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A novel by Thackeray, published in numbers, 1857–9.

The novel takes up the story of the Esmond family of The History of Henry Esmond, and mainly concerns the fortunes of Esmond's twin grandsons, George and Harry Warrington, in America and England. Their mother is Esmond's only daughter Rachel. When George disappears in a military expedition against the French and is presumed dead, Harry, now the heir, visits England, and meets his Castlewood relations. Under their influence Harry plunges into gambling and dissipation, and is inveigled into an engagement to his much older cousin, Maria. He is arrested for debt and imprisoned in a spunging‐house. He is rescued by the sudden reappearance of George, who has escaped from the French. Maria releases Harry from his engagement, since he is no longer heir to a fortune. But when George falls in love with and marries Theo, the daughter of a poor soldier, General Lambert, rather than an American heiress, his mother cuts off his allowance, and he is only saved from penury by becoming the heir of Sir Miles Warrington, of the English branch of the family. Harry has become a favourite of the rakish old Baroness Bernstein, the former Beatrix Esmond, and she leaves money to him in her will. Harry joins the army, and is with Wolfe at the capture of Quebec. He falls in love with Fanny Mountain, the daughter of his mother's housekeeper, and marries her rather than Hetty Lambert, Theo's sister, who is in love with him. When the War of Independence breaks out, Harry joins Washington, and George, who is in the British army, resigns his commission rather than run the risk of fighting against his brother. He settles on the Warrington estates in England, and gives up the Virginian property to Harry.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811—1863) novelist

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