The Absentee is a book by Maria Edgeworth about the absentee irish landowners.The novel begins with three women gossiping about another woman's party. The Duchess of Torcaster, Lady Langdale & Mrs Dareville are snobbish society women & they're deciding whether or not they will go to Lady Clonbrony's gala. Lady Clonbrony is the wife of an Irish Lord who wants desperately to be accepted into London society. While society is quite willing to accept her hospitality, they also look down on her pretensions. Lady Clonbrony is a foolish woman, trying to ape the manners & accent of high society while being fleeced by fancy tradesmen & scorned by the very women whose circle she wants to enter. Lord Clonbrony has been prevailed upon by his wife to leave his Irish estates in the hands of land agents & move to London. Lady Clonbrony's fortune is long gone & Lord Clonbrony is out of his depth in London, bored with society & deeply in debt. Their son, Lord Colambre, has just returned from university & is shocked by the state of his parents' affairs.
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Colambre decides to go to Ireland to investigate his father's estates & see what can be done to remedy their financial situation. Colambre is a serious young man. He left Ireland as a child but is very aware of his family's responsibilities for their tenants. His mother tries to encourage a marriage with Miss Broadhurst, a rich heiress, but Colambre is in love with his beautiful, sensible, noble but penniless cousin, Grace Nugent. Grace was orphaned as a baby &, although her mother insisted that she was married to her father, no proof of the marriage could be found & her family cast her off. Colambre cannot allow himself to marry a woman whose mother was of questionable morals so he tries to ignore his feelings for Grace. Grace, meanwhile, has been brought up by Lady Clonbrony almost as a daughter & is much loved by her. However, it has always been made clear that a marriage between Grace & Colambre would be out of the question so Grace has honourably suppressed her feelings. Colambre's trip to Ireland becomes a quest to investigate Grace's origins as well as look over the family estates & discover where the money has gone.
The story is about how Colambre makes right decisions at the right time to work out his life again.
Best part of story, including ending:
The story is nice except for the fact that the social impact of absentee landlords on rural Ireland is somewhat boring.
Best scene in story:
When colambre and grace meet.
Opinion about the main character:
The sense of responsibilities that colambre shows was his best quality.