Wendy Joseph discovers secret manuscript!

and has the nerve to enter it into our contest Once Upon a Time! You’d think she wrote it herself!


Wendy Joseph is a frequent visitor here at The Word, so we will forgive her the sin of actually entering someone else’s  work into our contest.  The rules require that you submit a prologue to a work in progress.  I should have specified it had to be YOUR OWN work.  She’s got a lotta Gal(way)!

Never-the-less, here is the prologue to

The Diary of Bobbie MacBride

As discovered by Wendy Joseph

Being the Journal of

Robert MacBride, née Barbara Brigid MacBride,

called Bobbie


The original leather bound manuscript

of this diary appears to have been written

with pine tar ink and a feathered quill pen.



Friday, 2 September, 1814

My Johnnie has not, as he promised, returned in the fortnight he said would see our reunion; I therefore am taking some pains, and no little expense, to find out his whereabouts. It is indeed a hard task to find one man in a city of many hundreds, yet I shall persist until my goal is accomplished, for my heart will not allow me to rest till I have determined the fate of the one who is my reason for being. And little does it trouble me now that I shall miss the wedding at Coole tomorrow, for in my present state it could only cause me grief.

May God grant my John Donnelly is still alive, and failing that, may He give me the fortitude to withstand the worst.



Sunday, 4 September

My inquiries have met with repeated answers in the negative, the bleakness of which increases the weight on my heart daily. The journey here was more costly than my ciphers had taken account of, and that, plus the amount for food and lodging, added to the cost of the advertisements I have placed in several papers here, has seriously drained my resources. Having taken leave of my dear home without permission, not to mention having stolen some of Auntie O’Shea’s jewelry to pay for the journey here, I cannot now return home without some misgivings. But how could I stay there when every thought goes with my dear John Donnelly, whose loss far outweighs every person or thing of value in my life?

I pray my family forgives me. I doubt that they can, or will.



Tuesday, 6 September

I am resolved, having come to the end of my fiscal resources, to cut every link with my past and start anew. I have determined to ship aboard a brig here, bound for Boston. To this end I have bought all the necessary materials to fit myself out as a ship’s boy, trusting that this disguise will suffice to maintain and uphold my virtue. The ship is an American privateer, moored quietly for provisioning in a cove nearby, as we are at war with that country. She would seem safe enough, as there are no English warships here. I think they are all in France, fighting Napoleon, or to the war in America.

In four days this ship, the Freedom, leaves this port for the New World, and a new country, barely thirty-eight years in being. Lately His Majesty’s colonies, they are now the United States of America, or perhaps it is States of United America, I am not sure. Still, it is a wonder to me, after having declared their independence, that they have survived so long without the King’s protection. What manner of people will they be? Will Red Indians wait to attack us as we approach shore?

I have spoken to the Master of this vessel, Captain Deerfield, who seems a decent sort, and appears to know his business, though I, with but one voyage in a small boat with but one sail, would be a poor judge of that. There is a berth available for a novice sailor, however, since good hands who indulge in not many vices, as drinking, gambling, fighting and debauchery, are few and hard to find. Indeed, among all walks of life, I have seen few men more representative of these vices than the seafaring men I have encountered here in Galway. May the Holy Virgin protect me!


11 thoughts on “Wendy Joseph discovers secret manuscript!

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    Set sail dear readers upon the waves of a ship headed in search of a woman’s beloved husband. Wendy Joseph offers us a prologue using a discovered in diary/journal form with pen and ink leather bound which speaks of a time written about in 1814. Saying this I find her words, syntax and dancing cadence to belong to such an age. This is absolutely fine with me, because I am a fan of the early 1800s thanks to my mother, God rest her soul and the soul of her dear Jane Austen.

    Wendy, in my opinion, presents us a very different woman than a Emma, because Bobbie or if you prefer Barbara Brigid is from a much harsher environment with the experience of being a woman whose lover’s disappearance proves her fortitude. Disguised as Robert and called Bobbie begins this tale knowing she must endure the company of dishonorable men posing as one of them to gain passage; while venturing to the upstart colonies refusing the King’s protection which in this case remained the inept, party boy, George III who managed to lose a war to the colonist that seemed had to be won.

    As a reader and interested in historical fiction when set properly in a time piece, I look forward if advanced to reading on within this very clever gender blender novel entitled “The Diary of Bobbie MacBride”.

  2. Parisianne Modert says:

    Let me present to you for royal purpose and protocol…King George III who sat on the English throne at the time that the shot heard around the world was fired…with this lout the glory of the Empire which never saw the sunset was beginning to lose her bluster.

  3. Michael Stang says:

    Only in the capable hands of Joseph do I trust such an undertaking. The story wroughts my tingling nerves of attention, entertainment, and satisfaction high gear. The era is up my alley, and though close to other historical fiction I have read in the same plot/character/circumstance, the pull of Galway, my grandmother’s roots, Ireland, my blood, and the sea, my father after all, I am hooked lined and sinkered.
    My hope (selfish that it is) is that you have already wrriten most of this. It’s enormous and June whatever is coming quick (May??) I say selfish for two reasons. One is that I get to read it. The other is that I get to read it.
    Well done, Wendy, as usual

      • Michael Stang says:

        Umm, yeah I think it is that good, and it seems Thorn has seen to it that you have to enter your 1st chapter for consideration to go on to the next step.

        You’re hull is resting nicely beside the giants of the genre. Don’t mean to be such a fan but I am what I am.

        Best of luck

  4. Kristine Starr says:

    I am curious about a female who would in two days time decide that since her love hasn’t returned is going to give her life up and chase him across the ocean disguised as a boy. I want more backstory and character development. I want to be on her side, I want to root for her and love John too. I second Michael’s question…is it written yet??

  5. Shawna A Smart says:

    What nerve, what foolishness… how interesting.

    Sneaking aboard a ship in male disguise would have been extremely dangerous for any female. Sailors had deep reservations and with good reason when it came to females aboard long sea voyages among the crew. men fought over them, assaulted them, seized mental ownership without warning or mercy. I immediately felt several things when reading her avowal to do such a crazy thing. not to mentioned the social black mark she might catch that would follow her all of her days, or worse her own family’s displeasure.

    I too should like to read such a story. I think this is an inspired prologue.

    Fond regards,


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