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Stories Before 1850. 0079: Miss H. D. C., The Orphan

Author: C., Miss H. D.
Title: The Orphan, or the history of Thomas Freeman and Emily Saunders. By Miss. H. D. C.
Cat. Number: 0079
Date: No date but c.1815-1832
1st Edition:
Pub. Place: London
Publisher: Published for the Author by D. N. Carvalho, 147, Fleet Street
Price: Unknown
Pages: 1 vol., 24pp. plus two pages of advertisements
Size: 17.5 x 10.5 cm
Illustrations: Frontispiece, illustration on title-page plus two further pages of wood engravings
Note: Outside front cover, with illustration, is missing from digitisation. On the inside front cover an unused gift label has been affixed. An MS. inscription on title-page bears the date 22 October 1846 and the name Torwerth (?) Grey Lloyd

Images of all pages of this book

Page 003 of item 0079

Introductory essay

David Nunes Carvalho was certainly publishing from 147 Fleet Street from 1837 to 1854 (Brown 1982: 33). That this book might date from slightly earlier is suggested by the date of the gift label affixed to the inside front cover: 1832. Though the label remained usused, an inscription on the title-page of the book reveals that the book was in use in 1846, when it passed into the possession of Torwerth Grey Lloyd. Who he was has been impossible to discover, despite his august name. Judging from the text itself, the intended reader of the equally anonymous Miss H. D. C.'s book was probably well-to-do and under ten years old. All words of more than one syllable are broken up with hyphens, suggesting that the book was designed for new readers (although this is rather undermined by the use of some lengthy words - 'e-ja-cu-la-ted' for instance - and the occasional use of rather sophisticated irony: see p.8). And the protagonists themselves each possess an array of toys and are expected to learn Latin, suggesting an affluent intended audience.

The story itself is simple, and offers some fairly conventional endorsement of reading and social intercourse as the best means of improving children. Thomas Freeman becomes an orphan and is taken to live with his uncle, Mr. Saunders. While Mr. Saunders is kind to him, Mrs. Saunders is over-protective of her spoiled daugher, Emily. This Cinderella-type story continues for a little while, with Emily and her mother rebuffing Thomas's attempts to become part of the family and only Mr. Saunder's attentions making his life bearable. Things begin to change when Mr. Saunders encourages Thomas to read a story, one of the 'Short Sto-ries for good Child-ren' which his mother used to read to him. His reading competency, Emily's desire to emulate him, and the companionship of other children, eventually bond Thomas and Emily together and they become friends. By the end of the story, indeed, when they have both grown into upstanding young adults, they have become man and wife.

Brown, Philip A. H., London Publishers and Printers, c.1800-1870, London: British Library, 1982