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Corvey ‘Adopt an Author’ |
Agnes Musgrave
The Corvey Project at
Sheffield Hallam University

Representations of the gothic and the heroine in Agnes Mugrave's novels, Cicely; or the Rose of Raby and The Solemn Injunction

Lucy Fraser

In the Critical Review review of Cicely; or the Rose of Raby, Musgrave's novel is associated with Sophia Lee's The Recess, and on inspection there are some obvious similarities in the names of characters. Both include "Matilda"; in Lee's novel there is an "Ellinor", in Musgrave's there's "Eleanor"; and whilst The Recess has "Lord Scrope", Cicely mentions a lady of the very same name. This essay, however, argues that this should not be taken to suggest derivativeness. The essay will look at the style of Musgrave's writing in relation to gothic features and at the relationship between the ideology of heroism and the female protagonist. It suggests that the individuality of Musgrave's technique and representations can be established, and that the similarities of her texts to other novelists is as great as might at first be thought.

James Beattie notes in On Fable and Romance, "the Gothick warriors were in all their expeditions accompanied by their wives; whom they regarded as friends and faithful counsellors" (1 ). Therefore, with this recognition of equality a part of the history of the Gothic, it might be expected that heroism by women appears in gothic novels and does not seem out of place. It is important that the heroines of each novel are introduced and an account given for why they warrant the title "heroine". The heroine of Cicely; or the Rose of Raby is, of course, the lead female character who lends her name to the title. Cicely is the daughter of the Earl of Westmoreland and his second wife Joan, daughter of John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster and Huthenne Swinford, and has therefore been educated to a reasonable degree; she is the supposed authoress of the novel. In keeping with the traditional ideas of the heroine, Cicely is renowned throughout the land for her beauty, but it is her ability to stay true to her feelings, her morality and her strength of mind that make her truly heroic.

The first instance which demonstrates that Cicely is a woman out of the ordinary is that, although very young, she is the person her older sisters confide in; first Eleanor and later Jane put their confidence in her. The reader is persuaded that Cicely has the potential to be a heroine when, at an early age, she witnesses a scene involving Eleanor and her lover Percy; "what were my sensations, when I saw the sister I so fondly loved, apparently dead, with her arms extended across the pale and bleeding body of Lord Percy" (2 ). Although she does faint, the recovery of her spirits is quick and she is soon afterwards well enough to visit Eleanor. By her own admission, the scene is "indelibly imprinted" (3) on her memory, and most young girls would allow their sensibilities to overcome them to a much greater extent than Cicely does.

Throughout the novel, Cicely's heroic qualities are reinforced. Her intelligence is apparent when she is improving herself by reading books in the building she had erected in the memory of Thomalin. She then uses quick thinking when she tries to out smart the banditti who have abducted her, by throwing herself to the ground and slowing their progress. She doesn't stop there, however, and is even more heroic in putting herself up for sacrifice, uttering the strong words, "stand off barbarians... or this moment you lose your prey - swear solemnly to commit no violence upon the page and I will accompany you, but refusing I throw myself headlong down this precipice" (4 ). This quotation demonstrates a true virtue of heroism as, not only is Cicely willing to sacrifice her life, but she is prepared to do it for a "page". On more occasions this sense of selflessness shines in Cicely: she contemplates marrying the Duke of Orleans to spare the English troops in battle in France; her feelings of faithfulness to the memory of Thomalin are such that she is prepared to kill herself rather than be taken away by the Duke; and when her secret son and second husband, the Duke of York, are about to fight she puts herself between them and is stabbed by York's sword. This concept of Cicely's self-sacrifice is in stark contrast to what actually occurs, because Cicely outlives most of the characters who surround her from the beginning, and Musgrave incorporates a sense of irony that, had Cicely, on one of the occasions outlined here, sacrificed herself, she might have spared herself and many others from the evils which they had to bear. This is remarked by Cicely herself who, on more than one occasion asserts, "had I then ended my days, what a train of evils, during a long life would have been avoided!" (5 ).

Cicely lives on, and through sheer bravery and determination, survives the horrors in her life. She has also a tremendous sense of morality and fidelity, which are essential, as the heroine must be virtuous. Her fidelity is tested to its utmost when she is torn between obeying her father and returning to Spain to be with her child. She obeys her father because it is the right thing to do; if her father had disowned her she would have no protection for herself or her son. Her morals and fidelity are stretched again as she is faced with the morality of the Duke of Orleans; although he is the murderer of her husband, she also recognises that he is the son of her preserver, Louis of Orleans, who helped to rescue her from Bidet and from Lady Douglas. In a move, which arguably represents one of the most worthy attributes of human kind, Cicely forgives Orleans and even grows to love him when he redeems himself for his crimes as the novel progresses.

One of the best examples of Cicely's strength is seen at Bidet in an exchange between the Duke and our heroine. Orleans is threatening to kill Cicely's "kindred" because she refuses to marry him, when the words of Cicely produce the following effect:

'The Duke, who was just before red with anger, on whose countenance was displayed jealousy and every tormenting passion, melted almost into tears as he raised and prest me to his bosom. 'Cicely,' he said, in a tremulous voice, 'you unman me' '(6 ).

The heroine of The Solemn Injunction, Alicia, shares many of Cicely's attributes. She is taught typically female accomplishments by her mother up to the age of six years, but as she gets older it is obvious that she is very astute and intelligent; her "quick progress astonished her teachers. Alicia seemed as if born with a kind of intuitive knowledge; for ere an idea was well uttered, she caught it and it became her own" (7 ). Alicia, unlike Cicely, is seen at school where her ability again astonishes, "the abilities of Alicia excited envy in the hearts of some of the young ladies at Mrs. Selden's, whose junior she was, yet excelled them in everything she was taught" (8 ). Alicia is, throughout the novel, only a child, but she possesses "more fortitude and nobleness of mind than most women; or indeed of men either" (9 ). She is completely unique and above both her sex and her age in maturity, presence of mind and intelligence.

The fidelity and morality of Alicia is seen in the solemn injunction she makes to her mother. From the age of six years to sixteen years old, Alicia keeps the sorrow of having seen the bloody secret chambers of Oakdale to herself and, despite an overwhelming sense of fear, she fulfils her injunction. Alicia is true to her own feelings for Henry Bertram; she turns down very advantageous marriage proposals because she refuses to compromise herself when she actually loves Bertram. It is a tribute to Alicia's maturity and fidelity that, as Cicely was the confidant of her older sisters, Alicia is the confidant of Lady Bertram herself. By making this allegiance and by contrasting the behaviour and character of our heroine with Mary, who is about the same age as Alicia, Musgrave emphasises the quality of Alicia's attributes.

Alicia doesn't go to the same lengths of self-sacrifice as Cicely, but she does show some selflessness when she considers marrying Mr. Carliel so that she could settle some money on Mrs. Dalrymple and her family. The Dalrymples were guardians to Alicia for a time, but were taken to Jamaica by Mr. Dalrymple's business. However, her sense of morality is even stronger as she reflects that "such a marriage would be but a legal prostitution" (10 ).

Alicia is often very brave in her actions when she is forced by situations to resort to extreme measures. When she is abducted by Baron Kauphausen she takes an opportunity to snatch up his pistols and keeps them on her person, looking for another opportunity to liberate herself, using the pistols if necessary. She doesn't need to use them, though, until she is faced with the Earl of Trewarne at Oakdale Hall; then she has no hesitation in shooting Trewarne.


Of the heroine, Rachel Brownstein says, "she is unlike all other women, being important and unique, but she is also quintessentially feminine, therefore rightly representative of her sex" (11 ). The uniqueness and importance of both Cicely and Alicia has been shown, but do they remain "quintessentially feminine"? Part of their femininity is their extreme beauty, which both are said to possess and although our heroines survive all that they go through in the novels, it is not without very strong emotions and great sensibility, which was believed to be inherent to the sex. Cicely and Alicia suffer from fainting at the most important moments, but the argument in favour of their heroism is that they overcome their emotions to face misfortune. Cicely, it could be said, is presented in a more typical female role considering that she often takes up the position of "damsel in distress" who needs a man to rescue her: Thomalin rescues her from Bidet; Louis of Orleans is her preserver from Lady Douglas; and John of Orleans, Louis' son and the Duke's brother, rescues Cicely from Stuart, who abducts her in the hope of forcing her to marry him. Alicia, on the other hand, twice escapes the Earl of Trewarne on her own.

Another theory of heroism is that "the treasure the [female] hero claims at the completion of the journey is herself. Discovering herself - her whole and authentic self - she finds that her entire world is transformed. She... enjoys a new sense of trust in her perceptions about the world" (12 ). This is true in The Solemn Injunction, where Alicia discovers her true identity; the truth of her own birth is the "treasure". It is also accurate to say that her entire world is transformed; although Robert Bertram has been a father figure to her, Alicia has her real father at the end, and with her marriage to Henry Bertram she is due to begin an entirely new life. The "new sense of trust" comes from the fact that the criminals of the novel are brought to justice and there is a sense of right and merit that, not only Alicia, but also her new found brother, William March, finally have their rightful honours, and they deserve them. Cicely's end is not as joyful. There is the feeling that, because Cicely's life has been so dynamic, it will never stop changing. At the end of the novel Cicely is facing her own end; rather than beginning a new life and finding her "treasure", she is losing her life and herself. The narrative in the latter stages is not complete because the manuscript from which it is supposedly taken, is old and much of the writing is illegible, and this incompleteness is reflected in Cicely's loss of her husband and children. The "whole" of which the quotation speaks is seen not in the heroine but in the realisation of the prophecy given to Cicely's father; "the white rose twined around the red" (13) as Cicely's granddaughter, heiress to York, marries the heir of Lancaster.

Alicia and Cicely are not the only two heroines in the novels. Cicely's sister Jane can be noted for her abilities and heroism, which are generally thought beyond her sex. When a group, including Jane, Cicely, Eleanor and some domestics, are stopped by Scottish banditti, this account is given:

'The leader of the Scots, rode up to Jane, to take her prisoner, with his sword laid across the bow of the saddle, already had he seized the reins, when she snatched the sword, and striking with all her might, at the hand that detained her, 'you shall repent, said she, your audacity;' then urging her steed to its utmost speed, soon outstript her pursuer, who seemed at first deprived of motion, so astonished were they, at a resistance so little expected.' ( 14).

It is Jane's outstanding bravery that first attracts her lover, Alexander Home. Jane again takes charge when, out riding with Cicely and some armed domestics, they are ambushed by Scots. This time, she swaps clothes with Thomalin, who is taken captive with Cicely, and hence throws off all her femininity to fight with the Scots. She is seen to be an extremely strong woman in this scene, both physically and mentally; "a scuffle ensued; in which my sister gave orders with the utmost prudence; twice did the undaunted heroine encounter the chief, twice was he unhorsed" (15 ).

Much of Cicely's misery stems from Lady Douglas, the sister of Jane's lover, Alexander Home. The man to whom Jane was already meant to be betrothed burns down Home's castle in a rage, and consequently murders Home's mother. Seeking revenge, Home is also killed, and Lady Douglas blames Jane for the loss of her mother and brother. It is at her orders that Cicely and Thomalin (in Jane's dress) are kidnapped and Cicely ends up in France, where she is imprisoned by Orleans. Later in the narrative, Cicely's brother, Henry, marries Lady Douglas' daughter, Agnes, and Lady Douglas uses her artifice to try and separate the couple.

Even more of Cicely's torment can be attributed to Lady Warwick; afraid that if Thomalin's claim to be the son of Lord Beauchamp is successful, her own son will be disinherited, she uses her artifice to convince the Duke of Orleans to murder Thomalin, Cicely's husband.

Towards the end of the narrative there appears another incredibly powerful villainess, Queen Margaret. In a shocking climax to Cicely's misfortunes, the "bloody Queen" (17 ) orders the Duke of York's head be crowned with paper, put on a spear and paraded beneath Cicely's window.

Bearing in mind the earlier quotation about female protagonists, it could be said that it is even more relevant to the second book. The preceding discussion shows the power and artifice of women in the gothic novel, but, in The Solemn Injunction, one woman in particular takes a more "hands on" role in her crimes. Mildred Bertram, aunt to Sir Robert Bertram, confesses to artifice, incarcerating her other nephew, poisoning, driving that nephew to suicide and then murdering his wife. She also takes the daughter of her nephew and gives her away to a much poorer family - her crimes manifest themselves in the present day of the novel by complicating the genealogical structures of the family of our heroine.

Another female villain in The Solemn Injunction conforms to the idea that "Gothic villains have, or ambitiously aspire to, titles and estates" (18 ). The eighth Earl of Trewarne married Mary Mackenzie. Her relative, Miss McRae, was jealous of her position; after the death of Mary, McRae aspired to be the next Countess of Trewarne, but the Earl kept her only as his mistress. They had a son, William McRae, but as he was strictly illegitimate he was never in line for much inheritance or titles. At the encouragement of his mother, McRae takes the place of his half brother, son of Trewarne and Mackenzie, to become Earl of Trewarne. As the tale of the McRaes emerges, the narrator repeatedly refers to Miss McRae as "the insidious McRae" (19 ) or reminds the reader of "her duplicity and art" (20 ). All the women mentioned as villains either have titles or estates and, in the cases of McRae and Lady Warwick, have aspirations for these honours.

The gothic can, of course, refer to a style of architecture and the building most associated with this genre is the castle. In Cicely; or the Rose of Raby the main gothic castle is at Bidet and owned by the Duke of Orleans. Musgrave uses this building to heighten the feeling of desperation of our heroine as it is described:

'Nothing could indeed be conceived more gloomy, the towers hung with ivy, sheltered every ominous bird, I was only lulled to sleep with shrieking owls, and waked with the croaking of the raven... a large forest... surrounded the castle' (21).

The furniture inside is decaying and, in sum, the place is "falling to ruins" (22 ). The situation for our heroine is equally gloomy and it seems that her future is in ruins. The use of the word "surrounded" can be assimilated with "imprisoned", which is how Cicely now finds herself, and the atmosphere created by this gothic description emphasises the moodiness and pessimism of the scene.

Oakdale Hall is not as awful on the outside as the castle of Bidet, but this only accentuates the gloominess of indoors and the sheer horror of the innermost secret chambers; the intended impression is that the deeper inside Oakdale one goes, the more terrible the experience:

'The Gothic is full of locked rooms, of one kind or another: locked rooms within its particular, involuted architectural space; locked rooms of the mind; locked rooms of history; locked rooms of secret sexual expression'( 23).

In The Solemn Injunction, the secret chambers of Oakdale Hall are both the "particular, involuted architectural space" and "locked rooms of history". They contain the papers which reveal, in part, the ancestry of Alicia, but more horrible is the fact that they are kept in the fashion of their most wretched scenes. Alicia, when only six years old, sees these chambers; the first is

'perfectly dark... on the pillow (which, as well as the covering of the bed, was black) stood a human skull and an hour-glass, and suspended from the tester, by a slender thread, hung a bloody knife' (24 )

The floor and walls are stained with blood; another room is shrouded in black cloth on which is an inscription of crimes and accusations, also a coffin with a pall of black velvet on it. These rooms represent a shrine to the misdeeds of Mildred Bertram; the blood is that of the nephew she incarcerated, who was driven to shoot himself with a pistol, and his wife, who rushed onto a dagger that was in the hands of Mildred. The only way to overcome the locked rooms is to enter them and find out what they have to release, once opened. Of course, this is no easy feat and therefore requires a heroine, in this case, Alicia, to conquer them; once the truth of history is discovered the rooms are demolished.

"It is not passion, then, but secrecy, the supreme subject of the Gothic, that destroys the domestic happiness" ( 25). This statement is certainly true in both texts. The secrecy begins, in Cicely, with the secret marriage of Theresa Fitzhugh and Lord Beauchamp and the adoption of their son by others. It is that the fate of so many other people is determined by the chain reaction which is initiated by one secret that seems to fascinate Musgrave. The complications arising from one concealment of truth, affecting generations of people, allows the author to write intricate plots and incidents, and allows the imagination a great deal of scope to try to resolve the problems stemming from the secret. In The Solemn Injunction the reader is anticipating the revelation of Alicia's birth, William March's birth, the resolution of the solemn injunction and the mystery of Bouchier's disappearance from a secure room (via the secret chambers) - in short, there are so many secrets to be unravelled that secrecy has to be the "supreme subject". The plot of Cicely doesn't rely on secrets of generations to the same extent, but there are still concealments strewn throughout; of love and marriage (Theresa and Beauchamp, Cicely and Thomalin, Jane and Alexander Home), of death (Louis of Orleans is believed, even by his son, to have been assassinated) etc. The novels differ mostly in their handling of secrets, in that the reader is aware of them as they occur in Cicely, but in The Solemn Injunction the reader and the characters must wait for the secrets to unfold. This is perhaps indicative of Musgrave's growing confidence in her writing style as she produces more novels; she can withhold more information from the readers as her writing ability improves to keep their interest.

The secrecy of people other than the heroines, and the idea of prophecy and fate in Cicely, conform to the theory that gothic characters are subservient to events. Alicia is at the mercy of the mistakes of her forefathers and this is emphasised by the fact that she is such a virtuous, mature character; it is by no fault of her own that Alicia must suffer as she does.


Another gothic feature in each novel is the representation of the supernatural. In The Solemn Injunction, Oakdale is reputed to be haunted and Alicia and Mary see the "ghost" of Sir Phillip, an ancestor of the Bertram's. However, it is actually an illusion set up by Mildred Bertram; in this novel it is the horror of human acts that disturbs the most. By contrast, the ghosts encountered in Cicely are real; at the castle of destiny, first Cicely's father and then Cicely experience the supernatural. This more preposterous plot is fittingly put into this novel rather than the latter one, because Musgrave claims that Cicely is a true narrative taken from real manuscripts; due to the form of writing being in letters, the novel is meant to be less of a story and more of an account of history, therefore making the supernatural elements real and more frightening. The Solemn Injunction, which includes no preface claiming authenticity, uses explained supernatural to make it, in turn, more convincing. The sublime, as a constituent of the gothic, is better represented in Cicely, especially in regard to the concept, "no passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear... Whatever therefore is terrible, with regard of sight, is sublime too" (26 ). Alicia witnesses some very disturbing sights in the bloody chambers, but otherwise, she reads about the horrors rather than experiencing them. Cicely, in contrast, has first hand experience of seeing her first husband murdered and the head of her second husband being put on a spear. The sublime is represented as the surveying of terrible physical violence in close relation and the possibility of getting caught up in it. Musgrave also utilises nature in her sublime scenes. When Cicely sees Eleanor and Percy in that early scene of seeming death, the incident is made more sublime by the fact that it could be a work of art:

'The scene which presented itself to my view, was almost in the centre of the wood, where it had lately been cut down, and a smooth green extended on each side of a small brook, whose clear surface reflected the dancing beams of the moon, which was rising in its fullest splendour, the fall of the water over an interposing rock, was the only sound that broke the stillness' (27 ).

That Cicely remembers, so vividly, the nature surrounding the deathly couple suggests a certain beauty about it, the juxtapositioning of each element seems to paint a perfect, but awful, picture. When the Duke of Orleans stabs himself at Raby, again nature heightens the sublimity of the moment by, this time, increasing the terror, as night oppressively falls, "the night had closed over us, it was dark, very dark, a thick mist involving earth and sky, had fallen heavy on me, my garments were drenched in rain and blood" ( 28). The "mist involving earth and sky" suggests something way beyond the normal order of things is taking place.

Nature, or the elements, and the moon are very important in Cicely for reflecting the mood of the characters, adding to the atmosphere or emphasising the concept of fate and higher powers at work. Cicely is more than once caught in a storm when out at sea, the first time when she lands in France. The scene resumes the idea that the gothic character is subservient to events; "the sky was suddenly overcast, and a violent storm of wind succeeded... the waves broke over and drenched us in water" (29). "Suddenly" implies that the storm was far from expected and therefore it was fate that took the ship to France. On her journey by boat from Scotland to Tinmouth, there is another storm, but this one is more violent than the last, with thunder, hail and lightning; it is in this storm and resulting shipwreck that Louis of Orleans dies. As the Earl of Westmoreland is searching the ruins of the castle of destiny, which is said to be haunted, there is, once more, a storm:

'The lightning was so vivid, it flashed thro' each cranny of the building; the thunder which rolled over our heads, echoed through each dismal chamber, the castle shook to its foundations; - another peal succeeded, more terrible than the preceding, which struck us to the ground, and the building seemed to be falling on all sides' (30 )

In this instance, the weather helps heighten the apprehensions of the reader and reflects the danger in which Westmoreland is placing himself.

The moon is a feature which is constantly brought to the readers attention in Cicely. It is often mentioned just before an important incident or change in fortunes is about to occur, for example, it is noticed just as the group are attacked by Scots and it shines ominously on the leader. Then, when Thomalin and Cicely are being led through the forest by captors, Musgrave introduces the moon at the start of the scene, "the beams of the moon, playing on the spray, formed an iris of ever varying shades" (31 ), and in the same scene they escape to the hermitage of William Fitzhugh. When Cicely is on the island, captive of Stuart, she escapes when John of Orleans sails across and rescues her; "the moon beams fell upon the sails of the distant vessel" (32 ) shows the moon as a guiding light, showing the hope for the future. In contrast, when York stabs Cicely as she puts herself between her husband and her son, the moon beams fall on the weapons, demonstrating the moons apparently prophetic ability. The moon is associated with regularity, as the master over the tides, and Musgrave, in the novel, plays on the idea that the moon is always there, without fail, each night controlling the waves; it therefore seems to know all that is happening on earth. From its lofty and permanent position in the sky it watches over Cicely and lends its light to seeing what will happen next, what is important.

One of the gothic elements which is discussed in The Solemn Injunction and which, even today, is the most shocking, is incest. Musgrave, probably trying to avoid shocking too much, actually manages to set up three possibly incestuous relationships, only to resolve them all. The first arises when Henry Bertram searches the secret chambers at Oakdale and finds only some of the letters which reveal Alicia's identity; the letters say that Alicia is the daughter of Robert Bertram. This is true, but the letters refer to the nephew of Mildred that she imprisoned and not Henry's father; it is, in fact, Sir Robert's half brother whom their father disowned so that he could marry his second wife. The unfortunate nephew subjected to Mildred's crimes had a wife called Eliza and they named their daughter Alicia, and so Henry's mistake was easily made.

Frederick Bouchier, or the real Earl of Trewarne, believes, for a while, that he has had an incestuous marriage to his daughter, Eliza, who is the mother of our heroine. He marries the daughter of Robert Bertram (unfortunate nephew) and Eliza, who was taken away by Mildred and given to the Barlow family. Bouchier and Alicia (the daughter of Robert and Eliza) are then separated, but Alicia is already pregnant. She gives birth to a daughter and names her after her mother, Eliza. Alicia is then lured away from her family by Miss McRae and is unable to ever find them again because they are forced to change their name (to Wetherall) and move away. After an eight year separation, Alicia is reunited with Bouchier. They have more children, but all die. A boy is born, but the parents are told he also dies. In truth, he is given to a peasant woman who then leaves him by the roadside - the boy is William March. Bouchier's wife dies soon after and he runs away in grief. Years later he finds himself in St. Mary's Oak where he sees Eliza at the funeral of the man who had taken in Alicia when Mildred abandoned her - the change of name means that Bouchier does not know that Eliza is his daughter. Bouchier marries Eliza and when he finds, at their home of Oakdale, the secret chambers and the confessions of Mildred, Bouchier realises what has happened and that is when he disappears. This relationship is resolved, however, because the daughter of Wetherall/Barlow had an illegitimate child; Alicia and Bouchier's daughter died after Alicia was lured away by McRae, but the other child is put in her place, therefore Eliza is not Bouchier's daughter.

The third incestuous possibility occurs when our heroine, Alicia recognises pictures of her father that her mother has left in the secret chambers; they are of the Earl of Trewarne, who kidnapped Alicia in order to force her to marry him. This relationship is resolved because that was William McRae, the Earl's half brother, who usurped the place of the real Trewarne.

These relationships are so intricate, the connections so difficult to map out and the unravelling of the stories is done in a rush in Musgrave's attempt to create an unbelievable climax to Alicia's solemn injunction. However, Musgrave, in this instance, is unsuccessful in her style, as the culmination of incidents is far too baffling for the reader to enjoy. The style could be said to reflect the intricacies that are associated with the gothic and the mystery of it, but it is still too incredible to make it convincing.

In conclusion, it's obvious that Musgrave had a great interest in the gothic and in pushing the boundaries of femininity through her heroines. The novels do bear comparison, with similarities in themes - female villains, imprisonment, abduction - but because they differ in style, Cicely being a first person narrative in the form of letters, The Solemn Injunction a third person narrative, they are both entertaining in different ways.

It is clear from the contemporary critical reception of her novels and from this essay that Musgrave strove too hard to complicate the novels and invent some mystery, because her mystification of characters' birth and ancestry is often verging on the incomprehensible (The Solemn Injunction and review of William de Montfort). However, Musgrave is successful in creating frightening and bloody scenes in both novels, and shows a good sense of how to terrorise her reader.


(1) Beattie, 1783

(2) Musgrave, 1795, v1 p 24

(3) Ibid., v1 p24

(4) Ibid., v1 p115

(5) Ibid., v1 p116

(6) Ibid., v1 p213

(7) Musgrave, 1798, v1 p122

(8) Ibid., v1 p183

(9) Ibid., v1 p154

(10) Ibid., v2 p266

(11) Brownstein, 1984, pxxi

(12) Pearson, 1981, p223

(13) Musgrave, 1795, v4 p237

(14) Ibid., v1 p20

(15) Ibid., v1 p111

(16) Reynolds, 1993, p99

(17) Musgrave, 1795, n4 p205

(18) Botting, 1994, p183

(19) Musgrave, 1798, v4 p213

(20) Ibid., v4 p219 (21)

Musgrave, 1795, v1 pp197-8

(22) Ibid., v1 p197

(23) Madoff, 1989, p49

(24) Musgrave, 1798, v2 p140

(25) Ellis, 1989, p73

(26) Burke, 1757, p34

(27) Musgrave, 1795, v1 pp24-5

(28) Ibid., v2 p198

(29) Ibid., v1 p180

(30) Ibid., v3 p172

(31) Ibid., v1 p121

(32) Ibid., v4 p70



Beattie, James, 1783, On Fable and Romance

Botting, Fred, 1994, "Dracula, Romance and Radcliffean Gothic" in R Miles (ed.) Women's Writing: The Elizabethan to Victorian Period, Triangle

Botting, Fred, 1996, Gothic, Routledge, London

Brownstein, Rachel M., (1982) 1984, Becoming a Heroine: Reading about Women in Novels, Penguin

Burke, Edmund, (1757) 1990, "Terror" in V. Sage (ed.) The Gothick Novel, Macmillan, London

Castle, Terry, 1995, The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny, OUP, Oxford, New York

Clery, E. J., 2000, Women's Gothic: From Clara Reeve to Mary Shelley, Northcote, Devon

Ellis, Kate Ferguson, 1989, The Contested Castle: Gothic Novels and the Subversion of Domestic Ideology, Urbana and Chicago

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Miles, Robert (ed.), 1994, Women's Writing: the Elizabethan to Victorian Period, Triangle

Musgrave, Agnes, 1795, Cicely; or the Rose of Raby. An Historical Novel, Minerva Press, London

Musgrave, Agnes, 1798, The Solemn Injunction, Minerva Press, London

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