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250 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1949
It was not to be supposed that the haughty Mr. Beaumaris, related as he was to so many noble homes, so distinguished in his bearing, so much courted, and so much pursued, would ever have looked twice at a girl from a country vicarage, with neither fortune nor connections to recommend her to his notice.
Mr. Beaumaris, whose besetting sin was thought by many to be his exquisite enjoyment of the ridiculous...
The same delight in the ridiculous which had made him wear a dandelion in his buttonhole for three consecutive days for no better purpose than to enjoy the discomfiture of his misguided friends and copyists made him deeply appreciative of the situation which he now found himself in ...
It was fast being borne in upon Last Bridlington that the Reverend Henry Tallant was not only a grave handicap to his daughter's social advancement but a growing menace to her own comfort.
"Felt desperate - shot the cat - felt better - kept on swallowing balls of fire - result, looking as queer as Dick's hatband when I saw him."
‘The Nonpareil – none other! Quite the most noted figure in society since poor Brummell was done-up!’
Chase that cur out of here, Joe! – If your honour will –’
‘Do nothing of the sort, Joe!’ interrupted Mr Beaumaris.
‘Is he yours sir?’ gasped the landlord.
‘Certainly he is mine. A rare specimen: his family tree would surprise you!’
He was so much surprised that momentarily he let his hands drop. The grays broke into a canter, and Miss Tallant kindly advised him to mind his horses. The most notable whip in the country thanked her for her reminder, and steadied his pair. Miss Tallant consoled him for the chagrin he might have been supposed to feel by saying that she thought he drove very well. After a stunned moment, laughter welled up within him. His voice shook perceptibly as he answered: ‘You are too good, Miss Tallant!’
The living of Heythram was respectable, being worth some three hundred pounds a year, in addition to which the present incumbent was possessed of a small independence; but the claims of a numerous family made the recarpeting of passages more a thing to be dreamed of than an allowable expense. The Vicar, himself the son of a landed gentleman, had married the beautiful Miss Theale, who might have been expected to have done better for herself than to have thrown her cap over the windmill for a mere younger son, however handsome he might be. Indeed, it had been commonly said at the time that she had married to disoblige her family, and might, if she had chosen, have caught a baronet on her hook. Instead she had fallen in love with Henry Tallant at first sight.