Saturday, January 30, 2010

Getting the Regency Setting

Writing the setting use to be problematic for me because of my need to decorate each room to perfection, based on the style of the era but lately I’ve been inspired. The decorator in me wants to regale my readers with elements from the works of the master architects and the early interior designers so instead of filling my manuscript with tedious imagery from the works of Hepplewhite, Nash and Jones I’ve decided to post them here.

John Nash's Brighton Pavilion
The Blue Room at Carlton House

More of Carlton House

Luigi Premazzi

Luigi Premazzi

A lovely weekend to all,

Thursday, January 28, 2010


For chapters 1, 2 and 3 simply click on the number.

I believe this is one of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres's
Chapter Four

Eli was back at the Stuart’s in St James Square at ten the following morning and despite the unsuitability of the hour, he was immediately granted an audience with the distraught Baron.

“Lillian has been here,” the old man said once he and Eli were seated in his library, “And she was without remorse.”

“It matters not, for I’ve come to ask for Jaclyn’s hand,” Eli said with kind assurance.

“It’s more than I could have hoped for her and I thank you for it. Not many in your position would have granted one that had fallen as far as she such a turn.”

“I could hardly do less after the way she protected me,” Eli said in earnest. “She will always have a friend in me.”

“It’s been so long since I’ve heard someone outside our family speak well of her,” Lord Stuart said with sad eyes. “It’s all so fragile, isn’t it? And yet we take so much of it for granted.”

“That’s all behind her now,” Eli vowed.

“Thank you nonetheless, Ravensworth,” Lord Stuart said with offered hand and barely contained emotion.

Eli took his hand then the two parted ways. Eli stepped into the hallway where he was accosted by a pale, drawn Jaclyn, “I wonder if you could grant me a moment?” she asked.

He followed her to a little salon at the back of the house where she hurriedly shut the door before offering him a chair and taking the one directly across from his.

“Lillian has been here.”

“Yes, I know.”

“I was not permitted to see her but my mother said she admitted to her part in it so there is no reason for you to feel obligated, you see.”

“Did she also tell you that my Cousin Brian and Charlotte were the masterminds behind it?”

“No,” she said incredulously, “But then that cannot be for Charlotte loves and considers you a friend.”

“No, my dear. Her father loves my fortune whilst she loves my pretty and disloyal cousin.”

“And now she has ruined our reputations in order to marry where she pleases?”

“Yes, it appears so.”

“Surely you can’t mean you don’t know?”

“My only source thus far has been Brian and though I have lost all faith in him I saw the truth of it the instant he confessed.”

“But that simply will not do. You must go to Charlotte at once so you may have her side in this.”

“You and I will wed in the morning and I’ll endeavour always to be, for you, a good husband,” Eli said with patience over her clear denial.

“What aren’t you telling me?”

“There is nothing else but for you to make your peace with this friend.”

“Don’t call me that,” Jaclyn charged, “For you haven’t the slightest idea what friendship entails. I’m here attempting to see you well and you’re keeping vital, possibly injurious, information from me.”

“See now, that’s where you’re wrong,” Eli said with calm. “All I do now is to spare you hurt.”

“If it’s all the same I’d rather have the truth.”

“All right,” he said with heavy sigh and measured pause before repeating all Brian told him.

“With child?”


“And you do not want her explanation?”

“How long have you known Charlotte?”

“Nearly fifteen years.”

“And in all that time have you ever known her to take an uncalculated risk?”

“No, but I also don’t know her to be callous and unfeeling.”

“Jaclyn listen to me,” Eli said with steady sure voice, “We have been deceived by some of our dearest and no offered solace will justify it.”

“Are you very heartbroken?”

“I’m not able the feel much beyond my outrage at current.”

“I think you and I ought to go see her.”

“What’s the matter with you?”

“Here, mine is the natural reaction,” Jaclyn said defensively. “For heaven’s sake, you’re sitting there offering me marriage with your heart devastated. Surely, you see how troublesome that is?”

“Truth to tell, I’m more disappointed in my friend than devastated at the betrayal and as for the rest we must marry, for your family’s sake as well as mine.”

“You’re kind to say so but we both know that is far from the truth,” she said with a miserable smile. “You’re a young, handsome, wealthy duke and not even a scandal involving the bed of some long disgraced maiden will change that overmuch.”

“Perhaps, but you did save my life –”

“Barely that.”

“Yes, that. And since you did you are now responsible for me.”

“That hardly seems fair.”

“What has fairness to do with anything? We are friends, you and I,” Eli said with conspiratorial grin.

“Scarcely that –”

“Here there is enough of that. I trust you Jaclyn and with my title and fortune there are not many I’m able to. Besides, you think I’m handsome.”

“Oh, this is lovely. I’m here racked with guilt over you having to marry me and you’re laughing at me.”

“Just so you know going forth,” he said suddenly serious. “If we are to be happily married you are going to have to suspend your remorse at our beginning. In fact, starting now I want our foundation to be about something other than their manipulation and our acceptance.”

“All right, have you a suggestion as to what that ought to be?”

“Friendship is as good a place to begin as any I suppose.”

“There is irony in that I think for without what they did we wouldn’t have this trust to which we now cling.”

“What’s the matter with you?” demanded an incredulous Eli.

“There is nothing wrong with me. I just don’t want us deluding ourselves into believing something that isn’t. We know nothing of each other and can’t rightly call what we share friendship when all it is, is a shared wound.”
“You’re not an optimist are you?”

“Not in matters where I stand to lose so much,” she said with measure before surprising them both with a frank admittance. “There was a moment last night after I came to see you when I wondered what it would be like to be your wife and…”

“Go on tell me,” he prompted.

“It’s been so very long since I’ve allowed myself to even entertain the ideal of marriage let along with one so far out my grasp.”

He said nothing to this. He simply reached out his hand, palm up as an offered invitation for her to take hold. She understood right away and placed her hand in his. It was such a simple thing and yet it meant everything to her. He enveloped her hand in his, all warm and strong then he said, “Well within your grasp.”

“You are the kindest man,” she said with a damp eyed smile.

“Does that mean you’ll have me?”

“There is no one I would rather marry, but –”

“Brilliant,” he said with a smile all his own, “For I already procured the license and assured your father I would.”

“Please your grace –”

“Worth or Eli if you prefer,” he interjected once more.

“Eli,” she repeated indulgently. “I feel you ought to know precisely the sort of social ruin marrying me could bring about for you and any children we may have.”

“Because of the portrait you mean?”

“Yes, the fallout was tremendous and still persists.”

“It won’t once you are my Duchess,” he said with reassuring squeeze to her hand, “So now say you’ll marry me?”

“I’ll marry you.”

“Good? Now tell me where did you learn to paint like that?”

“Charlotte told you I painted it?”

“No, it was Brian.”

“I see,” she said with something like disappointment at Charlotte for having betrayed her confidence before answering his question. “I learned most everything from my mother and grandfather. She taught me watercolours and he oils but you shouldn’t worry I’ll bring shame to you for I’ve given it up.”

“You have?”

“Yes, I have in fact nothing remains of that period in my life except the damage done to my

reputation,” she assured him. “Not one canvas, paintbrush or drawing it’s all gone.”

“Not all.”

“You kept it?”

“I couldn’t bring myself to destroy it.”

“How did you come by it?

“I bought it at an open market in Kent,” he said almost apologetically. “I was struck by the honesty of your expression and wondered how a girl so very young could appear so knowledgeable. I’ve looked at it a thousand times and besides the obvious beauty of the subject there is an intangible that I’ve not, until now, been able to place…”

“Won’t you tell me what it is?”

“Light. It radiates from you and you captured it perfectly in your portrait.”

“It’s strange you should say so for after nearly five years of no drawing late nights, I put pencil to paper in an attempt to capture your light but was unable to.”

She stood then and took a few steps towards him as if in a trance, her eyes unblinking and discerning as she looked at his face from one angle then the next.

“I kept getting it wrong,” she said with scrutinizing fingers over his brow, “I thought if I could make a study of you. Learn the placement of your shadows and strip away your layers.”

She held his face cradled in both her hands upturned to her dissection. Fair Eli, with his strawberry-blond hair thick and wavy cut short in the style of a Roman Emperor, his eyes so dark blue they almost read as violet. He had a wide brow, aquiline nose and full soft lips that stood at odds with the hard lines of his chin, jaw and cheek.

His face was made up of brilliant contrasts worry lines at brow and forehead, laugh lines marking the corner of his eyes while a genuine intensity filled their depths. Jaclyn ran her fingers over the lines at his forehead and wondered for the first time what it was he had to worry about.

Eli could see the question in her eyes and was curious to know what on his face had so fascinated her and asked, “What do you see?”

“A good open face that presents well to the world but also holds more than it reveals All that and it’s beautifully symmetrical. You, my grace, are a very beautiful man,” she said candidly.

“Thank you, Jaclyn,” he said his face serene and unsmiling.

She now finished with her inspection let go of his face with every intention of returning to her seat, when he in one decisive move stood up. Eliminating the space between them and successfully turning the moment into something else entirely with a simple, “My turn.”

Take my care and love when you go,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three More from the list of 100 Women Who has Influenced Me

This time the designers who inspired me when I was a decorator and has stay with me now I'm attempting a career as an author.

Edith Wharton is a personal hero of mine and not only because she is a decorator and writer but because she was brilliant at both. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 for here novel The Age of Innocence and was the first woman to be awarded the prize. Her The Decoration of Houses, a manual of interior design was written with architect Ogden Codman and is until today a must read for all decorators. Read more about Edith here.

In 1902 she built The Mount, her estate in Lenox, Massachusetts, which survives today as an example of her design principles.


Nancy Lancaster, a native of Virginia who moved to England in 1926, She was instrumental in creating what is popularly known as the English-country look. This school of interior decoration is characterized by sun-bleached chintz, vibrant wall colors, a casual mix of furniture from various historical periods and an atmosphere of disheveled coziness. John Fowler, Mrs. Lancaster's partner in the London design firm of Colefax & Fowler, called it "pleasing decay."

Nancy Lancaster, Lady Tree said this of decorating a house 'It is usually a mistake to impose an individual's taste on a room that has its Conversely, to put very fine pieces of furniture in a room that is without architectural distinction is as absurd as wearing a tiara with a bathing suit.' She is worth knowing more about and you are able to learn some here or in Martin Wood's book Nancy Lancaster: English Country House Style.


Elsie de Wolfe, Lady Mendl, American interior designer, hostess, and actress. Ella Anderson de Wolfe was born in New York City on Dec. 20, 1865, and was educated in Edinburgh. She began her social career in New York and acted in amateur theatricals for fund-raising. As a professional actress from 1890 to 1905, she specialized in supporting roles.

De Wolfe took up a career in interior design at the suggestion of her friends Elisabeth Marbury and Sara Cooper Hewitt. Her first commission was the Stanford White-designed Colony Club in New York. De Wolfe’s foremost design principles were simplicity, airiness (utilizing mirrors and light hues of paint and fabric), and visual rather than stylistic unity. She helped change the fashion of interior design. She wrote the book ’The House in Good Taste’ (1913) and was a noted hostess. De Wolfe spent much of her life in France, remaining there during World War I to nurse soldiers, for which service she received the Croix de Guerre. In 1926 she married Sir Charles Mendl. She died in Versailles, France, on July 12, 1950. Read more about the brilliant Lady Mendl here at Architectural Digest Architects & Designers Design Legends.
January is near its end, how fares your New Years resolutions?
My love, my care,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Sort of Pulitzer for Bloggers

I was given the Superior Scribbler Award by the lovely Jenny. Thank you every so much my dear, it truly mean a lot coming from such a avid reader and decerning reviewer.

Here are the rules :
■ Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
■ Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
■ Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
■ Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
■ Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

Here are my nominees:

Krista Ashe



A lovely new award from Corra. Thank you so very much my dear, your support is invaluable and I appreciate it more than you'll every know.

Corra here in her own words about the award she as created:

There is such an amazing collection of talent out there, and I know I've only just begun to meet people. I'm pleased and honored to talk with you all and collaborate about the journey to publication. (Or simply to learn from you, as many of you are far beyond me in that journey.)

Please accept the 'Creative Writer Award' with no strings attached. You can post it within an awards page, sidebar, or new post; you can link it to me and pass it on to writers you know who host writing blogs, or you can simply read this note with my thanks attached and do nothing further. This is just intended as a gesture to further the premise 'writer' within 'blogger.' I'd love to see more writers acknowledged for the craft! Because we all are writers:

I've chosen these five authors pass this award to.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A little of the delicate relationship between writer and muse

Last summer, after two months of pure despair at not being able to write, my muse offers me this at a wedding of all places.
The Hesitant Betrothed, Auguste Toulmouche
There is a perversion that leads itself to the merry occasion that is the wedding ceremony for the desperately single that both fascinates and terrifies.

This delicious line would lead to my third novel Brunswick where the hero Lord Philip Joshua Latimer, the cousin of my first hero James happens upon a stunning red-head on the verge of murdering the obnoxious blushing bride who had ever so gently hinted at her sad unmarried state at damn near thirty though she was but twenty-five.

The murderous female is Lady Ursula Robinette a woman with whom Philip has shared a most tabulate history. She is best friends with his cousin James, was engaged to his cousin Nicholas and has been carrying on with Philip for nearly five year in her grandmother’s salon on Tuesday afternoons in away that can only be described as scandalously inappropriate.
The week bears possibility take my care when you go,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Born During the English Regency

The Philharmonic Society Turns 197 Years Old Today.
Now ten things you aught to know about The Royal Philharmonic Society.

 The Musicians by Caravaggio

1. The Royal Philharmonic Society is one of the oldest music societies in the world. It was founded in 1813 with the aim ‘to promote the performance, in the most perfect manner possible, of the best and most approved instrumental music’.

Concerto by Lionello Spada
2. The Royal Philharmonic Society organised the first regular public orchestral concerts in London and continued to give orchestral concerts through two world wars.

Bagpipe Player by Abraham Bloemaert
3. The Royal Philharmonic Society has always presented the work of living composers, most famously commissioning Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky all conducted their own works at Philharmonic Society concerts.

Bianca by William Holman

4. The Philharmonic Society received its Royal title in 1912 and enjoys the immediate patronage of Her Majesty The Queen.
The Merry Fiddler by Gerrit van Honthorst
5. The history of the Royal Philharmonic Society is enshrined in an archive of scores, minutes and correspondence. In 2002 this was purchased by the British Library in order to conserve it for the nation.

The Violin Player by Jan Lievens
6. Today the Royal Philharmonic Society seeks to create a future for music through the encouragement of creativity, the recognition of excellence and the promotion of understanding.

Music Lesson by Lord Frederick Leighton

7. The Royal Philharmonic Society activities focus on young musicians and composers, and through a series of awards and lectures it provides a forum for debate and an independent voice for classical music.

Musical Company by Jan van Bijlert

8. The Royal Philharmonic Society is a thriving membership society with members all over the UK and abroad. It is a registered UK charity.

Scene of Domestic Music by Rogier de la Haye
9. Members receive invitations to exclusive members' evenings, discounts from a range of musical organisations and the opportunity to attend a wide range of inspiring musical events.

Antonio Stradivari in his workshop by Edgar Bundy
10. Whether you are a professional or amateur musician, or simply an enthusiast, by joining the RPS you will help ensure a future for music.
All this information and the enter history of The Royal Philharmonic Society can be found here on the philharmonic's site.
May your week be filled with joyful noise and sweet harmony,

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ravensworth Chapter III of VI

For chapters one and two simply hit the provided links.

Marie-Denise Villers' ‘Young Woman Drawing’


Chapter Three

Less than a quarter of an hour later the two returned to the carriage with bad news only to discover that Eli was gone.

“We should never have left him alone,” Robert said heavily.

“Yes but where could he have gone?”

“I went in the servant’s entrance to see if I couldn’t locate the ladies Ward,” Eli said from behind them.

“And?” Warren said impatiently.

“They’ve been here,” Eli said before walking pass them to retake his seat in the carriage.

“Both the butler and Howard’s mama claims he and Lillian have gone to a house party in Brighton,” Warren relayed, “But the footman we bribed said they left here an hour or so ago with the ladies Ward in a hired carriage.”

“The upstairs maid told me something along those lines only she was convinced they had gone to Howe’s,” Eli said with amused smile.

“Let’s not be selfish,” Robert said with curious brow, “Share with us your amusement.”

“Come lads let’s not loiter,” Eli said without acknowledging Robert’s question.

“Won’t you tell us what you have uncovered?” Robert pressed after following Warren into the carriage.

“Would you believe I caused all this by underestimating Brian’s will?”

“You believe this is Brian’s doing?” Warren asked with concern.

“No, haven’t you been listening,” Eli demanded. “I am the root and he the instrument. I gave him cause and motivation out of a loyalty misplaced but that was yesterday. I see my error now.”

“I’ll remind you that he’s family and is dear to the woman you intend to marry,” Warren said with measure.

“And I’ve given her my word I’d leave him to her but I’m quickly losing patience.”

“Let us help,” Robert suggested.

“I want them located before this is made worse.”

“You mean to gather all the players and have their parts. Yes?” Robert asked.

“Just so,” Eli agreed.

A short while later the three separated outside Eli’s Park Lane home. It was his intent to change his shirt while his cousins unearthed what they could about Brian and the Howards’ misdeeds before getting word to Charlotte.

’Tis a pity none of them thought to call on Charlotte beforehand for had they, they would have discovered the uselessness of their efforts to stop what already was. As it turns out it had all been brilliantly planned by the lady herself and though the Howards and Wards were found a few hours later in Brian’s Fitzroy Square home the damage was already done.

All the necessary details for Jaclyn’s ruin were long made public, deliberately whispered within earshot of a few known gossips at Howe’s ball. Most of it with Eli’s name attached and vividly described – something about a secret liaison between the two under Charlotte and Jaclyn’s parents’ nose.

A matter that was made all the worst due to Eli’s absence from the evening’s festivities and by the morning, marriage was the only options available for the notorious duke and the disgraced miss.
Eli got no further than the second step of his centuries’ old Indigo Jones designed townhouse before he noticed Jaclyn’s maid Tessa standing in the shadows. She stepped forward once the carriage bearing his cousins pulled away her face pale and anxious then she said, “My mistress wonders if you could grant her a moment?”
Jaclyn was waiting in a hired hack just around the corner out the sight of prying eyes. Eli followed the maid who kept watch from a discreet distance. He climbed in, sat across from her in the serviceable carriage and searching her face by its dim light, his heartbeat rapid, her face serene.
The small space was made instantly intimate by his enormous presence. He seem just then a Norman Conqueror fresh from battle masculine, dangerous and virile. The very air changed at his attendance and Jaclyn’s silly little heart leapt with want for what it was he exuded.
“Thank you for coming,” Jaclyn said graciously, “And I won’t keep you above a moment but there was no one else I could turn to.”
“Whatever it is, I’m at your service,” Eli assured her.
“Then I pray you’ll be able to help. I need you to assist me in purchasing a husband. He need only be kind and cost no more than five thousand pounds.”
“It won’t come to that.”

“It has long been that,” she said sadly, “And for myself I don’t much mind, you understand, for the error was mine but I’m no longer willing to sit idly by while my parents pay for my indiscretion.”

“All right, leave it with me,” he said though he could think of nothing he wanted to do less and she rewarded him with a fierce embrace.

She in one swift movement bridged the gap between them to fling her arms around his neck with her eager grateful lips at his ear as she expressed gratitude. “And you needn’t take any heroic measures you know,” she said her breath crawling over his open nerves. “Any old body will do.”

At that proximity, she was an aphrodisiac, ripe and arousing, stirring in him a long seeded desired. Eli allowed himself to partake of her innocent offering, wrapping his arms about her and revelling in the feel of her while she was off happily rhapsodising about his generosity.

He memorized the smell and feel of her, cataloguing the delicious weight of her form there melded to his. All while his rapidly beating heart was being flooded by the frantic rush of blood, her touch provoked.

She was all warm and lush, her soft pale skin radiating the scent of exotic sweet almonds. He could feel her low melodic voice vibrating from deep in her to resonating on his receptive flesh along the place where their bodies touched. Eli held her dear, pulling her closer inhaling her essence.

Then she stilled in his arms suddenly aware of the liberty he was taking and embraced him in earnest. All her passion and compassion expressed in this one act then she with some emotion in her throat said, “There is nothing for it you know.”

“I do,” he agreed his voice warm and low as it crawled over her skin and rested on her bosom. It said something to him that she too felt some of what it was that held him captive and made it all the more difficult for him to release her. It took her pulling away some and putting a gentle hand on his face to finally give him composure enough to let her go.

A moment later, he watched, his heart in his eyes as she and Tessa drove away.

Eli returned home but only got as far as the portrait of Jaclyn in his antechamber. She lay there in a romantic setting with an open, honest stare looking at him. And then there was Brian, laying in wait by the dying fire and half-burned candles. He was striking, with a strong resemblance to Eli.

He was Michelangelo David to Eli’s Adam as painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. One eternally a boy on the verge of manhood encased in marble the other a man, made in the image of the divine, with his strong lines and powerful allure. Both fair haired, dark eyed and tall with wide shoulders.

“I didn’t realize you’d kept it,” Brian said with pointed gesture to the painting once Eli took the seat across from his.

“I could never bring myself to destroy it,” Eli said conversationally despite the clear menace of Brian’s presence in his private quarters.

“She’s very beautiful.”

“I always though so.”

“Did you know it was a self-portrait?”

“Is that right?” Eli continued with his usual ease to poor Brian’s mortification.

“Yes, she confided it to Charlotte and it was stolen from her studio shortly before you happened on it in the marketplace.”

“Shall I pour us a brandy?”

“I’ve come to offer you an explanation in hopes it will garner your understanding.”

“So is that a no to the brandy?” Eli asked with an easy rise for the cabinet where he kept the brandy.

“Do you mean to kill me, Cousin?”

“You ask me that though I’m the one ambushed, betrayed and left in ruin?”

“She’s with child, Eli. Surely, you see I could do no less.”

“Why are you here Brian?”

“You are the head of the family and without your support we will be cast into infamy.”

“On what sentiment am I to rely in order to muster this tender feeling for you and your predicament? Familial love, your honesty or perhaps I ought to take inspiration from your complete willingness to sacrifice all your goodwill with one blunt blow.”

“This was not done to spite or injure you but to appease her father who wanted no more than your fortune.”

“So this was done on my behalf then?”

“I realize you are not able to see that now but it is so. Charlotte and I love you Eli, we always will. On that you have my word.”

“Your word has no value to me Brian. I asked you and you swore –”

“How could I believe that you would give her up for me when the two of you have been friends a hundred years.”

“For just that reason,” Eli said simply. “Our arrangement was based on a long won friendship and I would have gladly given her up if it meant you could both find happiness but I already told you that. Didn’t I? And what of Miss Stuart?”

“Here she was reckless enough to allow that ruinous portrait out of her sight and you did put the bleeding thing on display –”

“I trust you’ve said all you intended.”

“It says something I think, that I cannot even move you to anger,” Brian said with an open sob.

“You’re making a spectacle of yourself.”

“I’m sorry for it.”

“You needn’t be,” Eli said apathetically with the decanter in hand. “Here, you didn’t say whether or not you wanted a brandy.”

“What can I do?”

“I don’t know Brian,” Eli said thoughtfully and without malice. “Loosing one’s honour and having one’s words without weight is outside my experience.”

With that Brian left and Eli rang for a bath then sat nursing his brandy, studying Jaclyn’s rendition of herself while it was readied.

He loved the painting right from the start and adored it all the more now that he knew she painted it.

Jaclyn returned to her room after meeting with Eli to find all traces of him gone, bloodstained sheets replaced by crisp white linen and the places he occupied only awhile ago, now barren. His absence filled her with a sort of despair and for a moment, she wondered what it would be like to be his wife.

She hadn’t thought of marriage, let alone marriage to a specific gentleman she would wish to marry in so long that she barely know how to process it. It set her at odds with herself and made her feel guilt for thinking of Charlotte’s fiancé as her own but she was saved from her wallowing in her shame by her loyal Tessa.
“Your father has just now sent a note round to Lord Warwick,” said a frantic Tessa as she entered with a tray of warm biscuits and hot tea.

“That horrid man who wanted us to pay him for the honour of his hand only so I could be mother to his thirteen motherless children?”

“Oh, miss...”

“Don’t fret, Tessa. I won’t insist on you sharing my awful end,” Jaclyn assured her, “For despite my reputation you are still a coveted lady’s maid and I’ll write you a brilliant recommendation.”

“And work for one those mean-spirited misses that scorn you in public? No thanks. Besides your Mama is dead set against you marrying a gentleman five years her senior.”

“Yes, well… it could very well be our only option.”

“Could we not simply return to France? It wasn’t so bad once we got used to missing everyone, was it?”

“No, I suppose it wasn’t but that’s for us to sort out in the morning.”

“What will you do about your Duke?”

“He isn’t mine Tessa,” Jaclyn said miserably.

“I was with you and saw your face after you had been alone in the hack with him.”

“It’s impossible. He loves Charlotte.”

“You forget I also saw his face as we drove away.”

“What will I do Tessa?” Jaclyn asked around terrified sob. “He held me with all the tenderness in the world his kind heart beating in his chest and I’m now without end. I can’t bear it.”

“Here, pet,” Tessa said with gentle hand, Jaclyn wrapped her arms around her truest friend and wept.

“What can I do?” Tessa asked once her tears subsided.

“You have done it,” Jaclyn said with genuine smile. “There is nothing for it. You go on to bed. I’ll be better in the morning.”

Tessa bid her goodnight with compassionate hand after seeing to the fireplace and turning down the bed, then she was alone once more with her worries. Left to wonder how she would see them all well without having to marry that lecherous Lord Warwick or poor Charlotte’s Fiancé.

She could think of nothing beyond what she had just proposed to Eli. She was at her end and was soon rooting through her belongs searching for what she did not know and then she found it. Her sketchbook and pencils, there in the bottom of her wardrobe wrapped in canvas and an old blanket.

She sat back on her heels and held then to her chest, her entire body shaking in anticipation. She hadn’t drawn one solitary thing in nearly five years. Not since the morning before what was to be, her début was ruined by her own hand.

Oh, when she thought of her poor Papa going with James to see her on display for himself and how he had returned without words, or colour in his cheeks before packing her off to his sister Gene in Provence. They had left her there for three years and had banished in her absence all her paintings, paintbrush and sketchbooks.

All of it exiled same as she, not that it mattered, for she had given it all up at any rate. Yet there she was on the floor by the fire, her frantic fingers trying to keep pace with her minds memory of Eli’s angular symmetrical face with its stunning eyes, ridiculously long lashes and full sensual lips.

She kept getting him wrong though, as the fire then the candles died. He was too layered for pencils and her compromised recollection she told herself as she set the pencils aside.

If only she could make a complete study of him. First in charcoal, so she could get the right contrast, texture and the true value of his light. Then once she had full understanding of his core she would pull him over canvas and bathe him in colour.

It felt good to draw again even if her muse was outside her reach. She was happier than she had been in nearly five years and that was all thanks to Eli’s gorgeous face. It had inspired her back to the thing she loved so and as thanks she had resolved to see him happily married where he desired.

She fell asleep with that thought and was roused a few hours later by her mother’s urgent hand.

“Your sister was here and has confessed to your ruination.”

“Why did she do it?” asked an instantly awake Jaclyn.

“She says it was to save us from five more years of you thumbing your nose at society while your family suffered the humiliation from the fallout.”

“I realize that as awful as it as been for me it has been twice so for those of you attempting to shield me from the ugliness so believe me when I say this hostile isolation is the last thing I desire. I hate having to brace myself before leaving the house and would do most anything to save you all from the shame I caused.”

“But you will not marry Ravensworth?”

“How could I when that would mean me betraying one of the only friends that stood by me through it all.”

“Jaclyn listen to me,” her mother with said before sitting on the edge of the bed and taking hold her hand. “This is dire.”

“Yes, mother, I know.”

“No, my girl, you do not,” the Baroness said with an ominous sigh before adding, “The whole awful truth has been made known to those in attendance at Howe’s ball and is now, as we speak, being spread through the ton.”

“Then I’ll marry Lord Warwick.”

“He won’t have you.”


“Yes, well he was at Howe’s ball last night and now he refuses to even set foot through our doors.”

“Then I’ll go once more to Aunt Gene’s.”

“I don’t know my dear,” her mother said with measure. “Your aunt may not be able to take you on with her own daughters to think of and gossip being what it is.”

“Yes, of course, how very thoughtless of me.”

“Are you alright my dear?”

“I’ll be fine, mother. I just need a moment to gather thought and ready face.”

“I shall leave you to it then,” her mother said with reluctant rise. “I’ll go see to Dorothea and the girls leaving.”

“Where will they go?”

“Lillian has made arrangements for them to stay on with Cyril’s mama.”

“That is it, for this I will have no less than the sight of her blood on my hands,” Jaclyn railed in something like a battle cry before leaping from the bed.

There was murder in her eyes has she rushed passed her mother for the door.

“Temper, temper,” her brother said with a staying hand from just outside her door. “All things in good time Jack.”
“You would deny me satisfaction James?”
“Not deny, but I'll ask you to exercise a little prudence,” he said with pointed look to her nightgown.
“Very well,” she said begrudgingly before ringing for Tessa and stalking off to her dressing room to plot Lillian’s demise while her maid helped her ready for the day ahead.

A lovely weekend to all,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Two of the One Hundred Women that Influenced the Woman I Am Today

Right barring the women I know intimately (my mother that force of nature, my sweet Nan, wise Grandmother, brilliant sisters, aunts, cousins, and my fierce girl friends) all of whom I could rhapsodize about for hours on end there is at least 100 great women that has had a great deal in the making of me.

Here now from my heart are the first 2 of the 100 and I pray you will receive them well.

Carmen Dell'Orefice born June 3, 1931 that's right ladies and gentlemen she is 78 years old.

Ms. Dell'Orefice had a life you would not believe she was brought up in near poverty and even lived for awhile in foster homes. She was married three time all of them ended in divorced.

In th 80's and 90's poor Carmen lost her fortune in the stock market and had to start all over only to be taken again in 2008 by Bernie Madoff and his ponzi scheme. She still works has a model. I adore her for her spirit and grace.

Grace Mendoza Jones born May 19, 1948 still stunnig at 61

She is from my native land Jamaica. Ms Jones is singer, model, actress and the most outrageous person alive. Did you know that Grace once went to a party in the nude and when asked why she did it she said, 'You are only young once,' can you imagine it?

When Grace was a model in the 70's she and her then roomate Jerry Hall use to fequent Studio 54 where she met Andy Warhol, she became his muse and she swears until today his end was an unnatural one. Oh and she was recently engaged to music producer Ivor Guest a gentleman more than twenty years her junior.
I hope you are all happy and well,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Still More of the Ladies of the Regency

This time the mistress and wife of Frederick Augustus, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany.

Mary Anne Thompson Clarke painted by Adam Buck

Allow me to present Mrs Mary Anne Clarke mistress to Frederick, Duke of York whose illegal sale of military commission and promotions caused a Parliamentary Enquiry that forced him to leave the army. She is also the great-grandmother of one of my beloved novelist and screenplay writer Daphne du Maurier. She died in Boulogne-sur-Mer in 1852.

The Duchess of York, Artist unknown

Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia and Duchess of York and Albany, was wife to Frederick, Duke of York. She was his cousin and a German princess who he married in his twenties. The princess was well received in England but their marriage soon failed and the then duchess a handsome sporting lady retired to Oatlands Park in Weybride, Surrey with her nearly one hundred dogs and artist friends.

Take my love and care when you go,

Monday, January 18, 2010

An embarrassment of wealth

What a joy it is to be thought of fondly. I was give these awards and I gladly pass them on to 12 lovely bloggers. I encourage you to follow the links provided and discover the talent that awaits you on the other side.

Willem Claesz Heda's Still Life
The Honest Scrap award was given to me by both Victoria S. and Michele E. My thanks to each of you for the lovely honour.


The award has two components. You have to first list 10 honest things about yourself (and make them interesting), and second present the award to seven other bloggers.

My ten honest things:
1. I’m somewhat terrified of clowns.
2. I’m a list maker
3. I never forget a face but often times forget names
4. I love films, music and television shows from the 70’s
5. I’m sort of obsessed with reading the obituaries
6. I love the stone angel in cemeteries
7. I’ve never dated someone younger
8. Or shorter than I am
9. I’m a feminist
10. And a news junky

My seven nominees are all Gems. They have lovely hearts and I love visiting their space.






This love award was given to me by the very sweet Jacquie. Her blog is one I've been visiting right from the start of my adventure in blog land. She is very kind and is forever offering me words of encouragement. Thank You Jacquie.
The rules for this award: Put the name and link of who you gave this award on your blog.Then pass it on to five blogs that you think are amazing!These are the five I have chosen.

These are my five and all are artist in their own right or have inspired me in one way or another.


Paris Pastry


Little Augury
Happy Monday and My Love,