Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Refused by one young lady in his youth, Christopher Glowry immediately marries another. His wife is cold and gloomy, and Nightmare Abbey is a fitting name for her house. Glowry finds relief from his unhappy life in food and drink, and when his lady dies, he is easily consoled by increasing his consumption of food and wine. She left one son, Scythrop, who is gloomy enough to suit his father and Nightmare Abbey. A university education has so stripped Scythrop of his thin veneer of social graces that he is rapidly becoming a country boor like his father.
While his father is away in London attending to an important lawsuit, Scythrop amuses himself by constructing miniature dungeons, trapdoors, and secret panels. One day, he discovers by chance an apartment in the main wing of the abbey that has no entrance or exit; through an error in construction, the apartment had remained hidden for many years. He imports a carpenter, and together they construct a cunning secret panel through which one could step from the library into the hidden apartment. Scythrop now has a private refuge for his gloomy meditations.
Miss Emily Girouette declines to marry Scythrop. In consequence, when his cousin Marionetta visits, she rapidly conquers the heart of the sad young man. Marionetta, however, has no fortune, and Glowry refuses to hear of the marriage, but Scythrop grows more enamored daily of his coquettish cousin.
Glowry views the increasing attachment...
(The entire section is 993 words.)
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