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Tag: Waterloo

The Ungrateful Scots of the Honorable Lady S—

arrival at coast

My dear Mr. Clement,

I have become aware the Honourable Lady S— of the wilds of the Scottish Highlands has been keeping rather to the drawing rooms and balls of London lately. It seems there has been some discontent in her lands far to the north by some people who cannot see the forest for the trees.

Lady S—, in her goodness, has offered to many of her very own clan, from tacksmen through to the lowest sub-tenant, fine land and a good livelihood fishing and kelping. All they had to do was pick up their belongings and stroll to the coast, where this easy living awaited them.

But no, the more short-sighted them, they fussed and dragged their feet. Her new factor, Gellar, had to encourage them to leave. He lightened their load (so they wouldn’t have to carry their roof poles all the way to the coast) by a few small fires. I’m told it was cold at the time, so the fires should have helped them. A few of the miserable villagers refused to go and were unfortunately burned inside the dismal hovels they called their homes. A few died soon afterwards. One can but try to assist them; they must be expected to make some effort.

Surprisingly, there has been some evidence of unrest from these villagers. It is unfortunate they could not just trust in the benevolence of their clan leader, Lady S—. She means only the best for them.

There has been talk she means to replace the villagers with sheep. Sheep give a much better income per acre than the villagers and their motley cattle. Unfortunately, some of the ingrates have been heard to mutter comments like “your sheep won’t protect you when the French invade your shores,” and other things—much too crude to repeat here. Sheep which have already been placed upon lands have been stolen in large numbers—they were returned, but only after large numbers of Redcoats were dispatched. The rude people have also have been complaining about the factor’s earlier setting of controlled (well, mostly controlled) fires to clear the hills of brush and scruffy vegetation. The dry, useless greenery had to be eliminated so as to improve grass growth before the arrival of the eagerly-anticipated sheep.

With the extra money generated by the sheep, Lady S— will be much better able to assist her clansmen in their lovely new villages by the sea—when they get over their temper tantrums and learn to be grateful.

But all this will have to wait until it is again safe for the good Lady S— to return to her birthright. I, for one, cannot wait to see what these “improvements”, for that is what they certainly are, will be.

Yours respectfully,

An Admirer of Civilized Economics

Whatever can be going on?

This little bit of dirt comes your way compliments of Bluestocking Belle Lizzi Tremayne. Sofia and Robbie’s story, called Somewhere Like Home: The Novella is part of the upcoming Bluestocking Belles’ Christmas anthology! The full novel is expected six months after the release of this boxed set! Watch for it!

You’ll find Lizzi’s details beneath the Bluestocking Belles’ Welcome menu item at the top of this page or find her at the links below the Extract!

scottish

Somewhere Like Home: The Novella*

From the Highlands to Waterloo—

                    can love prevail over fate?

1813, Scottish Highlands

When Robert refuses to become clan tacksman after his father, he is disowned and off down the road to build a life for himself and his beloved Sofia.

Sofia’s waiting turns to despair when her mother buys safety during the clearance of their village at Sofia’s expense, leaving her to the lusts of the laird’s son.

Rob emerges from the hell of Waterloo wanting only to see Sofia again…and his father.

 

Extract

Sofia turned away from the window as heavy footsteps sounded down the hall. “He’s gone, sir,” came a voice from the room next door.

She clamped her jaw tight at the voice of Gellar, the laird’s new man.

Sofia tuned her ears to listen as she drew back the bed curtains and pulled down the rumpled covers, then began to dismantle the bed-makings while trying to remember their replacement order.

“Are your men ready?” The laird said.

“Ready and keen, waiting with metal bins for their hot coals.”

Coals?

Sofia tried to focus on the unfamiliar bedding while still listening. Her heart grew chillier by the word. The bed not only had a straw mattress, all she’d ever known, but a canvas sheet, topped by a feather mattress. Which to tuck the sheets under?

blackhouse

“I don’t expect trouble. There should only be one able-bodied man in the whole village—the rest are off with the cattle. We needn’t worry about Gunn—he won’t be back until tomorrow.” Sofia stopped short, along with her heart.

Gunn? Did she hear correctly?

Then came the fat bolster at the head of the bed. She tossed it into place and fluffed it while she strained to hear.

“So, after we torch the village, we just stand back and wait or leave them to it?” Gellar’s voice grated as Sofia scarcely breathed.snow clearances

“Just in case any of the tenants have the brains to remember,” the laird said, his voice dripping with sarcasm, “you need to make sure they don’t take their roof timbers. They need to burn. I want the tenants gone and they can’t carry their timbers all the way to the coast. They can build with what they find there. Of course,” he chuckled, “there isn’t any wood for miles.”

Gellar laughed, and Sofia gritted her teeth to keep from shrieking.

She finally laid the sheet over the top of the bed, hands shaking so badly she had to walk around the bed several times to straighten it while the men continued.

“The crofts I’ve set aside on the shore won’t let them grow enough food to survive without working the beds and processing the kelp. At least they’ll stay warm while they’re burning it. The market for it isn’t as good as it used to be, but it’s still worth a lot to us. arrival at coastCertainly, more than the tenants and that blasted tacksman are paying in rents here. They won’t have the faintest idea how to fish, but they’ll figure it out if it keeps them from starving. Sheep on the hills instead of my erstwhile ‘clansmen’ will make us a fortune. As my dear lady believes, it will be a better life for them as ‘crofters’—an improvement.”

“For all of us,” Gellar said with a snort. “So, we start an hour before sundown?”

“Ideal,” said the laird. “Get cracking. You’re now my new factor. Make the most of it, ‘Factor Gellar’.”

Sofia flinched at the sound of clinking glasses, then somehow got the blankets on all anyhow and draped the elaborate tapestry ceremo­niously over all. Standing back, she surveyed her handiwork, waiting for her heart to stop racing after the heavy footsteps left the way they’d come.

She found another way back to the servants’ quarters, not daring to pass the open office door.scottish

Want to read more?

You’ll find the rest of the story in Somewhere Like Home: The Novella, part of the Bluestocking Belles’ next collection, to be published in November. Come along to our Facebook Event on 8 September to find out the title of this exquisite boxed set by eight of our Belles! We’ll be telling you more about each story and revealing the cover! We’ll see you there!

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*(and no, sorry, you can not see the cover yet!)

Lord Parkington Speaks Out

You’d think that all would be well, what with Napoleon now exiled to the distant tropical island of St. Helena, but Paris in July 1815 is a deuce of a mess. So now I must assist Lord Forgall, Wellington’s most secret spymaster, to quell any resistance while we get King Louis XVIII’s fat old backside firmly re-settled on the French throne.

“Of course, always glad to do my duty,” I told Lord Forgall (Forgall the Wily, as we diplomats call him). But under my breath, I added, “though we’d be a damned sight better off without that Irish fellow.”

The Irish fellow in question is Captain Stephen Killian. One of the Inniskilling Dragoons – they did their job at Waterloo, I’m not saying they did not, but like any other soldier, he’s only suited for rough and brutal tasks. So why on earth would he want to be a spy? Killian is a devil of a fighter in battle, they say, even though he’s not one of your huge, hulking types. He’s just of middling height, rather lean, and not even that good-looking. Average at best, easily lost in a crowd. Yet women fawn over him. Of course, they go completely giddy over any man with a strong jaw and a thick head of hair – let him cut a fine figure, and nothing else matters. Utterly frivolous!

Not that I would object to a touch of frivolousness in the lovely Miss Emma Forgall. Her inky black tresses and jade green eyes are fetching indeed, and her figure is perfection.  She’s got that cold and regal air, but her father likes me. Given time, she’ll warm up to me, too. One would naturally prefer that such a beautiful young lady not be aware of State Secrets—you know how the ladies love to chatter, bless them!—but her father insists that she is the most skilled cryptographer he has ever taught. Still, there will be no more of that, once she’s married to me.

I don’t deny I was dismayed when Wellington made such a fuss over Captain Killian’s “heroism” for standing his ground on that Parisian bridge that General Blucher was trying to blow up. Wellington took such a shine to him, he ordered Lord Forgall to teach the Irishman spycraft and code-breaking. Naturally, the particulars of that task would fall to his daughter, Miss Emma.

However, old Forgall told me that his plan is to pretend to take Captain Killian under his wing while ensuring that the fellow is an utter failure at the job. I’ve heard Killian’s a wild man in battle – so he hasn’t got the self-control to be a spy.  With any luck, he’ll be killed by that devilish Prussian assassin Wolfgang. I’ve seen Wolfgang dangling after Miss Emma, too, blast the big blonde brute’s eyes.

Maybe the two of them can slaughter each other, and leave Miss Forgall to me – now there’s a happy prospect!

One day, she will be mine. Until then, I’ll just have to keep my eye on her…

HER WILD IRISH ROGUE-coming October 2018

~an excerpt~

Miss Emma Forgall waved her fan lazily. “Where in Ireland are you from?”

“I’m from Macha’s Brooch,” Captain Killian replied, hands clasped behind his back and feet set sturdily apart. Somewhere in the back of the elegant Parisian ballroom, the orchestra struck up a tune.

Lord Parkington snorted. “Impossible. Macha’s Brooch isn’t a place.”

It’s a riddle, you fool, Emma wanted to say. Why wouldn’t Lord Parkington go away? Just because Emma’s father approved of him, that didn’t give him permission to act like he was her keeper.

She ignored him and thought about the riddle. In Celtic legend, the goddess Macha used the point of her brooch-pin to scratch the boundaries of the city of Ulster into the ground and made her vanquished enemies dig its fortifications for her.

Macha’s Brooch meant Ulster.

“Ulster is a great distance from Paris,” Emma remarked casually, watching Captain Killian’s face for signs that she’d gotten it right. “Where did you stop along the way, when you traveled here?”

He shrugged his wide shoulders. “We stopped in the home of the man who herds the cattle on the plain of Tethra.”

“The what?” demanded Lord Parkington, who still hadn’t gone away. The man simply never could take a hint. “What are you talking about?”

Another riddle. She was beginning to enjoy herself. Good thing she knew her myths – Tethra was an ancient guardian deity ruling over the waters, and the “plain of Tethra” was the sea. Therefore, the cattle of the sea were…fish. Captain Killian had stayed at the home of a fisherman.

“So your host was a fisherman,” she said coolly. “No doubt you had excellent fish for dinner?”

He grinned at her. “Most excellent fish.”

Right, again! Emma’s heart gave a little hop of excitement. She smiled back at him and asked, “And where did your travels take you then?”

“Simple enough,” replied Captain Killian. “We went over the Great Secret of the men of Dea,  down the Great Crime, across to the Land of the Red Dragon, to the Ford of Oxen, and then to Caer-Lud. Then on to Lutetia.”

“What nonsense are you spouting?” Lord Parkington howled. “Surely you can’t pretend that you understand him, Miss Forgall!”

Emma waved a dismissive hand. She knew her Celtic mythology and her ancient Roman history. Besides, it was worth it just to see Lord Parkington’s purple-faced frustration.

“So, down the Boyne, over the River Delvin, across the sea to Wales, and then through Oxford to London. And here you are in Lutetia—or, as we call it, Paris.”

“Exactly.” Captain Killian nodded. “Now tell me about yourself.”

About the Author

Saralee Etter is the author of three traditional Regency romances. Her next book, coming October 2018, will be HER WILD IRISH ROGUE. It is part of the LEGENDS TO LOVE Regency romance series, with a protagonist based on the legendary Irish hero Cuchulain. She is working on A SHORT SHARP SHOCK, the first book in a Victorian-set mystery series featuring sleuth Lucy Turner and her friends, William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

You can visit her on the web at www.saraleeetter.com

Artwork:

Portrait of William Cathcart, 1st Earl Cathcart,  by Thomas Gainsborough,

Duchess of Richmond’s Ball, by Robert Alexander Hillingford

Both in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons

 

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