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Tag: #scandal

Elopement, Assault, and Questionable Dealings

Readers are warned that this extract, from correspondence between Miss Amabel Pryke and her friend, Letty, was sent to the ‘Tattler’ by one Aggie Whitshaw, a maid employed in Miss Pryke’s house. We cannot be certain, given the source that the contents are genuine or complete, and so we append the maid’s own missive to assure you she didn’t write extract.

My dear Letty,

You will not imagine in your wildest dreams the most Shocking and Scandalous goings on we have had, and my poor sister Sarah actually Assaulted! Yes, it is true – poor Sarah was escorting her latest pupil to school, and planned to come and live with me, offering music lessons to the pupils of the same school, as a visiting preceptress. Well, the first horror was the accident on the road, some miles short of York, and Sarah so fortunate as to be taken up into the coach of Lord Hesterley and his bride, having broken a leg, Sarah that is, not his Lordship nor his bride.  They kindly took her charge on to the school as well, and brought Sarey to me. Such a handsome young couple, and so kind!  And there was poor Sarey, lying on the day bed and that idiot maid let in some fellow who said he was from Bow Street, and he started pulling Sarey’s clothes off, if you please, and accusing her of being Hesterley!  And his colleague apparently tried to abduct Sarey’s charge, thinking her to be Lady Hesterley. It turns out that Lord and Lady Hesterley were no such thing or rather, she was not Lady Hesterley at the time for they were eloping and Sarey perfectly aware of it, and not ready to give them away!

Well, later, the lady’s proper bridegroom, who turned out to be a most improper bridegroom if you ask me, and not just because he is older than sin and twice as wicked… where was I? Oh yes, he broke into the ladies’ academy and was hit on the head by one of the little girls there, and serve him right.

So when you tell me how boring it is in York, let me assure you it is nothing of the kind.

Your dear friend,


“So you see, Mr. Clemens, this is wot woz reelly going on when Lord Hesterley runned off with the heiress, affore there was such a to-do about how there was an attack on the yung cupple in London.  Oh, Mr. Clemens, does you think it might be a conspirrysee by the peeple wot said they was Bow St. Runners, trying to get their hands on Lord Hesterley’s rich bride, and that’s why they shot at him too? I read all about it in the paper, and then I remembered this letter wot my mistress got a few months before. Now you can see yore way to paying a pore girl a few guineas for something hot like this, can’t you?”

Aggie Whitshaw.

 About the Book: Elopement of Convenience

Laura is an heiress seeking to avoid forced marriage to her stepfather’s crony; Simon is an impoverished lord seeking an heiress. They plot to elope together, leaving Simon’s coachman, Ned, and his lady-love, Ellen, leading Laura’s stepfather on a wild goose chase.

Of course, things are never that simple … especially with Laura’s propensity for finding waifs and strays.

And of course, a journey shows the best and worst of people. Whether Simon and Laura draw closer and find love, or discover that they loathe each other cordially will be tested.

An excerpt~

Two couples on their way to Gretna, one decoy couple but planning to wed anyway, Ned and Ellen:

The two routes north

Ellen was not impressed by Manchester. Smoke hung over the ugly blackened buildings in a foetid miasma of foul feculence, making everywhere grimy. The grime settled on the skin, got up the nose with the stink of soot, and invaded the mouth with a gritty, sour feeling and taste.

“It’s even grimier than London,” she said, severely.

“It’ll be the mills,” said Grimshaw. He was not impressed either, but saw no point complaining.

“Ooh, Ned! It’s just like Mr. Blake’s pome!” said Ellen, who was a dissenter.

Fortunately Grimshaw was familiar with ‘Jerusalem’, which Ellen had quoted before, and was not, therefore, confused by a poem written by a dissenter, and not widely known outside the poet’s own circle. Not, that is, beyond the reasonable confusion of a plain man for the symbolism in the poem and its connections to the story of Elijah and to Revelations.

“’Dark satanic mills’ it is, me girl,” he said. “But don’t you go expecting me to lark abaht wiv a bow o’ burnin’ gold nor arrers of desire like some overgrown cupid, and how that would solve matters in any case beats me.”

“Oh, Ned, it’s an allegory,” said Ellen.

“I seen one o’ them at the menagerie at the tower, all big teeth and scales,” said Ned. “I don’t think an allegory set loose on the mill owners would help neither.”

And the couple learning whether they want to be a couple or not, Simon and Laura:

“My lord, I think it would be appropriate for you to be less business like about things and to … to start to woo me so that the marriage bed is less of a … a shock.”

“By Jove!” said Simon. “Well, if you don’t mind, I should like of all things to stop and remove that fetching, but provocative bonnet, and kiss you.”

Laura’s flush deepened.

“I believe I might like that,” she said.

Simon found a cart track on which to get mostly off the road and carefully undid the strings of Laura’s bonnet. He would have dropped it, but she took it firmly from his hand and laid it down.

“It is my only bonnet at the moment, my lord,” she said, sternly.

“Oh, yes, quite. My apologies,” said Simon. He cupped her chin in one hand and put the other behind her head to draw her to him, and brushed her lips with his.

Laura felt her lips cling to his, opening slightly and she reached up to capture his head. The kiss was lingering but fairly chaste.

Laura was faintly disappointed when it was over.

“I hope that did not disappoint?” asked Simon.

“Oh no! It was most pleasant,” said Laura. “I hope we might do it again … and for longer.”

About the Author

Sarah Waldock grew up in Suffolk and still resides there, in charge of a husband, and under the ownership of sundry cats. All Sarah’s cats are rescue cats and many of them have special needs. They like to help her write and may be found engaging in such helpful pastimes as turning the screen display upside-down, or typing random messages in kittycode into her computer.

Sarah writes largely historical novels, in order to retain some hold on sanity in an increasingly insane world. There are some writers who claim to write because they have some control over their fictional worlds, but Sarah admits to being thoroughly bullied by her characters who do their own thing and often refuse to comply with her ideas. It makes life more interesting, and she enjoys the surprises they spring on her. Her characters’ surprises are usually less messy [and much less noisy] than the surprises her cats spring.

Sarah has tried most of the crafts and avocations which she mentions in her books, on the principle that it is easier to write about what you know. She does not ride horses, since the Good Lord in his mercy saw fit to invent Gottleib Daimler to save her from that experience; and she has not tried blacksmithing. She would like to wave cheerily at anyone in any security services who wonder about middle aged women who read up about  gunpowder and poisonous plants.


Matchmaking and Secrets in Falmouth

Judging from this missive that went astray and was, er, rescued by The Teatime Tattler, bachelors in Falmouth best beware the designs of matchmakers.

Falmouth, 1811

My dear Hannah,

I hope you and Reverend Simpson are in good health.

Although I long to see you in person, I’m afraid that yet again I will have to put off my trip to Oxfordshire as Admiral Pridham is still rather tied up with naval business, so this letter will have to suffice. You wouldn’t think that a gentleman who has given up active service would still be embroiled in naval matters, but I suppose I must accept that in dangerous times like these with Napoleon rumoured to be poised to invade, an experienced naval man like my Priddy will be of value to the Admiralty.

But enough of sombre thoughts, let me move to the real purpose of my missive, which is to thank you for sending Sophie Turner to me. I am delighted with her. I simply cannot understand why her erstwhile guardian held her in such poor regard.

A View of Bath

The little that Sophie has shared with me about her past paints a dismal picture of her childhood, as have you when you recommended her to me. Indeed it must have been a blessing for Sophie when you arrived in Crawley and took her under your wing.

Her arrival in Bath did more for me than any amount of taking the waters, it was almost like having dear Kitty with me (who, by the way, is very much enjoying life as a naval officer’s wife in Deptford). Sophie and I attended the Pump Room every morning to join the gossip, I no longer needing to take the waters – ghastly stuff! We visited Bath’s fabric warehouses, which I swear are as good as any in London and I spent a great deal of money. Thank goodness the Admiral has deep pockets.

Despite her reluctance, I insisted on new dresses too for Sophie – the dear child needs to look the part as my companion. The lending libraries on Milsom Street are very good, I recommend them, and we indulged ourselves with all the latest novels.

Falmouth Harbor

As you can see, I am now returned to Falmouth and reunited with my Admiral. Alas, I hardly ever see him, so caught up is he with naval business. I planned to meet with him in Falmouth town for nuncheon this morning and took Sophie with me to show her the sights – would you believe that she has never seen the sea? Alas, just as Pridham arrived, accompanied by a certain Mrs Harris – an overpainted and encroaching creature in my opinion – poor Sophie fainted away. It took a feather from my hat to revive her and once I got her back home a dose of Daffy elixir soon set her to rights, so there is no reason for you to worry.

Between you and I, I am hoping to find a suitable match for Sophie here in Falmouth; there is a single young gentleman friend of my husband – not a naval man – yet I think he will do very nicely. I will write soon and let you know how things go on.

Your dear friend, Emmaline

About the Book:  A Bachelor’s Pledge

The woman who haunts his dreams

Secret agent Phil Cullen is upset when he discovers that the young woman he rescued from Mrs Newbody’s establishment has absconded from his housekeeper’s care without a word. Thinking he has been deceived, he resolves to forget about her… something easier said than done.

The man she wants to forget

Sophia Turner is horrified when she is duped into entering a notorious house of ill-repute. Then a handsome stranger comes to her aid. Desperate that no one learns of this scandalous episode, Sophia flees to the one friend she knows she can trust. With luck, she will never see her mysterious rescuer again.

But fate has other plans…

Months later, Phil is on the trail of an elusive French agent and Sophia is a respectable lady’s companion when fate again intervenes, taking their lives on a collision course.

Traitors, spies, and shameful family secrets – will these bring Sophia and Phil together… or drive them apart?

Heart-warming romance combined with action-filled adventure make this third book in Penny Hampson’s Gentleman Series a must-read for all lovers of classic Regency fiction.

Purchase link:

An Extract~

 After walking for a while longer and stopping in various shops to make some small purchases, Emmaline decided it was time for some refreshment. ‘The respectable tavern I told you about is just along here. I’ll bespeak us a private parlour and ask the landlord to send a boy with a message for the admiral.’

Sophia followed her employer into an old-fashioned but tidy-looking inn. Emmaline was obviously well known in these parts, for the landlord swiftly joined them and led them to a pleasant parlour. ‘My Annie will be with you in a moment, ma’am, and I’ll send my lad Jack to you just as soon as he returns from the stables.’

Before long, the boy Jack was sent off with a message to the admiral, who was visiting the custom house, and Emmaline bespoke them some savoury patties, meat pies, cheese, and bread. At Sophia’s look of surprise – for she was still replete from her breakfast – Emmaline explained.

‘The admiral will want something substantial, no doubt, when he joins us. The man neglects to eat if I do not prompt him. He left quite early this morning, and I daresay he barely broke his fast.’ She settled herself on a bench under the parlour window, which looked out on to the busy street. ‘Come, let us sit here, Sophia, where we can entertain ourselves by watching the world go by while we wait.’

Sophia took off her hat and sat down at the other end of the bench, so that she and Emmaline both had a view of the bustle outside through the salt-encrusted windows. Emmaline commented on the uniforms passing by, pointing out the different ranks to a mystified Sophia.

‘See that gentleman there with an epaulette on each shoulder? He has made post and commands a ship. His companion has also earned his own command but has less seniority. Now, how do I know that, Sophia?’

Sophia watched as the two officers walked past, feeling guilty at making such close and unseemly observations of them. ‘Erm… Oh, I see it now. He only wears an epaulette on his right shoulder.’

‘Very good.’ Emmaline smiled. ‘We shall make a naval wife of you yet, my dear.’

Sophia smiled but said nothing.

The food was brought in, but the ladies ignored it, in order to carry on their observations. Suddenly, Emmaline’s face brightened.

‘Ah, here he is at last.’ Her smile was quickly replaced by a frown. ‘Oh dear, now he will be delayed while he exchanges pleasantries. So inconvenient that she should cross his path just now.’

Sophia looked out to where Admiral Pridham was standing. He was doffing his hat to a smartly dressed female whose broad-brimmed hat obscured her face from view. She was accompanied by a young, dark-skinned maid carrying several bandboxes. There was something in the older woman’s attitude that seemed familiar. Prickles of apprehension ran down Sophia’s spine. The woman turned and Sophia saw her take the admiral’s arm. He pointed to the inn, and they both walked on together. As they drew closer, his companion’s face came into full view. Sophia’s breath caught in her lungs. Dear Lord, it was Mrs Newbody.

Sophia’s eyes lost focus, and her heart was pounding in her chest so loudly she was sure Emmaline would hear it as she clutched the table to stop herself from sliding off the bench.

About The Author

Penny Hampson writes history, mystery, and romance. Her first published novel, The Unquiet Spirit, a ghostly, romantic mystery set in Cornwall, was published by Darkstroke in 2020. Penny has also written a series of Regency romances because, as a historian, there is nothing she likes more than researching her favourite period in history and bringing it to life. She lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).


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