Read The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth Free Online
Book Title: The Absentee|
The author of the book: Maria Edgeworth
Edition: Echo Library
Date of issue: September 1st 2007
ISBN 13: 9781406862898
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 454 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1255 times
Reader ratings: 7.5
Read full description of the books:
The Absentee is a novel by Maria Edgeworth, published in 1812 in Tales of Fashionable Life. From what I've read of the author Maria Edgeworth, she was a prolific writer of both adults' and children's literature. She held advanced views, for a woman of her time, on estate management, (which is what the book is about) politics and education, and corresponded with some of the leading literary and economic writers, including Sir Walter Scott and David Ricardo. When I read that she corresponded with Scott and David Ricardo, I had two thoughts. The first was I wondered if people who knew Scott back when he was writing would tell him how wonderful his books were or would they tell him they can't make heads or tails out of what the characters in his novels are saying written in such a strong Scottish dialect. Lines like this are still in my head:
"Our folk had tirled the dead dragoons as bare as bawbees before we were loose amaist.—But when I saw the Whigs a' weel yokit by the lugs to ."
"Then sic a flyting as there wad be between them, a' about Whig and Tory," continued Jenny.
"To be sure," said Cuddie, "the auld leddy 's unto kittle in thae points."
And as for my other question:
"David Ricardo (18 April 1772 – 11 September 1823) was an English political economist. He was one of the most influential of the classical economists, along with Thomas Malthus, Adam Smith, and James Mill."
Sounds awful. Anyway, it is Maria Edgeworth who wrote ,The Absentee so it is to Maria and her book I will return to. There are a few things I learned about our author while reading her book that I found interesting, and odd. The first is about her father.
"Maria Edgeworth was born at Black Bourton, Oxfordshire. She was the second child of Richard Lovell Edgeworth (who eventually fathered 22 children by four wives) and Anna Maria Edgeworth (née Elers); Maria was thus an aunt of Francis Ysidro Edgeworth (whoever that is). She spent her early years with her mother's family in England, until her mother's death when Maria was five. When her father married his second wife Honora Sneyd in 1773, she went with him to his estate, Edgeworthstown, in County Longford, Ireland.
Maria was sent to Mrs. Lattafière's school in Derby after Honora fell ill in 1775. After Honora died in 1780 Maria's father married Honora's sister Elizabeth (then socially disapproved and legally forbidden from 1833 until the Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act 1907).
Not only did her father have 22 children, but he managed to support them all (I guess since it doesn't say they starved to death), and kept getting women to marry him each knowing how many children he had which would grow with each wife he had. I'm not sure I could survive being a step-mother to twenty children. Another thing I learned and puzzled over is:
"In 1802 the Edgeworths toured the English midlands. They then travelled to the continent, first to Brussels and then to Consulate France (during the Peace of Amiens, a brief lull in the Napoleonic Wars). They met all the notables, and Maria received a marriage proposal from a Swedish courtier, Count Edelcrantz. Her letter on the subject seems very cool, but her stepmother assures us in the Augustus Hare Life and Letters that Maria loved him very much and did not get over the affair quickly."
Well, if she loved him and he loved her why didn't she marry him? He did ask her. Oh well, it seems she didn't marry him and they returned to Ireland in 1803. And now on to our story:
The story of THE ABSENTEE is a very simple one, it is about Irish landlords living in England, that's mostly what it's about anyway. For some reason all the Irish landowners, the nobility of the country get the idea that London is the place to be if you want to be part of high society, I don't know why, so off to England everybody goes. Everybody who owned property that is. They leave their estates in the hands of agents or stewards and off they go never to be seen again. Well, not for a while anyway. Some of these agents and stewards are very good men taking very good care of the property and the people living there. Others, however, are not doing a very good job with what they have been given, they are doing the exact opposite, letting the people live in poverty, letting the land go wild again, the buildings are run down and not even safe to live in, although people still do, on and on, and the owners, even if they would care, aren't there to see it. They are living in high society in London. And this is exactly who are main characters are and what they are doing, the Clonbrony family, Lord, Lady, and their son, our main character, Lord Colambre. I can't remember his first name which is odd, you'd think his being the main character I would be able to remember his full name, but I can't. There is also Grace Nugent, cousin to Lord Colambre, she lives with the Clonbrony family ever since her parents died, of what I don't remember.
Lord Clonbrony does care about his land and his people, but he isn't brave enough to take his family back to Ireland, his wife refuses to leave her position in London society. And Lord Colambre cares, but his parents refuse to return to Ireland, and besides all that, they don't really know how bad things are because Lord Clonbrony has complete faith in his steward. As the book opens we find that Colambre has just returned home, he had been away from school, and it doesn't take him long to find out how deep in debt his father is. Living in London and keeping up appearances has put him into so much debt he knows that any day the bill collectors could be knocking at the door and they would be thrown out of their London mansion. Lady Clonbrony refuses to hear how bad things are, she won't listen to a word her husband or son say on the subject. She does know they are in serious trouble though, for she has arranged a marriage between Colambre and a wealthy heiress Miss Broadhurst who has money but no title, while Colambre has a title but no money. You can probably see where this is going, at least in the beginning of the novel, for Colambre ends up in Ireland under a false name going among the people and finding out the true condition of their estate he hasn't seen since he was a child. He is alone when he is there, no Miss Broadhurst in sight, so he hasn't married her yet.
One of the things that bothered me and had me wanting to go into the book and give one of our main characters a piece of my mind is when he falls in love with the "perfect" girl. He will do anything for her, she is beautiful, her voice is beautiful, she is kind, good, all that stuff, until he finds out that her father and mother weren't married - something the love of his life doesn't even know. Now, of course he still loves her, but he can't marry her, and is glad he never made his feelings known, for after all, her parents weren't married. I would have been yelling at him if he were here. My parents weren't married when I was born, they weren't married until a few years later and I never knew it. Not until I was 18 years old, give or take a year, and my aunt felt I needed to know the "truth" about my parents and I should try to not hate them when I know the truth. My mother is in tears while I'm wondering if my parents are really bank robbers or some such thing, and I'm told they weren't married when I was born. I think I disappointed my aunt because I said then the same thing I say now, "Who Cares!"
Anyway, that's most of what the book is about, landowners leaving their lands, spending all their time and money in London, stewards, agents, Lords and Ladies, and a couple of love stories thrown in. Overall I liked the book and definitely would read it again, except (see, there's always a problem with me), the way words are sometimes in all capital letters with no reason or pattern I can follow, here are a few examples:
"A party of superlative fashionables, who had promised TO LOOK IN UPON HER, but who, late as it was, had not yet arrived."
"Lady Clonbrony was so astonished by this impudence of ingratitude, that she hesitated how to TAKE IT; but Miss Nugent, quite coolly, and with a smile, answered, 'A DAY!—certainly—to you, who gave us a month!'
"Miss Nugent had seen him always in large companies, where he was admired for his SCAVOIR-VIVRE."
"Mr. Berryl's education, disposition, and tastes, fitted him exactly for the station which he was destined to fill in society—that of a COUNTRY GENTLEMAN"
" It had occurred to her ladyship that for Miss Somebody, THE COMPANION, of whom she had never in her life thought before, she had omitted to leave a card last time."
"No general officer could talk of his victories, or fight his battles o'er again, with more complacency than Sir Terence O'Fay recounted his CIVIL exploits. "
"She spoke of HER PRIVATE BELIEF; of THE IMPRESSION LEFT UPON HER MIND; and her CONFIDANTIAL reasons for thinking as she did; of her 'having had it from the FOUNTAIN'S head;' and of 'her fear of any COMMITTAL of her authorities.'
....."he saw it long and long before the Union, when FIRST he drank claret at the fashionable clubs."
"He will OBLIGE you, but he will not obey you; he will do you a favour, but he will not do you JUSTICE; he will do ANYTHING TO SERVE YOU, but the particular thing you order he neglects; he asks your pardon, for he would not, for all the goods in his warehouse, DISOBLIGE you; not for the sake of your custom, but he has a particular regard for your family."
"Upon some occasion, one of her friends VENTURED to fear that something she had said was TOO STRONG."
You get the idea. I tried reading it out loud saying the uppercase letters loud, but I thought it sounded silly. Anyway, I am done, I think, and I'm ready to move on to the next book. Well, I'm probably moving on to cleaning the house, a group from our church meets here tonight. Happy reading, without the uppercase letters, it's 4 stars, 3 1/2 with.
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Read information about the authorEdgeworth was an Anglo-Irish gentry-woman, born in Oxfordshire and later resettling in County Longford. She eventually took over the management of her father's estate in Ireland and dedicated herself to writing novels that encouraged the kind treatment of Irish tenants and the poor by their landlords.
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