Since this is the month we bid farewell to Julia–at least for now!–I thought we would celebrate with a look back at some of the exclusive extras I’ve written that aren’t available in the print books. Feel free to add your own favorite memories of Julia, Nicholas, and the gang of unruly Marches in the comments!
Perhaps the only thing more delectable than a peek into someone else’s correspondence is a dip into their private journal. Here is an entry penned by Morag during the events related in SILENT ON THE MOOR.
From the Journal of Morag Colquohoun
Sometime in April, Somewhere in Yorkshire (otherwise known as the Seething Bowels of Hell)
Well, it is precisely as I expected, a disaster from end to end. It did not begin well. Lady B. was weeping when we left London. She made to dash away her tears, but I could see them, and all I have to say about that is if that sniffy Miss Jane thinks she is too good for Lady B., I will have something to say to her. There’s no finer person than Lady B., even if she does not like men. My friend Bet says it’s flying in the face of God to lie with another woman, but I say the world is a cold and cruel place and if a body can find someone to love, that’s good enough. That reminds me, I wonder what His man Monk is about these days? I thought I should see him when we arrived and made a point of wearing my best hat but he was nowhere to be seen, nor have I heard anyone speak of him since our arrival. ( NB: ask Her if Monk came with Him.)
Which brings me to Him, the whole reason we came into Yorkshire. I have to say, I agree with his high and mighty lordship, Her brother Bellmont. It doesn’t do for a lady to go haring off after a gentleman, even one so flighty as He is. I admit He’s a fine specimen of a man, if you fancy the dark and moody type. He reminds me of that Heathcliff fellow from the book She made me read when She decided we were coming to Yorkshire. I told Her so, and she took the book away before I could finish it. I hope it ended happily, although I cannot see how. Everyone important was dead halfway through.
I am glad I read it in part otherwise I might never have been prepared for the moor. It is a great, empty place, and one wouldn’t think such emptiness could be alarming, but it is the most frightening place I’ve ever been and I once walked the streets of Seven Dials, so nastiness isn’t nothing new to me. It is the wind, I think. It goes and goes, all the time, like a speaking voice that never says a word, but keeps talking just the same. It is enough to send a body mad, I’d warrant, and I’ve taken to stopping my ears with cotton wool to drive out the sound of it. Of course, I cannot hear Her when she calls, but that is all to the better. I’ve little enough to do here. There are no proper rooms for a lady’s maid, no private bedchamber for me, no little parlour to do my needlework. She has taken to wearing country tweeds and my greatest duty is scraping the mud from Her shoes. She does not mind the moor, but I have always said She was not quite like other Ladies. She leaves me to my reading and tending the dogs and listening to Minna chatter. (The cotton wool helps there too.)
She’s a London girl, Minna is, but I’ve seen the way her eyes follow that Mr. Godwin, and there’ll be trouble there, mark my words. He seems a nice enough lad, but I never trust a farmer. They smell of dirt and shit and their hands are never clean. Give me an honest sailor or publican any day. The finest-smelling man I know is Her father, his lordship himself. He smells of pipe tobacco and books. (Mem: Monk smells of beeswax. Why should that be?) I have just realised I wrote “shit”. Lady Hermia said I wasn’t to swear anymore and that I must give a ha’-penny to the poor box at the church if I forgot. She didn’t say nothing about writing, and if she had I would have told her it is a far sight easier to remember proper speaking when I have to speak to the quality, but writing here is like talking to Bet, and if your best friend can’t overlook a little swear word now and again, what’s the use of her? Besides, She doesn’t go to church except to listen to the music or look at the windows, so how am I to get to church to put my coin in the poor box? Perhaps with Easter coming on She will make an exception. If not, I can send the ha’-penny to Bet. She’s poor enough, I reckon, and that just means I will have passed over the part where the coin sits in church, waiting to be given. Poor Bet. I’ve told her a hundred times to leave the game, but she says it’s easy money. Easy money! I never worked harder in my life than I did as a whore. Taking care of Her is a far sight easier than trying to make enough to kip in the doss house for the night. I try not to remember it, but it is like trying to stuff too many clothes into a trunk. You can shove and shove and even try sitting down upon it, but if you’ve put too much in, it will burst open and make everything untidy. That’s how bad memories are. There are times I lie in my bed after I’ve tucked Her in, and I know I am warm and safe and none shall harm me, but still I remember. I remember the fear and the hunger and the bone-grinding sameness of it all. And that’s when I make certain Her slippers are warmed the next morning and Her bath is just as She likes it. She thinks She takes care of me, but really, I take care of Her.
I wasn’t certain of Her at first. I mean, She knows She is a Lady and who Her father is. That doesn’t matter to Her. She will have a conversation with me, just as civil as if I were Her equal. Curious, isn’t it? I said Bet was my best friend, but really, I think it must be Her. When I first went to Her, she was a little silly and vague. She barely noticed me. But after the master died and He came into Her life, things changed a bit. It’s as if She woke up and really saw things for the first time. Now She’s got a trick of looking right through a person, as if She can see precisely who you are. I think she’s learned that from Him, and I think that scares the devil out of Him. (NB: another ha’-penny to Bet.) He’s never met the like of Her, and why would He? There’s not another like Her, and if He were half the man I think Him, he’d have noticed by now. Well, of course He’s noticed, a man would have to be blind and deaf not to notice Her. (She was pretty before the master died, but widowhood has been the making of Her. Lady B. has turned her out smartly, and She has a liveliness about Her that She never had before.) Still, He hasn’t done anything about it, and I begin to despair of Him. He’s no proper Scot if He cannot screw up His courage to court the woman He loves, and I think He does love Her. He’s just too daft to know it yet.