Dateline June 1870: Dear readers, we received the following from our correspondent in the former colonies. What follows is from the pen of a lady and world traveler who has never yet led The Tattler and its readers astray.
Dear Mr. Clemens,
It has been my pleasure these past few weeks to record my experience of the first railway journey from Boston to the San Francisco Bay. I most sincerely hope to publish those records as a part of the Teatime Tattler Traveler’s Compendium in the not too distant future. However, there is one tidbit too salacious to be held back for later publication.
During my excursion of less than a week to California, I shared passage with a wide variety of persons. One of the most intriguing was a Miss Edith Alden of the Boston Aldens. (No relation to the distinguished family of the Marquess of Alden.) Miss Alden claimed to be traveling to San Francisco to bring her sister home to visit with their ailing grandfather. Little did I know at the time that the sister was already notorious in San Francisco and that Miss Edith Alden would soon be almost more disreputable.
I joined her in the dining car for a late tea one afternoon, as she was perusing some papers. She hurriedly folded the papers and laid them out of sight beneath her reticule. After several minutes of lively conversation, Miss Alden excused herself for a few moments, asking me if I would keep watch on her things until she returned. I of course agreed. I’d been wondering since I sat down what was in those papers that she found every excuse not to discuss. She was gone long enough that I was able to read and thoroughly memorize (being blessed with that useful talent from birth) one of the papers which was a article recently found in a Boston newspaper dated early June 1870, and I quote:
In San Francisco, given enough money, any item can be bought and any crime hidden. The photograph above, smuggled out by a resident, shows the depravity of fallen women that runs rampant through the city, even at elegant addresses like that of Madame Cerise Duval. In a peculiar twist of fate, the photographer is rumored to have been murdered by one of the residents of the house. An unidentified blonde woman, with a distinctive scar on her left temple, is said to have killed Mr. F. Lyn Whitson and absconded with the man’s photographic equipment. The woman is believed to be somewhere in the San Francisco area and is being sought for questioning.
I returned the newsprint to its original position beneath Miss Alden’s reticule and proceeded to carefully question her–using a technique I call misdirection–about her sister. It became very clear in little time that the woman wanted for murder of the photographer was none other than the sister, with whom Miss Alden claimed to be traveling to San Francico.
I, of course, resolved to have nothing more to do with Miss Alden, although I did learn more of her from the papers during our subsequent weeks in San Francisco. I give you the following headlines from papers much like the Teatime Tattler.
“Businessman, Dutch Trahern wins right to deflower a Boston Virgin during an auction at the Bordello of Madam Cerise Duval.”
The drawing (see 1st image above) which accompanied this startling piece of news resembles Miss Alden to a Tee. In subsequent issues of the same periodical these headlines bear testament to the lax moral character of Miss Alden and her family.
“Formerly respected businessman, Dutch Trahern is discovered living in sin with the Boston Prostitute whose supposed virginity Mr. Trahern won in a bordello auction.”
A week later the following headline appeared. “Mr. Smiley of Trahern & Smiley Import & Export breaks with partner. Threatens to sue Trahern over issues of immorality.”
Sadly, Mr. Clemens, I was compelled to leave San Francisco on my way to Hong Kong by ship before the entire tale of scandal and salacious behavior could be told. It is my hope to be able, at some point to pick up the thread of Miss Alden’s adventures. Though I most sincerely doubt, despite rumors of her marriage, the young woman has much claim to even so modest and honorific as ‘Miss.’
Submitted with my kind regards
Your traveling correspondent.,
About the Book: One Moment’s Pleasure will become a lifetime’s passion when spinster, Edith Alden, embarks on a search for her missing sister. Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an interlude with an anonymous male Edith enters the San Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s kiss.
Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.
Available NOW for pre-order, release date Monday April 20,2020
About Rue Allyn: Author of historical and contemporary romances, I fell in love with happily ever after the day I heard my first story. (Yes, I was a precocious little brat who read at the age of two, but I could hear much earlier than that.) I studied literature for far too many years before discovering that writing stories was much more fun than writing about them. Heck, as an author, I get to read the story before anyone else. I am happily married to my sweetheart of many, many years. Insatiably curious, an avid reader and traveler I love to hear from readers about your favorite books and real-life adventures. Crazy Cat stories are especially welcome. You can send me your words of wisdom . . . Don’t shake your head at me; all words are wise in one context or another. You can trust me on this; I’m an author. As I was saying, you can send your words of wisdom, humor, and friendship to me at Rue@RueAllyn.com. Can’t wait to hear from you. Keep up with Rue Allyn by subscribing to her newsletter and get a free copy of Knight Protector when you do.