“Pharaoh’s Daughter” Part II by Georgette Heyer

Published in 1937 under the objectionable title “Lady, Your Pardon — it was changed by Woman’s Journal editor Dorothy Sutherland, who had a sad habit of renaming Heyer’s works — this short story would go on to be the inspiration for Georgette Heyer’s 1941 novel Faro’s Daughter.

Lighter in tone, and with a far less disagreeable hero, many of that novels plot points are nevertheless encompassed in this story, so SPOILER WARNING for Faro’s Daughter!

We  are pleased to publish the story here under the author’s preferred title.


PHARAOH’S DAUGHTER BY GEORGETTE HEYER

Deborah never played a more reckless game than the one where love was the stake.

II

IT was not until after ten that evening that he presented himself and gave up his hat and cane to the porter at the door. He knew the house of old, and needed no escorting to the gaming-rooms, which were up a flight of stairs, and occupied the whole of the first floor. They were decorated in a rococo style, and lit by clusters of candles in sparkling glass chandeliers. In the larger room a round table occupied the centre of the floor, at which were seated upwards of twenty punters, and the astonishing figure of Mrs. De Lisle herself, who held the bank.

That redoubtable lady was arrayed in gown of brocade, lavishly trimmed with lace, over a petticoat of scarlet flower damask. Her hair was piled up into the style known as the pouf à la Belle Poule, which consisted of a powdered erection rising to an immense height, and surmounted by a miniature ship in full sail.

“Harry!” Young Lord Lindon, who made up one of the number of onlookers who lounged behind the punters’ chairs, watching the run of the play, started forward to greet his cousin, a look of unfeigned pleasure on his face. “Why, this is famous! I had thought vou down in Hampshire!”

It was evident that no suspicions of his cousin’s errand had crossed his ingenuous mind, and as Sir Henry took one of the vacant chairs at the table he bent over him to say in his ear: “I must see you presently. I’ve something to tell you—someone I desire to make known to you.”

Sir Henry nodded, but felt a little startled. Certainly he had never played the mentor to the lad, but could Kit be so lost to all sense of his folly that he meant to confide the whole absurd story to him?

Mrs. De Lisle’s shrewd eyes raked the table, appraising the value of the stakes. She turned up two cards with a snap from the pack before her, and laid them down, one to the right and one to the left.

Sir Henry felt his cousin’s hand still resting on his shoulder, grip for a moment, as though unconsciously. It was abruptly removed. Lord Lindon moved away from the table, and Sir Henry, picking up his winnings, looked up quickly under his brows towards the double doors at the other end of the room. They were concealed by curtain of crimson velvet, hanging slightly apart, and a young woman had brushed her way between them and stood just inside the cardroom, one hand on her hip, her head turned over her shoulder to speak to the man behind her.

Sir Henry leaned back in his chair, and while a dispute raged between his hostess and one of the dowagers he had leisure to observe Miss Deborah Varley.

She was very tall: that was the first impression he had of her. She was fully as tall as Christopher, already standing at her elbow. A strapping wench, Sir Henry told himself. He heard her laugh at what the man behind her bent forward to whisper in her ear. Then she turned her head, and he saw her face.

Sir Henry, with a deliberation calculated enough to be faintly insolent, had raised his quizzing glass, but he lowered it again. Across the room grey eyes met grey, the one pair with an arrested look in them, the other at first indifferent, and then a trifle surprised. Miss Varley put up one eyebrow, and without betraying the least sign of discomposure, proceeded to stare Sir Henry out.

But it was a moment or two before he turned his attention to the game again. Mrs. De Lisle was watching him, her painted face sharp with intelligence, her eyes a little narrowed. “What’s your stake. Sir Harry?” she asked. “Playing high tonight, eh?”

He picked up a rouleau of fifty guineas, and laid it on the knave of diamonds. “Have at you, ma’am!” he said.

Continued >>>

PART I | PART II | PART III | PART IV | ILLUSTRATIONS


SOURCE: Heyer, Georgette. “Lady, Your Pardon.” The Australian Woman’s Weekly, 3 Apr. 1937.

NOW AVAILABLE! Acting on Impulse — Contemporary Short Stories by Georgette Heyer.

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“Pharaoh’s Daughter” Part I by Georgette Heyer

Published in 1937 under the objectionable title “Lady, Your Pardon — it was changed by Woman’s Journal editor Dorothy Sutherland, who had a sad habit of renaming Heyer’s works — this short story would go on to be the inspiration for Georgette Heyer’s 1941 novel Faro’s Daughter.

Lighter in tone, and with a far less disagreeable hero, many of that novels plot points are nevertheless encompassed in this story, so SPOILER WARNING for Faro’s Daughter!

We  are pleased to publish the story here under the author’s preferred title.


PHARAOH’S DAUGHTER BY GEORGETTE HEYER

Deborah never played a more reckless game than the one where love was the stake.

I

“AN adventuress!” said Lady Lindon deeply. “Her father was a gamester.”

“So was mine,” remarked her nephew, a grimace half-rueful, half amused twisting his lean face.

Lady Lindon closed her fan with a snap. “In the most gentlemanly way!” she said with asperity. “I have yet to learn that my poor brother junketted about the Continent keeping disreputable gaming-houses!”

“Was that the late Mr. Varley’s profession?”

“Certainly. I obtained the fullest intelligence from Fotherham. There can be no doubt. Moreover, her aunt, with whom she is now residing, keeps a gaming-house in St. James’ Square.”

“A Banking lady!” remarked Sir Henry. “Well, well! Did you say she was engaged to Kit?”

“It is a pity he is so rich,” went on Sir Henry. “I daresay she thought the title an inducement, too What a fool the boy is!”

“All young men are fools,” stated Lady Lindon. “Christopher must be saved from the consequences of his own folly. That, my dear Harry, is why I have sent for you.”

“Do you think you were wise, ma’am? I’ve no tact, you know.”

“Tact,” said her ladyship briskly, “is not needed. The creature must be bought off. You may depend upon it that that is her object.”

Sir Henry looked sceptical. “More likely she means to keep her claws in the lad.”

“Fiddle!” said Lady Lindon. “She must know very well that his family would never permit him to marry so disastrously.”

Sir Henry dragged himself out of his chair, and walked over to the fireplace. He was a tall, lean man, dressed in a plum-coloured coat and buff riding-breeches, and a plain cravat tied carelessly round his throat. “My dear ma’am, if this daughter of faro is determined, how is Kit’s family to prevent the marriage?”

Lady Lindon unfurled her fan again, and began to wave it to and fro. “I shall make inquiries into her past.” she announced. “Christopher’s eyes must be opened. You will see the young female, Harry, and I have little doubt that you will contrive to frighten her into releasing your unfortunate cousin from whatever promises he may have made.”

Sir Henry laughed. “You flatter me, ma’am, indeed you do!”

“Pray don’t be provoking, Harry! You must know very well how to deal with designing females. I suppose matters could be made unpleasant for that odious woman, her aunt.”

“Who is the aunt?” inquired Sir Henry.

“Mrs. De Lisle. She has been holding a faro bank for the last three years, and I’ve heard that the play is not above suspicion.”

Sir Henry gave a low whistle of surprise. “Old Sally De Lisle!” he exclaimed. “Now, who’d have thought of it? I know her quite well.”

“I imagined you might,” said his aunt austerely. “But if you can tell me how an innocent boy like Christopher can have got into her clutches I shall be grateful to you!”

“Why, that’s mighty touching, to be sure. I’ll see what I can do, ma’am.”

“I’ve no notion what the creature may demand, or how far he is pledged. I shall leave it to your discretion. Only do not fail. Harry!”

Continued >>>

PART I | PART II | PART III | PART IV | ILLUSTRATIONS



SOURCE: Heyer, Georgette. “Lady, Your Pardon.” The Australian Woman’s Weekly, 3 Apr. 1937.

NOW AVAILABLE! Acting on Impulse — Contemporary Short Stories by Georgette Heyer.

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QUIZ: Heyer Non-Fiction

Our latest weekly Georgette Heyer Quiz! To celebrate this week’s run of Heyer’s own non-fiction here at Heyer Society, today we’re quizzing you on non-fiction books about Heyer herself…

Georgette Heyer Quiz 18 — Heyer Non-Fiction

Think you know your Heyer? Let's see if you're a regular out and outer, or simply make a mull of it...

“The Horned Beast of Africa” by Georgette Heyer

WARNING! The below article contains frank descriptions of animal trophy hunting and images of slain rhinocerosES.

This article, and its accompanying images, appeared in London’s The Sphere newspaper on June 22nd, 1929. It is a frankly disturbing piece by today’s standards, but at the time this would have been a piece of great human interest to those far removed from Tanganyika’s (modern-day Tanzania’s) frontier, where Heyer and her husband Ronald Rougier had previously lived for about a year.

This is Heyer’s only known writing about her time in Africa. 


THE HORNED BEAST OF AFRICA BY GEORGETTE HEYER

UNIQUE : A record rhino whose horn grows straight outward from his snout instead o/ upward, shot by the husband of the author of the accompanying article.

In Karagwe, the northernmost corner of Tanganyika, lies west of Lake Victoria and east of Ruanda, the Mandated Belgian territory. I have lived for a year in a mining camp in this district, and I can truthfully assert that one of the most common beasts found there is the black rhinoceros. On account of them it was never safe to go more than a mile from the camp in any direction without a heavy rifle, and upon the march one has always to be on the lookout for a chance rhino. It is not nice to come suddenly upon one.

But they have their uses. They make paths that are flat and broad, with the tall grass trampled down, and in a country where there are no roads these are invaluable. I have walked for miles down rhino tracks, and I have been more fortunate than some in that I never once walked into the real owner of the path. My marching was done by day, of course, when the animal life is sleeping; I should not care to venture down one of these tracks at about four in the after-noon, when the rhinos are out for a constitutional.

The first time I saw one of these grotesque beasts I felt considerably scared, but as time went on I became a little blasé about them. Familiarity breeds contempt.

But it is not wise to despise the rhino. One never knows what he will do. Perhaps four times out of five he will make off, but there is always the fifth time, when he will charge like a swift tank, crashing through the undergrowth as though it were paper. Our car was several times chased by one, and we paced him by our speedometer and found that he was doing thirty-three to thirty-four miles an hour apparently without effort. Once under way—and it is surprising how quickly he can take off—there is nothing to stop him, for he weighs two tons.

Once, at six o’clock one morning, a rhino wandered right into our camp and was seen through the lifting mist not twenty yards from one of the houses. Panic seized the natives, who stampeded into the nearest compound; my husband came flying back to our house for his rifle, and awakened me with a shout of “Quick! there’s a rhino in the camp!”

THE CONQUEROR : The small Sealyham of the expedition posing as the slayer of the giant beast.

This was so thrilling a piece of news that I jumped out of bed, caught up a coat over my pyjamas, and hurried out after him. We found that the rhino had moved off slowly through the camp, followed by Mr. J. V. Oates, the first man on the scene, who presently shot it. My Sealyham terrier hastened up to the spot, full of importance, sniffed at the huge corpse rather scornfully, and turned away with the air of saying, “Dead, I see. Nothing for me to do here.” When told to get on the rhino’s back he did so without the slightest hesitation.

The hide of this rhino was made into whips. The horn of a rhino is not real horn at all, but is actually congealed hair. When it is freshly sawn off stubbly strands can be seen at the root; while round the base the hair is still growing, rather like a short wire brush. As the horn tapers it becomes smooth and polished, and one would scarcely believe that it could be made of hair.

The rhino with the rear horn longer than the front, seen in the third photograph, was an old cow shot on the Niergongo plain, miles from anywhere. The length of the rear horn is somewhat freakish, and only occurs in some of the old cows.

The young rhinos seem to stay with their mothers until they reach quite a mature age. Upon one occasion my husband was motoring down a rough road when he chanced to see some partridges ahead on the edge of a large clump of thorns. He stopped the car, got out with his shot-gun, and fired. Immediately there was a sudden tremendous commotion in the thorn-clump—a snorting and trampling and crashing. Three rhinos broke from the clump at full speed. They were a family of mother and father and well-grown son, and they came charging out, enraged by the sudden noise. Fortunately, they were too startled to make sure of their direction, and hurtled off, one through a bush, another across country, and the third over the road within a few feet of my husband.

The trio lived in that thorn-clump for several weeks, and waged a sort of guerilla warfare on our cars. After that first time they had no doubts as to the way they should charge, and when any car or lorry passed they would burst forth and charge after it full tilt. None of the trio had good horns, so we were loth to shoot them, but the situation was becoming really dangerous, and we were afraid we should have to blot them out. But as though they guessed our intention they suddenly elected to change their abode, and removed to some quieter spot much to our relief.

THE MARK OF THE FEMALE : A cow rhinoceros, with the enlarged rear horn which occurs only in old females.

The last rhino shot by my husband in the country was a freak, clearly heaven-sent, for the front horn is in a fair way to being the record for longest in Tanganyika. The rear horn is insignificant, but thick and heavy. The front horn measures 331/2 in from base to tip, and grew in the extraordinary fashion seen in the photographs. Instead of curving upwards, more or less at right angles to the head, it grew outwards, almost on a line with the snout.

My husband was returning to headquarters after a safari of several days and stopped at a village on the slopes of a hill above a dense valley. At a point below the village the valley was crossed by a small flay overgrown with coarse grass, some ant-hills, and some scrubby bushes. My husband was out after buffalo, but had no luck, and was just returning to the village when his gun-boy suddenly whispered “Look, B’wana! Rhino!”

About 200 yards off my husband could just see in the grass a rhino evidently feeding, for his head was down. In this position, owing to its curious growth, the enormous front horn was not visible, since it lay almost along the ground. My husband got out his Zeiss glasses, but could distinguish only the rear horn, which he took to be the front one. He was unimpressed, and decided not to shoot but to take a photograph.

There was no wind, so he slung his gun over his shoulder and crept cautiously up to within forty or fifty yards. But no sooner had he levelled the camera than a little breeze sprang up straight from him to the unconscious rhino. Up came the great head, sniffing at the air; there was a gasp from the gun-boy, and a startled whisper of : “B’wana, look at the horn!”

My husband took one look, saw this colossal horn above the grass, flung his camera to the boy, and grabbed his rifle. Just as the rhino, who happened to be in a bad temper, was about to start his charge my husband fired. The rhino checked, spun round in a half-citcle—sure sign of a good shot—and dashed behind a bush.

The huntsman quickly ejected the cartridge, and the rifle jammed. This meant that the second cartridge had to be ejected also, leaving only three in the magazine. This wasted a few seconds, then my husband ran forward, expecting either to see the rhino down or making off. Instead of this it came charging out from the other side of the bush with that great front-horn pointing straight at my husband’s solar plexus! My husband fired again at a range of thirty yards and got in a good neck shot. But even. as he ejected again he saw that the mad rush was not checked. On came the rhino, pouring blood at nose and mouth but seemingly undaunted. My husband fired a third time, and turned and ran!

He caught his foot in a tangle of undergrowth, fell, sprang up again, and turned to see the rhino standing still at the spot where he had last fired at it. He reloaded and gave the brute a fourth shot to finish him. Then at last the rhino went over, slowly at first, like a felled tree, and then with a crash.

Upon inspection every shot was found to be a killer. The rhino was a very old bull and correspondingly tough. He was the only one my husband had ever had trouble with in this way, since usually we have found that they go over at one good heart shot. As far as I know the horn is unique both in its size and its growth.


SOURCE: Heyer, Georgette. “The Horned Beast of Africa.” The Sphere, 22 Jun. 1929.

NOW AVAILABLE! Acting on Impulse — Contemporary Short Stories by Georgette Heyer.

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“How to Be a Literary Critic” by Georgette Heyer

Just a month after her biting essay on biographies of the Brontës appeared in Punch, Georgette Heyer let loose with an even more pointed attack in those pages, this time on literary critics.

Heyer was ever beset by critics across her writing life, and while rare was the poor review of her work, those still stung — as they do us all.

Read More ““How to Be a Literary Critic” by Georgette Heyer”

“Books About the Brontës” by Georgette Heyer

In 1958, UK magazine Punch featured this short piece by Georgette Heyer, with her thoughts about the proliferation of biographies about the Brontë family, including her own vision of what one of her own might look like.

With typical wit, obvious in-depth knowledge and more than a little exasperation, Heyer breaks down the facets of a successful Brontë-based scholarly work, while also weighing in with her opinion of the Brontës themselves…

Read More ““Books About the Brontës” by Georgette Heyer”

QUIZ: Pistols for Two Short Stories

Our latest weekly Georgette Heyer Quiz!

To celebrate the release of Acting on Impulse — Contemporary Short Stories by Georgette Heyer, this week we’re asking about the historical shorts that appeared in her first short story collection.

Can you name each of the eleven Georgette Heyer historical short stories, as published in Pistols for Two (1960), given only their original year of publication?

It’s tricky, we know, so hit the HINT button if you get stuck.

Go to it, Heyerites!

Illustrations from “The Old Maid” — Woman’s Pictorial (1925)

Georgette Heyer’s ninth published short story is definitely her most autobiographical, and was attributed to her pen name “Stella Martin.”

The story ran in Sovereign Magazine accompanied by these two lovely illustrations:

“The Old Maid” — with background and commentary — is now available to read in Acting on Impulse — Contemporary Short Stories by Georgette Heyer.

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Illustrations from “Love” — Sovereign Magazine (1923)

Georgette Heyer’s eighth published short story is her only tragedy (that we know of), and is set in the Georgian period.

The story ran in Sovereign Magazine accompanied by this illustration:

“Love” — with background and commentary — is now available to read in Acting on Impulse — Contemporary Short Stories by Georgette Heyer.

BUY IT HERE!

Illustrations from “The Chinese Shawl” — The Quiver (1923)

Georgette Heyer’s seventh published short story gives us the down-on-her-luck Mary, who happens to run into a man who has long wanted to marry her at a dance hall.

The story ran in The Quiver with this full-page illustration:

“The Chinese Shawl” — with background and commentary — is now available to read in Acting on Impulse — Contemporary Short Stories by Georgette Heyer.

BUY IT HERE!