Under construction: So far we’ve worked our way through the book 1 timeline.
The important dates in the Lady Julia Chronicles
- Hortense de Bellefleur is born.
- Bellmonte March born
- Edward Grey born
- Julia March born
- Mrs. March dies in childbirth
- Valerius born
- Hortense de Bellefleur meets Nicholas Brisbane and they are lovers in Buda-Pesth.
- Aunt Cressida’s husband, who was generally acknowledged as a complete monster, dies.
- Julia spends the summer in the Lake Country
- Simon and Edward are lovers and are members of the Brimstone Club.
- Edward Grey unwittingly contracts syphilis months before his marriage .
- Edward Grey and Julia March marry.
- December 25 Edward takes a bedroom separate from Julia’s. They never have sexual relations again.
- Nicholas Brisbane returns to London
- Edward begins visiting “the boys” at Pandora’s Box
- Edward begins an affair with Desmond.
- Nicholas Brisbane sets up a formal inquiry business in London out of Chapel Street.
- Desmond contracts syphilis and at some point begins to write poison pen letters to Edward.
- Morag is employed by Grey House as a ladies maid.
- Edward and Julia spend the fall and winter in Sussex.
- Simon despoils Carolina’s grave and Magda is banished for holding her dead daughter.
- Edward Grey and Desmond renew their affair roughly thirty minutes before the fist guests arrive for a dinner party. Edward Grey dies in Grey House in London during a dinner party just shy of his 32nd birthday. Julia Grey is widowed just shy of her 30th birthday.
- Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane meet over the body of Edward Grey.
- Several days after her husband’s funeral, Julia Grey discovers her husband has left her a small fortune.
- Valerius and Aunt Ursula move into Grey House with Julia and Simon.
- One week after Edward Grey’s funeral Nicholas Brisbane offers help to Julia Grey mentioning the that he was in the hire of her former husband who had been receiving anonymous, threatening notes. Julia rebuffs his offer thinking him out for money.
They are both quite rude and presumptive in regards to each other.
- The day after Brisbane’s visit, Portia explains to Julia who he is during a stroll in Hyde Park. Julia learns that Brisbane has a reputation with the ladies as well as being a formidable shot.
- Julia takes Simon Grey to Bellmonte Abbey where they spend the summer.
- Edward Grey’s headstone is erected bearing and inscription from Coleridge.
- Julia and Simon return to Grey House.
- Portia gets Julia to gain weight and cut her hair. Once her mourning is over, Portia promises to take Julia to the Brothers Riche for new clothes that will flatter her now more feminine figure.
- Almost a year after Edward’s death, Julia finds a note of the type Nicholas Brisbane had described while cleaning out Edward’s desk.
- The next afternoon Julia calls upon Nicholas Brisbane at his residence in Chapel Street to ask for help finding the author of the poison pen notes. They both apologize for their rudeness during their previous meeting. After some convincing, Brisbane agrees to look into the death of Edward Grey.
- One week later Julia receives a report from Brisbane that doesn’t give her any more information about her husband than she already knew herself. Julia visits Brisbane in Chapel Street to discuss the information in the report. After a bit of back and forth Brisbane agrees to take the case when he realizes that Julia will continue with or without his help. Brisbane throws herbs on the fire to relax Julia to get her to talk about her background. Julia admonishes Brisbane never to use such methods on her again. She agrees to let Brisbane do more investigating while she writes to Dr. Griggs to see if he remembers anything unusual about Edward’s death.
- The next day
♦In the late afternoon Julia sends her letter to Dr. Griggs via Desmond. Griggs responds that he will be in touch the next day.
♦That evening, after a depressing talk with Aunt Hermia on the Victorian expectations of mourning Julia goes to speak with Simon. During their talk Simon acknowledges that he is dying and will not in all likelihood last out the summer. He tells Julia that she was too good for Edward and that Edward did not fully appreciate her. At they end of their emotional talk they kiss and Julia goes to her room.
- The next day
♦In the morning, Valerius confides to Julia that he is in possession of a Tower raven won from Reddy Phillips in a card game. Julia agrees to let the bird temporarily stay in Grey House as long as it stays in Valerius’ room and is quiet
♦An hour later, right after cleaning out her closet and writing to the brothers Riche to make inquiries about a new wardrobe, Julia receives Dr. Griggs’ response. He mentions that nothing was unusual with Edward’s death, and that if Julia continues to be troubled by it, he can prescribe a sedative.
♦Annoyed by Dr. Grigg’s response, Julia takes a hired cab to Brisbane’s office in Chapel Street to share the news. When Julia sees Brisbane he appears unwell. Brisbane states that he will contact a friend of his who is a surgeon to see if he can be of any help. During their conversation, Brisbane becomes more and more agitated. He practically throws Julia out of his office as Monk enters carrying a tray filled with a flask and other paraphernalia that Julia could not immediately identify. Julia walks all the way back to Grey House where she has a whiskey to steady her nerves.
♦At approximately 10:30 that evening Nicholas Brisbane show up unannounced at Grey House. He appears more unwell as he now wears dark glasses and needs a walking stick. Brisbane lets Julia know that he has contacted his surgeon friend, and believes he can discuss the case with them in a few days. Brisbane reluctantly admits that he is unwell with an old malady that my make him unavailable for a few days. He reiterates to Julia that she not attempt any investigation without him as it would be dangerous since she has no experience in sleuthing. In reiterating his point, Brisbane calls her “Lady Julia” , using her Christian name for the first time.
♦Magda comes into the room, sees Brisbane, and asks “Who is this posh rat?” She then offers to tell his fortune. Embarrassed, Julia tells Magda to go downstairs to the laundry. Magda goes only when Aquinas enters and leads her out. Before she goes, Magda tells Brisbane that they will talk again, and calls him a vesh-juk. Julia apologizes for Magda’s gypsy ways, and Brisbane expresses surprise that Julia would hire a gypsy. Julia explains the March family history with the gypsies in Magda’s family.
♦Just after Brisbane leaves at approximately 10:15, Julia’s father arrives unexpectedly. He had received a copy of Julia’s letter from Dr. Griggs. The Earl of March was not fooled by Julia’s claims in the letter and asks to know what is really going on, though he states if Julia answers that the matter is private, he will not press. Julia tells him everything. The Earl of March is more than just a little impressed by Julia’s gumption and believes she is finally living up to the family informal motto of Audeo (I dare). The Earl lets Julia know that he never really liked Edward. He felt that Julia suffered the most from her mother’s death and perhaps married Edward seeking a place to belong. He also expresses regret for not raising her and Valerius better. In the end he doesn’t think Julia will find a murderer, if one in fact exists, after almost a year. he thinks it best to let sleeping dogs lie, but he won’t take steps to stop her. As he departs, he hints that he saw Nicholas Brisbane and implies he thinks Julia is having and affair with him and approves of it. He invites Julia to supper the next Thursday and to an oratory contest Aunt Hermia has scheduled after diner.
♦Roughly fifteen minutes after the Earl of March’s departure, Valerius returns home covered in blood. Valerius claims the blood was as a result of him helping a man who was jumped in a street fight. At roughly 11:45 Julia takes Valerius’s blood soaked shirt to soak in the laundry. She overhears an argument outside between Brisbane (who apparently has been around for an hour later his departure) and Magda. During the argument Magda tells Brisbane, “I know who Mariah Young was, —and I know how she died.
- The next day
♦At the breakfast table, Julia receives a note from Brisbane asking her to come to his office at 11:00. His friend, the surgeon, is unexpectedly free to meet with them. Julia decides to walk to Brisbane’s office. During her walk Julia feels like she is really seeing the city for the first time.. She describes it as one of the loveliest moments of her life.
♦Julia arrives at Brisbane’s office at 11:10. Brisbane looks worse than the night before and has a glazed look that makes Julia wonder if he has been taking laudanum. She is introduced to Dr. Mordecai Bent, a Jewish physician and boyhood friend of Brisbane’s, who is a specialist on poisons. Julia describes the “spells” that Edward had which ranged from general weakness, shortness of breathe, and malaise that could be mild or keep him in bed, to sudden and violent bursts of temper where the valet and boot boy were physically struck. Dr. Bent states that he will do some research on these symptoms, but that he is very busy at the hospital. Just as they are wrapping up their conversation, Brisbane collapses to the floor. He quickly comes to via smelling salts and Julia leaves.
- Three days later:
♦Julia cleans out her study and finds her Psalter, which she has not seriously looked at in years, with passages cut out. Realizing this is the source of the poison pen letters, she decides to visit Brisbane and brings along a fruit basket.
♦When Julia arrives, Monk tries to stop her from entering Bisbane’s room. Julia sees Brisbane is in a barely conscious state. Monk explains Brisbane’s history with migraines and the methods used to stave them off. Without warning, a delirious Brisbane draws Julia into the room and locks Monk out. Julia notices the half-dressed Brisbane wears a Medusa pendant. She tries to make small talk about the pendant to distract Brisbane while Monks tires to open the door. Brisbane grabs Julia and she stomps on his foot. Brisbane crashes to the floor unconscious. He falls on top of Julia who can’t get up until Monk finally gets the door open. After, Monk tells Julia how he has been with Brisbane since he was his school master, and relates their history together.
♦Julia leaves for Grey House. She think about Brisbane’s physical attributes vs. Edward’s on the walk home. when she arrives, she discovers Reddy Phillips on the doorstep, and gives him a tongue lashing.
- A week later
♦Julia has had no contact from Brisbane. Julia’s new dresses arrive from the Brothers Riche. She doesn’t realize until Morag tells her that her year of mourning ended the previous week. Julia looks at all her beautiful new clothes debates if she will break full mourning and wear bright colors. A note from Hortense de Bellefleur arrives inviting Julia to her home that afternoon where Brisbane has been convalescing.
♦Julia is warmly greeted upon her arrival by Hortense de Bellefleur (AKA Fleur), who takes to to Brisbane. He looks better, but seems tired and is still wearing dark glasses. Brisbane has a vague memory of their last encounter, but Julia convincnes him he was imagining things because of the heavy medication that he was using. Julia shows Brisbane the Psalter. Brisbane comes to the conclusion that whoever damaged the Psalter is on the staff at Grey House because they would know that Julia rarely looked at her Psalter and wouldn’t notice the damage. Unhappy with Brisbane’s conclusion, Julia storms out. She meets Fleur as she gets into her carriage and, feeling she has behaved badly, invites Fleur to visit her at Grey House.
♦When Julia returns to Grey House she is still troubled by Brisbane’s conclusion the rest of the day. That night she tosses and turns until she wakes up and decides she has to prove Brisbane wrong.
- The next day
♦Julia visits Brisbane at Fleur’s house again. He tells her that she must search all of Grey House for her plan to work—every single room. Julia starts to tear up and Brisbane is kinder to her, asking her if she now realizes that his warnings, about investigating taking an emotional toll, were true. Julia says yes, but states that she must go on. Brisbane gives Julia a plan of action on how to conduct a search while she daydreams noticing all of his features in depth and musing that under other circumstances sitting alone on Fleur back patio would be romantic.
♦After they are done Fleur talks with Julia about the past that she and Brisbane share. Julia discovers that Fleur is much older than she seems, that she and Brisbane were once lovers, that she’s had several unconventional marriages, and that Brisbane bought her her current home. She and Julia become friends as Julia realizes she hasn’t had in depth conversations with women, other than Portia, since before she was married, and she has missed it. Before Julia leaves, Fleur gives her a rose scented cosmetic and promises to visit her at Grey House in a few days.
- The next day Julia begins her search of Grey House. She pretends that she is making an inventory of items because she intends to sell things when Simon dies and she moves. She soon realizes the task is more difficult than expected. She confides in Aquinas who suggests that the search be conducted the next day as it is Sunday when the staff attends church and then has the afternoon off.
- The next day
♦Julia searches the house with Aquinas. She thinks that she finds nothing important in her room, the maids’ room, Aquinas’ room, Edward’s room, or the common areas. In searching Aquinas’ room she realizes that he, a former circus performer, is a widow because his wife fell during a high-wire act. Morag’s room is incredibly clean, but she is a pack rat making use of every discarded item she can find to brighten her room. In Desmond and Henry’s room, Julia finds bottles next to Desmond’s bed. Aquinas indicates that Desmond is homesick for country life. In Henry’s belongings Julia find a collection of erotica ranging from postcards to drawings torn out of a book. They discover that Renard’s room is filthy and disorganized, and that he is the one providing Henry with the erotica. Julia searches Simon’s room pretending to look for a lost earring. When they get to the kitchen they discover that Val has another bloody shirt soaking, and that Magda has a large quantity of a powder that they suspect is arsenic. Julia decides to take it to Brisbane to see if their suspicions are correct.
♦Julia goes to Brisbane’s office and Brisbane performs a test that indicates the substance is arsenic; however, he send the substance to Dr. Bent to be sure. Brisbane then asks Julia to tell him everything she knows about Magda. Julia tells him that she has known Magda since her childhood and that her people always camped on her father’s land in Sussex. Magda broke Gypsy law by touching a dead person, her daughter Carolina’s grave had been dug up, and was banished from her people for a year or two. Julia insults Brisbane and then apologizes, something that Brisbane is stunned by. He finds her forthrightness unusual and attractive. They agree to meet again when Dr. Bent sends in his results.
- The next day
♦ In the morning, Julia transcribed everything she found during her search into a neat ledger. She begins to clean out Edward’s room with Magda’s help. Julia interrogates Magda who admits to wanting to poison someone, the person who defiled her daughter’s grave, but denies that she poisoned Edward. Julia thinks Valerius is the guilty party and that he dug Carolina up for medical experiments. Julia sends Magda away thinking Brisbane will see her hang. She givens Magda a pair of candlesticks and a porcelain box with Pandora on it to sell so that she will have money to survive with on the run. Before she goes Magda gives Julia a ball made from her dead daughter’s clothes stating it is a charm against evil, and that she sees death and darkness surrounding Brisbane.
♦That evening Julia goes to March House to attend Aunt Hermia’s musical evening. She wears a new crimson dress that is unexpectedly, very revealing thinking it will only be family and she won’t be embarrassed. The other guests initially include the Earl of March, Aunt Hermia, Aunt Ursula, Portia, and Jane. There is a knock at the door and Brisbane arrives escorting the Duke of Aberdour who is revealed to be his uncle. Julia distracts Aunt Hermia from asking too many questions about Brisbane’s past and in return he asks her what music she would like to hear. Julia answers, “Bach”. Bisbane does play Bach and then an amazing tune that has a great emotional effect on the audience. Unfortunately, a string breaks, and he can’t finish the piece. Julia notices that the Duke seems enraged by Brisbane’s playing. Before they leave, Brisbane asks Julia to meet him the next day at 5:00.
- The next day
♦At 5:00 Julia arrives at Brisbane’s office. Dr. Bent confirms that the powder was arsenic, but doesn’t believe that it was used to kill Edward because Edward’s symptoms don’t match arsenic poisoning. Dr. Bent states that he tired to go to Dr. Griggs for more details, but because he is Jewish, Dr. Griggs refused to see him. Julia than realizes that they can go to Mrs. Birch, who works at the parish, details. Mrs. Birch washes the dead before their funerals, and she would have noticed any unusual signs on Edward’s body. Before Julia and Brisbane leave to see Mrs. Birch, Julia gives Brisbane the inventory of goods at Grey House.
♦Mrs. Birch reveals to Julia, after asking Brisbane to leave the room, that Edward’s genitals were severely discolored. Brisbane concludes that a poison must have been used via a condom. In looking at the inventory list, Brisbane sees the Pandora’s box listed and realizes that the box as one given to the highest paying clientelle at a notorious brothel. He thinks Edward’s lover met him there and he can get answers at the brothel if he uses the box as an entrance token. Julia admits to having given the box to Magda, and that Magda has fled. As Brisbane drops Julia off at her home, he states he will retrieve the box.
♦Julia enters Grey House and desperately seeks out Valerius. She thinks Brisbane is going to the gypsy camp in London to search for Magada, and that he will be killed if he implies that Magda has done anything illegal. She convinces Val to go with her to the gypsy camp to find Brisbane and stop him. Julia disguises herself as a boy and they leave. At the camp they eventually find Brisbane in the boxing tent where he wins a match. Julia sees him joking with the gypsies and speaking fluent Romany. She realizes that Brisbane must be part gypsy. When she sees Magda’s brother approach Brisbane she forces Val to leave thinking that Jasper will tell Brisbane that Val despoiled Carlina’s grave and that he will then have him arrested. They are just about to get into a cab when Brisbane catches up to them. Brisbane tells Val to get into the cab, suddenly in the middle of Julia apologizing, Brisbane grabs her and kisses her. Confused, Julia gets in the cab and returns home.
- The next morning
♦Morag lets Julia know that Renard has left their employment to work for Lord Crayforth. Simon has also had a rough night, coughing up blood. Dr. Griggs is sent for. Aquinas and Julia decide that Desmond will look after Simon as it won’t likely be a long job. When Dr. Griggs arrives he chides Julia for going out and hints that she has been seen in inappropriate company. Insulted, Julia lets Dr. Griggs know that he is her inferior, and that he should mind his own business.
♦ Julia arrives at Brisbane’s office where their initial exchange is awkward. Brisbane realizes that Julia came to the camp to rescue him and Julia realizes that Brisbane only wanted to get the Pandora’s box. During their discussion Brisbane reveals that the Duke is his only Scot family member who speaks to him, and that he has done many things to make money over the years. He currently takes on a few high end clients because they pay very well and he then has to work less. He tells Julia that he will be going to the brothel, and that she mustn’t follow because it is way too dangerous. This time Julia believes him.
♦Julia arrives home and Desmond reports that Simon has slept on and off fitfully. Julia goes to see Simon, who is musing on the Fates controlling his life. Julia doesn’t believe that he will live to see his thirtieth birthday which is only two weeks away.
- Two days later the Tower Raven befriends Julia. Portia visits Julia and the stay up late having a picnic. Julia confides most of what has been going on to Portia but leaves out that Brisbane is a half-gypsy and that he kissed her. When Portia sees the raven and hears the story she is reminded of Reddy Phillips older brother Roland who was always in trouble. He had belonged to the Brimstone Club before he died in an accident. The club, based out of Basingstoke, was interested in ravens, the occult, and sexual exploits. Who the exacts members were was never fully known. At one time Portia has blackmailed Bellmonte about belonging.
- The next day Julia receives a note stating that Brisbane didn’t get very far at the brothel, but that he will be out of town pursuing other leads. He again tells Julia not to do any investigating on her own. Julia decides to visit Fleur who tells her that it is May Day and Julia recounts what May Day was like when she was a child. Julia also tells Fleur that she now knows about Brisbane’s gypsy heritage, and that it does not matter to her. Fleur tells her more of Brisbane’s past and his gift of second sight, and how that gift has gotten him in trouble. She explains the headaches are as a result of the second sight and trying to fight it off. Fleur reveals that his most recent bout all were visions about Julia.
- Some days later Julia reexamines the Psalter and realizes what the other cut out passages were. She comes to the conclusion that the passages all accuse Edward of whoring. She decides she needs a man’s help and goes to Val asking him to hire one of the girls at Pandora’s Box and have her give him information on Edward. Val refuses and Julia tells him that she knows about the bloody shirts and what she suspects about his connection to Carolina and Magda. Val denies having anything to do with Carolina, but does admit to practicing medicine at the brothel taking care of injured prostitutes and providing abortions. The brothel owner pays him for this service and he gives the money to Aunt Hermia for her refuge. Julia then tells Val everything that has been going on. Val listens and then states that it was Edward that introduced him to the place. he stupidly thought Edward was a benefactor and not a patron. He will do what he can to get information. That evening Val returns and has had success. By luck he overheard the owner talking to a prostitute named Cass telling her that Brisbane had been about and that she should keep her mouth shut about what she knew. Val tells Julia that Cass will meet her in disguise the next day on Hampstead Heath.
- The next day ( June 20th, the day of the Queen’s Jubilee)
♦In the morning, Julia meets with Cass and discovers the reason that Edward stopped sleeping with her was that he realized that he had contracted syphilis. Dr. Griggs warned him that he could infect Julia. Cass tells Julia that she never slept with Edward, that he used to just pay her to talk. She tells Julia that she hadn’t talked to Edward in the last two years of his life because at that time Edward hired “the boys upstairs”. He was given the decorative box as a regular customer who was considerate at “not damaging the merchandise” because he always wore condoms to prevent it. The box was intended to store the condoms.
♦ Once Cass leaves, in a cab driven by a driver with a limp, Val comes over and Julia tells him what she has learned. She also lets Val know how violent Edward had become in his last months, that he had struck the servants and he had almost struck her. Julia takes Val with her to Mordecai Bent. Julia tells Mordecai about the syphilis. Mordecai says that the syphilis certainly accounts for some of Edward’s behavior and symptoms, but not the symptoms on the day of his death. He states that he believes the condoms were laced with monkswood, a plant commonly found everywhere and whose deadly effects are in any herbal book. At one point their conversation is disrupted by a noise from the other room which Dr. Bent states is his cat. Val goes to the coach and Julia asks Dr. Bent to come to Grey House the next day to examine her to be sure that she has not contracted the disease as she no longer trusts Dr. Griggs.
♦Upon her return to Grey House Julia encounters Dr. Griggs who has been tending Simon. She confronts him with what she has discovered and tells him that after Simon dies that his services will no longer be needed by any member of the March family.
♦A lunchtime Julia is given a note from Desmond outlining medication that Dr. Griggs said should be obtained for Simon. When Julia sees the note she realizes that Simon has doodled on the side of it. It is the same type of doodling that appeared on the notes sent to Edward. Julia interrogates Desmond while Aquinas listens in the hall. Desmond admits to an affair with Edward and to being the sender of the notes. He denies killing him. She decides to send Desmond to a nursing home after Simon dies where Desmond will be looked after.
♦Later in the day while going through Edward’s things, Julia notices a sketch on the wall that Edward has never moved. She removes the sketch and looks at the inscription on the back and deduces that Simon is Edward’s murderer is and what his motive was.
♦Julia dismisses the staff so that she can confront Simon alone. Unbeknown to Julia, Aquinas is suspicious and goes to the Earl of March for help. Julia confronts Simon and he admits to having an affair with Edward and killing him because he had become too attached to Desmond. Simon attempts to kill himself and Julia by throwing a lit oil lamp at her. Julia ducks and the oil lamp smashes to the floor igniting the room.
♦Julia flees with the raven leading the way through the smoke. She finally manages to open the many locks on the front door and collapses on the front stoop in front of Aunt Ursula and into the arms of Nicholas Brisbane. Brisbane attempts to get Simon out but can’t and has to jump for his life through a window.
♦Julia is taken back to March House by her father. He arrived just in time with Brisbane. They were all in route because Aquinas had spoken to them. Brisbane was already at March House telling the Earl of his feeling of dread for Julia. On the ride to Grey House Brisbane has a vision and falls into a fit that mimics Julia’s mad dash to escape the flames.
- One week later Dr. Bent, who is treating both Julia at March House and Brisbane at his residence, confesses that Brisbane never went to Paris. He stayed behind to spy on Julia because he feared for her safety. He was the cabbie in disguise who drove Cass and the “cat” in Dr. Bent’s office. He didn’t want to tell Julia that his second sight had warned him that she was in great danger, but he suspected Renard, not Simon. Dr. Bent tells Julia that he knew of Brisbane’s second sight from an accidental observation when they were boys.
- Julia sells what remains of Grey House to the Lord Porlock.
- Aquinas covers for Julia with the police, stating that the staff was not in the housed because Julia gave them the day off to join in the Jubilee celebrations
- Julia makes preparations to live with her brothers, Ly and Plum, in Florence since Dr. Bent tells her she needs a warm climate to heal.
- Magda comes to Julia and tells her it was Simon who despoiled Carlina’s grave and that he thought to cure himself by drinking from the skull of a virgin. She admits to slowly attempting to poison him with arsenic.
- The Queen lets Julia keep the Raven, but the Phillips family has to build her a statue of Prince Albert.
- At the end of June, as Julia leaves for Italy with Morag, an messenger approaches her coach and gives her a wrapped package. Before she opens it she sees an old man on a bench with a twisted leg who then disappears. It is a package that contains Brisbane’s Medusa pendant. On the back is inscribed a line from Henry VI Part 2, “For where thou art, there is the world itself.” Julia sets sail for Italy knowing she will see Brisbane again.