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Clare Avery A Story of the Spanish Armada   By: (1836-1893)

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Clare Avery, by Emily Sarah Holt. This book, one of Emily Holt's many historical novels, is set in the reign of Elizabeth, around the time of the Armada, which has a chapter to itself. The story revolves round a moderately well off family, who really did exist, many details of the family being given in the last chapter, or Appendix. In order to make the story realistic there are a number of fictitious persons, but there is always a note to that effect when the person first appears. In general these fictitious persons are no more than minor characters.

There is an interesting passage in which Jack, one of the youths of the family, obtains a place at Court, but finds he needs to spend enormous amounts on apparel to keep up with the other young men he meets. By no means does the family have the resources to pay his trade debts, and it turns out that his gambling debts, known as "debts of honour" are even greater. They had to tell him to go away and sort it out for himself.

But it must be said that a great deal of the book is taken up with religious discussions, mostly centring on the perceived imperfections of the Papist religion, as opposed to the Protestant. If you are not interested in this it does tend to make the going a bit heavy at times. But if you are interested, well then, it makes good reading.

As ever with this author there are many words and phrases used which are now outdated. When they first appear a note of the current meaning is given, for instance "popinjay [parrot]". On the whole this is not confusing except where a word has changed or even reversed its meaning. We do not recommend learning by heart from a sort of vocab list, the words in use in Elizabethan times, unless you are studying that period in depth. CLARE AVERY, BY EMILY SARAH HOLT.



"The mossy marbles rest On the lips he hath pressed In their bloom, And the names he loved to hear Have been carved for many a year On the tomb."

Oliver Wendell Holmes .

"Cold!" said the carrier, blowing on his fingers to keep them warm.

"Cold, bully Penmore!" ejaculated Hal Dockett, farrier, horse leech, and cow doctor in ordinary to the town of Bodmin and its neighbourhood... "Lack a daisy! thou that hast been carrier these thirty years, and thy father afore thee, and his father afore him, ever sith `old Dick Boar' days, shouldst be as hard as a milestone by this time. 'Tis the end of March, fellow!"

Be it known that "old Dick Boar" was Mr Dockett's extremely irreverent style of allusion to His Majesty King Richard the Third.

"'Tis the end of as bitter a March as hath been in Cornwall these hundred years," said the carrier. "Whither away now, lad?"

"Truly, unto Bradmond, whither I am bidden to see unto the black cow."

"Is it sooth, lad, that the master is failing yonder?"

"Folk saith so," replied Hal, his jocund face clouding over. "It shall be an evil day for Bodmin, that !"

"Ay so!" echoed the carrier. "Well! we must all be laid in earth one day. God be wi' thee, lad!"

And with a crack of his whip, the waggon lumbered slowly forward upon the Truro road, while Dockett went on his way towards a house standing a little distance on the left, in a few acres of garden, with a paddock behind.

About the cold there was no question. The ground, which had been white with snow for many days, was now a mixture of black and white, under the influence of a thaw; while a bitterly cold wind, which made everybody shiver, rose now and then to a wild whirl, slammed the doors, and groaned through the wood work. A fragment of cloud, rather less dim and gloomy than the rest of the heavy grey sky, was as much as could be seen of the sun.

Nor was the political atmosphere much more cheerful than the physical... Continue reading book >>

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