Dialect in British Fiction: 1800-1836Funded by The Arts and Humanities Research CouncilSupported by The University of Sheffield
Full record including Speech Extracts
Lister, Thomas HenryArlington: a novel
Author Details
Surname:Lister
First Names:Thomas Henry
Gender:Male
Anonymous:No
Publication Details
Publisher:Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street.
Place:London
Date:1832
Novel Details
Genre:Biography; courtship; crime; inheritance/identity; manners/society; political
Setting:London; Northern Estate; Lake District
Period:Contemporary
Plot
Lord Arlington is found murdered on his estate. A local man, Clarkson, is accused of murder on the basis of the testimony of Arlington's son. Clarkson is acquitted at trial, although still under general suspicion because he doesn't have an alibi. Arlington's lawyer, Holford, acts strangely throughout the trial. The new lord Arlington is educated under the usual regime of boarding school followed by Cambridge. He then enters the House of Lords. He is not a bad person, but he receives rather a lot of flattery and does not exert himself very much. He launches into society and makes various friends, but has only one true friend, Hargrave, who is busy being a lawyer. Arlington becomes romantically interested in Lady Alice Rochdale, but his friend Denbigh contrives to break it up by advising the Rochdales that it looks as though their daughter is fortune-hunting. The Rochdales are then cold to Arlington, who feels rebuffed.
Meanwhile Lady Saville decides to ensnare Arlington for her orphan niece Julia, although secretly Julia has feelings for his friend Beauchamp. Lady Saville invites Arlington to a house party with theatricals, and eventually Arlington proposes. However, an American arrives and declares himself to be the real inheritor of the Arlington estates, with documents to prove it. At trial the American wins the day, and Arlington finds that his supposed friends and fiancee abandon him. However, his old lawyer Holford works tirelessly on his behalf and eventually tracks down Clarkson. At a second trial, Clarkson sensationally reveals that he gave the American documents for revenge and payment. Holford has persuaded Clarkson to tell the truth by promising to pay him and reveal that he, Holford, was the accidental murderer of Lord Arlington, which will clear Clarkson's name. However, the American interloper murders Clarkson before he can benefit from any of this, and it is also revealed that Clarkson was planning to murder Lord Arlington, which is why he was in the area without an alibi in the first place. Holford confesses all to Arlington, who declares he is still loyal to his former guardian. Holford dies of shame and grief.
Arlington is now thoroughly disgusted with society and retires to a neglected Northern estate and some years pass. Eventually his old friend Hargrave visits him and is very impressed with all the good work he is doing on his estate, and the fact that he is keeping up to date with current affairs and contributing the odd sensible political pamphlet. However, Hargrave also tells Arlington that just as originally he was too uncritical of society, he is now too dismissive of it and that he has a duty to public service. They debate various philosophical issues (at frankly tedious length - it feels a bit as though the book is being padded out). Hargrave persuades Arlington to travel with him to the Lakes where they 'accidentally' bump into the Rochdales. It is revealed that Hargrave is a good friend of the Rochdales, and when he discovered that Lady Alice was still in love with Arlington, he set out to bring them together. It all ends happily with Arlington learning the importance of the 'golden mean'.
Overview of the Dialect
Some various bits of dialect are represented, chiefly of servants on a North of England estate and an American. There is not a lot of detail, however. It is very noticeable for some excellent metalinguistic commentary on the practice of dialect representation in novels as a whole.
Displaying 7 characters from this novel    |    Highlight dialect features in each extract    |    Do not highlight dialect features in each extract
Speaker #1:Mr Jackson - Steward
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Steward
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Minor
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Steward
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Works on an estate in 'one of the Northern counties of England'
Place of Origin Category:North England, England
Speaker #2:Park-keeper - Game keeper
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Park-keeper
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Minor
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Game keeper
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Works on an estate in 'one of the northern counties of England'
Place of Origin Category:North England, England
Speaker #3:American - American and pretender to a title that is not his.
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:American
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - young
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Significant
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:American and pretender to a title that is not his.
Social Role Category:Yeoman
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:America
Place of Origin Category:America
Speaker #4:Landlady - Fat landlady
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Landlady
Gender:Female
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Minor
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Fat landlady
Social Role Category:Trade or craft
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Works on estate in the North of England
Place of Origin Category:North England, England
Speaker #5:Jem - Ostler
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Jem
Gender:Male
Age:Youth
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Minor
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Ostler
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Works on an estate in 'one of the Northern counties of England'.
Place of Origin Category:North England, England
Speaker #6:Clarkson - Former steward (sacked) - note that his speech changes a lot during novel
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Clarkson
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Significant
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Former steward (sacked) - note that his speech changes a lot during novel
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Worked on estate on 'one of the Northern counties of England'
Place of Origin Category:North England, England
Speaker #7:Hargrave - Lawyer
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Hargrave
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - middle aged
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Significant
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Lawyer
Social Role Category:Professional
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Unspecified, presumably England
Place of Origin Category:England
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)