Today I would like to give a warm welcome to historical romance author, Jane Godman, who is joining us with a fun excerpt and post from her book, The Rebel's Promise.
This very public row between Jack and Rosie results in a flurry of gossip. The nobility were, of course, the celebrities of their day and their antics were widely reported in the newspapers. Jack, with the added notoriety of having been a Jacobite rebel, would attract additional press attention. He’d definitely have been trending on Twitter!
So, just for fun, I wondered what the gossip columns, the day after the party, might look like …
The Georgian Gossipmonger, July 27th 1746
My sources tell me that, at the engagement party last night of Sir Clive Sheridan and Miss Rosie Delacourt, guests were treated to the entertaining spectacle of a blazing row! This was conducted in the middle of the dance floor … between the blushing bride-to-be and this columnist’s favourite rebel lord, Jack Lindsey, Earl of St Anton. And all in spite of the fact that Jack is rumoured to be having a passionate fling with Lady Bella Cavendish (herself no stranger to scandal)!
Jack and Rosie both declined to comment on speculation about their relationship, but what did people close to the couple have to say?
Sir Peregrine Pomeroy, Jack’s best friend (aged 28), was on his way to an appointment with his boot-maker, when I caught up with him. “Devilish fine chap, Jack. Very popular with the ladies. Miss Delacourt? Oh, undoubtedly a diamond of the first water! Who would have thought that the wilds of Derbyshire could harbour such beauty? Must pay a visit there myself someday. Have I heard the rumours about Jack and Lady Bella? A man would have to be deaf and blind not to have done so! And who could blame Jack, if it is true? Wouldn’t mind keeping cully with Lady Bella myself! I say, that blue you are wearing is just the colour I need for a new waistcoat!”
Sir Clive Sheridan, Rosie’s betrothed (aged 30), spoke to me as he was leaving a gaming house at 4 am. “Nonsense! Miss Delacourt is very happy to be marrying me. St Anton is a traitor who should have hanged for his part in the rebellion. If the silly chit … well, what I mean is … if Miss Delacourt did once have feelings for St Anton, well that is all in the past. I am glad of this opportunity, however, to publicly deny these allegations about my financial circumstances. What man does not have the occasional bet on the dice, or the cards, or even the horses? And as for those ridiculous stories about my visits to a certain house of ill-repute …”
Harry Delacourt, Rosie’s brother (aged 12), refused to speak to me as he walked his dog in the park. “I can’t talk about this. It’s private … a family matter. Yes, of course I know Jack. He is the best of good fellows. Now if you’ll excuse me. Beau! Beau! Where is that dratted dog?”
Lady Bella Cavendish, rumoured to be Jack’s latest love interest (aged ‘no lady would ever reveal such a thing!’), invited me into her opulent boudoir for cakes and hot chocolate. “Jack? Oh, is he not beyond doubt the most handsome and exciting man you have ever seen? Those spell-binding blue eyes … that devil-may-care air … those strong thighs. Sorry, where was I? But of course we are just friends, my dear, nothing more … I have no idea how these rumours started …”
Lady Alberta Harpenden and Lady Aurelia Drummond, Sir Clive’s aunts (aged ‘indeterminate’), were just arriving home from a morning visit when I managed a quick chat with them. “Oh, dear me, I was never so shocked in all my life … indeed, I said to my sister, did I not Alberta? … that when Lord St Anton came to London … because, as you know, he was a rebel and wanted for treason … I vow and declare, I wondered if he might wear a kilt … and be, well, terribly Scottish … but such a personable man and hearts will break … of that I am sure … but my nephew, you know, has a little distance in his manner … and, of course, the debts …”
“Aurelia, do pray let us stop dawdling on the pavement and step inside!”
So it seems, gossip lovers, that we are no closer to knowing the truth! But one thing is for sure, as well as being quite swoon-makingly handsome and utterly charming, Jack Lindsey certainly gives good value for money when it comes to gossip!