favourite of the old ladies, the Philander of the young.
One unfortunate evening Sir Lionel Garrett was introduced to the celebrated Duchess of D. From that moment his head was turned. Before then, he had always imagined that he was somebody--that he was Sir Lionel Garrett, with a good-looking person and eight thousand a-year; he now knew that he was nobody unless he went to Lady G.'s and unless he bowed to Lady S. Disdaining all importance derived from himself, it became absolutely necessary to his happiness, that all his importance should be derived solely from his acquaintance with others. He cared not a straw that he was a man of fortune, of family, of consequence; he must be a man of ton; or he was an atom, a nonentity, a very worm, and no man. No lawyer at Gray's Inn, no galley slave at the oar, ever worked so hard at his task as Sir Lionel Garrett at his. Ton, to a single man, is a thing attainable enough. Sir Lionel was just gaining the envied distinction, when he saw, courted, and married Lady
There's a decent short mystery story buried in the pages and pages of this ponderously long novel, all covered up with interminable literary discussions, endless political machinations, lengthy culinary digressions and dull descriptions of duller society parties, few of which have much to do with advancing the plot. The murder, which doesn't take place till two-thirds of the way through, and has an immediately obvious solution, forms a minor part of the book, which must be considered more of a Bildungsroman or a comedy of manners. It isn't a very good example of either. This book supposedly made Bulwer-Lytton's reputation as a novelist, but for modern readers it's a snooze.