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A Clever Woman's Fleet Marriage

Before the Hardwick Marriage Act of 1753, it was much simpler to get married in England. All you needed was a compliant clergyman. Many of these irregular or clandestine marriages were conducted in or near the Fleet prison, to which debtors were consigned, because it was not actually part of any parish in London. Clergymen who had no living of their own, and thus no regular income, could be found in that vicinity for couples who wished speed or secrecy. 

Creative Financing, London Style

Is it corruption if it's legal?

In the 18th century, a group of aldermen in the CIty of London, the small, historic center of London with its own government and laws, found a creative way to raise the money needed to build a residence for the Lord Mayor of the City. 

A Notorious Regency Beau

If he were around today, Henry Paget, Earl of Uxbridge and 1st Marquess of Anglesey, would probably feature regularly in the supermarket tabloids.

The Regency beau and dashing cavalry officer is perhaps best known for his (probably apocryphal) exchange with the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. The two of them were viewing the battlefield when a cannonball came flying at them. 

Paget looked down and said, “By God, I’ve lost a leg!”

Wellington looked down and said, “By God, so you have.”

The Invasion of Jersey

On January 6, 1781, France invaded England.

That sounds more impressive than it really was. This wasn’t the invasion the English worried about. That one was some twenty years in the future, when Napoleon was planning an invasion. And it wasn’t an invasion of England proper. The invasion took place on Jersey, one of the Channel Islands and it lasted less than 24 hours. 

Opposites Attract: A True Love Story

Henry Beresford, 3rd Marquess of Waterford, wasn’t a rake, one of those smooth-talking charmers who populate romance novels. He was more of a frat boy.

Born in 1811, he inherited the title in 1826 after the untimely deaths of his older brother and his father.  He was still a student at Eton, where his exploits brought him notoriety. The headmaster at the time was John Keate, noted for having restored discipline to the school through liberal use of the birch, of which Waterford had experience. 

Sailing Packets

In the early 19th century, packet ships were the way to travel across the Atlantic.

Spin Doctor

Daniel Sickles (1819-1914) was a New York lawyer, soldier, and politician, a bit more notorious than famous.

When he was 32, he married Teresa Bagioli, who was then 15. Not long after he went to England on a diplomatic mission, leaving his pregnant wife behind. Instead he took his mistress with him and introduced the mistress to Queen Victoria using the name of one of his political opponents.

Just the beginning

Every now and then, an idea pops into my head—a scene or a bit of dialogue. I don't have any plans for it at the moment, but it keeps nagging at me until I have to write it down. This is one such scene. It may some day turn into a book, but where the story goes from here, I have no idea.

 

Lady Wilcoxin peered at her niece nervously. “You do see that the best thing will be for you to marry Mr. Burgundy.”

Flogging a dead horse

If anyone ever kept track of my various bits of research, I hate to think what conclusions they might reach. Yes, there are odd bits of fashion that pop up, like the fashionable hats in the spring of 1857, but there are also things like, “What deadly vegetable poisons would be available to someone with no special skills or knowledge in 1870?” (The answer to that question can be found in Lord Edward’s Mysterious Treasure.)

Fragment of a story

Every now and then a scene pops into my head, quite unconnected to anything I am working on. It nags at me until I have to write it down to get rid of it. Here is the most recent one:

It was not long into the dinner given by Lord Alfred Nelthorpe for a select group of friends that the Honorable Thomas Radclyffe fell face down into the new peas on his plate.

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