The Romance of the Forest (Oxford World's Classics)
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The Romance of the Forest (1791) heralded an enormous surge in the popularity of Gothic novels, in a decade that included Ann Radcliffe's later works, The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian.
Set in Roman Catholic Europe of violent passions and extreme oppression, the novel follows the fate of its heroine Adeline, who is mysteriously placed under the protection of a family fleeing Paris for debt. They take refuge in a ruined abbey in south-eastern France, where sinister relics of the past - a skeleton, a manuscript, and a rusty dagger - are discovered in concealed rooms. Adeline finds herself at the mercy of the abbey's proprietor, a libidinous Marquis whose attentions finally force her to contemplate escape to distant regions.
Rich in allusions to aesthetic theory and to travel literature, The Romance of the Forest is also concerned with current philosophical debate and examines systems of thought central to the intellectual life of late eighteenth-century Europe.
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directions for the application of it, she left the stranger to the care of his servant. La Luc insisted that the chevalier, M. Verneuil, should not leave the chateau that night, and he very readily submitted to be detained. His manners during the evening were as frank and engaging as the hospitality and gratitude of La Luc were sincere, and they soon entered into interesting conversation. M. Verneuil conversed like a man who had seen much, and thought more, and if he discovered any prejudice in
three rings of great value, and a miniature set with brilliants of the Marquis himself, which he had intended as a present for his favourite mistress. To La Motte, who but a few hours before had seen himself nearly destitute, the view of this treasure excited an almost ungovernable transport; but it was soon checked when he remembered the means he had employed to obtain it, and that he had paid for the wealth he contemplated the price of blood. Naturally violent in his passions, this reflection
and thoughtful. Adeline seemed to feel her full share of uneasiness. She had observed the behaviour of La Motte the preceding night with much surprize, and the happy confidence she had hitherto reposed in him, was shaken. She feared also, lest the exigency of his circumstances should precipitate him again into the world, and that he would be either unable or unwilling to afford her a shelter beneath his roof. During breakfast, La Motte frequently rose to the window, from whence he cast many an
have saved a little money out of my wages, but that won't carry us such a long journey." "Regard not that," said Adeline, "if I was once beyond this forest, I would then endeavour to take care of myself, and repay you for your kindness." "O! as for that, Madam"——- "Well, well, Peter, let us consider how we may escape. This night, say you, this night——-the Marquis is to return?" "Yes, Ma'amselle, to-night, about dark. I have just thought of a scheme: My master's horses are grazing in the
when compelled to leave her exposed to these dangers, without being able to warn her of them, can only be imagined. During his residence with his regiment, his mind was the constant prey of terrors, which he saw no means of combating, but by returning to the neighbourhood of the abbey, where he might obtain early intelligence of the Marquis's schemes, and be ready to give his assistance to Adeline. Leave of absence he could not request, without betraying his design where most he dreaded it