THERESA MARCHMONT, OR, THE MAID OF HONOUR. A TALE. by Mrs. Charles Gore

TheresaMrs. Charles Gore, Mrs. Gore, or Catherine Grace Frances, or Catherine Francis Gore, wrote this novella in 1824, back in the days when lady authors often used their married name.   Imagine signing something you write today as Mrs. Dinktwaddle, rather than Elsie Dinktwaddle.   We’ve come a long way, baby.   Sort of.

Mz Gore was an extremely popular writer in her time, and also extremely prolific.  She wrote about 70 novels.   Theresa Marchmont was her first work, and set her on the road to success.  Wiki tells us that she is among the best known of the silver fork writers – authors of the “long” Regency era depicting the gentility and etiquette of high society.  Her most popular book was Cecil, or Adventures of a Coxcomb which was published in 1841.  I might give that one a go if I can find it.   Her works are available on a number of sites for free.  I obtained this book from Project Gutenburg.

The story is set in the autumn of 1676, and is the story of a duped wife, who finds herself married to a bigamist.  Of course the bigamist has a jim dandy reason for keeping the information about the other wife secret.  Yeah, they all do, don’t they, even back in 1676.    The reason that Lord Greville has this secret is that  his first wife is nutty as a fruitcake, so he keeps her at his least favorite family seat, Greville Cross, a gloomy, gothic ruin.  Of course.  Where else?  She is looked after by some old loyal family retainers, leaving him at liberty to bustle about the court of King uummm …. Charles.  Yeah.  King Charles II, a randy old dude with a royal eye for the ladies.

OK.  Jane Eyre was published in 1847.    Hmmmm.   Something to ponder.

An interesting resolution to the problem ensues,  a clear example of the very few choices nice gentlewomen had at the time in order to save themselves and their reputations.   High drama, Victorian Era style.

 

 

 

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