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My Lady Caprice   By: (1878-1952)

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First Page:

My Lady Caprice

by

Jeffrey Farnol

CONTENTS

I. TREASURE TROVE II. THE SHERIFF OF NOTTINGHAM III. THE DESPERADOES IV. MOON MAGIC V. THE EPISODE OF THE INDIAN'S AUNT VI. THE OUTLAW VII. THE BLASTED OAK VIII. THE LAND OF HEART'S DELIGHT

I

TREASURE TROVE

I sat fishing. I had not caught anything, of course I rarely do, nor am I fond of fishing in the very smallest degree, but I fished assiduously all the same, because circumstances demanded it.

It had all come about through Lady Warburton, Lisbeth's maternal aunt. Who Lisbeth is you will learn if you trouble to read these veracious narratives suffice it for the present that she has been an orphan from her youth up, with no living relative save her married sister Julia and her Aunt (with a capital A) the Lady Warburton aforesaid.

Lady Warburton is small and somewhat bony, with a sharp chin and a sharper nose, and invariably uses lorgnette; also, she is possessed of much worldly goods.

Precisely a week ago Lady Warburton had requested me to call upon her had regarded me with a curious exactitude through her lorgnette, and gently though firmly (Lady Warburton is always firm) had suggested that Elizabeth, though a dear child, was young and inclined to be a little self willed. That she (Lady Warburton) was of opinion that Elizabeth had mistaken the friendship which had existed between us so long for something stronger. That although she (Lady Warburton) quite appreciated the fact that one who wrote books, and occasionally a play, was not necessarily immoral Still I was, of course, a terrible Bohemian, and the air of Bohemia was not calculated to conduce to that degree of matrimonial harmony which she (Lady Warburton) as Elizabeth's Aunt, standing to her in place of a mother, could wish for. That, therefore, under these circumstances my attentions were etc., etc.

Here I would say in justice to myself that despite the torrent of her eloquence I had at first made some attempt at resistance; but who could hope to contend successfully against a woman possessed of such an indomitable nose and chin, and one, moreover, who could level a pair of lorgnette with such deadly precision? Still, had Lisbeth been beside me things might have been different even then; but she had gone away into the country so Lady Warburton had informed me. Thus alone and at her mercy, she had succeeded in wringing from me a half promise that I would cease my attentions for the space of six months, "just to give dear Elizabeth time to learn her own heart in regard to the matter."

This was last Monday. On the Wednesday following, as I wandered aimlessly along Piccadilly, at odds with Fortune and myself, but especially with myself, my eye encountered the Duchess of Chelsea.

The Duchess is familiarly known as the "Conversational Brook" from the fact that when once she begins she goes on forever. Hence, being in my then frame of mind, it was with a feeling of rebellion that I obeyed the summons of her parasol and crossed over to the brougham.

"So she's gone away?" was her greeting as I raised my hat "Lisbeth," she nodded, "I happened to hear something about her, you know."

It is strange, perhaps, but the Duchess generally does "happen to hear" something about everything. "And you actually allowed yourself to be bullied into making that promise Dick! Dick! I'm ashamed of you."

"How was I to help myself?" I began. "You see "

"Poor boy!" said the Duchess, patting me affectionately with the handle of her parasol, "it wasn't to be expected, of course. You see, I know her many, many years ago I was at school with Agatha Warburton."

"But she probably didn't use lorgnettes then, and "

"Her nose was just as sharp though 'peaky' I used to call it," nodded the Duchess. "And she has actually sent Lisbeth away dear child and to such a horrid, quiet little place, too, where she'll have nobody to talk to but that young Selwyn.

"I beg pardon, Duchess, but "

"Horace Selwyn, of Selwyn Park cousin to Lord Selwyn, of Brankesmere... Continue reading book >>




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