Today as March Mayhem continues we would like to introduce Marcus Aurelius, Lord Malton. He’s the hero from Lynne Connolly’s brand new historical romance, Dilemma in Yellow Silk— a delightful romp through mid-18th century England with assassins, secret Jacobites, star-crossed lovers and much more. Welcome to the blog, Lord Malton!
Ride. Anywhere that took my fancy. I’d go back to the family estate and ride somewhere nobody expected anything of me, or even knew my name.
Let’s say you believed in reincarnation, a la Plato. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? What are you most proud of about your life?
Probably a pampered lap dog. Some people think I am one anyway, because of my birth. That couldn’t be further from the truth, but I cannot persuade them of that. I’m proud of my family, of supporting my father in the work he does.
What was the happiest time of your life?
Playing with my father’s steward’s daughter, Viola, when I was a child. Viola never concerned herself with my birth or consequence. I owed her nothing, unlike my siblings. Viola was—is—the most charming, lively person I know. She’s a good friend. I’m just sorry she can never be anything else.
What about the lowest point?
When my parents told me that as the oldest son, I had to put my childish ways behind me and face up to my responsibilities. I was separated from my siblings. I had to sneak around to visit Viola, but I could not give her up, too. I was nine years old.
If you could spend the day with someone you admire (living or dead or imaginary), whom would you pick?
This is sounding a little repetitive, but probably Viola. I can share things with her that I cannot with anyone else. When I marry I will most likely have to distance myself from her, too, but at the moment we are good friends.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
(Laughs). I have never thought of that. Perhaps my father, and his father, since I’m destined to follow in their footsteps and they were both historical figures.
Who are your favorite writers?
I like Swift’s audacity and Pope’s facility with words, but Pope can be too cruel sometimes. I tried the new romance from Richardson, but I cannot warm to it. I do enjoy reading the Greek philosophers, but I confess that most of my reading is official documents and newspapers.
Do you think you’ve turned out the way your parents expected?
They made sure of it. They have been understanding, but I am, through no fault of my own, heir to a great number of responsibilities. A lot of people rely on me to keep the estate and its businesses prosperous in the years to come. I cannot let them down.
Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done? What would happen if you did it?
Run away. I used to dream of that, having fewer responsibilities and more time to enjoy myself guilt-free. If that happened, there would be such a hue and cry that nobody would ever forget it.
What is your greatest fear?
Of not being good enough, for my father, the people who rely on me or for myself.
I am blessed with a large family and a number of cousins. Of course we visited each other’s houses during the summer months, as one does, so we have always known each other.
(Sigh). Viola, it’s Viola. I have shared my problems and my life with her in a way that maybe I should not have done. We have grown apart in recent years, of necessity and mostly my doing. I miss her. But now we are full-grown, people would misconstrue our friendship and I cannot have anything dishonorable come her way. She has a secret, so deeply buried that even she does not know of it. I have to protect that secret. It is my duty, but I must sacrifice our friendship to do so.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone? Why?
Being cold to Viola. Why does everything always come back to her? I have done my duty, taken on responsibility I would rather not, but I have also found satisfaction in it where I did not expect it.
What’s the most important thing in your life? What do you value most?
You know the answer to that. Honour, if we are talking about a concept. But behind that lies the reality of people I must answer to, and what would happen if I failed.
How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?
I am content. Fairly soon I must marry, to provide the estate with an heir, and I will look for someone I can find companionship with. My mother already has her eye on several young ladies, but I have not found one that has held my interest. What would I change? I can change nothing, and I do not think of choices I do not have.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Working hard to maintain and improve my inheritance. It directly benefits the country, but I think less of that and more of the people who work for me. Farmers do not starve, servants are not abused or overworked while I remain their employer.
How would you like to die?
I am a staid fellow. Probably after a long and fulfilling life, with a worthy son to pass it on to.
No, that is not true. In my heart of hearts, I want something else. I want to die as a pirate, fighting my enemy on the High Seas, drunk on rotgut rum, smelling to high heaven and with a wild woman by my side.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A day of nothing, when I can challenge Viola to a gallop over the heath, stopping at a tavern where nobody knows us, and we may talk of everything except duty and responsibility.
Thanks for reading! There’s still time to sign up for the giveaway for books, including Lord Malton’s tale, and other cool things to delight any book-lover’s heart.