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Authors: Catherine Palmer

The Courteous Cad

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the
Courteous Cad

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The Courteous Cad

Copyright © 2009 by Catherine Palmer. All rights reserved.

Cover illustration copyright © 2008 by Cliff Nielsen. All rights reserved.

Author photograph copyright © 2000 by Childress Studio. All rights reserved.

Designed by Jessie McGrath

Edited by Kathryn S. Olson

Published in association with the literary agency of Spencerhill Associates, P.O. Box 374, Chatham, NY 12037.

Scripture quotations are taken from
The Holy Bible
, King James Version.

Scripture quotations in Miss Pickworth’s Ponderings are taken from the
Holy Bible
, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organization, or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Palmer, Catherine, date.

The courteous cad / Catherine Palmer.

    p. cm. — (Miss Pickworth series ; #3)

ISBN 978-0-8423-7555-9 (pbk.)

I. Title.

PS3566.A495C68 2009

813’.54—dc22

2009027313

Printed in the United States of America

15 14 13 12 11 10 09
7   6   5   4   3   2   1

 

 

 

 

For my husband. I love you.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:16-17

Contents

Acknowledgments
One
Two
Three
Four
Five
Six
Seven
Eight
Nine
Ten
Eleven
Twelve
Thirteen
Fourteen
Fifteen
Sixteen
Seventeen
Eighteen
Nineteen
Twenty
Twenty-one
Miss Pickworth’s Ponderings
A Note from the Author
About the Author
The Affectionate Adversary

Acknowledgments

M
Y THANKS
to everyone at Tyndale who helped bring Miss Pickworth and her friends to life: Kathy Olson, Ron Beers, and Karen Watson. Also I thank those in design, sales, marketing, public relations, author relations, and all who see my books from manuscript to bookshelf. My gratitude also to Becky Nesbitt and Anne Goldsmith Horch, who now work elsewhere but are certainly not forgotten.

I also thank my husband, Tim Palmer, whose guiding pen is always the first to cross the pages I write. Thank you, honey. Bless you, Andrei and Geoffrey, for loving and supporting good ol’ mom. May God richly bless you all.

And most of all, thank You, Lord, for holding me by the hand.

One

Otley, Yorkshire
1817

“I shall never marry,” Prudence Watson declared to her sister as they crossed a busy Yorkshire street. “Men are cads, all of them. They toy with our hearts. Then they brush us aside as if we were no more than a crumb of cake at teatime. A passing fancy. A sweet morsel enjoyed for a moment and soon forgotten.”

“Enough, Prudence,” her sister pleaded. “You make me quite hungry, and you know we are late to tea.”

“Hungry?” A glance revealed the twitch of mirth on Mary’s lips. Prudence frowned. “You think me silly.”

“Dearest Pru, you
are
silly.” Mary raised her wool collar against the cold, misty drizzle. “One look at you announces it to all the world. You’re far too curly-haired, pink-cheeked, and blue-eyed to be taken seriously.”

“I cannot help my cheeks and curls, nor have they anything to do with my resolve to remain unmarried.”

“But they have everything to do with the throng of eligible men clamoring to fill your dance card at every ball. Your suitors send flowers and ask you to walk in the gardens. On the days you take callers, they stand elbow to elbow in the foyer. It is really too much. Surely one of them must be rewarded with your hand.”

“No,” Prudence vowed. “I shall not marry. I intend to follow the example of my friend Betsy.”

“Elizabeth Fry is long wed and the mother of too many children to count.”

“But she obeys a calling far higher than matrimony.”

“Rushing in and out of prisons with blankets and porridge? Is that your friend’s high calling?”

“Indeed it is, Mary. Betsy is a crusader. With God’s help, she intends to better the lives of the poor women in Newgate.”

“Better the lives of soiled doves, pickpockets, and tavern maids?” Mary scoffed. “I should like to see that.”

“And so you will, for I have no doubt of Betsy’s success. I shall succeed, too, when God reveals my mission. I mean to be an advocate for the downtrodden. I shall champion those less fortunate than I.”

“You are hardly fortunate yourself, Pru. You would do better to marry a rich man and redeem the world by bringing up moral, godly, well-behaved children.”

“Do not continue to press me on that issue, Mary, I beg you. My mind is set. I have loved and lost. I cannot bear another agony so great.”

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