I’ve been enjoying my research into India during the Regency for Wolfe’s story (Wolfe of the Ternion in The Marriage Bargain). The story will begin in India, assuming Warner’s approval of my next idea, but will mostly take place in England.
I’ve discovered some interesting things about the English in India. In the early years of the East India Company it was not uncommon for the English company men to adopt a native lifestyle, native dress, taking Indian wives. Such men were tolerated in the early years and not much was made about them, but later, closer to our time period, adopting native habits was beginning to be frowned upon or looked upon with suspicion. Typically, by the Victorian age, it was not tolerated at all, given the certain belief that the British were superior in all ways.
I’m reading White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth Century India by William Dalrymple, which tells the story of James Achilles Kirkpatrick, a Colonel and an Ambassador, who married Khairunnissa, the daughter of an Indian noble family. Kirkpatrick converted to Islam to marry her and—according to a web article—spied for the Nizam against the British. The marriage was a happy but brief one, lasting only four years. The couple produced two children who were sent to England. Shortly after, Kirkpatrick unexpectedly died. It was 1805. Their mother never saw them again. She was soon seduced by Kirkpatrick’s assistant and kept as his mistress until she died a few years later at age 27.
In the book Original Letters from India by Eliza Fay there are interesting details about life in India, but also a great amount of detail about her travel to India. Across the Suez, her caravan was attacked. And later, finally in India, the ship was boarded by the local Indian governor’s soldiers and Eliza, her husband, and the other passengers and crew were taken prisoner. She hid their watches and other small treasures in her hair.