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1919: Letters in a Time of Epidemic

The Teatime Tattler has come into possession of a cache of letters and notes from the Kinmel Repatriation Camp, Wales. They appear to be from another time.

Elks Corner, Saskatchewan, January 15, 1919

Dear Harry,

It is glad we were to receive your Christmas greetings, even though they reached us the first week in January. Now the war is over I can tell you of the relief with every letter that came; it meant you were alive and well. This time we can breathe a permanent sigh of relief, no?

As to your question, yes, the influenza found the province, but we got off easy here in Elks Corner. A few folks came down sick. Old Mrs. Butterworth, you may remember from church when you visited us summers—she was ninety—didn’t make it. Come November the epidemic died back mostly. Your grandmother and I escaped it entirely.

Christmas in Ypres, huh? Maybe next year we’ll see you here at the farm again. Your grandmother is already planning what to bake.

She tells me to stop writing nonsense and just send her love.

Grandpa Matthews.

Letters and Notes

Ypres, Belgium, January 16, 1919

Dear Madame Laporte,

It is my sad duty to report that your son Emile, corporal in my unit, passed away in the army hospital in Ypres. He fought bravely alongside my company through three years of the war, only to succumb, worn out by fighting, to the demonic Spanish flu. He was buried with honors in the cemetery near Elverdinghe, along with hundreds of his fallen comrades. I was with him in the end; he died peacefully.

Lieutenant Henry W. Wheatly, Canadian Expeditionary Force

To: The priests remaining at the cathedral, Amiens, France, January 16, 1919

Reverend fathers,

I write again in hope you have some word of Rosemarie Legrand, resident of Les Hortillonnages Amiens. We lost touch some months ago, and it is imperative that I find her. I am currently confined to the Kinmel Repatriation Camp near Bodelwyddan in Wales. They plan to send us home. I need to find Rosemarie and marry her quickly so I can arrange passage as a war bride.

I continue to hope that my old friend Abbé Dejardins has returned.

Lieutenant Henry Wheatly, Canadian Expeditionary Force

letter marked returned to sender
Amiens Cathedral

January 27, 1919, Regina, Saskatchewan,

Dearest Harry,

Just the one letter after Armistice telling us you are well? Not well done of you.

Your father has been bursting with pride since word of your promotion came and he is anxious—we both are frantic, really—to have you back. He heard your regiment has been delayed in some pokey camp in Wales waiting for transport home, and he is furious. He has taken the lieutenant-governor to task, I can tell you.

Please write often.

Love, Mom

Letters and Notes

February 5, 1919

My darling Rosemarie,

I am writing once again to your cottage among the islands of les hortillonnages. I pray that you and Marcel have returned there safely. Send word to me at the address on this envelope and I will come immediately. Your letters to me have gone astray and I suspect mine to you as well.

Please know that I love you and that has not changed.

Harry

letter marked undeliverable and returned
Rosemarie Legrand

February 10, 1919

Mother,

Sorry I have not written often. Even though the fighting has stopped, my life is not my own. Please tell Father to stay away from the lieutenant-governor and to stop sending me letters about what he wants me to do when I get home.

Harry

To Sabine Legrand, Rue du Moulin Neuf, Amiens, France, February 18, 1919

Madam

We have not had the best of relations in the past. I write to beg, however, for any word of your sister-in-law Rosemarie. I am frantic to find her.

Lieutenant (formerly Corporal) Henry Wheatly

A note on the returned envelope :
Monsieur Wheatly, Sabine fled to Marseilles when the Krauts advanced in the summer. She has not returned.
S. Thierot, neighbor
Letters and notes

February 24, 1919

To whom it may concern:

It has come to our attention that no action was taken on our recommendation of commendation for Pvt. Ezekiel Willard for his actions at Vimy Ridge. As we wrote, he charged into a gun nest, capturing the gun and several enemy single handedly, likely saving two of our squads during the first day of the offensive. Witnesses can be supplied, but they will soon be repatriated and dispersed. We urge action on this.

Lieutenant Henry W. Wheatly
Sergeant Angus McNaughton

Telegram

February 28, 1919

From: Lieutenant Henry W. Wheatly, Kinmel Repatriation Camp, Wales

To: Mrs. Martha Wheatly, 538 West Marlboro, Regina, Saskatchewan

Mother: Tell father to cease writing to Gen Fitzgibbon. STOP Tell him I demand it. STOP Don’t listen to stories about Spanish Flu. STOP Have things to do before I come home. STOP Be there soon.

Harry.

March 5, 1919

Willard,

Tell the boys the Spanish crap got the lieutenant. He’s in hospital. He says watch your back from Walker. Get me if you need me.

Mac

Telegram

March 18, 1919

From: Lieutenant Henry W. Wheatly, Kinmel Repatriation Camp, Wales

To: Mrs. Martha Wheatly, 538 West Marlboro, Regina, Saskatchewan

I am well. STOP. Don’t listen to Father. STOP Down with influenza but recovered. STOP Do not worry.

Harry

March 21, 1919

Regina, Saskatchewan,

Dearest Harry,

Your father tells me you’ve gone off in search of a woman. She obviously means the world to you. Go get her Harry, and bring her so we can meet her.  Ignore your father’s interference, I beg you. He means well, truly.

Please take care of yourself, darling boy. You haven’t been well. Find your Rosemarie and come home.

Love,

Mother

About the Book

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 gardens 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,  but the hope of peace and the promise of Harry’s love keep her going.

In the confusion at war’s end, will their love be enough?

More information and buy links: https://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/christmas-hope/

About the Author

Caroline Warfield grew up in a perapatetic army family and had a varied career (largely around libraries and technology)before retiring to the urban wilds of Eastern Pennsylvania, and divides her time between writing and seeking adventures with her grandbuddy and the prince among men she married.

Harry’s lovely story is a departure. She writes primarily family-centered Victorian and Regency novels and believes firmly that love is worth the risk.

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

Stolen Missives

Editorial Note: This packet of correspondence came to the Tattler offices when one of our reporters shared drinks with a man at the Bull and Codfish pub. The young man, who seems to be a careless footman in the employ of Mrs. Andrew Mallet of Bedford Square, left it on the table. We of course forwarded the entire packet on to its correct destination.

Mr. Clemens made copies first, but given the involvement of the Foreign Office, he declared they were not to be published. He must have forgotten to lock his desk. Besides, nothing here relates to matters of national interest.

To the Duchess of Sudbury,

Lily, I am in London, but not at home to callers, family excepted of course. Andrew remains in Cambridge, make of that what you will. When I tell you what has happened you will understand my need to live apart. I beg your support.

I know you send private mail to Richard via official couriers and the packet ships. May I ask you to send the enclosed message as soon as it can be arranged? I need his help and my son must be alerted. I trust him to inform his nephew cautiously.

Athena is gone to Italy.

I know that shocks you, but perhaps not is much as it ought. Since the Heyworths’ visit five years ago she has spoken of nothing but Italy, reminding me daily that in Italy there are medical schools that admit women. The desire to study medicine is admirable; you and I would both cheer her on if the girl was, not to mince words, normal. Even if she could cope with strangers…but of course she cannot.

She sailed from Falmouth a week ago. Her brother Archie, who perpetrated this insanity, accompanied her, which would be a saving grace if I thought he could handle her in a crisis. Her father, the wretch, professes to be proud of him. For a scholar Andrew can be remarkably obtuse. I can’t imagine how the poor girl managed the ship to Rome, much less life in a foreign country. I dread the condition we will find her in when she returns.

I discovered this morning that Lochlin assisted Archie as well. I can forgive a young man— they often think with body parts other than their brains—but I can’t forgive her father. I suspect Andrew actually abetted the young fools. He denies it, but I don’t believe him.

Enough! I will tell you all when I see you.

Georgiana

Editorial Note: The young lady in question, Miss Catherine Mallet, known to her family as Athena, is a recluse who shuns society after some unfortunate incidents of panic and hysteria (this paper has reason to know one such incident occurred in the Pembrook’s ballroom). She rarely leaves the family home in Cambridge except to visit close relatives, and is reputed to have an unnatural interest in the anatomy of animals and humans. Rumors about this abound in that shire, where some consider her quite insane, but others merely the oddest member of a notably eccentric family.

The second missive, in the same hand, although entirely concerning a private matter, was sent through official channels to Cairo. One wonders if that is entirely ethical.

The Duke of Sudbury

Her Majesty’s Envoy to the court of Muhammad Ali Pasha, Khedive of Egypt

Cairo

Dearest Richard,

Forgive me for presuming by sending personal mail through the foreign office channels, and troubling you when you are deep into affairs of state—although when are you not?—but time may be of the essence.

To get right to the point, Archie has taken Athena to Rome from where she expects she can be admitted to medical school. I don’t need to outline for you all the reasons why this is nonsensical. Archie, the coward, sent a message from Falmouth saying that once he had her safely settled (as if that might be possible!), he will travel directly to Edinburgh and begin his own studies.

This will grieve Aeneas mightily. He and Archie quarreled on the subject of Athena shortly before he left for Egypt. Archie has the pudding-brained notion she should be encouraged to pursue studies to be a physician. Aeneas, ever the level headed one where his sister is concerned, knows she should be kept close where we can protect her.

I send this in the hope that you will use your connections to ensure our officials in Italy watch out for them. If I can further impose on your kindness, please make Aeneas aware that this has happened. If it should go badly, he needs warning.

With gratitude,

Your loving sister, Georgiana

PS

Since you have a way of discovering things anyway, I will tell you that Andrew and I have separated over this at least for now. Do not chastise me. I suspect Archie acted with his father’s blessing. I am too angry to patch things over.

PPS

Aeneas may be sensible about his sister but not his work. I count on you to keep him from doing something foolish like plunging deep into Africa in pursuit of some previously undiscovered crumb of knowledge. I want him back in one piece.

G.

Editorial Note:  Our readers who pay follow the doings of the haut ton know that there is little the Duke will not manage on behalf of his family, his friends, or the Empire come to that. They will note, however, how unusual it is to have a one of his circle actually ask for help rather than having it thrust upon them.

About the Author

Caroline Warfield writes family centered historical romance, largely set in the Regency and Victorian eras. The saga of the Mallets, their friends, and their family began with Dangerous Works.

About the Dangerous Series

Dangerous Works (The Mallets’ Story)

A little Greek is one thing; the art of love is another. Only Andrew ever tried to teach Georgiana both.

Dangerous Weakness (Sudbury and Lily’s Story)

A marquess who never loses control (until he does) and a very independent woman conflict, until revolution, politics, and pirates force them to work together. (In which Sudbury had not come into his title and was yet the Marquess of Glenaire)

Dangerous Secrets

When Jamie fled to Rome to hide his shame he didn’t expect a vicar’s daughter and her imp of a niece to take over his life, with complications from an interfering nun, a powerful count, and a genial monk.

A Dangerous Nativity

With Christmas coming, can the Earl of Chadbourn repair his sister’s damaged estate, and more damaged family? Dare he hope for love in the bargain? (A free novella—prequel to both series)

The Children of Empire Series: the Scattered

Three cousins (introduced in A Dangerous Nativity) torn apart by lies and deceit work their way back home from the far corners of empire.

The Renegade Wife

A desperate woman on the run with her children finds shelter with a reclusive businessman in the Canadian wilderness. Can he save them all?

The Reluctant Wife

A disgraced Bengal army officer finds himself responsible for two unexpected daughters and a headstrong widow. This time, failure is not an option.

The Unexpected Wife

The Duke of Murnane expects work to heal him. He doesn’t expect to face his past and find his future in China (The heroine is Sudbury’s daughter)

The Children of Empire Series: the Seekers

This series, expected in mid 2020 will pick up with the travels and adventures of Aeneas, Archie, and Athena Mallet as they pursue their own happiness.

Writers Needed; The Newsroom Quakes

The Tattler newsroom is in an uproar. Lady Caroline Warfield swept into the premises summoned—summoned!—by Sam Clemens. She slammed his door so hard the wall vibrated and now the staff: printers, correspondents, ink boys, paper sellers, and all held their breath. Did she know she would find that Mrs. Knight had already arrived? Of course she must know. The Bluestocking Belles communicate constantly.

Milly, the maid of all work, stood with her ear to the door. “She told him the Belles ‘have their hands full,’ and she said its his fault for printing all those letters attacking theirTeatime Tattler book, Follow Your Star Home.” Milly grinned over her shoulder. “Sam said, ‘Spelled yer names right din’t they?'”

The staff smirked in unison. Trust Sam. He taught them all publicity is good as long as they spell your name right. That tight-rumped clergy fellow Blowworthey set off a firestorm, but he brought the readers in didn’t he?

Milly leaned down again, “The Knight woman says the Belles have been so busy undoing the damage they didn’t get their usual story in today, and it serves us right.”

“Serves us right?” Ian Pennywhistle, a junior correspondent, demanded. He scribbled down the words. He’d been documenting the whole incident.

“She says we ought to recruit more Wednesday guest author stories and not leave it to them to do.” Pennywhistle wrote that down. Milly shrugged and leaned over to listen and was almost knocked over when the door swung open and the two women left.

“The ladies swanned out leaving Clemens in a fine rage…” Pennywhistle said, putting pen to paper. “I always wanted to write a sentence with ‘swanned,'” he said with self-satisfied glee.

Clemens glared at the young man. “We don’t get 1000 views and more a month because people like your vocabulary. They read to sop up the gossip behind authors’ books, the good stuff, not your drivel. We need more. The schedule is almost empty aside from two weeks in November. January’s even emptier. Bring me some writers.”

The newsroom emptied in a flash.

Read the high-performing articles below to find out what Sam loves to see in the Teatime Tattler, or sign up to write your own, and to advertise your book (new or one from your backlist).

The Mistress and The Wife — by Laura Libricz

A Guillotine Widow Takes Tea on the Isle of Guernsey — by Regan Walker

Lady Farrow Determined to See Her Daughter Wed — by Nadine Millard

The Mistress and the WifeThe Soldier’s Return, by Laura Libritz

A base-born son, a hasty marriageThe Bastard’s Iberian Bride, by Alina K. Field

Mrs Bingham tries againThe Rake and His Honour, by Beth Elliott

Be Careful What You Ask a Hero — Only a Hero Will Do, by Alanna Lucas

Duke in Disguise — To Dodge a Duke, by Naomi Bloom

Overheard at the Courtesan’s Ball — The Pleasure House Ball, by Suzi Love

 

Do Not Censor Our Reading Beg the Ladies

censorMy Dear Mr. Clemens,

I am a frequent reader of your publication, and you may imagine my horrified astonishment when I came upon the recently published letter to the editor (your esteemed self) from one Claudius Blowworthey—though one begs to question just how right, honorable, or reverend the wretch actually is–suggesting we censor a certain forthcoming book.

As a well-loved wife, modestly well-educated mother of three young women, and a Christian, I protest this horrid man’s dismissal of novels, of romance, and indeed of love itself. How does he dare dismiss my sex so carelessly? Has he not a mother? As to his poor wife, he dares to tell the world he does not love her. What pathetic creature would choose “esteem” over love?

He dares quote Saint Paul on the subject of marriage being preferable to burning. Did the apostle not also admonish husbands to love their wives as God loves the Church? How does he expect those wives to acquire husbands if not love? And is not love the very nature of the Deity?

Those ladies—if not ladies call them heroes—among the Bluestocking Belles provide us with hours of joy. Never say you will suffer them to be censored, Mr. Clemens.  I have spoken about this matter with Mrs. Cornelia Lumberton and Mrs. Annalisa Waldo, my bosom bows and fellow regulars at the Chapel of the Faithful, and they quite agree. This Blowworthey horror must not be allowed to prevail, sir.

Never say you will encourage this outrage or give further space in your fine publication to such nonsense. We await your response even as we anticipate the next boxed set of stories from our beloved Belles,

Respectfully,

Mrs. Maud Goodbody

For more about the box set, keep an eye on the Belles’ website. We’ll be putting the details of the book up on the Joint Projects part of the site as soon as we reveal the name and cover. Or come to our cover release party, on Facebook on the 8th September 2pm to 9pm Eastern Daylight Time.

 

 

 

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