Monday, April 18, 2011

Mitch Malone Mondays - M.E. Kemp

Today my guest is from the 17th Century and we couldn’t communicate the way we usually do so had to use another method which was a damn nuisance, I say. I couldn’t grill her as I would like. I’m also not sure of the cousin business but have only started looking into my lineage recently. So here is the letter. Some parts have made me a bit uncomfortable. Hetty is a bit “forthwith’ as you will see. She promised to check in so leave a comment at the bottom and I will time-travel them to her and back so my response time may be a bit slow!

To Mitch Malone in the 21st century
From Hetty Henry, 17th century

Thank you for your letter, Cousin Mitch and I'll do my best to answer your questions. First I should introduce myself. My name is Mehitable Henry but my friends call me Hetty. I am a widow, true, but this enables me to control my late husbands' properties on my own. I run a mercantile business quite profitably, thank you, and I have no plans to marry again. If I married I would lose control of that business to my new husband.

But that doesn't mean I don't like men. We're not a Victorian society, you know, we are much closer to the Elizabethan, we Puritans, and you know how lusty the Elizabethans were. Yes, I would say we are a lusty peoples; we enjoy lots of good food, more drink than you could handle -- I challenge you to down one of Mr. Sparke's Specials from his tavern in Ipswich. It's made of rum, beer, molasses and bread crumbs. Even our ministers drink prodigious amounts of liquor at their ordination dinners, as you may tell by looking at the tavern bills. As for sexual contact, well.... If I like a man I bed him. We are lusty there, too. Why, my friend the blacksmith brags that he "had" the miller's wife four times in one afternoon; I'm not making this up. If you can match that, Mitch, I'd really like to meet you.

I have a partner in my detection work, a young minister. His name is Increase Cotton but I call him "Creasy." He's related to the famous Mather family -- it's his cousin Cotton Mather who sends us out to do his dirty work for him. (Ministers are political leaders as well as religious in our community, so people turn to them in times of trouble.) We make a great detective team because Creasy has the training to ferret out the guilty secrets of the human soul and I have the contacts and wealth to gather information. We have been called "two nosy Puritans," but it is our duty to keep the community safe, and being "nosy" is necessary to detecting, as you know. We try to keep our relationship on a professional level, although sometimes we fail -- we're not Saints, after all. (A little joke there; the Saints were the Pilgrims.) On our last case, which I call in my report: DEATH OF A DANCING MASTER, Creasy and I found and read aloud a packet of steamy hot love letters. We were very close to an indiscretion upon the murder victim's lush bed when we were interrupted by a loud banging upon the door by that officious prig, Constable John Phillymort. Phillymort - that's French for "dead leaf" - and it's a good description of the man, always going around quoting the Bible while he arrests innocent people.

I know my report seems to indicate many women of loose morals in Boston, but you must remember that the dead dancing master was a Seducer; he took advantage of his women pupils. It's always the woman who suffers, isn't it? In my time a woman's good name is really all she has -- unless you're the widow to two rich husbands, of course. It's easy for a woman to fall in love with a practiced libertine, as was the dancing master. The husbands are often away at sea for months, so when a handsome man flirts with you... well, nature takes a hand. (I rather regret I never met the dancing master, myself -- I was away on business.) Not that Francis Perkney deserved murder, I don't believe that at all. Everyone deserves justice, no matter how poor or how rich. Creasy and I made sure the man received justice for his death, even though I put my own life in danger setting a trap for the killer. After that close call, I need a vacation. I think I'll head for old Cape Cod for some sun, sand and murder. Care to join me, Mitch?

Your Obedient Servant, Sir, I Remain
Mehitable Henry

Interesting letter from Hetty. Not sure what she means by that obedient servant remark. See what I mean about being a little outspoken? Makes you want to run out and grab the DEATH OF A DANCING MASTER, doesn’t it. Go ahead and check it out at


  1. Now, this is a one-of-a-kind post, and I found it quite interesting. This sounds like a good book, too. Nice one!

  2. Ah, Hetty, you are my kind of Puritan! Wendy assured me we would have much in common, and she was right. I think you are a woman ahead of her times--why not introduce the feminist movement to the 17th century? Just a thought. . . .

    Another thought: can you send the blacksmith to my house? My anvil could use a bit of pounding.

  3. Oh Sunny. I needed that LOL moment of the blacksmith! You are too....(I'll let you fill in the blank. I have many adjectives to go in here and they are all "interesting" Thanks for stopping by and meeting Hetty.

    Marja: Glad you liked it. I admit it was a different posting for Mitch and I must say he threw quite a fit about it, but it works. Always good to mix it up a bit.

  4. What a hilarious post as are the comments. Sunny, you naughty gal! As a ballroom dancer, I've been meaning to find out what happened to the lusty dancing master and I'm going to hit the purchase button right now. Thanks for the morning chuckles.

  5. Sunny, whose anvil couldn't? Very different protagonist. I didn't realize women in the olden days were so wanton-- some of us would have fit right in.


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  7. Sorry, deleted my last comment because of a typo- I meant to say, if I had a dollar for every time I was very close to an indiscretion upon a murder victim's lush bed, well, I'd still be broke but my life would be a whole lot more interesting. This definitely looks worth a read.

  8. I'm not going to say anything about those anvils. You ladies make me blush. Still I must admit Hetty makes those Puritans sound a lot more interesting, doesn't she?

  9. Great, amusing interview. Poor Mitch. Me doth think he was taken aback by such a forward woman. Wonder if he's now pondering pounding any new anvils. I'll bet he could find a few volunteers.

    Hetty must be a great character to write.

  10. Time travel...the only way to go... Very interesting interview.

  11. Holli: I wonder how Ryan would question Hetty about a murder. Would the two clash or bridge the time gap?

    Cindy: Thanks for stopping by and I do hope Hetty lives up to what peeked your imagination...(I'm not going to say any more!)

    Carol, JR, and Stephen: Thanks for the great comments. Who would ever have thought anvil and sexual encounter would be used together...


  12. Hetty gives whole new meaning to word "puritanical"! Got to read this one.

  13. Mitch here, just got another missive from Hetty. Look out, here are her responses!

    For Maria, Marja, Cindi Marja and Holli from Hetty Henry, 17th c.:

    Thank you ladies for your endorsements. It's those Victorian prigs who made us 17th c. girls look like the upright Founding Mothers. In my day women knew how to have fun - a very high percentage of us were pregnant by the wedding day, after all. If that shocks you, in Dutch New York the pregnancy rate for expectant brides was easily 90%. (Had to warm up after those ice-skating parties!)

    For Sunny:

    Women have always had the rights they were willing to fight for, from Cleopatra through Elizabeth I, my particular hero, but as I say, being a widow gives me control over my own fortune. As for blacksmithing, why it's a nasty business, what can I say? He doesn't make house calls; you have to bring your ass to him Hetty Henry

  14. Another missive just arrived from Hetty!

    also to "jrlindermuth" - yes, history is really interesting if you get beyond the dates and battles! Thanks. Hetty Henry