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Corvey ‘Adopt an Author’ |
Emily Clark
The Corvey Project at
Sheffield Hallam University


Plot Synopsis of The Esquimaux. A novel by Emily Clark.

Kirsty Ellerker

Volume 1

The Esquimaux follows the story of Rose Douglas and the difficulties she faces while her parents are absent. The Douglas family bring an Esquimaux Indian onboard The Enchanter which is moored off the east coast of Canada. Kamira, the "Esquimaux" has been wounded in an attack by an esquimaux who wants to seduce Kamira's husband. Kamira is dressed in English servant's clothes and brought to England. Kamira willingly becomes a servant at the family home in Devonshire working alongside Robin and Dolly. Four years later Rose's brother, Felix, is in Ireland with his regiment Rose hears sounds at night but does not believe in ghosts. During a storm Rose and her sister, Jane, shelter in a cottage belonging to Mrs Pryce. Rose and Kamira dislike Mrs Pryce because she beats her children and servant but Jane thinks she is worldly. Rose and Jane hear a noise on the staircase and somebody pushes against the door. Kamira has her knife ready to defend them. Jane has been secretly meeting Mrs Pryce against Mrs Douglas wishes. Rose's parents go to Scotland to comfort her dying uncle, Sir James Douglas. After a "fancy-ball", Rose has a proposal from Courtenay "an Irish fortunehunter". Rose thinks that the lights she sees near the river could be "Jack with a Lantern or Will with a Wisp". Rose and Jane hear horses hooves, pistols, swords and voices at night. They follow a light in the house but it disappears and Jane faints.


Volume 2

Courtenay is angry when Rose writes to her mother about his proposal. Rose then finds out that this is because Courtenay is engaged to another. Rose is devastated to learn that he got a servant pregnant and has been 'improper' with Lady Morrington. Rose is upset that Mrs Douglas will learn that her daughter has been attracted to an unworthy gentleman. Eustace, an acquaintance, is wounded and Rose agrees to hide him from baliffs in the bottom turret of their home. Rose declines Eustace's proposal. She thinks he is probably good-natured but she has been told that he has two children. One morning Rose wakes suspecting she has been drugged because she has had horrible dreams. Jane has vanished but a letter from Jane informs Rose that she has been secretly wed to a Colonel Guilford at Mrs Pryce's. Jane had put opium in Rose's wine to make sure she didn't observe Jane leaving. Guilford does not want Jane to tell her parents about the marriage and Jane is scared of his temper. Courtenay gets angry when Rose declines to be his mistress and bruises her. Kamira punches Courtenay and he then apologises to Rose. Rose and Kamira are seized in a wood and Rose is incarcerated in a cottage by sea. Rose promises she will not disclose to anybody that there is a cave at Treharne Hall. During a storm her captors steal from ships that are wrecked on the rocks. Rose sees the body of a murdered Moor. One of the smugglers helps Rose to escape and Kamira has managed to swim from the boat she was kept on. Kamira's captors thought she would be unable to swim because she is a woman. Felix (her brother) finds a wounded soldier, Sir Eglamour Delavalle, and brings him to Treharne where he falls in love with Rose. Jane learns from Mrs Pryce that the colonel is already married. Rose plans to bring Jane home and put her baby girl in Dame Brownson's care. Sir Eglamour and his soldiers continue to hunt for smugglers. Colonel Guilford visits Jane and explains that he married an older woman to get out of debt. He had paid Mrs Pryce for her advice but was horrified to learn how she had treated Jane. Eglamour is to be stationed in Holland and Rose is upset because she will miss him. Mrs Douglas arrives to find Treharne is on fire.


Volume 3

Half of Treharne Hall is destroyed in the fire despite attempts by Exeter firemen to put it out. James Douglas dies leaving everything to General Douglas but there is a challenge to the will. Helen Ramsay claims she was married to James by Reverend Murray and that they have a son. The solicitor says that James paid a labourer, Davie Mcgregor, to pretend it was his child. The Douglases go to live in lodgings in London for a year. Lady Morrington is worried that the Douglas family will come to depend on her as she has learnt they have been disinherited. She recommends that Rose and her mother get clothes on credit from a linendraper she uses. The Linendraper comes to Rose for payment and her friend refuses to lend her any money. Rose is arrested and taken to a house with iron bars on the windows. She is allowed to bring her writing desk with her so that she can write to people asking for money. A family friend, Lady Elinor, gets an elderly gentleman called Mr. Murray to pay the bail. Jane elopes with the Count de Fontenai who promises to marry her if she proves worthy. Jane is observed by a friend dressed in jewels and 'rouged' at the theatre with some dubious characters. In a jealous rage Colonel Guilford tries to shoot Fontenai but misses and wounds Jane. Fontenai shoots Guilford dead and Jane later dies in Rose's arms. It was Richard Murray's cousin Reverend Murray who married Helen to Davie not James therefore the will cannot be contested by Helen. Dellavalle's soldiers go in to the tunnels under Treharne Hall and find a lady lying on a bed in a cavern. Mrs Douglas' brother had allowed smugglers to use the tunnels in return for payment and had tried to scare his sister's family away from Treharne by pretending it was haunted. It was Courtenay who had kidnapped Rose and had offered her uncle money for her. The lady dying on the bed was Mrs Pryce who had been the mistress of Lord Treharne. Lord Treharne perishes when his escape vessel sinks in a storm so Felix inherits the title of Lord Treharne. Rose marries Delavalle and Kamira is told she can leave but would rather stay with Lady Delaville.