LASR Anniversary: Lesley-Anne McLeod – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Leave a comment on THIS POST for a chance to win an additional prize – An 8 1/2 x 11 full colour Regency poetry print — vintage 19th century engraving, digitally painted — featuring a poetry excerpt from Lord Byron.

As a writer of historical fiction, I have often wished for time travel. Oh, to be able to go back–to see what it was really like–to feel and see and smell my favourite era, even just for a moment.

But it cannot be, and so I research and recreate, to the best of my abilities. Once in a while, I uncover something that strongly evokes the period about which I am writing.

“London’s Summer Morning” is one such piece. London at the end of the 18th century is so well defined, so thoughtfully illustrated, it seems possible for me to walk those streets.

LESLEY ANNE London Bridge (2)
London’s Summer Morning

Who has not wak’d to list the busy sounds
Of SUMMER’S MORNING, in the sultry smoke
Of noisy LONDON? On the pavement hot
The sooty chimney-boy, with dingy face
And tatter’d cov’ring, shrilly bawls his trade,
Rousing the sleepy housemaid. At the door
The milk-pail rattles, and the tinkling bell
Proclaims the dustman’s office, while the street
Is lost in clouds impervious. Now begins
The din of hackney coaches, waggons, carts;
While tinmans’ shops, and noisy trunk-makers,
Knife-grinders, coopers, squeaking cork-cutters,
Fruit-barrows, and the hunger-giving cries
Of vegetable venders, fill the air.
Now ev’ry shop displays its varied trade,
And the fresh-sprinkled pavement cools the feet
Of early walkers. At the private door
The ruddy housemaid twirls the busy mop,
Annoying the smart ‘prentice, or neat girl,
Tripping with band-box, lightly. Now the sun
Darts burning splendour on the glitt’ring pane,
Save where the canvas awning throws a shade
On the gay merchandize. Now, spruce and trim,
In shops (where BEAUTY smiles with INDUSTRY,)
Sits the smart damsel, while the passenger
Peeps through the window, watching ev’ry charm.
Now pastry dainties catch the eye minute
Of humming insects, while the limy snare
Waits to enthral them. Now the lamp-lighter
Mounts the tall ladder, nimbly vent’rous,
To trim the half-fill’d lamp; while at his feet
The pot-boy yells discordant! All along
The sultry pavement, the old-clothesman cries
In tone monotonous, and side-long views
The area for his traffic. Now the bag
Is slily open’d, and the half-worn suit
(Sometimes the pilfer’d treasure of the base
Domestic spoiler), for one half its worth,
Sinks in the green abyss. The porter now
Bears his huge load along the burning way;
And the POOR POET wakes from busy dreams,
To paint the Summer Morning.

The poem was written by Mary Robinson. The exact date is not known, but she died in 1800.

This is the same Mary Robinson who was a famed actress and mistress of the Prince of Wales (later Prince Regent). She was renowned as “Perdita” from The Winter’s Tale and, via caricature, he became her “Florizel”.

Mary Robinson was a writer before she became an actress, and continued to write after her acting career ended, and illness disabled her. She wrote novels, plays and feminist works, and eventually came to be called “the English Sappho”.

Her life and loves, her support of the rights of women, and of the French Revolution, have been well documented in biographies and treatises. But it is this one poem that interests me most. For in this one poem, we can walk at her side down the streets of London on a hot summer’s morning–more than two hundred years ago.

LESLEY ANNE daughteroftrade-cover-300-final (2)Dinah Driffield is content with her life as the daughter of a wealthy manufacturer in the city of Leeds. She has no time and little patience for the aristocracy with its idle pretensions and pride. Her opinions are challenged when she meets Sebastian Delamain, Viscount Holly. He is an active and honourable nobleman with a lively curiosity, yet an odd uneasiness around her large and loving family. Their growing intimacy is challenged by the antics of her busy family and the activities of the Luddites who threaten the factory owners of Leeds. Sebastian must overcome his accustomed solitude and Dinah’s prejudices to convince her that love is reason enough to alter her convictions and her future plans.

About the Author: Lesley-Anne McLeod has loved all things British for longer than she can remember. So it was natural that when she turned to writing fiction she should write Regency romances, uniquely English historical romances.

Lesley-Anne has been writing for thirty years. She has ten Regency romances available from Uncial Press. She has published articles on antiques and collectibles, and has also free-lanced in business writing. Book-selling was her career for nearly ten years; she owned her own bookstore for three of those enjoyable years.

Lesley-Anne is married and has one daughter. She lives on the prairies of Canada which are distant from Regency England in time and thought, but which retain an echo of Great Britain in history and tradition.

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Buy the book at Uncial Press.

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Comments

  1. Really enjoyed your post, very interesting. Enjoyed reading the blurb for the book, I am interested in reading more!
    skpetal at hotmail dot com

  2. Nice poem

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  3. SHELLEY S says:

    ENJOYED THE POST. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR BOOK AND THANKS FOR THE GIVEAWAY! calicolady60@hotmail.com

  4. Beautiful picture! Thank you for the informative post. I did not know who Mary Robinson was prior to this.
    Wonderful poem.

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