The Mysterious Bride

The Mysterious Bride, or The Statue Spectre

Author: Unknown
Publisher: T. Hughes
Publication Year: c. 1800–1802
Language: English
Book Dimensions: 10.5cm x 17.5cm
Pages: 36
University of Virginia Library Catalog Entry, Sadleir-Black Collection: PZ2.M356 1802

Material History

The Mysterious Bride, or the Statue Spectre is a chapbook shrouded in mystery, even beyond the content of the narrative. It was published by T. Hughes at Stationer’s Court and printed by T. Plummer at Seething-Lane, but many other key details about this text remain unknown, including its author and publication date.

This chapbook is rather small in size, only 10.5cm by 17.5cm, and it lacks a bound front and back cover. The only evidence that it was ever even bound is the thin, crumbling leather spine and the half-stitched holes where the pages used to be held together. This particular condition of the exterior suggests that it was cut out of a larger collection of works.

The outer pages, where we might expect to find a front and back cover, are left blank. However, upon opening the first page, the reader is welcomed by an uncaptioned frontispiece and sophisticated title page. The frontispiece intricately depicts a startled knight beholding a statue of a woman that has seemingly come to life in the foreground, and in the background a small crowd before a mountainous landscape. The title page features the main title, The Mysterious Bride, and the subtitle, The Statue Spectre, along with a brief section on its publication, all separated by bold section breaks.

The yellowed paper is very thin, and the reader can easily see the ink from the other side of the page without having to hold it up to a light, although the ink still has a sharp contrast to the color of the paper. Certain dark patches are also visible on the page from a kind of shadow of the text or ink from the accompanying page. This leaves an especially interesting effect on the title page from the frontispiece opposite it.

The full text is 36 pages long, but this includes a second narrative, called Knights of the Sun, which begins on page 32, but is not mentioned on the title page. The font of both stories is small and closely set with minimal spacing between lines, though it is still very legible. On any given page, the title is printed at the top, centered in the margin between the text and the edge of the page. These margins are narrow, about 1.5 cm on every side, save for certain passages of song or poetry, whose margins are about 2.5 cm wide. The pages are consistently marked in the top outside corners, and various printing signatures are visible at the bottom center of certain pages. These signatures, marked as L1, L2, L3, and M3 for example, also indicate that this chapbooks was printed on larger paper and folded to make this smaller form.

There are various clues that could suggest how we can position this text in time and try to investigate its origins. For instance, it is worth noting that the long S is not present in this work, meaning it was likely not printed in the eighteenth century. In addition, on the blank front page, someone wrote “Ghost Stories” in penciled cursive. It is unclear whether this could be the name of the collection from which it was removed, or if it could just be referring to the narrative’s category within the gothic genre, especially since it belonged to the Sadleir collection before its arrival to the University of Virginia Special Collections library. Regardless, the implications of the note “Ghost Stories” written on the front are still intriguing and worth considering. Some other notes that merit acknowledgment include a catchword “The” on page 18, along with a thumbprint clearly stamped on the front cover.

Textual History

There appears to be no currently accessible information about the author or the illustrator of the frontispiece of The Mysterious Bride. T. Hughes is listed as the primary publisher of the copy belonging to the University of Virginia’s Special Collections Library, along with the printer T. Plummer (Mysterious Bride 1, 32). While there is no publication date noted in this edition, some library catalogs list it as 1800, which Montague Summers corroborates with an estimated year of 1800 in his Gothic Bibliography (436), but then Franz Potter lists it as published in 1802 in his historical analysis Gothic Chapbooks, Bluebooks, and Shilling Shockers, 1797–1830 (67). However, he also indicates that Thomas Hurst and Thomas Tegg were the publishers of The Marvellous Magazine and Compendium of Prodigies in which The Mysterious Bride was printed and distributed after its initial publication in 1802 by Thomas Hughes (67). Potter includes an entire section on Thomas Hughes in his second chapter, sharing that he was “one of the most active and prolific publishers…responsible for at least twenty-eight titles between 1800 and 1810” (39). He notes that Hughes published from Paternoster Row from 1800–1802 before moving to Stationer’s Court, among other locations (39), Stationer’s Court being the publishing location documented in this copy of The Mysterious Bride (as noted under the frontispiece). Hughes also published and sold for other popular contemporary Gothic authors such as John Ker and Sarah Wilkinson (Potter 41, 73).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are other publications with the name The Mysterious Bride from the early nineteenth century, including a play by Lumley St. George Skeffington written in 1808 and another work of prose written in 1830 by James Hogg (and later included in The Twelve Best Tales by English Writers compiled by Adam Luke Gowans). The plots of the three works do not resemble one another, with completely different characters and settings.

According to information about the text in the University of Virginia’s library catalog, this particular iteration of The Mysterious Bride can also be found in volume five of The Marvellous Magazine, though the library’s hard copy does not include this volume. A more complete copy of this work available through Gale’s Nineteenth Century Collections Online features it in the proper succession of texts as set forth on the University of Virginia library catalog’s entry of the magazine, but the text itself does not denote an explicit fifth volume. The digitized NCCO version does not include the frontispiece and title page featured in the edition of The Mysterious Bride that belongs to the University of Virginia Library’s Special Collections (“Marvellous Magazine” 402). Notably, Potter’s Gothic Chapbooks states that The Mysterious Bride is the last work in the fourth and final volume of The Marvellous Magazine, published only by Tegg (67).

The print copy of volumes II and III of The Marvellous Magazine that can be found in the University of Virginia’s Harrison-Small Special Collections Library, despite Virgo including the contents of five volumes in its description of the text online, were published as one bound text in 1802 by Thomas Hurst and distributed in part by Thomas Hughes. Certain chapters in this text were printed by T. Plummer at Seething Lane, and most of these chapters, such as “The Veiled Picture” (“Marvellous Magazine” 73), are formatted similarly to The Mysterious Bride. While The Mysterious Bride cannot be found in the Special Collections’ copy of The Marvellous Magazine, since it only contains volumes II and III, what is left of the binding of the chapbook very strongly resembles the tree-calf binding of The Marvellous Magazine, down to the distance between stitches and the gold embellishments denoting where each stitch is. It is highly likely, then, that the chapbook was cut out of a copy of the same edition of The Marvellous Magazine containing the supposed fifth volume, as the digital copy would suggest in congruence with the physical text. The frontispiece, however, proves to be a mystery of its own, considering it is not present in the digital copy of The Marvellous Magazine and has no attribution to an artist or illustrator in the printed edition of the chapbook alone.

As mentioned above, Summers references The Mysterious Bride in his Gothic Bibliography (436). Potter also periodically references the text and its contributors throughout his own analysis, including it in his appendix of “Gothic Pamphlets” as well (151). He also includes various acknowledgments of The Marvellous Magazine in “provincial advertising” (62–4). The National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints documents The Mysterious Bride in “a cumulative author list representing Library of Congress printed cards and titles reported by other American libraries” (National Union Catalog).

Narrative Point of View

This text is primarily narrated from a third-person point of view, beginning from an omniscient perspective but quickly shifting to limited once the main characters and events have been sufficiently situated in their setting. However, the author includes a two-page-long interpolated tale, denoted in quotation marks, in which a character named Mohammed recounts the series of events that led to his current circumstances from a first-person perspective. At the very end of the text as well is “The Memoirs of Grimano, The Magician,” a shorter section also in quotation marks in which the character confesses his crimes and his motivations for them, also from a first-person point of view. The early indications of an omniscient narrator, however, present themselves on the first page, starting with laying the scene of society in Gaul, and then going on to introduce Jeronimo and Louise. Jeronimo is clearly depicted as the protagonist within the first paragraph, and the focus remains on him throughout the text. In the second paragraph, the narration expands its scope outside of Jeronimo’s mind alone, revealing Louise’s unspoken feelings for him. From this point forward, however, the author chooses to impart only Jeronimo’s inner thoughts and opinions beyond explicit verbal or physical indications to or from other characters, marking the transition to a more limited point of view. The reader is only clued into other characters’ perspectives when they themselves vocalize those perspectives to Jeronimo, either in conversation or in the form of a letter or song. 

Sample Passage of Third-Person Omniscient Narration:

On these occasions his heart beat with unusual palpitation, whilst blushes (depictive of virgin diffidence) illumined the cheek of Louise Dunois. Unconscious of the cause, they each strove to become conspicuous in the eyes of each other. Jeronimo felt a stronger desire than usual to vanquish the knights, who daily dared those of King Pepin to single combat, in order to become more worthy of the fair distributer [sic] of fortune’s favors; whilst the innocent Louise watched with anxious fear the result of the many contests her favourite knight was engaged in. Fortunately, victory always declared in his favour; and Louise, her eyes sparkling with joy, beheld Jeronimo step forward to receive the glorious prize. (Mysterious Bride 1–2)

Sample Passage of Third-Person Limited Narration:

Jeronimo, moved with her manner, alighted from his horse, and taking her hand in his, strove in the tenderest manner to sooth her anguish. Her answers to some questions, which he purposely put to her, soon convinced him that her insanity was only assumed to cover some sinister design. To induce her to throw off the cloak she had thus ingeniously adopted, he instantly made her an offer of his services, assuring her at the same time, in the most solemn manner, that he would think himself doubly happy if his arm should be enabled to punish the vile despoiler of her happiness. This had the desired effect, and emboldened by the candid manner with which he addrest her, the ill-fated Blanche acknowledged that her insanity was assumed, in order to avoid the solicitations of Sir Anselm, and be the better enabled to await the arrival of some knight who would avenge her cause. (Mysterious Bride 19)

The shift in narration style denotes a shift in Jeronimo’s perceived stability in his own life and the world beyond. In the exposition, the narrator’s omniscience establishes the existing status quo: everyone knows how the world is, everything goes well, the past has been consistent, and the future is bright. The moment that the narrative departs from that stability and certainty, though, or when things start to go wrong, is when the narrator’s knowledge of the events taking place becomes limited to only Jeronimo’s point of view. A limited perspective, then, engenders a more particular cultivation of suspense and surprise that an omniscient narrator, even with the use of dramatic irony. While the early knowledge of Jeronimo and Louise’s undivulged feelings for one another can also bolster its own form of anticipation by creating tension within the narrative framework, from then on, the reader must solve the mystery alongside Jeronimo in real time. For this reason, the limited third-person point of view effectively instills the narrative with suspense, allowing for several twists in the plot with the capacity to shock the reader at the same time as they shock Jeronimo.


The Mysterious Bride is set in “an era of ignorance and superstition” under the Christian rule of Pepin and his wife Griselda of the ancient Gauls (Mysterious Bride 1). The protagonist is a young man of good heart, body, and mind named Jeronimo de Beauchamp, who is the Knight of the Holy Cross in the court of Pepin and Griselda. He is interested in a woman named Louise Dunois of noble background from the same court, and she seems to also be interested in him, although they go years without acknowledging their mutual attraction. This changes after Jeronimo rescues Louise from highwaymen trying to kidnap her. The highwaymen are led by Chief Evan-ap Tudor, the Knight of the Golden Leek, a man who recently proposed to marry Louise and was refused. After a long, intense battle, Jeronimo defeats him and recovers Louise. This whole encounter brings the two closer together, and a nightmare that night spurs Jeronimo to propose to her. He visits her the next day and they express their feelings for one another, and Louise’s father approves their marriage.

He has a ring especially made for her, and on his way back from retrieving it, he comes upon a group of peasants dancing, and in his excitement decides to join them. He makes the mistake of placing the ring on a statue’s finger so that he does not lose it, later finding he cannot remove the ring. He tries to break the finger of the statue out of frustration, but an electric shock leaves him unconscious. He leaves the ring, goes back to get another, and does not tell Louise what happened, or why he was gone for so long. They marry, and that night the statue visits them as a ghost, disrupting the entirety of their wedding night. The ghost’s supernatural power paralyzes them beyond their own fear, and the next morning when Jeronimo tries to console Louise, she returns to her father, clearly upset. She no longer trusts Jeronimo and intends to remove herself from society forever. Jeronimo is distraught, and while her father could not change her mind, he convinces her to stay for seven years before she goes away for good.

Jeronimo uses this time to travel and find the cause of his haunting. He starts in Spain and every night of his journey, the mysterious bride visits him. He goes to the capital and participates in a knightly tournament, fighting a powerful knight in golden armor. He wins, and for his victory the Infanta of Spain awards him a laurel, but he is badly injured. The king’s physician attends to him while he battles a fever for weeks, along with his nightly haunting. He leaves immediately upon his recovery to continue his search, but a young man named Fidelio stops him and asks for Jeronimo to hire him, since his old boss, the golden knight, was killed in the tournament. Jeronimo assents, and they set off. For four years, they continue competing in tournaments and searching for answers. When they arrive in Moorish territory, Fidelio is kidnapped and brought into a cave, and a band of knights attack Jeronimo when he goes in to retrieve him. He defeats their leader, who leads Jeronimo into the cave and introduces himself as Mohammed, son of the Emperor of Morocco.

Mohammed tells his story as follows: he has his men kidnap a woman he desires named Cleora, but she is engaged to another man. He eventually gains her trust after much reluctance on her part, but one day her fiancé, Ernestio, returns and kills her and himself.  Mohammed sends their bodies to the cave, where their coffins are respectively inscribed as “the victim of jealousy and the victim of duplicity” (Mysterious Bride 12). To punish himself, Mohammed never leaves the cave.

As Jeronimo shares his own history, the ghost of the mysterious bride visits along with the ghosts of Cleora and Ernestio. These visits are a nightly occurrence for Mohammed as well, and he advises Jeronimo to find the Alpine hermit, who will know the source of his affliction. Jeronimo and Fidelio depart, traveling by night because of the ghost, but one night as they continue, they hear a song. The song, which the author calls “The Baron’s Daughter” and prints fully within the text, relates the story of a woman named Blanche whose benevolent father encouraged her to marry her cousin Anselm, not knowing that Anselm had ulterior motives and would ultimately kill him in order to take over his estate. She escapes to the woods, where the ghost of her father reassures her and tells her that it was Anselm who killed him. She looks for a knight to kill Anselm and restore her place in the court as baroness. Jeronimo and Fidelio find the singer, who feigns insanity to throw off Anselm, should he find her. When Jeronimo declares that he will avenge her, Anselm appears and strikes him. Jeronimo and Fidelio together overpower him and defeat him. They return her to her castle, and Jeronimo stays until she settles her estate. When he discovers that she has a long-lost love, the son of a neighboring Baron who will soon become a monk, Jeronimo goes to intercede on her behalf, although it takes little effort. The baron, who is an arrogant, opportunistic social climber, encourages their union, and the young couple immediately marries.

Jeronimo and Fidelio then continue their journey to the Alpines, when at last they start to see evidence of a fire. As they approach, they see an old man sacrificing goats and putting their blood into the fire, chanting and dancing as he does so. When they finally introduce themselves, the Alpine hermit, who is named Grimano, reveals that he was expecting them and invites them to enter his Cavern. He also knows all about Jeronimo’s plight and explains that the sacrifices he made when Jeronimo and Fidelio found him were for Jeronimo’s sake. He sacrifices another goat for Jeronimo, drawing his own blood and making Jeronimo cut his hair and put it into the fire. Their environment responds intensely, with thunder crackling and the moon eclipsing, and they successfully summon the statue spectre. She identifies herself as Jeronimo’s aunt, and she says she will release him from her haunt on one condition: that he kills her husband, who only married her for her money, cheated on her, and ultimately killed her. Jeronimo is hesitant to kill this man but if he does not, she will return with a punishment even more intense. Grimano tells him that he is fated to avenge his aunt, and it is therefore not a crime but justice. With that, Jeronimo and Fidelio head to the castle to carry out their mission.

Upon their arrival, Jeronimo hesitates, but the mysterious bride prevents him from running away. He meets Ovaldiros and enjoys his company, and when it comes down to it, instead of striking Ovaldiros, he accidentally strikes the statue spectre, who has been guiding him all along. However, Grimano’s body appears in place of the ghost’s, and he dies after writing a confession, which he titles “The Memoirs of Grimano, The Magician.” Upon reading the memoir, Ovaldiros and Jeronimo discover that Grimano had two cousins with whom he was very close until they each drifted away from him and got married. To seek revenge for his abandonment, he plagued Jeronimo with a ghost in order to coerce him to destroy his cousins, Anselmo, who is Jeronimo’s father, and Bertrand, who is Ovaldiros’ father, making Ovaldiros Jeronimo’s cousin. Grimano also admits to having raped and killed Louise while disguised as Jeronimo. After Ovaldiros and Fidelio console Jeronimo over his lost love, Fidelio reveals that he has in fact been the Infanta of Spain all along, and subsequently Jeronimo and the Infanta marry. They remain close to Ovaldiros and his family and go on exemplifying goodness of character to the end of their days.


American Library Association. Committee on Resources of American Libraries. National Union Catalog Subcommittee, and Library of Congress. The National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints: a Cumulative Author List Representing Library of Congress Printed Cards And Titles Reported by Other American Libraries. London: Mansell, 1968, 1981.

Gowans, Adam Luke. The Twelve Best Tales by English Writers. New York, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1911.

“The Marvellous Magazine and Compendium of Prodigies” [catalog record]. University of Virginia Library,

The Marvellous Magazine and Compendium of Prodigies. 2nd ed., vol. 4, Printed for T. Hurst, 1802. Nineteenth Century Collections Online, Accessed 9  Apr. 2024.

The Mysterious Bride: Or the Statue Spectre. London, T. Hughes, c. 1800.

Potter, Franz J. Gothic Chapbooks, Bluebooks and Shilling Shockers, 1797–1830. University of Wales Press, 2021.

“Prologue to The New Traditionary Play, Entitled, The Mysterious Bride, Written by Lumley St. George Skeffington, Esq. Spoken by Mr. Putnam.” 1808. Universal Magazine, vol. 10, no. 59, 1808, p. 337.

Summers, Montague. A Gothic Bibliography. Russell & Russell, New York, 1964.           

Researcher: Christine Luecke

How to cite this page:

MLA: “The Mysterious Bride.” Project Gothic, University of Virginia, 2024,