Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
The Mating of Lydia
Mary Augusta Ward (1851–1920)
Mating of Lydia, The, by Mrs. Humphry Ward (1913). The scene of this story is laid in England, in the Lake country, and it deals largely with the affairs of a pretty and unworldly young artist named Lydia Penfold, She lives in a simple way with her widowed mother and her sister Susan, and ekes out the family income with her painting. By her charm and beauty Lydia wins the heart of Lord Tatham, a rich young land-owner who desires to marry her. Lydia, however, who is not dazzled by wealth or position, refuses his offer because she does not love him. She later becomes interested in a young barrister, named Claude Faversham, who is acting as private secretary for a rich and tyrannical old man named Edmund Melrose. Twenty years before, Melrose had brought to his Cumbrian estate an Italian wife, many years his junior, whom he had treated with harshness and cruelty. When no longer able to endure existence with him, Netta Melrose had taken her little daughter Felicia and fled with her to her own country. Since that time she had been forced to subsist on a pittance of eighty pounds a year which was all her millionaire husband would allow for the support of his wife and child. Melrose meanwhile, having a mania for collecting curios, had spent his money lavishly on his hobby. After having lived for years as a recluse, Melrose at last becomes interested in young Faversham, who having been thrust upon his hospitality by being brought to his house when seriously injured, finally becomes a necessity to him as a companion. Melrose makes Faversham manager of his estate, paying him a fabulous salary, and also makes him his heir on the condition he will not interfere with his own harsh measures to his tenants. Faversham, who is an honorable man and had hoped to better the terrible existing conditions, agrees to the management, feeling it will only be temporary as Melrose is aged and infirm. Lydia, however, is terribly disappointed in the man she had learned to love and refuses his offer of marriage. Melrose is secretly murdered by one of his ill-treated tenants and Faversham is accused of the crime. The real murderer confesses his guilt, Faversham is acquitted, and makes over all his inheritance to Melrose’s wife and daughter who have reappeared upon the scene. Lydia then marries Faversham and Lord Tatham consoles himself with Felicia Melrose.  1

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