Friday, 27 February 2015

Shameless hussydom

I have spent a productive day today tidying up (not toadying up!) my Amazon author pages.

I'm thoroughly sick of the dreadful author photo, in which I appear to be sighting down a pistol and am in fact squinting at a small cheap digital camera held at arms' length. Regrettably I have burned most of my skin off after an unfortunate interlude with some cheap colloidal silver cream to deal with a rash I often get on my nose when I wear the glasses I need to read by (I know, I know, vanity...) so I refuse to appear on any kind of film until my horrible red peeling skin retains its customary elegant pallor.

I'm also heartily sick of describing myself as food historian and mad cat lady, although I am both and it was funny to start off with.

I wonder if anyone will notice if I replace my photo with that of Elizabeth Cromwell - occupation: Lady Protectress and She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Anyway - here they are for your edification and amusement:

M J Logue's Amazon UK page

M J Logue's Amazon US page

PS do feel free to pass unhelpful remarks. It's ever so lonely here in 164*thinks about it*5, now....

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Wilderness of Sin - the Siege of Bristol, 1645

For the full effect, read whilst listening to Bach's "Cello Sonata No 5"
Some names have been removed to retain a degree of spoiler-dom... but really, it doesn't matter who. I just say as shouldn't that it's a hell of  a good piece of writing. I cried writing it, and I cried reading it again,

Prince Rupert was finally brought to a stand at the end of the siege of Bristol in September 1645, and after a brief and ferocious stand-off, surrendered to Thomas Fairfax.

I dare you not to shed a tear.

Hollie sat on the stairs with his eyes closed, feeling that old familiar gritty sting of too many tears under his eyelids. Watching the sun dropping down below the rooftops, covering the city with a kind rosy blanket, and listening to people being alive in the world. About their business - beginning to stir again, after almost a month under siege, beginning, shyly, hesitantly, to be unafraid. Someone singing in the kitchens below and for the lad's sake he wanted them to be silent - how could they sing when a man's wife was dying in his arms? - and then he shook his head, no. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

He hoped the lad was strong in his faith. He hoped the lad would believe most firmly that he would meet her again, in a better world than this, and that it would comfort him in his adversity. Hollie had remained uncomforted in his for the better part of ten years, seeking comfort or extinction by turns. Had lost his hope, his career, his faith, his good name. If it hadn’t been for Het, his bright pole-star, he'd not have come back. The September sunset was warm and mellow now, flooding the landing with a golden tide, and the singer in the kitchens had fallen silent. The city was silent, an odd moment of stillness, almost as if the world were enclosed in a fragile, hollow soap bubble. A blackbird, singing, in an apple tree, the liquid notes falling clear into the dusk.

He could hear the lad, talking to his wife, through the latched door. Couldn’t hear the words. Just the lad's happy, bright conversational voice, talking to himself. Talking to a dead woman who was still breathing. Saying, God willing, all the things he hadn’t had time to say in six weeks of marriage, and should have had a lifetime to say. The lad was barely twenty-two, he was a boy yet, it was wrong that he should be made to suffer so. It was bloody wrong and any God that thought it was fitting to put a pistol ball in the brain of a living, feeling young woman with so many years of useful life in front of her, and then to leave her husband to lie alongside her on a narrow bed in a strange town and wait for her breath to stop - ah, Christ, no, that kind of God was a vengeful arsehole and Hollie Babbitt would look Him in the eye on Judgment Day and bloody well tell Him so, and the hell with the consequence.

It was nothing to do with the lad. He knew that. It was thinking of himself and Griete, all those years ago, that made the tears come again. Thinking he knew what the lad was feeling, though he didn't, God knows he couldn’t, they were as unlike as flint and cheese, but - even so. Hollie knew what it was to love and then suddenly to find yourself cut loose and desperate. He'd not let the boy go into that darkness. Not alone.

He put his back up against the door and sat with his head on his knees for a while, listening to his own breathing. Thinking of his own girl. Loving her twice over, loving her for that other girl's sake, for still being alive to be loved while the other girl was leaving this world. Crying again, silently, for he had no right to mourn another man's wife, but he mourned the loss of the lad's first love and the his innocence and, for a while, his joy, and that was a death in itself.

He'd miss the daft, dreamy little bugger. He could only hope the man was one day going to be as full of hope and dreams and cockeyed romanticism as the boy.

The moon was rising. In the room behind him, the lad's voice was growing hoarse, but still steady, still constant. Worn out with war and grief, Hollie slept, with his naked sword to one hand and one of Het's faded silk ribbons clutched like a child's comforter in the other.

It was shortly after dawn the next morning when the lad opened the door. Pale, but neat and dry-eyed and calm "She's gone," he said softly. "Would you be so kind, sir, as to fetch - fetch your father?" .

Monday, 23 February 2015

Good lord above.... #2

"Red Horse" is currently at #42 in the Amazon Kindle historicals.

Rosie Babbitt is holding his own (and that won't be the first time, dear, will it?) against the Regency romances.
I can see it now - "The Earl's Excitement".... "The Torn Bodice"....

"The Rampant Roundhead" - .... er, perhaps not, then.
The Irascible Ironside, more like it.


(Team Russell already went. Home.)

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Pettitt's Poetry Corner: A Young Officer Looks Back on a Singularly Undistinguished Career

 - with annotations by Col. Hollie Babbitt, literary critic of no renown whatever

When first my wond'ring eyes did turn
On SOMERSET's streams and rills
On Bristol's many marvels
On GLASTONB'RY's famed hill
The flat wolds of LINCOLNSHIRE
The busy town of Leeds
The barren wastes of LANCASHIRE  (watch itt, Pettyt, I am stille yr commandeing officer - HTB)
Which yet gives us good cheese           


Twas then I first did comprehend
The beauty of this isle
For having come from ESSEX
A march of many a mile
I have seen many wonders
And many varied scenes
Of inns and streets and lovely fields
In many a different green

For now I am come home again
And by the LORD's grace whole
'Tis not, I find, a palace
That yet exalts my soul
But 'tis a humble cottage
With a welcome at the gate
With loving and with friendship
Where my dear MIST'RESS waits.  (thatt must bee a diffrent maistress than the one I mett - HTB)           

 For near or far where'er I roam
Where my love lies, is my home.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Good lord above.

"Red Horse" is currently #18 in the Amazon Kindle military fiction chart.

Bloody hell, Babbitt!!!!
Red Horse eBook

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Mistress Babbitt's Closet Unlock'd - The Scent of Fresh Linen

I have a habit of referring to Het Babbitt as "the fragrant Het" - and I'm not sure that I'm joking.
Now Hollie, as anyone who has followed his fortunes from Edgehill onwards will be aware, is probably not a young man whose linen bears too close investigation. It is possible to identify eau de cavalry officer as a combination of hot horse and well-worn leather, woodsmoke, black powder, with a slight overlay of warm metal and sweat. (It must be said in his defence that Hollie probably wouldn't care less if you did put your nose in his armpit and give him a good sniffing, as I imagine with two young daughters, several affectionate horses and a wife who's a good foot shorter than he is, he's used to it.)
No, Het is a very cleanly little body. 
For all but the poorest women in the seventeenth century, a household possessed sufficient linen for shirts, or shifts, to be changed regularly, and washed, without the necessity of a weekly wash. Most clothes worn next to the skin were plain linen and perfectly capable of withstanding what was effectively a soak in lye bleach followed by a good batting or trampling. Soaking in lye was normally done in a piece of kit called a bucking-tub, as per Gervase Markham's instructions for bleaching yarn:
.....cover the uppermost yarn with a bucking cloth, and lay therein a peck [about 16 pints] or two (according to the bigness of the tub) of ashes more; then pour into all through the uppermost cloth so much warm water, till the tub can receive no more; and so let it stand all night: the next morning you shall pull out the spigot [peg used to stop hole] of the bucking tub, and let the water therein run into another clean vessel, and as the bucking tub wasteth, so shall you fill it up again with the lye which cometh from the bucking tub, ever observing to make the lye hotter and hotter till it seethe [boil].....
Gervase Markham, The English Housewife, 1615 
"Chamber lye" is pretty much what you would expect.... wee. Anyone who has ever had the joy of potty-training will probably be nodding in remembrance of that very distinctive ammoniac smell... and, also, possibly of the bleaching effect of wee on little pants after undisclosed "accidents"! (And yes, stale urine does smell. I wish there was some way of romanticising that but no, it smells undeniably of stale wee, I have had the misfortune of collecting a pot for bleaching, and you can understand why they might not have done the "buck wash" very often.)  The elegant collars and falling-bands were intentionally detachable so that they didn't have to go in with the heavy-duty everyday wash, but could be carefully washed and then starched separately. 
Finally, your body-linen would be dried, not on a washing-line, but by spreading over bushes to dry - Het uses the rosemary bushes in the herb garden at White Notley, like many other country women,  but lavender bushes were equally popular, being both sturdy and fragrant. It's still believed quite widely that both frost and moonlight will bleach white linen if you leave your laundry out overnight!
This, of course, is an aside. Het would not be in the business of doing her own laundry - although if I know Mistress B she wouldn't entirely trust the household staff to do it unsupervised, either. Markham gives assorted recipes for distilled, perfumed waters to be added to the rinsing water for the laundry - something like our own scented ironing water - although perfumed smocks, like those referred to in John Marston's revenge play "The Malcontent", were a definite sign of a loose woman. It was acceptable to put sachets in your linen press, because that served the perfectly respectable purpose of keeping malignant bugs and beasties from nibbling on your underclothes, but they tended to be made from good sensible English lavender or medicinal orris.
Sweet-bags like these ( ) were also popular amongst the nobility, often given as gifts at New Year because they were small and quick to embroider. A little sachet like this would be filled with fragrant powder or a sachet mixture, and would then be worn hanging amongst your skirts on a cord or a chain as part of a chatelaine, fragrancing your steps. 
Should you care to have your laundry smell like a seventeenth-century lady's, 'Take half a pound of Cypress Roots, a pound of Orris, 3 quarter of a pound of Calamus, 3 Orange stick with Cloves, 2 ounces of Benjamin, 3 quarters of a pound of Rhodium, a pound of Coriander seed, and an ounce of Storax and 4 pecks of Damask Rose leaves, a peck of dryed sweet Marjerum, a pretty stick of Juniper shaved very thin, some lemon pele dryed and a stick of Brasill; let all these be powdered very grosely for ye first year and immediately put into your baggs; the next year pound and work it and it will be very good again.'
(- from Mary Doggett's Book of Receipts, 1682)
However. You know, and I know, Het Babbitt's rather plain country-housewife linen would be nowhere near as exotic as to smell of rosewood and balsam. Should you choose to smell like the distaff side of the Babbitt household, here are one or two recipes with which to do it:
An Herball Wash-ball  - melt the ingredients together over a double boiler, stir in herbs, and pour into a mould
2 bars unscented soap
25g/ 1oz finely chopped herbs (rosemary was recommended as a complexion herb, to make the face fair and shining)
A few drops of essential oil
A tablespoon of fine oatmeal or bran
Spicy sachet mixture
Six parts dried red rose petals
Four parts dried crushed thyme
Two parts dried lavender
Two parts crushed coriander seed
Two parts powdered calamus root (sweet flag)
One part powdered cinnamon
One part powdered cloves
One part powdered mace.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Freeborn John, Departing Shortly from Liverpool Street....

 Could Crossrail have discovered the last resting place of Freeborn John?

Seems like Crossrail might be in the process of digging up John Lilburne and the Leveller Martyrs.

(That will be the ones who aren't buried in Burford, then. Just saying.)

Not that I imagine Robert Lockyer isn't turning in his grave already.....

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (Except They Are In Oliver Cromwell's House)

In my wanderings throughout the internet I came across this splendid gem on a website called "The Foods of England". Wouldn't it be marvellous if it were true?

"There is a curious story that roast veal in Orange Sauce was Oliver Cromwell's favourite dish, and that when no oranges were available, his wife Elizabeth used beans instead, saying something along the lines of "You should have thought about orange sauce before you declared war on Spain." This tale is told at Cromwell's House in Ely, in 'Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine' by William Carew Hazlitt (1902) and may originate in a spurious little cookbook titled 'The Court and Kitchin of Elizabeth, Commonly Called Joan Cromwel, the Wife of the late Usurper, Truly Described and Represented' published in 1664."

This cookbook was originally written by triumphant Royalists with a perverse sense of humour, intended to show Elizabeth Cromwell up as a frumpy provincial housewife, more fitted to life on a backwater country estate than at Whitehall - and just as a by the by, this was published in 1664, and she died in 1665, so I hope she thought it was as funny as I did. I love the idea of the Lord Protector of England's foreign policy being dictated by what his wife wanted on the table, though. And oranges, believe it or not, are quite popular in 17th century cooking, although normally with capon or fowl rather than veal. Perhaps Mrs Cromwell didn't like chicken?

The Good Huswife's Jewll for the Kitchen (1594) suggests that Mrs Cromwell should... "take red wine, Synamon, Sugar, Ginger, the grauie of the Capon, or a little sweet butter: slice an Orenge thin, boyle it in the stuffe, when your Orenges be tender, lay them vpon your sops, mince some of the rynde and caste on the sops, and so serue them."

To boil a capon with oranges, after Mistress Duffield's way, ..."take a Capon and boyle it with Veale, or with a mary bone, or what your fancie is. Then take a good quantitie of that broth, and put it in an earthen pot by it selfe, and put thereto a good handfull of Corrans, and as manie Prunes, and a few whole Maces, and some Marie, and put to this broth a good quantitie of white wine or of Claret, and so let them seeth softly together: Then take your Orenges, and with a knife scrape of all the filthinesse of the outside of them. Then cut them in the middest, and wring out the ioyse of three or foure of them, put the ioyse into your broth with the rest of your stuffe, then slice your Orenges thinne, and haue vpon the fire readie a skellet of faire seething water, and put your sliced Orenges into the water, & when that water is bitter, haue more readie, and so change them still as long as you can finde the great bitternesse in the water, which will be sixe or seven times, or more, if you find need: then take them from the water, and let that runne cleane from them: then put close Orenges into your potte with your broth, and so let them stew together till your Capon be readie. Then make your sops with this broth, and cast on a litle Sinamon, Ginger, and Sugar, and vpon this lay your Capon, and some of your Orenges vpon it, and some of your Marie, and towarde the end of the boylin"

There's also a thickened version of Mistress Duffield's recipe in the same recipe book, using egg yolks to thicken the sauce into a sort of Christmassy custard. I'm happy to say that Robert May in "The Accomplish't Cook" gave a much plainer and simpler recipe: "Take slices of white-bread and boil them in fair water with two whole onions, some gravy, half a grated nutmeg, and a little salt; strain them together through a strainer, and boil it up as thick as water grewel; then add to it the yolks of two eggs dissolved with the juyce of two oranges."

On the other hand, there's mutton with lemons.
When your Mutton is halfe boyled, take it vp, cut it in small peeces: put it into a pipkin, and couer it close, and put thereto the best of the broth, as much as shall couer your Mutton, your Lemmons being sliced verie thin, and quartered, and Corrans, put in pepper grose beaten, and so let them boyle together, and when they be well boyled, season it with a litle Uergious, sugar, pepper grose beaten, and a little sanders, so lay it in fine dishes vpon sops. Jt will make three messe for the table.
This version sounds a little less - festive, sorry Oliver - but in the early 17th century (and earlier) sanders, ie sandalwood, was used for colouring rather than flavouring. It's red, but I'd be inclined to replace with a little saffron, just to give it that slightly aromatic, musky taste.  

So - apologies to the Lord Protector, but I'm with Elizabeth on this one. A much better use of oranges can be found:
TAke your orenges, and lay them in water a day and a night, then seeth them in faire water and hony, and let them seeth till they be soft: then let them soak in the sirrop a day and a night: then take them forth and cut them small, and then make your tart and season your Apples with Sugar, Synamon and Ginger, and put in a peece of butter, and lay a course of Apples, and betweene the same course of apples, a course of Orenges, and so course by course, and season your Orenges as you seasoned your Apples, with somewhat more sugar, then lay on the lid and put it in the ouen, and when it is almost baked, take Rosewater and Sugar, and boyle them together till it be somwhat thick, then take out the Tart, and take a feather and spread the rosewater and Sugar on the lid, and set it into the Ouen againe, and let the sugar harden on the lid, and let it not burne.

And failing that, you can always use them to make marmalade - after all, everyone in the 17th century knows of the aphrodisiac properties of marmalade, don't they?

Thursday, 5 February 2015

One of these books is not like the other ones....

The first blood to be drawn in the English Civil Wars, at the Battle of Edgehill in autumn 1642. The King raises his standard against Parliament, and for bright, handsome young Puritan Thankful Russell, his new officer's commission in the Army of Parliament is the gateway to a freedom and a happiness he has never known before. Freedom, and friendship, and an escape from his zealot sister, and a new purpose in life. (And girls, and laughter, and music, and all the other things that any ordinary good-looking young man at nineteen takes for granted.)

But Thankful is no ordinary young man, and these are not ordinary times, and before the day has ended his life will take a turn that he never, in his wildest dreams, imagined.

Or his worst nightmares.

A Cloak of Zeal is a darker turn for the Babbitt books. But then, Russell is Hollie Babbitt's dark shadow.

Darker, and altogether harsher, and the first chapter made me cry and it made my other half very angry. And as for the end.... well, we must thank God that we know what we know, and that it does not end there.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

A Cloak of Zeal - preview

A sneak peek at the novella due out at the end of this month. Set in the summer of 1642, with a family split by more than just politics and religion....

He wasn't paying very particular attention. He was looking at his neatly folded hands on the scrubbed white tablecloth, and thinking how black his bruised knuckles looked against the linen, and how much he hoped she wouldn’t notice. And that his cuffs were wet, and he hadn’t managed to scrub all the spatters of blood from Symonds' nose completely out of the linen.

Far off at the top of the stairs, he heard the familiar buzzing whirr as the longcase clock wound itself up to strike the hour, and thought, with a deep sense of resignation, that Roger Coventry had been going for a good half hour already and was like to go for another. Without looking up, he let his mind wander on its customary idle conjecture, imagining his stiff, righteous sister in bed with her appalling husband, the pair of them laid side by side like a pair of marble statues on a tomb, their nightcapped heads rigid on identical stony pillows. What exactly Fly-Fornication and Roger Coventry - and he could never think of his brother-in-law as either Roger or Master Coventry, but by his full name, all run together, Rogercoventry - might say to each other, in the privacy of their chamber. His imagination had never stretched that far, but whatever it was, it had not run to the engendering of children, in five years of marriage.

It was an odd thing. Of his many besetting sins, Thankful Russell did not consider false modesty as one. He was not ill-looking: he was tall and as lithe of build as a sight-hound, with long, thick, pale hair that he wore plainly tied back in a tail at the nape of his neck. His limbs were straight, he did not have a crook-back, or a limp. He had, he flattered himself, a not unhandsome face: high, wide cheekbones, a straight nose, neither too long nor too short; dark eyes that contrasted vividly with his barley-blonde hair and fair skin.

Thankful Russell had been described as beautiful, before now. (Though it had been dark, and she had been three parts drunk at the time, and he had been under her petticoats. Regardless. She'd called him beautiful.) His sister Fly-Fornication had the same build, though on her, it was as lean and comfortless as one of the Egyptian kine in Pharaoh's dream. Her fair hair was lank and stringy, yanked back from her face and confined under a starched plain white cap. Her eyes were as dark and wide-set as his own, but without any leaven of humour, or kindness, or wit. Afire with zeal, for sure, but he couldn’t imagine Fly as afire for Roger Coventry.

She was looking down the table at him, and Roger Coventry was winding to a confused halt partway through his grace. Fly even unmanned her husband, a man she confidently described as an upright member of the Lord's Elect. (Thankful would concur with that description. Roger Coventry was, indeed, a prick.)
"Your devotions, sir!" she said, glowering. "You fail to attend!"
"On the contrary, good sister. I am present." Over twelve years of her sole care, he had grown quick in verbal ambiguity.

Tonight, though, she was having none of it. Tonight her little brother was the worst of miserable sinners, destined to burn for eternity unless he turned to the Lord's grace and repented his sins. It had frightened him, badly, as a little boy. He had been very, very afraid of the fires of hell. She was fifteen years older than he was and when their mother had died, Fly had taken her duties very seriously. She had held his chubby little five-year-old hand in the kitchen fire until he screamed and told him, very earnestly, that if he was a sinner, he would feel that for all eternity. He'd believed it, too. He had been an unnaturally dutiful little boy, haunted by the twin ghosts of hellfire and the lack of his mother's love. Had thought that Fly did not love him because he was naughty - because he sinned, even when he didn’t mean to - and that if he was a good boy, she might love him, and then he might be happy, and she might not make him afraid and hurt him. She didn’t mean to hurt him, but he made her angry, because he was bad, and then she had to punish him to make him good again.

And then Fly had married, at the advanced age of thirty, and it hit Thankful like a bolt of lightning that it was nothing to do with his presumably innate wickedness that made his sister so utterly cold towards him. Fly-Fornication did not love anyone, apart from possibly her own image of God, who was as righteous and unforgiving as she was herself. She didn’t love her little brother, and she never would, and there was nothing he could do about it. She didn’t love her stocky, stolid husband - but as he didn’t seem to love her either, there would be no tears shed on that front. (Two identically night-capped heads, staring upwards on a stony pillow, unspeaking.) The Lord be praised Master and Mistress Coventry had never produced children, to continue the unloving. Fly didn't hate Thankful. He was nothing to her, a blot on a copybook, to be fiercely erased and redrawn over and over until he was as perfect and featureless a copy of God's little template as she thought she was herself.

He looked back at Fly's gaunt face, her mouth moving although he wasn't listening. Thinking of the difference between his sister, who was allegedly female, and Phoebe - whose name was probably Betty, or Joan, but Symonds called her Phoebe when he was drunk, for her rosy-gilt hair. Phoebe was soft and warm and the folds of her skirts smelled of spilled ale and sex. Phoebe liked Thankful. It hadn't been her that had called him beautiful - he couldn’t remember her name, it had been a while ago - but she liked to sit with his arm round her shoulders in the White Hart in Great Missenden, close to him, with her back against his flank and his hand just under the edge of her bodice, resting on the warm flesh of her breast. He'd acquired some facility at eating and drinking left-handed, though he had not yet learned to play the fiddle with his left hand only. He wouldn’t call Phoebe his girl, exactly. He thought it might have been that which Symonds had objected to. Symonds wanted her, and she wanted Thankful, and Thankful had been more than half-drunk and feeling generous and said if Symonds wanted the wench he could have her, it didn’t bother him greatly, and Phoebe had gone off sobbing. Symonds had took exception to it and it had all gone downhill from there, really. He had ended up in bed with Phoebe, because it was that or go home, but he'd been more irritable than amorous. He liked her, she was warm and funny and generous, but truly, out of bed the girl was as thick as pig-shit and she bored him senseless. She was kind, though.

"And the stink of sin follows you," she finished malevolently, and he raised his eyebrows politely.
"Indeed, madam?"
"You reek of whores, you filthy, unclean - abomination!"

"Indeed." In his head, he lowered his lashes with a glance of withering contempt and applied himself to his supper, ignoring her spittle-sodden ranting. In the hall of the house at Four Ashes, he felt the old familiar hot, tight feeling under his collar, and he slammed his chair back and tossed his head and said, "And I imagine you should know, dear sister, as your dear husband doubtless seeks out the cheapest sluts in Buckinghamshire rather than frequent your cold bed."

"See the mark of Cain, there!" Fly shrieked jubilantly. "On his throat!"
"That's a kiss mark, you witless bitch!" he yelled back at her, and Roger Coventry rose to his feet, spluttering. Ordering Thankful out of his own house. He reminded her of that fact. It was his house. He was the last of the Russells of Four Ashes. If he chose to turn her out onto the streets he could do so -

The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly. He could match her, text for text, and the little, cool part of his mind wondered if he'd drive her to an apoplexy, if he kept it up. He felt a little warm glow of satisfaction that fifteen years of punishment had given him that much vengeance. Hours of confinement with no company but his Bible till he had learned his verses to her satisfaction - cold and dark and frightened and hungry, with his head aching because it was too dark to see the words on the page, but not lonely, because if he'd ever known how to be lonely he'd had that broken out of him, and he was now what his sister had made him.

Occasionally, the Lord put words into Thankful's mouth, and he was possessed by the Spirit. Cool, now, calm, he sat down again and bowed his head over his plate and said quietly, "But of course you may remain, good sister, in all charity. I have volunteered myself in Sir John Hampden's regiment this very day, to take arms to defend our liberties against His Majesty's persecutions."

She was silent, choked off as effectively as a noose. "We have the honourable task of guarding the Train of Artillery," he went on. "I shall be leaving to take up my commission as soon as may be."

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Awarded for Excellence in Research by 17th-Century Specialists

Awarded for Excellence in Research by 17th-Century Specialists