However, the Bishop died of apoplexy suddenly, and his wife erected a great monument over him; and the pair sleep under that stone, with a canopy of marble clouds and angels above them—the first Mrs. Tusher lying sixty miles off at Castlewood. But my papa's genius and education are both greater than any a woman can be expected to have, and his adventures in Europe far more exciting than his life in this country, which was passed in the tranquil offices of love and duty; and I shall say no more by way of introduction to his Memoirs, nor keep my children from the perusal of a story which is much more interesting than that of their affectionate old mother,.
The actors in the old tragedies, as we read, piped their iambics to a tune, speaking from under a mask, and wearing stilts and a great head-dress. So Queen Medea slew her children to a slow music: and King Agamemnon perished in a dying fall to use Mr.
The Great Gambler (The Henry Jennings Fountain Story)
Dryden's words : the Chorus standing by in a set attitude, and rhythmically and decorously bewailing the fates of those great crowned persons. The Muse of History hath encumbered herself with ceremony as well as her Sister of the Theatre. She too wears the mask and the cothurnus, and speaks to measure. She too, in our age, busies herself with the affairs only of kings; waiting on them obsequiously and stately, as if she were but a mistress of court ceremonies, and had nothing to do with the registering of the affairs of the common people.
I have seen in his very old age and decrepitude the old French King Lewis the Fourteenth, the type and model of kinghood—who never moved but to measure, who lived and died according to the laws of his Court-marshal, persisting in enacting through life the part of Hero; and, divested of poetry, this was but a little wrinkled old man, pock-marked, and with a great periwig and red heels to make him look tall—a hero for a book if you like, or for a brass statue or a painted ceiling, a god in a Roman shape, but what more than a man for Madame Maintenon, or the barber who shaved him, or Monsieur Fagon, his surgeon?
I wonder shall History ever pull off her periwig and cease to be court-ridden? Shall we see something of France and England besides Versailles and Windsor? I saw Queen Anne at the latter place tearing down the Park slopes, after her stag-hounds, and driving her one-horse chaise—a hot, red-faced woman, not in the least resembling that statue of her which turns its stone back upon St. Paul's, and faces the coaches struggling up Ludgate Hill.
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She was neither better bred nor wiser than you and me, though we knelt to hand her a letter or a wash-hand basin. Why shall History go on kneeling to the end of time? I am for having her rise up off her knees, and take a natural posture: not to be for ever performing cringes and congees like a court-chamberlain, and shuffling backwards out of doors in the presence of the sovereign. In a word, I would have History familiar rather than heroic: and think that Mr. Hogarth and Mr.
Fielding will give our children a much better idea of the manners of the present age in England, than the Court Gazette and the newspapers which we get thence. There was a German officer of Webb's, with whom we used to joke, and of whom a story whereof I myself was the author was got to be believed in the army, that he was eldest son of the hereditary Grand Bootjack of the Empire, and the heir to that honor of which his ancestors had been very proud, having been kicked for twenty generations by one imperial foot, as they drew the boot from the other.
I have heard that the old Lord Castlewood, of part of whose family these present volumes are a chronicle, though he came of quite as good blood as the Stuarts whom he served and who as regards mere lineage are no better than a dozen English and Scottish houses I could name , was prouder of his post about the Court than of his ancestral honors, and valued his dignity as Lord of the Butteries and Groom of the King's Posset so highly, that he cheerfully ruined himself for the thankless and thriftless race who bestowed it.
He pawned his plate for King Charles the First, mortgaged his property for the same cause, and lost the greater part of it by fines and sequestration: stood a siege of his castle by Ireton, where his brother Thomas capitulated afterward making terms with the Commonwealth, for which the elder brother never forgave him , and where his second brother Edward, who had embraced the ecclesiastical profession, was slain on Castlewood Tower, being engaged there both as preacher and artilleryman.
This resolute old loyalist, who was with the King whilst his house was thus being battered down, escaped abroad with his only son, then a boy, to return and take a part in Worcester fight. On that fatal field Eustace Esmond was killed, and Castlewood fled from it once more into exile, and henceforward, and after the Restoration, never was away from the Court of the monarch for whose return we offer thanks in the Prayer-Book who sold his country and who took bribes of the French king.
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What spectacle is more august than that of a great king in exile? Who is more worthy of respect than a brave man in misfortune? Addison has painted such a figure in his noble piece of Cato. But suppose fugitive Cato fuddling himself at a tavern with a wench on each knee, a dozen faithful and tipsy companions of defeat, and a landlord calling out for his bill; and the dignity of misfortune is straightway lost.
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The Historical Muse turns away shamefaced from the vulgar scene, and closes the door—on which the exile's unpaid drink is scored up—upon him and his pots and his pipes, and the tavern-chorus which he and his friends are singing. Such a man as Charles should have had an Ostade or Mieris to paint him. Your Knellers and Le Bruns only deal in clumsy and impossible allegories: and it hath always seemed to me blasphemy to claim Olympus for such a wine-drabbled divinity as that. About the King's follower, the Viscount Castlewood—orphan of his son, ruined by his fidelity, bearing many wounds and marks of bravery, old and in exile—his kinsmen I suppose should be silent; nor if this patriarch fell down in his cups, call fie upon him, and fetch passers-by to laugh at his red face and white hairs.
Lives that have noble commencements have often no better endings; it is not without a kind of awe and reverence that an observer should speculate upon such careers as he traces the course of them. I have seen too much of success in life to take off my hat and huzzah to it as it passes in its gilt coach: and would do my little part with my neighbors on foot, that they should not gape with too much wonder, nor applaud too loudly. Is it the Lord Mayor going in state to mince-pies and the Mansion House? Is it poor Jack of Newgate's procession, with the sheriff and javelin-men, conducting him on his last journey to Tyburn?
Give me a chain and red gown and a pudding before me, and I could play the part of Alderman very well, and sentence Jack after dinner. Starve me, keep me from books and honest people, educate me to love dice, gin, and pleasure, and put me on Hounslow Heath, with a purse before me, and I will take it.
I don't say No. I can't but accept the world as I find it, including a rope's end, as long as it is in fashion. When Francis, fourth Viscount Castlewood, came to his title, and presently after to take possession of his house of Castlewood, county Hants, in the year , almost the only tenant of the place besides the domestics was a lad of twelve years of age, of whom no one seemed to take any note until my Lady Viscountess lighted upon him, going over the house with the housekeeper on the day of her arrival.
The boy was in the room known as the Book-room, or Yellow Gallery, where the portraits of the family used to hang, that fine piece among others of Sir Antonio Van Dyck of George, second Viscount, and that by Mr. Dobson of my lord the third Viscount, just deceased, which it seems his lady and widow did not think fit to carry away, when she sent for and carried off to her house at Chelsey, near to London, the picture of herself by Sir Peter Lely, in which her ladyship was represented as a huntress of Diana's court. The new and fair lady of Castlewood found the sad, lonely, little occupant of this gallery busy over his great book, which he laid down when he was aware that a stranger was at hand.
And, knowing who that person must be, the lad stood up and bowed before her, performing a shy obeisance to the mistress of his house. She stretched out her hand—indeed when was it that that hand would not stretch out to do an act of kindness, or to protect grief and ill-fortune? Her golden hair was shining in the gold of the sun; her complexion was of a dazzling bloom; her lips smiling, and her eyes beaming with a kindness which made Harry Esmond's heart to beat with surprise.
Worksop, the housekeeper an old tyrant whom Henry Esmond plagued more than he hated , and the old gentlewoman looked significantly towards the late lord's picture, as it now is in the family, noble and severe-looking, with his hand on his sword, and his order on his cloak, which he had from the Emperor during the war on the Danube against the Turk.
Seeing the great and undeniable likeness between this portrait and the lad, the new Viscountess, who had still hold of the boy's hand as she looked at the picture, blushed and dropped the hand quickly, and walked down the gallery, followed by Mrs. When the lady came back, Harry Esmond stood exactly in the same spot, and with his hand as it had fallen when he dropped it on his black coat. Her heart melted, I suppose indeed she hath since owned as much , at the notion that she should do anything unkind to any mortal, great or small; for, when she returned, she had sent away the housekeeper upon an errand by the door at the farther end of the gallery; and, coming back to the lad, with a look of infinite pity and tenderness in her eyes, she took his hand again, placing her other fair hand on his head, and saying some words to him, which were so kind, and said in a voice so sweet, that the boy, who had never looked upon so much beauty before, felt as if the touch of a superior being or angel smote him down to the ground, and kissed the fair protecting hand as he knelt on one knee.
To the very last hour of his life, Esmond remembered the lady as she then spoke and looked, the rings on her fair hands, the very scent of her robe, the beam of her eyes lighting up with surprise and kindness, her lips blooming in a smile, the sun making a golden halo round her hair. As the boy was yet in this attitude of humility, enters behind him a portly gentleman, with a little girl of four years old in his hand. The gentleman burst into a great laugh at the lady and her adorer, with his little queer figure, his sallow face, and long black hair.
The lady blushed, and seemed to deprecate his ridicule by a look of appeal to her husband, for it was my Lord Viscount who now arrived, and whom the lad knew, having once before seen him in the late lord's lifetime. He invented a half-dozen of speeches in reply, but 'twas months afterwards when he thought of this adventure: as it was, he had never a word in answer. The little girl, whose name was Beatrix, and whom her papa called by this diminutive, looked at Henry Esmond solemnly, with a pair of large eyes, and then a smile shone over her face, which was as beautiful as that of a cherub, and she came up and put out a little hand to him.
A keen and delightful pang of gratitude, happiness, affection, filled the orphan child's heart, as he received from the protectors, whom heaven had sent to him, these touching words and tokens of friendliness and kindness.
But an hour since, he had felt quite alone in the world: when he heard the great peal of bells from Castlewood church ringing that morning to welcome the arrival of the new lord and lady, it had rung only terror and anxiety to him, for he knew not how the new owner would deal with him; and those to whom he formerly looked for protection were forgotten or dead. Pride and doubt too had kept him within-doors, when the Vicar and the people of the village, and the servants of the house, had gone out to welcome my Lord Castlewood—for Henry Esmond was no servant, though a dependant; no relative, though he bore the name and inherited the blood of the house; and in the midst of the noise and acclamations attending the arrival of the new lord for whom, you may be sure, a feast was got ready, and guns were fired, and tenants and domestics huzzahed when his carriage approached and rolled into the court-yard of the hall , no one ever took any notice of young Henry Esmond, who sat unobserved and alone in the Book-room, until the afternoon of that day, when his new friends found him.
When my lord and lady were going away thence, the little girl, still holding her kinsman by the hand, bade him to come too. They passed thence through the music-gallery, long since dismantled, and Queen Elizabeth's Rooms, in the clock-tower, and out into the terrace, where was a fine prospect of sunset and the great darkling woods with a cloud of rooks returning; and the plain and river with Castlewood village beyond, and purple hills beautiful to look at—and the little heir of Castlewood, a child of two years old, was already here on the terrace in his nurse's arms, from whom he ran across the grass instantly he perceived his mother, and came to her.
Indeed she seemed to be a girl, and was at that time scarce twenty years old. How those trivial incidents and words, the landscape and sunshine, and the group of people smiling and talking, remain fixed on the memory! Shan't refuse a lady, shall he, Trix? My lord was ready to drink that, and most other toasts: indeed only too ready. He would not hear of Doctor Tusher the Vicar of Castlewood, who came to supper going away when the sweetmeats were brought: he had not had a chaplain long enough, he said, to be tired of him: so his reverence kept my lord company for some hours over a pipe and a punch-bowl; and went away home with rather a reeling gait, and declaring a dozen of times, that his lordship's affability surpassed every kindness he had ever had from his lordship's gracious family.
As for young Esmond, when he got to his little chamber, it was with a heart full of surprise and gratitude towards the new friends whom this happy day had brought him. He was up and watching long before the house was astir, longing to see that fair lady and her children—that kind protector and patron: and only fearful lest their welcome of the past night should in any way be withdrawn or altered.
But presently little Beatrix came out into the garden, and her mother followed, who greeted Harry as kindly as before. He told her at greater length the histories of the house which he had been taught in the old lord's time , and to which she listened with great interest; and then he told her, with respect to the night before, that he understood French, and thanked her for her protection. Hants, came into possession of the present family through Dorothea, daughter and heiress of Edward, Earl and Marquis Esmond, and Lord of Castlewood, which lady married, 23 Eliz.
Francis, son and heir of the above Henry and Dorothea, who took the maternal name which the family hath borne subsequently, was made Knight and Baronet by King James the First; and being of a military disposition, remained long in Germany with the Elector-Palatine, in whose service Sir Francis incurred both expense and danger, lending large sums of money to that unfortunate Prince; and receiving many wounds in the battles against the Imperialists, in which Sir Francis engaged. On his return home Sir Francis was rewarded for his services and many sacrifices, by his late Majesty James the First, who graciously conferred upon this tried servant the post of Warden of the Butteries and Groom of the King's Posset, which high and confidential office he filled in that king's and his unhappy successor's reign.
His age, and many wounds and infirmities, obliged Sir Francis to perform much of his duty by deputy: and his son, Sir George Esmond, knight and banneret, first as his father's lieutenant, and afterwards as inheritor of his father's title and dignity, performed this office during almost the whole of the reign of King Charles the First, and his two sons who succeeded him. Sir George Esmond married, rather beneath the rank that a person of his name and honor might aspire to, the daughter of Thos.
Topham, of the city of London, alderman and goldsmith, who, taking the Parliamentary side in the troubles then commencing, disappointed Sir George of the property which he expected at the demise of his father-in-law, who devised his money to his second daughter, Barbara, a spinster.
Sir George Esmond, on his part, was conspicuous for his attachment and loyalty to the Royal cause and person: and the King being at Oxford in , Sir George, with the consent of his father, then very aged and infirm, and residing at his house of Castlewood, melted the whole of the family plate for his Majesty's service. For this, and other sacrifices and merits, his Majesty, by patent under the Privy Seal, dated Oxford, Jan.
The first Viscount Castlewood died full of years, and within a few months after he had been advanced to his honors. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the before-named George; and left issue besides, Thomas, a colonel in the King's army, who afterwards joined the Usurper's Government; and Francis, in holy orders, who was slain whilst defending the House of Castlewood against the Parliament, anno George Lord Castlewood the second Viscount , of King Charles the First's time, had no male issue save his one son, Eustace Esmond, who was killed, with half of the Castlewood men beside him, at Worcester fight.
The lands about Castlewood were sold and apportioned to the Commonwealth men; Castlewood being concerned in almost all of the plots against the Protector, after the death of the King, and up to King Charles the Second's restoration. My lord followed that king's Court about in its exile, having ruined himself in its service. He had but one daughter, who was of no great comfort to her father; for misfortune had not taught those exiles sobriety of life; and it is said that the Duke of York and his brother the King both quarrelled about Isabel Esmond.
She was maid of honor to the Queen Henrietta Maria; she early joined the Roman Church; her father, a weak man, following her not long after at Breda. On the death of Eustace Esmond at Worcester, Thomas Esmond, nephew to my Lord Castlewood, and then a stripling, became heir to the title.
His father had taken the Parliament side in the quarrels, and so had been estranged from the chief of his house; and my Lord Castlewood was at first so much enraged to think that his title albeit little more than an empty one now should pass to a rascally Roundhead, that he would have married again, and indeed proposed to do so to a vintner's daughter at Bruges, to whom his lordship owed a score for lodging when the King was there, but for fear of the laughter of the Court, and the anger of his daughter, of whom he stood in awe; for she was in temper as imperious and violent as my lord, who was much enfeebled by wounds and drinking, was weak.
Lord Castlewood would have had a match between his daughter Isabel and her cousin, the son of that Francis Esmond who was killed at Castlewood siege. And the lady, it was said, took a fancy to the young man, who was her junior by several years which circumstance she did not consider to be a fault in him ; but having paid his court, and being admitted to the intimacy of the house, he suddenly flung up his suit, when it seemed to be pretty prosperous, without giving a pretext for his behavior.
His friends rallied him at what they laughingly chose to call his infidelity; Jack Churchill, Frank Esmond's lieutenant in the Royal Regiment of Foot-guards, getting the company which Esmond vacated, when he left the Court and went to Tangier in a rage at discovering that his promotion depended on the complaisance of his elderly affianced bride.
He and Churchill, who had been condiscipuli at St. Few men were so jealous about the point of honor in those days; and gentlemen of good birth and lineage thought a royal blot was an ornament to their family coat. Frank Esmond retired in the sulks, first to Tangier, whence he returned after two years' service, settling on a small property he had of his mother, near to Winchester, and became a country gentleman, and kept a pack of beagles, and never came to Court again in King Charles's time.
But his uncle Castlewood was never reconciled to him; nor, for some time afterwards, his cousin whom he had refused.
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By places, pensions, bounties from France, and gifts from the King, whilst his daughter was in favor, Lord Castlewood, who had spent in the Royal service his youth and fortune, did not retrieve the latter quite, and never cared to visit Castlewood, or repair it, since the death of his son, but managed to keep a good house, and figure at Court, and to save a considerable sum of ready money.