HARD COPY

What do you do if your book is not regarded by agents and publishers as ‘commercial’ enough for them to take a risk on?  You self-publish.  Everyone is doing it.  It’s a bit daunting at first of course.  However, I made a snap decision in March to get it out there as a Kindle version.  It’s pretty easy to do and costs nothing.  I’ve sold about 25 copies of the Kindle version.  It’s cheap and it has errors in it still but it’s a liberating experience and it gets your work noticed.  A few  reviews in Amazon and Goodreads will do no harm, as well as those kind souls who blog reviews, to whom I am very grateful – in particular Debbie Brown in English Historical Fiction Authors, Kathryn Kane in The Regency Redingote and Mike Rendell in Georgian Gentleman. If I hadn’t taken the plunge with the Kindle version I rather doubt that I would have embarked on the next hurdle – a hard copy version.  For this I persuaded Sarah Jean Waldock to help, since she knows the ropes, having published a dozen or so historical novels.  Sarah is doing the layout and between us we are quite close to having an acceptable text.  There are also extra appendices which are not in the Kindle version.   Then Sarah will design the back cover and we can then submit the book to CreateSpace.  Then there will be a proof copy and no doubt several iterations to correct previously-missed errors. I’m not sure how long all this will take, but it’s very exciting!

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KINDLE VERSION

KINDLE VERSION.

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LOUIS’ BOYHOOD AFFAIR WITH THE TROUT

François_Barraud_Les_truites_arc-en-ciel

[Wikimedia]

Louis lived close to, and later owned, several trout waters such as stretches of the Rivers Itchen and Test, so I have always imagined that he must have loved trout fishing.  I therefore wrote one of those fictional passages, a couple of which appear in the published version of Prinny’s Taylor.  This one didn’t make it but I think it’s fun just the same:-

The boy Louis, because of the demands of the business and the family, had little time to himself, but when a possible hour or so of freedom presented itself he would head inexorably for the river. The family would chaff him, saying that the youth held an unhealthy fascination for the river but he did not care. The river and its roaring or ripply magic were his solace and he crept down there whenever he could, to immerse himself, though not literally, in it, except on hot summer days when its chilliness was welcome. He loved the frisson of being there, of experiencing the sounds and smells, the occasional surprise of a flipping trout, the cool and cavernous reaches where the quieter water was full of promise, and the smell of wild herbs as he waded through the lush vegetation on his quest to reach parts of the Gorges du Tarn that others had never taken the trouble to get to. He owned no fishing tackle to speak of. His brothers would occasionally on a Sunday afternoon take out their long hazel rods to fish for carp, and, in the winter, pike, but Louis always saw this as a family entertainment, lubricated by much wine and surrounded by many galloping screaming children, so not touching the serious pursuit of The Trout, which had become in his mind the most beautiful, alluring and artful fish he had ever seen. So it was that he spent any of his free time observing the pretty antics of this gentleman of the stream, and thinking of ways to secure one for himself. He saw of course that they entrancingly rose to water flies floating down the stream, and realised that a particularly good feeding spot, because of the eddies that carried plenty of flies there, would hold a larger trout, as shown by the solidity of his rise to slurp down each ephemeral morsel. Louis’ efforts to catch these paragons on his inadequate tackle were limited because he was unable to cast his worm or maggot far enough in the gin-clear water not to be seen by the wary fish.

One autumn morning, when the leaves on the sweet chestnut trees were just starting to turn that yellowish-brown which makes them an unlovely second-best to the more showy maples, Louis had managed to slip away to his riparian solace. Nimbly loping along the bank he reached one of his favourite rocks, where as part of his river ritual he would habitually perch for a few moments to survey his domain. Here he would sample the sights, smells and sounds which gave him so much inner peace and freedom. He would relish every sensation and take comfort in the rightness and perfection of that place.

Today, though, something was not so right. Above the enveloping rush-noise of the water his keen ears detected a scuffling, a grating, which disturbed his small world. Sliding awkwardly down the steep opposite bank was Grigor, the club-footed gypsy boy. Louis watched, slowly sliding backwards into a less conspicuous spot where his rock sloped backwards from the bank. Grigor carried a small burlap bag which had a long drawstring which would loop over his shoulder, and could therefore be tucked under his armpit when required. Grigor, when getting closer to the rocky bank, showed the greatest delicacy in the way he moved. Not only did he slither with increased stealth, but he hunched and crept so that there was no chance of his arrival being noticed by the trout. Louis instinctively understood what he was about, but was very curious because Grigor carried no fishing tackle of any kind. The boy prostrated himself on the bank and reached carefully down into the water. He seemed to be feeling his way along, but suddenly withdrew his hand sharply. He crawled a few yards along the bank and once again put his hand under the water. From his vantage-point Louis could see the boy’s body tense with concentration. Suddenly, a relaxation, and Grigor quietly and deliberately lifted a trout from the water. He held it firmly round the gills, admired its red and black-speckled beauty for an instant, and quickly dashed its nose on the rock to kill it. Into the burlap bag it went. Grigor then crept for some distance down the bank, becoming almost lost to sight, so that Louis had to sidle through the brush to take up a new position so as to see what would happen next. The gypsy boy settled himself in another favourite spot and quietly groped under the bank. In a short time he withdrew his hand – no good fish had commandeered that hole since he had removed the last incumbent a few days ago. At that moment, a caterwauling in an unknown tongue struck their ears and Grigor rapidly straightened and scrambled up the bank, soon to disappear, presumably summoned by his mother.

Louis lay where he was for a few moments, replaying in his mind what he had seen. His recollection of the village children, trying to wade into the crystal-clear waters of the Tarn, on the off-chance of getting close enough to a fish to spear it, or even less likely, to scoop it out of the water, struck him as ludicrous at that moment. There was a different way, to charm the trout as it rested from the current in a favourite hole in the bank.   He started to reach into the water on his side of the river, and realised that about a foot below the surface the emerging river had gouged channels in the rock. He glided his nimble tailor’s fingers along such a channel and suddenly felt a nip. Now he understood why Grigor had whipped his hand out of the water. An eel, jack or even a trout could give an unexpected bite to a pink fleshy hand that came within range. Even the toothless carp will have a nibble at anything as grub-like as an immersed human finger.

Louis’s courage returned in an instant and he was keen to try his luck again. This time, as he felt his way along the channel, his fingers encountered the glassy side of a plump fish, but he was too sudden and it shot off upstream, leaving a flurry of fins and tail on the surface in its hurry to be away.   He was due home now, but he could feel it in his fingers that next time he would touch the fish as gently as a piece of weed floating by. He would lightly caress its silky side until he had reached its gills, whereupon he would gently encircle its head, the only place where one could hold a live trout, and quietly lift the captive from its element.

In time he got to know all of the rocky places where the trout chose to lie in the dark and sheltered holes away from the current. A favourite rock had a tunnel which ran right through it, opening to the side towards the back. He would place one hand over the mouth of this hole and with the other feel for a fish in the side channel. More than once a fish would shoot upstream inside the rock and he would catch it by the nose between two finger joints. The fish he brought home made a welcome addition to the family’s diet, usually fried in butter.

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KINDLE VERSION

You can find a Kindle version of the book at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UPI8BWG

If you would like to review it in a blog or elsewhere I can send you a complimentary copy if you send your email to bazalgettec@gmail.com

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18C TAILORING SLANG

hotgoosepic

“Hot Goose, Cabbage & Cucumbers” is an original hand coloured etching engraved by Thomas Rowlandson & published in 1823 by John Fairburn, and shows the tailors using the goose, working on the cabbage, but the spectre of ‘short commons’ is staring them in the face, in the comely person of a young woman selling cucumbers.

Goose: The ‘goosing iron’ or sad-iron, was named because it often had a goose-necked handle. The term ‘goose’ was also applied to the tailor himself, and any political cartoons of the time containing a goose, or ‘gooses’ is likely to be directed at tailors, and often by inference at the clothes-mad Regent himself.

Cabbage: This was the remnants of cloth left over from an order, and already charged for. This was therefore a small bonus for the tailor, who could use them to make up other garments. ‘Cabbage’ was therefore a term also applied to cash. Again, the word was also used for the tailor himself, and for the Regent. Cartoons conferring the “Order of the Cabbage” are an example of this usage.

‘Cucumber Time’ was a term used for the slow season in the tailoring trade, when the journeyman tailor traditionally was reduced to living on cucumbers. An often used maxim was: “Tailors are Vegetarians, because they live on ‘cucumber’ when without work, and on ‘cabbage’ when in full employ.”

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BAZALGETTE THE WHALE

As a mild diversion on this festive season I bring you Bazalgette the Whale……

It is just possible that you have come across references on the web to a sculpture in Yachats, Oregon which bears this name. Well, I finally got round to asking why it was so named.

See: http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMHQR3_Bazalgette_sculpture_Yachats_Oregon

Here is the reply I received.

“Greetings Charles,
Thanks for your inquiry – oddly the first I’ve ever had (in 18 years) about the name of the whale tail sculpture.
The sculptor Jim Adler says that he named the sculpture “after a crazy French artist friend” of his named Leon Bazalgette Russell. Leon Bazalgette Russell was an avid painter of nature. He was named after Leon Bazalgette of France, who was a biographer and literary critic who wrote about the great thinkers of his time, including Whitman and Thoreau…
So – the whale sculpture was named after some interesting cousin of yours!
Here are some additional pieces of information from Jim Adler…
Long timers in Yachats remember Leon Bazalgette as “the old dude who terrorized the town on his bicycle and occasionally left $100 tips at the Adobe causing fistfights in the kitchen.”
And importantly, Leon Bazalgette Russell’s father was Marsden Hartley.
All the best,
Beverly Wilson”

The statement: “Leon Bazalgette Russell’s father was Marsden Hartley” doesn’t sound right unless that was a pen name of Charles Phillips Russell, who appears to have been Leon’s actual father. Charles was a friend of Leon Bazalgette so this is why L.B.R. was so named.  Leon Bazalgette was descended from Louis Bazalgette’s elder brother Georges.

A Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year!

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TIZZIE

Tizzie-1873

My great-great-aunt, Theresa Philo Bazalgette (11 August 1850-25 April 1922), who was known in the family as “Tizzie”, was the eldest daughter of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, the civil engineer, and his wife Maria (née Kough).  The studio photograph above was taken in 1873, so she was 23 at the time.  I think she was hauntingly beautiful and and at the risk of being branded a male chauvinist I will remark that I always wondered why she never married, because she surely cannot have had a shortage of suitors.   It is a face full of character and wisdom, and she had a quirky humour and love of fun as the photograph below shows.  Her brother Charles Norman Bazalgette Q.C., (my great-grandfather) was called to the bar on 30 January 1874, and Tizzie must have accompanied him to the photographic studios of Elliott & Fry at 55, Baker Street, where a photograph was taken of him in his wig and robes.  They then had this charming picture taken of them wearing the other’s coat and headgear.

Tizzie-norman-xdress

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