George Read, the Only Signer Who Voted Against the Declaration of Independence, But Still Signed It



readBorn on September 18, 1733, on a family estate at North East, Cecil County,Maryland, George Read was the eldest son of Colonel John Read of Maryland and Delaware. His father, the Colonel, was born in Dublin, Ireland, on January 15, 1688, and was descended from Sir Thomas Read who was one of the knights who accompanied King Henry VI when the king held his Parliament at Reading in 1439. Read’s mother was the daughter of a Welsh planter.

He attended a school in Chester, Pennsylvania, then the Philadelphia Academy under Doctor Francis Allison at New London. At fifteen he graduated and proceeded to study law at the office of John Moland in Philadelphia. He was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar in 1753 at the age of nineteen. He moved to New Castle, Delaware, in 1754. He enlisted a clientele that extended into Maryland. During this period he resided in New Castle, but maintained Stonum, a country retreat near the city. He established quite a reputation in New Castle and was appointed Attorney General to three Delaware counties, an office which he resigned in 1774 when he was elected to the First Continental Congress. In 1764, the period leading up to the Stamp Act protests, Read joined the Delaware Committee of Correspondence and was active in the patriot movement. A moderate Whig, he supported nonimportation measures and dignified protests. At the Continental Congress he found Lee’s Resolution for Independence to be too hasty and voted against it, the only signer of the Declaration to do so, apparently either bowing to the strong Tory sentiment in Delaware, or believing reconciliation with Britain was still possible.. When it was adopted, however, he joined the majority in working toward independence.

imgresRead could be called a “moralist.” But when the chips were down, Read took up the cause. He even helped raise funds to aid those in Boston who lost business because of the Boston Tea Party. 

In reality, Read was not the only delegate who voted against the resolution for independence on 2 July 1776, but as he was the only delegate from Delaware to do so, his “voice” took on special importance. Read had become friends with John Dickinson from Pennsylvania. Dickinson was outspoken advocate for caution. Dickinson thought independence was a premature step. Of the three Delaware representatives, Caesar Rodney did not arrive in Philadelphia in time to vote on 2 July, which left Read, who asked for the delegates to “wait,” set against pro-independence delegate Thomas McKean. Without Rodney’s vote, Delaware’s part in the independence movement would be thrown out as a draw. Therefore, McKean sent a courier to Rodney, who reportedly rode all night to reach Philadelphia in time. It was an 80-mile journey from Dover, Delaware, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rodney arrived in time to keep Read’s “nay” vote from hurting the independence movement. 

Others who opposed independence abstained from voting. Some voted against the move for independence and later refused to sign the Declaration of Independence. It was only Read who voted against the measure, but still signed the document. It was never that Read supported the British, he just worried for a fledgling country with no army. Even so, after the vote, Read raised money for troops and supplies. He also became part of the militia. 

On January 11, 1763, Read married Gertrude Ross Till, daughter of the Rev. George Ross rector of the Emmanuel Church of New Castle. Gertrude was a widow. The marriage was a powerful union, as the Ross family was prominent and esteemed in the community. In fact, her brother George Ross was an eminent judge and was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Gertrude bore Read fours sons and a daughter. 

readgeorgeIn 1776, Read was called upon to join the Constitutional Convention in Delaware, where he served as president of the committee that drafted the document. In 1777 the British captured Delaware governor John McKinly, and Read (then vice governor of the state) took over as governor in the emergency. He lead the state through the crisis of the war, raising money, troops, and supplies for the defense of his state.

in 1784, Read had served on a commission that adjusted New York-Massachusetts land claims. In 1786 he attended the Annapolis Convention. The next year, he participated in the Constitutional Convention, where he missed few if any sessions and championed the rights of the small states. Otherwise, he adopted a Hamiltonian stance, favoring a strong executive. He later led the ratification movement in Delaware, the first state to ratify.

In 1779 he suffered a bout of poor health and had to retire from official duties. He recovered, however, and was appointed Judge in Court of Appeals in admiralty cases three years later. Read went on to be twice elected State Senator under the new constitution, and later still was appointed Chief Justice of the State of Delaware.  He held the office until his death at New Castle 5 years later, just 3 days after he celebrated his 65th birthday. His grave is there in the Immanuel Episcopal Churchyard.the_grave_of_george_read_signer_of_the_declaration_by_wertyla-d7yybgu


American History from Revolution to Reconstruction  “George Read”

U. S. History “Signers of the Declaration of Independence” 

Wikipedia “George Read” 

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Are You Familiar with These Words and Phrases?

043973228x_rgb4_xlgI love unusual words and phrases and often make note of them as I read. Today, we have a nice mix. 

As Nice as Ninepence means neat, tidy, well-ordered. Phrase Finder tells us that the origin of the phrase may include the variants, ‘as right as ninepence’ and ‘as neat as ninepence.’ 

as nice as ninepenceThere are suggestions that this expression derives from from ‘as nice as ninepins.’ In the game of Ninepins (Skittles) the pins are set out in a square. For the game to be fair this must be done neatly and accurately or, in the old parlance, nicely. There are no early records of ‘as nice as ninepins’ in print, which we might expect if the ‘ninepence’ version derived from it. The ‘ninepins’ form, in the guise of ‘as smart as ninepins’ isn’t found until the 20th century, so it is reasonable to assume that it is a simple mishearing of the earlier ‘as neat/clean/grand as ninepence’ versions.

We find the earliest known recorded form of the phrase is ‘as neat as ninepence’; the first citation is in James Howell’s English Proverbs, 1659:

“As fine as fippence, as neat as nine pence.”

as nice as ninepenceThe ‘fippence’ (five pence) here makes it clear that the reference is to money rather than to skittles. For it to appear in a list of sayings viewed as proverbial it must have been in existence for some time before 1659. There was a ninepence coin in circulation in the 16th and 17th centuries, although there was nothing especially neat or nice about it. The rhyming and alliterative style of the citation suggests that the ‘neat’ and ‘nice’ were chosen just for that reason. [When I originally went looking for this phrase, I sought out ninepence to nothing.”]


Next, I have clever about his fambles.” I could not find this one as written, but we could break down the meaning. As a noun, “famble” was a form of obsolete slang meaning “hand.” The word came from the Old English famelen, and as a verb it means “to stammer.” In James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” we find, “White thy fambles, red the gan/And thy quarrons dainly is./Couch a hogshead with me then./In the darkmans clip and kiss.”


Bamboozle” is a word meaning deceive or get the better of (someone) by trickery, flattery, or the like; humbug; hoodwink(often followed by into); perplex; mystify; confound. The origin comes from 1695-1705. Bamboozle is one of those words that has been confounding etymologists for centuries. No one knows for sure what its origins are. One thing we do know is that it was originally considered “low language,” at least among such defenders of the language as British.


It won’t fadge can be found in The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, originally by Francis Grose. It means “it won’t do.” Its origin lie in the Anglo-Saxon,fægen, to fit together; Welsh, ffag, what tends to unite. In literature, we find, “How will this fadge?” from Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, ii. 2. It could also mean a “farthing ~ A corrupt contraction of fardingal, i.e. farthingale. (See Chivy.) Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894.


Earwig is a verb meaning “to eavesdrop on a conversation.” The archaic meaning is “influence (someone) by secret means or to fill the mind of with prejudice by insinuations.” Old English ēarwicga, from ēare ‘ear’ + wicga ‘earwig’ (probably related to wiggle ). “Earwigging” is any of numerous elongate, nocturnal insects of the order Dermaptera, having a pair of large,movable pincers at the rear of the abdomen.The insect is so named because it was once thought to crawl into the human ear. The word comes from the Middle English. 


Humbug comes to us from 1751, student slang, “trick, jest, hoax, imposition, deception,” of unknown origin. Also appearing as a verb at the same time, “deceive by false pretext” (trans.). A vogue word of the early 1750s; its origin was a subject of much whimsical speculation even then. “[A]s with other and more recent words of similar introduction, the facts as to its origin appear to have been lost, even before the word became common enough to excite attention” [OED]. Meaning “spirit of deception or imposition; hollowness, sham” is from 1825.



Holland linens

From Jane Austen in Vermont, we learn the meaning of Holland Covers.” “One of my most favorite scenes in a movie is the opening of the 1995 Persuasion and the slow-motion laying on of the “holland covers” to protect all the Kellynch furniture as the Elliots retrench to Bath.  One can read just about any book of historical fiction and see this term used to refer to furniture coverings:  “shrouded in holland covers” or some such reference.  It is such a common reference in today’s historical fiction writings, and one reads along, knowing what it means, but where does the term come from? and most important of all, did Jane Austen ever use the term? 

“I have a book titled Regency Furniture, by Clifford Musgrave, and there is much on Henry Holland, and I recall when I first bought this book that I thought perhaps this is where the term originated – Holland designed furniture, so coverings for said furniture could be called ‘holland covers’ – no?  Holland was the architect appointed by the Prince Regent [then the Prince of Wales] to rebuild and refurbish Carlton House, the Prince’s London establishment since 1783.”

At British History Online, we find history of the import of holland linen:   

Holland and its neighbours were major producers of LINEN of all grades, the finest of which was usually designated simply as HOLLAND or HOLLAND CLOTH. It was much used for making the highest quality of NAPERY and BED LINEN above those made of DIAPER, HUCKABACK, FLAXEN CLOTH, HEMPEN CLOTH and TOW.

OED earliest date of use: 1617

Found described as PLAIN

A Dictionary of Costume and Fashion by Mary Brooks Picken [Dover, 1999] says the following under “Holland”: 

Closely woven linen fabric originally made in Holland.  The first Hollands were made of this fabric [i.e. a form-fitting foundation made by big establishments for special customers and used as a size guide in cutting and draping to save fittings] – a linen or fine cotton in plain weave, sized and often glazed [p. 175];

and under “Linens”:  firm, course, plain-woven, linen, unbleached or partly bleached, glazed and unglazed; originally from Holland.  Used for aprons, furniture covers, window shades, dress-form covers, etc. [p. 213]

And in Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic life in Victorian England, by Judith Flanders [Norton, 2004]:  

As the second half of the century progressed, hygiene became the overriding concern.  Mrs. Panton, still distressed about bedroom carpets, remembered a carpet that had spent twenty years on the dining room floor, “covered in Holland in the summer,” and preserved from winter wear by the most appallingly frightful printed red and green ‘felt square’ I ever saw.” [with a note:  Holland was a hard-wearing linen fabric, usually left undyed.  It was much used in middle- and upper-class households to cover and protect delicate fabrics and furniture.”  [p.  43] 



Someone steals your thunder when they use your ideas or inventions to their own advantage. Phrase Finder tells us the Origin: Devices that produce the sound of thunder have been called on in theatrical productions for centuries. The methods used include – rolling metal balls down troughs, grinding lead shot in bowls, shaking sheets of thin metal. The latter device, called a thunder sheet, is still in use today. The bowl method was referred to in Alexander Pope’s literary satire The Dunciad, published in 1728:

With Shakespeare’s nature, or with Johnson’s art,
Let others aim: ‘Tis yours to shake the soul
With Thunder rumbling from the mustard bowl.

John DennisThe story that lies behind ‘stealing someone’s thunder‘ is that of the literary critic and largely unsuccessful playwright, John Dennis. In 1704, Dennis’s play Appius and Virginia was produced at the Drury Lane Theatre, London and he invented a new method of creating the sound of thunder for the production. We don’t know now what this method was (some texts say it was a refinement of the mustard bowl referred to by Pope, in which metal balls were rolled around in a wooden bowl), but it is reported that after Appius and Virginia failed and was closed, the method was soon afterwards used in a production of Macbeth. Dennis was less than pleased at having his idea purloined and this account of his response was recorded by the literary scholar Joseph Spence (1699–1768) and later quoted in W. S. Walsh’s Literary Curiosities, 1893:

“Damn them! They will not let my play run, but they steal my thunder.”

The actual words are in doubt and are also reported as “That is my thunder, by God; the villains will play my thunder but not my play!”. What is clear is that Dennis’s experience was the source of this attractive little phrase.


From World Wide Words, we find “dab hand.” This is mainly a British Commonwealth phrase, commonly used in sentences such as “My son has become a dab hand at renovating cast-off computers”. We’re able to trace its origin back to the end of the seventeenth century, but then the trail runs into the sand.

The phrase dab hand turns up first in the early nineteenth century and is widely recorded in English regional and dialect usage through the century. The first recorded use of dab by itself in a related sense is in the Athenian Mercuryof 1691. It’s also in the Dictionary of the Canting Crew of 1698-99: a dab there is “an exquisite expert” in some form of roguery. The US word dabster for an expert comes from the same source, and is recorded from about the same time. Dab is often reported as being school slang, but that may be a later development, as the early sightings all seem to have had criminal associations.

Nobody is even sure where the original dab came from: it may be linked to the Old Dutch dabben and German tappen. The verb first appears about 1300, when it meant to give somebody a sharp blow; it weakened in sense over time, until in the sixteenth century it arrived at its modern meaning of pressing lightly and repeatedly with something soft (the criminal slang dabs for fingerprints seems to derive from this sense, perhaps with a nod towards dab hand). It’s difficult to see how the idea of expertise grew out of the various senses of dab and it’s possible that in this sense it is a separate word, perhaps from adept.

Posted in etymology, word choices, word origins | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Life Below Stairs: Benevolent Groups Come to the Aid of Domestic Servants


Life as a servant in Victorian England | Revelations

There were groups operating in London and throughout England to aid domestic servants. The most important of those were…

Established in May 1846, The General Domestic Servants’ Benevolent Institution was located at 32 Sackville Street, Piccadilly. It was under the patronage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It was registered under the Friendly Societies Act, 13 & 14, Vict. c. 115. This group purpose was “to relieve honest and industrious domestic servants, of both sexes, who have been incapacitated by active duty from unavoidable misfortunes and the advance of age, with its consequent infirmities, by granting to members annual pensions, to be fixed by the committee of management for the time being, after taking into consideration the character, necessities, and especially the duration and the amount of subscription of the applicant, and to grant relief to a limited extent in cases of urgent temporary distress, provided that the members applying have subscribed upwards of three years, to be computed from the day of paying their first subscription money, and within two years of their application.” (Baylis, Thomas Henry. The Master and Mistress and Domestic Servants, London, Sampson Low, Son, and Co., 1857)

To become a member, servants had to be employed within one year of their application. They paid somewhere between 3 s. and 10 s. to become candidates for benefits offered by the institution. Those granted assistance receive 15 -20 Libra per year. The institution had some 7000 members and a permanent fund of 10000l.

The National Guardian Institute was located at 4 Bedford Row, London. It was established in 1825. It supplied families with competent domestic servants of good character. They also maintained almshouses. Almshouses for aged female servants were found in Raven Row, Mile End Road. Those residing there had to have an annual pension of 10l.  Under the patronage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the Servants’ Royal Provident and Benevolent Society was amalgamated with the National Guardian Institute in May 1854. The Servants’ Royal Provident and Benevolent Society  was located at 49 and 9A, Great Marlborough Street, St. James’s. 

11000175893_cd8ca008f1_oThe Female Servants Home Society was located at 21 Nutford Place and 110 Hatton Garden. Lodging was available on Nutford Place for 1s. 9d. per week. At Hatton Garden, the cost was 1s. Medical attendants cared for those too ill to work. The society granted to servants who continued in the same employment rewards proportionate to their length of service. Those who were employed for two years received a copy of the Bible. Five years earned the servant a certificated testimonial and a suitable book. A silver medal was handed out for nine years service, and a good medal rewarded for fifteen years. The group founded homes to receive female servants who were displaced. Those in residence were given religious instruction, as well as advice on providing excellent service. 

The office of the Female Aid Society was located at 27 Red Lion Square. It was established in 1836 to provide shelter and protection to servants and other unprotected young ladies of good character, and to provide asylum to fallen, but penitent females. Three distinct “Homes” were established. A Servants’ Home was established at 51 Southampton Row, Russell Square, for respectable servants who were displaced. A Penitent’s Home was located at 57 White Lion Street, Barnsbury Road, Islington. A Friendless Home for young and friendless girls of good character was found at 17 New Ormond Street, Bedford Row. Foundling Girls



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Being a “Gentleman” in Regency England

In 1583 Sir Thomas Smith wrote: “One who can live idly and without manual labour and will bear the port (deportment) and countenance of a gentleman, he shall be taken for a gentleman.” But what does “being a gentleman” entail? According to Historical and Regency Romance UK, “The original dictionary definition of the word gentleman was strict: A well-educated man of good family. It was also used to refer to a man whose income derived from property as opposed to a man who worked for a living. It was only in the eighteenth century that it came also to mean a man who was cultured, courteous and well-educated with a code of honour and high standards of proper behaviour. By the time of Jane Austen, the gentleman had come to be defined by his personal qualities as much as by his status as a member of the landed gentry. He was not a member of the nobility but was an “esquire” at the top of the pile of untitled landowners. (Knights and baronets also do not belong to the peerage but are still a cut above an esquire by virtue of holding a title, and of course Jane Austen emphasises beautifully the superiority of Sir Walter Eliott, for example, a baronet, over Lady Russell the widow of a mere knight!) Even so, a gentleman such as Mr Darcy, untitled but well-connected, with a beautiful house and a very good income, was not to be sneezed at.”

Defining what made a “gentleman” was  a fascinating conundrum, basically because the idea and legal aspects of being a ‘gentleman’ was in flux, in transition, under attack, etc. along with the entire upper class.  Gentleman was a legal term and inheritable title according to long-standing laws. New ideas such as Thomas Paine’s “The Rights of Man” and the French Revolution were real threats to legitimacy of the hereditary ruling classes. The growing wealth of the middle class, buying their way into the gentry was another threat.   

quote-he-is-a-gentleman-and-i-am-a-gentleman-s-daughter-so-far-we-are-equal-jane-austen-34-70-04Jane Austen’s books all deal with the question: “What is a true gentleman?” Primogeniture laws existed where only the first son inherited. Therefore, second sons, such as Colonel Fitzwilliam in Pride and Prejudice and Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park, although ostensibly part of the upper class and a gentleman (yet still a commoner), had to discover another means of support. Without forfeiting his place in Society, a landless gentleman could be a barrister because he was given an honorarium, but not a solicitor because he received a salary or fee for work.  He could become a vicar, who was given a ‘living’, possibly several, rather than a salary. He often did not work, per se, generally hiring others. A military officer was another story with its own issues, and one of the more serious threats to the gentry during the Napoleonic Wars. There were far more officers required during the twenty years of war than could be supplied by the upper classes. Purchasing a commission was seen as an entry into the gentry, especially by the wealthy merchant class. In Regency romances, the second son often joins the military ranks, while the third looks to the clergy, and the fourth to the law. Colonel Fitzwilliam tells Elizabeth Bennet, “Younger sons cannot marry where they like.” Needless to say, no one of sense would think Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy “equals,” but by Regency standards they were both of the gentry class.

In addition to the younger sons of the nobility, the gentleman class also included physicians, military, clerics, land stewards, men practicing the law, etc. As time went on, wealthy merchants and manufacturers “cracked” the gentleman classification. Even so, the chasm between the “wanna-bees” and the landed gentry and the aristocracy remained firmly in place.

If we look at order of precedence, we can become more confused. For example, we have at the bottom of the “order” of precedence for those before we even reach the category of “gentleman”…

Eldest sons of the Younger sons of Peers
Eldest sons of Baronets
Eldest sons of Knights
Members of Fifth Class of Victorian Order
Baronets’ Younger sons
Knights Younger sons
Esquires: Including the Eldest sons of the sons of Viscounts and Barons, the eldest sons of all the younger sons of Peers and their eldest sons in perpetual Succession, the younger sons of Baronets, the sons of knights, the eldest son of the eldest son of a Knight in perpetual succession, persons holding the King’s Commission, or who may be styled “Esquire” by the King in any Official Document
Gentlemen (Edwardian Promenade)

Beyond money and land ownership, a “gentleman” was expected to perform in a particular manner. In such is where we find the true “gentleman.” Darcy was superior to either Collins or Wickham. Edmund Bertram outshone his brother Thomas. Sir Walter Elliot was a pompous ass, and his heir Mr. Elliot was a scoundrel, but Captain Wentworth was a true gentleman. Position and wealth were secondary to a sense of honour.

Additional Resources:

Captain Rees Hollow Gronow’s book, The Reminiscences and Recollections of Captain Gronow, Being Anecdotes of the Camp, Court, Clubs and Society 1810-1860, provides the reader a glimpse into a life of an officer operating among the upper classes. Gronow’s tales speak to acceptance and denial as a military officer/gentleman with little income to claim a position in Society.

There is an interesting 200+ page thesis by Ailwood, Sarah, “What Men Ought to be: Masculinities in Jane Austen novels.” University of Woolongong Theses Collection 2008 that can be downloaded at: It addresses Austen’s ideas of Masculinity, which pretty much targets the society of gentlemen.

11EMBRVQXKL._BO1,204,203,200_Mrs. Humphrey’s Manners for Men, originally published in 1897 (but facsimiles are available on Amazon for £4,50 HERE )

Posted in British history, customs and tradiitons, George Wickham, Georgian England, Great Britain, historical fiction, history, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, primogenture, Regency era | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Celebrating the Release of “Mr. Darcy’s Present: A Pride and Prejudice Holiday Vagary” + Excerpt + Giveaway

target-christmasOkay, I know the calendar says September 19, but you cannot tell me you have not already seen Christmas decorations up in some of the big box stores. Years prior, I cursed the stores when they brought out Christmas items before Thanksgiving. Needless to say, no one in marketing paid any attention to my pithy complaints. Then Christmas appeared before Halloween. Now, it is here shortly after the “Back to School” sales. In truth, I gave up!!! If I cannot beat them, I will join them. I have not written a “Christmas” themed Pride and Prejudice story since Ulysses Press released Christmas at Pemberley, but today I introduce you to Mr. Darcy’s Present: A Pride and Prejudice Holiday Vagary. It officially released on September 13. a3bbb9b89eb1ad047a532416001a5784

So, what is the premise behind this tale? First, it takes place a month after Darcy leaves Elizabeth behind after the Netherfield Ball. He has impulsively proposed as the ball wound down. Again, he is soundly sent packing by Elizabeth. Yet, he cannot forget her, and although he knows she will never change her mind, he purchases a small gift for her for Christmas: a book of poetry and a jeweled stick pin. He has no intention of sending the items to her, but he keeps them to feed his misery. However, he has an accident, which has others assisting him with the delivery of the presents he chose for his family and Elizabeth. Sending an unmarried woman a gift is unacceptable in Regency society, and in the hurry to assist him, the gift for Elizabeth is sent out by mistake. He must save Elizabeth’s reputation by marrying her. But will Elizabeth accept her fate as his wife? Darcy uses her youngest sister’s elopement to prove himself a better man, but not in the manner Jane Austen gave us. This story has some delightful twists and turns that will surprise you. 

MDP eBook Cover (2) copy.jpg


Chapter One

“It is not her,” he murmured in self-chastisement.

Nearly a month had passed since he last looked upon her countenance, and although Elizabeth Bennet had adamantly refused the offer of his hand, every time he turned his head to scan the crowds scampering along the walkways lining Bond Street, Darcy expected to encounter her. It was as if he thought his constant desire for her would manifest itself into her actual appearance.

With a sigh of resignation he did what was required. Christmastide would arrive within the week, and he held obligations to his dear family. There were the traditional “gifts” to be arranged for his staff at Pemberley and at Darcy House, as well as for his tenants, and there were the more elaborate presentations expected by his dear family. He despised the necessity of shopping for the expected. Darcy preferred to surprise those for whom he cared with tokens of his affection throughout the year, rather than to break with the religious tone of Christmas day, but society had become quite greedy in that manner.

“You have the list, Sheffield?” he asked his valet. Because Darcy’s secretary had taken ill, Sheffield volunteered to choose items for Darcy’s family and the senior servants.

“Yes, Mr. Darcy.”

“Although I consider this business all of a piece, have your selections delivered to Darcy House. Make certain the merchants know some items will be returned as inappropriate for the recipient.”

“I understand, sir.”

Darcy gripped his cane tighter. Since his encounter with Miss Elizabeth, he often felt off kilter. “I will call upon Mr. Hess regarding the adjustments in Miss Darcy’s dowry. I will see you at Darcy House later.”

“I shan’t be long, sir,” the valet assured him.

“I would prefer careful thought to a speedy completion of your task,” he instructed. Glancing toward the bookstore across the busy street, he said in distraction, “Add a book of poetry to the list. Cowper, Scott, Coleridge, Prior, or something in that range and mayhap a simple pin a lady could wear upon a bonnet or to secure a shawl in place. Nothing ostentatious. Just a jewel to mark a gentleman’s regard.”

He knew Sheffield studied him carefully, but Darcy could not abandon his maudlin. He would never present Elizabeth Bennet with the present, but he would place the items away in the drawer with the multiple letters he had written to her, but never posted. “Anything else, sir?” his servant asked in a tone that sounded of concern.

Darcy shook his head in the negative. “That will be all, Sheffield.” Still deep in his regrets, he turned to bump into a young buck up to London on holiday. Darcy opened his mouth to extend his apologies, but the young man took instant offense at having his cravat knocked askew. The dandy shoved hard against Darcy’s chest, sending him windmilling backwards into the busy street. He saw Sheffield shove past the silly prat to reach for Darcy, but it was too late. A coal cart pulled by a donkey plowed into his side, knocking him to the ground. A loud groan of wood against wood announced the driver’s load shifted, and the coal covered him completely.

Giveaway: I have two eBook versions of this book available to those who comment below. The giveaway ends at midnight EDST, September 22, 2016.

Posted in Austen Authors, book excerpts, book release, books, eBooks, Georgian England, holidays, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, marriage, marriage customs, marriage licenses, Pride and Prejudice, Regency era, Regency romance, romance, Vagary | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Samuel Adams, “Poster Boy” of the American Uprising and Signer of the Declaration of Independence

imgresSamuel Adams was one of Boston’s most prominent revolutionary leaders. He was known for his ability to harness popular resentment against Parliament’s authority to tax the colonies in a productive manner. His role in the origins of the American War of Independence cannot be understated. His unique perspective and his ability to galvanize popular support were pivotal in the success of the Boston Tea Party. His early Tory opponents thought him an extremist. However, his own writings prove otherwise. He simply expressed the opinions of the American populace, a position with which the British Parliament did not agree. The British need to remove Adams as a ringleader of the “Independence” movement laid the groundwork for his reputation as a leader of the uprising. Both he and his friend John Hancock ended up on a “hit list” of sorts.

Adams was born on September 27, 1722, in Boston, Massachusetts. He was born to a family which was well versed in political protest. His father, Deacon Adams, was a brewer, and owned a brewery in Boston. During the 1730’s, Boston experienced a severe economic recession due to a lack of currency, or paper money, in circulation. As a result, in 1739 Deacon Adams helped found the Land Bank which offered paper money to borrowers who mortgaged their property. This Land Bank currency was very popular, especially with poor farmers. It allowed them the power to purchase goods from Boston merchants who were in desperate need of customers. The Land Bank seemed to solve all problems; it gave farmers more purchasing power, and allowed Boston merchants to sell more goods. – See more at:

mte1oda0otcxntmzndm2ndi5Everyone did not fully support this new form of currency. The opposition was led by the Court Party, or aristocratic loyalists who sat primarily on the Governor’s Council. In 1741, the members of the Court Party used their status to pressure Parliament to outlaw the Land Bank, and the currency it produced. Those that had manufactured the currency, such as Deacon Adams, were now responsible for all of the paper money that was circulating throughout Massachusetts Bay Colony. All of the farmers that borrowed the currency were now owed silver and gold, and this would come out of the pocket of Deacon Adams. This sent his family spiraling into bankruptcy, and even after Deacon Adams passed away, Samuel would have to defend his estate from the members of the Court Party who wished to seize his land as payment for the debts Deacon Adams owed the government.

This debacle left Samuel with a strong distrust of government. He viewed this decision by Parliament as an exercise of arbitrary power. Naturally he gravitated toward the Popular Party, which was led by James Otis, Jr., a fiery orator who had personal grievances against many of the members of the aristocratic Court Party. Otis guided Adams in his young political career, and helped him develop the rhetoric and methods of political resistance, which would be influential in the rise of the Sons of Liberty. By 1765, Samuel Adams was ready to take the lead. Adams helped formulate resistance to the Stamp Act and played a vital role in organizing the Boston Tea Party. [Revisionists claim Adams was conducting a protest meeting that night of the Tea Party and instead of leading the patriots, he attempted to calm the crowd.]

With his father’s death, Samuel inherited both a piece of his father’s estate, as well as the family brewery. He was not known for his frugal habits, and soon he was in debt and the brewery had gone bust. He relied upon his wealthier friends for support. Even so, he was a man of principles and did not take the many bribes offered to him as a member of the Massachusetts legislature. Thomas Jefferson called him the “patriarch of liberty.” He possessed the gift of rhetoric, which stirred the populace. 

He was a second cousin of U.S. President John Adams, with whom he urged a final break from Great Britain, and a signee of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. 

Adams served as a legislator of Massachusetts from 1765 to 1774. Among his accomplishments, he founded Boston’s Committee of Correspondence, which—like similar entities in other towns across the Colonies—proved a powerful tool for communication and coordination during the American Revolutionary War.

imgresFollowing his run with the state legislature, Adams served as a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress until 1781. In that role, he urged a final break from Great Britain and signed America’s Declaration of Independence alongside his second cousin, future U.S. President John Adams. After the war, he attempted to earn a seat in the House of Representatives, but failed. He did help to draft the Articles of Confederation. At the time, he was in his mid 60s. He refused to sign the new Constitution for it did not contain a Bill of Rights. He thought the Bill of Rights would lead to a better balance of power. 

Later, he served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts under John Hancock. He assumed the role of governor with Hancock’s passing. It was his final political post, serving from 1794 through 1797.

Adams became a Democratic-Republican when formal American political parties were created in the 1790s.  Adams died on October 2, 1803, at age 81. He is interred at the Granary Burying Ground in Boston.samuel-adams-grave-at-the-granary-burial-ground-on-the-freedom-trail-bmm606



Boston Tea Party


Posted in American History, British history, Declaration of Independence, Georgian England, Great Britain | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome Guest Author, Elf Ahearn, and the Amazon Sale of “A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing”

Today, I welcome a fellow Beau Monder, Elf Ahearn to “Every Woman Dreams.” This is her first visit with us, and I hope you will show her the kindness you customarily show me. What can I tell you about Elf’s writing? Her tag line says it all: “Regency Romance with a Gothic Twist.” 

Elf brings us a fabulous story of the real-life horse upon which she based her inspiration for Manifesto, the horse in her release of A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing: The Albright Sisters, Book 1. You will discover real inspiration in this tale!

Elf says: Reading annotated novels is cool. I adore knowing that Lewis Carroll created the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland because hat makers used mercury to cure felt and went insane from it, and that the Mock Turtle’s song parodied a famous poem whose first stanza read, “Will you walk into my parlour? Said the spider to the fly.” So I thought I’d do a little annotating myself.

A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing, which is currently on sale for a mere .99 cents at, features a dabble-gray stallion named Manifesto, and he was inspired by Snowman, a horse I worshipped as an equine-crazed tween.

In 1956 Snowman was a plow horse in Pennsylvania’s Amish country, and his eventual owner, Harry E. de Leyer was the owner of a riding school on Long Island. For whatever reason, Snowman’s Amish master put the white and speckled horse up for auction. As is still the case at these events, any animal not sold by the time the gavel makes its final knock, is loaded into a truck and hauled off to the slaughterhouse.

Harry, hoping to buy a few cheap school horses, was late to the auction, but in time to watch eight-year-old Snowman take his final steps up the truck’s ramp.

Now when I was a kid, I could swear I read this, but I have no proof it’s true; when Harry spied Snowman in the livestock trailer, he saw “a look of eagles” in the horse’s eyes. “A look of eagles;” I love that. So Harry motioned to the driver to lead Snowman back out, and he handed the guy $80 for his troubles.

A few months passed, and Harry used Snowman as a school horse, but being a shrewd business man, sold the animal to a neighbor for twice what he paid. Snowman would have none of it, though. Upon being turned out in the neighbor’s paddock, Snowman popped the five-foot fence between the two properties and galloped back to Harry. The humans tried again, but the $80 plow horse thwarted their efforts by leaping every obstacle they put in front of him. The eagle would not land.



Recognizing Snowman’s extraordinary ability, Harry bought him back. Two years later his $80 investment won so many shows, he was named the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s Horse of the Year, the Professional Horseman’s champion, and the champion of Madison Square Garden’s Diamond Jubilee. In 1959, Snowman became the first horse to win the Open Jumper Championship at Madison Square Garden two years in a row.

Snowman was dubbed the “Cinderella horse,” and LIFE magazine called his reversal of fortune a “nags to riches” story. In addition, a book was written about him titled “The Eighty-Dollar Champion,” and there’s even a documentary called “Harry & Snowman.”

Snowman2.jpgManifesto, the stallion in A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing, shares Snowman’s color and jumping ability, but my fictional horse is so spirited only Ellie can ride him. Snowman, however, was so gentle there’s a famous picture of Harry’s six kids riding him bareback. Even Johnny Carson once mounted him on national TV. But like Snowman, Manifesto is a champion, and Ellie, like Henry, considers her horse her best friend. And last, but most important, both horses share that look of eagles.

roguecropped-2A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing

In Lord Hugh Davenport’s opinion, women of the ton perpetually hide behind a mask of deception. That’s hard for Ellie Albright, the daughter of an earl, to swallow—especially since she’s disguised herself as a stable hand to get back the prized stallion her father sold to Hugh to pay a debt. If Hugh learns her true identity she’ll lose the horse and her family will go bankrupt. Somehow, though, losing Hugh’s affection is beginning to seem even worse.

Already only a step away from being snagged in her own web of lies, Ellie’s deceit threatens to spin out of control when Hugh’s mother invites Ellie and her sisters to a house party. Now Ellie has to scramble to keep Hugh from knowing she’s the stable girl he wants to marry, while simultaneously trying to win his trust as herself. Can she keep her costumes straight long enough to save her family? And even if she does, will it be worth losing his love?

This is a new release of a previously published edition. 

Available on Amazon for 99 cents.

Excerpt from A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing

Ellie eyed the splattered front of her gown. “Now look what you’ve done. I’m a mess.”

The beast yanked a crumpled handkerchief from his pocket. “Use this,” he said, accidentally brushing her breast.

Ellie shied from his touch. “My Heavens, sir, cease and desist! Now, give me your handkerchief, slowly.” As she took the linen square, her hand halted in midair. The sour look she intended for her assailant melted. La, what a handsome man. And then she realized she’d seen him before, but where? Dark eyes, nearly black, met her own, a hooked curl bisected his forehead, meeting the edge of a scar that crossed the ruddy crest of his right cheek.

I’m staring. Quickly she pretended to swab a spot of wine at her waist. Her breath went shallow and her thoughts scattered, but a smile tipped the corners of her lips. She’d had the great good fortune to be trod upon by one of Devon’s most elusive bachelors, Hugh Davenport, Earl of Bruxburton – one of the few gentlemen who’d failed to call at Fairland. A pulse of pain reminded her of her foot. “I … I think I need to sit down,” she told him.

“Ah yes…” said Hugh, looking for an empty chair.

Putting the tiniest bit of weight down, Ellie received a powerful jolt. “I’m afraid I’ll not be dancing again this evening.”

Hugh’s back straightened and a hard look seeped into his eyes. Is he annoyed? she wondered.

“Well, there must be a chair here somewhere.” He moved off on the hunt.

Ellie took a few limping steps after him. “I’ll need your assistance.” He came back and eyed her suspiciously. “Your arm, in fact,” she told him.

His lips hardened, but he looped her arm through his. As they passed a row of seated grande dams, every eye watched with envy.

At an alcove, Hugh stopped to let her pass. “In here,” he said.

“I can’t go in there alone with you.”

“Did you see a free chair on the floor?” he said. “Because what I saw was a row of plump sugar plums, and none of them likely to abandon her seat.”

“People will say I’ve been compromised.”

“Nonsense. I couldn’t possibly compromise anyone in an alcove shielded by a simple palm tree. A young lady compromised in such a manner either wants to be or wants to pretend she was. Which one are you?”

dscn0606Meet Elf Ahearn:  Elf Ahearn, yes that is her real name – lives in New York with her wonderful husband and a pesky cat who believes she’s the inspiration for all of Elf’s books, yet is really a charming distraction from writing. Learn more about Elf at or on Facebook. Learn more about the cat by subscribing to The Writer’s Cat—a very infrequent newsletter about the feline in apricot fur.

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Posted in Act of Parliament, book excerpts, book release, customs and tradiitons, excerpt, Georgian Era, Great Britain, Guest Blog, Guest Post, heroines, historical fiction, Living in the Regency, real life tales, Regency era, Regency romance, religion, romance, royalty, Victorian era | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments