Back to books and characters

Cousin Henry

London, Chapman and Hall, 1879. 2V. Originally published simultaneously in The Manchester Weekly Times, Supplement, March 8-May 24, 1879, and in The North British Weekly Mail.

As Indefer Jones, the owner of Llanfeare, grew old, he was beset by doubts as to his proper heir. He wished the estate to go to his favorite niece Isabel Broderick, but he also wished that it remain in the hands of a Jones. His only relative of that name was his nephew Henry Jones living in London, whom he heartily disliked. He made a series of wills, declaring as his heir first Isabel, then Henry, and finally, just before his death, Isabel again.

The last-named document was not found and the will giving the property to Henry was proved. Henry, however, knew of the existence of the latter will as he had found it between the pages of a book of sermons that his uncle was reading shortly before he died. For weeks he sat in the library where the book rested on the shelves, fearing its discovery but lacking courage to destroy it.

In Carmarthen and about the estate the belief grew that Henry know of the existence of the will, and that he knew where it was. The local paper published a series of articles expressing this suspicion. The family lawyer Mr. Apjohn, in order to bring Henry into court for questioning, insisted that he sue the paper for libel, and finally forced him to bring the action. Before the case came into court, the house was again searched and the will found.. As no clear case of fraud could be made against Henry, he was allowed to return to London. Indefer Jones’s two wishes were finally fulfilled, as Isabel Broderick received the property, and, when she married, her husband took the old man’s name


"Cousin Henry paints a shrewd portrait of a mean but pathetic man, not strong enough either for villainy or generosity; tortured in mind; suspected and insulted by his neighhors; but clinging with the obstinate tenacity of weakness to his unhappy secret."--Sadleir, P. 394.