There’s no shortage of rancor lately from opposing segments of the political spectrum. And there’s nothing new about that. Regency era politics were just as acrimonious. The Morning Chronicle (the Whig paper) espoused views opposed to those in The Morning Post (conservative). The Prince Regent was booed in the street, and caricaturist James Gillray depicted him, and others, in monstrous terms, the wild exaggeration a criticism of their personalities.
In my book A Radical Arrangement, being reissued tomorrow, this political divide causes a host of complications. Timid, sheltered Margaret Mayfield has been repeatedly warned about her parents’ radical Whig neighbor Sir Justin Keighley. Indeed, she sees him as little short of a devil. When he speaks to her on a garden path, she panics, runs away, trips and falls. A bewildered Sir Justin is discovered kneeling beside a woozy and disheveled Margaret. Her skirts have hiked above her knees!
Margaret’s puritanical parents insist they must marry, no matter how little they wish to. They see no other choice for their daughter – even though they hate everything Sir Justin stands for. Goaded to rebellion by this unfairness, Margaret finds her inner steel and runs away from home. Not only that, she shoots Sir Justin when she believes he’s pursuing her. But then she discovers that he had no intention of bowing to her parents’ decree, and she feels honor bound to nurse him back to health. Trapped together in a small coastal inn, they clash, converse, and gradually discover that polar opposites can be radically beguiling.