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Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite was a mighty person in Cumberland, and one who well understood of what nature were the duties, and of what sort the magnificence, which his position as a great English commoner required of him. He had twenty thousand a year derived from land. His forefathers had owned the same property in Cumberland for nearly four centuries, and an estate nearly as large in Durham for more than a century and a half. He had married an earl's daughter, and had always lived among men and women not only of high rank, but also of high character. He had kept race-horses when he was young, as noblemen and gentlemen then did keep them, with no view to profit, calculating fairly their cost as a part of his annual outlay, and thinking that it was the proper thing to do for the improvement of horses and for the amusement of the people. He had been in Parliament, but had made no figure there, and had given it up. He still kept his house in Bruton Street, and always spent a month or two in London. But the life that he led was led at Humblethwaite, and there he was a great man, with a great domain around him,—with many tenants, with a world of dependants among whom he spent his wealth freely, saving little, but lavishing nothing that was not his own to lavish,—understanding that his enjoyment was to come from the comfort and respect of others, for whose welfare, as he understood it, the good things of this world had been bestowed upon him. He was a proud man, with but few intimacies,—with a few dear friendships which were the solace of his life,—altogether gracious in his speech, if it were not for an apparent bashfulness among strangers; never assuming aught, deferring much to others outwardly, and showing his pride chiefly by a certain impalpable noli me tangere, which just sufficed to make itself felt and obeyed at the first approach of any personal freedom. He was a handsome man,—if an old man near to seventy may be handsome,—with grey hair, and bright, keen eyes, and arched eyebrows, with a well-cut eagle nose, and a small mouth, and a short dimpled chin. He was under the middle height, but nevertheless commanded attention by his appearance. He wore no beard save a slight grey whisker, which was cut away before it reached his chin. He was strongly made, but not stout, and was hale and active for his age.
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About the Author
Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) was one of the most successful, prolific, and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. Some of his best-known books collectively comprise the Chronicles of Barsetshire series, which revolves around the imaginary county of Barsetshire and includes the books The Warden, Barchester Towers, Doctor Thorne, and others. Trollope wrote nearly 50 novels in all, in addition to short stories, essays, and plays.