An Earl’s Daughter Hits Hard Times

Earl’s Granddaughter Reduced to Serving Wench, The Teatime Tattler April 1815

Spotted cleaning the halls of a provincial inn: an earl’s granddaughter. Lady Wxxx and Miss Hxxx confirmed to this reporter that Miss Patience Abney, currently toiling beside the lowest servants in The Queen’s Barque—seen sweeping, scrubbing and even emptying night soil—is in fact the granddaughter of the Earl of Montour, cousin to the current title holder.
Both ladies assured us that they were well acquainted with the family. They further volunteered that this same young woman—one hesitates to call her a lady—was dismissed from a respectable position at The Spraggins Charitable Institution. As if that weren’t enough, many here witnessed this personage cavorting with a common coachman. The earl must be mortified.

Henrik_Nordenberg_Frau_in_holländischer_Küche-740x1024 The Snooping Reporter

Mrs. Brewster, stalwart innkeeper’s wife, handed tea to her friend, the new Mrs. Zachary Newell—Miss Patience Abney that was—with a shaking hand. “I am mortified, Patience. Just mortified.” She tapped the three week old copy of The Teatime Tattler with one finger to emphasize her meaning. The two of them sat at a battered table in the kitchen of the Queen’s Barque.

Patience added two sugars to her tea. “Whyever would you feel that way, Maud? It did me no lasting harm. If my cousin the earl even saw it, he must have ignored it just as he ignored my wedding. As to those two harpies, well…”

“Some folks have no respect for hard work.”

Patience nodded knowingly. “Even in a storm the like of which the coast hadn’t seen in a generation, some folk wouldn’t sully their hand to manage their own needs, keeping your people running off their feet.”

“It wasn’t just you, though. That nasty paper went after several of my guests. They’ll never want to stop here again. They probably think we snoop through their things looking for dirt.” She sat upright of a sudden, eyes wide. “Dear God, I hope the reporter isn’t one of my staff. We’ll be run out of business.”

Patience chuckled. “I think Mr. Brewster rather liked all the fuss. He claimed to me it made The Queen’s Barque famous. He said ‘Fenwick on Sea is the next Brighton. Mark my words.’ Maybe he has a point.”

Maud Brewster snorted. “More likely it will be the end of us.” She frowned. “You don’t think it could be one of the inn servants do you? You’re just teaching most of them to read and write.”

“They are all enthusiastic learners. It’s why I came over today. Zach and the boys went fishing, and I have the entire afternoon. It could be one of the girls, I suppose. Some caught on fast. It could just as easily be someone at Morphew Manor, or the vicar’s nephew—he had city ties.” She leaned closer. “Did you know that Saphronia Wise is the sister of the headmaster at Spraggins? God only knows what poison he poured in her ears.”

Maud considered her words. “It isn’t necessarily female you know. Men can be the worst. I wouldn’t put it past Bert the groom to try to earn a bit of coin passing on talk from the stables or even Ryman his boss, or the two of ’em together. I even heard the fishermen gossiping about our unusual collection of guests when they all congregated in the tap room. Nosy eyes and ears everywhere. It could be any of them.”

“Missus Newell, Nelly said I was to tell you we’re ready. Mags, Annie, and Alice are all there.” Kitty Smothers stood in the doorway. Patience rose to follow and picked up the much thumbed copy of The Teatime Tattler. It was the sort of incentive the girls needed to practice their reading.

“I’m glad that rag has some use,” Maud Brewster muttered, watching them go.

Who is the snooping reporter?

As told in Storm & Shelter in eight original novellas, refugees—the injured, the devious, and the lonely, lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all sheltered at the Queen’s Barque Inn. Now concern is buzzing in Fenwick on Sea and across these United Kingdoms, as scurrilous gossip about the goings on during the recent storm spread through the reports in that scandal rag, The Teatime Tattler. Who is the snoop?

You can help.

Correctly identify the reporter and be entered to win a $100 gift card and other great prizes. There are details amd instructions for entering here:


There are clues in every story in Storm & Shelter. Find more clues by following on to each stop in our Snooping Reporter Blog Hop. The next stop is on Sherry Ewing’s Blog.

About the Book

A Bluestocking Belles with Friends Collection

When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.

One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.

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Angus & Robertson

Beach-1024x536 The Snooping Reporter

My Story: The Tender Flood

Zach Newell knows Patience Abney is far above his touch. But he has been enchanted by her since she raced out of the storm and into the Queen’s Barque with a wagon full of small boys, puppies, and a bag of books. When the two of them make their way across the flooded marsh to her badly damaged school in search of a missing boy, attraction deepens. She risks scandal; he risks his heart.


To be in the running for an eCopy of either any of my books (winner’s choice) comment below and tell me what about your best beach vacation—or the most disastrous. I’ll generate a random winner Sunday, April 18th.

Good luck and don’t forget to continue on to the next stop on our blog hop at Sherry Ewing’s blog here:

4 thoughts on “An Earl’s Daughter Hits Hard Times

  1. My best beach vacation was going with some friends to Xtapa Mexico when I was 22. It was a wonderful hotel with bright white beaches. I loved it!

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Caroline Warfield, Author

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