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Come Rack! Come Rope!

Come Rack! Come Rope! by Robert Hugh Benson
By: (1871-1914)

Come Rack! Come Rope! is a historical novel by the English priest and writer Robert Hugh Benson, a convert to Catholicism from Anglicanism. Set in Derbyshire at the time of the Elizabethan persecution of Catholics, when being or harboring a priest was considered treason and was punishable with death, it tells the story of two young lovers who give up their chance of happiness together, choosing instead to face imprisonment and martyrdom, so that "God's will" may be done.

The book was written nearly nine years after Benson's reception into the Catholic Church. The inspiration for the story comes from Dom Bede Camm's account of the recusant Fitzherbert family in Forgotten Shrines (1910), and from Benson's own visit in 1911 to Padley, home of the Fitzherberts, and scene of part of the novel, in order to preach at the annual pilgrimage there. The title of the book is taken from a letter of Saint Edmund Campion in which, after torture, he assured Catholics that he had revealed "no things of secret, nor would he, come rack, come rope." Most of the characters in the book are historical people; only the hero and heroine, their parents, and some minor characters are fictional.

First Page:

Come Rack! Come Rope!

BY

ROBERT HUGH BENSON

Author of "By What Authority?" "The King's Achievement," "Lord of the World," etc.

New York P.J. Kenedy & Sons

PREFACE

Very nearly the whole of this book is sober historical fact; and by far the greater number of the personages named in it once lived and acted in the manner in which I have presented them. My hero and my heroine are fictitious; so also are the parents of my heroine, the father of my hero, one lawyer, one woman, two servants, a farmer and his wife, the landlord of an inn, and a few other entirely negligible characters. But the family of the FitzHerberts passed precisely through the fortunes which I have described; they had their confessors and their one traitor (as I have said). Mr. Anthony Babington plotted, and fell, in the manner that is related; Mary languished in Chartley under Sir Amyas Paulet; was assisted by Mr. Bourgoign; was betrayed by her secretary and Mr. Gifford, and died at Fotheringay; Mr. Garlick and Mr. Ludlam and Mr. Simpson received their vocations, passed through their adventures; were captured at Padley, and died in Derby... Continue reading book >>


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