A bit about myself; Im tall, 6' 3 to be exact, im built big but Beautifhl don't consider myself overweight. There's a multitude of other random facts about me, but what's the fun in sharing them all now. Over 40 and Beautiful older woman ready friendship Burlington this time in your life you know where you are headed and want someone to head there with you:-) You are kind, loving, passionate and true to life. At least attempt being Hard to get lol. I do tend to move slow.
|Relationship Status:||Not married|
|Seeking:||I Look For Real Dating|
|Relation Type:||Single Ladies Searching Hot Tranny|
Bondage experience 27 white male in Lakewood. Bowls, boning, and positive.
I would like to start things slow. Im in the mood to treat a lady to a few hours of oral pleasure.
Miss Lesley Dalrymple had escaped the control of her vicious Uncle Hubert Stukely and his cunning wife Felicia when she came of age, but her younger sister Viola and her young orphaned nephew Sandy were not so lucky. Stukely is draining their fortune and abusing the child; Lesley sees evidence of missed meals and beatings with a riding crop. Stukely buys jewels for his wife which she gives to her lover; he seems unaware of their affair. The law prevents Lesley from taking Sandy from the Stukelys, because under the will he is left to his uncle's guardianship until one of his cousins marries and provides a home.
Lesley's brother is in the navy and not available. Lesley goes to an old friend, Burke Penhallow, for advice. The only solution that will work is for her to marry Burke so that he will have the legal standing to take Viola and Sandy away. Lesley thinks him a cad and a rake, but she marries him for Sandy's sake; however she insists on a marriage in name only.
Burke wants a real marriage and has sincere remorse for the rakish ways that gave him such a bad reputation. Burke presents a necklace to Lesley --a distinctively styled ruby heart. Lesley and Burke settle in together and form an uneasy but promising friendship. But bad Uncle Hubert is now broke and furious, and he sets in motion a plan to regain custody of Sandy -- and thereby access to Sandy's fortune. Very entertaining, very old fashioned, in that there's a lot more plot and a lot less wandering around in people's heads as they marinate in their emotions.
It's a different way of thinking; a man's control over his dependents and their property was practically absolute. Lesley was powerless to do anything to help Sandy by herself. There were no authorities who would have acted short of an outright murder.
Shows how much better it is for women and children to have a rule of law than a rule of men. Charlotte Gordon is the daughter of a wealthy mill owner. She is in her second season and she often causes talk by the scrapes she becomes involved in with her younger brother Neville.
Her father Fergus has taught her mill management but he wants her to marry into the aristocracy. It is his prime ambition, but he does really believe he knows what's best for her. He thinks marriage to the right man will settle her down women need to be settled down. Darcy Saltash, Marquis of Arundell, among others, offers for her and her father orders her to marry him. She doesn't like his cold arrogance or the way he mauled her about in the garden once "By God I would like the taming of you" - women need to be tamed.
She doesn't like his mistress, a divorcee names Mrs. Iris Holt who dresses all in black and drips venom to her. Darcy cannot marry Iris because the Prince of Wales has decreed he will not receive her, and Darcy is close to the court. Charlotte does, however, like his little daughter Pamela by his first wife, now deceased. Darcy does not really court Charlotte; he gives her jewels and other gifts she doesn't really want and that sort of thing, but he is very proud and autocratic in his ways, and does nothing to befriend her or endear himself to her.
He never tells her that he loves her. Despite her objections the marriage goes through. Darcy takes her and Pamela north to Arundell, his principal seat. After a few days he consummates the marriage, against her will. She does not want to have sex with him. She does not believe he loves her, but only wants her for sex and an heir. He comes to her bed night after night and she eventually learns to enjoy and wish for the sex, but she still hates his autocratic ways, and Iris is always there to flaunt their relationship and drip poison in her ears.
Darcy only says words of love to Charlotte in bed so she believes it is only desire that he feels for her. Fitz Rockingham, an old rival, wounds Neville in a silly duel, and Darcy is furious that Charotte went to tend Neville at an inn without leaving proper word of where she was.
Fitz begins sniffing after Charlotte, seeing that she is unhappily married and her husband is often absent with his mistress. However Charlotte knows her duties and begins to take a special interest in the woolen mill Darcy owns. It is managed by a vile creep named Albert Botts, who uses child labor but underfeeds them, underclothes them and works them to death. Charlotte knows he steals the food and finds that he's also stealing the money.
She turns an empty house on the estate into an orphanage dormitory for the children and sees that they are well clothed, well fed and work shorter hours, as is done in her father's mills. Botts a pedophile by our standards has his eye on 14 year old Martha so Charlotte makes her a maid in her own household. Charlotte's father Fergus comes up from London to see the recovering Neville; he sees her unhappiness and the deterioration in her health, and is shaken. Another regency that couldn't be published today.
Modern readers expect to be inside Darcy's head, but he's only seen from the outside. The Big Nonunderstanding comes from Darcy's pride; he won't explain himself but just issues orders. Sometimes the orders are nicely phrased and intended to please, and other times they are cold commands, but they are always orders, not requests. A modern woman would see this as an infringement on her own personal freedom as does Charlotte, and she resents it, but in her era women had to make the best of it.
Modern readers do not much admire this type of hero; his good qualities of intelligence, responsibility, bravery, etc. I did enjoy it, however, as a sort of period piece of 70s British regencies; between sympathy for Charlotte and irritation at the mores of the era, it certainly wasn't boring. Lady Sophrina Teal was widowed when her husband William, who had run away with her best friend, was drowned. She did not want to live in the dower house so she took a small cottage nearby. One day she meets an enchanting little girl called Kate.
Kate's father has left her in the country in the care of servants, without even a nurse or governess, and the little girl is terribly lonely. Sophrina has had no children from her marriage with William and she falls in love with Kate.
She spends a lot of time with her, loving and teaching her, and introduces her to her cousins and grandmother William's mother. Sophrina felt that the failure of her marriage must be her fault, and she is very relieved that Kate was born before she married William, as this shows it wasn't her deficiencies that made William leave her.
Kate's legal father is Ellis, Earl of Penhurst, but she is biologically the daughter of Sophrina's husband William , who had run off with Ellis's wife Lea.
William and Lea had been lovers even before he married Sophrina. Ellis knows he has a duty toward the child but he doesn't know how to be a parent. At first he resents Kate's growing dependence on Sophrina, but eventually he falls in love with Sophina. They become lovers and are just about to be married when William reappears -- Lea's body was never found, but he had survived the wreck. It took him months to recover from his injuries and to make his way back to England.
William says he want Sophrina back as his wife, to bear his heirs, but Sophrina is determined never to go back to him. However divorce is difficult; William wants a boatload of cash for it, and the scandal would ruin Sophrina's reputation and Ellis's diplomatic career.
It appears that this tenuously formed new family will be torn apart. I think this book exists so that the author could go into all the ramifications of obtaining a divorce in regency England, and I found this section very interesting.
I thought that emotionally its strongest point is Ellis's frustration at how to relate to this child who is his by law but not by blood, and its most moving moment is his realization that he loves Kate and it doesn't matter if her father was his hated rival and her mother his faithless wife -- she is Kate and that's enough. Miss Henrietta Tallant, a red haired freckled country hoyden, is goaded into a wager with her brother Giles and his friends that she will elicit a proposal from Marcus Devron, Duke of Eversleigh, the most standoffish eligible they can think of, within six weeks of her London debut.
Marcus also makes a bet with the members of his old Knights of Freedom Club that he will find a bride within four weeks and marry her within six -- he has nobody in particular in mind at that point.
At her debut, Henry sees Marcus across the room and contrives to crash into him. The next day Marcus offers for her because she will "amuse" him. Henry marries him but has no idea what marriage will entail. Her younger twin brother and sister Philip and Penelope, and their governess Manny whom Sir Peter Tallant, her eldest brother has dismissed for not being strict enough, and their dog and foulmouthed parrot all move in with them as well.
Henry knows that Marcus calls her my love and is kind, considerate, companionable, generous and protective, but she doesn't know that he loves her. His heir presumptive, Oliver Cranshawe, plots with the widow Suzanne Broughton, his ex mistress, to ruin Henry -- Oliver out of spite and revenge and to prevent Marcus's having legitimate heirs, and Suzanne to get Marcus back. Meanwhile Henry's brother Giles needs L3, to pay his gambling debts, which Henry gets for him by borrowing it from Oliver.
Marcus has warned her against Oliver and told her why, but she doesn't yet believe him. When Phil, Penny and Manny learn Henry is in trouble, they take to following her and they enlist Marcus's secretary James Ridley as well.
Henry, however, has finally gotten Oliver's number, and she makes a revenge plan of her own. This is a warm, funny and charming story of family, and a girl and a man who accidentally find they are with the only person for them. There are elements that are reminiscent of Heyer for instance, the family name Tallant from Arabella, some of the relationship aspects of The Convenient Marriage, and the kids and the dog from Frederica , but these characters are all lovable on their own, and the ending has the heroine playing a much more active role than Heyer usually gives.
They had gone there for Annis's marriage to Sir Richard Burham, but they were told Richard had been drowned at sea when going from Jamaica to Honduras on business. Their thieving cousin Ambrose controls their money as trustee until the girls are married. Annis decides to pose as Richard's widow to get control of their funds and give Elizabeth a season in London. Rather than taking up residence at their old home the Briers, they boldly go to Burham House in London.
Annis, as the widowed Lady Burham, is courted by Don Alonzo Rodriguez de Vega, who says he wants to buy back some land in Honduras to please his dying father, and Walter Ulverstone, an old friend of Richard's. Annis's sister Elizabeth is beautiful, but lost without her spectacles, which she does not wear in public. Her great love is books and learning, but the era forbids her an education -- the education in which her brother Laurie is not at all interested -- but she's not bitter about it, only wistful and eager to explore London's opportunities for knowledge.
Since she can't see anything, she seems shy and cold to people who don't know her. Walter begins as a suitor for Annis, more to help her for the sake of his old friendship for Richard than anything else. He gets Elizabeth to wear her glasses so that she behaves more like her true warm and friendly self, and falls in love with her. However in the meantime he has gotten himself engaged to Annis.
The parts about the family relations and the slow growth of the secondary romance between Elizabeth and Walter make the book memorable; the plot seems rather perfunctory, especially the ending. Nice differentiation of character between Annis who is impatient with reading books but not an airhead or an idiot and Elizabeth who loves to read.
Another regency that couldn't be published today as hero and heroine are not actually together until very late in the book, and there's no onscreen sex.
Rakish younger son and man of fashion Scott Lieutenant Colonel Scott Kendall grew up with Kit and was very fond of her as a girl, but when she came to London for her debut, he didn't recognize her.
The hero is a very unusual hero, a scholar with a burning interest in the age of chivalry that also in part live his fantasy. Olivia is the seemingly society bell with a mind that, before Gervase, has not been challenged. I consider this book a little known gem well worth looking for. When the widowed Diana Pentland returns from seeing her lawyer, she discovers a young, unmarried girl in birth pangs on her doorstep. Feeling compassion she takes the girl in and help her.
But Diana, who is already wondering how she will be able to support herself and her daughter on a small legacy, cannot figure out what to do with the girl. She is obviously of good family, and somebody must be looking for her. Great is her surprise when she is contacted by the lawyers of the girl's seducer and asked if she wants to bring up the child as her own. The girl remains incognito and so does the benefactor, dubbed by Diana as the Noble Client.
The allowance she receives will be enough for all three of them to live quietly in a small country dwelling. Live seems to have settled into a steady rhythm when the sudden proposal of Diana's neighbor makes her an offer. Feeling uncomfortable with the new situation, she decides to take a holiday and goes to stay with the rector's in laws. Her astonishment is great when she meet the owner of the nearby castle as this young man is the spitting image of her own stepson right down to his misformed little finger.
Has she now stumbled on the vile seducer or are there yet other secrets lurking in the shadows and demanding answer? I like this book very much, it's a riveting read and the persons are most well drawn.
This author can be somewhat uneven but I recommend A Speaking Likeness without reservations. Diana, the widow of a soldier and the mother of Susannah, has been left almost penniless, so when she rescues the very pregnant "Eliza", and an anonymous benefactor offers to pay her an allowance if she will raise the boy infant as her own son, she accepts that offer from the mysterious Mr.
The mother, who has never revealed her identity nor that of the father, vanishes, and Diana comes to love Hob as her own. Hob has a hereditary marker; one of his little fingers has only two joints. Diana accidentally comes into contact with a family that must be related to Hob because several of them have the same finger oddity.
As Diana figures out the mystery of who is related to who and how, she and Mr Wood now known to her to be Lord Grove fall in love. Good story of intricate family relationships. Mature, self-possessed, rational hero and heroine. Couldn't get published now hero and heroine don't meet soon enough; no deep POV; too many characters; not closely focused on the romance between hero and heroine.
She had loved him intensely and after his death she withdrew from life. Eight years later she is chaperoning her pretty niece Belinda, but not thinking of marrying again, even though she's only 25 and the people around her think it's time she moved on.
Sir Clayton Roche, a spendthrift rat, makes a bet with Mr. Ernest Pomfret that he can waltz with her, and he does so through a bit of a trick.
Having baited the hook, he then bets Ernest that he can take her wedding ring from her because Ernest, who becomes increasingly troubled about the disrespect of it, wouldn't bet that he could seduce her. Meanwhile Sir Gideon Parre, a widower himself, is seemingly pursuing Belinda, but when Charis accidentally gets caught in an undertow while bathing at Brighton, he rescues her. He is afraid that she may have wanted to drown herself out of grief. When Roche pretends that Belinda is in trouble and gets Charis to go with him to an inn, where he tries to rape her, Gideon rescues her again.
Charis has fallen in love with Gideon, but believes that he loves Belinda, because Gideon has with Belinda's connivance been using the excuse of courting her to spend time with Charis, knowing that Charis would have avoided him if she had known that he was actually falling in love with her. I liked this short form regency. I thought the author did a good job of showing the confusion Charis felt when she started to come back to life emotionally, and how she did not recognize Gideon's interest because she was not yet ready to.
The subsidiary characters are well drawn -- Charis's uncle is singlemindedly locked onto his research subject, Sir Walter Raleigh, and wants Charis to encourage a man who is an authority on Raleigh, but he does genuinely care for her even though he uses her and treats her as a convenience.
Sir Clayton is a sharp portrait of a totally self-centered man grown desperate for money to pay his debts and maintain his image, one who thinks it's OK to rape a woman he "loves" as long as he marries her afterwards. I have read several Ellen Fitzgerald books over the years, and enjoyed them too, but until I looked her up I didn't know she had written so many books under so many names.
I think I will enjoy tracking down some of her other titles. Twins Amanda and Richard Colby live with their Aunt Matilda Pettifor in Fox End, a rundown house in the country which Arthur Cogswell, an old friend of their father, had lent them, together with a small allowance to live on. At "Uncle" Arthur's death, however, they were left the cottage, but no money. They have been raised believing that they were gentry and therefore should not work for hire, but Amanda has been doing most of the housework and Richard and she have both hunted for good.
Neither she nor Richard participate in the social life of the neighborhood because neither has suitable clothing for calls, dancing, etc. Neither one is grown up; Aunt Matilda wasn't much of an influence and they have no friends other than themselves. Now, with no more money coming in, Amanda gets the idea of taking to the High Toby. They hock Amanda's last jewel, a gold locket from her mother, for the money to buy clothes to go to a local assembly. At the ball Amanda meets Lord Hawksborough Charles , who is on a visit with his mother, staying with an Earl whose awful food has given him such indigestion that by the end of the evening he can barely be civil, and Amanda overhears him complain about how boring the evening was.
Since that included dancing and supper with her, she is hurt and angry. Suddenly robbery seems like a good revenge. Amanda and Richard hold up the coach and rob them of a box of jewels. As they flee, Charles takes a shot at Amanda on her donkey and just barely misses killing her. Amanda and Richard are horrified at what they've done and they bury the loot and the evidence in the stable. In the meantime their aunt has called in a favor and gotten them an invitation to visit with a London family -- Charles's.
Amanda and Richard, sick with fear, want to give the loot back -- but how, without revealing the whole? Charles is engaged to Lady Mary, and believes she loves him, but is immediately attracted to Amanda. His sister Susan has been told all her life by her mother that she's ugly, clumsy, etc.
A fast read with some very funny scenes, as when Amanda tries to flirt with Charles, but has no knowledge of flirtation other than what she's read in novels and naively supposes that the sort of compliments men pay to women would be the right things for a woman to say to a man, and tells him that he has a fine leg and his eyes are like sixpences.
I like the little touches Chesney brings to subsidiary characters -- Lady Mary reveals herself to Charles as a greedy miss who never cared for him, despite her protestations, with just two words - "How much? We all knew she was a bitch, but until that moment, he didn't. Lord Nicholas Devlin is out to show a friend a surefire ploy for seducing young women -- he asks the girl to marry him, knowing that she will turn him down on the grounds of short acquaintance or whatever, but it will make quite an impression on her and make it easy to ingratiate himself later on.
Lady Bradamant Mount-Aubin figures out that it's a ploy and to his horror, she accepts him, and sets events in motion to make the engagement so public that he's trapped by his own device. Devlin is the younger son of the Duke of Chance. His dying demented father hates him and hated his older brother Charlie as well. Charlie escaped to India, where he married happily and had several children.
Then Charlie died of a mysterious fever; his wife, who was ill with the same "fever", recovered, though she lost the male child she was carrying at the time. Now she is returning to England with her five surviving children. The book starts out as a comedy of manners, then takes a left turn as these family problems appear, and Devlin and Lady Brad who are by now married are subjected to murder attempts. The motive and identity of the plotter isn't much of a mystery to anybody but them -- there's really only one person it could be.
Lady Brad is not a passive heroine; on their wedding night, Nick the accomplished rake says "Brad--I'm nervous, scared" and Brad replies, "I'm not" Later she gets kidnapped and escapes by using her wits; she pretends to the kidnappers that she's a Cockney maid, and promises to help them kidnap the real Lady Brad if they cut her in.
Meanwhile Nick is sitting home worrying. As Joe Bob Briggs would say, too much plot, it got in the way of the story. I didn't find it deep on the emotional level, but it was an okay time passer, it had its funny bits, and it was interesting enough to finish. I recall this book very well and I enjoyed it a lot. Brad is a slightly mature heroine who, due to an unexpected inheritance, gets to have her debut at a shockingly advanced age.
She has a lot of experience of rakes, not on personal basis but as the former governess to many a heiress courted by the desolute. She thinks she has heard every sweet talking scheme there is to make woman give up her virtue.
It's amazing what you learn from the sidelines. Brad has always had a soft spot for Nick, whom she considers not as bad as he's been painted, so is keenly disappointed that when the chips are down he behaves as badly as any other roue. I agree with Janice; the book feels quite a bit like two stories inexpertly spliced together, one about the rake that got his comeupans and the other a romantic suspense.
Either plot on its own could have made a nice story, together they feel quite confusing and neither got its due. Still, I have it on my keeper shelf and occasionally reread the opening chapters with enjoyment. When the story opens, Miss Verena Barrington is Verena's father Lorne is a drunken ex-actor whose looks, spoiled by smallpox, keep him from getting work. Her mother was a lady, but she died several years ago.
Her father has spent every last penny on gambling and alcohol and they are living in a tenement basement with rats. Verena has hocked the last thing she had to buy food, which her father ate most of, even though Verena is painfully thin and on the verge of starvation herself. Her father tells her that he can collect a gambling debt and make her a lady, as he promised her mother.
Verena is hungry, humiliated, and out of ideas. The new Marquis of Strafford's father and older brother were rakehells, killed together in a curricle accident. Justin is trying to pull things together and has sold off his own property to pay debts. Lorne goes to Justin with an IOU in his father's hand showing that his father had gambled away Strafford Priory and tells him that the debt will be forgiven if Justin will marry Verena.
Justin is unimpressed by Verena and repelled by the whole thing but it's the only way to keep the Priory; he marries Verena and leaves her immediately after the wedding to travel in Europe. While he's gone his Aunt Harriet takes Verena under her wing; some good food, a little instruction and some new clothes, and Verena becomes the toast of London.
Justin returns from France to find a beautiful young woman in place of the starved waif he rejected, and what's more, she has a suitor willing to marry her, and he reacts like the dog Oscar when he's had his bone snatched from under his snout. There's nothing at all new or remarkable about this book. It's competently written, it doesn't have any mistakes, it's not too modern, it's readable -- but it's dull because I've seen all these elements too many times before. I knew what would happen.
I read on, hoping something would be different about it, but there wasn't anything. When I had finished it, I was sorry I hadn't spent the time on something else.
At least it was short. The book is mislabeled regency; it's really a Georgian as it takes place before the French Revolution. Also whoever wrote the back cover blurb misspelled the hero's name. So I guess Fawcett didn't spend a lot of time on it either. Leigh Denning takes shelter overnight during a violent rainstorm at the home of Miss Alexa Eiseley.
Alexa had been closing up the house prior to leaving for Bath, and no servants remained in the house. No harm should have come of it, but in the morning as Leigh was taking leave of Alexa, Mrs.
Nettles saw them and she told her sister Mrs. Borthwick, and the two tabbies had a field day spreading gossip that Alexa had spent the night with Sebastian, Earl of Winslow. Leigh was mistaken for his uncle Sebby because Leigh aped his uncle's fashions and was wearing a many-caped driving coat of similar design to Sebby's.
Sebby and Alexa have been good friends for years, but neither one has a particular desire to marry anybody, let alone the other. However, with Alexa's reputation compromised, Sebby feels he should save her, so he comes up with the idea of a false betrothal; since he was the one identified in the gossip, it should be with him rather than Leigh.
Alexa agrees with the understanding that when the gossip dies down they will quietly break it off. Unfortunately for Alexa and Sebby, everyone -- Alexa's brother George, his wife Maria, Sebby's sister Lady Rowena and his mother Lady Winslow -- are so delighted with the supposed match that the engagement takes on a life of its own, and before they know it Lady Winslow is pressing for a date and has their wedding half planned. Sebby finds it particularly impossible to tell his mother, who thinks Alexa is a paragon and just the woman she would most wish to be her daughter in law, that the betrothal is a hoax.
But if it really is just a hoax, then why does Sebby feel so out of temper whenever another man comes near Alexa? This is a very pleasant light comedy of two stubborn people being lovingly maneuvered into realizing that they're right for each other.
Nice supporting characters, nice regency feel. It's another Chinese food read quickly forgotten , but I enjoyed it. Miss Vanessa Tarleton has good experience as a needlewoman; she mended and restored the valuable antique tapestries at her father's estate until he gambled away their fortune.
She has to find a paying job. Nicholas, the Earl of Stone, hires her to travel to Yorkshire to repair the tapestries. He is in the process of restoring his house to what it should be, but he has to be careful about money in doing so. Nicholas has a younger sister, Lady Juliana, and he hasn't quite noticed that the girl is growing up.
His neighbor, the widow Hewit, has him in her sights and is catty and condescending to Juliana, putting her in unflattering gowns and interfering with the servants to overfeed her. Juliana is unhappy, overweight and spotty; she asks Vanessa's help in improving her appearance because she has a crush on Nicholas's friend Sir Harry, who still thinks of her as a kid when he notices her at all.
At first Nicholas forbids "quackery" Vanessa has recipes for skin lotions and weightloss teas but Juliana, Vanessa and Katie the maid conspire and work on these things secretly. Vanessa even convinces Nicholas to let Juliana have a new wardrobe of more appropriate clothes.
Vanessa, when not occupied with meddling, works on the tapestries and notices some odd hard lumps in them. Odd kind of trapunto, she thinks. She also notices that the housekeeper Mrs. Murdoch seems antagonistic for no particular reason, and seems to have some small cash enterprises going of her own.
This was the most interesting Emily Hendrickson regency I've ever read. The characters in this book are a little less cardboardish, the research dumping is not as intrusive, and the style seems a little smoother -- plus I'm a sucker for any story that starts out with a heroine who's broke and has to do something on her own to rescue herself.
This heroine is neither feisty nor stupid; she just has backbone and dignity, and I quite liked her. I would give this a mild recommendation, particularly to those who enjoy period trivia. Not that I don't; I just don't like books where it takes over. I had vague memories of having read it before back in the day, but nothing specific except that it was "good". Anabel, Lady Wyndham is a young widow with three children. She had never had a season; her father had arranged a marriage for her with Sir Ralph Wyndham.
She had been fond of her husband and content enough in the marriage, managing her household and her three children William, Nicholas and Susan. Except for household and childrearing matters, Anabel has never been encouraged or allowed to do her own thinking or make any decisions for herself; the men in her life, first her father and then Ralph, made all the arrangements.
At the urging of her mother Lady Goring, Anabel and her family have come to stay with her and Anabel's young cousin Georgina in London. Anabel is still a young and beautiful woman, and Lady Goring thinks it's time she thought about remarrying.
Georgina is a "problem", however; she only likes two things -- candy and novels. The kids hate London; they have a governess instead of their mama giving them their lessons, they are not allowed to go out of the house alone and they can't go riding or play as they used to do, because life in London is so different.
Their only consolation aside from Susan's rescue cat Daisy is that their neighbor Christopher Hanford has also come to London. Christopher has been quietly in love with Anabel for years; since her husband's death, he's become her most trusted friend, her , and the kids love "Uncle Christopher" -- but she has never thought of him in the light of a possible mate.
I love this character; he is so well drawn, possibly the most self-centered man in England. Anabel loves her children, but he'd like to pack them all off to school; for him they're just in the way. Anabel feels a physical reaction to him that she never felt for her husband and she doesn't know what to make of it. He always says the right things, and he can elicit her surrender response by his skill, but he can't completely conceal the fact that it will always be All About Him.
What Anabel might want or need from him is irrelevant to him; she should think herself lucky that he chose her and gratefully accept what he can offer, as should the rest of the universe.
Christopher sees all this and is very hurt by it. Georgina sees Christopher and becomes infatuated with him. Anabel starts to see Norbury for what he is. The kids, especially Susan the strongwilled, decide to meddle. This is an extremely well written book -- all the characters are distinct individuals, even the kids and the cat -- yet it's done with a marvelous economy of words.
There is a gentle wry undertone throughout; the comedy scenes aren't overdone and the serious ones are thoughtful, not heavyhanded. She does a great deal with just a few words. This is the third in a series Charade of Hearts and A Father for Christmas but it reads like a standalone; if I ever read the others, I don't recall them.
Lady Caroline Cavendish, bored with her position as The Incomparable, meets a pleasant if clumsy old gentleman, the Earl of Blackmere, at Almack's one evening. Some time ago Caroline was robbed by the notorious Bandit King, who stole her money but sent her a precious black pearl in return, which she wears on a chain around her neck. The Earl seems to recognize this jewel. Lady Sefton writes Caroline the next day that she has made quite a conquest in the eccentric old gentleman, who is begging permission to call upon her.
He proves quite interested in her father's library and Caroline comes to look forward to having tea with him daily as he works on his self-appointed task of cataloging the collection. Lady Caroline decides to visit her old nurse in the country for a few days, with her companion and maid, Mlle Suzette.
During the journey they find that the hamper in the carriage contains not refreshments but a very wet baby girl, Poppy. Poppy's mother is dying of a fever and her brother Tommy, who does odd jobs in the stables, overheard the landlady conspiring to sell little Poppy to a broker who buys toddlers to be raised until they are old enough to be of interest to London's pedophile nobs.
Tommy took Poppy to the stables and left her in the carriage, but when he returned home, his mother and her tiny savings in the china teapot were both gone. Caroline has no idea whose the baby is but takes her in as her ward. Poppy loves to play peekaboo; Tommy had taught her to hide when anybody came around their tenement rooms.
One day in the park Poppy runs off and is fished out of the drink by Mr. Kendale, a self-made shipping magnate with the same very green eyes as the Earl. This was a pleasant read, rather like a Judith Lansdowne, in that all the characters are pretty nice, except for the odd villain or two, and their eccentricities are interesting. Caroline begins to grow from a spoiled and self-centered young lady typical of her class to someone with broader sympathies. I liked the sly humor in the way her companion Suzette gets her to do what she wants her to.
There is one honking great mistake at the very end, but this is set in RegencyLand and I guess it can be forgiven in a comedy. Miss Annabelle Quennell is the daughter of a poor country cleric, the rector of Hazeldean. Her father is quite nice and does genuinely care for her happiness, but her forceful mother believes that "the only thing we have in the bank is one beautiful daughter", so Annabelle must be sent to London to make a great match so that husbands can also be found for her three plainer sisters.
Her godmother, Lady Emmeline, the Dowager Marchioness of Eversley, has invited her and even had a London wardrobe made up for her in advance. Annabelle has been raised with strict notions of duty and obedience, and though she will miss her country home, she goes. The morning she leaves, the old gypsy woman Meg asks to read her palm.
Annabelle knows that it's all an act, but the old woman falls into a genuine trance and makes a prophecy that she will face danger. Upon arrival in London, Annabelle finds Lady Emmeline to be a grotesque old woman trying to look and act 30 years younger.
Jimmy is very popular with his drunken, wagering crowd, and in general thought to be a fine figure of a man. Annabelle wears the first of the gowns Lady Emmeline has had made up for her to the opera, and they assure her that she looks exactly as she should, but Annabelle thinks the neckline is way too low; no wonder people, including Lord Sylvester Varleigh, are staring at her. Varleigh has a mistress, Lady Jane Cherle, who aspires to marry him.
Jimmy aspires to Lady Emmeline's fortune. There was a raucous, boorish side to regency social life; it was never the fairy tale that many authors portray. Think of all those painted people in the background in "Princess Caraboo" -- they hardly ever turn up in other authors' books, but they're in Chesney. If you're in the mood for a deep point of view romance focused on hero and heroine, she's not a good choice. If you're in the mood for something short that just rockets along, skating over angst and humor alike, she's good at that.
I like the color and acerbic humor that she brought to regencies. Very satisfying ending as well. The ladies of Lattimer House were left penniless when Sir Henry died in a hunting accident the previous fall. Gratiana, Lady Lattimer, and her two daughters Rosalys the smart one and Daphne the pretty one are down to two servants, a cook and an elderly butler who are too old or too loyal to go elsewhere.
Their man of business has told them there's nothing left to do except sell the house before it's foreclosed on. They have been selling off jewelry and other items to keep the household going, but there's very little left.
Gratiana and Daphne have not taken it very well; it's Rosalys who has the gumption to bargain with tradesmen and do the maid's work. Lady Lattimer, however, has a couple of aces left. One is her pretty daughter Daphne, who ought to marry well, and the other is a Promissory Note, in which her late husband and his best hunting buddy the Duke of Kedwell made an agreement for a marriage between daughter and son. The Duke had two sons by two marriages; the first, the current Duke, is already married, but Major Connor St.
Cyr Viscount Dracourt, or Drax to his friends is available. When Rosalyn takes her grandmother's pearl ear-bobs to the butcher to trade for meat to feed St. Cyr, who is expected the next day, a boorish dandy mistakes her for a maidservant and attempts to molest her. A heroic young man dressed as a groom and speaking with a heavy Yorkshire accent pulls the dandy off her and dumps him in the mud.
Later that day when St. Cyr arrives Rosalyn is surprised to see that he's the same man who aided her. However he's clumsy and slightly dopey, tipping over chairs and spilling vases -- not the sort of man Daphne would want at all.
Ros of course quickly sees that it's a pose. I can almost hear those of you who have read this far chanting "Unknown Ajax! However, the family setup is quite different from Ajax and the book is a light comedy focused on the two leads rather than a novel about family dynamics.
So I would class it as an homage rather than anything more sinister. An pleasant enough read if the title error doesn't put you off , but nothing I would urge anyone not to miss. Miss Sophia Dalrymple, the daughter of a country clergyman, is an authoress in search of a patron to help her get her novels published. She and her father, who believes in her talent, have written all their relatives and connections, trying to get someone to use his influence, but to no avail.
At breakfast one morning Sophia jokes with her father that she has only one thing left to sell to get patronage -- her virtue. The Marquis of Carrisbrooke Charles has a minor property adjoining the vicarage, where his widowed sister Lady Amarantha Burroughs and her daughter Echo a beautiful but emptyheaded young lady with an amazing appetite live. Several years ago Sophia had seen Charles -- she had been up a tree stealing plums from his orchard -- but he doesn't recall the incident as he had thought her just some young country girl.
Since that time Sophia has daydreamed about him and has put him or aspects of him into her books. Charles is visiting his sister; to kill an empty morning, he decides to pay a duty call on the vicar. He takes a short cut through the vicarage garden and finds Sophia there. Sophia tells him that she is a writer and that to get his patronage she is willing to have an affair with him. Charles thinks it's pretty funny and strings her along I don't think we're supposed to believe he really means it.
He takes one of her manuscripts to his sister for an opinion and, somewhat to his surprise, she tells him it's very good. They invite Sophia to visit London with them so that she can enjoy the success of her book, which is to be pubished by Mr Murray as "By a Lady".
Echo blurts out the secret of her authorship and Sophia becomes a minor celebrity, but many people notice the resemblance between her hero and Charles. Just as things are going well, and Charles is coming to realize that he would like to marry Sophia, her father's revolting curate shows up to throw a spanner in the works. This is a lighthearted comedy perfect for summer reading.
It's like Chinese food -- I am sure I didn't remember it five minutes after I read it the first time and I likely won't this time either -- and even though there's nothing really new about it, it's a very pleasant read. This is stated to be the beginning of a Sparrow and Simon series, but there don't seem to be any other titles and this is the last published book by Elizabeth Law or her pseudonyms. Miss Sparrow Harvey meets Mr. Simon Adair when he sees her surreptitiously tossing food out a ballroom window to a mudlark, Lancelot Higgindrop.
Sparrow's improvident father has just broken his leg and the household is out of cash as his business investments mostly racing are at a low ebb. Marie Sinclair offers Sparrow L to go to Scotland and find out why a man calling himself Adam Stuart abruptly left her and did not write.
Sir Alasdair and Lady Agnes have one remaining grandson, a young boy named Peter, who is being tutored by Charles Roe. Sparrow also sees Simon hanging around with a mysterious lady named Aglae; Sparrow is suspicious of this lady's morals and her plumed hats. Charles is very charming and flirtatious with Sparrow, but he seems to have a touch of weakness about him. There is some mystery about him or what is going on at Craig Bothwell.
Quietly funny, charming, and had an actual plot. I'm sorry Law apparently never did more books with these characters. I wonder what became of her.
He summons them to London with the intention of marrying them off as quickly as possible to put an end to this annoying responsibility. Edward has had several painfully bad experiences with key women in his life and neither likes nor trusts females. Sylvie, a sunny perfect little blonde who falls in and out of love easily, looks forward to her debut and all the clothes, balls, flirting, etc. Rosalind has a bad limp; she broke her leg as a 5 year old and it wasn't set properly so that now one leg is shorter than the other.
She doesn't want fashionable clothes or a season; she just wants to be left alone in the country, where she can walk and ride in peace. The solace of her life is her music; she is a gifted pianist and singer. Sylvie is happy in London and "takes" immediately, but Rosalind and Edward dislike each other on sight. Rosalind hates being ordered around as much as Edward hates having his will questioned. Sylvie accepts Lord Standen because it will be such a brilliant match that will please everyone, though she really likes his younger brother Nigel Broome better.
Rosalind receives an offer from Sir Bernard Crawleigh, who sees beyond the clothes Rosalind chooses that disguise her voluptuous figure and who can tease her and make her laugh and even dance with him. Meanwhile Edward, who loves music, has begun to listen to Rosalind's daily solitary sessions in the music room, and hearing her play and sing, especially Burns's "Red Rose", begins to crack his distrust of the feelings he has begun to have for her.
Rosalind is beginning to have her own misgivings about her engagement to Crawleigh; how can she be so indifferent to Crawleigh's lovemaking when Edward's mere presence is enough to make her feel intensely aware? This is a classic, not to be missed. I've probably read this one a dozen times over the years and it has as much emotional impact now as it did the first time I read it.
Used copies are getting pricey; I hope this one's on Balogh's list for reprinting so everybody can read it. Miss Linnet Douglas had very little left to her when her parents died, so she has left Scotland behind to live with her distant cousins Lord and Lady Renfrow Chester and Anabel in London.
Lord Renfrow, a strongwilled and somewhat bullheaded man, decides that he can dispose of two problems at once -- Linnet will need a husband and it's time his nephew and heir Jarvis Renfrow left off his wild ways and settled down. Having little money, Linnet travels alone by stage from Scotland; the other passengers are the mysterious Mr. Kenneth Murdoch and a Mrs Faison and her maid. Faison is insatiably curious about her fellow passengers, and when they stop at an inn, she sees Murdoch coming in and out of Linnet's rooms he had brought her a tray of food because she was exhausted and feeling a bit ill from the stagecoach ride.
In London Linnet settles in with the Renfrows and they seem to like her very well. They give a reception to introduce her to society; Chester sees it as a step towards announcing an engagement to Jarvis. Faison has told Anabel's sister Ailsa a scandalous version of Linnet's behavior on the journey down to London.
Chester then tells Murdoch he has to marry Linnet, but Murdoch absolutely refuses. To Anabel's dismay, Chester accuses Linnet of being an immoral woman and throws her out of the house. Murdoch feels somewhat responsible for what happened; if he had sent a maid with that tray, the old bat would have had nothing concrete to report.
With nowhere to go and no money, Linnet has no choice but to accept Murdoch's offer to let her stay in a suite of rooms currently unoccupied that he has in Russell Square. Linnet is not Murdoch's mistress but of course everyone thinks she must be. Chester tells Jarvis that the marriage is off, and tries to force him to marry his airhead niece Juliet Ailsa's daughter instead, threatening to disinherit him if Jarvis doesn't obey.
Jarvis has by this time begun to like Linnet very well and to be very tired of his uncle's demands. Linnet's feelings begin to transfer from Murdoch to Jarvis. Anabel finally gets a backbone. This is an old fashioned trad. The author wasn't as up on the era as one could wish, and makes several errors -- Anabel is afraid of "germs" being brought into the house; Chester threatens to disinherit Jarvis from the title as well as his money; villains are pursued by "the police", Anabel and Linnet shop for new clothes and go from shop to shop buying ready-made gowns for Linnet; they take the carriage but they don't take a maid, so Linnet is left to walk back to the carriage alone when Anabel goes off alone somewhere else.
Usually mistakes like that would irritate me to the point that the book would be a wallbanger, but I kept reading to find out what would happen, or possibly just because the book was short I can't recommend hunting this one out, because of the errors, but it was an OK timepasser. Cecily is considered no competition for Prunella, since Cecily is several years older and has that unfortunate red hair.
Lord Higglesby-Smythe, a shy somewhat bookish sort, is in love with Prunella, but she isn't interested; her sights are set on more exciting suitors.
The Marquis of Ashford Geoffrey is plagued with two hopeless nephews -- Reginald Stonecipher, a dandy, and Sir Chesterfield Willoughby, a boor who borrows Ashford's horses without permission. Reggie and his mother Arabella have come to believe that the Stonecipher fortune is gone; Albert Stonecipher manufactures Stonecipher's Boot Blacking, but Beau Brummel has praised Bingham's, and now Stonecipher's brand is completely exploded.
Reggie decides he must marry an heiress, and he and his equally silly friend Jeeters Crimpson form a plan to pursue Prunella. For reasons of his own, the Marquis decides to sponsor Reggie and Jeeters into society. Ashford meets Cecily as well, and thinks what a nice girl, but nothing more. All persons assemble for a hunting party at Lord and Lady Throxton's country estate. The company is so appalling that Ashford has begun to really notice Cecily, since she is one of the very few sensible persons present.
Ashford becomes more and more exasperated with the whole business, and his only consolation is Cecily's company. This book is lots of fun. Cecily and Geoffrey are quite sympathetic, but it's the subsidiary characters that make this one. Reggie and Jeeters are in the mold of PG Wodehouse's young men, and there's a priceless elopement scene that made me laugh out loud as Reggie and the dog Spot or Blackie finally lose it.
It's rather amazing how differently two people can view the same book. I'm generally a fan of Summerville's writing but Sensible Cecily leaves me cold. I find the dialogue stilted and uninteresting, too much explaining compared to showing, the young men unappealing in the extreme and getting way more room in the book than I enjoy, perhaps because I don't find them funny but tiresome?
The portrait of Beau Brummel, supposedly a friend of Ashford, is unconvincingly drawn and I doubt a man renown for his wit would constantly utter such platitudes! This book commits the ultimate crime - it bores me!
Being neither fish nor fowl, she has only one friend there, the housekeeper Hester Hedgepath, a fan of anything naval. Cassandra meets Caliban, a mastiff belonging to Fulke Wolverham, who the dog is considered dangerous to all but his master, yet Cassandra can control him with ease, and in this way she becomes acquainted with "Lord Wicked Wolf", a guest of the Strathmores known for his foul temper and blunt manners.
Unfortunately Fulke's ex-mistress, Lady St Albans, is also a guest, and between her spite and the unwelcome advances of the son of the house, Cassandra is deemed unsuitable and thrown out on her ear. When her best friend Hester learns of this, she proposes that she combine her savings with Cassandra's small inheritance so that they can go to Brighton where Cassandra can pose as a well-off young lady and find a husband.
They carry out their plan and soon Miss Covington is the sensation of Brighton, meeting many eligibles, whom Hester details in a ledger which they may study to find the best candidate. Hester would like Cassandra to choose Admiral Sir Horace Wibberley, but Cassandra thinks he's quite too old for her, and the Admiral thinks Hester is a fine figure of a woman and astonishingly knowledgeable about naval matters since she agrees with him on everything.
Cassandra has never believed that Fulke is as bad as rumor has painted him, and Fulke finds himself in love for the first time in his life. This was a very pleasant way to pass an hour.
It has a light humorous tone to it which reminds me of Marion Chesney, except it doesn't have her sharp satiric edge. Anne is a wealthy heiress whose uncle Buckfast mailed her off to school and hasn't paid much attention to her since; now he has sent for her to join him in Yorkshire in preparation for her comeout. Anna Sayle is a charity pupil of unknown antecedents who feels she should take up a position rather than continuing at the academy, where she has been a sort of general helper for the past few years.
Anne the heiress is the more forceful of the two, and Anna the poor girl is the prettier. Neither one of the girls wishes to go into the situation immediately facing them without a summer of freedom first. Anne wants time to write a book before she is put on the marriage mart, and Anna longs for a little gaiety before she fades into a servant. Anne has the daring idea that they should switch places for the summer; Anne will go to France to be a sewing woman at the home of the de Lanuits, and Anna will go to Yorkshire posing as Anne.
Since no one there has seen Anne since the age of 8 and no one has ever seen Anna, it ought to work. On the way to France Anne meets an attractive young physician from Quebec.
She arrives in France to find a household in disarray. The baroness took up the role of invalid after the birth of their second child and the baron, denied his wife, took up with floozies in Paris.
The children have had a series of governesses, all seduced by the baron and packed off; the household is not being managed and the servants do the minimum. Meanwhile up in Yorkshire Anna is being showered with attention and new clothes, and is finding that Uncle Buckfast isn't quite the cold uncaring ogre Anne had led her to expect, while Uncle Buckfast is finding his "niece" all too attractive.
I liked this book very much; it is a very old fashioned type of book that probably would be unpublishable today, as it depends on nuance, a bit of humor, and the patient growth of relationships -- as opposed to the last two historicals I read in which the lead characters were banging each other by page It was unexpectedly light; I usually think of Laura Matthews's books as being concerned with more serious themes and situations, or themes handled more seriously.
Amelia is the Earl of Welsford's younger sister. She is intelligent and energetic, the sort of person who needs something to do in life besides enjoy herself. Her brother Peter is involved in war work, in that he keeps his ears open and reports anything suspicious to the authorities.
Amelia wanted to help too and has been flirting with men at social occasions for whatever information she can pick up. Peter's friend Lord Verwood Alexander was wounded in the knee and has given up his commission, but he too is doing work for the War Office.
Verwood is not he thinks facile in social graces, and has a sardonic sense of humor. Amelia thinks Verwood is a bit shifty and isn't sure he is who he says he is. Both gentlemen try to dissuade Amelia from information gathering as they're afraid she'll get herself in trouble. In the course of the social round they have met one M. Chartier, a young French emigre who has just brought his lovely and ingenuous sister Veronique to London; Peter falls for her.
Amelia is suspicious of Chartier, and the gentleman are also interested in finding out if he's a French agent or just another emigre. Meanwhile, Amelia, who has gradually come to believe in Verwood and has fallen in love with him, learns that her belief in him was founded on a lie he had told her when they were first acquainted. There are two major comic set pieces -- one when Amelia visits a woman whom she has brought out of London poverty to live on their estate, and finds that the woman who has a certain demeanor and suspiciously red hair complains, isn't appreciative, wants things, doesn't want to work and generally hates it there, and another when Peter and Verwood stage a moonlight spy hunt to satisfy Amelia's desire to be in on the game, and Amelia learns quickly that she really doesn't want to be running around in the dark in men's clothes getting shot at.
Amelia loves Verwood and agrees to marry him, and he promises that she will find an outlet for her energies when he goes into politics.
Amelia does have a real problem -- what does an intelligent, energetic young woman do when she feels bored and useless and unimportant in the world? The author treads a fine line between mocking Amelia and sympathizing with her. At the end I was left wondering if what Verwood can offer will satisfy an active spirit like Amelia's forever. Laura Matthews is a favorite author of mine and I recently read this book as well.
I enjoyed the premise and some of it is rather funny and, on a deeper level, also rather sad. Amelia is a character with little self-awareness and her views of herself and those around her are quite distorted. For instance, Amelia, thinking she's subtly questioning those she meet, put the pressure on people and is totally oblivious to their startled reactions.
Hardly top spying material! I had a lot of sympathy for this heroine, felt her frustration, but could not see a real solution for her. In a way this character is a person born in the wrong century and there is no helping that.
Like Janice I wondered if marriage to Alexander will be enough for her. Still, after saying that, Matthews knows how to tell a story and it's an enjoyable read. Miss Candace Stafford's Mom ran away with another man and died abroad when Candace was a child. Her aunt Emily and uncle Jonathan Trent, a country vicar, took her in and treated her as their own, but there was always that breath of scandal in her background. She has lived with them and their two daughters Thomasina and Theresa in a country backwater ever since, doing good works and trying to live down her mother's past.
Her brother Rob is off in the army somewhere and isn't a part of her life. Her only chance for a marriage appears to be Jasper Fairgood, a mama's boy. Harry Reynald is the younger brother of Damian, Earl of Doncaster.
Harry owes the Duke of Cardiff a gaming debt of 6, pounds; the duke forges Harry's vowel to read 60, pounds and presents it to Damian. Damian promises to settle the debt within 30 days and takes off to find his missing brother; Damian travels as a plain mister under his middle names, Edward Croyden. Candace has run across Harry in the woods near her home, after he's been shot in the shoulder by Cardiff's thugs; Cardiff wants Harry dead so that no one can dispute the larger amount of the IOU.
She takes him to a gamekeeper's hut, tends his wound, brings him food and agrees to sell his emerald ring for him to get him funds. When "Mr Croyden" arrives in the village, he knows Harry is in the area and he sees that Candace knows something about it. Candace won't trust him with Harry's whereabouts; he hasn't disclosed that he is Harry's brother and Harry has also said he doesn't want his brother to know where he is.
To me the most memorable part of this book is the background portrait of two of the subsidiary characters, Emily and Jonathan Trent. Jonathan is described as a short, slender, bald little man, remarkable only for his kind and intelligent eyes and his devotion to his calling. Emily had had a season in her day and surprised many by choosing him over handsomer and richer men. They are very happy together. The other characters in the book seem nowhere near as real as these two.
I laughed more at this than anything else as Bakersfield is a California town originally renowned for country music and two kinds of weather - hot and hotter.
Another enjoyable writer gone. Miss Megan Watkins, 17, is the very pretty daughter of a country vicar. Her mother had a London season in her youth, and she would like Megan to be exposed to a wider range of choices of men, so when Aunt Soames invites Megan to come to London as a guest to companion her very beautiful daughter Diane during the season, Megan accepts.
The lure for country mouse Megan is not balls or parties; it's the opportunity to visit bookstores and meet and talk with writers and poets. Megan is genuinely grateful and eager to be of use to her aunt and her spoiled cousin.
People are drawn to Megan because of her freshness, kindness and openness. Cousin Diane has her eye on Lord Atherton and it suits her purpose that Megan forms a fast friendship with his sister Jane, a rather plain but very likable girl. Megan overhears some personal remarks by Sir Morely Edgecumbe about herself not on the level of a Brandon Davis but still pretty disgusting things to say about a young and innocent girl , and so she's concerned when Edgecumbe pursues her friend Jane, who has never had an admirer before.
Jane knows her brother does not approve of Edgecumbe but she doesn't know the particulars and so does not know to avoid him. Megan has made a friend of Mr. Horace Parks, the noted author of The Castle of Otreto, and between them they foil Edgecumbe's plan to revenge himself on Jane's brother by causing bad gossip about Jane.
This is a nice restful book about a very nice girl with very nice friends; even spoiled Cousin Diane finds her match. There's no great drama and there's a lot of dry gentle humor.
It's mostly a story of three couples sorting themselves out. Miss Miranda Troy has gone through many interests. Her current passion is "improving"; having seen Blaise Castle's famous grounds by Mr.
Repton, she means to study landscaping and redo the grounds at her family's country estate. Miranda agrees to visit London with her mother if she may use the visit to further her studies.
Lady Troy hopes to make a match between Miranda and her friend Mrs. Tabitha Hastings's son Charles, and they go to stay at Mrs. Hastings's house in London. Miranda already dislikes the idea of meeting Charles. Charles Hastings is a noted gamester. He has reason to believe that Lord Everard is way too lucky at cards, and sets himself to discover how Everard does it.
He exposes Everard by winning his ring a "shiner", which Everard used to read the cards as he dealt them. One night after leaving his mother's house, Charles is attacked and nearly beaten to death. Miranda sees the attack from her window, calls out and the thugs take off. She brings Charles inside and hides him in her bedroom until he is recovered enough from his head wound to leave under his own power. As she practices this deception upon her mother and Mrs.
Hastings, Miranda feels worse and worse about it -- between hating the lying, fearing detection and fighting a growing attraction to Charles, she feels awful. Everard's thugs are still watching the house so Charles disguises himself as a woman in order to escape undetected. Each chapter begins with either a selection from Miranda's journal or Charles's book on gambling.
Charles is interesting because you rarely see a male character who is this genuinely fond of his mother without being a fool or a mama's boy; Sylvester is the only other one who comes to mind at the moment.
Miranda is interesting because these days you rarely see characters who genuinely feel bad about lying to others or deceiving their parents. It's a different mindset. A nice fun read, very trad. No huge laughs, but many little smiles. Today I read The Learned Lady by Joan Overfield, an Avon trad regency from , one of the ones with the very pretty watercolor covers. Miss Penelope Grantham is a serious scientist, but because the Royal Society does not allow women to present there, she has used the name of her brother Ulysses.
The Society has been pressing her to come to London and present her research but she's been stalling them off on account of the no female speakers rule; however now they insist and her 50 pounds per year grant is in jeopardy.
Daniel Warfield emigrated to America after his father Lord Burlington cast him out. When he returns to England he learns that not only has his father passed, but his two elder brothers as well, under what seems to him to be suspicious circumstances. He is now in fact Lord Burlington, though his younger brother Andrew now has the title because everybody thought Daniel was dead. Penelope needs a beard for her scientific presentations her real brother Ulysses is too "eccentric" to serve , and Daniel needs entree into the ton to pursue his investigation into his brothers' deaths.
Penelope's mother thinks Penelope needs a husband. All three descend on London to pursue their varied ends. I foundit a charming trad, pleasantly written, with pleasant characters. I wouldn't call it a memorable book, exactly, but it's a good read. I particularly enjoyed Penelope's appearance at a Royal Society meeting. The Duke and Duchess of Avondale Oliver and Belle had only been married a month when an estrangement developed between them. After the death of Mary in , Anne and William were reconciled, and four years later Marlborough was restored to favor; when William died in , Anne ascended the throne, bringing her favorite with her.
Her husband was already vigorously employed in the service of the crown. The War of Spanish Succession had broken out in Europe in , the immediate issue being whether the Spanish throne should go to the grandson of Louis XIV of France, who was one of the closest in line to inherit.
The underlying concern was, as usual, the maintenance of a balance of power in Europe, for France was threatening to achieve control over Spain and its extensive empire, as well as undue influence in British affairs.
The Whigs, especially, were determined to thwart French hegemony, and the Duke of Marlborough implemented this policy by leading the British in a series of stunning victories on the continent. The number of casualties in these battles was enormous, however; to quote Donald Greene in his splendid little book, The Age of Exuberance, "in its scope and ferocity, the War of Spanish Succession might be termed the first of the modern world wars.
By , the English were deeply divided over the question of continuing the war. The Whigs favored pursuing and consolidating their victories and argued that to withdraw from the war would be to betray their allies. The Tories felt that the war had already achieved its purpose and that enough blood had been shed; they accused Marlborough of wishing to acquire personal power and glory at the expense of the good of England.
Much talent was arrayed on either side--Addison and Steele staunchly supporting the Whigs, Swift by then an ardent advocate of the Tories; Swift, indeed, had the following to say about the Duchess of Marlborough: Both the strength and weakness of Sarah Churchill lay in her incredible persistence and strong-mindedness.
As a child the friendless Princess Anne was greatly attracted to the slightly-older Sarah Jennings, who was everything she was not: My promotion to this honour was wholly owing to impressions she had before received to my advantage; we had used to play together when she was a child, and she even then expressed a particular fondness for me.
This inclination increased with our years. I was often at Court, and the Princess always distinguished me by the pleasure she took to honour me, preferably to others, with her conversation and confidence.
In all her parties for amusement I was sure by her choice to be one, and so desirous she became of having me always near her, that upon her marriage with the Prince of Denmark in it was at her own earnest request to her father I was made one of the Ladies of her Bedchamber. What conduced to render me the more agreeable to her in the station was doubtless the dislike she had conceived to most of the other persons about her, and particularly to her first Lady of the Bedchamber, the Countess of Clarendon, a lady, whose discourse and manner, though the Princess thought they agreed very well together, could not possibly recommend her to so young a mistress, for she looked like a madwoman, and talked like a scholar.
Kings and Princes for the most part imagine they have a dignity peculiar to their birth and station, which ought to raise them above all connection of friendship with an inferior. Their passion is to be admired and feared, to have subjects awefully obedient, and servants blindly obsequious to their pleasure. Friendship is an offensive word; it imports a kind of equality between the parties; it suffests nothing to the mind of crowns or thrones, high titles, or immense revenues, fountains of honour or fountains of riches, prerogatives which the possessors would have always uppermost in the thoughts of those who are permitted to approach them.
The Princess had a different taste. A friend was what she most coveted, and for the sake of friendship, a relation which she did not disdain to have with me, she was fond even of that equality which she thought belonged to it. She grew uneasy to be treated by me with the form and ceremony due to her rank, nor could she bear from me the sound of words which implied in them distance and superiority.
It was this turn of mind which made her one day propose to me, that whenever I should happen to absent from her, we might in all our letters write ourselves by feigned names, such as would import nothing of distinction of rank between us.
Morley and Freeman were the names her fancy hit upon, and she left me to choose by which of them I would be called. My frank, open temper naturally led me to pitch upon Freeman, and so the Princess took the other, and from this time Mrs.
Freeman began to converse as equals, made so by affection and friendship. She was, however, a forceful advocate of her own beliefs, and there is little question that for several years she exerted a strong influence over the queen and hence over government policy. When the queen came to draw closer to the Tory position, symbolized by her acquiescence and participation in the secret marriage of Abigail Hill to the Tory Mr. What, for example, can the queen, after writing the duchess a letter accusing her of "inveteracy," have made of this reply:.
Upon receipt of this letter I immediately set myself to draw up a long narrative of a series of faithful services for about twenty-six years past; of the great sense the Queen formerly had of my services; of the great favour I had been honoured with on account of them; of the use I had made of that favour; and of my losing it now by the artifice of my enemies, and particularly of one whom I had raised out of the dust.
And knowing how great a respect her Majesty had for the writings of certain eminent divines, I added to my narrative the directions given by the author of "The Whole Duty of Man" with relation to friendship; the directions in the Common Prayer Book before the Communion with regard to reconciliation; together with the rules laid down by Bishop Taylor upon the same head; and I concluded with giving my word to her Majesty that if after reading these she was still of the same opinion as when she wrote that harsh letter, which occasioned her this trouble, I would never more give her the least trouble upon any subject but the business of my office, as long as I should have the honour to continue her servant; assuring her, that however she might be changed towards me, and how much soever we might still differ in opinion, I should ever remember that she was my mistress and my Queen, and should always pay her the respect due from a faithful servant and dutiful subject.
The final interview between the duchess and the queen is worth quoting at length for the light it sheds upon the characters of both:. I then went on to speak though the Queen turned away her face from me and to represent my hard case; that there were those about her Majesty who had made her believe that I had said things of her, which I was no more capable of saying than of killing my own children; that I seldom named her Majesty in company, and never without respect, and the like.
The Queen said, without doubt there were many lies told. I then begged, in order to make this trouble the shorter and my own innocence the plainer, that I might know the particulars of which I had been accused.
Because if I were guilty, that would quickly appear; and if I were innocent, this method only would clear me. The Queen replied that she would give me no answer, laying hold on a word in my letter, that what I had to say in my own vindication would have no consequence in obliging her Majesty to answer, etc. This I assured her majesty was all I desired, and that I did not ask the names of the authors or relators of those calumnies, saying all that I could think reasonable to enforce my just request.
But the Queen repeated again and again the words she had used without ever receding. And it is probable that this conversation had never been consented to, but that her Majesty had been carefully provided with those words, as a shield to defend her against every reason I could offer. I protested to her Majesty that I had no design, in giving her this trouble, to solicit the return of her favour, but that my sole view was to clear myself; which was too just a design to be wholly disappointed by her Majesty.
Upon this the Queen offered to go out of the room, I following her and begging leave to clear myself, and the Queen repeating over and over again: Whether I had ever, during our long friendship, told her one lie or played the hypocrite once? Whether I had offended in anything, unless in a very zealous pressing upon her that which I thought necessary for her service and security?
I then said I was informed by a very reasonable and credible person about the Court that things were laid to my charge of which I was wholly incapable; that this person knew that such stories were perpetually told to her Majesty to incense her, and had begged of me to come and vindicate myself; that the same person had thought me of late guilty of some omissions towards her Majesty, being entirely ignorant how uneasy to her my frequent attendance must be after what had happened between us.
I explained some things which I had heard her Majesty had taken amiss of me, and then with a fresh flood of tears, and a concern sufficient to move compassion even where all love was absent, I begged to know what other particulars she had heard of me, that I might not be denied all power of justifying myself. But still the only return was: And whether she did not know me to be of a temper incapable of disowning anything which I knew to be true? And that was that I was confident her Majesty would suffer for such an instance of inhumanity.
I shall make no comment upon it. The Queen always meant well, how much soever she might be blinded or misguided. As I suggested above, it is the political orientation of this work which sets it apart from all other autobiographical works by women. A large portion of this narrative consists of letters to and from various people, which the duchess adduces in support of her veracity or of the correctness of her interpretation of events.
The account begins not with her birth or parentage but with her acquaintance with the queen. Personal events ware revealed, if at all, only in passing; the queen writes, "I am very sensible touched with the misfortune that my dear Mrs. Freeman has had of losing her son, knowing very well what it is to lose a child" p. Such an orientation would not surprise us in a man; but Sarah Churchill was perhaps in a unique position, for a woman, to produce such a document, and produce it she did. Its very existence provides an interesting though hardly conclusive clue to the extent to which environment affects the central focus of an autobiographer.
Sarah Osborn was born in England but came at the age of nine to America, where she spent the rest of her eighty-two years. Her autobiography, some fifty pages of chill piety relieved by impassioned bursts of religious fervor, was written in , when the author was in her thirtieth year.
In her opening lines she states her reasons for writing, stressing her own unworthiness:. Having been for some years strongly inclined to write something of what I can remember of the dealings of God with my soul from a child, I now, being about thirty years old, attempt to do it; hoping it may consist with the glory of God, at which I trust, through grace, I sincerely aim: And the good of my own soul, as a mean to stir up gratitude in the most ungrateful of all hearts, even mine, to a glorious and compassionate Savior, for all his benefits towards so vile a monster in sin as I am: And for the encouragement of any who may providentially light on these lines after my decease, to trust in the Lord, and never despair of mercy, since one so stubborn and rebellious as I have been, has obtained it, through the sovereign riches of free grace.
Whose deep rooted enmity against thee and thy laws broke out into action, as soon as I was capable of any. The first that I can remember of actual sins, of which I was guilty, was telling a lie. And then that text of scripture often rang in my ears. So I continued for a while, as I thought, to delight in the ways of holiness. My goodness was like the morning cloud and the early dew, which soon passeth away; for when I was in my ninth year my father sent for my mother and me to come to New England to him.
And on board the ship I lost my good impressions, and grew vile, so that I could then play upon the Sabbath. But was convinced of that sin by an accident which befel me; or rather what was ordered by infinite wisdom for that end. For as I was busy in boiling something for my amusement, I fell into the fire with my right hand, and burnt it all over; which I presently thought came justly upon me for playing on the Sabbath day: She continues to yearn after goodness, however, and almost seems to feel that she can absorb it through physical contact; she tells, with a touch of the comic which is probably unintentional, how she would sneak up behind those she took to be good people to touch their garments.
But she falls repeatedly into misadventures such as this:. It being in the night, though the moon shined bright, I expected no other but to be drowned. Once I thought to get out, and pull the canoe to the shore; but tried first if I could reach the bottome with my paddle: And finding I could not, durst not venture.
Then I could see no probability of escaping death. So I kneeled down and prayed. Her first marriage is a subject she treats with evident ambivalence, for the young man did not meet with the wholehearted approval of her parents; and although she feels an almost reflex guilt about displeasing them, she continues to feel that their objections were not justified.
Her conflicting emotions are transformed into a kind of paranoia:. After I came home, I met with much affliction in many respects. It seemed to me that the whole world were in arms against me, I thought I was the most despised creature living upon earth.
I was then with child, and often lamented that I was like to bring a child into such a world of sorrow. Shortly after the birth of her child her husband dies. She becomes a schoolmistress to support herself, and experiences an extended period of doubt and despair; the following passage is a graphic example of the spiritual sophistry she engages in:. When Satan, and my wicked heart, had prevailed so far as to make me despair of the mercy of God, and verily to believe hell would be my portion, I was tempted to try to get the easiest room there: And as my time was over for doing his will, I had better leave off reading, praying, or hearing the word preached any more.
Finally, however, her distress is relieved; thereupon follow several pages of rapture, in the course of which she joins the church and has various mystical experiences at communion--experiences of which she states "it is impossible for me to describe the thousandth part of what I then felt" p. Then she has yet another lapse of faith, in which she is tempted to believe that "singing and dancing now and then, with a particular friend, was an innocent diversion.
Who did I see, besides myself, so precise and strict? By the time her second husband proposes, she has become older and wiser, and more attentive to practical considerations:. About this time I had the offer of a second marriage, with one who appeared to be a real christian and I could not think of being unequally yoked with one who was not such.
I took the matter into serious consideration. I foresaw there were difficulties which I must unavoidably encounter; and many duties would be incumbent on me, to which I had been a strangers: Particularly, in my being a mother in law to three sons, which my proposed husband had by a first wife. But after weighing all circumstances, as well as I could, in my mind, and earnest prayer, which God enabled me to continue in for some time, I concluded it was the will of God, that I should accept of the offer, and accordingly was married to Mr.
Henry Osborn, on the fifth day of may She and her husband are plunged into debt, which she sees as a trial of faith, a device of God to humble her:. I have often thought God has so ordered it throughout my days hitherto, that I should be in an afflicted, low condition, as to worldly circumstances, and inclined the hearts of others to relieve me in all my distresses, on purpose to suppress that pride of my nature, which doubtless would have been acted out greatly to his dishonor, had I enjoyed health, and had prosperity, so as to live independent of others.
The autobiography of Sarah Osborn can only be described as pedestrian. Its main interest lies in its depiction of the continual and almost schizophrenic swings between faith and doubt which sometimes attend the religious life and which must be a source of considerable torment. The autobiography of Elizabeth Sampson Ashbridge is one of the most fascinating of the autobiographies of Quaker women which have come down to us.
Some Account of the Early Part of the Life of Elizabeth Ashbridge 36 is highly atypical--not as the work of Mary Penington, with her relatively unstereotyped and fresh responses, is atypical, but in its peculiar fusion of the usual fare of Quaker autobiography with elements seemingly more characteristic of contemporary secular autobiography. Her interest in the subtleties of human interaction, her ability to portray character and depict incident in a lively, colorful fashion, and what might be called her sense of melodrama all serve to separate her from the reductive attitude towards things of this world that we have come to expect in Quaker writings and link her with the novelistic tendencies which are beginning to be more and more evident in secular autobiography; yet enough of the accoutrements of Quaker journalizing are present e.
The overall impression of the narrative is one of tension between a deeply religious woman who is willing to suffer and sacrifice much for her faith and a good storyteller with an irrepressible interest in the human drama and her own participation in it. This book was probably written sometime before , when she marries her third not second, as Matthews and Stauffer both state husband, since it ends with her widowhood after the death of her second husband.
The opening words hint at the rhetorical tension underlying this work:. My life having been attended with many uncommon occurrences, I have thought proper to make some remarks on the dealings of divine goodness with me. I have often had cause, with David, to say, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted;" and most earnestly I desire that they who read the following lines may take warning, and shun the evils into which I have been drawn. The "uncommon occurrences," the "dealings of divine goodness with me," all have the authentic ring of Quaker confessional writing, but by the end of the paragraph we cannot help suspecting that we are to hear a rather different species of confession, and that the "evils into which I have been drawn" are not going to be simply a youthful display of high spirits and a love of singing and dancing.
Her description of her childhood begins with the usual recounting of thoughtlessness and unperceptiveness; but instead of going on to describe spiritual doubts and searchings, it is transformed into something quite different as she plunges into a genuine human adventure;.
I was sometimes guilty of the faults common among children, but was always sorry for what I had done amiss; and, till I was fourteen years of age, I was as innocent as most children. About this time, my sorrows which have continued, for the greatest part of my life, ever since began, by my giving way to a foolish passion, in setting my affections on a young man, who, without the leave of my parents, courted me till I consented to marry him; and, with sorrow of heart, I relate, that I suffered myself to be carried off in the night.
My parents made all possible search for me, as soon as I was missing, but it was in vain. This precipitate act plunged me into much sorrow.
I was soon smitten with remorse for thus leaving my parents, whose right it was to have disposed of me to their content, or who, at least, ought to have been consulted. But I was soon chastised for my disobedience, and convinced of my error. In five months, I was stripped of the darling of my heart, and left a young and disconsolate widow. I was now without a home; my husband had derived his livelihood only from his trade, which was that of a stocking weaver; and my father was so displeased that he would do nothing for me.
My dear mother had some compassion for me, and kept me among the neighbours. Afterwards, by her advice, I went to a relation of hers, at Dublin. Her first contact with the Quakers is not charged with symbolic significance or portentous intuitions; she simply reports her negative reactions, allowing the reader to infer the ironic import of the encounter ironic in view of her subsequent conversion:. The relation I went to reside with was one of the people called Quakers.
His habits were so very different to what I had been accustomed to, that the visit proved disagreeable to me. I had been brought up in the way of the Church of England, and though, as I have said, I had a religious education, yet I was allowed to sing and dance, which my cousin would not permit.
The great vivacity of my natural disposition would not, in this instance, suffer me to give way to the gloomy sense of sorrow and conviction; and therefore my present restraints had a wrong effect.
I became more wild and airy than ever; my cousin often reproved me, but I then thought his conduct was the result of singularity, and would not bear it, or be controlled. Later she is tempted to convert to Catholicism; she goes to speak with a priest, who hears her confession:. When I had done, he took a book, which he read, and told me, I was to swear I believed, if I joined them. I shall not trouble my reader with the recital of its ridiculous contents. Finally, she meets a woman who encourages her, under false pretenses, to accompany her to Pennsylvania:.
I was ignorant of the nature of an indenture, and suffered myself to be bound. This was done privately, that it might not be found out. As soon as it was over, she invited me to see the vessel in which I was to sail. I readily consented, and we went on board, where there was another young woman, who, as I afterwards found, was of a respectable family, and had been brought there in the same way as myself.
I was pleased with the thought that I should have such an agreeable companion in my voyage. While we were busy conversing, my conductor went on shore, and, when I wished to go, I was not permitted.
I now saw I was kidnapped. I was kept a prisoner in the ship three weeks, at the end of which time my companion was found out by her friends, who fetched her away; and, by her information, my friends sent the water-bailiff, who took me on shore.
I was kept close for two weeks, but at length found means to get away. I was so filled with the thoughts of going to America that I could not give up the design; and, meeting with the captain, I inquired when he sailed; he told me, and I went on board.
Her dramatic pronouncement that she has been kidnapped is the key to her interpretation of the events. A sea voyage is often a symbolic undertaking, but the usual Quaker metaphor is that of a spiritual voyage or a pilgrimage; Elizabeth Ashbridge recognizes on some level and exploits the romance rather than the religious connotations of her embarkation.
During her passage, she thwarts an attempted mutiny and assassination, but despite this service she is betrayed by the captain into the indenture she thought she had escaped. Her master is cruel and evidently attempts to seduce her; she tells a friend, and when the tale returns to her master, he threatens to have her whipped:.
I was called in. He never asked me whether I had told any such thing, but ordered me to strip. My heart was ready to burst. I would as freely have given up my life as have suffered such ignominy.
Thus I came off without a blow; but my character seemed to be lost. Many reports of me were spread, which I bless God were not true. I suffered so much cruelty that I could not bear it; and was tempted to put an end to my miserable life.
I listened to the temptation, and, for that purpose, went into a garret to hang myself. Now it was I felt convinced that there was God. As I entered the place, horror and trembling seized me, and, while I stood as one in amazement, I seemed to hear a voice saying, "There is a hell beyond the grave. Here we have a vividly depicted scene, complete with snappy dialogue and stage directions; yet annexed to it is the temptation to suicide and accompanying spiritual revelation, which is practically de rigueur in religious autobiography a device which fictional autobiographers such as Defoe adapted to their own purpose.
I was not sufficiently punished. I released myself from one cruel servitude, and, in the course of a few months, entered into another for life; by marrying a young man who fell in love with me for my dancing; a poor motive for a man to chuse a wife, or a woman a husband.
For my part, I was in love with nothing I saw in him; and it seems unaccountable to me, that, after refusing several offers, both in this country and Ireland, I should at last marry one I did not esteem. Despite her deep ambivalence, however, her marriage seems to plod along serviceably enough at first.
Gradually, however, her interest in Quakerism increases, to the great distaste of her husband. Again, there is an ironic twist to her original aversion to aspects of Quaker religious practice:. When she was done, a man stood up, who I could better bear. In a contemporary novel, such a passage would be an unmistakable hint that the narrator will eventually become a preacher; and so it is in this account.
She still has many trials to suffer, however, before she is finally converted and publicly declares her commitment to Quakerism. At one point, for example, she gives an extremely realistic and vividly realized account of a temptation to theft which she barely resists:. Having been abroad one day, I perceived that the people, in whose house we had a room, had left some flax in an apartment through which I was to pass; at the sight of it, I was tempted to steal some to make thread.
I went to it, and took a small bunch in my hand, upon which I was smitten with such remorse that I laid it down again, saying, "Lord keep me from so vile an action. Eventually, however, she is overcome with the despair which often precedes conversion:. I thought myself sitting by a fire, in company with several others, among whom was my husband; when there arose a thunder gust, and a noise, loud as from a mighty trumpet, pierced my ears with these words; "OH ETERNITY!
This is shown thee that thou mayst confess thy damnation to be just, and not in order that thou shouldst be forgiven. The company thought my indisposition proceeded from a fright occasioned by the thunder; but it was of another kind. She withdraws into a state of profound melancholy, refusing to sing and dance, and fearing to go out alone.
During a visit to relatives she is converted. Reunited with her husband, she is subjected to his violent disapproval:. Before he reached me, he heard I was turned Quaker; at which he stamped, and said, "I had rather have heard she was dead, well as I love her; for, if it be so, all my comfort is gone.
Her husband tries every means he can devise to turn her away from her faith. He takes lodgings in the home of a man who is violently anti-Quaker. He forces her to walk eight miles to meeting, though he has a horse; when her shoes wear out she has to bind them to her feet with strings. He beats her and threatens to stab her.
But by now he has become an alcoholic, and there is little domestic peace. One day, when he is beating her, she cannot forbear protesting:. I broke out into these expressions: He went to Burlington, where he got drunk, and inlisted to go as a common soldier to Cuba, in the year I had drunk many bitter cups, but this seemed bitterest of them all.
A thousand times I blamed myself for making such a request, which I was afraid had displeased God, who had, in displeasure, granted it for my punishment. And so she is, in a manner of speaking, freed. She is later informed that her husband finally "suffered for the testimony of truth" p. A few months later he is dead.
Her final comment upon him is a tribute to her perception of the complexity of human relationships:. Having been obliged to say much of his ill usage to me, I have thought it my duty to say what I could in his favour. Although he was so bad, I never thought him the worst of men. If he had suffered religion to have had its perfect work, I should have been happy in the lowest situation of life.
I have had cause to bless God, for enabling me, in the station of wife, to do my duty, and now that I am a widow, I submit to his will. Perhaps it is not surprising that commentators have paid practically no attention to this little book, despite its many interesting qualities; for it is a true mongrel, difficult to categorize and tending to confute generalizations about various types of autobiography. But as a detailed portrait of social interaction and as a curious literary hybrid, I believe it deserves notice.
For if Laetitia Pilkington is, as Virginia Woolf would have it, "a. Scholars, after rifling her work for Swiftiana, generally discard the rest or perhaps retail a few racy incidents and then dismiss her as a minor poetaster and adventuress. Even Virginia Woolf, who treats her with great sympathy, describes her, as we have just seen, as "a very extraordinary cross between Moll Flanders and Lady Ritchie, between a rolling and rollicking woman of the town and a lady of breeding and refinement.
And perhaps no eighteenth century autobiographer is more sensitive to the implications of being female and in need of living by her wits in an era when such a combination of circumstances guaranteed notoriety and virtually forced a woman into compromises of one sort of another. As she herself sums up her situation:. But I have been a lady of adventure, and almost every day of my life produces some new one: I am sure, I ought to thank my loving husband for the opportunity he has afforded me of seeing the world from the palace to the prison; for, had he but permitted me to be what nature certainly intended me for, a harmless household dove, in all human probability I should have rested contented with my humble situation, and, instead of using a pen, been employed with a needle, to work for the little ones we might by this time have had.
Pilkington began life most respectably. Van Lewen, was a highly-regarded Dublin man-midwife; her mother was a descendant of the Earl of Kilmallock. By her own account she was a highly intelligent child, whit a prodigious memory, who taught herself to read before she was five.
Her precocity and diminutiveness secured her many admirers, and at the age of eighteen she was cajoled into marrying an impoverished clergyman, Matthew Pilkington, in the face of what was either ambivalence or indifference on the part of her parents. Because both the Pilkingtons, but especially Laetitia, were facile versifiers, they were cultivated by Dr. But the happiness and security of these early years were not to last.
So to bring him into temper I praised his ode highly, and threw my own into the fire" pp. Their life together became one of "subtle cruelty" p. Pilkington viewed me with scornful, yet with jealous, eyes. And though I never presumed to vie with him for pre-eminence, well-knowing he not only surpassed me in natural talents but also had the advantage of having those talents improved by learning, and was sensible the compliments I received were rather paid to me as a woman, in whom any thing a degree above ignorance appears surprising, than to any merit I really possessed, he thought proper to insult me every moment.
Indeed, he did not beat me, which some of the good-natured ladies have brought as an argument that he was an excellent husband. I was very desirous of going with him; but he told me plainly he did not want such an encumbrance as a wife, and that he did not intend to pass there for a married man; and that, in short, he could not taste any pleasure where I was.
As this was a secret I did not know before, I received it with astonishment; for amidst all his wayward moods, I ever imagined, till then, that he loved me, and that the many ill-natured speeches he made me were rather the effect of a bad temper than any settled aversion he had taken against me; especially as I observed he treated everybody with contempt, even persons every way superior to him the Dean alone excepted, to whom he paid even a servile complaisance.
And, though he now fairly plucked off the mask and let me see my mistake, I could hardly give him credit--so unwilling are we to believe truth when it runs counter to our wishes. When she follows him to London at the end of his year to accompany him home, she finds him involved in an intrigue which her presence does not seem to interfere with; on the contrary, he attempts to place her in compromising situations to justify his own laxity.
She is finally led to conclude that "I could scarcely after regard Mr. Pilkington as a husband, but rather as a man whose property I was, and who would gladly dispose of me to the best bidder. He finally maneuvers his wife into a divorce:. I own myself very indiscreet in permitting any man to be at an unseasonable hour in my bed-chamber; but lovers of learning will, I am sure, pardon me, as I solemnly declare it was the attractive charms of a new book which the gentleman would not lend me but consented to stay till I read it through--that was the sole motive of my detaining him.
But the servants, being bribed by their master, let in twelve watchmen at the kitchen-window, who, though they might have opened the chamber-door, chose rather to break it to pieces, and took the gentleman and myself prisoners.
For my own part, I thought they had been house-breakers, and would willingly have compounded for life, when entered Mr. Pilkington, with a cambric handkerchief tied about his neck after the fashion of Mr. Fribble, and with the temper of a Stoic, bid the authorized ruffians not to hurt me.
But his Christian care came too late; for one of them had given me a violent blow on the temple, and another had dragged two of my fingers out of joint. The gentleman, at the sight of Mr Pilkington, threw down his sword, which he observing, made two of the watchmen hold him, while he most courageously broke his head.
After this heroic action, he told me, who stood quite stupified between surprize and pain, that I must turn out of doors; but, observing that I was fainting, he brought up a bottle of wine, and kindly drank both our healths. He would fain have prevailed on us to pledge him; be we were not in a temper to return civility. Upon which he took my hand, and very generously made a present of me to the gentleman, who could not in honour refuse to take me, especially as his own liberty was not to be procured on any other terms.
Mr Pilkington kindly dismissed our guards, and assured us, as soon as ever he had obtained a divorce, he would with great pleasure join us together in holy matrimony. Pilkington offered to kiss me at parting, which mean piece of dissimulation, so much in the style of Jack Ketch, gave me the utmost contempt for the villian. Even allowing for what Stauffer calls her "novelizing her own life," 42 Pilkington must have been an unusually brutal man, and the bitterness towards him which pervades her book is eminently understandable.
So Laetitia Pilkington goes off to London in the hopes that she will find there more opportunities to support herself. The difficulties are enormous.
She enters into a number of relationships, the nature of which remains ambiguous, though Stauffer seems to infer that she was little more than a prostitute. But it is evident that much of her income comes from writing verse, which she does competently many examples are inserted in her Memoirs ; a little she publishes directly, some she ghost-writes for Lord Worsdale who passes it off as his own, and much is panegyric which she addresses to wealthy people with the hope of being rewarded.
At one point she opens a shop where she sells pamphlets and writes letters for a fee. But she is seldom far from hunger and hardship; she spends some time in prison, and she even considers suicide:. She makes plans to drown herself in St. We were let in at the back-door, by a servant in livery, to genteel house, where, on a sofa, sat a very handsome man in a gold brocade nightgown, to whom the young lady presented me, and said he was her spouse; the cloth was ready laid, and a cold supper on the table: The Memoirs actually take on a kind of life of their own.
They were written in three volumes and were intended to provide her with a source of income. As she states repeatedly, words are her stock in trade, her only negotiable commodity. When Samuel Richardson gives her some money, she praises him lavishly and adds:.
She refuses a drink because "having no other estate but my head, on which were hourly demands, it was by not other means my interest to destroy it" p. She is a conscious stylist and aware of the connection between her personality and her writing style:.
I am no Methodist either in writing or religion. Sometimes irregularities please; shapeless rock, or hanging precipice, present to the poetic imagination more inspiring dreams than could the finest garden.
I am, in short, an heteroclite, or irregular verb, which can never be declined or conjugated. But the book also interacts with her life on another level--by serving as a kind of literary blackmail; she warns that "if every married man who has ever attacked me does not subscribe to my Memoirs, I will without the least ceremony, insert their names, be their rank ever so high or their profession ever so holy" p.
At the end of the volume I, she promises that "if this volume meets with a favorable reception, I can assure my readers the next will be infinitely more entertaining" p. As her situation becomes more and more desperate, so does her writing. Towards the end of volume II her writing practically degenerates into gibberish.
By the time she reaches volume III, she is frantically stringing anecdotes and stories together, by a process which as she describes it is almost stream of consciousness:.
I have observed that the scent of a flower, or the tune of a song, always conveys to remembrance the exact image of the place in which they were first noticed. Well, therefore, in the relation of a story, where one circumstance insensibly brings on another, may a writer who scorns to deal in romance be led like me to digress.
If the reader thinks this little narrative is not quite in point--which now it is related I begin to find out myself--he may blot it out of his book if he pleases, but he shall not blot it out of my manuscript, for that would be to deprive me of a page, that is worth a crown to me.
But it is important that she complete this volume, which indeed was published posthumously; for, as she says, "It is the only legacy I have to leave my poor boy. When in the end she tells us that "poor Laetitia is become the football of fortune" p.
Though her suffering, perhaps, does not entirely excuse her occasionally questionable morality, it certainly gives it a context. I believe that her Memoirs would profit from a scholarly rereading, for they are by no means simply a mine from which we can extract a few choice Swiftian nuggets; for those interested in the situation of women in the eighteenth century and the forces that shaped the emergent class of women writers who depended upon the pen for their livelihood, there is no better source book than these Memoirs.
Donald Stauffer, who permits himself the pleasure of an occasional scholarly sneer, tends in general to be rather hard on female autobiographers; but it is Teresia Constantia Phillips who elicits his most envenomed attack. Comparing her with Laetitia Pilkington, whose autobiography appeared in the same year , he writes:. Manley for a mother and Colley Cibber for a father. But if Laetitia Pilkington has some agreeable traits, Con Phillips has none.
The reader is inclined to agree with the Gentleman of the Inner Temple, who, in A familiar epistle to the celebrated Mrs. Phillips, on her Apology n. Stauffer goes on to accuse her of foaming at the mouth, airing her dirty linen, and the like. He remarks in closing his discussion of her that "in this one instance, perhaps, the argument of the usefulness of biography in furnishing warning examples may hold true, for the figure of Con Phillips is indeed direful. Whence all this fierce condemnation?
There is no question that Con Phillips is capable of considerable viciousness. She will treat secretly with a new lover while still under the "protection" eighteenth century euphemism for sharing bed and purse of an old. Before its compilation into three volumes, her Apology 46 was brought out as a series of short pieces, which, as Stauffer gleefully notes, "offered magnificent opportunities for extortion.
Clearly Con Phillips was no saint; but then, neither were any one of a number of other autobiographers who stood ready to capitalize on the public taste for scandalous reminiscences.
Why was Con Phillips singled out for such unmitigated denunciation? It is hard to resist wondering whether her contempt for the male sex had anything to do with it. Surely no writer of the period is more sensitive to the double standard of morality and behavior and more bitter about its effect on the lives of women.
But here let us pause for a Moment, to remark the Baseness and Sensuality of the Perfidious Sex, and wonder at your strange Infatuation, ye credulous Fair! Though every Day presents ye some new Instance of their Baseness and Cruelty, still ye believe ; and what will certainly follow is --you are deceived ; for let the Beginning be ever so flattering, sooner or later, Thus will it end!
She may prostrate herself at the Feet of the Public; she may, with the utmost Humility and Contrition, confess her Offences; she may implore Forgiveness of an offended World; and, with the deepest affliction, take Shame to herself for any Scandal she has given them; but in vain!
Her concluding letter to Lord Chesterfield, who "jocosely recommended to me the Writing of the Whole Duty of Woman " p. She contends that condemning a woman for one false step "has ruined innumerable Women"--"this very tyrannic, unchristian Custom.
Her statement of her case is telling and succinct:. And really, my Lord, considering you are the Law-makers, and always seduce us to offend them, I think, in Honour and Justice, there should be some lesser Punishment than that of eternal Infamy affixed to a Crime in which you are the principal Aiders and Abetters, or else that the Crime should be equally odious in both; for at present the Thief is exempted from Punishment, and it is only the Party despoiled who suffers Death.
At one point an abbess "of a most philosophical Temper, and masculine Understanding" II, p. It was an Affair of Gallantry, he grew weary and left her ; no Matter what Sacrifice she has made to indulge him. In her letter to Lord Chesterfield she complains of being treated like a child by men, even when she is forty III, p. It is hardly surprising that she concludes:. To learn what engendered this bitterness, it is necessary to turn to the story of her life.
It is written in the third person, by a male narrator who claims to have known her for twenty years but only recently become intimate with her; but since the narrator knows a great deal about his subject, and since his writing is delayed when she becomes sick, it is easy enough to detect the author. When her father marries a cruel stepmother, she leaves home at the age of thirteen and applies herself to her needle as a means of support.
She quickly attracts the attention of a young gentleman "whose Reason as all who have the Honour of knowing him will admit was absolutely subordinate to his Passions in Matters of Amour; and whose peculiar Taste was for girls of that Age" I, p. She attempts to resist his superior wiles, but at last he inveigles her into his lodgings and proceeds to rape her:. One Day, that the King returned from Hanover, there were great Rejoicings and Fireworks, which Miss was invited, by her Lover, to see from his Window that fronted the Street: She accordingly went, though as I have heard her say not without inconceivable Reluctance and Horror.
At her coming in, he received her with all possible Marks of Respect, Tenderness, and Affection. He prevailed on her to sit down. She had been so little accustomed to Wine that it was easy to put such an Imposition upon her; and, no Doubt, the Liquor had the desired Effect upon her tender Head.
What Effect soever the Liquor had upon her, it was not sufficient to lull her into a quiet Submission to such a Proposal; and, upon his absolutely refusing to let her go, it put her in the most terrible Agonies: Tears and Prayers were all in vain; she was then in his Power, and he resolved to make Use of it. When her Coat was off, he tore away, with little Difficulty, what else she had on. Not knowing what to do, she continues as his lover; but within two months he tires of her and leaves her without support.
Before long she has run into debt, and finally she consents to a scheme whereby she is "married," in the presence of witnesses, to a man who already has a legal wife, "and by that means screen her from her Debts" I, p. Muilman, a Dutch merchant, becomes infatuated with her and wants to marry her; she tells him, she insists, her past history, which he assures her is not obstacle.
She refuses, and a good deal of the remaining work is taken up with the resulting litigation. The descriptions of her legal battles are so complicated and confusing that they were later to induce Jeremy Bentham to advocate reform of the English legal system. Her husband comes to appear Satanic--"being an exact Copier of his Original, [he] could not avoid his Defects, and, like him, disclosing the cloven Foot " I, p.
At first his behavior is " Proteus -like" p. But eventually he becomes her implacable adversary and at length remarries. At one point, he even agrees to pension her off if she will only retire permanently to Jamaica.
In other words, it is not long before she has taken a lover--and a lover who is so jealous that her life is made utterly miserable. She proceeds, understandably, to justify his suspicions and flee to another man.
From this point on, the stories of her numerous love affairs are interpolated in the long saga of her lawsuit. Tartufe was too much a Master of every ruinous Art necessary to engage the Affections of the Fair, to fail of Success in any Enterprise of the amorous kind: There was no Shape or Form but he could with Ease assume, that was liable to captivate the unwary Sex. If the Heart he was in Pursuit of, was to be won by the gay, polite and easy, he could be that Sort of fine Gentleman; if to be taken by Storm, the Soldier; were she devout, he good Soul!
Thus was his Genius fitted to every Foible of that weak, unguarded Sex. The story closes with a several-page itemized "Account" of the money she has paid out for him, ranging from "Hush-Money to her Servants, to prevent Letters and Meetings coming to the knowledge of Mr. Nonetheless, she is, like Laetitia Pilkington, "convinced of the Certainty of her being formed to make the best Wife in the World" I, p.
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