Vice Avenged A Moral Tale Author:Lolah Burford "AN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FAIRY TALE, frankly unserious, frankly unrealistic, for a realistic, serious Age. . . . Why is it a fairy tale? Because it is an unlikely combination of the novel of manners with the novel of sex, and in it uninvolvement becomes involvement, the inhuman human, and power becomes powerless." — They were sitting about in the ... more »rakehell club one night, the Marquis and his special friends, a pall of boredom over their usual high spirits. Surfeited with gambling and other gentlemanly dissipations, they rose eagerly to the bait when the Viscount Lisle proposed a dangerous new game: the ravishment of a virgin of good family, the name of the maiden to be chosen by lot; her deflowerer to be chosen by a round of cards. The winner is young Marquis Bysshe Gore; his unknowing victim the lovely Cressida, daughter of the stern Duke of Salisbury. The stakes are high, and proof of success demanded.
The wager made and the task accomplished, the young peer returns to the club with Cressida's nightgown and a lock of her hair. But the conquering noble has acquired a cunning and obdurate enemy, the Duke of Salisbury. A fellow club member has turned informer, and the consequences are dire. The Duke's avenging of his daughter's honor is diabolically wrought, with what appears to be the coup de grace for Bysshe Gore. However, fate-in the form of a cataclysmic historical event-at last intervenes. This, like all good moral tales, has a proper ending.
"Vice Avenged: A Moral Tale" is a miraculous novel to encoungter today when such literary treats have all but vanished. It is as evocative of another time and other ways as, say, "Tom Jones, The Scarlet Pimpernel, or Beauty and the Beast." Yet, for all its being an elegant period piece, it is thoroughly in the modern idiom. And, not the least of its virtues, it is a dazzling love story with all the time-honored ingredients.« less