Sleath Lived Here in Loughborough

June 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Sleath Lived Here in Loughborough

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The Hunt for The Bristol Heiress

June 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

There are only three copies of The Bristol Heiress in the US: one at Harvard, one at Stamford and a PDF copy at the University of Nebraska.  Using worldcat, I located the two hard copies at Harvard and Stamford and immediately set out to obtain digital versions.  To my dismay the fees would have been prohibitive at Stanford, and because the text was so fragile I would have had to travel to Boston to work with the archival version.  I had my university research librarians looking as well; they found a copy in The Corvey Collection warehoused in Germany with a PDF file at the University of Nebraska who could copy the PDF files for me.  Eventually, I was able to find out that Professor Stephen C. Behrendt used these files.  I contacted him, and he graciously had a Graduate Assistant send me the files — way back in November of 2010. 

 

These novels are so rare because women’s novels were trash — the Harlequin novels of today, if you will.  The were not worth saving or archiving.  Also, many of the novels had limited prints because they were used through circulating libraries allowing a woman to borrow the book for a limited time rather than purchasing expensive novels.

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New Eleanor Sleath Biography

May 8, 2011 at 7:46 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

The Real Eleanor Sleath

Rebecca Czlapinski and Eric C. Wheeler

Eleanor Sleath is an eighteenth century novelist known most for her 1798 gothic romance The Orphan of the Rhine.  Until now details about the life of this author have been few and erroneous, as we will demonstrate. Our research has revealed that Sleath’s life was as tempestuous as those of her heroines. Before examining the new biographical information about Eleanor Sleath, one first must deal with the conjecture of past scholars. One of the misconceptions about Sleath’s life, that she was Catholic, was begun in 1927 in a paper presented to the English Association by Michael Sadleir, who discusses the Northanger Canon, novels mentioned in Jane Austen’s parodic Gothic novel Northanger Abbey. These novels are The Orphan of the Rhine (Sleath), The Mysteries of Udolpho (Radcliffe), The Necromancer (Kahlert), The Midnight Bell (Latham), Horrid Mysteries (Grosse), Clermont (Roche), and The Mysterious Warning (Parsons). Sadleir regretted he was unable to find even a single copy of The Orphan of the Rhine to read as part of his research. However, by the time his paper went to press, a copy of The Orphan of the Rhine had been found. Sadleir categorizes the novel with Parson’s Clermont because of its “affinity to the Radcliffian school of sensational landscape-fiction staged abroad” i. Sadleir surmises that Sleath must be a Catholic because “the monks and nuns of The Orphan of the Rhine are all wise and of a spiritual disposition” ii. The idea that one must be a Catholic to treat nuns and monks kindly seems a little silly today, but Eleanor Sleath was writing soon after a period in English history during which animosity existed between Protestants and Catholics, and she wrote in a genre that often used the perceived secrecy and medievalism of Catholic traditions to depict dark secrets and clandestine activity.

Devendra Varma perpetuates the idea of Sleath’s Catholicism in his introduction to the 1972 Folio Press edition of The Nocturnal Minstrel (1810). Varma asserts, “Mrs. Sleath’s ecclesiastical figures are all of noble and virtuous pattern, sane and wise and spiritually inclined. This indicates that Mrs. Sleath had strong leanings toward Roman Catholicism” iii. However, our research reveals that her generosity and kindness toward monks and nuns stemmed from a kind spirit rather than a religious affiliation. Eleanor Sleath was the daughter of a gentleman iv and was raised as an Anglican.

Varma is also the source of other mistaken information about Sleath. In his introduction to the 1968 Folio Press release of The Orphan of the Rhine, Professor Varma recounts his investigation through interviews with people who supposedly knew someone who knew the author and archival work that, rather than simply a nom-de-plume for an anonymous writer, Eleanor Sleath was a real person. He did discover that Sleath was a Leicestershire name; in fact, Leicestershire was the county in which Eleanor Sleath spent much of her life. Professor Varma erroneously concluded that Eleanor Sleath was Eleanor Martin who married Joseph Sleath of Leicestershire in 1784. However, recent archival evidence proves that this cannot be the correct woman or marriage because Eleanor Sleath, the novelist, was born in 1770 and died in 1847 at the age of 77. vi If Sleath was born in 1770, she could not be the woman mentioned by Professor Varma who stated, “Eleanor Sleath, at the time of her marriage in 1784, stood before the altar of the Church in Gilmorton, Leicestershire; she was a tall slender woman in her twenties.” vii In 1784, Eleanor Sleath, the author, was only fourteen.

Fifty years after Professor Varma wrote his introduction to The Orphan of the Rhine, our research reveals details concerning the life of this interesting author. Eleanor Sleath was born Eleanor Carter and baptized at Loughborough Parish Church on 15 October 1770. The youngest child of Thomas and Elizabeth Carter, Eleanor had four older siblings; John Edward (1753), Mary (1755), Judith (1757), and Ann (1766).viii As an upper-middle class family of the minor gentry, the Carter Family moved from Herefordshire to Leicester during the seventeenth century. ix

Eleanor’s father Thomas was one of five surviving brothers; his siblings were John, Laurence, Isaac, and Henry. If one were not the eldest son who inherited and managed the estate, choice of professions of landed gentry at the time included only a few options such as the clergy, law, and the military. John Carter became a cleric, while Thomas and Isaac entered the legal profession. Little is known of Thomas’s early life until his marriage to Elizabeth Cousins at Wimeswould, Leicestershire on 6 October 1752.x The demands of a country attorney forced Thomas and his new family to move multiple times before they settled in the market town of Loughborough where Eleanor was born in 1770.xi Thomas Carter died while away from home, more than likely unexpectedly because he died without a will. He was buried at Sileby on 29 October 1773.xii Elizabeth, his widow, and his brother Isaac administered the estate until John Edward reached his majority. The family had land wealth to provide a living and allow for the education of the children.

Although the details of Eleanor’s upbringing are unknown, we can assume she was educated in social and practical skills involving managing a household to the standards of a young woman of her status. In the late eighteenth century, women were either tutored at home or sent to small local schools in someone’s home. An accomplished woman of Sleath’s time would be taught “drawing, dancing, penmanship, piano playing, grammar, spelling, elementary arithmetic” and often French. xiii  It is evident that Eleanor Sleath was an educated woman. By tracing the epigraphs of her first novel, The Orphan of the Rhine (1798), one can imagine some of the authors she had on her shelf: John Milton, Oliver Goldsmith, Robert Burns, William Mason, Alexander Pope, and, of course, William Shakespeare.  She may have owned the popular collection of essays and poems called Extract: Elegant, Instructive and Entertaining (1791). Or she could have owned The Lady’s Poetical Magazine (1781) or The Tea Table Miscellany (1755), since both also contained several of the works she references.  In addition to having the resources to select an apt epigraph, Sleath demonstrates a familiarity with conventional plotting and stock characters of the gothic romance novels so popular at the time.

On 14 September 1792, Eleanor Carter married Joseph Barnabas Sleath of Calverton, Buckinghamshire. xiv Details about Joseph are limited. He was summoned as and officer cadet “for the artillery of the Bengal Establishment” in 1783 but had found a substitute to go in his place by 1784.xv Whether or not he went to India is uncertain; however, he was connected to the military and was named a surgeon of the Leicestershire militia in 1794. It is possible that Eleanor met her husband through the Leicestershire militia with which her brother John Edward was also associated.

By the time of her marriage, Eleanor was twenty-one, a spinster well past the average age of marriage; Joseph was five years her senior and a bachelor. It is interesting to note that Eleanor’s marriage, unlike those of all her siblings, took place outside of Leicestershire; she was married instead at Calverton, the home of Joseph Sleath. No member of the Carter family signed the Calverton parish register as witness to the marriage. xvi These seemingly minor details raise questions: Did her family frown on the marriage? Could she have been pregnant? Could she have been acting against the wishes of her family? The newly weds settled in the large market town of Uneaten, a distance from both of their families. Joseph established himself as a surgeon and apothecary with an early account referring to him as “Mr. Sleath Doctor.” xvii Eleanor went about setting up her home as is evidenced by the minute details provided in her surviving bills of expenditure: from buying curtains, carpets, tables, and the painting of the parlour, to the repair of her watch for two shillings. xviii Eleanor soon gave birth to a son: Joseph Barnabas Sleath. Surviving records paint a picture of domestic bliss, hopes for the future, and new beginnings; however, that happiness was not to last.

The Leicestershire militia began to recruit more troops because of the threat of a French invasion. Joseph resigned from the military in 1794; the first in a chain of events that would shatter Eleanor’s new found happiness. In September Eleanor and Joseph lost their child who was buried in Nuneaton parish churchyard on 4 September 1794xix. Four weeks later, Eleanor’s husband died at the age of twenty-eight. xx Eleanor was left with mountains of debt, mostly household expenses and unpaid business accounts. xxi No record exists of any money or property left to Eleanor by her husband, although she probably had income from previous Carter family legacies. Records do show that John Edward, Eleanor’s brother, her mother Elizabeth, and her brother-in-law J. S. Cardale administered the debts of Joseph’s estate. One by one the debts were discharged over the winter and spring of 1794 and 1795. In November, after returning to Leicester to care for her aging mother, Eleanor fell ill, no doubt from stress and grief. xxii

From this period until the publication of The Orphan of the Rhine in 1798, little is known about Sleath’s life. It is unclear whether her writing was a serious hobby, a career path, or a means of providing income to discharge her debts. Eleanor met frequently with a small group of intellectual and literary minded neighbors who often shared their work and received critiques and support. One member of the group was Susanna Watts, a famous resident of Leicester. While a descendant from Sleath’s great-grandfather’s first marriage, Susanna Watts’ family suffered economic difficulties. She was self-educated and of a genteel nature. To help get by, Watts published poetry and her own translations of French and Italian literary works xxiii, as well as the first guide for the town of Leicester: A Walk Through Leicester (1804). Susanna Watt’s determination, her love of nature, and her persistent advocacy against social injustice, particularly slavery, has earned her a place in history as a strong female leader in a time when women’s roles were restricted. In addition to Susanna Watts, the group consisted of Eleanor Sleath and Reverend John Dudley, vicar of Humberstone, as well as a few others perhaps. Sleath completed and published at least one novel after Orphan of the Rhine while meeting with this group. Who’s the Murder was published in 1802 while Eleanor was living in the small village of Scraptoft, four miles east of Leicester.

In 1801, John Edward Carter moved his family, including Eleanor and their mother, from Leicester to an estate he leased called Scraptoft Hall. Located a short distance from the busy city of Leicester, Scraptoft Hall with its gardens, grottos, and lush grounds provided a retreat for Carter. xxiv The Carters mixed with the local gentry of the area including the Watts, the Coltmans, the Simons, the Heyricks, the Frewens of Cold Overton, and the Dudleys of nearby Humberstone. The Carters, Frewens, and Dudleys often called on each other for tea in order to catch up on local business and gossip. They also stayed at each other’s homes. For example, in 1803 John Dudley notes that he stayed at Cold Overton Hall for seventeen days xxv; and Mary Frewen and Susanna Watts stayed with the Dudleys the same year. xxvi The group of friends often traveled together. The correspondences between John Dudley and John Frewen indicated that they frequented the posh resort, Bath, where they attended ball, the theater, attended social functions and other activities. xxvii In February 1804, a party including John Dudley, his wife Ann, and Mary Frewen set off for Bath where they were joined by John Frewen as well as Ann Dudley’s father and sister. xxviii Later that year, John Dudley notes in his diary the “Mrs. Sleath set off with Mrs. Dudley and myself on a journey into North Wales.” Later, they were joined by the Carters, the Miss Bagnalls and their maid, and a Miss Lutwidge. xxix Eleanor Sleath moved in a close-knit circle of families affording her social and intellectual stimulation. Thrown into each other’s company as a result of friendships and literary interests, Eleanor Sleath and John Dudley developed a platonic friendship. John Dudley tells John Frewen in a letter, “various literary occupations led me to frequent intercourse with Mrs. S and Miss Watts.” xxx Mrs. John Dudley developed a resentment of their relationship, when in 1807, at a gathering of friends and family, Eleanor’s sister-in-law, Mrs. John Carter (Elizabeth) commented sarcastically about the nature of the friendship between Eleanor and Rev. Dudley. The sarcastic remark sparked gossip inflaming a simmering jealousy in the heart of Mrs. Dudley resulting in a slanderous scandal, a strained marriage, and shattered friendships. In a letter to John Frewen, Dudley complains that the “sarcasms of Mrs. Carter, which were very unfriendly, fostered by the Watts laid . . . the foundation of jealousy in the mind” of his wife. xxxi According to John Dudley, his wife hid her jealousy until she eventually “became hostile to Mrs. S. and injured her indiscreetly and secretly in various ways,” all while maintaining a civil and friendly facade. Dudley naively chose to believe that his wife’s “discontent” would diminish when she realized that his “acquaintance with Mrs. S produced no change in [his] behaviour or affection toward her.” xxxii

Despite his continued insistence that his relationship with Mrs. Sleath was purely platonic, Ann Dudley’s jealousy grew. Dudley believed that he had done nothing wrong and felt that he had to protect Eleanor’s honor which had been tarnished by gossip and rumors, which increased his wife’s anger. Dudley enlisted the help of John Edward Carter, his brother Isaac, but to no avail. Finally, Mr. Pochin, a mutual friend, suggested that Mrs. Dudley make peace with Eleanor. She agreed to do so “but her very first step rendered the thing improbable. Her violence now was no longer controlled and the worst of language was too often used.” xxxiii John Dudley finally gave up seen Eleanor when his wife insisted that her health was failing; however, her ailment proved to be a ruse when she made a miraculous recovery.

The circle of friends became polarized with Susanna Watts and Elizabeth Simms siding with Mrs. Dudley and fueling her resentment. Eventually Mrs. Dudley’s machinations led to her undoing when she spread a rumor that Mrs. Sleath went to London with the Isaac Dudleys in order to have a child – the love child of her husband, John Dudley xxxiv Rumors began circulating around Leicester that Dudley fathered a bastard by Eleanor, and an anonymous letter was sent to Eleanor instructing her to forego the acquaintance of the Dudley family for the sake of Mrs. Dudley’s “peace.” xxxv

Frustrated and angry at the attacks upon both his and Eleanor’s character and reputation, Dudley charged Mrs. Simons with giving a “slanderous report,” and later he also filed a citation against her in ecclesiastic court for defamation. He also visited Susanna Watts, accusing her of authoring the anonymous letter and threatening her with a lawsuit. However, loss of friendship and a crumbling reputation were not his only troubles. In a letter to John Frewen, Dudley asserts that Mrs. Dudley “is now desperate and her only object is revenge which is chiefly directed against me. She rides about to defame me.” He goes on to explain that she knew he was about to sell everything and “run away with Mrs. S.” Mrs. Dudley also told “Mrs. Isaac Dudley that she was hired to murder her.” Dudley also accused his wife of feigning injuries so that she could accuse him of assault. xxxvi Dudley decided to remove his wife from Humberstone, the center of the gossip, and moved to his other vicarage in the village of Sileby, seven miles north of Leicester. The move also allowed the Dudleys to live in separate houses with Ann and the servants in the larger house and John in the smaller.

As a result of the scandal, acrimony, and separation, the Dudleys’ social circle was diminished and as a result the flow of letters stopped diminishing the source of details about the lives of the Dudleys and Eleanor Sleath. We do know, however, that these years of upheaval were a very creative period with three books published between 1809 an 1811: The Bristol Heiress (1809); The Nocturnal Minstrel (1810), and Pyrenean Banditti (1811). John Dudley too published a poem, The Metamorphosis of Sona: A Hindu Tale, in 1810. The preface to his work hints at Eleanor’s encouragement and again mentions her Indian novel which he alluded to in a his diaries six years earlier: “ The author of this work was induced to relate in verse , the following legendary tale from the Vayera Parana, at the suggestion of an ingenuous and esteemed friend; who, intending to write upon a subject connected with Hindusthan, imagined such a poem might be properly introduced in it.” xxxvii Sleath’s novel of India hinted at by Dudley, has yet to be discovered, nor has it been determined if it was written. Glenowen; Or The Fairy Palace (1815) does contain Indian material; however, it is hardly “connected with Hindusthan.” This preface also implies that Dudley and Sleath were still working together.

Eleanor faced another upheaval in 1813 when her brother John Edward Carter died without issue, and his large estate was divided among his wife and his four sisters. Eleanor was bequeathed a house on High Street Leicester, and a quarter share in a small estate called Brickman Hill in Kirby Muxloe, which she would inherit after the death of Elizabeth Carter. She received a lump sum of ₤2000 to be paid out of the Barons Park Estate inherited by her sister Ann Carr, and ₤1000 from John Edward’s personal estate. She earned interest on these bequests for two years after John Edward’s death. Eleanor, along with her brothers-in-law George Carr and Joseph Spencer Cardale, were the executors of John Edward’s estate which granted them financial reward through a division of the residue of John’s personal wealth and real estate after all bequests, debts, and funeral expenses were settled. xxxviii Six months after her brother’s death, Eleanor lost her mother.

Little is known about Eleanor whereabouts between 1814 and 1816. Records place Eleanor in Loughborough, a market town based on coal trade, and later hosiery and lace manufacturing. Eleanor remained in Loughborough for six years in a house on the Leicester Road, which she purchased for ₤500 on 19 December 1816. xxxix It is interesting to note that Loughborough was the location of the Petty sessions court where local magistrates, including John Dudley, came to try cases. Also Loughborough is only 5 miles from Sileby, where Dudley continued to live alone after Ann moved to Leicester in 1811 after a getting a deed of separation. xl Although the details of Eleanor Sleath’s life for the next six years are unknown, one can assume she lived a comfortable life as an independent widow with means of her own. Since, John Dudley was separated from his wife, he was free to see Eleanor. When they received news of Ann Dudley’s death in February of 1823, they became betrothed and married on 1 April 1823 at the Loughborough parish church. xli

Eleanor and John Dudley settled in Sileby. Eleanor would have been kept busy as a vicar’s wife. In 1847 Eleanor’s health began to decline, and she died of liver disease xlii at home at the Sileby vicarage on 5 May 1847 at the age of 77.

Like the lives of her heroines, Eleanor Sleath’s life included drama, scandal, loss; like her heroines, Eleanor Sleath faced adversity head long with a strong faith in God and the power of a loving family; like her heroines, Eleanor Sleath achieved happiness and married the man she loved after many trials.

NOTES

i    Sadleir, Michael. The Northanger Novels. 1927. p. 22

ii   Ibid.

iii  Varma, Devendra. “Introduction.” The Nocturnal Minstrel. London: 1972.

iv  3D42/13/49. Undated. ROLLR.

v   Loughborough All Saints: Marriages 1815 – 1826. “John Dudley of the Parish  of Sileby & Eleanor Sleath of this Parish were married in this church by License 1 April 1823.”

vi  3D42/13/49. Undated. ROLLR. Sleath’s birth records.

Death Registered 8 May 1847: Eleanor Dudley 1847 – Quarter 2, Barrow upon Soar District Vol. 15 p. 24

vii “Introduction.” The Orphan of the Rhine. London: Folio Press, 1968.

viii Joseph Spencer Cardale. “Copies of Parish Reg[iste]rs respecting the Carter    Family”, nd. 3D42/13/49 Record office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (ROLLR)

ix  Ibid.

x   3D42/13/49. Undated. ROLLR.

xi  Ibid

xii Eric C. Wheeler. The Parish Registers of St. Mary Sileby Leicestershire Vol. IV:  Baptisms and Burials 1765 – 1812. Burials 1843 – 1846. Sileby: 2003. p. 83

xiii Barbara Swords. “Woman’s Place in Jane Austen’s England.” Persuasions 10         (1988)

xiv  3D42/13/49. Undated. ROLLR.

xv  IOR/L/MIL/9/255/70v, 74 British Library 1782 – 4. Also: Hodson, Major    V.C.P. The Officers of the Bengal Army 1758 – 1834 Vol 4 Part 1 S – V. London; 1947. p. 112

xvi Calverton, Buckinghamshire. Parish Registers – Marriages 1559 – 1836.   Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies. p. 22

xvii 3D42/13/66 ROLLR

xviiiVarious accounts: 3D42/13/69, 3D42/13/74, 3D42/13/81 ROLLR

xix  A birth or baptism date is not known. His existence is known from his burial record: St Nicholas, Nuneaton. Parish Register Burials 1577 – 1812. 4 September 1794. DR 61/5 Warwickshire County Record Office

xx St Nicholas, Nuneaton. Parish Register Burials 1577 – 1812. September & October 1794. op. Cit.

xxi Various accounts: 3D42/13/65 – 71, 75 – 78, 84 ROLLR

xxii Account of Thomas Teasdale, 13 November 1794. 3D42/13/69 ROLLR

xxiii Shirley Aucott. Susanna Watts 1768 – 1842. Leicester. 2004. p. 10

xxiv Lease dated 31 May 1801 between Edward Hartopp Wigley of Little Dalby, Esq and Jo[i]hn Edward Carter of Scraptoft, Gentleman. 3D42/13/507 ROLLR

xxv Misc 338. op. Cit. p. 55 ROLLR

xxvi FRE 2314 ESRO

xxvii Letter from John Dudley to Mary Frewen with his impressions of Bath, 12 April 1801. FRE 2786 ESRO.: Also FRE 1231 ESRO. John Frewen at Bath in 1784.

xxviii Misc. 338. op cit p. 57 ROLLR

xxix Misc. 338. op cit p. 67 ROLLR

xxx  Letter from John Dudley to John Frewen dated 20 September 1808 FRE   1832 ESRO p. 1

xxxi Letter from John Dudley to John Frewen dated 20 September 1808 FRE 1832 ESRO p. 1

xxxii FRE 1832 ESRO. ibid. p. 1-2

xxxiii FRE 1832 ESRO. p. 2

xxxiv FRE 1832 ESRO. p. 2 – 3

xxxv Letter from Susanna Watts to Mary Frewen dated 8 August 1808. p 3 FRE2817 ESRO.

xxxvi FRE 1832 ESRO. p. 3

xxxvii John Dudley, The Metamorphosis of Sona. Black, Parry, and Kingsbury. London. 1810. ROLLR

xxxviii Will of John Edward carter of Scraptoft, Gentleman. Dated 21 October 1811. Codicil dated 7 June 1804. Proved at London 26 July 1813. PROB 11/1546 National Archives

xxxix Conveyance: John Heathcote of Tiverton to Eleanor Sleath of Loughborough, widow. Dated 19 December 1816. DE 2018/15 ROLLR

xl Deed of Separation mentioned in the will of Ann Dudley, dated 2 October 1821, proved 3 May 1823 PROB 11/1670 National Archives

xli Loughborough All Saints: Marriages 1815 – 1826. “John Dudley of the Parish of Sileby & Eleanor Sleath of this Parish were married in this church by License 1 April 1823.”

xlii Death Registered 8 May 1847: Eleanor Dudley 1847 – Quarter 2, Barrow upon Soar District Vol. 15 p. 24

CHRONOLOGY

1770              Eleanor Carter born in Loughborouh, Leicestershire

1792      Eleanor Carter marries Joseph Barnabas Sleath in Calverton,

Buckinghamshire, moves to Nuneaton, Leicestershire

1794              Joseph Banabas Sleath, son and husband, both dead , Eleanor lives with

brother John Edward Carter, Leicester

1798               The Orphan of the Rhine Minerva Press

1801              Eleanor moves with brother’s family to Scraptoft Hall, Leicestershire,

part of a literary group in area including Susanna Watts and John Dudley

1802              Who’s the Murderer? Minerva Press

1804              Travels to Wales with Ann and John Dudley, joined by brother and his

family

1808              Scandal erupts of illicit affair between Sleath and John Dudley, John and

Ann Dudley separate

1809              The Bristol Heiress: or Errors in Education Minerva Press

1810      The Nocturnal Minstrel Minerva Press

1811              Pyrenean Banditti Minerva Press

John and Ann Dudley legally separated

1813      John Edward Carter death, Eleanor inherits property and cash

mother Elizabeth dies at 83

1815      Glenowen; or The Fairy Palace by Black and Company

1816      Eleanor Sleath purchases a house in Loughborough Dec 19

1823              Ann Dudley death, John Dudley and Eleanor Carter marry in

Loughborough, lives in Sileby

1833-4   High Street Bridge over Sileby Brook dedicated to John and Eleanor

Dudley

1847              5 May Eleanor Dudley’s death

1856               John Dudley’s death

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aucott, Shirley. Susanna Watts 1768 – 1848. Leicester, 2004. Print.

Calverton, Buckinghamshire. Parish Registers – Marriages 1559 – 1836.   Centre

for Buckinghamshire Studies. p. 22. Print.

Cardale, Joseph Spencer.  “Copies of the Parish Reg[iste]ers Regarding the Carter

Family.” Nd. 3D42/13/49. Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and

Rutland. Print.

Carter, John Edward. Will of John Edward carter of Scraptoft, Gentleman. 21 October 1811. Codicil dated 7 June 1804. Proved at London 26 July 1813. PROB 11/1546. National Archives. Print.

Conveyance: John Heathcote of Tiverton to Eleanor Sleath of Loughborough, widow. 19

December 1816. DE 2018/15. Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Print.

Deed of Separation: Ann and John Dudley. 2 October 1821, proved 3 May 1823 PROB 11/1670 National Archives. Print

Dudley, Eleanor. Death Registered 8 May 1847. Quarter 2, Barrow upon Soar

District Vol. 15 p. 24. Print.

Dudley, John. Diary. Misc. 338. Record Office for Leicester,

Leicestershire and Rutland. Print.

—–. The Metamorphosis of Sona. Black, Parry, and Kingsbury. London. 1810.

Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Print.

—–.“To John Frewen.” 20 September 1808. East Sussex Record Office. FRE/1832.

Print.

—–.  “To Mary Frewen Friar Lane, Leicester with His Impressions of Bath.” 12

April 1801.  FRE/2786 East Sussex Record Office. Print.

Frewen, John.  “From Hot Well, Bath, To Rev. Thomas Frewen” 21 June 1784.

FRE/1231. East Sussex Record Office. Print.

Frewen, Mary. “To John Frewen.” 1803. FRE 2314. East Sussex Record Office.

Print.

Hodson, Major V. C. P. List of Army Officers of the Bengal Army, 1758 – 1834.

London, 1946. Print.

Lease between Edward Hartopp Wigley of Little Dalby, Esq and John Edward Carter of

Scraptoft, Gentleman.  31 May 1801 3D42/13/507. Record office for

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Print.

Loughborough All Saints: Marriages 1815 – 1826.  1823.

Sadleir, Michael. The Northanger Novels: A Footnote to Jane Austen. Folcroft,

PA: The Folcroft Press, Inc., 1927. Print.

St.Nicholas. Nuneaton. Parish Register Burials 1577 – 1812. September and October

1794.

—–. Churchyard of St. Nicholas, Nuneaton. Monument inscription: Joseph Barnabas

Sleath.

Swords, Barbara.  “Woman’s Place in Jane Austen’s England.” Persuasions 10

(1988): n. pg. Web.

Teasdale, Thomas. 13 November 1794.

Varma, Devendra. “Introduction.” The Nocturnal Minstrel. London: Folio Press,

1972.

—–. “Introduction.” The Orphan of the Rhine. London: Folio Press, 1968.

Watts, Susanna. “To Mary Frewen” 8 August 1808. p 3. FRE/2817. East Sussex

Record Office. Print.

Wheeler, Eric C. The Parish Registers of St. Mary Sileby Leicestershire Vol. VI:

Baptisms and Burials 1765 – 1812. Sileby, 2003. P. 83. Print.


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Glenowen

December 8, 2010 at 5:09 pm (Glenowen) ()

Glenowen is now available in print for the first time in 200 years.  My edited and annotated version comes with exciting new biographical information.  It is available through Lulu, Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. com.  Here are the first two chapters.

 

CHAP. 1

 

 

“O! my dear, sweet mama!” cried Charles Evelynn, “how pale and thin you look today: when will you be well, and get up, and put on your pretty bonnet, and go out with me and Rosa to gather violets in the glen, as you use to do?” – “Hush, my dear,” said a good old woman, who sat in a corner by the fire, with little Rosa on her knee, “you will disturb your poor mama.” – “I would not disturb her for the world,” cried Charles, tears starting in his eyes; “but why does not she get well again? She told Rosa when she was poorly, if she would take her physic she would not be sick anymore; but my mama takes physic, and yet she is sick.”

“Alas, my sweet innocent babes, “uttered Mrs. Evelynn, “have they yet to learn that they will soon be orphans?  Come hither, Charles,” cried she in a tone of voice which seem to imply a little effort of resolution; “you and Rosa, my love, will soon be left without any earthly friend, except your dear good nurse, Dame Morgan, who has promised to take care of, and be kind to you: you will love her for her own sake as well as for mine, she is the best and steadiest of my friends.”

“O! But you will not leave us mama,” cried Charles, mournfully. – “It is the will of God, my little cherub,” said the now almost exhausted Mrs. Evelynn, pressing her pale lips to his ruddy cheek, on which a hot tear now fell. – “You must not, shall not go, mama,” cried Rosa, springing from her nurse’s knee; “no it would break poor Rosa’s heart. Say, say my dear mama! you will not leave us.” – “This is too much,” cried Mrs. Evelynn, whose emotions, as she pressed her little darlings to her heart, seem to partake of agony: “O! spare me this trying scene!”

The Nurse, or Dame Morgan, as we shall henceforth call her, was a mournful spectator of an interview calculated to interest every tender feeling of her nature.  “Ah, well-a-day,” was uttered more than once, in a tone of the kindest sympathy, till alarmed by the increased emotions of Mrs. Evelynn, she took Rosa in her arms, and giving a hand to Charles, led them slowly and reluctantly downstairs; promising, if their mama was better, they should be allowed to see her again soon.

Mrs. Evelynn was the widow of a clergyman of great respectability, whose death happened about three years before the commencement of our history. Having little or no property beside his church preferment, he had left her at the early age of two and thirty, in circumstances comparatively indigent, with two children, one just having passed the first period of infancy, the other only three years older. At the death of Mr. Evelynn, the living of Glenowen became the property of a non-resident clergyman, who allowed Mrs. Evelyn to continue at the vicarage during her pleasure, but between whom and herself no intercourse had ever passed.

As Mrs. Evelynn’s disorder had commenced with some very serious symptoms, she was not wholly unprepared for an event, which she was now persuaded could not be far distant. Strange as it may appear, although a lovely and highly accomplished woman, she had no female friend to whose care she could commit her orphan children, except the kind-hearted Bridget, or, as she was usually called, Dame, and sometimes, Goody Morgan; a woman who resided at the same village, and who, although belonging to almost the lowest class of the Welsh peasantry, and of course wholly uneducated, was a striking example of the power of a virtuous integrity to procure a high degree of esteem from those who, having had superior advantages, are destined to move in the higher ranks of society.  To her, as to a second mother, Mrs. Evelynn had committed all that, since the death of her husband, was dear to her on earth, her two lovely children, well assured that, under her tuition, though they might not become shining, they would at least become virtuous characters. To her hands, as a faithful trustee, she gave all she had herself possessed, as a reserve for their future maintenance and education; about which she gave particular directions. “You will teach them,” said she, “to love God and each other.” Then setting into her hand a small ivory casket, she desired her to unlock it, adding, in that box you will find some writings, which ensured to my children a sum sufficient for their maintenance and education for some years: and you will teach them, or have them taught, to live afterwards by their own exertions. Dame Morgan promised faithfully to fulfill the injunctions of her friend and mistress; and as her death seemed now hourly approaching, she had of late left her cottage to become a constant attendant upon Mrs. Evelynn and her children.

Charles and Rosa did not fail to remind their good nurse (the appellation by which, from her frequent attendance at the Vicarage, she was always known to them) of her promise to let them again visit their mama, should she be well enough to admit them again to her chamber.  But the agitation Mrs. Evelynn had undergone, while anticipating the near approach of her dissolution, as a separation from her children, their artless endearments, and the various nameless ties that wind about the human heart and connected it too strongly with this mortal state, had brought on such the next accession of fever, that the next day she became delirious.  At the expiration of some hours her reason returned: but she was too weak to bear the least exertion; and after languishing some hours, in a state of almost constant stupor, expired without a sigh or a groan.

Mrs. Evelynn’s funeral, the sale of the furniture, and a few necessary arrangements, occupied the ensuing week; after which Charles and Rosa removed to the cottage of Dame Morgan, which was situated at the other end of the village, and was remarkable only for its extreme neatness and simplicity. The place, as to the occupier of this little humble abode, they had always been fondly attached. It had been one of Charles’s earliest pleasures to accompany his mama on her almost daily visits to the cottage. From the frequency of his attendance, it had always seemed to him another home, and the kind old woman herself as another mother. The little garden before the door, and the rocky descent beyond it to a mountain streamlet, had been the scene of many a juvenile sport — many an infant past time. The choicest fruits in her little orchard at the end of the house and garden, had been usually reserved for Charles and Rosa, who soon put in her claim to the entertainment at the cottage; and would point, ere she could speak, to the well-known cherry tree, which has so often supplied her with a delicious treat.

For several days after their arrival at the cottage, Charles wept incessantly for his dear mamma; whilst Rosa, too young to comprehend what was meant by dying, would often ask why she did not come to them, and whether she had indeed left them, and why, and how long she would stay away? The tears of her brother seemed to affect her more than the cause. She wept because he wept; often urging him to patience, by saying, “do not cry so, my dear Charles; I am sure my mama won’t stay away long, and then we shall be taken home again to our pretty parlour and garden. I do not care about that if she would come and live with us here; for we love Nurse, and I am sure she loves us. Don’t you, Nurse?”  — “Ah, a vast deal, my sweet child,” cried Dame Morgan; “and it would be a sin and a shame if I did not so good as your dear mamma was to me. Ah, well-a-day! I have had a sad loss; but she is an angel in heaven, and will, I hope, watch over me, as they say angels in heaven do, and see that I perform my duty to her poor dear babes. O! that ever I should outlive her!” Then stifling her own emotions, she redoubled her caresses, and endeavoured to soothe and amuse her little favorites; who appeared truly sensible of her attentions, and in a short time became satisfied, and even cheerful.

The good woman never failed to assure them, that the only proof of affection they could now shew to the memory of their departed parent, was to observe those rules which she had herself lay down for their future conduct; and which, as they advanced in age, she was gradually to unfold. In the first place it was her desire that they should be taught to read the Scriptures, and as soon as they were of an age to comprehend them, some good books in explanation of their meaning; and in the meantime, that they should never rise in the morning, or retired to bed for the night, without first offering up their prayers to the Almighty for his mercy and protection.

The seeds of piety cannot be sown too soon, or cultivated with too much care, Dame Morgan did not neglect to enforce a regular observance of these precepts; and she had soon the satisfaction to discover that they had their due weight upon the minds of her infant pupils. Charles, though yet only eight years old, discovered an eagerness for instruction, that he might be able to read the beautiful stories in the Bible, several of which Dame Morgan recited from memory, commenting as she proceeded on the various scriptural characters, and recommending to their imitation such as were distinguished for any particular virtue. By the example of the patriarch Abraham, they were taught to place their confidence in God only; and not to allow themselves to put any seeming good in competition with his favor and approbation. By that of the righteous Joseph, the same trust in submission to the will of God, united with a peculiar generosity in the forgiveness of injuries; which seemed to place the son of Jacob almost above the level of humanity[i]. The prophet Daniel was cited as an instance of the interposition of divine power in the preservation of the faithful servant of the living God, who ended in defiance of savage malevolence and the mandate of an idolatrous and powerful monarch, had dared to confess him openly before men.

From these, and various other histories preserved in holy writ, serving to elucidate a number of moral virtues and religious duties, they were led to the account of the miraculous nativity of our blessed Lord; his ministry, temptations, sufferings, and death. What a field for the young mind!  A God, descending to earth to retain a simple and fallen race, condescends to stand before the tribunal of an earthly judge; is condemned to suffer with malefactors — rises again — appears — and announces his victory over skin and death!

Charles was delighted with the various kinds of information which the histories conveyed. The BIBLE seemed to him of all others, the book best calculated for amusement, as well as instruction. In a short time even Rosa began to listen to Nurse’s pretty stories, and was anxious to learn her letters that she might read like her brother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAP. II

 

 

Charles made such a rapid progress in his learning, that they had not been above a year at the cottage, when Dame Morgan found it necessary to place him under the care of a master in the neighbouring village, who undertook to teach writing and grammar, and was esteemed at Glenowen as a man of uncommon learning and genius. His wife, who had been educated above her condition, kept a day school, as the board over the door announced, for young ladies; though it consisted of all the female children in that and the adjacent village, who were taught to read and to sew.  Thither, it was thought expedient to send Rosa; Mrs. Haywood being, as Dame Morgan observed, an English woman, and what was more, had had, according to her ideas, a lady’s education, and was therefore, in every respect qualified to become the preceptress of her little charge. Besides, Rosa would be then near her brother, as a thin partition wall only divided the boys from the girls, and they could go and come back together.

The partial assurances of Dame Morgan, who herself accompanied them to school, that they were the best children in the world, and so tractable and fond of their books that they would be no trouble to anybody, seemed hardly necessary to ensure them an affectionate reception from their new master and mistress. Their open countenances, expressive of the greatest sweetness of disposition, united with the recollection of their highly respected parents, of whom they had been so early deprived, was a ready passport to their favor. Rosa, pressing her ruby lips upon the timeworn cheek of the good old Dame, promised not to cry when she left her; whilst Charles taking from her hand a basket, well stored with bread and cheese and apple pasty, said that he would take care of his sister, and that he knew she would be a good girl, and not want to go home till after school hours; and with these assurances, having returned their affectionate endearments, she returned to Glenowen.

Rosa was not only satisfied but amused. Her eagerness to acquire instruction made the task of learning easy; and she was soon held up as a pattern, even to others much older than herself. The first week she hemmed a pocket handkerchief so neatly, that it was shewn throughout the school; and rapidly improving both in reading and sewing, our little heroine soon excited a spirit of emulation amongst the scholars, which in short time became general, though without the least mixture of envy, for Rosa was beloved by all the school.

The prevalence of good example was not less observable in the apartment allotted to the boys, and with the same advantages; for Charles, though distinguished by his master, behaved with so much kindness and good humor to his associates, that the same generous emulation was excited as amongst the girls, and Charles had not a single enemy in the school.

Weeks and months passed away in the acquisition of useful knowledge. Charles could read several pages together without spelling, and had some little notion of grammar. Rosa had already thrown aside her easy book, and could work neater and quicker than any girl of her age.

“I wish I could knit,” said Rosa one night to Dame Morgan, as she was just returned from school, “oh! it would be so nice if I could make stockings.” – “You will learn to knit when you’re a little older,” cried Dame, “and then you shall knit stocking.”

“A stocking! but I must have two stockings!”

“Well, you shall knit two when you are big enough.”

“I am big enough now, and would do it, if I could, directly.”

“Well, you shall try to yourself a pair sometime.”

“Some time! Sometime won’t do — it must be now.”

“Why now, my little Rosa?”

Rosa threw her arms around her Nurse’s neck, and pressing her rosy face glowing through tears, close to hers, said in a voice hardly audible, “oh! do let me knit a pair of stockings for poor little Jessie Stephenson of our school; she has none to wear, and such bad shoes, I wish I might give her a pair of mine; and then her frock is so ragged and patched.”

“Well, you shall knit a pair of stockings as soon as you can,” said Dame, won by this infantine eloquence; “and in the meantime we shall find an old frock, and a pair of stockings and shoes, and you shall take them with you as you go to school.”

Rosa could scarcely contain herself for joy. “Oh! you good, dear, pretty creature,” said she, “shall I indeed, have a frock, and shoes, and the stockings too!  How nice Jesse will look in them; and they will keep her so warm; and she won’t cry again, and say she is ashamed to come to school, as she often does, and that her mammy could not afford to let her come, if Mrs. Haywood did not give her schooling all for nothing.”

Dame Morgan had heard of James and Martha Stephenson, but as she seldom went from home, and they lived in another village, she knew them only by name. Supposing, however, from Rosa’s accounts of the wretched appearance of the poor girl, that they were objects of charity, or at least a pity, she took a walk over on the following day to call on the child’s parents, whose chief, and indeed only misfortune was that of having a large family of small children, which they were utterly unable to provide for.

“You shall take the things to Jessie Stephenson to-morrow,” said Dame. “I have seen her parents; they are very poor, and it is a wretched hovel they live in; but I believe they are honest, and is better to dwell in such a hut with the blessing of God, than in a palace with vice and wickedness.

“May I, oh! may I indeed take them to-morrow,” cried Rosa in a voice of rapture; “what a good kind creature! Dear, dear Nurse, how I love you; and so will Jessie, when she knows you have given her these nice things.”


[i] Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son, which inspired his brothers to kidnap him and sell him as a slave to Potiphar, the Pharaoh of Egypt.  Joseph forgave his brothers their treachery inviting them and his father to Egypt to share in his success.

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Chapter One Vol I Orphan of the Rhine Annotated

September 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

The Orphan of the Rhine

by Eleanor Sleath

Volume 1

1798  Minerva Press

Text sources include transcription by Dr. Dick Collins, of Inchigeela, Co. Cork, Ireland, found at The Literary Gothic (http://www.litgothic.com) and Dodo Press edition.

Chapter 1

Thou art indeed ill-fated;

Snatch’d, when an infant, from thy nurse’s arms,

And borne we known not whither.1

Langhorne

Near that long tract of hills, known by the name of Mount Jura, was situated, in the year 1605, the cottage of Julie de Rubine; commanding on one side a view of Geneva and its Lake, lying north of the town, and on the other an extensive plain, covered with pine-woods and pasturage: beyond which arose, in various forms and directions, that vast range of Alps which divide Italy from Savoy, forming a natural barrier to Geneva and its little territory.

The owner of this secluded retreat, having met with some peculiar misfortunes, originating from the depravity of those with whom she was unhappily connected, had disengaged herself from the world at that period of existence when it usually presents the most alluring prospects; and accompanied by her infant son and one faithful domestic, had taken refuge in retirement.

After having passed some years in uninterrupted solitude, she was one evening returning from a monastery, near Ripaille, which formerly belonged to the hermits of St Maurice, 2 whither she had been at confession, and was pursuing her way through a large forest, whose vistas terminated upon the Lake, when she observed a cabriolet move along at some distance before her, which afterwards stopped at her door.

Before Julie de Rubine arrived at her cottage, the traveller, who was a female, had alighted, and on hearing her name, advanced some paces to receive her. She was a tall thin woman, of a pale, healthy appearance. Her dress bespoke her of the middle rank of life, and an infant that she held in her arms, which was entirely obscured in a mantle, intimated that she acted in the capacity of nurse.

After having unfolded the occasion of her visit, the stranger presented the recluse with a letter, which she informed her was from the Marchese de Montferrat3. Julie de Rubine started, and appeared much affected. The messenger observed these emotions with concern, and endeavoured to remove the cause by introducing a new subject of conversation. She discoursed upon the temperature of the climate, the fineness of the weather, and related many little adventures they had met with upon the road, not forgetting to recite the difficulties they had encountered as they journeyed over the rocky steeps of Mount Cennis4, on their way from Turin thither, which she assured her had cost them much labour and fatigue. Julie, who perceived the kindness of the intention, attempted to subdue the acuteness of those feelings, which had prevented her from welcoming the stranger with her accustomed courtesy, and, having in some measure succeeded, ventured to turn aside the mantle with which the infant was covered, and beheld a very beautiful female child, apparently about four months old. Having expressed her astonishment that the stranger should travel so far with so young a companion, she ordered Dorothée, her servant, to prepare some refreshment; and taking the Marchese’s letter, with trembling hand she opened it, and read as follows:

The Marchese de Montferrat having, after many unsuccessful inquiries, discovered the abode of Julie de Rubine, and wishing in some measure to compensate for the misfortunes he has occasioned, is willing to offer his protection to her, and also to her son, for whom he will hereafter amply provide, on condition that she will take into her care a young female infant, and perform, in every respect, the part of a mother. She is also requested not to make any inquiries relative to the child, but to rest satisfied that there are reasons, which, if known, would be deemed sufficient for the justification of his conduct, however mysterious it may appear. If Julie de Rubine agrees to these proposals, the Marchese will provide for her an asylum, in which she will find every accommodation suitable to her rank; he will also send a person to convey her to her new habitation, and will settle upon her a handsome annual sum as a provision for herself and the children. He also considers that, to avoid the effects of an impertinent curiosity, it will be at once prudent and necessary to take another name and to assume the character of a widow. If Julie De Rubine acquits herself in this affair with that uniform propriety of conduct which she has hitherto never failed to support, she and her child have every thing to hope from his patronage; but on the contrary, if she refuses to comply with his desires, and presumes to disclose the most unimportant incident respecting this circumstance to any individual living, she has everything to fear from his displeasure.

Amazement for the moment almost deprived the agitated Julie of reason! That the Marchese should select her from the rest of the world, to act as a mother to the orphan; her whom he had so materially injured, and that this child should be conveyed to her under circumstances so peculiar, was equally surprising and inexplicable! That it was deprived of maternal attention was beyond a doubt, or why send it to her, to perform the part of so tender a relation? It might yet have a father living, and who could that father be? An universal trembling seized her as the idea occurred — an idea which the whole of the proceeding apparently justified, that it was no other than the Marchese. She knew that he had not been long united to a woman of high rank and considerable fortune, to whom he had offered himself on an early and superficial acquaintance, when resident in the neighbourhood of Padua, whither he had spent some time in the society of a friend to whom he had been long attached. His love of gallantry was too generally known to allow the probability of his affections being long in the possession of any one; she, by melancholy experience, was convinced of the truth of this assertion: the child could then be no other than the offspring of an illicit amour. She knew that, previous to his marriage, he had seduced the affections of a young Neapolitan beauty, the daughter of a merchant, whose name was Di Capigna, less celebrated for external charms than for those seductive and elegant accomplishments, ‘that take the reason prisoner’5.

Her father, she had been informed, did not long survive the loss of his daughter’s reputation, which event so seriously affected the Signora that she suddenly left the Marchese, some believing that she was dead, and others that she had thrown herself into a convent; but the truth of this singular affair was not known.

Every circumstance seemed to favour the opinion that this might be the child of the Signora Di Capigna, whose birth, added to her own distresses, probably occasioned her death. She had not indeed heard of an infant; but this, considering the secrecy with which affairs of this nature are usually conducted, was not a matter of surprise, particularly as the marriage of the Marchese must have taken place before the birth of the child. Every thing being thus collected, there no longer remained a doubt in the breast of Julie de Rubine, but that this was indeed the daughter of the Marchese, and consequently of the Signora Di Capigna.

The conclusion of the letter contained a threat, if she refused to comply with his desires; yet the pride of conscious innocence revolted at the idea of receiving pecuniary support from a man, who had stooped to the most humiliating and degrading falsehoods, merely to tarnish the brightest of all gems, a stainless reputation. But when she considered the unprotected situation of her child, her Enrîco, who would find a bitter enemy, where from the ties of nature he might reasonably expect the tenderest of friends, her own inability to provide for him, the hardships to which he might be exposed, pleaded powerfully the cause of the Marchese, and staggered her accustomed firmness. This little innocent too, sent to solicit her protection — what sorrows, what distresses, might it have to encounter, what treatment might it experience from the harsh and the mercenary! These reflections, excited by the unexampled generosity of her nature, sunk deep into her heart, and elevated her above every ignoble and selfish consideration. For herself she would have been contented to have lived and died in obscurity, and would have endured without murmuring the severest penury rather than have thrown herself upon the liberality of one, for whom she now felt no softer sentiment than horror and resentment But her son had no doubt a claim to his protection; on his part it might be considered as a debt, not as a bounty; and as to the infant, a handsome allowance might certainly be demanded for such a charge, without incurring an obligation; but the matter was too important to be immediately determined. Silent and deliberating she quitted her apartment, and returned into the room, where she had left the nurse and child.

The latter was now awake, and as Julie de Rubine pressed its cheek gently to her lips, it smiled; she took its hand; it grasped her finger and she imagined looked as if imploring her protection Agatha, Which was the name of the messenger, sent by the Marchese observed these maternal attentions with apparent satisfaction. And discovering much humanity and softness in the deportment of the recluse endeavoured to direct these amiable traits of character to the advantage of her employer by dwelling with a. Tender concern upon the beauty and innocence of the child, from whom she lamented she was so soon to be separated. She expatiated also on the generosity of the Marchese, extolling the benevolent solicitude he had displayed in the cause of the infant, who but for him, she added, might have perished for want, as few were at once invested with power and inclination to patronize the unfortunate Madame de Rubine, after having complimented the stranger upon her sensibility, inquired how long the infant had remain under her protection, and was informed ever since it was born That it was consigned to her care by Paoli, her husband, at the desire of the Marchese, with whom he had resided some years in the capacity of steward; but that whose it was, or from whence it came, she was incapable of ascertaining, though she had sometimes ventured to interrogate Paoli upon the subject; his answers being always short, undecisive, and frequently uttered with hesitation and displeasure.

She then demanded whether she herself saw the Marchese, and if any time was fixed for her return? The former part of the question was answered with a negative; the message respecting her embassy was also conveyed by her husband, who had intimated a desire that the affair should be speedily determined as his Lord had some thoughts of removing from the Castello St Aubin6, his present residence in the environs of Turin, to another estate to which he had recently succeeded, in consequence of the death of a near relation, who, having suddenly disappeared, was supposed to have been slain by banditti, as he was returning from a remote province to his paternal seat; which mournful event had, she added, so serious an effect upon his lady, that she scarcely survived the intelligence; and during her illness the affectionate attentions of the Marchese and Marchesa, who were sent for to assist and administer consolation, so excited her gratitude, that she bequeathed them all her valuables.

Julie then inquired if she was acquainted with the name of the nobleman whose life had been terminated by this fatal disaster, and whether he was also an Italian, and an inhabitant of Turin. But with these particulars Agatha was totally unacquainted; she had, she said, endeavoured to gain some information upon the subject, but her exertions had been at present unsuccessful, as a variety of reports had been circulated in the neighbourhood, few of which assumed the appearance of truth. She then modestly reminded Madame de Rubine of the necessity of entering into a speedy determination concerning the child; as if the proposals conveyed in the letter were rejected, she had orders to return without further delay, that it might be committed to the protection of some other, who would not scruple, in consideration of the terms proposed, to undertake the important charge.

Julie, having assured her that she would re-examine these proposals, and adopt, as soon as possible, a final resolution concerning them, observed, that the infant was again fallen asleep, and requested that it might be put to bed. Agatha, being much fatigued, agreed to the proposition; and, after having laid the little innocent to rest, and partaken of some refreshment with Dorothée, retired herself to repose. But Madame de Rubine’s mind was too much agitated and perplexed with the strange occurrences of the day, to feel the least inclination to sleep. The Marchese’s letter, which contained such promises of protection to her son, was flattering to the hopes of a fond and affectionate mother. But could a man of his character be relied upon? Might he not, from caprice, if not from a more reasonable motive, be induced at some future time suddenly to withdraw that protection and might not this be more severely felt, than if it had never been afforded? But could she with justice suppose this possible? From his former conduct, without departing, in the smallest instance from the native candour of her mind, he was unable to form a judgment upon his conduct decisively to his advantage. To her she was sensible he had not acquitted himself as a man of principle or of honour; but maturer years she considered might have corrected the errors of youth, and her misfortunes, united with those of the Signora Di Capigna, might have led to repentance and reformation. There had been instances of many who had entirely forsaken their offspring, exposing them without pity all the hardships of poverty and oppression; but crimes of this nature were not become familiar to him; he seemed interested in their unprotected situations, and was anxious to defend them from the insults and cruelty of an unfeeling world.

The threat which the letter contained, appeared to have been made use of merely for the purpose of conquering those little scrupulous delicacies which might eventually stand in the way of her son’s advancement. If he was not concerned in their welfare, why not have sent the infant to the care of some other; for doubtless many would have received such proposals with transport. She was pleased to find some traits of virtue in a character which resentment had for some time placed in an unfavourable light; and being accustomed to behold every circumstance with an eye of candour, she began to hope, at least, that the Marchese was become a convert.

Weary and irresolute, she retired to her apartment; but to sleep she found was impossible. Enrîco lay in a small bed by the side of her’s; his slumbers were undisturbed, though a smile occasionally played upon his cherub lip. Julie, with all the fondness of parental affection, stood and gazed anxiously upon him as he slept. A tear fell upon her cheek when she reflected how soon the serenity of that angel countenance might be disturbed-at some future time what might be his suffering! A thousand mournful presages now arose in her mind; and willing to divert her thoughts from so painful a subject, she walked pensively towards the window.

It was a calm and serene night; the moon slept upon the brow of the hill, and the whole face of nature wore an appearance of gentleness and tranquillity. She thought of the days of childhood, when she used to ramble with her father in the stillness of evening, to hear the song of the nightingale. What vicissitudes had she known since then! Could her parents have foreseen her misfortunes, what would have been their anguish; and what was now their situation! Her imagination then wandered to distant worlds; she raised her eyes towards the stars of heaven; their number, the immensity of their distance, excited her adoration and wonder! ‘Possibly the spirits of the departed,’ cried she, ‘may inhabit those glorious luminaries! How enviable is their situation; now how far are they placed beyond the reach of misfortune; their griefs, their inquietudes are now no more!’ Full of these reflections she retired to her bed; but it was long before she forgot in sleep the strange occurrences of the day.

In the morning she arose early, and again perused the Marchese’s letter. He had mentioned nothing of the melancholy story which Agatha had imperfectly related, nor of the large estates he had succeeded to in consequence of it. But this being an event in which she was not immediately concerned, any information on this subject might be deemed unnecessary.

As soon as the nurse and child arose, Madame de Rubine again took the infant into her arms, whose complexional delicacy and beauty equally attracted her admiration and astonishment. Whilst she continued to gaze upon its sweet innocent countenance, it appeared conscious of her attention; the soft sentiment of pity was already ripening into affection, and she perceived, if she parted with it, it would be with reluctance. She considered likewise it would a companion for Enrîco, and that much domestic comfort might reasonably expected from this lovely object of her compassion, the stillness of uninterrupted retirement, particularly during the time of her separation from Enrîco; which, however painful the reflection was, she was convinced in the present state of affairs indispensably requisite, as he must endeavour, by every necessary exertion, to secure promotion and independence in that department, which would eventually prove the least repugnant to his feelings and inclinations. These suggestions determined her to accept the proposals made to her by the Marchese; and, having acquainted Agatha with her intention, she addressed a few lines to him in return, in which she expressed her astonishment at this singular and unexpected adventure; at the same time assuring him that, having consented to take the child under her care, she was resolved to fulfil, in every respect, the part of a parent; that he might also depend upon her secrecy in the affair, and as he had offered her an asylum, which nothing but the welfare of the children could have induced her to accept, she must desire that he would never attempt visit them in their retirement, as she should consider an interview of that kind as highly improper.

Agatha, being impatient to return from her embassy, besought permission to depart; which being granted, the carriage that had conveyed her hither, and was left at a small inn near the cottage, was immediately ordered. She then took an affectionate leave of the infant; and, after many tender adieus and good wishes to Madame de Rubine, set forwards on her journey.

NOTES:

1 The epigraph is from John Langhorne’s 1766 dramatic poem The Fatal Prophesy Act III

Scene 7 in which an orphaned child is reunited with a long lost parent through the recognition of a bracelet. The entire play may be seen at The University of Virginia Library: http://xtf.lib.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=chadwyck_evd/uvaGenText/tei/chevd_V2.0939.xml.

2 A Cistercian monastery, Hautecombe Abbey, was founded in the early 12th century by a

few hermit monks seeking solitude. Twenty-five years later the monastery was relocated

across the lake, sponsored by the Duke of Savoy. At this time it became a Cistercian

monastery. It is historically significant because the members of the house of Savoy are

buried here including Boniface of Savoy, the Archbishop of Canterbury (1249 – 1270)

during the reign of Henry III.

3 Marchese is an Italian nobleman of high rank – higher than an Earl by lower than a prince

– a rank equivalent to a marquis in France or England. There is a noble family in Italy by the

name of Montferrat several of whom was King of Jerusalem during the 12th century crusades.

4 Mount Cennis is called Mont Cenis which at the time of this novel presented a harrowing

obstacle between Savoy, France and Turing Italy. The pass was used by both

Constantine, in the 3rd century, Charlemagne, in the 8th century, and possibly Hannibal,

in the 2nd century BCE, to cross the alps.

5 Macbeth Act I scene 3; Macbeth and Banquo in shock and disbelief see the three witches disappear after giving their strange prophesy and Banquo doubting his sanity asks his companion Macbeth: Were such things here as we do speak about?
Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner?

6 While there is a Castle St Aubin, it is located in Brittany, France and on the Channel Island of Jersey, there

is no place near Turin, Italy by that name

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000167 EndHTML:0000043630 StartFragment:0000000487 EndFragment:0000043614

The Orphan of the Rhine

by

Eleanor Sleath

Volume 1

1798

Minerva Press

Text sources include transcription by Dr. Dick Collins, of Inchigeela, Co. Cork, Ireland, found at The Literary Gothic (http://www.litgothic.com) and Dodo Press edition.

Chapter 1

Thou art indeed ill-fated;

Snatch’d, when an infant, from thy nurse’s arms,

And borne we known not whither.1

Langhorne

Near that long tract of hills, known by the name of Mount Jura, was situated, in the year 1605, the cottage of Julie de Rubine; commanding on one side a view of Geneva and its Lake, lying north of the town, and on the other an extensive plain, covered with pine-woods and pasturage: beyond which arose, in various forms and directions, that vast range of Alps which divide Italy from Savoy, forming a natural barrier to Geneva and its little territory.

The owner of this secluded retreat, having met with some peculiar misfortunes, originating from the depravity of those with whom she was unhappily connected, had disengaged herself from the world at that period of existence when it usually presents the most alluring prospects; and accompanied by her infant son and one faithful domestic, had taken refuge in retirement.

After having passed some years in uninterrupted solitude, she was one evening returning from a monastery, near Ripaille, which formerly belonged to the hermits of St Maurice, 2 whither she had been at confession, and was pursuing her way through a large forest, whose vistas terminated upon the Lake, when she observed a cabriolet move along at some distance before her, which afterwards stopped at her door.

Before Julie de Rubine arrived at her cottage, the traveller, who was a female, had alighted, and on hearing her name, advanced some paces to receive her. She was a tall thin woman, of a pale, healthy appearance. Her dress bespoke her of the middle rank of life, and an infant that she held in her arms, which was entirely obscured in a mantle, intimated that she acted in the capacity of nurse.

After having unfolded the occasion of her visit, the stranger presented the recluse with a letter, which she informed her was from the Marchese de Montferrat3. Julie de Rubine started, and appeared much affected. The messenger observed these emotions with concern, and endeavoured to remove the cause by introducing a new subject of conversation. She discoursed upon the temperature of the climate, the fineness of the weather, and related many little adventures they had met with upon the road, not forgetting to recite the difficulties they had encountered as they journeyed over the rocky steeps of Mount Cennis4, on their way from Turin thither, which she assured her had cost them much labour and fatigue. Julie, who perceived the kindness of the intention, attempted to subdue the acuteness of those feelings, which had prevented her from welcoming the stranger with her accustomed courtesy, and, having in some measure succeeded, ventured to turn aside the mantle with which the infant was covered, and beheld a very beautiful female child, apparently about four months old. Having expressed her astonishment that the stranger should travel so far with so young a companion, she ordered Dorothée, her servant, to prepare some refreshment; and taking the Marchese’s letter, with trembling hand she opened it, and read as follows:

The Marchese de Montferrat having, after many unsuccessful inquiries, discovered the abode of Julie de Rubine, and wishing in some measure to compensate for the misfortunes he has occasioned, is willing to offer his protection to her, and also to her son, for whom he will hereafter amply provide, on condition that she will take into her care a young female infant, and perform, in every respect, the part of a mother. She is also requested not to make any inquiries relative to the child, but to rest satisfied that there are reasons, which, if known, would be deemed sufficient for the justification of his conduct, however mysterious it may appear. If Julie de Rubine agrees to these proposals, the Marchese will provide for her an asylum, in which she will find every accommodation suitable to her rank; he will also send a person to convey her to her new habitation, and will settle upon her a handsome annual sum as a provision for herself and the children. He also considers that, to avoid the effects of an impertinent curiosity, it will be at once prudent and necessary to take another name and to assume the character of a widow. If Julie De Rubine acquits herself in this affair with that uniform propriety of conduct which she has hitherto never failed to support, she and her child have every thing to hope from his patronage; but on the contrary, if she refuses to comply with his desires, and presumes to disclose the most unimportant incident respecting this circumstance to any individual living, she has everything to fear from his displeasure.

Amazement for the moment almost deprived the agitated Julie of reason! That the Marchese should select her from the rest of the world, to act as a mother to the orphan; her whom he had so materially injured, and that this child should be conveyed to her under circumstances so peculiar, was equally surprising and inexplicable! That it was deprived of maternal attention was beyond a doubt, or why send it to her, to perform the part of so tender a relation? It might yet have a father living, and who could that father be? An universal trembling seized her as the idea occurred — an idea which the whole of the proceeding apparently justified, that it was no other than the Marchese. She knew that he had not been long united to a woman of high rank and considerable fortune, to whom he had offered himself on an early and superficial acquaintance, when resident in the neighbourhood of Padua, whither he had spent some time in the society of a friend to whom he had been long attached. His love of gallantry was too generally known to allow the probability of his affections being long in the possession of any one; she, by melancholy experience, was convinced of the truth of this assertion: the child could then be no other than the offspring of an illicit amour. She knew that, previous to his marriage, he had seduced the affections of a young Neapolitan beauty, the daughter of a merchant, whose name was Di Capigna, less celebrated for external charms than for those seductive and elegant accomplishments, ‘that take the reason prisoner’5.

Her father, she had been informed, did not long survive the loss of his daughter’s reputation, which event so seriously affected the Signora that she suddenly left the Marchese, some believing that she was dead, and others that she had thrown herself into a convent; but the truth of this singular affair was not known.

Every circumstance seemed to favour the opinion that this might be the child of the Signora Di Capigna, whose birth, added to her own distresses, probably occasioned her death. She had not indeed heard of an infant; but this, considering the secrecy with which affairs of this nature are usually conducted, was not a matter of surprise, particularly as the marriage of the Marchese must have taken place before the birth of the child. Every thing being thus collected, there no longer remained a doubt in the breast of Julie de Rubine, but that this was indeed the daughter of the Marchese, and consequently of the Signora Di Capigna.

The conclusion of the letter contained a threat, if she refused to comply with his desires; yet the pride of conscious innocence revolted at the idea of receiving pecuniary support from a man, who had stooped to the most humiliating and degrading falsehoods, merely to tarnish the brightest of all gems, a stainless reputation. But when she considered the unprotected situation of her child, her Enrîco, who would find a bitter enemy, where from the ties of nature he might reasonably expect the tenderest of friends, her own inability to provide for him, the hardships to which he might be exposed, pleaded powerfully the cause of the Marchese, and staggered her accustomed firmness. This little innocent too, sent to solicit her protection — what sorrows, what distresses, might it have to encounter, what treatment might it experience from the harsh and the mercenary! These reflections, excited by the unexampled generosity of her nature, sunk deep into her heart, and elevated her above every ignoble and selfish consideration. For herself she would have been contented to have lived and died in obscurity, and would have endured without murmuring the severest penury rather than have thrown herself upon the liberality of one, for whom she now felt no softer sentiment than horror and resentment But her son had no doubt a claim to his protection; on his part it might be considered as a debt, not as a bounty; and as to the infant, a handsome allowance might certainly be demanded for such a charge, without incurring an obligation; but the matter was too important to be immediately determined. Silent and deliberating she quitted her apartment, and returned into the room, where she had left the nurse and child.

The latter was now awake, and as Julie de Rubine pressed its cheek gently to her lips, it smiled; she took its hand; it grasped her finger and she imagined looked as if imploring her protection Agatha, Which was the name of the messenger, sent by the Marchese observed these maternal attentions with apparent satisfaction. And discovering much humanity and softness in the deportment of the recluse endeavoured to direct these amiable traits of character to the advantage of her employer by dwelling with a. Tender concern upon the beauty and innocence of the child, from whom she lamented she was so soon to be separated. She expatiated also on the generosity of the Marchese, extolling the benevolent solicitude he had displayed in the cause of the infant, who but for him, she added, might have perished for want, as few were at once invested with power and inclination to patronize the unfortunate Madame de Rubine, after having complimented the stranger upon her sensibility, inquired how long the infant had remain under her protection, and was informed ever since it was born That it was consigned to her care by Paoli, her husband, at the desire of the Marchese, with whom he had resided some years in the capacity of steward; but that whose it was, or from whence it came, she was incapable of ascertaining, though she had sometimes ventured to interrogate Paoli upon the subject; his answers being always short, undecisive, and frequently uttered with hesitation and displeasure.

She then demanded whether she herself saw the Marchese, and if any time was fixed for her return? The former part of the question was answered with a negative; the message respecting her embassy was also conveyed by her husband, who had intimated a desire that the affair should be speedily determined as his Lord had some thoughts of removing from the Castello St Aubin6, his present residence in the environs of Turin, to another estate to which he had recently succeeded, in consequence of the death of a near relation, who, having suddenly disappeared, was supposed to have been slain by banditti, as he was returning from a remote province to his paternal seat; which mournful event had, she added, so serious an effect upon his lady, that she scarcely survived the intelligence; and during her illness the affectionate attentions of the Marchese and Marchesa, who were sent for to assist and administer consolation, so excited her gratitude, that she bequeathed them all her valuables.

Julie then inquired if she was acquainted with the name of the nobleman whose life had been terminated by this fatal disaster, and whether he was also an Italian, and an inhabitant of Turin. But with these particulars Agatha was totally unacquainted; she had, she said, endeavoured to gain some information upon the subject, but her exertions had been at present unsuccessful, as a variety of reports had been circulated in the neighbourhood, few of which assumed the appearance of truth. She then modestly reminded Madame de Rubine of the necessity of entering into a speedy determination concerning the child; as if the proposals conveyed in the letter were rejected, she had orders to return without further delay, that it might be committed to the protection of some other, who would not scruple, in consideration of the terms proposed, to undertake the important charge.

Julie, having assured her that she would re-examine these proposals, and adopt, as soon as possible, a final resolution concerning them, observed, that the infant was again fallen asleep, and requested that it might be put to bed. Agatha, being much fatigued, agreed to the proposition; and, after having laid the little innocent to rest, and partaken of some refreshment with Dorothée, retired herself to repose. But Madame de Rubine’s mind was too much agitated and perplexed with the strange occurrences of the day, to feel the least inclination to sleep. The Marchese’s letter, which contained such promises of protection to her son, was flattering to the hopes of a fond and affectionate mother. But could a man of his character be relied upon? Might he not, from caprice, if not from a more reasonable motive, be induced at some future time suddenly to withdraw that protection and might not this be more severely felt, than if it had never been afforded? But could she with justice suppose this possible? From his former conduct, without departing, in the smallest instance from the native candour of her mind, he was unable to form a judgment upon his conduct decisively to his advantage. To her she was sensible he had not acquitted himself as a man of principle or of honour; but maturer years she considered might have corrected the errors of youth, and her misfortunes, united with those of the Signora Di Capigna, might have led to repentance and reformation. There had been instances of many who had entirely forsaken their offspring, exposing them without pity all the hardships of poverty and oppression; but crimes of this nature were not become familiar to him; he seemed interested in their unprotected situations, and was anxious to defend them from the insults and cruelty of an unfeeling world.

The threat which the letter contained, appeared to have been made use of merely for the purpose of conquering those little scrupulous delicacies which might eventually stand in the way of her son’s advancement. If he was not concerned in their welfare, why not have sent the infant to the care of some other; for doubtless many would have received such proposals with transport. She was pleased to find some traits of virtue in a character which resentment had for some time placed in an unfavourable light; and being accustomed to behold every circumstance with an eye of candour, she began to hope, at least, that the Marchese was become a convert.

Weary and irresolute, she retired to her apartment; but to sleep she found was impossible. Enrîco lay in a small bed by the side of her’s; his slumbers were undisturbed, though a smile occasionally played upon his cherub lip. Julie, with all the fondness of parental affection, stood and gazed anxiously upon him as he slept. A tear fell upon her cheek when she reflected how soon the serenity of that angel countenance might be disturbed-at some future time what might be his suffering! A thousand mournful presages now arose in her mind; and willing to divert her thoughts from so painful a subject, she walked pensively towards the window.

It was a calm and serene night; the moon slept upon the brow of the hill, and the whole face of nature wore an appearance of gentleness and tranquillity. She thought of the days of childhood, when she used to ramble with her father in the stillness of evening, to hear the song of the nightingale. What vicissitudes had she known since then! Could her parents have foreseen her misfortunes, what would have been their anguish; and what was now their situation! Her imagination then wandered to distant worlds; she raised her eyes towards the stars of heaven; their number, the immensity of their distance, excited her adoration and wonder! ‘Possibly the spirits of the departed,’ cried she, ‘may inhabit those glorious luminaries! How enviable is their situation; now how far are they placed beyond the reach of misfortune; their griefs, their inquietudes are now no more!’ Full of these reflections she retired to her bed; but it was long before she forgot in sleep the strange occurrences of the day.

In the morning she arose early, and again perused the Marchese’s letter. He had mentioned nothing of the melancholy story which Agatha had imperfectly related, nor of the large estates he had succeeded to in consequence of it. But this being an event in which she was not immediately concerned, any information on this subject might be deemed unnecessary.

As soon as the nurse and child arose, Madame de Rubine again took the infant into her arms, whose complexional delicacy and beauty equally attracted her admiration and astonishment. Whilst she continued to gaze upon its sweet innocent countenance, it appeared conscious of her attention; the soft sentiment of pity was already ripening into affection, and she perceived, if she parted with it, it would be with reluctance. She considered likewise it would a companion for Enrîco, and that much domestic comfort might reasonably expected from this lovely object of her compassion, the stillness of uninterrupted retirement, particularly during the time of her separation from Enrîco; which, however painful the reflection was, she was convinced in the present state of affairs indispensably requisite, as he must endeavour, by every necessary exertion, to secure promotion and independence in that department, which would eventually prove the least repugnant to his feelings and inclinations. These suggestions determined her to accept the proposals made to her by the Marchese; and, having acquainted Agatha with her intention, she addressed a few lines to him in return, in which she expressed her astonishment at this singular and unexpected adventure; at the same time assuring him that, having consented to take the child under her care, she was resolved to fulfil, in every respect, the part of a parent; that he might also depend upon her secrecy in the affair, and as he had offered her an asylum, which nothing but the welfare of the children could have induced her to accept, she must desire that he would never attempt visit them in their retirement, as she should consider an interview of that kind as highly improper.

Agatha, being impatient to return from her embassy, besought permission to depart; which being granted, the carriage that had conveyed her hither, and was left at a small inn near the cottage, was immediately ordered. She then took an affectionate leave of the infant; and, after many tender adieus and good wishes to Madame de Rubine, set forwards on her journey.

1 The epigraph is from John Langhorne’s 1766 dramatic poem The Fatal Prophesy Act III

Scene 7 in which an orphaned child is reunited with a long lost parent through the recognition of a bracelet. The entire play may be seen at The University of Virginia Library: http://xtf.lib.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=chadwyck_evd/uvaGenText/tei/chevd_V2.0939.xml.

2 A Cistercian monastery, Hautecombe Abbey, was founded in the early 12th century by a

few hermit monks seeking solitude. Twenty-five years later the monastery was relocated

across the lake, sponsored by the Duke of Savoy. At this time it became a Cistercian

monastery. It is historically significant because the members of the house of Savoy are

buried here including Boniface of Savoy, the Archbishop of Canterbury (1249 – 1270)

during the reign of Henry III.

3 Marchese is an Italian nobleman of high rank – higher than an Earl by lower than a prince

– a rank equivalent to a marquis in France or England. There is a noble family in Italy by the

name of Montferrat several of whom was King of Jerusalem during the 12th century crusades.

4 Mount Cennis is called Mont Cenis which at the time of this novel presented a harrowing

obstacle between Savoy, France and Turing Italy. The pass was used by both

Constantine, in the 3rd century, Charlemagne, in the 8th century, and possibly Hannibal,

in the 2nd century BCE, to cross the alps.

5 Macbeth Act I scene 3; Macbeth and Banquo in shock and disbelief see the three witches disappear after giving their strange prophesy and Banquo doubting his sanity asks his companion Macbeth: Were such things here as we do speak about?
Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner?

6 While there is a Castle St Aubin, it is located in Brittany, France and on the Channel Island of Jersey, there is no place near Turin, Italy by that name

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Hello world!

September 7, 2010 at 9:16 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

As an avid reader, I have found myself constantly gravitating toward the gothic.  I have been enjoying the works of Carol Goodman:  Arcadia Falls, The Sonnet Lover, Night Villa, Ghost Orchid, The Seduction of Water, The Lake of Dead Languages and The Drowning Tree. I also love The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield  and The Hidden Garden by Kate Morton, and The Historian and The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova.

As a graduate student, I have become interested in the life and work of a “lost” British writer named Eleanor Sleath.  I am in the process of writing a paper about recent discoveries about her life, and have transcribed Pyrenean Banditti for Valancourt Books.

My current projects include transcribing Sleath’s last book, one for children titled Glenowen: or the Fairy Palace and annotating her first novel Orphan of the Rhine. In this project I am tracing allusions and references in an attempt to flesh out Sleath’s intellectual life as a woman of 28 when the book was published.  I am sharing my findings with you.

Becky

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