- Cousin Henry
Title page to the first edition in book form.
Author(s) Anthony Trollope Country United Kingdom Language English Series Weekly: 8 March 1879 – 24 May 1879 Publisher Chapman & Hall Publication date October 1879 Media type Print (Serial, Hardback, and Paperback)
Of all Trollope's shorter novels, this one has been called one of his most experimental.
Indefer Jones is the aged squire, between seventy and eighty years of age, of a large manor, Llanfeare, in Carmarthen, Wales. His niece, Isabel Brodrick, has lived with him for years after the remarriage of her father, and endeared herself to everyone. However, according to his strong traditional beliefs, the estate should be bequeathed to a male heir.
His sole male blood relative is his nephew Henry Jones, a London clerk. Henry had, in the past, incurred debts that the squire had paid off, been "sent away from Oxford", and generally made a poor impression on his occasional visits to Llanfeare. Nevertheless, Henry is told of his uncle's intention to make him the heir to the estate and is invited to pay a visit. Isabel rejects her uncle's suggestion that she solve his dilemma by marrying Henry, as she cannot stand her cousin. Indefer Jones finds his nephew to be just as detestable as ever. As a result, he overcomes his prejudice and changes his will one final time, in Isabel's favour. Unfortunately, he dies before he can tell anyone.
Finding the document hidden in a book of sermons by accident, Henry vacillates between keeping silent and revealing its location. He is neither good enough to give up the estate nor evil enough to burn the document, fearing disgrace, a long jail sentence and, not least, eternal damnation. Instead, he comforts himself by reasoning that doing nothing cannot be a crime.
Indefer Jones had had his last will witnessed by two of his tenants, but since the will cannot be found despite a thorough search of the house, Henry inherits the estate. However, already extant suspicions are only strengthened by his guilty manner. He endures abuse from everyone; his own servants either quit or treat him with disrespect. He takes to spending hours in the library, where the will is hidden.
The local newspaper begins to publish accounts of the affair that are insulting and seemingly libelous to Henry. It accuses him of destroying the will and usurping the estate from Isabel, whom everybody knows and respects. The old squire's lawyer, Mr Apjohn, himself suspecting that Henry knows more than he lets on, approaches the new squire about the articles, pressuring the unwilling young man into taking legal action against the editor. Henry finds that this only makes things worse. The prospect of being cross examined in the witness box fills him with dread. He realises the truth would be dragged out of him in court.
Mr Apjohn, by clever questioning, gets a good idea about where the will is. Henry knows that time is running out, but once again procrastinates. Mr Apjohn and Mr Brodrick, Isabel's father, visit Henry at home and find the document, despite Henry's ineffectual efforts to stop them. Because he did not destroy the will, Henry is permitted to return to his job in London with his reputation intact and £4000, the amount Isabel was bequeathed in the other will.
- ^ Gilber Phelps. "Cousin Henry: An Introduction". victorianweb.org, published with the permission of "The Trollope Society". http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/trollope/tsociety/henry.html. Retrieved August 14, 2006.
Works by Anthony Trollope Single novels
The Macdermots of Ballycloran (1847) · The Kellys and the O'Kellys (1848) · La Vendée: An Historical Romance (1850) · The Three Clerks (1858) · The Bertrams (1859) · Castle Richmond (1860) · Orley Farm (1862) · The Struggles of Brown, Jones & Robinson (1862) · Rachel Ray (1863) · Miss Mackenzie (1865) · The Belton Estate (1866) · The Claverings (1867) · Nina Balatka (1867) · Linda Tressel (1868) · He Knew He Was Right (1869) · The Vicar of Bullhampton (1870) · Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite (1871) · Ralph the Heir (1871) · The Golden Lion of Granpère (1872) · Harry Heathcote of Gangoil (1874) · Lady Anna (1874) · The Way We Live Now (1875) · The American Senator (1877) · Is He Popenjoy? (1878) · John Caldigate (1879) · An Eye for an Eye (1879) · Cousin Henry (1879) · Ayala's Angel (1881) · Doctor Wortle's School (1881) · The Fixed Period (1882) · Kept in the Dark (1882) · Marion Fay (1882) · Mr. Scarborough's Family (1883) · The Landleaguers (1883) · An Old Man's Love (1884)
Chronicles of Barsetshire: The Warden (1855) · Barchester Towers (1857) · Doctor Thorne (1858) · Framley Parsonage (1861) · The Small House at Allington (1864) · The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867)
Palliser novels: Can You Forgive Her? (1865) · Phineas Finn (1869) · The Eustace Diamonds (1873) · Phineas Redux (1874) · The Prime Minister (1876) · The Duke's Children (1880)
Short story collections
Tales of All Countries--1st Series (1861) · Tales of All Countries--2nd Series (1863) · Malachi's Cove (1864) · Lotta Schmidt & Other Stories (1867) · An Editor's Tales (1870) · Christmas at Kirkby Cottage (1870) · Catherine Carmichael (1878) · Why Frau Frohmann Raised Her Prices and other Stories (1882) · The Two Heroines of Plumpington (1882) · Not If I Know It (1882)
The West Indies and the Spanish Main (1859) · North America (1862) · Hunting Sketches (1865) · Travelling Sketches (1866) · Clergymen of the Church of England (1866) · On English Prose Fiction as a Rational Amusement (1869) · The Commentaries of Caesar (1870) · Australia and New Zealand (1873) · New South Wales & Queensland (1874) · South Africa (1878) · How the 'Mastiffs' Went to Iceland (1878) · Iceland (1878) · Thackeray (1879) · Life of Cicero (1880) · Lord Palmerston (1882) · An Autobiography (1883) · London Tradesmen (1927) · The New Zealander (1972)
"Did He Steal It?" (1869) · "The Noble Jilt" (1923)
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