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Author: Rue Allyn Page 1 of 10

Accident or Murder

Mr. Gervase Hastings, Deceased

Readers, The Teatime Tattler has unearthed serious questions about the recent passing of Mr. Gervase Hastings, cousin by marriage to Lady Enid MacShennan, widowed daughter-in-law to His Grace, the Duke of Cowal. The announcement was made two Mondays past, that Mr. Hastings passed away suddenly after an accident at the Duke’s Scottish seat MacShennan Ruith. No details were given in the announcement.

That in and of itself is unsurprising for a well connected yet impecunious gentleman such as Mr. Hastings. However disturbing rumors have arisen that the circumstances of Mr. Hastings’ passing might not be as simple as the lack of detail makes them appear.

First, and most peculiar, Hastings’ funeral service and burial occurred within a day of his death. This short amount of time is only noteworthy, if one accepts that in chilly Scotland a three day lying in repose is the norm. In addition, the interment occurred at night, a privilege usually reserved for noblemen of high degree and wealth (due to the cost of lights to guide the procession and extra fees due to the clergy).

Miss Esmeralda Crobbin

Next, we sent our reporter to the ducal seat, and she discovered not all in residence were content with the story of an accidental death caused, it was presumed, by intoxication. Upon arrival, our reporter learned the laundresses of MacShennan Ruith were occupied in removing bloodstains from a carpet, which formerly occupied space on the floor in the chambers of Miss E. Crobbin, a guest of the Duke. No one would confirm that the blood belonged to Mr. Hastings, or that he died in Miss Crobbin’s chambers. However, several servants related seeing Miss Crobbin in heated discussions with Mr. Hastings. One employee recalled a picnic attended by all the guests at which Miss Crobbin—perhaps unwisely, or perhaps with intent—went apart from the company and was followed within moments by Mr. Hastings. Even more disturbing, the guests and their hosts, save for the duke’s heir, Viscount Cairndow, departed the site before Miss Crobbin and Mr. Hastings returned. Miss Crobbin did eventually return late in the afternoon. The Viscount followed within an hour. Hastings was not seen until the next day and it is not known when he returned.

Last our reported learned that the evening on which Mr. Hasting’s purported accident occurred, the duke held

Viscount Cairndow

an impromptu dance for his guests. Hasting’s is reported to have been drinking copiously, but leaving the event early. Much attention was given at the event to the necklace worn by Miss Crobbin. The jewelry is a collection of emeralds and turquoises in an antique setting. This piece is well known to belong to the Duke of Cowal as his bride, and the bride of his brother, Countess Beresford, each wore the piece when their engagements were announced as well as several later occasions. Further, a disturbance occurred later in the evening, just before Miss Crobbin discovered Hasting’s body. Our reporter has not yet discovered the nature of the disturbance, or why Miss Crobbin might have been with Hastings alone just prior to his death.

Dear readers, given all of these odd incidents, one can only wonder what might truly have caused Mr. Hastings’ untimely passing. You can be certain that The Teatime Tattler will continue to investigate and keep you apprised of any developments.

About The Pirate Duchess:  They meet during a brawl!

Esmeralda Crobbin first encounters Brandon Gilroy during a brawl. Once their opponents are vanquished, she 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. Can sworn enemies become lovers? Find out. Get your copy of The Pirate Duchess today. Amazon   Other Retailers

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 may contact her at Rue@RueAllyn.com. She can’t wait to hear from you.

Where Is the Duke of M.

Dateline September 1814, Ghent

Dear Readers,

House at Chalmette Battlefield, Photo 48763837 / Battle New Orleans © Bdingman | Dreamstime.com

We present to you today, a plea for help from Lady C. M., sister to the highly respected, Duke of M. It seems her ladyship’s sibling has gone missing.

It is not unusual for various tulips of the ton to—ahem—absent themselves from the social scene from time to time. Young men must take their pleasures where and when they may. This is widely understood.

However, as Lady C. M.’s letter to us states, “my brother is a most steady and industrious man. Unlike some contemporaries now in Vienna, he does not indulge in behavior common to rakes, roues and rogues. His name has never been associated with any scandal or that of any woman save in the most respectable manner. Yet he has disappeared. I have had no news of him since August when he joined the British delegation to the treaty negotiations with the Americans in Ghent.

He had written to me in general of his encounters with Mr. Adams, Mr. Clay, and Mr. Russell and was looking forward to meetings with the other Americans. Then, two weeks past, his letters ceased. Enquiries sent to our delegation in Ghent and to the Home Office as well as Lord Liverpool have met with little response. Only Lord Liverpool was courteous enough to reply, stating “I regret that your brother has not confided in me. I am at a loss to explain his disappearance when his expertise in matters of state is needed most desperately.”

Her ladyship concludes her missive with this plea. “Mr. Clemens, I am deeply concerned. My brother is most responsible and would not simply disappear. Please, please, I beg of you, use your expertise at ferreting out the most obscure secrets to aid me in finding my brother.”

Despite all our efforts since receiving Lady C. M.’s letter we have uncovered no trace of her brother. Hence, with her permission, we seek the aid of our readers. If you have any knowledge of the duke’s whereabouts, immediately notify M. Clemens, Editor at the offices of The Teatime Tattler. We, indeed, the entire nation needs to know: WHERE IS HIS GRACE OF M.?

About The Creole Duchess:  A duke in disguise, a creole miss determined to get her own way, and two nations at war, is love even possible?

Miss Celie St. Cyr-Duval refuses to live under the thumb of some man chosen by her parents. Celie will do everything to gain the ability to make her own way and determine her own fate. But fate interferes in the form of a British businessman, Caleb Alden. A relationship with Caleb would find approval with Celie’s mother, but both Celie and Caleb have secrets that put them on opposite sides of a great conflict and could destroy them both.

With the Battle of New Orleans looming, can these two natural enemies compromise and protect each other, or will fear and betrayal end both their lives.

Availability:  The Creole Duchess, Duchess Series Book 3 is expected to launch in late 2023. You can get book 1, The French Duchess, now, available free from Kindle Unlimited. Book 2, The Pirate Duchess, is available for pre-order at a discounted price from Amazon or other retailers. The price goes up on launch day, January 9, 2023.

About Rue Allyn: Award-winning 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    FB    AMAZON    GOODREADS    BOOKBUB

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?

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