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The Country House

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Country House.pdf | Language: ENGLISH

This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.

John Galsworthy was a Nobel-Prize (1932) winning English dramatist, novelist, and poet born to an upper-middle class family in Surrey, England. He attended Harrow and trained as a barrister at New College, Oxford. Although called to the bar in 1890, rather than practise law, Galsworthy travelled extensively and began to write.

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Book details

  • PDF | 308 pages
  • Nabu Press (August 28, 2010)
  • English
  • 8
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By NyiNya on August 29, 2013

    Having read The Forsyte Sage (at least the Soames and Irene part, not the next generation's sagas), I had a moderate affection for Galsworthy. Very moderate. A Country House is a lesser piece of work, but for me, a preferable one.We meet the protagonists at a country weekend. Squire Pendyce, a man who believes in the Old Ways when it comes to running his estate, is hosting friends for a few days of card games and killing small animals. He frowns on independence in his villagers and farmers. Among his own friends, he frowns upon hunters who pepper the beaters legs with shot, claim game not their own, espouse Populist causes and become involved in scandals. He especially doesn't like scandals. What he likes is for things to proceed according to schedule, for people to know their place...up and down, and play by the rules.He rises, dresses, dines (always seven courses unless guests are expected, in which case the meal becomes elaborate), entertains friends, takes his tea, worships his god, pets his dogs, rides his horses, hunts, and speaks with his wife according to a pattern long entrenched. This, an annual trip to London for The Season, and a way of life that leaves gossips with nothing to say are the whole of his days and it's enough to make him content. It is an affliction his attorney calls "Pendycitis."So naturally, when his son and heir takes up with the sirenly Mrs. Bellew, married but separated from her husband, he does not slap his boy on the back and say, "Way to go, lad, she's a looker!" No, Horace Pendyce is a man to whom family and appearances are all. No nudge nudge wink wink for him. Born of a yeoman background and married Up, he is very careful to maintain standards.Mrs. Bellew is a green-eyed beauty. Her grace is legendary. And she is languid...languidity being a quality much admired in women of this period. Anyway, she's hot stuff. One look and men go gaga. If you've read The Forsyte Sage, you will recall that Irene suffered from the same handicap. Galsworthy has this thing for She Who Cannot Be Resisted. But Mrs. Bellew is not Irene. No sterling character she; to the contrary, the woman is a flirt, and a faithless one. She enjoys horse racing and night clubs and it's just possible her interest in George has some monetary basis. Still, what do men know? What do men care? George Pendyce loves her to the point of distraction.Young George is caught smooching with the lady during the hunting weekend at his father's estate...and by none other than the loose tongued, tale carrying Mr. Barter, rector of the local church. A rector(as Mr. Barter hastens to let us know) is a far more important personage than a mere curate. His living...his position in the church, that hereditary. They can't turf him out the way the might with an ordinary cleric. It seems as if Pendycitis is endemic amongst the upper echelon of the township of Worsted Skeynes.By the way, Galsworthy gives us the best village name by far; it is topped only by the name of the village common: Worsted Scotton. Gotta love it.Soon the entire village is aware of George's affair...and so is Jasper Bellew, the abandoned husband of the lovely Mrs. B. He names George as a person of fault in his divorce proceedings, something that will surely ruin George's social standing forever. George seems to be capable of blotting the escutcheon on his own, without any help from the lovelorn Bellew. His club, for instance, requires that it's members have absolutely no gainful employment and live solely off the labors of others. Tells you a lot about the boy. George also takes up gambling...a hobby at which he exhibits little skill and which soon has him deep in debt. Worse, his father is disinheriting him. But as long as La Bellew loves him, nothing else matters.Squire Pendyce's long-suffering wife cannot bear to see her son ruined. She is of higher caste than her husband and, as such, has a slightly more sophisticated world view. And it's her son. She has two other children, mere daughters, who play no part in our story, except for occasionally playing the piano after dinner. Mostly they are off visiting friends. Mrs. Pendyce will not give up on George. Not without a fight.When she cannot convince her husband to keep the boy in his will, she packs up and heads off to London. Once there, she tries to talk some sense into her son, to no avail. Desperate for resolution, she pays a visit to his paramour and discovers she's a day late and a dollar short. Turns out, the lady has moved on. She is no longer in love with George and is kicking him to the curb. George becomes distraught, his mother fears he may do something desperate, but he doesn't...he merely kvetches and moans and waves his arms. And looks pale. English gentemen of a certain breed excel at looking pale. Their fathers, on the other hand, tend to be more flushed around the cheeks. Probably because the lads are drinking whiskey while the dads are handing around that bottle of port.Meantime, back at the Manor, the Squire is learning a little bit about love. It turns out, he misses his wife. It's not the same without her. Not only is he terrified that village gossips will note her departure and realize he has been ditched...scandal upon scandal, but he also realizes his life is not good without her gentle presence. When he walks into the house and discovers that, after her three days in London, she has returned, he makes a sound that to me seemed pretty much like a sob. I liked him a lot better after that.One thing about Galsworthy, the man has a romantic heart and a kind one. Even the stuffy Mr. Barter goes haywire when his wife...about to deliver their eleventh child...displays some signs of human weakness and asks him to summon a doctor. Ten times in a row, she just gritted her teeth, thought of England and produced another baby Barter. Now, she's in trouble. The doctor arrives and Barter takes to his heels on a six mile hike...every step of which is an attempt to distract himself from what's going on at home. And all the while he's dying for a glass of beer. Of course a Rector cannot be seen downing pints at the local pub. Even when he's hot. And sweaty. And has a blister. But we feel for him, this narrow-minded, blustering tale-bearer loves his wife and fears for his own life without her. Okay, maybe there's some selfishness in both Pendyce and Barter vis a vis losing their helpmeets, but at least they go through some agony at the thought.Galsworthy gives us a delightful look at the Huntin' Shootin' Fishin' set in all their banal Victorian glory. These are respectable folk. No musical bedrooms here, no gin cocktails and cocktail dresses, no swing or jitterbugging. They are sturdy, Anglican, and if you show them a rule, they will obey it. It will be the next generation...George and his buddies...who cast off respectability and embraced electricity, phones, indoor plumbing, and the motorcar...not to mention the looser morals of Bertie, their fun-loving Prince of Wales.Galsworthy's description of the Victorian Gentry are delightful: men with narrow foreheads, thin necks and 'nervous' legs; their dove gray women who spend their lives visiting one another, making bracelets out of hair and pictures of out shells, embroidering, pouring tea, and writing letters to the friends they just visited. Still, it is Margery Pendice who who takes action when it is necessary and essentially saves the family name and honor. There's something to good breeding, according to Mr. Galsworthy.An enjoyable and surprisingly fast read, The Country House doesn't bother us with details about servants. It's always strictly Upstairs as far as Galsworthy is concerned. But he does give the Pendyce dogs, particularly the Squire's spanial John, their due. John is overweight, overaged, giving to tongue lolling, frequent collapses, unplanned naps, and many odd nasal noises and intestinal rumblings. We are permitted to share many of his thoughts and insights. John's overwhelming and unwavering love of his master is touching. When the Squire is gone for an entire day, the dog surrounds himself with his master's shoes...three pairs plus slippers being the bare minimum needed to assuage the bitterness of separation.The book is very much in the Forsyte spirit. If you enjoyed that, you'll enjoy this look at their country cousins. Four stars feels a little generous for a rather slender plot and Quick Fix ending. However the details of English country life added a bit of fun to the mix and pushed it up a notch. And John the Spaniel deserved a star in his own right.The formatting of this book is very acceptable...not always the case with kindle books in the public domain.

  • By Raymond Burchette on April 20, 2017

    Great literature but a bit wordy you must be patient and let the story come to you.

  • By Kindle Customer on August 10, 2014

    Great characters, interesting settings. In his characterizations there is a picture of a person that nails them, point on. Glad I took the pause to read this. Well worth the effort and time. Definitely recommended reading.

  • By Patricia on August 24, 2011

    I am a fan of The Forsyth Saga from Masterpiece Theater - it held me spellbound. Now that I have a Kindle and many of the classics are FREE I wanted to try other books by Galsworthy and found this one. Although the first few pages took a bit of adjusting, this too was wonderful to read and I had a hard time putting it down - I carried my Kindle everywhere. It seems to be vintage Galsworthy dealing with the intense pressure to preserve the status quo in social norms and the fallout within the whole family and society when someone dares to take another path (recall Irene from The Forsyth Saga?). I'll give you no more hints - it is engrossing and a delight.

  • By Marilyn Harner on April 10, 2016

    Beyond a good description of a stubborn, ultra conservative boor of a country squire of Victorian days, this book was rather boring

  • By Patricia on September 8, 2015

    charming - very enjoyable read.

  • By Carmen Dukeman on May 9, 2016

    Loved this story - I could have gone on to read more. I thoroughly enjoyed the Squire and his family and the storyline. So very British and so very repressed. Of course, that was the time they lived in and I find the undercurrents in these peoples' lives fascinating. Very well written and enjoyable to read.

  • By Kindle Customer on February 23, 2013

    If you want to understand what it was like to get divorces when it was as bad as having a suicide in your family, read this novel. It is fascinating to see how much our morals and mores changed in the last century.

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