The Runaway Heiress and the Blacksmith, The Teatime Tattler April 1815
Is the lady boarding with our own Mrs. P. in truth a Lady, or a Mrs. as she claims?
Those who follow the social pages suspect her of being the heiress, Lady S. W. If this is the case, why is she here in Fenwick, and not in London with her betrothed? And what is going on between her and Fenwick’s blacksmith?
T. P., if that is indeed his name, is another refugee from London, although he has been here for years. Never before has he accepted a lure from a lass. At least, not a girl in Fenwick, despite expressions of interest from several local women.
Perhaps he prefers to dally with someone who is certain to move on? Or perhaps one of the pair is risking a broken heart?
My name is Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, which is why Fifi—Miss Fiona McSweeney when she’s in trouble, which is nigh incessantly—calls me Wellie. I call her all manner of things which space limitations and decorum do not permit me to list, because that girl is a penance to one of my dignified years.
She insists that I am named for some old vicar, but being a pony—ponies are infinitely wise—I know the origins of my own name. I also have some considered notions about who among the denizens of Fenwick on Sea has been telling tales to the Teatime Tattler!
Just the other day while taking the air (and enjoying a few well deserved bites of spring grass) on one of my regular constitutionals, I happened by the paddock of Socrates, cart-horse to Birdy Gatesby. Socks and I—I call him Socks, he calls me Your Grace—agree that Mrs. Gatesby has been spending an inordinate amount of time in conversation lately with Mrs. Peabody. Mrs. Gatesby is the mid-wife, and Mrs. Peabody owns the boarding establishment across from the Queen’s Barque. Has the most delectable patch of clover in the side yard. Sea grass is the very devil on a fellow’s teeth, while clover… but I digress.
Mrs. Gatesby and Mrs. Peabody know every tidbit of gossip worth knowing, just as I know every patch of clover within three miles of Fenwick on Sea. Moreover—I tell you this in confidence—Mrs. Peabody also receives not one but two London newspapers every day. I have had occasion to nose through her middens, because apple cores should not go to waste, and I see the discarded newspapers.
These two women are forever visiting over back fences and on walkways, and several times a day Mrs. Peabody will send her maid of all work over to the Barque on some pretext or other. The girl is mooning over one of the grooms—ponies truly do know all, and Hiram does have a nice touch with a curry comb—but the girl is also spying for Mrs. Peabody, or my name isn’t Arthur Wellesley.
Who is the snooping reporter?
As told in Storm & Shelter in eight original novellas, refugees—the injured, the devious, and the lonely, lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers—all sheltered at the Queen’s Barque Inn. Now concern is buzzing in Fenwick on Sea and across these United Kingdoms, as scurrilous gossip about the goings on during the recent storm spread through the reports in that scandal rag, The Teatime Tattler. Who is the snoop?
You can help
Correctly identify the reporter and be entered to win a $100 gift card and other great prizes. There are details and instructions for entering here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/storm-shelter/wanted-the-snooping-teatime-tattler-reporter/
There are clues in every story in Storm & Shelter. Find more clues by following on to each stop in our Snooping Reporter Blog Hop. At the next stop, Mary Lancaster’s mysterious husband comforts his worrying wife. A Mysterious Husband: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/storm-shelter/wanted-the-snooping-teatime-tattler-reporter/a-mysterious-husband/
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About the book
When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.
One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.
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