Excerpt from Peveril of the Peak
I ought to have mentioned in the former editions of this romance, that Charlotte de la Tremouille, Countess of Derby, represented as a Catholic, was, in fact, a French Protestant. For misrepresenting the noble dame in this manner, I have only Lucio's excuse: I spoke according to the trick. In a story where the greater part is avowedly fiction, the author is at liberty to introduce such variations from actual fact as his plot requires, or which are calculated to enhance it; in which predicament the religion of the Countess of Derby, during the Popish Plot, appeared to fall. If I have over-estimated a romancer's privileges and immuni ties, I am afraid this is not the only, nor most important, case in which I have done so. To speak big words, the heroic countess has far less grounds for an action of scandal than the memory of Virgil might be liable to for his post humous scandal of Dido.
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