Slip Into Something Victorian

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Guest: Diane Wylie

I have to admit it. I went to Wikipedia to look up the “Victorian era” when I was invited by fellow author, Isabel Roman, to contribute to the “Slip Into Something Victorian” blog. I hope I am not alone in saying I had a vague idea of when the Victorian period took place. I knew it encompassed my particular time period of interest, the U.S. Civil War, but beyond that I wasn’t sure.

So, my quick little bit of research told me that the Victorian period lasted from 1837 to 1901 during, of course, the reign of England’s Queen Victorian.

It appears that quite a bit happened during those years. As a romance writer, there are two things that drew me to this time period instead of earlier periods. One is the fact that men had stopped powdered wigs–ugh! The other is that men had also stopped wearing knee length britches and leggings and began wearing trousers instead. As I thought of the essential disrobing-to-make-love scenes, I couldn’t find it romantic to take off a white wig and hosiery. My men wear trousers. Take this excerpt from LILA’S VOW, for example. I just can’t see this working if our hero, Jack, needs to put on his hose first (or a wig)!

Hint! Keep reading! There is a contest at the end!

Excerpt from LILA’S VOW by Diane Wylie

Setup:  Gettysburg, PA. Schoolteacher, Lila Sutton, is caring for wounded soldiers in her house. She is going out to get the freshly washed uniform from the clothesline for Captain Montgomery.

Quickly, she pulled jacket and trousers off the line, tossing them over her arm. Then her heart stopped. A rustling noise from behind made her freeze momentarily. Then, before she could move, a grimy hand was clamped over her mouth.

“Don’t scream.” Hot, sour breath hissed into her face, and a thin man’s pinched, bearded face was up to hers. “Give me food and money, if you know what’s good for you. I’ll shoot anyone that tries to stop me from leaving this place!” Terror swept through her in a rush.

“Hey! Let her go!” A man’s voice shouted.

Lila’s teeth came down hard on the dirty hand, driving deep into the webbing of his thumb. With her heart pounding, she turned and brought her knee up into his crotch at the same time. The man stumbled backward, howling. With horror, she saw the glint on the end of the gun barrel pointing in her direction.

Then she saw the flash of a pale figure. There was a loud “thunk,” and the man dropped like a stone just as the moon peeked out from behind the clouds, as if it too wanted to see what was going on.

Standing there, black iron skillet in one hand, dressed in bandages, a sling, and her mother’s best calico apron, was Captain Montgomery.

“Are you all right, Lila?”

She stared at him and nodded. Her heart was still pounding, and her mouth tasted like dirt, but she was fine. He was quite a sight with his muscles illuminated by silvery moonlight, a ruffled loincloth, and bare feet…he resembled a dandified savage with a beard.

A small giggle bubbled up in her throat. Then she saw him wiggle his toes. Lila couldn’t stop it now. Uncontrolled laughter came up from her belly.

“Y-you look r-ridiculous!”

He took a step toward her.

“N-no, no,” she laughed, “d-don’t move. The w-wind is picking up.” She choked and giggled.

A breeze suddenly lifted the bottom of the apron. His grin grew wider, and he chuckled. “Then you come here; you have my clothes, Miss!”

The attacker on the ground at his feet groaned. Leaning over, exposing an expanse of muscular thigh, Jack gave him a gentle tap with the skillet, and the groaning stopped.

“Better hurry up before I damage him for good.”

Lila hurried over to his side.

He handed her the skillet then gently touched her cheek with a simple gesture that immediately dampened her mirth. Replacing it was a feeling that she had never experienced before. She yearned to wrap her arms around this man and pull him close. She wanted to run her hands around his back to feel the texture of those hard muscles. She wanted to do that so badly that tears sprang to her eyes.

“Are you all right?” he whispered.

“Y-yes. No… Oh, I don’t know.”

His warm hand gently cupped her chin, and he leaned forward until his lips touched hers so softly…and only for an instant. It was so quick that she thought she might have imagined it except for the sparkle in his dark eyes.

For a moment neither moved. Then he slowly took his hand away. “I’d best get some proper clothes on now.” His sheepish look apologized for spoiling the moment.

“Oh, yes, of course. Um…”

“What?”

“Have you any…any…uh…”

He grunted. “Say it, Lila. What is it?”

“I…uh…wanted to know if you had any undergarments?”

“You didn’t take any off me, did you?”

Heat rose up her neck. “N-no.”

“Then I don’t have any. Listen, it’s a long story. Can I tell it to you later?”

Lila decided it was a good thing they were out here in the darkness alone when it became obvious this was not going to be an easy thing.

Putting the uniform jacket down on the grass, Lila took the trousers in both hands and opened the waistband. Jack’s eyes smiled into hers. “I can’t put my foot into them up that high, Lila. Can you hold them lower, please?”

Now her breath was really coming in short gasps. Standing directly in front of him, holding the pants, Lila slowly bent her legs until her face was practically smothered by the calico apron. Oh, yes, she knew what was behind that apron.

Well, I hope you liked this little glimpse into my book. I am offering a free ebook file of the three-time award winning LILA’S VOW, to a winner drawn at random from anyone caring to answer or comment on this challenge:

“Name at least one heroic male, fictional or real, who wore knee-length britches and hose.”

Respond to this challenge by leaving a comment before the cutoff date of Saturday, January 23rd, when I will draw a winner’s name. Please be sure to check back here on that date to see if you won!

My thanks to Isabel, a fellow Civil War romance author, for inviting me to visit her blog. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here.

~Diane

To buy Lila’s Vow
Amazon

Bares & Noble
Books-a-Million

To buy Jenny’s Passion
In a time of war, theirs was a forbidden passion. What price would David and Jenny pay for a love that consumes them both?
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million

To buy Secrets and Sacrifices
Charlotte loses her husband and her identity when she takes on the guise of a Confederate soldier, but the slowly starving South and desperate runaway slaves lead her into big trouble with her wounded heart and with both sides of the American Civil War
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million

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16 Comments

  1. Denise Eagan says:

    George Washington?

    I love the Victorian era because it was so exciting–so many technological advances and social changes, many of which came about (sadly) because if the American Civil War.

    Great excerpt, Diane!

  2. Lakisha says:

    Rhett Butler wore knee britches on formal occasions

  3. Diana Flori says:

    Diane, who can forget good old Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, the greatest lover of all time? Those tights and knee-length britches never stopped this randy Venetian from enjoying a good romp. He has my vote. Diana Flori

  4. Isabel Roman says:

    Errol Flynn–yes the actor. He wore tights in Robin Hood, breeches in Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Adventures of Don Juan (not his best), The Master of Ballentree.

    Yes, my answer is Errol Flynn, cause what’s not to love?

  5. Diane Wylie says:

    Great answers, Denise, Lakisha, Diana, and Isabel!

    I didn’t know that Rhett Butler wore knee britches!

    Note to Denise: I just finished reading your book, The Wild One, and I loved it!

    Thanks to all of your for commenting and you are all entered in the drawing. Check back on Saturday!

  6. Great blog, Diane! When I think of breeches, I think of the Colonial times, so like George Washington, etc. When I think of leggings, I picture Colin Firth in Pride & Pred. hahahaha I don’t like men wearing those. I like trousers, myself. And my heroines enjoy removing them from my heroes. (grins)

    ~Phyllis~

  7. carolyndee says:

    One of my favorite heroes, The Scarlett Pinpernel, wore knee britches and hose. I love the movie of this better than the books [THE SCARLETT PINPERNEL and ELDORADO]. The movie version I liek best is the one starring Jane Seymour.

  8. carolyndee says:

    well, duh, I misspelled Pimpernel. Sorry.

  9. Kathy Otten says:

    I’d have to vote for the Scarlett Pimpernel, too. Loved your excerpt! Especially enjoyed the line about the moon peeking out from behind the cloud as if it want to see what was going on. 🙂

  10. Excellent Blog I am a costume Historian and before Children was a costume Design so I can tell you powdered wigs are not so sexy going on LOL

    Ok Man who wore knee breeces and hose there are so many but I would go witj Mr Darcy 🙂

  11. Didn’t the three musketeers wear half pants (britches) and hose? There are a lot of books that the hero in the victorian times wore hlaf britches and hose, but right now I can’t think of the names of any. Quess it’s been awhile since I’ve read one lately I’ve been reading paranormal romances and mysteries.

  12. Denise Eagan says:

    Oh Diane, thank you so much! You’ve made my day.

  13. John Adams comes to mind. So glad we don’t have to deal with them anymore.

    Thank you for coming by our website. It’s great to have the chance to get to know you. 🙂

  14. Diane Wylie says:

    We have quite a few great guys in knee britches here! Thanks so much for coming by to leave a comment. You are all getting your names put into a hat for the drawing on Saturday. Make sure you stop by the Slip Into Something Victorian blog to see who won!

    Keep those great answers coming.

  15. Becca says:

    Ben Franklin – though he certainly wasn’t the typical hero, his intelligence and quick wit made him heroic.

  16. Diane Wylie says:

    I want to thank everyone for stopping by, it has been lots of fun. I especially want to thank Isabel for having me. The range of answers was terrific, from Ben Franklin’s intelligence to the heroic Three Musketeers.

    And the winner by luck of the draw…drum roll please…is…Phyllis Campbell! Your ebook of LILA’S VOW will be on its way to your email box shortly.

    Thanks to everyone for playing! Now, lets get back to removing the pants from our romance heroes…very slowly! LOL!

    ~Diane

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