Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Author: Rue Allyn Page 1 of 10

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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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.

Noted Hostess Has Breakdown

1813, the London Season

Our artist’s imagines how Lady Sevingswere feels.

A rare treat was offered to those attending last night’s crush at the home of Lady Elizabeth Sevingswere, where were presented her daughter Lady Mary Sevingswere and a distant cousin, Lady Elizabeth Bigglesworth, daughter of the widowed Earl of Seahaven. The treat came in the form of severe embarrassment to Lady Sevingswere, her daughter, the Earl of Seahaven, and most especially Lady Bigglesworth. It seems that, despite being an acknowledged bluestocking, less than graceful, and the possessor of both a splotchy complexion and some of the brightest orange hair known to man, Lady Bigglesworth had been able to engage the interest of no less than three eligible gentlemen, each with a respectable fortune and good name. Though not, we are told as good a name as that of Seahaven with whom these gentlemen no doubt wished to be aligned by marriage to Seahaven’s–dare we say at best–graceless female child.

What was found to be most entertaining was the outrage expressed by the astonished hostess when informed that young Lady Bigglesworth had refused all three offers. Lady Sevingswere, conscious we are certain of the curiosity running rampant among her guests, seized young Lady Bigglesworth by the arm and nearly dragged her to the card room where the Earl of Seahaven sat to a table of whist–we understand he was winning at the time. His hostess insisted that he leave the game instanter and attend her and his daughter in the library of the house.

Lady Sevingswere must indeed have been quite upset for she failed to recall that the library and the ballroom were located next to each other. Also, the evening being warm, the doors had been thrown open from both library and ballroom to the balcony bordering the garden. So irate was Lady Sevingswere, that she also failed to moderate her tone. Guests from the ballroom quite clearly heard that lady say to Seahaven.

“I wash my hands of her, Seahaven. On the basis of my distant relationship with your dead wife, you foist this impossible gel upon me, when I most wish to concentrate on my fair Amelia’s come out. You never bothered to prepare Lady Bigglesworth properly for a season, and she has become an embarrassment to us all. She dances very poorly. I cannot tell you the number of gentlemen who have been heard complaining about the state of their toes. She is the least graceful most unattractive girl I can ever recall in any London season I have attended. All of that could be forgiven if she had been sensible enough to accept one of three excellent proposals to come her way. But you need to know, she is so puffed up in her opinion of herself, that she believes she can gain the attention of a man who–and I quote to you her father–loves her for herself and not for her father’s connections. As if anyone would love a lady who attends a ball with ink stains–ink stains I say–on her fingers and sleeves. If you have any regard for me and the rest of the ton, Lord Seahaven, you will send Lady Bigglesworth to your country estate this minute. She is not worth your time or the money you have expended on her season. Better you should wait until one of your other daughters is eligible for her come out. That your lordship is my recommendation. Regardless of what you decide, I insist that Lady Bigglesworth leave my house immediately. I will arrange for her belongings to be sent to Seahaven house. The moment that is done, I refuse to have anything more to do with such an ungrateful burden as she.

Needless to say, the ton is agog at the venom spewed by Lady Sevingswere, and only forgive the lady because nothing she said was untrue. How unfortunate for Lady Bigglesworth to learn the sad state of her worth as a young woman in such a manner. One might have a great deal of sympathy for the girl had she not, as Lady Sevingswere so cogently pointed out, lacked the good sense to accept one of the proposals she received.

With Lady Bigglesworth’s departure from London, one of the most entertaining moments of the season has ended. What juicy gossip will unfold next to amuse and fascinate our dedicated readers? And one can only wonder what the future might hold for such a graceless dab. A long spinsterhood, no doubt.

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