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.
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 http://dellejacobs.blogspot.com