Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Such Language! Part 33


More wonderfully wordful wackiness, courtesy of the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (a copy of which can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg so that you can embark on your own wordy wanderings.

Blowsabella: A woman whose hair is dishevelled, and hanging about her face; a slattern. (My brother called me Blowsabella when we returned from our walk on the shore this morning; tomorrow, I shall wear a bucket over my head when we take our walk and it will serve him right.)

Whapper: A large man or woman. (Uncle Ambrose is quite the whapper, but has a heart to match.)

Fogram: An old fogram; a fusty old fellow. (Unlike his brother, however, Uncle James is the veriest old fogram.)

Hog Grubber: A mean, stingy fellow. (Based on bonnets Aunt Alice wears, I suspect Uncle James is also a dreadful hog grubber.)

Spiflicate: To confound, silence, or dumbfound. (Poor Mama was utterly spiflicated when Mr. and Mrs. Awffle crashed her dinner party and told her they were certain she’d forgotten to send them an invitation.)

Inching: Encroaching. (I don’t think I’ve met a more inching family than them.)

Glimflashy: Angry, or in a passion. (Cant.)  (Papa was so glimflashy over their temerity that he told the butler to set a separate table for them in the corner of the dining room.)

Any new favorites here? I rather think 'spiflicate' should be more widely known and used, myself.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Three Things You Might Not Be Aware Of, and Maybe a Fourth

I am very thankful my eye issue turned out to be self-healing, no need for surgery! Phew! While I couldn’t write for a while, I could do some other things on the computer, which might amuse you.

First--I collected the rest of the Fortune’s Brides main series into duets. Engaging the Earl and the Viscount: Fortune’s Brides, the Middle, includes Never Envy an Earl, in which a spy in hiding dares to fall in love with the earl protecting her. Its partner is Never Vie for a Viscount, in which a perky socialite convinces her former love to take a chance on teaching her the ins and outs of ballooning.

Marrying the Knight and the Marquess: Fortune’s Brides, the End, features Never Kneel to a Knight, in which an etiquette teacher tries to hide her secret love for the boxer-turned-knight she is helping. Its partner is Never Marry a Marquess, in which a shy young lady joins a grieving marquess in a marriage of convenience to care for his frail baby daughter. 

You can find the links to these and all the Fortune’s Brides series on my website here

Second—I brought out as a standalone novella a story I had published some years ago but is still one on my favorites. (Shh! Don’t tell the others!) In An Engagement of Convenience, Chaperone Kitty Chapworth isn’t about to believe a gentleman’s silken promises, until charming rake Quentin Adair returns to her life. Ten years ago, Kitty was instrumental in causing the poor fellow to be exiled. When he requests her help to prevent his father’s ruin, she cannot refuse, even to pretending an engagement at a summer house party. Quentin has spent years becoming the man his father always hoped. He will protect him at all costs. But as danger threatens, Quentin finds that his priorities have changed. Can a reformed rake convince the perfect chaperone to overlook propriety for love?

Available for only 99 cents at

My Store 



Barnes and Noble 

Apple Books 


Finally—I tried something different. For this summer, the complete Grace-by-the-Sea series is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. Those of you who are subscribed can read them for free. The stories in this six-book series are set in a little spa town on the Dorset coast during the time when Napoleon was threatening to invade. The quiet little Regency village of Grace-by-the-Sea welcomes everyone to visit its spa, partake of the waters, bathe in the cove, shop among the unique stores, and dance the night away at the assembly rooms. Just be careful to keep an eye on the horizon for adventure, and love. Find the set here

And now, back to work on writing something new! Look for Never Admire an Adventurer in July. You can preorder at



Barnes and Noble 

Apple Books 

Happy reading!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The Children of George III: Sophia

Princess Sophia Matilda, the twelfth child and fifth daughter of George III and Queen Charlotte, was born November 3, 1777 at Buckingham House in London, after a mere fifteen minutes of labor—after twelve children, the queen was clearly well-versed in childbirth! She entered the family at a fraught time; Britain was at war with its American colonies, and walking on eggshells waiting for word on whether the French were about to join the war on the American side (which they did a few months later, in March 1778.)

Flora Fraser, author of Princesses, the excellent group biography of the daughters of George III, (Amazon affiliate  link), posits that the three elder daughters (the Princess Royal, Augusta, and Elizabeth) and the three younger (Mary, Sophia, and Amelia) were almost more cousinly than sisterly. They generally lived in separate houses in Windsor, and the elder group received much more attention from the queen, who by the time of Sophia’s birth was simply overwhelmed by the demands of her large family. As a result the younger girls, mostly left to nurses and governesses to raise, received a much more haphazard and superficial education.

Sophia received even less attention from her parents when, around her eleventh birthday, the king suffered his first period of madness. But aside from that frightening time, she seems to have had a quiet, pleasant childhood. She was delicate and blonde, with her father’s somewhat protruding eyes (she remained child-like in appearance all her life) and despite her extreme nearsightedness was an avid reader and accomplished needlewoman, even if her handwriting was terrible.

In her teens, a bad case of chicken pox led to month of ill health, with frequent “fits”, difficulty swallowing, and low spirits. She was sent to the spa at Tunbridge Wells and seemed to eventually recover, but this would be only the first episode of poor health she would suffer, necessitating frequent visits to various spas and seaside towns for sea-bathing.

Like all of her sisters, Sophia suffered from her parents’ unwillingness to allow them to marry—a problem exacerbated by the Napoleonic Wars, which made finding appropriately royal husbands almost impossible, much to the princesses’ dismay. She did find a new friend, at age twenty, in the form of Miss Frances Garth, a sub-governess to Princess Charlotte and niece of the king’s favorite equerry, Colonel Thomas Garth…with whom Sophia had fallen in love. It was hardly surprising, considering the circumstances; nor was she the only one of the sisters to do so. What set Sophia’s experience apart was the fact that Colonel (his knighthood came later) was more than thirty years her senior…and that in late July or early August 1800 she bore him a son.

Colonel Garth eventually “adopted” the boy and was a fond parent—perhaps a little too fond, as Thomas Garth turned out to be a bit of a rotter, later on trying to blackmail the royal family and running away with a married woman. But the Colonel continued as the king’s favorite equerry, while for all intents, Sophia’s life was over. While her three of her sisters would eventually marry, she would remain a spinster all her life, condemned by her youthful mistake to live more or less retired (though she hints in her correspondence to having tender feelings for an unnamed man at court.) General Garth’s very public embrace of his child eventually drove them apart, and Sophia dedicated herself to being a companion to her father before his final descent into illness…when she herself was not ill. By 1812 she had become a semi-invalid, “nervous and weak”—the victim of psychosomatic illness, perhaps?

The king’s permanent illness left her to devote herself to other members of her family. She was a favorite of Princess Charlotte, and was devastated by her death in 1817; the death of the queen the following year was a further blow, though their relationship had generally been a chilly one. But it was the king’s death in 1820 that was the hardest…yet it also set her free. She moved to London, taking a house near Kensington Palace (and eventually moving into the palace itself), and actually began to venture out for walks and rides and invite a few friends to visit in the evenings. And she became the friend of her brother Edward’s widow, the Duchess of Kent, along with her tiny niece, Victoria…and of the Duchess’s comptroller, Sir John Conroy.

For several years, the extended family lived a mostly peaceful life at Kensington; Sophia doted upon her niece, who returned her affection. We’ve seen the extraordinary influence Sir John exerted over the Duchess; he exerted the same over Sophia, who was ever susceptible to a strong man—especially one who kept Thomas Garth, her now-grown illegitimate son, from importuning her for money. But Sir John’s machinations set Victoria against not only him and her mother, but Sophia as well. On becoming queen Victoria paid dutiful visits to her aunt, but the old affection was gone.

Almost totally blind by 1837 and forced to leave the dilapidated Kensington, Sophia still had two sisters left. After Augusta’s death in 1840, Mary devoted her still considerable energies to Sophia, and the children of her youngest brother, the Duke of Cambridge, also visited frequently. But the last years of her life were twilight ones, in all sense of the word: blind, mostly deaf, and crippled, she could do little but wind yarn and write illegible letters to her remaining family members. She passed away in May 1848.