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THE HISTORY OF THE OLDCASTLE FAMILY.
AN ORIGINAL NOVEL.
(Continued from Page 70.]
The general festivity of the hall was month overthrown every thing. Of what now interrupted by the death of Lady avail would it now be that Bellasis should Priscilla, who, without any previous ill return to the neighbourhood of the Firs?" ness, was found one nioruing dead in her Her thoughts again took a turn, and led bed!
her to reflect on the singular clause in the We shall not detain our readers by will of Lady Priscilla “ Tad my benedwelling on the grief occasioned by this factress lived," said she, “ I should have event; suffice it to say, that this excellent sacrificed my lappiness to her slightest woman was lamented equal to her worth. wishes; and whatever might have been my Upon opening her will, it was found that | secret repugnance, would have united mythe whole of her property was left between self to the amiable Beacheroft. I can no Mr. Beachcroft and Agnes, on the con- longer see a necessity for this sacrifice; I dition that they intermarried within a shall act more generously by freely sure certain time. If this uvion did not take rendering my moiety of the immense beplace, that party was to lose its moiety quest; Sir George will be better satisfied, who refused the hand of the other.
and Mr. Beachcroft himself will submit. The hurry, the agitation, and the anxiety || Bellasis will not love me with a less ardent of mind from the late events had so wholly passion because he finds me less rich than occupied the attention of Agnes, that she he imagined." had thought little of Bellasis since the Such were the reflections' which passed death of her beloved protectress. The through her mind during the three first first excess of her grief having now sub- || days of her journey, and she resolved upon sided, Bellasis was the first of all foriner secing Mr. Beachcroft in town to acknowimages which returned to re-occupy her ledge candidly the true situation of her heart; and her. love, perhaps, was more mind. “ His generosity,” said she, “will confirmed, as in the loss of Lady Priscilla release me from obligations which he will she needed a protector,-she required an | perceive to be burtliensome, ---shall not object to occupy that love and esteem appeal in vain to the most generous of which was hitherto gratefully bestowed men." upon her benefactress. It is a truth ho. She was awakened from this reverie on nourable to human nature, that a mind the fourth day of her journey, by an exclaof sensibility cannot have a greater enjoy- | mation from Miss Beachcroft, who, looking ment than in the ere act of loving. A out of one of the windows of the coach, French author has said, with as much wit exclained abruptly,—“Well, who could as good humour, "I love my cat, but have thought it? I protest, Agnes, there is care very little whether my cat loves me." || old Jonathan, our old coachman, on the
Agnes n'w, therefore, became anxious as top of the Exeter coach, going to London." to the situation of Bellasis; she recalled || Agnes looked out; the Exeter stage had to laer mind every circumstance of their but in the same moment passed them; last farewel. Little did they then expect the eye of the faithful old domestic, fixed the melancholy event which had now oc upon the carriage, caught that of Agnes. curred. Lady Priscilla was then in health | Jonathan took off bis hai, and with a kind and happiness, and, in the confidence of of exulting triumph, half waved it in the long life, was planning future schemes of air. Agnes, in the joy of the moment forhappiness. Agnes herself, too, was at that getting all distance, returned his salute time possessed with no other fears than that with a nod and a smile. The poor fellow Bellasis should be detained by the necessity seemed transported with her kindoess, but of accompanying his mother into Norfolk. I the stage hurried him in a few minutes out * Alas!" said she, “ how has a single of sight.
Agnes now for the first time remember- || Accept, my dear young lady, the inclosed ed the packet in her pocket, and resolved sum; the two hundred pounds the earnto read it when Miss Beachcroft should ings of my service, and the five hundred again fall asleep, which she usually did pounds which Sir George paid me this after the first three miles of every stage. morning as the legacy of my late honoured She now, however, seemed unusually in. | Lady. Indeed, young lady, I kuow not clined to talk because, perhaps, she had what to do with all this money; accept it, now a new incident.
therefore, in trust, and repay me when you “Well, what can that old fool be going | shall come of age, and to your own; for if to London for," said she; to make his I know any thing of the world, you will fortune, I suppose."
not receive a single guinea from Sir George “ He is not so old,” said Agnes, " as to till that time shall come. My honoured be without curiosity."
young lady, your sincere though humble “And so he is going to see curiosities," || friend,
JONATHAN," added she; “ I can only say, my dear, that Agnes experienced no inconsiderable he will be the greatest curiosity himself. || satisfaction from this testimony of affecI would advise him to send a part of my tion; it is needless, however, to say, that aunt's legacy in purchasing a caravan, and she resolved to return it the first moment as Lady Priscilla has left hiin her old that she should see the faithful domestic. korses, he will be saved half the expence;
As Miss Beachcroft still slept, Agnes and then he may go about the fairs, and opened the letter. Her heart beat with shew hiinself and his horses for twopence quicker emotions when she found it to a piece to a!l spectators. I swear he will come from Belassis. The first few seni. make a fortune,-a better oue than thietences consisted of protestations, &c. Irisb Giant."
which it is not to the main purpose of this It may be believed that Agres was far history to extract, though Agnes, no doubt, from pleased with this contemptuous rail- thought it the most agrecable of the whole lery of a servant known to be peculiarly epistle. But after this matter of course attached to herself; but she knew Miss the letter thus proceeded :Beachcroft, though without malice, to be “ I am miserable, dearest Agnes, whilst incorrigible, and therefore listened to her thus detained from you, but I am not in silence, in some hopes that she would without hopes that even gratitude and soon talk herself asleep. Nor was it long duty will shortly permit my return, My in fact before this actually happened, for mother talks of returning into Cornwall wearied of receiving no other answers than within a fortnight or three wecks, and the the monosyliables of Agnes, she at length Captain, my more than father, intends to sunk her head into one corner of the car accompany her. You will thus conclude riage, and within a few minutes was in a that you may expect a visit by surprize. profound sleep.
Tell Lady Priscilla that the Captain talks Agnes. now took out her packet, and hourly of her, and frequently recals with opening it, found it to contain a small || almost rapture the many happy hours parcel and a letter. Opening the parcel, which he has spent at the Firs, hours which she found it to contain nearly two hundred we hope shortly to repeat."—“ No, never, pounds in small notes, and a check on the never!" exclaimed Agnes, the tear starting house of Hammersley for five hundred into her eye; "alas, those hours are fled
A few words on a slip of paper || for ever!" which fell to the ground, appeared to con The letter again proceeded :-“ That tain the explanation. Agnes hastily took | Poet was no lover, nor did he understand it up, and read as follows:
the nature of that generous passion, who “ My honoured young lady, -I know asserts that love is lessened by absence. that you have fallen into hands not the No, Agnes, absence but increases the pasmost generous in the world, and I know sion, as it substitutes the imagination for that London is a very expensive place for the reality; the lover, however remote young ladies, and you may find yourself from his mistress, still sees her in his fancy, much straitened when you little think it. Il and she loses nothing by the exchange.
Never are you a moment absent from my || by this question. He proceeded to ask fancy; I see you in my walks, you are the me with increased earnestness if I had any constant image of my dreams."
repugnance to marriage. Upon my reply Agnes was here interrupted by Miss in the negative, he asked me what I thought Beachcroft, who happened to awake. — of you. I could only regard him with sur“Well, my dear," said the flippant young prise. He proceeded, however, to explain lady, “ don't you think I have done very himself, and unfolded his views with rewell; I have been dreaming of London, | gard to my adoption, as I have mentioned and been in Grosvenor-square whilst you above, and thus continued :-'I confess have been counting the mile-stones. What that of all the families I have hitherto seen an excellent thing is sleep, as Sancho says; that of Lady Priscilla is the one with whom how happy would it be if one could sleep || I should be most ready to connect myself, the whole summer, and wake only on the || The fortune of her daughter is opulent to road to town in the following winter?" my wishes; I mention Agnes as her daugh.
The young lady continued talking in ter, as I have received it from Lady Pristhis manner till she again talked herself || cilla herself that she has adopted her as asleep, and again left Agues at liberty to such, and that she intends to bequeath peruse her letter.
her the greater part of her ample fortune. “There is one thing in my present situ- | I have no doubt but my Lady Priscilla ation which I confess gives more than or will approve of this proposal if it find no dinary satisfaction, as it opens to me the repugnance upon your part.' delightful prospect, that my Agnes will
“ You will believe, my dearest Agnes, at length be mine. If the tenderest love that I did not let pass this opportunity of can merit this felicity, I may boldly lay acknowledging my passion, and confessing claim to it,-in every other point of view that you were not uninformed of it. My accuse me not of the vanity of thinking | benefactor shook me by the hand with an niyself worthy of the love of the most
heartiness peculiar to himself. We asamiable as well as most lovely of her sex. sured me that my happiness should not be You will perhaps have some wish to under- long delayed.—The fortune of your Agstand to what I allude. Were you lessnes,' continued he, will not fall short of generous, less noble-minded yourself, and a hundred thousand pounds, which will therefore more apt to suspect any defect be a noble addition to your fortune, and of generosity in others, I should fear to enable you to rival in mercantile reputainform you, but as I know you to be every tion the family of the Greshams or the thing that is generous and noble, I have Medici. I know nothing that could have no hesitation.
happened more to my wishes. England “I need not now relate to you, that the has become a kingdom in which antiquity whole hopes of my future fortune are from of family is less respected than wealth, the benevolence of my adopted father, It and even the family of the Oldcastles is one of the foibles of his character anxi. would be overlooked unless supported by ously to wish to see his family restored to this secondary lustre.' a splendour they once enjoyed; and he “ Such, my beloved Agnes, is the pros. proposes to effect this end by two means, pect which has opened to me. I know the adoption of myself to his name and you will be too poble and generous to take fortune, and to spare no efforts to augment this in any wrong point of view. However my fortune to a princely opulence. It is valuable wealth inay he to the sordid sons for this reason, as I have before said, that of avarice, you will do me the justice to he has engaged me in commerce. It is believe, that I hold it as cheap as yourself. scarcely two hours from the date of this | If I am at the present moment happier letter that I have left his apartment. We than at any one period of my life, it is behave had a conversation of which you were cause I see an opportunity by which, with the object. My father demanded of me out contradicting the obligations of gratiif I had neier as yet thought of settling turle I owe to my benefaetor, my more than into the peace of domestic life? You may father, I may at length become happy in conceive I was in some degree embarrassed the possession of my Agnes."
Cruel were the reflections of Agnes upon enough to know that it must be a spectacle this mockery of fortune. If any thing is of more than usual splendour, and there-. more intolerable than another, it is when fore readily consented to join the party of misery is aggravated by this mockery. Lady Beachcroft. Well does the Egyptian hieroglyphic re Mr. Beachcroft called on Agnes for the present the Goddess of Fortune,-half a first time since the death of Lady Priscilla, woman and half an ape.
as she was waiting in the parlour to acconse: All further reflection was here inter- | pany Lady Beachcroft, the coach not being cepted by the carriages having now reached i yet at the door. Mr. Beachcrofi kuew the the end of their journey,-a large and sensibility of the mind of Agnes, and in handsome house in Portman-square. respect to her feelings mentioned not a
Every thing was so new to Agnes upon syllable of his love. Agnes could not, of her entrance into London that every other course, enter upon the subject, and the thought and emotion was lost in her curi- visit passed away in general conversation, osity. The noise, the bustle, the multi- till Agnes was summoned to the coach. tude, confounded her; she appeared in a Mr. Beachcroft then took his leave. new world. The splendour, riches, luxury: Agnes was somewhat surprised that he and elegance displayed in the different should not live in the house of his father, shops excited her surprise.
and more particularly so as the house was “Is it possible (thought she), that money more than ample enough for the fainily. can be wanting in a city every shop of She knew not that it had become the mode, which thus exhibits almost the wealih of as it is called, with all the young men of kings? And what can be the business of fashion of the day, to affect this family this incumerable multitude, every indivi- independence, and leaving the domestic dual of whom wears alike a face of import- | circle of mother, father, sisters, and ance. Can even commerce itself supply younger brothers, to amuse themselves in. occupation for these myriads? Must there the best manner they could, they betake not be many who, without any real busi-themselves to the proud independence of ness, have contracted the habit of looking a first floor. She knew not that the heir important ?"
of a Duke might be found in the first The conjecture of Agnes was doubtless floor of a milliner, or perhaps lounging here well founded. Ilow many indeed are along the counter, trifling with the women. there of those whose important looks would She knew not that there was scarcely a lead one to believe that the fate of the na- great family within the bills of mortality tion hung upon their next resolve, and in which the father and the son, arrived who at bottom are but the veriest idlers to manhood, were on such good terins as of the town,—physicians who were never to support the society of each other, extroubled with a fee, and counsellors who cept at the dinner hour once or twice in never opened their mouths in the court, the week. politicians who only read the Courier, Lady Beachcroft ordered the coach to courtiers who only visit the court, and drive through Bond-street :“We must attorneys who feed only in term time,
-order our dresses, for we must go to such are the greater part of those crowds court. Agnes, we must get you presented," which justie you off the pavement, and said she. then intreat your pardon with looks as The coach, accordingly, stopped at the if the gravity and importance of their door of a fancy dress maker.
" Come business was sufficient excuse for their choose, choose girls," said Lady Priscilla; rudeness.
“ but harkee, Juliet, you must treat youre Such were the reflections of Agnes for self now, for you can betçer afford it than the three or four first days. On the fifth, || I can." Lady Beachcroft invited her to accompany In a moment the carpet was covered her to a review in Hyde-Park. The Vo. | with silks, muslins, &c. in a profusion, lunteers in the neighbourhood of the me. and with
an apparent carelessness of tropolis were to be reviewed by his Ma- | their value which somewhat surprised jesty in person. Agnes comprehended Agnes.
Agnes, accustomed to dress in a style '; am I ever to pay for this, I have not twenty of simple elegance only, took up a piece pounds about me?" muslin which appeared to her suited to the “ And I have not twenty shillings,'' purpose, and, according to her custom, added Miss Beaclıcroft," and yet you hear when she attended Lady Priscilla in a what I have ordered. These things are shopping jaunt to Penzance, was preparing 'necessaries, my dear, and must be had, to ask its price per yard, when she heard though they were pever paid for. And the Miss Beachcroft demand of the milliner, I woman, though a little extravagant, is not what would be nearly the amount of a dress unreasonable, she can wait I assure you.— about which they were consulting? Well, Mrs. B--," continued she, “yon
“Why, I think, Misses, as you are my will be punctual with both the dresses ;" established customers," replied Mrs. B and with these words she followed her "I could make it up for about ninety niother to the coach. guineas.
They now drove immediately to the re“What, trimmings and all?" said Miss view.-Agnes was never more dissatisfied Beaclicroft.
at her irresolution, she remembered to “ Yes, Miss, at least the difference have often heard Priscilla declaim will not be considerable."
against that fashionable extravagance "Well, I will have it then," said Miss which would lavish on a dress or a trinket Beachcroft; “but be sure you follow my in- what would support almost for their lives strictions, or I shall not endure it; but I one or more poor families.-Miss Beachwill not go above the ninety guincas, re croft, however, talked with so much volumember that."
bility about the beauty of the dress, and This conversation occasioned Agnes, in " the disting.islied taste of Mrs. B-, that sonie confusion, to drop to the ground the Agnes was absolutely shamed out of her meslin she had taken up. Miss Beachcroft penitence. demanded of her whether she had yet !. You will look so beautiful in it, Agnes, phosen ? and Agnes rerlying in the nega. for I have matched it to your complexion. live, “ well then," said she, “ let me choose | The slip is a pale-pink, which will be ren. for you, and I am sure you will admire my dered still more pale as it is reflected taste."—She then again turned over the through the lace. I can assure you, niy silks, muslins, and laces, and at length fixed dear, that there is more art than you imaupon one to her taste.--" You will have gine in arranging a fancy dress. And if I this Agnes;" said she.-" The young lady was a prime minister's lady, I would give will have this, Mrs. B-4,"said she with Mrs. B-ma place or a pension for her out waiting the assent of Agnes, “ you will taste." have the goodness to make it up, and send Agnes suffered herself at length to be it home the same time that you send minc. overpowered by these arguments, and by But pray what will it come to?
a firm iesolution to be guilty of no second “Why, Miss," said Mrs. B--, “it is act of a similar nature, reconciled this first rather an exrensive dress, as it will take an concession to her mind. immensity of lace to cover the slip. I They had now gained the scene of the really carnnot tell you, Miss, what it may review. Sir George, who was one of the amount to, as from the uncertainty in these Colonels, obtained permission for their things we are careful never to fix the price | carriage to enter into the centre of the le:t we should lose."
ground marked out. They had thus a full " But tell us vearly," said Miss Beach. view of the whole line. The day was fine,
come my dear Mrs. B—-, make and the sun shining on the polished steel of haste, for we are going to the review.- the swords and musquets, and the splendid Will it come to much more than an hun regimentals of the several corps, composed dred guineas"
a scene of uncqualled splendour. The “No, Miss, not much more."
effect was heightened by the number of “Well, then, let it be made up." men, drums beating, colours flying, every
“Stop, for Heaven's sake," said Agnes, thing, in a word, which could animate and taking the arm of Miss Beachcroft; "how! | exhilarate.