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The Marriage Stakes

My dear Mr. Clemens,

I have the distinction of attending a most exclusive house party at Clarion Hall in Ashmead, hosted by the Earl of Clarion with his sister, Mrs. Morgan—she who was once Duchess of Glenmoor—serving as hostess. Much of London vied for invitations, and ours was obtained only by dint of my longstanding friendship with none other than the Marchioness of Danbury, patron of the event. The usual

Clarion Hall

entertainments have been on offer but I quickly realized that all of this forced conviviality is in the service of politics, of all provoking and boring things. I note the attendance of the Home Secretary himself along with his closest cronies including the Duke of Awbury. I personally have always found Awbury a bit too high in the, well, instep, for my comfort. The man believes himself superior to most mortals except perhaps the Prince of Wales, and he disapproves of Prinny, too. It is all most disappointing, but I digress.

What is most interesting to your dear readers, of course, is the question of the earl’s marital aspirations. For weeks the most frequent on-dit in London would have it that, while the excessively proper earl had finally bent sufficiently to host his peers, he had no intention of looking for a wife, being content to mourn his first spouse dead these six years. Families with daughters to puff off, for the most part, stayed away.

You may understand, then, dear Sir, why I am aflutter with excitement. One could ignore the handful of persistent mamas who inserted ambitious daughters into the party. An unattached earl—particularly one as attractive (dare I say it?) as the earl—is a marital prize they cannot ignore. One can hardly blame them, but one can ignore them. I say that because it quickly became clear that Mrs. Morgan had marshaled the ladies of the family–regrettably not all of them legitimate members—to depress those ambitions. No amount of sprained ankles, lost wandering into the bachelor bedrooms, rearranged seating charts, or manipulated teams for games escaped the vigilance of the earl’s female relatives. I was ready to believe that he actually was not in search of a wife. Almost.

The arrival of Lady Estelle Wilton in the company of her grandparents, the Marquess and Marchioness of Wilbury, was an entirely different thing. A perfect lady, she has resorted to none of the shenanigans the other hoydens have attempted and yet, she has monopolized much of the earl’s attention. A man as reserved and proper as the upright earl would certainly seek such refinement in a wife. A man with political ambition would no doubt seek one with a pedigree as illustrious as that of Lady Estelle who would without doubt make a superior political hostess. As if all that weren’t transparent enough, my maid confided that a footmen told those assembled in the servants hall that the two of them rode out today with only his nominal company. Furthermore, they rode to Willowbrook, the earl’s former home and spent over an hour inside—sans footman or other chaperone.

In short, it appears we anticipate a happy announcement. I write now so that you may have the news first, and get the jump on your competition. You may coyly print:

Has a certain house party in the midlands brought marital aspirations to the Earl of C__? A certain Lady E__ W__ appears to have won the race to capture his attention. We expect wedding bells soon.

I have no doubt you will be merely reporting the truth, though of course you will protect the lady’s name. There has, alas, also been some foolish gossip about Lady Delia Fitzwallace, Awbury’s former daughter-in-law. If she weren’t a widow and a matron one might call her a hoyden as well. She lacks the refinement one would expect in an earl’s bride. Awbury himself is quite critical of her easy ways. Her looks are too coarse for a countess—her skin and hair reflect an island heritage—even as her manners show her family origins in trade. No, she would not do at all, and the earl can be relied on to know it. I’m sure of it.

Your devoted friend,

Alvira, Lady Eaton

About the Book

The final book in Caroline Warfield’s beloved Ashmead Heirs series is available at preorder pricing (only 99 cents) today. It reverts to retail after launch on June 28.
The notorious will left David, the very proper Earl of Clarion, with a crippled estate and dependents. He’s the one left to pick up the pieces while caring for others—his children, his tenants, and the people of Ashmead. He cares for England, too. Now that the estate has been put to right, he is free to pursue his political ambitions. But loneliness weighs him down. Then he meets his new neighbor. When his family plans a house party to launch his political ambitions, nothing goes quite as he planned.
Her uninhibited behavior shocks him. Why can’t he get her out of his mind?
Happily widowed Lady Delia Fitzwallace revels in her newly rented cottage, surrounded by flowers and the wonder of nature, thrilled to free her three rambunctious children from the city of Bristol and let them enjoy the countryside to the fullest. If only she can avoid offending her very proper neighbor, the earl, when their children keep pulling her into scrapes.
She is not what he needs in a countess. Can she help him find a proper political wife?

 

Church Lady’s Lament

To Reverend Mr. Horace Sorsby, Vicar of Saint John the Evangelist Parish, Knaresborough

Sir:

Reluctant though I am to criticize church matters, I truly must speak up, and hope my frequent liberal contributions to your parish will gain me attention. As you know age and infirmity make it impossible for me to attend services in Knaresborough. While I am pleased that a chapel of ease has been set up here in Harrogate for the benefit of leading citizens like myself who find themselves hampered from full participation, the man assigned  it has failed us. I am compelled to report that the curate you appointed to serve my our needs has proven to be negligent and useless.

First of all, his sermons focus entirely too heavily on service due the poor, in my opinion, and too little on the respect the lower classes owe their betters. I suppose I must excuse this as he is young and does seem to have a grasp on scripture.

I excuse it mainly because I am rarely able to attend even the chapel of ease here. That curate, Mr. Eustace Clarke, has been repeatedly asked to attend me at home. We are now moving into December, and I am obliged to report he made but two visits since summer. Neither visit lasted longer than an hour. I ask, Mr. Sorsby, do you believe that shows sufficient care for a frail old woman, one I might add who has generously supported Saint John in the past?

I am quite, quite distressed to add that my precious Wellington, an extraordinarily noble pug, has taken him dislike as well. The impudent young man accused my darling Welly of damaging his boots. I cannot believe poor Welly has developed a taste for leather. He has demonstrated no such affinity in the past. I am certain Mr. Clarke enticed him as an excuse to make a quick departure.

My loyal butler reports that it appears Mr. Clarke persists in wasting his time with that pathetic little soup kitchen he calls Pilgrim’s Rest, feeding every lazy, worthless beggar that imbibes from Harrogate’s public springs but refuses to pay for his lunch. Now news has reached me that he believes he needs funds to repair the roof of that barn. I will not stand for it. I demand you order him to close that fruitless and unproductive little mission down and focus on those of us who support the parish at large as he ought.

If my words have not been enough to convince you the man needs sharp words from his superior there is this. My personal maid, a woman of fine character, has told me that he is now seen walking out with a woman employed in the kitchens of the The Hampton Hotel. What such a woman is doing sporting about town on the arm of a single man, I can only guess. The hussy’s name I’m told is Doro Bigglesworth.

I trust you will counsel your curate about proper behavior and duties. I would hate to take my contributions and charity elsewhere.

With Respect,

Lady Louella Spotsworthy

About the Book: 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.

Among them?  “Lady Dorothea’s Curate,” by Caroline Warfield

Employed at a hotel in order to assist her stepmother, Lady Dorothea Bigglesworth had no use for a title. It would only invite scorn, or, worse, pity. Plain Miss Doro Bigglesworth suited her fine.

Ben Clarke dedicated his life to helping the neediest. It gave his life meaning. He tended to forget the younger son of a viscount went by “Honorable.”

Working together at Pilgrim’s Rest, neither saw the need to mention it to the other, before fate separated them. When they were formally introduced after an unexpected reunion— in a ballroom in York—shock rocked them both. Can their budding love survive?

You can find links to various vendors here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/desperate-daughters/

 

Runaways or a Clandestine Tryst?

Molly,

When I visited Ashmead last summer, I am certain you told me the Duchess of Glenmoor was a recluse. You were quite firm that she rarely  left the Clarion Hall dower house. What is she doing barreling on past Birmingham on the coaching road?

We arrived stopped to refresh at  the  Crippled Cock on our way  south and noticed a carriage with the Clarion crest in the yard. I hoped to catch sight of  the Earl of Clarion, but who did we see leaving  the private parlor but the duchess herself. She and her companion made no greeting and departed smartly. A male companion! I saw no sign of a respectable woman with  them.  assisted her into the carriage and road up behind on a fine mount.

An illustration of “The Follies & Fashions of our Grandfathers: 1807” by Andrew W Tuer. Getty Images

The innkeeper proved closed mouthed, but the serving wench talked freely. The duchess claimed the “companion” was her brother. Isn’t the earl her only brother, and him fair of hair and complexion? In all my years visiting Ashmead I’ve never seen a Caulfield with hair as black as this gentleman, if I can call him that.

Do you have any notion who it might have been or why  they were in such urgency to travel east? Write to me as soon as you can to the Thomas’s townhouse in London.

Your devoted etc.

Maudy Flint

About the Series

The Duchess of Glemoor’s flight east takes place in The Defiant Daughter, Book 2 in Caroline Warfield’s The Ashmead Heirs. It will come out in October 2021. She is the sister of  both  the earl  and of  Sir  Robert Benson.

The Wayward Son, Book One is available now.

About the Book, The Wayward Son

Sir Robert Benson’s life is in London. He fled Ashmead the day he discovered the man he thought was his father had lied to him, and the girl he loved was beyond his reach. Only a nameless plea from his sister—his half-sister—brings him back to discover he’s been left an estate with a choice piece of land. He will not allow a ludicrous bequest from the earl who sired him turn him into a mockery of landed gentry. When a feisty little termagant with flashing eyes—and a musket—tries to turn Rob off the land—his land—he’s too amused and intrigued to turn away. But the longer he stays, the tighter the bonds that tie him to Ashmead become, strengthened by the powerful draw of the woman rooted on land he’s determined to sell.

Lucy Whitaker’s life is Willowbrook, its land, its tenants, its prosperity, but she always knew it wasn’t hers, knew the missing heir would come eventually. When a powerful man with military bearing rides up looking as if he wants to come in and count the silver, she turns him away, but her heart sinks. She can’t deny Rob Benson his property; she can only try to make him love the place as she does, for her peoples’ sake. A traitorous corner of her heart wishes Rob would love it for her sake.

His life is London and diplomatic intrigue; hers is Ashmead and the land. How can they forge something lasting when they are torn in two directions?

Available on Kindle Unlimited or for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09484DC1D/

About the Author

Award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Links

Website:   http://www.carolinewarfield.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WarfieldFellowTravelers

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Warfield/e/B00N9PZZZS/

Good Reads:  http://bit.ly/1C5blTm

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/caroline-warfield

 

 

 

Scandal Rocks Kent and the House of the de Bourghs

Hello, All. This is Romona Regency here with all the latest and greatest news from Kent. This bit of scandal comes to us from just outside of Rochester and Higham upon the estate of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, the sister to the Earl of Matlock and widow of Sir Lewis de Bourgh. It seems her ladyship is to be displaced and by none other than her “favorite” nephew, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the master of Pemberley, who by a twist of fate, or, rather, should we say, a twist of “marriage” is now the new master of Rosings Park, having inherited it from his late wife. The gentleman has provided his aunt her “marching orders.” It seems the grand dame must claim a new moniker: That of the Dowager Lady de Bourgh. Sources say even Lord Matlock has refused to assist her ladyship with her removal from the estate’s mansion to the dower house.

His lordship was heard to have said:

“Devilish rum business. But Darcy has his rights. You chose to force his hand, and, now, you must live with your manipulation. Our nephew married Anne, just as you insisted he do. It is not his fault your daughter died in a little over half a year of pronouncing her vows. Even though they held nothing more than familial affection for each other, who is to say they might have made the best of it for the remainder of their days—mayhap they would have had a half-dozen children. That might have satisfied you, to have grandchildren about you. Might have softened your nature. However, I do not think such a marriage would have made either Darcy or Anne happy. Like it or not, Catherine, they did not suit. Darcy adored his parents, and, whether you wish to recognize it or keep fooling yourself, George Darcy and our younger sister Anne were happy together. They loved each other deeply. Your belief that George Darcy should have chosen you instead of Anne—that you should have been mistress of such a breathtaking beautiful estate as Pemberley—is what drove you to force Darcy and your daughter together. You made your bed, now, you must lie in it.”

Rosings Park (Belton House/Public Domain)

My goodness! Is that not scandalous enough for you? Imagine one so regal—so full of her own consequence—being brought so low as to live on an allowance and to entertain in the estate’s dower house. I suppose those without connections would know satisfaction with such a house, but none of us here at The Tattler believe Lady Catherine will know ease.

Other sources have informed me that Mr. Darcy means to bring the estate back to his former grandeur, for such was his late wife’s dying wish. We can only hope Mr. Darcy performs with more expertise than did his aunt, who is said to have shamelessly neglected her obligations to her tenants.

As of this very morning, it is my understanding that Lady Catherine has taken to her bed, supposedly from a fall upon the main stairs of the manor house, but one can logically consider her ladyship’s “accident” simply a maneuver to keep Mr. Darcy at bay for as long as possible. Several servants attached to the manor house have confirmed that Lady Catherine has agreed to employ Miss Elizabeth Bennet to oversee the refurbishing of the dower house. Miss Bennet is said to be the cousin of Lady Catherine’s cleric, Mr. Collins, and she was visiting with the Collinses when the accident occurred. We here at The Tea Time Tattler wondered why Mrs. Collins did not take up the charge of assisting Lady Catherine, but several among those who are willing to speak of her ladyship’s woes have indicated Mrs. Collins has been ordered to bed by our own Doctor Wilson. All within Rosings Park assume Mrs. Collins is with child, but nothing has been confirmed; yet, such would explain much, as few know anything of Miss Bennet, who is said to be from Hertsfordshire. We shall keep both our eyes and our ears open and report back when we learn of Lady Catherine’s removal to her new home. Shan’t that be a sight for our sore eyes?

Side Note:

After this story was set for publication, we learned that Miss Bennet, at the insistence of Lady Catherine, has moved into Rosings Park itself, which means when Mr. Darcy arrives later in the week, he will be forced to stay either at the local inn or at the dower house being repaired for his aunt. Naturally, a gentleman cannot remain is the main house, even if he owns it, with an unmarried female and no chaperone. Now, that would be a scandal worth bringing out a special edition of lovely newsprint, would it not? If such occurs, you shall hear it here first.

About the Book

The Mistress of Rosings Park: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary

Release date: January 8, 2021

I much prefer the sharp criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses. – Johannes Kepler

When she arrives at Hunsford Cottage for a visit with her long-time friend Charlotte Collins, Elizabeth Bennet does not expect the melodrama awaiting her at Rosings Park.

Mrs. Anne Darcy, nee de Bourgh, has passed, and Rosings Park is, by law, the property of the woman’s husband, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy; yet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh is not ready to abandon the mansion over which she has served as mistress for thirty years. Elizabeth holds sympathy for her ladyship’s situation. After all, Elizabeth’s mother will eventually be banished from Longbourn when Mr. Bennet passes without male issue. She inherently understands Lady Catherine’s “hysterics,” while not necessarily condoning them, for her ladyship will have the luxury of the right to the estate’s dower house, and, moreover, it is obvious Rosings Park requires the hand of a more knowledgeable overseer. Therefore, Elizabeth takes on the task of easing Lady Catherine’s transition to dowager baronetess, but doing so places Elizabeth often in the company of the “odious” Mr. Darcy, a man Lady Catherine claims poisoned her daughter Anne in order to claim Rosings Park as his own.

Purchase Links:

Purchase for Kindle.

Kindle Unlimited.  

Purchase Paperback on Amazon. 

BookBub.

About the Author

Regina Jeffers, an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era romances, has worn many hats over her lifetime: daughter, student, military brat, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, tax preparer, journalist, choreographer, Broadway dancer, theatre director, history buff, grant writer, media literacy consultant, and author. Living outside of Charlotte, NC, Jeffers writes novels that take the ordinary and adds a bit of mayhem, while mastering tension in her own life with a bit of gardening and the exuberance of her “grand joys.”

Social Links:

Every Woman Dreams  https://reginajeffers.wordpress.com

Website  https://rjefferscom.wordpress.com/

Austen Authors  http://austenauthors.net

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/Regina-Jeffers-Author-Page-141407102548455/?fref=ts

Twitter  https://twitter.com/reginajeffers

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Regina-Jeffers/e/B008G0UI0I/

Pinterest  https://www.pinterest.com/jeffers0306/

BookBub  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/regina-jeffers

Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/darcy4ever/

You Tube Interview  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzgjdUigkkU

 

War and Petty Grievances

This letter appeared in my upper desk door this week by means I can’t explain. One continues to be astounded at how much jealousy, gossip, and spite is by nature the same in every era.

S. Clemens

Amiens, France, March 4, 1918

Darling Céline,

Oh why do I write this? By the time it arrives I may already be in Marseilles! You will have heard the news that the Russians have made peace with the Huns, the traitorous animals. Now the German war machine will pour its entire might into northern France while the worthless Yanks drag their feet rather than deploy their troops. Amiens will be destroyed—leveled even as Arras has been or the villages along the Somme.

Dear Edgar insists I come to you and Aunt Adele and remove myself from the path of the Hun army. Lucille, our maid of all work, is packing as I write this.

Gossip
Sabine

I was astonished that you would ask after Rosemarie when you well know I no longer speak to the hussy. Believe me, my brother’s widow has not improved her behavior in the past year, for all she now parades on the arm of a Canadian soldier—as if that would erase the taint of collaboration with a German. Rauol himself told me what she did before he died. Just wait. She will get what she deserves when the war is over.

The boy looks better fed this year, but of course decent women wonder what the trollop does to manage that miracle. The stupid English, now that she sews in one of their workshops, treat her as the would any decent woman. It is almost more than I can bear.

Rosemarie

I will never understand why God blessed her with a son while cursing me with none. Abbé Desjardin, that wrong-headed priest, takes her side. Well, let him protect her when the German war machine rolls into Amiens. She can suffer as she deserves. and she certainly isn’t coming with me. I just wish I could take her son south with me. Life is not fair.

Your loving cousin,

Sabine

About the Book

When it is finally over will their love be enough?

After two years at the mercy of the Canadian Expeditionary force and the German war machine, Harry ran out of metaphors for death, synonyms for brown, and images of darkness. When he encounters color among the floating islands of Amiens and life in the form a widow and her little son, hope ensnares him. Through three more long years of war and its aftermath, the hope she brings keeps Harry alive.

Rosemarie Legrand’s husband left her a tiny son, no money, and a savaged reputation when he died. She struggles to simply feed the boy and has little to offer a lonely soldier, but Harry’s devotion lifts her up. The war demands all her strength and resilience, will the hope of peace and the promise of Harry’s love keep her going?

Available for Pre-order now. You can find it here: https://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/christmas-hope/

Gossip

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