A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh

By Mary Balogh

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Sample text

He was not a gentleman. He had made his fortune in coal and still had coal dust encrusted beneath his fingernails—according to Papa. And he had had the unmitigated gall to purchase the estate adjoining Papa’s when it was for sale many years ago. He had pulled down the old house and built an expensively vulgar mansion in its place and had set out to be amiable, to be accepted as an equal by no less a person than the Earl of Havercroft. He was an upstart—a dreadful thing to be if one’s family happened to have been of the nobility for countless generations back.

She had stepped quite deliberately over the brink, confident that her life would unfold as she had planned it to unfold. Now she could only feel a wave of panic clutching her stomach. She could no longer direct the course of her life. For the present at least she was totally at the mercy of outside forces, most notably her father. It was the most wretched feeling she could possibly imagine. She was not going to be sent back to Oakridge Park, the country home in Wiltshire where she had been brought up, her father’s principal seat.

I will never be accepted by all the high and mighty gentlemen of this realm. I will always reek of coal in their pampered, perfumed noses. And that is just grand as far as I am concerned. I have no interest in rubbing shoulders with popinjays. I despise the lot of them. But you . . you could have the best of it all. ” Reggie shrugged and refrained from pointing out the lack of logic in his father’s attitude toward the beau monde. “I am accepted well enough by all the gentlemen I know,” he said.

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