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Friday, May 27, 2011


Acidophilus Cupid and The History of Dangerous Romances, Scandals and Liaisons

Delle Jacobs

Several months ago while I was writing THE BOSS WORE RED for a Valentine anthology with my co-conspirator SamMarie Ashe, I came upon a little fellow named Acidophilus Cupid. Like others of his surname, Acid is in the Cupiding business, and tells me he is, in fact, the true instigator of the romances I have written, including my latest release, LADY WICKED.

Acid assures me that although my book is built on a scandal, it pales in comparison with contemporary scandals. He has been regaling me with The History of Dangerous Romances, Scandals and Liaisons, a book he plans to write. Of course, I am skeptical. Plenty of people intend to write a book someday, so I am skeptical. But even though he is a bit of a stuffed shirt, he takes his job as Cupid quite seriously. So I've asked him to tell you one of his favorite tales.

Good day, romance lovers. I really do wish Delle would improve on her introductory skills, don't you? Really, just because I take great pride in my occupation is no reason to call me a stuffed shirt. My family has been in the Cupiding business for hundreds of years and our work has been responsible for any number of changes in the course of history. We specialize in the most difficult and dangerous of affairs.

But we Cupids do not take credit for all things romantic. Humans can and do fall in love on their own, often scandalously. Our tale today is about William, Lord Hamilton, Emma, Lady Hamilton and Admiral Horatio Nelson. But let me tell you , Emma was no lady. It was all most aristocratic Englishmen could do to speak her name, let alone her title.

Emma is not to be entirely blamed for her perilous path through history. She was born a blacksmith's daughter, and grew up to be a tall, slightly plump, very beautiful woman who, one could say, made great use of her assets.

As our tale opens, she had been the mistress of Charles Greville for a number of years, but Greville wished to marry a woman who would not tolerate her husband's beautiful mistress. So Lord Greville arranged to ship Emma off Naples to his uncle, Lord Hamilton, in exchange for payment of debts. Greville neglected to tell Emma the details, and thought it all a marvelous lark. William fell madly in love with Emma. He was far from the only man to do so, so we can hardly blame him either. But it was a surprise to Greville when several years later, Emma married his uncle. A surprise to everyone, actually. Titled men did not marry blacksmith's daughters. Mistresses, maybe, but that class thing was really important then.

The truth was, William and Emma were genuinely fond of each other, and Emma provided marvelous entertainment for William's many house guests, including Horatio Nelson, the great hero of the Battle of the Nile. Emma was struck with admiration and awe, and, well, actually, so was William. Nelson was no ladies man- more the timid type, despite his great and brilliant heroics in battle, which had cost him an arm and one eye. Emma nursed him back to health, with William's blessing.

Somewhere along the line, a shift began, and Nelson and Emma fell in love, and William, now over 60, at least tolerated their affair. Nelson was also married, but had studiously avoided his wife almost since they had married. But divorce was very hard to obtain then, especially when the woman had an utterly spotless reputation. Not even his hero status could change that.

Back in England, the three lived openly together, scandalizing and fascinating the public. Emma's fame spread widely, and she was the fashionista of her day. And clearly, Emma and Nelson were in love, both with each other and their own fame. William, good old soul that he was, went along affably with it all. When he died in 1803, though, there still was no hope of Nelson's divorce.

Emma had lost her first child by Nelson, and was pregnant with the second when he was called back to war. No longer in good looks and obese, Emma was desperately lonely. She took to gambling and reckless spending, and soon had run through the small stipend William had left her. And then, in one of the most famous sea battles in history, Admiral Nelson executed a brilliant, dangerous plan that was successful, but cost him his life.

Sad to say, Emma, who had never married Nelson, was not even allowed to attend his funeral. The British government refused Nelson's last request that Emma be provided for. And although some friends came to her rescue, Emma spent a year in what amounted to a debtors' prison for her extravagance, and left for France to escape her creditors. She died in poverty in 1815. Her only living child, Horatia, never publicly acknowledged being Emma's daughter.

A sad tale, isn't it? Immoral and shocking, yes, especially for their day. Yet– people cannot live forever. And most are fortunate to have such happiness as this lady who was no lady, or the two men who might not have known love if it had not been for her.

In addition to being included in the weekly contest, one randomly drawn commenter on this post will also win a download of Delle's latest release Lady Wicked and one will win a pair of hand-crafted silver earrings, made by silversmith Tom Hakins.

Delle Jacobs


Tabitha the KnittingJourneyman said...

This is just such a delicious tale. Thank you for sharing it.

Paty Jager said...

Fun post, Delle! And as always well told.

Delle Jacobs said...

Glad you liked it, Tabitha. Acid has promised to regale us with more delicious tales on my blog and elsewhere. His premise is that people will risk just about anything for love. We'll see if he's right!

Delle Jacobs said...

Thanks, Paty!

Jean P said...

A very enjoyable read, thanks for the post.

Delle Jacobs said...

I need to make note that I made an error- William Hamilton was not a "Lord", but a "Sir". Sorry. I should have noticed that before posting.

AArmae said...

Great post, Delle. I've always been interested in the story of Lord and Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson. I agree it was sad that Emma could not attend Lord Nelson's funeral when she was so in love with him.

Anonymous said...

Emma was such a fascinating person. I've heard all sorts of interesting tidbits about her.

Anyway, LOVED My Lady Wicked. And, ooh, I would love some silver rings!

Congrats on all your fabulous releases.

Dale Mayer said...

Hi Delle,

Lovely post today! This books sounds fascinating and the love triangle, so typical and yet so unique. Love the Acidophilus Cupid!


Delle Jacobs said...

Jo, one of the best books I've ever read about the menage was The Terror Before Trafalgar. That was because it intermingled their story with the one about defending England's shores.

Delle Jacobs said...

Me too, Susannah, and thanks! So glad you liked Lady Wicked!

Delle Jacobs said...

Thank you, Jean!

Delle Jacobs said...

Thank you, Dale! Yes, I think Acid really is a kick (he hates it when I call him that. Stuffed shirt that he is.

Joan Vincent said...

A wonderful and entertaining condensing of Emma and Nelson's story.

SamMarie Ashe said...

It's so great to see the erudite Acid again! I hope he comes back time and again to tell many more tales. I truly enjoy his stuffed shirtedness (that's a word, right? *grin*) even if he doesn't think he is such a thing.

I read Lady Wicked and once I started I couldn't stop till it was finished. It's a great story!! Congrats on your new releases Delle.


Delle Jacobs said...

Thanks, Joan. It is a very engaging story, isn't it?

Hey, Sami! Glad you dropped by! We had a lot of fun writing THE BOSS WORE RED. And Acidophilus Cupid may have been an afterthought but he's going to be fun as he tells more wild romances straight from the history books.

Sarah Raplee said...

What an interesting tale! Thanks.