A friend of The Teatime Tattler in Shropshire sent word this week of a delicious bit of naughtiness. Lady B—’s cook’s cousin’s daughter serves as an upstairs maid in the house of a rather notorious baroness so we know this report to be true. The baroness and her nephew, we’re told, departed the manor in a rush last week in pursuit of the nephew’s fiancé, who had disappeared. How, we may ask, does on misplace a fiancé.
We will not mention the baroness by name, but she is well known as the daughter of a wealthy mill owner, mills well known for their ghastly employment practice and filthy premises. The woman, Lady B— insists is a jumped-up mushroom who bought a titled husband and now— But perhaps that is a story for another day. Suffice to say, the young woman perhaps had her reasons for departing such a place in a hurry.
We would have left it at that, but one of Lady B—’s happened to follow a similar route and reports that the baroness and the nephew inquired after this person all along the road from under Wrexham to Birmingham and back. One might have ignored the incident except at every stop they queried not only about a gently bred—but distraught—young lady and—this is the important part—a shabby coachman. What sort of well brought up innocent runs off with a coachman? Perhaps she’s no better than she should be. Or perhaps the cad has nefarious designs on an innocent.
Kindly forward any word about the fugitive pair to our offices in London.
About the Story, “The Fugitive Fiancé”
What can a penniless orphan do, when faced with a malodorous baron and an authoritarian baroness? She can run, that’s what.
Alone and without family, Alice Pennysmith puts up with a lot: an unpaid position as companion, waiting on a demanding baroness, people mangling her name, the scorn of superior servants… She almost lets herself be pushed into marriage with the vile Reggie, but his behavior is the last straw. How can she escape?
With his year of service to at an end, Grant Lambert is eager to leave his contract with Lord Reginald Buffton, Baron Albright——a foolish agreement to settle a bet. He already found far better, well-paying, respectable employment. He just can’t bring himself to leave the charming Miss Pennysmith in the clutches of his despicable employer. There’s only one thing for it—he’ll have to take her with him, even if he has to “borrow” the baron’s carriage to do it.
“The Fugitive Fiancé was written to order from story element specified by a contest winner. It was given away to subscribers of Caroline Warfield’s newsletter. She gives original stories to her subscribers two to three times a year. To receive this one and others, subscribe to her newsletter:
About the Author
Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she is now a writer of historical romance, enamored of owls, books, history, and beautiful gardens, who sits in an office surrounded by windows and 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.
First, my dear friend, I wish to thank you for hosting the Cambridge Wives Monthly Tea last May when I was indisposed. Now my turn has come again and I find myself in a quandary. Do you suppose one is required to invite that woman who dwells at Helsington? Duke’s daughter she may be, but I was never comfortable with the woman. Some have hinted we ought to ask her again if only for the titillation (Margaret Evans said that, can you believe it). Mrs. Potter still receives the woman.
Mrs. Smythe to Mrs. Clarke
Poor Maud Bailey seems to feel obliged to invite Lady Georgiana to tea this month. (If “lady” is accurate in her case.) Rumors do swirl, and Maud would get to the bottom of them if she could. She fears Margaret Evans, for one, takes salacious interest. What do you think?
Mrs. Clarke to Mrs. Evans
My dear Margaret, your Christian Righteousness continues to inspire! I understand you wish to invite the Duke of Sudbury’s Scandalous Daughter to tea—in order to let her defend against Certain Rumors, of course. I beg you do not push this issue!! I myself saw the truth of the matter. As you well know I live across the lane from Doctor Mallet’s recently returned son. Hero and fine soldier he may be, but he is not immune to a Woman’s Wiles. I personally witnessed her coming for his bachelor house at various hours. Admittedly it has been in the middle of the day but there is no chaperone in sight. When confronted she claimed she went there for help with her studies, that the man is her tutor. Who could believe such a thing! Greek indeed. She must think we’re all Babes to believe such a thing.
Mrs. Evans to Mrs. Bailey
Do not invite That Woman no matter what Molly Harding or Edwina Potter say. We’ll all hear what Abigail Clarke has to report.
About the Book
Even poetry, with its musical lyrics and sensual traps, is dangerous when you partner with the love of your life. It can quickly lead past improper to positively scandalous. A battered war hero and an abused woman come together in an emotionally complex story about the seductive power of words and the triumph of love over fear.
Lady Georgiana Hayden learned very young to keep her heart safe. She learned to keep loneliness at bay through work. If it takes a scandalous affair to teach her what she needs to complete her work, she will risk it. If the man in question chooses not to teach her, she will use any means at her disposal to change his mind. She is determined to give voice to the ancient women whose poetry has long been neglected.
Some scars cut deeper than others. Major Andrew Mallet returns to Cambridge a battle scarred hero. He dared to love Georgiana once and suffered swift retribution from her powerful family. The encounter cost him eleven years of his life. Determined to avoid her, he seeks work to heal his soul and make his scholar father proud. The work she offers risks his career, his peace of mind, and (worst of all) his heart. Can he protect himself from a woman who almost destroyed him? Does he want to?
About the Author
Caroline Warfield writes family-centered novels set in the Regency, Late Georgian, and Victorian eras. She lives in quarantine with the love of her life, while writing new stories. A lover of owls, history, and travel, she is also a Bluestocking Belle.
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
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.
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
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
January 27, 1919, Regina, Saskatchewan,
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.
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.
letter marked undeliverable and returned
February 10, 1919
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.
To Sabine Legrand, Rue du Moulin Neuf, Amiens, France, February 18, 1919
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
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
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.
March 5, 1919
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.
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.
March 21, 1919
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.
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?
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.
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.
Amiens, France, March 4, 1918
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.
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.
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,
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?
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Your loving sister,
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.