Thursday, 23 April 2015


A Study in Power and Beauty

In the third of a series of posts about horses in art, I look at one of the most famous paintings of all. The first two posts, Copenhagen and Marengo appeared on Victoria Hinshaw's blog and Téa Cooper’s blog (links below). I will post them here nearer to 18 June and the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

Whistlejacket 1762 was painted by George Stubbs and hangs in the National Gallery. An oil on canvas, it measures an enormous 115 x 97 inches (9’7” x 8’1”, 292 x 246 cm). Thus it is almost life-sized.


Whistlejacket by George Stubbs, courtesy of Wikipedia

George Stubbs is probably the finest equestrian artist of the Georgian age, if not all time. Certainly, no other of his era matched his understanding of a horse’s anatomy and physiology. Born in 1724, the son of a currier, he began his artistic life as a portrait painter, but having had a fascination for the subject since childhood, studied human anatomy at York County hospital. In 1758, he rented a farm in Lincolnshire and spent several months studying the physiology of horses through the simple expedient of dissecting carcasses. He also suspended them in different poses in order to draw them. This dedicated work resulted in The Anatomy of the Horse, published in 1766.
Stubbs accepted an invitation from Charles Watson Wentworth, the 2nd Marquis of Rockingham, to visit his estate at Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire. He stayed some considerable time at Wentworth House and produced several paintings. Indeed, Whistlejacket himself features in a frieze-like work on a similar neutral background, entitled Whistlejacket with the Head Groom Mr. Cobb and the Two Other Principal Stallions in the Wentworth Stud, the Godolphin Hunter and the Godolphin Colt.
Bred at Belsay Castle, Northumberland by Sir William Middleton, Whistlejacket was a Thoroughbred and as such, entered in that Almanac of the Turf, The General Stud Book. He was foaled in 1749, to a Sweepstakes Mare (this means the mare was an unnamed daughter of Sweepstakes). The mare’s entry in the GSB reads as follows:
Foaled in 1736, her dam by the Hampton Court Ch. [Chestnut] Arabian—Makeless—Brimmer—Place's White Turk—Dodsworth—Layton Barb Mare*
          f by Hutton's Spot (dam of Mayduke)

1749 ch. c. Whistlejacket, by Mogul ....... Sir W. Middleton
*In his Turf Register, William Pick names her as ‘Mr. Layton’s Violet Barb Mare, which was a brood mare in Lord D’Arcy’s Stud’.

Through his dam, therefore, Whistlejacket’s bloodlines trace back to the Royal Stud and the famous ‘royal mares’ imported by Charles II. His sire Mogul was by the Godolphin Arabian, one of the three founding sires of the Thoroughbred breed. The modern phrase ‘bred in the purple’ was never more applicable and that hallowed pedigree shows in George Stubbs’ glorious painting.

Named for a cold remedy of the time – made from gin and treacle – Whistlejacket had a successful career on the racecourse, losing only four times, according to William Pick. He raced from the age of three, winning consistently in the North of England at such meetings as Morpeth, Newcastle, Stockton, York and Lincoln, whilst receiving some narrow defeats in the south. His first defeat was to Mr. Curzon’s Jason, in the King’s Plate at Newmarket in 1755, but he was revenged the following year. After losing a close finish to Spectator, a horse belonging to the Duke of Ancaster, in Newmarket’s Jockey Club Plate in 1756, he was sold to Lord Rockingham. His most famous victory came against a strong field over four miles, at York in 1759, when, carrying an equal weight of nine stone with his adversary, he beat Mr. Turner’s Brutus to claim the 2000 guineas prize. It was his final outing and, noted William Pick, ‘…a remarkable fine race; being strongly contested the whole four miles, and won by a length only. Whistlejacket was rode by John Singleton, and Brutus by Thomas Jackson, who both displayed their utmost skill in riding…’ Whistlejacket was retired to stud, where it appears he was not particularly successful, yet because of this portrait, he is probably better known to the general populace than either his sire or grandsire.

It is a popular belief that Whistlejacket was chosen to be portrayed in such a fashion because he was a beautiful example of the so-called Eastern or Oriental horse, viz. the Arabian or Barb. The Marquis of Rockingham loved to collect fine art and statuary; he was well travelled and extremely rich. It is often stated that the portrait was intended to be of King George III, with Stubbs painting the horse, the foremost portrait artist painting the King and the foremost landscape artist painting the background. It is said that this picture was to be a companion to the one of King George II commissioned by the Marquis’ father. Whether or not this was Rockingham’s intention, we will never know, but if so, it could well be, that on seeing the emergence of his horse from the skilful brush of George Stubbs, Rockingham changed his mind. It has also been suggested, that being a Whig and in opposition to the throne, Rockingham had political reasons for the change of heart – or even that he was making an uncomplimentary political statement… that Whistlejacket, depicted free of all restraint, and therefore the complete opposite of the normal, subservient role shown by the horse in portraits of the time, was an allegory for the Whig liberalistic viewpoint against the Hanoverian rule. Indeed, it is possible the story of the King’s portrait may well have originated with Horace Walpole.

While travelling in Yorkshire, he visited Wentworth Woodhouse in August 1772 and wrote:

‘Many pictures of horses by Stubbs, well done. One large as life, fine, no ground done; it was to have had a figure of George III until Lord Rockingham went into opposition.’

However that might be, the painting and its subject have become icons. On the National Gallery web site, one can buy fridge magnets, posters and all manner of other items emblazoned with this fabulous image. Whistlejacket is shown as a perfect example of the Arabian breed. A rich chestnut with flaxen mane and tail, believed by many to be the colour of the first feral horses in Arabia, he has the classic ‘dished’ face, his head refined with dainty ears and wide nostrils, the better for inhaling at speed. His neck is arched with the powerful muscles of the stallion and beautifully set on to his body; his back is short, for strength and his hindquarters are shapely and strong. His forequarters are upraised in the classic pesade or levade (the latter not known in Stubbs’ time, since it was introduced at the start of the twentieth century), demonstrating his long, sloping shoulder (necessary for a smooth gait and therefore ride). He has a deep, broad chest; clean, hard legs and short gaskins (the part of the hind leg above the right-angled joint), which are essential for speed and endurance.

Whistlejacket is depicted as a wild, free spirit, in an age when horses were merely a tool to magnify the heroic qualities and skill of the rider – often with harsh bits and an iron hand to create the illusion. It was this anomaly which led to the belief that the painting was unfinished, but the neat shadows from his hind feet rather suggest this to be wrong. There is a glint in his eye and an air of majesty which, captured so cleverly by Stubbs, infers only the most accomplished horseman would be able to ride this horse. He had a quick temper to match his fiery-coloured coat and the story goes that he tried to attack his portrait one day when George Stubbs leaned it against the stable wall to view it at a distance. Horses do not normally ‘see’ two-dimensional objects; that Whistlejacket recognized the image of himself as another stallion reveals not only his intelligence, but also his supreme confidence. He was in his prime and knew himself superior to other beings.

It is a portrait which captures the imagination. The observer can revel in the sheer beauty of a horse in its natural state, free and unfettered, with mane and tail flowing loose and untrimmed; the power and grace exhibited without the usual (for the time) trappings of subservience. Whistlejacket is permitted to show his personality – which he does with abundance. The fact that there is no background makes it clear Stubbs and/or the Marquis of Rockingham intended for him to be admired. It is obvious to an informed eye that he is not wild – his gleaming, velvety soft coat and silky tail are the result of being stabled and hours of grooming – and of course a horse’s usefulness to man would be nothing were he not tamed and docile, yet all horsemen revere that element of unpredictability. It is what makes horses so special – that they will willingly allow us to serve them.

Links to Copenhagen and Marengo



Sunday, 5 April 2015

Lovely Blog Hop

I have been coerced by the incredibly bossy, plausible, funny and lovely Alison May to take part in the Lovely Blog Hop. Since it is Easter this weekend, I am considering making it a Bunny Hop instead. I am supposed to be talking about the things which have helped to make me the person and writer I am today… but I’d much rather talk about Easter during the Regency. Oh well, since I know she’ll check up on me, here goes!

First Memory

I’m not sure if it is a first memory, but certainly one of my earliest memories is visiting the home of my mother’s oldest friend. They were WAFS together and went on cycling holidays, long before the ties of marriage and families. We children were playing hide and seek, as I remember, and I went upstairs. It was a lovely, big, old house, with rambling corridors and hundreds of rooms – or so it appeared to my childish eyes. It was a wonderful place to explore, with lots of nooks and crannies to hide in and to appeal to a lively imagination. Who knows, perhaps that house started me on my love of old houses and seeded the ideas of hidden rooms and secret places where a vampire might hide during the daylight hours!


Right from the days of ‘Tip and Mitten’ and ‘Green Eggs and Ham’, I have loved books. I avidly read Peter Rabbit and the Cottontail bunnies, Jemima Puddle-duck and Tom Kitten and my favourite, Mrs Tiggywinkle. I devoured Enid Blyton books, whether Mystery, Famous Five, Mallory Towers or Secret Seven. When younger, I loved The Naughtiest Girl, Noddy and Mr Twiddle. There was a wonderful book called ‘The Gauntlet’, by Ronald Welch, which introduced me to medieval history, to knights and how they lived. That little book lived on in my memory into adulthood. I discovered Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels in my early teens, precipitating a lifelong love of both the era and her stories. Then there were vampire romances and shape shifters, Harry Potter (the early ones), classics such as Jamaica Inn and Lorna Doone, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Elizabeth Chadwick’s fabulous medieval novels. So many wonderful books and so many I have yet to discover.


I am a sucker for libraries, bookshops, market stalls, in fact anywhere where there are books. I cannot keep out of them! I was brought up on a diet of books. There were always books in our house and I had my own choice from the library as well. I would have books from the school library in addition to ones from the public library. I spent a vast part of my formative years with my nose in a book and soon ran through the suitable stock, which I found frustrating. In those days I could remember things with almost photographic clarity.

Morecambe Library was a bookworm’s paradise. Each group of subjects had their own section, almost a separate room. There were hundreds and hundreds of books. I could have moved in and never come out again! Upstairs, there was an enormous Reference Library where you could discover just about everything about any subject you cared to name – or that was how I remember it. Memories are funny old things, so it could be playing tricks on me, but I don’t suppose there were too many small-town libraries in the pre-digital age where you could have found a book by a genuine Cheyenne warrior!

What is your passion?

For the whole of my life, from the age of about four, I have been mad about horses. I read anything I could put my hands on which was about horses. I used to ‘groom’ the dog with a clothes brush and ‘tack her up’ with a cushion and a belt. I watched horsey programmes and of course, I devoured pony stories by the dozen. My grandfather was a horseman – it was ‘in the blood’. That passion has given me some wonderful experiences over the years. Nowadays, however, it seems to have cooled a little as my love of writing has pushed its way to the fore.


Junior school was all right, Secondary school okay until the sixth form. I was a model student but not particularly academic and enough was enough. The careers advice was rather less than helpful – I seem to remember saying I wanted to work with animals and the suggestion was ‘dairy farming’! I did a secretarial course at college and hated it; working part-time at a Veterinary surgery was far more to my liking. Then I got the chance to train and work in a riding school and I had found my niche. Learning about horses was right up my alley and I loved it. Spending hours collating information and notes for my course folders was a pleasure, not a chore. I rifled through equestrian magazines for pictures to illustrate my text… Strangely, now I rifle through magazines for pictures to illustrate my character profiles!

I had dabbled in writing from a very young age, but with no serious intent until my neighbour dragged me to a WI talk given by the exceedingly lovely Sue Johnson. I attended her writing courses (and still do when I can) and the rest, as they say, is history. I cannot thank her enough for believing in me and inspiring me.


As I said above, I had written stories and weaved them in my head from the time I learned to read. My mother, in her varied teaching career, had taught English, so grammar was instilled from childhood. I was a voracious reader and absorbed much of my knowledge that way. I write by instinct rather than by somebody else’s ‘rules’. I write the type of books I like to read and I still read as much as I can. I love Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels and they have certainly influenced my writing. I’ve learned so much from Sue Johnson (you can visit her at her website,  ) and as with most things, you never stop learning about writing. I am a member of writing groups and I read writing magazines. Other authors are a fount of knowledge and my friends have been of enormous help on my journey to publication.


Well done if you have made it this far! Thank you for joining me and I have the pleasure to pass the baton on to fellow ‘Beaux, Ballrooms and Battles’ author, the lovely Victoria Hinshaw. Visit her at

My other victim – I mean, fellow blog-hopper – is the aforementioned and wonderful Sue Johnson!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

An Eagle of a Different Kind

Today I am delighted to welcome to A Regency Reticule my friend and talented author, Susana Ellis. Susana has always had stories in her head waiting to come out, especially when she learned to read and her imagination began to soar. Voracious reading led to a passion for writing and her fascination with romance and people of the past landed her firmly in the field of historical romance. 

A teacher in her former life, Susana lives in Toledo, Ohio in the summer and central Florida in the winter. She is a member of the Central Florida Romance Writers and the Beau Monde chapters of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and Maumee Valley Romance Inc. 

Susana is here to tell us about the history behind the Imperial Eagle of the French. 


The French Imperial Eagle 

The Imperial Eagle was a bronze figure attached to the staff of a standard carried into battle by Napoleon’s Grande Armée. The design was inspired by the Roman Imperial Eagles, no doubt due to Napoleon’s ambition to duplicate or expand their empire. Each standard represented a regiment raised by the departments of France. The intention was to promote pride and loyalty among the troops to keep up morale during dangerous situations. 

The first eagle was presented by Napoleon three days after his coronation as emperor on December 5, 1804. He gave an emotional speech declaring that these standards should be defended to the death. Losing an eagle would bring shame to the regiment, which is why capturing one was the ambition of every soldier in the opposing army. 

Not many original eagles exist today, since Louis XVIII ordered them to be destroyed after Napoleon’s fall. Two eagles from the Hundred Days’ War are on display at the Musée de l’Armée in Paris.

Captured Eagles 

The first one was lost only a year later at the Battle of Austerlitz, which the French did eventually win. But the eagle was gone. 

The 87th (Royal Irish Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot took the first eagle for the British in 1811 at the Battle of Barrosa. A young officer, Ensign Edward Keogh, was the first to touch it, after which he was instantly shot and killed. Sergeant Patrick Masterson grabbed it from the French soldier, saying, “By Jaysus, boys, I have the Cuckoo!” For this triumph, the 87th was granted the royal title 87th (Prince of Wales’ Own) Irish Regiment and was allowed to carry the motif on their regimental colors. The eagle was ten inches tall, gilded silver, with a solid gold laurel wreath around its neck. The eagle was taken back to England and put on display at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, but was stolen several years later. The original staff is on display at the Royal Irish Fusiliers museum in Armagh, Northern Ireland.

The British took two eagles at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812. Ensign John Pratt of the Light Company of the 30th Foot (later 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment) captured the Eagle of the 22nd Regiment de Ligne (on display at the Museum of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, Fulwood Barracks in Preston, Lancashire). The 2nd Battalion of the 44th Foot took the Eagle of the French 62nd Ligne. 

Two of the newer eagles (hurriedly commissioned by Napoleon upon his return to Paris after escaping from Elba) were captured during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Uxbridge’s heavy cavalry captured the eagle of the 105th Ligne (displayed at the National Army Museum in Chelsea) and the Scots Greys captured the Eagle of the 45th Ligne. 

The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons), descended from the 1st Royal Dragoons and the Royal Anglian Regiment, descended from the 44th Foot) both wear the eagle as an arm badge. The cap badge of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys), descended from the Royal Scots Greys) is an eagle. The Royal Irish Regiment wear the eagle on the back pouch of the officers’ black cross belt.

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles:

A Celebration of Waterloo 

June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte's Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington's Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men's lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.

The bicentenary of the famous battle seemed like an excellent opportunity to use that setting for a story, and before I knew it, I had eight other authors eager to join me, and to make a long story short, on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world. 


You are all invited to

Our Stories 

Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge

Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans. 

Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned. 

Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady

Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late? 

Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel

Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life. 

Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue

On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue. 

Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge

Christa Paige: One Last Kiss

The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough. 

Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying

Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love? 

David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All

Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have any more after?

About Lost and Found Lady

On April 24, 1794, a girl child was born to an unknown Frenchwoman in a convent in Salamanca, Spain. Alas, her mother died in childbirth, and the little girl—Catalina—was given to a childless couple to raise. 
Eighteen years later…the Peninsular War between the British and the French wages on, now perilously near Catalina’s home. After an afternoon yearning for adventure in her life, Catalina comes across a wounded British soldier in need of rescue. Voilà! An adventure! The sparks between them ignite, and before he returns to his post, Rupert promises to return for her. 
But will he? Catalina’s grandmother warns her that some men make promises easily, but fail to carry them out. Catalina doesn’t believe Rupert is that sort, but what does she know? All she can do is wait…and pray. 
But Fate has a few surprises in store for both Catalina and Rupert. When they meet again, it will be in another place where another battle is brewing, and their circumstances have been considerably altered. Will their love stand the test of time? And how will their lives be affected by the outcome of the conflict between the Iron Duke and the Emperor of the French? 

Barnes & Noble • iBooks • Kobo


Excerpt of Lost and Found Lady 

September 14, 1793

A beach near Dieppe, France

“I don’t like the look of those clouds, monsieur,” Tobias McIntosh said in fluent French to the gray-bearded old man in a sailor hat waiting impatiently near the rowboat that was beginning to bob more sharply with each swell of the waves. “Are you sure your vessel can make it safely all the way to Newhaven in these choppy seas?” 
The old man waved a hand over the horizon. “La tempête, it is not a threat, if we leave immédiatement. Plus tard…” He shrugged. “Je ne sais pas.” 
“Please, mon amour,” pleaded the small woman wrapped in a hooded gray cloak standing at his side. “Allow me to stay with you. I don’t want to go to England. I promise I will be prudent.” 
A strong gust of wind caught her hood and forced it down, revealing her mop of shiny dark locks. Tobias felt like seizing her hand and pulling her away from the ominous waves to a place of safety where she and their unborn child could stay until the senseless Terreur was over. 
“Justine, ma chère, we have discussed this endlessly. There is no place in France safe enough for you if your identity as the daughter of the Comte d’Audet is discovered.” He shivered. “I could not bear it if you were to suffer the same fate at the hands of the revolutionaries as your parents did when I failed to save them.” 
She threw her arms around him, the top of her head barely reaching his chin. “Non, mon amour, it was not your fault. You could not have saved them. It was miraculeux that you saved me. I should have died with them.”  
She looked up to catch his gaze, her face ashen. “Instead, we met and have had three merveilleux months together. If it is my time to die, I wish to die at your side.” 
Tobias felt like his heart was going to break. His very soul demanded that the two of them remain together and yet… there was a price on both their heads, and the family of the Vicomte Lefebre was waiting for him in Amiens, the revolutionaries expected to reach them before midday. It was a dangerous work he was involved in—rescuing imperiled French nobility from bloodthirsty, vengeful mobs—but he had pledged himself to the cause and honor demanded that he carry on. And besides, there was now someone else to consider. 
“The child,” he said with more firmness than he felt. “We have our child to consider, now, Justine ma chère. The next Earl of Dumfries. He must live to grow up and make his way in the world.” 
Not to mention the fact that Tobias was human enough to wish to leave a child to mark his legacy in the world—his and Justine’s. He felt a heaviness in his heart that he might not live long enough to know this child he and Justine had created together. He could not allow his personal wishes to undermine his conviction. Justine and the child must survive. 
Justine’s blue eyes filled with tears. “But I cannot! I will die without you, mon cher mari. You cannot ask it of me!” 
“Justine,” he said, pushing away from her to clasp her shoulders and look her directly in the eye. “You are a brave woman, the strongest I have ever known. You have survived many hardships and you can survive this. Take this letter to my brother in London, and he will see to your safety until the time comes that I can join you. My comrades in Newhaven will see that you are properly escorted.” 
He handed over a letter and a bag of coins. “This should be enough to get you to London.”  
After she had reluctantly accepted and pocketed the items beneath her cloak, he squeezed her hands. 
“Be sure to eat well, ma chère. You are so thin and my son must be born healthy.” 
She gave him a feigned smile. “Our daughter is the one responsible for my sickness in the mornings… I do not believe she wishes me to even look at food.” 
She looked apprehensively at the increasingly angry waves as they tossed the small boat moored rather loosely to a rock on the shore and her hands impulsively went to her stomach. 
“Make haste, monsieur,” the old sailor called as he peered anxiously at the darkening clouds. “We must depart now if we are to escape the storm. Bid your chère-amie adieu maintenant or wait for another day. I must return to the bateau.” 
“Tobias,” she said, her voice shaking. 
He wondered if he would ever again hear her say his name with that adorable French inflection that had drawn him from their first meeting. 
“Go, Justine. Go to my family and keep our child safe. I promise I will join you soon.” 
He scooped her up in his arms and carried her toward the dinghy, trying to ignore her tears. The old sailor held the boat as still as he could while Tobias placed her on the seat and kissed her hard before striding back to the shore, each footstep heavier than the last. 
He studied the darkening sky as the sailor climbed in the boat. “You are sure it is safe?” 
“La Chasseresse, she is très robuste. A few waves will not topple her, monsieur.” 
“Je t’aime, mon amour,” she said to him plaintively, her chin trembling. 
“Au revoir, ma chère,” he said, trying to smile, although his vision was blurring from tears. 
Will I ever see her again? 
He stood watching as the dinghy made its way slowly through the choppy sea to the larger ship anchored in the distance, grief-stricken and unable to concentrate on anything but his pain. When the ship finally sailed off into the horizon, he fell to his knees and prayed as he had never done before for the safety of his beloved. He remained in that position until drops of rain on his face reminded him of the Lefebre family waiting for him in Amiens. 
With a deep breath, he rose and made his way to the nearby forest, where his horse waited, tied to a tree. 
“Come, my friend. We have a long, wet journey ahead of us.” 
Setting foot in the stirrup, he swung his leg over the saddle and urged the horse to a gallop, feeling his heart rip into pieces with every step away from his beloved.