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Musings of a Motley Meddler: Complicated Stuff. Wink. Wink.

5 January 1815
Bath, England

Dear Interested Parties,

Today’s Topic: Classical Mechanics or the Magic of Numbers. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure which.

It is with great honor that I announce that none other than the reclusive Dr. John Edward Hartwell has agreed to give a lecture on Mathematics and Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Classical Mechanics as well as discuss his own theories, recently printed, with regards to chaotic tendencies in orderly systems, at my home near Bath on Monday the 9th of January.

Perhaps, after I attend his lecture, I will understand what, precisely, all that means.

In the meantime, my guests and I await with baited breath, the arrival of our mysterious genius. Never fear, dear readers, for you will be the first to hear all the delicious details regarding this elusive man. Here. In the Teatime Tattler.

My Umbrella is at the ready.

Signed,

Lady Harriett Ross
—Self-proclaimed Matchmaking Motley Meddler
—Mistress of Destiny
—Wielder of the Infamous Umbrella

Bloomfield Place
Bath, England

I’m just an old woman with opinions. On everything.

Editor’s Note:

  1. More Information to follow as Lady Harriett Ross and author Amy Quinton reveal more of what’s to come in the 3rd Installment of the Umbrella Chronicles: John and Emma’s story. Due in time for Valentine’s Day, February 2019.
  2. The image is an engraving of Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), English scientist and mathematician. It captures the story of Newton’s dog, Diamond, who once knocked over a candle while Newton was out of the room, causing the papers piled on Newton’s desk to catch fire. Those papers contained some pretty important information – they were filled with calculations which had taken him twenty years to make! Upon finding nothing but ashes remained of all his hard work, he cried, “Oh, Diamond! Diamond! Thou little knowest what mischief thou hast done!”

 

Musings of a Motley Meddler: Men Who Do Not Listen

A Stolen Kiss by Marcus Stone

A Stolen Kiss by Marcus Stone

Christmastide 1814
Bath, England

Dear Interested Parties or Women the World Wide,

Today I’d like to discuss men who do not listen: the bane of every woman’s existence.

But first, a little background. The following is a record of my recent conversation with a certain prodigal duke at my home in London:

“Forgive an old lady for not standing, lad. My doctor says I have poor humours in my toe. What a load of shite, I say, but the left one does ache a’ times.”

He dipped his head and scarcely gave my propped foot a glance. “I need your help.”

“Indeed. I assume this is regarding Miss A— M— and her attentions, or lack thereof?”

I’ve blacked out her name from this transcript, for privacy’s sake, of course. As you well know, I am everything that is discreet.

At this point, I waived THE Umbrella about as many who talk with their hands might, but he took no notice. When I added a “Hmmmm?” and waved it again, I finally caught his eye.

He smiled. “May I hold It?”

“But of course.”

He took it gently, handling it with obvious care, and ran his hand down the length as if it were a treasured heirloom. “I’ve heard much about this Umbrella and your devious little exploits,” He raised a brow, but his lips held a smile. “and I think I might need this.”

So far so good, right? I like a man who knows what he wants. Still, I asked:

“Are you sure, young man? I must warn you,” I gestured towards the Umbrella. “That thing works.”

He smiled. “Good.”

“Right then. What’s your plan?”

Now, he looked uncertain. Of course. Come on, ladies, let’s raise our eyes heavenward and say it together: Men.

“Plan?” he asked.

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Yes, my daft boy. What? Were you just going to toss It at her and hope for the best? It doesn’t work quite like that. Especially with the right kind of woman, and Miss M— is the right kind of woman.”

The duke got that silly look on his face at the mention of Miss M— by name, the one all men get when they are thinking of their one true love, but I digress.

“Ahem, yes, well, fortunately, for you, I have a plan already written out for you to follow.” I handed him my list. “I must say I was quite surprised by your note, saying you would call today. But I’d hoped—and here you are, poised to make my little job quite a bit easier.”

By job, I was referring to my plans to play matchmaker to him and Miss M— regardless of either of their preferences on the matter.

At this point, he stopped to read my plan:

  1. Make your intentions clear
  2. Send her a cornucopia of her favorite flowers
  3. Ensure everyone knows your intentions
  4. Give her a special gift—one she cannot return.
  5. Take her for a ride

His head jerked up, and a faint blush colored his cheeks. “Is take her for a ride a euphemism for…”

I shrugged and withheld a snort. “Time will tell.”

  1. Waltz with her in private
  2. Give her a taste of passion
  3. Take her sailing
  4. Bare your soul
  5. Propose

Now ladies, pay particular attention to this point in our conversation. For when he finished, I immediately articulated my warning:

“Heed me, lad. You must follow this plan to the letter. No skipping steps. No combining steps. And no funny business.”

He didn’t even blink. “When do we begin?” he asked.

“December 22. The Ruthford’s Winter Solstice Ball. I know. They’re a touch pagan, but it’s the perfect segue into Christmastide, which we shall spend at my home near Bath, and we need every opportunity available to us if we hope to secure your engagement by Twelfth Night.”

“Twelfth Night,” he repeated in a bit of a daze.

“Too soon?” I asked.

The duke smiled. “Absolutely not. Just wondering if I can wait that long.”

“Good answer. You’ll do.”

“And if the weather thwarts our departure for Bath?”

“Harrumph. It wouldn’t dare.”

“Heaven forbid.” The duke bowed and turned to leave, a smile on his handsome face.

“Duke? Leave everything else to me.” I help up my finger in warning. “I mean it, lad. Everything. Else.”

The duke dipped his head. “Yes ma’am.”

Now, perhaps I should have added: “Repeat after me. No skipping steps. No combining steps. And no funny business.” A second time.

But alas.

And wouldn’t you know, it all began to unravel on Christmas Day when he botched Step Four completely.

Which required a new step: Step 4.5— Apologize in a grand way; grovel if necessary.

I must say he executed step 4.5 beautifully over Christmas dinner.

But then, His Graceless Idiot decided steps 8 and 9 weren’t truly necessary.

Weren’t. Truly. Necessary.

Now. One would think that when wooing a reluctant woman, a man would take and follow the advice he had received from a knowledgeable person who was/is, in fact, a woman.

But then again, he is only a man. Flawed and human, though beautiful in his way.

Fortunately for him, my Umbrella and I work magic.

Unfortunately for you, you will have to read the latest story in the Umbrella Chronicles by Amy Quinton to find out what happens next—release date, November 2018 and included in the 2018 Bluestocking Belles Holiday Boxed Set.  Details to come!

 

Lady Harriett Ross,

Bloomfield Place
Bath, England

Self-proclaimed Motley Meddler * Mistress of Destiny * Wielder of the Infamous Umbrella

I’m just an old woman with opinions. On everything.

Musings of a Motley Meddler: The Prodigal Son Returns!

1814
England

Dear Interested Parties,

The ballrooms of London are atwitter…
And widows are revamping their boudoirs.
A few debutantes are likely still bitter…
But secretly consulting grimoires.

The demimonde ladies remain hopeful…
And gamblers are flooding the Hells.
The shopkeepers are restocking by the boatful…
But matchmaking mamas are hiding their gels.

*chuckles gleefully*

What is this special occasion you ask?
Why the prodigal son has returned!

Yes, dear readers, you all know who I mean…
And this time he will not escape my matchmaking schemes. (Alas, I couldn’t help myself.)

For I am determined, dear reader, to find without delay…
A mate who can rein in his extravagant way.

*grin*

Sure, I only have the slightest inkling of an idea, and with this wily bachelor, I will need much time to plan.

Nevertheless, I am confident I shall prevail, and by the holidays, he will no longer be a single young man!

My Umbrella is at the ready.

Signed,

Lady Harriett Ross—Self-proclaimed Matchmaking Motley Meddler—Mistress of Destiny—Wielder of the Infamous Umbrella
Bloomfield Place
Bath, England

I’m just an old woman with opinions. On everything.

*Lady Harriett Ross appears in all of the novels of the Agents of Change series by Bluestocking Belle, Amy Quinton, and has her own matching making series called The Umbrella Chronicles. See www.amyquinton.net for more information.

The Motley Meddler Strikes Again!

England 1814

G— St . V— never saw it coming.

And he never stood a chance.

Once again, we’re delighted to announce that the gentleman in question proved no match for the machinations of Lady Harriett Ross and her infamous Umbrella.

The betting books at Whites are on fire.

The gossips at every holiday party are all atwitter.

And if you’ve been following along, you, our dear readers, were the first to know as we’ve regaled you with all the delightful details every step of the way via firsthand accounts through the humorous musings of Lady Harriett Ross…straight from that dear woman’s own pen…as she set the scene for the downfall…aka—betrothal…of G— St . V—, the Future M— of S— and Miss Do—a W—e.

Her machinations have met with unquestionable success…you may have noticed their betrothal announcement in all the major papers this Monday past.

If you want all the details of their whirlwind courtship, you can read about it here.

Now, we have it on good authority that Lady Harriett Ross herself will be writing us again soon, her sights set on a new person of interest: Lord J— Q—, 8th M— of M— and heir to the Duchy of S— W—.

But this time, in an unusual development, the persons of interest just might have initiated certain events with Lady Harriett Ross first!

Stay tuned…

She’s just an old woman with opinions. On everything.

 

Throughout time, it has never been too late for love…1645

CONTEST CLOSED: SEE THE COMMENTS FOR WINNERS

I hope you enjoyed your stay in Regency England via Nicole Zoltalk’s Blog. You are now in 17th Century England!

Thanks for stopping by and welcome to London in 1645: a time of intense political and religious upheaval.

Civil War

1645

King Charles I by Anthony van Dyck

In 1645, England was in the midst of a civil war between King Charles I with his Royalist supporters (or Cavaliers) and Parliamentarians (or Roundheads) who wanted a parliamentarian government rather than a royal monarchy.

The English Civil War lasted from 1642 to 1651, and the end saw the trial and execution of Charles I (Beheaded in 1649), the exile of Charles II (in 1651), and the replacement of the English Monarchy with the Commonwealth of England (in 1649-53) followed by The Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell (in 1653-1658) followed by Richard Cromwell (in 1658-59).

The English Monarchy was restored in 1660 when King Charles II returned from exile and retook the English throne. This date also marks the beginning of the Restoration period of England.

The period of time between the beheading of Charles I (in 1649) and the Restoration and return of Charles II (in 1660) is known as an Interregnum.

King Charles I portrait by Anthony van Dyck

Religious Upheaval, Puritanism, and an Attack on Christmas!

1645By the mid-17th century, Puritans—whose initial goal was to purify the Church of England and abolish any connection with Catholicism due to the idea that the entire organized religion of Catholicism was corrupt—had considerable influence in America and most of Europe. Puritans had power in government and thus the ability to influence laws. In the 1640s, the parliamentary party (working within the elected parliament) began working to suppress saints’ and holy days, including Christmas! This attack on Christmas came about for several reasons: they disliked the extravagance and disorder associated with the celebrations surrounding Christmas, and they saw Christmas as an unwelcome reminder of Catholic traditions (Christ’s mass). Further, they argued there was no biblical justification for celebrating Jesus’s birth.

By 1644, parliament went so far as to stress that December 25th should be a regular day of fasting and humiliation, as it happened to coincide with their weekly holy day. Further, people were directed to consider it a specific time of penance for past carnal delights associated with the holiday.

In January 1645, Parliament fully abolished and made illegal any observation of holy days, apart from Sundays. By 1659, Christmas was even abolished in parts of America, specifically the New England area, which had a strong concentration of Puritans. In fact, though the ban on Christmas in America was repealed in 1681, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that people widely began celebrating Christmas again in Boston!

A Year Without a Christmas from Never Too Late takes place during this time, when Christmas celebrations were prohibited, and is a theme of the story.

17th Century Fashion

We’ve all seen the extravagant neck ruffs associated with the Elizabethan era. By the 17th century, ruffs began to disappear to be replaced with broad lace or linen collars. Sleeves, which had previously been tight and fitted, became loose and flowing—many had slashed sleeves which revealed the shirt or chemise beneath.

Women’s clothing still consisted of bodices, petticoats, and gowns with wide lace collars and matching kerchiefs. Waistlines raised and lowered throughout the century, favoring a longer, loose silhouette. Men wore shirts, doublets, and hose, and for the first time, shoes began to have heels.

The influence of Puritanism can be felt in fashions of the time, with many apart from the extremely wealthy wearing more somber colors and significantly less lace, which was considered extravagant and wasteful. However, the higher the rank, the more lace was worn as success in Puritan eyes mean that a person was particularly blessed and therefore more Godly.

Women wore the bulk of their hair loose, with the top section pulled back into a bun, and often had bangs or fringe. Married women quit wearing lace caps so characteristic of the previous era. For men, long curls were fashionable. Cocked hats, pinned on one side with a mass of ostrich plumes was characteristic of the 1630s. The ascendance of the wig did not come about until the 1660s.

1645

Henrietta Maria of France, Queen of Charles I by Anthony van Dyck

1645

Hester Tradescant, second wife of John Tradescant the younger, attributed to Thomas De Critz, 1645.

 

 

 

 

1645

Philip IV in Fraga by Diego Velazquez

1645

Fashionable heeled boot with butterflies to prevent chafing from spurs.

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

Comment on all eight blogs in our tour and be entered to win a $25 gift voucher from Amazon and a print copy of Never Too Late!

You can get to all eight blogs via the time machine page on our Bluestocking Belle’s website once all tour stops are published.

Farewell from 1645

Thank you for stopping by. We hope you found your stay informative. Your next stop, takes you back to the beginning of the tour on Jude Knight’s blog, where you’ll visit New Zealand in 1886. Or you can return to the time machine page on our Bluestocking Belle’s website and pick a year.

I wish you safe travels. Good luck. Try not to land in the midst of the Battle of the Somme!

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