UPDATES AND EXTRAS
Events from a story, or a background scene that
didn't make it into the novel.
The Tour du Castella, built in 1775, on the site of the medieval castle pulled down by order of Cardinal Richelieu
The Travellers reach Tarascon.
[ excerpt from THE OUTCASTS ]
Joachim is escorting his mother's guests from Toulouse to the family home, the chateau de Fontanes, in the French Pyrenees. Of the two young ladies, one is sulking and one is permanently fuming. Major Hugo Dawlish is unwell after being attacked by unknown villains the previous evening.
There was not much traffic on the road and no sign of any evil-doers. Joachim’s chief concern was whether Hugo would manage to ride for the remaining part of the journey. He was evidently in pain, his head down with his chin tucked against his throat and taking no notice of the scenery. Since their last change of horses, Bertrand was riding next to him, while Joachim went ahead of the coach. But now, as they entered the town of Tarascon, Joachim let the coach overtake him. He exclaimed in dismay when he saw Hugo swaying in the saddle, and hurriedly came close alongside, ready to catch him if need be.
‘The coaching inn is just the other side of the river, Hugo,’ he said. ‘You’ll be glad of a rest, I think.’
There was no reply. Hugo seemed scarcely to hear him. They slowed their horses to a walk and crossed the bridge. The familiar sight of the round castella on the hill above the Ariege River was a welcome reminder that they were now only an hour from home. They rode into the yard of the Castella Inn and dismounted.
Prequel to SCANDALOUS LADY [Oct 2019]
The story begins when Olivia has nearly reached Constantinople. But how did she manage to escape from the strictly chaperoned life of a debutante and set off to travel abroad, like her role model, Lady Hester Stanhope?
London, November 1810
Olivia was admiring her new hat in the pier glass, when the drawing room door opened and two middle-aged ladies sailed into the elegant entrance hall. The look they cast her warned Olivia that Aunt Sophie was about to hurl more reproaches at her. Aware of their scrutiny, she stroked the curled ostrich plumes and adjusted the saucy bow under her left ear until Crowbold, the butler, had bowed the ladies out. Then she grimaced at her reflection and whisked herself into the drawing room to brave the storm.
'You may take that hat off,' snapped Lady Hollis. 'We are not going to drive in Hyde Park today.'
'Why ever not?' Olivia enquired. 'Surely you're not upset by anything your friends may have told you? It’s all gossip.'
'It is all shocking!' Lady Hollis wrung her hands. 'As if you had not caused enough scandal by your all-night escapade with Lord Craybrook.'
'There was no escapade,' Olivia stated scornfully. 'He claimed his curricle had a loose wheel and we must stop at an inn while it was repaired - but it was all a plot to compromise me. Nothing happened, Aunt…except that I gave him a black eye,' she added with a gleam of satisfaction.
'It was in all the scandalsheets.' Lady Hollis dabbed at her eyes with a lace-edged handkerchief. 'I warned you then that you would have to accept him.'
'Never.' declared Olivia, swirling away to stare out of the window at the passers-by in Clarges Street. 'It was he who told his version to the reporters, Aunt Sophie.'
'If he will still have you after this…this latest episode. Wretched girl. You were seen riding astride! Galloping in Hyde Park! And with Captain Lucas, of all possible companions!'
'He rides so well,' murmured Olivia. She gave a wicked grin when her aunt covered her eyes with one trembling hand.
'Your reputation is fatally damaged. My dearest friends have just hinted that you are no longer welcome at their tea parties -'
'How uncharitable,' snapped Olivia.
Lady Hollis waved a delicate hand towards the marble mantelpiece with its row of tasteful ornaments, 'We have not received a single invitation this week. Your only chance is to accept Lord Craybrook's offer.'
'So that he may gamble my fortune away on cards and horses. No, I thank you.' Had she pushed her aunt to the limit? She clasped her hands behind her back and managed to hold back a cry of triumph when Lady Hollis announced, in failing accents, 'If no one will receive you, you cannot stay in London. You have even replaced Lady Hester Stanhope as the chief subject of gossip in society.'
'Well, she’s left the country,' said Olivia. 'I envy her.'
'And your brother gone off to those savage eastern lands.'
'Just so,' Olivia agreed, smothering another grin. 'And the poor lamb will be in such a muddle without me to look after him. In fact…'
Several months later, Olivia reaches Constantinople and is reunited with her brother.
As an artist, she is busy capturing the sights of this ancient city.
A 'yali', a seaside dwelling View of Constantinople from Galata The Galata Tower
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