Henry and Martin have several opportunities throughout ACAT and AFC to eat Angels on Horseback as well as their devilish counterparts.
Angels on Horseback date from sometime in the 1880s, and I haven’t been able to find any satisfactory explanation for the name. No one seems to know. They are bacon-wrapped oysters frequently served on bits of toast, so nothing particularly angelic or equine about them.
Devils on Horseback are dates, often stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, also served on toast. Again, where’s the devilry?
(In the books, they’re eating versions that include a little bed of toast, but I couldn’t find pictures of that, so perhaps the toast is out of favor in modern times?)
I included these particular canapes because they were indeed served frequently at the turn of the century, but mostly because I delighted in the names. Personally, I would not eat these because I’m a vegetarian, and even when I did eat meat, shellfish repulsed me, but I can see how the Devils might be delicious. Mmm, bacon. If I ever eat meat again, it will be bacon.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to eat these, please let me know what you thought of them.
To Henry Blackwell, they represent freedom and choice. They don’t mean as much to Martin, but he wears them to the Metropolitan Ball, an exhilarating rite of passage for masters and slaves alike. At the party, drunk on champagne, Henry convinces Martin to act against his better judgment with devastating results.
Fearing Martin will be taken from him, Henry does what he believes necessary to keep Martin by his side, but Martin doesn’t agree with his methods, and they’re at odds when they most need to act in concert. Henry feels he’s been wronged, but can he find it in his heart to forgive Martin? Perhaps more importantly, does he deserve forgiveness himself?
This is the fourth and final installment in the Ganymede Quartet, continuing the story from A Willful Romantic (Ganymede Quartet Book 3).
Back in April, I took a trip to New York, which is one of my very favorite places. I visit as often as I can, which isn’t often enough. I went to go to the Rainbow Book Fair–not as an exhibitor this time, but to hang out with Leta Blake, who was an exhibitor. I’ve wanted to be in New York at the same time as her for years now, and this time it worked out. I also wanted to do some research: riding subways, visiting stations, as well as taking a couple of tours at the Tenement Museum.
I must confess, I think telling someone you love them for the first time on Valentine’s Day is embarrassingly corny–but that’s Henry. He’s sweet and sappy, and he wants to do the same things any young man in love would do. He wants his love to receive the same consideration as a “normal” person’s.
Henry is fortunate enough to be invited to attend a slave party and wedding in early February 1901. Now, I must say, my husband (who knows everything about Henry and Martin despite never reading a word I’ve written) was incensed when I told him Henry was going to a slave party. He was adamant that the slaves deserved something of their own, separate from masters, and I don’t actually think he’s wrong, but the fact is that Henry wanted to go and Martin wanted him there, so he went. I do think it was very unusual for Henry to be there, but it’s well-established that Henry does a lot of unusual things.
In Chapter 18 of A Willful Romantic (GQ Book 3), Martin reads Henry the February installment of Drake’s Progress and that’s that. There was, however, an entire sex scene that originally finished off the chapter which was cut in the final round of editing.
There are all sorts of reasons for cutting a scene, many of them well-thought-out and logical, but this one got cut because I just didn’t want it in the book, basically. I do love the conversation they have at the end, though, and I tried to think of a way to keep that, but the book’s fine without it.
In case you hadn’t noticed, as above, in either in the right-hand column (if you’re on a computer) or at the very bottom (if you’re on your phone), I’ve uploaded a graphic of the protection stones Henry and Martin give one another. Henry gave his to Martin at the end of A Proper Lover (GQ Book 2), and Martin gives his to Henry near the beginning of A Willful Romantic (GQ Book 3). Ulvar did a perfect job rendering them for me, and I’m so grateful for her talent and her patience in dealing with my requests.
Near the beginning of AWR, Henry and Martin go shopping for waistcoats at Hamilton & Sons and Henry persuades Martin to wear something a bit fancier than plain black. Unfortunately, it’s too subtle to be seen on the book cover in most formats, I think, but Martin’s waistcoat does indeed have chrysanthemums and stripes, as you can see here :)
Henry’s choice is so very, very LOUD, but I would have had it even louder if I could. However, the only way I could think of to achieve that end would be to animate it (fireworks? glitter?), and we can’t do that with book covers (yet).
Near the beginning of A Willful Romantic (GQ Book 3), Henry and Martin go ice skating on the Lake in Central Park with their friends. This clip from 1902 is a good example of what I was picturing when I wrote the scene.
There was a signal to let people know the ice was ready for skating in Central Park: a red ball raised from the bell tower. Was it on a stick? Did it levitate? I haven’t a clue. For skating in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, they would fly a white flag with a red ball/circle from the streetcars to alert the public, so this red ball thing is pretty consistent. I have to say, the red ball=ice connection isn’t really an obvious one to me.
I have Henry and his friend Freddie Caldwell (and Martin and Tom, of course) go downtown to buy skates for the slaves, and what I had in mind was Modell’s, a sporting goods store that’s been around since 1889, with a store in Lower Manhattan dating from that time. I don’t know for a fact that they carried ice skates, but there’s no reason to think they didn’t.
(I was pretty good at rollerskating, but I’ve never gotten the hang of ice skating, and I have no idea what the difference might be.)