About the Books

The Comfortable Courtesan

“The discovery of these volumes of memoirs, the prime jewel in the trove of papers unearthed during conversion operations at Yeomans, a Georgian manor house in Surrey, was widely reported in the media. I had the privilege of being called in at a very early stage of the game to examine the materials in the chests discovered when knocking through an attic wall and words can hardly express the excitement I felt upon my first perusal of these memoirs. Their revelations are still being assimilated by historians and literary scholars.

Preparing them for publication has been an agreeable if sometimes arduous task. I took the executive decision to retain the author’s sometimes idiosyncratic spelling and syntax, which reveal her as a woman of wide reading but little formal education. It was also agreed to retain her attempt to conceal the identity of members of her circle and others by using initials, but it has proved possible to identify these and keys to the dramatis personae have therefore been included in each published volume. Significant updating of certain entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has been one consequence.

In order to make these volumes accessible to the wide audience they deserve, extensive scholarly apparatus has been eschewed: detailed references, however, can be found on this site, along with a wealth of other contextual material”

Madame Clorinda Cathcart is a most exclusive courtesan in Regency London, very comfortably situated, with a wide acquaintance. Besides her more obvious attributes and activities, she is always ready to listen to her friends’ problems and to devize stratagems to solve them. Her twelve volumes of Memoirs describe her own various changes of circumstance, and those occurring among her ever-widening circle.


Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle

So great has been the interest aroused by the Memoirs of Lady Bexbury, the quondam Clorinda Cathcart, and her delineation of the activities among her circle, that there has been voiced a considerable desire to learn more of them. A number of volumes, therefore, have been compiled presenting the stories of her friends, acquaintances and associates. It is hoped that they will provide the same entertainment, and mayhap instruction, as Her Ladyship’s own accounts.


The Cathcart Apocrypha

The Cathcart Apocrypha started as short giveaway items, outside the main sequence of the Memoirs and shedding more light on characters and events somewhat on the sidelines. Initially intended as lagniappe for subscribing to @MadameClorinda on Twitter (Letters between Two Noblemen - Volume 1) and joining the Clorinda’s Salon Newsletter (Finding Her Place - Sophy’s Story - Volume 2), a further volume was issued as a downloadable treat (Shawls Stitched with Love - Volume 3) for readers in the early months of Covid-19 Lockdown. There is a possibility that additional apocryphal volumes may ensue.


Reading Order & Chronology

The twelve volumes of the Memoirs of Madame Clorinda Cathcart constitute a continuous chronological narrative. This is a guide to how the volumes in Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle and The Cathcart Apocrypha relate to that sequence and where ‘The New Generation’ sequence may be considered to begin.

Prequels

Good Practices

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 11: Early Years - A Prequel
Hector, Phoebe, Seraphine, Docket, Abby Gowing, Gervase Reveley, other patrons of Clorinda’s

Letters Between Two Noblemen

The Cathcart Apocrypha: Volume 1
Gervase Reveley, subsequently Viscount Raxdell; Aubrey Dabney, Marquess of Bexbury

Concurrent with Memoirs

The Ironmaster’s Tale

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 1: Josiah Ferraby
Concurrent with The Comfortable Courtesan and Rustick Exile

The Courtesan and the Clergyman

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 13: A Game of Chance and Love
Contemporaneous with The Comfortable Courtesan: Volume 1 and The Ironmaster’s Tale

Mistress In Her Household

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 6: Eliza Ferraby’s Story: 1
Concurrent with A Change of Station

Incalculable Diffusion*

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 3: Divers Friends & Acquaintances
Lucy Netherne and the Ferraby family
*The letter found in a copy of Jane Marcet’s ‘Conversations on Chemistry’

Above Rubies

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 7: Eliza Ferraby’s Story: 2
Concurrent with Old Enemies, New Problems

The Chatelaine

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 9: Eliza Ferraby’s Story: 3
Concurrent with Dramatick Rivalry and the early chapters of Domestick Disruptions

Finding Her Place (Sophy’s Story)

The Cathcart Apocrypha: Volume 2
Concurrent with the early chapters of Domestick Disruptions

A Man of Independent Mind*

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 2: Alexander MacDonald, MA
*Specifically the ‘Encrypted passages in a curious commonplace book’

Shortly after the Memoirs

Shawls Stitched With Love*

The Cathcart Apocrypha: Volume 3
Sophy, Maurice and the rest of his family, Sam Jupp and his parents, Docket

Incalculable Diffusion*

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 3: Divers Friends & Acquaintances
* Specifically the following parts:

Unlacing their Stays

The Cathcart Apocrypha: Volume 3
Eliza & Clorinda Frolick

Twenty-plus years after the Memoirs

Incalculable Diffusion*

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 3: Divers Friends & Acquaintances
* Specifically the following parts:

A Man of Independent Mind

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 2: Alexander MacDonald, MA
In which old acquaintances are re-encountered, and new ones introduced into Lady Bexbury’s orbit

Two Weddings & Several Revelations

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 2: The Younger Generation Coming of Age

Favours Exchanged

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 5: Ancient Secrets

Torches

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 8: Acquaintance Old and New

Tricks and Traps

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 10: Tables Turned

Coming to Terms

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 12: Consequences Impend

Revenants

Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle: Volume 14: Shadows from the Past


L. A. Hall, FRHistS


Colophon

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The original image of the fan is based upon a scan of an illustration in Gaskell’s Compendium of Forms Educational Social Legal and Commercial by Julie from the The Old Design Shop. The line drawing of the wombat is from a scan by Pearson Scott Foresman donated to the WikiMedia Foundation. For other cover images, please refer to the books themeselves. The font family used on this website is Vollkorn by Friedrich Althausen.

The images and fonts were used under license detailed on their respective website pages at the date of this book publication.

L. A. Hall is a historian and retired archivist. Short stories by her have appeared in The Penguin Book of Modern Fantasy by Women and The Penguin Book of Erotic Stories by Women. She regrets to say that she does not own a pet wombatt.