Notes from The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth

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“‘Miss Nugent is indeed – very much attached to you, mother, I am convinced,’ said lord Colambre, beginning his sentence with great enthusiasm, and ending it with great sobriety.” – p. 17

“… I can assure your ladyship, my daughter would often rather go to a book than a ball.” – pg. 47

“Mr. Beryl’s education, disposition, and tastes, fitted him exactly for the station which he was destined to fill in society – that of a country gentleman; not meaning by that expression a mere eating, drinking, hunting, shooting, ignorant, country squire of the old race, which is now nearly extinct; but a cultivated, enlightened, independent English country gentleman – the happiest, perhaps, of human beings.” – pg. 48

“… all that strange creature sir Terence says is algebra to me, who speak English.” – p. 68

“Lady Dashfort had dealt long enough with human nature to know, that to make any man pleased with her, she should begin by making him pleased with himself.” – p.100.

“You know the Portugese proverb says, ‘You go to hell for the good things you intend to do, and to heaven for those you do.'” – p. 102

“In this house, above and below stairs, including first and second table, housekeeper’s room, lady’s maids’ room, butler’s room, and gentleman’s, one hundred and four people sit down to dinner every day … beside kitchen boys, and what they call char-women, who never sit down, but who do not eat or waste the less for that; and retainers and friends, friends to the fifth and sixth generation, who ‘must get their bit and their sup;’ for, ‘sure, it’s only Biddy,’ they say…” pg. 104.

“They who are best acquainted with the heart or imagination of man will be most ready to acknowledge that the combined charms of wit, beauty, and flattery, may, for a time, suspend the action of right reason in the mind of the greatest philosopher, or operate against the resolutions of the greatest heroes.” p. 127

Word List

  • crush-room = “waiting-room or hall at an opera house or theatre”
  • over head and ears
  • duns
  • replevying
  • doing up
  • encoinière
  • en flute
  • en suite
  • chancelière = “footmuffs; cushions (or perhaps boxes) furred on the inside and with an opening on one side”
  • aërial tint = “atmospheric blue”
  • scagliola
  • porphyry
  • pique oneself = pride oneself on
  • josses = “Chinese figures of deity”
  • demi-saison = “style intermediate between past and coming season”
  • off-hand
  • whiffling it off
  • whiffler = “insignificant person”
  • thumping
  • peach pies
  • go off
  • get her off
  • snuggery = “small, cozy room”
  • connaissance de fait = “factual knowledge, voice of experience”
  • orgeat
  • in sober earnest
  • sçavoir-vivre = “knowing how to behave, being well bred”
  • douceur
  • garrone
  • cross-corners = kitty corner
  • dasher = “people who like to ‘cut the dash'”
  • off-handed
  • impromptu fait à loisir = “unpremeditated action made without effort”
  • glove money = pin money
  • in petto
  • longanimity
  • Limerick lace
  • buckeen
  • keeping all tight = right & tight
  • chuffiness = “clownishness, surliness”
  • Iceland moss
  • diluent = “diluting; able to thin the bodily fluids”
  • ci-devant
  • personage muet = “mute, character with no speaking part”
  • pattern-women = “ideal women”
  • dead-letter office = “department of the post office dealing with unclaimed or undeliverable letters.”
  • tinpennies
  • at a dead lift = “in extremity”