Lord Curr’s constant companion and, as some would have it, bodyguard, is Lady Felicity Manningham, the widow of the hero of 2nd Islandwhana. Many a would-be assailant has learned to their cost that this slender beauty is no lady, but a former East End music hall performer, pick-pocket and armed robber, known better as ‘Two-gun Tess’. Sir Oswald Manningham VC fell in love with her in the music hall and took her to be his second wife. Her defence of her mortally wounded husband on the steps of the Paris Opera in 1892 was the stuff of legend. Five Boers never returned to celebrate their assassination of this truly British hero. However, upon his untimely demise Manningham’s family still managed to ensure she walked away with nothing but her new name.
This is where Lord Curr came in like a white knight to prevent her returning to the gutter. He saw a ‘measure of steel’ in her and an ability to think quickly and decisively in life and death situations. Since then she has proved invaluable to many of his schemes and has saved his life on a number of occasions.
Her favoured weapons are a pair of .38 high velocity Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolvers, with the shorter 4″ barrel and Metford polygonal rifling. The light touch trigger action suits her, as does their accuracy and rate of fire. Using a Prideaux speed loader she is able to fire twelve shots into a three-inch bull’s-eye at twelve paces in approximately 15 seconds.
One other thing she likes about them is the fact that each one takes eight rounds, something that has often surprised opponents used to revolvers with the standard six rounds.
These signature weapons were given to her by Colonel Fosbery himself, as he had been a friend and comrade of her husband in Africa, and was stunned by the treatment she got at the hands of his family.
Even without her revolvers she is still quite formidable. Her coolness in action, skill in persuading men who should know better, light fingers and the cut-throat razor that is always concealed somewhere about her person make her a woman to treat with respect.
Members of the Incorrigibles have come to rely on her to temper Curr’s hot headedness, and many are completely devoted to her.
One of her fondest memories is being presented to Queen Victoria at Windsor by Lady Helen Quatermain. It is there that the Queen passed on to her the Victoria Cross that Sir Oswald earned in Africa with an additional bar on the ribbon marked simply ‘Paris 1892’.