Charlotte Temple catches the eye of Lt. John Montraville on leave before joining the war effort in America.
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Under the bad influence of her French teacher, Mlle. La Rue, Charlotte meets Montraville nightly and is convinced to elope to America, knowing this will gravely hurt her beloved parents. Charlotte does not know that John destroys her long, loving letter to them. During the voyage, Charlotte has a presentiment that John will abandon her in New York, and remorse and shame rule Charlotte's life when they land, La Rue marries Col.
Crayton, and John sets her up, alone, in a cottage outside of town.
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She looks forward to John's every visit, which gradually grow less frequent. Belcour looks for ways to drive a wedge between John and Charlotte, in order to seduce her, entirely for sport. When he arranges to curl up next to a sleeping and ailing Charlotte as John visits, John believes the worst and vows never to see Charlotte again.
Inspiration for Readers and Writers from Classic Women Authors
Charlotte has a bought of nervous fever, which recurs when Belcour announces that John has married Julia Franklin and gone overseas. Belcour does not tell Charlotte that John has made him her trustee, to see to her necessities. Charlotte is kept from suicide only by knowing Christianity forbids it.
Nevertheless, her songs welcoming death are heard by Mrs. Beauchamp next door, who befriends the lonely girl, hears her story, and promises to get a letter through to her parents. Susanna was married in London in to William Rowson.
In — three years after Charlotte Temple was published — she and her husband sailed to America, but the rumor that our streets were paved with gold did not prove true. William Rowson went bankrupt, after which his wife made the family living as an actress. After three years of acting on the American stage, Susanna found that school teaching an writing plays and novels were more profitable and less strenuous than acting.
From the amount of writing she did, she must have been an exceedingly busy woman. She herself had this to say about her most popular book:. Learn more about Susanna Rowson. The story is about the betrayal of an innocent maiden. Charlotte, at age fifteen, is a student in an English bearing school when her friendship with her French teacher, Mlle. La Rue, leads her to secret meetings with two British officers who are about to set sail for America to take part in the Revolutionary War. The night before she is to be allowed to go home to her family — her father is the younger son of an earl — for the celebration of her birthday, she is persuaded to go with the officer with whom she has fallen in love.
He promises to marry her when they get to America. This promise, of course, is not kept. The officer conveniently falls in love with a girl with far more money than poor Charlotte has. And though he makes arrangements for her care and protection, the man through whom these arrangements are made proves false. Charlotte is made to suffer and pay over an over for her unhappy adventure.
Charlotte Temple by Susanna Rowson
In the end, when her family has learned of her whereabouts and her father is hurrying to save her, she gives birth to a baby girl and dies of malnutrition. Charlotte Temple on Amazon. The plot was undoubtedly threadworn even in its day, but few writers have told it with so much suspense. Crayton, for help. But the now wealthy woman pretends not to even know her for fear of her husband discovering the role she played in the girl's downfall.
Susannah Rowson, Charlotte Temple, 1794
Charlotte is taken in by Mrs. Crayton's servant and soon gives birth to a child, Lucy. The doctor, however, has little hope of her recovering and asks a benevolent woman, Mrs. Beauchamp, for help. Beauchamp is shocked when she recognizes Charlotte Temple in "the poor sufferer". Beauchamp begins "to hope she might recover, and, spite of her former errors, become an useful and respectable member of society", but the doctor tells her that nature is only "making her last effort"  Just as Charlotte is lying on her deathbed, her father arrives and Charlotte asks him to take care of her child.
Learning of her death and burial from a passing soldier, Montraville is filled with remorse for his part in her downfall, and angrily seeks out Belcour, killing him in a fight. Montraville suffers from melancholy for the rest of his life. Temple takes Charlotte's child back to England. The novel ends with the death of Mrs. Crayton the former La Rue , who is discovered by Mr. Temple in a London doorway, separated from her husband, living in poverty, and repentant for her involvement in Charlotte's downfall.