Night at Vauxhall — just released!

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Lively, lovely, and headstrong, young Phoebe Mayhew is disappointed that her visit with her brother, the new Earl of Drake, does not include the elegant balls and parties of her imagination – simply because she has not yet made her debut in Regency London’s high society!

Determined not to return to her small village without attending at least one fashionable event, Phoebe undertakes a risky plan…one which could end in scandal and her ruin…until Drake’s friend Lt Tommy Hazelton comes to her rescue.

*****

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Night at Vauxhall is a short “interval” story [approx 14,000 words] It’s neither a prequel or a sequel – it’s an interval of events that occur during the same time as The Magpie Masquerade.

The story stands on its own. If you’ve already read The Magpie Masquerade, you will recognize some of these characters; if not, you will meet them in    Night at Vauxhall.  Enjoy!

Rated PG.

The Magpie Masquerade (Part 6) – The Finale!

Part 6 of The Magpie Masquerade is now available!
Confusion, conflict, and crisis, all converge
in the conclusion of The Magpie Masquerade.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010P7HNPW

Magpie (Pt 6) [comp 299x488]
Marjorie must escape the machinations of her cruel Aunt Valeria and the threats of the slimy Sir Wrexham — but how? And where will she go?

Fin’s hurt pride leads him to make a terrible mistake — how can he get out of his entanglement?

Can the Magpie and Drake surmount heartbreak and hopelessness to find happily ever after?

What do YOU think? 😀

Find out, in Part 6 of  The Magpie Masquerade – the finale.

Vauxhall Gardens

V [150x150]   V is for Vauxhall

In the late 1600s, Vauxhall was a rustic village on the south bank of the Thames, with a large plot of trees known as Spring Garden, where locals could wander and seek a refreshing break from the squalor and noise of city life.

By the mid 1700s, Jonathan Tyres, a leather tradesman, had transformed the plot into Vauxhall Gardens — an exotic and verdant space for people to enjoy art, music, and dancing.  There were numerous pavilions, grottoes, illuminated pathways, and a Grecian-style grove that could accommodate 3,000 people.

vauxhall [398x291]In the octagonal Orchestra building, patrons could sit in colonnades of large, open-air boxes to savor refreshments while listening to the concert.

During its heyday, in the late Georgian era, the Prince of Wales and the elite of London society were frequent visitors, and a “silver ticket” or season pass cost one guinea – a huge sum in those days.

But Vauxhall Gardens was open to anyone who could pay the regular one-shilling admission, and all could enjoy the music, singers, dancing, sculptures, and fireworks displays. There were over 100,000 visitors every season.

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Henry Fielding wrote, “That delicious    sweetness of the place; the enchanting charms of music, and the satisfaction which appears in every one’s countenance, carried my soul almost to heaven.” Amelia (1752)

It must have been an enchanting experience, especially at night —  Continue reading

Unicorn-style driving

U [150x150]       U is for UNICORN

In Georgette Heyer’s The Unknown Ajax, young Richmond Darracott is mightily impressed when his rakish cousin Vincent arrives,

“…driving himself in a curricle to which were harnessed three magnificent black geldings, randem-tandem…and exclaimed: ‘Here’s my cousin at last! Oh, he’s driving unicorn! He’s the most complete hand!'”

[He asks] ‘What’s this new quirk, Vincent? ….Is it now the high kick of fashion to drive–unicorn, do you call it?’

‘Yes, or Sudden Death,’ replied Vincent…’And no, little cousin, you may not drive them. We have had enough sudden deaths in the family.’

When I first read The Unknown Ajax, there was no Google-search, and the dictionary only described the mythical horned beast, so I had to guess what the term meant.

Later I learned that driving a team of horses unicorn-style means there are 3 horses pulling the carriage — a pair of  wheelers behind a single lead horse.

Unicorn2 [261x200]Farmers would hitch their horses in this fashion in order to negotiate closer turns along the edge of the field. Coachmen might drive unicorn when one horse in a team of four went lame and had to be left behind.

This difficult style of driving, also known as “randem (sic)-tandem,” requires a particularly well-trained lead horse and an experienced driver (see, e.g., Jennifer Kloester’s Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, p. 169)


During the Regency, sporting gentlemen (and the occasional dashing lady) would drive unicorn-style as a display of their prowess.

Unicorn

Even trickier was driving a coach in a pickaxe hitch — five horses, three across at the front and two wheelers behind them. Apparently the fashionable Corinthians and Go’s wanting to show off restricted themselves to driving  tandem (one horse in front of another) or unicorn, and left the pickaxe hitch to professional coachmen.