Gothic Chapbooks

4. In “The Inhuman Husband,” the Duke of C— is a typical gothic villain, much like Garmallon in “The Blood-Stained Mantle.” He is handsome but with “something gloomy and inauspicious” in his eyes (5). While the future Duchess of C—, the narrative’s female protagonist, feels “an invincible antipathy to him,” she is nevertheless duty bound to become his wife. When the Duke discovers that she had feelings for another man, he fakes her death and imprisons her in a secret dungeon beneath his castle home. While this story is undoubtedly a gothic tale, it could also be read as a commentary on the institution of marriage as practiced by the upper classes.

The full title of this work provides a neat précis of the narrative: “The Inhuman Husband | or the | Sad Narrative | of the | Dutchess of C—, | who was | Excluded for Nine Years | From the sight of the Sun, | Being confined all that time in | A Dreadful Dungeon | under ground, | Without a Bed, a scanty allowance of Bread and Water, suffering through Hunger, Thirst, and Cold, annoyed by Vermin, and nearly deprived of Sight, | with her | Fortunate Deliverance | and | Restoration to Society | by the | Count of Bellmire | together with the | Happy Marriage of her Daughter.” The back cover includes an advertisement for ‘HODGSON’S EDITION. | THE GENUINE AND PATHETIC | TALE | OF | POOR MARY | The Maid of the Inn.’ 22 pages in length. Published and Printed by Orlando Hodgson, London. It includes a fold-out colour illustration. This artifact is part of a collection of chapbooks bound together under the title Brochures Diverses.