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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Reading progress update: I've read 10%.

The Shuttle - Frances Hodgson Burnett

First things first - I am reading this as part of a bundle, so I have no idea how far I am.


This is a piece of adult fiction written by the author of A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, both of which are childhood favorites of mine. I had no idea that Hodgson Burnett wrote adult fare, to be honest, until a friend in my GR DWS group mentioned that she had read this, and enjoyed it.


It is really, really interesting so far. It's basically an alternative look at the nineteenth century practice of wealthy American heiresses going across the pond to look for an impoverished nobleman to purchase in marriage. In this book, the impoverished nobleman is a bag of dicks named Nigel Anstruther, who actually goes to New York to try to bag and tag a young woman with money to save his ailing estate.


He's a total douchebag. Epic. Quotes to prove it:


"Finding that he had nothing to give in return for what he took as if it were his right, society gradually began to cease to retain any lively recollection of his existence. The tradespeople he had borne himself loftily towards awakened to the fact that he was the kind of man it was at once safe and wise to dun, and therefore proceeded to make his life a burden to him. At his clubs he had never been a member surrounded and rejoiced over when he made his appearance. The time came when he began to fancy that he was rather edged away from, and he endeavoured to sustain his dignity by being sulky and making caustic speeches when he was approached. Driven occasionally down to Stornham by actual pressure of circumstances, he found the outlook there more embittering still."


Once he manages to marry Rosalie Vanderpoel, a childish, pretty young thing of the monumentally wealthy Vanderpoel fortune, he schemes over trying to get his hands on he allowance that her doting father has provided her. This exchange happens once they are back in London:


Rosalie, speaking:


"Of course if he was ill or had ill luck or anything like that, he wouldn’t be so proud as not to take it from the person who loved him most and wanted to help him. You do sometimes hear of a man who won’t work and lets his wife support him, but it’s very seldom, and they are always the low kind that other men look down on.”
Nigel's response: 
“Wanted to help him.” Sir Nigel selected the phrase and quoted it between puffs of the cigar he held in his fine, rather cruel-looking hands, and his voice expressed a not too subtle sneer. “A woman is not ‘helping’ her husband when she gives him control of her fortune. She is only doing her duty and accepting her proper position with regard to him. The law used to settle the thing definitely.”