The Children of the Abbey ranks alongside Alonzo and Melissa as one of the all-time great cheesy novels. First published in 1796, it was reprinted over and over throughout most of the 19th century.
Where Alonzo and Melissa never got over its fascination with Connecticut—even while the action ranged from South Carolina to France and England—Children of the Abbey is in love with the British Isles. Wales, Ireland, Scotland: if it’s on the map, our heroine will end up there. And if the author can’t find a way to transport her in person, we’ll get a character speaking in dense dialect instead.
This ebook is based on the single-volume 1877 Philadelphia edition. Apparent errors were corrected from two early editions: 1800 (fourth edn., vols. II-IV of four, long s) and 1816 (eighth edn., vols. I-II of four).
Chapter numbering in Volume III of the 1800 (fourth) edition is I, II, III, IV, VI, V, VI, VII...
Quotation marks were left as printed except when there was an obvious mismatch. Where the ends of two nested quotations coincide, only one set of quotation marks (single or double) was printed.
Unexpected spellings were changed if the 1800 or 1816 edition had the expected form.
There are many differences in wording between the earlier and later editions. In general, differences were left as printed unless there was a clear error. French words such as ton, sang froid (two words), vingt-un, éclat were printed without italics in the 1877 edition.
Any “dialect” spellings (chiefly Welsh and Irish) were left as printed.
Some early spellings were replaced with their “modern” forms in later editions. Forms such as double quotation marks and verbs in -ize may be either conservative or American.
In the 1877 edition, the place name “St. Catherine’s” is usually spelled “St. Catharine’s”. “Enniskillen” is always “Enniskellen”.
The word “dismission” occurs several times; “good humoured” is always written as two words
“doat” (modern “dote”) used consistently
“wo” (modern “woe”) alone and in compounds
“shew” alongside “show”
“accessary” alongside “accessory”
to-night : to night (and similarly “to morrow”)
endings in -ize and -ise, -our and -or (honor, favor)
centre but centered; fulfil but fulfilled, -ing
extasy : ecstasy
villany : villainy
teaze : tease
final -st : -ssed and similar (prest : pressed, stopt : stopped)