Here my hero, James, has recently been caught in a compromising situation with the heroine, Lucy, and has done the proper gentlemanly thing by agreeing to marry her even though she has no money whatsoever and is several rungs below his rich, viscountly self on the social ladder. His bride-to-be has two younger brothers, aged 13 and 17, and rather than being daunted he can hardly wait to meet his new brothers-in-law so he can start dictating their educations and planning their lives, all for their own good, of course. His sister, on learning this, sums up his character as follows:
“Come, James, surely you admit that nothing brings you greater delight than managing people’s lives for them. That’s why you’re so active in Parliament, and half the reason you love this estate—so much scope for giving orders and telling everyone how the world should be. You do your best to manage ME. It’s wonderful for you that Lucy has younger brothers and no parents living. You won’t have to wait till your own children are of a rational age to have someone to bring up according to your dictates. Though I’m sure you’ll have opinions on the proper dimensions of a cradle and when a child should have its first taste of pap by the time your firstborn enters the world.”
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