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!
Scroll down to listen to first chapter
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,
It’s my 50th birthday next month and I fear my husband will do what he always does, which is buy me something he thinks I need, like a food processor, when what I’d really like is a diamond ring. I appreciate him trying but how can I steer him in the right direction?
Sick of kitchen equipment
London, 5th May, 1832
Your letter perplexes me a little, though I fully understand the sentiment. What on earth is a food processor? Do you mean a cook, though I do not see how one could buy one, precisely? It is true there was a disturbance amongst the ton when The Earl of Westchester apparently stole away the Baron Hutchings’ cook by offering her financial inducements. It actually came to blows in White’s, I’m told. But you know gentlemen and their stomachs! I declare that, after their horses, there is nothing more important to them. Our chef de cuisine, I might add, has a particularly good way of “processing” collops of veal, which my dear Ivo, the Duke of Sarisbury, enjoys very much. I blush to admit he says he likes the dish because the whiteness of the veal reminds him of a woman’s breast. He says this with a lift of his brow and a gaze at that part of my own body that I find quite thrilling. But I draw a veil over that.
But let us return to your dilemma. I must say at once that my experience with the Stock Exchange has taught me that gentlemen, while they are remarkably lacking in the ability to make sensible decision, need to feel the ones they do make are their own. You must by no means ask for a ring outright. You must implant the idea so firmly in his mind that he thinks he thought of it himself. This is the procedure:
At dinner, in the carriage, and of course in the bedchamber, should he be visiting you there, on any and all occasions, sigh and raise your ringless hand saying, I hear diamond rings are all the rage this year. Lady Jersey is wearing the most beautiful creation, but, of course, one of her many…er, gentlemen friends may have given it to her. Her husband has no taste. Unlike you, my dear! And smile engagingly at him. You will vary the wording, naturally, but the tenor will ever be the same. Then, after a week or so, refer to the specific place where a ring might be had. Garrard’s is, of course, the best. Have your coachman drive past their premises (just off Haymarket) on several occasions and draw his attention it. Oh, look, my dear. There’s Garrard’s. I believe that’s where Lady Jersey’s ring was obtained. Finally, about a week before your birthday, when driving past that establishment, drop your glove out of the carriage window and insist on descending to retrieve it. As a gentleman, he will naturally descend with you. You will not bother about the glove, of course. Let the driver find it. You will take your husband’s arm, press your nose against Garrard’s window and exclaim, Oh! how beautiful, just of all things what I should desire! Do look, my dear! Returning to the carriage (and not forgetting to rub the smut from your nose that pressing against the window will have inevitably produced), sigh and look down at your ringless hand as many times as you feel you can. That evening, and on subsequent days, take an opportunity to say, in a voice of wonder: oh, the rings in Garrard’s were so beautiful, were they not, my dear?
If, after all this, your husband is so obtuse as to not take the hint, he is really of no use to you at all. I should immediately go about following the lead of Lady Jersey and find yourself another … interest. But I shall leave advice on that until another time.
Good luck, my dear! I hope your husband comes up to scratch and you receive a ring, not a cook, for your birthday!
Imogen, Lady Sarisbury.
Dear Lady Imogen,
I am thirty years old, unmarried and with no man in my life. My only love is my cat. He is a big, strong Tom who gives full rein to his passions with all the females in the area. Should I be worried about annoying the neighbors, or should I be glad that one of us, at least, is getting some?
What would you do?
Bath, the 22nd of March, 1832
My dear What Would,
I admit to being very confused by your last comment. What is your cat getting? Do you begrudge him a few fish heads from the neighbors? Surely you do not wish to be offered them yourself? You talk about annoying them, and if you are in the habit of asking those around you for fish scraps, I can only imagine their sentiments. This unwholesome liking for cat food could explain your unmarried state. The man who enjoys the smell of fish on his beloved’s breath is rare indeed. My advice, my dear, is to leave your cat to his amorous adventures and pursue your own.
Clean your teeth, brush your hair, put on a fresh gown and petticoat (for you know how the smell of fish lingers), and sally forth. At your age, you do not need a chaperone and need not fear to attend afternoon concerts, lectures or exhibitions. Carry a slim volume of poetry with you at all times. To attract the attention of a gentleman, you have only to drop it near him, and when he picks it up for you (which if he does not, abandon him immediately; he is no gentleman), gently enquire if he knows the author. Whether he says yea or nay, hang upon his every word and treat his pronouncements as if they come from On High. No man can resist this. I guarantee success within six months. But give up your predilection for fish heads! No good can come of it!
Imogen, Lady 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.
York, the 10th of March 1832
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, your wife will have the maids launder the sheet with ink all over it, 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