Dialect in British Fiction: 1800-1836Funded by The Arts and Humanities Research CouncilSupported by The University of Sheffield
Full record including Speech Extracts
Caprice: or Anecdotes of the Listowel Family. An Irish Novel, in Three Volumes, by an Unknown.
Author Details
Author Name:Unknown
Gender:Unknown
Anonymous:Yes
Publication Details
Publisher:Sherwood Jones & Co. Paternoster-Row, and C.P. Archer, Dublin.
Place:London
Date:1824
Novel Details
Genre:Courtship; domestic; inheritance/identity; manners/society
Setting:Killarney; Dublin; Ireland
Period:Contemporary
Plot
Captain Listowel takes his daughter, Louisa, to be brought up by Mr. and Mrs. Kelly because his wife is too fashionable and weak to be a good mother. He reports to his wife that the daughter has died. The Listowels then go abroad for a number of years, leaving their other children (Edward and Mary) to be educated, before returning. Meanwhile, Mrs. Belmont, a vulgar woman from Cork, succeeds in marrying Jemima to the elderly Sir Offingdon Wilmot. Her son, Robert Belmont, stirs up trouble in various ways, particularly by making Elizabeth Listowel suspicious of her husband.
When the Listowels return they hire a tutor for Edward, Mr. Villars, and a French governess for Mary. Mary is very flighty and headstrong, she falls for Mr. Villars and pursues him relentlessly. They encounter Louisa and befriend her, although she is very conscious of her lowly place and behaves appropriately. The resemblance between Louisa and Mary is noticed, and it is assumed by several people that Louisa is an illegitimate daughter, possibly of Elizabeth Listowel. Meanwhile, Talbot has fallen in love with Louisa but he is destined to marry an heiress, and Louisa refuses to accept him when she is possibly tainted with illegitimacy. Villars convinces Mary that she does not love him, and she eventually happily marries Stockdale. Villars proposes to Louisa, but she refuses him because she loves Talbot.
The focus then switches to Villars, who it is revealed, is really a relation of Lord Ellismore. There is a lot of complicated inheritances, assumed identities and intended marriages that surround him and the woman he truly loves, Eleanor Dunstanville. A cousin, Sybella, is introduced as a villain who deceived Villars into thinking that he must flee in order to ensure Eleanor's happiness. The happy resolution is held off for an extended period. Louisa stays with Mary and Stockdale, but Robert Belmont stirs things up repeatedly so that Stockdale believes Louisa to be a bad influence. Louisa retreats to a lodging, but Robert informs Ellismore of the planned union between Talbot and Louisa and hastens to prevent it, but encounters Louisa's servant Judith in her place, and under the misapprehension that she is Louisa, Lord Ellismore forces Judith to marry her longtime love Patrick Brian. Eventually all the mistaken identities are revealed and Villars and Eleanor, Louisa and Talbot are married. It is also revealed that Robert and Sybella has secretly married, but in doing so have cut Sybella out of all her possible inheritances. They are miserable together and Robert eventually shakes Sybella to death before fleeing the country.
Overview of the Dialect
Judith, Louisa's maid, speaks regularly and at some length in an Irish accent. However, it is notable for not being very detailed or specific - a lot of it is general non-standard. Louisa is repeatedly described as speaking with a Kerry accent but this is not represented. The social climbing Mrs Belmont is repeatedly described as vulgar, and there is some evidence that she code-switches. Some other servants and minor character speak in a slight Irish accent, but these are always fleeting and not very different from Judith, so I have not captured all of these.
There is an interesting scene towards the end of the third volume when Judith is mistaken for Louisa, but people are confused by her accent. There is also an 'illiterate letter' by Judith vol 3 p. 54.
Displaying 5 characters from this novel    |    Highlight dialect features in each extract    |    Do not highlight dialect features in each extract
Speaker #1:Jenny - Maid servant
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Jenny
Gender:Female
Age:Adult - young
Narrative Voice:1st person
Role:Peripheral
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Maid servant
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Village outside Killarney
Place of Origin Category:Killarney, Kerry, West Ireland, Ireland
Speaker #2:MrsBelmont - Child of a wealthy grocer, married to gentleman (so social climber)
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Mrs Belmont
Gender:Female
Age:Adult - middle aged
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Significant
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Child of a wealthy grocer, married to gentleman (so social climber)
Social Role Category:Trade or craft
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Cork
Place of Origin Category:Cork, Munster, West Ireland, Ireland
Extract #1 dialect features:
Extract #2 dialect features:
Extract #3 dialect features:
Speakers: All , MrsBelmont
Speaker #3:Judith Donahoe - Mrs. Kelly's maid
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Judy
Gender:Female
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Significant
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Mrs. Kelly's maid
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Killarney
Place of Origin Category:Killarney, Kerry, West Ireland, Ireland
Extract #1 dialect features:
Extract #2 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Judith Donahoe
Extract #3 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Judith Donahoe
Extract #4 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Judith Donahoe
Extract #5 dialect features:
Speaker #4:Tenants - Tenants who have just helped bring in the harvest
Individual or Group:Group
Primary Identity:Tenants
Gender:Mixed
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Peripheral
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Tenants who have just helped bring in the harvest
Social Role Category:Respectable poor
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Killarney
Place of Origin Category:Killarney, Kerry, West Ireland, Ireland
Speaker #5:Poor old man - Poor old man, beggar
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Poor old man
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - elderly
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Peripheral
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Poor old man, beggar
Social Role Category:Destitute poor
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Near Killarney
Place of Origin Category:Killarney, Kerry, West Ireland, Ireland
Displaying 5 characters from this novel    |    Highlight dialect features in each extract    |    Do not highlight dialect features in each extract
Version 1.1 (December 2015)Background image reproduced from the Database of Mid Victorian Illustration (DMVI)