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Author Archives: Gail Eastwood

About Gail Eastwood

Gail Eastwood is the author of seven Regencies that were originally published by Signet/Penguin. After taking ten years off for family matters, she has wobbled between contemporary romantic suspense and more Regency stories, wondering what century she's really in and trying to work the rust off her writing skills. Her backlist is gradually coming out in ebook format, and some are now available in new print editions as well. She is working on the start of a Regency-set series and other new projects. Stay tuned!

Susan/DC, Annamarie Shea, and Robin Greene have won copies of Camille Elliot’s upcoming release, The Spinster’s Christmas, from the giveaway in her guest post on May 29!! Congratulations, ladies! The Spinster's Christmas

Camille asks if you would contact her to make arrangements, either by emailing through her website: http://camilleelliot.com, or via Facebook www.facebook.com/AuthorCamilleElliot

Tipoos Tiger-pcard view      Are you familiar with this lovely item from the V&A Museum in London? I was not, until I recently received a postcard of this from a friend visiting London, who wrote “Look This Up Online” after his brief message. All of you who do research know what happened after that! Alice down the rabbit hole…. Ah, but there is so much more to what happened than that.

“Tippoo’s Tiger” is actually very famous and has been an object of curiosity ever since it was first displayed publicly in London in 1808. It is a nearly life-sized wooden sculpture, an automaton (the victim’s arm moves, and the tiger growls while the man cries out), a playable miniature organ with 18 pipes, and not least, a political statement by an Indian ruler whose hatred for the British is very clear.Close-up Tippoos Tiger-2

tipoos-tiger-organ view Tippoo was the sultan of Mysore, a power-and-territory-hungry thorn in the side of the East India Company and the cause of several wars. Tippoo’s Tiger was seized from Tippoo’s palace along with a great deal of treasure after the fall of Seringapatam ended both the 4th Anglo-Mysore War and Tippoo’s life in May, 1799. A few years after the Tiger was sent to England, it was put on display in the reading-room of the East India Company Museum and Library at East India House in Leadenhall Street. Did you know that the East India Company had a museum? In this picture, you can see Tippoo’s Tiger in the shadows at the left.East India Co Museum-Leadenhall_Street

The timing of my friend’s postcard was one of those Twilight Zone-ish coincidences that feel like messages. Synchronicities that happen during research never cease to thrill me. They feel like little gifts from the universe confirming that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. When his card arrived, I had just –I mean, literally days before –stumbled across some other East Indian-connected anecdotes in a most unlikely place, while I was researching something entirely unrelated. But I had jumped on them, because they tied in with a project I had moved to the “back burner” –revisions I’ve mapped out for the reissue of my 1998 Signet, The Magnificent Marquess, with a hero who spent most of his life in India. I had been reading Sarah Markham’s book, A Testimony of Her Times, Based on Penelope Hind’s Diaries and Correspondence 1787-1838. That’s research for the Christmas novella I am working on. But blessed Penelope repeated two tales of British subjects who survived tiger attacks in India. And then came the postcard! Message received –I’m back at work now on the TMM revisions. And my characters are definitely going to visit the museum, now that I have no length restraint on the story!

Pottery Figurine of H Munro & Tiger

Tippoo’s tiger figure may have been based on the same incident that inspired this Staffordshire pottery figurine (c. 1814) showing the 1792 death of British subject Hugh Munro in India (now in the British Army Museum).

The fact that stories about encounters with Indian tigers circulated all the way out into the country where a parson’s wife like Penelope Hind received them is a good reflection of how fascinated people were becoming with things East Indian during her lifetime. That fascination was multi-faceted; it included a kind of horror mixed with admiration, and for many, but not all, a growing sense of justification for the East India Company’s expanding domination. The tiger became not just Tippoo’s personal emblem, but a symbol of resistant India itself –a symbol used for the medals issued to the men who fought at SeringapatamSeringapatam_Medal_obv, and in political cartoons, and much more as the century advanced. I tried to give a sense of the variety of attitudes about India that existed during the Regency period in my novel.

The life and times of Tippoo (also spelled Tipu) inspired written accounts that I have not even begun to look into –most of this East Indian connection is just background for my story’s hero, at any rate. But besides the first published account about the final Mysore war, published in 1800 by James Salmon, Tipu's_Tiger_Salmond_1800Tippoo and his exploits figured prominently in art, literature and drama far into the 19th century. According to an article on the V&A’s website, “the Storming of Seringapatam unleashed a flood of prints and broadsheets. It inspired one of the largest paintings in the world, exhibited in London as a panorama. It was featured as a vast spectacular at Astley’s Amphitheatre, and cut down to size for the juvenile drama. As late as 1868 it set the scene for Wilkie Collins’s novel The Moonstone.” I am also now aware that G. A. Henty wrote a fictional account, The Tiger of Mysore, and then there’s Bernard Cornwell’s offering in the Sharpe series, Sharpe’s Tiger (which I have not read yet, but now I want to!). Have you read any of these?

An end-note on Tippoo’s Tiger: Tippoo’s Tiger was on display at the East India Company until 1858, after which it was stored, then displayed in the new government India Office, and then in the India Museum. It became part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection in 1880. The musical and noise-making aspects of Tippoo’s Tiger suffered over the years from public exposure and use, and gradually fell into disrepair. Eventually the crank-handle that powered the bellows inside the tiger disappeared. Not everyone was disappointed in this, however, as was noted in The Athenaeum magazine in 1869: “These shrieks and growls were the constant plague of the student busy at work in the Library of the old India House, when the Leadenhall Street public, unremittingly, it appears, were bent on keeping up the performances of this barbarous machine. Luckily, a kind fate has deprived him of his handle, and stopped up, we are happy to think, some of his internal organs… and we do sincerely hope he will remain so, to be seen and admired, if necessary, but to be heard no more”.

I’ve only scratched the surface here. For more information about Tippoo, his tiger obsession and his mechanical tiger, check this article offered by the V&A, or google the topic to find lots more!

Did you already know about Tippoo’s Tiger? Do you like stories that have an East Indian connection? Do you get distracted by fascinating historical diversions when you are doing research? Or how about those research synchronicities? Have you had those happen to you? What happened and how did you feel?

 

egmontpalaisprint

Palais d’Egmont

Did you wish you could have gone to the Waterloo Anniversary events? Our guest today, Regency author Sarah Eagle (aka Sally Falcon & Sally Hawkes), did and she’s sharing the experience with us this week and also next Wednesday in a two-part guest post. She’s also offering a book giveaway –read to the end to find out more!

Sally Hawkes spends her days as a librarian working with library computer stuff and databases. Headshot2011Her “evil twins” are responsible for writing romantic comedies. Sally Falcon uses the contemporary setting and takes advantage of the places that she had lived around the country. Sarah Eagle goes back in time to Regency England. Ms. Eagle has been nominated for Best Regency Comedy by Romantic Times and by the Colorado Romance Writers.
Her love of old movies (a TCM addict), travel and history have helped a great deal in creating her stories. Currently she’s exploring the world of mysteries and Steam Punk. She also contributes to the Novelist, Inc. writer’s group monthly newsletter. She has BS in Education from Bowling Green State University and an MLS from University of South Florida.     *  *  *

“You’re going where on your vacation?” The questioner’s expression changed from expectant, because I’d originally mentioned Europe, to one of bewilderment.
“I’m going to the reenactment of the 200th anniversary of Waterloo,” I had to repeat. With several people I had to remind them what Waterloo actually was. However, I know anyone reading this blog will understand the excitement of this journey.

Fellow author Eileen Dreyer and I decided 5 years ago that we would go, if possible. Phone calls began last fall. The first one centered on “Do you still want to go?” YES. Some of the planning was normal and some not.   Eileen called one night and said “We can go to the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball.” (I could tell that someone really wanted to go.) OK, add one Regency period ball gown to the packing. Another call came with Eileen thinking she had to talk me into joining a tour at Waterloo. Hmmm, 100,000 spectators (later numbers were 200,000) 5,000 reenactors, 300 horses and 100 cannon were scheduled to be on site. I’d been thinking the same thing. Finally the months of planning came to the day of departure.

After a few days in Amsterdam we took the train to Brussels for the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball. We had our gowns, evening gloves, fans, ridicules, jewelry and, of course, our tiaras. Cinderellas Both gowns were made from vintage patterns. Eileen’s was made from sari silk and fully authentic. I had to tie her into it. Mine was an overdress made from curtain material. (“I saw it in the window and couldn’t resist.” -Carol Burnett)

We went to our carriage – a taxi – and realized we’d left the tickets in our room.   I got to stand very conspicuously at the curb while Eileen retrieved them. One lady asked if I was going to the opera. After the first false start our taxi driver didn’t have a clue about our destination – the Palace d’Egmont. With such an auspicious beginning, I wondered what was next. A spectacular evening!

The entrance was easy to find since two reenactors, resplendent in their uniforms, were guarding the entry. Once we showed our tickets they guided us to a photo area to have our picture done with a guard on either side. Then we were directed out in the courtyard. Courtyard2-EgmontPalaisWe walked across cobblestones between two curved lines of 10 reenactors on either side and a piper played. They were representing different regiments. Once across the way we were offered our first glass of English sparkling wine. Although the website had seemed to encourage period dress, Eileen and I were among about a dozen that followed through. It did turn out to be a wonderful conversation starter. We mingled, drank wine and ate lovely hors d’oeuvres as we talked to various guests while watching others arrive. (We didn’t know who we were rubbing elbows with sometimes.)

After an hour we were asked to move back to clear a good portion of the courtyard. I moved up the steps to the doorway and Eileen stayed on the cobblestones. She ended up near the Wellingtons. Sword danceThe reenactors exited stage right and the Royal Marine Band came out stage left to perform what our program called a Post Horn Gallop. Fantastic. Their display was followed by the Highlanders doing the traditional sword dance that had been done at the original ball in 1815. I’ve read about it many times, and it’s stunning in person.

We were called into dinner and moved up the marble stairway.  Tables had the last name of an officer who had fought at Waterloo. We dubbed our table the Colonials’ table since we had two Australians, two New Zealanders and us out of 9 people at the table. I had talked to two ladies from Texas earlier and they were at the next table. The abundance of glassware and silver sparkled while we all shared our reason for being there. It wasn’t too surprising that most everyone had read Georgette Heyer’s An Infamous Army. (Eileen wore sandals and painted her toenails gold and homage to Barbara Childe the female lead.)
At the table was a goody bag that included a monograph of Alasdair White’s Dancing in the Time of War: The Duchess of Richmond’s Ball 15 June 1815, a history of the British Charitable Fund (founded by Wellington after Waterloo) and a list of the auction items for the evening. Two of the top items were 4 tickets to the opening ceremony of the newly renovated Hougoumont and a tea with Hugh Grant at the Savoy. They went for 3,000 and 2,500 Euros respectively. Dancing? There was only modern music for a band but since it was a beautiful night, we returned to the courtyard for coffee, drinks and cake. It was a night I will remember fondly for a long time.

ball1

Anniversary Ball Committee (Front L-R: British Ambassador to Belgium, Duke & Duchess of Wellington)

The next day we rested and did some sightseeing, then left for Bruges. The ball was on June 13, a Saturday, and the reenactments would be the following weekend. * * *

Sally’s story will continue next Wednesday with Part 2 of her adventure at Waterloo, and more pictures. Would you have liked to be at the anniversary ball with Sally? Would you have wanted to be at the original event on the eve of battle? Why do you think the Duchess of Richmond decided to hold a ball that night in 1815?

Sally is offering a book giveaway to one commenter randomly chosen from among those who comment either this week or next. (Some of our Risky followers may be off at RWA National this week!) The book she’s offering is LADY VENGEANCE, the first Regency Historical she wrote for Harper Monogram (1995) after writing traditional Regencies for Berkley. Romantic Times called it: “Fast-paced and brimming with humor.” Library Journal said: “this sexy historical with well-researched Regency roots combines the ambiance and wit of the traditional Regency with the passionate sensuality of the historical.” Please leave a comment to be entered in the drawing! LadyVengeance-330

800px-Wellington_at_Waterloo_Hillingford

Hillingford’s “Wellington at Waterloo”

Today Riskies guest Sarah Eagle continues sharing her experience of the Waterloo Anniversary celebration. Last week she offered us a glimpse of the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball, 2015, and this week we go along with her and fellow author Eileen Dreyer on their tour of the battlefields, complete with reenactments.  Headshot2011  Sarah, who also writes contemporary romantic comedy as Sally Falcon, is offering a copy of LADY VENGEANCE, the first LadyVengeance-330Regency Historical she wrote for Harper Monogram (1995) after writing traditional Regencies for Berkley, to a randomly chosen commenter. For her full bio and more details on her giveaway book, please revisit her post here last Wednesday (July 22). *  *  *

We returned to Brussels early Thursday morning (June 18) since we were meeting The Cultural Experience group (http://theculturalexperience.com) at the train station at noon. Once we were divided into our groups –named for French officers for some reason – the Reille bus headed for Waterloo and the Wellington Museum. The other tour members were a mix of Brits and Scots. Unlike the conversation before I left, all the people on the tour knew Waterloo and lots of details. Our admin on the bus was a retired Captain in the Queen’s Royal Lancers. Our tour guide, a retired NATO Lt. General, began almost the minute the bus left the train station.

Wellington Museum

Wellington Museum

CE provided a lovely 60 page book of color contemporary paintings of the area around Ligny, Quatre Bras and Waterloo as well as campaign maps for all the battles. When we arrived in Waterloo at the Wellington Museum,   which had been headquarters for both Napoleon and Wellington, we were greeted by a cluster of reenactors both men and women. That seemed to be the norm anywhere you went around area. Across the street was the Church of St. Joseph that holds the memorials of many British who fought, including Royal Scots Greys. One memorial at the museum is now blank. It was Lord Uxbridge’s dedication to his leg he lost at the end of the battle of Waterloo. His family many years later decided to claim the leg and return it to his grave in England.

Entry battle 1st night

Entry to Battle

View 1st night

View 1st Night

The next day was of Ligny where the French and Prussians fought. This was the first battle after the sighting of the French disrupted the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball. Jonathan, our guide, had us walking the fields and covered the ground that had been fought over. That night was the first reenactment.    What an adventure! Stadiums had been put up in an L shape. Our tickets were in section K, but we hadn’t counted on the Belgian alphabet. The short part of the L for VIPs was A through D but when you rounded the corner it started at Z with K at the top of the stands. Our direct view was of the French cannons while the big action took place closer to the VIPs. Most of the narration was in French. The grasses on the field were about three feet high, which we’d seen in the fields during the day. That meant the horses were chest deep. In 1815, the wheat and rye were six feet high – about three feet higher than 2015.

Bivouac 1

Bivouac 1

On Saturday we continued our recounting of the battles with focus on Waterloo. The tour visited the bivouac of the allied troops who were camped around the Hougoument  and the area marked off for the reenactment. The Battle of Waterloo was fought in a 3 mile square area. Looking at that area now it’s very hard to imagine the numbers of men, horses and cannon maneuvering. Tour members and troops mingled. That night we returned to the stands. Did I mention it was over a mile from the bus parking lot to the stands among a crowd of thousands?

Royal Scots 1

Royal Scots

Bivouac 2

Bivouac 2

View Down field 2nd night

View down the field

The owner of The Cultural Experience had spoken to the people in charge over some issues from the first night. This evening all the horses and a good number of troops entered the field in front of where we were sitting. The narrative was in 4 languages. It was thrilling. Most of the action was still down field, but the wind shifted as the cannon started. The smoke moved over the VIP area and stayed there the rest of the night. Even though we weren’t level with the field it was exhilarating to be there for such an event.

The last day was spent at the Waterloo Visitors Center at the foot of the Lion’s Mound.   The lion was erected by the King of the Netherlands for his son, the Prince of Orange. It’s interesting the interpretation of each country. “Slender Billy”, the prince, seemed to be responsible for a high percentage of the death (along with Jerome Bonaparte) but he has the Visitors' Centerbiggest monument. The Belgians also seem to think Napoleon won. It was very hard in the gift shops and elsewhere to find Wellington commemoratives. The fun part of the visit that day were all the reenactors who were taking the tour in uniform. It was a lovely ending to an amazing trip.  * * *

For a daily report on the trip go to http://eileendreyer.com/2015/06/waterloo-15-tour-day-1/

Sally and Eileen will be offering a program on their trip at the Novelists, Inc conference this fall.

What do you think about Sally’s adventure? Don’t forget to comment below if you want to be entered in the giveaway!

Duke of Wellington

Duke of Wellington

For a while now, dukes have been running rampant through the Regency fiction genres, especially in Historicals, but even in Trads. Do you love this? Hate this? Don’t care? The trend seems as strong as ever. The publishers, and apparently the readers, love them. And hey, we’re writing stories that are fantasies based on a romantic view of our time period, so why not? It’s not as if all of these fictional dukes exist in the same version of Regency England –each author’s Regency World is unique to that author (except perhaps in a connected set or special project). Right? But did you ever wonder how many dukes there really were in Great Britain during the Regency?

Douglas Hamilton, 8th Duke of Hamilton and 5th Duke of Brandon

Douglas Hamilton, 8th Duke of Hamilton & 5th Duke of Brandon

You might say dukes are the equivalent historical heart-throbs to the super-billionaires that are the go-to heroes in current contemporary romance. As The Daily Mail has explained it: “Dukes are just one rung down from royalty in the social pecking order and enjoy a special status way above the rank and file of the aristocracy. As peerages go, it’s the jackpot.”

Who wouldn’t want their hero to be that special? Except the way I see it, this status cuts both ways. The very rarified “special-ness” of such high rank begins to suffer when book after book after book has young, handsome, wealthy dukes just ripe for marriage. It just rubs against my personal vision of what I think the Regency was like, or makes the rank of duke seem a little common. Dukes were rare, and most often old…weren’t they? And I’m not even touching the question of the way dukes fit into the political structure, but you can note below how many of the dukedoms are named for the counties of Britain….

Charles+Lennox,+3rd+Duke+of+Richmond+(1758),+Sir+Joshia+Reynolds.

Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond

I’ve nothing against my fellow authors whose heroes are dukes, or the readers who love them. I get it. But I can’t do it. Every time I consider creating a hero who is so highly ranked –well, I feel like I stubbed my toe. The closest I’ve come to it was dealing with a duke’s family in An Unlikely Hero, and that story’s hero was a viscount, a “lowly” friend of the duke’s son. Am I losing readers?

I don’t seem to have the same problem with creating heroes in the lower peerage ranks. There were so many more of them! Earls, for instance. I am fond of them. They could be wealthier than some dukes were! But I have this idea that there were a lot more earls floating around in the real Regency England, so it seems less of a violation to add in a few fictional ones. And barons –they date very far back in time, and there were lots of them, too. Has the demand for dukes devalued the other four peerage ranks (marquess, earl, viscount, and baron) in our fiction?

I decided to put my prejudice to the test and check the numbers. (I’m not including Royal Princes’ dukedoms). After all the dukedoms that have been created, recreated, forfeited, merged (through marriage or elevation to higher rank), or simply gone extinct (no heirs), today there are only 24 still extant. But how many in our favorite time period?

63 English (non-royal) dukedoms starting as early as 1351 went extinct, were forfeited to the crown, or merged prior to 1707. Eleven (including two forfeited and restored several times) were extant at least through the Regency:

1 Norfolk, 1483 (forfeited three times up to 1660)

Edward Seymour duke of somerset

Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset

2 Somerset, 1547 (forfeited 1552-1660)

Charles_Lennox,_1st_Duke_of_Richmond_and_Lennox_by_Sir_Godfrey_Kneller,_Bt

Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond

3 Richmond, 1675

4 Grafton, 1675

5 Beaufort, 1682

6 St Albans, 1684

7 Leeds, 1694 (extinct in 1964)

8 Bedford, 1694

9 Devonshire, 1694

John_Churchill_Duke of Marlborough__van_der_Werff

Duke of Marlborough, Winston Churchill’s ancestor

10 Marlborough, 1702

11 Rutland, 1703

Between 1707-1801, about ten more were created and went extinct, merged, or were forfeit. Eight dukedoms of Great Britain created during these years were still extant into the Regency:

12 Brandon, 1711

13 Ancaster & Kesteven, 1715 (extinct-1809)

14 Portland, 1716 (extinct 1990)

15 Manchester, 1719

16 Dorset, 1720

17 Bridgewater, 1720 (extinct 1803)

18 Newcastle-under-Lynne, 1756 (extinct 1988)

19 Northumberland, 1766

Created between 1801-1822, only two:

20 Wellington, 1814

21 Buckingham and Chandos, 1822 (extinct 1889)

22 Duke of Leinster, 1691, was the only Irish dukedom extant during the Regency

It appears there were nine Scottish Dukes during the Regency, titles dating from 1707 or earlier. (18 other Scottish dukedoms went extinct, were forfeited to the crown, or merged between 1351-1707 ) The nine:

1) Hamilton 1643 (and later Brandon, 1711)

2) Buccleough, 1663 (and Queensbury, 1810)

George_Douglas_Campbell,_8th_Duke_of_Argyll_by_George_Frederic_Watts

G. D. Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll

3) Lennox 1665

4) Gordon

5) Queensbury, 1684

6) Arguyll, 1701

7) Atholl, 1703

8) Montrose, 1707

9) Roxburghe, 1707

By my count, that’s 31 dukes during the Regency, in all of England, Scotland, and Ireland. If I had time, I would now look them all up to find out how old each one was in, say, 1816!!

For comparison, I give you:

1) number of earldoms (English, Scottish, Irish, G.B or U.K.), established before or during the Regency (1398-1822) still extant today: 142. (Because the sheer number of earldoms has long surpassed the number of territorial counties, the names of many earldoms are associated with smaller units (estates, villages, families, etc.).

2) number of baronies (English, Scottish, Irish, G.B or U.K.), established before or during the Regency (1264-1822) still extant today: 124 (and 317 more were created since 1822!)

I am sure there were more of both these peerages during the Regency that disappeared later –sorry I don’t have time to analyze these long lists! You get my point. Slipping in a bunch of fictional earls or barons doesn’t rattle my universe of imagined history nearly as much as all those dukes!

James-Graham-1st-Marquess-of-Montrose-by-William-Dobson

1st Marquess of Montrose

Viscounts and marquesses, the other two peerage titles, were less common, at least as independent titles. Copied from the French, they came into use later, and tended to become subsidiary titles as the holders were promoted. Much more commonly found as the courtesy titles used by heirs-apparent. Today there are only 25 marquesses who do not hold higher titles, and 37 such viscounts. I learned that stand-alone viscountcies were more common in Ireland than the other parts of the UK –24 of those 37 viscounts are Irish titles. Things I’ll keep in mind for future stories!!

I came across two tidbits that I can’t resist sharing. One is this: The Daily Mail reported in 2009 that Tatler Magazine invited the 24 then-current non-royal dukes to lunch. Some were too frail to attend, and some live abroad, but ten of them came. Those ten represented the largest gathering of dukes since Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1953! Their ages ranged from 41 to 94. For a photo of them, details and the interesting story, see “Ten Dukes a-Dining”.

And this last bit is at least for Amanda, and also shows that it’s not always good to be a duke:

“When Elizabeth I came to power the only [remaining] living duke was Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk. Elizabeth did not create any dukes, and she beheaded Thomas Howard at the age of 36 for plotting to wed Mary, Queen of Scots and overthrow her. By 1572, this class of peerage was extinct – there were no Dukes in the last 30 years of her reign.” (from Wikipedia) No wonder Shakespeare could so liberally sprinkle both historical and fictional dukes throughout his plays without worrying about direct repercussions! (besides putting them in Italy, of course) No one in England held that rank for most of his lifetime –from the time he was eight until seven years after his death in 1616. The later extant Dukedoms in the Peerage of England were created (or restored, in two cases) in the Stuart period and after.

How do you feel about dukes? In our Regency fantasies, does it matter whether the titles of our characters reflect the nature of the peerage at the time? I’d love to hear what you think!

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