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Authors: Philippa Carr

Tags: #Romance, #Historical, #Fiction

The Song of the Siren

BOOK: The Song of the Siren
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(The seventh book in the Daughters of England series)

A novel
by Philippa Carr



Philippa Carr

As England erupts in violent Jacobite upheaval, two half-sisters - one of surpassing beauty and untamed spirit; the other plain, shy and dutiful - vie for the love of a man and the life of a child.

When the lovely and willful Carlotta, on her way to the home of her suitor Benjie Stevens, is abducted by the dashing Jacobite leader Lord Hessenfield and forced to share his bed, she doesn’t dream that the shameful coupling will spiral into mutual passion. But Hessenfield must flee to France, and Carlotta finds herself pregnant with his child. Desperate to save face and future, she marries Benjie and resolves to live happily ever after - until she returns home to find her half-sister Demaris in love with Matt Pilkington, son of the neighboring estate owner. Never one to deny her desires, Carlotta plunges into a torrid affair with Matt, a betrayal that sends the trusting Demaris into a nearly fatal illness, a wasting disease from which only Carlotta’s child, the enchanting Clarissa,

can save her

With Demaris restored to health and a quiet if empty life, and Carlotta reunited in France with her true love Hessenfieid, it seems that each sister has realized her destiny - until a desperate letter from Paris reveals the terrible price Carlotta has paid for her happiness and begs Demaris to save the child Clarissa from a similar fate.

Shimmering with the romance and glamour of a dangerous era, The Song of the Siren is a sweeping novel of jealousy and revenge, passion and forgiveness, loyalty and undying love.

lacket painting by JERRY F ^RS jacket typography by IRIS BASS


PubLhers Since 1818

200 Madison Avenue

New York, NX 10006

(Continued on back flap)

ISBN: 399-12426-8





8Other books by Philippa Carr










10Copyright © 1979 by Philippa Carr

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

The song of the siren.


PZ3.H5212So [PR6015.I3] 823’.9’14 79-10124

ISBN 0-399-12426-8

Printed in the United States of America





A General Calls 13

An Encounter at the Black Boar

A Child Is Born 93



The Cellar of Good Mrs. Brown 115

Night in the Forbidden Wood 147


A Willing Abduction 199

Crime Passionnel 245

Two Pairs of Gloves 273


The Tenant of Enderby Hall Discovery in Paris 317

12William Farland m. Dulce

Damask m. Bruno Catharine m. Felipe Gonzales (1)


Linnet m.

i Casvellyn

Roberto . Jake Pennlyon (2)



Edwin Eversleigh



Carleton Eversleigh

Priscilla Carl m. Leigh Main

Carlotta (by Jocelyn Frinton) Damaris


Tamsyn m. Fennimore Landor

f?* ‘ - ‘ -!?--.-???____ J_ ?,??,,. I . ..!.-! . . ,.l -I -!,-!_.-,-.

Fennimore The Twins

Bersaba |-m.


Luke Longridge



Richard Tolworthy

Angelique Fennimore



Richard Tolworthv | ‘




Beau had come back. He was there, standing before me in all his elegance, his arrogance, his overwhelming charm. I had become alive again. I threw myself into his arms and I lifted up my face and looked at him.

I cried out “Beau! Beau! Why did you go away? Why did you leave me?”

And he answered: “All the time I have been here close ... close..,,” His voice went on echoing through the house saying: “Close ... close “

Then I awoke to the realization that he was not with me. It was only a dream, and misery descended upon me, for I was alone again even more desperately so because for a short while I had believed he had come back.

It was more than a year since he had gone away. We were to have been married. It had all been arranged. We were going to elope again-we had tried that once unsuccessfully-but this time we would plan more carefully. He had been hiding in the haunted house and I used to go there and visit him. My family had no idea of this; they thought they had separated us, but we were cleverer than they were. We had laid our plans carefully.

My family did not like Beau-particularly my mother, who became almost demented when his name was mentioned. I could see from the first that she was determined to prevent our marrying. At one time I thought that she was jealous of my love for Beau but I changed my mind later.

I had never felt I quite belonged to the Eversleighs, although Priscilla, my mother, had always made me feel I meant a great deal to her. I had always been deeply conscious of her possessiveness. She was quite unlike Harriet, who for so long I had believed to be my mother. Harriet was fond of me but not excessively so. She did not overwhelm me with her affection; and I was sure that if she knew that Beau and I had forestalled our marriage vows she would just have shrugged her shoulders and laughed, while Priscilla would have behaved as though it was a major disaster, although my very existence was evidence of her lack of conventionality in such matters.

It is known now that I am a bastard-the illegitimate daughter of Priscilla and Jocelyn Frinton, who was beheaded at the time of the Popish Plot. Of course he and my mother had intended to marry but he had been taken and executed before they could do so.

Then dear Harriet had pretended to be my mother and she and Priscilla had gone to Venice where I was born. On discovering this I had been rather pleased by my melodramatic entrance into the world. It was when my father’s uncle left me his fortune that the

story came out; everyone accepted it then and I came to live with my mother and her husband Leigh, at Eversleigh, although I visited Harriet frequently.

Now Priscilla and Leigh had moved to the Dower House in the grounds of Eversleigh and lived there with my half sister, Damaris. Close by was Enderby Hall, where Beau and I used to meet. It had been left to me by my father’s uncle Robert Frinton. Enderby was a house of memories. It was said to be haunted. It was for this reason, I suppose, that I had been fascinated by it ever since I was a child before it seemed possible that it could ever belong to me. Some terrible tragedy had taken place there and certainly there was an eerie atmosphere about the place. Beau liked it. He used to call out to the ghosts to come and see us. When we lay on the four-poster bed, he would draw back the curtains. “Let them join in our bliss, Carlotta,” he said. He was bold, so recklessly adventurous and he cared for no one. I was sure that if one of the ghosts appeared he would not feel a twinge of uneasiness. He would have laughed in the face of the devil himself if that awesome being had put in an appearance.

He used to say he was one of the devil’s own.

How I longed for him! I wanted to creep into that house and to feel his arms about me as he sprang out on me. I wanted to be lifted in those arms and carried up the stairs to the bedroom in which the ghosts had slept when they were on earth; I wanted to hear his lazy voice, so beautifully modulated, so musical, so characteristic of him determined to get what was good out of life, no matter how-and equally determined to turn his back on what’ could bring him nothing.

“I’m not a saint, Carlotta,” he told me, “so don’t think you’ll get one for your husband, dear child!”

I assured him that a saint was the last thing I wanted.

He agreed that I was wise in that. “There’s a passionate woman in you, my little virgin-no-more, waiting to get out. I am giving her the key.”

He had constantly reminded me that I had lost my virginity. It seemed to be a source of amusement to him. Sometimes I believed it was because he was afraid they might persuade me not to marry him. “You’re committed now, my little bird,” he said once.

“You cannot fly away now. You belong to me.”

Priscilla, when she was trying to persuade me to give him up, said that it was my fortune that he wanted. I was very rich-or I would be when I was eighteen or in the event of my marrying; and when I taxed him with this, he replied: “I’ll be frank with you, my sweet child, your fortune will be useful. It will enable us to travel, to live Well. You would like that, my dear heiress. We’ll go to Venice, to your birthplace.

I believe I was there at that auspicious time, which seems like fate, does it not? We were intended for each other, so don’t a paltry fortune come between us. We cannot with truth say we your fortune. Let us say we are glad of it. But do you doubt, dearest love, after all that has happened between us that you more to me than a thousand such fortunes? We could live well together if you were but a little match girl, a seamstress. We are in tune, do you understand that? You were meant to love. There is such response in you. You are fiery; passion will be a part of your life; you are young yet, Carlotta.

You have much to learn of yourself and the world; and fortune or not, I will be there to teach you.”

I knew that he spoke the truth; that I was of a nature which matched his own. I knew that we were perfectly in harmony and that I was fortunate to have found him.

There was accord between us. I was only fifteen then and he was more than twenty years older-he would not tell me his age. He said: “I am as old as I can make the world believe I am. And you more than anyone must accept that.”

So we met in the haunted house. It amused him that we should do so and it seemed a good place because so few people went there. Priscilla sent servants over once a week. They would not go singly because there was not one of them who would have entered the house alone. I knew when they would be going and could warn Beau to leave.

He stayed there for three weeks; and then one day he was gone.

Why? Where? Why should he suddenly disappear? I could not understand it. At first I thought that he had been called away and there had been no means of letting me know. But when the time went on I began to be frightened.

I did not know what to do. I could not tell people that he had disappeared from the house. I could not understand it. For the first few days I was not unduly worried; but when the days went by as weeks and then the months, terror seized me and I feared some terrible doom had overtaken him.

BOOK: The Song of the Siren
6.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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