If you have read my friend’s novella, Regency Banquet Appetizer: Pure Seduction, you probably wondered when the rest of the story would show up. Never fear, Roxanna Haley is working daily on Main Course: Pure Captivation. However, the character of Remy Lebarre has walked off the stage and possibly won’t be seen again in the course of this story. So I thought it would be interesting to interview this young French nobleman hiding with his sister at a farm. The year is 1803.
Novel Approach: Thank you for agreeing to talk to me, Mssr. Lebarre.
Remy Lebarre: I am charmed to assist you, Mademoiselle.
NA: I understand that you and your sister Maryse are actually of the French Nobility? Why are you working on a farm?
RL: You have not kept up with the state of affairs in La Belle France? Noble families are being killed for no more reason than the accident of their birth. My father, le Viscounte de Cambrei, sent us to Belgium when we were small children. My uncle and aunt raised us as their own, and I believe Maryse does not remember our life before in Paris.
NA: You lived in Paris? Were you part of the court at Versailles?
RL: My parents were, yes. As I said, I was a child and at the first signs of trouble, my parents sent us away. I had little contact with most of the court unless they came to our home for dinner.
NA: How did you leave Paris?
RL: Neither Maryse nor I were told we were going away. Instead of putting us to bed, our nurse packed our clothes one night, and dressed us for traveling. We went to the stables, and Mama cried over us. Papa said we would see him again, soon, God willing. Then Nurse got in the coach with us, and we drove all night. I slept until we stopped at an inn. My uncle was there, and after a short rest, we continued in his wagon. I don’t remember how long we stayed on the road, but it seemed to take many days. Maryse woke when we finally stopped and cried for Mama. Aunt walked with her all over the farm, and eventually she saw a cat that took her mind off her mama.
NA: Your uncle taught you to brew ale, didn’t he?
RL: Yes, that was my “cat,” the thing that took my mind off missing our parents. Farms often brew their own ale, you see. Aunt and uncle had no children, so having us to work the farm with them was a blessing for them, and saved our lives.
I met Guillaume Verlinden as our nearest neighbor, and after my uncle died, Guillaume and I brewed together. We had to find a secret place to hide the ale, because the French soldiers came through regularly to take provisions away and leave worthless promises of payment. We were going to take the next batch and go to America.
NA: How did you come to have an English prisoner?
RL: That’s a complicated story. I was returning from Guillaume’s when I heard a fight, lots of men and no idea who was fighting whom. The winners took prisoners and left in great haste. I went to see if I could find anything worth selling, you know, to help with the passage on the ship to America. But then I heard someone moaning. He was not badly injured, but had hit his head. He’d fallen into the bushes, and was overlooked. I did not know who he was, but I thought he could help us get to the coast.
NA: I see. And then you found out he could be ransomed for a lot of money.
RL: Oui! I could hardly believe our luck. Once the ransom note went to England, we would be set for our voyage.
NA: But you had to help Guillaume with that last batch, before you could leave?
RL: Yes. And then, well, we could not get back because the soldiers were looking for the prisoner. I did not want to lead them to the farm and my sister, and so we were pressed into looking for the man.
NA: When you first talked to the prisoner, you did not trust him. Why did you change your mind?
RL: It is difficult to explain. I am the son of a viscount, and he is the son of a rich man. He believes completely that his family will ransom him. So I thought, bien, he will take care of Maryse if anything happens to me.
NA: Maryse and the prisoner have gone to the coast by the time you return to the farm. Will you go to England to try to find her?
RL: Ah, Mademoiselle, it is very hard to know the future, is it not?
And that is all he would tell me. Sounds like a very interesting turn of events! I’ll be back on Thursday,