Friday, May 15, 2009

The Penniless Peer

The Penniless Peer is #7 in the Bantam list and was published in June 1974. It is about the hero, Lord Corbury, who comes home broke after fighting in the Napoleonic wars and meets up with his former neighbor, Fenella, who concocts a daring plan to regain his fortune!

Francis Marshall illustrates a dueling scene in both covers. Dueling was an illegal but honorable way to settle disagreements during regency times. Duels were held at dawn at farms or town greens. Pistols or swords were the preferred weapons and that choice was decided by the person who hadn't provoked the duel. Both combatants would have seconds, or men who would first seek reconciliation and then attend to witness that the duel proceeded fairly. A doctor was usually in attendance. Many times, a duelist would delope, or fire into the air, as a way to retreat with honor. Afterward the attendees would eat breakfast at an inn or club. Women were not usually in attendance. I like how Francis shows the couple prominent in the Pan version of the book, but with others surrounding them in the Bantam edition. I've always like the heroine's yellow outfit on the Bantam cover, even though it was fuller than regency dress; the Pan version is closer to the style of the times. The hero is dressed in a formal style, which was sometimes popular at a duel to show bravery. Both covers are very beautiful.

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