Sir Montgomery Suet was particularly fond of his youngest daughter, Atora. Her heart shaped face and innocent cow like eyes were his every delight, and she had been a great comfort to him since the death of his wife Millicent. But a gambling debt was a gambling debt, and being unable to come up with five hundred guineas, he was bound to give her up to be married to Sir Stanley Ogden, the Fourth Viscount of Weatherfield.
It mattered not that the Viscount may not be quite to Atora’s taste, it was a case of needs must, and being the resourceful girl that she was, she would soon get used to married life with a man who’s obvious wealth and means made up for any other deficiencies in his person.
When Atora heard the news of her father’s intentions for her, she sobbed into her pillow for three consecutive nights, and point blank refused to attend to either of the Viscount’s balls, or even to entertain the idea of placing her dainty finger into his ring.
Ogden’s valet, the young, tall, dark, muscular, flashing eyed Harry Stirrup was the only person from Ogden’s entourage who could actually get her to stop sobbing long enough to speak, and once, when he tempted her to feed a sugarlump from her tiny hands to the Viscount’s thoroughbred Stallion in the stables, he actually made her laugh. It sounded like tiny tinkling bells being dropped into the waters of a pool, still but for the playing of an ornamental fountain.
“Ohh… Harry…” She murmured “if… Only… I… Were … To… Be Married …. To You… Instead of… That wicked… Vis… Cunt”
“You mustn’t say things like that Atora” said Harry, then without realising what he was doing he swept her into his arms and stared into her big brown eyes. He reached to touch her lips with his own.
“No! I cannot!” He cried in anguish and tossed her off into the hay with tears in his eyes.
The next day the Viscount had the distressed Atora bundled into the back of his carriage, and with Harry sat atop, in control of the horses, they set off along the deserted turnpikes for Weatherfield.
After stopping for refreshment at Leicester Forest East, they decided to travel on, the night being a clear one, lit by a bright full moon. They were making good progress when a strong voice broke out through the still night air, causing an owl to fly away in haste.
“Stand And Deliver,”
It was none other than Dick Moist, the notorious Highwayman, brandishing a musket in each of his hands.
“You shall have none of my riches” cried the Viscount, “but if you spare me I shall let you take this young girl, who I was going to have for my wife”
Moist kept a musket trained on the Viscount, putting down the other so that he could roughly grab Atora by the chin and turn her head towards his.
Quick as a flash and as silently as Rudolph Valentino, Harry leapt down from the top of the carriage and snatched up the discarded musket and shot the highwayman dead. As he dropped to the ground, Moist reflexively squeezed the trigger of the other musket, fatally shooting the Viscount in the face.
Harry discovered enough booty in the highwayman’s sack to allow him to live well for the rest of his life, and under olden days law, it was legally his. He and Atora were married at once.
On their wedding night, after they had had it off, Atora snuggled up to Harry..
“My darling… I am… So…. Happy”
“So am I my sweetness”
Atora’s father ended up in a home for dissolute gamblers. They used to visit him now and again, when they weren’t busy snogging.