Several people have been asking me recently about the fate of Tommy Fluellen, Robert’s best friend from The Temptation of the Night Jasmine. I can’t give you any major news on that front (I’m still working it out), but Tommy did have a brief look-in in The Mischief of the Mistletoe— until he got cut for length reasons.
Oh, well, at least he’s in good company. Sir Percy Blakeney, Baronet, was cut from The Secret History of the Pink Carnation for similar reasons.
In the meantime, here’s Tommy’s brief appearance from The Mischief of the Mistletoe:
Arabella left the shelter of her tree to fall in with the cavalcade headed back to the house. Behind them, like magic, the torches were being snuffed, the braziers, extinguished, the tools collected, the stray ends of greenery swept up. Ahead loomed the immense façade of Girdings House, the windows blazing with candles, the grounds illuminated with torches.
Inside, the festivities would continue, probably well into the night, with flirtation and merriment and gratuitous use of mistletoe. It was an inexpressibly wearying thought. Arabella wondered if it would be considered a dereliction of her duty as guest if she just snuck away and went to bed.
“Quite the pile, isn’t it?” said a friendly voice.
Arabella looked up to see the man who had been standing with Penelope Deveraux. She couldn’t see much of him, as his face was almost entirely buried in an enormous woolen muffler that appeared to have swallowed his chin.
He assumed a parade ground pose, somewhat marred by the chattering of his teeth. “Tommy Fluellen, late of his Majesty’s Seventy-Fourth Foot.”
He was the first person to have spoken to her all evening.
Arabella accepted the introduction with gratitude. “Arabella Dempsey. Did you misplace your regiment, or did they misplace you?”
He grinned at her, teeth very white in a tanned face. “I sold out. It was an act of mercy, really. Couldn’t let old Rob—the Duke of Dovedale, that is—come back here alone.” He shivered dramatically. “Of course, had I realized quite how cold it would be back in old Blighty, I might have reconsidered my charitable impulse.”
“You were in—”
“India. In Seringapatam, mostly.”
The name meant nothing to Arabella, but she nodded intelligently anyway. One could get away with a great deal with an intelligent nod. “A long way away from Norfolk.”
Lieutenant Fluellen wagged his head emphatically. “Farther than I could ever have imagined.”
Which side characters would you like to see more of?