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Novel by Simms, published in 1842 as a fictional account of the Kentucky Tragedy. In 1856 the first part was expanded into an independent novel, Charlemont; or, The Pride of the Village. In this part Warham Sharpe, a young attorney, assumes the name of Alfred Stevens and the guise of a theological student, to woo Margaret Cooper. After seducing her and failing to keep his promise of marriage, he departs; her illegitimate child dies, and she swears to kill the father.

The revised Beauchampe, the former second part, opens five years later, when Margaret, living in seclusion under the name Anna Cooke, accepts the proposal of a young lawyer, Beauchampe. She warns him that he “clasps a dishonoured hand,” and requires him to kill her seducer. After their marriage, Beauchampe's friend Sharpe visits them. When he again attempts to seduce Margaret, Beauchampe discovers his identity, stabs him, and later is condemned to death. On the eve of the execution, he and his wife attempt suicide. Although she succeeds, he is hanged, proclaiming at the last, “Daughters of Kentucky! you, at least, will bless the name of Beauchampe!”

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

William Gilmore Simms (1806—1870)