Celestial Persuasion~ A Jewish Regency Romance, by Mirta Ines Trupp

Celestial Persuasion~ A Jewish Regency Romance, by Mirta Ines Trupp

Dear readers,  I hope you are enjoying a joyous holiday season, and that you will be spending the next few days with family, friends, and a few good books!  I offer my latest novel, Celestial Persuasion as a possible choice for reading material. In the  following excerpt, we find that Captain Wentworth has discharged his duty to his friend, Jonathan Isaacs. He, in fact, has ensured Miss Abigail Isaacs’ introduction to none other than James Duff, the fourth Earl of Fife…

The ladies withdrew from their rooms and were met by Pearson on the landing. The butler bowed and proceeded to escort his lordship’s guests to the drawing room. The three silently descended the staircase, crossing the foyer with its marbled floors and dramatic ceiling. Opening the door, Pearson stepped aside and announced their arrival in a succinct tone.

“Miss Abigail Isaacs and Mrs. Frankel, your lordship.”

The gentleman arose from his place by the fire and bowed. The ladies curtsied, but not before Abigail caught a glimpse of the distinguished figure who was their host. Tall and proud, he was a man still in his prime. He had kind eyes, though, and she was relieved to note it.

“Miss Isaacs,” he said, as he gestured for the ladies to take a seat, “allow me to offer my condolences. Mrs. Frankel, is it? I thank you most heartily for making the journey, for I know how dreary travel can be. May I offer you an apéritif?” His lordship waved the footman away and served his guests himself. “I hope to find you both in good health and well recovered.”

“Yes, my lord,” Abigail replied and accepted the delicate goblet. “Mrs. Frankel and I are quite well. Allow me to express my gratitude, sir, for the warm welcome. It is more than I expected, or deserved. I only wish my dear brother—”

“Now, now, Miss Isaacs. Naturally, you are undone by this tragedy,” said the earl, “but I will hear no more about gratitude or such nonsense. Your father and I had known each other for quite some time. The same holds true with regards to your brother. We contracted some business together, but perhaps you would care to speak of it after we have dined?”

Abigail set down the Madeira and clasped her hands as if in prayer. “I would hear it now, my lord—that is, if you do not mind the telling of it.”

“I am, at heart, a military man. I find there is one thing which a man ought to do in a timely manner, Miss Isaacs, and that is his duty. My partnership—my friendship—with your family demands that I see my obligation to you discharged immediately.” The earl arose and walked toward a small desk in the corner of the room. Opening a drawer, he removed a dossier he found there.

“Contained in this file are documents that belonged to your brother,” said he. “You will find property deeds, surveyor’s maps, and assessor’s reports. What you will not find is a royal seal or a British stamp, for these documents are for property located in what has been known as the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata, madam.”

“I–I do not understand your meaning, my lord.”

“Both your father and your brother invested a great deal of money in that fledgling nation. To be sure, it was I who brought the opportunity to their attention.”

“But why?” she asked. “I have never heard either of them mention anything about investing in foreign properties.”

“It is rather a long story, Miss Isaacs, but the truth of the matter is that Jonathan had every intention of emigrating.”

Mrs. Frankel gasped at this. “Nay, I cannot believe it!”

“Madam, if you would permit me, I will do my utmost to divulge the whole of it. There is one caveat, however, and I wish to be understood from the outset: Jonathan Isaacs wished his sister to carry on with his plan when he could not.”

“My lord, you will find that I am a most reasonable creature,” said Abigail. “I have no tendency toward fainting or crying spells. I beg you, sir, speak freely and without restraint. My presence here should speak to my resolve; but if I am expected to carry on with Jonathan’s aspirations, I must be made aware of all the particulars. You will find that my brother trained me well. Facts, my lord. I need the facts.”

Just then, the butler reappeared announced that dinner was ready to be served.

“Blast dinner, man!” exclaimed the earl, coming to his feet and nearly sending his servant to the devil. “Forgive my outburst,” he added with a bow to his guests, “but with your permission, I will have them hold our meal until I have had my say.”

Mrs. Frankel, dumbfounded as she was, could only prevail upon Abigail to reply. This she did with a simple nod, for Abigail, too, was at a loss for words.

“As any good tale must begin at the beginning, I will lay the foundation with a bit of history, of which you may or may not be aware.” With Pearson dismissed, Lord Fife poured himself another drink—the footman having been dismissed with the butler—and reclaimed his seat by the fire. “Buenos Aires, at the heart of the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata, has held the attention of the English for several years. In truth, though it is a Spanish colony, our involvement has been very much a part of the area’s growth. From whalers and farmers to engineers and bankers, English families have journeyed to that South American land to make their fortunes. In the recent past, the people there have declared their intention to claim independence from Spain. The revolution in May of last year was a defining moment for the founders of that crusade, and many Englishmen have supported the cause.”

“But my brother had no need to seek his fortune elsewhere. He would have taken over our father’s occupation upon his return from war. Jonathan would have led a comfortable life as a country doctor—”

“Be that as it may, Miss Isaacs, but a young man seeks adventure. A comfortable, steady life, especially one handed to him by his father, is not quite so palatable. I am certain you would agree that you brother had an adventurous tendency.”

“To be sure,” Abigail agreed and recalled when Jonathan first broke the news to their father of his enlistment.

“And there is another point to be made. Jonathan had expressed his frustration with what he perceived to be the cruel punishment against his people here in England. Jews, no matter their fortune, are not of the gentry, and therefore cannot purchase or inherit land. This, of course, bars the community from entry into the House of Commons and from numerous other opportunities afforded your countrymen. Amongst other grievances he held, I believe Jonathan was not accepted to Cambridge when he applied to continue his academic career.”

Abigail nodded and looked at Mrs. Frankel thinking of their conversation regarding Jonathan’s astral influences. “He refused to take part in their religious test.”

“My point exactly, madam. Although I understand many have chosen to convert to further their careers or, in some cases, to secure greater financial stability for their families, Jonathan could not be prevailed upon to do so.”

“But he was not deterred,” she cried. “He was accepted at Edinburgh, where it is not required to take an oath as a true Christian. And there were good men who quietly helped him on his way. Jonathan had many mentors and was inspired by the best of men—men such as Israel Lyons. He too was rejected by his university of choice; but Lyons found friends in other elevated places, which allowed him to go on and accomplish great things.”

“It was Jonathan’s hope that his work be accepted and acknowledged on its own merit, Miss Isaacs. Not to be judged by who or what he was, nor to be promoted or given false privilege. And as I stated earlier, when the people of the Viceroyalty proclaimed their independence from Spain, they proposed new policies that would promote respect toward all men. To that end, your brother had envisioned opening a school to prepare men—and women—to attend university. A place where students might concentrate on bettering their minds, and not be waylaid by societal restrictions. Much like what the colonists decreed in North America when they fought the Crown for their independence, these men in Buenos Aires are founding a new nation based on the principles of freedom of speech and religion.”

“But are there Jews in this place?” asked Mrs. Frankel, having finally found her voice.

The earl smiled. “Madam, it is my understanding that your people have lived in the New World since the time of Christopher Columbus. Jonathan, of course, researched the matter and found that, indeed, there is an organized Hebraic community developing in Buenos Aires—especially now, after the revolution, when there is talk of abolishing the courts of the Inquisition. There are many men committed to such principles, Spaniards, Englishmen…I have the honor of calling them my friends. Indeed, several of these gentlemen are lodged at my club, and if you would permit me, with all due deference for your state of mourning, I would have you meet one or two.”

“This is all rather a bit much, my lord. I am struggling with the information you have shared thus far and hesitate to question you further; however, it is in my nature to question. Pray, how are you involved in this venture?”

“I fear it is all rather complicated—I suppose it all began when I lost my dear wife. When Mary died, now going on six years, I was quite devastated you must understand. No longer a husband, nor blessed with children, I needed a new sense of purpose; and so I enlisted—as did many other Englishmen—to fight for Spain in their battle for control of the Iberian Peninsula. I came full of enthusiasm and, of course, my blunt was well received.”

“You jest, my lord. Grief can truly be a motivating factor, but to enlist, sir! To risk everything—I readily admit it; it is a passion quite unknown to my way of thinking.”

“Oh, I disagree with you on that score, Miss Isaacs. You took a risk in coming all this way, did you not?” the earl replied. “Why, just in this brief period of being in your company, I clearly see the same courage and determination that ran in your brother’s veins. I also observed these same qualities in another young man by the name of José de San Martín. We fought together in trying to liberate the Spanish monarch. Upon my father’s accession to the Irish earldom, I became Viscount MacDuff, but I continued to serve Spain and was present during the defense of Cadiz. It was there that I met Raphael Gabay, Miranda, and several others who spoke of freedom in the Viceroyalty. It was a subject that weighed heavily on my heart; but when I succeeded my father as the fourth Earl of Fife, I regrettably saw the end to my career on the field and returned home to fulfill my duties.”

“You will forgive me, my lord; but having lost my brother in his pursuit for adventure and glory, I fail to understand this regret. I suppose I must be a weakling for wishing for the comfort and safety of home.”

“You are mistaken in your estimation of why men go to war,” replied the earl. “Speaking for myself, I took up arms against Napoleon, because the Corsican fiend had to be stopped. Not only for the sake of Spain and Portugal, but for England. One does what one must if one wishes to live with a modicum of self-respect and honor in the world. I can attest to the fact that Jonathan Isaacs was such a man. Do not underestimate yourself, madam. You cannot know what you are capable of, until you are tested.” Noting the solemnity of these final words, the earl came to his feet with a new proposition. “Pray, let us stay the conversation in order to enjoy our evening meal. For all that I am, and for all I have endured on the battlefield, I tremble to incur the ire of my cook!”

                           Thanks for spending some time with me today. Wishing one and all Peace and Happiness as we head into the new year!

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December 27, 2021 10:16 AM

Thanks for sharing this excerpt.

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
December 26, 2021 9:05 PM

I absolutely loved this story. Thanks for sharing this excerpt. I wish you a most excellent and Happy New Year.

Jean Stillman
Jean Stillman
December 26, 2021 8:17 AM

Love your excerpt!

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
December 24, 2021 11:14 AM

Good excerpt! Peace to you in the coming year as well!

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