historical comedy

November 28, 2014

I hope you (that is, those of you who celebrate it) are having a lovely Thanksgiving holiday.  I am hoping to spend much of this weekend reading.

This I believe:  there should be more funny historical fiction.  Historical fiction ought to be allowed to be funny, and not always dry and upright and serious.  We’re not going to school, after all.

Right now I’m reading Georgette Heyer, and it’s hilarious.  This is from The Black Moth, which takes place in the mid 18th century (think Dangerous Liaisons).  This scene made me laugh.  And look, it’s available on Project Gutenberg!

She glanced again at his averted head with a wistful little smile.

“Oh!” she murmured. “Oh!“—and—”It is very dreadful to be a highwayman!” she sighed.

“Yes, mademoiselle.”

“But surely you could cease to be one?” coaxingly.

He did not trust himself to answer.

“I know you could. Please do!”

“That is not all,” he forced himself to say. “There is worse.”

Is there?” she asked wide-eyed. “What else have you done, Mr. Carr?”

“I—once—” heavens, how hard it was to say! “I once … cheated … at cards.” It was out. Now she would turn from him in disgust. He shut his eyes in anticipation of her scorn, his head turned away.

“Only once?” came the soft voice, filled with awed admiration.

His eyes flew open.


She drooped her head mournfully.

“I’m afraid I always cheat,” she confessed. “I had no idea ’twas so wicked, although Auntie gets very cross and vows she will not play with me.”


Oh my gosh it’s just adorable.



4 Responses to “historical comedy”

  1. I LOVE Georgette Heyer. She gets derided for the fact that her romances are squeaky-clean, but I kind of like that about them. She’s exactly what I want to read after a heavy literary novel, or several overly masculine books in a row. Thank goodness she wrote dozens of books.

  2. Susan Says:

    LOL, yes! I love Georgette Heyer – have just finished reading The Grand Sophy (also funny). She is light relief of a first-class quality.

  3. Thomas Stacey Says:

    Sounds very interesting. The last line makes me think of my cousins who did that when they were younger some. Especially my cousin Alexandra with Monopoly when we tried to play it with her.

  4. Sharon Says:

    The Black Moth began as a story Ms Heyer told her ill brother and was published when she was only 19. It’s in public domain now. http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/heyer/moth/moth.html

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