Saturday, 14 February 2009

A Valentine post

Ann said that we should do a romantic St. Valentine's day post.

I had a look round on t'internet - googling "Fitzhenry love" isn't as pervy as you would think.

I found this synopsis of a romantic novel written in 1794: "Lord Fitzhenry, a novel in 3 volumes" by Miss Elizabeth Gunning. The synopsis has been written by Morgan Smith of the University of Nebraska.

Here's a flavour of a Georgian romance....
Lord Fitzhenry is the story of a young English aristocrat. The son of the Earl and Countess of Uxington, Fitzhenry is still working on his extended education when the novel begins. He had decided to study on the continent, but first his family is going to take a holiday in Wales. This pleases Fitzhenry a great deal because his best friend Frederic Wardour is from an estate very near his parents' Welsh lodging.
Surprisingly, though, Wardour declines to accompany them. Apparently, the young Wardour has been promised to a local young woman. Wardour is extremely distressed about this because he thinks of her more as a sister. Fitzhenry's curiosity is piqued by the situation and asks to receive a letter of introduction for Wardour's parents with the ulterior motive of seeing the intended, Miss Melmoth.

This, of course, turns out poorly for Fitzhenry. Within moments of meeting Miss Melmoth, he is overcome by her beauty and charm......
For our regular readers, there is no such title as the Earl of Uxington.

Nor is there an Earl of Arlingford, the title held by the father of Lord Ernest Fitzhenry as featured in the novel "A Marriage in High Life" by Lady Charlotte Bury, published in Paris in 1836 for the European market.
You can read the whole novel on Google books and here's the opening lines.
Towards the end of a London spring, that is to say, about the middle of August, was married by special license, at her father's house in Harley Street, Emmeline Benson to Ernest, Lord Fitzhenry, only son of the Earl of Arlingford.

The ceremony was like most others of its kind; the drawingroom was crowded with relations and friends on both sides, dressed in congratulatory smiles, and new bridal finery.
Back in the real world, I had a great-great aunt Elizabeth Maria Fitz-Henry who was known as Valentine. Her daughter was Valentine Dongray. This post is also for them, the only real life Valentines that I have in the world-wide Fitz(-)henry database.

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  1. Synopsis of "A Marriage in High Life" for those who have neither the time nor inclination. It's really not one of the great classics...

    Dissolute Fitzhenry marries innocent Emeline and treats her appallingly. Marriage saved by Fitzhenry's trusted friend. Fitzhenry dies of consumption having been forgiven by his wife and having found religion. Much mourning and wearing of black.

  2. You mentioned Elizabeth Maria Fitz-Henry and her daughter Valentine Dongray. That daughter also had a daughter Valentine too!
    Here is the daughter of Elizabeth's entry at my site about the Dongray name. Her page has links to parents, her husband, and all her children, plus links to the entire Dongray family tree.