Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Unwrapping: Wacky Wednesday - Humor in Regency Romance
Humor in Regency England!
Yes, you read that correctly!!
I know you think Regency Romance is all prim and proper but yes, there's humor there, too.
So, hold on to your hats and get ready to laugh.
I love humor in my stories and in my opinion, no one does humor - laugh out loud humor - better than Lynsay Sands. As if channeling all that is wonderful about British humor, Lynsay Sands sprinkles her humor throughout a story or on occasion writes a scene that makes you chuckle until you find yourself trying as hard as you can not to laugh so hard as to bother someone else.
So how funny can a Regency Romance be? Think of British comedy as we enjoy it today - where do you think it came from?
Regency history is abound with characters whom the press and even the average citizen made fun of without hesitation. So why shouldn't our modern writers create characters and situations that make us laugh now?
Remember, it's fiction not real history!
As I said, Lynsay Sands is one of the best at creating the mood for something laugh out loud funny to happen. Perhaps it's her Canadian upbringing that allows her to tap into that unsuspecting humor. Well, where ever it comes from, I, for one, am very glad of it.
In THE COUNTESS by Lynsay Sands, Christiana, Lady Radnor, has just discovered her husband Dicky dead in his study. Now she and her two sisters must figure out what to do with him. The three Madison sisters decide to move Dicky's body to his bedchamber and then keep him fresh by means of an open window and tell the servants that he is ill. I hope you enjoy what happens next.
Shaking her head, she glanced to Dicky. He really was a good sized man, and was not going to be moved easily or quickly. "Well, we can't take him like this."
"What do you mean?" Suzette let Dicky's upper body drop.
Christiana winced at the thud of his head hitting the wood, but explained patiently, "Even if there is no one in the hall now, someone could come out while we are carting him up the stairs. Then what would we say?"
Suzette frowned and peered down at Dicky with dislike. "Even dead the man is a pain."
Christiana actually felt her mouth twitch with amusement and knew it must be hysteria. There was absolutely nothing funny about any of this. Her eyes slid over him again and then settled on the rug he half lay on and suddenly she knew what to do. "We shall roll him up in the rug and cart that upstairs. That way if anyone comes along they won't see him."
"How do we explain why we're dragging a rug around?" Suzette asked doubtfully.
"We shall say the rose room is chilly at night and you, Suzie, are going to stay in it and we are hoping the rug will help keep it warm for the few nights you are here," Christiana announced with satisfaction. It was nice to have an issue she could solve for once. It made a change from constantly banging her head against a wall trying to sort out how to fix her marriage.
"That may work," Lisa said slowly.
"It will," Christiana assured her. "Now come, help me roll him onto the rug."
With the three of them working together it was quick job getting him positioned on the end of the rug and then rolling him up in it.
"Now what?" Suzette asked as they straightened.
"Now we carry him upstairs," Christiana said firmly. "Suzie, you take that end, Lisa you take the middle and I shall take this end." She knelt at her end of the carpet and waited for her sisters to position themselves, and then said, "On the count of three. One, two, three."
The last word was almost a grunt as Christiana tightened her hold on the rug and pushed herself to a standing position using only her legs.
"Gad, he's heavy," Lisa complained as they started to walk slowly toward the door.
"The added weight of the rug does not help," Suzette panted as they paused at the door.
Christiana merely grunted in agreement and jutted out her hip to help hold up her end as she reached out with one hand to quickly open the door. It was a very fast maneuver, even so the rug started to slip from her hip and she barely caught it in time to keep from dropping it. Sighing her relief, Christiana started out into the hall, only to come to an abrupt halt as she spotted Haversham approaching.
Unfortunately, Lisa and Suzette were not expecting her to stop so abruptly and there was a soft curse and a bit of stumbling about behind her that nearly jerked the rug out of her hands as the weight increased. Just managing to keep her hold, Christiana glanced over her shoulder to see that Lisa had lost her grip on the rug and it was sagging in the middle. Even as she saw that though, the younger woman quickly caught it up again.
Sighing, Christiana turned back and forced a smile for Haversham as he paused before her. She would say this for the man: he was well trained. The butler didn't even bat an eyelash at the sight of the three women dragging a heavy rug about.
"Is there some way I may be of assistance, my lady?" the man asked politely.
"No, no," she said quickly. "We're just taking Dicky up to warm the rug. I mean we're taking Dicky's rug up to warm the room," she corrected herself quickly in a strangled tone and then, because she couldn't lie worth beans, babbled, "The guest room. The rose one that's so chilly. Suzie will be staying there. In the room. And it's chilly so we're going to warm it with the rug. Dicky's already warm. With a fever. He's up in his room fevering so he won't need his rug you see," she ended almost desperately, unable to miss the exasperated sigh from behind her. Probably Suzette, she thought unhappily. It sounded like one of her "my sister is a big dolt" sighs. Christiana had suffered them often while growing up. But surely there should be an age limit to such obnoxious sounds? She felt certain they shouldn't be allowed after a person had married.
"I see," Haversham said slowly. "Would you like me to carry it up for you?"
"No!" The word exploded from her mouth like a ball from a cannon. Forcing herself to calm down, she added, "I need you to do something else."
Haversham nodded politely, waited, and then prompted, "And that would be?"
"That would be what?" Christiana asked uncertainly.
"The something else you need me to do, my lady," Haversham explained patiently. "That would be what?"
He was speaking slowly as if to a particularly dull child, but Christiana could hardly blame him for that when she had apparently turned into an idiot. She really had not been made for cloak-and-dagger activities, she decided wearily as she struggled for some errand to send the man on.
"I need you to send one of the servants out to buy a chicken," she said at last.
Haversham's eyebrows rose. "A chicken?"
"For Dicky. He's sick," she reminded him of the lie. "And they do say chicken soup is good for such things."
"Yes, they do," he agreed solemnly. "Should I go upstairs first and see if Lord Radnor desires my assistance undressing and getting himself into bed? I fear his valet is under the weather as well and incapable of aiding him."
"Freddy is sick?" Christiana asked with surprise. That was a spot of good luck for them. It solved the problem of keeping the valet away from Dicky.
"Deathly ill. I shouldn't be surprised if he is unavailable for days," the butler said solemnly, and then added, "I, of course, will make myself available to Lord Radnor to fill in for Freddy in the meantime."
"Oh no," Christiana said at once. "I mean, ill as he is, my husband is not likely to need assistance dressing. He'll no doubt rest abed until he is recovered. I'm sure he won't need you."
"Hmmm." Haversham nodded. "Then I shall arrange for someone to go purchase a chicken and leave you ladies to your endeavors."
"Yes, you do that," Christiana said with relief. She waited until he disappeared through the door to the kitchen, and then muttered, "Let's go," and immediately started forward again.
"Thank God," Suzette gasped as Christiana headed for the stairs at a hurried pace. "I thought he'd never leave. And really, Chrissy, you cannot lie at all."
Christiana grimaced but could hardly argue the fact, so merely picked up the pace as much as she could, eager to unburden herself of her dead husband. By the time they reached the top of the stairs, they were also sweaty and exhausted, but continued forward without resting. They had reached the door to Dicky's room and Christiana had just jutted out her hip and released one handhold on the rug to open the door when the next door down opened.
Christiana immediately glanced around with alarm. Unfortunately, the slight movement was enough to dislodge the bundle from her hip. She felt it slip off and drop toward the floor, but this time wasn't quick enough to stop it. Worse yet, Suzette and Lisa were taken by surprise and lost their own holds on the rug. The whole length of it thudded to the floor and then unrolled, spilling a very dead Dicky at the feet of Christiana's maid as the woman paused in the hall.
All four women stared down at the man and then Grace lifted her eyes to Christiana and murmured, "Finally killed him, did you? It's about bloody time."
Happy Reading Everyone and a special shout out to my beautiful niece, Melissa, on her birthday - Happy Birthday, my sweet girl!