Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
Facey Romford had the reputation of being the most impudent man in the country. Because his first name was Francis and he kept a hound or two, strangers sometimes mistook him for the rich and sporting Francis Romford, Esq., owner of Abbeyfield Park. Facey was always willing to profit by the other Mr. Romford’s name and reputation and never contradicted that false impression. In fact, he kept for use on some of his own correspondence a broad seal of the right Mr. Romford’s crest, a turbot sitting on its tail on a cap of dignity, taken from an envelope in which Squire Romford had redirected a dunning shoemaker’s bill intended for Facey but delivered in error at Abbeyfield Park.
Facey lived on expectations. Early in life, he had elected himself heir to his cattle-jobbing uncle, Mr. Francis Gilroy, whose farm he was supposed to look after during the old man’s business trips. Living in lodgings in the village, Facey spent his days hunting and fishing on other men’s properties, his evenings playing on his flute or estimating the amount he would someday inherit. On occasion, under the influence of a third glass of gin, the figure rose as high as thirty thousand pounds.
Uncle Gilroy died suddenly, leaving all his worldly goods to the wife and numerous progeny he had been maintaining secretly in a London suburb. When his sharp-tongued widow arrived with her brood to take possession of the farm, Facey realized there was no hope for him in that...
(The entire section is 2663 words.)
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