Dear readers, I am not a writer. I am George Wickham; soldier, husband, occasional rogue, perhaps, but certainly not a man of letters, poetry or words. Today, however, in honour of the estimable Miss Austen, it is my pleasure to be able to offer you the opportunity to win a book, free without charge, in return for a moment of your time. Simply leave a comment sharing your favourite scandal from history (fact or fiction) to win a copy of The Crown Spire, a tale of highwaymen, intrigue and 18th century Edinburgh!
As you may already be aware, my estimable editor, Catherine Curzon, is compiling my memoirs and papers and sharing them here with you. Below she has transcribed a letter to an unknown recipient concerning a little racing intrigue that I recalled after making a most fortunate bet of my own.
Letter to an Unknown Friend
Newmarket, 18th August 1820
Let us raise a glass to victory, to horses and jockeys and convenient falls in the final turn! Where would we be without them? Naturally, thanks to the coin in my pocket as a result of that unexpected turn on the track, some will be pointing the finger and saying, ‘Ah, that George Wickham, he sups with a jockey and that same jockey pulls up in the last’, but let them make such accusations to my face, and see if I don’t laugh at the very idea of such intrigues!
Can a man not enjoy a glass or three of brandy with a rider without being accused of bribery and criminality? I would be offended were it not so ludicrous; my good character speaks for me, after all.
As an innocent bystander who just happened to have secured some excellent odds, one is reminded of the tale of Chifney when I was naught but an infant in my mother’s arms, do you recall that sorry story?
Riding for the Prince of Wales, thundering at a gallop and bringing Escape out as favourite to dominate Newmarket and what happened? Last! Last, and a favourite to boot?
Well, we all know what became of Chifney, poor fellow, but let us hope that our own jockey shall face a happier fate. I know that I shall, for tomorrow Mrs Wickham and I depart for London to spend my honestly gotten winnings at the racetrack.
Perhaps we shall be fortunate enough to see you there. I owe you a debt for the nod on that horse, after all. After all, how else would I have known that brandy was such a boon to some horsemen?
My thanks to you once more!
My aforementioned editor, Catherine Curzon, has penned a tale of highwaymen, romance and adventure set in 18th century Edinburgh, The Crown Spire. She has offered up one ecopy (whatever such a thing might be) to a reader. I do love a scandal, so leave a comment below sharing your favourite scandal from history (fact or fiction) and I shall dip my hand into a tricorn and select the name of one reader to receive Mrs Curzon’s tale of adventure and intrigue.
Good luck and my felicitations to all!