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October 21 , 2007

115. The Earl Elopes


Clive, the Earl of Bourne, nearly twenty-eight, tall, handsome and pursued by enumerable women is determined not to get married. He is sick and tired of his father, the Duke of Shelbourne and his relations begging him to produce an heir and he has decided that he will not marry until he is very much older. To his horror the Duke comes back from Windsor Castle to tell his son that Queen Victoria commands him to marry Princess Gilberta of Saxe-Coburg, who is arriving in England almost immediately. The Earl quarrels with his father who says that, unless he does as he is told, he will refuse to pay off his very large debts. In despair the Earl goes up to the nursery to see his old Nanny who has always loved him and to whom he has turned with all his troubles since his mother died. Nanny is appalled at the idea of him having to marry a German woman he has never seen and she therefore has a clever idea and suggests to the Earl that he runs away. In fact, to cover his tracks, Nanny suggests that he should elope with the person he loves more than anyone else, who is actually himself! The Earl does exactly as Nanny suggests. As he thinks his father will send someone North to prevent him marrying at Gretna Green, he drives his horses South and eventually arrives at Land’s End, where he rescues a very pretty girl from a highwayman, who his attempting to steal her favourite horse. The Earl then takes a job looking after horses for a distinguished General, who is the father of lovely girl. How, unexpectedly, he finds what he has always been seeking without really being aware of it, is told in this fascinating story by BARBARA CARTLAND.
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