The novel "Godolphin" opens with a dying man named John Vernon is relaying his dying wishes to his daughter, Constance. John Vernon is an ex-politician who was betrayed by the Whigs, thus losing his fortune. Just before he dies he makes the thirteen-year-old daughter, Constance, swear an oath to marry a high-class powerful man in order to seek revenge on his old political party. After her father’s death Constance moves in with a wealthy distant relative, Lady Erpingham.
Table of Contents:
TO COUNT ALFRED D'ORSAY. MY DEAR COUNT D'ORSAY
PREFACE TO GODOLPHIN
The death-bed of John Vernon — His dying words — Description of his daughter, the heroine — The oath.
Remark on the tenure of life — The coffins of great men seldom neglected — Constance takes refuge with Lady Erpingham — The heroine's accomplishments and character — The manoeuvring temperament.
The hero introduced to our reader's notice — Dialogue between himself and his father — Percy Godolphin's character as a boy — The catastrophe of his school life.
Percy's first adventure as a free agent.
The mummers — Godolphin in love — The effect of Fanny Millinger's acting upon him — The two offers —Godolphin quits the players.
Percy Godolphin the guest of Saville — He enters tho Life-Guards, and becomes the fashion.
Saville excused for having human affections — Godolphin sees one whom he never sees again — The new actress.
Godolphin's passion for the stage — The difference it engendered in his habits of life.
The legacy — A new deformity in Saville — The nature of worldly liaisons — Godolphin leaves England.
The education of Constance's mind.
Conversation between Lady Erpingham and Constance — Further particulars of Godolphin's family, etc.
Description of Godolphin's house — The first interview — Its effect on Constance.
A ball announced — Godolphin's visit to Wendover Castle — His manners and conversation.
Conversation between Godolphin and Constance — The country life and the town life.
The feelings of Constance and Godolphin toward each other — The distinction in their characters — Remarks on the effects produced by the world upon Godolphin — The ride — Rural descriptions — Omens — The first indistinct confession.
Godolphin's return home — His soliloquy — Lord Erpingham's arrival at Wendover Castle — The earl described — His account of Godolphin's life at Rome.
Constance at her toilet — Her feelings — Her character of beauty described—The ball—The Duchess of Winstoun and lier daughter — An induction from the nature of female rivalries — Jealousy in a lover — Impertinence retorted — Listeners never hear good of themselves — Remarks on the amusements of a publio assembly — The supper — The falseness of seeming gaiety — Various reflections, new and true — What passes between Godolphin and Constance.
The interview — The crisis of a life.
A rare and exquisite of the best (worst) school — A conversation on a thousand matters — The declension of the "sui profusus" into the "alieni appetens".
Fanny Millinger once more — Love — Woman — Books — A hundred topics touched on the surface — Godolphin's state of mind more minutely examined — The dinner at Saville's.
An event of great importance to the principal actors in this history — Godolphin a second time leaves England.
The bride alone — A dialogue political and matrimonial — Constance's genius for diplomacy — The character of her assemblies — Her conquest over Lady Delville.
An insight into the real grand monde; — being a search behind the rose-colored curtains.
The married state of Constance.
The pleasure of retaliating humiliation — Constance's defense of fashion — Remarks on fashion — Godolphin's whereabout — Fanny Millinger's character of herself — Want of courage in moralists.
The visionary and his daughter — An Englishman, such as foreigners imagine the English.
A conversation little appertaining to the nineteenth century — Researches into human fate — The prediction.
The youth of Lucilla Volktman — A mysterious conversation — The return of one unlooked for.
The effect of years and experience — The Italian character.
Magnetism — Sympathy — The return of elements to elements.
A Scene — Lucilla's strange conduct — Godolphin passes through a severe ordeal — Egeria's Grotto, and what there happens.
The weakness of all virtue springing only from the feelings.
Return to Lady Erpingham — Lady Erpingham falls ill — Lord Erpingham resolves to go abroad — Plutarch upon musical instruments — Party at Erpingham House — Saville on society and the taste for the little — David Mandeville — Women, their influence and education — The necessity of an object — Religion.
Ambition vindicated — The home of Godolphin and Lucilla — Lucilla's mind — The effect of happy love on female talent — The eve of farewell — Lucilla alone — Test of a woman's affection.
Godolphin at Rome — The cure for a morbid idealism — His embarrassment in regard to Lucilla — The rencontre with an old friend — The Colosseum — A surprise.
Dialogue between Godolphin and Saville — Certain events explained — Saville's apology for a bad heart — Godolphin's confused sentiments for Lady Erpingham.
An evening with Constance.
Constance's undiminished love for Godolphin — Her remorse and her hope — The Capitol — The different thoughts of Godolphin and Constance at the view — The tender expressions of Constance.
Lucilla's letter — The effect it produces on Godolphin.
Tivoli — The Siren's Cave — The confession.
Lucilla — The solitude — The spell — The dream and the resolve.
Joy and despair.
Love strong as death, and not less bitter.
The declaration — The approaching nuptials — Is the idealist contented?
The bridals — The accident — The first lawful possession of love.
News of Lucilla.
In which two persons, permanently united, discover that no tie can produce union of minds.
The return to London — The eternal nature of disappointment — Fanny Millinger — Her house and supper.
Godolphin's soliloquy — He becomes a man of pleasure and a patron of the arts — A new character shadowed forth; for as we advance, whether in life or its representation, characters are more faint and dimly drawn than in the earlier part of our career.
Godolphin's course of life — Influence of opinion and of ridicule on the minds of privileged orders — Lady Erpingham's friendship with George IV. — His manner of living.
Radclyffe and Godolphin converse — The varieties of ambition.
Fanny behind the scenes — Reminiscences of youth — The universality of trick — The supper at Fanny Millinger's — Talk on a thousand matters, equally light and true — Fanny's song.
The career of Constance — Real state of her feelings toward Godolphin — Rapid succession of political events — Canning's administration — Catholic Question — Lord Grey's speech — Canning's death.
The death of George IV. — The political situation of parties, and of Lady Erpingham.
The roue has become a valetudinarian — News — A fortuneteller.
Superstition — Its wonderful effects.
The empire of time and of love — The proud Constance grown weak and humble — An ordeal.
Constance makes a discovery that touches and enlightens her as to Godolphin's nature — An event, although in private life, not without its interest.
The Reform Bill — A very short chapter.
The soliloquy of the soothsayer — An episodical mystery, introduced as a type of the many things in life that are never accounted for — Gratuitous deviations from our common career.
In which the common life glides into the strange — Equally true, but the truth not equally acknowledged.
A meeting between Constance and the prophetess.
Lucilla's flight — The perplexity of Lady Erpingham — A change comes over Godolphin's mind — His conversation with Radclyffe — General election — Godolphin becomes a senator.
New views of a privileged order — The death-bed of Augustus Saville.
The journey and the surprise — A walk in the summer night — The stars, and the association that memory makes with nature.
The full renewal of love — Happiness produces fear, "and in to-day already walks to-morrow".
The last conversation between Godolphin and Constance — His thoughts and solitary walk amid the scenes of his youth — The letter — The departure.
CHAPTER THE LAST.
A dread meeting — The storm — The catastrophe.