WOMEN OF THE REVOLUTION
Too often the tales told of war speak only of Man’s exploits. Bravery upon a battlefield, cleverness while in disguise in the enemy’s camp. But of course all also know that women bear the brunt of the hardships in any conflict, fighting to keep their families fed, and safe. And many do more than that, by taking an active role either in combat - or as spies!
It was said that the Culper Ring in British-occupied Manhattan would send signals in laundry upon their clothes-line to Washington’s spies – can’t imagine men hung any more laundry in 1778 than they do in 2013! And, of course, patriots like Lydia Darragh, Sally Townsend and Mrs Gardiner bewitched the British with their charms while extracting secrets with their wits. It was not all one sided though – the clever Ann Bates did her share of cozening for King and Country.
I always like to depict strong women in my novels. Jack Absolute is always drawn to the strongest, which causes him no end of problems! Ate, his Mohawk blood brother calls women his only weakness. ‘You are a fool with women. In this one thing you are a fool.’ This is born out in his relationship with the wilful Louisa Reardon in ‘Jack Absolute’. For those who have not read it I’ll leave the details of her ‘strengths’ concealed. In the new book, ‘The Blooding of Jack Absolute’, there are various fierce characters, from Jack’s mother - the playwright and actress, Lady Jane Absolute - through his tutor in love, the courtesan, Fanny Harper.
Men might have ended up writing most of the history around the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars. But there is a wonderful French expression, ‘Cherchez la femme’. ‘Look for the woman’. She’s at the core of a lot of the action, the provoker of much mischief in battle… or bedroom.
Just ask Jack.