to discover exactly who Lady Mary Percival Cummins is. By next month, I should know much more about her and the eventual love of her life, Major Lord Arthur Trevor PenRhydderch. Until then, keep reading.

Rue Allyn

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