The impecunious Lady Fortescue, widowed and alone save for two loyal, unpaid servants, has sold off almost all of the furnishings in her large Bond Street home and faces a grim future as a member of the aristocracy too proud to seek employment or charity, yet too poor to survive on the infrequent largess of wealthy relatives oblivious to her plight. Salvation arrives in the unlikely form of old Colonel Sandhurst, an equally impoverished retired military man who falls at her feet in a hunger-induced faint one afternoon in Hyde Park. The two decide to join forces: the Colonel will share Lady Fortescue's home, and they will invite others of their station and situation to live with them and pool their resources. Thus is born what eventually becomes one of London's most popular hotels, The Poor Relation, to which the nobility flocks to enjoy the novelty of being waited upon by members of their own class.
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