A Governess, plain but smart.
A Guardian, stern but oh, so attractive.
A pretty Miss with romantic illusions.
Can Rosemary win over the one and protect the other?
A midnight chase; woman in britches.
An evil abductor; a gloomy castle.
Throw in Vivaldi and some French philosophy -
And you've got it all!
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The rich are very rich and the poor are very poor.
She's an orphan: too tall, too outspoken, and with no fortune.
She wants to help poor girls in London's East End.
He's a rich man-about-town, trying to avoid marriage.
He wants to help her.
Can they help each other?
Will love grow where least expected?
A charming tale, told with wit and elegance.
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She's a widow, financially secure.
He's a womanizer who's never been told No.
But she does say No and goes off to make money in investments.
She's says she's happy. He's in the background trying to make her jealous.
But can money replace love?
A Regency story, told against the background of the developing railway technology and London of the 1830's.
but at the bottom of it all, a man and a woman
and an irresisistible attraction.
Scroll down to listen to the first chapter.
Dear Lady Imogen,
The Governor has given us the go-ahead to assemble in small groups of not more than 25, but we must still as far as possible practice social distancing. Do you think such groups are wise at the moment, and should we still wear a mask?
Virus Free and Staying That Way
Dear Virus Free,
In order to understand your letter, I have had to make a number of assumptions, for which I crave forgiveness. I have never heard the Christian name Virus before. Is it perhaps a derivative of Vera? And Free is a most unusual surname. Again, perhaps derived from Freemont, or something similar. In any case, be it Virus Free or Vera Freemont, you declare your wish to stay that way, from which I gather marriage does not interest you. Under those circumstances, you may wish to avoid Assemblies altogether, especially such small ones. It is even harder to avoid gentlemen in small gatherings than in large ones!
I presume you reside in one of the Islands where His Majesty has a Governor. This would, of course, explain your unusual name. You say the representative of his Majesty's Government is giving you this "go-ahead" for very small parties. Such an odd sort of permission! Have you and your friends proven yourself too rowdy for larger gatherings? And "the go-ahead" is such a curious turn of phrase! No doubt in the Islands the English language is under attack from the many inelegant local ways of speaking. I hope you will not allow this to become a permanent feature of your speech. A Lady is always judged by the elegance of her utterances, for as the great poet Horace observed, once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled. But I digress.
To come to your question. It is, of course, always wise to practice social distancing! Whether or not you are planning to marry, you will at all costs avoid close proximity with members of the opposite sex, lest you be thought fast ! Moreover, in any assembly, nothing is worse than being subjected to a frightful squeeze! Only last week at Lady Hammersmith's Ball I remarked to my dear Duke that I felt myself pressed on all sides. His response was that the only person permitted to touch me on any side was himself, and he would call out anyone else who attempted it. He then urged me into a corner behind the draperies and proceeded to press me in a very urgent fashion! Indeed, there was not one part of me that escaped his attentions! I need not describe to you my blushes when at last I could escape!
I recall my dear Mama talking of the fashion that pertained when she was young. Under their gowns the ladies wore enormous paniers or baskets over their hips, sometimes so wide they had to enter a room sideways! Whether it was to prevent themselves from close encounters with their preux chevaliers I cannot say. But if the need to maintain social distancing as you call it is imperative, perhaps it might be wise to re-introduce the fashion in your Island.
Coming now to the question of masks, I must say I have always enjoyed a bal masqué! There is something infinitely freeing about hiding one's face! To be sure, it often gives rise to licentious behavior, which though I have sometimes privately enjoyed, I cannot publicly condone. I urge you to enjoy the mask while you may, but do not allow it to lead you into behavior you will regret. But if, as I suggest, you wear paniers under your gown, that will be enough to depress any too close attentions!
Imogen, Duchess of Sarisbury
Dear Lady Imogen,
I hope you don’t mind giving advice to a man, but I have a serious question. I’m recently married and I’ve realized my wife has no idea about keeping to a budget. She knows how much we have to spend each month. I showed her the spreadsheet with mortgage, utilities, food, entertainment and clothing on it, but she always overspends on clothing. She’s constantly buying stuff on line. How can I get her to stop?
A worried husband.
There are elements of your letter that worry me very much. What on earth are you doing showing your wife the elements of your household budget on a sheet, even if it is spread out, presumably on the bed? That must be the root of the problem. For surely, if it has ink all over it, your wife will have the maids launder the sheet, and then the budget is lost. Can you not do it on paper?
But another part of your letter perplexes me even more. You say your wife is buying garments on line. You can only mean the washing line. My dear, you must know that if she is taking things off the washing line, she is most certainly not buying them. I only hope the line is your own, and not the neighbors! If she is stealing garments from your neighbors’ washing, your problem is much greater than the household budget. Is the poor woman suffering from a nervous collapse? Are the pressures of wedded life too great for her? If I may ask an indelicate question, are you too demanding of your husband’s rights? You are newly married. I remember the early days of my marriage when dear Ivo took up what seemed to be permanent residence in my bedchamber. I scarcely had a moment’s peace. It did not cause me nervous collapse, quite the reverse; I welcomed him with open arms. But perhaps I am made of sterner stuff.
My advice, then, is this: cease writing your budget on the sheets. Use paper. You will find it readily available in any stationer’s. Secondly, accompany your dear wife to a modiste’s salon. Gently explain that one obtains gowns from such establishments, not from washing lines. At the same time explain that your budget only allows for the expenditure of so much. If you continue to accompany her whenever she needs new attire, you will find the on line acquisitions will disappear and she will stay within the budget.
Good luck and persevere!
Imogen, Lady Sarisbury