A Reckless Bargain: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix)


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Again, sleep's gentle touch eluded her, and she hoped a mug of milk might aid her to slumber. As she reached the first landing, she paused. Could someone be there? Tilting her head to the side she listened intently, trying to probe the dense blackness. Her breath expelled in her relief. The sinister noise was only the swish, click, swish, click of the massive pendulum clock a few feet away.

Stopping at the bottom of the staircase, she extended one hand searchingly before her. Vaguely, she recalled the kitchen being located down a long passage to her left. Cautiously, she proceeded, unnerved in the dark and eerily quiet house. Celia's parents have been dead for just a week. Realizing the voices were coming from the library, Celia moved silently and tentatively toward the door that was slightly ajar. She recognized the deeper voice as belonging to her grace's brother, the Duke of Severly. Celia's breath suddenly felt trapped in her body.

With trembling fingers she clutched the edge of a hall table to steady her legs.


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Her father was the vicar of Harford, and when my dear husband died, he and his wife were of great comfort to me. Celia is a good and intelligent girl. I like her, and so do the boys. Celia is an orphan now.


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Having her live with me and the boys is the best arrangement for us all. I hesitate to give a child so much responsibility. Can you not find someone like our old nanny, Crawfie, to care for the boys?

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Someone more mature, more trustworthy? Terror filled Celia's heart as she suppressed an anguished gasp with a clutched hand pressed to her mouth. They were going to send her away! Where could she go? Would she end up in a workhouse? Oh, Mama, Papa, why did you leave me? Celia restrained herself from crying out in her fear and loneliness. Standing petrified, she listened to the argumentative tones, oblivious to the faint chill seeping into her skin from the cold stone floor.

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Besides, I have no desire to be away and leave them under the supervision of someone else. Do you think I will go back into Society just because my year of mourning will soon be completed? No, I am very content to stay here at Harbrooke. Celia heard her grace's steps coming toward the door. With a quick turn, she lifted the skirt of her bed gown and fled back down the hall, her bare feet barely making a sound on the cold stone. She did not slow her flight until reaching the sanctuary of her little room on the second floor.

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How the duke terrified her with his mean, hawklike face. At this moment she believed he could be the devil himself.

Celia crawled into her feather bed and buried herself under the covers. Squeezing her eyes shut, she prayed fervently that the duke would leave Harbrooke very soon and never return. By no means. Sir Walter was not beforehand with the world, save in respect of his landed estate ; great as was his love of money, his passion for display was greater, and he lived well up to his income.

ROBERT LOUIS

But, was his landed estate sufficient to bear the burden of a debt? Sir Walter well knew that it would scarcely be sufficient, after his death, for the maintenance of his son's dignity aa a baronet. How, then, were these expenses to be met? By pawning futurity. Scott, with aU his experience and unprecedented success as an author, sold himself to the publishers in order that he might gratify a paltry vanity, the vulgarity of which was not one whit lessened by the elegance and the comfort of his new abode. First he sold the remaining copyright of the four novels published between December and January , namely, " Ivan- hoe," "The Monastery," "the Abbot," and " Kenilworth," for 5, guineas.

Next, he sold his future labours, Con- stable paying him in bills for four as yet unwritten works of fiction. Before passing from this year we must cursorily observe that it was in it Sir Walter's political feelings, yearly growing more rancorous and iingovemable, hurried him into a humiliating connexion with the affairs of "The Beacon " newspaper.

That Scott should have the indecency to publish a dramatic sketch, which took him only two mornings to write, is a good cause of irritation to anyone capable of loving art. It was in , that George the Fourth paid his memorable visit to Scotland, and was received in Edinburgh with an enthusiasm and theatrical pomp, that are both alike to be attributed to Sir Walter's exertions. The venerable capital of the North on that occasion swarmed with men in the Highland costume. If Sir Walter, the representative of Scottish intelligence, cherished such a sentiment, it can surprise no one that the monarch was altogether ignorant of any historical distinctions between the Highlands and Lowlands.

George the Fourth had a general notion that Scotchmen were divided into clans, lived on oatmeal, were especially subject to an inconvenient affection of the skin, and disliked on festive occasions the use of breeches. Acting on this profound and accurate knowledge of one of his kmgdoms, he arrayed himself in a brilliant Stuart tartan, and all the other flaunting rags of Celtic nakedness. The farce culminated, when his majesty at the Parliament House banquet, in a burst of patriotic ardour, proposed, as a toast, '' The Chieftains and Clans of Scotland — and prosperity to the Land of Cakes.

In June, " Quentin Durward" waa publislied.

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In December, appeared " St. Sooau's WeU. His later works had been received with comparative coldness. In the October of this year his second soti,! The castle and aU its costly decora- were completed, and its magnificmt rooms were a. The splendour was greatest on the occasion of a iven in celebration of the engagement of Sir Walter's md a young lady of great wealth and beauty— one lane Jobson, or, as the inmates of Abboteford pre- speaking of her, "the heiress of Lochore.


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  8. It has already been told how the Ballantyne house borrowed money of Constable, borrowed money anywhere. The books of " the concerns" were never balanced, and Scott never took the trouble to inquire into the extent of his liabilities. I'orthwith, masons and bricklayers and house- decorators were set to work.

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    By accumuhitioiia from Sir "Walter's princely income? Sir Walter was not beforehand with the world, Bave in respect of his landed estate ; great aa was his love of money, his passion for display was greater, and he lived well up to his income. But, was his landed estate sufficient to bear the burden of a debt P By no means. Sir Walter well knew that it would scarcely be sufficient, afber his death, for the maintenance of his son's dignity aa a baronet.

    By pawning fitturity.

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    Scott, with all his experience and unprecedented auccess aa an author, sold himself to the publishers in order that he might gratify a paltry vanity, the vulgarity of which was not one whit lessened by the elegtmce and the comfort of his new abode. Next, he sold hia future labours, Con- stable paying him in bills for four as yet unwritten works of fiction. To fulfil his part of the contract Sir Walter dashed off within two years " Feveril of the Peak," " Quen- tin Durward," " St Eonan'a Well," and " Eedgauntlet," " By that time," says his son-in-law, "the new caatle was complete, and overflowing with all ita splendour ; but, by that time, the end also was approaching.

    Before passing from this year we must cursorily observe that it was in it Sir Walter's political feelings, yearly growing more rancorous and ungovernable, hurried him into a humiliating connexion with the affairs of "The Beacon " newspaper. This norel was followed in June by the dramatic sketch, "Halidon Hall.

    It was in , that George the Fourth paid his memorable visit to Scotland, and was received in Edinburgh with an enthusiasm and theatrical pomp, that are both alike to be attributed to Sir "Walter's exertions. The venerable capital of the Korth on that occasion swarmed with men in the Highland costume.

    A Reckless Bargain: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix) A Reckless Bargain: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix)
    A Reckless Bargain: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix) A Reckless Bargain: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix)
    A Reckless Bargain: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix) A Reckless Bargain: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix)
    A Reckless Bargain: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix) A Reckless Bargain: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix)
    A Reckless Bargain: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix) A Reckless Bargain: Signet Regency Romance (InterMix)

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