In this final episode of the story I co-wrote with Keisha Page, our heroes talk about the benefits of the 21st century, and decide on a tour of New York. Read on to find out what happens from the perspective of the Marquis of Aldridge from my regency novel, A Baron for Becky. Go to The Word Mistress to see the same story from the point of view of Alex, Keisha’s contemporary hero from Rhythm of Love.
“I was married when my kids were conceived, but I don’t think it really matters much, as long as the kids are taken care of. Today, I wouldn’t dream of making my daughters get married because they were pregnant, but I would expect the fathers to help.
“But women today have more options. They can get a college degree, and any job they want, even if they have a child; so they are far less dependent on someone else for their financial stability. Not that divorced or single women trying to raise kids have it easy, but it’s better than it was even a generation ago.”
Alex smiled. “Birth control works better, too.”
” ‘Oh, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in ’t!’ ” Aldridge quoted. “Your world sounds a paradise indeed.”
Alex burst into laughter. “I happen to agree with you, but I’ll tell you, not everyone would. There’s a great deal of unhappiness in my world today. Talking with you had made me realize just how great we’ve got it. But we still have war, and people are still homeless, and we still have great and horrible diseases ravaging the world. People are fighting over religion, and race, and the world is an ever-changing place and some folks just aren’t happy about that. It seems like some things may never change.”
Aldridge grinned back. “Ah. Human nature has not changed then, in 200 years. It was too much to hope that it would. And in Shakespeare’s play, Miranda’s ‘goodly creatures’ proved a venal and greedy group, on the whole. Shakespeare knew his human kind. What do you say to this tour, my friend?”
Alex signalled the serving girl, and she brought them bills written on paper. “You take care out there, gentlemen. It’s been a right pleasure serving you this afternoon.”
Aldridge slipped a couple of gold guineas to her as he headed to the door, and held it open. As Alex passed him, Aldridge looked back to wink at the waitress. Perhaps she was fairy folk like in the tales his nanny used to tell him. If so, he could see why they were called the fair folk.
He turned to follow Alex and found himself in the inn yard, with enough light to show the countryside of Southeast England spreading around him.
Perhaps he would find his way back to the future if he went back in and exited again, keeping his mind on Alex this time. But the door handle would not budge. Aldridge stepped back, and looked at the building. Through the windows, he could see stacks of hay and a floor strewn with trash. Definitely not the inn where he’d just spent several hours with a man from the future.
From one of the ramshackle outbuildings, he heard a horse nicker. It was more of a shed than a stable, his horse the only occupant, tied in a broken down stall. It had been rubbed down, and supplied with fresh water and feed, though no one came when he called.
He searched, but the place was deserted; not just empty of human life, but seemingly abandoned for years. Finally, he tacked up the horse. The persistent drizzle that had driven him to stop at the inn had gone, and the sun would not set for at least two hours. And in London, Becky waited.
Photo Credit: The Crock and Bull inn was invented by the Bluestocking Belles as a multi-author space where ourcharacters and those of guests could meet. We now meet in the Bluestocking Bookshop. You can meet the Bluestocking Belles in the Bookshop here.