The hero of the romance is usually back from the Peninsula, recovering from an almost fatal wound—but alive and whole, thank goodness, and still dashing in his red coat, though perhaps a bit wan and lean in the cheek.
Which peninsula was this? It was the Iberian Peninsula, encompassing both Spain and Portugal. England and France fought over this peninsula between 1807 and 1814. The peninsula catapulted then Lt. General Arthur Wellesley—later the 1st duke of Wellington—to fame.
The armies depended on couriers conveying messages from troop to troop and commander to commander over the vast Spanish plain. Partisan fighters intercepted many of these French messengers and passed along their dispatches to the British.
A key but little known player in the British army was George Scovell, a deputy assistant quartermaster general, who had a knack for languages, organization and detail. The hero of my current regency, Moonlight Masquerade, is a little like this soldier. He is able to see patterns where others see only random numbers.
If you’d like to try out your abilities at some simple code, try to decipher the names of my hero and heroine in Moonlight Masquerade using the key below.
344, 2&6((62, .)# @4(6)4 ”4+&.9
A = . L = ( W = ”
B = 1 M = 9 X = +
C = @ N = ) Y = –
D = # O = ! Z = ^
E = 4 P = 2
F = % Q = ?
G = 5 R = 3
H = & S = ,
I = 6 T = :
J = * U = 7
K = 8 V = /