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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 301 pages of information about The Absentee.

’"If you knew all she endures to look, speak, move, breathe like an Englishwoman, you would pity her,"’ said Lady Langdale.

’"Yes, and you cawnt conceive the peens she TEEKES to talk of the TEEBLES and Cheers, and to thank Q, and, with so much TEESTE, to speak pure English,"’ said Mrs. Dareville.

‘"Pure cockney, you mean,” said Lady Langdale.’

Lord Colambre, the son of the lady in question, here walks across the room, not wishing to listen to any more strictures upon his mother.  He is the very most charming of walking gentlemen, and when stung by conscience he goes off to Ireland, disguised in a big cloak, to visit his father’s tenantry and to judge for himself of the state of affairs, all our sympathies go with him.  On his way he stops at Tusculum, scarcely less well known than its classical namesake.  He is entertained by Mrs. Raffarty, that esthetical lady who is determined to have a little ‘taste’ of everything at Tusculum.  She leads the way into a little conservatory, and a little pinery, and a little grapery, and a little aviary, and a little pheasantry, and a little dairy for show, and a little cottage for ditto, with a grotto full of shells, and a little hermitage full of earwigs, and a little ruin full of looking-glass, to enlarge and multiply the effect of the Gothic....  But you could only put your head in, because it was just fresh painted, and though there had been a fire ordered in the ruin all night, it had only smoked.

’As they proceeded and walked through the grounds, from which Mrs. Raffarty, though she had done her best, could not take that which nature had given, she pointed out to my lord “a happy moving termination,” consisting of a Chinese bridge, with a fisherman leaning over the rails.  On a sudden, the fisherman was seen to tumble over the bridge into the water.  The gentlemen ran to extricate the poor fellow, while they heard Mrs. Raffarty bawling to his lordship to beg he would never mind, and not trouble himself.

’When they arrived at the bridge, they saw the man hanging from part of the bridge, and apparently struggling in the water; but when they attempted to pull him up, they found it was only a stuffed figure which had been pulled into the stream by a real fish, which had seized hold of the bait.’

The dinner-party is too long to quote, but it is written in Miss Edgeworth’s most racy and delightful vein of fun.

One more little fact should not be omitted in any mention of the absentee.  One of the heroines is Miss Broadhurst, the heiress.  The Edgeworth family were much interested, soon after the book appeared, to hear that a real living Miss Broadhurst, an heiress, had appeared upon the scenes, and was, moreover, engaged to be married to Sneyd Edgeworth, one of the eldest sons of the family.  In the story, says Mrs. Edgeworth, Miss Broadhurst selects from her lovers one who ‘unites worth and wit,’ and then she goes on to quote an old epigram of Mr. Edgeworth’s on himself, which concluded with,’There’s an Edge to his wit and there’s worth in his heart.’

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