Well, Sam, the town of Reabridge has closed ranks against me since my last missive. Not just me, either, but any curious stranger. They have guessed that someone is sending news of their goings on to you for publication, and they are not best pleased.
Not that I’ve allowed that to stop me, but gone are days I can just walk into a tavern or one of the two inns, strike up a conversation over a beer, and walk away with several stories.
However, a little kindness to a bar maid at the tavern, and I have my handful of leads, for no more price than walking the poor lass home and showing an interest in her life. The kiss was a bonus for me and the handful of coins for her. She has promised to keep her ears open for me.
Here, in no particular order, is what I’ve discovered. There’s another bar maid heading for a fall, apparently. This one is a daughter of the family who owns one of the town’s two inns. The story goes that she had a brief summer fling years ago with a duke’s son. Did he leave her still innocent? Opinions vary. The thing is, he’s back, and it can’t end any better this time, surely.
Not much of interest in the town doctor being a lush. Good doctor, apparently, but can’t stay off the sauce. He was courting the cousin of the local earl before he went off to Waterloo, but she won’t have him now, I imagine.
The earl is courting too—a lady who is French by birth, but a respectable widow of an English gentleman. He was not meant to earl, but his two older brothers died. I’ll dig a bit more, but the only thing we might make something of is the lady’s interest in an abandoned orphan that is currently living with the vicar. She’s not the only lady who wants the little sprog, but we’ll see whether the earl is willing to take on a wife and a child. One who is probably common and possibly base born.
Two other French ladies are scooping up bachelors from the town. One is the son of that same vicar and the French girl is looking after the abandoned orphan. Is it actually hers after all? No one is quite sure, but apparently the aunt has her hooks into the vicar!
The other lady is of respectable birth and also arrived with an aunt in tow looking, so my bar girl tells me, for a husband. I can’t see an angle for us in that one.
The other possibility involves Lady L. Yes, I thought you’d sit up at that. She has been seen around town escorted by the son of the owners of the other inn! Not in her class at all, though, to be fair, the family has come up in the world in recent centuries, and hire people to run the inn. Not high enough to aspire to an earl’s daughter, though.
Then we’ve got a nobody who is being pursued by a Scottish heiress. Yes. You read that right. He likes her, right enough, but can see as well as you and I can that he’s not the right man for her.
I have nothing to say about the farmer who found a sick woman in his milking shed and now looks at her like the moon rises in her eyes. For a bit, I thought she might be connected to the orphan, but that was a false lead.
Nor do I suppose you will be interested in the farrier and her armless suitor. I thought we could do something with that when I found out he’s been an officer. But apparently it was a battlefield commission, and our readers don’t care when the lower sorts find love.
Anyway, Sam, I’ll find you at least one story. Please send me a bank draft for ten pound. My bar girl is going to cost, and also, I need to stay on for at least another week.
Yours in the brotherhood of journalism.
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As the village of Reabridge in Cheshire prepares for the first Harvest Festival following Waterloo, families are overjoyed to welcome back their loved ones from the war.
But excitement quickly turns to mystery when mere weeks before the festival, an orphaned child turns up in the town—a toddler born near Toulouse to an English mother who left clues that tie her to Reabridge.
With two prominent families feuding for generations and the central event of the Harvest Moon festival looming, tensions rise, and secrets begin to surface.
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