No one in London can be unfamiliar with the circumstances of the death of one of our most beloved and renowned citizens, the elephant Chunee, who Wednesday last met his fatal end at the Exeter Change in such a barbarous manner that many were moved to write letters on his behalf. The Tattler has learned the identity of one lady of quality, whose letter we reprint here. While we must applaud the lady’s sentiments on behalf of this noble creature, we must also wonder if so outspoken a young woman as Lady Emily Radstock will ever find a husband among the gentry and nobility of England. Rumor has it that she is one of the financial backers of Sir Arthur Broome’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Sir Arthur currently resides in Marshalsea Prison for debt.
The facts in the death of Chunee are so well known as to
need no recounting. Thousands in London have seen the prints of his cruel
slaughter. His agony at the hands of those on whom he long depended for his
sustenance and whose pockets were lined with the proceeds of exhibiting him to
the public is indefensible.
His handlers’ inability to consider his needs and to
foresee a time when distress of body and spirit would render him a danger to
himself and others and to plan accordingly for his care and ultimately for his
end brings into question the fitness of human persons for keeping any wild
animals in captivity, confined against their nature in cages, to be stared at
by the masses with no freedom to act in accord with the promptings of their
It is time to close the Exeter Change and all similar
institutions whose indifference to the well-being of their charges is a stain
on the honor of our city.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
About the Book: The Spy’s Guide to Seduction
Weeks from her twenty-ninth birthday, Lady Emily Radstock receives from her mother a little blue book, The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London.Outraged at her mother’s attempt to push her out of the nest, Emily declares she’ll marry the first imbecile she meets. Overhearing the beautiful heiress, Baronet Sir Ajax Lynley, newest gentleman spy in the Pantheon Club, takes her at her word. From the moment their engagement begins, Emily finds herself intrigued by her fiancé, a man who encourages her daring and who offers a most seductive partnership in spy-catching. When mounting danger and an uncanny echo of his painful past lead Lynley to abandon the partnership, Emily has to put aside the hurt and humiliation of a missing fiancé to save her partner in spying and seduction. A 2019 Library Journal Top Pick in Romance.
Kate Moore taught English lit to generations of high school students, who are now her Facebook friends, while she not-so-secretly penned Romances. In Kate’s stories an undeniable mutual attraction brings honorable, edgy loners and warm, practical women into a circle of love in Regency England or contemporary California. A Golden Heart, Golden Crown, and Book Buyers Best award winner and three-time RITA finalist, Kate lives north of San Francisco with her surfer husband, their yellow Lab, toys for visiting grandkids, and miles of crowded bookshelves.
You can learn a lot in pubs and cafés. Your Teatime Tattler
has long had a policy of lingering in such establishments on the fringe more
posh neighborhoods—the sort of places servants might gather on their off days.
The Little Brown Hen Pub has been particularly useful
lately. It seems one of our “better” squares, one populated by two earls, a
wealthy baron, and a dowager duchess to name a few, has had an abundance of
havey-cavey behavior lately—enough to make a debutante blush.
First off an upstairs maid from the Earl of W—’s house and a footman from Mr. M.C.’s both were at pains to tell our man on the spot about strange arrangements in the Earl of C—’s fashionable townhouse—he who came into his title just last summer.
“Y’don’t see them servants here, do ya? They keep to themselves they do. Downright unfriendly,” complained the footman.
“That butler o’thern looks more like a prize fighter than a
butler, if you ask me,” the little maid sniffed. “And have you seen that
footman missing one ear? His visage has an ugly scar. What kind of earl hires
They scurried off to fetch more ale when an older woman, dressed in black, and obviously an upper servant shooed them away. She introduced herself as Her Grace’s dresser—that would be the dowager—and insisted on tea. “Only tea,” she said with a sniff. This bird seemed a bit high class for this pub, but then maybe widowed duchesses don’t pay as well as others.
“If you’re interested in the Earl of C—, I can tell you more
interesting things about that house than deformed footmen,” she said, rubbing
two fingers together. We’re always willing to spare a few coin for a woman who
can use ‘em. We obliged.
“To begin with the man doesn’t live there. He has rooms at the Albany, and God only knows what bachelors get up to there. When the old earl died, the older sister—she who is the Duchess of M— came to look after the younger girl, a flibbertigibbet of the first order, in my opinion.” She drew breath and our man quickly suspected she had many opinions loosened by coin.
“Now the Duke of M— is a fine man, but his wife is a pale shadow of a thing, utterly incapable of minding the hoyden. They must have gotten fed up with her foolish starts and outlandish taking because they up and left. Closed up the house but for a few servants.”
She leaned over and dropped her voice, those fingers moving. Another coin may have slid across the table. “I saw them leave. Saw the carriage pull round, the duchess get in, the duke pull their boy by his collar and toss him in, and then they left.”
Our man waited, and not in vain. “I did not see the younger sister get in that carriage. Nor the one with the maid, valet, and baggage,” she went on. “Neither one. I watched the whole time.” He took her meaning, but to be sure he asked, “Are you telling me the Earl of C—’s young unmarried sister is living on her own in a house that’s supposed to be closed?”
“Well I know I didn’t see her leave with ‘em, and more.” She
leaned in again. “I’ve been watching a girl her size wearing the clothes of a
scullery maid but walking with the bearing of a countess coming and going
through the tradesmen’s door. That chit is up to something, no doubt about it,
and heading for ruin.”
“Is that it?”
“Well. The Earl of C— feeds anyone who come to his kitchen. Her Grace has complained mightily that it attracts all sorts of unsavory types. This very morning I saw a particularly horrid specimen—a filthy one-armed ruffian—parade through their garden as free as you please, and get taken in. Taken in and that girl in residence! Not an hour later he was out on the street. Did they toss him on his fundament? No! One of those deformed footmen was giving him directions. I ask you, is that how a respectable household conducts itself?”
The Earl of Chadbourn makes it a policy to hire as many
veterans in need of work as he can. The result has been a rather unusual
collection of servants. As to his sister, perhaps he wasn’t watching as closely
as he should.
When a young woman marches into an alley full of homeless
former soldiers, Ethan Alcott feels something he thought dead stir to life: his
sense of honor. Effort at charity put the chit in danger; someone needs to take
her in hand.
Lady Flora Landrum discovers that the mysterious one-armed ruffian she encountered in a back alley is Lord Ethan Alcott, son of the Marquess of Welbrook; her astonishment gives way to determination. As Ethan comes to admire Flora’s courage, perhaps he can reclaim his own.
About Fire & Frost
Join The Ladies’ Society For The Care of the Widows and Orphans of Fallen Heroes and the Children of Wounded Veterans in their pursuit of justice, charity, and soul-searing romance.
The Napoleonic Wars have left England with wounded warriors, fatherless children, unemployed veterans, and hungry families. The ladies of London, led by the indomitable Duchess of Haverford plot a campaign to feed the hungry, care for the fallen—and bring the neglectful Parliament to heel. They will use any means at their disposal to convince the gentlemen of their choice to assist.
Their campaign involves strategy, persuasion, and a wee bit of fun. Pamphlets are all well and good, but auctioning a lady’s company along with her basket of delicious treats is bound to get more attention. Their efforts fall amid weeks of fog and weather so cold the Thames freezes over and a festive Frost Fair breaks out right on the river. The ladies take to the ice. What could be better for their purposes than a little Fire and Frost?
Celebrate Valentine’s Day 2020 with six interconnected Regency romances from the Bluestocking Belles.
landlord’s wife saw it all. What do you make of this? Is she guilty? I rather
think she is.
in the Ferry Inn, Flushing August 15th 1796.
to God, it’s the absolute truth.’
please. Start from the beginning. They entered together? What time was this?’
have been about ten. She came in first – not even a backward glance. Went
straight to the table near the door. The place was laid like I was told to lay
it, and she just sat there with her baskets in front of her. Straight away I
could tell it weren’t right. Not at all.’
‘In what way wasn’t it right?’
‘She kept her cloak tight around her – tight like she was cold – an’ it was that hot in there. An’ then I saw why. She was one of them Society of Friends – the ones that visit prisoners.Now, you tell me, what would she be doing waiting for a man at that time of night?’
‘Describe her, please.’
‘Brown hair, high cheek bones. Couldn’t
see much under her wide-brimmed bonnet. Black cloak. Softly spoken – local
‘She sat at the table and you gave her a meal
– one that had been ordered by a man the night before?’
‘Yes, as God’s my witness. My best
rabbit pie it was. Yet she didn’t eat it. Just sat there waiting for the man to
‘She was definitely waiting for a
‘Yes. He left a message – I was to
tell her he’d be along later.’
‘And the man who came in with her, or
rather, just after her – the one she left with? Describe him for me.’
‘Tall, handsome, fine-boned in a
gentlemanly sort of way. And polite, yes, very polite. I’d say he was
definitely a gentleman, though he was wearing working clothes – a coachman’s
coat an’ hat. Pulled so low ye couldn’t really see his face.’
‘And he sat separately?’
‘Yes. He was sat by the back door –
watchin’ out for her. But I can tell you one thing. He couldn’t take his eyes
off her. Kept staring at her when she weren’t
looking. Even in the dark I could see the love in his eyes.’
‘And you can swear, on oath, that
they showed signs of surprise when the fire was sighted?’
‘Yes, I’d say so. But maybe more anger
‘And yet that could have been
‘I’m sorry, sir. What do ye mean by
‘Their surprise and anger might have
been made up. In other words they might have pretended to be
surprised. To fool you. To make you swear, on oath, that they were innocent,
when really they were guilty?’
‘Well, I don’t know about that.’
‘No. Well, never mind. Thank you. You’ve been very helpful.’
About the Book
The Cornish Lady
Educated, beautiful and the
daughter of a prosperous merchant, Angelica Lilly has been invited to spend the
summer in high society. Her father’s wealth is opening doors, and attracting
marriage proposals, but Angelica still feels like an imposter among the
aristocrats of Cornwall.
her brother returns home, ill and under the influence of a dangerous man,
Angelica’s loyalties are tested to the limit. Her one hope lies with coachman
Henry Trevelyan, a softly spoken, educated man with kind eyes. But when Henry
seemingly betrays Angelica, she has no one to turn to. Who is Henry, and what
does he want? And can Angelica save her brother from a terrible plot that
threatens to ruin her entire family?
The fourth novel in a stunning series set in eighteenth-century Cornwall, perfect for fans of Poldark.
stood against the taproom bar, nodding to the man beside him. The landlord was
red-faced and bald-headed, drying a pewter tankard with a cloth, turning the
tap on the barrel. The men who had stared at my arrival turned back to their
ale and I settled against the hard wooden bench, trying to stop my heart from
hammering. A woman in a tight bodice and large mobcap saw me and smiled. She
made her way towards me, holding aloft a plate and jug of wine.
‘Pie an’ wine fer ye, my love,’ she said,
wiping her brow with the cloth hanging from her apron. ‘’Tis that hot in here,
but he likes it like that fer they drink more. Yer friend left a message – said
he’d be along soon. Ye just sit tight an’ enjoy that rabbit.’ She smiled and
turned and I stared down at the huge crust of pie with carrots and cabbage
spilling from the plate.
Henry must have ordered food. He made his
way round the tables, sitting nearest the back door. His hat and coat made him
merge with the crowd but even so, he looked out of place. He was sitting
slumped forward, his arms on the table, his elbows wide, but there was no
hiding his manners. No hiding the charm with which he thanked the landlord’s
wife, the elegant way he unfolded his napkin, the shy nod to his fellow diners
as he began his meal and I looked away. I glanced back. He seemed somehow
vulnerable, a rather charming man doing the wrong job.
Any other circumstances – any other time or
place – and I would have enjoyed his company. I would have enjoyed dining with
him, enjoyed discussing his choice of poetry, asked him what he had done in
America, how his mother was…which of my plays he had liked the most. I pushed
my plate away untouched. He was my brother’s gaoler, yet no man drew me so
completely. It was as if I became alive in his presence. The touch of his hand
on my cheek making my heart beat faster.
Sweat trickled down my back, the tight wig
making my hair itch. I wanted to take off my cloak, but no woman would sit in a
tavern in a prudish grey gown with stiff white collar and cuffs and I pulled
the cloak tighter. Henry had finished his meal and was stretching back against
the hard bench, cradling his jar of ale in both hands. He was staring straight
ahead as if too tired to talk, yet the moment the man took my baskets, he would
clasp him in handcuffs.
The tavern slowly emptied, only a number of
men left scattered among the tables. Thin curls of smoke coiled from the
guttering candles, the room growing darker. Two men had fallen asleep on their
folded arms, two others staring moodily into their empty pint pots. Martha
Selwyn had said the man could keep her waiting for hours; it must only have
been an hour, yet it seemed so much longer. I glanced at Henry and caught my
breath. He was staring at me so intently, the ferocity in his eyes making my
heart jolt. I had never been looked at like that before. It felt like pain.
Like my body was on fire.
About the Author
Nicola Pryce trained as a nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. She loves both literature and history and has an Open University degree in Humanities. She’s a qualified adult literacy support volunteer and lives with her husband in the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. She and her husband love sailing and together they sail the south coast of Cornwall in search of adventure. If she’s not writing or gardening, you’ll find her scrubbing decks.
‘Pengelly’s Daughter’ is her first novel, ‘The Captain’s Girl’ second, ‘The Cornish Dressmaker’ third, and The Cornish Lady comes next. Her fifth novel will be published next summer.
I’ve been given permission to share a most interesting letter received by a dear friend from a lady in York regarding a topic most appropriate as we approach the Eve of All Hallows. Without further ado, I include the letter in its entirety.
My dear Lady S,
We’ve excitement in these parts–an actual haunting! My dear
husband is beside himself, wishing to cast off his responsibilities and rush to
the coast because of news received from the esteemed Reverend N. F.—pardon me,
he is now Sir N. F.! Do you remember the dear man? He is at present compiling
an encyclopedia of northern folklore. You were visiting us when he came through
York with his daughter, Miss M.F., on his way to the manor he inherited.
Oh, but now I recall, you were unable to join us for dinner
that night, and you would so have enjoyed such amiable guests. Miss F. is
rather a great galloping spinster, hopelessly on the shelf, and shamelessly
skeptical of her father’s inquiries, but entirely delightful. Sir N. is blessed
to have her to care for him in his old age, and she’ll inherit the manor, as
there isn’t an entail. The possibility of wealth (if the enterprise can be made
profitable as he hopes) might increase the poor dear’s chance at marriage (though
whether any worthy man can be found in that part of the county is questionable).
But I digress from the most exciting news. My husband has
always believed that the Manor’s legendary ghostly guest is a Popish priest enclosed
within the walls. However, Sir N has written that the general speculation of
the villagers is that the culprit is the late Squire, who was a scandalous
fiend. Sir N. inquired whether we might assist with finding servants willing to
relocate to the wilds of Yorkshire, and unafraid of the resident ghost.
For indeed, there does appear to be a ghost! The priest it might
be, but more than likely the villagers have the right of it—oh, you have heard
the story, have you not? The last Baron, Sir N’s distant cousin, died there
terribly. Of course, there’s also a very old rumor about bigamy and a stolen
inheritance—a generational curse, as it were, but I cannot quite remember the
details of that story.
I can only imagine that Miss F is beside herself, what with
needing reliable staff. A more practical and grounded woman…a confirmed
spinster, you know…could not be found. She must be such a great help to her
father as he tromps about chasing goblins for his book. And yet, even while
researching the supernatural, one needs the comforts of a good cook and a few
I shall write more as I Iearn of it. My love to the
Does that not whet your appetite to learn more, dear readers? Read on!
About the Book
Thrilled to finally have a permanent home, a Squire’s daughter won’t let a supernatural creature scare her away. While hunting the ghost she doesn’t believe in, she stumbles upon a mysterious flesh and blood man who might be the key to all of her problems.
When the new Squire moves into Fenwick Manor, an
ex-army officer secretly searching the sprawling medieval wreck devises a plan.
First, the manor’s legendary ghost will chase servants away. Then, he’ll
convince the new residents to leave.
But the Squire’s spirited daughter soon has him wondering if he might have found a perfect comrade in arms to help battle old enemies and find the proof that will clear his family name.
Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree
in English and German literature, but she prefers the much happier world of
romance. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very,
very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked
back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband, her spunky, blonde,
rescued terrier, and the blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day
and decided the food was too good to leave.
She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!
By A Concerned Citizen Who Wishes to Remain Anonymous
Glory be! A body must keep their ears to the ground
in this part of the country. Otherwise, an innocent bystander, such as myself,
might miss one of the never-ending scandals plaguing our small town — the
latest of which is festering over at the Boomtown Mail Order Brides Agency.
Just this evening, one of the brothers (who co-owns
the agency) arrived by train with their latest mail-order bride candidate on
his very arm. On Jordan Branson’s very arm, dear citizens! According to my
sources, her name is Olivia Rothschild, and she’s a shipping heiress from
Boston. Now, why in heaven’s name a young woman of her vast wealth would be
searching for her perfect match via the mail, is entirely beyond me! But those
are the facts, my friends.
After asking a few discreet questions around
Headstone, I also learned this stylish young debutante was rumored to be
courting the matchmaker, himself, throughout their lengthy journey to Arizona.
Oh, the horrors! To the best of my knowledge, all of this occurred without the
oversight of a proper chaperone, such as a family member, a widow from church,
or the like. Albeit, Miss Rothschild seems to be traveling with quite the
entourage, to include no less than four individuals: her man of business, her
personal maid, her chef, and a young man purported to be her chef’s younger
brother — a groom-in-training or some such nonsense.
To make matters worse, one of our very own — a
local rancher’s wife who has requested to remain unnamed — arrived on the same
train after an extended visit to her ailing cousin back east. She claims there
is a horrid rumor making its way around Boston that a certain Miss Rothschild
had no choice but to flee the city or face utter ruin. If the rumor is to be
believed, the high-flying debutante was witnessed sharing a kiss with the
cousin of a most-eligible marquis. Alas, the two young men are not only known
as capital pranksters, but they could also pass as twins. Some suspect that
Miss Rothschild and her guardian might, in fact, have been plotting to entrap
the marquis into marriage. If such were the case, their plot went seriously awry
the moment the marquis’ rakish cousin intercepted her kiss!
Upon further investigation, I learned that Miss
Rothschild and Mr. Branson have an “understanding,” one apparently that his own
brother, Colt Branson does not approve
of. He would have preferred his younger brother to follow agency protocol and
match their latest mail-order bride with the next hopeful groom on their
waiting list. Oh, the irony! Instead, it looks as if we have a case of a
matchmaker falling into one of his own velvet traps.
Be assured, I will keep an eye on this developing
story and report back the moment I have another juicy tidbit to share.
About the Book
Olivia Rothschild has made yet another
mistake. She tries to follow the advice of her social climbing Aunt Beatrice,
but she never quite plays the game of a debutante to her guardian’s satisfaction.
This time, she’s kissed the wrong man — in plain view of her biggest rival, no
less, who can’t wait to spread the scandalous tale. According to her aunt, she
must marry the man with haste or face complete ruin.
Jordan Branson and his brother run a
vastly successful mail-order bride business, but sometimes he grows a tad weary
of arranging everyone else’s happily-ever-afters and never his own. He’s in
just one of those moods when the wealthy heiress, Olivia, wanders into his
office, utterly distraught at what her life has become after the loss of her
parents. She’s desperate for a fresh start, far from the jaded social whirl of
the big city.
After a short interview, he decides any
man with red blood running through his veins would be overjoyed to court a
woman of her wit, kindheartedness, and beauty. However, he finds himself in no
terrible hurry to marry her off to the next would-be groom in line. Perhaps a
compromise might be in order — one that requires him to hold off selecting her
perfect match until her arrival in Arizona. He takes it a step farther and
personally accompanies her since he has business in that direction, never
imagining what perils of the heart the gesture would set in motion.
“Good. Let us at least shake on it tonight.” Without waiting for
a response, Miss Rothschild reached for his hand.
Jordan was so surprised by the feel of her warm fingers curling
around his that he acted on pure male instinct. He laced his fingers through
hers and brought her hand to his lips. “I give you my word, Miss Rothschild.
I’ll get you safely to Arizona. There you will help me renew my search for my
sister while I commence a search for your perfect match.”
Her answering smile warmed the
darkest, loneliest corners of his heart. He should have recognized it for what
it was — the smile of a spoiled, indulged debutante who’d once more gotten her
Instead, for the first time in a very long time, he foolishly tasted hope.
About the Author
Jo writes sweet historical and contemporary romance stories — with humor, sass, and happily ever-afters.
A typical day finds her with her laptop balanced on her knees, a fizzy beverage within reach, and a cat snoozing on her knees. He takes credit for most of what she does.
When Jo’s not writing stories, she’s reading them. She adores dashing gentlemen, resilient heroines with a sense of adventure, humorous sidekicks, dusty cowboys, bounty hunters, mail order brides…you get the idea.
She loves to visit with readers in her Cuppa Jo Readers group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/CuppaJoReaders/.
To receive a personal email about each book she publishes, join her New Release Email List at JoGrafford.com or follow her on BookBub at https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jo-grafford.
Plus you can read free chapters of many of her books on Wattpad.com/user/JoGrafford.