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The Gentleman’s Book of Secrets


Rowan Scot-Ryder


Copyright 2012 Rowan Scot-Ryder


Smashwords Edition


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The Gentleman’s Book of Secrets


A gentleman gave me a book, once. He was old, and soon to die. I saw to that myself. I think (now that I look back on it) that he was not a bad man. I’m almost sorry that I killed him.

I grew up in the alleyways that run off from Gin Lane. It’s hard to think of it, as I sit here looking out from my rooms across the sea at Brighton, not so very far from where the Prince of Wales has built his famous Pavilion. I am quite the Lady, now, and no-one who sees me walking out on the Promenade in my widows weeds, with my maid Emily trotting behind me, could doubt that I am become a person of Quality.

He stopped me, one foggy night, not far from Gin Lane, and I was near freezing to death. I knew what he wanted, of course. I’ve lived that way since I was a little maid, I knew no other way. There was something in his face, even in the shadows, that made me hesitate. But I was cold and hungry, and I went with him to his grand town house, on Berkeley Square.

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