Author: Elfrida Vipont
Publication: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, hardcover, 1970 (original UK publication 1948)
Genre: Middle grade fiction/series
|UK paperback edition|
|UK paperback edition|
His own doubts were at an end. The more he saw of her the more he loved her, and as he had never loved any woman before. Not the most beautiful of his mistresses had inspired him with a desire to shield her from every adverse wind; he had never pictured the most amusing of his well-born flirts presiding over his several establishments; and far less had he contemplated a permanent relationship with any of these ladies. But after knowing her for little more than two months Frederica had so seriously disturbed the pattern of his life that he had been cast into a state of indecision: a novel experience which had not been at all agreeable. When he was pitchforked into her little brother’s fantastic adventure he had still been in a state of uncertainty; since then he had spent more than a week in close companionship with her, and under conditions as unromantic as they were uncomfortable, and all his doubts were resolved: he wished to spend the rest of his life with her, because she was the perfect woman he had never expected to encounter.
His lordship, in fact, had fallen deeply in love. He was also undergoing yet another new experience: Frederica showed no sign of returning his regard. He knew that she liked him; once or twice he had dared to hope that the feeling she had for him was more than fondness, but he could never be sure of this, or forget that on the only occasion when he had given her the faintest reason to suspect him of gallantry she had instantly set him at a distance.(We suspect she is not indifferent because of the way she reacted in Chapter 16 when Harry said the Marquis was old and Frederica said he was in the prime of life)
“Do you mean that it’s no concern of mine? It isn’t, of course, but I like them both so much – and one can’t but care for what becomes of persons one holds in affection, and try to help them.”
As Alverstoke thinks about this, he supposes he must care about very few people, primarily Frederica, but then he realizes he cares about Felix and Jessamy as well, independent of their sister.Next to sally forth to Monk’s Farm is Lord Buxted, with the best of intentions but arousing no enthusiasm from those in attendance on Felix. He is not allowed to see Felix or bring him a puzzle, and Alverstoke has to muzzle Jessamy to prevent him from being disrespectful. Buxted is amazed Alverstoke is on the scene (both because it seems against his frivolous/detached nature and because of the implied intimacy he observes. Alverstoke makes a big deal of the fact that he is staying at the nearby inn and implies he is just waiting for his valet to be spared from Felix’s bedside. Then, Alverstoke ensures Buxted has special alone time with Frederica; Buxted proposes again, and she declines again. Later, she scolds Alverstoke for setting her up like that and says how inconsiderate it was for Buxted to propose at a time like that when she is so concerned about Felix. Alverstoke has a twisted smile as he knows he came very close to making the same mistake.
|Portrait of Nelson by Lemuel Francis Abbott|
He took her hands, kissed them. “I want children with you, Eve.”I am reminded that when Nora’s first Putnam hardcover hit the NYT bestseller list, there was a guy in Putnam sales named Mike Brennan who said to us, “Now she’s a legitimate bestseller!” This made us so mad because it was her various paperback reps at Harlequin, Bantam, and Berkley who had worked so hard on building her sales in paperback, which got her into hardcover. In my brief contacts with Nora, she seemed very practical and too down to earth to share that snobbery.
The sound she made brought on a quick and easy grin. “No need for the panic face, darling. I don’t mean today or tomorrow, or nine months down the road. Having Nixie around’s been considerable education. Children are a lot of bloody work, aren’t they?”