Welcome to weekend writing warriors. Many fine authors, and me, contribute short snippets for your delectation.
Since it seems that our Regency spy romance is much more popular than our science fiction, this post introduces the sequel to The Art of Deception. Amanda’s reading was interrupted by a summons to attend on her mother. Amanda’s mother made it clear that she must attend the assembly.
Amanda greeted her father when he climbed into the carriage to join her and her mother, “You look dressed to the nines father.”
Mr Bentley tugged at his stiff collar and carefully sat in his all too tight trousers, “Thank you, I wish they weren’t so da- uncomfortable; they don’t suit me.” After he sat, he thumped the carriage and shouted “Drive on.”
Mrs Bentley pointedly added, “You cannot wear your tradesmen’s coat to assemblies, let alone when we take Amanda to Bath or …. London.”
“London?” Mr Bentley paled, “I thought we had agreed to Bath.”
“Bath?” Amanda’s voice quavered, “Bath?”
“You’re such an awkward and shy lass,” Mrs Bentley explained, “It would give you a chance to grow into society, practice your dancing, before,” and here she sent her husband a quelling glance, “before we take you to visit the ton.”
While Amanda sought solace by studying the familiar countryside on the few short miles between Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury, her father reached over and patted her shoulder, “It’ll be alright lass.”
My sincere apologies for abusing semi-colons.
Coalpit Heath and Chipping Sodbury are near the port of Bristol – Mr Bentley’s iron would likely have gone by sea from there. The Severn, the river that leads into the Bristol channel is known for its large tidal differences.
At low tide the Severn is non-navigable. It looks like one could walk across it and upstream, nearer Gloucester, one can. I presume that’s why Offa’s dyke is on the far side of the river.
The solution to this, of course, was a canal. The Gloucester and Sharpness canal, seen also at low tide here, was under construction at the time of this story. The canal company that started it went bankrupt so that it spent a few years as a useless big ditch.
Prior to completion, the cargo boats would have had a few hours to make it up or down the Severn. It would have been interesting if not dashed exciting and somewhat dangerous to ride one downstream when the tide was flowing. The RNLI frowns on people doing it today in canoes (kayaks in the US and Canada).
You can get a copy of the first four chapters on instafreebie.