In The Corinthian, we've got a bachelor, Sir Richard Wyndham, who happens to rescue a damsel in distress, Penelope Creed. Penelope set on running away from her aunt--who is encouraging her into a loveless marriage with her cousin Fred--is disguised as a boy. Richard, while on his way home and a bit drunk at that, sees Pen climbing out her window--by way of her bed sheets of course. He "catches" her just in time. Granted, this "she" is dressed as a he. But there's no fooling Richard. A bit amused at the situation, and wanting to run away himself to avoid an unpleasant appointment the next day, he decides to help out. She wants to escape London--and her aunt--and travel to Bristol (or near Bristol anyway). She's got a childhood friend, Piers, who she fancies herself madly in love with. Five (or so) years ago, these two promised themselves to each other. Hearing this tale, Richard decides to join in the journey and ensure her safety. The two will go together. He will act as her tutor-uncle-cousin and 'protect' her along the way. (Each identity is used on their journey at various stages.) Their journey is rarely boring--they get in and out of trouble along the way.
This one is a delightful romantic comedy. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one! I love Pen Creed. I love Sir Richard. The dialogue is just too much fun in this Regency romance!
A scene between Pen and Richard:
"Were you locked in your room?" enquired Sir Richard.Fred Griffin in conversation with Sir Richard:
"Oh no! I daresay I should have been if Aunt had guessed what I meant to do, but she would never think of such a thing."
"Then--forgive my curiosity!--why did you climb out of the window?" asked Sir Richard.
"Oh, that was on account of Pug!" replied Pen sunnily.
"Yes, a horrid little creature! He sleeps in a basket in the hall, and he always yaps if he thinks one is going out. That would have awakened Aunt Almeria. There was nothing else I could do."
Sir Richard regarded her with a lurking smile. "Naturally not. Do you know, Pen, I owe you a debt of gratitude?"
"Oh!" she said again. "Do you mean that I don't behave as a delicately bred female should?"
"That is one way of putting it, certainly."
"It is the way Aunt Almeria puts it."
"She would, of course."
"I am afraid," confessed Pen, "that I am not very well-behaved. Aunt says that I had a lamentable upbringing, because my father treated me as though I had been a boy. I ought to have been, you understand."
"I cannot agree with you," said Sir Richard. "As a boy you would have been in no way remarkable; as a female, believe me, you are unique."
She flushed to the roots of her hair. "I think that is a compliment."
"It is," Sir Richard said, amused.
"Well, I wasn't sure, because I am not out yet, and I do not know any men except my uncle and Fred, and they don't pay compliments. That is to say, not like that." (68-69)
"What, sir, would you think of a member of the Weaker Sex who assumed the guise of a man, and left the home of her natural protector by way of the window?"
"I should assume," replied Sir Richard, "that she had strong reasons for acting with such resolution."
"She did not wish to marry me," said Mr. Griffin gloomily.
"Oh!" said Sir Richard.
"Well, I'm sure I can't see why she should be so set against me, but that's not it, sir. The thing is that here's my mother determined to find her, and to make her marry me, and so hush up the scandal. But I don't like it above half. If she dislikes the notion so much, I don't think I ought to marry her, do you?"
"I must say I am very glad to hear you say that, Sir Richard!" said Mr. Griffin, much cheered. "For you must know that my mother has been telling me ever since yesterday that I must marry her now, to save her name. But I think she would very likely make me uncomfortable, and nothing could make up for that, in my opinion."
"A lady capable of escaping out of a window in the guise of a a man would quite certainly make you more than uncomfortable," said Sir Richard.
"Yes, though she's only a chit of a girl, you know. In fact, she is not yet out. I am very happy to have had the benefit of the opinion of a Man of the World. I feel that I can rely on your judgment."
"On my judgment, you might, but in nothing else, I assure you," said Sir Richard. "You know nothing of me, after all. How do you know that I am not now concealing your cousin from you?"
"Ha-ha! Very good, upon my word! Very good, indeed!" said Mr. Griffin, saluting a jest of the first water. (124)
Read The Corinthian
- If you enjoy Regency romances
- If you enjoy historical romance
- If you enjoy historical romance with a touch of drama, mystery, and murder...
- If you enjoy Georgette Heyer