An abridged plagiarism of Sir Walter Scott’s 1823 novel Quentin Durward, this chapbook follows the grotesque adventures of Scottish cavalier Quentin Durward and his romance with the beautiful Countess Isabelle.
Durward and Isabelle appears to be a flimsy few scraps of paper being held together by what looks like a piece of twine. The full title is simply Durward and Isabelle. The book is bound together with another chapbook, Mary, the Maid of the Inn, which precedes Durward and Isabelle. It appears as though the back of Mary, the Maid of the Inn, was ripped out, since there are remnants of torn paper at the last page. The paper of Durward and Isabelle is not as yellow compared to Mary, the Maid of the Inn, and the two texts are printed in different fonts. This suggests that Durward and Isabelle was likely bound to Mary, the Maid of the Inn at a later time.
The origins of this chapbook remain a mystery,
as there is no listed author. However, the publisher is listed at the bottom of
the final page as “Dean and Munday, Threadneedle-Street, London.” Mary, the
Maid of the Inn has a title page with a different publisher listed. The
cover of Mary, the Maid of the Inn does have some handwriting on it, but
it is impossible to know if this was written before or after the chapbooks were
The dimensions of the book are about 11cm x 16
cm, so it is fairly small. Durward and Isabelle is thirty-six pages
long, while the previous story is twenty-five pages, making for a total of sixty-one
pages bound together by a single piece of fraying string. The last page of Durward
and Isabelle has fallen off but is still kept with the book in the library.
The pages are very brittle and dry, and are also very frail and yellowed,
likely due to the wear and tear that the book has been subject to over the
years. The margins are decently sized while the font is relatively small but
not difficult to read. There is a surprisingly large amount of spacing between
paragraphs. The margins are uneven: there is little to no space at the top at
the top of the book, while there are much larger side margins.
While Mary, the Maid of the Inn contains
a fold-out illustration, there are no illustrations in Durward &
Isabelle. There are some words handwritten on the cover: in the top right
corner, the word “romance” is written in pencil and “1822” (the year Mary,
the Maid of the Inn was published) in ink. On the bottom of the cover,
there is a series of numbers and letters without clear meaning.
Durward and Isabelle is a chapbook that is a plagiarized and abridged version of Quentin Durward, a novel written by Sir Walter Scott published in 1823. The author of Durward and Isabelle is not known. At only thirty-six pages, the chapbook is much shorter than the original novel and brushes over many of the major plot points. While the original novel is focused on Quentin Durward and his adventures, the chapbook is more focused on Durward’s adventures that involve his relationship with Isabelle, hence the title Durward and Isabelle. The plagiarized chapbook was published by Dean and Munday, as printed on the last page of the book. Dean and Munday was a popular publishing institution established in 1810 that published many other chapbooks. The Dean and Munday families lived together and raised their children together in their home behind the shop on Threadneedle Street. Two cousins, Thomas Dean and Thomas Munday, became apprentices, then later became partners in the firm. This partnership lasted until 1838, when it was permanently dissolved (Potter 86). According to Franz Potter, “During these early years at Dean & Munday, the firm also reissued a number of well-known gothic pamphlets originally published by other booksellers” (87). Durward and Isabelle is listed as one of the one-shilling pamphlets published by Dean and Munday in a book titled The French Revolution of 1830: Being a Succinct Account of the Tyrannical Attempt of Charles X. to Overturn the French Constitution. Interestingly, Mary, the Maid of the Inn is also on this list of Dean and Munday pamphlets printed with The French Revolution of 1830, though the copy of Mary, the Maid of the Innbound with the Sadleir-Black Collection’s copy of Durward and Isabelle was published by Orlando Hodgson not Dean and Munday.
Given Sir Walter Scott’s significance, there is an abundance of
information about his original novel Quentin Durward by contrast with
the dearth of information on the plagiarized and abridged Durward and
Isabelle. In a late nineteenth-century edition of Quentin Durward edited
by Charlotte M. Yonge, Yonge includes a historical introduction in which she
writes that Scott “held that it was lawful for art to throw together historical
characters and facts with more regard to effect than to accuracy or detail, and
thus to leave a stronger impression on the mind. And there can be no doubt that
the tale he has given us has fixed on thousands of minds a strong and definite
impression of the characters of Louis XI” (14). In writing this, Yonge
identifies the significant impact that the characters of Quentin Durward
had on the public point of view.
There are other notable adaptations of Scott’s novel, including Quentin
Durward; a dramatic adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s novel, in three acts and
three scenes, by Charles Andrew Merz and Frank Wright Tuttle.This
adaptation was published in 1914 and is associated with the Yale University
Dramatic Association. There are digital copies of the original Quentin
Durward and its adaptations available on ProQuest One Literature and the
HathiTrust Library. The novel was even adapted into a film called The
Adventures of Quentin Durward, released in 1955.
Narrative Point of View
Durward and Isabelle is narrated in the third
person, and the narrator is never named nor are we given any context on how
they learned of the story. The story is told in a very straightforward fashion,
yet still manages to incorporate feelings of characters. The narration is
filled with expansive sentences, with an emphasis on depicting events and with minimal
The young and beautiful Isabelle had fled from Burgundy, to avoid being married to one of the Duke’s favourites; and whether she was really under King Louis’s protection, was not certainly known. Durward could not help conjecturing, from circumstances, that the young lady he had seen in the morning, and with whose charms he had been smitten, was, in fact, the young countess. While the knowledge of her rank and misfortunes interested him yet more strongly in her fate, it tended to damp any presumptuous hopes which love might have induced him to form. (8)
As seen here, in Durward and Isabelle the
narration is succinct and descriptive, and effectively explains the characters’
thoughts and feelings at certain moments. This can be seen when Durward deduces
that the woman he saw is the countess, and the narration presents not only what
he knows but how he feels with his subsequently lowered “hopes.”
Durward and Isabelle tells the tale of a fifteenth-century Scottish cavalier, Durward,
and Isabelle, a Countess. The story begins when Durward is met by King Louis XI
of France by chance. Durward introduces himself as a cadet of Scotland, who
came to France to seek fortune. It is later revealed that his father and
remaining family members were killed by a rivaling clan, and this caused his
mother to die of grief. Upon Durward’s introduction, the King also discovers
that he knows Durward’s uncle, Lesie, who comes to the castle to meet him and
the king. The king eventually decides to recruit this young cavalier as one of
his men, after consulting with his astronomer, Martius Galeoletti, who says
that Durward has good intentions. Durward has multiple encounters with Isabelle
throughout the beginning of the story, as she is residing at the castle where
the king lives.
One day while Durward is strolling through the garden, he comes
across a man hanging from a tree. Appalled by this circumstance, he immediately
climbs up the tree and cuts the rope, onlooking Bohemians react badly to this
action. The king’s right-hand man, Provost Marshall, takes them all prisoner.
Durward thinks he is going to be hanged along with the Bohemians but then
proceeds to defend himself, claiming he is from Scotland which is an allied
country. His life is spared.
It is revealed that the reason Isabelle is under the king’s
protection is because she fled from Burgundy after discovering that she was to
be married to one of the duke’s men. A count sent by the Duke of Burgundy
appears while searching for the ladies (Isabelle and her Aunt). The king
refuses to give them up and, after the count threatens to wage war on the
kingdom, the king decides to send Isabelle and her aunt away to Liege to be
under the protection of the bishop. The king appoints Durward in charge of
taking Lady Isabelle and her aunt to Liege with three soldiers and a guide.
Throughout their journey they encounter many men who want to claim possession
of Isabelle, including William de la Marck, a feared man from the area, and the
Duke of Orleans, who is to be wed to Isabelle’s sister but would rather marry
William de la Marck, in a fit of rage, decides to take over the city of Liege and murders the bishop in cold blood. Durward and Isabelle must escape together. During the siege, Durward presents himself to Willam de la Marck and says that if they are to be allied with France, they must not present themselves with this sort of conduct, so William de la Marck complies, and they all leave. De la Marck then threatens to return because he hears word that Isabelle is still hiding in the city. Isabelle at this point is willing to sacrifice herself to the Duke of Burgundy and decides she will offer to give up her patrimonial estates and ask permission to retire in a convent. They make it back to the Duke of Burgundy and the same day, the king decides to visit him too. The Duke of Burgundy hears about William de la Marcks violent tactics and believes that this is King Louis’ doing. He imprisons the king and plans for his execution.
After days of trials and Durward’s statement is given, the duke
determines that the king is innocent and decides they are to combine forces to
capture William de la Marck. Who will receive Isabelle’s hand in marriage
remains in question, so as incentive, the duke says that whoever is successful
in killing de la Marck wins Isabelle’s hand in marriage. Upon hearing this,
Durward searches for de la Marck, and finds him decapitated. In defeat, he
returns to the castle only to discover his uncle Lesie standing with William de
la Marck’s head, which he brought on Durward’s behalf. Durward and Isabelle are
both pleased with the arrangement and end up married together happily ever
Durward and Isabelle. London, Dean & Munday, n.d.
The French Revolution of 1830:
Being a Succinct Account of the Tyrannical Attempt of Charles X. to Overturn the French
Constitution, Etc. [With a Plate.]. Dean & Munday, 1830.
Merz, Charles Andrew, and Frank Wright Tuttle. Quentin
Durward: a Dramatic Adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s Novel, in Three Acts
and Three Scenes.New
Haven, Yale University
Dramatic Association, 1914.
Potter, Franz J. Gothic Chapbooks, Bluebooks
and Shilling Shockers, 1797–1830. University of Wales Press, 2021.
Yonge, Charlotte M.
“Introduction.” Quentin Durward, by Sir Walter Scott. Boston, Ginn & Co, 1895.
In this 1799 gothic novel, a young woman named Cordelia struggles with her father’s abandonment of her family, tries to improve her situation, and is ultimately faced with deceit and tragedy.
Cordelia, or a Romance of Real Life by Sophia King Fortnum is presented in leather binding with a marbled paper cover, giving it an elegant and high-quality appearance. The marbled decoration of the front would have been achieved by hand, using water and oil colors to create a unique design, and shows the care that was taken into the appearance of the book.
The spine is decorated with a few thin horizontal lines and has subtle embellishments surrounding the title, in capital letters, CORDELIA. The book still gives a refined impression, but its age shows with small fractures stemming from a substantial vertical crack down the spine and faded coloring of the cover. The top and bottom right corners of the paper cover appear worn off and torn, which could indicate the possible existence of leather, or another material, corners that came off at one point in its history. The book is 11 by 18 cm and 212 pages in length.
Inside, the pages are yellowed and occasionally darkly spotted on the tops and edges, which is referred to as foxing and is common in paper as it ages. This could possibly be due to oxidization, humidity, or other factors depending on the environments and conditions impacting the paper. The ink in the book is only somewhat faded and still easy to see, but brownish stains blemish many of the pages and one blue stain bleeds through page seven onto eight.
The pages alternate between two lengths and are curled slightly on all edges, leading to pages sticking together as they’re turned. Horizontal folds split the paper into thirds, showing that the paper could have been folded before it was bound in its leather and marbled paper dressings.
Opening the novel, the title is displayed on the second page as Cordelia, or a Romance of Real Life in fanciful font, and on the third page again. The author’s name appears below the title on the third page. Throughout the novel, on the tops of pages, the title is printed as CORDELIA.
The font of the story is prominent, and the lines of text are decently spaced apart. Wide margins, consisting of a larger bottom margin and thinner top margin, also make the text easy to read. As was common in printing at the time, the letter s in Cordelia is usually printed as a “long s,” which appear similar to f, and can cause some confusion for modern readers. Many of the pages feature letters and numbers at the bottoms. These signature marks are meant to indicate to the printer how to fold the pages in the correct order before binding them. Each chapter begins with a quote relevant to the chapter and a word or few words completely capitalized. The text’s format then continues generally uniformly, which fits in with the overall high-quality impression of the book.
Cordelia, or A Romance of Real Life was published in two volumes in 1799 by the Minerva Press and is
Sophia King Fortnum’s second novel (Summers 284). Fortnum was born around 1782
to John King and Deborah Lara, though she may have been born earlier and
misconstrued her age (Brown et al.). She was of Sephardic Jewish heritage, and
her father was a moneylender and radical political actor in England with a
notorious career known as the “Jew King” (Brown et al., Baines). Her parents
divorced in 1784 or 1785 after her mother took two of the children, possibly
including Fortnum, with her to Italy to try to prevent her father’s marriage to
the dowager countess of Lanesborough, an English noblewoman, and failed (Brown
et al., Endelman). Fortnum and her sister, Charlotte Dacre, author of Zofloya
and other gothic novels, published a collection of poetry together
dedicated to their father called Trifles of Helicon in 1798 (Brown et
al.). Fortnum married Charles Fortnum and began publishing under Sophia Fortnum
instead of Sophia King in 1801 (Brown et al.).
Fortnum published other gothic novels throughout
her career, as well as poetry. She was the author of Waldorf, or the Dangers
of Philosophy, A Philosophical Tale in 1798, The Victim of Friendship in
1800, The Fatal Secret: or, Unknown Warrior. A Romance of the Twelfth
Century in 1801, and her final novel, Victor Allen: a Novel in 1802
(Summers 86). Fortnum published much of her poetry in newspapers under the name
“Sappho” and published her only verse collection in 1804: Poems, Legendary,
Pathetic and Descriptive (Brown et al.). The date of Fortnum’s death after
these publications is unknown.
According to Montague Summers’s AGothicBibliography, the Minerva Press was owned by William Lane and was the “most famous publishing house which issued Gothic romances” (ix). Cordelia also had a French translation published by C. Chanin in Paris in 1800: Cordelia, ou la Faiblesse Excusable, histoire de la vie telle qu’elle est (Summers 284). A contemporary review of Cordelia by Tobias George Smollett called the novel a “gloomy tale” that was not “very probable in its incidents” or “interesting in its progress” (235–36). Smollett’s review also stated that the novel lacked an “attractive style” and called the “morality… inconsistent with the prevailing ideas of female virtue” (236). Editions of the first and second volumes of Cordelia were published by Gale Nineteenth Century Collections Online in 2017 and are available on Amazon, though the second volume is out of print.
Point of View
Cordelia, or a Romance of Real Life, is narrated in the first person by its protagonist, Cordelia.
Cordelia recounts the events of the story in retrospect, rarely describing
specific scenes and often summarizing her own judgements on situations and
people to convey what happened. Cordelia goes on tangents about her beliefs and
judgements within the text, saying she has “digressed” multiple times after
long-winded statements of her opinions (8, 50). The wording of sentences can be
lengthy, using many colons, semicolons, and commas, but the language is not
overly ornate, and it communicates ideas clearly.
The folly and conceit of this ridiculous couple forcibly excited my contempt; I easily developed the character of Mrs. Milner, whose brain was turned by wits, and pretended Literati. They found that by humouring her caprices, and flattering her ignorance, they should reap considerable advantages from her fortune and connections. Authors and philosophers swarmed at her table like butterflies; they praised her works, drank her wine, and dedicated poems to her. Mrs. Milner was therefore well pleased, and expended her fortune almost wholly among designing parasites, Democrats, and madmen, for I believe few who visited her were exceptions to this rule; as to the little conceited Citizen, he was a particular friend and almost totally governed her. As she was, however, a woman of rank and fortune, she did not meet with her deserved portion of contempt, but was in some measure countenanced by persons of fashion, and vitiated taste: for instance, titled profligates, romantic misses, and antiquated dowagers, who joined in her follies, and attended her levees, believing they by that means improved their manners and understanding. (48–50)
The narration overall emphasizes Cordelia’s
opinions and feelings and pays less attention to action and plot. One effect of
this style of first-person narration is that there is no objective view of the
story or characters. In the above passage, Mrs. Milner’s characterization is
completely based on Cordelia’s view of her. Cordelia states that Mrs. Milner
“pretended Literati” and people praised her only to gain something from her
“rank and fortune,” declaring her own “contempt” for Mrs. Milner (48, 49). She
frames Mrs. Milner as untalented and ignorant and others’ praise as insincere,
but there is no objective point of view to confirm this. The audience can only
rely on Cordelia’s perception of herself and others to judge characters’
intelligence or morality. Throughout Cordelia, Cordelia’s impressions of
others guide the framing of the story, and when her impressions prove to be
inaccurate, as with Lioni’s character, the effect is unpredictability.
The narrative of Cordelia, or A Romance of
Real Life, Volume I is told from the first-person perspective of Cordelia,
the protagonist of the story. The novel begins with Cordelia’s rantings and
criticisms of people’s disregard of religion and virtue in place of fame and
fortune. Cordelia admits to being susceptible to these kinds of romantic
notions at one point in her life and begins to tell her backstory. Cordelia’s
family consisted of her mother, her sister Rosina, and her brother Collville.
Her mother was married early in life to Mr. Arden, Cordelia’s father, but he
soon deserted her and their children to be with a woman named Lady Lindern. Mr.
Arden and Lady Lindern lived a luxurious life while Mr. Arden’s family was left
with no prospects and infrequent visits. Cordelia describes her mother as pale,
melancholy, and perpetually in love with Mr. Arden, believing he will return to
her someday. She describes herself as “a sort of ringleader” of her siblings,
and as the story starts, her father begins to favor her because of her apparent
“genius” (20, 22). Cordelia grows to love and respect her father despite his
cruel treatment of her family. However, she also becomes more dissatisfied with
her situation after seeing how Mr. Arden and Lady Lindern live.
Cordelia and her siblings want to leave England,
but because their mother still holds onto hope that Mr. Arden will return to
her, she is determined to stay. Cordelia wants to run away, but her mother
discovers this and tells her father. Mr. Arden gives Cordelia the opportunity
to work for a wealthy writer, Mrs. Milner, and become more involved in society
as an attempt to address her unhappiness with her situation. He orders her to
hide their familial relation, and she starts to work for Mrs. Milner. She finds
Mrs. Milner silly and untalented, but Cordelia does well and begins to interact
with more writers, philosophers, and other friends of Mrs. Milner. She becomes
more like them, calling herself “vain and ridiculous” in retrospect (54). One
day, Cordelia edits one of Mrs. Milner’s essays heavily, and Mrs. Milner finds
the rewrite insulting, reprimanding her. Cordelia leaves after this, abandoning
the post her father recommended her for. When her father finds this out, he
tells her that she has lost his good opinion and is an ungrateful daughter.
Cordelia tries to appeal to Lady Lindern’s sympathy and has an outburst about
her role in destroying her family. Lady Lindern is offended and tells Mr.
Arden. Cordelia receives a letter from her father telling her it is better if
they do not see each other, and she loses all hope of bettering her situation.
Cordelia decides to run away and fantasizes
about obtaining fame and fortune. With the help of her sister, Rosina, she gets
money together and leaves home. She eventually finds somewhere to stay, but her
hostess charges her a high price and drains her funds quickly. Throughout this
time, she tries to apply for jobs with theater companies but is denied. After
many rejections and having to seek the assistance of a family friend, Mrs.
Larlston, she gets news that her application to join a theater company was
accepted. At her new job, she meets Lucinda, who she is initially wary of but
becomes close friends with. Their work for the company is physically demanding
and pays very little, and Cordelia remains unhappy with her life. They
eventually meet a man named Count Victor Lioni and his younger companion
Charles Mandani. Cordelia is suspicious of Lioni but finds Mandani agreeable
and develops feelings for him. Lucinda tells Cordelia that Lioni is a childhood
friend and later tells her that they have gotten married.
Lucinda, Lioni, Mandani, and Cordelia go on a
trip to Italy and Cordelia is unsure of Mandani’s sentiments towards her.
Cordelia asks Mandani about Lucinda and Lioni’s marriage and he sees the idea
as ridiculous, revealing to Cordelia that Lioni and Lucinda are not married and
that Mandani perceives Cordelia to have loose morals. After Cordelia clears the
confusion about her morality, Mandani makes it seem like he intends to form a
serious union with her. Cordelia confronts Lioni about the lie of his and
Lucinda’s marriage, and the Count makes an advance towards her. After
Cordelia’s poor response to this, he tells her she and Mandani are his
captives. Cordelia sends a letter to Lioni asking him to let her leave, but he
refuses and reveals that Mandani is lying to her. Lioni gives Cordelia a pile
of papers and letters, which reveal that Mandani is married. According to the
letters, Mandani loved Lioni’s sister Olivia, but at sixteen, Olivia took her
vows in a convent. Mandani wanted to marry her and convinced her to run off to
France with him and elope. Olivia’s guilt over breaking her vows caused her to
leave him and move back to a convent. Lioni forgave Mandani, but if Mandani
ever forgot Olivia and moved on with another woman, Lioni promised to kill him
on behalf of his sister.
Cordelia cannot tell Mandani she knows about his
past and marriage, and the Count gives her money to leave and have a life away
from Mandani as a gesture of friendship. Cordelia overhears Mandani say that
Olivia is dead to him, and he loves only her now, but she knows they cannot be
together because of Lioni’s threat. She plans to leave for Switzerland and live
in peaceful and comfortable solitude with Lioni’s money, but before she can make
it, she encounters armed men who attack her and tie her up. She is confused and
terrified but then wakes up in what she thinks is a madhouse. She despairs and
adds “shrieks” to the “groans of lunacy,” but “Nature” eventually rescues her
by sending her into a “happy insensibility” (212).
Brown, Susan, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, eds. “Sophia King: Life & Writing.” Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present. Cambridge University Press Online, 2006. <http://orlando.cambridge.org>. 09 November 2021.
In this 1799 chapbook set in England during the Middle Ages, a conflict over religion between a priest and a baron, and an enchanted suit of armor result in betrayal, exile, and magic.
Kilverstone Castle, or, The Heir Restored: A Gothic Story is the second of twelve stories, bound together in the same volume. The name of the author does not appear on any of the story’s thirty-three pages.
The cover is stained, and has completely detached from the book pages, but the binding on the side is still intact. The pages are very fragile, and the cover has detached. The book is bound with leather, and has an endband made of red thread at the top and bottom for decorative purposes.
The book’s paper is very brittle and has yellow stains covering it. The binding along the side of the book has the word “tracts” carved into it. A “tract” signifies a chapter or short story, which suggests that someone specifically chose to bind these stories together, either due to similar themes or simply to have them all in one place. The word “Prethy” is also written in elaborate cursive on the opening page, which suggests a previous owner signed their copy.
There are illustrations on the title and final page of the book, with the one on the title page depicting two men dueling in front of a woman fainting, and the one on the final page depicting a tree. The title page also contains the name of the book’s printer and publisher.
One of the most unique characteristics of this volume, however, is the typeface. The margins and type are both very small. Within the text, the letter “s” appears frequently shaped like a letter “f” (this was known as a long S or medial S), except in words that have two “s” in a row, in which case only the first “s” is a long S while the second “s” is the round s that has since become standard.
According to the WorldCat database, there are ten different editions of Kilverstone Castle. The editions slightly vary in title, with most including the phrase Kilverstone Castle, or, the Heir Restored, a Gothic Story and some also including Founded on a Fact which happened at the dawn of the Reformation.
WorldCat lists all of these editions as having been published in 1799, except for one which is listed as having been published in 1800. The edition of the text in the University of Virginia Special Collections library does not have a publishing date inscribed on it, and the call number lists publication as 1802. However, in his Gothic Bibliography, Montague Summers claims that the text was published in 1799. Franz Potter’s Gothic Chapbooks, Bluebooks, and Shilling Shockers, 1797–1830 gives the same year (21). An edition of the text on Google Books has “1799” printed on the title page.
While the text has no known author, Kilverstone Castle was published by Ann Lemoine. Lemoine was a prolific publisher of gothic texts, and Potter states that Kilverstone Castle was the first work she published, a collaboration with Thomas Hurst. He goes on to note, “Lemoine effectively dominated the chapbook market by publishing at least 99 Gothic chapbooks over thirteen years, 28 percent of the whole number” (Gothic Chapbooks 21). Potter also says that Kilverstone Castle “capitalised on the widespread success of The Castle of Lindenberg and the continued interest in Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto” (Gothic Chapbooks 47). In The History of Gothic Publishing, Potter notes that Kilverstone Castle was one of the Gothic bluebooks available at William Booth’s Circulating Library in Norwich (70). Though no advertisements for the text have been found in newspapers from the nineteenth century, this suggests that it was not in total obscurity either.
Narrative Point of View
Kilverstone Castle uses a third-person omniscient narrator, who knows the inner thoughts of all the characters. The narrator provides a lot of description of the setting and the material objects the characters interact with. However, the narrator does not explain all characters’ thoughts and motivations. The narrator uses long sentences, and refers to aristocratic characters by their title more often than their actual name, with the exception of Mervil.
He prefaced it with the most solemn asseverations of truth, respect, and esteem for his patron. “My regard for you, my lord, makes me jealous of every injury done to your honor; and it becomes a duty in me to apprise you of every danger which besets you. Be not shocked, my friend, by a discovery in which your happiness is in imminent peril. Your Jessalind is inconstant!” (12)
The omniscient narrator not revealing each character’s motivation adds to the mystery of the story. If the narrator of this passage had been able to state that Polydore was lying about Jessalind committing adultery, significant tension during the scene in the bathhouse would have been lost. Polydore in this passage also puts more emphasis on Mervil’s title than the narration usually does, suggesting that they are not really friends. In other passages throughout the story, when the narrator describes objects in great detail, such as the onyx cross, this is done to humanize the objects and give them a role in the story.
Kilverstone Castle begins by telling the reader about Lord Audley, Baron of Kilverstone in Lincolnshire. He is a virtuous man who is getting older, but he has a son, Mervil, who will be a great successor. Audley lives before the Reformation but holds ideas contrary to those of the Church. This brings him into conflict with Father Peter, who is the Abbot of Croyland and runs the monastery in the village. Peter has many opportunities to take revenge on Audley, due to the supreme influence of the Church at the time. Father Peter goes to Lord Wentworth, in a place where Audley holds lands, with a forged order from the Monastery of St. Crowle to prosecute a claim on the estates.
Audley soon dies, and his son is called away from his travels at the news of his father’s death. The trial about his father’s lands is still happening at the King’s court, and he walks around his mansion considering it. He soon hears his ancestor’s armor rumble, and, when he walks over to it, sees a light from inside. He finds a small onyx cross and puts it on; the cross then starts to bleed, and the armor shakes.
Father Peter shows up, planning to assassinate Mervil. Peter pretends to mourn Audley, and Mervil believes him. Soon the amulet starts to bleed again. Peter is shocked, and briefly feels guilt for attempting to kill Mervil, but it soon fades. As Peter turns to leave, the dagger which he planned to kill Mervil with falls onto the floor. Mervil is shocked, and realizes the amulet was warning him about Peter’s treachery.
It is revealed that Wentworth has led a wild life, and that the churchmen manipulated him. He has made large donations to the monastery. He had gifted Father Peter’s monastery with Audley’s lands. Even with Audley dead, Peter still wants his lands. Since Mervil is so young, and Peter’s whole claim is based in forgery, Peter wants to kill Mervil before he has an heir who could challenge Peter for the Audley lands.
One day, while out hunting, Mervil meets a strange hermit. The hermit says he knows Mervil, and warns him that bad things await him.
Mervil eventually gets married to a local nobleman’s daughter, Jessalind. One day, however, his friend Polydore tells him she is being unfaithful with his friend, Ironside. Polydore tells Mervil to catch Jessalind and Ironside at the bath. Mervil goes there, and though he does not want to doubt his wife, he trusts his friend and the amulet had predicted disaster. He sees Jessalind and Ironside meet, and in a rage stabs Ironside. However, Ironside tells him that nothing was going on and that his and Jessalind’s meeting was accidental.
Mervil realizes that Polydore has lied to him, and that this was instigated by the church. As a murderer, Mervil’s lands are given to Wentworth. Mervil also reveals that Jessalind is pregnant. He decides to run into the woods and live as an unknown. Jessalind wakes up after fainting, sees Ironside dying, and calls out for her husband who has run away.
Some peasants carry Ironside to a shepherd, who says it is possible his wound is not fatal. Soon Wentworth’s officers show up at Audley’s estate after hearing what happened, and force Jessalind out. On the same night, a horrible storm is happening, and Wentworth’s officers flee the Audley castle because they think the storm was caused by evil spirits.
Jessalind befriends a shepherd who knew old Lord Audley. She is able to sell some jewels and go home to Normandy, but her father has left for a war.
The monks celebrate Mervil’s downfall, but Father Peter does not want to risk going near the enchanted armor again. Polydore, who was working for Father Peter, is now stuck with him while Peter shuts himself up in his cell.
Mervil eventually meets an old man at a shepherd’s house. He tells him everything, and the old man tells him that sometimes good things can come from bad. Eventually, Mervil tells the shepherd he is going to leave and find a place to retire and do penance. The shepherd tells him that the Hermitage of Norban is close to them, and Mervil seems to recognize the name and panics. The shepherd tells Mervil to stay the night, and his son will walk the six-hour journey with Mervil in the morning. Mervil then asks the shepherd to tell him the story of the hermit.
The hermit was from Normandy and was a member of Croyland Abbey. He did not leave the world entirely, but was famous for his ability to heal, to prophesize, and for his wisdom. He went into the mountains because he was upset at the sins of others in Croyland. Towards the end of his life, he gets a visitor, and on his deathbed, tells the herdsmen that it is his brother, and his coming means the hermit will die. He leaves a crucifix and says his heir will wear it in the seventh generation, and he will be the guardian of his friends for seven ages to come.
The amulet on Mervil’s neck is glowing once the story finishes. In the morning, he goes looking for where the hermit lived. Mervil finds the hermit’s remains, and decides to stay until he can give the hermit last rites. Mervil stays for some months in the Hermitage, with the shepherd and his sons often visiting.
Mervil eventually becomes famous, and fears he will be discovered. One night, he has a vision of Ironside’s ghost, giving him information about Jessalind. One day, a man shows up, and he realizes it is Ironside. Ironside tells him everyone believes Mervil committed suicide, and that while searching for him, a storm took out Wenthorth. Wentworth’s son refused to give Audley’s lands to the monastery. Ironside then tells him how he was tricked by Polydore, and that Father Peter poisoned Polydore because he knew Peter’s secrets. He then tells him that Jessalind is with her father in Normandy.
Ironside then tells him that Geoffrey, Wentworth’s son, is in open rebellion against the crown. He says Jessalind’s father might come with them to ask about his daughter’s possessions. Mervil says he cannot go until he has fulfilled the hermit’s last request. They leave with the hermit’s urn, and Mervil places it in the vault of his ancestors.
Mervil and Ironside eventually join up with the royal army. Ironside is shot in the arm and forced to retreat during a battle, and Mervil follows to help him. The crucifix Mervil is wearing helps to save the king when he is surrounded by rebels. Ironside dies of his wounds after asking Mervil to look after his daughter.
Mervil reaches the monastery of Crowle, and finds it in ruins. It had been destroyed by royal mandate, and all its possessions confiscated. His own mansion is mostly destroyed, except for the gallery where he first got the amulet.
A wedding is going to take place in a few days. During the wedding, Mervil’s amulet catches the eye of the bride. The bride faints, and the dagger she was going to use to stop the marriage falls out of her hair. It is revealed that the bride is Jessalind. The strange youth, referred to as the Bloody Knight, is revealed to be their son. In the end, Leo, the Bloody Knight, marries Ironside’s daughter Elvira.
Kilverstone Castle. London. Printed for Ann Lemoine. 1799.
Potter, Franz J. Gothic Chapbooks, Bluebooks and Shilling Shockers, 1797–1830. University of Wales Press, 2021.
——. The History of Gothic Publishing, 1800–1835 : Exhuming the Trade. Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Summers, Montague. A Gothic Bibliography. The Fortune press, 1941.
Published in the 1820s by an unknown author, this chapbook set in England features a disgraced outlaw obsessed with his rival’s daughter and a religious Prior determined to right the characters on the path of piety.
Feudal Days, a simple and small book, measures
16.5cm long by 10.5cm wide and contains twenty-eight pages. The book currently
has no cover; the reader first encounters a blank yellowed page. All pages in
the chapbook are brittle and thin; some are slightly ripped at the edges, and
the pages’ top ends are all discolored brown. A small amount of black thread
loosely links these pages together, although one can observe holes on the left
size of pages where thread was likely once used to tightly bind the book.
Opening the book, the reader will observe a pull-out
frontispiece illustration on the left side of the first page and the title page
on the right side. The title page contains the full title of the chapbook: Feudal Days; or, the Noble Outlaw. AnHistorical Romance of the Fourteenth
Century. The title appears in different variations throughout other places
in the text. At the top of the first page of text, it appears as Feudal Days; or, the Noble Outlaw
without the second line, and at the top of all pages of text, it reads The Noble Outlaw; (on the left page) and
Or, Feudal Days (on the right side),
thus reversing the order seen on the title page. An author’s name does not
appear throughout the chapbook; however, the name J. Bailey appears on the
title page, the last page of text, and on the final two pages. These mentions
reveal that J. Bailey of 116 Chancery Lane “printed and sold” the book and also
published numerous other chapbooks listed on the last two pages of this
chapbook. The title page finally lists the price of the chapbook—6 pence.
Venturing past the front pages of the book, the reader will
notice that the body text is closely-set and single-spaced and that many pages
do not have paragraph breaks. On most pages, the margins are roughly 1cm all
around; between pages 22 and 24, the bottom margin increases slightly to 2cm.
Pagination on the top of pages begins on the second page of body text at page 4
and continues to the last page of body text (26). In addition to pagination,
publishers have included a few extra printed markings on the bottom of pages:
“A2” is printed on what would be denoted page 3; “A3” is on page 5; “A4” on
page 7; “A5” on page 9; and “B” is printed on page 25. These markings, called
signature marks, were printed in order to aid the accuracy in the binding of
Although almost all of the book contains text without any
illustration, the frontispiece on the opposite page from the title page
provides the singular illustration, depicting a woman stabbing a man inside a
cave that is decorated with a chandelier. This frontispiece is unique in the
chapbook, both because it is the only use of color and because is the only
exception to the dimensions of the chapbook: it folds outward to comprise an
overall width of 21cm and height of 16.5cm. This page bears the captions of
“FRONTISPIECE” above and a reference to the body text below: “Nay then Ermina, cried Rudolph, ‘I will not
brook delay’—when, by one bold effort she released her hand, and seizing my
shining sword”. The content of this caption, while not a direct quotation,
is a condensed version of dialogue recounted on page 14 of the text;
additionally, this caption is printed slightly off-the-page; for this reason,
exact punctuation is uncertain.
While most attributes described in this chapbook are
particular to the entire batch that this book was printed in, it is finally
worthwhile to point out a few characteristics that are likely unique to this
particular copy in the Sadlier-Black collection. Overall, this book is devoid
of most markings. The three particular marks include potential pen markings in
a straight line at the top of the final page, a circular mark which may be glue
or wax, and a bit of blue color that has spotted the front and back pieces of
the book, which may be the remnants of a cover or binding.
to the copy of Feudal Days held by
the University of Virginia, WorldCat indicates that multiple other copies exist
in print form in fifteen other libraries. These copies are not concentrated in
one geographic region: a copy of Feudal
Days can be found at four Canadian libraries, one United Kingdom library,
two Spanish libraries, and nine United States libraries (including the
University of Virginia). In addition to the print forms of Feudal Days, there is also another digitized copy of the book held
by New York Public Library (NYPL), which is accessible through HathiTrust and
factors support an inference that there were multiple printings of Feudal Days when it was originally published: first, the digitized NYPL copy available on HathiTrust includes
an additional cover page that the University of Virginia copy does not have.
This page includes a notation that the book was “Printed and Published by S.
Carvalho, 18, West Place, Nelson Street, City of London”. A few pages later,
the cover page indicating that the book was printed by J. Bailey is still
included, and the rest of the book looks exactly identical to the version held
by the University of Virginia. S. Carvalho may have reprinted the entire book
or simply added an additional cover onto the original printing by J. Bailey.
Second, the date that Google Books lists for the publication of the NYPL
version of Feudal Days is 1829, but
the University of Virginia library catalog indicates a date range of 1820 to 1829.
While this may not alone be enough to pin down potentially different printings,
the WorldCat catalog record for Feudal Days notes that, according to I.
Maxted’s London Book Trades, J. Bailey operated at the printed
address (116 Chancery Lane) only between 1808 and 1827, not 1829 (Maxted, cited
in WorldCat Catalog Record). Regardless, the wide circulation of Feudal Days in international libraries
indicates that even if the book only went through one printing, it may have
been printed in large volumes.
WorldCat lists three contributors to Feudal Days: J. Bailey, George Cruikshank, and Friedrich Schiller. The British Museum states that J. Bailey was a British “publisher active between 1799 and 1825,” and that he traded with William Bailey, who may have been a family member, during the latter period of his flourishing years, 1823–1824 (“J Bailey”). In addition to the list of chapbooks printed by J. Bailey in the back of Feudal Days, the British Museum also lists a few prints and pamphlets printed by him, including “The life and military career of Napoleon Bonaparte,” which was illustrated by George Cruikshank, evidence that J. Bailey collaborated with Cruikshank on multiple occasions (“Pamphlet”). George Cruikshank is thought to be the illustrator or the author of Feudal Days according to different sources. Cruikshank (1792–1878) was a fairly prominent British graphic artist; he started his career as a caricaturist and then moved to book illustration. Some of his most notable works include working with Charles Dickens on illustrations for Oliver Twist from 1837–1843 and the famous temperance comic The Bottle in 1847 (Patten). Most sources, including HathiTrust and University of Virginia library catalog, credit Cruikshank with illustrations; however, Diane Hoeveler credits Cruikshank himself with adapting Friedrich Schiller’s play Die Räuber into Feudal Days (Hoeveler 197). Finally, Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805) was a famous German playwright, poet, and philosopher (Witte). Schiller wrote his own unfinished gothic novel, The Ghost-Seer, but the most concrete link between Schiller and Feudal Days is the assertion that Feudal Days is based off an English translation of Schiller’s German drama Die Räuber (Andriopoloulos 1–2, Hoeveler 197).
Die Räuber is a drama about two brothers, one of
whom is cast out by the father under the influence of the evil brother and who
joins a band of outlaws. Although threads of outlawdom and banditti are common
to Feudal Days, it seems that the
plot of Feudal Days is not an exact
adaptation of Die Räuber, primarily
because it is missing the element of familial rivalry (“The Robbers”). However,
an opera called The Noble Outlaw may
also be a source of influence for Feudal
Days. The Noble Outlaw, produced
in 1815 in England, is “founded upon” Beaumont and Fletcher’s opera The Pilgrim (“Noble Outlaw” Theatrical 310). The Noble Outlaw is about an outlawed robber who returns to his
beloved’s residence, disguised as a pilgrim, in order to leave with her (“Noble
Outlaw” Monthly 302). As a resolution
of the plot, the Outlaw of the opera saves his rival’s life, and “all ends
happily” (“Noble Outlaw” Theatrical
311). Similar to Die Räuber, the
common thread of outlawdom is present; in addition, plot points such as
breaking into a woman’s home in a disguise and saving a rival’s life as a plot
resolution are common to both the opera and Feudal
Days. No source exists indicating that The
Noble Outlaw specifically influenced Feudal
Days, but given the time proximity and the name and plot similarities, this
may be the case. As evidenced by a search on HathiTrust, there are many other
chapbooks with “Feudal Days” or “The Noble Outlaw” constituting part of the
title. Online copies of these other chapbooks are limited, so the degree to
which these related works are similar is unknown. Therefore, Feudal Days could have other influences
and could have influenced other works; at the same time, these numerous titles
may indicate that “Feudal Days” and “Noble Outlaw” were simply popular book
Notably inaccessible is information about Feudal Days’s marketing and reception during the time period, reprintings, prequels, and sequels, and any scholarly analysis of the book after its publication. One hypothesis for the absence of such information is that Feudal Days is one in a list of many gothic chapbooks published by J. Bailey during this time period, as evidenced by the final two pages of the chapbook listing other titles (Feudal Days 26–7). Therefore, Feudal Days might not have stood out amongst its counterparts enough to warrant independent reviews or scholarship. In sum, however, the information that can be gleaned about Feudal Days does lead to several inferences regarding its relative importance. First, given the numerous copies available of the book currently, it may have been fairly popular. Second, its plot may have been influenced by multiple, mixed-media sources, including well-known theatrical works like Die Räuber or The Pilgrim. Finally, one of Feudal Days’s potential contributors, George Cruikshank, would later achieve fairly notable status later in his career.
Narrative Point of View
The present-tense section of Feudal Days is narrated by a third-person anonymous narrator who
never appears in the text. This narrator relies on recounting dialogue rather
than independently describing or analyzing plot. While a minority of the story
is recounted by this narrator in the present tense, the text also contains
flashbacks and interpolated tales, narrated by the character who experienced
the flashback. The majority of the text is spent on Rodolph’s interpolated
tale, in which he recounts his descent into lawlessness. This tale is narrated
in the first person by Rodolph, and every paragraph opens and closes with
quotation marks, to indicate that Rodolph is telling his story during
continuous conversation with Father Francis. Both the anonymous narrator and
Rodolph often employ long sentences, containing multiple clauses joined by
semicolons and oftentimes-unclear referential pronouns. Unlike the anonymous
narrator, however, Rodolph utilizes elements of description and recounts his
own feelings and state of mind, rather than simply narrating the dialogue of
Passage from Rodolph’s Interpolated Tale:
“O, Ernulf! my friend, wealth, honour, fame, are now lost to me; malignant stars have crossed my fondest hopes; Rodolph no longer bears the name of brave, but skulks an outlaw, the meanest slave of passion, who, like the prowling monster of the forest, avoids pursuit, and sheds unguarded blood.” (7)
Sample Passage of
Impersonal and Anonymous Third-Person Narrator:
“Hold! (cried the Prior) God commands that ye shall not proceed, re-sheath your swords, and release your captive.” Rodolph started, and gazed with amazement on the Prior. “What man art thou, (said he) that dare oppose my will; disclose to me thy name and purpose?” – “To preach repentance, (replied the prior) and to prevent evil.” Much more the Prior said, for he found that he had gained attention.
Rodolph raised his head, and gazing on the sky, an unwonted smile played o’er his features. “Thou holy man, (he kindly said) thy exhortations wind like infant tendrils round a sinner’s heart, and have taught my soul to know what constitutes true happiness on earth; thy words have chased error from my mind.” (18)
The anonymous narrator guides the
reader along through the thoughts and lives of different characters without
offering any independent commentary. The only character that the narrator
independently comments on is the Prior, whom the narrator repeatedly describes
as virtuous. This technique of guiding the narrative with a heavy focus on
transcribing dialogue makes the characters of Feudal Days appear more developed than there may otherwise be space
for in a twenty-eight-page chapbook. Additionally, the oftentimes-unclear
sentences may require a second or third reading of a passage. These tactics
combine to make the story appear longer and more action-heavy than what may be
expected for a book of its size.
Rodolph’s narration, on the other
hand, provides personal and descriptive insights, showcasing broader character
development and highlighting Rodolph as the protagonist of the story. Rodolph is
frequently over-dramatic, utilizing exaggerated similes such as, in the passage
above, “like the prowling monster of the forest” to evoke his strong feelings
and emphasize the weightiness of his tumult. The Prior’s eventual ability to
calm even Rodolph’s tormented mind, as shown in the sample passage, lends extra
weight to the anonymous narrator’s assertion that the Prior is inarguably
virtuous. Although Rodolph’s style of narration may appear disjointed from the
impersonal and brief narration of the rest of the chapbook, the fact that every
paragraph of his tale is offset by quotation marks renders his interpolated
tale as a long-form version of the dialogue relayed by the anonymous narrator.
Therefore, Rodolph’s narrative style showcases an extended version of the
character development tactic utilized by the anonymous narrator and is in fact
consistent with the rest of the chapbook.
Feudal Days opens
with a description of the Priory of Birkenhead, which sits close to the Mersey
inlet, a place where ships frequently wreck. Beyond the inlet, there lies a
“bleak and dreary” waste of vegetation; the pious father of the priory (the
Prior) cautions travelers to avoid the “track on the right” when navigating
through the waste and take the “track on the left” (3).
On a dark night, the Prior summons one of his men, Father
Francis, to accompany him down to the water so that they can encounter any struggling
travelers and give them aid. As they walk down to the water, the Prior recalls
when Francis was rescued in a similar condition—on a night like this, the Prior
slipped and fell walking back up to the priory, and locked eyes with Francis,
also suffering on the ground and exhausted due to the weather. The Prior called
the other brothers of the priory, and the two men were brought up to the priory
and nursed back to health.
Back in the present, the men complete their journey down to
the water; as the night gets even darker, they decide to head back to the
priory. Before they can leave, they catch a glimpse of a man “in warlike form”
wielding a sword, but the figure disappears (5). When they return to the priory
and go to sleep, the Prior is haunted by dreams related to that figure.
The next morning, Father Francis steals away from morning
prayers to sit in solitude in a sea cave on Mersey’s shore. Father Francis
recalls his life before becoming a priest, when he was called Ernulf. Father
Francis, in mental turmoil, recounts his parting with his lover, Angela. Father
Francis killed Angela’s husband, Arden; Angela also died that night in shock,
despite her love for Francis. Francis pleads with God to “forgive their
murders,” when, suddenly, he sees the warlike figure from last night (6). The
figure turns out to be Francis’s old friend, Rodolph. Rodolph first provides
clarity to Francis’s backstory, then launches into his own story, declaring
himself an “outlaw” and the “meanest slave of passion” (7).
Rodolph was fighting on behalf of the current king, King Henry,
against Henry’s rival Edward and commanding other lords to join the fight. Lord
Silbert had not yet joined the fight for Henry, so Rodolph resolved to convince
him. Rodolph traveled to Silbert’s estate, where he was received by the Lady of
Lord Silbert and their daughter, Ermina. At dinner, Rodolph was not able to
convince Silbert to join the fight for Henry; in fact, Silbert believed Henry’s
rival Edward had a legitimate claim to the throne. The two men began trading
threats of violence against each other and Rodolph left the estate quickly.
However, once Rodolph left the estate, he started thinking
about Silbert’s daughter Ermina and her charms, quickly forgetting “his king,
friends, and country” (9). Unable to gain access to the estate in a
conventional fashion, he sought advice from his friend Lord Redwald, and
decided to enter the mansion in the disguise of a peasant. When he revealed
himself to Ermina inside the mansion, she told him that he had to leave;
Rodolph then kidnapped Ermina with the help of Redwald’s men and brought her to
Redwald’s mansion. Silbert, about to greet Edward’s troops, realized that
Ermina had been taken. He later received word that a peasant had taken Ermina
and offered a reward for intelligence about her whereabouts. Rodolph’s identity
and location were betrayed for the reward, and Silbert arrived with his men at
Redwald’s estate to fight for Ermina’s freedom. Redwald received a fatal wound
during the fight with Silbert’s army, but before he died, he conveyed knowledge
of a secret passageway within his mansion that could be used as an escape, and
Rodolph, his men, and Ermina left via that route.
Once they left the castle and found themselves in nature,
Rodolph turned his attention back to Ermina, whose affections towards him had
not warmed. She told Rodolph that she would not marry him until her father
consented, but he resolved to marry her quickly and have her “share [his] couch
tonight” despite her wishes (13). He had Ermina brought “shrieking” to his
cavern, and told Ermina to swear to be his (13). Before Rodolph could rape
Ermina, Ermina seized Rodolph’s own sword and plunged it into his bosom. She
thanked God for preserving her honor, then fled from the area.
The next day, Rodolph came to and heard that Ermina had
vanished without a trace. Walking around the area with one of his men, Edric,
he saw a stranger, who asked him where to find the “lawless” Rodolph (15).
Rodolph dueled with this man, killed him, and read his dispatches. According to
these papers, a reward of 500 marks was placed on Rodolph’s head, his lands had
been bestowed to Silbert, and his mansion had been used by the rival Edward’s
troops. With that development, Rodolph ends his backstory, lamenting his new
position as an outlaw. Francis states that the turn of events is beneficial,
for Rodolph would have violated Ermina’s honor for a few seconds of pleasure,
and invites Rodolph to join the priory for the day and give his penitence.
Meanwhile, another stranger—Lord Silbert—knocks on the door
of the priory and asks to stay a night before he continues on his journey. The
next morning, Silbert is guided along his journey by one of the priory’s
domestics, Gaspar. The Prior watches them leave and realizes that Gaspar is
leading Silbert along the wrong path to the right, contrary to the Prior’s
constant warnings. On this wrong path, an armed band attacks Silbert, and he is
about to die when Rodolph shows up and saves Silbert’s life. Rodolph now has
Silbert at his mercy, and demands that Silbert give away Ermina to him. Silbert
refuses, and then the Prior shows up to intercede. He urges Rodolph to not keep
Silbert captive, and Rodolph quickly acquiesces to his exhortations. Rodolph
asks Silbert for forgiveness and pledges to find Ermina for him, and Silbert
quickly forgives Rodolph and thanks him for saving his life. As they are about
to return to the convent, they come across the wounded Gaspar, who betrayed
Silbert. The Prior tells Gaspar that he must repent, and Gaspar reveals that
beneath this hill lies a secret cavern where a band of murderers, his
Rodolph and Silbert resolve to raid this secret cavern. Once
they enter the cavern, they find it fully decorated and quickly kill all of the
banditti. They also free a woman who had been kneeling before the chief of the
band pleading for mercy. This woman is revealed as Ermina, who was taken by
this band when she fled from Rodolph. The chief of the banditti took a liking
to her, and threatened to kill her unless she consented to marry him.
After the battle is over, the Prior enters the cavern with a
messenger of Silbert, who tells Rodolph that if he swears allegiance to Edward
and lays down his arms, he will not only be pardoned, but given a royal favor.
Rodolph agrees because King Henry is dead and King Edward has the mandate of
the people, and Silbert and Rodolph pledge allegiance to each other.
As the party walks back to the priory, they spot a priest,
falling into the water. The priest dies soon after and is revealed as Father
Francis. Despite this development, the characters of the book wrap up their
story happily—Silbert gives Ermina as a gift to Rodolph and consents to their
marriage, Silbert and Rodolph give Lord Redwald a proper burial, and King
Edward declares that the men can destroy the robber’s cave and give the
proceeds to be split amongst his followers. When the Prior dies a few years
later, they all mourn “the good man’s death” together (26).
Stefan. “Occult Conspiracies: Spirits and Secrets in Schiller’s Ghost Seer.” New German Critique, vol.
35, no. 1, 2008, pp. 65–81.
Feudal Days; or, the
Noble Outlaw: An Historical Romance of the Fourteenth Century. London, J.
Diane L. “Prose Fiction: Zastrossi, St. Irvyne, The Assassins, The Coliseum.” The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley,
edited by Michael O’Neill et al. Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 193–208.
Maxted, Ian. The London Book Trades 1775–1800: A
Preliminary Checklist of Members. Dawson, 1977.
“The Noble Outlaw.” The Monthly Theatrical Reporter, vol. 1, no. 8, 1815, pp. 301–303. ProQuest.
The Noble Outlaw.” Theatrical Inquisitor, and Monthly Mirror, Feb.1813–June 1819, vol. 6, 1815, pp. 310–312. ProQuest.
This chapbook printed in 1800 by S. Fisher contains thirteen humorous yet captivating short stories set in cities across Europe. The stories touch on a variety of themes—from romance to murder—and are sure to provide for an entertaining read.
Upon first glance, Fisher’s Cheerful Companion to Promote Laughter is a small,
unassuming book comprised of 48 delicate pages. There is no binding on the
book, although it appears as though there was one at some point in time as the
edges are slightly frayed with pieces of material hanging off of them. The book
itself is quite small, only being 10 cm in width and 18 cm in height. It is
also very delicate since there is no binding, and it must be handled with care.
When initially opening the book, the
first thing you see is the title page on the right-hand side. Since the title
is unusually long, it ends up covering half of the whole page. This book
contains thirteen different short stories, so below the title all thirteen of
the stories’ titles are listed out. These stories include: The Three Dexterous Thieves, The Wishes, The Widgeon, The Lucky
Disaster, The Hunch-back’d Minstrels, The Conjurer, The Fortunate Peasant, The
Two Rogues, The Humorous Miller, The Adventures of Scaramouch, The Unfortunate
Spaniard,The Ghost, and Mutual Confidence on the Wedding Night.
Below these titles is a simple quote: “If you wish for to pass a dull hour
away, Purchase this Cheerful Companion I pray.” There is nothing that indicates
who the author is, however further below this quote it says that it is printed
and sold by S. Fisher. The book was published in the year 1800 in London at
No.10, St. John’s Lane, Clerkenwell, and was also sold by T. Hurst, No. 32,
Paternoster Row. In addition to the publication information, a line with the
text “Price Sixpence” is placed in the bottom right corner.
Facing this first page is a
well-maintained black and white frontispiece which happens to be the only
illustration in the entire book. The illustration depicts a scene from the
first story of this book— The Three
contains the quote that it is portraying: “Unhappy wretches! You will certainly
come to the same end with me (Page 6).” Above this illustration, very small
font reads: “London. Pub Jan.1.1800, by S. Fisher,” which is a repetition of
the publication information on the adjacent page.
While the pages themselves are dainty,
they are also made out of a fairly thick cotton-like material. The pages are
yellowed and stained and seem to be quite worn and weathered throughout the years.
Some of the margins are crooked, and the text is printed at an angle, which is
the most evident on the first page of the first story. Throughout the book it
is apparent that some of the text has bled or been smudged. Additionally, some
of the text is faded or heavily bolded in patches. While the book may seem
short, the text is very small and closely set with a medium sized margin. At
the bottom of a few pages there is a single capital letter which exists as an
aid during the original binding of the book to determine how to fold the pages.
Each story begins with the title surrounded by separating lines and begins
right after the other story is finished, rather than being printed on the next
page. At the top of each of the pages is the name of the current story. Another
interesting thing to note about this book is that a “long s” is used throughout
the book, which was a style used during this time period. It appears to mimic
handwriting, and the s’s in the middle of a word more closely resemble f’s.
There is not much known about the history
of the text Fisher’s Cheerful Companion,
or its printer, Simon Fisher. The book was originally published in London in
1800, with another edition that came out shortly after in 1801. The first edition
contained 48 pages, while the second edition contained only 42 pages total.
Each edition has a different frontispiece, with the first one containing an
illustration from the story “The Three Dexterous Thieves” and the second one
with an illustration from “The Hunch-back’d Minstrels.” Simon Fisher’s
smaller-scale printing business specialized in publishing “bluebooks,” which
are short works of gothic fiction that were common in the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries (Potter 44). Fisher’s Cheerful Companion was only
published in English with no translated versions of it. This book was also sold
by a T. Hurst who is mentioned on the opening title page of the book. Fisher
also published other gothic texts, including The Life and Singular Memoirs, of Matilda (1802), The Black Castle (1803), The True and Affecting History of the
Duchess of C**** (1803), The
Mysteries of Udolpho: A Romance (1828), Castle
of Wolfenbach (1824), and Children Of
The Abbey (1824) (see Potter 167–77; Summers 268, 274).
Currently, there are numerous digital
copies of Fisher’s Cheerful Companion,
and many other electronic reproductions and microfilms. Specifically, the first
edition of the book was digitized in Eighteenth Century Collections Online.
There is a digital copy of the second edition available on Google Books. Aside
from the many digital copies, there also are hard copies published in 2010 by
Gale that can be found on Amazon or Ebay. Nabu Press also published a reprint
of the book in 2011. Aside from these limited findings, there is not much else
that is known about this book, or Simon Fisher.
Point of View
Cheerful Companion is narrated in third-person by an
unknown narrator who never appears in the text itself. The narration does not
have a lot of insight into the minds of the characters, and focuses a lot on
the flow of events. This is displayed in run-on sentences and a fast-paced
plot, quickly moving from one action to the next. While the sentences can be
lengthy, there is a choppy sort of feel to it. Additionally, the narration also
provides a moral, of sorts, for each story.
Scaramouch being arrived at Rome in the month of December, where the north wind is felt more severely than in any other place in Italy; and having only a little silk cloak, which covered him behind (his father having driven him from Naples because he made too free with his fingers), began to consider how he should defend himself from cold and hunger, whom he looked upon as his greatest enemies. (35)
In this passage and throughout the book,
the narration appears like a long stream of thoughts, strung together. By doing
so, it makes the book much more captivating and difficult to put it down. One
sentence seems to go on forever and eases into the next, which is enough to put
someone in a sort of trance while reading it. While this is effective in this
sense, at times it can become hard to follow, and often sidetracks before
returning back to the plot. These tangents, however, only strengthen effect of
the stories, appearing as if someone were just rambling on and on. Frequently,
this narration feels as though it is intended to be read aloud.
Fisher’s Cheerful Companion contains thirteen separate stories:
Three Dexterous Thieves
Two brothers Hamet and Berard, and their
accomplice Travers are described as rogues and are said to be in the business
of kidnapping and pilfering. When walking through the woods one day, Hamet and
Berard decide to show their talents in thieving. Hamet steals and replaces the
eggs from underneath a magpie, without disturbing the bird. While doing so,
Berard unbuttons Hamet’s pants without Hamet knowing. Travers is so astonished
by both of these acts that he claims he cannot keep up with them and renounces
thieving forever. He goes back to live in his village with his wife, and saves
enough money to buy a hog for Christmas.
Soon enough, Hamet and Berard come to
Travers’s village to reunite with their old friend. Travers leaves to work in
the fields right as the brothers come to visit, and his wife relays this
information to them. Before they leave, they notice the hog and decide to steal
it and eat it when the night falls.
Travers returns and upon hearing of the brothers’ visit, he hides the
hog. When night falls, the two brothers arrive and discover that the hog has
been moved. Travers hears a noise and leaves to go check on his stables. Upon
hearing him leave, Berard mimics his voice and calls out to Travers’ wife
asking where the hog went. His wife, Mary, responds and tells him exactly where
it is, and the two brothers successfully steal the hog. Travers soon returns
and hears of their antics and quickly sets off after them. He soon comes upon
Berard carrying the hog, and mimics Hamet’s voice to steal the hog back. Upon
discovering Travers’s antics when Berard catches up to Hamet, Berard disguises
himself as Mary and runs back to Travers’s home.
Once again, Berard tricks Travers into
giving him the pork by claiming he heard something in the stables and demanded
Travers go investigate. Once Travers discovers he has been tricked again, he
runs for the forest where he assumes they will escape to. He sees a light and
discovers Hamet and Berard cooking the meat. Travers then strips himself naked
and climbs into a tree to pretend to be a hanging corpse. Once they return,
Travers screams at them which scares them off, and then victoriously reclaims
his hog. He and his wife start cooking the hog in a cauldron to eat. Before
long, both of them drift off to sleep and the two brothers return. They climb
onto the roof and use a long stick to pierce pieces of the pork in the cauldron
to steal. Travers’ awakes to catch them in the act and realizes that he cannot
keep doing this so he invites them in to eat the pork together and reconnect.
The duke d’Offona regularly disguises himself and walks around the city so
that he learns of the commoner’s grievances and can address them. On one
particular night when he is walking around the city, he runs into three
soldiers and joins them for a drink. After a while of drinking and singing,
they decide to go around and each say what they think would make them happiest
for the rest of their lives. The first one says that he wishes to have “the sum
of one thousand crowns” (9). The second wishes to be a captain of one of the
duke’s guards. The third says that he wishes to spend a night with the duke’s
wife. Finally, the duke says that his wish is to be the duke so that he can
grant each of the soldiers’ wishes. Once they are finished, the duke finds out each
of the soldiers’ names and sends for them the very next day. The duke asks each
of the soldiers’ wishes again. He graciously grants the wishes of the first two
soldiers. However, when it comes to the third soldier, the duke says that he
cannot grant him his wish, but he can introduce him to his wife. The story ends
with the last soldier wishing that he had a different wish.
The two main characters in this story are
Jack Sawwell, a carpenter, and his wife, Mrs. Anne. Jack gives his wife money
to buy dinner for them, and she goes to the market to buy what she thinks is a
wild duck, when it is in fact a widgeon. When Mrs. Anne serves the widgeon to
Jack—who has hunted widgeons in the past—he immediately identifies it as a
widgeon and not a duck. Mrs. Anne starts arguing with Jack, insisting it is a
duck. The argument quickly transpires into a physical fight between husband and
wife. Jack is the victor, and Mrs. Anne goes back to being a passive obedient
wife. At dinner the next night, Mrs. Anne brings up the matter of the duck
again, and another flight quickly ensues. Jack claims that Mrs. Anne enjoys
arguing just for the sake of arguing. When Mrs. Anne hurls a large plate at
Jack’s head, the plate smashes into a set of china, shattering it. Soon the
neighbors arrive, startled by the load noises, and the fight dissipates. For
every night from now on, a fight breaks out between the couple over the
Monsier Mignard is a widowed apothecary
with one daughter named Susan. Susan marries a physician who is the son of one
of Monsier Mignard’s friends, Dr. Eloy. Monsier Mignard brings in a woman named
Agnes to council Susan. Susan quickly realizes that the man she married is not
a very promising husband, and her attention is drawn to a man named Gorillon
who comes from a lower-income family. Agnes supports Susan’s relationship with
Gorillon and helps them to meet secretly with each other. When her father is
out of town, Susan invites Gorillon over. While Gorillon is waiting in Monsier
Mignard’s chamber for Susan—who is meeting with unexpected visitors—he becomes
thirsty and drinks a glass of what appears to be water. Little does he know,
Monsier Mignard has just made this narcotic water which puts whoever consumes
it in a profound sleep. Once Gorillon drinks this, he falls into a deep
death-like sleep. Susan and Agnes come into the room and encounter his lifeless
body. They think he is dead, and try to decide what to do with his body. Agnes
looks around and discovers a large wooden box from a gunsmith’s shop in the
middle of the street which they decide to place the body in. At this time, the
gunsmith remembers that his men had left the box out in the street and goes
back with them to put it away. The men are too tired to realize that the box
became significantly heavier, and they place the box in the kitchen.
At three in the morning, Gorillion wakes
up and escapes from the box. This wakes the people in the house up, and they
soon discover Gorillon and think he is a thief. The police come and interrogate
him; however, Gorillon refuses to mention Susan for fear that their
relationship will be discovered, so he is thrown into a dungeon. His case soon
spreads across the city and Agnes and Susan hear about it. Monsier Mignard also
returns from his trip and complains about how his narcotic water is missing.
Agnes puts the pieces together, and Agnes and Susan explain the situation to
the gunsmith allowing for Gorillon’s release. The gunsmith happens to be
friends with Monsier Mignard, and talks with him to allow for Gorillon and
A hunchbacked man lives in a castle near
a small town. He is a very ugly man, but he has amassed quite a bit of wealth.
There is one woman in the town that catches his eye, and he requests her hand
in marriage. Even though she is repulsed by him, because of his wealth, she
cannot say no and they are married. Around Christmas, three hunchbacked
minstrels show up at the castle. They start making fun of the hunchbacked man,
but he takes it surprisingly well and invites them in to eat. When they are
leaving, the local man warns the minstrels to never come back again or he shall
kill them. They leave and the man leaves as well, walking toward the country.
His wife then calls out to the minstrels
who are leaving and tells them to come back. They entertain her until her
husband returns and knocks on the door. The wife panics and tells the three men
to hide in three empty trunks that are in the room. After her husband leaves
again, the wife opens the trunks to find that all three men have suffocated and
died. She spots a countryman passing and asks him if he can help her dispose of
a body in exchange for money as long as he does not say anything. She shows him
the first body, which he throws in a river. Then when he returns, she shows him
the next, which the countryman believes is the same one as before that has
returned from the river. He takes this second body down to the river and is
shocked when he returns and sees the body for a third time. The wife claims it
must be a sorcerer, and the man ties a stone around the body’s neck so that it
cannot escape again. When the man is returning from throwing a body in the
river for a third time, he runs into the husband who is returning from the
country. He thinks that the hunchbacked husband is the same body that keeps
appearing back in the castle, so he kills him and throws him in a sack and into
the river. When the countryman returns and tells the wife of his encounter, she
realizes what has transpired and is delighted that her husband is dead. She
pays the countryman the sum of money that she promised, and he goes on his way.
Robin is a poor old villager and will do
anything to become wealthy and to taste luxurious food and liquors. He comes up
with a plan to move to a part of the country where no one knows him and say he
is a conjurer, which is a well-respected profession. Robin sets off on his
journey and soon arrives at the gates of Tony Simpleton, a well-known man of
great wealth. Tony’s servants had recently stolen his wife’s diamond ring and
his wife was determined to figure out what had happened to it, so she turned to
the conjurer for his aid. Robin tells her that he can find the ring after three
days, but he needs to be fed luxurious foods and a place to stay during his
search. She complies and Robin is fed the best meal of his life. The next day,
Robin feasts again and drinks to his heart’s content. One by one, on each day
Robin is there, each of the three servants that had taken part in stealing the
ring go up to see if Robin has discovered their secret. Robin is drunk every
time they see him and they all misinterpret his drunken words and are soon
convinced Robin knows their secret.
On the last morning, the three servants
go up to Robin and give him the ring, pleading for mercy. Robin is thrilled by
his luck and pretends to have known all along. He says he will keep their
secret, so he forces one of the turkeys in the yard to eat the ring. He informs
the lady where the ring is, and tells them to kill the one that he fed the
ring. The ring is recovered and the lady is in awe with the conjurer and
insists that he stay another night to meet Tony who returns from his travels
the next day. Tony immediately thinks Robin is an imposter and threatens to
have him kicked out. The lady insists that he put Robin’s powers to a test
before he is kicked out. Tony captures a small robin in a handkerchief and asks
Robin to tell him what is in the handkerchief. Robin knows he cannot say what
is in it and exclaims his name and his misfortunes. Since his name—Robin—is
what is actually in the handkerchief, Tony invites him to stay longer and
grants all of his wishes.
A king travels across the country in
disguise and converses with regular people. One day, he comes upon a peasant
who instantly recognizes the king despite his disguise. The peasant claims he
does not recognize him and the king continues talking to him. The peasant tells
him how much money he makes—eight-pence—and the king questions how he spends
his money. The peasant tells him he spends two-pence on himself and his wife,
two-pence to pay debts, two-pence he lends, and another two-pence he gives
away. The king wants to be of service to him, but makes him promise not to tell
anyone of their conversation until he sees the king’s face again. The next day
the king sends off some men to solve this problem of how the peasant spends his
money, and promises them a reward if they explain it correctly to them. One of
these men goes to try to find the peasant and ask him what the explanation is.
Once he finds him, he bribes him with a handful of gold and gets the
explanation out of the peasant. The message is relayed to the king and even
though the king knows the peasant broke his promise, he still gives the man his
reward. The next day he goes out to see the peasant again and asks him why he
broke his promise. The peasant says the he did in fact see the face of the king
again on the pieces of gold, so he was allowed to say what they discussed. The
king is pleased with this answer and appoints the peasant to be prime minister.
Squire Hedgedich is riding his horse
across the fields belonging to a farmer named Hobnail. Hedgeditch comes up to
an open gate next to Hobnail, which Hobnail closes, and stops Hedgeditch in his
tracks. Out of anger, Hedgeditch hits Hobnail across the shoulders. Hobnail
complains about this to an attorney from London named Goosequill who talks him
into pressing charges for battery. Goosequill needs to travel to the court of
assizes, and decides to buy a horse from an innkeeper to take him there. The
innkeeper realizes that Goosequill knows nothing about horses and sells him the
weakest horse he owns. The horse cannot carry him very far and collapses
underneath him. Goosequill gets to the next inn where he buys another more fit
horse, leaving the weaker horse at that inn. He eventually makes it and ends up
winning the case for Hobnail. Goosequill returns to retrieve his weak horse
that has become much stronger since being in the care of this other innkeeper.
However, the horse still cannot carry him back to London. Goosequill sends the
horse to London for an easy journey back, and soon gets to London himself by
different means. Once in London, he gets back on his horse and rides to the inn
where he was sold the horse, pretending that he just got back from the long
journey. The innkeeper is shocked that the horse was able to carry him that far
and offers to buy the horse back. Goosequill says he will only sell the horse
at a high price which the innkeeper cannot afford. Goosequill leaves and then
immediately sends his servant Tom to the innkeeper to attempt to buy his horse.
Tom and the innkeeper agree on the high price and Tom pays half of it saying he
will pay the rest the next day. However, the next morning Goosequill says he
needs to leave immediately on his horse. The innkeeper says he sold the horse,
and gives Goosequill the money.
On a newlywed couple’s wedding night, as
the couple lies in bed, the man says that he will tell her a secret of his. He
says that before he met her four years ago, he had a child with another woman.
He says that if she allows him, he can send for the child to come home. The
wife responds with her own story of how she had a child herself and will send
for her child to come home if he allows it. The husband runs outside and starts
yelling like a madman. This wakes the mother and father-in-law. The
mother-in-law goes to check on the daughter and asks what the daughter said to
have caused her husband to yell like that. Meanwhile, the curious father-in-law
listens at the door. The daughter tells her what happened, and the mother yells
at her, telling her daughter she should not have said that and that she herself
has had multiple children before she married her husband. The father-in-law
hears this at the door and goes to talk to the wallowing husband; they share
their common misfortunes with each other.
An evil lord who enjoys tormenting people
learns about an astrologist named Mumbletext who everyone thought to be a
practitioner of black magic. The lord calls for Mumbletext and tells him to
answer four questions or he will tell everyone that he is an imposter. The four
questions that the lord asks him to answer are: where is the middle of the
world, how much am I worth, what do I think, and what do I believe. The lord
says he has to answer these questions or confess that he is a cheat. Mumbletext
buys more time by asking for an extra day to answer so that he can consult the
planets. On his way back, he bumps into a clever miller who offers to disguise
himself as Mumbletext to answer the lord’s questions for him. The next day, the
miller disguises himself as Mumbletext and goes up to the lord. The miller says
that he can show the lord where the middle of the earth is since it is not far
from his house. The miller shows him the exact spot in a field where the middle
of the earth is. The lord cannot disprove it so he asks each of the other
questions to which the miller has a clever response. The lord is impressed by
these answers and is thoroughly entertained so he says that the miller is
welcomed into his house any time and will remit Mumbletext’s punishment.
Adventures of Scaramouch
Scaramouch comes to Rome in the middle of
the winter with no money and no food. He begs in front of a snuff-merchant’s
shop and asks people for a pinch of the snuff when they leave the store. He
collects a full bottle of this during the day and resells it at night. A Swiss
guard comes into the shop, and when he is leaving Scaramouch attempts to take
some snuff from him. The guard hits him with a halberd and leaves him bruised.
Scaramouch leaves Rome, fearing for his life and goes to a town called
Civita-Vecchia. There he encounters two slaves counting up money that they have
earned, and pretends that they stole from him. He is able to convince the judge
that it is his money, and leaves a richer man. He then sets off for another
town called Lombardy and hires a valet. They stop at an inn where Scaramouch
eats and drinks too much and passes out soon after. The valet steals all of
Scaramouch’s belongings, leaving him with nothing. Scaramouch arrives at
another town and is immediately jumped by a man who mistakenly thinks that he
is a runaway slave. Once the mistake is realized, Scaramouch leaves and
realizes he can’t keep living this way and he needs a new way to make money.
A Spaniard named Diego decides to travel
to France for a vacation. He dresses very extravagantly, and is laughed at and
called a madman everywhere he goes in Paris. Crowds start to form around him
and slowly become more hostile with people throwing dirt and pushing him
around. Diego rushes into the first open house that he can see, however the
people surrounded the house and started throwing stones at him. Everywhere he
goes, Diego is greeted by more angry people, and the mob gets worse and worse.
Two women begin fighting and Diego sees this as a distraction for the crowd and
he sprints to a church. Everyone in the church beings to laugh at him. Diego is
eventually saved by his landlord and returns home to Spain, determined to tell
everyone not to visit France.
A young count of the Hobenloe family is
sent to Paris to improve his manners. His house mate is another young man from
a noble family and the young Hobenloe begins to learn a lot very quickly from
this man. The young count soon dies and gives his new friend the money that he
has inherited. Two English noblemen arrive at the same house that they were
staying, and stay in a room adjacent to where the dead body is being held. The
room is small, so the two men must share a bed. During the night, one of the
Englishmen heard people talking in the kitchen and went to join them. When he
returns to his room, he goes into the wrong room and gets into bed with the
dead body. He notices how cold the body is and starts asking it questions,
assuming it to be his friend. A servant enters the room carrying a coffin. The
man jumps up, realizing his mistake. However, the servant thinks that it is the
dead body jumping up and runs out of the room to get more people. Meanwhile the
Englishman returns to his room in shock. A priest comes with holy water to deal
with what they think is a ghost, and everyone regards him as a saint for the
body doesn’t move again. The friend of the count who died goes to get the
inheritance money, and is mistaken for the count by a banker and his wife. The
friend decides to impersonate the dead count, so when the banker goes to visit
the house where the count resided, he is shocked to learn of the count’s death.
The people in the house and the banker both think that they have seen a ghost.
Fisher’s Cheerful Companion to Promote Laughter;
Being a Humorous Collection of Interesting Stories for a Winter’s Evening
Fireside; or Amusement for Summer, in a Shady Retreat. London, S. Fisher, 1800.
“Fisher’s Cheerful Companion to Promote Laughter;” Google Books, Google, https://www.google.com/books/edition/Fisher_s_Cheerful_Companion_to_Promote_L/KaBbAAAAQAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0&kptab=overview.
Potter, Franz J. The History of Gothic Publishing,
1800–1835: Exhuming the Trade. Palgrave
Summers, Montague. A
Gothic Bibliography. The Fortune Press, 1941.
In this novella written by John Corry and published in 1803, a nobleman uses an all-female boarding school in England to seduce and subsequently elope a young woman, only to abandon her in France.
The Unfortunate Daughter: Or, the Danger of the Modern System of Female Education was written by John Corry and published on March 1, 1803. This particular printing of the story is found as the second tale in a book labeled Corry’s Tales, sandwiched between two of Corry’s other stories also published by J. Corry in September 1802 and May 1803: Edwy and Bertha; Or, the Force of the Connubial Love and Memoirs of Edward Thornton; Or, a Sketch of the Modern Dissipation in London. In this time, it was common to bind multiple books by the same author to save shelf space in libraries. This single book measures 10.5 cm wide by 17.8 cm tall and totals 192 pages, using 55 pages for Edwy and Bertha, and 72 pages each for The Unfortunate Daughter and Memoirs of Edward Thornton, respectively. The book is half-bound with a leather spine and corners framing a unique marble paper cover that features red ripples running through a black-speckled background. The spine features Corry’s Tales written horizontally in gold print on a red background with five sets of gold lines as embellishment above and below the writing. The front cover shows more signs of wear than the back cover, and the blunted corners suggest that this book was well-read in its shelf life. The inside pages are speckled, yellowed, and softened while some more intact pages retain the look of slight vertical lines like that of watercolor paper. The printing ink appears faded in some sections of the book, namely in the middle, yet it still remains readable. Also, there is one quite substantial rip on a page in The Unfortunate Daughter, although it is unclear when this rip was obtained. Overall, despite obvious signs of use, this version of Corry’s Tales is preserved in decent condition.
On the inside, each story receives its own title page and detailed black and white illustration depicting a scene from within the story. In the case of Edwy and Bertha and Memoirs of Edward Thornton, the illustrations are accompanied by a quote written in cursive directing readers to a specific passage in the respective book with a page number, while the illustration before The Unfortunate Daughter lists “page 70” at the top but lacks a caption. Each story’s title page is structured in a similar way; first, it states the title and sub-title of the story, then the author’s name, followed by a quote from a famous person, and the printing information. All stories except Edwy and Bertha advertise a price of one shilling at the time they were published, equating to around $5 each in modern times. The title pages are followed by a page labeled “Advertisement.” in each story, except that of Edwy and Bertha, which feature a short summary of the story.
Despite these three stories being originally published separately and at different times, the font, line spacing, margins, pagination, and presentation of the title pages remain consistent and unchanged in this printing of Corry’s Tales. The book features a serif font that is well-sized. The text is given plenty of space for readability in this edition of the book—the lines contain small gaps between them, there are large spaces after periods, and the margins are considerable on each side of the page. In terms of textual layout, all three stories feature clear paragraphs and the author uses double quotation marks to indicate dialogue instead of single quotation marks. All three stories include catch words, or the repetition of the last word on the preceding page at the beginning of the following page, and signature marks, or letters systematically arranged A, A1, A2, etc., on the bottom of paragraphs, so that publishers could be assured they were aligning the pages properly. The page numbers are printed inside closed parentheses at the top of each page, and the pagination starts anew at the beginning of each book after the title page or advertisement, respectively.
This book has a fair number of markings in the front likely unique to this printing. On the back of the front cover, there are two separate annotations in graphite pencil. On the page opposite to the front cover, “Thomas Chiviley to his Sister Sarah 21 July 1808” is written in ink suggesting that this book was once owned by Thomas and given as a gift. Immediately below this, there is a graphite smudge showing the remnants of a cursive annotation currently illegible below it. Below this are more pencil markings that resemble a handmade table of contents listing the titles of the stories in the book as well as “Crosby 1803” indicating who the stories were printed for. On the right hand side of the following page, there is one more handwritten memo about Edwy and Bertha. Additionally, there is a small newspaper clipping pressed after the page with the note about Edwy and Bertha advertising the sale of another “fine copy” of one of Corry’s works titled The Gardener’s Daughter of Worcester: or, the Miseries of Seduction. A Moral Tale.
John Corry (fl. 1792–1836), the author of The Unfortunate Daughter, was an Irish-born writer. Corry was a journalist in Dublin and later moved to London (Goodwin). In London, Corry was the editor of a periodical, a member of the Philological Society in Manchester, and a bookseller and publisher at Princess Street, Leicester Square. In his lifetime, Corry produced a broad literary canon including histories, biographies, socio-political satires, and children books. In his early career, Corry mainly focused on poetry shown through his publication of Poems (1780)and later shifted his attention towards histories, biographies, and satirical stories. Corry wrote around eight biographies of famous men including The Life of George Washington (1800) which went on to be reprinted in multiple countries. Corry’s most notable historical work is The History of Liverpool (1810), and he later went on to write at least three other histories of cities in England. As for his fiction writing, Corry wrote a variety of short tales that were typically published in series. The first-published series was Corry’s Original Tales (1798–1800) which included seven short stories. Following that, Corry produced a multitude of other series including: Friend of Youth (1797–1798), Domestic Distresses, exemplified in five pathetic original tales (1806), An Illustration of Passions; or, Man in Miniature (1798), and Tales for the Amusement of Young Persons (1802). Outside of these series, Corry wrote two stand-alone novels—A Satirical View of London (1801) and The Mysterious Gentleman Farmer (1808) (Pitcher 83–90).
The Unfortunate Daughter was published as a novella by Crosby and Co. in 1803, yet sources speculate that this story may have been reprinted from a previous series. It is noted in The Edinburgh Magazine, or Literary Miscellany that The Unfortunate Daughter was published in January 1803 as tale no. 5 in Corry’s Original Tales (“Books and Pamphlets Published in London in January 1803”). However, there appears to be evidence that the story later belonged to a series titled An Illustration of the Passions. This series is known to include Edwy and Bertha, The Miseries of Seduction, The Pleasures of Sympathy, and The Elopement. The second story in this series is also known as The Gardener’s Daughter of Worcester which is the story found on the newspaper clip found in the Sadleir-Black Collection’s edition of The Unfortunate Daughter. Furthermore, Pitcher speculates that this series also includes Memoirs of Edward Thornton, which appeared in a pamphlet with Edwy and Bertha published by Crosby and Co. in 1803 (Pitcher 88). Since An Illustration of the Passions is known to include the two stories that sandwich The Unfortunate Daughter in the Sadleir-Black Collection’s edition of the novella and since it is speculated that other stories belonged to this series, it is possible that The Unfortunate Daughter also belonged to this series.
The Sadleir-Black edition of The Unfortunate Daughter lists J. Corry as the publisher of the novella on March 1, 1803. On the title page, there is a long list of people and companies who the story was printed for: B. Crosby and Co., T. Hughes and M. Jones, Tegg and Castleman, R. Ogle, J. Stuart, and C. Chapple. Most notably, the publisher B. Crosby and Co. was the publisher to whom Jane Austen sent her original manuscript of “Susan,” which was later revised to become the well-known novel Northanger Abbey (Harman). Further, this edition of The Unfortunate Daughter was printed by W. S. Betham. The frontispiece lists the name M. Betham below it, suggesting that he or she was the illustrator.
It is unclear how many different editions of The Unfortunate Daughter there are. WorldCat lists a second edition of the novella that was published in the Baptist pamphlets. This edition has a longer title, The Unfortunate Daughter, or, the danger of the modern system of female education: containing an account of the elopement of a young English lady, with a nobleman, and a shorter length totaling 59 pages, versus the 72 pages found in the Sadleir-Black edition. It is unclear whether the discrepancy in length is due to smaller font and margins or actual textual changes. Additionally, The Unfortunate Daughter can be located on Google Books. This version parallels the appearance of the edition found in the Sadleir-Black Collection.
This edition of The Unfortunate Daughter contains a short advertisement before the story. This functions as an introduction describing the tale’s contents briefly. Furthermore, this edition includes two quotes before the story—one on the title page and one below the advertisement. The quote on the title page is from Alexander Pope’s Epistles to Several Persons and reads: “‘Tis Education forms the common mind, Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclin’d.” The quote under the advertisement is from Nicholas Rowe’s The Fair Penitent and reads: “Were you, ye Fair, but cautious whom ye trust; Did you but know how seldom Fools are just; So many of your sex would not, in vain, Of broken vows and faithless men complain.” Similarly to the advertisement, both of these quotes serve as summaries of the lessons that will be taught in The Unfortunate Daughter. Furthermore, the presence of these quotes mirrors the structure found within the novella, as Corry quotes Pope again on page 2 of the story and later quotes a Robert Anderson poem on page 45.
There is no evidence of book reviews or criticisms surrounding The Unfortunate Daughter following its publication. However, some of Corry’s other works were the subject of book reviews in periodicals including Edwy and Bertha, Memoirs of Alfred Berkley, The Detector of Quackery, and The Life of Joseph Priestley. Further, despite its presence on Google Books, The Unfortunate Daughter is rarely cited by modern scholars. The novella is briefly used as an example of traditional female education believes in P. J. Miller’s journal article about women’s education in the eighteenth century (Miller 303–4). However, scholars have not entirely ignored Corry’s canon. For example, Memoirs of Edward Thornton, A Satirical View of London, and The Detector of Quackery have been analyzed as criticisms of urban London culture (Mulvihill).
Narrative Point of View
The Unfortunate Daughter is narrated in third-person by an unnamed narrator adhering to an omniscient point of view. The narration is unadorned and uses rudimentary language to convey major plot points efficiently without the need for additional linguistic flourishing. As such, the sentences are typically simple, making for a quick read. The narrator rarely dwells on characters’ feelings; rather, he focuses on moving the plot along through a series of quickly described events. Further, many sentences deftly employ modifiers to aid in presenting coherent images of different characters and settings. This passage below illustrates the unembellished language and readability of this novella:
Sample Passage of Third-Person Narration:
Being a voluptuary who gloried in the seduction of young women, he offered Nannette five hundred a year, on condition that she should engage as governess in a boarding school for young ladies, and assist him in the seduction of the most beautiful girl entrusted to her care. The unprincipled Nannette agreed, and Mrs. V’s school was the place where the most diabolical scheme was to be carried into execution. (13)
The Unfortunate Daughter is set up as a story to illustrate the downfall of women brought about by improper education, as the narrator asserts in the first page of the novella: “Doubtless, many of the unfortunate females who are now ‘prostitute for bread’ in this metropolis, were educated with uncommon care” (5). To address this critique, the narrator briefly pauses to assert his opinion of the female education system at various points in the story. Additionally, the story intertwines various quotations from other prominent literary works. This passage provides an example of the narrator’s interjecting commentary:
Sample Passage of Narrator’s Interjections:
This is one, among many instances, of the pernicious effects of improper female education. Is there then a father or mother solicitous for the future honour and happiness of their daughter, who would entrust her into one of those modern temples of affectation, called Boarding-schools? No; rather let the loveliest part of our species be educated at home, beneath a mother’s guardian eye; or, if the mother be incompetent to the task, let a modest preceptress instruct the blooming girl, beneath that paternal roof, where seduction will not presume to appear, under the assumed name of refinement. This mode of education will preserve the morals of the virgin, and be particularly useful and practicable among those in the middle classes of society; as girls can not only make a regular process in useful and ornamental knowledge, which renders beauty even more amiable; but they may also be initiated in those early-acquired arts of domestic economy, peculiar to their sex. (34–35)
The editorial omniscient point of view gives the narrator substantial power to shape the story as he pleases. Since the novella begins as a warning about female education that will be displayed through a story, The Unfortunate Daughter reads as a cautionary tale with a concrete lesson to be learned, rather than a story picked up for the mere pleasure of reading. The quick, simple sentences also reflect this admonitory tone highlighting that the narrator’s primary goal is to relay his warning without any chance for errors in misinterpretation that could be caused by any ornate diction. Moreover, the supplementary quotations from outside literary works aid readers’ understanding of the narrator’s overarching message. Furthermore, the lack of insight about characters’ inner thoughts emphasizes the story’s focus of demonstrating the dangers that actions, not emotions, can cause in a young woman’s life. The narrator’s commentary, as presented above, also serves to add a satirical edge to The Unfortunate Daughter.
The Unfortunate Daughter recounts the story of Eliza Meanwell, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Meanwell. The family lives in the countryside of England. Eliza has three sisters, Nancy, Maria, and Emma, and she is said to be the most beautiful and talented of them all. Mrs. Meanwell believes that boarding school will provide a worthwhile education for Eliza and persuades Mr. Meanwell to let her attend a boarding school. Mr. Meanwell abides, and Eliza is sent off to an unnamed boarding school owned by Mrs. V.
At school, Eliza begins learning French from her teacher named Nannette Racemier. It is revealed that Nannette used to be married to a man named Lord Wiseacre who later divorced her because she was too spritely. Despite their divorce, Lord Wiseacre offered Nannette a sum to teach at the boarding school to find and seduce an appropriate young woman to be his suitor. Upon Eliza’s arrival, Nannette finds her suitable for Lord Wiseacre and takes Eliza under her wing as her pupil. In addition to teaching Eliza French, she encourages Eliza to take up music, dancing, and jumping rope, as Nannette believes that success in these domains makes women more prone to seduction.
After two years at school, Eliza has grown into a fine, young woman. Nannette gains the headmaster’s permission to leave campus with Eliza on special field trips and decides to take Eliza to the theatre. Here, they run into Lord Wiseacre who later offers the pair a ride back to school; instead, he takes them to his palace where he confesses his love for Eliza and asks for her hand in marriage. Eliza is bashful and intrigued by the offer, but worries about what her dad would think of the proposal. After reflection, Eliza agrees to see Lord Wiseacre again, but the pair does not wed immediately. Back at the boarding school, Nannette continues prepping Eliza to be vulnerable to seduction. In her pursuit, Nannette brings Eliza to an Imperial Female Society meeting, which calls for equality between the sexes, and she later instructs Eliza to read romance novels and to look at scandalous drawings in hopes of brewing her sexuality.
Just as Eliza is deemed ready to elope, Mrs. Meanwell surprisingly comes to the boarding school to take Eliza home. Eliza is upset, and once at home, she acts pretentious, speaks to her family in French, and asks for a special room to conduct her music and dance. Presumably after some time has elapsed, Nannette goes to the Meanwell’s home. Here, she declares that she quit her job at the boarding school and bears news that Lord Wiseacre has a plan for them to escape to Margate via ship and get married there. The next morning, Eliza runs off with Nannette, and they meet Lord Wiseacre at the predetermined meeting space and set sail. However, Lord Wiseacre does not steer the ship to Margate; instead, they land in Dunkirk, France.
Once in Dunkirk, Lord Wiseacre bribes a poor man to pretend to officiate their wedding. Now, Eliza and Lord Wiseacre are “married,” though Eliza does not realize this trick yet. At this point in the book, the narrator intervenes to warn the readers about the dangers of female education in a boarding school, rather than traditional domestic education in their paternal home. The narrator claims that boarding schools offer the promise of refinement of character, which really means that boarding schools make woman more prone to seduction.
After this interlude, Eliza finds a note from Lord Wiseacre that admits his intentions with Eliza revealing that they were never legally married. Further, he advises her to leave him and gives her money to spend on her return home. Eliza runs off and takes shelter at a widow’s house in the French countryside. The widow, whose name is Christine, agrees to shelter Eliza temporarily, as Eliza does not want to return home and face the shame of her parents. Christine attempts to make her feel better by relaying the tragic story of her dead husband, Andre, and her two believed-to-be-dead sons, Henry and James. According to Christine, Andre died before the revolution, leaving only her sons to support her with their farm work. Unfortunately, Henry and James got heavily involved in politics and enlisted in the French army during the revolution. After some time away, Christine received word that both her sons had passed in war. As a result, she is left to live out her days alone.
After some time has passed, it is revealed that Eliza is pregnant which provides further incentive to avoid her childhood home. Meanwhile, Mr. Meanwell searches for Eliza all over England and even submits missing person information to local newspapers without any avail, as Eliza is in France not England. Back at Christine’s, someone knocks on the door, and it happens to be Henry with his wife, Fatima, which is revealed later. Henry tells Christine that he was sent to Egypt and recounts stories of multiple battles and horrific scenes that he encountered in his time abroad at war. During a battle in Egypt, Henry prevents his troops from killing an enemy soldier. At this point, the enemy introduces himself as Amurath and expresses his gratitude to Henry by surrendering himself as Henry’s prisoner. Soon after, Amurath introduced Henry to his wife and his daughter, Fatima, at a feast. Having grown fond of Henry, Amurath told him that if he were to die in combat, he would entrust Henry with his estate and the lives of his wife and Fatima. Soon after this, Amurath died in an intense battle, leading Henry to sell his estate, move back to France with Amurath’s wife and daughter, and marry Fatima. The couple presumably leaves Christine’s house after telling this story.
In the winter, Eliza gives birth to a baby boy who dies just a few days later. Eliza falls into a depressive episode, and her health eventually resolves by the spring. Christine convinces Eliza to return home, and Eliza abides; however, Eliza reneges upon her return to England and seeks out shelter with a farmer not far from her childhood home. She passes some months here, and one day coincidentally runs into her father on a walk. Her father forgives her, and she lives at home for a while. Ultimately though, her parents send her to live out her life with a distant relative elsewhere in England.
“Books and Pamphlets Published in London in January 1803.” The Edinburgh Magazine, Or Literary Miscellany, 1785-1803, 1803, pp. 141–44.
Corry, John. The Unfortunate Daughter: Or, the Danger of the Modern System of Female Education. London, J. Corry, 1803.
Goodwin, Gordon. “Corry, John (fl. 1792-1836), writer.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept. 23, 2004, https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/6357. Accessed 27 Oct. 2019.
Harman, Claire. “Jane Austen (1775–1817).” British Writers, Retrospective Supplement 2, edited by Jay Parini, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002, pp. 1–16. Literature Resource Center, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX1383100011/LitRC?u_viva_uva&sid=LitRC&xid=342fce08. Accessed 27 Oct. 2019.
Miller, P.J. “Women’s Education, ‘Self-Improvement’ and Social Mobility—A Late Eighteenth Century Debate.” British Journal of Educational Studies, vol. 20, no. 3, Taylor & Francis, Ltd., Oct. 1972, pp. 302-314, DOI: 10.2307/3120775. Accessed 27 Oct. 2019.
Mulvihill, James D. “Romantic London: John Corry and the Georgic City.” Studies in the Literary Imagination, vol. 40, no. 1, 2007, Literature Resource Center, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A180642018/LitRC?u=viva_uva&sid=LitRC&xid=0215b794. Accessed 27 Oct. 2019.
Pitcher, E.W. “The Miscellaneous Works of John Corry (1760?–1825?).” The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, vol. 80, no. 1, 1986, pp. 83–90.
The Magician, or
the Mystical Adventures of Seraphina. A German Romance. To Which is Added the
Arabian Lovers, a Tale is a
collection of two Gothic stories grouped together, referred to as The
Magician and Arabian Lovers at the tops of the pages of the
respective stories. From the outside, the book has a marbled, brown leather
binding. This marble effect was a common trend for binding books, in which a
weak acid would be used to create the marbled appearance. There are no
prominent illustrations on the front or back, but the spine of the book is
decorated in gold-leaf illustrations of wreaths and flowers as well as some
gold-leaf horizontal, separating the illustrations and symbols. On the spine,
the book is referred to as The Entertainer and the number three,
potentially indicating the volume or edition number. Also, the edges of the
pages are speckled with blue ink. This is the result of a book decoration
method in which the speckles would be hand-painted onto the edges of the paper.
The book is roughly 11 centimeters wide, 17.7 centimeters long, and 2.2
Inside the book,
there are five other stories, printed with different fonts and margins than The
Magician and Arabian Lovers. The book starts with The Magician and
Arabian Lovers, followed by the five additional stories. Each of the
stories also restarts the page numbering instead of a continuous numbering
throughout all of the stories. Some of the stories have frontispieces with
illustrations, although The Magician and Arabian Lovers does not.
There is even a frontispiece in hand-painted color for one of the stories,
although the rest of the frontispieces are black-and-white. This suggests that
the book was a collection of different chapbooks, a common practice at the
time. The pages of the book are speckled with small grey bits of paper and
yellowed with age. Overall, the pages feel worn and delicate, with the paper
being thin enough to see through to the back of the page. Arabian Lovers take
up around 45 pages of the overall book, which is roughly 290 pages. There are
also some marks of ownership inside the book, including a handwritten table of
contents in the front in what appears to be Michael Sadleir’s handwriting. The
table lists the stories inside the book, along with publication years and
potential author names, but those are unclear.
specifically on Arabian Lovers, the font and margins are consistent
across text. The bottom margin is wider than the top, with a fair amount of
white space around the main text on each page. In terms of spacing, the words
are on the tighter side and the font is also a moderate size. There is a
half-title page for The Magician before the full-title page which
contains the complete title for both The Magician and Arabian Lovers.
The half-title page and full-title page are formatted differently, with
different line breaks in the title and fonts.There is no author printed
on the full-title page, however, the title page does list the publication
location and year, 1804.
Overall, the book
itself externally appears to have a relatively nice, higher quality binding and
attention to detail on the outside, as seen by the marbled leather and speckled
pages. Inside the book, the quality of the paper feels cheaper and worn with
time. The book is also inconsistent with its formatting throughout the
different stories, so at one point the stories may have been separated.
Arabian Lovers had its origins sometime during or before
1789, when it was first mentioned and summarized in The Literary Magazine
(“Les Amours” 449). The tale was originally in Arabic, although it was
translated into French by Claude Savary, sometimes referred to as Mr. Savary,
from an Arabic manuscript (“Les Amours” 449; Kennedy 62). As a result, the
story has been published under multiple names such as The Loves of
Anas-Eloujoud and Ouardi and The Loves of Anas-Eloujoud and Ouardi, an
Arabian Tale along with the original French name prior to the 1804 title in
The Entertainer (Brown 4; Elegant Tales 7; “Les Amours” 449).
Savary is not credited in the version of the story found in The Entertainer.
It is also unclear at which point the story was translated into English, but
Savary is credited for doing so in The Looking-glass, another collection
of stories from 1794(Brown 4, 46).Savary died either young or
unexpectedly, as his death is denoted as “premature” before he could finish
translating the stories he had acquired in his travels, but he was able to
finish Arabian Lovers (“Les Amours” 453). Given the timing and his travels,
Savary is likely Claude-Etienne Savary, “a French Orientalist who traveled to
Egypt in 1776” who lived from 1750–1788 (Kudsieh 46). In The Literary
Magazine, Savary’s translation of Arabian Lovers is applauded for
his authentic translation “of oriental manners” (“Les Amours” 449). Savary’s
death also seemed to sadden the publishers, suggesting that his work was
well-respected and credited in some literary communities (“Les Amours” 453).
Another note lamenting his death and inability to finish translating stories
can be found in Elegant Tales (264).
As the title The
Magician: Or the Mystical Adventures of Seraphina. A German Romance. To Which
Is Added the Arabian Lovers, a Tale suggests, the two stories were
originally published separately in the early eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries. There are two versions of the publication at the University of
Virginia library, one of which is simply the two stories in a small chapbook.
The other version (described above) is in a collection of other stories in a
book named The Entertainer. Both versions at University of Virginia are
from 1804. Around the world, the two stories are published together in chapbooks
owned by multiple libraries, with versions appearing from 1803 and 1804.
While it is unclear
exactly at which point the two stories were first published together, the
Minerva Press certainly did so in 1804, which is the year printed on the copy
in the University of Virginia’s edition of The Entertainer. The Minerva
Press was an extremely popular Gothic publishing company created by William
Lane (Potter 15). Not only did Lane’s company publish Gothic literature, but
they also had circulating commercial libraries, which helped boost the
popularity of Gothic texts (Potter 15; Engar). However, these libraries were
still not affordable to the poorest demographics, although they certainly made
the Gothic more accessible to the general population (Potter 15). The Minerva
Press was often criticized for the cheap quality of its publications and “lack
of literary excellence” (Engar). Books printed at the Minerva Press were made
using cheap, flimsy materials and sometimes contained errors. Furthermore,
publications from the Minerva Press were often re-bound by others (Engar).
There does not seem
to be a significant presence in modern academic scholarship of Arabian Lovers.
Considering that the stories were published by the Minerva Press, this could be
due to the lower quality production and the company’s reputation (Engar). There
are, however, copies of Arabian Lovers available for sale online. One
paperback version lists the story together with The Magician using the
same title as The Entertainer does, with no authors listed. This version
is sold on Amazon and was printed in 2010, although the description of the book
does note that it “is a reproduction of a book published before 1923.” Another
paperback version sold online is of Arabian Lovers in French, printed in
2012, and also available on Amazon. In the French version, the description
credits Claude Savary as the author and lists the original publication year as
1799. There are digital versions of archival copies of The Magician and Arabian
Lovers as a paired story from 1803available online, found on Google
Point of View
Arabian Lovers begins with a first-person narrator,
although it is unclear who the narrator is as they never appear in the plot.
For the rest of the story, the narrator occasionally references themselves in
the first-person, although this happens very rarely. In the self-references,
the narrator also calls the story a song. The rest of the story functions more
in a third-person narration style, with the narration often focusing on the
various characters’ feelings and thoughts. During these moments, the narration
becomes more extravagant or abrupt according to what the characters are
thinking and experiencing. The narration also features plenty of dialogue,
which uses more archaic and grandiose language. Additionally, the narrator
tends to provide many descriptions of the surroundings, especially scenes of
nature or luxury like the castles. In these descriptions, the narrative style
is more embellished and uses longer sentences, similar to the feeling of the
The daughter of the Visier, the beautiful Ouardi, is about to appear in my song. With secret emotion she had beheld this illustrious youth as he passed along; already had swift-winged Fame proclaimed his success; she ran to her window to witness his glorious return. Innumerable torches lighted his triumphal march. The conqueror was accompanied by two thousand Mamalukes, skilled in the use of the bow. Mounted on the courser of the Sultan, he rode in the midst of the troops, and his towering head appeared above them all. His turban was decorated with a green bough, the signal of victory. Ouardi saw him in the flower of youth, and crowned with glory. She felt the first symptoms of a rising passion, which robbed her of her rest: for the first time she ex-perienced desires, and her heart, by an irresistible impulse, flew towards Anas-Eloujoud. In the contemplation of his grace, his beauty, and his noble deportment, she inhaled the insidious poison of love. Confused and agitated, she wishes to turn her eyes from this fascinating object, but in vain: they immediately return, to fix on her conqueror with redoubled eagerness. The bright colour of his cheeks, the clearness of his complexion, the equal curves of his black eyebrows, the fire of his eyes, alternately attract her admiration, and tempt her to exclaim – “Happy the woman whom fate has destined to thee, who shall pass the days by thy side, or in thine arms. Alas! I love thee: may thy heart burn with an equal flame!” (35)
narration allows for exploration of both the characters’ emotions and
additional details about the setting and the society. The narrator clearly
acknowledges that they are, in fact, narrating by calling the story “my song.”
At the very beginning, the narrator also acknowledges this song when
introducing Anas-Eloujoud. These rare self-identifications create a sense of
distance in the story by establishing that the narrator is not directly present
in the plot and that the story and the characters are a part of a song.
However, the rest of the story functions in more of a third-person narrative
style like the rest of the passage, which helps to build the emotions through
combinations of description and providing insight to the characters’ thoughts.
The flowery descriptions emphasize how intense Ouardi’s feelings are for
Anas-Eloujoud and vice versa. Her eyes “immediately return” to look at
Anas-Eloujoud’s “cheeks,” “complexion,” “eyebrows,” and “eyes,” indicating how
she is drawn to him, to the point where she is unable to control her gaze.
Also, the focus on the luxury and power present in the surroundings shows how
powerful Ouardi’s and Anas-Eloujoud’s connection is. Even in a crowd of “two
thousand Mamalukes,” Ouardi immediately spots her future lover. Throughout the
text, the narration often contrasts the two lovers’ feelings with their
environment. Despite being continuously surrounded by opulent and stunning
settings, Ouardi’s heart and thoughts belong only with Anas-Eloujoud. The added
distance from the characters created by the narrator’s self-acknowledgement,
combined with this contrast, creates a sense of the star-crossed nature of
their love through their inexplicable attraction to each other.
introduced as a beautiful, graceful, and intelligent hero, loved by everyone.
Even the Sultan of the Persian kingdom Ispahan, later revealed to be named
Chamier, strongly favors him as a cup-bearer and commander. On the anniversary
of the Sultan’s crowning, Anas-eloujoud participates in combat and
horse-racing, outperforming everyone. The daughter of the Sultan’s Visier, a
prominent official, sees Anas-eloujoud and falls in love for the first time.
The girl, Ouardi, goes home and asks her governess to bring Anas-eloujoud a
love letter. Once he reads the letter, he falls in love with Ouardi and sends
the governess back with his own love letter, which excites Ouardi. The
governess acts as a messenger and is eventually caught by the Visier, Ibrahim,
on her way to deliver another letter. Ibrahim is furious at Ouardi, ready to
kill her to avoid dishonor. His wife, however, suggests that they exile her to
Solitary Island, to which he agrees. Ibrahim accompanies Ouardi on a ship to
the island and shows her around the palace’s many luxuries. To avoid suspicion,
the Visier hurries back to Persia.
Back in Persia,
Anas-eloujoud is heartsick over not hearing back from Ouardi. He eventually
finds a message she left and realizes she has been exiled so he decides to try
to find her, but fails for three years. As he stumbles around, he finds a cave
and desperately asks if anyone has seen his beautiful love. An old man invites
him into the cave and they speak about the old man’s life, who lost everything
by falling in love with a slave. Once Anas-eloujoud tells his own story, the
old man gives him directions to Solitary Island. He then travels to a river and
finds someone to take him to the island, although they are thrown overboard by
a storm. After struggling in the rough waters, Anas-eloujoud reaches shore and
Meanwhile on the
island, Ouardi has spent the past three years in heartsickness, with no amount
of material comfort alleviating her grief. Eventually, she decides to escape
when she realizes that Anas-eloujoud cannot find her. When she’s alone in the
forest, she finds a fisherman and escapes on his boat. She lands in Bagdad and
is received by Diwan, Bagdad’s Sultan. Ouardi tells him about her father,
Ibrahim, and Ispahan’s Sultan, Chamier. Once Ouardi tells Diwan that the only
thing that can make her happy is seeing Anas-eloujoud, Diwan sends his own
Visier to Chamier to ask for Anas-eloujoud to be sent to Bagdad on Ouardi’s
behalf. On Solitary Island, Anas-eloujoud wakes up and enters the castle, only
to find out Ouardi just escaped.
Once Diwan’s Visier
reaches Ispahan, they find out Anas-eloujoud disappeared three years ago. Since
Ouardi is Ibrahim’s daughter, Chamier threatens Ibrahim to find him. When this
news reaches Ouardi, she feels intense worry for both her father and her lover.
Ibrahim sets sail for Solitary Island, trying to figure out how his daughter
escaped, only to bump into Anas-eloujoud. While Ibrahim is initially angry, he
calms down once Anas-eloujoud professes his love for Ouardi. They return to
Ispahan, where they expect Chamier to bless the marriage, even going as far as
sending word to Ouardi that they will be united soon. However, the jealous
court officials spread rumors that Anas-eloujoud and Ibrahim are actually
working against Chamier to usurp him, so Chamier orders for the both of them to
When a month has
passed with no word from her father or Anas-eloujoud, Ouardi sends someone to
Ispahan to investigate. When they hear about the arrest, Diwan takes his armies
toward Ispahan, conquering lands on the way. Although Diwan offers to
relinquish his conquered lands back to Chamier if Anas-eloujoud and Ibrahim are
released, his messenger is killed, sparking a fierce battle between the two
Sultans and their armies. As the battle wears on, it seems like Diwan is doomed
to lose when suddenly Anas-eloujoud, accompanied by the soldiers he used to
command, rides into battle, defeating many of Ispahan’s soldiers. The tide
changes as Bagdad’s forces beat Ispahan’s, with Chamier barely escaping.
victory, Anas-eloujoud, Diwan, and Ibrahim return to Bagdad, where Ouardi has a
tearful reunion with her family. Diwan reveals that he is appointing Ibrahim to
be his second Visier, Anas-eloujoud to be commander of his armies, and blesses
Ouardi and Anas-eloujoud’s marriage before leaving. Ouardi and Anas-eoujoud
plan to get married the next day, so Ouardi undergoes a ceremony to prepare her
for marriage, briefly feeling nervous and insecure about her worth to
Anas-eloujoud. Once the ceremony is over, Diwan presents Ouardi to Anas-eloujoud
as a bride. Overwhelmed by their happiness, Ouardi faints and is revived by a
kiss. Diwan leaves, secretly jealous of Anas-eloujoud, but happy to see them
together. The lovers spend the rest of their lives together happily and the
story ends by revealing that their heirs eventually become the rulers of
Brown, John. The
looking-glass or, The compendium of entertaining knowledge containing the most
curious and useful subjects in every branch of polite literature. 2nd ed.,
1794. Nineteenth Century Collections Online.
Histories and Epistles of a Moral Tendency: love, friendship, matrimony,
conjugal felicity, jealousy, constancy, magnanimity, cheerfulness and other
important subjects, by the
author of woman or historical sketches of the fair sex. Printed for G.
Kearsley, 1791. Nineteenth Century Collections Online.
Engar, Ann W.
“The Minerva Press; William Lane.” The British Literary Book Trade,
1700–1820, edited by James K. Bracken and Joel Silver, Gale, 1995. Dictionary
of Literary Biography Vol. 154. Literature Resource Center.
Kennedy, Philip F. Scheherazade’s
Children: Global Encounters with the “Arabian Nights.” New York University
Kudsieh, Suha, and قدسية
سهى. “Beyond Colonial Binaries: Amicable Ties among Egyptian and European
Scholars, 1820–1850 / ﺗﺨﻄﻴﺎً للثنائيات الكولونيالية: روابط المودة بين العلماء المصريين
والأوروبيين ١٨٢٠ – ١٨٥٠.” Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, no. 36,
2016, pp. 44–68.
D’ANAS-ELOU OUD ET DE OUARDI, &C.” The Literary Magazine and
British Review, vol. 3, Dec. 1789, pp. 449–453.
Potter, Franz J. The
History of Gothic Publishing, 1800-1835: Exhuming the Trade. Palgrave
Savary, Claude. “Les
Amours D’Anas-Eloujoud Et De Ouardi: Conte Traduit De L’arabe: Ouvrage
Posthume.” Amazon, Bleuet, 2012.
“The Magician; or
The Mystical Adventures of Seraphina. A German Romance. To Which Is Added The
Arabian Lovers, a Tale.” Amazon, Minerva Press, for Lane and Newman, 2010.
The Magician: Or,
The Mystical Adventures of Seraphina. A German Romance. To Which Is Added The
Arabian Lovers, a Tale.
Minerva Press, 1803. Google Books.
The Magician: Or, the Mystical Adventures of
Seraphina. a German Romance. to Which Is Added the Arabian Lovers, a Tale. London: Printed at the Minerva-Press, for
Lane and Newman, 1803. Print.
The Magician: Or
the Mystical Adventures of Seraphina. A German Romance. To Which Is Added the
Arabian Lovers, a Tale.
Printed at the Minerva Press, for Lane and Newman, 1804.
This chapbook translated by H.J. Sarrett and published around 1803 tells a story of murder, magic, and a maniac. A knight and his lover once separated by death may never be reunited as long as the town’s robbers are still on the loose.
full title of this book is Koenigsmark The Robber or the Terror of Bohemia in Which is
Introduced Stella of the Maniac of the Wood, A Pathetick Tale. The cover of this edition is 10.5 cm by 8 cm and the entire novel is 4 cm
deep. The front cover of this book has
fallen off and is separated from the rest of the intact book; however, the
cover is still included with the text. The cover is dark, chocolate-brown
leather, including the binding. The leather is smooth and waxy from years of
use and direct contact with skin whose oils can smooth the texture of the
leather. On the spine, there are golden floral designs. The combination of
leather binding and gold accents on the spine could mean this book was printed
for long wear and quality. The pages are thick and smooth, similar to the
texture of the average paper in a twenty-first century novel. It is sturdy and
unstained, yet the paper is slightly yellowed, most likely due to age. The pages all have small margins,
about 1 cm on each side. The text fills up most of the pages. It is a small
font and closely set. Most page edges are slightly worn with very few tears.
Koenigsmark,The Robber is the first book that appears in
a compilation of seven stories listed in the following order: Koenigsmark, The Robber (1803), Phantasmagoria: Or the Development of
Magical Deception (1803), Ildefonzo & Alberoni, or Tales of
Horrors (1803), Ulric and Gustavus,
Or Unhappy Swedes (1803), Blanche and
Carlos; Or the Constant lovers: including the adventures of Valville and
Adelaide, A Mexican Tale. (1803), Maximilian
and Selina; Or, the Mysterious Abbot (1804), and The Voyages and Discoveries of Crusoe Richard Davis, the Son of a
Clergyman in Cumberland (1801). Koenigsmark,The Robber is the only story within this book that has the author printed on the
title page. The rest have no author mentioned within the book and do not appear
to be by the same author as Koenigsmark,
The Robber. The first six books are all
printed by Tegg & Castlemen, whereas
Blanche and Carlos was printed by S. Fisher. The stories do not have any
evident relationship to one another except that they were published within a
short time period (1801–1804) and are all of the Gothic genre. Koenigsmark,The Robber is 80 pages long.
When you first open the book, there is a bookplate
with the name “Richardson Harrison” printed on it. As you turn the page, there
are four blank leaves, two containing a handwritten table of contents numbered
1 through 7, correlating with the seven stories compiled together in this book.
The only numbers that are filled out, though, are numbers 4 and 6.
Situated after the handwritten table of contents and as the first book in the volume, Koenigsmark opens with a frontispiece featuring an illustration from one of the last scenes in Koenigsmark when Koenigsmark is stabbed. Beneath the scene are the words, “Koenigsmark the Robber.” in a large font, and underneath it reads “Published June 1st 1803 by Tegg & Ca”, the publishing company for the book, Tegg and Castleman. The title page is adjacent to the frontispiece. The title covers the majority of the page and multiple lines; each line of text is a different font than the previous one. The author’s name, H. J. Sarrett, is printed in italics immediately beneath the title in a similar-sized font, as well as details about the author’s other works.
Throughout the rest of the story there are no other decorative elements:
no captions, images, or texts other than the story, page numbers, and the
abbreviated title, Koenigsmark, the
Robber, at the top of each page.
This edition of Koenigsmark the Robber Or, the Terror of
Bohemia was published in 1803 in
London by Tegg & Castleman and is credited, on the title page, to H.J.
Sarrett. The book was originally written in German by Rudolf Erich Raspe and
titled Koniksmark der Rauber; oderr, Der
Schrecken aus Bohmen. The German version was published in 1790. H.J.
Sarrett translated and adapted Raspe’s text, publishing it as Koenigsmark, The Robber in 1803. The
English version by Sarrett “became the basis for a pirated chapbook purporting
to be by M.G. Lewis,” the author of The
Monk (Bridgwater 195). Sarrett also translated another work, The Three Monks!!!, which is mentioned on the title page of
this edition of Koenigsmark.
There appear to be
several editions of this novel published in the early nineteenth century.
Montague Summers and Ann B. Tracy both identify the first publication as 1801
(Summers 380, Tracy 155). Tracy lists this edition as published by William Cole
in one volume (155). The edition primarily discussed here is dated 1803, was
published by Tegg & Castleman, and has 80 pages. It is collected in the
third volume of a collection entitled The Marvelous Magazine and Compendium
of Prodigies. There is also a shorter 38-page chapbook published by James
Williams that is undated. The chapbook contains the same frontispiece as the
1803 version (but without the note regarding the 1803 publication date) and the
title is slightly different: the longer version uses “A Pathetic Tale” while
this 38-page chapbook uses “An Affecting Tale.” This chapbook also lists no
author on the title page, and there is no link in the printed text between
Sarrett and the text. This chapbook is the same story with the same plot, but
the longer version goes into more detail and adds more dialogue between characters.
A separate chapbook
with a different title, Koenigsmark the Robber, or, The Terror of Bohemia,
including the History of Rosenberg and Adelaide, and their Orphan Daughter and
attributed to Matthew Lewis was published by William Cole. This edition has
only 24 pages and is not dated. Interestingly, in the longer version of Koenigsmark, the orphan daughter
character is particularly minor, though here she is referenced in the title.
Instead of the black-and-white frontispiece, this chapbook version has a
fold-out page featuring several color illustrations (“Gothic Chapbooks”).
This work does not
have any prefaces or introductions in any of the editions. Based on its
multiple editions, this book appears to have garnered some interest among
readers. Nonetheless, since the time of its printing, there have been no
additional twenty-first-century reprintings. All editions are available online
through Google Books. In scholarship, the novel is used as an example of a
gothic romance text as it depicts the supernatural, betrayal, romance, and
violence. Popular Romanticism, for instance, gives the chapbook version
attributed to Lewis as an example of gothic chapbook form.
Narrative Point of View
Koenigsmark the Robber is narrated in the third person by an
anonymous narrator who never appears in the text. The narration is
laconic—often brief and to the point—and focuses on filling in gaps in the
story or furthering the reader’s understanding of the scene. Throughout the
novel, the narration will provide insight into the thoughts and feelings of the
protagonists, but never does so for the antagonists.
By the time the two friends reached the inn, the night continued stormy, and they found many travelers who were unwilling to continue their journey in such horrid weather. “Bolfield,” said Herman, addressing the landlord, “you will oblige me, my friend, with giving us particulars of Rosenberg’s death, as you heard it from this servant. “Herman,” said the landlord, “since you request it, I will comply, though the subject distresses me. Konigsal you know, lies about twelve miles from this place, across the forest. Rosenberg wished to cross the forest that night, not heeding the representations of his servant, but replied, “that a soldier ought never know fear.” As they proceeded a distant clock struck twelve; they heard the cries of murder seemingly issuing from a clump of trees at a small distance from them. (9)
As in this passage,
the vast majority of the narrative is told through dialogue among the
characters. The dialogue is condensed together within paragraphs rather than being
separated out by character. The third-person narration primarily functions to
set the scene and to provide connection and context between instances of
dialogue. This makes transitioning scenes as the story progresses rather easy
to follow and clear.
On a dark
and stormy night, two young men named Theodore and Herman went to spend a few
hours at an inn in the woods where townspeople would meet up and relax together
by smoking and telling stories. On the walk there, Herman tells Theodore a
story of a young woman named Adelaide and how she lost her husband. Theodore
had not lived in the village for long, so he did not know the story. Herman
went on to tell him that a man named Adolphus Rosenberg was a young man who had
fallen in love with General Kaempfer’s daughter. When Adolphus went to ask the
general to marry his daughter, the general said he would only allow it if
Adolphus became a soldier for him. He made him the aid-de-camp to the Colonel
they set off on a long voyage and ended up being attacked by assassins in the
woods called the Banditti. Adolphus saves the general’s life and for that,
Kaempfer gave him his blessing to be with his daughter. Only a few weeks later
they married and later had a child. Unfortunately, Adolphus was called for
another voyage soon after. Adelaide felt that it was a bad idea, and it turned
out she was correct. Her husband was killed in the woods by assassins and when
the news came back to the general, he told his daughter that he was sick and
was stuck on his voyage.
This is all
Herman knows. They have reached the inn where they ask the innkeeper, Bolfield,
if he knows anything else about Rosenburg’s death. He tells them the story he
heard from Adolphus’s servant: they were travelling through the woods when they
heard a woman’s cries. When they went to help her, a group of assassins
attacked them. Adolphus was fatally shot but the servant was saved by a
passerby. Theodore and Herman are told a similar story by someone else in the
inn, claiming supernatural occurrences, though Theodore and Herman are
Later, a few
of the Banditti including their leader, Koenigsmark, arrive the inn where
Theodore overhears their plans to attack Kaempfer. Theodore us so moved by the
stories that he wants to warn Kaempfer and protect him so that Adelaide would
not be fatherless as well. Theodore gathers some friends and they set off to
Koningsal, where Kaempfer resides. They tell him of the Banditti’s plan and
prepare for them to arrive. When the Banditti show up, Theodore and his men
attack and one of the banditti says that they were ordered there by Koenigsmark
and that they should beware of him, because he is invincible. Theodore and his
men set off to kill Koenigsmark.
Koenigsmark in the woods but Theodore is quickly captured and just as they were
about to torture him, Koenigsmark’s lieutenant requested that they do not harm
Theodore because he had saved his life in a previous battle. Koenigsmark
obliges, but says Theodore will be his prisoner in the cave they keep secret in
the woods forever.
night, the lieutenant that requested Theodore to be left alone comes to him in
his cell. They make a plan to break him out. The next day, the pair, as well as
the guard for the cell, Steinfort, escape to Kaempfer who told them to go kill
return to the cell to fight, the lieutenant is shot and killed while
Koenigsmark gets away. So, Theodore and Herman return to the inn where they met
Stella: the. maniac of the woods. Bolfield tells them the tragic story of her
lover, Raymond, being executed right in front of her after he harmed a servant
for his money.
later, Theodore receives a letter telling him that colonel Kaempfer is dead and
that Adelaide has taken her baby and run into the forest. Theodore and Herman
her lying lifeless on the ground without her baby, but she is still alive. They
discover that Koenigsmark took the child so they fight him. While he is
distracted, Steinfort, the freed servant of Koenigsmark, finds the baby and
takes it to safety. Theodore wounds Koenigsmark but keeps him alive so that he
can kill him later. When Adelaide is reunited with her baby, a flash of
lightening lights up the room and Rosenburg’s ghost appears. Adelaide leaves
her body and joins him as a ghost—leaving the baby as an orphan.
Konenigsmark is hanged for execution when a cloaked
spirit appears and stabs him, telling him that he fulfilled his promise. The
town holds funerals for Colonel Kaempfer and Adelaide. Colonel Monteculi then
adopts the child as his own and appoints Theodore and Steinfort as their
guardians and protectors if he were to ever die. Theodore and Herman then leave
for the army where they are great warriors with lots of success.
Patrick. The German Gothic Novel in Anglo-German Perspective. Rodopi,
Chapbooks.” Popular Romanticism.
Koenigsmark, the Robber: Or, The Terror of Bohemia: Including the History of Rosenberg and Adelaide, and Their Orphan Daughter. Johns Hopkins Library, catalyst.library.jhu.edu/catalog/bib_2655132.
the Robber: Or, the Terror of Bohemia; In Which is Introduced Stella, or, The
Maniac of the Wood, a Pathetick Tale. Portsea, James Williams, n.d.
H. J. Koenigsmark the Robber: Or, the Terror of Bohemia; In Which is
Introduced Stella, or, The Maniac of the Wood, a Pathetick Tale. London,
Tegg and Castleman, 1803, in The Marvelous Magazine and Compendium of
Prodigies, vol. 3. London, Tegg and Castleman, 1802–1804.
J. The Three Monks!!! From the French. [A Translation of Les Trois
Moines, by M. De Faverolle, Pseudonym of Elisabeth Guénard, Afterwards
Brossin, Baroness De Méré.] 1803.
Montague. A Gothic Bibliography. The Fortune press, 1941.
Ann B. The Gothic Novel 1790–1830: Plot Summaries and Index to Motifs.
Lexington, The University Press of Kentucky, 1981.
In this 1845 Eugène Sue novel, the Female Bluebeard is believed to have killed her past three husbands and now has three lovers: a pirate captain, a hide dealer, and a cannibal.
The Female Bluebeard:
or the Adventurer is originally a French text by Eugène Sue; this edition presents
the English translation. This edition does not give the original French title,
but the French edition is entitled L’Aventurier
ou la Barbe-bleue, with the name Barbe-bleue, or Bluebeard, coming
from a French folk tale. In this edition, the full English title, The Female Bluebeard: or the Adventurer,
appears on the fifth page and across every set of adjacent pages. Additionally,
the author’s name appears on the fourth page under an illustration of the
author, and again on the fifth page, under the title. It is on the fifth page
that the book also gives the name of the illustrator, Walmsley, and the
publisher, W. Strange.
The translator of this particular English edition is not specified, but we do know it was done in London in November of 1844, and the copy was published by William Strange in his office at 21, Paternoster Row, London, England in 1845. The text features thirty-four illustrations by Walmsley, and a separate epilogue to the story entitled “The Abbey of Saint Quentin.” The translator provides the reasoning behind the epilogue, noting that Eugène Sue was notorious for tying up the rest of his stories very quickly and in an “unsatisfactory manner” (286). Thus, this additional story gives a finished outcome and resolves any unanswered questions.
The translator prefaces both the full story and the epilogue. The epilogue was published separately by T.C. Savill, Printer, 107, St. Martin’s Lane in London.
The book is entirely unique, the cover of the
book being a hard paper board which has been hand painted with a marbling
technique. This particular cover has a muted, gray-green color with small
swirls of reds, yellows, and blacks mixed in. The spine and the corners of the
book are bound with dark brown leather, and the spine has both seven sets of
parallel gilded lines going across it and a shortened version of the title, Female Bluebeard, also in gilt on the
top of the spine. The book is 12.5cm by 18.5cm,
and the edges of the cover and around the leather are worn. The binding of the
book is still well intact; however, it is fragile upon opening it.
Inside of the book, the first couple pages are
end sheets of a thicker, more brittle paper, and the rest are of a softer,
thinner sheet. There is a table of contents after the title page with both the
chapter names and corresponding pages indicated. There are thirty-eight
chapters plus an additional two for the epilogue. The pages of the book are
identified with numbers indicated on the top left and top right of the pages,
consecutively. There is a total of two-hundred and seventy-six pages for The Female Bluebeard: or the Adventurer,
and the full story including the epilogue concludes on page three-hundred and
six. Roman numerals, appearing at the bottom of some select pages, going up to
the numeral XX, or twenty, were indicators to the people who bound the books
which sections went in order.
The font of the text is rather small and closely
set, and the margins are not very large. The illustrations appear both at the
beginning of some chapters with the first letter of the first word in that
sentence incorporated into the drawing, as well as throughout the chapters.
They are all done in black ink by wood cuts. The illustrations don’t feature a
caption, but they reflect scenes from that particular page or section. In some
of the illustrations, the name of the illustrator, Walmsley, can be found
cleverly hidden. For instance, in the opening of the chapter there is an
illustration in which Walmsley’s name appears under the shadow of a fallen
This particular book has some marks from previous
ownership and from natural weathering. There is a name on the first page of the
first chapter, written in pencil and signed in cursive, as well as a number
scrawled in the corner of one of the first pages of endpapers. The significance
of both is unknown. The pages show some browning and staining from air
pollution interacting with the books over time, but little to no stains are
from human error.
The author of The
Female Bluebeard: or the Adventurer, Eugène Sue, was well known across Europe, his French texts
being adapted into every European language. He was lauded as the nautical
romance author of Europe. His early works, generally maritime and romance
focused, were immensely popular and enjoyed, but ultimately viewed as immoral
and depraved. Many authors and publications were quick to defend Eugène
Sue’s own moral character though, and his popularity in France led him to be
elected as a representative of the people. After publishing several books then
going into debt, Sue decided to leave Paris and abandon his upper-class roots
to be among the people. This prompted his most popular novels, Mathilde and Les Mystères de Paris, which gave rise to many imitations
and put him in the spotlight as a great socialist philosopher and novelist. Sue
wrote some of the dramatic adaptations of these novels as well as for some of
his other works, including the
Morne-Au-Diable, an adaptation of The
Female Bluebeard: or the Adventurer (“Eugene Sue: His Life and Works” 54–66).
The Female Bluebeard
was published in several manners. The book could be purchased whole as a single
volume, but there was also the option to buy it in sections. It was sold in
twenty parts in a magazine, for a price of one penny each. The sections
contained two of the illustrations each. This twenty-number option could be
bought by the publisher in London at 21 Paternoster-row, or “at all booksellers
in England, Ireland, and Scotland” (The
Standard 1). The W. Strange edition from 21 Paternoster Row, in 1846, just
published, could also be purchased whole for three sickles (“Popular Books” 32).
The English version of the text was published by several companies in London
and by one in New York. The first English edition was the London edition by W.
Strange. The New York version of L’Aventurier
ou la Barbe Bleue, published in 1844 by J. Winchester, is titled
differently as The Female Bluebeard; or
Le Morne au Diable, taking from the name of the Female Bluebeard’s
habitation. It is only one hundred and fifteen pages. The London publisher,
Stokesley pr. owned by J.S. Pratt, likewise, used this title in their
publication of the novel in 1845. This edition contained two volumes, measuring
445 pages, and a two-page insert about the other novels published by Pratt at
Stokesley. The French text was translated to English for this edition by
Charles Wright. Later, in 1898, The
Female Bluebeard had several of its chapters published weekly in a London
newspaper on “tales of mystery,” and it was advertised as a story of “love,
intrigue, and adventure” (“Tales of Mystery” 241). There are several advertisements regarding the editions and
where they could be bought. Stock of The
Female Bluebeard was even auctioned off by a book collector at his house,
boasting a thousand perfect copies of the eight-volume edition, illustrated
with woodcuts with about one hundred and ten reams (“Sales by Auction” 546).
The Female Bluebeard:
Or the Adventurer was adapted for the stage several times. It appeared in
England for one of the first times at the Drury Lane Theater in an adaptation
entitled Adventurer in the Fiend’s
Mountain (Amusements, &C
246). It was also adapted into a play by C. A Somerset Esquire at an
amphitheater in Manchester (“Provincial Theatricals”). Both performances seemed
to attract favorable attention and were deemed by the press a success. The
novel likely had many more shows, as Eugène Sue himself, wrote an adaptation of it.
There were mixed reviews for The Female Bluebeard, as it did not quite capture the hearts of the
people as much as many of his other works did. This novel, again, brought
scrutiny on Sue’s character. One critic published that The Female Bluebeard was “licentious,” leading the translator of
the W. Strange edition to write to the paper and defend the novel’s values. The
translator argued that while not many French novels possessed a moral to their
story, The Female Bluebeard did, and
a valuable one at that (“Literature:
The Female Bluebeard”). Moreover, there were some reviews that raved of
its success, calling it “the most curious and exciting work” produced by Eugène
Sue (“Popular Books” 32).
This particular text is not well attended to by scholars, as
Eugene Sue produced a plethora of novels which garnered more attention and
acclaim. His novel, Les Mystères de Paris, or The Mysteries of Paris, inspired several other
locations-based mysteries such as the
Mysteries of London and the Mysteries
of Munich, and has been published since by the company Penguin Classics.
His novel, the Wandering Jew, has
also been published by modern companies, and has gained more attention,
particularly for its strong anti-Catholic sentiments. In many of his popular
novels, his socialist ideology attracted scholars and inspired a great deal of
the emerging writers at the time. Sue’s work is thought to have influenced Charles
Dickens, Victor Hugo, and Alexandre Dumas. Alexandre Dumas wrote the biography
of his friend and fellow writer, Eugène Sue (“Eugene Sue: His Life and Works” 54).
Point of View
The Female Bluebeard:
or The Adventurer is narrated in the third person, not through a specific
character, but by an anonymous narrator. The narrator continuously interjects
throughout the novel to guide the audience’s reading along, directly addressing
the reader as a willing participant in learning the history of the characters.
The narration has a sense of self-awareness, being cognizant of and
acknowledging the ridiculousness of some of its characters as well as several
aspects of the story. There is a controlled omniscience throughout, as the
characters’ emotions and motives are blatantly revealed. However, regarding
some secrets, the author chooses to withhold their answers until it is needed
for the plot. The narration is rich, striking a balance between complex and
uniquely singular characters, vibrant and multi-sensory descriptions, and a
wild and dynamic plot. Finally, some parts of the narration are left in French,
as there was not quite as fitting a translation in English, either because of
word play or connotations not being expressed in the same manner once
We beg, therefore, to inform the reader, who has, doubtless, long since seen through the disguise, and penetrated the mystery of the Boucanier, the Flibustier, and the Carib, that these disguises had been successively worn by the same man, who was none other than THE NATURAL SON OF CHARLES THE SECOND, JAMES DUKE OF MONMOUTH, EXECUTED IN LONDON, THE 15TH OF JULY, 1685, AS GUILTY OF HIGH TREASON.
We hope such of our readers as have had any ill opinion of the Female Bluebeard within their hearts will now do her ample justice. (141)
The narration, particularly in this paragraph, capitalizes
on the involvement of the reader in the analysis and reading of the text,
creating a greater sense of investment on the reader’s part and making each
reveal that much more impactful. While, the narrator gives the reader the
benefit of the doubt of likely predicting the mystery element, this
simultaneously invites the unaware reader to look retrospectively at the story
and recall any clues or foreshadowing, keeping the reader participating.
Through the inclusion of the reader throughout the novel, the narrator grabs
the readers’ attention, continuously checking in on the progress of their
interpretation and ideas about the text. By actually calling forth to the
reader, each reader is figured as a singular person whose participation matters
to the story, rather than having the story appeal to the emotions of many. This
feigned exchange creates an even greater sense of a tale being told by word of
mouth, and holds the possibility of investing the reader more into the story.
As this connection is made, and mutual involvement and shared knowledge is
established, the narrator is more effective in dispelling any of the reader’s
disbeliefs or disparagements against the story. In the above sample passage,
the narration dispels any aspersions on the Female Bluebeard’s character. The
narrator, by voicing what the reader has “doubtless” thought, creates this idea
that the reader’s and narrator’s opinion and view of the story will logically
match up throughout the story, not just in this one singular instance.
Therefore, the narration figures the reader as likely to go along with the rest
of what the narrator presents and take it as truthful to the history. Thus,
through the inclusion of the reader in the progress of the story, the author is
able to give the feel of a spoken tale and interestingly sway the reader to
accept what the author says as fact.
The novel opens up on the ship, the Unicorn, which has
presently left la Rochelle for the island, Martinique, and is occupied most
usually by Captain Daniel, a small crew, Reverend Father Griffon, and most
unusually, by the Gascon, the Chevalier Polyphemus Amador de Croustillac. It is
May of 1690, and France is at war with England. The Chevalier de Croustillac
has chosen to wait until a less conspicuous time to reveal himself from where
he has hidden on board the ship in order to get safe passage to Martinique and
eventually, to America. Being a man of great immodesty and foolhardiness, he
assumes a spot at supper with no word on how he arrived on board the moving
vessel. The Chevalier manages to evade all questioning of his mysterious
appearance on board the ship through extreme flattery, party tricks, and by the
promise to only confess his intentions to Father Griffon. Nearing the end of
the journey to Martinique, Captain Daniel offers the Chevalier de Croustillac a
place on board his ship as a permanent source of entertainment, and Reverend
Father Griffon, wanting to help the poor adventurer, offers for him to reside
with the Reverend at his house in Macouba, where he can attempt to earn some
capital. However, this all changes when word of the Female Bluebeard is passed
around the ship and meets the ears of the Chevalier.
The Female Bluebeard, like her folktale namesake, Bluebeard,
is believed to have killed her past three husbands, and currently holds the
abominable company of three ugly lovers: Hurricane, the pirate captain; a hide
dealer boucanier coined, “Tear-out-the-soul”; and a Carib cannibal from
Crocodile Creek, Youmaale. Despite these alarming and less than spectacular
qualities possessed by the elusive Female Bluebeard, the Chevalier de
Croustillac decides that he will show her a true gentleman and win her heart,
and with it her fortune, regardless of the potential of her being old and ugly.
And so, the Chevalier decides to go with Father Griffon, if only to leave after
a night’s repose. This plan is met with strong disagreement from the Father,
for he knows some truth to the story of the Female Bluebeard having received
confession from a man who encountered her at her home on the Devil’s Mount, or
the Morne au Diable. While staying with Father Griffon and resting for supper,
a threat to forget his pursuit of the Female Bluebeard comes to the Chevalier
in the form of a note tied to an arrow which narrowly misses his flesh. The
Chevalier goes against both warnings, sneaks out of Father Griffon’s care, and
embarks on a harrowing trek to the habitation of the Female Bluebeard at the
Morne au Diable.
It is during this time that we catch a glimpse of the
equally daunting and troubling journey to the Morne au Diable, full of danger
and risk of death, of the Colonel Rutler, a partisan of the new king of
England, William of Orange, who is tasked with a mission which will later be
Back at the Morne au Diable, the Female Bluebeard, revealed
to be exceptionally fine and beautiful, is seen flirting with a man named
Jacques, who she also lovingly calls Monsieur Hurricane. It is here that she
also learns that the Chevalier de Croustillac is after her hand in marriage,
and she, consequently, sends word to the Boucanier, Tear-out-the-soul, to bring
him to her.
The Chevalier de Croustillac, led by his gut and the
magnetism of his heart to the Female Bluebeard’s, stumbles into the Carib’s
camp, exhausted, bloodied, and starving. He is met with a feast of the most
unusual variety, and is led to the Morne au Diable, albeit with some feigned
protestation from the Boucanier. Upon arriving at the magnificent dwelling of
the Female Bluebeard, the Chevalier, wishing to impress the lady, requests a
change of clothes for his own sullied and ripped ones, and is put into the
garments of the Female Bluebeard’s late first husband.
The Chevalier meets the Female Bluebeard, who we learn is
called Angelina, with great awe and wonderment, and attempts to inspire
Angelina with much of the same amazement and admiration that he holds for her.
Angelina bemuses the Chevalier, speaking falsities and making fun of the
Chevalier’s brash actions. She sticks close to her lovers, further aggravating
the mind and heart of the Chevalier. She does offer him a limited position as
her new husband, which shall end before a year is up through rather gruesome
means, an offer the Chevalier is reluctant to accept, aside from his previous
promises of marriage. However, Angelina recognizing that the Chevalier is not
falling for her murderous and sinful façade, relates to the Chevalier that her three
lovers are actually her guards, and her proposition to the Chevalier was made
to poke fun at him and amuse herself. She then proposes to make him a new offer
the next evening.
Meanwhile, we catch a glimpse of the interactions between
the nervous and sweaty governor, Monsieur le Baron de Rupinelle, and Monsieur
de Chemeraut, the envoy of France, aboard a French frigate, regarding a state
secret vested in the Morne au Diable and backed up by Father Griffon. Monsieur
de Chemeraut requests of the governor, ships with thirty of his best armed
guards and a ladder, and advances towards the Morne au Diable. Father Griffon
learns of their swift advance to the Devil’s Mount, and alarmed that they have
learned the secret that only he possesses and fearing the safety of la
Barbe-Bleue, he hurries to beat the French frigate to the Morne au Diable.
Colonel Rutler, who we learned of earlier, has at this moment, escaped great
perils and landed in the interior garden of the Morne au Diable, and is lying,
hidden, in wait.
Back at the Morne au Diable, the Chevalier’s rambling poetry
and protestations of love, are met with amusement and some fondness by la
Barbe-bleue or the Female Bluebeard. However, she relates to the Chevalier that
she was expecting his arrival from word by her good friend, the Father Griffon,
and had used the Chevalier’s foolishness for means of entertainment. They
wander into the garden, the Chevalier becoming increasingly humiliated and
affected, his love for the Female Bluebeard being genuine, and each of her
words stinging and hurting his heart and hubris. To add to this, she offers him
diamonds to reconcile his hurt feelings which only worsens the injury to his
pride. La Barbe Bleue claims that humiliation was not her intent, and that she
was under the incorrect notion that the Chevalier was only after her money and
posed a threat to her and the inhabitants of the Morne au Diable. She demands
his forgiveness, calling him her friend, and offering him a place to stay at
her home, which completely reverses the anger and sorrow raging inside the
Chevalier. The Female Bluebeard leaves to look for Youmaale and grab a more
deserving present for the Chevalier, and in her absence the Colonel Rutler,
still hiding in the garden, rushes toward the Chevalier. Pulling a hood over
the Chevalier’s face and binding his hands, Colonel Rutler arrests him for high
Colonel Rutler mistakes the Chevalier for the believed late
husband of the Female Bluebeard, calling him “my Lord Duke,” and the Chevalier
plays the part of the royal Englishman to gain information, learning that la
Barbe Bleue’s husband is wanted by the King of England, William of Orange, for
treason. The Lord Duke had posed a threat to the King, possessing great
fortunes and having previously led a group of devoted partisans against the
King, fighting for his royal father of a falcon of Lancaster. The Duke had,
after his attempt at revolt, been executed, or at least thought to be until of
late. All this being said, the Chevalier promptly decides to assume the
personage which has already been given to him, without raising alarm to
Angelina, in a means to gain the affection and permanent gratitude of la Barbe
Bleue for saving her husband, who she loves dearly.
Arousing great surprise, the bound Chevalier and the Colonel
are met by Angelina herself, disguised as one of her domestics, and she gives
the Chevalier the Lord Duke’s sword and cloak to further cement his false
identity. She leaves to relate the news to her husband, who we find out was
masquerading as all three of her lovers, and is in reality, James Duke of
Monmouth, the son of Charles the Second. Angelina believes them saved, but her
dreams are disrupted when the Duke will not let the Chevalier risk his life for
him. To add to her dismay, Father Griffon arrives with the news that the French
Frigate knows of the Duke’s existence and location, and had questioned the
Father of his whereabouts outside. Upon the arrival of the French frigate,
Colonel Rutler had attempted to strike the Chevalier disguised as the Duke, and
his blade had broken. This action did not go unnoticed by the French envoy,
Monsieur de Chemeraut, and furthered confirmed his suspicions that the fallen
and gagged man, was indeed the James Duke. Monsieur de Chemeraut propositions
the Chevalier, believing him to be the Duke, to rejoin his partisans and place
him back at the head alongside his royal uncle, James Stuart, by driving the
“usurper,” William of Orange from his throne of England. Later, he informs the
Chevalier that refusing the offer would mean imprisonment. Thus, the Chevalier
The Chevalier de Croustillac, guarded closely by the
Monsieur de Chemeraut, happens upon Angelina and Captain Hurricane conducting
in improper displays of affection, and is horrified by her actions, the
Captain’s real identity still unknown to the Chevalier. After much arguing,
frustration, and consideration of the Chevalier’s trustworthiness, Angelina and
the Duke reveal their secret, leading the Chevalier to readopt his plan and
secure the lovers their safety and security. We also learn how the Duke had
evaded death despite there being a witnessed execution.
The Gascon Chevalier, in his natural element, puts on a show
for the French envoy and condemns the Female Bluebeard to a seemingly horrible
fate, sending her and her lover away on the ship, the Cameleon, to a deserted
island where they shall live out the rest of their limited days together. He
rejects the Female Bluebeard brutally, while secretly arranging them both safe
passage out of the Morne au Diable. Angelina bestows upon the Chevalier a
medallion with her initials, and it is all the Chevalier needs to face the
unpredictable hardships which lie ahead of him.
The Chevalier puts off his departure several times, afraid
of the charade being discovered, but ultimately boards the ship to England,
with little suspicion from the Monsieur de Chemeraut. It is at this time that
Captain Daniel, commander of the ship, the Unicorn, approaches Monsieur de
Chemeraut, requesting to sail alongside him for protection against pirates.
Monsieur de Chemeraut refuses, but Captain Daniel sails alongside them anyways,
carefully maneuvering his ship to avoid any attacks by the Fulminate, Monsieur
de Chemeraut’s ship. The convenience of these ships’ locations works well for
the Chevalier, as his treachery is discovered aboard the Fulminate by the
Duke’s most adoring partisans, Lord Mortimer, Lord Rothsay, and Lord Dudley,
and to avoid death or imprisonment, he jumps into the surrounding sea. The
ship, the Cameleon, holding both Angelina and John, having appeared alongside
the Fulminate as well, gives the Chevalier the distraction he needs to escape
and board the Unicorn. The Chevalier, and Angelina and John tearfully part
ways, the revered Lord Duke being pursued by the befuddled and furious French
frigate. On board the Unicorn, Father Griffon and the Captain Daniel fill the
Chevalier in on the orders they had received to accept him onto the ship, and
surprise him with the last gift of the Lord Duke and Angelina; the ship, the
Unicorn, and all its cargo. Again, receiving it as a hit to his ego, the
Chevalier prescribes to Father Griffon in a note that he refuses the gift and
has left the ownership to the Reverend to use charitably, as he sees fit. The
Chevalier departs, beginning a new journey to Muscovy where he will enlist as a
soldier under the Czar Peter.
The Abbey of Saint Quentin: An Epilogue to the Female
The epilogue opens up on a convent, roughly eighteen years after the events of the Female Bluebeard, where the monks are corpulent and greedy. Two young farmer’s children by the names of Jacques and Angelina are approached by one of Reverends, who demands of them the produce and grains indebted to him by their father. Diseased since the last couple of months, the father is bedridden and incapable of work, their mother taking care of him, leaving them all penniless. Regardless, the Reverend threatens to displace them and lease their farm to a more able farmer. These words are heard by an old man with sad eyes and furs, and he approaches them feeling sympathy for their situation. Upon hearing their names and witnessing the startling similarities between them and the woman he once loved, the man, the Chevalier is overcome with emotion as always. He requests of the children to stay in their barn and to be given a simple dinner which he will pay for. They depart together to see their father, and upon entering and seeing their mother, who is now middle-aged and dressed very plainly, the Chevalier faints. Angelina, the Female Bluebeard, does not recognize the Chevalier until she and her children come across the medallion she had once gifted him, tied around his neck just beside his heart.
The three old friends reunite, and the Chevalier asks of them to stay in their company for the rest of his life, paying rent to cover the needs of the struggling family. They accept after some groveling, neither party quick to accept gifts, and the Chevalier decides to search for the Father Griffon to reclaim his money from the sale of the Unicorn. The Father, still alive and having spent much of the money to become the proprietor of an estate, happily gives it to the three friends who reside there with their children for the rest of their days, their lives blissful and peaceful at last.
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