The following snippet from SPRINGTIME PLEASURES ties in with my last blog post about handwritten music in the Regency period. I wanted to make music something to strengthen the friendship between Charlie, my heroine, and Lady Isabella, the hero’s sister. In this context, swapping music and sharing your own private music album becomes an act of growing intimacy. (The traditional song that is mentioned in this excerpt can be found in the Austen music albums, too.)
Charlie rummaged in her reticule and dug out the music album she had mentioned to Isabella on one of their earlier outings. Music, as Emma-Lee had informed Charlie, was generally considered a suitable topic for young ladies and was not likely to shock a gently-bred girl like Lady Isabella (unlike boars and other wild beasts). Charlie had decided to follow her friend’s advice, and as she had expected, it turned out to be a sound one: Isabella loved music, and she particularly liked playing the fortepiano.
“Here is the song album I promised you.” She put the much-used album with its rubbed corners onto Isabella’s lap.
Delight spread across the other girl’s face. “How very kind of you.” Smiling broadly, she stroked the faded red cover. “A true St. Cuthbert’s artefact! I am so excited.”
“It contains all my favourites,” Charlie said eagerly, leaning forward. “Do you know ‘Waly, waly’? It’s such a lovely sad song.” Unerringly, she found the right page. “There it is. I hope you can read my hand.”
Isabella peered at the page of handwritten music and quietly started to hum the melody. “Is this correct? How delightful it sounds!” she said after a few bars, glancing up at Charlie.
“Doesn’t it? And isn’t the text of the chorus most heart-wrenching?” Charlie started to sing:
“O waly, waly, love is bonnie
A little time when it is new;
But it grows auld, and waxes cauld,
And fades away like morning dew.”
Today I’m also doing a guest post on Just Paranormal Romance about “Folk Charms and Folk Magic in Bewitched“.