Thank you all for your kind words! An Honorable Gentleman is actually my twentieth book, and the excitement of knowing it’s out in the wild, where anyone might pick it up and read it, is still heady. I appreciate those of you who hazarded a guess in the contest. The winner of the autographed copy is Rose De Guzman who correctly guessed (ahead of Beebs) that I had intended William IV, Duke of Clarence, to be the man who had fathered Sir Trevor. Rose, please send me your mailing info at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just think. If Trevor had been legitimate, he would have been King of England instead of Victoria! I wonder what the Trevorian era would have been like. :-)
So, in honor of the man who would never be king, today I’d like to ask my heroine, Gwendolyn Allbridge, to interview Sir Trevor for us. Gwen is the daughter of the estate steward at Blackcliff Hall, and she’s actually running the place.
Gwen: Sh! You aren’t supposed to tell my father or Sir Trevor. They think they’re in charge.
Nineteenteen: Ah, of course. Sorry. Ahem, Miss Allbridge, apprentice midwife and helpful young lady . . .
Gwen: Much better.
Nineteenteen: Is here today to introduce us to Sir Trevor Fitzwilliam of Blackcliff. Take it away, Gwen.
Gwen: Thank you. As you may know, Sir Trevor recently took on ownership of the Blackcliff estate when he was awarded his baronetcy for services to the Crown. Would you care to elaborate, Sir Trevor?
Trevor: It was an administrative matter. Nothing of consequence.
Gwen: Important enough to earn you a baronetcy and the finest estate in Cumberland.
Trevor: I’m afraid I must disagree, my dear, on several points. I solved a problem for a titled fellow, and he saw fit to recommend me to the king for elevation. And I’d hardly call Blackcliff the finest estate in Cumberland or any other part of England. The house and outbuildings are decaying, the mine that paid for them is closed up, and there’s not enough land to sustain any other sort of agriculture. In truth, it’s a sad disappointment.
Gwen: Well, it will be the finest, when you’re done improving it, I’m certain. And do not give me that eye, sir. I know you will be the salvation for this place. The villagers already look up to you.
Trevor: They look up to you, and I can see why. I’ve never met a woman with more energy and drive. You concoct potions that cure illnesses, you managed an army of volunteers to clean this cavernous house from the schoolroom to the scullery, and somehow you find time to cook for your father, sew your own clothes, and train your guard dog.
Gwen: Oh, yes, Dolly. Isn’t she a dear?
Trevor: She is the largest mastiff I’ve ever seen, and any man with an ounce of sense would run at first sight. I don’t know how you manage her or half the other things you do. Frankly, madam, you exhaust me.
Gwen, dimpling: Why, Sir Trevor, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.
Trevor: You have obviously been associating with the wrong sort of fellow. You make me wish . . .
Gwen, breathlessly: What?
Trevor, quietly: That I was an honorable gentleman.
Nineteenteen: Ahem, well, I think we'll all just slip out now.