A Lady of Quality by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, A Lady of Quality, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

Title: A Lady of Quality

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Release Date: March 24, 2005 [eBook #1550]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1896 Frederick Warne & Co. edition by David Price,
email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk


Being a most curious, hitherto unknown
history, as related by Mr. Isaac Bickerstaff
but not presented to the World of
Fashion through the pages of
The Tatler, and now for the
first time written down
Francis Hodgson Burnett

Were Nature just to Man from his first hour, he need not ask for
Mercy; then 'tis for us--the toys of Nature--to be both just and
merciful, for so only can the wrongs she does be undone.

CHAPTER I--The twenty-fourth day of November 1690

On a wintry morning at the close of 1690, the sun shining faint and red
through a light fog, there was a great noise of baying dogs, loud voices,
and trampling of horses in the courtyard at Wildairs Hall; Sir Jeoffry
being about to go forth a-hunting, and being a man with a choleric temper
and big, loud voice, and given to oaths and noise even when in
good-humour, his riding forth with his friends at any time was attended
with boisterous commotion. This morning it was more so than usual, for
he had guests with him who had come to his house the day before, and had
supped late and drunk deeply, whereby the day found them, some with
headaches, some with a nausea at their stomachs, and some only in an evil
humour which made them curse at their horses when they were restless, and
break into loud surly laughs when a coarse joke was made. There were
many such jokes, Sir Jeoffry and his boon companions being renowned
throughout the county for the freedom of their conversation as for the
scandal of their pastimes, and this day 'twas well indeed, as their loud-
voiced, oath-besprinkled jests rang out on the cold air, that there were
no ladies about to ride forth with them.

'Twas Sir Jeoffry who was louder than any other, he having drunk even
deeper than the rest, and though 'twas his boast that he could carry a
bottle more than any man, and see all his guests under the table, his
last night's bout had left him in ill-humour and boisterous. He strode
about, casting oaths at the dogs and rating the servants, and when he
mounted his big black horse 'twas amid such a clamour of voices and
baying hounds that the place was like Pandemonium.

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