"I've A Great Fancy To See My Own Funeral Afore I Die"
Context: Blessed–or, according to many critics, cursed–by having a father who not only pushed her into writing but also carefully revised her work, Miss Edgeworth presents a strange figure to moderns. With her father she wrote several books on education, a subject that Mr. Edgeworth hoped to reduce to scientifically provable steps, but she was an incurable romantic, not the calculating rationalist that was her father's ideal of the proper female. In strictest secret she wrote this novel and gave it to her father only after it was printed; thus it is unique among her fiction. It is the long monologue of one of her most delightful characters, Thady Quirk, the homely tenant of the Rackrents whose tale he slowly unfolds. Through the creation of this character, Miss Edgeworth often lets her imagination run wild for the sake of comedy. The quotation comes from one of these sections: Thady is describing Sir Condy, the last of the Rackrents, whose triumph was to have his funeral before he died so that he could hear that people said of him at his wake, a triumph that soured because nothing remarkable was said.
"Thady," says he, "all you've been telling me [about the civil things said of him] brings a strange thought into my head: I've a notion I shall not be long for this world any how, and I've a great fancy to see my own funeral afore I die."