Dialect in British Fiction: 1800-1836Funded by The Arts and Humanities Research CouncilSupported by The University of Sheffield
Full record including Speech Extracts
Marcella; or, the Missionary Abroad and at Home. Containing Sketches and Incidents from Life. In Two Volumes.
Author Details
Author Name:Unknown
Gender:Unknown
Anonymous:Yes
Publication Details
Publisher:J. Hatchard and Son, 187, Piccadilly.
Place:London
Date:1828
Novel Details
Genre:Courtship; didactic/moralising; domestic; manners/society; political; sentimental; social commentary
Setting:Bristol, Wales, Isle of Wight
Period:Contemporary
Plot
This is an odd novel. It clearly sets out to be an explicitly religious novel, and it has a thumping great moral to it, as well as some rather miscellaneous parts.
Marcella and Henry lose their mother and are raised as Methodists. Marcella has a large fortune. They meet the Montague family. The sisters are unpleasant but the brother falls for Marcella. He attends a Methodist meeting and falls for her further, but is not religiously converted. Montague gets a clerical living from a relative despite his lack of religious commitment. He is jealous of Claudius Howard, a humble clergyman who is in love with Marcella but doesn't believe that he stands a change with her. Claudius resigns so as to get some distance from her, but this creates an emotional scene.
Marcella goes to Bristol for 2 month so Montague takes a curacy there and makes his move on her. She isn't convinced. Howard is in love with her, resigns his curacy and takes a missionary post in India. There's a long bit of Indian family history inserted for no very clear reason.
Henry is to marry Louisa Austin, Marcella is to marry Montague. There is quite a lot of social chitter-chatter and intrigue represented as their various circles learn of the matches, and make remarks on the Methodism of Marcella and Henry. Marcella becomes aware of how well ill-suited she is to Montague and how far apart they are in religious terms. She wants to break off her engagement. Marcella and Montague marry and set up house, but his father dies leaving no money so none of their house is paid for. Marcella is very busy with her various charitable works. She begins to regret her marriage, and that the family she has married into is concerned with ephemeral matters rather than serious concerns.
Montague is arrested for his debts. Marcella is told by a servant who heard via a letter from her brother. Marcella rushes to try to sort it out, but becomes very ill. Charles Howard arrives home and arranges for Montague's release. Marcella is very ill. They travel to Paris for her convalescence. Here Montague becomes very ill and dies; Marcella returns home. Eventually she marries Howard who is now quite rich, and all ends happily with everyone doing good work. There is an explicit strong moral about not marrying infidels and unbelievers.
Overview of the Dialect
Most of the characters are from the higher orders and so speak Standard English. Occasionally, however, they encounter characters from the lower orders (e.g. the lobster fisher and his family) in order to dispense moral advice, and these characters speak in a non-standard. There are also occasions where servants deliver plot points - as in the letter to Martha Jones, and the old gardener and again these characters are nonstandard.
Note that although there seems to be some specific placing (e.g. the Isle of Wight, Bristol, possibly even Wales) the nonstandard is very generic and includes both definite article reduction and 'bean't'.
Displaying 7 characters from this novel    |    Highlight dialect features in each extract    |    Do not highlight dialect features in each extract
Speaker #1:Man making a delivery - Coachman
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Man making a delivery
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Peripheral
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Coachman
Social Role Category:Trade or craft
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Appears in Portsmouth, but actual background unclear
Place of Origin Category:England
Speaker #2:Bill - Lobster fisher
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Bill
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - young
Narrative Voice:1st person
Role:Minor
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Lobster fisher
Social Role Category:Respectable poor
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Isle of Wight
Place of Origin Category:Isle of Wight, South East England, England
Extract #1 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Bill, Susy, Billy, interlocutor
Extract #2 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Bill, interlocutor
Extract #3 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Bill, interlocutor
Speaker #3:Susy - Wife of lobster fisher
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Suzy
Gender:Female
Age:Adult - young
Narrative Voice:1st person
Role:Minor
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Wife of lobster fisher
Social Role Category:Respectable poor
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Isle of Wight
Place of Origin Category:Isle of Wight, South East England, England
Speaker #4:Billy - Child, son of lobster Fisher
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Little Billy
Gender:Male
Age:Child
Narrative Voice:1st person
Role:Peripheral
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Child, son of lobster Fisher
Social Role Category:Respectable poor
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Isle of Wight
Place of Origin Category:Isle of Wight, South East England, England
Speaker #5:John Jones - Servant
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:John Jones
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - young
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Peripheral
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Servant
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Not clear whether it is Wales or London
Place of Origin Category:Unspecified
Extract #1 dialect features:
Speakers: All , John Jones
Extract #2 dialect features:
Speakers: All , John Jones
Extract #3 dialect features:
Speaker #6:Tomkins - Gardener
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Old gardener
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - elderly
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Minor
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Gardener
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Unspecified
Place of Origin Category:Unspecified
Extract #1 dialect features:
Extract #2 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Tomkins, interlocutor
Speaker #7:Mrs Tomkins - Gardener's wife
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Mrs Tomkins
Gender:Female
Age:Adult - elderly
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Peripheral
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Gardener's wife
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Unspecified
Place of Origin Category:Unspecified
Displaying 7 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)