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Top Notch Books
Tolar, TX, USA
Kenilworth. A Romance is a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott, first published on 8 January 1821. Kenilworth is apparently set in 1575, and centers on the secret marriage of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, and Amy Robsart, daughter of Sir Hugh Robsart. The tragic series of events begins when Amy flees her father and her betrothed, Tressilian, to marry the Earl. Amy passionately loves her husband, and the Earl loves her in return, but he is driven by ambition. He is courting the favour of Queen Elizabeth I, and only by keeping his marriage to Amy secret can he hope to rise to the height of power that he desires. At the end of the book, the queen finally discovers the truth, to the shame of the Earl. But the disclosure has come too late, for Amy has been murdered by the Earl's even more ambitious steward, Varney. The title refers to Dudley's Kenilworth Castle in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. The novel opens, however, at Cumnor Place, near Abingdon in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire). Giles Gosling, the innkeeper, had just welcomed his scape-grace nephew Michael Lambourne on his return from Flanders. He invited the Cornishman, Tressilian, and other guests to drink with them. Lambourne made a wager he would obtain an introduction to a certain young lady under the steward Foster's charge at Cumnor Place, seat of the Earl of Leicester, and the Cornish stranger begged permission to accompany him. On arriving there Tressilian found that this lady was his former lady-love, Amy. He would have carried back to her home, but she refused; and as he was leaving he quarrelled with Richard Varney, the earl's squire, and might have taken his life had not Lambourne intervened. Amy was soothed in her seclusion by costly presents from the earl, and during his next visit she pleaded that she might inform her father of their secret marriage, but he was afraid of Elizabeth's resentment. Kenilworth Castle's 16th-century gatehouse, built by Robert Dudley Warned by his host against the squire, and having confided to him how Amy had been entrapped, Tressilian left Cumnor by night, and, after several adventures by the way, reached the residence of Sir Hugh Robsart, Amy's father, to assist him in laying his daughter's case before the queen. Returning to London, Tressilian's servant, Wayland Smith, cured the Earl of Sussex of a dangerous illness. On hearing about this from Walter Raleigh, Elizabeth at once set out to visit Leicester's rival, and it was in this way that Tressilian's petition, in Amy's behalf, was handed to her. The queen was agitated to learn of this secret marriage. V