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The Foundling

The Foundling - Georgette Heyer

This is a romance only in the sense that the hero is happily settled with his lady at the end of the book; really it is an adventure and, I suppose, a journey of self-discovery, although I'm sure Georgette Heyer would never use (or approve of) such a navel-gazing term. 

In his travels, Gilly encounters Tom, a magnet for mischief of all kinds, Belinda, a beautiful, empty-headed girl whose virtue is teetering on a knife-edge, a brace of villains, and a host of citizens of all stripes that, as a Duke, he had never had to deal with before.

I love sweet-tempered Gilly, another of Heyer's non-standard heroes, his friendship with his cousin Gideon, and his irascible Uncle Lionel. And, as usual with Heyer, the language is delightful. 

The first course:
Lord Lionel being an advocate of what he considered a neat, plain dinner, only two courses were served at Sale Park when the family dined alone. The first of these consisted of a tureen of turtle, removed with fish, which was in its turn removed with a haunch of venison. Several side-dishes, such as pork cutlets with Rober sauce, larded fillets of beef, tenderones of veal and truffles, and a braised ham, graced the board...

The Duke to his retinue:
"I daresay I could have been tolerably comfortable without a Chief Confectioner."
Everyone realized that the Duke had uttered a witticism, so those whose social status permitted them to laugh, did so, in a discreet way; and Mr. Scriven said that he hoped his Grace would not find his house to be quite so ill-prepared as that.

Gilly's valet and Gideon's manservant:
"You looby, if you don't stand out of my way you'll get one in the bread basket as'll send you to grass!" said Nettlebed fiercely.
"Ho!" retorted Wragby, "Ho, I will, will I?" If it's a bit of home-brewed you're wanting, you herring-gutted, blubber-headed chinch, put up your mawleys!"

Sir Timothy:
"I do feel that a little openess in dear Gideon--a little less reserve--would be wise at this delicate moment! He has not been--how shall I put it?--precisely conciliating, one feels."