Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
The House of Ravenshoe had long been a bastion of Catholicism in England, and the Church of Rome had for generations assigned a resident priest to the household. When he reached manhood, Densil Ravenshoe showed a rebellious spirit by going off to London and consorting with Lord Saltire, a notorious atheist. After he had been imprisoned for his debts, his father sent the resident priest to bail him out.
For a while, Densil was reconciled to priestly rule, but the new Father Mackworth had his difficulties with him. Densil at last married a Protestant woman, to the consternation of the Church. Five years went by, and Densil had no children. Father Mackworth was thinking of asking for another assignment, but what he heard when he was eavesdropping one evening caused him to stay on at Ravenshoe. Cuthbert, Densil’s first son, was born, and the priest had the satisfaction of baptizing him in the true faith.
A second son, Charles, was born five years later. Densil’s wife died in childbirth, and shortly the terrible truth came out: Densil had promised to bring up his second son as a Protestant. Charles was given to a nurse, Norah, the wife of James Horton, the gamekeeper. She had a boy, William, just a week older than Charles, and she gladly accepted her new charge. Resolved that a Protestant should never own Ravenshoe, Father Mackworth made his plans early.
Charles was a cheerful lad, well liked by all. When he was ten years old, he...
(The entire section is 1203 words.)
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