Tantissimi classici della letteratura e della cultura politica,
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Abbe Prevost - MANON LESCAUT
Alcott, Louisa M. - AN OLDFASHIONED GIRL
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE MEN
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE WOMEN
Alcott, Louisa May - JACK AND JILL
Alcott, Louisa May - LIFE LETTERS AND JOURNALS
Andersen, Hans Christian - FAIRY TALES
Anonimo - BEOWULF
Ariosto, Ludovico - ORLANDO ENRAGED
Aurelius, Marcus - MEDITATIONS
Austen, Jane - EMMA
Austen, Jane - MANSFIELD PARK
Austen, Jane - NORTHANGER ABBEY
Austen, Jane - PERSUASION
Austen, Jane - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Austen, Jane - SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Authors, Various - LETTERS OF ABELARD AND HELOISE
Authors, Various - SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS
Autori Vari - THE WORLD ENGLISH BIBLE
Bacon, Francis - THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING
Balzac, Honore de - EUGENIE GRANDET
Balzac, Honore de - FATHER GORIOT
Baroness Orczy - THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
Barrie, J. M. - PETER AND WENDY
Barrie, James M. - PETER PAN
Bierce, Ambrose - THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY
Blake, William - SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE
Boccaccio, Giovanni - DECAMERONE
Brent, Linda - INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL
Bronte, Charlotte - JANE EYRE
Bronte, Charlotte - VILLETTE
Buchan, John - GREENMANTLE
Buchan, John - MR STANDFAST
Buchan, John - THE 39 STEPS
Bunyan, John - THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
Burckhardt, Jacob - THE CIVILIZATION OF THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
Burnett, Frances H. - A LITTLE PRINCESS
Burnett, Frances H. - LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY
Burnett, Frances H. - THE SECRET GARDEN
Butler, Samuel - EREWHON
Carlyle, Thomas - PAST AND PRESENT
Carlyle, Thomas - THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
Cellini, Benvenuto - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Cervantes - DON QUIXOTE
Chaucer, Geoffrey - THE CANTERBURY TALES
Chesterton, G. K. - A SHORT HISTORY OF ENGLAND
Chesterton, G. K. - THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE
Chesterton, G. K. - THE INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY
Chesterton, G. K. - THE WISDOM OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - TWELVE TYPES
Chesterton, G. K. - WHAT I SAW IN AMERICA
Chesterton, Gilbert K. - HERETICS
Chopin, Kate - AT FAULT
Chopin, Kate - BAYOU FOLK
Chopin, Kate - THE AWAKENING AND SELECTED SHORT STORIES
Clark Hall, John R. - A CONCISE ANGLOSAXON DICTIONARY
Clarkson, Thomas - AN ESSAY ON THE SLAVERY AND COMMERCE OF THE HUMAN SPECIES
Clausewitz, Carl von - ON WAR
Coleridge, Herbert - A DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST OR OLDEST WORDS IN THE ENGLISH
Coleridge, S. T. - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Coleridge, S. T. - HINTS TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF A MORE COMPREHENSIVE THEORY
Coleridge, S. T. - THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
Collins, Wilkie - THE MOONSTONE
Collodi - PINOCCHIO
Conan Doyle, Arthur - A STUDY IN SCARLET
Conan Doyle, Arthur - MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE SIGN OF THE FOUR
Conrad, Joseph - HEART OF DARKNESS
Conrad, Joseph - LORD JIM
Conrad, Joseph - NOSTROMO
Conrad, Joseph - THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS
Conrad, Joseph - TYPHOON
Crane, Stephen - LAST WORDS
Crane, Stephen - MAGGIE
Crane, Stephen - THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
Crane, Stephen - WOUNDS IN THE RAIN
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: HELL
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PARADISE
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PURGATORY
Darwin, Charles - THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN
Darwin, Charles - THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
Defoe, Daniel - A GENERAL HISTORY OF THE PYRATES
Defoe, Daniel - A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR
Defoe, Daniel - CAPTAIN SINGLETON
Defoe, Daniel - MOLL FLANDERS
Defoe, Daniel - ROBINSON CRUSOE
Defoe, Daniel - THE COMPLETE ENGLISH TRADESMAN
Defoe, Daniel - THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE
Deledda, Grazia - AFTER THE DIVORCE
Dickens, Charles - A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Dickens, Charles - A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Dickens, Charles - BLEAK HOUSE
Dickens, Charles - DAVID COPPERFIELD
Dickens, Charles - DONBEY AND SON
Dickens, Charles - GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Dickens, Charles - HARD TIMES
Dickens, Charles - LETTERS VOLUME 1
Dickens, Charles - LITTLE DORRIT
Dickens, Charles - MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT
Dickens, Charles - NICHOLAS NICKLEBY
Dickens, Charles - OLIVER TWIST
Dickens, Charles - OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
Dickens, Charles - PICTURES FROM ITALY
Dickens, Charles - THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Dickens, Charles - THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
Dickens, Charles - THE PICKWICK PAPERS
Dickinson, Emily - POEMS
Dostoevsky, Fyodor - CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
Du Maurier, George - TRILBY
Dumas, Alexandre - THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Dumas, Alexandre - THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
Dumas, Alexandre - THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Eliot, George - DANIEL DERONDA
Eliot, George - MIDDLEMARCH
Eliot, George - SILAS MARNER
Eliot, George - THE MILL ON THE FLOSS
Engels, Frederick - THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING-CLASS IN ENGLAND IN 1844
Equiano - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Esopo - FABLES
Fenimore Cooper, James - THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Fielding, Henry - TOM JONES
France, Anatole - THAIS
France, Anatole - THE GODS ARE ATHIRST
France, Anatole - THE LIFE OF JOAN OF ARC
France, Anatole - THE SEVEN WIVES OF BLUEBEARD
Frank Baum, L. - THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ
Frank Baum, L. - THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
Franklin, Benjamin - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Frazer, James George - THE GOLDEN BOUGH
Freud, Sigmund - DREAM PSYCHOLOGY
Galsworthy, John - COMPLETE PLAYS
Galsworthy, John - STRIFE
Galsworthy, John - STUDIES AND ESSAYS
Galsworthy, John - THE FIRST AND THE LAST
Galsworthy, John - THE FORSYTE SAGA
Galsworthy, John - THE LITTLE MAN
Galsworthy, John - THE SILVER BOX
Galsworthy, John - THE SKIN GAME
Gaskell, Elizabeth - CRANFORD
Gaskell, Elizabeth - MARY BARTON
Gaskell, Elizabeth - NORTH AND SOUTH
Gaskell, Elizabeth - THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE
Gay, John - THE BEGGAR'S OPERA
Gentile, Maria - THE ITALIAN COOK BOOK
Gilbert and Sullivan - PLAYS
Goethe - FAUST
Gogol - DEAD SOULS
Goldsmith, Oliver - SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER
Goldsmith, Oliver - THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD
Grahame, Kenneth - THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
Grimm, Brothers - FAIRY TALES
Harding, A. R. - GINSENG AND OTHER MEDICINAL PLANTS
Hardy, Thomas - A CHANGED MAN AND OTHER TALES
Hardy, Thomas - FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Hardy, Thomas - JUDE THE OBSCURE
Hardy, Thomas - TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES
Hardy, Thomas - THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE
Hartley, Cecil B. - THE GENTLEMEN'S BOOK OF ETIQUETTE
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - LITTLE MASTERPIECES
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - THE SCARLET LETTER
Henry VIII - LOVE LETTERS TO ANNE BOLEYN
Henry, O. - CABBAGES AND KINGS
Henry, O. - SIXES AND SEVENS
Henry, O. - THE FOUR MILLION
Henry, O. - THE TRIMMED LAMP
Henry, O. - WHIRLIGIGS
Hindman Miller, Gustavus - TEN THOUSAND DREAMS INTERPRETED
Hobbes, Thomas - LEVIATHAN
Homer - THE ILIAD
Homer - THE ODYSSEY
Hornaday, William T. - THE EXTERMINATION OF THE AMERICAN BISON
Hume, David - A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE
Hume, David - AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
Hume, David - DIALOGUES CONCERNING NATURAL RELIGION
Ibsen, Henrik - A DOLL'S HOUSE
Ibsen, Henrik - AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
Ibsen, Henrik - GHOSTS
Ibsen, Henrik - HEDDA GABLER
Ibsen, Henrik - JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN
Ibsen, Henrik - ROSMERHOLM
Ibsen, Henrik - THE LADY FROM THE SEA
Ibsen, Henrik - THE MASTER BUILDER
Ibsen, Henrik - WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN
Irving, Washington - THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
James, Henry - ITALIAN HOURS
James, Henry - THE ASPERN PAPERS
James, Henry - THE BOSTONIANS
James, Henry - THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
James, Henry - THE TURN OF THE SCREW
James, Henry - WASHINGTON SQUARE
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN IN A BOAT
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN ON THE BUMMEL
Jevons, Stanley - POLITICAL ECONOMY
Johnson, Samuel - A GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH TONGUE
Jonson, Ben - THE ALCHEMIST
Jonson, Ben - VOLPONE
Joyce, James - A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
Joyce, James - CHAMBER MUSIC
Joyce, James - DUBLINERS
Joyce, James - ULYSSES
Keats, John - ENDYMION
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1817
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1820
King James - THE BIBLE
Kipling, Rudyard - CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS
Kipling, Rudyard - INDIAN TALES
Kipling, Rudyard - JUST SO STORIES
Kipling, Rudyard - KIM
Kipling, Rudyard - THE JUNGLE BOOK
Kipling, Rudyard - THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
Kipling, Rudyard - THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK
Lawrence, D. H - THE RAINBOW
Lawrence, D. H - THE WHITE PEACOCK
Lawrence, D. H - TWILIGHT IN ITALY
Lawrence, D. H. - AARON'S ROD
Lawrence, D. H. - SONS AND LOVERS
Lawrence, D. H. - THE LOST GIRL
Lawrence, D. H. - WOMEN IN LOVE
Lear, Edward - BOOK OF NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - LAUGHABLE LYRICS
Lear, Edward - MORE NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - NONSENSE SONG
Leblanc, Maurice - ARSENE LUPIN VS SHERLOCK HOLMES
Leblanc, Maurice - THE ADVENTURES OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE CONFESSIONS OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE HOLLOW NEEDLE
Leblanc, Maurice - THE RETURN OF ARSENE LUPIN
Lehmann, Lilli - HOW TO SING
Leroux, Gaston - THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER
Leroux, Gaston - THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROOM
Leroux, Gaston - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
London, Jack - MARTIN EDEN
London, Jack - THE CALL OF THE WILD
London, Jack - WHITE FANG
Machiavelli, Nicolo' - THE PRINCE
Malthus, Thomas - PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION
Mansfield, Katherine - THE GARDEN PARTY AND OTHER STORIES
Marlowe, Christopher - THE JEW OF MALTA
Marryat, Captain - THE CHILDREN OF THE NEW FOREST
Maupassant, Guy De - BEL AMI
Melville, Hermann - MOBY DICK
Melville, Hermann - TYPEE
Mill, John Stuart - PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY
Milton, John - PARADISE LOST
Mitra, S. M. - HINDU TALES FROM THE SANSKRIT
Montaigne, Michel de - ESSAYS
Montgomery, Lucy Maud - ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
More, Thomas - UTOPIA
Nesbit, E. - FIVE CHILDREN AND IT
Nesbit, E. - THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET
Nesbit, E. - THE RAILWAY CHILDREN
Nesbit, E. - THE STORY OF THE AMULET
Newton, Isaac - OPTICKS
Nietsche, Friedrich - BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
Nietsche, Friedrich - THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
Nightingale, Florence - NOTES ON NURSING
Owen, Wilfred - POEMS
Ozaki, Yei Theodora - JAPANESE FAIRY TALES
Pascal, Blaise - PENSEES
Pellico, Silvio - MY TEN YEARS IMPRISONMENT
Perrault, Charles - FAIRY TALES
Pirandello, Luigi - THREE PLAYS
Plato - THE REPUBLIC
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 1
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 2
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 3
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 4
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 5
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
Potter, Beatrix - THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
Proust, Marcel - SWANN'S WAY
Radcliffe, Ann - A SICILIAN ROMANCE
Ricardo, David - ON THE PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY AND TAXATION
Richardson, Samuel - PAMELA
Rider Haggard, H. - ALLAN QUATERMAIN
Rider Haggard, H. - KING SOLOMON'S MINES
Rousseau, J. J. - THE ORIGIN AND FOUNDATION OF INEQUALITY AMONG MANKIND
Ruskin, John - THE SEVEN LAMPS OF ARCHITECTURE
Schiller, Friedrich - THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN
Schiller, Friedrich - THE PICCOLOMINI
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE ART OF CONTROVERSY
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE WISDOM OF LIFE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Scott, Walter - IVANHOE
Scott, Walter - QUENTIN DURWARD
Scott, Walter - ROB ROY
Scott, Walter - THE BRIDE OF LAMMERMOOR
Scott, Walter - WAVERLEY
Sedgwick, Anne Douglas - THE THIRD WINDOW
Sewell, Anna - BLACK BEAUTY
Shakespeare, William - COMPLETE WORKS
Shakespeare, William - HAMLET
Shakespeare, William - OTHELLO
Shakespeare, William - ROMEO AND JULIET
Shelley, Mary - FRANKENSTEIN
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - A DEFENCE OF POETRY AND OTHER ESSAYS
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Sheridan, Richard B. - THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL
Sienkiewicz, Henryk - QUO VADIS
Smith, Adam - THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
Smollett, Tobias - TRAVELS THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY
Spencer, Herbert - ESSAYS ON EDUCATION AND KINDRED SUBJECTS
Spyri, Johanna - HEIDI
Sterne, Laurence - A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
Sterne, Laurence - TRISTRAM SHANDY
Stevenson, Robert Louis - A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES
Stevenson, Robert Louis - ESSAYS IN THE ART OF WRITING
Stevenson, Robert Louis - KIDNAPPED
Stevenson, Robert Louis - NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE BLACK ARROW
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE
Stevenson, Robert Louis - TREASURE ISLAND
Stoker, Bram - DRACULA
Strindberg, August - LUCKY PEHR
Strindberg, August - MASTER OLOF
Strindberg, August - THE RED ROOM
Strindberg, August - THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
Strindberg, August - THERE ARE CRIMES AND CRIMES
Swift, Jonathan - A MODEST PROPOSAL
Swift, Jonathan - A TALE OF A TUB
Swift, Jonathan - GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
Swift, Jonathan - THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS AND OTHER SHORT PIECES
Tagore, Rabindranath - FRUIT GATHERING
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE GARDENER
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE HUNGRY STONES AND OTHER STORIES
Thackeray, William - BARRY LYNDON
Thackeray, William - VANITY FAIR
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE BOOK OF SNOBS
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE ROSE AND THE RING
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE VIRGINIANS
Thoreau, Henry David - WALDEN
Tolstoi, Leo - A LETTER TO A HINDU
Tolstoy, Lev - ANNA KARENINA
Tolstoy, Lev - WAR AND PEACE
Trollope, Anthony - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Trollope, Anthony - BARCHESTER TOWERS
Trollope, Anthony - FRAMLEY PARSONAGE
Trollope, Anthony - THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS
Trollope, Anthony - THE MAN WHO KEPT HIS MONEY IN A BOX
Trollope, Anthony - THE WARDEN
Trollope, Anthony - THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
Twain, Mark - LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI
Twain, Mark - SPEECHES
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
Twain, Mark - THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
Vari, Autori - THE MAGNA CARTA
Verga, Giovanni - SICILIAN STORIES
Verne, Jules - 20000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS
Verne, Jules - A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
Verne, Jules - ALL AROUND THE MOON
Verne, Jules - AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
Verne, Jules - FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON
Verne, Jules - FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON
Verne, Jules - MICHAEL STROGOFF
Verne, Jules - THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
Voltaire - PHILOSOPHICAL DICTIONARY
Vyasa - MAHABHARATA
Wallace, Edgar - SANDERS OF THE RIVER
Wallace, Edgar - THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
Wallace, Lew - BEN HUR
Webster, Jean - DADDY LONG LEGS
Wedekind, Franz - THE AWAKENING OF SPRING
Wells, H. G. - KIPPS
Wells, H. G. - THE INVISIBLE MAN
Wells, H. G. - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU
Wells, H. G. - THE STOLEN BACILLUS AND OTHER INCIDENTS
Wells, H. G. - THE TIME MACHINE
Wells, H. G. - THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
Wells, H. G. - WHAT IS COMING
Wharton, Edith - THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
White, Andrew Dickson - FIAT MONEY INFLATION IN FRANCE
Wilde, Oscar - A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Wilde, Oscar - AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Wilde, Oscar - DE PROFUNDIS
Wilde, Oscar - LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Wilde, Oscar - SALOME
Wilde, Oscar - SELECTED POEMS
Wilde, Oscar - THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL
Wilde, Oscar - THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
Wilde, Oscar - THE HAPPY PRINCE AND OTHER TALES
Wilde, Oscar - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Wilde, Oscar - THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY
Wilde, Oscar - THE SOUL OF MAN
Wilson, Epiphanius - SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST
Wollstonecraft, Mary - A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
Woolf, Virgina - NIGHT AND DAY
Woolf, Virgina - THE VOYAGE OUT
Woolf, Virginia - JACOB'S ROOM
Woolf, Virginia - MONDAY OR TUESDAY
Wordsworth, William - POEMS
Wordsworth, William - PROSE WORKS
Zola, Emile - THERESE RAQUIN
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ISTRUZIONI D'USO DETTAGLIATE
THE VIRGINIANS - A TALE OF THE LAST CENTURY
By WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY
TO SIR HENRY MADISON, Chief Justice of Madras, this book is inscribed by
an affectionate old friend.
London, September 7, 1859.
I In which one of the Virginians visits Home
II In which Harry has to pay for his Supper
III The Esmonds in Virginia
IV In which Harry finds a New Relative
V Family Jars
VI The Virginians begin to see the World
VII Preparations for War
VIII In which George suffers from a common Disease
X A Hot Afternoon
XI Wherein the two Georges prepare for Blood
XII News from the Camp
XIII Profitless Quest
XIV Harry in England
XV A Sunday at Castlewood
XVI In which Gumbo shows Skill with the Old English Weapon
XVII On the Scent
XVIII An Old Story
XIX Containing both Love and Luck
XX Facilis Descensus
XXII In Hospital
XXIV From Oakhurst to Tunbridge
XXV New Acquaintances
XXVI In which we are at a very great distance from Oakhurst
XXVII Plenum Opus Aleae
XXVIII The Way of the World
XXIX In which Harry continues to enjoy Otium sine Dignitate
XXX Contains a Letter to Virginia
XXXI The Bear and the Leader
XXXII In which a Family Coach is ordered
XXXIII Contains a Soliloquy by Hester
XXXIV In which Mr. Warrington treats the Company with Tea and a Ball
XXXVI Which seems to mean Mischief
XXXVII In which various Matches are fought
XXXVIII Sampson and the Philistines XXXIX Harry to the Rescue
XL In which Harry pays off an Old Debt, and incurs some New Ones
XLI Rake's Progress
XLII Fortunatus Nimium
XLIII In which Harry flies high
XLIV Contains what might, perhaps, have been expected
XLV In which Harry finds two Uncles
XLVI Chains and Slavery
XLVII Visitors in Trouble
XLVIII An Apparition
XLIX Friends in Need
L Contains a Great deal of the Finest Morality
LI Conticuere Omnes
LII Intentique Ora tenebant
LIII Where we remain at the Court End of the Town
LIV During which Harry sits smoking his Pipe at Home
LV Between Brothers
LVII In which Harry's Nose continues to be put out of joint
LVIII Where we do what Cats may do
LIX In which we are treated to a Play
LX Which treats of Macbeth, a Supper, and a Pretty Kettle of Fish
LXI In which the Prince marches up the Hill and down again
LXII Arma Virumque
LXIV In which Harry lives to fight another day
LXV Soldier's Return
LXVI In which we go a-courting
LXVII In which a Tragedy is acted, and two more begun
LXVIII In which Harry goes Westward
LXIX A Little Innocent
LXX In which Cupid plays a considerable part
LXXI With Favours
LXXII (From the Warrington MS.) In which my Lady is on the Top
of the Ladder
LXXIII We keep Christmas at Castlewood. 1759
LXXIV News from Canada
LXXV The Course of True Love
LXXVI Informs us how Mr. Warrington jumped into a Landau
LXXVII And how everybody got out again
LXXVIII Pyramus and Thisbe
LXXIX Containing both Comedy and Tragedy
LXXXI Res Angusta Domi
LXXXII Mile's Moidore
LXXXIII Troubles and Consolations
LXXXIV In which Harry submits to the Common Lot
LXXXV Inveni Portum
LXXXVI At Home
LXXXVII The Last of God Save the King LXXXVIII Yankeee Doodle comes to
Town LXXXIX A Colonel without a Regiment
XC In which we both fight and run away
XCI Satis Pugnae
XCII Under Vine and Fig-Tree
CHAPTER I. In which one of the Virginians visits home
On the library wall of one of the most famous writers of America, there
hang two crossed swords, which his relatives wore in the great War of
Independence. The one sword was gallantly drawn in the service of
the king, the other was the weapon of a brave and honoured republican
soldier. The possessor of the harmless trophy has earned for himself a
name alike honoured in his ancestors' country and his own, where genius
such as his has always a peaceful welcome.
The ensuing history reminds me of yonder swords in the historian's study
at Boston. In the Revolutionary War, the subjects of this story, natives
of America, and children of the Old Dominion, found themselves engaged
on different sides in the quarrel, coming together peaceably at its
conclusion, as brethren should, their love ever having materially
diminished, however angrily the contest divided them. The colonel in
scarlet, and the general in blue and buff, hang side by side in the
wainscoted parlour of the Warringtons, in England, where a descendant
of one of the brothers has shown their portraits to me, with many of
the letters which they wrote, and the books and papers which belonged
to them. In the Warrington family, and to distinguish them from other
personages of that respectable race, these effigies have always gone
by the name of "The Virginians"; by which name their memoirs are
They both of them passed much time in Europe. They lived just on the
verge of that Old World from which we are drifting away so swiftly. They
were familiar with many varieties of men and fortune. Their lot brought
them into contact with personages of whom we read only in books, who
seem alive, as I read in the Virginians' letters regarding them, whose
voices I almost fancy I hear, as I read the yellow pages written scores
of years since, blotted with the boyish tears of disappointed passion,
dutifully despatched after famous balls and ceremonies of the grand Old
World, scribbled by camp-fires, or out of prison; nay, there is one that
has a bullet through it, and of which a greater portion of the text is
blotted out with the blood of the bearer.
These letters had probably never been preserved, but for the
affectionate thrift of one person, to whom they never failed in their
dutiful correspondence. Their mother kept all her sons' letters, from
the very first, in which Henry, the younger of the twins, sends his
love to his brother, then ill of a sprain at his grandfather's house of
Castlewood, in Virginia, and thanks his grandpapa for a horse which he
rides with his tutor, down to the last, "from my beloved son," which
reached her but a few hours before her death. The venerable lady never
visited Europe, save once with her parents in the reign of George the
Second; took refuge in Richmond when the house of Castlewood was burned
down during the war; and was called Madam Esmond ever after that event;
never caring much for the name or family of Warrington, which she held
in very slight estimation as compared to her own.
The letters of the Virginians, as the reader will presently see, from
specimens to be shown to him, are by no means full. They are hints
rather than descriptions--indications and outlines chiefly: it may be,
that the present writer has mistaken the forms, and filled in the colour
wrongly: but, poring over the documents, I have tried to imagine the
situation of the writer, where he was, and by what persons surrounded. I
have drawn the figures as I fancied they were; set down conversations
as I think I might have heard them; and so, to the best of my ability,
endeavoured to revivify the bygone times and people. With what success
the task has been accomplished, with what profit or amusement to
himself, the kind reader will please to determine.
One summer morning in the year 1756, and in the reign of his Majesty
King George the Second, the Young Rachel, Virginian ship, Edward Franks
master, came up the Avon river on her happy return from her annual
voyage to the Potomac. She proceeded to Bristol with the tide, and
moored in the stream as near as possible to Trail's wharf, to which she
was consigned. Mr. Trail, her part owner, who could survey his ship from
his counting-house windows, straightway took boat and came up her side.
The owner of the Young Rachel, a large grave man in his own hair, and of
a demure aspect, gave the hand of welcome to Captain Franks, who stood
on his deck, and congratulated the captain upon the speedy and fortunate
voyage which he had made. And, remarking that we ought to be thankful
to Heaven for its mercies, he proceeded presently to business by asking
particulars relative to cargo and passengers.
Franks was a pleasant man, who loved a joke. "We have," says he, "but
yonder ugly negro boy, who is fetching the trunks, and a passenger who
has the state cabin to himself."
Mr. Trail looked as if he would have preferred more mercies from Heaven.
"Confound you, Franks, and your luck! The Duke William, which came in
last week, brought fourteen, and she is not half of our tonnage."
"And this passenger, who has the whole cabin, don't pay nothin',"
continued the Captain. "Swear now, it will do you good, Mr. Trail,
indeed it will. I have tried the medicine."
"A passenger take the whole cabin and not pay? Gracious mercy, are you a
fool, Captain Franks?"
"Ask the passenger himself, for here he comes." And, as the master
spoke, a young man of some nineteen years of age came up the hatchway.
He had a cloak and a sword under his arm, and was dressed in deep
mourning, and called out, "Gumbo, you idiot, why don't you fetch the
baggage out of the cabin? Well, shipmate, our journey is ended. You will
see all the little folks to-night whom you have been talking about. Give
my love to Polly, and Betty, and Little Tommy; not forgetting my duty to
Mrs. Franks. I thought, yesterday, the voyage would never be done, and
now I am almost sorry it is over. That little berth in my cabin looks
very comfortable now I am going to leave it."
Mr. Trail scowled at the young passenger who had paid no money for
his passage. He scarcely nodded his head to the stranger, when Captain
Franks said, "This here gentleman is Mr. Trail, sir, whose name you have
"It's pretty well known in Bristol, sir," says Mr. Trail, majestically.
"And this is Mr. Warrington, Madam Esmond Warrington's son, of
Castlewood," continued the Captain.
The British merchant's hat was instantly off his head, and the owner of
the beaver was making a prodigious number of bows as if a crown prince
were before him.
"Gracious powers, Mr. Warrington! This is a delight, indeed! What a
crowning mercy that your voyage should have been so prosperous! You must
have my boat to go on shore. Let me cordially and respectfully welcome
you to England: let me shake your hand as the son of my benefactress and
patroness, Mrs. Esmond Warrington, whose name is known and honoured on
Bristol 'Change, I warrant you. Isn't it, Franks?"
"There's no sweeter tobacco comes from Virginia, and no better brand
than the Three Castles," says Mr. Franks, drawing a great brass
tobacco-box from his pocket, and thrusting a quid into his jolly mouth.
"You don't know what a comfort it is, sir! you'll take to it, bless you,
as you grow older. Won't he, Mr. Trail? I wish you had ten shiploads of
it instead of one. You might have ten shiploads: I've told Madam Esmond
so; I've rode over her plantation; she treats me like a lord when I go
to the house; she don't grudge me the best of wine, or keep me cooling
my heels in the counting-room as some folks does" (with a look at Mr.
Trail). "She is a real born lady, she is; and might have a thousand
hogsheads as easy as her hundreds, if there were but hands enough."
"I have lately engaged in the Guinea trade, and could supply her
ladyship with any number of healthy young negroes before next fall,"
said Mr. Trail, obsequiously.
"We are averse to the purchase of negroes from Africa," said the young
gentleman, coldly. "My grandfather and my mother have always objected to
it, and I do not like to think of selling or buying the poor wretches."
"It is for their good, my dear young sir! for their temporal and their
spiritual good!" cried Mr. Trail. "And we purchase the poor creatures
only for their benefit; let me talk this matter over with you at my own
house. I can introduce you to a happy home, a Christian family, and a
British merchant's honest fare. Can't I, Captain Franks?"
"Can't say," growled the Captain. "Never asked me to take bite or sup at
your table. Asked me to psalm-singing once, and to hear Mr. Ward preach:
don't care for them sort of entertainments."
Not choosing to take any notice of this remark, Mr. Trail continued in
his low tone: "Business is business, my dear young sir, and I know,
'tis only my duty, the duty of all of us, to cultivate the fruits of the
earth in their season. As the heir of Lady Esmond's estate--for I speak,
I believe, to the heir of that great property?--"
The young gentleman made a bow.
"--I would urge upon you, at the very earliest moment, the propriety,
the duty of increasing the ample means with which Heaven has blessed
you. As an honest factor, I could not do otherwise; as a prudent man,
should I scruple to speak of what will tend to your profit and mine? No,
my dear Mr. George."
"My name is not George; my name is Henry," said the young man as he
turned his head away, and his eyes filled with tears.
"Gracious powers! what do you mean, sir? Did you not say you were my
lady's heir? and is not George Esmond Warrington, Esq.----"
"Hold your tongue, you fool!" cried Mr. Franks, striking the merchant a
tough blow on his sleek sides, as the young lad turned away. "Don't
you see the young gentleman a-swabbing his eyes, and note his black
"What do you mean, Captain Franks, by laying your hand on your owners?
Mr. George is the heir; I know the Colonel's will well enough."
"Mr. George is there," said the Captain, pointing with his thumb to the
"Where?" cries the factor.
"Mr. George is there!" reiterated the Captain, again lifting up his
finger towards the topmast, or the sky beyond. "He is dead a year, sir,
come next 9th of July. He would go out with General Braddock on that
dreadful business to the Belle Riviere. He and a thousand more never
came back again. Every man of them was murdered as he fell. You know
the Indian way, Mr. Trail?" And here the Captain passed his hand rapidly
round his head. "Horrible! ain't it, sir? horrible! He was a fine young
man, the very picture of this one; only his hair was black, which is now
hanging in a bloody Indian wigwam. He was often and often on board of
the Young Rachel, and would have his chests of books broke open on deck
before they was landed. He was a shy and silent young gent: not like
this one, which was the merriest, wildest young fellow, full of his
songs and fun. He took on dreadful at the news; went to his bed, had
that fever which lays so many of 'em by the heels along that swampy
Potomac, but he's got better on the voyage: the voyage makes every one
better; and, in course, the young gentleman can't be for ever a-crying
after a brother who dies and leaves him a great fortune. Ever since we
sighted Ireland he has been quite gay and happy, only he would go off at
times, when he was most merry, saying, 'I wish my dearest Georgy
could enjoy this here sight along with me, and when you mentioned
the t'other's name, you see, he couldn't stand it.'" And the honest
Captain's own eyes filled with tears, as he turned and looked towards
the object of his compassion.
Mr. Trail assumed a lugubrious countenance befitting the tragic
compliment with which he prepared to greet the young Virginian; but the
latter answered him very curtly, declined his offers of hospitality, and
only stayed in Mr. Trail's house long enough to drink a glass of wine
and to take up a sum of money of which he stood in need. But he and
Captain Franks parted on the very warmest terms, and all the little crew
of the Young Rachel cheered from the ship's side as their passenger left
Again and again Harry Warrington and his brother had pored over the
English map, and determined upon the course which they should take
upon arriving at Home. All Americans who love the old country--and what
gently-nurtured man or woman of Anglo-Saxon race does not?--have ere
this rehearsed their English travels, and visited in fancy the spots
with which their hopes, their parents' fond stories, their friends'
descriptions, have rendered them familiar. There are few things to me
more affecting in the history of the quarrel which divided the two great
nations than the recurrence of that word Home, as used by the younger
towards the elder country. Harry Warrington had his chart laid out.
Before London, and its glorious temples of St. Paul's and St. Peter's;
its grim Tower, where the brave and loyal had shed their blood, from
Wallace down to Balmerino and Kilmarnock, pitied by gentle hearts;
before the awful window of Whitehall, whence the martyr Charles
had issued, to kneel once more, and then ascend to Heaven;--before
Playhouses, Parks, and Palaces, wondrous resorts of wit, pleasure, and
splendour;--before Shakspeare's Resting-place under the tall spire which
rises by Avon, amidst the sweet Warwickshire pastures;--before Derby,
and Falkirk, and Culloden, where the cause of honour and loyalty had
fallen, it might be to rise no more:--before all these points of their
pilgrimage there was one which the young Virginian brothers held even
more sacred, and that was the home of their family,--that old Castlewood
in Hampshire, about which their parents had talked so fondly. From
Bristol to Bath, from Bath to Salisbury, to Winchester, to Hexton, to
Home; they knew the way, and had mapped the journey many and many a
We must fancy our American traveller to be a handsome young fellow,
whose suit of sables only made him look the more interesting. The plump
landlady from her bar, surrounded by her china and punch-bowls, and
stout gilded bottles of strong waters, and glittering rows of silver
flagons, looked kindly after the young gentleman as he passed through
the inn-hall from his post-chaise, and the obsequious chamberlain bowed
him upstairs to the Rose or the Dolphin. The trim chambermaid dropped
her best curtsey for his fee, and Gumbo, in the inn-kitchen, where the
townsfolk drank their mug of ale by the great fire, bragged of his young
master's splendid house in Virginia, and of the immense wealth to which
he was heir. The postchaise whirled the traveller through the most
delightful home-scenery his eyes had ever lighted on. If English
landscape is pleasant to the American of the present day, who must needs
contrast the rich woods and glowing pastures, and picturesque ancient
villages of the old country with the rough aspect of his own, how much
pleasanter must Harry Warrington's course have been, whose journeys had
lain through swamps and forest solitudes from one Virginian ordinary
to another log-house at the end of the day's route, and who now lighted
suddenly upon the busy, happy, splendid scene of English summer? And the
highroad, a hundred years ago, was not that grass-grown desert of the
present time. It was alive with constant travel and traffic: the country
towns and inns swarmed with life and gaiety. The ponderous waggon, with
its bells and plodding team; the light post-coach that achieved the
journey from the White Hart, Salisbury, to the Swan with Two Necks,
London, in two days; the strings of packhorses that had not yet left the
road; my lord's gilt postchaise-and-six, with the outriders galloping
on ahead; the country squire's great coach and heavy Flanders mares; the
farmers trotting to market, or the parson jolting to the cathedral town
on Dumpling, his wife behind on the pillion--all these crowding sights
and brisk people greeted the young traveller on his summer journey.
Hodge, the farmer's boy, took off his hat, and Polly, the milkmaid,
bobbed a curtsey, as the chaise whirled over the pleasant village-green,
and the white-headed children lifted their chubby faces and cheered.
The church-spires glistened with gold, the cottage-gables glared in
sunshine, the great elms murmured in summer, or cast purple shadows over
the grass. Young Warrington never had such a glorious day, or witnessed
a scene so delightful. To be nineteen years of age, with high health,
high spirits, and a full purse, to be making your first journey, and
rolling through the country in a postchaise at nine miles an hour--O
happy youth! almost it makes one young to think of him! But Harry was
too eager to give more than a passing glance at the Abbey at Bath,
or gaze with more than a moment's wonder at the mighty Minster at
Salisbury. Until he beheld Home it seemed to him he had no eyes for any
At last the young gentleman's postchaise drew up at the rustic inn on
Castlewood Green, of which his grandsire had many a time talked to him,
and which bears as its ensign, swinging from an elm near the inn porch,
the Three Castles of the Esmond family. They had a sign, too, over the
gateway of Castlewood House, bearing the same cognisance. This was the
hatchment of Francis, Lord Castlewood, who now lay in the chapel hard
by, his son reigning in his stead.
Harry Warrington had often heard of Francis, Lord Castlewood. It was
for Frank's sake, and for his great love towards the boy, that Colonel
Esmond determined to forgo his claim to the English estates and rank of
his family, and retired to Virginia. The young man had led a wild youth;
he had fought with distinction under Marlborough; he had married a
foreign lady, and most lamentably adopted her religion. At one time he
had been a Jacobite (for loyalty to the sovereign was ever hereditary
in the Esmond family), but had received some slight or injury from the
Prince, which had caused him to rally to King George's side. He had,
on his second marriage, renounced the errors of Popery which he had
temporarily embraced, and returned to the Established Church again. He
had, from his constant support of the King and the Minister of the time
being, been rewarded by his Majesty George II., and died an English
peer. An earl's coronet now figured on the hatchment which hung over
Castlewood gate--and there was an end of the jolly gentleman. Between
Colonel Esmond, who had become his stepfather, and his lordship there
had ever been a brief but affectionate correspondence--on the Colonel's
part especially, who loved his stepson, and had a hundred stories to
tell about him to his grandchildren. Madam Esmond, however, said she
could see nothing in her half-brother. He was dull, except when he drank
too much wine, and that, to be sure, was every day at dinner. Then
he was boisterous, and his conversation not pleasant. He was
good-looking--yes--a fine tall stout animal; she had rather her boys
should follow a different model. In spite of the grandfather's encomium
of the late lord, the boys had no very great respect for their kinsman's
memory. The lads and their mother were staunch Jacobites, though having
every respect for his present Majesty; but right was right, and nothing
could make their hearts swerve from their allegiance to the descendants
of the martyr Charles.
With a beating heart Harry Warrington walked from the inn towards
the house where his grandsire's youth had been passed. The little
village-green of Castlewood slopes down towards the river, which is
spanned by an old bridge of a single broad arch, and from this the
ground rises gradually towards the house, grey with many gables and
buttresses, and backed by a darkling wood. An old man sate at the wicket
on a stone bench in front of the great arched entrance to the house,
over which the earl's hatchment was hanging. An old dog was crouched at
the man's feet. Immediately above the ancient sentry at the gate was an
open casement with some homely flowers in the window, from behind which
good-humoured girls' faces were peeping. They were watching the young
traveller dressed in black as he walked up gazing towards the castle,
and the ebony attendant who followed the gentleman's steps also
accoutred in mourning. So was he at the gate in mourning, and the girls
when they came out had black ribbons.
To Harry's surprise, the old man accosted him by his name. "You have had
a nice ride to Hexton, Master Harry, and the sorrel carried you well."
"I think you must be Lockwood," said Harry, with rather a tremulous
voice, holding out his hand to the old man. His grandfather had often
told him of Lockwood, and how he had accompanied the Colonel and the
young Viscount in Marlborough's wars forty years ago. The veteran seemed
puzzled by the mark of affection which Harry extended to him. The old
dog gazed at the new-comer, and then went and put his head between his
knees. "I have heard of you often. How did you know my name?"
"They say I forget most things," says the old man, with a smile; "but
I ain't so bad as that quite. Only this mornin', when you went out, my
darter says, 'Father, do you know why you have a black coat on?' 'In
course I know why I have a black coat,' says I. 'My lord is dead. They
say 'twas a foul blow, and Master Frank is my lord now, and Master
Harry'--why, what have you done since you've went out this morning? Why,
you have a-grow'd taller and changed your hair--though I know--I know
One of the young women had tripped out by this time from the porter's
lodge, and dropped the stranger a pretty curtsey. "Grandfather sometimes
does not recollect very well," she said, pointing to her head. "Your
honour seems to have heard of Lockwood?"
"And you, have you never heard of Colonel Francis Esmond?"
"He was Captain and Major in Webb's Foot, and I was with him in two
campaigns, sure enough," cries Lockwood. "Wasn't I, Ponto?"
"The Colonel as married Viscountess Rachel, my late lord's mother? and
went to live amongst the Indians? We have heard of him. Sure we have his
picture in our gallery, and hisself painted it."
"Went to live in Virginia, and died there seven years ago, and I am his
"Lord, your honour! Why, your honour's skin's as white as mine," cries
Molly. "Grandfather, do you hear this? His honour is Colonel Esmond's
grandson that used to send you tobacco, and his honour have come all the
way from Virginia."
"To see you, Lockwood," says the young man, "and the family. I only set
foot on English ground yesterday, and my first visit is for home. I may
see the house, though the family are from home?" Molly dared to say Mrs.
Barker would let his honour see the house, and Harry Warrington made
his way across the court, seeming to know the place as well as if he had
been born there, Miss Molly thought, who followed, accompanied by Mr.
Gumbo making her a profusion of polite bows and speeches.
CHAPTER II. In which Harry has to pay for his Supper
Colonel Esmond's grandson rang for a while at his ancestors' house of
Castlewood, before any one within seemed inclined to notice his summons.
The servant, who at length issued from the door, seemed to be very
little affected by the announcement that the visitor was a relation of
the family. The family was away, and in their absence John cared very
little for their relatives, but was eager to get back to his game at
cards with Thomas in the window-seat. The housekeeper was busy getting
ready for my lord and my lady, who were expected that evening. Only by
strong entreaties could Harry gain leave to see my lady's sitting-room
and the picture-room, where, sure enough, was a portrait of his
grandfather in periwig and breastplate, the counterpart of their picture
in Virginia, and a likeness of his grandmother, as Lady Castlewood, in a
yet earlier habit of Charles II.'s time; her neck bare, her fair golden
hair waving over her shoulders in ringlets which he remembered to have
seen snowy white. From the contemplation of these sights the sulky
housekeeper drove him. Her family was about to arrive. There was my lady
the Countess, and my lord and his brother, and the young ladies, and the
Baroness, who was to have the state bedroom. Who was the Baroness? The
Baroness Bernstein, the young ladies' aunt. Harry wrote down his name
on a paper from his own pocket-book, and laid it on a table in the hall.
"Henry Esmond Warrington, of Castlewood, in Virginia, arrived in England
yesterday--staying at the Three Castles in the village." The lackeys
rose up from their cards to open the door to him, in order to get their
"wails," and Gumbo quitted the bench at the gate, where he had been
talking with old Lockwood, the porter, who took Harry's guinea, hardly
knowing the meaning of the gift. During the visit to the home of his
fathers, Harry had only seen little Polly's countenance that was
the least unselfish or kindly: he walked away, not caring to own how
disappointed he was, and what a damp had been struck upon him by the
aspect of the place. They ought to have known him. Had any of them
ridden up to his house in Virginia, whether the master were present or
absent, the guests would have been made welcome, and, in sight of his
ancestors' hall, he had to go and ask for a dish of bacon and eggs at a
After his dinner, he went to the bridge and sate on it, looking towards
the old house, behind which the sun was descending as the rooks came
cawing home to their nests in the elms. His young fancy pictured to
itself many of the ancestors of whom his mother and grandsire had told
him. He fancied knights and huntsmen crossing the ford;--cavaliers
of King Charles's days; my Lord Castlewood, his grandmother's first
husband, riding out with hawk and hound. The recollection of his dearest
lost brother came back to him as he indulged in these reveries, and
smote him with a pang of exceeding tenderness and longing, insomuch that
the young man hung his head and felt his sorrow renewed for the dear
friend and companion with whom, until of late, all his pleasures and
griefs had been shared. As he sate plunged in his own thoughts, which
were mingled up with the mechanical clinking of the blacksmith's forge
hard by, the noises of the evening, the talk of the rooks, and the
calling of the birds round about--a couple of young men on horseback
dashed over the bridge. One of them, with an oath, called him a fool,
and told him to keep out of the way--the other, who fancied he might
have jostled the foot-passenger, and possibly might have sent him over
the parapet, pushed on more quickly when he reached the other side of
the water, calling likewise to Tom to come on; and the pair of young
gentlemen were up the hill on their way to the house before Harry had
recovered himself from his surprise at their appearance, and wrath at
their behaviour. In a minute or two, this advanced guard was followed by
two livery servants on horseback, who scowled at the young traveller
on the bridge a true British welcome of Curse you, who are you? After
these, in a minute or two, came a coach-and-six, a ponderous vehicle
having need of the horses which drew it, and containing three ladies, a
couple of maids, and an armed man on a seat behind the carriage. Three
handsome pale faces looked out at Harry Warrington as the carriage
passed over the bridge, and did not return the salute which, recognising
the family arms, he gave it. The gentleman behind the carriage glared at
him haughtily. Harry felt terribly alone. He thought he would go back to
Captain Franks. The Rachel and her little tossing cabin seemed a cheery
spot in comparison to that on which he stood. The inn-folks did not know
his name of Warrington. They told him that was my lady in the coach,
with her stepdaughter, my Lady Maria, and her daughter, my Lady Fanny;
and the young gentleman in the grey frock was Mr. William, and he with
powder on the chestnut was my lord. It was the latter had sworn the
loudest, and called him a fool; and it was the grey frock which had
nearly galloped Harry into the ditch.
The landlord of the Three Castles had shown Harry a bedchamber, but
he had refused to have his portmanteaux unpacked, thinking that, for a
certainty, the folks of the great house would invite him to theirs. One,
two, three hours passed, and there came no invitation. Harry was fain
to have his trunks open at last, and to call for his slippers and
gown. Just before dark, about two hours after the arrival of the first
carriage, a second chariot with four horses had passed over the bridge,
and a stout, high-coloured lady, with a very dark pair of eyes, had
looked hard at Mr. Warrington. That was the Baroness Bernstein, the
landlady said, my lord's aunt, and Harry remembered the first Lady
Castlewood had come of a German family. Earl, and Countess, and
Baroness, and postillions, and gentlemen, and horses, had all
disappeared behind the castle gate, and Harry was fain to go to bed at
last, in the most melancholy mood and with a cruel sense of neglect and
loneliness in his young heart. He could not sleep, and, besides, ere
long, heard a prodigious noise, and cursing, and giggling, and screaming
from my landlady's bar, which would have served to keep him awake.
Then Gumbo's voice was heard without, remonstrating, "You cannot go in,
sar--my master asleep, sar!" but a shrill voice, with many oaths,
which Harry Warrington recognised, cursed Gumbo for a stupid, negro
woolly-pate, and he was pushed aside, giving entrance to a flood of
oaths into the room, and a young gentleman behind them.
"Beg your pardon, Cousin Warrington," cried the young blasphemer, "are
you asleep? Beg your pardon for riding you over on the bridge. Didn't
know you--course shouldn't have done it--thought it was a lawyer with a
writ--dressed in black, you know. Gad! thought it was Nathan come to nab
me." And Mr. William laughed incoherently. It was evident that he was
excited with liquor.
"You did me great honour to mistake me for a sheriff's-officer, cousin,"
says Harry, with great gravity, sitting up in his tall nightcap.
"Gad! I thought it was Nathan, and was going to send you souse into the
river. But I ask your pardon. You see I had been drinking at the Bell at
Hexton, and the punch is good at the Bell at Hexton. Hullo! you, Davis!
a bowl of punch; d'you hear?"
"I have had my share for to-night, cousin, and I should think you have,"
Harry continues, always in the dignified style.
"You want me to go, Cousin What's-your-name, I see," Mr. William said,
with gravity. "You want me to go, and they want me to come, and I didn't
want to come. I said, I'd see him hanged first,--that's what I said. Why
should I trouble myself to come down all alone of an evening, and look
after a fellow I don't care a pin for? Zackly what I said. Zackly what
Castlewood said. Why the devil should he go down? Castlewood says,
and so said my lady, but the Baroness would have you. It's all the
Baroness's doing, and if she says a thing, it must be done; so you must
just get up and come." Mr. Esmond delivered these words with the most
amiable rapidity and indistinctness, running them into one another, and
tacking about the room as he spoke. But the young Virginian was in
great wrath. "I tell you what, cousin," he cried, "I won't move for the
Countess, or for the Baroness, or for all the cousins in Castlewood."
And when the landlord entered the chamber with the bowl of punch, which
Mr. Esmond had ordered, the young gentleman in bed called out fiercely
to the host, to turn that sot out of the room.
"Sot, you little tobacconist! Sot, you Cherokee!" screams out Mr.
William. "Jump out of bed, and I'll drive my sword through your body.
Why didn't I do it to-day when I took you for a bailiff--a confounded
pettifogging bum-bailiff!" And he went on screeching more oaths and
incoherencies, until the landlord, the drawer, the hostler, and all the
folks of the kitchen were brought to lead him away. After which Harry
Warrington closed his tent round him in sulky wrath, and, no doubt,
finally went fast to sleep.
My landlord was very much more obsequious on the next morning when he
met his young guest, having now fully learned his name and quality.
Other messengers had come from the castle on the previous night to bring
both the young gentlemen home, and poor Mr. William, it appeared, had
returned in a wheelbarrow, being not altogether unaccustomed to that
mode of conveyance. "He never remembers nothin' about it the next day.
He is of a real kind nature, Mr. William," the landlord vowed, "and
the men get crowns and half-crowns from him by saying that he beat them
overnight when he was in liquor. He's the devil when he's tipsy,
Mr. William, but when he is sober he is the very kindest of young
As nothing is unknown to writers of biographies of the present kind, it
may be as well to state what had occurred within the walls of Castlewood
House, whilst Harry Warrington was without, awaiting some token of
recognition from his kinsmen. On their arrival at home the family
had found the paper on which the lad's name was inscribed, and his
appearance occasioned a little domestic council. My Lord Castlewood
supposed that must have been the young gentleman whom they had seen on
the bridge, and as they had not drowned him they must invite him. Let a
man go down with the proper messages, let a servant carry a note. Lady
Fanny thought it would be more civil if one of the brothers would go to
their kinsman, especially considering the original greeting which
they had given. Lord Castlewood had not the slightest objection to his
brother William going--yes, William should go. Upon this Mr. William
said (with a yet stronger expression) that he would be hanged if he
would go. Lady Maria thought the young gentleman whom they had remarked
at the bridge was a pretty fellow enough. Castlewood is dreadfully dull,
I am sure neither of my brothers do anything to make it amusing. He may
be vulgar--no doubt, he is vulgar--but let us see the American. Such was
Lady Maria's opinion. Lady Castlewood was neither for inviting nor for
refusing him, but for delaying. "Wait till your aunt comes, children;
perhaps the Baroness won't like to see the young man; at least, let us
consult her before we ask him." And so the hospitality to be offered by
his nearest kinsfolk to poor Harry Warrington remained yet in abeyance.
At length the equipage of the Baroness Bernstein made its appearance,
and whatever doubt there might be as to the reception of the Virginian
stranger, there was no lack of enthusiasm in this generous family
regarding their wealthy and powerful kinswoman. The state-chamber had
already been prepared for her. The cook had arrived the previous day
with instructions to get ready a supper for her such as her ladyship
liked. The table sparkled with old plate, and was set in the oak
dining-room with the pictures of the family round the walls. There was
the late Viscount, his father, his mother, his sister--these two lovely
pictures. There was his predecessor by Vandyck, and his Viscountess.
There was Colonel Esmond, their relative in Virginia, about whose
grandson the ladies and gentlemen of the Esmond family showed such a
very moderate degree of sympathy.
The feast set before their aunt, the Baroness, was a very good one,
and her ladyship enjoyed it. The supper occupied an hour or two, during
which the whole Castlewood family were most attentive to their guest.
The Countess pressed all the good dishes upon her, of which she freely
partook: the butler no sooner saw her glass empty than he filled it with
champagne: the young folks and their mother kept up the conversation,
not so much by talking, as by listening appropriately to their friend.
She was full of spirits and humour. She seemed to know everybody in
Europe, and about those everybodies the wickedest stories. The Countess
of Castlewood, ordinarily a very demure, severe woman, and a stickler
for the proprieties, smiled at the very worst of these anecdotes; the
girls looked at one another and laughed at the maternal signal; the boys
giggled and roared with especial delight at their sisters' confusion.
They also partook freely of the wine which the butler handed round, nor
did they, or their guest, disdain the bowl of smoking punch, which was
laid on the table after the supper. Many and many a night, the Baroness
said, she had drunk at that table by her father's side. "That was his
place," she pointed to the place where the Countess now sat. She saw
none of the old plate. That was all melted to pay his gambling debts.
She hoped, "Young gentlemen, that you don't play."
"Never, on my word," says Castlewood.
"Never, 'pon honour," says Will--winking at his brother.
The Baroness was very glad to hear they were such good boys. Her face
grew redder with the punch; and she became voluble, might have been
thought coarse, but that times were different, and those critics were
inclined to be especially favourable.
She talked to the boys about their father, their grandfather--other men
and women of the house. "The only man of the family was that," she said,
pointing (with an arm that was yet beautifully round and white) towards
the picture of the military gentleman in the red coat and cuirass, and
great black periwig.
"The Virginian? What is he good for? I always thought he was good for
nothing but to cultivate tobacco and my grandmother," says my lord,
She struck her hand upon the table with an energy that made the glasses
dance. "I say he was the best of you all. There never was one of the
male Esmonds that had more brains than a goose, except him. He was not
fit for this wicked, selfish old world of ours, and he was right to go
and live out of it. Where would your father have been, young people, but
"Was he particularly kind to our papa?" says Lady Maria.
"Old stories, my dear Maria!" cries the Countess. "I am sure my dear
Earl was very kind to him in giving him that great estate in Virginia."
"Since his brother's death, the lad who has been here to-day is heir to
that. Mr. Draper told me so! Peste! I don't know why my father gave up
such a property."
"Who has been here to-day?" asked the Baroness, highly excited.
"Harry Esmond Warrington, of Virginia," my lord answered: "a lad whom
Will nearly pitched into the river, and whom I pressed my lady the
Countess to invite to stay here."
"You mean that one of the Virginian boys has been to Castlewood, and has
not been asked to stay here?"
"There is but one of them, my dear creature," interposes the Earl. "The
other, you know, has just been----"
"For shame, for shame!"
"Oh! it ain't pleasant, I confess, to be se----"
"Do you mean that a grandson of Henry Esmond, the master of this house,
has been here, and none of you have offered him hospitality?"
"Since we didn't know it, and he is staying at the Castles?" interposes
"That he is staying at the Inn, and you are sitting there!" cries the
old lady. "This is too bad--call somebody to me. Get me my hood--I'll go
to the boy myself. Come with me this instant, my Lord Castlewood."
The young man rose up, evidently in wrath. "Madame the Baroness of
Bernstein," he said, "your ladyship is welcome to go; but as for me, I
don't choose to have such words as 'shameful' applied to my conduct. I
won't go and fetch the young gentleman from Virginia, and I propose to
sit here and finish this bowl of punch. Eugene! Don't Eugene me, madam.
I know her ladyship has a great deal of money, which you are desirous
should remain in our amiable family. You want it more than I do. Cringe
for it--I won't." And he sank back in his chair.
The Baroness looked at the family, who held their heads down, and then
at my lord, but this time without any dislike. She leaned over to him
and said rapidly in German, "I had unright when I said the Colonel was
the only man of the family. Thou canst, if thou willest, Eugene." To
which remark my lord only bowed.
"If you do not wish an old woman to go out at this hour of the night,
let William, at least, go and fetch his cousin," said the Baroness.
"The very thing I proposed to him."
"And so did we--and so did we!" cried the daughters in a breath.
"I am sure, I only wanted the dear Baroness's consent!" said their
mother, "and shall be charmed for my part to welcome our young
"Will! Put on thy pattens and get a lantern, and go fetch the
Virginian," said my lord.
"And we will have another bowl of punch when he comes," says William,
who by this time had already had too much. And he went forth--how we
have seen; and how he had more punch; and how ill he succeeded in his
The worthy lady of Castlewood, as she caught sight of young Harry
Warrington by the river-side, must have seen a very handsome and
interesting youth, and very likely had reasons of her own for not
desiring his presence in her family. All mothers are not eager to
encourage the visits of interesting youths of nineteen in families where
there are virgins of twenty. If Harry's acres had been in Norfolk or
Devon, in place of Virginia, no doubt the good Countess would have been
rather more eager in her welcome. Had she wanted him she would have
given him her hand readily enough. If our people of ton are selfish, at
any rate they show they are selfish; and, being cold-hearted, at least
have no hypocrisy of affection.
Why should Lady Castlewood put herself out of the way to welcome the
young stranger? Because he was friendless? Only a simpleton could ever
imagine such a reason as that. People of fashion, like her ladyship, are
friendly to those who have plenty of friends. A poor lad, alone, from a
distant country, with only very moderate means, and those not as yet in
his own power, with uncouth manners very likely, and coarse provincial
habits; was a great lady called upon to put herself out of the way for
such a youth? Allons donc! He was quite as well at the alehouse as at
This, no doubt, was her ladyship's opinion, which her kinswoman, the
Baroness Bernstein, who knew her perfectly well, entirely understood.
The Baroness, too, was a woman of the world, and, possibly, on occasion,
could be as selfish as any other person of fashion. She fully understood
the cause of the deference which all the Castlewood family showed to
her--mother, and daughter, and sons,--and being a woman of great humour,
played upon the dispositions of the various members of this family,
amused herself with their greedinesses, their humiliations, their
artless respect for her money-box, and clinging attachment to her purse.
They were not very rich; Lady Castlewood's own money was settled on
her children. The two elder had inherited nothing but flaxen heads from
their German mother, and a pedigree of prodigious distinction. But
those who had money, and those who had none, were alike eager for the
Baroness's; in this matter the rich are surely quite as greedy as the
So if Madam Bernstein struck her hand on the table, and caused the
glasses and the persons round it to tremble at her wrath, it was because
she was excited with plenty of punch and champagne, which her ladyship
was in the habit of taking freely, and because she may have had a
generous impulse when generous wine warmed her blood, and felt indignant
as she thought of the poor lad yonder, sitting friendless and lonely on
the outside of his ancestors' door; not because she was specially angry
with her relatives, who she knew would act precisely as they had done.
The exhibition of their selfishness and humiliation alike amused her,
as did Castlewood's act of revolt. He was as selfish as the rest of the
family, but not so mean; and, as he candidly stated, he could afford the
luxury of a little independence, having tolerable estate to fall back
Madam Bernstein was an early woman, restless, resolute, extraordinarily
active for her age. She was up long before the languid Castlewood
ladies (just home from their London routs and balls) had quitted their
feather-beds, or jolly Will had slept off his various potations of
punch. She was up, and pacing the green terraces that sparkled with the
sweet morning dew, which lay twinkling, also, on a flowery wilderness
of trim parterres, and on the crisp walls of the dark box hedges, under
which marble fauns and dryads were cooling themselves, whilst a thousand
birds sang, the fountains plashed and glittered in the rosy morning
sunshine, and the rooks cawed from the great wood.
Had the well-remembered scene (for she had visited it often in
childhood) a freshness and charm for her? Did it recall days of
innocence and happiness, and did its calm beauty soothe or please,
or awaken remorse in her heart? Her manner was more than ordinarily
affectionate and gentle, when, presently, after pacing the walks for a
half-hour, the person for whom she was waiting came to her. This was our
young Virginian, to whom she had despatched an early billet by one of
the Lockwoods. The note was signed B. Bernstein, and informed Mr. Esmond
Warrington that his relatives at Castlewood, and among them a dear
friend of his grandfather, were most anxious that he should come to
"Colonel Esmond's house in England." And now, accordingly, the lad made
his appearance, passing under the old Gothic doorway, tripping down the
steps from one garden terrace to another, hat in hand, his fair hair
blowing from his flushed cheeks, his slim figure clad in mourning. The
handsome and modest looks, the comely face and person, of the young lad
pleased the lady. He made her a low bow which would have done credit
to Versailles. She held out a little hand to him, and, as his own palm
closed over it, she laid the other hand softly on his ruffle. She looked
very kindly and affectionately in the honest blushing face.
"I knew your grandfather very well, Harry," she said. "So you came
yesterday to see his picture, and they turned you away, though you know
the house was his of right?"
Harry blushed very red. "The servants did not know me. A young gentleman
came to me last night," he said, "when I was peevish, and he, I fear,
was tipsy. I spoke rudely to my cousin, and would ask his pardon.
Your ladyship knows that in Virginia our manners towards strangers are
different. I own I had expected another kind of welcome. Was it you,
madam, who sent my cousin to me last night?"
"I sent him; but you will find your cousins most friendly to you to-day.
You must stay here. Lord Castlewood would have been with you this
morning, only I was so eager to see you. There will be breakfast in
an hour; and meantime you must talk to me. We will send to the Three
Castles for your servant and your baggage. Give me your arm. Stop, I
dropped my cane when you came. You shall be my cane."
"My grandfather used to call us his crutches," said Harry.
"You are like him, though you are fair."
"You should have seen--you should have seen George," said the boy, and
his honest eyes welled with tears. The recollection of his brother,
the bitter pain of yesterday's humiliation, the affectionateness of the
present greeting--all, perhaps, contributed to soften the lad's heart.
He felt very tenderly and gratefully towards the lady who had received
him so warmly. He was utterly alone and miserable a minute since, and
here was a home and a kind hand held out to him. No wonder he clung to
it. In the hour during which they talked together, the young fellow
had poured out a great deal of his honest heart to the kind new-found
friend; when the dial told breakfast-time, he wondered to think how much
he had told her. She took him to the breakfast-room; she presented
him to his aunt, the Countess, and bade him embrace his cousins. Lord
Castlewood was frank and gracious enough. Honest Will had a headache,
but was utterly unconscious of the proceedings of the past night. The
ladies were very pleasant and polite, as ladies of their fashion know
how to be. How should Harry Warrington, a simple truth-telling lad
from a distant colony, who had only yesterday put his foot upon English
shore, know that my ladies, so smiling and easy in demeanour, were
furious against him, and aghast at the favour with which Madam Bernstein
seemed to regard him?
She was folle of him, talked of no one else, scarce noticed the
Castlewood young people, trotted with him over the house, and told him
all its story, showed him the little room in the courtyard where his
grandfather used to sleep, and a cunning cupboard over the fireplace
which had been made in the time of the Catholic persecutions; drove out
with him in the neighbouring country, and pointed out to him the most
remarkable sites and houses, and had in return the whole of the young
This brief biography the kind reader will please to accept, not in
the precise words in which Mr. Harry Warrington delivered it to Madam
Bernstein, but in the form in which it has been cast in the Chapters
CHAPTER III. The Esmonds in Virginia
Henry Esmond, Esq., an office who had served with the rank of Colonel
during the wars of Queen Anne's reign, found himself, at its close,
compromised in certain attempts for the restoration of the Queen's
family to the throne of these realms. Happily for itself, the nation
preferred another dynasty; but some of the few opponents of the house
of Hanover took refuge out of the three kingdoms, and amongst others,
Colonel Esmond was counselled by his friends to go abroad. As Mr. Esmond
sincerely regretted the part which he had taken, and as the august
Prince who came to rule over England was the most pacable of sovereigns,
in a very little time the Colonel's friends found means to make his
Mr. Esmond, it has been said, belonged to the noble English family which
takes its title from Castlewood, in the county of Hants; and it was
pretty generally known that King James II. and his son had offered the
title of Marquis to Colonel Esmond and his father, and that the former
might have assumed the (Irish) peerage hereditary in his family, but
for an informality which he did not choose to set right. Tired of the
political struggles in which he had been engaged, and annoyed by family
circumstances in Europe, he preferred to establish himself in Virginia,
where he took possession of a large estate conferred by King Charles I.
upon his ancestor. Here Mr. Esmond's daughter and grandsons were born,
and his wife died. This lady, when she married him, was the widow of the
Colonel's kinsman, the unlucky Viscount Castlewood, killed in a duel by
Lord Mohun, at the close of King William's reign.
Mr. Esmond called his American house Castlewood, from the patrimonial
home in the old country. The whole usages of Virginia, indeed, were
fondly modelled after the English customs. It was a loyal colony. The
Virginians boasted that King Charles II. had been king in Virginia
before he had been king in England. English king and English church were
alike faithfully honoured there. The resident gentry were allied to good
English families. They held their heads above the Dutch traders of New
York, and the money-getting Roundheads of Pennsylvania and New England.
Never were people less republican than those of the great province which
was soon to be foremost in the memorable revolt against the British
The gentry of Virginia dwelt on their great lands after a fashion almost
patriarchal. For its rough cultivation, each estate had a multitude
of hands--of purchased and assigned servants--who were subject to the
command of the master. The land yielded their food, live stock, and
game. The great rivers swarmed with fish for the taking. From their
banks the passage home was clear. Their ships took the tobacco off their
private wharves on the banks of the Potomac or the James river, and
carried it to London or Bristol,--bringing back English goods and
articles of home manufacture in return for the only produce which the
Virginian gentry chose to cultivate. Their hospitality was boundless.
No stranger was ever sent away from their gates. The gentry received one
another, and travelled to each other's houses, in a state almost feudal.
The question of Slavery was not born at the time of which we write. To
be the proprietor of black servants shocked the feelings of no Virginian
gentleman; nor, in truth, was the despotism exercised over the negro
race generally a savage one. The food was plenty; the poor black people
lazy and not unhappy. You might have preached negro emancipation to
Madam Esmond of Castlewood as you might have told her to let the horses
run loose out of her stables; she had no doubt but that the whip and the
corn-bag were good for both.
Her father may have thought otherwise, being of a sceptical turn on very
many points, but his doubts did not break forth in active denial, and
he was rather disaffected than rebellious. At one period, this gentleman
had taken a part in active life at home, and possibly might have been
eager to share its rewards; but in latter days he did not seem to care
for them. A something had occurred in his life, which had cast a tinge
of melancholy over all his existence. He was not unhappy--to those about
him most kind--most affectionate, obsequious even to the women of
his family, whom be scarce ever contradicted; but there had been some
bankruptcy of his heart, which his spirit never recovered. He submitted
to life, rather than enjoyed it, and never was in better spirits than in
his last hours when he was going to lay it down.
Having lost his wife, his daughter took the management of the Colonel
and his affairs; and he gave them up to her charge with an entire
acquiescence. So that he had his books and his quiet, he cared for no
more. When company came to Castlewood, he entertained them handsomely,
and was of a very pleasant, sarcastical turn. He was not in the least
sorry when they went away.
"My love, I shall not be sorry to go myself," he said to his daughter,
"and you, though the most affectionate of daughters, will console
yourself after a while. Why should I, who am so old, be romantic? You
may, who are still a young creature." This he said, not meaning all he
said, for the lady whom he addressed was a matter-of-fact little person,
with very little romance in her nature.
After fifteen years' residence upon his great Virginian estate, affairs
prospered so well with the worthy proprietor, that he acquiesced in his
daughter's plans for the building of a mansion much grander and more
durable than the plain wooden edifice in which he had been content to
live, so that his heirs might have a habitation worthy of their noble
name. Several of Madam Warrington's neighbours had built handsome houses
for themselves; perhaps it was her ambition to take rank in the country,
which inspired this desire for improved quarters. Colonel Esmond, of
Castlewood, neither cared for quarters nor for quarterings. But his
daughter had a very high opinion of the merit and antiquity of her
lineage; and her sire, growing exquisitely calm and good-natured in his
serene, declining years, humoured his child's peculiarities in an easy,
bantering way,--nay, helped her with his antiquarian learning, which was
not inconsiderable, and with his skill in the art of painting, of which
he was a proficient. A knowledge of heraldry, a hundred years ago,
formed part of the education of most noble ladies and gentlemen: during
her visit to Europe, Miss Esmond had eagerly studied the family history
and pedigrees, and returned thence to Virginia with a store of documents
relative to her family on which she relied with implicit gravity and
credence, and with the most edifying volumes then published in France
and England, respecting the noble science. These works proved, to her
perfect satisfaction, not only that the Esmonds were descended from
noble Norman warriors, who came into England along with their victorious
chief, but from native English of royal dignity: and two magnificent
heraldic trees, cunningly painted by the hand of the Colonel,
represented the family springing from the Emperor Charlemagne on the
one hand, who was drawn in plate-armour, with his imperial mantle and
diadem, and on the other from Queen Boadicea, whom the Colonel insisted
upon painting in the light costume of an ancient British queen, with
a prodigious gilded crown, a trifling mantle of furs, and a lovely
symmetrical person, tastefully tattooed with figures of a brilliant blue
tint. From these two illustrious stocks the family-tree rose until
it united in the thirteenth century somewhere in the person of the
fortunate Esmond who claimed to spring from both.
Of the Warrington family, into which she married, good Madam Rachel
thought but little. She wrote herself Esmond Warrington, but was
universally called Madam Esmond of Castlewood, when after her father's
decease she came to rule over that domain. It is even to be feared that
quarrels for precedence in the colonial society occasionally disturbed
her temper; for though her father had had a marquis's patent from King
James, which he had burned and disowned, she would frequently act as if
that document existed and was in full force. She considered the English
Esmonds of an inferior dignity to her own branch; and as for the
colonial aristocracy, she made no scruple of asserting her superiority
over the whole body of them. Hence quarrels and angry words, and even
a scuffle or two, as we gather from her notes, at the Governor's
assemblies at Jamestown. Wherefore recall the memory of these squabbles?
Are not the persons who engaged in them beyond the reach of quarrels
now, and has not the republic put an end to these social inequalities?
Ere the establishment of Independence, there was no more aristocratic
country in the world than Virginia; so the Virginians, whose history
we have to narrate, were bred to have the fullest respect for the
institutions of home, and the rightful king had not two more faithful
little subjects than the young twins of Castlewood.
When the boys' grandfather died, their mother, in great state,
proclaimed her eldest son George her successor and heir of the estate;
and Harry, George's younger brother by half an hour, was always enjoined
to respect his senior. All the household was equally instructed to pay
him honour; the negroes, of whom there was a large and happy family, and
the assigned servants from Europe, whose lot was made as bearable as it
might be under the government of the lady of Castlewood. In the whole
family there scarcely was a rebel save Mrs. Esmond's faithful friend and
companion, Madam Mountain, and Harry's foster-mother, a faithful negro
woman, who never could be made to understand why her child should not be
first, who was handsomer, and stronger, and cleverer than his brother,
as she vowed; though, in truth, there was scarcely any difference in the
beauty, strength, or stature of the twins. In disposition, they were in
many points exceedingly unlike; but in feature they resembled each other
so closely, that but for the colour of their hair it had been difficult
to distinguish them. In their beds, and when their heads were covered
with those vast ribboned nightcaps which our great and little ancestors
wore, it was scarcely possible for any but a nurse or mother to tell the
one from the other child.
Howbeit alike in form, we have said that they differed in temper. The
elder was peaceful, studious, and silent; the younger was warlike
and noisy. He was quick at learning when he began, but very slow at
beginning. No threats of the ferule would provoke Harry to learn in
an idle fit, or would prevent George from helping his brother in his
lesson. Harry was of a strong military turn, drilled the little
negroes on the estate and caned them like a corporal, having many
good boxing-matches with them, and never bearing malice if he was
worsted;--whereas George was sparing of blows and gentle with all about
him. As the custom in all families was, each of the boys had a special
little servant assigned him; and it was a known fact that George,
finding his little wretch of a blackamoor asleep on his master's bed,
sat down beside it and brushed the flies off the child with a feather
fan, to the horror of old Gumbo, the child's father, who found his young
master so engaged, and to the indignation of Madam Esmond, who ordered
the young negro off to the proper officer for a whipping. In vain George
implored and entreated--burst into passionate tears, and besought a
remission of the sentence. His mother was inflexible regarding the young
rebel's punishment, and the little negro went off beseeching his young
master not to cry.
A fierce quarrel between mother and son ensued out of this event. Her
son would not be pacified. He said the punishment was a shame--a shame;
that he was the master of the boy, and no one--no, not his mother,--had
a right to touch him; that she might order him to be corrected, and that
he would suffer the punishment, as he and Harry often had, but no
one should lay a hand on his boy. Trembling with passionate rebellion
against what he conceived the injustice of procedure, he vowed--actually
shrieking out an oath, which shocked his fond mother and governor, who
never before heard such language from the usually gentle child--that on
the day he came of age he would set young Gumbo free--went to visit the
child in the slaves' quarters, and gave him one of his own toys.
The young black martyr was an impudent, lazy, saucy little personage,
who would be none the worse for a whipping, as the Colonel no doubt
thought; for he acquiesced in the child's punishment when Madam Esmond
insisted upon it, and only laughed in his good-natured way when his
indignant grandson called out,
"You let mamma rule you in everything, grandpapa."
"Why, so I do," says grandpapa. "Rachel, my love, the way in which I am
petticoat-ridden is so evident that even this baby has found it out."
"Then why don't you stand up like a man?" says little Harry', who always
was ready to abet his brother.
Grandpapa looked queerly.
"Because I like sitting down best, my dear," he said. "I am an old
gentleman, and standing fatigues me."
On account of a certain apish drollery and humour which exhibited itself
in the lad, and a liking for some of the old man's pursuits, the first
of the twins was the grandfather's favourite and companion, and would
laugh and talk out all his infantine heart to the old gentleman, to whom
the younger had seldom a word to say. George was a demure studious boy,
and his senses seemed to brighten up in the library, where his brother
was so gloomy. He knew the books before he could well-nigh carry them,
and read in them long before he could understand them. Harry, on the
other hand, was all alive in the stables or in the wood, eager for all
parties of hunting and fishing, and promised to be a good sportsman from
a very early age. Their grandfather's ship was sailing for Europe once
when the boys were children, and they were asked, what present Captain
Franks should bring them back? George was divided between books and a
fiddle; Harry instantly declared for a little gun: and Madam Warrington
(as she then was called) was hurt that her elder boy should have low
tastes, and applauded the younger's choice as more worthy of his name
and lineage. "Books, papa, I can fancy to be a good choice," she replied
to her father, who tried to convince her that George had a right to his
opinion, "though I am sure you must have pretty nigh all the books in
the world already. But I never can desire--I may be wrong, but I never
can desire--that my son, and the grandson of the Marquis of Esmond,
should be a fiddler."
"Should be a fiddlestick, my dear," the old Colonel answered.
"Remember that Heaven's ways are not ours, and that each creature born
has a little kingdom of thought of his own, which it is a sin in us to
invade. Suppose George loves music? You can no more stop him than you
can order a rose not to smell sweet, or a bird not to sing."
"A bird! A bird sings from nature; George did not come into the world
with a fiddle in his hand," says Mrs. Warrington, with a toss of her
head. "I am sure I hated the harpsichord when a chit at Kensington
School, and only learned it to please my mamma. Say what you will,
dear sir, I can not believe that this fiddling is work for persons of
"And King David who played the harp, my dear?"
"I wish my papa would read him more, and not speak about him in that
way," said Mrs. Warrington.
"Nay, my dear, it was but by way of illustration," the father replied
gently. It was Colonel Esmond's nature, as he has owned in his own
biography, always to be led by a woman; and, his wife dead, he coaxed
and dandled and spoiled his daughter; laughing at her caprices, but
humouring them; making a joke of her prejudices, but letting them have
their way; indulging, and perhaps increasing, her natural imperiousness
of character, though it was his maxim that we can't change dispositions
by meddling, and only make hypocrites of our children by commanding them
At length the time came when Mr. Esmond was to have done with the
affairs of this life, and he laid them down as if glad to be rid of
their burthen. We must not ring in an opening history with tolling
bells, or preface it with a funeral sermon. All who read and heard
that discourse, wondered where Parson Broadbent of Jamestown found the
eloquence and the Latin which adorned it. Perhaps Mr. Dempster knew, the
boys' Scotch tutor, who corrected the proofs of the oration, which was
printed, by desire of his Excellency and many persons of honour, at Mr.
Franklin's press in Philadelphia. No such sumptuous funeral had ever
been seen in the country as that which Madam Esmond Warrington ordained
for her father, who would have been the first to smile at that pompous
grief. The little lads of Castlewood, almost smothered in black trains
and hatbands, headed the procession, and were followed by my Lord
Fairfax from Greenway Court, by his Excellency the Governor of Virginia
(with his coach), by the Randolphs, the Careys, the Harrisons, the
Washingtons, and many others, for the whole county esteemed the departed
gentleman, whose goodness, whose high talents, whose benevolence
and unobtrusive urbanity had earned for him the just respect of his
neighbours. When informed of the event, the family of Colonel Esmond's
stepson, the Lord Castlewood of Hampshire in England, asked to be at the
charges of the marble slab which recorded the names and virtues of his
lordship's mother and her husband; and after due time of preparation,
the monument was set up, exhibiting the arms and coronet of the Esmonds,
supported by a little chubby group of weeping cherubs, and reciting an
epitaph which for once did not tell any falsehoods.
CHAPTER IV. In which Harry finds a New Relative
Kind friends, neighbours hospitable, cordial, even respectful,--an
ancient name, a large estate and a sufficient fortune, a comfortable
home, supplied with all the necessaries and many of the luxuries
of life, and a troop of servants, black and white, eager to do your
bidding; good health, affectionate children, and, let us humbly add, a
good cook, cellar, and library--ought not a person in the possession of
all these benefits to be considered very decently happy? Madam Esmond
Warrington possessed all these causes for happiness; she reminded
herself of them daily in her morning and evening prayers. She was
scrupulous in her devotions, good to the poor, never knowingly did
anybody a wrong. Yonder I fancy her enthroned in her principality of
Castlewood, the country gentlefolks paying her court, the sons dutiful
to her, the domestics tumbling over each other's black heels to do her
bidding, the poor whites grateful for her bounty and implicitly taking
her doses when they were ill, the smaller gentry always acquiescing in
her remarks, and for ever letting her win at backgammon--well, with all
these benefits, which are more sure than fate allots to most mortals, I
don't think the little Princess Pocahontas, as she was called, was to
be envied in the midst of her dominions. The Princess's husband, who
was cut off in early life, was as well perhaps out of the way. Had
he survived his marriage by many years, they would have quarrelled
fiercely, or, he would infallibly have been a henpecked husband, of
which sort there were a few specimens still extant a hundred years ago.
The truth is, little Madam Esmond never came near man or woman, but she
tried to domineer over them. If people obeyed, she was their very good
friend; if they resisted, she fought and fought until she or they gave
in. We are all miserable sinners that's a fact we acknowledge in public
every Sunday--no one announced it in a more clear resolute voice than
the little lady. As a mortal, she may have been in the wrong, of course;
only she very seldom acknowledged the circumstance to herself, and to
others never. Her father, in his old age, used to watch her freaks of
despotism, haughtiness, and stubbornness, and amuse himself with them.
She felt that his eye was upon her; his humour, of which quality she
possessed little herself, subdued and bewildered her. But, the Colonel
gone, there was nobody else whom she was disposed to obey,--and so I
am rather glad for my part that I did not live a hundred years ago at
Castlewood in Westmorland County in Virginia. I fancy, one would not
have been too happy there. Happy, who is happy? Was not there a serpent
in Paradise itself? and if Eve had been perfectly happy beforehand,
would she have listened to him?
The management of the house of Castlewood had been in the hands of the
active little lady long before the Colonel slept the sleep of the just.
She now exercised a rigid supervision over the estate; dismissed
Colonel Esmond's English factor and employed a new one; built, improved,
planted, grew tobacco, appointed a new overseer, and imported a new
tutor. Much as she loved her father, there were some of his maxims by
which she was not inclined to abide. Had she not obeyed her papa and
mamma during all their lives, as a dutiful daughter should? So ought
all children to obey their parents, that their days might be long in
the land. The little Queen domineered over her little dominion, and the
Princes her sons were only her first subjects. Ere long she discontinued
her husband's name of Warrington and went by the name of Madam Esmond
in the country. Her family pretensions were known there. She had no
objection to talk of the Marquis's title which King James had given to
her father and grandfather. Her papa's enormous magnanimity might induce
him to give up his titles and rank to the younger branch of the family,
and to her half-brother, my Lord Castlewood and his children; but she
and her sons were of the elder branch of the Esmonds, and she expected
that they should be treated accordingly. Lord Fairfax was the only
gentleman in the colony of Virginia to whom she would allow precedence
over her. She insisted on the pas before all Lieutenant-Governors' and
Judges' ladies; before the wife of the Governor of a colony she would,
of course, yield as to the representative of the Sovereign. Accounts
are extant, in the family papers and letters, of one or two tremendous
battles which Madam fought with the wives of colonial dignitaries upon
these questions of etiquette. As for her husband's family of Warrington,
they were as naught in her eyes. She married an English baronet's
younger son out of Norfolk to please her parents, whom she was always
bound to obey. At the early age at which she married--a chit out of
a boarding-school--she would have jumped overboard if her papa had
ordered. "And that is always the way with the Esmonds," she said.
The English Warringtons were not over-much flattered by the little
American Princess's behaviour to them, and her manner of speaking about
them. Once a year a solemn letter used to be addressed to the Warrington
family, and to her noble kinsmen the Hampshire Esmonds; but a Judge's
lady with whom Madam Esmond had quarrelled returning to England out of
Virginia chanced to meet Lady Warrington, who was in London with
Sir Miles attending Parliament, and this person repeated some of the
speeches which the Princess Pocahontas was in the habit of making
regarding her own and her husband's English relatives, and my Lady
Warrington, I suppose, carried the story to my Lady Castlewood; after
which the letters from Virginia were not answered, to the surprise and
wrath of Madam Esmond, who speedily left off writing also.
So this good woman fell out with her neighbours, with her relatives,
and, as it must be owned, with her sons also.
A very early difference which occurred between the Queen and Crown
Prince arose out of the dismissal of Mr. Dempster, the lad's tutor and
the late Colonel's secretary. In her father's life Madam Esmond bore him
with difficulty, or it should be rather said Mr. Dempster could scarce
put up with her. She was jealous of books somehow, and thought your
bookworms dangerous folks, insinuating bad principles. She had heard
that Dempster was a Jesuit in disguise, and the poor fellow was obliged
to go build himself a cabin in a clearing, and teach school and practise
medicine where he could find customers among the sparse inhabitants of
the province. Master George vowed he never would forsake his old tutor,
and kept his promise. Harry had always loved fishing and sporting better
than books, and he and the poor Dominie had never been on terms of close
intimacy. Another cause of dispute presently ensued.
By the death of an aunt, and at his father's demise, the heir of Mr.
George Warrington became entitled to a sum of six thousand pounds, of
which their mother was one of the trustees. She never could be made to
understand that she was not the proprietor, and not merely the trustee
of this money; and was furious with the London lawyer, the other
trustee, who refused to send it over at her order. "Is not all I have
my sons'?" she cried, "and would I not cut myself into little pieces
to serve them? With the six thousand pounds I would have bought Mr.
Boulter's estate and negroes, which would have given us a good thousand
pounds a year, and made a handsome provision for my Harry." Her young
friend and neighbour, Mr. Washington of Mount Vernon, could not convince
her that the London agent was right, and must not give up his trust
except to those for whom he held it. Madam Esmond gave the London lawyer
a piece of her mind, and, I am sorry to say, informed Mr. Draper that
he was an insolent pettifogger, and deserved to be punished for
doubting the honour of a mother and an Esmond. It must be owned that the
Virginian Princess had a temper of her own.
George Esmond, her firstborn, when this little matter was referred to
him, and his mother vehemently insisted that he should declare himself,
was of the opinion of Mr. Washington, and Mr. Draper, the London lawyer.
The boy said he could not help himself. He did not want the money: he
would be very glad to think otherwise, and to give the money to his
mother, if he had the power. But Madam Esmond would not hear any of
these reasons. Feelings were her reasons. Here was a chance of making
Harry's fortune--dear Harry, who was left with such a slender younger
brother's; pittance--and the wretches in London would not help him; his
own brother, who inherited all her papa's estate, would not help him.
To think of a child of hers being so mean at fourteen year of age! etc.
etc. Add tears, scorn, frequent innuendo, long estrangement, bitter
outbreak, passionate appeals to Heaven, and the like, and we may fancy
the widow's state of mind. Are there not beloved beings of the gentler
sex who argue in the same way nowadays? The book of female logic is
blotted all over with tears, and Justice in their courts is for ever in
This occurrence set the widow resolutely saving for her younger son,
for whom, as in duty bound, she was eager to make a portion. The fine
buildings were stopped which the Colonel had commenced at Castlewood,
who had freighted ships from New York with Dutch bricks, and imported,
at great charges, mantelpieces, carved cornice-work, sashes and glass,
carpets and costly upholstery from home. No more books were bought.
The agent had orders to discontinue sending wine. Madam Esmond deeply
regretted the expense of a fine carriage which she had had from England,
and only rode in it to church groaning in spirit, and crying to the sons
opposite her, "Harry, Harry! I wish I had put by the money for thee, my
poor portionless child--three hundred and eighty guineas of ready money
to Messieurs Hatchett!"
"You will give me plenty while you live, and George will give me plenty
when you die," says Harry, gaily.
"Not unless he changes in spirit, my dear," says the lady, with a
grim glance at her elder boy. "Not unless Heaven softens his heart and
teaches him charity, for which I pray day and night; as Mountain knows;
do you not, Mountain?"
Mrs. Mountain, Ensign Mountain's widow, Madam Esmond's companion and
manager, who took the fourth seat in the family coach on these Sundays,
said, "Humph! I know you are always disturbing yourself and crying out
about this legacy, and I don't see that there is any need."
"Oh no! no need!" cries the widow, rustling in her silks; "of course I
have no need to be disturbed, because my eldest born is a disobedient
son and an unkind brother--because he has an estate, and my poor Harry,
bless him, but a mess of pottage."
George looked despairingly at his mother until he could see her no more
for eyes welled up with tears. "I wish you would bless me, too, O my
mother!" he said, and burst into a passionate fit of weeping. Harry's
arms were in a moment round his brother's neck, and he kissed George a
score of times.
"Never mind, George. I know whether you are a good brother or not. Don't
mind what she says. She don't mean it."
"I do mean it, child," cries the mother. Would to Heaven----"
"HOLD YOUR TONGUE, I SAY" roars out Harry. "It's a shame to speak so to
"And so it is, Harry," says Mrs. Mountain, shaking his hand. "You never
said a truer word in your life."
"Mrs. Mountain, do you dare to set my children against me?" cries the
widow. "From this very day, madam----"
"Turn me and my child into the street? Do," says Mrs. Mountain. "That
will be a fine revenge because the English lawyer won't give you the
boy's money. Find another companion who will tell you black is white,
and flatter you: it is not my way, madam. When shall I go? I shan't be
long a-packing. I did not bring much into Castlewood House, and I shall
not take much out."
"Hush! the bells are ringing for church, Mountain. Let us try, if you
please, and compose ourselves," said the widow, and she looked with eyes
of extreme affection, certainly at one--perhap at both--of her children.
George kept his head down, and Harry, who was near, got quite close to
him during the sermon, and sat with his arm round his brother's neck.
Harry had proceeded in his narrative after his own fashion,
interspersing it with many youthful ejaculations, and answering a number
of incidental questions asked by his listener. The old lady seemed never
tired of hearing him. Her amiable hostess and her daughters came more
than once, to ask if she would ride, or walk, or take a dish of tea, or
play a game at cards; but all these amusements Madam Bernstein declined,
saying that she found infinite amusement in Harry's conversation.
Especially when any of the Castlewood family were present, she redoubled
her caresses, insisted upon the lad speaking close to her ear, and would
call out to the others, "Hush, my dears! I can't hear our cousin speak."
And they would quit the room, striving still to look pleased.
"Are you my cousin, too?" asked the honest boy. "You see kinder than my
Their talk took place in the wainscoted parlour, where the family had
taken their meals in ordinary for at least two centuries past, and
which, as we have said, was hung with portraits of the race. Over
Madam Bernstein's great chair was a Kneller, one of the most brilliant
pictures of the gallery, representing a young lady of three or four
and twenty, in the easy flowing dress and loose robes of Queen Anne's
time--a hand on a cushion near her, a quantity of auburn hair parted off
a fair forehead, and flowing over pearly shoulders and a lovely neck.
Under this sprightly picture the lady sate with her knitting-needles.
When Harry asked, "Are you my cousin, too?" she said, "That picture is
by Sir Godfrey, who thought himself the greatest painter in the world.
But he was not so good as Lely, who painted your grandmother--my--my
Lady Castlewood, Colonel Esmond's wife; nor he so good as Sir Anthony
Van Dyck, who painted your great-grandfather, yonder--and who looks,
Harry, a much finer gentleman than he was. Some of us are painted
blacker than we are. Did you recognise your grandmother in that picture?
She had the loveliest fair hair and shape of any woman of her time."
"I fancied I knew the portrait from instinct, perhaps, and a certain
likeness to my mother."
"Did Mrs. Warrington--I beg her pardon, I think she calls herself Madam
or my Lady Esmond now----?"
"They call my mother so in our province," said the boy.
"Did she never tell you of another daughter her mother had in England,
before she married your grandfather?"
"She never spoke of one."
"Nor your grandfather?"
"Never. But in his picture-books, which he constantly made for us
children, he used to draw a head very like that above your ladyship.
That, and Viscount Francis, and King James III., he drew a score of
times, I am sure."
"And the picture over me reminds you of no one, Harry?"
"Ah! Here is a sermon!" says the lady, with a sigh. "Harry, that was my
face once--yes, it was--and then I was called Beatrix Esmond. And your
mother is my half-sister, child, and she has never even mentioned my
CHAPTER V. Family Jars
As Harry Warrington related to his new-found relative the simple story
of his adventures at home, no doubt Madam Bernstein, who possessed a
great sense of humour and a remarkable knowledge of the world, formed
her judgment respecting the persons and events described; and if her
opinion was not in all respects favourable, what can be said but that
men and women are imperfect, and human life not entirely pleasant or
profitable? The court and city-bred lady recoiled at the mere thought of
her American sister's countrified existence. Such a life would be rather
wearisome to most city-bred ladies. But little Madam Warrington knew no
better, and was satisfied with her life, as indeed she was with herself
in general. Because you and I are epicures or dainty feeders, it does
not follow that Hodge is miserable with his homely meal of bread and
bacon. Madam Warrington had a life of duties and employments which might
be humdrum, but at any rate were pleasant to her. She was a brisk little
woman of business, and all the affairs of her large estate came under
her cognisance. No pie was baked at Castlewood but her little finger was
in it. She set the maids to their spinning, she saw the kitchen wenches
at their work, she trotted afield on her pony, and oversaw the overseers
and the negro hands as they worked in the tobacco-and corn-fields. If a
slave was ill, she would go to his quarters in any weather, and doctor
him with great resolution. She had a book full of receipts after the old
fashion, and a closet where she distilled waters and compounded elixirs,
and a medicine-chest which was the terror of her neighbours. They
trembled to be ill, lest the little lady should be upon them with her
decoctions and her pills.
A hundred years back there were scarce any towns in Virginia; the
establishments of the gentry were little villages in which they
and their vassals dwelt. Rachel Esmond ruled like a little queen in
Castlewood; the princes, her neighbours, governed their estates round
about. Many of these were rather needy potentates, living plentifully
but in the roughest fashion, having numerous domestics whose liveries
were often ragged; keeping open houses, and turning away no stranger
from their gates; proud, idle, fond of all sorts of field sports
as became gentlemen of good lineage. The widow of Castlewood was as
hospitable as her neighbours, and a better economist than most of
them. More than one, no doubt, would have had no objection to share her
life-interest in the estate, and supply the place of papa to her boys.
But where was the man good enough for a person of her ladyship's exalted
birth? There was a talk of making the Duke of Cumberland viceroy, or
even king, over America. Madam Warrington's gossips laughed, and said
she was waiting for him. She remarked, with much gravity and dignity,
that persons of as high birth as his Royal Highness had made offers of
alliance to the Esmond family.
She had, as lieutenant under her, an officer's widow who has been before
named, and who had been Madam Esmond's companion at school, as her late
husband had been the regimental friend of the late Mr. Warrington. When
the English girls at the Kensington Academy, where Rachel Esmond had her
education, teased and tortured the little American stranger, and laughed
at the princified airs which she gave herself from a very early age,
Fanny Parker defended and befriended her. They both married ensigns
in Kingsley's. They became tenderly attached to each other. It was "my
Fanny" and "my Rachel" in the letters of the young ladies. Then, my
Fanny's husband died in sad out-at-elbowed circumstances, leaving
no provision for his widow and her infant; and, in one of his annual
voyages, Captain Franks brought over Mrs. Mountain, in the Young Rachel,
There was plenty of room in Castlewood House, and Mrs. Mountain served
to enliven the place. She played cards with the mistress: she had some
knowledge of music, and could help the eldest boy in that way: she
laughed and was pleased with the guests: she saw to the strangers'
chambers, and presided over the presses and the linen. She was a kind,
brisk, jolly-looking widow, and more than one unmarried gentleman of the
colony asked her to change her name for his own. But she chose to keep
that of Mountain, though, and perhaps because, it had brought her no
good fortune. One marriage was enough for her, she said. Mr. Mountain
had amiably spent her little fortune and his own. Her last trinkets went
to pay his funeral; and, as long as Madam Warrington would keep her at
Castlewood, she preferred a home without a husband to any which as
yet had been offered to her in Virginia. The two ladies quarrelled
plentifully; but they loved each other: they made up their differences:
they fell out again, to be reconciled presently. When either of the boys
was ill, each lady vied with the other in maternal tenderness and care.
In his last days and illness, Mrs. Mountain's cheerfulness and kindness
had been greatly appreciated by the Colonel, whose memory Madam
Warrington regarded more than that of any living person. So that, year
after year, when Captain Franks would ask Mrs. Mountain, in his pleasant
way, whether she was going back with him that voyage? she would decline,
and say that she proposed to stay a year more.
And when suitors came to Madam Warrington, as come they would, she would
receive their compliments and attentions kindly enough, and asked more
than one of these lovers whether it was Mrs. Mountain he came after? She
would use her best offices with Mountain. Fanny was the best creature,
was of a good English family, and would make any gentleman happy. Did
the Squire declare it was to her and not her dependant that he paid his
addresses; she would make him her gravest curtsey, say that she really
had been utterly mistaken as to his views, and let him know that the
daughter of the Marquis of Esmond lived for her people and her sons,
and did not propose to change her condition. Have we not read how Queen
Elizabeth was a perfectly sensible woman of business, and was pleased to
inspire not only terror and awe, but love in the bosoms of her subjects?
So the little Virginian princess had her favourites, and accepted their
flatteries, and grew tired of them, and was cruel or kind to them as
suited her wayward imperial humour. There was no amount of compliment
which she would not graciously receive and take as her due. Her little
foible was so well known that the wags used to practise upon it.
Rattling Jack Firebrace of Henrico county had free quarters for months
at Castlewood, and was a prime favourite with the lady there, because
he addressed verses to her which he stole out of the pocket-books. Tom
Humbold of Spotsylvania wagered fifty hogsheads against five that he
would make her institute an order of knighthood, and won his wager.
The elder boy saw these freaks and oddities of his good mother's
disposition, and chafed and raged at them privately. From very early
days he revolted when flatteries and compliments were paid to the little
lady, and strove to expose them with his juvenile satire; so that
his mother would say gravely, "The Esmonds were always of a jealous
disposition, and my poor boy takes after my father and mother in this."
George hated Jack Firebrace and Tom Humbold, and all their like;
whereas Harry went out sporting with them, and fowling, and fishing, and
cock-fighting, and enjoyed all the fun of the country.
One winter, after their first tutor had been dismissed, Madam Esmond
took them to Williamsburg, for such education as the schools and college
there afforded, and there it was the fortune of the family to listen to
the preaching of the famous Mr. Whitfield, who had come into Virginia,
where the habits and preaching of the established clergy were not very
edifying. Unlike many of the neighbouring provinces, Virginia was a
Church of England colony: the clergymen were paid by the State and had
glebes allotted to them; and, there being no Church of England bishop as
yet in America, the colonists were obliged to import their divines from
the mother-country. Such as came were not, naturally, of the very best
or most eloquent kind of pastors. Noblemen's hangers-on, insolvent
parsons who had quarrelled with justice or the bailiff, brought their
stained cassocks into the colony in the hopes of finding a living there.
No wonder that Whitfield's great voice stirred those whom harmless Mr.
Broadbent, the Williamsburg chaplain, never could awaken. At first the
boys were as much excited as their mother by Mr. Whitfield: they sang
hymns, and listened to him with fervour, and, could he have remained
long enough among them, Harry and George had both worn black coats
probably instead of epaulettes. The simple boys communicated their
experiences to one another, and were on the daily and nightly look-out
for the sacred "call," in the hope or the possession of which such a
vast multitude of Protestant England was thrilling at the time.
But Mr. Whitfield could not stay always with the little congregation of
Williamsburg. His mission was to enlighten the whole benighted people of
the Church, and from the East to the West to trumpet the truth and bid
slumbering sinners awaken. However, he comforted the widow with precious
letters, and promised to send her a tutor for her sons who should be
capable of teaching them not only profane learning, but of strengthening
and confirming them in science much more precious.
In due course, a chosen vessel arrived from England. Young Mr. Ward had
a voice as loud as Mr. Whitfield's, and could talk almost as readily
and for as long a time. Night and evening the hall sounded with his
exhortations. The domestic negroes crept to the doors to listen to him.
Other servants darkened the porch windows with their crisp heads to hear
him discourse. It was over the black sheep of the Castlewood flock that
Mr. Ward somehow had the most influence. These woolly lamblings were
immensely affected by his exhortations, and, when he gave out the hymn,
there was such a negro chorus about the house as might be heard across
the Potomac--such a chorus as would never have been heard in the
Colonel's time--for that worthy gentleman had a suspicion of all
cassocks, and said he would never have any controversy with a clergyman
but upon backgammon. Where money was wanted for charitable purposes no
man was more ready, and the good, easy Virginian clergyman, who loved
backgammon heartily, too, said that the worthy Colonel's charity must
cover his other shortcomings.
Ward was a handsome young man. His preaching pleased Madam Esmond from
the first, and, I daresay, satisfied her as much as Mr. Whitfield's. Of
course it cannot be the case at the present day when they are so finely
educated, but women, a hundred years ago, were credulous, eager to
admire and believe, and apt to imagine all sorts of excellences in the
object of their admiration. For weeks, nay, months, Madam Esmond
was never tired of hearing Mr. Ward's great glib voice and voluble
commonplaces: and, according to her wont, she insisted that her
neighbours should come and listen to him, and ordered them to be
converted. Her young favourite, Mr. Washington, she was especially
anxious to influence; and again and again pressed him to come and
stay at Castlewood and benefit by the spiritual advantages there to
be obtained. But that young gentleman found he had particular business
which called him home or away from home, and always ordered his horse
of evenings when the time was coming for Mr. Ward's exercises. And--what
boys are just towards their pedagogue?--the twins grew speedily tired
and even rebellious under their new teacher.
They found him a bad scholar, a dull fellow, and ill-bred to boot.
George knew much more Latin and Greek than his master, and caught him
in perpetual blunders and false quantities. Harry, who could take much
greater liberties than were allowed to his elder brother, mimicked
Ward's manner of eating and talking, so that Mrs. Mountain and even
Madam Esmond were forced to laugh, and little Fanny Mountain would crow
with delight. Madam Esmond would have found the fellow out for a vulgar
quack but for her sons' opposition, which she, on her part, opposed with
her own indomitable will. "What matters whether he has more or less of
profane learning?" she asked; "in that which is most precious, Mr. W.
is able to be a teacher to all of us. What if his manners are a little
rough? Heaven does not choose its elect from among the great and
wealthy. I wish you knew one book, children, as well as Mr. Ward does.
It is your wicked pride--the pride of all the Esmonds--which prevents
you from listening to him. Go down on your knees in your chamber and
pray to be corrected of that dreadful fault." Ward's discourse that
evening was about Naaman the Syrian, and the pride he had in his native
rivers of Abana and Pharpar, which he vainly imagined to be superior to
the healing waters of Jordan--the moral being, that he, Ward, was the
keeper and guardian of the undoubted waters of Jordan, and that the
unhappy, conceited boys must go to perdition unless they came to him.
George now began to give way to a wicked sarcastic method, which,
perhaps, he had inherited from his grandfather, and with which, when a
quiet, skilful young person chooses to employ it, he can make a whole
family uncomfortable. He took up Ward's pompous remarks and made jokes
of them, so that that young divine chafed and almost choked over his
great meals. He made Madam Esmond angry, and doubly so when he sent
off Harry into fits of laughter. Her authority was defied, her officer
scorned and insulted, her youngest child perverted, by the obstinate
elder brother. She made a desperate and unhappy attempt to maintain her
The boys were fourteen years of age, Harry being taller and much more
advanced than his brother, who was delicate, and as yet almost childlike
in stature and appearance. The baculine method was a quite common mode
of argument in those days. Sergeants, schoolmasters, slave-overseers,
used the cane freely. Our little boys had been horsed many a day by Mr.
Dempster, their Scotch tutor, in their grandfather's time; and Harry,
especially, had got to be quite accustomed to the practice, and made
very light of it. But, in the interregnum after Colonel Esmond's death,
the cane had been laid aside, and the young gentlemen of Castlewood
had been allowed to have their own way. Her own and her lieutenant's
authority being now spurned by the youthful rebels, the unfortunate
mother thought of restoring it by means of coercion. She took counsel
of Mr. Ward. That athletic young pedagogue could easily find chapter and
verse to warrant the course which he wished to pursue--in fact, there
was no doubt about the wholesomeness of the practice in those clays. He
had begun by flattering the boys, finding a good berth and snug quarters
at Castlewood, and hoping to remain there.
But they laughed at his flattery, they scorned his bad manners, they
yawned soon at his sermons; the more their mother favoured him, the more
they disliked him; and so the tutor and the pupils cordially hated each
other. Mrs. Mountain, who was the boys' friend, especially George's
friend, whom she thought unjustly treated by his mother, warned the lads
to be prudent, and that some conspiracy was hatching against them. "Ward
is more obsequious than ever to your mamma. It turns my stomach, it
does, to hear him flatter, and to see him gobble--the odious wretch! You
must be on your guard, my poor boys--you must learn your lessons, and
not anger your tutor. A mischief will come, I know it will. Your mamma
was talking about you to Mr. Washington the other day, when I came into
the room. I don't like that Major Washington, you know I don't. Don't
say--O Mounty! Master Harry. You always stand up for your friends, you
do. The Major is very handsome and tall, and he may be very good, but he
is much too old a young man for me. Bless you, my dears, the quantity
of wild oats your father sowed and my own poor Mountain when they were
ensigns in Kingsley's, would fill sacks full! Show me Mr. Washington's
wild oats, I say--not a grain! Well, I happened to step in last Tuesday,
when he was here with your mamma; and I am sure they were talking about
you, for he said, 'Discipline is discipline, and must be preserved.
There can be but one command in a house, ma'am, and you must be the
mistress of yours.'"
"The very words he used to me," cries Harry. "He told me that he did not
like to meddle with other folks' affairs, but that our mother was very
angry, dangerously angry, he said, and he begged me to obey Mr. Ward,
and specially to press George to do so."
"Let him manage his own house, not mine," says George, very haughtily.
And the caution, far from benefiting him, only rendered the lad more
supercilious and refractory.
On the next day the storm broke, and vengeance fell on the little
rebel's head. Words passed between George and Mr. Ward during the
morning study. The boy was quite insubordinate and unjust: even his
faithful brother cried out, and owned that he was in the wrong. Mr. Ward
kept his temper--to compress, bottle up, cork down, and prevent your
anger from present furious explosion, is called keeping your temper--and
said he should speak upon this business to Madam Esmond. When the family
met at dinner, Mr. Ward requested her ladyship to stay, and, temperately
enough, laid the subject of dispute before her.
He asked Master Harry to confirm what he had said: and poor Harry was
obliged to admit all the dominie's statements.
George, standing under his grandfather's portrait by the chimney, said
haughtily that what Mr. Ward had said was perfectly correct.
"To be a tutor to such a pupil is absurd," said Mr. Ward, making a long
speech, interspersed with many of his usual Scripture phrases, at each
of which, as they occurred, that wicked young George smiled, and pished
scornfully, and at length Ward ended by asking her honour's leave to
"Not before you have punished this wicked and disobedient child," said
Madam Esmond, who had been gathering anger during Ward's harangue, and
especially at her son's behaviour.
"Punish!" says George.
"Yes, sir, punish! If means of love and entreaty fail, as they have with
your proud heart, other means must be found to bring you to obedience.
I punish you now, rebellious boy, to guard you from greater punishment
hereafter. The discipline of this family must be maintained. There can
be but one command in a house, and I must be the mistress of mine. You
will punish this refractory boy, Mr. Ward, as we have agreed that you
should do, and if there is the least resistance on his part, my overseer
and servants will lend you aid."
In some such words the widow no doubt must have spoken, but with many
vehement Scriptural allusions, which it does not become this
chronicler to copy. To be for ever applying to the Sacred Oracles, and
accommodating their sentences to your purpose--to be for ever taking
Heaven into your confidence about your private affairs, and
passionately calling for its interference in your family quarrels and
difficulties--to be so familiar with its designs and schemes as to be
able to threaten your neighbour with its thunders, and to know precisely
its intentions regarding him and others who differ from your infallible
opinion--this was the schooling which our simple widow had received from
her impetuous young spiritual guide, and I doubt whether it brought her
In the midst of his mother's harangue, in spite of it, perhaps, George
Esmond felt he had been wrong. "There can be but one command in the
house, and you must be mistress--I know who said those words before
you," George said, slowly, and looking very white--"and--and I know,
mother, that I have acted wrongly to Mr. Ward."
"He owns it! He asks pardon!" cries Harry. "That's right, George! That's
enough: isn't it?"
"No, it is not enough!" cried the little woman. "The disobedient boy
must pay the penalty of his disobedience. When I was headstrong, as I
sometimes was as a child before my spirit was changed and humbled, my
mamma punished me, and I submitted. So must George. I desire you will do
your duty, Mr. Ward."
"Stop, mother!--you don't quite know what you are doing," George said,
"I know that he who spares the rod spoils the child, ungrateful boy!"
says Madam Esmond, with more references of the same nature, which George
heard, looking very pale and desperate.
Upon the mantelpiece, under the Colonel's portrait, stood a china
cup, by which the widow set great store, as her father had always been
accustomed to drink from it. George suddenly took it, and a strange
smile passed over his pale face.
"Stay one minute. Don't go away yet," he cried to his mother, who was
leaving the room. "You--you are very fond of this cup, mother?"--and
Harry looked at him, wondering. "If I broke it, it could never be
mended, could it? All the tinkers' rivets would not make it a whole cup
again. My dear old grandpapa's cup! I have been wrong. Mr. Ward, I ask
pardon. I will try and amend."
The widow looked at her son indignantly, almost scornfully. "I thought,"
she said, "I thought an Esmond had been more of a man than to be afraid,
and--" here she gave a little scream as Harry uttered an exclamation,
and dashed forward with his hands stretched out towards his brother.
George, after looking at the cup, raised it, opened his hand, and let it
fall on the marble slab below him. Harry had tried in vain to catch it.
"It is too late, Hal," George said. "You will never mend that
again--never. Now, mother, I am ready, as it is your wish. Will you come
and see whether I am afraid? Mr. Ward, I am your servant. Your servant?
Your slave! And the next time I meet Mr. Washington, madam, I will thank
him for the advice which he gave you."
"I say, do your duty, sir!" cried Mrs. Esmond, stamping her little foot.
And George, making a low bow to Mr. Ward, begged him to go first out of
the room to the study.
"Stop! For God's sake, mother, stop!" cried poor Hal. But passion was
boiling in the little woman's heart, and she would not hear the boy's
petition. "You only abet him, sir!" she cried.--"If I had to do it
myself, it should be done!" And Harry, with sadness and wrath in his
countenance, left the room by the door through which Mr. Ward and his
brother had just issued.
The widow sank down on a great chair near it, and sat a while vacantly
looking at the fragments of the broken cup. Then she inclined her head
towards the door--one of half a dozen of carved mahogany which the
Colonel had brought from Europe. For a while there was silence: then a
loud outcry, which made the poor mother start.
In another minute Mr. Ward came out bleeding, from a great wound on his
head, and behind him Harry, with flaring eyes, and brandishing a little
couteau-de-chasse of his grandfather, which hung, with others of the
Colonel's weapons, on the library wall.
"I don't care. I did it," says Harry. "I couldn't see this fellow strike
my brother; and, as he lifted his hand, I flung the great ruler at him.
I couldn't help it. I won't bear it; and, if one lifts a hand to me or
my brother, I'll have his life," shouts Harry, brandishing the hanger.
The widow gave a great gasp and a sigh as she looked at the young
champion and his victim. She must have suffered terribly during the few
minutes of the boys' absence; and the stripes which she imagined had
been inflicted on the elder had smitten her own heart. She longed
to take both boys to it. She was not angry now. Very likely she was
delighted with the thought of the younger's prowess and generosity.
"You are a very naughty disobedient child," she said, in an exceedingly
peaceable voice. "My poor Mr. Ward! What a rebel, to strike you! Papa's
great ebony ruler, was it? Lay down that hanger, child. 'Twas General
Webb gave it to my papa after the siege of Lille. Let me bathe your
wound, my good Mr. Ward, and thank Heaven it was no worse. Mountain!
Go fetch me some court-plaster out of the middle drawer in the japan
cabinet. Here comes George. Put on your coat and waistcoat, child! You
were going to take your punishment, sir, and that is sufficient. Ask
pardon, Harry, of good Mr. Ward, for your wicked rebellious spirit,--I
do, with all my heart, I am sure. And guard against your passionate
nature, child--and pray to be forgiven. My son, O my son!" Here, with a
burst of tears which she could no longer control, the little woman threw
herself on the neck of her eldest-born; whilst Harry, laying the hanger
down, went up very feebly to Mr. Ward, and said, "Indeed, I ask your
pardon, sir. I couldn't help it; on my honour I couldn't; nor bear to
see my brother struck."
The widow was scared, as after her embrace she looked up at George's
pale face. In reply to her eager caresses, he coldly kissed her on the
forehead, and separated from her. "You meant for the best, mother," he
said, "and I was in the wrong. But the cup is broken; and all the king's
horses and all the king's men cannot mend it. There--put the fair side
outwards on the mantelpiece, and the wound will not show."
Again Madam Esmond looked at the lad, as he placed the fragments of the
poor cup on the ledge where it had always been used to stand. Her power
over him was gone. He had dominated her. She was not sorry for the
defeat; for women like not only to conquer, but to be conquered; and
from that day the young gentleman was master at Castlewood. His mother
admired him as he went up to Harry, graciously and condescendingly gave
Hal his hand, and said, "Thank you, brother!" as if he were a prince,
and Harry a general who had helped him in a great battle.
Then George went up to Mr. Ward, who was still piteously bathing his
eye and forehead in the water. "I ask pardon for Hal's violence, sir,"
George said, in great state. "You see, though we are very young, we
are gentlemen, and cannot brook an insult from strangers. I should
have submitted, as it was mamma's desire; but I am glad she no longer
"And pray, sir, who is to compensate me?" says Mr. Ward; "who is to
repair the insult done to me?"
"We are very young," says George, with another of his old-fashioned
bows. "We shall be fifteen soon. Any compensation that is usual amongst
"This, sir, to a minister of the Word!" bawls out Ward, starting up,
and who knew perfectly well the lads' skill in fence, having a score of
times been foiled by the pair of them.
"You are not a clergyman yet. We thought you might like to be considered
as a gentleman. We did not know."
"A gentleman! I am a Christian, sir!" says Ward, glaring furiously, and
clenching his great fists.
"Well, well, if you won't fight, why don't you forgive?" says Harry. "If
you don't forgive, why don't you fight? That's what I call the horns of
a dilemma;" and he laughed his frank, jolly laugh.
But this was nothing to the laugh a few days afterwards, when, the
quarrel having been patched up, along with poor Mr. Ward's eye, the
unlucky tutor was holding forth according to his custom. He tried to
preach the boys into respect for him, to reawaken the enthusiasm which
the congregation had felt for him; he wrestled with their manifest
indifference, he implored Heaven to warm their cold hearts again, and to
lift up those who were falling back. All was in vain. The widow wept no
more at his harangues, was no longer excited by his loudest tropes and
similes, nor appeared to be much frightened by the very hottest menaces
with which he peppered his discourse. Nay, she pleaded headache, and
would absent herself of an evening, on which occasion the remainder of
the little congregation was very cold indeed. One day, then, Ward,
still making desperate efforts to get back his despised authority, was
preaching on the beauty of subordination, the present lax spirit of the
age, and the necessity of obeying our spiritual and temporal rulers.
"For why, my dear friends," he nobly asked (he was in the habit of
asking immensely dull questions, and straightway answering them with
corresponding platitudes), "why are governors appointed, but that we
should be governed? Why are tutors engaged, but that children should be
taught?" (here a look at the boys). "Why are rulers----" Here he paused,
looking with a sad, puzzled face at the young gentlemen. He saw in their
countenances the double meaning of the unlucky word he had uttered,
and stammered, and thumped the table with his fist. "Why, I say, are
"Rulers," says George, looking at Harry.
"Rulers!" says Hal, putting his hand to his eye, where the poor tutor
still bore marks of the late scuffle. Rulers, o-ho! It was too much. The
boys burst out in an explosion of laughter. Mrs. Mountain, who was full
of fun, could not help joining in the chorus; and little Fanny, who had
always behaved very demurely and silently at these ceremonies, crowed
again, and clapped her little hands at the others laughing, not in the
least knowing the reason why.
This could not be borne. Ward shut down the book before him; in a few
angry, but eloquent and manly words, said he would speak no more in that
place; and left Castlewood not in the least regretted by Madam Esmond,
who had doted on him three months before.
CHAPTER VI. The Virginians begin to see the World
After the departure of her unfortunate spiritual adviser and chaplain,
Madam Esmond and her son seemed to be quite reconciled: but although
George never spoke of the quarrel with his mother, it must have weighed
upon the boy's mind very painfully, for he had a fever soon after the
last recounted domestic occurrences, during which illness his brain
once or twice wandered, when he shrieked out, "Broken! Broken! It never,
never can be mended!" to the silent terror of his mother, who sate
watching the poor child as he tossed wakeful upon his midnight bed.
His malady defied her skill, and increased in spite of all the nostrums
which the good widow kept in her closet and administered so freely to
her people. She had to undergo another humiliation, and one day little
Mr. Dempster beheld her at his door on horseback. She had ridden through
the snow on her pony, to implore him to give his aid to her poor boy. "I
shall bury my resentment, madam," said he, "as your ladyship buried your
pride. Please God, I maybe time enough to help my dear young pupil!" So
he put up his lancet, and his little provision of medicaments; called
his only negro-boy after him, shut up his lonely hut, and once more
returned to Castlewood. That night and for some days afterwards it
seemed very likely that poor Harry would become heir of Castlewood; but
by Mr. Dempster's skill the fever was got over, the intermittent attacks
diminished in intensity, and George was restored almost to health again.
A change of air, a voyage even to England, was recommended, but the
widow had quarrelled with her children's relatives there, and owned with
contrition that she had been too hasty. A journey to the north and east
was determined on, and the two young gentlemen, with Mr. Dempster as
their tutor, and a couple of servants to attend them, took a voyage to
New York, and thence up the beautiful Hudson river to Albany, where they
were received by the first gentry of the province, and thence into the
French provinces, where they had the best recommendations, and were
hospitably entertained by the French gentry. Harry camped with the
Indians, and took furs and shot bears. George, who never cared for
field-sports, and whose health was still delicate, was a special
favourite with the French ladies, who were accustomed to see very few
young English gentlemen speaking the French language so readily as our
young gentlemen. George especially perfected his accent so as to be able
to pass for a Frenchman. He had the bel air completely, every person
allowed. He danced the minuet elegantly. He learned the latest imported
French catches and songs, and played them beautifully on his violin,
and would have sung them too but that his voice broke at this time, and
changed from treble to bass; and, to the envy of poor Harry, who was
absent on a bear-hunt, he even had an affair of honour with a young
ensign of the regiment of Auvergne, the Chevalier de la Jabotiere, whom
he pinked in the shoulder, and with whom he afterwards swore an eternal
friendship. Madame de Mouchy, the superintendent's lady, said the mother
was blest who had such a son, and wrote a complimentary letter to Madam
Esmond upon Mr. George's behaviour. I fear, Mr. Whitfield would not
have been over-pleased with the widow's elation on hearing of her son's
When the lads returned home at the end of ten delightful months, their
mother was surprised at their growth and improvement. George especially
was so grown as to come up to his younger-born brother. The boys could
hardly be distinguished one from another, especially when their hair was
powdered; but that ceremony being too cumbrous for country life, each
of the gentlemen commonly wore his own hair, George his raven black, and
Harry his light locks tied with a ribbon.
The reader who has been so kind as to look over the first pages of the
lad's simple biography, must have observed that Mr. George Esmond was
of a jealous and suspicious disposition, most generous and gentle and
incapable of an untruth, and though too magnanimous to revenge, almost
incapable of forgiving any injury. George left home with no goodwill
towards an honourable gentleman, whose name afterwards became one of the
most famous in the world; and he returned from his journey not in the
least altered in his opinion of his mother's and grandfather's friend.
Mr. Washington, though then but just of age, looked and felt much older.
He always exhibited an extraordinary simplicity and gravity; he had
managed his mother's and his family's affairs from a very early age, and
was trusted by all his friends and the gentry of his county more than
persons twice his senior.
Mrs. Mountain, Madam Esmond's friend and companion, who dearly loved the
two boys and her patroness, in spite of many quarrels with the latter,
and daily threats of parting, was a most amusing, droll letter-writer,
and used to write to the two boys on their travels. Now, Mrs. Mountain
was of a jealous turn likewise; especially she had a great turn for
match-making, and fancied that everybody had a design to marry everybody
else. There scarce came an unmarried man to Castlewood but Mountain
imagined the gentleman had an eye towards the mistress of the mansion.
She was positive that odious Mr. Ward intended to make love to
the widow, and pretty sure the latter liked him. She knew that Mr.
Washington wanted to be married, was certain that such a shrewd young
gentleman would look out for a rich wife, and, as for the differences of
ages, what matter that the Major (major was his rank in the militia)
was fifteen years younger than Madam Esmond? They were used to such
marriages in the family; my lady her mother was how many years older
than the Colonel when she married him?--When she married him and was so
jealous that she never would let the poor Colonel out of her sight.
The poor Colonel! after his wife, he had been henpecked by his little
daughter. And she would take after her mother, and marry again, be
sure of that. Madam was a little chit of a woman, not five feet in her
highest headdress and shoes, and Mr. Washington a great tall man of
six feet two. Great tall men always married little chits of women:
therefore, Mr. W. must be looking after the widow. What could be more
clear than the deduction?
She communicated these sage opinions to her boy, as she called George,
who begged her, for Heaven's sake, to hold her tongue. This she said she
could do, but she could not keep her eyes always shut; and she narrated
a hundred circumstances which had occurred in the young gentleman's
absence, and which tended, as she thought, to confirm her notions. Had
Mountain imparted these pretty suspicions to his brother? George asked
sternly. No. George was her boy; Harry was his mother's boy. "She likes
him best, and I like you best, George," cries Mountain. "Besides, if I
were to speak to him, he would tell your mother in a minute. Poor Harry
can keep nothing quiet, and then there would be a pretty quarrel between
Madam and me!"
"I beg you to keep this quiet, Mountain," said Mr. George, with great
dignity, "or you and I shall quarrel too. Neither to me nor to any one
else in the world must you mention such an absurd suspicion."
Absurd! Why absurd? Mr. Washington was constantly with the widow. His
name was forever in her mouth. She was never tired of pointing out his
virtues and examples to her sons. She consulted him on every question
respecting her estate and its management. She never bought a horse
or sold a barrel of tobacco without his opinion. There was a room at
Castlewood regularly called Mr. Washington's room. "He actually leaves
his clothes here and his portmanteau when he goes away. Ah! George,
George! One day will come when he won't go away," groaned Mountain, who,
of course, always returned to the subject of which she was forbidden
to speak. Meanwhile Mr. George adopted towards his mother's favourite a
frigid courtesy, at which the honest gentleman chafed but did not care
to remonstrate, or a stinging sarcasm, which he would break through as
he would burst through so many brambles on those hunting excursions
in which he and Harry Warrington rode so constantly together; whilst
George, retreating to his tents, read mathematics, and French, and
Latin, and sulked in his book-room more and more lonely.
Harry was away from home with some other sporting friends (it is to be
feared the young gentleman's acquaintances were not all as eligible as
Mr. Washington), when the latter came to pay a visit at Castlewood. He
was so peculiarly tender and kind to the mistress there, and received by
her with such special cordiality, that George Warrington's jealousy had
well-nigh broken out in open rupture. But the visit was one of adieu, as
Major Washington was going on a long and dangerous journey, quite to the
western Virginia frontier and beyond it. The French had been for some
time past making inroads into our territory. The government at home,
as well as those of Virginia and Pennsylvania, were alarmed at this
aggressive spirit of the Lords of Canada and Louisiana. Some of our
settlers had already been driven from their holdings by Frenchmen in
arms, and the governors of the British provinces were desirous to stop
their incursions, or at any rate to protest against their invasion.
We chose to hold our American colonies by a law that was at least
convenient for its framers. The maxim was, that whoever possessed the
coast had a right to all the territory inland as far as the Pacific; so
that the British charters only laid down the limits of the colonies from
north to south, leaving them quite free from east to west. The French,
meanwhile, had their colonies to the north and south, and aimed at
connecting them by the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence and the great
intermediate lakes and waters lying to the westward of the British
possessions. In the year 1748, though peace was signed between the
two European kingdoms, the colonial question remained unsettled, to be
opened again when either party should be strong enough to urge it. In
the year 1753, it came to an issue, on the Ohio river, where the British
and French settlers met. To be sure, there existed other people besides
French and British, who thought they had a title to the territory about
which the children of their White Fathers were battling, namely, the
native Indians and proprietors of the soil. But the logicians of St.
James's and Versailles wisely chose to consider the matter in dispute
as a European and not a Red-man's question, eliminating him from the
argument, but employing his tomahawk as it might serve the turn of
A company, called the Ohio Company, having grants from the Virginia
government of lands along that river, found themselves invaded in their
settlements by French military detachments, who roughly ejected the
Britons from their holdings. These latter applied for protection to Mr.
Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia, who determined upon sending
an ambassador to the French commanding officer on the Ohio, demanding
that the French should desist from their inroads upon the territories of
his Majesty King George.
Young Mr. Washington jumped eagerly at the chance of distinction which
this service afforded him, and volunteered to leave his home and his
rural and professional pursuits in Virginia, to carry the governor's
message to the French officer. Taking a guide, an interpreter, and a
few attendants, and following the Indian tracks, in the fall of the year
1753, the intrepid young envoy made his way from Williamsburg almost
to the shores of Lake Erie, and found the French commander at Fort le
Boeuf. That officer's reply was brief: his orders were to hold the place
and drive all the English from it. The French avowed their intention of
taking possession of the Ohio. And with this rough answer the messenger
from Virginia had to return through danger and difficulty, across lonely
forest and frozen river, shaping his course by the compass, and camping
at night in the snow by the forest fires.
Harry Warrington cursed his ill-fortune that he had been absent from
home on a cock-fight, when he might have had chance of sport so much
nobler; and on his return from his expedition, which he had conducted
with an heroic energy and simplicity, Major Washington was a greater
favourite than ever with the lady of Castlewood. She pointed him out
as a model to both her sons. "Ah, Harry!" she would say, "think of you,
with your cock-fighting and your racing-matches, and the Major away
there in the wilderness, watching the French, and battling with the
frozen rivers! Ah, George! learning may be a very good thing, but I wish
my eldest son were doing something in the service of his country!"
"I desire no better than to go home and seek for employment, ma'am,"
says George. "You surely will not have me serve under Mr. Washington, in
his new regiment, or ask a commission from Mr. Dinwiddie?"
"An Esmond can only serve with the king's commission," says Madam, "and
as for asking a favour from Mr. Lieutenant-Governor Dinwiddie, I would
rather beg my bread."
Mr. Washington was at this time raising such a regiment as, with the
scanty pay and patronage of the Virginian government, he could get
together, and proposed, with the help of these men-of-war, to put a more
peremptory veto upon the French invaders than the solitary ambassador
had been enabled to lay. A small force under another officer, Colonel
Trent, had been already despatched to the west, with orders to fortify
themselves so as to be able to resist any attack of the enemy. The
French troops, greatly outnumbering ours, came up with the English
outposts, who were fortifying themselves at a place on the confines of
Pennsylvania where the great city of Pittsburg now stands. A Virginian
officer with but forty men was in no condition to resist twenty times
that number of Canadians, who appeared before his incomplete works. He
was suffered to draw back without molestation; and the French, taking
possession of his fort, strengthened it, and christened it by the name
of the Canadian governor, Du Quesne. Up to this time no actual blow of
war had been struck. The troops representing the hostile nations were in
presence--the guns were loaded, but no one as yet had cried "Fire." It
was strange, that in a savage forest of Pennsylvania, a young Virginian
officer should fire a shot, and waken up a war which was to last for
sixty years, which was to cover his own country and pass into Europe, to
cost France her American colonies, to sever ours from us, and create the
great Western republic; to rage over the Old World when extinguished in
the New; and, of all the myriads engaged in the vast contest, to leave
the prize of the greatest fame with him who struck the first blow!
He little knew of the fate in store for him. A simple gentleman, anxious
to serve his king and do his duty, he volunteered for the first service,
and executed it with admirable fidelity. In the ensuing year he took the
command of the small body of provincial troops with which he marched to
repel the Frenchmen. He came up with their advanced guard and fired upon
them, killing their leader. After this he had himself to fall back
with his troops, and was compelled to capitulate to the superior French
force. On the 4th of July, 1754, the Colonel marched out with his troops
from the little fort where he had hastily entrenched himself (and which
they called Fort Necessity), gave up the place to the conqueror, and
took his way home.
His command was over: his regiment disbanded after the fruitless,
inglorious march and defeat. Saddened and humbled in spirit, the
young officer presented himself after a while to his old friends at
Castlewood. He was very young: before he set forth on his first campaign
he may have indulged in exaggerated hopes of success, and uttered them.
"I was angry when I parted from you," he said to George Warrington,
holding out his hand, which the other eagerly took. "You seemed to
scorn me and my regiment, George. I thought you laughed at us, and your
ridicule made me angry. I boasted too much of what we would do."
"Nay, you have done your best, George," says the other, who quite forgot
his previous jealousy in his old comrade's misfortune. "Everybody knows
that a hundred and fifty starving men, with scarce a round of ammunition
left, could not face five times their number perfectly armed, and
everybody who knows Mr. Washington knows that he would do his duty.
Harry and I saw the French in Canada last year. They obey but one will:
in our provinces each governor has his own. They were royal troops the
French sent against you..."
"Oh, but that some of ours were here!" cries Madam Esmond, tossing her
head up. "I promise you a few good English regiments would make the
"You think nothing of the provincials: and I must say nothing now we
have been so unlucky," said the Colonel, gloomily. "You made much of me
when I was here before. Don't you remember what victories you prophesied
for me--how much I boasted myself very likely over your good wine? All
those fine dreams are over now. 'Tis kind of your ladyship to receive a
poor beaten fellow as you do:" and the young soldier hung down his head.
George Warrington, with his extreme acute sensibility, was touched at
the other's emotion and simple testimony of sorrow under defeat. He was
about to say something friendly to Mr. Washington, had not his mother,
to whom the Colonel had been speaking, replied herself: "Kind of us to
receive you, Colonel Washington!" said the widow. "I never heard that
when men were unhappy, our sex were less their friends."
And she made the Colonel a very fine curtsey, which straightway caused
her son to be more jealous of him than ever.
CHAPTER VII. Preparations for War
Surely no man can have better claims to sympathy than bravery, youth,
good looks, and misfortune. Madam Esmond might have had twenty sons, and
yet had a right to admire her young soldier. Mr. Washington's room
was more than ever Mr. Washington's room now. She raved about him
and praised him in all companies. She more than ever pointed out his
excellences to her sons, contrasting his sterling qualities with Harry's
love of pleasure (the wild boy!) and George's listless musings over his
books. George was not disposed to like Mr. Washington any better for
his mother's extravagant praises. He coaxed the jealous demon within him
until he must have become a perfect pest to himself and all the friends
round about him. He uttered jokes so deep that his simple mother did not
know their meaning, but sate bewildered at his sarcasms, and powerless
what to think of his moody, saturnine humour.
Meanwhile, public events were occurring which were to influence the
fortunes of all our homely family. The quarrel between the French and
English North Americans, from being a provincial, had grown to be a
national, quarrel. Reinforcements from France had already arrived in
Canada; and English troops were expected in Virginia. "Alas! my dear
friend!" wrote Madame la Presidente de Mouchy, from Quebec, to her young
friend George Warrington. "How contrary is the destiny to us! I see you
quitting the embrace of an adored mother to precipitate yourself in the
arms of Bellona. I see you pass wounded after combats. I hesitate almost
to wish victory to our lilies when I behold you ranged under the
banners of the Leopard. There are enmities which the heart does not
recognise--ours assuredly are at peace among the tumults. All here love
and salute you, as well as Monsieur the Bear-hunter, your brother (that
cold Hippolyte who preferred the chase to the soft conversation of our
ladies!) Your friend, your enemy, the Chevalier de la Jabotiere, burns
to meet on the field of Mars his generous rival. M. Du Quesne spoke
of you last night at supper. M. Du Quesne, my husband, send affectuous
remembrances to their young friend, with which are ever joined those of
your sincere Presidente de Mouchy."
"The banner of the Leopard," of which George's fair correspondent wrote,
was, indeed, flung out to the winds, and a number of the king's soldiers
were rallied round it. It was resolved to wrest from the French all the
conquests they had made upon British dominion. A couple of regiments
were raised and paid by the king in America, and a fleet with a couple
more was despatched from home under an experienced commander. In
February, 1755, Commodore Keppel, in the famous ship Centurion, in which
Anson had made his voyage round the world, anchored in Hampton Roads
with two ships of war under his command, and having on board General
Braddock, his staff, and a part of his troops. Mr. Braddock was
appointed by the Duke. A hundred years ago the Duke of Cumberland was
called The Duke par excellence in England--as another famous warrior has
since been called. Not so great a Duke certainly was that first-named
Prince as his party esteemed him, and surely not so bad a one as his
enemies have painted him. A fleet of transports speedily followed Prince
William's general, bringing stores, and men, and money in plenty.
The great man landed his troops at Alexandria on the Potomac river, and
repaired to Annapolis in Maryland, where he ordered the governors of the
different colonies to meet him in council, urging them each to call upon
their respective provinces to help the common cause in this strait.
The arrival of the General and his little army caused a mighty
excitement all through the provinces, and nowhere greater than at
Castlewood. Harry was off forthwith to see the troops under canvas at
Alexandria. The sight of their lines delighted him, and the inspiring
music of their fifes and drums. He speedily made acquaintance with the
officers of both regiments; he longed to join in the expedition upon
which they were bound, and was a welcome guest at their mess.
Madam Esmond was pleased that her sons should have an opportunity of
enjoying the society of gentlemen of good fashion from England. She had
no doubt their company was improving, that the English gentlemen were
very different from the horse-racing, cock-fighting Virginian
squires, with whom Master Harry would associate, and the lawyers, and
pettifoggers, and toad-eaters at the lieutenant-governor's table. Madam
Esmond had a very keen eye for detecting flatterers in other folks'
houses. Against the little knot of official people at Williamsburg she
was especially satirical, and had no patience with their etiquettes and
squabbles for precedence.
As for the company of the king's officers, Mr. Harry and his elder
brother both smiled at their mamma's compliments to the elegance and
propriety of the gentlemen of the camp. If the good lady had but known
all, if she could but have heard their jokes and the songs which they
sang over their wine and punch, if she could have seen the condition
of many of them as they were carried away to their lodgings, she would
scarce have been so ready to recommend their company to her sons. Men
and officers swaggered the country round, and frightened the peaceful
farm and village folk with their riot: the General raved and stormed
against his troops for their disorder; against the provincials for their
traitorous niggardliness; the soldiers took possession almost as of a
conquered country, they scorned the provincials, they insulted the wives
even of their Indian allies, who had come to join the English warriors,
upon their arrival in America, and to march with them against the
French. The General was compelled to forbid the Indian women his
camp. Amazed and outraged their husbands retired, and but a few months
afterwards their services were lost to him, when their aid would have
been most precious.
Some stories against the gentlemen of the camp, Madam Esmond might have
heard, but she would have none of them. Soldiers would be soldiers, that
everybody knew; those officers who came over to Castlewood on her son's
invitation were most polite gentlemen, and such indeed was the case. The
widow received them most graciously, and gave them the best sport the
country afforded. Presently, the General himself sent polite messages
to the mistress of Castlewood. His father had served with hers under
the glorious Marlborough, and Colonel Esmond's name was still known and
respected in England. With her ladyship's permission, General Braddock
would have the honour of waiting upon her at Castlewood, and paying his
respects to the daughter of so meritorious an officer.
If she had known the cause of Mr. Braddock's politeness, perhaps
his compliments would not have charmed Madam Esmond so much. The
Commander-in-Chief held levees at Alexandria, and among the gentry of
the country, who paid him their respects, were our twins of Castlewood,
who mounted their best nags, took with them their last London suits,
and, with their two negro-boys, in smart liveries behind them, rode
in state to wait upon the great man. He was sulky and angry with the
provincial gentry, and scarce took any notice of the young gentlemen,
only asking, casually, of his aide-de-camp at dinner, who the young
Squire Gawkeys were in blue and gold and red waistcoats?
Mr. Dinwiddie, the Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia, the Agent from
Pennsylvania, and a few more gentlemen, happened to be dining with
his Excellency. "Oh!" says Mr. Dinwiddie, "those are the sons of the
Princess Pocahontas;" on which, with a tremendous oath, the General
asked, "Who the deuce was she?"
Dinwiddie, who did not love her, having indeed undergone a hundred
pertnesses from the imperious little lady, now gave a disrespectful and
ridiculous account of Madam Esmond, made merry with her pomposity and
immense pretensions, and entertained General Braddock with anecdotes
regarding her, until his Excellency fell asleep.
When he awoke, Dinwiddie was gone, but the Philadelphia gentleman was
still at table, deep in conversation with the officers there present.
The General took up the talk where it had been left when he fell asleep,
and spoke of Madam Esmond in curt, disrespectful terms, such as soldiers
were in the habit of using in those days, and asking, again, what was
the name of the old fool about whom Dinwiddie had been talking? He then
broke into expressions of contempt and wrath against the gentry, and the
country in general.
Mr. Franklin of Philadelphia repeated the widow's name, took quite
a different view of her character from that Mr. Dinwiddie had given,
seemed to know a good deal about her, her father, and her estate; as,
indeed, he did about every man or subject which came under discussion;
explained to the General that Madam Esmond had beeves, and horses, and
stores in plenty, which might be very useful at the present juncture,
and recommended him to conciliate her by all means. The General
had already made up his mind that Mr. Franklin was a very shrewd,
intelligent person, and graciously ordered an aide-de-camp to invite the
two young men to the next day's dinner. When they appeared he was very
pleasant and good-natured; the gentlemen of the General's family made
much of them. They behaved, as became persons of their name, with
modesty and good-breeding; they returned home delighted with their
entertainment, nor was their mother less pleased at the civilities which
his Excellency had shown to her boys. In reply to Braddock's message,
Madam Esmond penned a billet in her best style, acknowledging his
politeness, and begging his Excellency to fix the time when she might
have the honour to receive him at Castlewood.
We may be sure that the arrival of the army and the approaching campaign
formed the subject of continued conversation in the Castlewood family.
To make the campaign was the dearest wish of Harry's life. He
dreamed only of war and battle; he was for ever with the officers at
Williamsburg; he scoured and cleaned and polished all the guns and
swords in the house; he renewed the amusements of his childhood, and had
the negroes under arms. His mother, who had a gallant spirit, knew that
the time was come when one of her boys must leave her and serve the
king. She scarce dared to think on whom the lot should fall. She admired
and respected the elder, but she felt that she loved the younger boy
with all the passion of her heart.
Eager as Harry was to be a soldier, and with all his thoughts bent on
that glorious scheme, he too scarcely dared to touch on the subject
nearest his heart. Once or twice when he ventured on it with George, the
latter's countenance wore an ominous look. Harry had a feudal attachment
for his elder brother, worshipped him with an extravagant regard, and in
all things gave way to him as the chief. So Harry saw, to his infinite
terror, how George, too, in his grave way, was occupied with military
matters. George had the wars of Eugene and Marlborough down from his
bookshelves, all the military books of his grandfather, and the most
warlike of Plutarch's lives. He and Dempster were practising with the
foils again. The old Scotchman was an adept in the military art, though
somewhat shy of saying where he learned it.
Madam Esmond made her two boys the bearers of the letter in reply to his
Excellency's message, accompanying her note with such large and handsome
presents for the General's staff and the officers of the two Royal
Regiments, as caused the General more than once to thank Mr. Franklin
for having been the means of bringing this welcome ally into the camp.
"Would not one of the young gentlemen like to see the campaign?"
the General asked. "A friend of theirs, who often spoke of them--Mr.
Washington, who had been unlucky in the affair of last year--had already
promised to join him as aide-de-camp, and his Excellency would gladly
take another young Virginian gentleman into his family." Harry's eyes
brightened and his face flushed at this offer. "He would like with all
his heart to go!" he cried out. George said, looking hard at his younger
brother, that one of them would be proud to attend his Excellency,
whilst it would be the other's duty to take care of their mother
at home. Harry allowed his senior to speak. His will was even still
obedient to George's. However much he desired to go, he would not
pronounce until George had declared himself. He longed so for the
campaign, that the actual wish made him timid. He dared not speak on the
matter as he went home with George. They rode for miles in silence, or
strove to talk upon indifferent subjects; each knowing what was passing
in the other's mind, and afraid to bring the awful question to an issue.
On their arrival at home the boys told their mother of General
Braddock's offer. "I knew it must happen," she said; "at such a crisis
in the country our family must come forward. Have you--have you settled
yet which of you is to leave me?" and she looked anxiously from one to
another, dreading to hear either name.
"The youngest ought to go, mother; of course I ought to go!" cries
Harry, turning very red.
"Of course he ought," said Mrs. Mountain, who was present at their talk.
"There! Mountain says so! I told you so!" again cries Harry, with a
sidelong look at George.
"The head of the family ought to go, mother," says George, sadly.
"No! no! you are ill, and have never recovered your fever. Ought he to
"You would make the best soldier, I know that, dearest Hal. You and
George Washington are great friends, and could travel well together, and
he does not care for me, nor I for him, however much he is admired in
the family. But, you see, 'tis the law of Honour, my Harry." (He
here spoke to his brother with a voice of extraordinary kindness and
tenderness.) "The grief I have had in this matter has been that I must
refuse thee. I must go. Had Fate given you the benefit of that extra
half-hour of life which I have had before you, it would have been your
lot, and you would have claimed your right to go first, you know you
"Yes, George," said poor Harry, "I own I should."
"You will stay at home, and take care of Castlewood and our mother. If
anything happens to me, you are here to fill my place. I would like to
give way, my dear, as you, I know, would lay down your life to serve me.
But each of us must do his duty. What would our grandfather say if he
The mother looked proudly at her two sons. "My papa would say that his
boys were gentlemen," faltered Madam Esmond, and left the young men, not
choosing, perhaps, to show the emotion which was filling her heart. It
was speedily known amongst the servants that Mr. George was going on the
campaign. Dinah, George's foster-mother, was loud in her lamentations
at losing him; Phillis, Harry's old nurse, was as noisy because Master
George, as usual, was preferred over Master Harry. Sady, George's
servant, made preparations to follow his master, bragging incessantly
of the deeds which he would do, while Gumbo, Harry's boy, pretended to
whimper at being left behind, though, at home, Gumbo was anything but a
But, of all in the house, Mrs. Mountain was the most angry at George's
determination to go on the campaign. She had no patience with him. He
did not know what he was doing by leaving home. She begged, implored,
insisted that he should alter his determination; and vowed that nothing
but mischief would come from his departure.
George was surprised at the pertinacity of the good lady's opposition.
"I know, Mountain," said he, "that Harry would be the better soldier;
but, after all, to go is my duty."
"To stay is your duty!" says Mountain, with a stamp of her foot.
"Why did not my mother own it when we talked of the matter just now?"
"Your mother!" says Mrs. Mountain, with a most gloomy, sardonic laugh;
"your mother, my poor child!"
"What is the meaning of that mournful countenance, Mountain?"
"It may be that your mother wishes you away, George!" Mrs. Mountain
continued, wagging her head. "It may be, my poor deluded boy, that you
will find a father-in-law when you come back."
"What in heaven do you mean?" cried George, the blood rushing into his
"Do you suppose I have no eyes, and cannot see what is going on? I tell
you, child, that Colonel Washington wants a rich wife. When you are
gone, he will ask your mother to marry him, and you will find him master
here when you come back. That is why you ought not to go away, you poor,
unhappy, simple boy! Don't you see how fond she is of him? how much
she makes of him? how she is always holding him up to you, to Harry, to
everybody who comes here?"
"But he is going on the campaign, too," cried George.
"He is going on the marrying campaign, child!" insisted the widow.
"Nay; General Braddock himself told me that Mr. Washington had accepted
the appointment of aide-de-camp."
"An artifice! an artifice to blind you, my poor child!" cries Mountain.
"He will be wounded and come back--you will see if he does not. I have
proofs of what I say to you--proofs under his own hand--look here!" And
she took from her pocket a piece of paper in Mr. Washington's well-known
"How came you by this paper?" asked George, turning ghastly pale.
"I--I found it in the Major's chamber!" says Mrs. Mountain, with a
"You read the private letters of a guest staying in our house?" cried
George. "For shame! I will not look at the paper!" And he flung it from
him on to the fire before him.
"I could not help it, George; 'twas by chance, I give you my word, by
the merest chance. You know Governor Dinwiddie is to have the Major's
room, and the state-room is got ready for Mr. Braddock, and we are
expecting ever so much company, and I had to take the things which
the Major leaves here--he treats the house just as if it was his own
already--into his new room, and this half-sheet of paper fell out of his
writing-book, and I just gave one look at it by the merest chance, and
when I saw what it was it was my duty to read it."
"Oh, you are a martyr to duty, Mountain!" George said grimly. "I dare
say Mrs. Bluebeard thought it was her duty to look through the keyhole."
"I never did look through the keyhole, George. It's a shame you should
say so! I, who have watched, and tended, and nursed you, like a mother;
who have sate up whole weeks with you in fevers, and carried you from
your bed to the sofa in these arms. There, sir, I don't want you there
now. My dear Mountain, indeed! Don't tell me! You fly into a passion,
and, call names, and wound my feelings, who have loved you like your
mother--like your mother?--I only hope she may love you half as well. I
say you are all ungrateful. My Mr. Mountain was a wretch, and every one
of you is as bad."
There was but a smouldering log or two in the fireplace, and no doubt
Mountain saw that the paper was in no danger as it lay amongst the
ashes, or she would have seized it at the risk of burning her own
fingers, and ere she uttered the above passionate defence of her
conduct. Perhaps George was absorbed in his dismal thoughts; perhaps
his jealousy overpowered him, for he did not resist any further when she
stooped down and picked up the paper.
"You should thank your stars, child, that I saved the letter," cried
she. "See! here are his own words, in his great big handwriting like
a clerk. It was not my fault that he wrote them, or that I found them.
Read for yourself, I say, George Warrington, and be thankful that your
poor dear old Mounty is watching over you!"
Every word and letter upon the unlucky paper was perfectly clear.
George's eyes could not help taking in the contents of the document
before him. "Not a word of this, Mountain," he said, giving her a
frightful look. "I--I will return this paper to Mr. Washington."
Mountain was scared at his face, at the idea of what she had done, and
what might ensue. When his mother, with alarm in her countenance, asked
him at dinner what ailed him that he looked so pale? "Do you suppose,
madam," says he, filling himself a great bumper of wine, "that to leave
such a tender mother as you does not cause me cruel grief?"
The good lady could not understand his words, his strange, fierce looks,
and stranger laughter. He bantered all at the table; called to the
servants and laughed at them, and drank more and more. Each time the
door was opened, he turned towards it; and so did Mountain, with a
guilty notion that Mr. Washington would step in.
CHAPTER VIII. In which George suffers from a Common Disease
On the day appointed for Madam Esmond's entertainment to the General,
the house of Castlewood was set out with the greatest splendour; and
Madam Esmond arrayed herself in a much more magnificent dress than she
was accustomed to wear. Indeed, she wished to do every honour to her
guest, and to make the entertainment--which, in reality, was a sad
one to her--as pleasant as might be for her company. The General's new
aide-de-camp was the first to arrive. The widow received him in the
covered gallery before the house. He dismounted at the steps, and
his servants led away his horses to the well-known quarters. No young
gentleman in the colony was better mounted or a better horseman than Mr.
For a while ere the Major retired to divest himself of his riding-boots,
he and his hostess paced the gallery in talk. She had much to say to
him; she had to hear from him a confirmation of his own appointment as
aide-de-camp to General Braddock, and to speak of her son's approaching
departure. The negro servants bearing the dishes for the approaching
feast were passing perpetually as they talked.
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