Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, an aesthetically fine man, had attained a status of respectable merit in the court of Queen Elizabeth, and the privileges he found there had much to do with his potential marriageability. However, the Earl was already married to Amy Robsart, a woman of great beauty and virtue. This union had been kept secret so the Earl could retain his position at Elizabeth's court. Leicester's Master of the Horse, Sir Richard Varney, kept her a prisoner in Cumnor Place, an old country house. Tressilian, a friend of Amy's father, accuses Varney of unlawful seduction. To allow himself to play out his temptations, Leicester uses Varney as an alibi to cover his actions, but Varney announces Amy as Leicester's wife. Amy refuses to be part of this complex drama, and the ploy thickens with the administrations of poisons and strangulation until finally Amy is murdered by being thrown down the stairs of Cumnor Place. Leicester indicts Varney as the culprit, and he is arrested and executed while Leicester (he is the engineer of all the secrecy and conspiracies from which this hideous deed resulted) is readmitted to Elizabeth's entourage after a brief interval of dishonor and recovers his position of favor. In this romantic melodrama Sir Walter Scott superbly reproduces the unconventional mix of self-confidence and profound apprehension ot the Elizabethan Age.Please Note:This book has been reformatted to be easy to read in true text, not scanned images that can sometimes be difficult to decipher.The Microsoft eBook has a contents page linked to the chapter headings for easy navigation. The Adobe eBook has bookmarks at chapter headings and is printable up to two full copies per year.Both versions are text searchable.