Tarkington, Booth: Monsieur Beaucaire (Illustrated). v1, 27 February 2012
Tarkington's second published book (1900).
The setting is eighteenth century Bath, England. Before the action of the novel begins, Beau Nash, an historical figure who served as Master of Ceremonies of Bath, has ordered M. Beaucaire out of the public rooms because of his low status. Beaucaire has since established a reputation for honesty while gambling with English notables in private.
In the opening scene, Beaucaire threatens to expose the Duke of Winterset as a card-cheat unless he will take him to a ball and introduce him as the Duc de Chateaurien to Lady Mary Carlisle, “the Beauty of Bath." “Chateaurien” wins the lady’s affection and the admiration of Bath society. Then things go awry — an ambush by "highwaymen", an unhappy confrontation with Lady Mary, gossip and accusations — the outlook appears bleak indeed. All this, of course, leads up to the (not unexpected) grand reveal.
This short novel by the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author was adapted as a play in 1904, an operetta in 1919, films in 1924 and 1946, and served as the basis for the 1930 film “Monte Carlo”. (Information adapted from Wikipedia.)
Six full-page illustrations, and chapter decorations (pngs with alpha transparency for "cut-outs"). Following the examples set by those trail-blazers, Jellby and Zelda Pinwheel (thanks to both for generously sharing their knowledge!), I used illuminated drop caps, which are not supported by some readers.
This is a fast read (approx 120 pages in print, with HUGE margins). I hope you enjoy it!