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The Young Visiters, or, Mr Salteena's Plan

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  428 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
Excerpt from The Young Visiters or Mr.: Salteena's Plan
The "owner of the copyright" guarantees that "The Young Visiters" is the unaided effort in fiction of an authoress of nine years. "Effort," however, is an absurd word to use, as you may see by studying the triumphant countenance of the child herself, which is here reproduced as frontispiece to her sublime work. This i
Hardcover, 105 pages
Published 1919 by Chatto & Windus
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(showing 1-30 of 1,099)
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Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
3.5 stars

This book was written by a 9-year-old so of course it's not the most brilliantly-written thing in the world––but Daisy Ashford's prose and attention to detail is certainly impressive considering her age. It's kind of unclear whether the story was meant to be satirical or whether Ashford intended readers to take it seriously, but either way it's cute and funny and I found it very entertaining.

I'll probably edit this review later and add in some quotes that I found particularly funny. :)
Catherine Robertson
"I shall put some red ruge on my face said Ethel because I am very pale owing to the drains in this house."
Ksenia Anske
Nov 22, 2015 Ksenia Anske rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Oh, what a queer little delight I just read. To all of you whining writers, this book was written by a nine-year-old and stood the test of time. You know why? It's pure story, from start to finish. Read it to study it and have a good laugh and a grin on your face when you're finished. (It will take you about an hour.)
Dec 22, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This is a completely charming and funny story written by an English girl named Daisy Ashford in 1890, when she was only nine years old. The story goes that every morning after breakfast and before her bath, Daisy would sit down and write one chapter of her story, finishing the whole thing in 12 days. The story, which Daisy wrote in an exercise book, fell into the hands of a publisher and was published in 1919 with all her spelling mistakes intact (which explains the misspelled title of the book) ...more
Perry Whitford
Oct 06, 2014 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Young Visitors' is an impossibly charming story written by a nine year old about Mr. Salteena, who love Ethel and wants to learn how to become a gentleman. A friend they go to visit, Mr. Bernard Clark, can help Mr. Salteena to get in with an earl, but he also takes a shine to the pretty Ethel.

What a delight the whole thing is! At nigh on a hundred pages the young author has virtually composed an equivalent of 'Anna Karenina' (though the chapters do get noticeably shorter near the end!), ful
Jul 08, 2010 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Victorian curiosity is a novella written by a girl who was just nine years old, and it has two storylines: a love triangle story and a rise-in-fortunes story in which the titular Mr. Salteena pursues his worthy goal of becoming an authentic English gentleman. There’s a good chuckle on nearly every page here--all provided by young Ms. Ashford’s distinctive phrasing, creative spelling and grammar, and Cormac McCarthy-like, almost non-existent punctuation. But maybe the primary value of this h ...more
I laughed so hard I snorted. There may also have been cackling.
I've read all of Jane Austen's juvenilia and enjoyed them very much. The Young Visitors also is a peace of juvenilia. Daisy Ashford wrote it when she was nine and re-discovered it several years later. It was then published almost exactly as it had been written.
It should better have stayed hidden in the drawer. It is fairly obvious why Ms Austen became a famous writer and we didn't hear anything from Ms Ashford again.
I've just re-read this. The Posy Simmonds illustrated edition with a different version of the text and explanatory notes. I just love it. I love it more than I did the first time I read it. Maybe because I now have children aged 10 and 11 and have a better idea of how astonishing a feat it was for a nine year old to write it. It's not just Daisy's ability to craft a story and describe a party scene, dialogue, a love scene, and so on; it's her acute observations of the culture and class structure ...more
Sep 22, 2009 Lizz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious! Written by a 9-year-old who is clearly influenced by the Victorian era and literature she had been reading. I read it for my Classic Juvenile Fantasy Literature class which mostly looks at literature written "for children," by adults, but this book seems to do the opposite. Or at least, it is the only book we cover that is written by a child. It can be read in less than an hour and is kind of cute, since it keeps her punctuation and spelling. At times I was amazed by words she chose t ...more
Jan 02, 2016 Rhys rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious, unintentionally so, for the most part, but one suspects that some of the humour was utterly intended; and that the young authoress (only nine years when she penned this story) might have gone on to become a successful and perhaps even renowned novelist had she persisted with her hobby of writing fiction.

The opening line is a classic. "Mr. Salteena was an elderly man of 42..."

Everything about this book is funny, charming, strange, incredible, but also accomplished to an extraordinary d
Sep 11, 2015 Викторија rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-lit
I'm extremely fond of literary curiosities, books whose very existence we owe to a set of extraordinary events, texts that are quirky and special without particularly trying.

"Mr Salteena was an elderly man of 42 and was fond of asking peaple [sic] to stay with him." So begins this charming piece of juvenilia, the work of an unusually perceptive and persistent nine-year-old girl. We have to admire the young author's perseverance - how many manuscripts drafted at such a tender age actually see com
Apr 15, 2016 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not knowing what to expect from a book written by a nine year old English girl in 1890, I found myself chuckling and then searching to find out more about the book and the author. Her take on society and romance makes for a fun read. I am impressed that she actually finished the book.

I didn't know where to shelve this. It's value to me is as an example of a book by a young author, which is a contestable decision. I may change my mind.
Sep 05, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c20th, britain
This enchanting little book was on my mothers' shelves and I read it when I was in primary school.

Daisy Ashford's precocious powers of observation trained me to enjoy Jane Austen and Dickens and the Brontes, while her anarchic spelling prepared me for coping with Shakespeare.

I suppose today's young readers of Dolly and Who Weekly would think it was twee...that's their loss!
Jun 10, 2011 Melee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melee by: Kimberly Karalius
Shelves: read-online, wishlist
Thanks to my friend Kim and Project Gutenberg I was able to read The Young Visiters this afternoon. I chuckled my way through it, impressed at the young Daisy's humour and wide range of vocabulary. I thought her spelling errors were rarther darling.
I wish I had been that awesome as a nine year old.
May 10, 2014 Fantaghiro23 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was going to say I just "liked it," since it rushed through a lot of things. To be expected, I suppose, from a very young writer. But it did make me laugh heartily in several portions. Such as during the proposal chapter--a lot of passionate exclamations of love, a fainting, and resulting pouring of river water on the lady's forehead, and packing of viands. And towards the end, with this: "The Earl soon got tired of his sickly daughters and his wife had a savage temper so he thourght [sic] he ...more
Apr 16, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
written by a nine year old, who never wrote again, this is actually quite socially acute and funny. how much of it is really knowing is uncertain. it is left in its original spelling, which helps to create a vivid picture of the observant, yet perhaps still naive, child.

man and woman live together in a father/daughter(ish) benevolent/grateful(ish) platonic way; they go away for the weekend to visit a friend and man decides he wants to become a 'gentleman' and goes off to London; the young woman
Dr. Carl Ludwig Dorsch

Available online, in many editions. Among them this:

Sep 22, 2014 Michi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was on a list of 1001 Children's Books to read before you grow up and I honestly don’t fully understand why. Alright, it’s a cute little story written by a 9-year-old, who was, I suppose, fairly talented for her age. But the story itself is not particularly interesting, doesn’t really make a lot of sense (it was written by a 9-year-old, so it’s somewhat understandable) and just because some publisher had a fondness for juvenilia at the beginning of the 20th century, that doesn’t mean it has ...more
May 31, 2015 Jude rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was first given this book to read by my grandmother as a child, under the knowledge that it was written by a little girl. Unfortunately the knowledge of the book fell somewhere into the back of my mind, and when my grandparent passed away I realised I had forgotten the title. With no one to ask the book was lost to me somewhere within the household clutter that results from many lives well lived. I recently decided to try and find the name of the book and was surprised to find how simple the t ...more
Aug 12, 2014 Courtney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is so much I loved about The Young Visiters. Mainly, I think, because it was written by a nine year-old. Young Daisy had such an imagination and adorable perception of the world around her. I loved that the editor and publisher kept the original spelling and format of the book--it really helped create the voice of the young author and made it so much fun to read. While a nine year-old can't be expected to create a masterpiece in character and plot, I so thoroughly enjoyed every minute of t ...more
May 11, 2010 Kat rated it really liked it
I'd never heard of this book until a friend at work told me about it. She couldn't remember the name of it, or who it was written by — all she could recall was that the author was a nine-year-old British girl and that the BBC made a movie about it several years ago. She thought it would be the kind of book I'd enjoy. So after some Googling and research on IMDb, we learned that the book is The Young Visiters.

The original manuscript was written in the late nineteenth century, in an exercise book,
Syn Yan
Aug 20, 2012 Syn Yan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What were you like when you were 9?

I stumbled upon this book online one day and fell in love immediately. Very adorable short novel from nine year Miss Ashford. Ignore the spelling and punctuation errors to really enjoy the book, focus instead on a young girl ideals of the adult world of romance, fashion and society. I admire her mature yet innocent style of writing as well as her wide range of vocabulary in writing a romance novel involving high society.

Miss Ashford is indeed a child prodigy an
Aug 19, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun little read! A nine-year-old girl in Victorian England wrote a story about the romantic misadventures of several nobles and commoners in her notebook, forgot about it for several years, and then redisovered it as a grown-up. It got passed around among friends for teh lulz until it fell into a publisher's hands, was released to the general public and sold tremendously well. The descriptions of the housing and fashions and desserts of the very posh are particularly vivid, and the ve ...more
May 20, 2014 Abiyasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Young Visiters is a charming book. Written by Daisy Ashford when she was 9 years old in 1890 and full of spelling mistakes, this book is destined to be one of the charming books ever written. For 9 years old girl, the plot in the book is quite surprising and I wonder, how could she write like that? To me, the spelling mistakes add the charm of this book.

I can't say a lot about The Young Visiters but I can say that I love this book and enjoy it very much!
Jan 02, 2013 Alisha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Evidently the first attempt of a 9-year-old Victorian child at novel-writing, forgotten about for several years, then rediscovered when she was grown up and circulated amongst her friends to provide some amusement. A charming amount of misspelling. It has a few giggles in it, like when Bernard Clark "always had a few prayers in the hall and some whiskey afterwards as he was rarther pious" or when he decides that he must not propose marriage in the city, but in a country setting, where they can b ...more
Jul 17, 2014 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely delightful and laugh-out-loud funny in many, many places! I was convinced this could not possibly have been written by a nine year-old and had my suspicions that it was really written by J.M. Barrie, who wrote the preface to the first edition of The Young Visitors. But Wikipedia supports the young Miss Ashford, so I will too. Whatever. Just read this book and don't bother to stifle your giggles.
May 12, 2014 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming and brief novella written by nine year old Daisy Ashford in 1919. Sort of a cross between your grade school creative writing project, an Austen novel, and The Importance of Being Earnest, the plot is frequently baffling but often hilarious. An excellent quick read when you feel the need to take things less seriously, the Young Visiters may be downloaded as a kindle e-book for free on Amazon.
Aug 20, 2012 Roybot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now, why couldn't Jane Eyre be even half so entertaining as this? This hilarious look at high society, as seen through the eyes of a nine-year-old author, follows Mr. Salteena and his ill fated attempt to become a gentleman so that he might woo over the lovely Ethel Monticue. Unsurprisingly, this is a very fast and delightful read.

The whole thing is, of course, absurd, but in the very best of ways. Ashford's poor spelling and grammar don't hurt, but the real amusement comes in seeing the cast in
Sep 16, 2012 Belcky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-fic
I saw this rather (or "rarther") eccentric-looking book on my travels last year, and only glanced at the inner panels of the dust jacket, thinking it was cute, but that the story of it being written by a nine-year-old girl born in 1881 was just a gimmick (y'know, like Lemony Snickett). It's not.

It really is a tale of Victorian romance as cooked up by little Victorian girl. They've retained most of her creative spelling and lack of dialogue punctuation. As such, it felt like a true glimpse into t
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Daisy Ashford, full name Margaret Mary Julia Ashford (later Devlin) was an English writer who is most famous for writing The Young Visiters, a novella concerning the upper class society of late 19th century England, when she was just nine years old. The novella was published in 1919, preserving her juvenile spelling and punctuation. She wrote the title as "Viseters" in her manuscript, but it was p ...more
More about Daisy Ashford...

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“This is agony cried Mr Salteena clutching hold of a table my life will be sour grapes and ashes without you.” 10 likes
“We must go for a day in the country and when surrounded by the gay twittering of the birds and the smell of the cows I will lay my suit at her feet and he waved his arm wildly at the gay thought.” 4 likes
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