Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Harry Coningsby is fourteen years old when he meets his grandfather, the Marquis of Monmouth, for the first time. He was placed in his grandfather’s charge when he was very young with the understanding that his widowed mother, a commoner, was never to see him again. He was turned over, sight unseen, to the care of Mr. Rigby, a member of Parliament who sat for one of Lord Monmouth’s ten boroughs.
Lord Monmouth, who preferred to live abroad, returns to his native land in 1832 in order to help fight the Reform Bill. Hearing favorable reports of his grandson, he orders Mr. Rigby to bring the boy from Eton to Monmouth House. Unfortunately, young Coningsby is unable to put out of his mind thoughts of his mother, who died when he was nine years old, and he bursts into tears at the sight of his grandfather. Lord Monmouth, disgusted by this sign of weakness, orders him to be led away. He thinks to himself that the sentimental boy’s future probably lies with the church. Fortunately, the boy becomes friendly with the marquis’s guests, Princess Colonna and her stepdaughter, Lucretia. The princess passes on such glowing descriptions of Coningsby to his grandfather that they are on excellent terms by the time he returns to school.
At Eton, one of Coningsby’s close friends is Oswald Millbank, a manufacturer’s son. When Coningsby leaves Eton in 1835, he explores Manchester’s factories before going to Coningsby Castle to join his grandfather....
(The entire section is 1186 words.)
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