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Interview With Lieutenant Gilroy of the Royal Navy & an Apology

Dateline Late 1813

Dear Readers,

It has been six long months since we promised to bring you a companion piece to our Interview with a Pirate by interviewing a hero of the Royal Navy for contrastive purposes. However, His Majesty’s Navy insisted that the only officer they would permit us to interview is Lieutenant Brandon Gilroy recently returned from duty in the Caribbean. An unidentified source at the office of the First Lord of the Admiralty implied that the Lieutenant may receive a promotion for his bravery in a battle with the Pirate Irish Red (whom you may recall from the aforementioned Interview with a Pirate). While no doubt exists that Lt. Gilroy’s rewards for bravery are well deserved, it should come as no surprise given the close relationship between Viscount Melville—First Lord of the Admiralty for those of you who perhaps do not keep track of political appointees—and the Duke of Cowal. Melville and Cowal, it is well known, met as young men at the University of Edinburgh. Lt. Gilroy has been at sea until very recently, thus the delay in this promised interview.

With Kind Regards

Samuel Clemens, Editor in Chief

INSERT BRANDON HEADSHOT: Tattler:  Lieutenant Gilroy it is an honor and a pleasure to meet you.

Lt. Gilroy: I have little time for pleasantries, Sir. Let us proceed with this nonsense. I must be on my way to Portsmouth within the hour.

Tattler: My apologies Lieutenant for any delay, but all England is eager to read of your exploits—especially your encounter with the infamous Irish Red.

Lt. Gilroy: What specifically would you like to know?

Tattler:  Let us begin by setting the scene for our readers. The battle between The Erie Mist (captained by Irish Red) and His Majesty’s Ship Hermoine (captained by the late Captain Lionel Guthrie) occurred somewhere off the coast of the Southern United States in August of this year. Is that correct?

Lt. Gilroy: Yes.

Tattler: What can you tell us of the Erie Mist

Lt. Gilroy sighing heavily: The Erie Mist is a four masted Baltimore Clipper, built by Thomas Kemp. She carries a schooner rig and is one of the most nimble ships afloat. The mist is easily recognized by her distinctive colors. Her gunn’es are painted a very bright red. Her shamrock decorated figurehead bears and even brighter coat of green paint. Until the Hermione’s encounter with the Mist, we could only guess at her armament, which was rumored to include more than 16 12 pounder cannon and a variety of carronades. I can personally attest that the rumor is true.

Tattler, readers have patience with the technical details. We include them because we wish to report this interview in its entirety: Is the armament the reason the Erie Mist was able to overcome the Hermione?”

Lt. Gilroy: It helped, but that coward Irish Red struck from hiding. She so surprised us that Hermione received three full broadsides before it even had a chance to return fire. By then we were taking on so much water that Hermione could not be maneuvered and we ran aground on a sandbar. To the credit of our gunners, they did their best to strike a blow at the Erie Mist. However, by the time our guns were able to fire, the Mist had put on all sail and was bearing down on us so quickly that all Hermione’s shots missed. We were boarded before a second round could be completely loaded.

Tattler: From what you tell me, Irish Red is an impressive strategist and highly skilled sailor. Did you know she is a woman?

Lt. Gilroy: Not until after her crew boarded Hermione and defeated our crew in hand-to-hand fighting.

Tattler: We’ll return to the subject of Irish Red in a moment. You say her crew defeated yours in a close quarter battle. Everyone knows how well-trained British seamen are. How was it possible your crew was defeated?

Lt. Gilroy: Hermoine’s crew fought valiantly, but we were outnumbered by at least 2 to 1. In addition, I was too occupied in defending myself against two attackers when Captain Guthrie fell. Without the captain’s direction even the best crew will fail in such a fight. As soon as possible, I attempted to restore order and provide direction in the captain’s place. However, I could not gain the quarter deck, where I could be seen.

Tattler: Readers, the lieutenant is actually blushing. “Why were you unable to reach the quarter deck?”

Lt. Gilroy: Irish Red herself, gained the high ground on that deck before I could get there. We fought on the ladder. I had nearly obtained the deck when my sword stroke, ah, tore open her shirt. She could have skewered me, I was so surprised to learn her gender. She should have skewered me. But she lost her temper. I could see the fury in those sea green eyes of hers. She drew her pistol and fired, missing my head by a hair’s breadth. That infuriated her further and she threw the pistol at me, striking me in the head. Unbalanced, I fell to the main deck where I lost consciousness. The crew surrendered, before I regained my senses.

Tattler: You must have been upset to be defeated and by a woman as well?

Lt. Gilroy: That, sir, is an understatement of the grandest proportions.

Tattler: It is unusual for ship’s captain to be a woman.

Lt. Gilroy: Unusual yes but not unheard of. However, history records more than nine women who distinguished themselves as ship’s Captains. Anne Bonny and Mary Read are prominent figures in that group.

Tattler: Interesting. That is almost word for word what Irish Red said when asked the same question almost six months ago.

Lt. Gilroy: You have spoken with that jade? Why did you not report her and have her arrested?

Tattler: We are a newspaper, sir, not representatives of Bow Street.

Lt. Gilroy: Balderdash. You have demonstrated the highest irresponsibility and disregard for the security of your nation and your fellow British citizens. You should be drawn and quartered for what amounts to treason.

Tattler: We have done nothing illegal and have conducted ourselves responsibly to our readership. (Readers, he is almost sneering.)

Lt. Gilroy: Do you know how many British sailors have lost their lives to Irish Red and her ilk? I should have you arrested for failing to take action to protect Britain. Nearly half the Hermione’s crew fell during the battle with the Erie Mist. Our Captain and several good officers are dead. All because your sensationalist rag could not do the right thing. I refuse to continue this interview and will suggest that the Admiralty never grant you another interview.

Readers, despite my protests, Lieutenant Gilroy left without saying another word. We deeply regret causing him any offense, but he offered no opportunity for us to apologize. We do so now in print. The Teatime Tattler sincerely regrets any offense offered to Lieutenant Gilroy, the Admiralty, and Britain. We will remind all that we have no control over the movements and actions of Irish Red and her crew. Indeed, had we attempted to have her arrested, it is likely that Britain would have less information on which to base strategic decisions than it has since our interview with a pirate. While the Tattler regrets the loss of any life, we cannot be held responsible for actions of previous interviewees after the date of their interview. Despite Lieutenant Gilroy’s threats, we hope our relationship with the Admiralty continues under fair winds and following seas.

About The Pirate Duchess:  They met during a brawl.

Esmeralda Crobbin first encounters Brandon Gilroy during a street fight. Afterward, Esme admires the man’s skill with his fists, his intelligence, and a number of other attributes until she learns that he is a British Naval Officer. He would be eager to see her hang, if he knew she was the American privateer, Irish Red.

The Pirate Duchess will launch in early 2023, and is now available at a discounted price for Pre-Order at Amazon only.

About Rue Allyn:  Author of historical and contemporary romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. (She claims she was a precocious little brat who read at the age of two but could hear much earlier than that.) She studied literature for far too many years before discovering that writing stories was much more fun than writing about them. One of her greatest pleasures as an author is being able to read the story before anyone else. Rue is happily married to her sweetheart of many, many years. Insatiably curious, an avid reader and traveler, she loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real-life adventures. Crazy Cat stories are especially welcome. You can contact her at Rue@RueAllyn.com. She can’t wait to hear from you.

Find Rue Online:

Website~~https://RueAllyn.com

Facebook~~ https://www.facebook.com/groups/RueAllynCrew

Twitter~~https://twitter.com/RueAllyn

Amazon~~https://www.amazon.com/Rue-Allyn/e/B00AUBF3NI/

Goodreads~~https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5031290.Rue_Allyn

Pinterest~~https://www.pinterest.com/RueAllyn/

Communique Between Friends

Dear Readers, I am not at liberty to say how the original of the letter copied below came into the possession of The Teatime Tattler. Nonetheless we found the subject matter quite entertaining. We have redacted the name out of courtesy to the author and receiver. I will admit to great curiosity about the identity of the stranger cum butler and can only hope that further information comes to light. Be sure if it does our readers will be the first to know.

Respectfully, S. Clemens

Dearest A—-a,

My durance vile in York for the social season has begun. It is not truly vile. I’m happy to help my family, but I do wish I could help in some way other than being on display like a prize pig at market. The one blessing amongst all the balls, musicales, routes and nonsensical frivolity is the York Antiquarian Society. Inexplicably (at least to me), the society has changed the dates of its annual conference from autumn to May just before the York races begin their last week, which as you know, coincides with the end of the York social season.

You can have no idea how greatly I miss you and our conversations on Egyptian antiquities. Speaking with you about the challenges I am facing with verifying the translation of the Rosetta Stone, often helped me resolve an especially knotty problem or two. Mr. Young of the London Royal Society continues to be pleased with the quality of my work, and I am hopeful of finishing the Rosetta project for him before July. I pray my commitments to chaperone my younger sisters will not take too much time away from my work.

I was delighted to learn from your last letter that you and your charming husband are expecting a blessed event in August. I do so wish I could visit you in Oxford to help with your lying-in, but we both know that is not possible, so I’ll waste no more ink on the subject.

I arrived in York on March 28th, several hours in advance of Patience and the rest of the family. I had volunteered to open our cousin, Lady St. A—’s house and see it prepared for the family’s arrival. I had our redoubtable Mrs. Crewe with me. We are grateful that her brother, returning from the former colonies will act as our butler. However, he has not yet arrived, and we would have been without that essential household staff had it not been for the most peculiar event.

Mrs. Crewe and I had just entered cousin Rose’s house. I left Mrs. Crewe to examine the state of the kitchen, larder and keeping room while I went above stairs to assess what might be needed in the bedchambers and public areas of the house. On my way to the bedchambers, I could not resist peeking into our cousin’s small study. She keeps her most historically valuable mementos there and always had something new to show me when, as a child, I visited her with my papa. It is Cousin Rose more than anyone who inspired my interest in the antiquities.

I entered the study to discover we had an intruder. There was a man sleeping before the fireplace in one of Cousin Rose’s wingback chairs. A decanter of liquid, I took it to be our cousin’s favorite Strathnaver Whisky from the color and odor, sat with an empty glass on the floor beside the chair.

I was so surprised to see the man, that several moments passed before I decided what to do. I had in my reticule, a pistol, that Patience insisted I carry for safety since I was traveling with only Mrs. Crewe to guard me. I knew how to use the pistol, so I took it out of my reticule and pointed it at the man before I woke him by saying quite loudly. “Don’t move!”

He decided not to comply. We struggled for the pistol and it went off. Fortunately, the only casualty was Cousin Rose’s plaster mantlepiece. I tried to run, but he caught me. Then Mrs. Crew showed up with the watch in tow. The man released me. And a most curious conversation ensued. The result of that conversation was that, against all logic, I hired this stranger to act as our butler until Mrs. Crewe’s brother can arrive and take over. I hope I’ve not done something foolish, though I very much fear I may have.

Oh dear. I’m being called to an ‘emergency’ in the schoolroom. Evidently the younger girls cannot agree on who owns which piece of chalk. I don’t wish to miss today’s post, so will continue this story in my next letter. Give my best to your darling spouse.

With love and affection,

B–s

Lady E——-h R. B———-h.

About The Butler & the Bluestocking: Rue Allyn’s contribution to the Bluestocking Belles & Friends novella collection, Desperate Daughters, is a story of mistaken identity, and immediate–if a bit unrecognized–attraction. When Bess, the oldest of the nine Bigglesworth stepdaughters, first encounters the honorable Malcolm Marr she mistakes him for an intruder. He claims he’s the butler so he will not be forced to leave this amazing woman. Bess is so smitten that despite some very logical misgivings she decides not to challenge his claim.

About 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?

Available for Pre-order at $0.99 until launch day, May 17, 2022 https://books2read.com/u/bMwL17.

 

Congratulations to the Bluestocking Belles

Dear Readers,

The Teatime Tattler is delighted to share this note of thanks from those mavens of marvelous stories, The Bluestocking Belles. We like to think of ourselves as purveyors of  discreet truth and vital news for those who wish to be au courant of England’s noble society. We return our thanks in kind to these seven ladies of the pen and pray they will continue to provide wholesome and loving entertainment for years to come. Their letter is copied below along with an image of the bouquet of yellow ‘friendship’ roses (pictured to the right) that accompanied the letter.

Mr. S. Clemmens, Editor

—————————–

Dear Mr. Clemens,

I write on behalf of The Bluestocking Belles who are this day, March twelfth, celebrating seven years of writing and publishing collections of our novellas. We wish to thank you for your continued and unbiased support of our group and our publications. We know that not all of your readers love or even like our work or that we are seven gently bred women who have dared to follow the lead of Miss J.A. and successfully write, publish, and sell–to some small acclaim. Yet despite the expressed displeasure of some of your readers (none of whom have, as I understand it, dropped their subscriptions), you continue to report on our successes and failures–this last much to our embarrassment we acknowledge to be true–without any bias positive or negative whatsoever. What author, what person could ask for more from London’s most popular and highly regarded scandal sheet. It has been our pleasure to meet you in person once or twice. Your discretion and truthfulness in reporting are most sincerely appreciated.

With kind regards,

Lady RA and the Bluestocking Belles

PS: In honor of our celebration we are placing all of our collections on sale until March 17th. Your readers may find them here https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/

Available for Pre-order NOW: Desperate Daughters:  A Bluestocking Belles with Friends Collection

The Belles are also happy to share that their newest collection will be released on May 17th this year. The collection is now available for pre-order at the very low price of $0.99. The price goes up after release.

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?

Buy Links:

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Angus & Robertson:
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Vivlio: https://bit.ly/3qGqxqc

Scandal Brews in Scotland

Captain Brandon Gilroy

Dear readers,

This conversation was relayed to us by the person who overheard it firsthand, and just happens to be in our employ. You can be certain that person will keep us all well informed, since we know how much our readers love a scandal.

“I’m so glad you could visit today, Ivy.” Lady Furness took her friend’s hand and lead her from the parlor out into the rose garden of the Furness London home.

“Had I not received your note, I would have been on my way to the country. Honestly I thought I was the only person still in London so late in the summer.”

“No, I’ve been stranded here by my husband.” Julia Holmes, Lady Furness sniffled and dabbed at her dry eyes with a kerchief. “He seems to think that his business with the home office is the only important thing in the world. I’m tempted to ask if I could come with you when you do leave. Just to teach the dratted man a lesson.”

“Now Julia,” Ivy began to sooth her friend. “You are always welcome. . . .” She hurried to keep pace with her friend on the garden’s winding path.

“Yes, yes, I know. But we can discuss giving my husband his comeuppance later. I have the most urgent secrets to tell you.”

Ivy’s brows rose, and her expression took on an avid cast. “Really? Secrets? Do tell.”

Julia cast a quick look about the rose garden. “Not until we get to the table and serve tea. I had tea set up in this garden because it is the most private place I could think of. Absolutely no one must know. Besides you and I, and my cousin Lady Enid MacShennan, who wrote me of this impending disaster.”

With those words they arrived at a gazebo near the far end of the garden.

“You have to tell me, Julia.”

Lady Furness shook her head and gestured to one of the two chairs flanking the tea trolley. “Sit, sit. I’ll serve and then we’ll talk.”

Ivy issued an impatient sigh but sat, tapping her foot while her friend poured the tea.

Finally when all was arranged, Julia took a sip of her beverage then set the cup and saucer back on the trolley.

“Ivy, do you recall my distant relation, Captain Brandon Gilroy?”

“What woman wouldn’t. Honestly Julia, the Captain is not only a highly regarded naval hero, rich from the many prizes he captured during the wars with Napoleon, but he has also been named heir to the Duke of Cowal–his uncle. The Captain is one of the most eligible bachelors in all Britain.”

“Yes, yes. I know all that. I just wanted to be certain you did.”

“Never tell me he’s about to announce his engagement? All the gels coming out next spring will be devastated.”

“No, I can’t tell you that. Although if Enid’s most recent letter is to be believed the engagement was to be announced next month.”

“I gather that is no longer the case?” Ivy leaned in closer to whisper the question.

Julia nodded.

“What happened?”

“According to Enid, everything was set for Captain Gilroy’s betrothal to Lady Miriam MacNaughton.”

“The Duke of Rockerd’s sister? That would unite two very powerful houses.”

“Yes, but Enid wrote that suddenly Captain Gilroy is balking.”

“Really? Miriam is beautiful, rich, well-connected and possessed of an excellent pedigree.”

“I know. However, Enid’s last letter stated that a strange woman arrived in the middle of the betrothal festivities. This female, with the very common name of Crobbin, claims to be the daughter of the current duke’s long, lost daughter, Mary Katherine.”

“The one who ran away from home because she discovered she was in an interesting condition?”

Julia cast her friend a sidewise glance. “That’s only a rumor, and has never been confirmed.”

“Hmmm, I suppose,” said Ivy. “But why else would Cowal have disowned her and forbidden his family to mention her name.”

“Not being privy to his grace’s confidence I could not say. What I can tell you is this upstart imposter has somehow ensnared Captain Gilroy in her net of schemes, and snatched him right out from under Lady Miriam’s nose.”

“Oh no.”

“Oh yes. Further, Enid wrote that Lady Miriam was so incensed that this Crobbin person had even been permitted into the duke’s home that she, Lady M, was threatening to leave the house if the woman was not removed instantly.”

“Did she?”

“Not as of Enid’s last letter to me.”

Miss Esmaralda Crobbin

“Good, they young lady should not let a common trollop steal her fiancé.”

“Well, they had not signed the betrothal agreements. Although Lady Miriam was threatening to sue for breach of promise.”

“You and I both know that’s a ploy to buy time in which to discover how best to rid herself of the Crobbin person.”

“Indeed. Lady Miriam is no fool.”

“But it sounds like Captain Gilroy is a bit of a fool.” Ivy smirked.

“My relation is a man. Any man can be easily led astray by the right bait.”

“Well, you say the Crobbin person is common. That sort would never do as a future duchess unless she’s either wealthy or beautiful or both.”

“As far as Enid can tell this imposter has no fortune to speak of and is not half as beautiful as Lady Miriam. Why Enid’s description of the woman is that she’s skinny, excessively tall, and cursed with freckles as well as carroty orange hair. She does not dress well and her manners are only passable. Whatever can Captain Gilroy see in her?”

“An excellent question, Julia. Hopefully Enid’s next missive will reveal that, and the resolution to the problem before it becomes the scandal of the summer.”

“Do, please Ivy, remember that you are to tell no one.”

“Of course, I would never betray a confidence.”

Coming Soon: The Pirate Duchess – Duchess Series Book 2

She’s a famous pirate determined to rule her own life sailing the high seas. She’ll never be conquered by any man, or so she says. He’s a British naval captain bent on capturing her and seeing her hang for her crimes. When they meet the battle begins, but who conquers whom?

Watch for The Pirate Duchess, Duchess Series Book 2, coming in late 2022.

Mystery Woman Threatens Tenuous Peace Between Fueding Clans

Dearest Readers,

The fated couple in happier times.

It has come to our attention that some weeks ago a woman arrived at MacShennan Ruith–The ancestral home of the Duke of Cowal–claiming to be the child of the current Duke’s youngest daughter.

You may recall that daughter, Lady Mary Katherine MacShennan, vanished after highly respectable Lord Gordon James Sutherland broke their engagement. The grounds for breaking the engagement were scandalous in themselves. According to Sutherland, and other sources close to the Duke of Cowal, Lady Mary Katherine, while legally the duke’s daughter was actually the issue of an unnamed scion of Clan MacTavish. The source of the truth about Lady Mary Katherine’s actual parentage is said to be the Duke of Cowal himself. While we can respect the impulse to honesty which rumor says motivated the duke, we must wonder if His Grace perhaps suffered a mental aberration that caused him to confess the truth before the couple had been married. Had he waited, the scandal might never have come to light, and Lady Mary Katherine might never have vanished. Yes, vanished. Nothing has been heard of the lady since the announcement by Sutherland that he could not in good conscience wed a person of questionably birth.

MacShennan Clan Emblem

There is much to be wondered at in this sad tale, for in addition to the lady’s disappearance, the Duke suffered a severe decline in health, and rumor reports that Laird MacTavish went on a drunken tear that lasted more than six months and put that clan into severely straightened circumstances. Add to these curious events the fact that Clans MacTavish and MacShennan have feuded with each other off and on since before Robert the Bruce was King of Scotland. Two noble houses at odds for so many centuries does rouse questions as to whether or not foul play might have been involved at any point.

Regardless of such possibilities, all might have faded into obscurity had it not been

MacTavish Clan Emblem

for the mysterious Miss E. C. who arrived at MacShennan Ruith ‘in search of the truth about her parentage.’ She would not be the first such pretender. However, unlike previous imposters, Miss E. C. has been welcomed into the fold by no other than His Grace of Cowal himself. Even stranger is the reported improvement in the aging duke’s health. This reporter can only hope that the duke is not over exerting out of a wish to appease his fatherly sorrows.

What will become of the duke, Miss E. C., and the two battling clans, we can only speculate. Fear not, we will report in this column the moment news becomes available.

About this article: The characters mentioned in this article are all present in some way in my current WIP, The Pirate Duchess, which I hope will release sometime in the last half of 2022. If you would like to know more about the ‘mysterious Miss E. C.’ she is the heroine of both The Pirate Duchess and my novella, Wait for Me, which appeared in The Bluestocking Belles and Friends collection, Storm & Shelter. You may find your copy of Storm & Shelter at Amazon or your favorite book retailer.

About the Author: Rue Allyn is the author of historical and contemporary romances. She says of herself, “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 novella download when you do.

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