Mr. Clemens,

I write to demand a retraction. Your unscrupulous newspaper printed a libelous letter from an anonymous source in Kirkwall maligning our recently hired organist and choir director. I know it to be false.

To begin with, I received an identical unsigned letter, claiming immoral conduct on the part of our beloved Miss Dunning, and questioning the judgement of one of our most prominent merchants, Sir Alexander Bradshaw. (Yes, I dare name the names spelled out in the letter. You, Sir, hid behind initials!)

libelous letter

However, I have an advantage over you. I have known the gentleman in question for many years, and I can assure you he is a man of great integrity. In addition to that—and more to the point—I have a perceptive wife. She read the letter, tossed it down, pronounced an unladylike oath (for which I did not chastise her), and named the culprit. She immediately recognized the handwriting as a long-time choir member who frequently quarreled with the previous director, and who has disrupted Miss Dunning’s work with demands regarding traditional services, hymn choices, desirable (and undesirable) members of the choir, and any number equally petty and inappropriate complaints and demands. My Maud has frequent dealings with the woman over bake sales, church flowers, and the like and knows her handwriting well. She also knows her as a quarrelsome baggage.

libelous letter

While I generally attempt to avoid getting in the middle of disputes between individuals, I was forced to call this woman to task. Though she denied writing the letter to my face, I made clear she will be expelled from choir and perhaps the parish if any further malice occurs.

Finally, Sir, I am pleased to report to you that Sir Alexander Bradshaw and Miss Ann Dunning were married in my presence this week past.

Kindly print a retraction, and I suggest you confine your deplorable reporting to more serious matters in the future.

The Reverend Edmund Salter, Bishop of Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland


Editor’s note: The editor of the Teatime Tattler believes the correct form of address of any clergyman of any rank in the Church of Scotland is in fact, “Mister.” However, we will forgive Mr. Salter’s attempt to impress us, leave any complaints to his church’s Assembly, and print his letter as the retraction he demands.

About the Book

Sir Alexander Bradshaw, solid Scots merchant, needs to acquire a wife, a sensible woman who can manage his unruly sons and sullen daughter. As Orkney’s long, dark winter approaches with no suitable candidates, an acquaintance suggests a music teacher might occupy his daughter. He embraces at the idea.

Ann Dunwood let herself be lured to Orkney by the opportunity to play The Kirkwall Organ. For the beauty of the instrument, she can endure the tedium of choirs and parishioners who wish only for the most banal of hymns; she’s done it before. She knows how to fade into the shadows and keep to her place.

When Alec comes upon her filling the cathedral with a Bach fugue he is enchanted by the magical creature at the keyboard. The object of his fascination sinks into a demure young woman when the music ends. Alec determines to get the magical creature back, and quickly discovers she can fill his life with the music it sorely needs. How long before their solos become a duet?

About the Author

Caroline Warfield, a Bluestocking Belles, pens family-centered historical romance, primarily regency and early Victorian, from her office in the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania when she isn’t traveling.