Feudal Days

Feudal Days

Feudal Days; or, the Noble Outlaw. An Historical Romance of the Fourteenth Century

Author: Unknown
Publisher: J. Bailey
Publication Year: 1820s
Language: English
Book Dimensions: 10.5cm x 16.5cm
Pages: 28
University of Virginia Library Catalog Entry, Sadleir-Black Collection: PZ2.F462 n.d.


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.


Material History

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.

The title page for Feudal Days

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. An Historical 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 the chapbook.

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.


Textual History

In addition 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 Google Books.

The frontispiece for Feudal Days, featuring misprinted margins

Multiple 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).

The second-to-last page of Feudal Days, featuring advertisements for other books printed and sold by J. Bailey

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 titles.

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 others.

Sample 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.


Summary

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.

Page 14 of the main text, depicting Rodolph and Ermina’s confrontation in the cave

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 companions, live.

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). 


Bibliography

Andriopoloulos, 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. Bailey, n.d.

Feudal Days; or, the Noble Outlaw: An Historical Romance of the Fourteenth Century. London, J. Bailey, 182-. HathiTrust Digital Library. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433112071521&view=1up&seq=11.

“J Bailey.” The British Museum, n.d., https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/term/AUTH227817.

Hoeveler, 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.

“Pamphlet, Frontispiece, Print.” The British Museum, n.d. https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1867-1214-1577

Patten, Robert L. “Cruikshank, George.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 25 May 2006.

“The Robbers: drama by Schiller.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 29 September 2011, https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Robbers.

Witte, William. “Friedrich Schiller: German writer.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 31 May 2007, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Friedrich-Schiller/additional-info#history.


Researcher: Lydia McVeigh

Statira

Statira

Statira: Or, The Mother; A Novel

Author: [Mrs. Showes]
Publisher: Minerva Press
Publication Year: 1798
Language: English
Book Dimensions: 11cm x 18cm
Pages: 200
University of Virginia Library Catalog Entry, Sadleir-Black Collection: PZ2 .S53 S 1798


This 1798 novel written by Mrs. Showes examines the strength of marital versus motherly love in the face of jealousy and deception.


Material History

The marble paper cover of Statira with quarter leather binding

A copy of Statira; Or, the Mother. A Novel by the “Author of Interesting Tales” is found in the Sadleir-Black Collection of Gothic Fiction at the University of Virginia. The title and author of the novel appear as stated above on the title page. However, the University of Virginia library catalog has listed the author as Mrs. Showes. There is no indication on the book itself that the author of Statira; Or, the Mother is a woman.

The cover of Statira holds no markings other than this shortened title stated on the spine in gold lettering. The cover is merely an abstract pattern made of marbled paper, a decorative technique that dates back to 118 CE and was commonly used for book binding in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries due to its simple and inexpensive method of production involving only water, ink, and paper. The book is held together sturdily by quarter sheep binding that can be identified by the grain patterns on the leather. However, a descriptive insert in this copy, likely placed by Michael Sadleir himself, states that the book is bound by quarter calf leather. To have “quarter” binding is to have leather that extends across the spine as well as a small portion of the front and back covers. The descriptive insert is comprised of an index card and handwriting in pen, including all of the information stated on the title page such as the official title, the author’s pseudonym, the publisher “Minerva Press,” and the dedication “for William Lane, 1789.” The official dedication on the title page reads, “For William Lane Leadenhall-Street.”

This insert was written by the book collector Michael Sadleir

This copy of Statira is evidentially aged, but remains in good condition. Vertical seams along the leather binding indicate that it has been read more than once. The pages between the front and back covers are thin, brittle, and yellowed, but all pages are present and untorn.

The print of the text appears to be an average size and font, corresponding to the text one would find in a twenty-first century printed book. However, this copy utilizes the “long s” form of the lowercase letter S. This is not uncommon to find in books printed in the eighteenth century. A “long s” resembles an f without the midline. It was derived from the appearance of written text, in which cursive writing sometimes altered the appearance of the s depending on its location in a word and the surrounding letters to which it would be connected. Therefore, an s at the beginning of a word almost always appears normally, while some appear in the form of a long s in the middle of a word. This copy of Statira includes no illustrations of any kind. Both the fourth and fifth chapters in this edition of are labeled “CHAP. IV.,” though this is the only indication of a printing error. The tops and bottoms of the pages also include notations that are not found in contemporary books. These notations involve a lettering and numbering system that may appear as “B2”, “B3”, “C1”, etc. The purpose of this system is to serve as a map that informs the printer of how the pages should be arranged in the physical production of the book.


Textual History

Statira: Or, The Mother was written by Mrs. Showes and published in 1798 by the Minerva Press. Mrs. Showes previously released a collection titled Interesting Tales that was translated from German and published anonymously in 1797 by Minerva Press. This volumecontained multiple short stories including “Biography of a Spaniel,” “The Mask,” “The Florist,” “The Robber,” “The April Fool,” and “The Idiot.” Statira lists the authorship as “by the author of Interesting Tales.”

The title page of Statira

It was not uncommon for fictional works by female authors to be published anonymously in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Minerva Press, founded by William Lane in 1780, was the largest fiction publishing company from the time of its founding until the early 1800s. The company is well known for its role in giving a voice to women by routinely publishing their work. The Minerva Press published more literature written by female authors than any other publisher at this time (Peiser). The attention given to female authors by this company likely explains the vast amount of anonymously published work that they released. Each novel printed by The Minerva Press in the year 1785 was published anonymously, as were half of the novels in the year 1800 (Engar).

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, gothic fiction grew increasingly popular among the public. These novels would commonly include a female protagonist, castles, romance, a villain, and supernatural elements. Recognizing the popularity of such stories, Minerva Press primarily printed gothic literature. However, the repetitive nature of the works released by the company was received with some criticism, along with the quality of the printed stories. One review of a Minerva production posted in the August 1797 edition of Monthly Mirror states “If we merely apprize our readers that there exists a novel bearing the title above mentioned, we think we shall do sufficient honour to the Wanderer of the Alps [1796], and the author ought to thank us for not proceeding any further” (Engar).

Statira falls within the classic pattern described above that some deemed monotonous. The novel features a female protagonist, a castle setting, romance, and a villain. Even so, the book seems to have received respectable reviews. The London periodical The Critical Review, or, Annals of Literature, published in April of 1799, included a review of Statira. The review stated, “This volume contains two novelettes, nearly of the same length, founded on the passion of jealousy. That which is entitled Statira is the more instructive; the other is extravagant and feeble. They seem to have been translated from German” (473). The archival digital copy of Statira on Eighteenth Century Collections Online appears to be the same edition that is found in the University of Virginia Sadleir-Black collection. This review is the only indication that there may be an alternative edition of Statira which was originally printed in German.


Narrative Point of View

Statira is told from the third-person point of view by an omniscient narrator who is not characterized in the novel. The narrator communicates the thoughts and feelings of every character in the story, and uses these elements to both enrich and advance the plot. The language used by the narrator is eloquent yet straightforward, often utilizing compound sentences in which many ideas are connected by colons, semicolons, or commas. The narrator also utilizes an active voice, seemingly guiding the reader’s interpretation of the events in the novel.

Sample Passage of Third-Person Narration:

But let no one censure the Count of Countess with precipitation or asperity; for the former was not a barbarian, although he may appear so at first sight—he was an unhappy misguided man, a tool in the hands of a villain that used the power he has over him for the basest purposes; and let those that are inclined to blame in credulity, remember, that a sickly constitution often occasions a debility of understanding, and that apathy and peevishness, the usual attendants of illness, naturally render the weakened mind   susceptible and suspicious, open to fraud, and inclined to jealousy; and that the fawning sycophant who makes a proper use of such opportunities, seldom fails gaining his purpose. This may be offered as some excuse for the Count’s conduct, but surely much more may be said in the Countess’s favour. A patient endurance of unmerited injuries, although it may be suffered long, will weary at last, and is always limited to a certain point; but tried beyond that, the weaker sex often exceeds the stronger in stability and resolution. (59)

While dialogue and verbal expression are often used as tools to understand characters, this passage demonstrates the role of the narrator to convey the characters’ perspectives in the absence of conversation. However, the limited dialogue in Statira does not prevent the reader from understanding the characters’ thoughts and feelings due to the role of the third person omniscient narrator. The narrator conveys the characters’ thoughts and feelings in a manner that provides the reader with a complete picture of the events taking place by offering multiple perspectives. For example, this excerpt offers a possible justification for each of the characters’ actions in light of their impending separation.

This novel also includes an interpolated found in chapter eight, when the third person omniscient narrator is replaced by Clara as she is asked to recount the story of a beautiful woman in a painting.

Sample Passage from Interpolated Tale:

“If you know her story Clara, I wish you would relate it to us; —by doing so you will oblige my friend and me.” “I will do so with pleasure; but it is long, and I fear will tire your patience. However if you are disposed to listen to me, I will satisfy your curiosity.” They seated themselves near the gate, and Clara related as follows.


“That beautiful woman was daughter to Baron Kirchberg, who lived some centuries ago, in the unfortunate times of the feuds that subsisted amongst the Nobles of Switzerland.” (81–82)

Clara’s narrative continues for the duration of the chapter, describing the story of a young man and woman who ultimately separate due to jealousy and misunderstanding despite being very much in love. In Statira, the Count and the Countess experience very similar issues that result in their separation. One effect, then, of the interpolated tale in this chapter is that it invites parallels between the two stories. Additionally, the fact that this story is shared between characters allows the Count to hear and interpret this story in the context of his own life.


Summary

Statira: Or, The Mother recounts the story of a dedicated wife and mother in the face of jealousy and deception. The novel introduces the female protagonist, Statira, as a beautiful young woman who is sought after by many esteemed men. She respectfully denies their affection because she is in love with Count Harton. When the couple turns thirty the two marry, eventually having two daughters and a son. They are exceptionally happy in their domestic life for many years, until a deep sadness overcomes Statira upon the death of her parents. Just as she starts to recover from her depression a year later, the Count falls gravely ill. While his physical health ultimately improves, his mental health remains deteriorated. The Countess spends her days accompanying him in his gloom, trying relentlessly to lift his spirits.

Here, the narrator introduces the novel’s primary antagonist: Count Harton’s servant and presumed friend, a man by the name of Murden who aims to undermine Statira’s efforts. Murden has long dreamed of gaining control of the Count’s property and wealth. The servant has always envied Statira and viewed her as a threat to his agenda. He seizes the opportunity presented by Count Harton’s reduced state to eliminate Statira as a threat and establish himself as Harton’s primary companion. Murden’s plan is to convince the Count of Statira’s infidelity and encourage the Count to indulge in an extended trip to Italy. Murden successfully plants suspicion in Harton’s mind regarding his wife’s loyalty by insinuating that she is having relations with another servant, a man she does indeed respect as he is a close family friend who once saved her parents from a carriage crash.  This jealousy builds until the Count publicly and aggressively accuses his wife of her nonexistent crime.

This page shows the use of the long s in print, as well as the letter D which illustrates the system that informs the printer of how pages should be arranged in the production of the book

A ruined reputation, along with a now dysfunctional domestic life, puts Statira in a state of misery and total isolation. Despite her attempts to convince her husband of the truth, he remains resentful and cold towards her. Resigned and distraught, she flees the estate with her eldest daughter. Her abandonment is received poorly, seemingly confirming her guilt, and Harton demands a divorce. Recognizing that there is no chance of finding love between her and her husband again, the divorce is finalized. Devastatingly, she loses custody of her children and is left entirely alone. The Countess initially returns to her hometown, but later decides to explore Europe. She never returns, and few people receive letters from her. The Count promptly departs for his planned trip to Italy, leaving his children with a distant relative.

On his way to Italy, the Count visits his friend’s sister, who is a nun at a convent in Switzerland. During his visit, he inquires about a painting of a woman hanging on the wall. The nun tells him the woman’s unfortunate story in its entirety. Idela was the daughter of a Baron by the name Kilchberg, and deeply in love with her husband Henry Toggenburg. In a battle with Kilchberg and Toggenburg’s enemy, Henry was captured and arranged to be executed. Idela resolved to find her husband, determined to either rescue him, die with him, or die for him. With elaborate disguise and deception, she took his place as prisoner accepting that she would either die in his place or be granted mercy. Fortunately, she was shown grace and convinced her husband’s executioner to show him forgiveness. Despite this demonstration of love and sacrifice, a simple misunderstanding one year later caused Henry to question Idela’s faithfulness. In a fit of rage and jealousy, he attempted to murder her. Upon realizing his error, he begged her for forgiveness, but Idela declared that she was no longer his. She spends the remainder of her life in the convent where Harton now sits, considering for the first time the possibility of his wife’s innocence.

The Count returns from his trip to find his estate in shambles and that he is in great debt.  Murden has since passed away, but the Count deduces that Murden was in fact deceitful as his wife suggested. He also receives a letter from his relative reporting that his children have smallpox and are close to death. Harton rushes to his children’s side, and joyfully finds them in better health thanks to the unremitting care of their new governess, Madame Laborde. The Count, wishing to thank Madame Laborde, learns that she has since contracted smallpox and is near death according to the physicians. The Count enters her room regardless and finds none other than Statira, who composed a new identity in the hopes of filling out her role as a mother to her children. She dies of her illness later that evening, joyful that she gets to claim her children in front of her husband in her final moments. Count Harton spends his days lamenting her loss and coping with the severity of his transgression.


Bibliography

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.

Peiser, Megan. “Review Periodicals and the Visibility of William Lane’s Minerva Press.” Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, 26 Sept. 2016. http://rs4vp.org/review-periodicals-visibility-william-lanes-minerva-press-megan-peiser-university-missouri/

Showes, Mrs. Interesting Tales. London, Minerva Press, 1797.

Showes, Mrs. Statira; Or, The Mother. A Novel. London, Minerva press, 1798.

“Statira, or the mother. A novel, by the author of interesting tales.” 1799. The Critical review, or, Annals of literature Vol. 25, 1799: 473.


Researcher: Janie Edwards

The Magician

The Magician

The Magician

Author: Leitch Ritchie
Publisher: Simms and M’Intyre; W. S. Orr and Co
Publication Year: 1846
Language: English
Book Dimensions: 10.5cm x 16.5cm
Pages: 390
University of Virginia Library Catalog Entry, Sadleir-Black Collection: PZ2 .R57 M 1846


A tale of magic, secrets, and betrayal, Leitch Ritchie’s 1846 novel set in France features several romances that must overcome the divides created by religion and class, while trust is tested by unknown foes with sinister motives


Material History

Half-title page

The Magician is a novel by Leitch Ritchie, published in 1846 by Simms and M’Intyre (also written as Simms and McIntyre) of Belfast and later also London. The book itself is 390 pages, and its font is small and closely set together. Its margins are likewise small with the right and left margins being 1.35 cm and the top and bottom margins being 1 cm. The book is 16.5 cm long, 10.5 cm wide, and 3.0 cm in thickness, making it physically quite compact. This edition is bound together as one novel, but as implied by the dedication on page five, it has also been published in multiple volumes. There are two other editions, one with two volumes and one with three, both of which were published in 1836. The cover of the book is intricate, with calf leather covering the spine and corners of the book which indicates it was half bound, and the rest of the cover is marbled in blue and red. The leather on the front and back covers is decorated with a floral design that was impressed using a bind-rolled floral tool. On the spine, the design resembles a thistle, which could be a reference to Ritchie’s homeland, Scotland, whose national flower has been the thistle since 1249. The author is also referenced many times inside the book. His name is embossed on the spine, is labeled on pages 3 and 4, and referenced again in the notes at the end of the book. On page 3, his name is also accompanied by some of the titles of his other novels and is followed by “etc. etc.” indicating that he has written many works. There are two title pages, the first with only with The Magician printed on it, and the second (on page 3) with The Magician printed along with Ritchie’s name and other works. This page is outlined in a black lined box. The other stories referenced that were written by Ritchie include The Game of LifeRomance of French History, and Journey to St. Petersburgh and Moscow. Also included on this page is the publisher along with their location along with the publication date of the novel. A note from the author precedes the main text, and here Ritchie explains the lack of magic in the novel, despite its title. He also explains his inspiration for many of his characters, many of which were based on historical figures. One last inclusion is Ritchie’s mention of the character Gilles de Retz, whom he had previously written about three years earlier in Wanderings by the Loire, an account of the character’s history and background.

The book is in relatively good condition, with its spine being the only thing in slightly poor physical condition. The spine is cracked severely but still holds the novel together, while the inside pages look untouched. Also of consideration, the spine is tightly bound, which might contribute to the anomaly that while from the outside it looks worn, the inside is in good condition, as it takes effort to open the novel and in doing so the spine is worn out at an accelerated rate. 

Armorial bookplate of John Waldie, Hendersyde and book label

Inside the book, one of the first things of interest is an armorial bookplate belonging to John Waldie of Hendersyde Park which is located in Ednam, Scotland, a small town near Kelso in the Scottish Borders. The bookplate also has a capital E written in the top left corner. Under the bookplate, is a blue book label that states “Novels and Romance; No. 893” indicating that this novel belonged to a large private collection of Waldie. This was most likely placed at the same time as the armorial bookplate but added second as it abuts the armorial plate so closely. Only the armorial bookplate has left an impression on the page adjacent to the back of the front cover. This is most likely because the bookplate’s paper, as opposed to the book label’s, is thicker and the ink used when printing it has transferred onto the facing page. 

The interior of the book is void of any illustrations except for an intricate drawing of the first letter in the first chapter on page seven. The letter I (belonging to the first word of the novel, “in”) is shaded and drawn to have flowers adorning it. The first and last two pages of the novel (which are not in the official page count) are blank and are thinner and more yellowed in comparison to the rest of the pages, which are slightly brittle but in overall better condition. The pages all together are stiff and inflexible, but this could be due to the novel’s tight binding and resulting infrequent use. 

Receipt of purchase by Robert Black from George Bates’ Rare and Interesting Books in 1939

A unique feature of this novel is that in the back it contains a receipt of purchase by Robert K. Black. It is in linen paper which was determined by holding up the receipt up to the light where the watermark “698 Linen Faced” is revealed, which describes the type and brand of paper. Some of the aspects (name, address, telephone, telegram, etc.) appear to be previously printed onto the paper, while other details look to have been added by a typewriter (including the date of purchase, the book purchased, and the buyer). The receipt comes from George Bates Rare and Interesting Books in London, and it shows that the novel was purchased by Robert Black on August 8, 1939, almost one hundred years after The Magician’s publication. This would have also been one year after Black’s purchase of Michael Sadleir’s collection in 1938 which was immediately placed at the University of Virginia. From 1938 to 1942, Black continued to add more novels into the gothic collection, one of which was The Magician. On the receipt, it can even be seen that the seller incorrectly typed many parts of the receipt. On it, the book purchased is The Nagician (which was not amended) and Ritchie’s last name was originally incorrectly spelled with a “w” at the end, which was later typed over with an e. The date of the book’s publication was also originally incorrectly typed, stating originally 1848, and the 8 was later typed over with a 6.


Textual History

The Magician is a novel written by the Scottish author Leitch Ritchie. Before its publication, Ritchie had already written multiple novels, sketches, and short stories, some of which include The Romance of History, France (1831) and The Game of Life (1830). Ritchie was well known in the literary sphere due to his numerous works and had gained merit from his short stories (The Athenaeum 396). A year after The Magician was published in 1836, Ritchie had even embarked on a tour for his series, Ireland, Picturesque and Romantic; or, Heath’s Picturesque Annual for 1838, which was well-received (Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine 684). The Magician was published in four main editions in Ritchie’s lifetime. The original publication was in 1836, and during that year it was distributed by two publishers: John Macrone as well as Carey, Lea, & Blanchard. John Macrone was based in London but passed away in 1837, a year after The Magician’s publication (Simkin). His version was distributed in three volumes. Carey, Lea, & Blanchard published the novel in two volumes, and this was published in the United States, giving The Magician a larger audience. Later, in 1846, his novel was published in one volume by Simms & M’Intyre, a London and Belfast based publisher. Their first version was in 1846, where the volume consisted of 390 pages and was reprinted in the “Parlour Novelist” (a collection of fiction reprints); this is the edition held by the University of Virginia Sadleir-Black Collection. Simms & M’Intyre’s second printing of The Magician was in 1853 and consisted of 320 pages and was reprinted in the “Parlour Library,” another series of fiction reprints. 

Second title page, including Ritchie’s other works, along with the publisher and date of publication

In periodicals at the time, The Magician was advertised frequently by Macrone and Simms & M’Intyre. Its advertisements were smaller on the page than larger names at the time, such as Charles Dickens in The Athenaeum. Ritchie’s advertisements, in contrast, were often found among groups of novels that were either listed in “Lately Published” or “In the Press” sections (The Athenaeum 1021; The Literary Gazette 12). In a select few of the advertisements, Ritchie’s work would be given more space in print in order to describe a brief summary. Despite the different periodicals it could be found in, such as Gentleman’s Magazine and The Court Magazine and Belle Assemblee, the blurb was consistently “The Magician, the scene in France, and the epoch the end of the English dominion in the fifteenth century, connected with the favourite studies of the period, alchemy and magic, by Mr. Leitch Ritchie” (The Court Magazine and Belle Assemblee vii).

Alongside this promotion, there were few reviews for The Magician, all of which had varying opinions on the quality of the novel. Two of the more notably detailed ones, written in The Literary Gazette and The Athenaeum delivered negative feedback. The Literary Gazette labeled The Magician as “a complete failure” and commented specifically on the striking similarities to the Bible’s tale of Isaac and Rebecca (The Literary Gazette 360). Due to this, the reviewer questioned the originality of the plot and likened parts of it to another previously published novel, Kenilworth, stating that two of The Magician’s main characters created a dynamic that was “an exaggerated copy of Leicester and Alasco” (The Literary Gazette 360). The Athenaeum’s review was less harsh, but still nowhere near positive. Though the author praised Ritchie for his earlier works, he emphasized that he has “been less successful when his canvas was more ambitiously enlarged” (396). This review harped more on the concept of the title and its relation to the book, as any magic that is described in the book is later refuted by Ritchie and revealed to be mere tricks of the eye, stating “we cannot, however, understand why Mr. Ritchie should neutralize the effect of his story, by a careful and systematic destruction of the wonders it contains” (The Athenaeum 396). This review mainly consisted of criticism regarding introducing the idea of sorcery and gramarye only to in the end dissuade his readers from believing in its existence entirely. The Magician’s more positive reviews are less prevalent and take the form of short blurbs. The Examiner referenced a small review by The Globe in which they wrote, “We congratulate Mr. Ritchie on the sensation he has produced,” and the Athenaeum quickly referenced it as a “clever and forcible romance” (The Examiner 688; The Athenaeum 625). This seems to be the extent of the positive reviews, with only a couple more sources eliciting some optimistic words in his direction. Despite this, Ritchie is often referenced in reviews or advertisements for his other works, such as in the Examiner when Wearfoot Common is noted as being by “Leitch Ritchie, Author of ‘The Magician,’” which could indicate its approval by the general public as opposed to the critics, who seemed to have taken a negative stance on its content (The Examiner 181). 

Presently, The Magician has been adapted into digital copies, most notably the Simms & M’Intyre 1846 version has been electronically reproduced by HathiTrust Digital Library in 2011. HathiTrust has also reproduced volumes one through three of the 1836 Macrone publication and volumes one and two of the Carey, Lea & Blanchard 1836 publication. The 1853 version seems to be the only one missing in their digital library. Google Books has electronically reproduced these specific volumes as well.


Narrative Point of View

The Magician is narrated in the third person, conveying the thoughts of all of the characters as opposed to just one. The anonymous narrator provides information about background and history that the characters, individually or collectively, might not know. Within this third-person narration, the narrator also occasionally uses the first-person, particularly utilizing “we” when relaying background knowledge. This is done sparingly, only at the beginning of chapters or in the midst of a description. The narrator also directly addresses “the reader” within the narration.

Sample Passage of Third-Person Narration:

The attention of the scholar [David] was now directed exclusively to the space within the circle; and after an interval which appeared painfully long, he saw a light-coloured vapor rising from the altar, which was followed by a sudden flame, illuminating for an instance the whole apartment. But the smoke and flame vanished as suddenly as they had arisen, and, at the same moment, the appearance of a man clothed in black armor stood by the table. (258)

Sample Passage of Pauline Narrating a Dream:

“I followed him, for I could not help it. He called my name, and I mounted after him into the air, higher, higher than the lark soars or the cloud rolls. The stars swept in circles above our heads, hissing through the golden air and the earth was like a star beneath our feet, only stationary and alone. Then Prelati turned round, and I saw that he was a demon of the abyss, and I flew shrieking down the fields of space, till the whole universe rang with my cries. But he seized me; he caught me by my long hair, that streamed in the wind, when suddenly his arm was struck from his body by the blow of a sword. We are now safe. Hide me, love, in thy coat, and lay the Bloody Heart next to mine. But take away the dead arm that still clings to my hair. –Faugh! it makes me shudder. Cut off the tress-there– ‘O Douglas, Douglas, Tender and true!’” (261)

Sample Passage including an Interjection and Reference to the Reader:

Soon however, his mind seemed to revert to its usual occupations. He was evidently preparing to retire for the night; and, after having opened the door of a closet, where his bed appeared to be placed, he sank down upon his knees to pray. In his prayer, which was delivered with energy and deep devotion, the student joined mentally; and as the form of supplication was not particular to the personages of our history, but common to many of those who were in that day engaged in similar pursuits, we think it well to present the reader with the following copy. (52)

The third-person narration reveals the actions that occur in the novel as well as the motivations or reasonings behind these actions. They also contribute to the many interpretations of the situations that multiple characters simultaneously encounter. By presenting each character’s experiences, the narration builds a bigger picture of the overarching plot. The example above shows how David is conceptualizing the resurrection of Prelati, but this is only one point of view. Later, the narrator also presents Pauline’s thoughts in the form of the dream she had when she fainted from the sight of Prelati. From her perspective, an impending danger regarding Prelati, and her safety is secured by Douglas (Archibald) is foreshadowed. While the introduction to her position and story is in the third person, her dialogue is told in the first person. Alongside developing these relationships among the novel’s characters, by consistently using “we” the narrator also develops a relationship between himself and the reader. With this relationship, he can also include new knowledge that is essential to understand the context of the novel’s settings and characters.


Summary

This is the first page of main text in the novel. The first letter is illustrated with flowers and vines growing off it.

The novel begins in 1497 in Paris, during the welcome parade for the new prince, where 3000 people are waiting. A young unnamed Scottish knight is introduced and, he enters the crowd, disappearing past the gates of Paris. Stopping on a bridge, the knight talks to the echevin, Jacquin Houpelande who is a member of the legislative body, introducing Scotland’s part as an ally of Paris in the war. The French needed their help in defeating England during the Hundred Years War. The knight stops to think about how well-designed Paris is for the occasion, with everyone dressed up, and he concludes that everyone is represented but the Jews, who were banished by the edict of the past prince. He continues into the city, stopping by the university to watch the parade, full of royals and dignitaries. In it is the dauphin, who is betrothed to Margaret, the young princess of Scotland. While walking further, the unnamed knight is attacked by three English students who draw their swords, but a man, Douglas, shouts at them, and descends into the streets followed by three other men. Douglas, and his three companions, Nigel, Bauldy, and Andrew, defend the Scottish knight, and once the fight is over, the knight goes to talk to his rescuers. He realizes that he knows their leader who was his childhood friend, Archibald, as they are both from the Douglas clan from Scotland.

All leave to go to Archibald’s room, and upon entering, David and Archibald begin to argue over an unlit candle about David’s choice to become a student, which leaves him unpaid. The flame suddenly flashes up, though David takes no notice. David leaves for the night, entering a doorway that leads him to a tunnel under the university. Here, David’s master is introduced, the alchemist Messire Jean, along with his master’s daughter whom David has developed feelings towards over the years. The two men hear a noise and a knock on the final door, which turns out to be Messire Jean’s friend Prelati. Prelati introduces the concept of the philosopher’s stone and then brings up Jean’s enemy Gilles de Retz, who betrayed him long ago. While they begin to talk, David talks to the daughter who tells him her secret: she’s Jewish. She makes him promise not to reveal what he knows as his knowledge could kill them.

The next morning, David has a hard time dealing with the news, so he seeks out Archibald to confess to him his secret life. They walk through Paris and Archibald, a staunch believer in Christianity, over David’s choice to indulge in Hermeticism. While passing people, David mentions that he recognizes a man named Orosmandel, a famed philosopher. Archibald’s past is explained; he came to Paris to assist Margaret, Princess of Scotland, on her journey to meeting the Dauphin of France. On the way he saved a woman known as Mademoiselle de Laval, who warned him that her attacker is the Black Knight and tells him to make friends with a man named Orosmandel. The flashback ends, and now Archie stands in the theatre recognizing her in the crowd with Orosmandel.

The next day, David explains to his roommates Nigel, Andrew, and Bauldy, that he must leave, and they accuse him of valuing his life above their own. Hearing this, David is stunned and leaves the apartment, along with his education at the university. He meets with Messire Jean, who tells him to accompany his daughter, Hagar, to Nantes. David agrees and tells Jean in his absence to find his three friends to uptake the position of his assistant. Around the same time, Andrew, Bauldy, and Nigel receive a visit from Archibald who is trying to find David. They don’t know where he went, but Archibald later receives an anonymous note telling him to meet at the inn and tavern, Pomme-du-Pin. David and Hagar meet him, and David tells Archibald that he is going to work for Orosmandel as his assistant. Archibald insists that he will pursue alchemy if David can prove it is real. Hagar tells them she must leave but tells them to wait for her. While waiting, David inquires about Archibald’s relationship with Mademoiselle de Laval, who Archibald confesses he loves. Upon Hagar’s absence, they resolve to travel together to Brittany. While stopped for the night, Archibald encounters a young woman who tells him that the Damsel de Laval is in danger and he must go to the ruinous castle nearby. There, he overhears a plot to capture the Damsel, and he escapes as the Black Knight enters.

Hagar is now talking to two other women, Pauline and Marie, who want her to join their journey. Hagar insists that she must go straight to Nantes, but Pauline will not let her leave. Marie helps Hagar escape, switching cloaks with her, and Hagar passes the guards without suspicion. In the morning, Marie and Hagar leave for Nantes and end up traveling alongside a parade, where Gilles de Retz is seen. Hagar, now startled, says she is going to seek out Rabbi Solomon, who resides in Nantes, as he will grant her safety and she will be able to live there with her people. Marie’s betrothed, Jean, hears this and tells her that he will oversee her travels there. He instead betrays her, leading her to Gilles de Retz’s city apartment, locking her in to be kept prisoner. Elsewhere, the Damsel de Laval thinks about Archibald, questioning if he loves her for her money or if he has true intentions. She reveals that she is Pauline, who spoke to Hagar earlier. Pauline goes to talk to Orosmandel, who is employed by her father, and his assistant, the dwarf.

On the road to Brittany, David tells Archibald that he is worried about Hagar, and Archibald insinuates that David is falling in love with someone who is “unfit” causing David to draw his sword in her defense. The peasant girl interrupts the fight, telling them that her name is Marie, and that she is getting married. Her cousin, Lissette sings an ominous bridal song, which and Marie leaves crying. David also leaves, and he runs into the dwarf who tells him that it’s his job to escort David to La Verrieré. There, Orosmandel and Gilles, talk about their plans to sacrifice a willing virgin to the devil. They plan on sacrificing one of three girls, Gilles’ daughter Pauline, Hagar, or Marie. They contemplate sacrificing Hagar because she would be willing to save either her father or David’s life, and Marie because she left before she could consummate her marriage. Later Lissette taps on Andrew’s window, telling him that Marie is lost. Archibald runs into the woods, and there he finds the Black Knight and his men. At the same time, Nigel, Bauldy, and Andrew enter the same part of the woods, and after escaping the Black Knight, they all agree to save David, who they fear has been put into grave danger. When they arrive at Nantes, Messire Jean, whose name is Caleb, is with them, as he left Paris with the trio. All try to figure out how to infiltrate La Verrieré to find David.

David is working for Orosmandel, using his position to figure out how to rescue Hagar. Later that night, Orosmandel sends for both David and Pauline so they can watch him summon the ghost of Prelati. Pauline faints, causing David to have to carry her to another room, Hagar’s prison. There, David warns Hagar to not take anything given to her, and he leaves saying that their religion no longer separates them as they are all equal at the gates of death.

Andrew finds the house of Rabbi Solomon, where he meets Caleb. While talking, two men, Claude Montrichard and Beauchamp, enter asking Caleb for gold so they can capture one of Gilles’ territories. They explain that Gilles is being investigated for his perversion of nature and religion and the government plans on arresting him. Caleb agrees to help them so long as they promise to rescue Hagar.

Back at La Verrieré, Hagar, contemplates her feelings for David and questions Gilles’s motives. She tries to leave, but the guard tells her that she needs permission from the baron. Hagar goes to request it, but the baron tells her that he cannot give freedom nor can she receive it. She bargains that if David is set free, she won’t try to leave. David enters to talk to Gilles, and Andrew comes in as the ambassador of Houpelande. Gilles tells David to leave, but David refuses, saying he is there to protect Hagar. Hagar reveals Prelati is alive, and before they all part, David tells Andrew to meet him later that night. Andrew heads for the tower, where David tells him to relay to Archibald that he must ally with Beauchamp and Montrichard, Prelati is alive, and Pauline is in danger. David later discovers a trapdoor in the floor, where Orosmandel and Prelati must have staged the summoning. He hides behind the curtain as Orosmandel and Gilles talk about their sacrifice, determining that Pauline must die. Later that night, David hears his name and discovers Marie in Gilles’ arms. Gilles runs, and David helps Marie escape through the newfound trapdoor. 

Andrew travels back to Nantes to meet with the rest of the men, and from there they split up. Andrew and Archibald take the road with Montrichard, while Nigel and Bauldy set forth on Houpelande’s wagon. While this is happening, Orosmandel and Gilles set up the ritual, and since Pauline won’t be a willing participant (which is required for the ceremony’s success), they convince Hagar, telling her David has died, and she is sent back to her cell. In another location, David has successfully convinced Caleb of his love for Hagar.

Hagar is taken from her cell by the Orosmandel, who has told her he will take her away as he wants her for his mistress. She refuses him, claiming love for David and that Orosmandel is too old for her to love. It’s at this moment that, Orosmandel tears away his beard and cloak, revealing that he was Prelati all along. While Prelati is distracted, Caleb stabs him and is subsequently thrown into the nearby wall by Prelati. Both die, and Hagar leaves with David. In another part of the castle, Archibald rescues Pauline. The novel concludes with the anonymous narrator giving an account of what has happened since then. Archibald and Pauline marry, as do Andrew and Marie, along with Bauldy and Felicité. David and Hagar leave together to travel to far and foreign lands. Three years later, a procession is held for Gilles where he is charged for sorcery and burned for being a wizard.


Bibliography

“Advertisement.” The Athenaeum, no. 1348, 1853, pp. 1021.

“Advertisement. “ Examiner, no. 1499, 1836, pp. 688.

“Book Review.” Examiner, no. 2460, 1855, pp. 181-182.

‘THE BOOKS OF THE SEASON.” Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine, vol. 4, no. 47, 1837, pp. 678–688.

“LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.” The Court Magazine and Belle Assemblee, July 1832-Jan.1837, vol. 8, no. 2, 1836, pp. 7.

“LITERARY NOVELITIES.” The Literary Gazette : A Weekly Journal of Literature, Science, and the Fine Arts, no. 989, 1836, pp. 12.

“The Magician.” The Athenaeum, no. 449, 1836, pp. 396.

“The Magician.” The Literary Gazette : A Weekly Journal of Literature, Science, and the Fine Arts, no. 1011, 1836, pp. 360.

Ritchie, Leitch. The Magician. Belfast, Simms & M’Intyre, 1846.

Simkin, John. Spartacus Educational, Spartacus Educational, https://spartacus-educational.com/PRmacrone.htm.

“A Summer Amongst the Bocages and the Vines.” The Athenaeum, no. 667, 1840, pp. 623­–62.


Researcher: Rebecca E. Laflam

The Black Forest

The Black Forest

The Black Forest; Or, the Cavern of Horrors

Author: Unknown
Publisher: Ann Lemoine, and J. Roe
Publication Year: 1802
Language: English
Book Dimensions: 11.5cm x 18.5 cm
Pages: 38
University of Virginia Library Catalog Entry, Sadleir-Black Collection: PZ2 .B4561 1802


In this deceivingly short story with a complicated publication history, love, secrets, mystery, and murder abound. Borrowed almost entirely from the Cavern of Death, this book touches on strong gothic themes familiar amongst decades of other novels within its genre.


Material History

The marbled cover of The Black Forest

The Black Forest; Or, the Cavern of Horrors. A Gothic Romance is a German mystery, translated from German into this English version. The author of this book is unknown and the only material origins exist on a single title page which appears 10 physical pages in, following a group of blank pages and a frontispiece. The text was originally printed in London in 1802 by T. Maiden at Sherbourne-Lane for publishers: Ann Lemoine, White-Rose Court. Coleman-Street, And J. Roe, No. 90, and Hounddtich. The title page indicates The Black Forest was “Sold by all Booksellers in the United Kingdom.” This happily adorned book sold for a universal price of six-pence indicated on the title page under the publisher and printer information. On this same page, the unknown author or illustrator included an intricate watercolor and pencil drawing of a foregrounded tree with large, protruding roots accompanied by what appears to be a brick castle in the background. The drawing lacks a caption, explanation, or citation.

The book is a beautiful one, seemingly unharmed by the trials and tribulations of time. From the outside, it looks fairly untouched. The bright red binding would catch any onlooker’s eye among the stacks. The attractive binding is made of red leather and is adorned with two gold embellishments on either side of the book’s matching gilded title which reads in bold letters a shortened name: THE BLACK FOREST. Moving from the red binding to the cover, the book becomes even more impressive with its colorfully marbled display of green, blue, yellow and red swirls. The cover is smooth and in the corners lie two more triangles of matching red leather material. The Black Forest lies within two 11.5 by 18.5 cm unique covers and fills 1 cm of space widthwise. But this measurement deceives readers looking for a read of considerable length.

The frontispiece for The Black Forest depicting Sir Henry’s dream.

The book contains just 38 pages of text and one page of illustration, but despite the few pages the actual story occupies, the book holds many more physical pages following the text. The rest of them are completely blank (despite a single “g” written in pencil on one of the last). These pages, unlike the rest, appear not only blank, but completely untouched. The side of the binding which holds the blank pages is very stiff and the pages are pristine. The only thing that conveys these pages are old is their yellow staining due to aging. As for the 38 occupied pages, they are more worn and soft; some pages have yellow staining due to age and some oddly remain pristinely white. Interestingly, the text is noticeably small. The words are tightly packed onto each page and the margins are quite thin. 

Despite the single “g” written faintly in pencil on one of the final blank pages, the book has no marks of personal ownership. Prior to the main text, there is hand-drawn, hand-painted watercolor illustration in the first few pages of the book. It exhibits a skeleton holding a reddened sword near a man in formal wear and it suggests the skeleton is moving towards the man while the man backs away in fear. The image’s setting is a dark room lit by a lantern. The caption below reads: “The terror of Henry at the appearance of a Skeleton waving a Bloody Sword.” There is a very faint marking just below the right side of the illustration that reads “S. Sharpese” which is most likely the illustrator’s signature.  However, another, even fainter, marking exists on the right side under the image which may read “W. Gidell” but it is nearly indistinguishable. A third signature lies underneath the caption but the name is illegible, all that is clear is “Fig” at the start of the name. The frontispiece is protected by a single sheet of lighter tissue paper that lies over top of it. 

It appears much care was taken in the making of this book, with its hand-made watercolor frontispiece, its marbled cover, and its pleasant and pristine binding. Essentially no marks were made by reader intervention and the book remains very close to its original condition, so it seems that much care was also taken in the usage of this book. Whether the story excites or not, this now 200-year-old book is one with much to say beyond what the actual text communicates.


Textual History

The Black Forest: Or, the Cavern of Horrors. A Gothic Romance. From the German is listed in the Sadleir-Black Special Collections Library catalogue as having been published by Ann Lemoine in 1802, though no publication date appears on the title page. The book first entered the publishing world as a chapbook. The same story can be found in the Sadleir-Black Collection bound to Bruce’s voyage to Naples, also published in London 1802. Both versions indicate no author but are said to have been translated “From the German” on their title pages. Which German book it was translated from is still unknown. According to A History of Guilty Pleasure: Chapbooks and the Lemoines, Ann Lemoine was “the first chapbook publisher to use colored illustrations and, for many years, the only one offering colored editions” (Bearden-White 313). The Black Forest was sold for 4 pence and 6 pence. The version held in the University of Virginia’s collection sold for 6 pence and contains two beautifully colored illustrations. 

The title page for The Black Forest

Unsurprisingly, The Black Forest: Or, the Cavern of Horrors is in fact a plagiarized version of an older text, The Cavern of Death: A Moral Tale. While the general framework narrative of these two versions remains the same, the characters’ names and plot points shift. In The Cavern of Death, Sir Albert (as opposed to Sir Henry de Mountford) is summoned by a skeleton to discover the truth of the cavern whereas in The Black Forest Sir Henry stumbles upon the cavern and discovers the skeleton which leads to the exposure of the truth. This is just one example of the slight changes made to the extracted plot. 

The Cavern of Death first appeared in 1795 in a London newspaper called The True Briton. Multiple forms of this original text can be found in the Sadleir-Black Collection, each claiming to have been published at the same time in two different cities. The most common publication city amongst all of them is Baltimore where it was printed and sold by “Bonsal & Niles, 173, Market-street” as a chapbook. The other is Philadelphia where it was printed by and for “William W. Woodward, Green Sign of Franklin’s Head, no. 16, Chesnut Street.” Most publications accredit the original version to The True Briton, where the story first appeared. Professor Allen W. Grove, in the introduction of his 2005 edited version of The Cavern of Death, claims the original chapbook borrowed themes from older texts such as The Castle of Otranto (1765) and The Old English Baron (1778) (3). Grove hypothesizes that The Cavern of Death provided elements, such as the white plume deceiving character identities and Sir Constance declaring her love to an eavesdropping Sir Albert, found similarly in successful gothic novels such as Ann Radcliffe’s A Sicilian Romance and Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (3). He also labels The True Briton as a “certainly…uncommon place to find a novel,” thus adding to the intrigue of this text’s origins (7).

One more iteration of The Cavern of Death popped up after The Black Forest: Or, the Cavern of Horrors. In his introduction, Grove cites this additional titleas The Black Forest; or, The Cavern of Death, A Bohemian Romance which he claims was published in 1830 and consisted of the same story “stripped of [its] sentimental trappings” (8). Essentially, the later versions of The Cavern of Death were cut down to fewer and fewer words, the bones of the dramatic storyline forming the remains. This title, with the inclusion of “A Bohemian Romance” is briefly mentioned in Franz Potter’s book The Monster Made by Man: A Compendium of Gothic Adaptations—which is the source Groves cites from (128). Interestingly, in the same paragraph Potter mentions The Black Forest; or, The Cavern of Death, A Bohemian Romance, he also mentions a compilation of stories entitled Legends of Terror! and Tales of the Wonderful and Wild! The first 1826 collection of this book does not include any version of The Cavern of Death. However, around 1840 another publication of Legends of Terror! was published by G. Creed (71, Chancery Lane) and Holborn and it is in this second edition that the final reincarnation of The Cavern of Death: A Moral Tale resides as The Black Forest; or, The Cavern of Death, a Bohemian Romance on page 65, where the main character Sir Albert enters (as opposed to Sir Henry), emulating the original version over the second version.

Today, The Black Forest is not available in print but its source text, The Cavern of Death, is available as a paperback published by Valancourt Books and edited by Allen Groves. Additionally, archival digital copies are available for The Cavern of Death, The Black Forest, and Legends of Terror! through Google Books.


Narrative Point of View

The Black Forest: Or, The Cavern of Horrors is a written in the third-person point of view of an anonymous, omniscient narrator who never appears in the text. Most often the narrator follows the main character, Sir Henry, throughout the text, seeing the world through his eyes. However, we get a few glances at the intentions and actions of others, such as Elinor, while Sir Henry remains ignorant. More than once, the text uses dramatic irony to create some degree of suspense. Furthermore, the narration is not overly complex, despite the archaic writing style, and most often centers around the story’s plot. The narrator takes time to portray settings and scenery in great detail and takes up small amounts of the novel’s pages to reflect on character emotions. However, the largest share of the text consists of dialogue between characters and Sir Henry. In fact, nearly all that is unbeknownst to Sir Henry throughout the text is revealed via characters’ storytelling and conversation. The omniscient narrator withholds secrets that are revealed by characters themselves in the final moments of the book. However, the narrator displays his all-knowingness even while withholding information by dropping hints of the truths uncovered at the novel’s end.

Sample Passage of Third-Person Narration:

The deafening noise of the torrent filled the soul of Sir Henry with an unknown horror: he descended precipitately from the bank, and retreated to a rock, which seemed on one side the boundary of the Cavern; against which he leaned, while his imagination, unrelieved by an visible object, and wholly occupied in the recollection of his dream, was left at liberty to represent to him now, the hideous phantom hovering in the dusky air, and now, the fleshless warrior, shunning his embrace, and waving high the fatal sword. (32)

Sample Passage of The Baron telling his own story:

“Rudolph, Baron of Gotha, was thy father. He was my brother, my elder brother; and from the Holy Land was he returning, to claim the inheritance which, at the death of our common parents, devolved of right to him; when I, covetous to possess it, met him in this Forrest … Often, at the still and solemn hour of midnight, has the spirit of my murdered brother visited me; sometimes in silence, pointing to his wounds, and waving his bloody sword.” (35–36)

The third-person narrative style of The Black Forest invites readers to sympathize with Sir Henry, as the novel most closely follows his personal life, while also allowing readers to see from a wider bird’s-eye view. In using third-person narration over first-person narration, the unknown author allows readers to be plucked up out of one scene and deposited into the next, effectively enabling readers to know more than the characters. This narrative style, as well as the past tense writing style, presents the characters as defenseless to predetermined events. For example, Sir Henry and Theresa, with the devious help of Elinor, form a plan to escape the castle of Gotha together. While they believe their plan to be an effective one, what the two do not know (but what we the readers do) is that they have been deceived by Elinor, their plan will fail, Theresa will be captured, and Sir Henry will be threatened with death. Thus, the omniscience of the narrator—both as a surveyor of all the characters and as retrospective point of view—often belittles the characters, displaying them as both naïve and foolish. 

Interestingly, the narrator is also able to deceive us as readers, perhaps belittling us in the process of using the Baron’s character to reveal the novel’s full truth—that the true heir to the castle of Gotha is Sir Henry—after withholding it for the entirety of the book. Additionally, the narrator teases us by dropping clues to this truth: The Baron’s interest in Sir Henry’s ring and his home life, Sir Henry’s dream of what is revealed to be his father’s skeleton, and the dark cloud that forms above the Cavern. In doing so, the novel flips its original use of dramatic irony. While we once had the power of knowledge, in the end it is the Baron who reveals the story’s hidden truths. It is the character who holds the power of knowledge. Thus, the novel sanctions and subsequently eschews our power as readers. It does so through the use of the Baron’s sub-narrative presented through dialogue, which holds a lot of power in this novel. In most cases, dialogue between characters or to an audience is what reveals secrets and truths throughout the novel. In the novel secrets are coded as power-wielding as they determine who lives, who dies, and who becomes the Baron of Gotha. Thus, while the narrator appears to hold the power in telling the novel’s story, it is the characters confessions to each other that hold it all.


Summary

The story begins with two men, Sir Henry de Mountford and his servant Peter, who traverse the Black Forest as nighttime approaches. Henry thinks of his former love and Peter indulges him, questioning why he ever chose to leave Leipzig, the town where this woman, Theresa, still resides. Sir Henry explains it is because he could not offer her a “rank worthy of her merit” (A2). As they continue to discuss a big, dark cloud-like figure descends upon them through the trees. The meteor-like object lands at the entrance of a deep, dark cavern. Sir Henry deliberates whether to enter or not and settles upon the decision to return the next day with lights but to continue on to the Castle of Gotha, where he originally intended to go, for the rest of the night.

This page shows the first, and only, chapter of The Black Forest

Soon they arrive at the castle to find a celebration, a kind of engagement party for the Baron and an unnamed woman. Sir Henry is welcomed with warm embraces by Lord Edgar, son of the Baron of Gotha. He leads him to the Great Hall of the Castle and presents him to his father who is hesitant to welcome Sir Henry with excitement and instead remains eerily silent. Later at the dinner table, Sir Henry notices The Baron eyeing him suspiciously. He also takes great interest in a valuable ruby ring Sir Henry wears that is the one relic he has to remember his late father.

Following dinner, Sir Henry retires to his room and, after some time, falls asleep. He has a vivid nightmare in which a ghost overwhelms the very dining hall where he has just eaten dinner. Then a cloud, like the one seen in the forest, emits a mist that removes all the people who surround him, and Sir Henry is left alone to face it. It moves to embrace him but at the very moment they touch, the phantom disappears, and a skeleton emerges in its place. The skeleton waves a bloody sword in the air saying, “Thou sword must receive from this cold hand, ere I can rest at peace, or thou restored to thy just inheritance” and then it too vanishes (11). Sir Henry awakens from fear of the dream in a cold sweat.  

In the morning, the Baron invites Sir Henry to breakfast in his room. They begin their conversation by discussing Sir Henry’s origins. He explains that his father died before he was born, and his mother died from despair of her husband’s death before Sir Henry came to the age when he could remember her. When the conversation finds a natural end, Sir Henry goes to find Lord Edgar as he has promised to discuss some unspecified troubles he has been experiencing. They both walk to the Forest as they discussed the night before. When they arrive, Lord Edgar proceeds to tell him that he is in love with his father’s fiancé. He explains that immediately upon encountering the woman his father is set to marry, he discovered the enchantment of her beauty and the truth of her youth (she looked to not exceed the age of Lord Edgar!). He declares the only way he can have this woman for himself and maintain his fortunes would be to become the Baron of Gotha himself, implying he must murder his father. He asks Sir Henry to be the one to do it. Sir Henry, offended and appalled by the plan, refuses to act in accordance. It is then revealed that the woman Lord Edgar speaks of is Lady Theresa, Sir Henry’s former lover! 

Sir Henry, infuriated by what he has just heard and unable to bear it further, declares his friendship with Lord Edgar over and makes his way deeper into the Forest. He dreadfully considers the two possible fates of Theresa and resolves to find her at once. He must wait until evening to see her so to pass the time he walks along the perimeter of the castle. Soon after he begins he hears the voice of Theresa and her maid, Elinor. Theresa laments her aversion to the marriage in long sobs. Elinor asks where her affections truly lie, and Theresa reveals that the day she met Lord Edgar he wore a “casque” which she believes once belonged to the man who she once loved (21).

Knowing that this casque belongs to himself, Sir Henry reveals himself and his love for her. Astonished by the sight of him at this very moment, Theresa inquires how he could possibly end up at the castle of Kruitzner. He declares it is the love he feels for her and impatience to revisit her that led him there. After a few euphoric moments together, Theresa returns to her tears, remembering the reality of her situation. Sir Henry consoles her fears by suggesting that they run away together and escape the tormenting marriage which her father imposed. Though Sir Henry cannot offer her a life of luxury, he promises her one of love. 

A sample page (17) from The Black Forest

Elinor who remained silent since the entry of Sir Henry until this moment interjects to support his proposal. In response, Theresa consents to his protection and the three of them formulate a plan to free her. Elinor decides she will bring Sir Henry the key to the castle garden in the forest by distinguishing him in the night via a silver plume which he will stick in his hat.

What Theresa and Sir Henry don’t know is that Elinor acts as an accomplice to Lord Edgar. She viewed the confession of love between the two as a dual betrayal to the friendship of Lord Edgar and rather than heading to the cottage in the forest where she had agreed to meet Sir Henry with the key, she goes to the Castle of Gotha. She reveals everything to Lord Edgar, including the escape plan. She then hands him the key to the garden and a silver plume to wear on his head, so Theresa will mistakenly run to him in the night and he can take her where he pleases. Elinor then runs to meet Sir Henry and tells him that Theresa will be unable to meet him tonight, but the plan remains set to follow tomorrow, a lie that will force him to fall prey to the Baron and his forces when they find out, via Elinor, that he intends to steal Theresa away.

That night Theresa and the deceptive Elinor execute the original plan. Just as she was told, Theresa locates a man with a silver plume on his hat and descends from her window into his abrasive arms. Unable to see his face or hear his voice, she follows his arms and ascends his horse. Then they speed away. 

Meanwhile Sir Henry decides to go for a walk. He stumbles upon the cavern of horrors (from the title) once again and resolves to enter it. He enters the cavern and looks around. Immersed in darkness Sir Henry is unable to see anything except a small chasm in the rock which, as he approaches, reveals a narrow passageway. He follows it and, at the end, discovers a sword attached to a hand which runs into the body of a skeleton like the one in his dream! At this discovery he exclaims, “Yes! Injured spirit! Thou, whom I know not by what name to address, but who hast, questionless, led me hither, and art now invisibly present to my invocation! I receive thy gift! And I swear to allow myself no rest, till the vengeance shall be completed, in which, though by what mysterious connection as yet I comprehend not, thou hast taught me to believe my own destiny involved!” (33). As he says this the flame which led him down the pathway extinguishes, and Sir Henry sinks to the ground, senseless of his surroundings for a few moments. After regaining his senses, he hears more sounds and a cry of horror which exclaims, “Blood! A cataract of Blood” (33). He approaches the sounds to find two men, mangled and dead under the weight of a large fragment of rock. He finds another man groaning in agony on the floor. He looks to help the man and discovers it to be the Baron of Gotha! The Baron, incredibly disoriented by a spiritual force, does not recognize Sir Henry. Sir Henry lifts the Baron and leads him from the cave but before they can leave a man jumps from a crack and admits to being sent by the Baron to assassinate Sir Henry. In a moment of guilt, the Baron explains that the skeleton in the cavern belonged to Sir Henry’s father who was murdered by the Baron himself. He continues to say Sir Henry’s father was Rudolph, Baron of Gotha, his older brother. Many years prior, Rudolph was returning from a trip to claim his inheritance when the present-day Baron, ripe with jealousy and greed, gathered a group of ruffians and murdered him so that he could covet the inheritance for himself. Once Rudolph was dead, the ruffians tried to pry his sword from his hand, but it would not budge. The younger brother commanded that the sword be left with the body in the cavern, for its discovery would reveal that the murder was committed by the new owner of the sword. Ever since, the Baron experienced apparitions of his brother pointing to his wounds and waving his sword and insisting that his demise would be by the hand of his brother’s heir, yielding the sword of their father. The Baron has since made attempts to retrieve it, but failed. So too has he sought an heir of his brother, but without success. It wasn’t until the morning Sir Henry arrived at the Castle of Gotha that The Baron discovered an heir of Rudolph existed! That day the Baron resolved to assassinate Sir Henry which explains his position in the Cavern awaiting Sir Henry with two accomplices, one of whom was Peter (who is revealed to be one of the ruffians who murdered Rudolph and the betrayer of Sir Henry).

As the Baron completes his story, a group of men on horses approach. They hold a corpse which they reveal to be Lord Edgar. At this discovery, the Baron plunges his late brother’s sword into his chest and dies, fulfilling the prophecy. The horseman explain that they accidentally attacked and killed Lord Edgar, mistaking him for Sir Henry. Sir Henry demands he be brought back to the castle where he is reunited with Theresa and Elinor, who confesses to her own crimes. 

In the end, being the proper heir to the Castle of Gotha, Sir Henry is made the new Baron. He requests the hand of Theresa in marriage, knowing it will be accepted by her father now that he is in a place of security and wealth. His request is met with enthusiasm and the young lovers marry after the proper, honorable burial of Henry’s father, Rudolph, the wronged Baron of Gotha.


Bibliography

Bearden-White, Roy. “A History of Guilty Pleasure: Chapbooks and the Lemoines.” The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, vol. 103, no. 3, 2009, pp. 284–318.

The Black Forest; or, The Cavern of Horrors.  A Gothic Romance. From the German. London, Ann Lemoine and J. Roe, 1802.

The Cavern of Death. A Moral Tale. H. Colbert, 1795.

Grove, Allen W. The Cavern of Death. Valancourt Books, 2005.

Legends of Terror: And Tales of the Wonderful and the Wild. Being a Complete Collection of Legendary Tales, National Romances, and Traditional Relics, of Every Country … G. Creed, 1840.

Legends of Terror!: And Tales of the Wonderful and Wild ; Original and Select, in Prose and Verse. Sherwood, Gilbert, and Piper, 1826.


Researcher: Eva Louise Ridder Ebbesen