The old adage that a well-bred Victorian lady rarely drank “the devil’s brew” is an utter fallacy–nothing could be farther from the truth!! And the higher up the economic scale one traveled, the more allowable a lady’s indulgence. Indeed, ladies of means, when visiting, even took to toting their own spirits in elegant cut glass ‘flasks’ and adding their whiskey, or other stout brew, to the customary afternoon tea — In fact, the oft-attended soiree which included ‘taking a wee nip’ rose in number, along with a lady’s social standing.
According to the Victorian Church of England when speaking of the fairer & wealthier sex, “worry is what they suffer from, rest and hope what they want. Thereby, drunkenness gives a rosiness to what is to come. But these fine ladies do not get unsightly drunk, unless on Bank Holidays or at marriages or funerals.” Indeed!
And it is said to be “the regular occurrence for a wealthy lady to slip into a neighbor’s parlor for a drink of whiskey while out shopping.” And yet, another male clergy remarked, “there is an increase in the number of respectably dressed young women given over to drink.”
But the lower the working class a woman belonged, the more chastisement was tossed her way when she popped open a bottle and indulged: “They drink worse than ever,” we are told; and “these women drink to excess more than men. They take to it largely to carry them through their drudgery.” And yet again: “The women are worse than the men, but their drinking is largely due to their slavery at the washtub. Nearly all get drunk on Monday for they only live on four-ale and fried fish.” So now you all know the truth. And oh my, baby…we HAVE come a long way in the ‘spirit-taking’ practice. Hmmmm, I do believe I’ll have another glass of wine…after all, ‘tis a fruit serving AND five o’clock somewhere! CHEERS!!
Long live historical romance!! And the joy of reading about our oh-so-wily foremothers! For more fun, historical tidbits pop on over and sit-a-spell… ☺ ~ Cindy
An Unlikely Hero
by Cindy Nord
He’s a hard-as-stone man with a broken past…and she’s a reminder of all he’s lost.
Rugged army scout Dillon Reed has met his match in spoiled Boston debutante Alma Talmadge, but an unwanted assignment escorting the beauty across the wilds of America soon evolves into a journey of monumental change for them both. With killers hot on their trail, the odds of staying alive are stacked against them…and yet, falling in love was nowhere in their plans for survival.
Who in the hell came up with this asinine plan?
Dillon Reed grimaced at the stench of burning coal as he jammed the colonel’s telegram into his coat pocket. He cut his gaze across the station platform to the nearby locomotive. In a deluge of color, passengers descended the railcar’s iron steps; he kept his attention riveted on the opening.
An exasperated sigh escaped from between clenched teeth. He’d delivered the governor’s territorial reports to Washington in just under three weeks, a remarkable time, and he looked forward to a swift, unencumbered return home. But, when he’d checked the telegraph office for messages before heading out, this newest malarkey of an assignment waited. He’d also been instructed to shave and freshen-up prior to meeting this train from Boston, but Hell’s chambers would freeze solid before Dillon would make the effort. I’m an army scout, for Christ’s sake, not some damn nanny.
A grating responsibility rolled into focus when a peach-colored parasol, the signal he’d been awaiting, popped open to fill the train’s doorway. Dillon shoved from the depot’s wall and straightened, the crown of his slouch hat bumping a sign that read Washington, District of Columbia – The Capitol of Your Country. The plank swung back and forth on squeaky hinges. Heat fused with anger when his contact’s traveling boot glided to the first iron step. Good God, her entire foot could fit in his right hand. His gaze climbed a dark-green dress rigged with a ridiculous bustled contraption, raked over a fur encircling slender shoulders like a buffalo mane, then finally came to a stop on golden curls swirling upward into a tarnished knot. Atop the silken mass, a scrap of hat perched at a cockeyed angle. A dozen blue and green ribbons fluttered in the afternoon breeze with all the spectacle of a peahen.
Dillon’s throat tightened as the woman descended to the platform, radiant among the other travelers. Her ability to stand out in a crowd added another sting to the onerous assignment. For a full minute, he waited while she scanned the throng, anxiousness shadowing her face. Narrow of waist, she stood barely five feet tall…a good stiff wind would blow her over.
Another curse welled inside him.
The urge to walk away warred against every ounce of military commitment he possessed. What did he do to the colonel to deserve such wretched torment? Dillon straightened, then stepped from the shadows of the depot to collect his damnable…assignment.
Boots thumped against weathered wood as each stride echoed his resentment. How could this slip of lace endure the miles they’d have to travel, or the harsh sun of the desert? Christ Almighty, she’d end up sick or dead and slung over his saddle in no time. As his shadow darkened the woman’s diminutive form, he retrieved the telegram from his coat pocket, then tightened his jaw.
“Alma Talmadge?” he snapped.
She swung to face him, her eyes widening.
Dillon thrust the telegram forward, his words cleaving the air. “Per these instructions from your uncle, I’ve been assigned as your escort on the trip westward to Fort Lowell.”
A well-shaped brow arched with suspicion. Her mouth tightened as she abruptly scanned the words, her golden-tipped eyelashes raising and lowering with each haughty sweep. A moment later, her gaze lanced back to his. “I was told to expect a proper attendant.”
“Proper?” he snorted. “I’m as proper as you’re gonna get.”
Her attention riveted on his sweat-stained Stetson, then slid all the way down him to his scuffed-up cavalry boots. When their gazes reconnected, disgust dulled the spark in her indigo eyes. “But … you’re no gentleman.”
“Where we’re going, lady the last thing you’ll need is one of those dupes who can’t find his ass with both hands.”
Repulsion cascaded scarlet across her face. She pressed a dainty, lace-edged hankie to the column of her throat. “I cannot possibly travel with the unkempt likes of you. Y-You’re not even clean.”
The insistent urge to walk away blistered deeper. “The job is to deliver you safely to the fort…which I intend to do. Cleanliness does not increase my skill.”
~ Pop over for an even closer peek on Amazon
Say hello to Bestselling Historical Romance writer, CINDY NORD...author of NO GREATER GLORY, book one in her bestselling, award-winning four-book ‘The Cutteridge Family’ series, as well as a USA Today Lifeblog ‘Recommended Read’, & the #1 Civil War Romance at Amazon for over one full year. WITH OPEN ARMS, book two, is also a #1 bestselling western historical romance. And book three, ANUNLIKELY HERO, just debuted on July 1st, & by that evening had surged onto the coveted ‘Top 100 Romances at Amazon’ list thxs to her beloved readers.
She is now hard-at-work crafting BY ANY MEANS, book four in her series, which is set to debut the winter of 2017. Cindy is also honored to be a contributor alongside many NYTimes writers in the delightful non-fiction anthology SCRIBBLING WOMEN & THE REAL-LIFE ROMANCE HEROES WHO LOVE THEM [all proceeds from the sale of this book go to the ‘Women In Need’ shelter in NYC].
A member of numerous writers groups, Cindy’s work has finaled or won countless times in competitions -- including the prestigious Romance Writers of America National Golden Heart Contest. A luscious blend of history and romance, her love stories meld both genres around fast-paced action and emotionally driven characters.
Please join Cindy at her very popular Cindy Nord Facebook site for her delightful Monday-Friday ‘Coffee Klatch’ postings. She loves all her ‘Klatchers’, as she affectionately says.
** September 21st – 25th, Spokane, Washington – National HistoricalRomance Retreat – Keynote historian speaker & program, plus book signing event.