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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Title: Never Forgotten

Author and Title: Percy H. Fitzgerald. Never Forgotten

First Edition: London: Chapman and Hall, 1865. 3 volumes, post 8vo, 31s 6d.


Summary: Captain Charles Fermor is an egoist whose regiment is posted in an undistinguished seaside resort, Eastport. John Hanbury, a local country gentleman and horseman, becomes the target of his disdain because his good-natured affability grates on the cold reserve of Fermor. Hanbury is in love with the quiet Violet Manuel, the youngest daughter of a Spanish widow and her dead English businessman husband. The rivalry between Fermor and Hanbury culminates in a horse race where Fermor is injured in a fall caused inadvertently by Hanbury who goes on to win the race. The injured Fermor is taken to the Manuel house to be tended since it is close to the race course. Violet reveals her love for Fermor when she weeps at the bedside of the unconscious Fermor, witnessed by Hanbury. Flattered by the girl's attentions and taken by her youth and beauty, Fermor undertakes to improve the adoring Violet and engages himself to her, though he contemptuously dismisses Violet's mother, sister Pauline, and brother Louis as low. Meanwhile, a rich man named Carlay and his sheltered daughter Mary move in to the bungalow next door to the recuperating Fermor. During his visits, Fermor discovers Mary to be more intelligent, well-read, and genteel than Violet and his interest correspondingly transfers from the latter to the former. Hearing of his engagement to the penniless Violet, Fermor's mother Lady Laura Fermor arrives and through her arguments and the chance of a career-making position in India he precipitately leaves Eastport and Violet behind. The jilted Violet, in spite of Hanbury's attentions, soon dies of a broken heart and Pauline and Louis swear to bring her "murderer" Fermor to justice. A year passes: the position in India falls through and Fermor marries Mary and they return to London. Louis and Pauline, now the center of an influential social circle, set about to destroy everyone involved with Violet's death. Pauline exposes Major Carter (who facilitated Fermor's night time escape) as a poisoner who killed his wife for the insurance money; she sets a unscrupulous womanizer after Mary; she exposes the scandal in Lady Laura's past; and she herself leads on Fermor. In spite of her success, Pauline suffers under the strain and attempts to stop her plans before they come to fruition. However, her brother Louis, driven mad by his revenge, attacks Fermor. Louis is institutionalized and the brain damaged Fermor survives, tended by his repentant wife. The latter half of the novel is clearly influenced by other sensation novels, notably Collins's No Name. (TJB)

References: BL; EC