Just taking a sneaky peek at another of Mrs Smith’s books – the Caledonian Bandit

In a short, breathless opening chapter, that reads much like one of the more exciting episodes of Hollyoaks, she has managed to kill off, mainly to untimely deaths, five characters, whilst allowing a sixth to survive a near drowning.

We have lost Alexander, the favourite son of Lord Duncaethal. In love with and beloved by the mysterious, beautiful orphan Agnes, though unwillingly betrothed to the haughty heiress of Cathlode, he dies in battle.

Lord Duncaethal hardly outlives him, falling ill through the upset and succumbing soon after.

Not long after, the mysterious, beautiful orphan Agnes herself falls from her horse and doesn’t recover.

The first born son of Alexander’s twin sister Mabel and her husband Lord Bosmara dies suddenly at the age of six months

He is followed shortly afterwards by Mabel, dying in childbirth as she brings Matilda into the world.

It is Matilda, fifteen years later who is plucked from almost certain death in a raging torrent by Donald, another mysterious orphan brought up by peasants in the forest. 

The next chapter carries the heading “Oh! Blood Blood Blood” . Enthralling stuff! I wonder if anyone will be left by the time we reach Volume 2.

Catherine Smith (1811) The Caledonian Bandit, or The Heir of Duncaethal – A Romance of the Thirteenth Century.. Minerva Press.