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The plot of the novel takes place in England, 1737. At a manor called Rookwood Place, there existed a legend claiming that a death would follow after a branch of an ancient tree would break. After a branch does fall from the tree, Piers Rookwood, the owner, dies. It is revealed to Luke Bradley that he was the son, and thus heir, of Piers Rookwood along with the fact that Piers Rookwood murdered Bradley's mother. This knowledge comes to Bradley while he stands near his mother's coffin, which falls and opens at the moment of revelation.[6] During the fall, it is revealed that she was wearing a wedding ring, which proves that Bradley was not an illegitimate heir. However, the whole incident was put together by Peter Bradley, the boy's grandfather. At the same time, Rookwood's wife, Maud Rookwood, puts forth her own schemes to ensure that her son, Ranulph Rookwood, is able to claim the inheritance for himself.

During a visit to Chesterfield, in the autumn of the year 1831, I first conceived the notion of writing this story. Wishing to describe, somewhat minutely, the trim gardens, the picturesque domains, the rook-haunted groves, the gloomy chambers, and gloomier galleries, of an ancient Hall with which I
Part 1 Chapter 1 The Vault2016-01-01
It has been observed, and I am apt to believe it is an observation which will generally be found true, that before a terrible truth comes to light, there are certain murmuring whispers fly before it, and prepare the minds of men for the reception of the truth itself. ---Gallick Reports:Case of the
Part 1 Chapter 2 The Skeleton Hand2015-12-31
Duch. You are very cold. I fear you are not well after your travel. Ha! lights. ----Oh horrible! Fer. Let her have lights enough. Duch. What witchcraft doth he practise, that he hath leftA dead hand here? ---Duchess of Malfy. The sextons waning candle now warned him of the progress of time, and having
Part 1 Chapter 3 The Park2015-12-31
Brian. Ralph! hearest thou any stirring? Ralph. I heard one speak here, hard by, in the hollow. Peace!master, speak low. Nouns! if I do not hear a bow go off,and the buck bray, I never heard deer in my life. Bri. Stand, or Ill shoot. Sir Arthur. Whos there? Bri. I am the keeper, and do charge you stand
Part 1 Chapter 4 The Hall2015-12-30
I am right against my house--seat of my ancestors. ---Yorkshire Tragedy. Rookwood Place was a fine, old, irregular pile, of considerable size, presenting a rich, picturesque outline, with its innumerable gable-ends, its fantastical coigns, and tall crest of twisted chimneys. There was no uniformity o
Part 1 Chapter 5 Sir Reginald Rookwood2015-12-30
A king who changed his wives as easily as a woman changes her dress. He threw aside the first, cut off the seconds head, the third he disemboweled: as for the fourth, he pardoned her, and simply turned her out of doors, but to make matters even, cut off the head of number five. --VICTOR HUGO: Marie
Part 1 Chapter 6 Sir Piers Rookwood2015-12-29
My old master kept a good house, and twenty or thirty tall sword-and-buckler men about him; and in faith his son differs not much; he will have metal too; though he has no store of cutlers blades, he will have plenty of vintners pots. His father kept a good house for honest men, his tenants that
Part 1 Chapter 7 The Return2015-12-29
Flam. How croaks the raven?Is our good Duchess dead? Lod. Dead. WEBSTER. The time of the sad ceremonial drew nigh. The hurrying of the domestics to and fro; the multifarious arrangements for the night; the distribution of the melancholy trappings, and the discussion of the funeral-baked meats, fur
Part 1 Chapter 8 An Irish Adventurer2015-12-28
Scapin. A most outrageous, roaring fellow, with aswelled red face inflamed with brandy. --Cheats of Scapin. An hour or two prior to the incident just narrated, in a small, cosy apartment of the hall, nominally devoted to justiciary business by its late owner, but, in reality, used as a sanctum, snu
Part 1 Chapter 9 An English Adventurer2015-12-28
Mrs. Peachem. Sure the captains the finest gentleman on the road. ---Beggars Opera. Jack Palmer was a good-humored, good-looking man, with immense bushy, red whiskers, a freckled, florid complexion, and sandy hair, rather inclined to scantiness towards the scalp of the head, which garnished the na
Part 1 Chapter 10 Ranulph Rookwood2015-12-27
Fer. Yes, Francisco,He hath left his curse upon me. Fran. How? Fer. His curse I dost comprehend what that word carries?Shot from a fathers angry breath? UnlessI tear poor Felisarda from my heart,He hath pronounced me heir to all his curses. ---SHIRLEY: The Brothers. There is nothing, I trust, my dea
Part 1 Chapter 11 Lady Rookwood2015-12-27
Fran. de Med. Your unhappy husbandIs dead. Vit. Cor. Oh, hes a happy husband!Now he owes nature nothing. Mon. And look upon this creature as his wife. She comes not like a widow--she comes armedWith scorn and impudence. Is this a mourning habit? The White Devil. The progress of our narrative demands
Part 1 Chapter 12 The Chamber Of Death2015-12-26
It is the body--I have orders givenThat here it should be laid. ---De Montfort. The recess upon which the panel opened had been a small oratory, and, though entirely disused, still retained its cushions and its crucifix. There were two other entrances to this place of prayer, the one communicating wi
Part 2 Chapter 1 The Storm2015-12-26
Duchess. Thou art very plain. Bosola. My trade is to flatter the dead--not the living--I am a tomb-maker. ---WEBSTER. CHAPTER I. THE STORM Come, list, and hark! the bell doth towle,For some but now departing sowle;And was not that some ominous fowle?The bat, the night-crow, or screech-owle?To thes
Part 2 Chapter 2 The Funeral Oration2015-12-25
In northern customs duty was exprestTo friends departed by their funeral feast;Though Ive consulted Hollingshed and Stow,I find it very difficult to know,Who, to refresh the attendants to the grave,Burnt claret first, or Naples biscuit gave. ---KING: Art of Cookery. Ceterum priusquam corpus humo
Part 2 Chapter 3 The Churchyard2015-12-25
Methought I walked, about the mid of night,Into a churchyard. ---WEBSTER: The White Devil. Lights streamed through the chancel window as the sexton entered the churchyard, darkly defining all the ramified tracery of the noble Gothic arch, and illumining the gorgeous dyes of its richly-stained glass,
Part 2 Chapter 4 The Funeral2015-12-24
How like a silent stream, shaded by night,And gliding softly with our windy sighs,Moves the whole frame of this solemnity!Tears, sighs, and blacks, filling the simile!Whilst I, the only murmur in this groveOf death, thus hollowly break forth. ---The Fatal Dowry. Word being given that the funeral tra
Part 2 Chapter 5 The Captive2015-12-24
Black Will. Which is the place where were to be concealed? Green. This inner room. Black Will. Tis well. The word is, Now I take you. ---Arden of Feversham. Guarded by the two young farmers who had displayed so much address in seizing him, Luke, meanwhile, had been conveyed in safety to the small
Part 2 Chapter 6 The Apparition2015-12-23
Gibbet. Well, gentlemen, tis a fine night for our enterprise. Hounslow. Dark as hell. Bagshot. And blows like the devil. Boniface. Youll have no creature to deal with but the ladies. Gibbet. And I can assure you, friend, theres a great deal of address, and good manners, in robbing a lady. I am the mo
Part 3 Chapter 1 A Morning Ride2015-12-23
Lay a garland on my hearseOf the dismal yew;Maidens, willow branches bear,Say I died true. My love was false, but I was firmFrom my hour of birth;Upon my buried body lieLightly, gentle earth. ---BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. CHAPTER I. A MORNING RIDE I had a sister, who among the raceOf gipsies was the faire
Part 3 Chapter 2 A Gipsy Encampment2015-12-22
I see a column of slow-rising smokeOertop the lofty wood, that skirts the wild. ---COWPER: The Task. The top of the morning to you, gemmen, said Turpin, as he rode up at an easy canter. Did you not hear my halloo? I caught a glimpse of you on the hill yonder. I knew you both, two miles off; and
Part 3 Chapter 3 Sybil2015-12-22
The wiving vine, that round the friendly elmTwines her soft limbs, and weaves a leafy mantleFor her supporting lover, dares not ventureTo mix her humble boughs with the embracesOf the more lofty cedar. ---GLAPTHORNE: Albertus Wallenstein. Beneath a moldering wall, whither they had strayed, to be fre
Part 3 Chapter 4 Barbara Lovel2015-12-21
Los Gitanos son encantadores, adivinos, magos, chyromanticos, quedicen por las rayas de las manos lo Futuro, que ellos llamanBuenaventura, y generalmente son dados a toda supersticion. ---DOCTOR SANCHO DE MONCADA. Discurso sobre Espulsion de los Gitanos. Like a dove escaped from the talons of the fal
Part 3 Chapter 5 The Inauguration2015-12-21
Beggar. Concert, sir! we have musicians, too, among us. True,merry beggars, indeed, that, being within the reach of the lash forsinging libellous songs at London, were fain to fly into one cover,and here they sing all our poets ditties. They can sing anything,most tunably, sir, but psalms. What they
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