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Tag: Mia Redepenning

Navy captain trapped by smugglers doxy

Sam, this story is all around Margate and the local countryside. Hard to tell what’s smoke and what’s substance, but I’m sending you my notes. Make what you will of it. I’ve spoken to some of the party goers, some servants taken on for the night and dismissed with the guests, local excise men, a few villagers down near the Castle, and even the vicar’s housekeeper.

A bacchanaal hosted by the Merry Marquis at Haverford Castle several nights ago was interrupted by the arrival of a wild-eyed girl who claimed to be pursued by smugglers.

At first, the revelers assumed she was part of the entertainment, and perhaps she was. But if so, the Merry Marquis was not inclined to share, for within minutes of drawing her to one side for private conversation, he evicted all of his guests.

The guests — the usual miscellany of wild youths, dedicated debauchers, ladies of the night, and daring widows — could not say with certainty what the relationship between the two of them was, though most thought he knew the female.

Given what we know of his lordship, even if she was not a close acquaintance one would assume they were very close by the time the night was over. Or perhaps not, given what transpired within the week.

But I get ahead of myself.

The next information comes from several troopers with the excise men, who speaks of the troop being roused by a Haverford Castle groom, and led out to the coast to apprehend a gang of smugglers, and to retrieve some dead bodies from a network of caves the smugglers frequented.

The Merry Marquis and about a score of his servants had already fought a battle with said servants and the girl was with them. I was told she had ridden into the affray astride the Merry Marquis’s horse, clinging to him. Stark naked, some say. Others demurred, claiming she was fully dressed, but all agree that she hurled herself over the body of a man whom the smugglers had beaten, and defied anyone to further hurt him.

This is where information becomes more speculation than fact. I have ascertained that the man in question was taken up to the Castle, as was one of the corpses, an elderly man. The Merry Marquis claimed the two men and the girl had been prisoners of the smugglers. The girl also returned to the Castle — and you know how closed-lipped Haverford servants are.

However, the doctor, who was called to attend the two who still lived, told his housekeeper that the man was a Redepenning — one of the Earl of C’s connections, and almost certainly the youngest son of the General Lord R. (or Lord H. as he is more commonly known). The girl, the housekeeper said, was a nobody from one of the local villages.

Turns out those who know — let’s call her Miss S. — those who know Miss S. are likewise mixed in their opinion of her. Some say she is little more than an innocent child, and that the man that died, her father, was a scholar. Others suggest that he robbed graves and collected bones, and that she is a wicked thing, no better than she should be, and bound to come to a bad end.

Suffice it to say, rumours are rife. Was she a smuggler’s doxy who fell in love with the young Redepenning’s pretty blue eyes, as some attest? Or a helpless victim of said villains, held for nefarious purposes.

It seems almost certain that she had spent several nights in the same locked cave as Redepenning. If she had any virtue to lose, it seems unlikely to have remained intact, particularly given what came next.

Lord H. arrived, along with his daughter, Mrs C. The doctor returned several times to the castle. Next, the vicar was summoned.

Sam, the young Redepenning married the girl. He has now left. Gone back to his ship, which is bound for the Far East. The new Mrs. R. is bound for London.

I don’t suppose you can print any of this — not with such powerful families now protecting the female at the centre of it. But it makes you think, doesn’t it?

Unkept Promise, out this coming week and on special at 99c on release day

Naval captain Jules Redepenning has spent his adult life away from England, and at war. He rarely thinks of the bride he married for her own protection, and if he does, he remembers the child he left after their wedding seven years ago. He doesn’t expect to find her in his Cape Town home, a woman grown and a lovely one, too.

Mia Redepenning sails to Cape Town to nurse her husband’s dying mistress and adopt his children. She hopes to negotiate a comfortable married life with the man while she’s there. Falling in love is not on her to-do list.

Before they can do more than glimpse a possible future together, their duties force them apart. At home in England, Mia must fight for the safety of Jules’s children. Imprisoned in France, Jules must battle for his self-respect and his life.

Only by vanquishing their foes can they start to make their dreams come true.

Books2Read: books2read.com/UnkeptPromises

Jude’s website (where you can read the first three chapters): https://judeknightauthor.com/books/unkept-promises/

The English Captain has a consecutive harem

Cape Town
July 1812

Dear Sister

How lovely our homeland must be now that Summer is here. I regret being so far away, even though I know you have many worries in these troubled times.

We, ourselves, are under the boot of the British, as you know. I have told you that their Governor has freed most of the slaves owned by the Company, and that the British who have come to live here are very unlike us in their ways.

A prime example, dear sister, is the irregular household of Captain Redepenning of the British naval ship the Advantage. It has been distressing the upright citizens of our little community for the past three years. At least the native girl he installed in his house knew her place, and did not venture out among proper wives and their families; at least after she attempted to attend divine services that one time I told you about.

A few words to our dear pastor and his wife ensured that the congregation was not required to tolerate the presence of a woman of her kind. ‘Mrs Redepenning’, she dared call herself, but we all knew she was no more married than the lowest female who markets her body on the waterfront. She is his mistress, of course, or was until she was too ill. Consumption, they say. A likely story! Paying the price of a dissolute life, I say.

You will understand the impudence of the man when I tell you that he hired a nursemaid for his mistress’s brats. As if such children need that kind of care. It came as no surprise to us all when he moved the nursemaid into his bed, which I daresay was his intention all along. At least she had the virtue of being white, even if she was Irish.

That wasn’t the end of it, though. Another female, also calling herself Mrs Redepenning, turned up just a few weeks ago. Her first act was to throw the Irish slut into the street. We all waited for the native harlot to follow, but it seems the woman who claims to be his wife has some compassion for a sick woman.

She has been out walking with the children. She even had the nerve to attend services at the Church of England chapel on Sunday! I’m relieved to say that the English followed our example , and made it clear that misbegotten coloured children were not welcome in the House of God.

That was not the end of it, though! She has had the effrontery to take the children about town with her fancy man, even attending the races and shopping in the emporiums! The latest outrage is that she has been holding dinner parties. You will be as horrified as I am, dearest, when I tell you that people have attended — not just other naval officers, but even one or two wives!

Apparently — though I find it hard to believe — the woman really is the Captain’s wife, and well connected to the English aristocracy. It may be so, but she has put herself beyond the pale by not just tolerating the presence of his native woman and her children, but actually nursing the mistress, and treating the children as if they were her own.

Whatever is the world coming to? I can only say that I yearn for this war to end and the English to go back to where they belong, so we are no longer obliged to meet such people as Captain and Mrs Redepenning.

Unkept Promises

(Book 4 in The Golden Redepennings series)

She wants to negotiate a comfortable marriage; he wants her in his bed

… oaths and anchors equally will drag: naught else abides on fickle earth but unkept promises of joy. Herman Melville

HERMAN MELVILLE

Naval captain Jules Redepenning has spent his adult life away from England, and at war. He rarely thinks of the bride he married for her own protection, and if he does, he remembers the child he left after their wedding seven years ago. He doesn’t expect to find her in his Cape Town home, a woman grown and a lovely one, too.

Mia Redepenning sails to Cape Town to nurse her husband’s dying mistress and adopt his children. She hopes to negotiate a comfortable married life with the man while she’s there. Falling in love is not on her to-do list.

Before they can do more than glimpse a possible future together, their duties force them apart. At home in England, Mia must fight for the safety of Jules’s children. Imprisoned in France, Jules must battle for his self-respect and his life.

Only by vanquishing their foes can they start to make their dreams come true.

https://judeknightauthor.com/books/unkept-promises

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TXXK53N/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/unkept-promises-by-jude-knight

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47161695-unkept-promises

Barnes and Noble Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unkept-promises-jude-knight/1132401931?ean=2940163272938

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/unkept-promises

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/947394

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/unkept-promises/id1471938393

Excerpt

Adiratna’s eyes widened and sparkled. “Presents!” In moments, she was back across the room, tugging on Perdana’s hand. “What has Papa brought me, Dan? You know, I know you do.”

“Lumps of coal, like the Black Peter we saw on St Nicolas Day,” Perdana answered, promptly, “And a switch to beat you with, for you have undoubtedly been a great trouble for Mami and Ibu Mia.”

Adiratna sniffed, and poked her nose in the air. “That shows you know nothing, Dan, for Hannah never lets me be a trouble, do you, Hannah?” She smiled at her new nurse, who had been an instant favourite with both girls for her store of stories and the energy and imagination that allowed her to keep them constantly on the move from one interesting activity to another.

“Brothers tease,” Hannah told her. “I do not know why they do it, but there it is.”

Perdana grinned at her, not in the least perturbed by this set down, but Adiratna wanted the last word. “Papa never beats us, even when we deserve it. So there.”

“Do you deserve it?” Jules spoke from the doorway, his tone one of scientific inquiry. Both girls forgot their brother and their dignity to hurl themselves into his waiting arms. Mia exchanged a glance with Hannah, who gave a satisfied nod. The man’s clear delight in his children had won that stern arbiter’s cautious approval.

Mia, too, found it hard to retain her indignation while watching him listening to their chatter, squatting on the floor with his back against the door jamb, each arm around a daughter on his knee. Adiratna was pouring out two months’ worth of news at full speed, and even Marshanda spoke so fast her words were tumbling over themselves.

Adiratna suddenly remembered that Jules had not yet disgorged his gifts. “Where are my…” she broke off, sneaking a glance at Hannah, who had been impressing the little girls with the unexpected information that they were ladies. Marshanda stuck her nose in the air. “Ladies,” she informed her sister, “do not ask. Ladies wait to be offered.”

Jules frown over her head at Mia. “Who has been telling you that?” he asked.

Adiratna, however, was not to be deflected. “I like presents,” she announced. “It makes me very happy when people give me a present. Ibu Mia brought presents for me and Marsha. I expect she brought presents for you, too, Dan. I do like presents.”

Faced with this flagrant attempt to get around the ‘ladies do not ask’ rule, the adults struggled to maintain their gravity. Even Jules, who was holding onto whatever grudge had blown in with him, couldn’t resist a twinkle. “I happen to have some presents,” he commented.

News from abroad

“My dear, the most delicious scandal from Cape Town,” said Lady Laura Hardwick, picking up the missive from her brother.

Her dearest friend, Miss Delilah Sutton, laughed. “How can that be, Laura? One doesn’t know anybody in such a forsaken place.”

Laura raised both brows. “Lieutenant Lord Cecil Hardwick, the third son of the Marquess of Trentwater, is not precisely a nobody,” she scolded.

Delilah made a quick save. “I hardly think your brother is writing scandal about himself, and you have told me yourself that no-one else of consequence is posted there. That is a scandal, if you like, that a man like your brother is not given his own ship, and a more suitable posting.”

Laura’s eyebrows returned to their normal position and she picked up the letter. “Quite so. But listen to this.” She looked up again to meet her friend’s eyes. “The man in question is the fourth son of the fourth son of an earl, so nobody of consequence, but Delilah, we know the lady!”

Delilah leaned forward with all the enthusiasm Laura could desire, as Laura skimmed through the letter, turning from one sheet to another.

Hope you are well. Off to sea tomorrow. Not much to amuse. Ah. Here we are.” She grinned at Delilah, drawing out the moment. “Are you listening?”

Laura nodded.

I’ve told you the youngest Redepenning is a great favourite here. One presumes it is through his parents’ influence he has already made captain. His mother’s father was an admiral, you know, though not one of our kind of people. His own father is a crony of Prinny’s, of course. Every one knows he made Brigadier-General, yes, and picked up his barony, by lifting elbows with Wales.

Laura skipped a few more lines. “The next bit is about how Father doesn’t help him. Ah. Here’s what I was looking for.”

Redepenning lives with a Batavian native woman whom he bought off his old Captain years ago when they were both in the East. Word is she’s dying, so when another woman moved in a few weeks ago, we all thought he was making a start on training up his replacement mistress.”

“No,” Delilah said, the ‘o’ on a long drawn descending note.

Laura grinned again, and went on reading. “It was much more scandalous than that. The woman is actually his wife, a lady by the name of Euronyme Redepenning. Do you know her?

“We do!” Delilah exclaimed. “We’ve both met her, Laura.”

“Yes, I know. Now shush. He has more to say, and you won’t believe it.” Laura turned back to the letter.

Apparently, and I heard this from Mrs Redepenning myself, so you need have no doubt it is true, Redepenning’s wife has come all the way to Cape Town to nurse his dying mistress, and adopt his little yellow bastards. What do you think of that?

“I cannot believe it,” Delilah gasped. “She will be shunned. The little children will be outcasts.”

Laura shrugged. “I daresay the Redepennings think they can make Society dance to their tune.” Her eyes gleamed and she bared her teeth. “What a pity if poor Mrs Redepenning returns to London to find that everyone already knows what she has done, and their minds are already made up.”

Delilah was alarmed. “Oh, Laura, do be careful. She is a favourite of the Duchess of Haverford.”

Laura glared at her friend. “Are you going to help me? Or not?”

Unkept Promises

Book 4 in The Golden Redepennings series

She wants to negotiate a comfortable marriage; he wants her in his bed

… oaths and anchors equally will drag: naught else abides on fickle earth but unkept promises of joy.” Herman Melville

Naval captain Jules Redepenning has spent his adult life away from England, and at war. He rarely thinks of the bride he married for her own protection, and if he does, he remembers the child he left after their wedding seven years ago. He doesn’t expect to find her in his Cape Town home, a woman grown and a lovely one, too.

Mia Redepenning sails to Cape Town to nurse her husband’s dying mistress and adopt his children. She hopes to negotiate a comfortable married life with the man while she’s there. Falling in love is not on her to-do list.

Before they can do more than glimpse a possible future together, their duties force them apart. At home in England, Mia must fight for the safety of Jules’s children. Imprisoned in France, Jules must battle for his self-respect and his life.

Only by vanquishing their foes can they start to make their dreams come true.

My next novel, Unkept Promises, has just gone to the proofreader and is now on preorder. Read on for an excerpt. See my book page for the previous three books, and The Golden Redepennings web page for more about the series. And all my novels are on 50% discount at Smashwords this month.

Buy links:
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/947394
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TXXK53N/

Excerpt

His little wife had grown. Not ‘up’ exactly. She was still a tiny creature, her head no higher than his chest, but no-one would take her for a schoolgirl now! Was it the modern fashions that gave her curves he’d not seen seven years ago—not a lush endowment but decidedly female?

Annoyed with her though he was, he could not deny that his body responded to hers, as if something primitive within him rejoiced in the link formed by their long-ago wedding and yearned to set seal to his claim. A physical lust. That was all. It could be ignored.

But the change in her was not only physical. She had been an endearing mix of child and adult. Her isolated life as the only child of a reclusive scholar had given her a wisdom and maturity beyond her years and the innocence of a much younger girl. Now she was a woman. Confident and in charge.

Which was extremely irritating, since she had placed herself in charge of his house! As he allowed his two daughters to drag him back upstairs and show him and Dan around their domain, he had to concede she was competent. No. More than competent.

He couldn’t complain about the changes in the nursery—new paint, shelves instead of trunks for books and toys, new furniture—sturdy painted furniture that would withstand much more activity than the rejects from the rest of the house that had been there before.

“Sit in Ibu Mia’s chair, Papa,” Ada commanded.

Marsha scoffed. “Not Ibu Mia’s. Papa is too big. Sit in Hannah’s chair, Papa.”

“Is Hannah looking after you while she is visiting?” Jules was not above finding out his wife’s intentions from his children, if he could.

“Hannah is not visiting. Hannah is our new nurse,” Ada explained. She was dragging his duffel bag from where Dan had dropped it by the door.

Marsha offered her morsel of information. “Hannah used to be nurse to our cousin Daisy, but Daisy has a governess now, so Hannah came to be our nurse.”

“And to look after Ibu Mia,” Ada corrected. “Hannah said Lord Henry said Ibu Mia could not travel all this way on her own. Is Lord Henry our grandfather, Papa? Hannah says he is.”

“Yes, sweetheart,” Jules confirmed. “Lord Henry is my father, so your grandfather.” Father had approved this trip, had he? He had never been happy about Jules’s irregular living arrangements, Jules was sure of that, though his letters were devoid of any criticism. Susan, Jules’s sister, was more direct in her letters, castigating him for leaving his wife for so long. They probably sent Mia to bring Jules to heel.

But he wouldn’t be leashed by her or anyone else, either.

He pulled the first object from his duffel: a mancala board in carved wood, with stones in bright colours to play the game.

“How pretty!” Ada marvelled. “Look, Marsha. Look at the carvings. What does it do, Papa? Who is it for?”

“This is to share,” Jules warned, “and Dan will teach you how to play the game.”

Next, he pulled out a skipping rope each. One of the men on the Advantage had made the brightly painted wooden handles, sized for small hands, and the ropes fed through a hole in the butt of the handle, so they could be lengthened or shortened to suit the height of the user.

The girls fell on them and wanted to try them out immediately, but settled quickly when he suggested that Hannah would expect them to skip outside, and he had not yet emptied the duffle.

Two of the maids carried in trays with glasses of milk for the children, plates of scones, bowls of jam, and a pot of coffee for Jules. He waved them to the table while he distributed the strings of beads he’d purchased in the market at Toamasina.

“May I serve you a scone, Papa?” Marsha asked.

“I shall pour Papa’s coffee,” Dan insisted. “I know how he takes it.”

Ada’s face fell, and Marsha must have noticed, because she gave the prepared plate to her sister. “You shall take this to Papa, because you helped make them, too,” she said. Jules’s smile must have said how proud he was, for his shy daughter blushed while the bold one climbed on his knee and instructed him on the fine art of scone-eating.

The girls set aside the book each he gave them for reading later, but when the bundle of silk scarves and the handful of pretty combs for their hair emptied the duffel, they forgot about their milk and scones for the pleasures of dressing one another’s hair, and parading the results in front of Dan and Jules.

Jules kept looking to the door, but Mia stayed away. He was disappointed, and annoyed with himself for the emotion. She had charmed his mistress, his daughters, and his servants; was well on her way to charming his son. She would not find him such an easy conquest. Though, to be fair, most of what he’d had against her had evaporated.

Now he’d had time to calm down, he could not object to Mia moving Kirana from the room next to his own, with only one small window, to the top floor at the far end of the wing, with windows on all three sides, though he wouldn’t have called the room over hot. It was, after all, still winter. Though the Cape Town winters were very mild by English standards, Kirana was used to the heat of Ceylon and India.

Still, the difference in temperature and the freshness of the air spoke for itself, and Kirana’s praise for Mia was genuine.

The whole house had the Mia touch. The surfaces gleamed. Every corner was scrubbed and clean. The windows sparkled. Since Raquib and Jwala had returned to India, and Kirana’s illness left her without the strength to supervise the servants, he’d had to ignore cobwebs and dust in remote corners, because it upset Kirana when he spent the first few days of every leave chasing the servants to do their work.

Even if Mia was overstepping her mark by taking over the house he kept for his mistress—whoever heard of a wife doing such a thing? —he couldn’t deny the results were pleasing.

But she had still dismissed a pregnant maid to fend for herself in a port town where men outnumbered women four to one.

And she was still here when she ought to be in England.

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