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.
The chapters don’t have titles, so I’ve given the first line instead. Good luck!
- [ 1] Hail, sweet asylum of my infancy!
- [ 2] Fitzalan, the father of Amanda, was the descendant of an ancient Irish family
- [ 3] A gentle noise in her chamber roused Amanda from a light refreshing slumber
- [ 4] Mine eyes were half closed in sleep.
- [ 5] After tea Amanda asked little Betsey to accompany her in a walk
- [ 6] While Amanda was at breakfast the next morning, Betsey brought a letter to her
- [ 7] Howell was no stranger to the manner in which hours rolled away at the cottage
- [ 8] The moment he thought he could see Amanda, Mortimer hastened to the cottage
- [ 9] Amanda was sitting in the recess in the garden
-  The raptures of this meeting surpassed description
-  Oscar’s regiment, on his first joining it in Ireland, was quartered in Enniskellen
-  “Well, colonel,” said Oscar, “I fancy I was not mistaken . . .
-  To begin then, as they say in a novel, without further preface, I was the only child of a country curate
-  The night was waning fast, and Adela rose to depart as her friend concluded her story
-  Castle Carberry, to which our travellers were going, was a large Gothic pile
-  The solitude of Castle Carberry was interrupted, in less than a fortnight, by visits and invitations from the neighbouring families.
-  The following evening they were engaged at a farmer’s
-  Solitude to Amanda was a luxury, as it afforded her opportunities of indulging the ideas on which her heart delighted to dwell
-  At the expected time, the marquis and his family arrived
-  The wished for night at length arrived, and Amanda arrayed herself for it with a fluttering heart
-  The next morning brought Sir Charles Bingley to Castle Carberry
-  Lord Mortimer had, in reality, departed with sentiments very unfavourable to Amanda
-  A month after the departure of Lord Mortimer, the Rosline family left Ulster Lodge.
-  The dejection of Amanda gradually declined, as the idea of seeing Lord Mortimer again revived.
-  In the drawing-room were already assembled the marquis, marchioness, Lady Euphrasia, Miss Malcolm, and Freelove.
-  Amanda was sitting alone in the drawing room one morning, when a gentleman was shown into it
-  In an emotion of surprise at so unexpected a visit, the book she was reading dropped from Amanda, and she arose in visible agitation.
-  Lord Mortimer, distrest by the indisposition of Amanda, hastened, at an earlier hour than usual (for his morning visits) to Portman Square
-  From that evening, to the day destined for the ball, nothing material happened.
-  Amanda had fainted soon after Colonel Belgrave entered the carriage, and she was reclining on his bosom in a state of insensibility, when Lord Mortimer past.
-  Many years are now elapsed since I took up my residence in this sequestered hamlet.
-  The weakness which Amanda felt in consequence of her late illness, and the excessive sickness she always suffered at sea, made her retire to bed immediately on entering the packet
-  She remained a considerable time in a state of insensibility, and, when recovered, she found herself in a bed lain upon the floor, in a corner of the outside room
-  Sister Mary recovered her with difficulty, but found it impossible to remove her from the cabin till she was once more composed.
-  It will now be necessary to account for the sudden appearance of Lord Mortimer at the convent.
-  The fatigue, distress, and agitation of Amanda could no longer be struggled with
-  The turbulence of grief, and the agitation of suspense, gradually lessened in the mind of Amanda
-  But a shock more severe than those she had lately experienced was yet in store for our hapless heroine.
-  Joy is as great an enemy to repose as anxiety. Amanda passed an almost sleepless night, but her thoughts were too agreeably employed to allow her to suffer for want of rest
-  Lord Cherbury hastened to support and calm her agitation, by assuring her Lord Mortimer was in perfect safety.
-  Amanda went to her chamber the moment Lord Mortimer departed
-  A fortnight passed in this way, and she began to feel surprise and uneasiness at not hearing from Mrs. Dermot
-  Among Mrs. Macpherson’s pupils were two little girls, who pleased and interested Amanda greatly.
-  “My dear, dear Fanny,” said Mrs. Duncan, addressing our heroine by her borrowed name
-  Experience convinced Amanda that the change in her situation was, if possible, more pleasing than she expected it would be.
-  The next evening Amanda’s patience was put to the test; for after tea, Mrs. Duncan proposed a walk
-  “Adoring the Power who has given me means of making restitution for my injustice, I take up my pen to disclose to your view, oh! lovely orphan of the injured Malvina
-  The emotions Amanda experienced from reading this narrative, deeply affected, but gradually subsided from her mind
-  Bitterly did Amanda regret having been tempted from the inn
-  She alighted from the carriage when it stopped at the door, and entered the shop
-  “To open our hearts to those we know will commiserate our sorrows, is the sweetest consolation those sorrows can receive
-  Amanda had not reached the parlour when the door opened, and Mrs. Connel came from it
-  We shall now account for the incidents in the last chapter.
-  I left it with the idea that I might no more behold Adela
-  The ensuing morning Oscar, Amanda, and Sir Charles, began their journey.
-  Overwhelmed with grief and disappointment at the supposed perfidy of Amanda, Lord Mortimer had returned to England
-  “But, my love,” cried Lord Cherbury, as he wiped away the tears which pity and horror at the fate of Lady Euphrasia had caused Amanda to shed
-  Adela, on the death of her father, was taken by Belgrave to England
Cheat Sheet: Names in A—a
If you have trouble remembering who’s who, there’s a good reason. All told, I found seven female characters whose names fit the A—a pattern:
||the heroine: Oscar’s sister, Malvina’s daughter
||Oscar’s love interest
||Malvina’s younger half-sister, later Marchioness of Rosline
||the second Lady Dunreath: mother of Augusta, stepmother of Malvina (gives her full name at the end of chapter XLVII)
||Lady Araminta Dormer, Lord Mortimer’s sister, niece of Lady Martha Dormer
||one of the Kilcorbans
||Sister Agatha (organist, mentioned in chapter XVIII)
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...
||[Vols. III, IV]
Language and Typography
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)