A Group of Noble Dames by Thomas Hardy Page 1 of 221

Contents:

Preface
Part I-Before Dinner
The First Countess of Wessex
Barbara of the House of Grebe
The Marchioness of Stonehenge
Lady Mottisfont
Part II-After Dinner
The Lady Icenway
Squire Petrick's Lady
Anna, Lady Baxby
The Lady Penelope
The Duchess Of Hamptonshire
The Honourable Laura


PREFACE

The pedigrees of our county families, arranged in diagrams on the pages of county histories, mostly appear at first sight to be as barren of any touch of nature as a table of logarithms. But given a clue-the faintest tradition of what went on behind the scenes, and this dryness as of dust may be transformed into a palpitating drama.

More, the careful comparison of dates alone-that of birth with marriage, of marriage with death, of one marriage, birth, or death with a kindred marriage, birth, or death-will often effect the same transformation, and anybody practised in raising images from such genealogies finds himself unconsciously filling into the framework the motives, passions, and personal qualities which would appear to be the single explanation possible of some extraordinary conjunction in times, events, and personages that occasionally marks these reticent family records.



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