The complicated pleasures of a good book

More from Tallis…

Tallis Steelyard


It has to be confessed that Elisa Doon was not a conventional young lady. Her father, Mandrak Doon was a wealthy man, in parts, a usurer, lawyer, merchant adventurer and (quietly and with never a mention to anybody else) a philosopher. Elisa was considered beautiful, with elegant carriage and delightful manners. But it must be said that some of her contemporaries, (and all of their mothers) considered her flighty and no-better-than-she-should-be. The reason for this was that she was a great reader.
Some young ladies will take a novel with them when they go to a dance. It acts as camouflage. It means that if the gentlemen are too befuddled to recognise true beauty and thus neglect to ask them to dance, they can claim they never noticed, so engrossed were they in their book.

If Elisa took a novel with her when she went to a dance, it was…

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