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Squire Petrick’s Lady – Thomas Hardy (1840—1928)
Thomas Hardy was born In Dorsetshire in 1840. At an early age he went to Dorchester to study architecture, and later to London. His first novel (published 1871) was read and appreciated by George Meredith, who saw it in MS. After fts publication Hardy returned to Dorchester, where he lived for over fifty years. Among his many volumes of fiction there are four collections of short stories. Hardy’s chief qualities—his grasp of character and his ability to create atmosphere—are observable in his short tales quite as clearly as in his greater and more extensive novels.

The present story is reprinted, by permission of the publisher, from A Group of Noble Dames, Macmillan and Co.
Squire Petrick’s Lady
From A Group of Noble Dames

Folk who are at all acquainted with the traditions of Stapleford Park will not need to be told that in the middle of the last century it was owned by that trump of mortgagees, Timothy Petrick, whose skill in gaining possession of fair estates by granting sums of money on their title-deeds has seldom if ever been equaled in our part of England.

Squire Petrick’s Lady – Timothy was a lawyer by profession, and agent to several noblemen, by which means his special line of business became opened to him by a sort of revelation. It is said that a relative of his, a very deep thinker, who afterwards had the misfortune to be transported for life for mistaken notions on the signing of a will, taught him considerable legal lore, which he creditably resolved never to throw away for the benefit of other people, but to reserve it entirely for his own.

However, I have nothing in particular to say about his early and active days, but rather of the time when, an old man, he had become the owner of vast estates by the means I have signified—among them the great manor of Stapleford, on which he lived, in the splendid old mansion now pulled down; likewise estates at Marlott, estates near Sherton Abbas, nearly all the borough of Millpool, and many properties near Ivell.

Squire Petrick`s Lady part 8

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Petrick prosecuted his inquiries elsewhere; and the upshot of his labors was, briefly, that a comparison of dates and places showed irrefutably that his poor wife`s assertion could not possibly have foundation in fact....

Squire Petrick`s Lady part 7

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The crisis came at last. One night, after having enjoyed the boy`s company for hours, he could no longer bear that his beloved Rupert should be dispossessed, and he committed the felonious deed of...

Squire Petrick`s Lady part 6

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It was in the peculiar disposition of the Petrick family that the satis-faction which ultimately settled in Timothy`s breast found nourishment. The Petricks had adored the nobility, and plucked them at the same time....

Squire Petrick`s Lady part 5

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As the child grew up, Timothy`s attachment to him grew deeper, till Rupert became almost the sole object for which he lived. There had been enough of the family ambition latent in him for...

Squire Petrick`s Lady part 4

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Timothy had scarcely noticed the unfortunate child that his wife had borne, after arranging for a meager fulfilment of his promise to her to take care of the boy, by having him brought up...

Squire Petrick`s Lady part 3

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Timothy Petrick, though a quick-feeling man, was not of a sort to show nerves outwardly; and he bore himself as heroically as he possibly could do in this trying moment of his life. That...

Squire Petrick`s Lady part 2

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At the time I am speaking of he was a man over eighty, and his son was dead; but he had two grandsons, the eldest of whom, his namesake, was married, and was shortly...

Squire Petrick`s Lady part 1

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Thomas Hardy (1840—1928)Thomas Hardy was born In Dorsetshire in 1840. At an early age he went to Dorchester to study architecture, and later to London. His first novel (published 1871) was read and appreciated...

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