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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 214 pages of information about Abbeychurch.

PREFACE.

Rechauffes are proverbially dangerous, but everyone runs into them sooner or later, and the world has done me the kindness so often to inquire after my first crude attempt, that after it has lain for many years ‘out of print,’ I have ventured to launch it once more—­ imperfections and all—­though it is guilty of the error of pointing rather to a transient phase of difficulty than to a general principle.  The wheels of this world go so quickly round, that I have lived to see that it would have been wiser in the clergyman to have directed rather than obstructed the so-called ‘march of intellect.’  I have lived also to be somewhat ashamed of the exuberant outpouring of historical allusions, which, however, were perfectly natural among the set of girls from whom my experience was taken:  but these defects, as well as the more serious one of tyrannical aversion to vulgarity, are too inherent in this tale to be removed, and the real lesson intended to be conveyed, of obedience and sincerity, of course remains unchanged.

The later story was a rather hasty attempt to parody the modern sensation novel, as Northanger Abbey did the Radclyffe school, but it makes the mistake of having too real a mystery.  However, such as they are, the two stories go forth in company, trusting that they may not prove too utterly wearisome to be brought forward this second time.

May 9th, 1872,

ABBEYCHURCH

OR

Self-control and self-conceit.

CHAPTER I.

One summer afternoon, Helen Woodbourne returned from her daily walk with her sisters, and immediately repaired to the school-room, in order to put the finishing touches to a drawing, with which she had been engaged during the greater part of the morning.  She had not been long established there, before her sister Katherine came in, and, taking her favourite station, leaning against the window shutter so as to command a good view of the street, she began, ’Helen, do you know that the Consecration is to be on Thursday the twenty-eighth, instead of the Tuesday after?’

‘I know Lizzie wished that it could be so,’ said Helen, ’because the twenty-eighth is St. Augustine’s day; but I thought that the Bishop had appointed Tuesday.’

’But Papa wrote to him, and he has altered the day as Papa wished; I heard Mamma and Mr. Somerville talking about it just now when I went into the drawing-room,’ answered Katherine.

‘Will everything be ready in time?’ said Helen.

‘Dear me!’ cried Katherine, ’I wonder if it will.  What is to be done if that tiresome Miss Dighten does not send home our dresses in time?  We must go and hurry her to-morrow.  And I must get Mamma to go to Baysmouth this week to get our ribbons.  I looked over all Mr. Green’s on Monday, and he has not one bit of pink satin ribbon wide enough, or fit to be seen.’

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