LI B RARY
or ILLI NOIS
SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
A TRUE TALE.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS,
SUCCESSORS TO HENRY COLBURN,
13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
J. Billing; Printer, 103, Hatton Gardon, London, and Guildford, Surrey.
THE SQUIRE OE BEECHWOOD.
Mrs, Selwyn's family had not been establish-
ed many days at Weymouth, berore Harry made
his appearance one afternoon on the sands. He
had arrived the previous evening, and with a lad
behind him on a thorough-bred young horse, was
riding at the fashionable hour when the tide had
run out, in the hopes of meeting Mary Maitland.
His servant's horse being terrified at the noise
of the waves, or from some other cause, became
restive, and suddenly dashed into the sea, going
straight away from the beach. Harry, alarmed
for the lad's safety, immediately followed, encou-
VOL. III. B
2 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
raging him to be steady, and keep his seat, as
he was close behind. Instantly all eyes were
directed to this exciting, though fearful race,
over the billows.
" What a gallant fellow ! — what a brave lad !"
escaped from every mouth ; "but they must be
" Boat ahoy !" shouted a young middy to a
sailor ; " hang it Jack, let's put off to their
" There ar'n't a craft of any sort," said Jack,
" within sight, except that old fishing - tub
" Any plank in a wreck," cried the middy ;
" haul away, my lads !" and in a moment the
boat was carried by a dozen hands, and pushed
off to sea, with four blue jackets, pulling for
their lives, with the brave little middy in the
stern, encouraging them to still greater exertions.
" Steady, my lads ! give way together," cried he ;
" now she moves ; easy, that will do, we're in
their wake." The boat shot rapidly through
the rising surge, and gained upon the fugitives.
" Hurrah, my lads ! we near them now ; pull
together, but steady I"
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 3
During this exciting scene, the beach was
crowded with spectators of all classes, who
rushed from every part of the town ; but in-
tense interest kept them silent ; — every eye
being strained to catch a glimpse of these daring
riders, who were now^ a mile out at sea, and
still receding from the shore.
" They are lost !" exclaimed a gentleman,
from the box-seat of a carriage, with a telescope
in his hand. " I can see them no longer ! — No
— no — thank God ! there they are again, with
their faces turned this way, and now the boat is
near them ! — Hurrah ! — they will be saved yet !"
The boy's horse had shot so far ahead at
first, that it was some time before Harry could
approach him ; but being fortunately mounted
on a strong, powerful hunter, he gained by his
greater strength on the younger animal, whose
courage began to fail. — *' Now,*' shouted Harry,
as he came within a few strides of the boy,
" steady, Will, and mind what I say — your life
depends on it — let the rein slack, and strike
your horse's nose gently on the right side with
your whip — gently, mind — very gently, or you'll
throw him over in turning." Harry was nearly
4 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
side-by-side, and the young horse, hearing his
companion snorting in the waves, and his master's
well-known voice calling him, turned as Harry
turned, and was soon following in his wake.
" Tliat's right, my boy ! — well done, Will !— by
God's permission we shall soon be on shore
The boat now approached, which Harry seeing,
shouted, " About my lads, and pull for the
" No, no," cried the midshipman, " never
mind the horses, get into the boat and save
"It won't do 1" shouted Harry; "turn as I say,
or you'll drown us all, by frightening the horses
— pull away, my lads." v
" Ay, ay, Sir I" bawled out Jack, " stern all !"
and the boat was instantly backed, with a loud
hurrah from the crew.
" Hold your cheers until we reach the shore
again," called out Harry ; " my horse sees you
now — pull straight ahead, and silently."
In this way all gradually neared the beach,
although slowly, for the horses' strength was
fast diminishing ; but Harry's old hunter, seeing
THE SQUIRE 01^ BEECHWOOD. 5
the men in the boat, neighed occasionally, as if
deriving comfort from their presence, and his
master's cheery voice sustained his courage.
Several carriages and horsemen had drawn up
on the beach ; among the latter was Lord Bar-
nard, who had taken a house at Weymouth,
for the benefit of Lady Barnard's health. Being
a good rider and sportsman also, he felt a deep
interest in the fate of Harry and the boy, ex-
exclaiming aloud, " What a gallant fellow ! —
who is he ? — does any one know ?"
" No, my Lord,'* repUed Mr. Fergusson, an
old master of hounds, " he is a stranger here ;
only arrived last night, I hear, at the Royal
Hotel ; but, by Jove ! my Lord, he is a trump,
come from where he may, and a foxhunter too,
I should think, like your Lordship."
"Here they come!" burst from a hundred
voices, with the waving of ladies' handkerchiefs.
*' Hurrah ! hurrah !" as Harry, holding the lad's
bridle in his left hand, was seen splashing
through the last low waves, and in a moment a
circle was formed around them on the dry sands,
with the young midshipman holding Harry's
hand, as if he never intended to let it go. " My
6 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
brave little fellow," said he, '' you did your best to
save our lives, with your sturdy tars — come
down to the Hotel, — bring them all with you,
and then they shall cheer as loud as they
" As I live," cried Lord Barnard, edging his
horse through the crowd, " that's Harry Howard's
voice ! — Why, Harry, my boy !" grasping him
warmly by the hand, " I could scarcely credit
my senses — you here ?"
" Yes, my Lord, and glad to see your face once
more, which, awhile ago, I thought my eyes
would never rest on more, nor any other
" Bravely, nobly done, my gallant young
friend ; — but see, your lad has fainted."
" Here, quick !" cried Harry, " hoist him up
on my saddle, and will you, my Lord, let your
servant bring down his horse to the Royal
Laying Will on his right arm, with his body
resting on the horse's withers, away rode Harry
amid the enthusiastic cheers of all assembled.
The lad was carried up to his master's own bed,
and rubbed with hot flannels until animation
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 7
returned, the hotel being thronged with visitors
inquiring anxiously about both.
In an hour afterwards, Harry was walking
arm-in-arm with Lord Barnard on the Espla-
nade, and many an inquiring glance from fair
and glistening eyes was directed at the young
and daring stranger.
*' Well, Harry," inquired Lord Barnard, " what
brings you to Weymouth ? Your nerves can't
want bracing, I should think."
*' Not much, my Lord ; but I thought a dip
or two in the sea might freshen me up a little,
and I have had a pretty good dose of salt water
this morning to begin with."
" There's little doubt of that ; and it was a
very near thing, my boy, that you did not feed
the crabs, instead of their feeding you. But
come, you shall not stay at the hotel whilst I
have a vacant bed in my house ; so send your
things down, and remember, I am to be your
host as long as you remain in Weymouth."
" Indeed, my Lord, I cannot inconvenience
Lady Barnard by accepting your kind offer."
" You will do nothing of the kind, Master
Harry ; Julia will be as glad of your company
8 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
as I shall, so no excuses : once for all, I will
not take them ; and now, let us go and see Lady
Barnard, who has just returned from her drive."
Lady Barnard was reclining on the sofa when
Harry entered the room.
" Ah, my dear young friend !" she said,
" how delighted I am to see you again ! You
have been quite a stranger lately ; and now Lord
Barnard tells me you have just risked your life
to save your servant from a watery grave. Oh,
Harry, how rash you are !" as her eyes filled
with tears. He was kneeling by her side, his
hand locked in hers, pouring out his grateful
thanks for all her past kindness to him when
a school-boy, as Lord Barnard opened the
" What, Harry ! you ungrateful young scamp,
making love to my wife ?"
" Even so," said Harry, rising : " few do I
love so well, for dear Lady Barnard has ever
been to me a second mother."
" There, there, Harry, you are a queer mix-
ture of the heroics and the pathetics — between a
lion and a lamb ; but I want you to see a fresh
horse I have lately bought, so come along. We
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 9
shall return to dinner, Julia ;" saying which, they
left the room together.
Half an hour before dinner, Harry made his
entree into Lady Barnard's drawing-room with
the youthful midshipman, whom Lord Barnard
insisted on being brought with him ; and they
were soon surrounded by the young ladies, all
eager to welcome their old friend and play-
" Oh, Harry ! Harry ! naughty Harry !" cried
the youngest, a sweet, sylph-Uke child of eight
years old, springing into his arms ; '^ where have
you been ? — Cecy has missed you so very, very
" Have you, indeed, my darling ?" said he,
folding her in his arms, and kissing her rosy
cheeks ; " but you have had my handsome
cousin Robert often with you ?"
" Oh, yes," she said ; " mamma, and my
sisters, and Julia, love Robert, but I love Harry
"Well, my dear Cecy, I shall be with you
now for a day or two."
" Only a day or two !" echoed the child ; " oh,
mamma ! don't let Harry go so soon !"
10 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" No, my love, he certainly shall not, if I can
prevent it," said Lady Barnard.
" Oh, I'm so glad, dear mamma — pray don't
let him go !" said the artless child, turning to
" Well, my love, the dinner is nearly ready,
so you must let Harry go, and return to Miss
" But I may come down again, dear mamma,
after dinner, to show Harry my basket of pretty
shells ? May I not, dearest mamma ?" running
and kissing Lady Barnard.
"Yes, my love; so now run away, like a
*' One more kiss from Harry, then. Oh,
how cold your lips are, Harry, and you look so
" Yes, my dear," said Lord Barnard ; " but
he was blue a few hours ago, and his teeth chat-
tered like castanets when he came out of his
cold bath. But now go, dear Cicy, he wants
his dinner more than kisses."
Cecy tripped off, and soon after the portly
butler announced that dinner was served.
Harry felt himself quite at home, when once
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 11
more with this happy family. Lady Barnard
regarded him almost as her own son (although
Robert held the first place in her affections), and
her daughters loved him as a brother, from his
being, since boyhood, so domesticated in the
During the dinner-hour, Harry was so be-
sieged with questions from all sides, that Lord
Barnard interposed, saying, " My dears, Harry
can scarcely swallow a mouthful of food ; he has
sent away his soup and fish nearly untasted.
Now pray give him a little respite. Come, a
glass of wine, Harry, to settle that sea- water ;
and now a slice or two of this haunch of mutton
will do you no harm."
" Thank you, my Lord, but I do not feel very
ravenous ; my kind reception here is the greatest
feast I have enjoyed for many months."
" Then why don't you partake of it oftener ?"
asked Lord Barnard.
" Not from want of inclination, rest assured,
dear Lord Barnard, but " and he hesitated.
" What, my boy, what's the reason ? — Not
fear of a hearty welcome, I hope ?"
" Oh, no — indeed not," replied Harry ;
12 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" that I could never doubt, after all your kind-
"We]l, Harry, another glass of wine, and
when you have cleared your plate, I will take
the embargo off the ladies."
Miss Barnard, during this short dialogue, kept
her eyes fixed steadily on Harry's face, and
seemed to guess his meaning, but made no re-
mark. The young middy, a gentlemanly, quiet
lad, and of good family, whose father was not
unknown to Lord Barnard, was cared for and
patronized by Lady Barnard, who was extremely
fond of young people, and the dessert being
placed on the table, the two youngest daughters
made their re-appearance.
We will leave Harry Howard in the bosom of
this highly-gifted and happy family, to see what
was passing in another house in Gloster Terrace.
About four o'clock in the afternoon, Mrs.
Selwyn was sitting with her daughter, having
just returned from a drive in the country, when
Captain Crawford, a distant connection of Mrs.
Selwyn's, who was quartered at Dorchester, and
had the entree of the house, was ushered into
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 13
" Ah, Mrs. Selwyn !" exclaimed the Captain,
" I saw your carriage returning — 'pon honour —
you are looking so blooming, and Miss Maitland,
too, quite bewitching, I declare ; but you have lost
a scene on the sands — oh, quite enchanting — two
fellows' horses having a swimming-match out to
sea, and nearly drowned; women screaming,
men shouting, dogs barking, sailors hurrahing,
and all that sort of thing."
" But," said Mrs. Selwyn, " I hope they were
not drowned ; how dreadful to think of it !"
" Oh, no," replied the Captain ; *' a boat was
pushed off, and they came safe to shore."
"But who were they? — Did you hear their
names ?" asked Mary.
" Oh, yes. Miss Maitland ; old Barnard said
the fellow's name was Howard, and it seems his
servant's horse ran away with him, and bolted
into the sea. The fellow had pluck enough to
follow the lad, and both went off to sea for a
■ mile or two ; — but, gracious goodness. Miss
Maitland, how pale you are ! Mercy on us, Mrs.
Selwyn, she is going to faint !"
Mrs. Selwyn was by her side in a moment;
the Captain threw open the window, and ringing
14. THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
the bell, Freeman soon appeared with restora-
tives, during which the Captain made his escape
In a few minutes after, when Mary had re-
covered from her swoon, Mr. Selwyn returned
from his ride, having witnessed Harry's escape,
and gave them a full account of the scene,
adding, that he was told Harry Howard was
staying with Lord and Lady Barnard.
" But was he hurt ?" asked Mary, timidly.
" Not in the least, as I saw him gallop off
with the boy in his arms, and Lord Barnard
riding with him."
" Thank heaven !" fervently, but lowly,
ejaculated Mary, as she covered her face with
her handkerchief, and lay back on the sofa.
" But there he is, I declare," said Mr. Selwyn,
looking out of the window, " walking on the
Esplanade opposite, arm-in-arm with Lord Bar-
Mary sprang instantly to the window at this
intelligence, and clearly discerned her beloved
" Now, Mary, have I deceived you?" asked
Mr. Selwyn, in a low voice ; " or will you put
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 15
on your bonnet and go and meet him with
" Not now, dear papa — I feel too ill — but I
" How provoking," said Mrs. Selwyn, as
her daughter left the room, " that man should
arrive here, just as Mary was improving in
health, to unsettle her again."
" Nothing very extraordinary, my dear, know-
ing he is on such intimate terms with the Bar-
nards, who, perhaps, have asked him to stay
" Fm not so easily blinded, Mr. Selwyn, as
you are ; he has followed Mary down, but for
all that she shall not marry him ; and if he re-
mains here, I shall take her elsewhere. I am
out of aU patience with him, Mr. Selwyn, and
you take it so coolly ! Has he not prevented
Sir William Beaumont proposing — that excel-
lent young man, so gifted, and such a desirable
connection ; and before him, Mr. Spalding, who
would certainly have married her, but for his
interference ? It is too vexatious, Mr. Selwyn,
that I am to be thwarted and annoyed by such
1 6 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" You might have foreseen the consequences,
my dear, when you were so continually
inviting the young Howards to our house ; you
were ever praising them before Mary — such
handsome, excellent, agreeable young men, and
can you be surprised at her falling in love with
one of them ?"
" I of course concluded," she replied, " they
w^ere young men of good expectations, and ho-
" And so they are, my dear. Harry has been
offered one of the family livings, with a capital
house, directly he will take orders ; and the
estate of Beechwood will become his at Mr.
" Who may live till he is a hundred," retorted
Mrs. Selwyn indignantly ; " but he shall not
marry my daughter, though he is such a fa-
vourite of yours"
" Ah, well, my dear, you must please your-
self; but I foresee the consequences, if you do
not, and they will be most serious." Saying
which, Mr. Selwyn left her.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 17
Mary often rode with her father-in-law after
breakfast on the sands, and the next morning
they were met by Lord Barnard and Harry, also
on horseback. Mr. Selwyn shook hands very
cordially with Harry, who introduced him to
Lord Barnard, as an old friend and neighbour ;
and as these two gentlemen entered into con-
versation, Harry took his place by Mary's side,
and the party thus moved on, as if by tacit
consent. Mr. Selwyn having travelled and seen
much of the world, as well as being of the same
pohtical creed. Lord Barnard was much pleased
with him, and turning round to Harry, said—
" I am tired of the bellowing of the waves, my
boy, shall we see what the country is like ?"
VOL III. c
18 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" Oh yes," replied Harry, " much better than
parading here. Will you accompany us?" asked
he, of Mr. Selwyn.
" With pleasure." And thus they rode off
together, Harry enjoying the society of his
dearly beloved, and recounting all his adventures
since they last met.
" You see I have kept my promise," said he ;
" and now, having an invitation to remain with
Lord Barnard during my sojourn here, we shall
often meet, and young Charley St. Clair, who
lives with his aunt, in the adjoining house to
yours, will give me intelligence of your move-
" Oh yes," she said, *' Charley is a great
favourite with us already, and as mamma knows
his aunt, we sometimes take a stroll together,
when Mr. Selwyn is otherwise engaged."
Mr. Selwyn soon after this took his leave of
Lord Barnard, saying he must return to
luncheon, as his daughter was not yet equal to
much exertion ; and Harry and Lord Barnard
continued their ride.
A few days after, Lord Barnard left his card
on Mr. Selwyn, when Mrs. Selwyn exclaimed —
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 19
" How did you become acquainted with his lord-
ship, my dear?"
" Oh, we often meet in our rides, and have
struck up an acquaintance."
" What sort of person is he ?"
" Very gentlemanly and agreeable, clever and
well-informed, quite comes up to the character
I have always heard of him, and we are of the
same political opinions."
Mrs. Selwyn asked no further questions ; not
altogether displeased at the idea of becoming
acquainted with a family who ranked so high in
Charley St. Clair and Harry Howard soon
formed a warm attachment for each other, the
former being often treated to a ride on the ser-
vant's horse, which he enjoyed excessively ; he
was also received by Lady Barnard with great
kindness, who gave him a carte blanche invita-
tion to dine with them whenever he could ob-
tain his aunt's consent.
Thus Charley became a constant visitor at
Lady Barnard's, and a great favourite with the
One morning Harry had engaged to accom-
20 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
pany the youngest child, Cecilia, to search for
sea anemonies, in a secluded part of the beach,
when Charley was present, who, jumping up,
said, " Oh ! I have forgotten an engagement I
had also made, and must be off directly — but I
shall find you out, Harry, as I know the di-
rection vou will take."
Half-an-hour afterwards, Mary Maitland was
seen walking with the young midshipman to-
wards Anemony Bay, as Cecy called her favourite
spot on the beach. And whilst the two young
ones were sedulously searching for the treasures
of the deep, Harry and his betrothed were sit-
ting on a rock hard by, discussing weighty
matters ; the subject of their conversation being
Mrs. Selwyn's continued obduracy of heart to-
" Do not fret more about this, my beloved
girl, she will come round in time ; and remem-
ber the old lines, *The course of true love
never did run smooth.' We have not much to
complain of just now, seeing each other as we
do, almost daily. Your mother will, I hope,
soon relent, and you must make haste and get
well. Mr. Selwyn is on our side, and he will
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 21
favour our cause ; a little more patience, and all
will be right again."
Young Charley, from this day, guessing the
state of affairs between Mary and Harry, gave
them frequent opportunities of meeting; and
they were as happy as their present situation
would admit of; Harry's time being fully oc-
cupied from an early hour in the morning, until
late in the day, with rides and walks, sometimes
with Lord Barnard, Mr. Selwyn, and Miss
Maitland, and at others with Cecy or her sisters.
Of the Miss Barnards, Sophia, the eldest, had
always taken a greater interest in Harry than
either of her sisters, who were too much capti-
vated with Robert's handsome person and insin-
uating manners. Miss Barnard being of a
more reflective disposition, judged differently;
and from Robert's volatile, flirting conduct,
argued anything but happiness to her sister
Julia; but being several years older than her
sisters, the three younger generally consorted
together, seeing httle, and attending less to
Sophia's prudent remarks, which sometimes
escaped her, on Robert's levity of character.
With Harry, however, she would discuss these
22 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
points ; and as they were walking together one
afternoon, she asked what had become of his
cousin, as they had not seen him very lately.
" Oh, at home, I believe," replied Harry,
" flirting away with every pretty girl he sees ; but
as soon as he hears of my being with you, he
will, I dare say, run down here, and then I shall
take my departure."
" And why so, Harry ?"
" Because, my dear Miss Barnard, it is im-
possible for me to live under the same roof with
him again. You remember how, a year ago,
at Sidmouth, he set all your sisters against me,
except Cecy, by his ridicule and jeers, about my
being a canting, hypocritical parson ; in fact, he
is so abominably egotistical, that he cannot en-
dure to see any man but himself in favour with
ladies, and I really cannot any longer submit
to his overbearing insolence. A quarrel must
be the result, although I do all in my power to
keep my temper."
" You must promise me," said Miss Barnard,
" you will not quarrel with him ; the very idea
of such a thing would make mamma miserable."
" Indeed," replied Harry, " nothing would in-
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 23
duce me to give a moment's uneasiness to dear
Lady Barnard; and, to avoid this, when lie comes,
" Then, I hope," said Sophia, " he will not
arrive for some time. But who is that pretty
girl you are riding and walking with so often,
Master Harry ?"
" A neighbour, and old acquaintance of mine.
Miss Maitland, who has been ordered here for
change of air."
" And nothing more ?" she asked, with an
inquiring look at Harry's averted eyes.
" Yes," he said ; " she is one of my greatest
" Ah ! then you must introduce me to her.
See, here she is approaching, with Charley St.
Harry was too delighted with the opportunity
of making them acquainted, and they were soon
walking side by side on the Esplanade, mutually
pleased with each other.
The next day Lady Barnard called on Mrs.
Selwyn, and the call was followed by an invitation
to dine with her on the Saturday following, and
24 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
On the Friday afternoon, as Harry and St.
Clair had just returned from a ride, and pre-
sented themselves in Lady Barnard's drawing-
room, she inquired anxiously if they had seen
" No," replied Harry ; " not since the morn-
ing, as Charley and I have just returned from
* Oh, dear, then !" exclaimed Lady Barnard,
" some accident must have occurred, as she
went with Lucy, about eleven o'clock, for a
walk, and it is now past her dinner hour."
" Pray don't alarm yourself, dear Lady Bar-
nard," said Harry, " I will soon find her out.
Come, Charley !" — and both disappeared.
^' That child," said Harry to St. Clair, '^ is off
again to Anemony Bay, as she calls it, I'll en-
gage. The tide is running in — quick for our
horses, or we shall be too late !"
They were soon mounted, and off full gallop
for the spot, keeping on the hill above the sea ;
and there, sure enough, were Lucy and the child
on the rocks below, and the waves foaming and
dashing all around them. For a moment the
two stood horror-stricken at the sight, when the
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 25
boy exclaimed : " Oh. Harry, Harry, they will
be drowned ! — what can we do?"
"Here, Charley, quick! — take my horse
by the bridle, ride to yonder farm-house, and
bring two or three strong labouring-men and a
cart-line with you. I will scramble down among
this brushwood, and support the child until you
" It can't be done, Harry — you will be dashed
to pieces on the rocks below 1 Let me try ;
I am much lighter than you."
"No, no, my gallant boy; you could not
hold the child, and both would be swept off to
•' Then," replied Charley, " I must see you safe
before I leave this spot."
Harry's descent was more precipitous than he
at first supposed ; but at last he was checked in
his rapid career by a stunted tree, which hung
over the abyss below : a crash was heard, the
earth slipped, and all rolled down together !
The stillness which succeeded was only broken by
the seagulls* shrill scream, as they flew over the
spot where Harry had disappeared.
" Merciful heaven !" exclaimed Charley St.
26 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
Clair, " Harry Howard is lost for ever ! But
yet, his only chance, the rope — " And away he
dashed Hke lightning for the farm-house.
His hopes and fears were soon explained ; and
the farmer's son, with a long cart-line, sprang on
Harry's horse, giving orders for every man on
the place to follow. As Charley looked over the
cliff, Harry was seen sitting on the highest rock,
which the waves had not yet reached, with the
little girl locked in his arms, and clinging round
his neck. " Saved ! saved !" shouted St. Clair.
" We are just in time — hurrah !" In a few
moments the old farmer and two other men
came scrambling to the spot, on the cart team.
" Now," said Charley, " let me down first."
" Noa, noa,"^ said the farmer ; " there be
enough down there already, without thee going
down too, to be pulled up again. — Here, John,
tie a slip knot, and let fall the line."
"And me in it," said Charley, slipping it
over his arms. " I know what I am about,
farmer ; let go, I say !" And St. Clair was
soon dangUng in the air, over his friend's
" Are you hurt, Harry ?" was the first question.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 2?
" Any limbs broken ?" as he seized his friend's
" No, thank God !" he replied ; " only a few
" Then, quick — you and the child must go up
first," as he adjusted the rope, with a sack, under
his arms. " Now, Cecy, don't cry, my dear.
You love Harry, don't you ?"
" Oh, dear, yes," sobbed the child, •' how
" Then, don't be frightened. You must cling
round Harry's neck — tight, mind, very tight.
But, stay — give me your handkerchief, Harry, I
must strap her to you."
Charley then bound her to his friend's back,
with her little arms round his neck. "Now,
my lads," shouted the young middy to those
above, " are you ready ?"
" Ay, ay, sir !"
" Then, haul away, steady."
"Hoi! hoi!" was borne away on the breeze,
as Harry gradually ascended, and a loud
" Hurrah !" saluted Charley's ear, to apprize
him of his friend's safe landing on terra firma.
"Those are jolly dogs — seamen, I'll war-
28 THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD.
rant," said St. Clair, and the rope again ap-
" Now, my dear," said Charley, approaching
Lucy, who was sobbing and wringing her hands,
" it is your turn next — come, quick !"
" Oh, I cannot go up like that, sir ; indeed I
cannot ! I shall faint."
*' Then be drowned, you fool ! There's not
a minute to spare," cried Charley. " It's only
having a swing, after all. Here, I'll tie your
petticoats round your legs ; and only mind you
don't scratch your pretty face against the rocks.
Now, haul away, my lads ! Hold the rope
over your head, Lucy, with your left hand, and
steady yourself with the other. That's right," as
she followed his directions ; " you'll do for a
sailoi*'s wife, after aU."
The girl was dragged up, more dead than
alive, and fainted away as soon as she reached
" Hah, hah ! " laughed the old farmer ;
" here's a precious cargo of goods ! There,
John, let her bide a bit, and hlaw in her
" Nonsense, feayther ; the girl's fainted."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 29
"Then, blaw in her ear, I teH ye; that'll
bring her to."
In a few minutes the young sailor was drawn
up, and rushing into Harry's arms, burst into
" Dang it !" cried the farmer, rubbing his
eyes hard with his coat sleeve, " that youngster's
got feeling as well as pluck."
" Now, farmer," said Harry, taking him by
the hand, " you and your brave fellows have saved
our lives to day ; and I shall soon, I hope, see
you again, with something more than thanks for
your ready help; but accept this now — all I
have about me" — placing his purse in his
"Noa, noa, sir, I won't, I tell ye — 'twould
burn my fingers. I be as glad almost as ye be,
but I won't have no money."
" Then keep the purse, for my sake, and give
the money to your men."
" They sha'n't have it, sir — they doant want
it, I knows."
"They must and shall have it, farmer, to
drink my health, and yours too, or you will
never see my face again."
30 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" Then th^y shall, if thems the terms ; for I
should like to see ye again, and often too."
" And now, my darling," said Harry to Cecy,
" we must gallop home, you in my arms, on my
" Oh, how delightful !" cried the child ; " and
see dear mamma again 1"
Charley made a similar proposal to Lucy,
which being dechned, the farmer said —
"I'll take care of the wench, and send her
home with John, after she's had a cup of tea
with our missus."
As Harry approached Lady Barnard's house,
he dismounted, giving his horse to Charley to
take to the stables ; and in a few minutes, Cecy
was restored to her mother's arms. The old
butler was waiting in nervous expectation of
their return at the hall door, and, as Harry came
up, exclaimed —
" Oh ! Master Harry, what a fright we have
all had, and my lady is almost distracted."
" There then. Smith, take Miss Cecy to her
mother, and bring me a glass of sherry to my
room, for I'm not presentable in a drawing-
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 31
" Mercy on us ! sir, what a figure you are ;
where have you been ?"
" Never mind now ; do as I bid you, and you
shall then know all about it.'*
It were needless to attempt a description of the
meeting between the mother and child, who re-
mained locked in each other's arms for several
minutes ; and we will leave them whilst the old
and faithful butler is performing the part of valet
to Harry, and listening to his account of their
almost miraculous escape.
" Why, sir," said he, " you are scratched and
bruised all over."
" Lucky it's no worse, my good friend ; but
for a mass of earth going down with me, and
the old tree to which I clung, I must have been
dashed to pieces."
" Heaven be praised !" exclaimed the old man?
" that your life has been spared, and Miss Cecy's
too. What would my dear lady have done had
she been lost ? But come, sir, another glass of
sherry, whilst I run down and get a large jug of
hot water to bathe these bruises, or you wont be
able to walk to-morrow."
The news of Harry's second adventure soon
32 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
spread over the town, and he and young St.
Clair were looked upon as heroes of romance.
The interview between Lady Barnard and Harry,
when he limped into the drawing-room, was most
affecting. She held out her arms as he ap-
proached, and kneeling by her side, he was
folded in a long embrace.
" Oh ! Harry, my dear noble boy, what can
I do to prove my gratitude for saving my dear
Cecy'slife? But are you not hurt yourself ? I
am sure you must be."
" No, dear Lady Barnard, only a few scratches,
which are nothing to a foxhunter.'^
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 33
The following morning, Lord Barnard rode
over with Charley St. Clair to the scene of their
adventure ; and after a long discussion with the
old farmer, who positively refused any recom-
pense, Lord Barnard placed a cheque of five
hundred pounds in his wife's hands, saying —
•^" There, that will help to set your son John up
in business ; I will take no refusal, so put it by
for him. What is such a trifle to me, in com-
parison with what you have done in saving my
child's and young friend's lives ?" saying which,
he quickly left the house.
On the evening of the dinner-party, Harry,
having dressed early, was reclining in an easy
chair in the drawing-room, with Cecy, and
VOL. III. D
34 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
her little arms round his neck, in which posi-
tion, fatigued by their exertions of the previous
day, the effects from which had not yet worn
off, both had fallen asleep, when Mr. and
Mrs. Selwyn were ushered into the room, no
other person being there. The visitors gazed
on the tableau before them for a few seconds,
when Mr. Selwyn exclaimed, " What a lovely
child !" His voice roused Cecy from her slum-
ber, who, rising up, cried out —
" Oh ! Harry, here are strangers !"
Harry jumped up, apologising for his rude-
ness, and shook hands with all, (even Mrs.
Selwyn not disdaining then this mode of
greeting,) and said Lady Barnard would soon be
down to receive them. He had scarcely uttered
the words, when she entered the room, leaning
on Miss Barnard's arm. Harry hastened to meet
her, offering his arm also, which she accepted
with a fond smile ; and thus, sustained by one
on either side, she welcomed her guest with so
much cordiality and kindness, as to dispel the
formality of a first introduction. This done,
Harry led her to the sofa, and adjusting the
cushions, placed her feet upon it also; then
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 35
taking a chair on the other side, sat down near
" You see, Mrs. Selwyn," said Lady Barnard,
" I am very helpless, and cannot do without my
young friend's assistance."
" Indeed, I am sorry to see you so great an
invalid," replied Mrs. Selwyn, " and hope you
will derive benefit from the sea bathing."
Other guests were now arriving, including
Mr. Fergusson, Lord and Lady Broughton,
Major Forster, and Captain Musgrove of the
— Light Dragoons, quartered at Dorchester,
making in all fourteen, who sat down to table,
when dinner was announced, the usual disposi-
tion of partners as to precedence being made.
Harry waited behind with Lady Barnard's
medical attendant, to support her into the
dining-room, and then sought his usual place
near Lord Barnard, at the lower end of the
table ; but there was no chair vacant.
" What ! Harry," exclaimed his Lordship ;
" no seat for you. Come here, my boy ! — I
will make room by me — we are treating you
very badly, indeed."
"Beg pardon, my Lord," whispered the
36 THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD.
butler, " but two more came than were ex-
" Very well, Smith, give Mr. Harry a chair,
or he'll be fainting."
" No fear of that !" exclaimed Mr. Fergusson ;
" he is one of the right sort, and the right cloth
too, and a credit to our craft. By Jove, my
Lord, it makes one proud of our * Noble Science,'
to see a young novitiate taking the lead in such
" Ah, Fergusson, I quite agree with you,"
replied Lord Barnard ; " but he's only a ' chip
of the old block;' his father, whom I know
well, was as bold a rider and daring a fellow in
his younger days as our friend Harry is now."
The dinner passed most cheerfully and con-
vivially, all restraint disappearing before Lord
Barnard's frank and easy good humour ; and on
the gentlemen returning to the drawing-room,
Harry found Miss Barnard sitting with Mary
Maitland on a couch, in a retired part of the
room. On his joining them, Sophia said, —
" Here, Hari-y, we will make room for you
between us, as Miss Maitland wishes to hear
ail about your feat at Anemony Bay yesterday."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 37
Seated thus with those he loved so dearly, the
time passed rapidly, when Miss Barnard ex-
claimed — " I must leave you now, Harry, to
assist mamma in entertaining her guests. You
won't miss me much though, I fear," directing
a glance at his companion.
" What a sweet delightful girl Miss Barnard
is," said Mary, as she left them ; " I have never
met any one I liked so much, so charming and so
" Yes," replied Harry, " and the best-hearted,
kindest creature in existence. She has always
been to me as a dear sister."
"And nothing more?" enquired Mary, with
an uneasy look.
" No, my dearest child, my heart is wholly
yours ; but as I see your mother casting suspi-
cious looks this way, I will beckon Charley to
my aid, and leave you awhile with him."
The young midshipman soon after occupied
Harry's place on the sofa; but Captain Musgrove,
who had handed her into dinner, quickly inter-
rupted their tete-a-tete, and sat down beside her,
engrossing her attention, much to the annoyance
of Charley, who rose, and joining his friend,
38 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
said, " That fellow is addressing such compli-
mentary speeches to Miss Maitland, that I felt I
was one too many, and left them together. You
had better look after her, Harry, or he'll be
" Thanks, Charley, for keeping such a good
look out for me, but I know she won't play me
" No saying, Harry, those lobsters are dan-
gerous fellows with girls."
With music and cheerful conversation the
evening passed quickly away ; but the Captain
attached himself so pertinaciously to Mary, that
she had no further opportunity of a tdte-a-tete
with her beloved.
From this time Miss Barnard often joined
Mary in her walks, accompanied by Harry, and
she soon discovered their mutual feelings towards
each other. Lord Barnard, suspecting also how
the case stood, questioned his young friend so
closely, that Harry made a full confession of
their situation, and Mrs. Selwyn's withdrawal of
her consent to their marriage, on account of his
father's inattention in not calling at Elm Grove.
'' Well, Harry," said Lord Barnard, " I will
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 39
endeavour to set matters straight for you, as we
are invited to dine at the Selwyns' to-morrow ;
but your name has been omitted in the invita-
tion, which both annoyed and surprised me ;
yet it is better, perhaps, you should not be there
when I broach the subject."
Lord Barnard kept his word, and when sitting
by Mrs. Sehvyn after dinner, drew her out, by
commenting on Harry Howard's late bravery.
She soon began expressing her opinion of him,
as she had previously to others, speaking in
harsh terms of his father, whom she voted a
most disagreeable neighbour, and totally unUke
any other gentleman.
" That's true enough, Mrs. Selwyn ; he has
eccentricity enough and to spare, for long as I
have known him he has never set his foot in
my house but once, and no invitations will he
accept, although Lady Barnard's entreaties are
added to mine ; but this we do not regard, my
dear madam, knowing his pecuharities, and that
a better or kinder-hearted man does not exist —
and as for Harry, we love him as our own son."
" Perhaps he may become so," Mrs. Selwyn
ventured to remark.
40 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" I wish with all my heart he would," replied
Lord Barnard ; " but I fear there is little hope
of that happiness."
" I should think differently," she said, " if I
might judge by appearances."
" Oh, my daughters all look upon him as a
brother only ; moreover, I suspect his heart is
engaged elsewhere, and wdth somebody in this
room, so we all think."
'^ I will not deny," replied Mrs. Selwyn,
" that such was the case, but I am not desirous
of the connection. Lord Barnard, and have
therefore put a stop to Mr. Howard's addresses
to my daughter, who, I am sorry to say, has
refused several most eligible proposals, on ac-
count of her unfortunate preference for Mr.
" Unfortunate, madam !" exclaimed Lord
Barnard, " why, I consider her one of the most
fortunate girls in the world, to have gained the
affections of such a generous, high-spirited, and
noble young fellow as Harry Howard; really,
you ought to rejoice in the prospect of having
such a son-in-law. Unfortunate, indeed ! why a
Duke's daughter might be proud of him."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 41
" Well, my Lord, I grant you he is very well
himself; but his family have behaved in such a
strange manner, and so contrary to usual cus-
tom, that of course I can only suppose my
daughter would not be well received by them ;
neither do I know Mr. Howard's circumstances,
or what he has to enable him to support a wife
in the situation to which my daughter has been
" Harry's father has a ,very good property,
which must fall to his son — indeed, Mrs. Sel-
wyn, I think you are rather fastidious, and must
be aspiring to a dukedom, for on my life I can-
not make out why you should discard my young
friend ; but seriously speaking, my dear madam,
your daughter looks very delicate, and it is idle
your expecting any benefit from change of air,
in her position ; she w^ill sink gradually, and die
of a broken heart."
" Heaven forbid !" exclaimed Mrs. Selwyn.
** God has said," rephed Lord Barnard, se-
riously, " ' for this shall a man leave father and
mother^ and cleave unto his wife.' Your prayers
to Heaven are in vain, if you act contrary to
God's commands ; and beware, that if the grave
42 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
should close over your only child, conscience naay
whisper, my hand has laid her there.''
" Oh, Lord Barnard, this would, indeed, lay
me there also."
" Then," replied he, '' act as I would ; and I
tell you candidly my opinion with regard to my
own daughters, which they know full well, that
I never will influence their feelings in regard to
marriage — that is entirely their concern. If
they choose to marr^y any gentleman, however
poor, they may do so, though of course I should
point out the consequences likely to ensue ; hut
beyond giving my advice and all necessary caution,
I would never go. I chose my wife — they shall
choose their husbands — we cannot control their
" Are you really serious, my Lord, in what you
" On my word of honour, I am," replied Lord
Barnard, and the subject was not renewed.
It so happened a few days after this conver-
sation, Mary's doctor paid her a visit, having
run down to Weymouth for a few days, to enjoy
a little recreation.
Mrs. Selwyn anxiously inquired his opinion
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 43
of her daughter's health. " Not much improve-
ment, I am sorry to say/' rephed the doctor,
gravely ; " rather the reverse : pulse fluctuating,
cough still troublesome, with hectic colour, and
these fainting iits" — and he shook his head.
" Then pray, doctor, will you give me your
candid opinion of her case ?"
" Certainly, my dear madam, it is my duty to
do so. My suspicions were excited when I last
visited her at Elm Grove — they are now con-
firmed. She is suffering from a malady no
medical aid can remove — a despondency which
is nigh breaking her heart, and I must warn
you seriously that you have only the choice left
of following her to her bridal or her grave."
" Oh, Doctor Harrison ! i s it, indeed, come to
" Yes, madam, indeed it is, and the sooner her
mind can be relieved of the load now weighing
her down to the earth the greater prospect of
her recovery. Not a day, not an hour, should
be lost ; but carefully proceed, yet let her know
at once that you will raise no further impedi-
ment to her wishes. I can say or do no more."
On the doctor's departure Mrs. Selwyn, terri-
44 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
fied at his words, sought her daughter, and find-
ing her in tears, said, " My dearest child, do not
fret any more. I see Lord Barnard and Mr-
Howard walking on the Esplanade. Will you
put on your bonnet and ask them to come in
here ?" Mary looked at her mother in silent,
doubtful amazement. " Yes, my child, I mean
it," she continued, in answer to that look ; " I
wish to speak to them."
With a beating heart, Mary prepared to obey.
Lord Barnard gladly attended the summons,
and was ushered into Mrs. Selwyn's presence,
who made some excuse for taking him into an-
other room, leaving Harry and her daughter
When alone, Mrs. Selwyn said, " I have been
considering over your Lordship's conversation
the other evening, and have resolved to raise no
further obstacle to Mr. Howard's union with my
"My dear madam," rephed Lord Barnard,
" I am beyond measure delighted at your most
wise and proper decision, and," taking her hand,
" most truly do I congratulate you on your
daughter's prospect of happiness with one so
THE SaUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 45
thoroughly deserving her regard. And now,
my dear Mrs. Selwyn, you must come and dine
with us to-morrow en famille, that we may all
express our joy on this happy occasion."
The invitation was accepted ; and Mrs. Sel-
wyn, on returning to the drawing-room said,
" Mary, my dear, would you not like a turn this
fine morning ? I dare say you will meet your
friend Miss Barnard."
" Yes, dear mamma, I should like it much,"
looking with gratitude at her mother.
" Then go, my dear, but do not stay out too
Soon after they had left the house, Lord Bar-
nard said, " Harry, I must leave you with your
friend, having forgotten a letter I had to write ;
but mind, there's one thing I promise you,
Miss Maitland, Mrs. Selwyn will not be angry
if you walk together an hour even before her
windows." Then taking her hand, and wishing
her good-bye and a pleasant walk, he left them.
From Lord Barnard's words and looks, both
saw at once he had effected a reconciliation, and
Harry added, " Now, my dear child, I know
your mother's objections are overcome, and we
shall be once more happy together."
46 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" Dearest Harry, do you really think so ?"
" Yes, my love, there is no longer any doubt
about it ; so now we can enjoy our first truly
happy walk at Weymouth."
Mrs. Selwyn was so much delighted with
Lady Barnard's society, and gratified by the
flattering attentions received from the whole
family, that henceforth she received Harry at
her house on his former footing with compla-
cency, if not with pleasure ; and when their
time was expired, Mary returned home, reno-
vated in health and joyful in heart.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 47
Soon after their return to Elm Grove, Mrs.
Selwyn was attacked with a severe and long-
protracted illness, from which she did not wholly
recover before the spring of the year, when
Harry Howard and his long-tried and devoted
Mary became one by marriage, which they had
so long been in heart and feeling. John Power,
with several other friends of the bride and bride-
groom, were invited to be present, and a con-
course of spectators, from among the humbler
classes, thronged the church. Sir William and
Lady Beaumont had been invited to the wed-
ding, but the former only attended, and was
remarked for his grave deportment during the
ceremony. The service was performed by a
48 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
learned doctor of divinity (a near relative of Miss
Maitland's) with great impressiveness ; and on
the usual question being asked Harry, " Wilt
thou have this woman ?" &c., the response " /
wilV was uttered in a tone so loud and firm, as
to startle all present. Power whispered to Sir
William, who was standing next to him, " That's
Harry all over — he means what he says, I'll
engage ; there's no mumbhng words, or shilly-
shallying with him."
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Sir Wil-
liam approached Harry's newly-made wife, and
whispered, " You will not now refuse your bro-
ther one hallowed kiss ; and may every blessing
this world can bestow be yours." Then turning
to Harry, he cordially shook him by the hand,
saying, " You are not offended, I hope, by the
little privilege I have obtained ?"
" No," replied Harry, " I am not jealous of
your brotherly and disinterested regard for my
dear Mary, and trust you may be rewarded by
standing soon at the altar, as I have this day,
with one who will truly appreciate your many
good qualities, and make you as happy as I feel
at this moment."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 49
" Thank you, Harry, for your kind wishes,
but I fear it will be some time before I shall find
one resembling your choice, and until then I
shall never marry ; and now God bless you both,
and remember, we shall expect you at Bay-
brook in June."
A splendid dejeune was provided for the
company on their return from church, at which,
however, neither Harry nor his bride made their
appearance, for having changed their bridal
attire for travelling costume, they immediately
drove off in their carriage on a short tour.
The first month after marriage has been ge-
nerally considered the honeymoon, or happiest
period of a newly- married couple ; but this, I
think, must be received with considerable reser-
vations in many, if not the greatest number of
cases, particularly in regard to women. There
are many girls, of course, who, dissatisfied
or unhappy in their homes, or desirous of
changing their state of single blessedness,
on the chance of improving their condition
and prospects, think differently; but to those
of pure minds and affectionate dispositions,
who have to part with loved and doting
VOL. III. E
50 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
parents, or attached brothers and sisters, resign-
ing all at once, for the prospect of greater hap-
piness, with that one being to whom they are
sacrificing all other feelings and ties of kindred
and connections; destined to move now in a
different sphere, with different duties and respon-
sibilities, and depending solely on a husband's
affection for future happiness. The change at
first cannot fail to be felt, deeply though they
may have loved, and believed that love returned.
The risk to be incurred, must and will obtrude
itself on the mind of any deep-thinking girl, and
cause those natural apprehensions, which occur
to us all when venturing on unexplored ground.
The entire revulsion also of feeling, and sudden
converse of all those long- cherished and innately-
chaste ideas, so inseparable from the fairest and
best of womankind, must operate prejudicially to
the bliss of married life in its earliest stage.
With man the case is widely different ; and to
many of them, the first month of their marriage
may be, and is often, not only the happiest and
pleasantest, but sometimes the only happy month
of their married career.
Harry Howard and his bride, although known
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 51
to each other intimately for so long a period,
and bound by the most constant, never-fading
love, with dispositions perfectly attuned to each
other, and without a single thought or feeling
which each did not reciprocate, were not at first
so thoroughly happy as they had expected to
be, from a feeling of restraint and embarrassment
consequent upon the new relation in which they
stood to each other, and their entrance on a new
phase of life.
What, then, must be the case with those,
who upon a short acquaintance, and without
any opportunity of ascertaining each other's real
characters and disposition, rush so blindly into
the bond of matrimony ?
After a short absence they took up their resi-
dence at Beechwood, with Mr. Howard, who, as
Harry had foretold, soon became as fond of his
daughter-in-law as if she had been his own
child. The usual neighbourly calls having been
made on the new-married couple, invitations
soon followed, and Harry and his wife again
entered into the gaieties of life, as cheerful and
happy, or more so, than they had ever been be-
fore ; even Mrs. Selwyn \^s obliged to confess,
a OF ILL LIB.
52 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
that the husband's attentions to his wife far ex-
ceeded those of the lover.
John Power, witnessing Harry's happiness,
thought he could not do better than follow his
friend's example, and having found in the sister
of a brother foxhunter a young lady of suffi-
cient attractions, who afterwards proved a very
excellent wife, they were married. The marry-
ing mania appeared to have set in in earnest,
from Harry's having first broken the ice, and no
less than half-a-dozen of his neighbours and ac-
quaintances quickly followed suit. Dinner par-
ties, balls, &c., ensued in quick succession, and
more truly good-fellowship and genuine hospi-
tality never existed in any neighbourhood. It
may be supposed, that among all these newdy-
married couples, jealous feelings for precedence
would spring up with the ladies, if not with the
gentlemen; but such was not the case. For-
tunately for the harmony of the whole, all the
husbands had fathers living, in robust health,
and therefore all met on an equal footing,
with regard to their establishments being con-
ducted on a moderate scale. There was also
a connecting link between the gentlemen,
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 53
in their fellowship and partiality for foxhunt-
To Harry Howard, as the most zealous and
painstaking promoter of .their sport, precedence
was granted both cordiaHy and universally in
the field, and his efforts were equally directed to
the amusement of the ladies ; in short, Harry
had now become one of the most popular men
in the county, and to his indefatigable exertions
to provide recreation and induce conviviality, all,
both young and old, felt themselves indebted ;
and his frank and joyous good humour, without
any affectation or pretence, gained for him very
Meeting one morning at the covert side, soon
after Christmas, John Power remarked : " Con-
found it, HaiTy, you have set my wife all agog
about this Hunt Ball. There will be no peace
or rest in my house till that is settled, and I
heartily wish it w^as over."
" Well, John, that's selfish enough," replied
Harry. " Does your wife make such reflections
on your hunting two or three days a week, then
coming home in the evening tired and hungry,
and falling asleep perhaps in your arm-chair
54 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" Why no, I cannot say she does ; but then,
she is the sister and wife of a foxhunter."
" True enough ; but you forget she ought
to have her amusements as well as yourself, and
dancing is to ladies the same as fox-hunting
to men ; in fact, that is their fox-hunting. Ex-
citement, exercise, and music prevail in the
ball-room, as well as in the hunting-field."
" Well, Harry, I never took it in that light
before ; but I suspect you are pretty near the
" Then, Master John, as I have made up a
party to go once again to the Bath Rooms, will
you and your wife join us, just to get into trim
for the Hunt Ball that is to be ?"
" Is yours going, Harry ? "
" Of course — on her account only should I
present myself in that gay assembly, as we are
now quite country-people ; but having spent so
many happy hours in those rooms, we both
wish to have another look at them ; it will
remind us of old associations, and past, though
not greater happiness, than we now enjoy."
" Then egad, Harry ! we'll all go together and
have a night of it."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 55
To gay men of the world, or, to call them by
their proper name, libertines, young married
women present more attractions than unmarried
girls. There is with them generally more li-
berty of conversation, and less restraint in man-
ner, which render them more agreeable ; and, if
their husbands prove inattentive, the gay Lotha-
rio takes every opportunity of improving his
own advantages, according to the encouragement
he may receive. Fashion predominates even
over man and wife, in too many cases, which
soon engenders indifference, if not estrangement.
Young married people are told, it is not con-
sidered fashionable to be seen dancing or sitting
together, or even conversing much with each
other in public- — neither is it fashionable for
husbands to be particularly observant of other
men's attentions to their wives. They have, of
course, enough of them at home ; but when
mixing in society, the husband is expected to
keep at a respectful distance from his wife, and
if manifesting any impatience or jealousy of her
flirtations with other men, he is ridiculed and
hooted at as a regular old Bluebeard. Fashion
and ridicule are two very powerful antagonists,
56 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
and few possess the moral courage to resist
both, if even one, when arrayed against them.
Harry, and John Power, were warmly wel-
comed by their old acquaintances on their en-
tering the gay assembly of Bath fashionables,
with their wives hanging on their arms ; and
John Power was soon relieved of his better half
by a young dragoon, who, advancing, claimed
her acquaintance, and engaged her for the next
dance. Harry's wife declined two or three similar
overtures, when he whispered — " My dear Mary,
pray dance if you like ; I shall not be jealous."
" If you wish to get rid of me," she replied,
" I will ; but, I should like first to take a survey
of the rooms, and see our old acquaintances."
They had not proceeded far, when Miss Dun-
donald laid her hand upon Mary's arm, exclaim-
ing — " My dearest friend, how delighted I am
to see you once more, and Mr. Howard also —
looking so happy — come, sit down with me a
moment ; I have so much to ask and tell you."
" Well then," said Harry, " I shall leave you
together, and return shortly ; but in my absence,
you can exercise your own discretion about
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 57
" That's very considerate," rejoined Lucy ; " as
if she was to ask your permission ; — but I forgot
— she is bound to obey now."
" Come, come," said Harry, " you are not the
person to teach my wife rebellion against her
lord and master ; but she will tell you whether
the yoke sits heavy or light."
HaiTy encountered many friends in his walk
round the room, all of course congratulating
him on his reappearance in the gay circles,
among whom was Sir Gerard Wynne, a young
sporting baronet, who chiefly resided in Bath
during the winter.
" Well ! Harry," exclaimed he, " 1 am glad
to find you once more among us, and Jack
Power also ; for I began to think you had both
settled down, as two flats, to a country life ;
but Jack's wife seems a trifle too lively for that
sort of thing just yet ; how she is waltzing away
with that red jacket, and her caro sposo looking
on, as if he wished to double- thong them both.
Well, I dare say matrimony is very delightful ;
but you won't find me fool enough, to be playing
at that game in a hurry."
" You are quite right," rejoined Harry ;
58 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
"some men are much better single, and you
are one of them."
" How so, Master Harry ?"
" Simply because you do not possess one
single qualification for the married state."
" Ton my life, you are in a complimentary
" Only tit for tat. Sir Gerard ; you should not
speak contemptuously of marriage to a married
" Well, perhaps not ; but I meant no reflec-
tion on you or your choice, Harry, for I do
believe she is one in a thousand, and you two
cannot fail to be happy. But, I suspect Jack
Power don't feel quite so comfortable, and he
will have to use the curb-bit a little, I can see,
Harry now approached his friend Power, who
was in anything but a pleasant humour.
" How now, John ?" he asked ; " what's the
"Matter enough, I think," growled Power,
" with that confounded bonassus-looking fellow,
twirling my wife about like a tee-totum."
" Well, but she can cry ' hold — enough,' when
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 59
" That would not be until three o'clock in the
morning," said he. " For once give her her head
in a ball-room, and she is like a runaway mare,
you can't stop her till she is fairly beaten."
" But, as you don't disapprove of waltzing,
you have no right to grumble."
" But I do, notwithstanding ; for there are
two ways of doing things ; and, although I do
not object to waltzing in a quiet and respectable
manner, yet I don't like to see my wife pulled
and hauled about in that fashion."
" Ah, Master John, you won't laugh at me
now, for my very particular and queer notions
about waltzing, will you ?"
"No, you are on the safe side, Harry; but
I'll stop her fun in that hne for the future, or
by jingo ! she shall never attend another ball.
But where is your wife, Harry ?"
" Not waltzing, I think — we are agreed on
that point, as well as most others. I left her
with Lucy Dundonald some time since, and
must now find her out, as we intend to have a
dance together, in remembrance of old times."
" What, commit such a solecism in manners,
as to dance with your wife, Harry ? What will
the world say ?"
60 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" E'en what it lists. I never court the world's
opinion, neither do 1 suppose the world regards
mine. We are therefore about even, John."
A short time after this conversation, Harry
had the audacity to stand up with his wife in
a quadiille, which did not fail to provoke the
witticisms and criticisms of many of his pre-
" What a fooV exclaimed one to Sir Gerard
Wynne, " Harry is making of himself to-night !
How ridiculous to be dancing with his wife !
Why don't you advise him better, Wynne— he
is a great friend of yours ?"
" To be candid with you, my good fellow, I
am not very fond of giving advice, particularly
in such cases, and Howard cares no more about
what people say or think than he does about a
shower of rain. He shows his sense — he can
tell when he has got a good horse, or a particularly
good hound, and he knows how to keep them ;
and having met with a good wife, I'll warrant
he goes the surest way to keep her too."
" Unless," replied his friend, " a certain fasci-
nating, insinuating, plausible young baronet should
interpose to turn the lady's head or heart, by
whispering his soft poison into her ears."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 61
" Harkye, my boy," said Sir Gerard, " I don't
pretend to be very strait-laced, but bad as I may be,
1 never did and never will seduce another man's
wife — hang it ! sir, that's ten times worse than
horse-steahng. The market is open to all ; we
can pick and choose for ourselves, without break-
ing into our neighbour's stable ;" saying which,
he turned on his heel and walked indignantly
There are few characters ever so dissolute,
which do not possess some redeeming quality —
some bright spot in the desert — to give hopes
that all is not desolate and waste within. Sir
Gerard Wynne was a thorough man of the world
in many respects. Gay, dissipated — on the turf
' — a decided gambler — galloping away his life in
a perpetual routine of dissipation. But there
were two crimes which could never be laid to
his charge ; the betrayal of his friend, or seduc-
tion of a married woman.
John Power not feeling in a very happy
mood, and being disgusted with his wife's flirta-
tion, left the gay assembly at an early hour, and
returned to his house, (which he had taken for
the season, in Bath,) having excused himself on
62 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
the plea of a bad head-ache, to his better-half,
in the hope of her soon joining him. John re-
tired to bed, and fell into a fitful broken doze,
from which he was roused up by hearing a
man's voice in the dining-room below ; he crept
quietly down-stairs, when softly opening the
door, he was amazed at beholding his military
friend sitting at table with his wife, enjoying,
with high gusto, a hot supper, with the usual
additions of punch and sundry other stimulating
potables, and he fancied also some allusions were
made to " the sick man in bed." Power being
of a cautious disposition, quietly closed the door,
without being perceived, noiselessly ascending to
his dormitory, again.
" Confound it !" exclaimed John, rubbing his
forehead, " there will be something harder grow-
ing here in a very short time, if things go on in
this fashion — hang that rascally Bonassus — but
ril soon oust him, any way." So he gave a
pull at the bell, which roused the whole house.
Up rushed the man-servant at the summons.
• "Is your mistress come home?" enquired
" Yes, sir."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 63
" Then tell her, I feel very unwell, and wish
her to come up directly."
The message was delivered to his mistress —
varied a little, as such messages, conveyed
through servants, usually are.
" Please, ma'am," said the man, " master's
alarmingly ill, and you had better run up and see
This hint proved sufficient for the Captain,
who walked off immediately, leaving his fair en-
tertainer to the full enjoyment of a ciu*tain-
lecture with her indignant husband ; which re-
sulted in Power's expressed determination to
quit the gay city, for aye and for ever, and take
up his residence, for the future, in country
quarters, where his young wife would have other
duties to attend to, and be less exposed to the
temptation of flirting with whiskerando men about
town. By this stroke of policy, Power evinced
his judgment, and his wife soon settled down
into a quiet, domestic personage, showing very
respectful deference towards her liege lord.
64 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
About this time, a very grand person, te^
ported to be a millionare, made a sudden irrup-
tion into this hitherto quiet neighbourhood, by
the purchase of a large estate, creating an un-
usual sensation among all classes, by the reputa-
tion of his immense wealth. Mr. Naylor had
received a good education, being intended for
the legal profession ; when by the death of a
near relative, a tradesman in London, he was
unexpectedly left sole heir to his vast possessions.
Ambition now took entire possession of Mr.
Naylor's imagination. He wished to become a
great man, (which in one sense he was already,
as to stature), but he had set his heart on be-
coming a member of Parhament, and (poor
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 65
deluded being,) a leading and speaking member
also. How then to attain his object ? — Nothing
could be more easy to a man in such circum-
stances. " Purchase a good landed estate in the
neighbourhood of some venal borough, (all
boroughs being more or less venal,) — employ
all the most influential tradesmen in the town ;
give grand largesses of coals and clothing to the
poor, at Christmas — offer to build a new market
for the farmers — and buy out the old sitting
member, or, if fractious, contest him at the next
election, when, of course, the wealthiest man
wins." This was the advice offered to Mr.
Naylor, by a brother limb of the law, before
making his appearance in the country, as the
purchaser of Hazleton Manor.
We must now devote a little space to Mr.
Naylor 's physiognomy and idiosyncrasy. He
possessed large and rather heavy features, light
eyes, and sandy hair. In manners and carriage
he was rather pompous, which he intended
should pass for high aristocratic deportment, in
which he was decidedly mistaken. In age, he
might be about five-and-thirty ; and, oh ! de-
lightful news to all speculating mammas, and
VOL. III. F
66 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
would-be-married young ladies, in the neighbour-
hood, he was still a bachelor !
The old Manor House of Hazleton was soon
ornamented with the most costly furniture, and
on its old low walls hung suspended the most
expensive pictures, almost screened by their ela-
borately worked and highly gilded frames, which
threw the intrinsic merits of those paintings
(which possessed any) into the shade. The es-
tablishment in all other respects was conducted
on a very expensive scale ; — house-steward, man-
cook, valet, butler, four long-legged footmen
with powdered wigs, coachmen, under-ditto,
grooms, helpers, &c., half a-dozen carriages of
various descriptions, twelve or fourteen horses,
besides hacks ; — in short, with the exception of
the Duke of B and Lord L , Mr. Nay-
lor*s menage beat all the old country gentlemen
off the ground, ostentation and display being
everything with Mr. Naylor ; and having said
thus much, his character may be easily surmised.
He was, however, notwithstanding all this out-
ward show and pretence, mean-spirited and nig-
gardly in disposition — selfish to a degree, with a
tempe anything but amiable.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 67
The arrival of the great Mr. Naylor at
Hazleton Manor, was the signal for numerous
calls from the neighbouring gentry, few of whom
(from the change w^hich had taken place among
the owners of property within half a century)
could boast of a grandfather. Power's father
took the initiative, in introducing Mr. Naylor to
the county, by inviting a large dinner-party to
meet him, and among others, Harry Howard and
his wife, who arriving rather late, and being
ushered into the drawing-room, already crowded
with guests, were quite ignorant of the great
man's presence ; and although their hostess re-
quested him to hand Mrs. Henry Howard to the
dinner- table, his name not being pronounced suffi-
ciently audible, did not arrest their attention.
Harry having seated himself by the side of John
Power's wife, was chattering away on various sub-
jects, when, during a sudden pause in the general
conversation, these words were sufficiently audible :
" So the great and rich Mr. Naylor has ar-
rived at Hazleton, and intends standing for the
borough of Bradenham, I hear. Well, the best
thing he can do to render himself popular, is to
build a new ball-room for the ladies, instead of
68 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
that long garret-looking apartment up three
pair of stairs, door to the right."
" Mr. Howard," whispered John's wife,
" hush !"
" What's the matter ?" inquired Harry.
*' Why, Mr. Naylor is just opposite, sitting
by your wife, and has heard all you have said."
" So much the better," added Harry, " al-
though I was not aware of it before ; but if he
is a sensible man, he will take the hint."
" Fie, Mr. Howard ! how rude you are to-
*' Not in the least ; those whom ambition
leads to become public men, are considered
public property ; and if Mr. Naylor never hears
anything worse said of him than what I have
let fall to night, he may think himself the
most fortunate man in existence."
Mr. Naylor overheard Harry's remarks ; and
when he became Member for Bradenham, fol-
lowed his suggestions, by erecting a new market
house for the farmers, with a splendid ball-room
over for the ladies.
Naylor, though not amenable to the charge
of being a ladies' man, and who, in fact, appeared
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 69
anything but at home in their company, con-
trived to pass current in general society, and
make himself tolerably agreeable. He was a
man of much observation ; and aiming at popu-
larity, endeavoured to assimilate himself as much
as possible to the various characters he encoun-
tered on his first entrance on his new career in
the county. Harry's candid remarks struck him
forcibly at the time, and noticing the friendly
manner in which he was received by all parties
on this occasion, thought he could not pursue a
wiser course than imitate his example, by an
outward display of that bonhomie to which in
reality his heart was a stranger.
Amongst the company assembled this even-
ing, the most conspicuous of the unmarried
ladies, for beauty, elegance of manners and ac-
complishments, were the two Miss Hopwoods,
who with their mamma, still in the prime of
life, and distinguished for her good taste and
lady-like deportment, had conspired together to
win, if possible, this golden prize ; and on the
return of the gentlemen to the drawing-room,
divers arts were used to allure the lion within
the meshes of their toils. The piano and guitar
70 THE SaUIRE OF BEECH WOOD.
were put in requisition, and the effect produced
on all others could not be mistaken — it was that
of rapturous delight. Even Harry Howard
listened to the sweet voices, and lingered on the
graceful, unaffected demeanour of these two fair
girls, with admiration. But Naylor's thoughts
were otherwise occupied. Love, with him, must
he subservient to ambition, and marriage a
stepping-stone to a higher grade ; in short, he
possessed wealth, and was resolved to marry a
peer's daughter. How he sped in his wooing,
may hereafter appear.
After several songs, and scientific displays of
execution on the piano. Sir Gerard Wynne
whispered to Harry — " This is dull work, can't
you wake us up a little ? I am nearly asleep —
anything for a change. Let us get up a dance."
" Well. The old lady is rather particular
about her furniture, but I'll see what I can do ;
but I shall want your assistance."
Harry having represented to Mrs. Power,
senior, that the young ladies, backed by Sir
Gerard, wished for some more active amuse-
ment ; her consent was reluctantly given, and
no sooner obtained, than the tables were cleared
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 71
in a trice, and a quadrille formed, and in motion,
before Mr. Naylor and the sober part of the
company well understood what was going on.
Mrs. Power thought it necessary to make some
apology to her new guest, for this unceremonious
proceeding ; observing, " that when those boys
and girls got together, with Harry Howard to
lead them, they turned the house topsy-turvy."
" But you know, Mr. Naylor, boys will be
boys, although some of them are boys no longer,
but married, and ought to know better ; but when
they all get together, as now, there is no use
contending with them, and my son John is as
bad as the rest."
Mr. Naylor assured Mrs. Power of his perfect
sympathy with the young people, although not
himself a dancing-man, and requested an intro-
duction to Harry, who was accordingly presented
to him ; and Naylor complimenting him on his
endeavours to please the ladies —
Harry replied — " There is nothing to be done
without them, sir ; they turn us at their will,
and we must do their bidding, if we would sail
pleasantly down the stream of life."
" Not always Mr. Howard, I believe."
72 THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD.
" There may be some excepted cases," rejoined
Harry ; " but, generally speaking, women are be-
hind the scenes in life's drama, and shift them
at their pleasure."
" But in politics, Mr. Howard, the influence
of the ladies is not powerful."
" Not perceptibly, perhaps ; but in many cases
more influential than may appear probable."
" Will you explain your meaning, Mr. How-
" Oh, certainly ; although I thought it too
generally understood to be doubted, since the
days of Sampson, who found it to his cost ; but
I will bring it home to you at once, in a clear
point of view. You propose ofl^ering yourself
as a candidate for the honour of representing
the borough of Bradenham in Parliament — "
" Oh ! stay, Mr. Howard ; I have made no
public avowal that such were my intentions — you
are taking for granted — "
'* That which I know you purpose," added
Harry, interrupting him, " from very good
" Pray, may I ask," said Mr. Naylor, " who
is your authority for this statement ?"
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 73
" I never betray my friends, Mr. Naylor ; but
your intentions are well known to some few
persons, and I have many acquaintances in the
town for which you will ere long become one of
the members, if you play your cards adroitly ;
and my advice to you is, * plough with the
heifers,' make yourself agreeable to the ladies,
as w^ell as the gentlemen, for, to my knowledge,
in many a freeman's house, the gray mare
is the better horse. Secure the wife's good
opinion, and the husband's vote will follow.
The free and independent electors, as they style
themselves, are often under petticoat government;
and we have heard of a power behind the throne
even. Now, you observe, I am, to a certain ex-
tent, a public man also, in a more humble sphere,
supported ostensibly by the country gentlemen ;
but, as I am indebted to my fair friends for much
of the favour I obtain, it is no less my interest
than my inclination to do all in my power to
aid in their amusements and secure their good
wishes. The friendship of women is much more
sincere and lasting than that of man."
" Well, Mr. Howard, by what I hear, your
attentions are not thrown away, and if popularity
74 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD
is your object, I am assured by many that you
have fully attained. May I also, Mr. Howard,
presume to solicit your good offices, also, should
an opportunity occur for my canvassing the
borough of Bradenham ? "
" That opportunity may occur whenever you
feel disposed to challenge it," rejoined Harry ;
" simply in this way. Mr. Gambier, one of the
present members, has had quite enough of pub-
he life, and as his lease of Stourton has now
expired (having no landed property of his own
in the neighbourhood), he will, I have Httle
doubt, be very willing to vacate his seat in your
favour ; for a consideration^ of course, but that
I should conceive can be easily adjusted."
" Really, Mr. Howard," observed Naylor,
" you appear to entertain very curious opinions
on Purity of Election."
" Purity of a fiddlestick ! Mr. Naylor ; seats
in parhament, from boroughs, at least, are nearly
as openly bought and sold as cattle in their
markets. The highest bidder becomes the pur-
chaser. It has been truly said of us, we are a
Nation of Shopkeepers, and votes form part of
a man's stock in trade, as well as his merchan-
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 75
disc. Everything may be had for money. Wives,
too, of a certain description — but take my
advice, don't buy a wife — for there is one genu-
ine article which cannot be purchased with gold,
although a spurious substitute may be, Love."
" You, Mr. Howard, are, I beHeve, fortunate
in that respect," replied Naylor ; " but men of
large fortune are to be pitied rather than con-
demned, should their expectations fail to be re-
alized ; for how can we fathom the secrets of
the heart, or ascertain whether our person or
our purse forms the chief attraction with the
fair sex ? This, you must admit, is a great
counterpoise to wealth."
" Yes," replied Harry, " the rich man has his
disadvantages and drawbacks as well as the
poor ; but love and ambition are scarcely com-
patible with each other — one generally proves
triumphant. Ambition is your idol — you would
signalize yourself as a Member of Parliament —
visions of cheers vociferously greeting your
maiden speech in the House of Commons float
before your imagination — visions of place or
preferment in the ministerial phalanx, with per-
haps a peerage looming in the distance, for long-
tried and brilHant services."
76 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" Really, Mr. Howard, you give me credit of
greater pretensions than I possess, and for flights
far beyond my power to accomplish.'*
" I give you credit," replied Harry, "judging
by my own feelings, for earnest endeavours to
excel in that walk of life to which your own in-
clination prompts you to aspire ; but perhaps I
am mistaken — your ambition, possibly, may
only lead you to figure as one of the drones of
" Well, but even as a drone, it is surely a
fair ambition," added Naylor, " to covet that
position in which I may serve my country, al-
though by a silent vote."
" Most magnanimous resolve, my good sir,"
added Harry. " Mr. Naylor, the Patriot, will
sound well !;"
At this moment a fair hand was laid on
Harry's shoulder by a pretty girl, who exclaimed,
" What ! Harry Howard talking musty politics !
oh, for shame ! come directly, I want you for a
partner ;" and putting her arm within his, led
him away. As Harry turned, he laughingly
observed to Naylor, " Such is the penalty for
being under petticoat government," for which he
was rewarded by a tap from the lady's fan.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 77
A few weeks after Harry's conversation with
Mr. Naylor, a paragraph appeared in the county
paper, announcing the retirement of Mr. Gam-
bier from public life, on the plea of ill health,
which was immediately succeeded by a flowery
address from Mr. Naylor, to the worthy and in-
dependent electors of the Borough of Braden-
ham, offering himself as a candidate, and re-
questing the honour of their votes and interest
at the ensuing election.
These preliminaries being arranged, Mr. Nay-
lor's ambition w^as soon after gratified without
much opposition ; for although, on the day of
nomination, a second candidate appeared on the
Liberal side, yet the Tory party mustered in such
strength, that a contest was thought hopeless.
Secure of a seat in Parliament, Mr. Naylor now
turned his attention to another mode of aggran-
dizing himself in the eyes of the world — his
long-cherished project of marrying a peer's
daughter, and thus securing an entrance into the
first circles of the aristocracy.
78 THE SQUIRE OF EEECHWOOD.
With this view, the purchase of a house in
Square soon followed, which was fur-
nished in the most costly style ; and now feeling
conscious of his importance, he hegan to look
about in quest of a lady who would add eclat to
liis establishment. Through a mutual friend, he
obtained an introduction to the eldest son of the
Marquis of P , who being of the same
politics as himself, sat on the ministerial side of
the house. Lord Ashdown belonged to one of
the oldest, although then the poorest family on
the list of nobility, and having several younger
brothers, as weU as three unmarried sisters, he
thought he might turn his acquaintance with
the rich Mr. Naylor to some account in the
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. i9
advancement of his family. Accordingly, he
was invited to a small and select dinner party at
the Marquis of P 's, and introduced to
the family circle. Lady Harriett, the second
daughter, was then in the zenith of her heauty,
this being her second season since her introduc-
tion to the fashionable world. She was a person
of commanding figure, dignified deportment, and
most fascinating manners. Her features were of
the Grecian cast, with dark flashing eyes of
extreme brilliancy, but withal she was of a
proud and overbearing temper, which on certain
occasions she was not slow to exhibit.
Naylor being much struck with Lady Har-
riett's appearance, thought her just the person
suitable to his views, provided he could obtain
her brother's approbation to his suit, little
dreaming of the trap thus laid to ensnare him.
Having rendered himself as agreeable as possible
to the Marquis of P in discussing the
affairs of the nation, and agreeing with his
Lordship in his view of the important matters
then under debate in the Lower House, Naylor
began to congratulate himself on the gracious
reception with which he had been honoured.
80 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
After his departure, a little scene between
Lord Ashdown and his sister, Lady Harriett, will
best explain how Mr. Naylor was appreciated.
" Well, Harriett," enquired his Lordship,
"what do you think of my new acquaintance?"
" Think of him, George ! how can you ask
me such a question? He is one of the most
vulgar-looking monsters I have ever seen —
quite frightful with those light eyelashes. Really,
George, I am surprised at your patronising,
much more at your introducing, such a person
into our society."
" Well, Hatty, dear, don't pout so ; but what
would you say to Naylor, with his house in
Square, and five thousand a-year
settled upon you ?"
" I could not endure such a man, were he to
settle fifty thousand a-year upon me, George.
The bare idea renders him more odious."
" Well, as you please, my Lady Harriet,"
responded her brother ; " only recollect that you
have now been out two seasons, and with the
exception of your cousin Lionel (who is too poor
to marry), no other suitor has come forward for
your hand ; and I fear with so many brothers
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 81
and sisters and no fortune, you have the pros-
pect of remaining Lady Harriett C to the
end of the chapter. Naylor has some recom-
mendations, and though not aristocratic in his
looks, is agreeable enough, and no fool, so
don't think so meanly of him ; and now, my
sweet sister, good night, but bear in mind he
has not yet proposed, and perhaps never will."
Mr. Naylor was also canvassed pretty freely
by the two eldest sisters when they retired to
their rooms, Lady Margaret being decidedly of
opinion that her sister w^ould act most unwisely
in rejecting any advances he might make. " As
for being in love with such a man, my dear
Harriett, that," observed her sister, " is quite out
of the question, but still he may make a very
good husband ; and you, as possessing so much
superiority in birth and other endowments, will
of course have complete control over his whole
establishment, and seciu-e a good provision for
life ; and I really sometimes dread to think what
wiU become of us, should anything happen to
my poor old father."
" Oh, Margaret," replied her sister, *' it is
a dreadful thing to give my hand to one man
VOL. III. G
82 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
when my heart belongs to another; and what
would become of poor Lionel ?"
" You are both," rejoined her sister, " far too
refined in taste, and of too expensive habits, ever
to marry under your present circumstances. I
foresee little prospect of their improvement for
many years ; and were it my own case, I should
pursue the course I recommend to you, although
at present we are only building ' castles in the
From this time Mr. Naylor became a frequent
visitor at L House, and his attentions to
Lady Harriett the theme of conversation between
George and his eldest sister, the latter using
every endeavour to persuade her sister to accept
him should he propose. Lady Harriett persisted
for some time in her resolution of refusal, but
being at length overcome by the importunity of
her family, she exclaimed, in a fit of passion,
*' Well, then, Margaret, it shall be as you all
desire ; but mind one thing, I never can, and
never will, live with him."
" Oh, nonsense, Harriett ! you will think better
of it when the time arrives."
" No, Margaret, I never shall ; I loathe the
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 83
man !" and with these words she rushed from the
A few evenings after this conversation, a for-
mal proposal was made by Mr. Naylor to the
Marquis of P for his daughter, Lady Har-
riett, with the offer of a settlement so splendid
as to ensure the approbation of the poor though
proud-hearted peer, who did not for a moment
suppose his daughter could refuse so eligible an
offer. A reluctant consent having been ob-
tained from this beautiful though haughty girl,
Naylor was received as her accepted suitor, and
preparations commenced on a grand scale for
the marriage. The costly presents sent by her
admirer partly reconciled Lady Harriett to her
fate, although she could scarcely conceal her dis-
like and contempt for the donor, which nothing
could whoUy eradicate. The sacrifice was re-
quired by her family, but she had secretly re-
solved on her revenge.
With all the outward parade of pomp and
ceremony, the unholy compact w^as ratified in
the presence of a large and brilliant assembly of
the haut ton at St. George's, which rendered
two persons miserable for Hfe. As Mr. Naylor
84 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
handed his aristocratic bride to her carriage, his
visions of happy grandeur appeared to be now
fully realised, and he could not restrain an ex-
pression of triumph to his beautiful partner.
The bowl of happiness, apparently full to the
brim, was raised to his lips, but ere it reached
them, was destined to be rudely dashed in pieces,
and thrown fiercely at his feet.
Whilst under her father's eye, and surrounded
by her own relations. Lady Harriett had sub-
mitted patiently, if not meekly, and sustained
her part in the tragic scenes just now enacted
with dignity and composure ; but once removed
from their influence, all her long-meditated de-
signs of revenge took undivided possession of
her mind. Her loathing of the man (whom she
had only a few hours previously sworn at the
altar to honour and obey) returned with all its
pent-up violence, -and she resolved to rid herself
of him on the first opportunity.
Pleading indisposition, she scarcely replied to
his remarks the remainder of the journey. At
the hotel where they stopped, separate apart-
ments were provided for her, to which she soon
repaired, on the excuse of an attack of illness to
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 85
which she was subject. Poor Naylor was con*
siderably abashed upon receiving this intelli-
gence through his valet, who was commissioned
by her Ladyship's maid to convey it to his
master. The valet expressed his reluctance to
be the medium of such an unpleasant communi-
cation, and at first hesitated. " I do not like,
Mrs. Furlow, to convey a message of this sort
to Mr. Naylor, and wish you would deliver it
yourself, if you please."
" Indeed I shall do no such thing," replied
Mrs. Furlow ; " her Ladyship is too ill to be left
long together, and will require my attendance
during the night. When these attacks come on,
she is subject to fainting fits, and I would not
leave her on any account, Mr. Francois, and so
you had better tell your master, for I shall not,
I assure you."
Naylor, although at first inclined to rebel,
deemed it more prudent to submit quietly to the
insult thus put upon him by her Ladyship's refusal
to admit him to her room, and accordingly a billet
doux being dispatched with tender inquiries as
to her indisposition and requesting a personal
interview, a cool verbal refusal was again sent
86 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
by her maid, that her Ladyship was too ill to
write a reply. This Lady Harriett proposed
should be the commencement of a series of an-
noyances to her husband, of which there should
be no cessation, until her object of a separation
was accomplished ; and her part was so well
supported, that before the end of the first month
an open and violent rupture ensued between this
ill-matched pair, with mutual recriminations, after
which Lady Harriett left her husband's house,
with a handsome allowance settled upon herself,
over which, Naylor, in the exuberance of his
delight at ha\dng obtained the hand of a peer's
daughter, had resigned all control.
After her departure, Naylor raved and stormed
about the house like a madman, vowing ven-
geance against the whole peerage for the insult
passed upon him ; and in his fury immediately
commenced legal proceedings to oblige her Lady-
ship to return to him or resign her income.
Lady Harriett made such a representation to
her own family of Naylor's bad conduct and
worse temper, as apparently to justify her in
declaring she never would live under the same
roof with him again, which his sudden and vio-
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 87
lent threats of law proceedings tended to con-
firm, so that the breach being now made irre-
parable between them, a law-suit followed, by
which Naylor lost not only his wife but his money
also. This blow fell with stunning effect upon
this pompous, purse-proud, and ambitious man,
thus rudely cut off from all prospect of legiti-
mate heirs to his vast wealth, in addition to the
mortifying check given to his personal aggran-
More or less, we are the arbiters of our own
fate, and those who sow to the wind must ex-
pect to reap the whirlwind. Naylor's conscience
whispered that he had only met with his deserts,
and that the same measure he had awarded to
others was now measured to himself again. Let
us take a short review of his past life a few
years previous to his introduction in these pages.
On passing one evening through Covent
Garden, he was attracted by the appearance of a
young and very lovely girl, poorly though neatly
clad, who was purchasing some fruit in the
market ; and having followed her to her lodging
in one of the bye streets of that locality, his
curiosity was awakened to know more of her
88 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
history. This was readily given by the mis-
tress of the house in which she lodged, on his
calling the next day. "They are very poor,
sir," replied the woman to his questions; "her
father is in bad health, and chiefly dependent on
his daughter's earnings in needle-work and arti-
ficial flower-making, but from their manners
and appearance they must have seen better days ;
but now, poor things ! they are nearly starved."
Naylor expressed sympathy for their distress,
and pretending some knowledge of their connec-
tions, sent up a card, with a false name, request-
ing an interview with the father, which, after
some parley with their hostess, was acceded to.
On being admitted, he apologised for his intru-
sion, alleging, as an excuse, that he was struck
by Miss Panton's appearance the previous day
in the street, as of one he had met before in
better society, and hoped he would consider his
visit as made from no idle curiosity, but from a
desire to assist him in his present unfortunate
Mr. Panton was by birth and education a
gentleman, and of good connections ; but having
been dragged into a Chancery suit, was denuded
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 89
of all his property by the harpies of the law, and
left literally without a shilling ; and now depended
on his only child for support. He had employed
every means to obtain a subsistence, whilst in
health, without avail. He had advertised for a
situation as agent, land steward, bailiff, &c. ; but
to every application the same cold objection was
raised — he had been a gentleman; and now,
broken in spirit and weakened by illness, he was
deserted by all his quondam friends and relations,
and left to perish. Such is the world generally ;
and such the conduct of thousands, who assume
to themselves the dignified name of Christians ;
forgetting, or w^ilfully misconstruing the Divine
precept, " to love one another."
Without Charity, all our acts and deeds,
prayers and professions, are but as sounding
brass or a tinkhng cymbal ; it is charity alone,
so clearly and truly defined by St. Paul, which
will cover the multitude of sins, and without it
Christianity is an empty boast, an idle delusion.
On our love of God and our neighbour (and
who is meant by " our neighbour" is sufficiently
explained in our Lord's parable of the Good
Samaritan,) depend all our hopes of salvation.
90 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
This is the true test and criterion of vital religion ;
and " if a man love not his own brother, whom
he hath seen, how shall he love God, whom he
hath not seen?"
But to return to Mr. Panton : in his deso-
lation and despair, he looked upon Naylor as
one above the common cast of mankind, and
could ill suppress his grateful feelings of thank-
fulness for such generous offers of assistance.
Naylor, having some recollection of the cause,
" Barnard v. Panton," as published in the papers,
spoke in feeling terms of the monstrous graspings
of lawyers ; and after sitting half-an-hour in
pleasant converse on various subjects, rose to
take his leave, saying, he hoped to see him
again in a few days. On shaking hands a
bank-note was pressed on Mr. Panton, whose
hesitation to accept it was overcome by Naylor's
declaration, that if refused he would not call
again, although desirous of renewing their ac-
Miss Panton, on a stranger being ushered
into her father's sitting-room, immediately re-
tired, and did not return until she heard his
footsteps descending the stairs. But Naylor
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 91
had seen sufficient to confirm his previous
impressions of her surpassing loveHness. From
this time his visits were of frequent recurrence,
and various presents were sent by him for the
use of the invalid, who dechned rapidly in health,
and Miss Panton, within a few weeks, became an
Naylor did all in his power to console her,
undertaking to defray the funeral expenses, and
insisting on her removal to a pretty villa in the
suburbs of London, for change of air and scene,
which he had taken for her, until she decided on
her future course of life. It is not surprising
that this young girl, scarcely nineteen, should,
when thrown completely into Naylor's power,
without a friend in the world to whom she
could apply for succour or advice, have enter-
tained a deep feeling of love and gratitude to-
wards her benefactor; and when grief for her
father had subsided, Naylor's protestations of
devotion to herself found a ready response in
her heart. Under the pretence that his uncle
(from whom he had great expectations) would
not allow of his marrying until he had obtained a
certain standing in his profession, this young
92 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
and artless girl was persuaded to consent to the
ceremony of marriage being privately performed
by a friend of his own, whom he represented as
being in holy orders, and on whose secrecy he
could rely, and which, with the housekeeper and
another friend as witnesses, would render the
rite equally valid as if publicly solemnized.
Having succeeded in this stratagem, we must
do Naylor the justice to say, that he did not
desert the unsuspecting dupe of his base designs,
but continued to live with her as his wife, allow-
ing her to assume his name for some years, until
she had become the mother of several children,
who were well educated and brought up as his
own legitimate offspring. It was only a short
time previous to his marriage with Lady Harriett,
that he was obliged to confess the imposition he
had practised, and to stifle her just and bitter
reproaches, settled a handsome annuity upon her
as a recompense for the injustice he had com-
mitted. Thus, by two of the most selfish and
unwarrantable acts any man can be guilty of, he
was himself most unexpectedly outwitted, and
the net he had woven for others, encompassed
him with his own meshes.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 93
After his final separation from Lady Harriett,
he would have given half his wealth to legitimize
the children he had so basely wronged, and madly
did he reproach himself for his conduct towards
that unfortunate woman, who had loved him so
constantly. Thus, Naylor, by despising the so-
lemn obligations of marriage, thinking to make
them subservient to his worldly ^dews, reaped
his just reward — the usual fate of those who
lightly esteem this sacred ordinance of God to
94 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
Robert Howard now requires some further
notice, with whom Miss Burt had fallen so
blindly in love, that she made no effort to
disguise her own feelings, which Robert per-
ceiving, at once tendered his hand, (I was about
to add his heart, but heart he had none to give,)
and was accepted.
Previously, however, to this honourable de-
claration (the cause of rivalry being removed
between the two cousins), Robert made known
his intentions to Harry, and asked his ad-
" You cannot intend to marry her, Robert ?"
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 95
" And why not, pray, Harry ?"
" Simply because you have gained the affec-
tions of Julia Barnard long ago ; and from your
constant and almost every day visits to their
house. Lady Barnard and the young lady herself
consider you in the light of an accepted suitor —
besides which, you are continually in their box
at the theatre, and the public report of your
engagement is so far justified by your public
" Oh, nonsense !" said Robert ; " I have never
yet popped the question."
" Perhaps not ; but by your own admission,
you have already obtained Lady Barnard's
sanction to your addresses."
" Well, but I am not quite sure of Julia's
" You have done everything a man could do
to obtain it, and my firm conviction is, you have
succeeded ; at any rate, you are bound in com-
mon honour and honesty first to ascertain this
point, before you can with decency offer your
hand to another."
" This is all very fine, Harry ; but, the fact is,
Lord Barnard won't come down with money
96 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
enough on his daughter's marriage ; she must
wait till his or Lady Barnard's death, before she
receives her fortune."
" At least then, you ought to consult Lady
Barnard on the subject, and fully explain your
views and expectations. She regards you as her
son already, and will, I have no doubt, do all in
her power to make you and Julia comfortable,
particularly as your father will give you at once
a very fair fortune."
" I hate all scenes," replied Robert ; " and a
man cannot live on expectations."
" Very true, but there is nothing of this sort,
in your case ; and what makes you in such a vast
hurry to get married to Miss Burt ? She won't
bear a moment's comparison with Julia ; — young,
beautiful, affectionate, and good-tempered, per-
fect in form and features, and highly connected ;
* Can you that fair mountain leave, to feed
and batten on the Moor ?' — not all the wealth
of the universe should induce me to desert such
a girl as that, for such a plain piece of goods
as the other."
" It don't much signify," said Robert ; " all
women are alike after marriage."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 97
"That," replied Harry, "is the most fatal
and false delusion that ever entered into a man's
imagination. But what on earth should induce
you to marry her at all? — you cannot be in
love with her."
" No, that I am not, but she is with me,
which will do quite as well ; and more than that,
I am tired of living with the governor, and want
to be my own master ; forty thousand pounds is
not to be picked up every month in the year, or
to be had, just for asking."
" Well," said Harry, " I see very clearly, that
arguments with you are of no avail ; in short,
you had made up your mind before consulting
me on the subject ; so go your own way, and
you will assuredly exemplify the old adage of
* marrying in haste, and repenting at leisure.' "
About three months after Robert's first in-
troduction to Miss Burt, the following announce-
ment appeared in the London papers : —
" On Saturday last, the 12th instant, Robert
Howard, Esq., of the Grange, led to the hyme-
neal altar, at St. George's Chapel, Hanover
Square, the only and accomplished daughter of
W. P. Burt, Esq., of Square, London."
VOL. III. H
98 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" What a comfort," exclaimed John Power,
as he read these Hnes, "that skirting, false-
tongued hound is coupled up at last — we sha'n't
hear any more of his babbling."
The usual little honey-moon trip passed over,
Robert returned with his bride to his country-seat
a wiser, but by no means a happier man ; and it
anfortunately so happened, that, soon after his
return, his young cousin, Harold Howard, rode
over, to see him. Robert having had quite
enough already of tete-a-tete conversations wdth
his cara sposa, was glad of a third to vary the
scene a little, and asked Harold to stay and dine
with him. After dinner, when his lady-love
had retired, Robert wished, of course, to hear all
that had been going on in the gay city since
his departure, and almost his first question re-
lated to the Barnards, a guilty conscience being a
man's first accuser. Harold informed him, he
had called on Lady Barnard a few days since, but
she was too ill to see him — he had learnt, how-
ever, that poor Julia, on hearing of his marriage
with Miss Burt, was nearly distracted, and that
they were all going away for change of scene.
Robert, on this intelligence, jumped up from
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 99
his chair, and paced the room Hke a madman,
in an agony of remorse. " Oh, what a fool 1
have been," he exclaimed ; " I did love her, after
"Then why did you marry Miss Burt?"
asked Harold ; " nobody forced you to do that, I
suppose ; and Harry says, he was sure how it
" Don't say another word, Harold, and never
mention the Barnards' name again. It's all over
now, so pass the bottle."
It was late before Robert could be persuaded
to leave the dining-room. The servant had
twice announced coffee.
" Don't bother me about coffee," said Robert,
*' I sha'n't take any to-night, but bring me
another bottle of wine."
At last, he almost reeled into the drawing-
room, and throwing himself on the sofa, covered
his face wdth his hands.
" Oh, my darling !" exclaimed Mrs. Robert
approaching, and throwing her arms round his
neck ; — " what can be the matter ? — I fear you
are very ill to-night !"
" Don't pester me," said Robert, pushing her
100 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
rudely away, " I have only got a bad head-ache
— so pray leave me alone."
This was said in such a tone, that the lady hurst
into tears ; but, as one of Robert's theories about
w^omen was, that they had always tears at
command, no attention was paid to her sobs,
and she sought her room to weep alone. From
that time, Robert became an altered man. During
the summer months, he w^as occupied in build-
ing a new wing to his house, and this, with a
farm he had taken in hand, filled up his whole
time, from an early hour in the morning until
dinner-time ; and when the sporting season
commenced, shooting and hunting engrossed
his whole attention. The illusory dreams of
wedded felicity, vv^hich had filled the imagination
of poor Miss Burt, were quickly dispelled, when
she became Mrs. Robert Howard. But she
soon began to accept those attentions from other
men, which none but a husband should have
offered. Although far from being pretty, her
manners w^ere very fascinating, and her voice
and playing most attractive, so that she was
quickly surrounded by several admirers, who took
advantage of Robert's absence during the day, to
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 101
practise duetts with his wife, with all the usual
little sotto voce attentions. There was a very
particular and dear friend, of course, generally
staying with her, who being of foreign descent,
aided and abetted in all such dangerous amuse-
ments. Robert had also a very great friend and
college chum, whom he invited to spend a few
weeks in the country ; and who, in return for
his hospitality, paid attentions to his friend's
wife, behind the scenes. Their little amour
being discovered by a billet doux falling from
his wife's dress, which was picked up by her de-
voted husband, Robert, in a furious passion, de-
manded an immediate explanation from his
friend, who endeavoured to laugh it off, as a
mere expression of Platonic friendship. " No-
thing more, he was assured, on his word of
honour," — of course not — but a hint from
Robert was given, that other friends were ex-
pected in a few days, and that his room would
be required. Mrs. Robert's chere amie and
confidantj who had made herself very agreeable
to him, laughed at Robert, for his jealous En-
glish ideas. " Oh," she said, " you English
husbands are so particular, and so rude to your
102 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
wives ; you leave them the whole day to them-
selves, until they are devoured by ennui. You
have your amusements — you shoot or hunt, or
are engaged in some other occupation with your
friends. We must have our little enjoyments
also, with ours."
" Very well," replied Robert, " to this I have
no objection, with the exception of a cicisbeo — I
won't stand that; and I give you this caution, that
I will shoot any fellow, English or foreign, who is
too particular in his attentions to my wife."
" Oh, you naughty old Bluebeard, how could
you think of your dear little wife receiving any
wrong advances ?"
" I hope not," he said ; " but these platonic
effusions all tend to one point, mischief."
This little emeute having reached old Mr.
Burt's ears also, he catechized Robert rather
"You are varra foolish, Mr. Howard. My
daughter has de first education in Paris. She
has bean accustom to de fashion dere — she sing
— she play — she varra much admire. She is
formed for society — not to be shut up in de
great contray house, wid de bat and de owl. I
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 103
give her de grand fortune to be happy, see her
friends, and enjoy herself. You too much de
" I am willing to make all fair allowances for
foreign manners and education, sir," said Ro-
bert ; " but there are some things I will not
submit to ; and one is, to be made a fool of
before my friends by my wife. She has mar-
ried an Englishman, and must conform to En-
Robert's conduct in one respect differed not
at all from the general conduct of men who are
occupied in business or professional avocations.
They are, of necessity, obliged to leave their
homes at an early hour in the morning, seldom
returning until late in the day, and this is the usual
routine of their every-day life, without abating
their wives' affection ; but then the husband's
absence being indispensable, is atoned for by all
those little attentions and endearments on his
return, which his wife not only looks forward to,
but generally experiences. The evenings are
spent in harmony, and mutual confidence sub-
sists between them. With Robert Howard the
case presented this difference — it wanted mutual
104 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
love, and mutual confidence. His mornings
were devoted to his own particular amusements ;
and after dinner, his usual custom was to in-
dulge in a nap, rather than converse with, or
listen to his wife's music.
Mr. Burt, to be near his daughter, had pur-
chased a place in the neighbourhood. His house
was furnished in the most costly style, and
having a large stock of superior wines, as well
as a first-rate artiste in the culinary department,
there were not wanting guests and visitors in
profusion to partake of his hospitality.
Neglected and suspected by her husband, and
doated on by her father, it is not surprising that
Mrs. Robert preferred her father's house (where
she received every kindness from himself, and
respect as well as admiration from his company)
to her own. Here she felt secure and screened
from her husband's observation, and fearlessly
indulged in those flirtations which are the sure
prelude to every woman's downfall. Her father
was excessively fond of music and singing, and
proud of his daughter's talents — a good voice
being a sure passport to his favour, and it must
be confessed his ideas of morality were of a very
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 105
lax order. Public singers were also very often
invited by Mr. Burt to dine and spend the
evening at his house in town, to which he al-
ways returned in the season, accompanied by his
daughter ; and amongst these was a young fo-
reigner of very prepossessing manners and hand-
some person, who had ingratiated himself so
much into the favour of Mr. Burt, as to be ho-
noured by an invitation to spend a few weeks at
During his stay there, Mrs. Robert was gene-
rally occupied with him in the music-room the
greater part of the day, and rumours having
reached Robert that something more than sing-
ing lessons were being practised, and that a
little promenade in a secluded glen near the
house generally succeeded the morning's enter-
tainment, he determined to satisfy himself by
ocular proof whether things were as represented ;
and taking a pistol in his pocket, set out for the
rendezvous of the lovers. On entering the
glen, Robert met his wife's fair friend and con-
fidante emerging from it, on her return to the
house, and not waiting for any explanation, he
hurried on, and found the two walking leisurely,
106 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
arm-in-arm, with manner and looks of too much
empressement to leave any doubt in his mind of
their reciprocal feelings. Robert being of a very
excitable temper, his first feeling was to shoot
the gentleman dead on the spot ; but the idea of
a hempen neckcloth not being suggestive of
very agreeable sensations if applied to his own
throat, second thoughts prevailed, and marching
fiercely up to this disturber of his domestic
peace, he demanded how he dared walk arm-in-
arm with his wife, and declared he would blow
his brains out if he ever dared do so again. At
the sight of the pistol and her husband's furious
looks, Mrs. Robert screamed and fainted away.
The gentleman was about to catch her in his
arms to prevent her falling, when Howard,
seizing him by the collar of his coat, flung him
savagely aside, and cocking his pistol, exclaimed,
" Touch her again, and you are a dead man —
leave this place, you scoundrel ! or I will not
answer for the consequences."
Seeing his determined and excited air, the
gentleman quickly left the ground, and the lady
also, in possession of her infuriated husband.
On her recovery, Mrs. Robert was dragged,
THE SQUIRE OP BEECHWOOD. 107
rather than led back to her father's house, from
which she was ordered immediately to repair
home, or she should never enter her husband's
doors again. Mr. Burt endeavoured to pacify
Robert — this time in vain — he would listen to
no exculpations or excuses, and rushed from the
room in a towering passion. The lady was
sent back at once in her father's carriage, as he
began to dread some violence from his son-in-
law's impetuous disposition.
The words of the poet have been often quoted
in extenuation of woman's misconduct, little re-
flecting that sarcasm, not defence, was intended.
" "When poor weak women go astray,
Their stars are more in fault than they."
Women are, to a certain extent, the rulers of
their own destiny, and have it in their power to
accept or repulse any improper advances from
men, as they themselves feel disposed. A look
or word from a virtuous woman is sufficient to
deter the most profligate from taking liberties ;
and I have generally found women much more
severe upon their own sex than ours.
Education necessarily exercises great influence
108 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
over all in after-life, and we must therefore in
charity make some allowances for Mrs. Robert
Howard, whose connections were chiefly foreign ;
and those who know French customs, know the
latitude given to married women.
Robert Howard would not speak to his wife
that night, and early the next morning rode over
to his cousin Harry to consult him on this bu'
siness. Having told his story, Robert said he
should call that fellow out, and wished to know
if Harry would be his second.
" Certainly not," replied Harry ; " you could
not consistently fight a duel with a man in his
position, although you might feel disposed to
horsewhip him; but the fact is, beyond your
well-founded suspicions, there is nothing tangible
to lay hold of, except their being found walking
arm-in-arm together, and this your father-in-
law will make fifty excuses for ; besides, you
.must make the best of the bargain now you
have her, and I fear you have never pulled to-
gether as man and wife ought to do."
" Well, it's no use lecturing me now, Harry ;
you never insulted a fallen foe."
" Neither shall I do so now," said he ; " let
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 109
me know how I can serve you, and I will do it
" I can explain all, by saying, I will not allow
my wife to enter her father's doors again, while
that scoundrel is in the house ; but I wish you
would ride over and settle this matter for me ;
you are more cool than I am, and of course I
could not go there whilst that man remains.
On this point I am firm."
" Very well, Robert, ring the bell, and I'll
have my horse round at once, and you can re-
main here until I return."
HaiTy was soon on the road, and found Mr.
Burt at home, who guessed the object of his
visit, which was soon explained.
" Oh, he is too violent, my son-in-law ! he
nearly kill my poor daughter. He drag her
from de wood to dis house in a perfect frenzy —
he like a wild man — and what for ? because his
little wife, being faint, just take hold of Mon-*
sieur's arm — dat is all. Monsieur, he vary in-
dignant — he tell me all — he never treated in
dis manner before — he will call your cousin out;
he swear he will have de revenge."
" This is all very fine, Mr. Burt, but it won't
no THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
pass current with me. I have heard more
about Monsieur's attentions to your daughter
than perhaps you may be aware of, and her hus-
band has been told the same. Your daughter
was seen in a very questionable hght by her own
husband, which, coupled with the rumours
afloat, might naturally excite any man's indig-
nation, almost confirming his suspicions. As
for my cousin standing on an equal footing
with this fellow, a mere professional singer, that
I have already told him, is entirely out of the
question ; but I go a point beyond that, and
you may tell Monsieur, with my compliments,
that if he had behaved to my wife as he has
behaved to my cousin's, I would have made him
remember one John Bull for the rest of his
life. I'll give such a fellow as that satisfaction
in five minutes with this horsewhip — so, sir, if
you will be kind enough to let him know I am
here, I shall be obliged to you."
" But mine good friend, Harry, you are de
worse of de two. Robert not so bad after all."
" So I thought," said Harry ; " but I don't
like doing things by halves."
" Well, den, what' must be done ?" asked Mr.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. Ill
Send Monsieur back to London, for your
daughter cannot enter your house again, until
he is gone out of it."
*' Well, but, mine goot friend, I cannot behave
so rude to Monsieur ; he has not been insolent
" He has repaid your hospitality with more
than insolence — with insult to his host's daugh-
ter. He must go, sir — the sooner the better —
and I must go also, so good morning ;" saying
which, Harry took his leave.
Mr. Burt, judging it more prudent to comply
with Harry's suggestions, represented to Mon-
sieur, that to prevent further remarks, he had
better return to London.
Robert was impatiently awaiting the result of
Harry's interview with his papa-in-law.
" Well, what have you done ? "
" Made the old gentleman think you are a
lamb in comparison with myself, and I have an
idea Monsieur will receive his travelling ticket
" Thank you, Harry, for your kindness ; and
now I wish you would dine with me to night,
and give my wife a bit of a lecture, too — she
1 I 2 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
has a high opinion of you, and I know it will be
well received, and may be of some service."
"Well, Robert, I think a curtain lecture
from yourself will do quite as well; and you
know it is a ticklish affair interfering between
man and wife, as poor old Tom Cook found to
his cost the other day."
"What was that?"
" Why, Tom, who would travel two or three
hundred miles in search of a Durham cow, or
pure Leicester sheep, was fain to take up his
quarters at a road-side inn, of general resort, in
one of the northern counties, rather late one
evening, and having refreshed himself with sun-
dry edibles and potables, to the great astonish-
ment of mine host, he soon retired to rest. How
long he had remained in the arms of Morpheus
does not appear, when he was aroused by screams
issuing from the next apartment. Tom sprung
up, and began to rub his eyes. ' Murder !
murder !' rano; in his ears. Without a moment's
delay, he bolted out of bed, and rushed to the
scene of action, where he found a man kneehng
upon his wife, and beating her with his fists.
With one of his giant grasps Tom hurled him
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 113
to the other end of the room ; but no sooner was
this done, and her husband laid prostrate on the
floor, than' the lady rushed upon her deliverer,
exclaiming, ' He shall beat me if he likes,' and
began scratching Tom down the face. The
man, who was a stout, stalwart fellow, recover-
ing himself, soon showed fight also, so that Tom
had enough to do to keep him off with his long
arms ; and while thus engaged, hand to hand,
the wife assaulted him in the rear, tearing his
night-gown into shreds, and he was too glad to
escape from the room with a long strip only of
this garment hanging down behind him like a
monkey's tail. This little divertissement cured
Tom Cook of interfering in matrimonial brawls."
Harry, however, thinking he might be of
some service to Robert in his awkward situa-
tion with his wife, accompanied him home. The
lady having a great regard for him, soon poured
out all her sorrows, considering herself, of course,
a very hardly-used and injured woman.
Harry listened attentively to her pathetic tale,
accompanied with many tears, and then gave her
some wholesome, if not very palatable, advice.
" Oh," she said, •' if I had married you, you
VOL TTI. I
114 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
never would have treated me as your cousin has
" Don't make too sure of that, Maria ; my
ideas of women are very strict — perhaps too
much so ; but I could never have married any
one whose whole thoughts and ideas did not
correspond with my own. Yours never would ;
and I must tell you candidly, I think that Ro-
bert passes over many things with indifference,
which would have caused me much pain."
'* But," she said, " he does not love me ; he
is absent from me all day, only returning at the
dinner hour, and then afterwards falls asleep in
his arm chair. He will never go anywhere with
me, and I really think sometimes he almost
" Oh, nonsense !" said Harry, " there are
faults on both sides ; so go up and shake hands
with your husband, and all will be well again."
And thus for the time things were made up
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 115
During the summer months Harry and his
wife took long rides, generally in the cool of the
evening, after rather an early dinner ; and Mrs.
Robert, thinking this a very delightful recre-
ation^ proposed joining them. Being unused to
horse exercise, she was favoured with her hus-
band's shooting pony to commence with, Harry
undertaking to give her a few lessons in the
equestrian art. At this time, also, her only
brother returned from the University, and with
a few friends staying at their houses, a very
pleasant riding- party was formed by the three
families joining together in this cheerful amuse-
ment. Mr. Burt, senior, to whom a horse and
an elephant were much the same, as far as his
116 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
experience of riding them went, must needs
catch the infection, and longing to be on horse-
back also, Harry lent him an old hunter of his
father's for his first trial.
The cavalcade moved off slowly at first through
a bye road, and Mr. Burt was in ecstacies of
delight, patting his horse on the neck, rising up
in his stirrups, and turning his head in every
direction but the right, to excite admiration of
" Dis is de fine horse, Harry, he look so
grand. How you call him ?"
" Rattler, sir, is his name." .
" Why call him Rattler, Harry ?"
'* Because he rattles away at a trimming pace
when the hounds are before him. He does not
fancy being left behind."
The party now approached an open piece of
turf, and of course a canter was proposed. Ro-
bert, with his usual mischief-making propensity,
set off full gallop, with a screech or two, which
roused old Rattler's temper in a moment.
" Come along, ladies and gentlemen," cried
Robert, spurring forward.
Old Rattler, with his amazed rider, was by
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 117
his side immediately, pulling hard for the
" Stop, Robert !" cried Mr. Burt, " I cannot
go so fast ; my breath is nearly out of my body
" Come along, sir, this is nothing, we are only
cantering ; let Rattler go, and sit down in your
saddle, or you'll soon be out of it, I can see ;
Rattler won't stand pulling and hauling about in
that fashion. Give him his head, sir."
" Robert," screamed Mr. Burt, " stop Rat-
tler, I say ! he tear mine arms off ! How you
say to stop him ? Who ho, Rattler ! stop.
Rattler was deaf to all entreaties, and Bob,
enjoying the fun, rattled away at a tremendous
pace, almost incapable of stopping his own horse,
from fits of laughter, old Rattler straining every
nerve to be even with him.
Mr. Burt exhibited at this moment rather a
grotesque appearance. It being a very windy
day, the old gentleman had crammed his hat
down over his face at first starting ; his trow-
sers, from the excessive and uneven motion of
his lower limbs, were forced up to his knees,
118 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
his gloves were hanging in shreds from his fin-
gers, and his body dragged forward on the pom-
mel of the saddle, by his frantic yet fruitless
efforts in shortening the reins to puU Rattler's
head up. He might as well have pulled at a tree.
Harry, seeing how matters were likely to ter-
minate, pushed forward with speed and silence
to the rescue, as old Mr. Burt, nearly exhausted,
was still shouting out, " Stop Rattler ! mine
Got ! will nobody stop Rattler ? Oh, mine
goot friend, Harry, you are just come in time,
or dis horse will be de death of me !" Harry
seized the bridle with one hand, and at a word
he checked Rattler in his mad career. Mr.
Burt staggered to the ground, where he sat on
a bank, thoroughly exhausted with fright and
his unaccustomed exertions. After resting awhile
under the shade of a tree, Mr. Burt was induced
once more to mount his steed, on the condition
of Harry riding by his side, and not allowing
Rattler to exceed a walking pace.
^ ^ # !}F ■* *
We must now pass over three years of almost
uninterrupted happiness to Harry and his be-
loved wife. They had not miscalculated their
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 119
affection for each other ; it was one all- absorbing,
all-enduring love, unaffected by any of the jar-
rings and recriminations which so seriously in-
terrupt the happiness of young couples on their
first entrance upon married life. Mary regarded
her husband with those same feelings of esteem
and admiration with which her young heart had
first been inspired when loving him as a friend
and brother, and every day of her wedded life
she felt she loved him (if possible) more than
ever ; secure of his affections, she thought and
dreamt of nothing else. Amusements, balls,
dinner-parties, and gaiety of every kind were a
perfect blank to her unless Harry was by her
side. Even her children (of whom she now had
two) never diverted her thoughts or love from
him, to whom she had given !^her first and
dearest affections. Children are tests by which
the loyalty and intensity of woman's love is
often more severely tried than by any other.
Many love their husbands much, but love their
offspring much more. Many love their children
only. Strange and unnatural as it may appear,
husbands become in such a case jealous of their
wives' affections for their own children, when so
120 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
wholly engrossed by the cares of the nursery as
to bestow little or no attention upon themselves.
There are also njany women in the other ex-
treme, who (to their shame be it spoken), devoid
of natural affection, consign their children to the
care of nurses, solely intent upon their own plea-
sures and amusements.
But Harry Howard had now to sustain the
most severe affliction with which he had ever
been visited, by the totally unexpected death of
his beloved and kind-hearted father, who ex-
pired suddenly, without the least warning or
illness, by the rupture of a blood-vessel at the
heart. He was so overcome by grief at the loss
of his dearly-loved parent and friend (for they
had lived together more like brothers than father
and son), that for several days he appeared
almost unconscious of what was passing around
him, giving way to uncontrollable sorrow. Mary
also was most deeply affected, for never having
experienced a father's care, she had loved Mr.
Howard with the affection of a daughter, which
was fully returned by him.
Unlike the generahty of sons and heirs ex-
pectant, Harry's only thought was of him he
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 121
had lost for ever, and in the agony of his first
bereavement, retired to his room and prayed
long and fervently — oh, how fervently ! — until he
even believed his prayer would be heard, that
his father might be restored to him again.
Many long and dreary years have passed away
since then ; but through prosperity, through ad-
versity, and all the changing scenes of this che-
quered life, the image of that dear and indulgent
father has been indelibly impressed on the heart
of Harry Howard, and the hope of meeting him
again in happier realms, sheds a hallowed influ-
ence on his heart. The last sad duties were
deferred to the very latest moment, when the
remains of one, (who though eccentric in mat-
ters of trivial importance, possessed the most
unbounded love towards his fellow-men), were
consigned to their last sad resting-place, over
which the sobs and tears of his afflicted son
were minghng with those of his poorer neigh-
bours, who stood around the vault, to show their
last solemn respect to him who had ever been a
friend to the friendless, and who " from him
that asked, had never turned away."
Harry Howard had now to encounter those
122 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
cares and anxieties of life to which he had
comparatively been a stranger. Whilst his
father lived, he had been provided with all he
required, by his liberality, without trouble or
care of his own. The management of a large
landed property now devolved upon him, and
from his ignorance of agricultural pursuits, was
attended with great anxiety. All pecuniary
affairs had to pass through his hands also.
His younger brother, Harold, to whom a family
living and other property had been bequeathed,
was now about to enter the University ; so that
from having been an idle man, Harry was at
once plunged into business of almost every de-
scription, w^hich would have puzzled one of much
greater experience. Mr. Howard, who had a
very keen perception of character, had spoken
to Harry very strongly before his death, of his
younger son Harold, telling him that, notwith-
standing all his own and his mother's care, he
was satisfied Harold was of a thoroughly selfish
disposition ; and, although so desirous of enter-
ing the Church, he chose to maintain opinions
so diametrically opposed to his father, that he
was resolved to withhold the family living, until
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 123
by his conduct first as a curate, he should prove
himself deserving that preferment.
"In fact," said Mr. Howard, "I shall leave
him dependant upon you for everything, being
fiilly satisfied in my own mind that you will act
towards him as I should myself."
Harry, without a particle of that selfish and
avaricious feeling w4iich money engenders in al-
most every breast, begged his father to make
allowance for Harold's vain and boyish ideas,
deprecating his being made dependant upon
In addition to other troubles, a large farm was
thrown up by one of his tenants, who having
exhausted the land by excessive corn-cropping,
wished to try a similar experiment elsewhere.
So much injury had been done, that no other
tenant could be found, except on such disadvan-
tageous terms, that Harry was, by the advice of
an experienced agriculturist, advised to take it
in his own hands. With energy and perseve-
rance, Harry grappled with all these difficulties
in which he was so suddenly involved, resolving
to fight his way manfully through them ; but
from inexperience, he was, of course, liable to fall
124 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
into many errors, and pay the penalty of acquir-
ing knowledge. Notwithstanding these other
avocations, he still found leisure during the
winter season to indulge in his favourite amuse-
ment of fox-hunting, as a recreation from less
interesting occupations. In a work of this de-
scription, a dissertation on fox-hunting may be
deemed out of place, still we may be pardoned
making a few cursory observations on a sport so
universally patronised by high and low, through-
out the length and breadth of the land we live
in. It stands unrivalled by any other sport for
the wildness of the pursuit, and the ardour and
excitement inseparable from the difficulties to be
encountered. The man who can ride straight
over a country, with the determination to sur-
mount all obstacles which may present them-
selves to impede his progress, is not likely to
dread danger in any shape, for he must possess
both nerve and resolution, and no mean cha-
Were fox-hunting, therefore, productive of no
greater benefit, yet, as a preparation for those
intended for military life, it possesses no slight
recommendations, as tending to keep alive a
THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD. 125
spirit of emulation and contempt of danger,
which ought to he fostered in the hearts of
all the sons of true Britons.
Effeminacy has ever been the death-blow to
the independence, or the destruction of every
great nation which has ever existed from the
fall of Babylon to the present era; and when
Great Britain shall become a nation of shop-
keepers only, as so ardently desired by all the
worshippers of mammon, her star will then set,
never to rise again. The prophecy is still un-
fulfilled, " Nation shall rise against nation ;" and
those who prate about Peace when there is no
Peace, and which never can or will exist perma-
nently until the advent of the Millenium, betray
their utter ignorance of human nature generally,
or the craven, pusillanimous character of their
own. Notwithstanding the wide spreading of
Christianity, the world generally is but little
influenced by its divine precepts. The monarch
on his throne, as well as the peasant in his
cottage, are governed still by their own wilful
passions; ambition, aggrandisement, covetous-
ness, hold their undiminished power over the
human mind. Men do not ask themselves
126 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
what is right and just — but what is expe-
In the present times, we hear continually of
the march of intellect, and progress of civiliza-
tion. The refinement of the present age may-
be admitted, and refinement in crime also.
People do not rob on the highways, as formerly;
but robbing in every other shape is the daily
business of half the world. First, comes legal
robbery. The lawyer endeavours to obtain his
client's confidence, by protestations of regard for
his interests, and with the assumed politeness of
the man of the world arrogates to himself the
feelings as well as the appearance of a gentleman.
" Of course there must be no reserve, or his
advice would be of httle avail." The unhappy
client then lays open his affairs without reserve,
and quits the office, congratulating himself on
having secured so kind and excellent an adviser.
No sooner is he gone than the disguise is thrown
off. Down sits the wolf in sheep's clothing to
his desk, twisting and twirling his client's case,
to see and determine how he can filch the utmost
farthing out of it. He is now consulting solely
and entirely his own interests without the slightest
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 127
regard to any other human being. Letters, con-
ferences, delays, all succeed in regular routine ;
nothing moves the lawyer. He has his own
game to play, and play it he will, though death
may be the stake to his client. Costs — costs —
costs — are the last thoughts with which the
lawyer closes his eyes in sleep, and the first
with which he awakes in the morning ; and
to these he will sacrifice, with as little compunc-
tion as a butcher slaughters a sheep, the interests
of his clients, if by so doing he can materially
benefit himself. This may be considered a harsh
and over-coloured picture ; generally speaking,
however, it is true to the life. Exceptions there
are to every rule, and there may be and are some
few honest lawyers ; but their vocation hardens
their hearts, until they become thoroughly callous
to all feeling. " Woe unto you also, ye lawyers,
for ye lade men with burdens, grievous to be
borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burden
with one of your fingers." Such was the cha-
racter of lawyers nearly two thousand years ago,
and such it remains unchanged to the present
hour. Disgrace, imprisonment, starvation, death,
are the every- day works of the man of law. He
128 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
heeds them not — it is his business. The tears
of the widow, or the orphan's cry, appeal in vain
to that heart of stone !
Next, we have the great manufacturer or
contractor. He is, forsooth, a philanthropist !
He employs hundreds, perhaps thousands, in his
business — but why ? solely for his own aggran-
disement. What are to him the pale faces of
miserable-looking children dragging on an un-
natural and wretched existence in his grand
manufactory, so long as they can do his pleasure
and add to his wealth ?
Then the merchant or tradesman, with their
spurious imitations and adulterations — genuine
articles, indeed ! Why, there can scarcely be
named one single commodity, supplied for the
use of man, woman, or child, which ought not
to bear its appropriate title — slow poison. The
proper characteristic of this all-enlightened, civi-
lized age, is — wholesale robbery ! From the
crown of the head to the sole of the foot — all
is rottenness and corruption. Is not the pro-
phetic language of St. Paul truly applicable to
this present age ? " This know also, that in the
last days perilous times shall come; for men
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 129
shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous,
boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to
parents, unthankful, unholy — without natural
affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, inconti-
nent, fierce, despisers of those that are good ;
lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God,
having the form of godliness, but denying the
power thereof." This is strictly true of the
present generation ; and the last sentence,
" having the form of godhness," strikes one
more forcibly than all the rest, which may be
predicated of almost any age ; but this last
sentence stamps the prophecy on this present
era, and marks it as its own. Profession, not
practice, is the order of the day.
130 THE SQUIRE OP BEECHWOOD.
From this long digression we must return to
Harry Howard, whom we left just entering upon
the cares of life, with all those generous sympa-
thies and charitable feelings towards his fellow-
men, which ought to predominate in the heart
of every human being. His kind heart and
cheerful disposition caused him to be a general
favourite with all the families in the neighbour-
hood, where he was ever a welcome guest. With
all his good qualities, however, Harry was de-
ficient in that worldly wisdom, without which
few can pass through life unscathed ; and judg-
ing others, as we are all apt to do, by our own
feelings, he had formed by far too high an esti-
mate of human nature. About this time a new
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 131
field was opened for the display of that resolution
for which Harry had ever been conspicuous.
The rural population in many districts had
become so dissatisfied with the low rate of
wages and scarcity of employment, that they
rose in large bodies; and believing machinery
to be the cause of their distresses, they marched
through the country, visiting all the farm-houses,
destroying the farmers' threshing-machines, and
often setting fire to the produce of his land.
There can be no doubt that they were insti-
gated to these deeds of violence by artful abettors
of a higher grade, who, by exciting rebellion
among the lower classes, thought to turn the
general dissatisfaction to their own account, in
what manner it has never clearly transpired ;
but that such was the fact, there was sufficient
proof at the time.
Harry Howard, being much beloved by the
lower orders, received intelligence that a body of
men from the next county would soon pay his
farm-yard a visit also, warning him not to inter-
fere, or he might probably lose his life in the
fray. Intimidation was the worst argument to
use towards a man of Harry's disposition, and
132 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
his reply to his friend's advice was short, but to
the purpose. " Tell the leader of these misguided
people that I will do anything and everything in
my power to alleviate their distress, but that I
will resist all open violence to me or any of my
servants." Every preparation was immediately
made ; guns, swords, pistols, and weapons of
all kinds, burnished and got ready to meet the
expected attack, and sentinels placed every even-
ing to watch the farm-yard.
About a week afterwards, on a very dark,
drizzling night in November, when an old sol-
dier was on guard, a solitary horseman was heard
slowly and cautiously approaching the farm-
yard, which was entirely away from any beaten
track, and nearly a mile from the high road.
The sentinel heard the low click of a horse's
hoofs on the greensward, as he neared his place
of ambush under one of the ricks ; but from the
extreme darkness of the night, the outline of
the rider was only visible. He halted close to
the stackyard for a few moments, as if listening
or hesitating what to do, when the old soldier,
seeing some movement of his arm, sprang from
his hiding-place, and levelling his gun, ordered
him to surrender or die.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 133
Without uttering a word, the horseman
wheeled round and galloped away ; as he did so,
the trigger was pulled, but the powder being
danap, no report followed.
There being then no yeomanry corps in that
part of the county, Harry, with the aid of his
cousin Robert, called upon the farmers to form
a body to protect their own property, and fifty
young resolute men answered to the summons,
mounted on good horses, and joined his standard.
At the same time, a large body of malcontents
assembled on an open down, and a battle ap-
peared inevitable, when Harry, consigning the
command of the cavalry to Robert, rode forward
at once to meet them, and after a short parley,
so far altered their purpose, as to lead them
himself to attack another mob which he heard
was then advancing from another direction.
Like family feuds among the lower orders in
Ireland, there are also local feuds among the
English villages, towns and counties, of which,
taking advantage, Harry found himself at the
head of one mob, now ready to take vengeance
on the other.
Having marshalled them into some little
134 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
order, he led them several miles in search of
the enemy, without success, and then returned
with them to a wayside inn ; and having ordered
all to be supplied with beer to a moderate
extent, harangued them in a few words,
praising their good conduct and confidence in
him, and promising in turn to assist them to
the extent of his power. By these energetic
measures, the farmers' property was protected
from further violence, and good order once more
It was during these disturbances, that Harry
had been invited to dine with Robert to discuss
the present threatening aspect of affairs, when,
on dismounting at the hall door, Robert rushed
out, exclaiming, " Harry, you are just in time —
here are some of these vagabonds, down in the
stable yard, threatening to burn the premises,
unless I give them money."
'' How many, Robert ?"
" Only two at present."
*'Well, why don't you and your servants
take them into custody?"
" It's all very well talking, Harry, but my
cowardly fellows won't touch them, as they are
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 135
two big, powerful men ; and one has got an iron
crowbar in his hand, with which he threatens to
kill the first man who touches him. Here,
Harry, take this sword, and come along."
" Leave the sword where it is," said Harry ;
" we don't want weapons of that sort to take
On entering the yard, the men were standing
against the wall, in an attitude of defiance, and
threatening instant destruction to Robert's timid
domestics, of whom there were no less than half-
a-dozen looking on. Harry approaching them,
quietly asked what they wanted.
" Money !" repHed the foremost, who was a
tall, stalwart fellow, and well-known fighter ;
" and money we will have."
" Indeed," said Harry, " this is not the way
to obtain it ; but lay down that crowbar, or we
must take you into custody as a disturber of the
" You take me into custody !" said the man ;
" you and all the rest on these premises can't
" Really, my fine fellow, the rest may do as
they like, but as you defy me also, once more I
136 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
order you to throw down that bar, or Fll take
you myself, crowbar and all."
Harry neared his opponent, fixing his eye
steadily on his, when raising the crowbar over
his head, the fellow swore he would knock his
brains out, if he approached another step. It was
a moment of intense anxiety to the lookers-on,
although not one of them stirred to second him —
when, with a sudden bound, Harry seized the up-
lifted bar in his left hand, and with a well-aimed
blow of his right knocked the villain down,
falling upon him. As the champion fell, every
one now rushed upon his companion, who was
just aiming a blow at Harry's defenceless head,
and Robert, who held a heavy hunting whip in
his hand, laid it on friend and foe alike, with
Harry being nearly suffocated by the superin-
cumbent bodies of all tumbling over him in the
melee, relaxed his hold of his fallen foe, and
sprang upon his legs again. The man also re-
covering himself, aimed another blow at Harry,
which he again parried, and once more knocked
him down. This terminated the business, as
both found further resistance of no avail ; but
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 137
notwithstanding the champion's defeat, nothing
would induce Robert's dependents to lay hold
" Well," said Harry, " if your men are such
cowards, I shall not do the office of constable.
We know them well, and now for some dinner,
for I have tasted nothing since breakfast, and
have been on horseback all the day."
We will now pass over the next four years —
Robert had become the father of three children,
whom he regarded with as much affection as if
they belonged to any other person. To children
generally he had a great aversion, although this
may be rather too strong a term when applied to
his own ; still, in his opinion, the nursery w^as the
proper and only place for squalling brats, and to
that apartment, in a distant part of the house, they
were strictly confined. Mrs. Robert remained still
unchanged in her propensity to flirtations, neither
was she very particular in her selection of the ob-
jects on whom her smiles were lavished, conquest
appearing to be her ruling passion. Robert was
so much occupied during the day with his several
avocations, that he knewhttle of what was passing
in the drawing-room, and his wife, now more
138 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
cautious from experience, carried on her liasonSy
with the assistance of her maid, in fancied security.
A gentleman named Dixon had lately come to
reside in the neighbouring village, where he had
taken a pretty villa for the purpose of hunting,
and being known to Mrs. Robert's brother, he
soon became on intimate terms in Mr. Burt's
family. Dixon was gentlemanly in manners,
although by no means prepossessing in appear-
ance, and passed as a quiet, inoffensive person,
calculated only to fill a vacant chair at the din-
ner-table, without any pretensions to enliven
society ; yet withal, a much more dangerous
character than any one of his acquaintance gave
him credit for.
He was an attentive observer of all that was
passing around him, and failed not to make
himself acquainted with the circumstances of
those who so blindly fostered him as a friend in
their families ; but he had so much command
over his conduct, that no look or word betrayed
his real feelings. One fact among others had
come to his knowledge, that Mrs. Robert How-
ard's whole fortune had been settled upon her-
self, without her husband's power to interfere
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 139
with it, which Robert, in his excessive haste to
be married, had entirely overlooked — or it had
been kept from his knowledge by the connivance
of the lawyers who drew up the marriage set-
Dixon, having only a sufficient income to live
respectably as a bachelor, soon resolved to avail
himself of Robert's neglect of his wife, and ap-
propriate her to himself, if possible. Having
settled this infamous project in his head, by a
pretended love of music, he soon gained the fa-
vour of one of the most weak and frivolous-
minded women that ever existed.
Although friends before marriage, it had
been impossible for Harry's wife to continue
on intimate terms with Mrs. Robert, when
her true character became developed. Mary
had, on many occasions, reproved her for
that levity of conduct so unbecoming in a
married woman, but without the least effect ;
she was only regarded as a prude for her good
advice, so that all confidence had now ceased be-
tween them. It is possible, that Robert, by
greater attention to his wife, might have averted
the fate now awaiting him, but it is scarcely pro-
140 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
bable, since, like himself, she was devoid of all
moral or religious principles.
There are few, except the most depraved and
hardened sinners, who are not visited by com-
punction or iiTesolution before the commission
of great crimes. The still small voice of con-
science will be heard, although every effort be
made to stifle it. Deeds of violence are con-
stantly committed without premeditation, under
the momentary influence of passion ; but when
time is allowed for consideration, men are sel-
dom or ever left without warning from an in-
ward monitor, that innate sense of right and
wrong which dwells in every human heart.
As Dixon contemplated the crime he was
about to perpetrate — the base, ungrateful return
he was about to make for his friend's confidence
and hospitality ; the irreparable injury he was
about to inflict on Robert Howard, and those
three innocent children, he shuddered at the
contemplation of the hideous picture to be
painted by his own hand. His better feelings
prevailed for a time ; " No," he exclaimed, " it
shall not be — I have gone far enough already —
too far — but I go no further." His mind was
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. l4l
relieved — he felt happier and more at ease when
this resolution was taken, and without daring to
trust himself, he sought the misguided woman
whose affections he had seduced, that same even-
ing, in an arbour, near her father's house, where
he was in the habit of meeting her.
Under the excuse of retiring to her room
after dinner, Mrs. Robert absented herself from
the drawing-room, and putting on her shawl
and bonnet, left the house by a back staircase to
avoid observation ; but one of the servants,
more scrupulous than the others, suspecting the
cause of Mrs. Robert's evening rambles, fol-
lowed her quickly, but quietly, to her place of
rendezvous. Dixon was already there, and it
being a dark evening in December, the cook
secreted herself among the shrubs, within hear-
Doubting his power of long retaining the
resolution he had formed, Dixon at once entered
upon the subject, " Maria," he said, " this is
the last of these clandestine meetings between
us. I have been considering the matter well
over — 1 will go no farther. I am repaying
your brother's friendship with treachery, and
142 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
your father's hospitality with the basest ingra-
" Oh, Dixon !" she exclaimed, in a transport
of mingled rage and passion, " can you treat me
thus, when you have gained my heart's true
aifections ? My love for you is beyond every
other consideration — every tie in life — I never
loved as I now love you !" — (" Oh, the hussey I"
thought the cook, " she has loved half-a-dozen
or more, to my certain knowledge, just in the
same way !") — " Dixon ! Dixon ! is it thus you
repay my trust and confidence in your love and
honour?" and she began sobbing and crying
" Pray cease, Maria, or we shall be over-
heard."— (" Ah !" thought the cook, ''it is
lucky you are, my darling ducks, for once !") —
" You know how I love you ; but for once let
us be cool, and reason on the consequences."
" Reason !" she cried, " I cannot reason ; all
I possess — love, honour, reputation — all are
sacrificed to you. No, Dixon — it is now too
late ; my husband I detest, and he now suspects
us. You are my only hope and refuge from
despair. Oh, let us fly this place 1 my fortune
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 143
is my own — we shall be happy — oh, how happy
together !" — (The cook, thinking matters were
now coming to a crisis, suddenly left her hiding-
place, and forgetting to close a side door leading
from the garden, it slammed together violently
by the wind.) — " Hush !" said Dixon, starting
at the sound, " we are discovered — I heard the
garden-door — quick ! fly ! I must leave you 1"
saying which, he disappeared instantly among the
trees, the lady returned by a circuitous route to
the back door, and having laid aside her bonnet
and shawl, soon re-appeared in the drawing-room,
where she found all as usual, except her father.
" Where is papa ?" she asked.
" Only up-staii's, reading in his room," was
This satisfied her that they were not disco-
vered. But her father was at that moment lis-
tening to the cook's story in his study, whither,
on leaving the garden, she had immediately re-
paired, to acquaint her master with what she
Mr. Burt was too impatient to hear it all out,
but hastily rising, ran down stairs to call his
son, and on entering the drawing-room, there
144 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
sat his daughter. For a moment he was thun-
der-struck, and thought the cook must be de-
ceived. His daughter, observing her father's
altered looks, inquired if anything were the matter.
" Oh, no," he said ; '* I wanted a book I left
behind : I cannot think what I did with it, but
perhaps it is in the library."
He then closed the door again, and going
first into the library, ascended to his study.
The cook was summoned once more.
" You must be deceived, cook, in de person
you heard or saw with Mr. Dixon. Mine
daughter is in de drawing-room as usual. It
could not be her you saw."
" It was Mrs. Robert that I heard and saw
with Mr. Dixon this night, sir," said the woman,
" or I never saw her in my hfe ; but she has
had plenty of time to return to the house — I
followed her myself, sir, to the very place — but
that is soon settled ; just send for her up here,
sir, and see if she will stand out against what I
say. I heard every word they said."
Mr. Burt was almost puzzled how to act ;
but thinking his daughter might elope that
night, he sent for his son to his room, and com-
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 145
municated what the cook had just told him.
Her brother was horrified at his friend's villany
and his sister's depravity, and it was at last
agreed to watch her strictly that night, and con-
sider how they should act in the morning.
146 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
' CHAPTER X.
The next morning Mr. Burt was closeted
with his son in deep consultation as to their
proceedings with Dixon and Mrs. Robert How-
ard, and it was finally determined that her father
should lecture her sharply on her conduct, and
insist on her writing a letter to Dixon, which he
should dictate, desiring him never to see her
again. It is needless to describe the interview
between father and daughter. Her guilt was
too clear to be denied, and she threw herself
entirely on his parental feelings (which she knew
to be very deep) for forgiveness.
" I will forget all, Maria, on one condition,
that you write that letter immediately to Mr.
Dixon, and I will send it by one of the servants.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 147
He, of course, can never enter this house
She cast herself on her knees before her
father. " I will do anything,'' she said, " but
give up Dixon. Do not forbid him the house,
he loves me devotedly : my husband never did,
and never will."
" Nonsense, Maria ! I will not listen to such
language as this. You are a married woman —
you have three children — are you dead to every
proper feeling ? — It cannot be."
'* Oh, papa, I cannot, will not, resign him."
" Then," said he, furiously, " I will tell him
of your shameful conduct with other men."
*' Tell my husband all you like," she replied,
vehemently ; " but for pity's sake tell not Dixon.
Do not let him despise me — that I cannot bear.
I will write this letter, do anything you wish, if
you promise not to tell him. Pray let me go
to my room — my hand shakes so, I could not
hold a pen, but when a little recovered, I will
write the letter and bring it to you."
" Very well, Maria, you can do as you say,
but I shall wait here until you return with the
letter, so don't be very long about it."
148 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
With a quickness of decision peculiar almost
to those in desperation or despair, Mrs. Robert
had taken her resolution how to act ; and on
leaving her father's room, rushed to her own
first, then fastening her door inside, escaped by
another leading to the offices below, leisurely
walked into the shrubbery behind the house,
where she was screened from sight, and then
ran along a bye lane as fast as she could to
Dixon's villa. " The wicked fleeth when no one
pursueth." Terror added strength to her flight.
She had not run before for years, if ever, since
she was a child, but she tottered not nor stum-
bled now, nor halted, until reaching Dixon's
house ; she rushed into his private room, where he
then was sitting, and fell exhausted into his arms.
** Good heavens, Maria !" exclaimed Dixon,
" what can be the meaning of all this ?"
" Oh, fly !" she uttered, wildly ; " fly in-
stantly with me, Dixon ! it is our only chance !
everything is discovered ! we must be now all
to each other! you can never more meet my
father, brother, or husband !"
In a few words she explained to him what
had occurred ; Dixon held, or thought he held,
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 149
in his arms, the woman he had seduced from
the path of virtue, now thrown entirely upon his
honour for protection. He hesitated no longer,
but snatching up his hat and drawing her arm
within his own, rushed with her from the house,
and struck across a bye path through the fields,
to escape observation.
They had scarcely gone a mile, before Mrs.
Robert's flight from her father's house was dis-
covered. He, poor man, had been quietly wait-
ing in his study for nearly an hour his daughter's
return with the letter, when some suspicion cross-
ing his mind, he went directly to her room.
The door was locked.
" Maria !" he called — no answer. " Maria,
why don't you answer? Open the door, I say."
All was silent within. The truth flashed across
him at once — she was gone ! Rushing down
stairs, he called his son hastily. " Have you seen
Maria ? She is not in her room, and the door is
Every room was searched in vain ; then the
servants were questioned; one had seen her
leave the house by the back-door. The shrub-
beries and walks were traversed by her brother
150 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
in rapid succession, shouting her name. No
voice answered to the call — she was not there-
" Oh !" cried her father, in agony, " she has
fled — she has gone for ever ! I see it all now !
Ride, my son — ride straight to Dixon's house —
she must be there 1"
Her brother rode furiously to the place, and
rushed into the house. On the table lay Dix-
on's watch, and on the floor a lady's glove. The
servant said her master and Mrs. Robert had
w^alked out together an hour ago, but in what
direction she could not tell.
Frederick mounted his horse again, and rode
back to his father. Robert Howard had, in the
meantime, arrived, and was in conference with
Mr. Burt, when Frederick rushed into the room.
*' Oh, papa !" he exclaimed, " Maria is gone,
and with Dixon !"
The old man sank back in his chair, covered
his face with his hands, and sobbed aloud.
"Oh, Maria! Maria!" he cried, *'how could
you treat your poor old father thus ? to break
his heart for a stranger — a villain !"
" My dear father," said Frederick, taking his
hand, " pray compose yourself; w^e may yet
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 151
recover and bring her back. Come, Robert, let
us be off, and ride different ways until we can
For hours they rode in every direction, but
not a trace of the fugitives could be found ; and
as the dusk of the evening was coming on, both
returned with sad and gloomy hearts to Mr.
Burt's house. Robert was deeply affected, and
wept bitterly ; but at his father-in-law's request,
mounted his horse again to apprise Harry How-
ard of w^hat had happened. Harry was just sit-
ting down to dinner with some friends, when he
heard a horse galloping up to the hall door, and
Robert's voice shouting for Harry.
" What in the world does Bob want now, at
this time?" said Harry, as he rose from the
table to go to the door.
" Oh, I dare say," replied Mary, " it is only
another quarrel between him and Maria. I wish
he would not disturb us at such an hour as this."
Robert quickly explained all to Harry, who
stood for a moment petrified in astonishment on
hearing of his wife's elopement. Rallying him-
self, however, he quickly asked, " What can I
152 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" Oh, pray come over with me directly, and
see poor Mr. Burt ; he is nearly distracted, and
sent me for you."
" I will be over in half-an-hour, Robert. Will
you have a glass of wine ?"
" No, Harry, I must be off again. Come as
soon as you can," and he rode off swiftly. Harry
returned to the dining-room, apologising to his
friends by telling them that Mr. Burt was
very ill, and wished to see him immediately.
*' But don't regard my absence, I will return as
quickly as possible."
Mary, seeing something had distressed her
husband, followed him to his room, when he
told her the cause of Robert's visit. Her kind
heart was quite overcome at the thought of
the misery her former friend would entail on
herself and children, and wept bitterly at their
forlorn situation. Harry tried all he could to
console her, although he was deeply affected
" Do not give way thus, my dearest Mary ;
we have always dreaded something of this kind,
although I must confess I never could bring
myself to believe Maria could act as she has now
THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD. 153
done, and desert her children. Weak, vain, and
frivolous I knew she was ; but so thoroughly
depraved and heartless as to abandon those poor
little children, passes my comprehension. But
come, cheer up, dearest. I must ride over to
see her poor old father ; and mind, you have left
Fowler and our friends to wonder at our absence."
Harry found Mr. Burt pacing up and down
his study, muttering to himself as if his mind
had been already affected by the blow which had
fallen with such crushing effect upon him. He
scarcely noticed Harry until he found his hand
upon his arm.
'' Oh, Harry ! Harry ! you are come to see
your old friend die — he is broken-hearted ; my
brain is on fire ; I am almost crazy !" His
agonized looks and bereaved situation went home
to Harry's heart, who could scarcely suppress
his emotion, as he took the old man's hand and
led him to a seat.
Mr. Burt was so affected by Harry's sympathy,
that his pent-up feelings now gave way, and he
found relief in a copious flood of tears. Harry
did not check him, knowing he would be more
composed afterwards — our own afflictions are
154 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
often alleviated by witnessing the sufferings of
others ; and Mr. Burt, observing Harry's distress,
was the first to break silence.
*' Oh ! my good friend Harry, it is no use
lamenting. I thought you would not feel so
much — she would go. I have seen it all long
ago. It was only last year, I took her from a
carriage she had ordered to run away with
George Trollop, Robert's own friend. . I knew
it must come to this."
Harry was pacified in a moment, at hearing
" Then, indeed, sir," he said, " the case is
hopeless. I should not have believed this from
any lips but her own father's ; for, until now, I
never thought her so utterly depraved."
Robert and Frederick being in the room, it was
agreed by all, that pursuit w^ould be useless ; for,
that if snatched from Dixon then, she would
assuredly take the first opportunity to escape again.
" For myself," said Harry, " I can only say,
were my wife to prefer another man to me, the
sooner she left my roof the better. At first, I
should feel as I did just now, overpowered with
grief; but, that moment passed, indignation
would supply its place, compassion, perhaps
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 155
afterwards. But if I can be of any assistance
in any way, I am ready to act."
" No, Harry," said Frederick ; " you can do
no good. My father is more composed now he
has seen you. Return to your friends, and see
us again to-morrow."
Robert Howard was like one bewildered. He
cried and raved by turns at his wife's treachery
and Dixon's viliany; for it was only the day
before her elopement that she was sitting on his
knee, with her arms round his neck, declaring
she loved him as much as ever ; and, although
Robert had not married for love, yet he would
have been less than human had he remained
unaffected by the sudden severing of that union,
which had now existed for several years between
himself and Maria. Habit is second nature —
and, however uncongenial man and wife may
be in disposition and ideas, long co-habitation,
though it may fail to endear them to each other,
engenders some sort of affection, even in the
most worldly-minded, and children form gene-
rally a mutual bond to knit them together.
There was also another circumstance, which
w^eighed heavily on Robert's mind. His wife's
fortune had been settled on herself, so that he
156 THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD,
was now left with a very diminished income, and
three children to support. Being the reverse of
prudent in money matters, he quickly found him-
self in a very embarrassed position ; for no sooner
had his wife's elopement become noised abroad,
and his loss of her income made known, than
claims poured in from all quarters, for immediate
settlement, which it was out of his power to liqui-
Relinquishing, therefore, the management of
his property to his cousin Harry, and the care
of his children to his father-in-law, he was ad-
\dsed to take a trip on the Continent, until some
arrangement could be made for his peaceable
return. Proceedings were now instituted for a
divorce, which, from there being no valid defence
on the part of his wife, was soon obtained, with
heavy damages against Dixon ; and after a year's
absence, Robert returned to his country seat, once
more, nearly as light-hearted and thoughtless as
ever. That which annoyed him most of all
was the reflection that he was now, although in
the prime of life, a divorced man, which he
well knew would prove a very strong, if not
fatal barrier to his forming a second matri-
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 157
We must now pass over several years.
In a low back room, in one of the old squares
of London, faintly lighted by a skylight from
above, are seated three persons in earnest con-
versation. One is a little thin man of pale and
almost emaciated appearance, although not more
than twenty-eight years of age ; yet the wear and
tear of mind has done it work, and he looks
a man of fifty. The other two are Robert and
Harry Howard. The first-mentioned person is
Robert's lawyer, or man of business, and he is
thus addressing him : — " In your present cir-
cumstances, my dear sir, it is impossible you
can remain another day in England. I can do
nothing more for you, until you are fairly off to
158 THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD.
the other side of the Channel, and then, with
your cousin's assistance, I hope to bring your
affairs into something like order; but go you
must, and that immediately, or I am powerless
to help you further."
" Well," said Robert, " I cannot bear France ;
but suppose there is no help for it. How
soon can I return?"
" Within six or at most twelve months," re-
plied the man of law, " that I engage ; but you
know it is on one condition, that your cousin
undertakes to assist me in the management of
your property and affairs ; for I must tell you
candidly, without his co-operation, I cannot see
ray way to extricate you from your present diffi-
" I know my cousin will help me out of this
confounded business. Won't you, Harry?"
turning to him. " I would lay down my life
to assist you, were you in trouble."
" I will do all in my power," repHed Harry ;
" but first, I must know what Mr. Smirke re-
quires, as I must have everything plain and
"All I require, sir, is this," said Smirke;
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 159
" that you will assist me in raising so many
thousand pounds, to clear your cousin from his
present embarrassments, for which he will give you
a valid security on his property, until you are
repaid ; and I myself will undertake to see this
done within six months from this day."
This appeared so very reasonable and straight-
forward a proposition, that Harry could not raise
any objection, provided the security was good,
and that no interest should be required to be
paid by him. " To lose such a sum of money,"
said Harry, " would be my ruin."
*' You need not be alarmed," said the lawyer ;
" for I will act with perfect good faith to you,
and your cousin shall give you the security on
his property for the money we shall want before
you become responsible for one shilHng beyond
what he already owes you."
" Very well," said Harry ; " as long as 1 am
protected, and shall not be called on to pay
either interest or principal of this money you
require to pay my cousin's debts, I do not regard
any trouble I may incur in helping to manage
his property during his short absence."
" I assure you, on my word of honour as a
160 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
gentleman," said Smirke, dropping the man of
business entirely, " you shall be repaid every
shilling you may now assist in procuring within
six months, before any interest becomes due,
and hold a good available security in the mean
time, which shall be immediately prepared and
placed in your hands."
It was accordingly arranged that the meeting
should stand adjourned until the next day,
when the documents would be ready for sig-
At the hour appointed, the deed was produced,
signed, sealed, and delivered to Harry ; and Robert
having almost overpowered him with thanks,
(calling Heaven to witness he should never be
brought into trouble on his account) started for
Mr. Smirke, although only second in command,
was the working partner in the firm of Ronald-
son, Smirke, and Ferret, of square. The
senior having amassed a large sum of money by
his business and lucky speculations in various
ways, had now retired from the more irksome
and laborious part of his profession, contenting
himself with a daily call at the office, about
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 161
eleven o'clock, to read his letters, and returning
soon after two to his town house in a fashionable
On Smirke, therefore, devolved the weight of
conducting the multifarious concerns of the firm,
in its various ramifications of stock -jobbing, house-
building, money-lending, speculations, &c. ; and
to do him justice, Smirke was indefatigable,
labouring from morning till night at his desk,
with a quickness of thought and rapidity of
action almost inconceivable. He had been in-
troduced to Robert Howard by a friend (suffer-
ing under similar circumstances to his own), as
the sharpest and quickest fellow in London ;
who would do more in one month than any
other lawyer could in six ; but the firm was
represented to Harry as one of the most respect-
able in town, and the senior partner as rolling
in riches, with his town and country house,
keeping up a large establishment of his own,
and visiting in good society.
Mr. Smirke having obtained Harry's signature
to a piece of parchment charging his own property
with the sum required for his cousin's necessities,
found no difficulty in obtaining the money ; and
VOL. TIT. M
162 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
within six months Robert returned home — a free
man once more.
He was profuse in his acknowledgments to
Harry for all the trouble he had incurred on his
account, and Mr. Smirke being invited down to
spend his vacation in the country with Robert,
they soon became very great friends. Matters
went on smoothly for some little time, until one
morning, Harry received a long, ominous-looking
letter from a solicitor in London, informing him
that the interest due on the mortgage to his
client had not yet been paid, and requiring the
amount by return of post. Harry immediately
rode off with the letter to Robert, reminding
him of his oath and engagement to hold him
harmless for the interest as well as the principal,
which, Harry told him, must now be paid off as
" Oh, don't worry yourself about it," said
Robert ; " give me the letter, and I will send
it up to Smirke."
A week elapsed, when another dispatch, in
the same handwriting, reached Harry, expressing
surprise that no notice had been taken of the
first application, and requiring an answer without
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 163
delay. Again Harry applied to Robert, express-
ing his astonishment that Mr. Smirke had not
arranged the matter as promised.
" Oh," said Robert, " I have not heard lately
from him, perhaps he is out of town ; but I will
write directly to him, to pay the money."
^' This must be attended to without further
excuse or delay, Robert ; for you know^ how I
am situated, with a mortgage already on my
property to which I succeeded, with an annuity
also to pay out of it, and it is not in my power
to meet the interest on the sum borrow^ed to set
you free. You must go to town yourself at
once, and see into these matters with your
" You need not make so much fuss about it,"
said Robert. " I dare say Smirke will make it
all right ; but I cannot go to London just now ;
give me the letter however, and I will forward
it to him."
Having given the letter, Harry rode home
slowdy, and in no very enviable mood, as dark
suspicions crossed his mind, from Robert's off-
hand, irritable manner towards him. " That
heartless cousin of mine," thought he, "will
164 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
throw me over, if possible ; but, luckily, I have
the security on his property. So much for
It is almost needless to add, that Harry was
obliged, for fear of w^orse consequences, to pay the
interest, without an effort being made either by
Robert or Smirke to relieve him from the re-
sponsibility he had incurred, although the former
was at that very time lavishing large sums in
building and improving his estate. Harry
therefore determined on a journey to London,
to see what could be done with Mr. Smirke, and
accordingly called upon that gentleman, whom
he found sitting in his den, with papers scattered
about in all directions. Harry soon explained the
object of his visit, reminding him of his promise
and pledged word to hold him harmless from any
unpleasant consequences of the advances made
to his cousin.
" Well, my dear sir," said the limb of the
law, " it may be as you say, but really I cannot
tax my memory with what took place seven or
eight months ago. We can only judge by do-
cuments and deeds, and you have clearly made
yourself responsible for the money."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 165
" But, sir, it was on your pledged word, and
my cousin's solemn adjuration, that I should
never be called upon to pay either interest or
principal, and the latter you yourself undertook
should be repaid as soon as my cousin returned
to England. I must insist, therefore, upon
being relieved from this responsibility. You
must borrow the money on my cousin's pro-
perty, as you promised to do."
" But, my dear sir," said Mr. Smirke, " this
cannot be done so easily as you imagine — there
are difficulties in the way. Yoxar cousin has
been very extravagant ; borrowing money of
Jews and Gentiles at about forty per cent,
before he put his affairs into my hands,
and I fear his property must come to the ham-
mer before another twelvemonth, or two years
at farthest, unless something turns up in his
" Then, sir," said Harry, very indignantly,
" the whole truth of the matter is this, that you
and my cousin, knowing these things before-
hand, intended to swindle me out of this money."
" Oh no, my dear sir," said Mr. Smirke, not
in the least moved by Harry's remarks ; " your
166 TKE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
security on the property is good, but we cannot
pay either interest or principal in your cousin's
" Why, sir, he is spending hundreds at this
present moment on his place — a new conservatory
is being built, and other improvements are
making, and yet, I am told, he has no money at
command to pay his just and honourable debt,
contracted under the most solemn obligation to
me, by whose means alone he has been enabled
to return to his native land ! "
" Ah, my dear sir, that is what we call spend-
ing money in a legitimate manner — a means to
an end — increasing the value of his estate. We
shall all benefit by this outlay, and when his
property is sold, you will get your money ; but
before that takes place, I am afraid, my dear
sir, we cannot assist you."
" Then," said Harry, bursting with indigna-
tion, " you and my cousin are two arrant swin-
" Ah ! my dear sir, we lawyers are accus-
tomed to hear harsh expressions sometimes —
we do not regard them, I assure you ; we can-
not please all parties," rubbing his hands, with
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 167
a smile at Harry's discomfiture, who, taking up
his hat, left the office.
To explain Mr. Smirke's altered manner, we
must refer to a conversation which took place
between that deep villain and his equally un-
principled client, when at Robert's house in the
country. Smirke had not forgotten then his
undertaking to pay Harry back the money he
had so kindly advanced ; and one evening, after
dinner, broached the subject, by telling his client
that the interest would soon become due, and
preparations must be made to meet it.
"Oh," said Robert, "don't bother me aboutthat
now, I have quite enough to think of besides.
He has got security on the property, has he not ?"
" Yes, certainly ; but between ourselves, my
dear sir, that is not worth a rap at present. We
have the first charge, you know, on the pro-
perty, and as I am to receive your rents, he
cannot get a shilling interest except by your
directing me to pay it."
** Very well, Smirke, that's all right ; but I
can't spare the money, you know, and won't.
I want it myself, so, you see, I refer him to
you, as my man of business."
168 THE SaUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
'^ Just SO, my dear sir, I understand."
" Then pass the bottle, Smirke, I hate to talk
of business after dinner ; so now, that's settled.
Master Harry must wait, and," with a wink at
Smirke, " I wish he may get it."
The man of law had received his instructions,
which will account for Harry's late reception in
his office. Harry Howard made one last appeal
to his cousin, whom he found surrounded with
" I don't choose to be dunned in this fashion,"
said Robert, haughtily ; "I have told you al-
ready, Smirke is my man of business ; if he can-
not pay you, I have no money myself."
" If you have one particle of honesty or ho-
nour left," said Harry, " you would not require
dunning^ as you call it, whilst you are squander-
ing hundreds of pounds in this ridiculous man-
ner. But for my mistaken kindness, you would
have now been in prison, instead of insulting
me here by frivolous excuses ; but there is one
comfort in store for such an unprincipled fellow
as you are. Your friend, Smirke, will pay you
in your own coin, before long."
The eyes of Harry Howard were now fairly
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 169
opened to the embarrassing position in which
he was placed by his heartless cousin, and he
was accordingly obliged to give up his hunters
and carriages, and the greater part of his esta-
blishment, reserving only a pony for his own
riding, and a small phaeton for his wife. Thus
things continued for two years, during which,
he had to meet the heavy half-yearly pay-
ments incurred on his cousin's account, not a
shilling of which, either Smirke or himself would
help to pay. Agricultural produce was also sell-
ing at so low a rate, that there was little or no
profit from his farm, and Harry had recourse to
a country solicitor, w'ho was well known to his
family, to assist him with a temporary loan.
Mr. Roll was a great friend of Harold's,
Harry's youngest brother, and highly spoken of
by him, as a true Christian in practice and prin-
ciple, as well as most honest in his profession.
He was a man of forty, stout and good-looking,
and apparently of a most kind and good-hearted
disposition, with very plausible manners, yet,
within, he was a true worshipper of Mammon.
Mr. Roll entered with great warmth into
Harry's ill-treatment by his cousin, and the in-
170 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
famous trick which had been played him by
Smirke. " Oh," he said, " I have often heard
of that firm, it is one of the worst in London.
Sharpers — regular swindlers, Mr. Howard, that
is just what they are, no better, I assure you,
and they will as certainly ruin your cousin, as he
has attempted to ruin you."
" But what do you think of my security on
" Oh, that appears all right enough — properly
signed and attested. But no one can tell its
value without seeing the first mortgage, which
those villains hold, and will never give up."
" Well, but it is of sufficient security for the
loan I require of you."
" Why no, my dear sir, it is not a tangible or
available security ; we can raise no money on
such a document as that."
" But what do you require, then ?"
" Why," he said, " a friend of mine will lend
me the money, but he is rather particular in
these transactions, and you must give me a little
memorandum of your stock and furniture, which
of course, between us as friends, will never be
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 171
Harry being driven into a corner by the pres-
sure of the interest then due, and threats of
foreclosure on his property, had no other alter-
native but to subnait to Mr. Roll's terms, and
was obliged, of two evils, to choose the least.
Mr. Roll now became very intimate, and
often dined at Beechwood with Harry and his
wife, remarking their extraordinary attachment
and fondness for each other, and holding them
both up as patterns of conjugal affection. But
Harry from this time became an altered man.
Anxiety for the future preyed hourly upon his
mind, and the base ingratitude of his cousin
was a never-failing source of sorrow for his mis-
placed kindness, in trying to save him at so
fearful a sacrifice. For a time he endeavoured
to conceal from his dear and devoted wife the
cause of his dejection, but it could now be de-
layed no longer ; and with deep contrition for his
folly, he explained to her how he was situated.
" My dearest Harry," she exclaimed, " how
could you ever trust to such a heartless man ? —
you often warned me as a girl against his cha-
racter, and now you are become his dupe.'*
" Yes, my dear Mary, it is quite true ; but
172 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
you know, we thought him a hardly-used man,
and seeing him in so pitiable a condition, my
compassion was strongly excited."
" Oh, Harry, Harry, your too kind heart will
be your ruin — no one feels as you do — but come,
cheer up, my own dear husband — we must have
our evil as well as our good days, and your own
Mary will now be Harry's comforter."
" I fear, my dear child, you will need more
support than Harry, for no one knows how all
these things may end."
" Never mind, as long as you are spared to me,
1 care for nothing else, except our dear children."
At this time Mr. Smirke astonished Harry
with another unexpected demand ; actually
charging him for conferences, letters, and the
sundry little items in a lawyer's bill of costs,
(which none but a lawyer can decipher,) all in-
curred on his cousin's account. Harry remon-
strated in vain against this outrageous imposition.
All these expenses, if payable by any one, be-
longed to his cousin, on whose sole account they
had been incurred. Mr. Smirke argued differ-
ently. His client was in Paris at the time, and
Mr. Henry Howard in London, attending at his
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 173
office, therefore he was legally liable for the
charges. Harry consulted Mr. Roll in this di-
lemma, and producing Mr. Smirke's bill and
letter, Mr. Roll opened his eyes in amazement.
" Well," said he, " I have been in practice
now nearly twenty years, hundreds of bills of
costs have passed through my hands, but any-
thing to equal, or approach Mr. Smirke's charges,
I have never witnessed before. It is really a
curiosity in its way, although a most monstrous
" Well," said Harry, " what can be done with
" Have it taxed, by all means ; but then you
must be prepared to pay down at once the sum
which maybe deemed by the Master to be due."
"That I am not able to do just now, so I
must wait a little ; but it is infamous, that a
man is to be robbed, in this brazen manner, of
money, which he, in common justice, never owed."
"Well, my dear sir," said Mr. Roll, " in this
case it is certainly legal robbery — but I fear you
have no remedy. The charges may be cut down
to less than half, or even a third, but that you
will be obliged to pay."
174 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
We will now turn our attention to Robert
Howard, who was realizing, although imper-
ceptibly, the fable of " The Horse and the Stag."
To rid hinaself of Harry's importunities and
other stags, he had made use of Mr. Smirke,
and allowed him to put the bit in his mouth
and the saddle on his back. Robert thought
himself now a great man, with so powerful an
assistant. Mr. Smirke was everything, supply-
ing him with money, and taking every trouble
off his hands. The lawyer used his power at
first with the greatest caution and forbearance ;
the rein hung loosely as yet on Robert's neck,
who was allowed full liberty to go and do just
as he pleased. Smirke waited his time, which
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 175
he knew full well must soon arrive with a man
so vain, frivolous, and inconsiderate as Robert
Howard. He first persuaded him to let his
house in the country.
'' Really, my dear sir," said he, one day,
" you are w^asting the best years of your life in
that dull place. A man with your pretensions,
still so handsome, and in the prime of life, ought
to mix more in the world. I know more than
one or two rich widows in London, either one of
whom, with a httle attention and your good
looks, might be had almost for the asking. The
best thing you can do, and the only one in my
opinion, is, to let your house for six or twelve
months, and come to town."
Smirke harped upon this tune so continually,
that he at last gained his point, and found a
tenant without delay. This added more grist
to the mill; and Smirke had from this day
the game in his own hands. He had now un-
controlled dominion over Robert's whole pro-
perty. The rein began to be felt, the saddle
galled ; but the lawyer kept firmly and quietly
in his seat. Robert was advised to marry a
little, vulgar, fat, squab of a woman, a tallow-
176 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
chandler's widow, introduced by Smirke, but at
the first interview he was thoroughly disgusted.
" Marry her, Smirke," said he ; *' the thing
is impossible ! she stinks of tallow candles enough
to poison one."
" Well, my dear sir, as you please ; but
twenty thousand pounds to you just now are of
vital importance. Your carriage wheels are
clogged, and want greasing; and tallow will
make them ran smooth again."
'' Well," said Robert, " I must try my hand
first with some in my own sphere of life ; and I
know one lady, now in Paris, who has been left
very rich, and, moreover, she is an old flirt of
" Oh, by all means," added Smirke ; " when
will you go ? — The sooner the better — go to-
" Well, I may, or the next day, but I must
have money, Smirke."
" Oh, certainly ; take what you want," hand-
ing him some bank notes. Robert took a heavy
pull at the paper currency, and giving an ac
knowledgment for the amount, marched off in
high glee. " That fellow Smirke is a rare spe.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 177
cimen of a lawyer," thought Bob, as he made
preparations for his trip to Paris.
Mrs. Fraser, the gay and rich widow, was no
other than John Power's first love, Miss Lennox,
who had in her youthful days been so much
taken by Robert Howard's handsome person
and flattering attentions, as to beheve him as
much in love with herself as she had been at
that time with him. Some few years after-
wards, she met with Mr. Fraser, a gentleman of
good fortune, whom she married, and by the
sudden death of her only brother, she succeeded
to all his property also.
Robert was httle changed in features or form ;
his hair had lost none of its raven hue, and
when surveying himself in the glass and ad-
justing his locks in the most becoming style, he
flattered himself with an easy conquest over the
widow, whom he found at home on his first call.
Robert, on entering the room where Mrs.
Fraser was sitting, stood at first irresolute as to
proceeding further, doubting her identity ; but
as she rose to meet him with extended hand, he
was almost overpowered with disgust. Instead
of the sylph-like form of the Miss Lennox he
VOL. III. N
178 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
had once so much admired, a tall, stout person,
of amazonian proportions, bearing no resem-
blance in figure or features to the fair girl he
used to dance with so often, approached as if to
crush him with her weight.
But the widow, observing Robert's hesitation,
guessed at once the cause, and with perfect
good-humour said, *' Ah, Mr. Howard, you do
not, in Mrs. Fraser, recognise your old friend
" Why, really," he said, " you are so much
improved, that I should scarcely have known
" Say altered, Robert ; but I see you have
not forgotten your old habit of flattery. I am
altered, indeed, but you are just the same as
when last I danced with you in the Bath Rooms,
fifteen years ago."
" Ah, now you are turning the tables upon
me," replied Robert.
" No, I really mean what I say ; but come,
sit down, and tell me what brings you to Paris."
" Why," he said, " I am now a single man
once more, and come, as others do, to see a
little of hfe in Paris ."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 179
" Well, I am glad to see you again ; and
when you have nothing better to employ your
time, you will find me always at home until two
o'clock, after which I go out/'
Another visitor being now announced, Robert
took his leave, highly gratified with his first re-
ception. After the first week, Robert found
time hang rather heavily on hand, having few
acquaintances in the gay city of Paris ; but Mrs.
Fraser always welcomed him most cordially, and
had once invited him to dine with a few friends,
where Robert made himself so agreeable as to
obtain other invitations. Three weeks passed
quickly away, and Robert thought he had made
so favourable an impression on the gay widow,
coupled with her love of earlier days, that he
might make sure of carrying off the prize ; and
he therefore resolved, the first opportunity, to
propose in due form. A letter from Smirke,
requiring his immediate return to London on
pressing business, decided him to call next
morning at an early hour, and plead his cause.
Robert found her at home and alone, and
having stated his intention of leaving Paris the
next day, added —
180 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" I can scarcely tear myself away ; old recol-
lections crowd on my memory, and the thought
of leaving you distresses me more than I can
express. Oh ! how I wish we had never met
again — or had never parted !"
" Come, come, Robert, this is all nonsense ;
you know you never loved me.''
" Oh, my dearest Emily, do not say so ! you
never did, or never can, know my affection for
" Then, Master Robert, why did you not pro-
pose to me ? I may tell you now, that I really did
love you then, but the day-dreams of youth have
passed away. You would not marry the por-
tionless Miss Lennox, but the rich Mrs. Fraser,
perhaps, might now suit you. It will not do, Ro-
bert ; I tell you candidly, I know you too well
ever to entrust my happiness to your keeping ;
but," she said, " I will go a point beyond this —
I am engaged to marry my cousin, whom you
have met here several times."
Robert was stunned, and as soon as possible
made his escape, cursing all womankind. He
was now paid off in his own coin. Mrs. Fraser,
in revenge for his former heartlessness towai'ds
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 181
her when a young, tender-hearted girl (guessing
his intentions), led him on, step by step, until
he flattered himself he was quite sure of her
hand, and then turned him over with the con-
tempt he so richly merited.
He returned to London, crest-fallen and dis-
pirited, from his bad luck in this wild-goose
chase, which had cost him a deal of money ; and
scarcely knowing how to explain his failure to
Smirke, to whom he had written only a few
days previously in high glee, making sure of the
prize. That worthy was as much disappointed
as his client, having calculated already on a cer-
tain harvest out of the rich widow, should she
become Mrs. Howard.
Mr. Robert had, however, made a much
greater hash of this affair than he dare confess
to Smirke ; for before leaving London, he had
not only proposed, but had actually been ac-
cepted by another widow, not so rich as Mrs.
Fraser, but sufficiently so to make him comfort-
able. This lady, marvellous to relate, was no
other than a sister of his former flame, JuHa
Barnard, who had fallen desperately in love with
Robert, although aware of his engagement to
182 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
her sister ; and on his marrying Miss Burt, she
accepted a Mr. Templeton, a contemporary and
friend of Lord Barnard's.
On her husband's death, Mrs. Templeton
took a house within a short distance of London,
to be near her family ; and Robert Howard
seized an early opportunity of renewing his ac-
quaintance with her, which he thought might
be turned to some account : neither, in her case,
had he been deceived.
Mrs. Templeton was a woman of strong and
passionate feelings, and her love for Robert
Howard still lingered in her heart. His appear-
ance, so Httle altered, rekindled the old flame,
and he was, after a few visits, an accepted suitor.
Robert was in ecstacies, as a matter of course,
declaring he had preferred her to Julia, but that
his father had insisted on his marrying Miss Burt
on account of her money, or he would have been
disinherited. Robert made frequent calls at her
suburban residence, often spending whole days
with her, and by degrees cautiously wormed out
the amount of her income, which was much less
than he was led to expect, but still sufficient,
with his own and economy combined, to have
THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD. 183
made any reasonable man comfortable and
It was at this time that he was told of Mrs.
Fraser being in Paris, with at least four thou-
sand a-year at her own disposal ; and without
giving Mrs. Templeton any intimation of his
intended absence from London, he left her quite
in the dark as to his movements, and wondering
what had become of her future husband. Ro-
bert resolved, in the craftiness of his heart, to
run over to Paris, and if as well received by Mrs.
Eraser as he had been by Mrs. Templeton, to
throw over the latter and stick to the former.
His first interview decided him how to act — it
even surpassed his expectations ; and every suc-
ceeding one confirmed him more and more with
the impression that he was, as formerly, quite
The net had been so artfully laid, that our
hero was completely entrapped by the fair wi-
dow, and thus between two stools came at last
floundering on the ground. A month having
elapsed since his last meeting with Mrs. Tem-
pleton, Robert deemed it impossible to aff^ord
any explanation of his long absence and total
184 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
silence, and left her therefore to her own sur-
Having heard of a young and rich heiress in
North Wales, he thought it advisable to leave
London for a time, and being disgusted with
widows, try his arts with this young and unso-
phisticated girl of sixteen. Having learnt all par-
ticulars from a friend, he set out at once on his
hopeful mission ; and it will be admitted, he dis-
played not more effrontery than tact in gaining
admission into a family of whom he knew no
more than of Adam, except by name.
Mr. D» Lewillyn was a gentleman of old Welsh
extraction, residing constantly at his seat near
A , wholly engrossed with agricultural and
sporting pursuits. He had only one child, a
beautiful girl scarcely sixteen, who, being heiress
to all his property, had been educated entirely at
home under a governess. Mrs. Lewillyn doated
on her daughter, who was everything a mother
could desire, — beautiful, kind-hearted, and affec-
About four o'clock on a fine September after-
noon, a gig drove up to the Lewillyn Arms, a
small, but neat hostelry, within half a mile of
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 185
the Lodge gates, leading to the Priory, from
which descended Robert Howard, in tourist cos-
tume, followed by a huge carpet bag. " Ah,
mine host," said Bob, addressing the landlord,
" can you give me a shake-down to-night, with
a Welsh rabbit for supper ?"
" Yes, sir," replied Boniface, " we will do our
best to make you comfortable, any ways."
"Thank 'ee, my hearty, just show me to a
bed-room, first, to wash my hands, as I shall
walk to the Priory before dinner. Is Mr. Le-
willyn at home ?"
" He's not far away, as I heard the double
barrels agoing not half-an-hour agon, over the
"That's all right," thought Robert; and
having set himself to rights before the glass,
he started on his expedition, and walked boldly
up to the haU door of the Priory.
" Is Mr. Lewillyn at home ?" he asked of the
" No, sir ; master is out shooting."
" Very unlucky," said Robert, although he
thought otherwise ; " but will you give my card
to the lady, and say, that being an old college
186 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
acquaintance of Mr. Lewillyn's, I could not pass
his house without giving him a call."
" I will deliver your message to Mrs. Lewil-
lyn, sir," said the servant, " and perhaps she
will like to see you, if you will wait a moment
in the hall."
Robert, it must be confessed, felt a little ner-
vous at first ; but it was only for a second or two,
until the footman returned with an invitation
from his mistress, to present himself in the
With a negligee air he followed the servant,
making his entree in the most approved fashion,
and introduced himself to the ladies, both Mrs.
Lewillyn and Bertha being in the room. Ro-
bert's manners and appearance conveyed the
impression at first sight that he was a gentle-
man, and he was received by Mrs. Lewillyn with
great politeness, who regretting her husband's
absence, said, as he was expected almost imme-
diately, she hoped he would await his return.
In a very short time Robert was quite at home
with mother and daughter, chatting on different
subjects, admiring the beauty of the scenery,
&c. ; in fact, no man could surpass him in his
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 187
winning ways with women, particularly on a first
introduction, and Robert soon discovered that
he had made a favourable impression,
It was nearly an hour before Mr. Lewillyn
returned, and Robert was interrupted in an ani-
mated description of Life in Paris, by that gen-
tleman standing before him. Robert sprang to
his feet, and advanced quickly, with outstretched
hand, to meet him, when, as suddenly starting
back, with the most theatrical air of astonish-
ment, he exclaimed, " I really beg a thousand
pardons, sir, for the mistake I have made ; but
you are certainly not the Mr. Lewillyn I remem-
ber at Oxford."
*' I am not aware," said Mr. Lewillyn, cooUy,
" that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting
you before ; but your mistake is easily accounted
for, as there are several gentlemen of my name
*' I can only regret," replied Robert, relapsing
into his gentlemanly mood and manner, observ-
ing theatricals did not suit, *' that I should have
committed such an egregious blunder, which is
perfectly absurd in an old foxhunter ; but with
every apology I can offer to Mrs. Lewillyn and
188 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
yourself, for my unpardonable intrusion, I will
at once return to the inn and pursue my journey."
" That I cannot allow you to do, Mr. How-
ard ; I am a sportsman myself, and your name,
at least, is familiar to me. It is now getting
late, and I hope you will give us the pleasure of
your company this evening and dine and sleep
here." Robert still stood apparently irresolute,
and demurring to Mr. Lewillyn's invitation, for
which he was expressing a deep sense of his
obligation, when Mr. Lewillyn, feeling for our
hero's well-assumed embarrassment, settled that
point by saying, " Really, Mr. Howard, our
Welch ideas of hospitality would be outraged,
by my allowing a gentleman and sportsman, like
yourself, to put up at a little public house, and
I hope you will permit me at once (ringing the
bell) to send for your carpet bag."
Robert was profuse in his acknowledgments ;
the servant entered, received his master's orders,
and within half-an-hour, Robert was installed in
one of the best bed-rooms the Priory contained,
preparing his toilet with more than usual care
and attention. The impression made on the
ladies by his first appearance, was more than
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 189
confirmed when he entered the drawing-room
the second time in his evening dress, and Mr.
Lewillyn thought he had never seen a more gen-
tlemanly person. Robert was quite at home,
conversing freely on general subjects — politics,
sporting and agricultural statistics with his host
—fashion London and Paris news, poetry,
ladies, literature, novels, of which he was a greedy
devourer, with Mrs. Lewillyn. After dinner,
when the ladies had retired, the gentlemen had
a long discussion on shooting and double-bar-
relled guns, which ended in an invitation from
Mr. Lewillyn to his guest to stay over the next
day and try his hand with the birds. Robert
being a capital shot, knocked the partridges down
right and left, in a style never before witnessed
by Mr. Lewillyn or his keeper, which elicited the
admiration of both master and man. He was
now pressed to prolong his stay for a few days
longer, and having gained golden opinions with
Mrs. Lewillyn also, her entreaties were added,
which, of course, he could not refuse.
Thus pleasantly passed a fortnight at the
Priory ; the mornings being occupied with field
sports, and the evenings devoted to the ladies.
190 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
Robert's bold stroke for a wife had been so far
successful by his having made a decided im-
pression on the beautiful Bertha, whose young
heart had been taken captive by the handsome
person and fascinating manners of her pretended
admirer. Bertha being an early riser, Robert
generally joined her in her walks before break-
fast, and thus an opportunity was afforded of
insinuating himself into her good graces, by
pouring into her ear those pleasant love potions,
which are generally so acceptable to the daughters
Robert's experience of womankind enabled
him to perceive that the poison had taken effect,
and a declaration of his passion soon followed,
which was received with that confusion of blushes
and looks, confessing more truly than language,
the feelings " of the heart. Secure of the young
lady, Robert then addressed the father, acknow-
ledging the deep impression his beautiful daugh-
ter had made upon him, even at their first inter-
view, which by a further acquaintance had been
so completely confirmed, as to induce him to
propose for her hand.
Mr. Lewillyn, although rather startled at so
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 191
unexpected an overture from his guest, thought,
from Robert's representation of his large fortune
and fine place, a sketch of which had been pro-
duced from the carpet bag, that the connection
might be an advantageous one for his daughter ;
but having some misgivings, from Robert's oc-
casional lofty flights of imagination, he resolved
to ascertain from a friend who resided in the
same neighbourhood, the true state of his guest's
finances, before entrusting him with the care of
his only and beloved child. Before committing
himself further, therefore, he said the proposition
was so totally unlooked for, that he must take a
few days to consider of it, and immediately
wrote to his friend. An answ^er was received
by return of post, informing Mr. Lewillyn, that
Mr. Howard, the owner of the Grange, was a
divorced man, his place at that time let, and
his whole property in the hands of lawyers !
The consternation occasioned by this eclair-
cissement, to all the inmates of the Priory, may
be easily conceived. Mr. Lewillyn stormed, his
wife cried for vexation, poor Bertha fainted ;
and Mr. Robert, having listened to the indig-
nant reproaches of his host, which he in vain
192 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
attempted to gainsay, was ordered to quit the
house immediately. Our hero made a precipi-
tate retreat from the Principality, and returned
to his quarters in the mighty Babylon, where,
nothing abashed, he still continued the same
game of fortune-hunting, with various adven-
tures, which to relate at full, would occupy at
least two volumes. The most desperate of all,
was his attempt to run away with a ward in
chancery, whom he had persuaded to elope with
him; but his letter being intercepted by her
uncle, Robert narrowly escaped a good horse-
THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD. 193
Mr. Smirke, at the end of two years, ex-
pressed his inability to supply his client with
any further advances, and distinctly told him his
property must be sold. Robert chafed and
stormed at this announcement ; but the lawyer
had him now fairly in hand, stuck in the spurs,
and laid on the switch, and notwithstanding all
his rearing and plunging, forced him on the
track he intended he should go. Smirke having
convinced his client of the power he possessed
over him, was aware, however, without Robert's
consent, the property would not reaHze anything
like the amount he anticipated (forced sales
being always looked upon with suspicion), he
accordingly cajoled Robert into compliance with
VOL. III. o
194 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
his wishes, by promising to secure him a consi-
derable sum of money beyond his liabilities ;
" and then, my dear sir," said the artful lawyer,
" you will be quite at liberty, free from all an-
noyances, to prosecute your plans at your leisure."
The bait took — the property was sold to very
great advantage ; but beyond a few hundred
pounds paid down on the sale, as a bribe for his
acquiescence, the proprietor derived no substan-
tial benefit from it. At the end of twelve
months more, Robert found himself without an
acre of land, or a shilling to depend upon ! His
friend Smirke, whom he had employed to rid
him of all other adversaries, having, vampire-
like, sucked the last drop of blood from his
veins, quitted the drained carcase to prey upon
some other simple victim. Such was the fate
of Robert Howard ; a just reward for his perfidy
to his cousin.
We must now return to Harry, upon whom
troubles began to multiply, and against whom the
vultures of the human race began to whet their
beaks, watching with eager eyes the expiring
struggles of their prey. In trying to save his cousin
from drowning, he was actuated by that generous
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 195
impulse, which prompts noble minds to save their
fellow-men from perishing, even at the risk of
their own lives. By the cool and calculating this
is called rashness and folly. It may be so in the
eyes of the worldly-minded and selfish, even the
Levite passes by on the other side, but the true
Samaritan thinks only how he may assist those
in distress, even at the expense of his own time
and money. He thinks not of, knows not, per-
haps, the worthiness or unworthiness of the ob-
ject of commiseration before him ; it is enough
that a fellow-mortal Ues wounded or stricken in
his path — save he must, and will. Such is
brotherly. Christian love. We are not enjoined
to love our friends, or the good and virtuous
only, but our enemies also. This is the divine
precept. " But love ye your enemies, and do
good and lend, hoping for nothing again, and
your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the
children of the Highest, for he is kind to the
unthankful and the evil."
We must not be surprised at meeting with
objects undeserving our compassion, and some
who may return our kindness with ingratitude ;
and it must be confessed that Harry Howard
196 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
felt bitterly the baseness of his cousin, which
had involved him in such overwhelming diffi-
culties. Alone he would have braved the storm
unflinchingly and unmoved ; but when those
dearer to him than his own life were to be the
innocent sufferers and partakers of his misfor-
tunes, the heart of the strong man waxed faint,
the stubborn mind bent low. With his charac-
teristic energy and perseverance, Harry had suc-
ceeded in bringing his property into the highest
state of cultivation. His farm produced the largest
crops ; he had the finest flock of sheep, the best
breed of cattle ; and in everything, even to the
poultry in^the farm-yard, the master-mind of the
proprietor was visible. Nothing short of perfec-
tion, or the nearest approach to it, would satisfy
Harry Howard ; and yet all had been achieved
without any extraordinary outlay ; to his own
skill and judgment every improvement was alone
attributable ; and Harry felt proud, perhaps justly
so, of the creatures he had moulded to his will.
As a sculptor, day by day he had worked at the
rude original mass of animal matter, until the
form was fashioned and perfected.
The labour of years was now to be thrown
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 197
away ; the stock sold, and the land let, to satisfy
the cormorants of the law. There is no class of
men more hardly used, or subjected to greater
impositions and exactions, with less power of
increasing his means, than the small landed pro-
prietor. Merchants and tradesmen can obtain
credit or money almost to any amount to push
their fortunes in the world ; but the country
gentleman of five hundred or a thousand acres,
wishing to improve his property, is powerless to
move without the intervention of those harpies
who rob and pkmder him at every step ; should
he be obliged to take into his own hands the ma-
nagement of an ill-used farm, or require one for
occupation and emolument. He must borrow
on mortgage at a high rate of interest. Sup-
pose him requiring a thousand pouunds, the in-
tricate machinery of the law, with all its quirks,
quibbles, and devices, must be first set in mo-
tion. Title-deeds ransacked, counsel's opinion,
journeys to London, conferences, consultations
objections, suggestions, and finally an agreement
to advance the required amount, on condition of
a valuation being made by their own surveyor ;
a man who, perhaps, may be able to distinguish
198 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
wheat from barley, which is about the extent of
knowledge in agricultitral matters attained by
a London practitioner of this class. This gen-
tleman must, of course, receive his fee also — say
twenty guineas for taking a second class ticket,
and going down overnight to the village public-
house or nearest inn, where he picks up from
the first farmer he meets with, all the informa-
tion he requires, at the expense of a glass of
brandy- and- water ; what the land lets for in the
neighbourhood, and the amount of tithes, rates,
&c. These are carefully registered in his me-
morandum-book ; and having on the following
morning walked or ridden over the property
(with the pompous and important air of men of
his calling), he returns to London the same
night, and furnishes his report.
All these preliminaries having been arranged
to the satisfaction of the red-tape gentlemen,
and the required time occupied by these wor-
thies to spin out their bills of costs to the utmost
hmit, the country gentleman is summoned to
town for his signature to a document which he
puzzles his head in vain to comprehend. He is
assured by his own man of business, however,
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 199
that it is all right and regular, and invited to
peruse it at his leisure, although both the ex-
pounders of the law are aware he might as well
endeavour to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics,
as to understand the language of the deed be-
Having written his name in various places,
opposite little red seals, the parchment is care-
fully folded up, and deposited in the lawyer's
box. The little accounts are then produced on
both sides, at which he stares in astonishment ;
but they are only the usual charges ; of course
remonstrance is unavaiUng — they must be dis-
charged before the money is paid, and the
country gentleman receives the balance, being
about a third less than the original sum required.
There is a trifling alteration made in the agree-
ment, that the interest may be called for quar-
terly instead of half-yearly, but that, of course,
would never he insisted on, yet invariably is, on
the first opportunity. Such are the trammels
with which a country gentleman is surrounded,
precluding the possibility almost of improving
the condition of himself or his property.
The same difficulties and drawbacks have to
200 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
be encountered when endeavouring to establish
his children in any profession; so that three
parts in four of the whole landed estates in the
united kingdom are really, if not ostensibly,
under the control of lawyers, who, taken as a
body apart from their own peculiar avocations,
are decidedly the most ignorant and narrow-
minded class of men in her Majesty's dominions.
They know little or nothing beyond the routine
of their own offices, and how should they do
otherwise ? Hundreds of them are taken from
the lower grades of society, nailed to the desk
from boyhood, poring, perhaps, occasionally over
some musty law books ; but their chief occupa-
tion lies in writing and copying from morning
till night. Such is the education of men in-
trusted with the management of the broad acres
of old England. Can it be wondered at that they
are so often changing masters ?
Harry Howard had now to deal with two of
the worst class of these professionals. Mr. Roll
became impatient to clutch his prey — he wanted
his money — the hundred pounds modestly sug-
gested as a reward for his trouble in lieu of a
bill of costs (which, if taxed, would not have
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 201
exceeded ten, so little had he done for Harry),
was too tempting a prize to hazard the loss of :
such a piece of luck had never before fallen in
his way but once, when being summoned by a
dying widow to draw up her last will and testa-
ment, bequeathing, as she intended, all her effects
to her only relative, a niece then living in India,
he very adroitly substituted his own name for
hers, and quietly pocketed the cash. This was a
master- piece of ingenuity ; and then to think of
the poor old woman trusting him so implicitly,
as a dear, kind-hearted, true christian. This
tickled his fancy so much, that he chuckled with
delight. " Dear, simple old soul ! but there,
her niece did not want the money, and I did
just then, uncommonly." The Prince of Evil is
never so dangerous as when quoting Holy Writ,
or dressed in the disguise of a Christian. Mr.
Roll professed to be a saint, one of the strictest
order of the pharisees, who make wide their
phylacteries, and for a pretence make long prayers,
bearing outwardly the sacred banner of the Cross,
but secretly leagued with the Prince of Darkness.
Mr. Roll now thought the time had arrived
for throwing off his disguise with Harry How-
202 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
ard. His client, of course, insisted on calling in
his loan, and he therefore was obliged to take
steps accordingly (such was his excuse) ; and to
prevent others interfering, he must put a man
in possession of the furniture and stock. Harry
was indignant at such a proposition.
" There is the farming stock, Mr. Roll, which
is ample to pay the advance ; you may sell that
to-morrow if you like, although you are aware
the money was borrowed for a definite period,
which will not expire for six months longer, and
the interest is paid."
" Quite true, my dear friend," replied Mr.
Roll ; " only, as is usual in such cases, a little
clause was inserted to provide against accidents,
which my client insisted on ; and as he has
been informed you are hkely to be pressed by
others, you see, my dear friend, he is naturally
anxious about his money, and has given me
peremptory orders to protect him by every
means ; but I will take care you are neither
annoyed or inconvenienced by the person I shall
employ. He is an old servant of my own, quiet
and respectable, and you can engage him in any
way you think proper."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 203
Mr. Roll, of course, gained his point, which
Harry felt constrained to concede, in dread of
worse consequences ; but the lawyer had now
got the wedge into the wood, which he resolved
to drive home and shatter the tree into splinters.
The respectable man domiciled at Beech-
w^ood, turned out to be one of the greatest black-
guards that could be found, drunken and inso-
lent; and the disturbance he created amongst
the servants became so intolerable, that after
repeated applications to his master to w^ithdraw
him, Harry was obliged one night to interfere.
This scoundrel, knowing his master's power,
abused Harry to his face, using the most inso-
lent and foul language before the servants, and
putting himself in a fighting posture, dared
Harry to touch him. This was more than he
could stand ; so seizing him by the collar, he
dragged him along the passage and pushed him
outside the door, and in the heat of the moment
said something about his master being as low-
born and great a blackguard as himself, or he
never would have subjected his family to such
Burning with hatred and revenge, this minion
204 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
immediately informed his master of the treat-
ment he had received ; and being still half drunk
when admitted, his voice rose so high, that he
was overheard by Mrs. Roll in the next room, a
person who happened to be just the reverse of
her husband. Although never interfering in his
business, she was quite aware of the worthless
character he had placed in Harry's house, and
felt much for his wife and family, and as soon
as the man had left her husband's room, Mrs.
Roll entered it.
'' What," she said, " could that drunken fellow
want with you at this time of night ? — He has
disturbed the children out of their sleep by his
" Why, my dear, he has just been kicked
out of the house by Mr. Harry Howard,
and of course came to tell me of such treat-
" And how could he expect any other, Mr.
Roll ? — 'You know him to be one of the most
drunken, profligate men in the whole town ; and
how you could put such a person in a gentle-
man's house, where there is a wife and young
children, I cannot conceive."
THE SQUIRE OE BEECHWOOD. 205
" That's my business, Mrs. Roll, not yours ;
you had better attend to your own affairs."
'' And so I shall, Mr. Roll ; but after the
letter addressed to me last week by Mrs. How-
ard, complaining of this man disturbing her and
her children at night by his brawling, I am sur-
prised you should have subjected her a moment
longer to such annoyances, when, of course, there
are many other men to be met with, both civil and
well-conducted, who would answer the purpose."
" That's your opinion, is it, Mrs. Roll ?"
*' Yes, sir," replied his wife ; " and the opi-
nion, I should think, of every right-minded per-
son, either man or woman ;" saying which, she
w^alked out of the room,, leaving Mr. Roll in a
state of great excitement.
When the door closed, the lawyer threw him-
self into his arm-chair with his hands before his
face, muttering, " Low-born blackguard, am I ?
Well, perhaps I am ; but I'll make that fellow
Howard lower still ; I'll make him cower before
me — tear him from his darling wife — cast him
into prison — break his heart-strings if I can, and
level him with the dust."
Mr. Roll having formed this truly Christian
206 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
resolution, became more composed, and then
began deliberating how best to accomplish his
fiend-like purpose. The plans of this nefarious
villain had hitherto been carried on precisely in
accordance with his own secret intentions. As
long as he remained on friendly terms with
Harry Howard, he saw it would be impossible
to rob and nearly murder him as he proposed,
and therefore placed in his house one of the
worst characters he could select, well knowing
Harry would not long endure the insolence
of such a person, and that an open rupture
must be the consequence. His victim had
borne all these indignities with stern composure
for some time, until absolutely forced to interfere,
as above related ; but now, greedy of his prey,
the vulture pounced upon him with one fell
swoop; but, coward like, he dreaded Harry's
just resentment if left at liberty. '* No, no," he
argued, " I must secure the wolf before I invade
his den." He therefore wrote to the sheriff's
officer to be at his office at a certain time on
particular business, which will be explained by
the following colloquy. Hardman knocks at
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 207
" Come in !" shouts the lawyer. '^ Ah, my
good friend Hardman, is that you ? — Glad to
see you !" — (Shaking him by the hand.) —
'^ Take a chair."
" Can't stay long, sir," said Hardman ; " busi-
ness on hand, won't w^ait, you know," with a
knowing wink of the eye. " What's yours,
" Stay a moment — let me shut the outer door
first. Now then, Hardman ; mine is rather a
delicate affair, and perhaps a little dangerous."
" Well, sir, who's the man you want ?"
The lawyer, putting his hand on his friend's
shoulder, whispered in his ear —
" Mr. Howard."
" What !" exclaimed Hardman, springing
back. " You don't mean him — no — you're
*^But I'm not," said Roll; "he is the
'' Then you may get somebody else to take
him, for I won't."
" You must do your duty, Hardman."
" Very true ; but there is another officer who
will do as well as me, and he don't know him.
208 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
I can't do it — and besides, my hands is full at
" Well, what's your objection, Hardnaan ?"
" I'd as soon arrest my own brother. There
isn't a gentleman more beloved in the whole
country. I knows him well; an honourable,
upright, kind-hearted man, as ever lived."
" You shall be well paid," said the lawyer.
" Very likely ; but I must know something
more about the business if I am to undertake it."
" Well then, Hardman, this is all — Mr. How-
ard owes a client of mine a large sum of money.
The farm stock has been sold, and there is still
about two hundred pounds short of the amount,
so that I must take the furniture."
" Very well, sir — that's plain enough ; but
there's no occasion to take the man ; the goods
must be worth four times the sum you men-
" I don't know, my good friend — perhaps so ;
but then you see there is my own little bill of
costs to add."
" Plenty for aU, Mr. Roll, I'll be bound."
" Well then, Hardman, it's no use mincing
the matter with you ; I want him out of the
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 209
way for a few days, or he may give a deal of
rouble, and very likely do me some personal
injury. Just for a few days only, that's all."
Still the officer hesitated, and looked serious,
adding — " It's a bad piece of business. I don't
fancy such a job ; there's no necessity for it.''
" There then," said Roll, handing him a five-
pound note, " I'll double that if you will do it."
" But when shall I have the other five, Mr.
*' As soon as he is safe in gaol."
Hardman, knowing the character of the scoun-
drel he was dealing with, insisted on a little me-
morandum to that effect, and the bargain was
210 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
On the following day, about ten o'clock,
Harry was sitting with his wife, in her morning-
room, totally unsuspicious of the devilish machi-
nations of Mr. Roll, when Mr. Hard man, who
had opened the door without knocking, suddenly
stood before them. Harry, thinking his presence
there was only in reference to the furniture, ex-
pressed surprise at his unceremonious intrusion,
by saying, rather indignantly —
"What brings you here, Mr. Hardman, in
this unexpected manner ?"
" Why, sir, I have a very unpleasant duty to
perform, which is best told to your ears alone ;
and, if Mrs. Howard will leave the room, I can
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 211
Harry's poor wife, dreading some fresh mis-
fortune, refused to leave her husband, and Mr.
Hardman was therefore obliged to tell his errand.
"Arrest me, Hardman, at the suit of that
infernal scoundrel 1" exclaimed Harry, in indig-
nant surprise. " I don't owe him a shilling. He
has ample security for the sum his money-lending
friend advanced, on the stock and furniture, which
is worth more than double the amount."
" Yes, sir," replied Hardman, " that may be
the case ; but here, you see, Mr. Roll claims one
hundred and fifty pounds for a judgment given
" That was wormed out of me, conditionally
only, in case, by fire or accident, the furniture or
goods should not realize the sum, together with
that rogue's costs ; but as he has taken posses-
sion of these already, and their value exceeds so
far all he can possibly claim, he has no right to
enforce this judgment until the things are sold,
and a deficiency proved."
" It is a very hard case, sir, no doubt," replied
Hardman ; " but I am obliged to do my duty,
and the money must be paid directly, or 1 must
convey you to prison."
212 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" Very well," said Harry ; " the money I have
not now at command, and if I had I would not
" Well," said Hardman, " I will do anything
in my power to assist you ; you had better send
to some friend, and borrow it."
" Friends are not so ready to lend money to
a man in trouble. Therefore I shall be ready to
go wdth you, w^hen I have packed up a few
The parting between Harry and his poor wife
was heartrending, although he said all he could
to comfort and console her. Hardman also was
deeply affected at the scene, having himself a
wife and children. " Come, come, sir," said
he, " don't give way in this manner ; you will
soon be out again. You are w^ll known where
you are going, and will receive every attention."
Fortunately for Mary, she had a very sin-
cere friend then staying with her, and Harry,
at last tearing himself away, consigned his wife
to her care. Poor Mary, on seeing her husband
carried off, was almost bereft of reason, sobbing
and crying as if her heart w^ould break. Her
friend, Miss Harley, seeing the necessity of rous-
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 213
ing her from this dreadful state of suffering,
promptly proposed going at once to try and get
the money ; and this diverted her from the in-
dulgence of her grief.
" Pray cheer up, my dear friend," said Miss
Harley. " How unfortunate, your mother being
from home just now ; but I will write to her, and
if I cannot procure the loan of this money at
once, a day or two at furthest will restore your
dear husband to you, as you know your mother
has no other thought but for you and him."
On the same day, Roll, to gratify his diaboli-
cal revenge, sent vans to carry off all the furniture
(except certain things which belonged to Harry's
mother, and but for these his poor wife would
have been left without a bed to lie on). But,
strictly speaking, Roll was acting in all these
matters quite illegally himself, of which he was
aware ; but he knew also, that by arresting
Harry Howard at the same time, he was power-
less to resist him.
Hardman having dehvered his charge into the
custody of the gaoler of the county prison, re-
turned immediately to Roll's office, who was
nervously and impatiently awaiting him.
214 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" Well, Hardman," enquired that worthy, pale
and trembling from apprehension ; " what have
you done ?"
" Your warrant is executed, and Mr. Howard
" That's all right, Hardman ; but how did he
bear it? make any resistance ?"
" No," replied Hardman ; " he bore it like a
man; but to see his poor wife hanging and
clinging to him, with her piteous appeals to
me, quite unmanned me, sir, and would have
moved a heart of stone. It's a sad business,
and if anything were to happen to that poor
lady, I would not stand in your shoes, Mr. Roll,
for half the world."
" Ah ! Hardman, revenge is sweet. I vowed
I would humble that proud spirit of Harry
Howard's, and now he lies at my mercy in gaol.
Hah ! hah ! how are the mighty fallen !"
"There is another text, Mr. Roll," replied
Hardman, drily, "which you don't seem to
recollect. ' Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord,
I will repay.' I don't hold with malice, law is
bad enough — but come, out with the money ;
that's what I've called for." Having received
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 215
it, Hardman took his leave, wishing Mr. Roll
good-night and pleasant dreams.
As Roll was returning home that evening (to
his country villa) on foot, he was jostled by a
man on the pathway, who attempted to pass him.
" What do you mean, by pushing against me,
fellow ?" exclaimed Mr. Roll.
" Don't fellow me," replied Tom Daring.
" ril have you up for poaching," said Roll,
" if you give me any of your insolence."
" Sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander,"
said Tom ; " if there were no receivers there
would be no thieves ; and many a hare and
pheasant you have had of me — so none of
your threats. I filch hares and pheasants — but
you rob men and women."
" I'll put you in gaol, you insolent black-
guard !" retorted Roll, in a towering passion.
*' No you won't," said Tom. " You daren't
do it, although you have just put the young
Squire there, you false-hearted, thieving scoun-
drel ! and where had you been now, but for
young Harry's father ? whistling at the plough-
tail, instead of lording it over your betters, as a
gentleman; — a pretty fellow for a gentleman,
216 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
indeed, when your father and mine used to
work as boys together, driving the old miller's
horses. Yours had the luck to get on in the
world ; but it was all owing to the old Squire
of Beechwood, who set un up in bus'ness, and
now here's the upshot on it all ; his son sent to
gaol, and his wife, poor soul! nearly broken-
hearted by your villainous tricks."
" Mind your own business, Tom Daring, or
I'll put you there too."
" No you won't, Billy Roll ; and if you don't
let the young Squire out soon, I'll let something
out about your business, which will make you
look a little whiter than you do now."
" And what may that be, Tom ?"
" Just something I wound out of your drunken
clerk one night, at the Three Bells— hah ! hah !
Mr. Billy ! I'm thinking, if all was known,
that I know, your passage would be paid over
the herring pond. You touch me ! Why, I'd
just thrash you to your heart's content, but for
dirting my fingers, and you dar'n't say a word
agin it. I've got you safe, my beauty, and if
you don't let the Squire out of gaol, I'll put you
there, my fine gentleman."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 217
"Well, hut Tom," replied Roll, completely
crest-fallen, *' he owes me money, and must pay
" He don't owe you money," said Tom. " I
knows all about it ; you took all his goods, and
you had no right to take the man. Let un out,
I say, or you look out for squalls. Master Roll,
that's all, and now go home and to bed, but you
won't go to sleep for all that."
Mr. Roll did not sleep much that night as Tom
had predicted, a guilty conscience needing no
accuser. Hardman's and Daring's remarks
struck terror into his craven heart, and he
dreaded lest his drunken clerk had divulged
his secret. Still he could not but chuckle at
the idea of having so quietly nabbed Harry
Howard, and carried off his goods at the same
time ; — that was a master-piece of policy, which
afforded him infinite delight. " Money and
goods too — hah ! hah !" thought he ; " that's
the way to do business. His wife's mother is
sure to pay him out, and then, as to the goods, I'll
take care my friend Harris, the auctioneer, don't
sell them over-high. Buy in all the best, and
just clear the amount borrowed, with the rest.
218 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
A bribe will stop Tom Daring's mouth, and then
I'm all right again."
Thus argued this base-born, black-hearted
villain of a lawyer; but his deep-rooted, im-
placable malice, was not yet to be so easily
appeased. Calculating on being paid himself
within a few days, he wrote to Mr, Smirke, ap-
prising him of Harry's incarceration, and advising
him to lodge a detainer to prevent his release,
to which he received the following reply : —
" We were informed of the harsh,
if not illegal, proceedings you have adopted
against Mr. Howard, before the receipt of your
letter this morning, and beg to say, that although
professing to be strict men of business, we are
not the sharpers and swindlers you have repre-
sented us to be, and do not use the law as a cloak
for private revenge. So far from sending down
a detainer against Mr. Howard's liberation, we
shall forward to Mrs. Howard a copy of this
communication with which you have favoured
us, and our reply, and remain
" Your obedient Servants,
"RoNALDsoN, Smirke, and Ferret."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 219
Let US now see how it fared with poor Harry
and his disconsolate wife. He had been taken
so completely off his guard by the sudden intro-
duction of Mr. Hardman into their sitting-room,
and so evidently been betrayed by his own servant
(bribed by Mr. Roll), that for a moment he stood
irresolute how to act, his first impulse being to
knock down the sheriff's officer, and make his
escape, when, turning to the window, two other
suspicious-looking men were seen quickly ap-
proaching the hall door.
Hardman, guessing his intentions, said quickly,
— " Escape, sir, is impossible ; there are no less
than half-a-dozen men, sent by Mr. Roll, sur-
rounding the house on all sides, and my own man
is standing close to this door^ so that resistance
is useless, and besides this, Mr. Howard, as a ma-
gistrate, you will not set the laws at defiance,
which you are bound to maintain and submit to."
" Oh pray, dear Harry," said Mary, " for my
sake do not commit any violence, it will only
make things worse."
" Well, my poor dear Mary, I believe you are
right, and on your account I will quietly submit;
but such a law as this, which gives the power
220 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
to any base, malicious scoundrel of an attorney,
to wreak his vengeance on an innocent and un-
offending person, without a trial or hearing by
judge or jury, and to consign him at once to a
prison, that is a law I would be the first to tear
from the statute book, and trample under foot."
As before related, Harry tore himself away
from his almost broken-hearted wife, was con-
veyed in a carriage sent by Mr. Roll, to the
nearest railway station on the line to the county
gaol, and there, seated next to his captor, was
borne rapidly away. The carriage door on his
side being unlocked, the thought occurred to
him of jumping out, as he had then only one
man to contend with ; but the misery to his wife
and children, should any accident befal him,
induced more tranquil ideas, and with his pro-
mise to his wife, prevented this daring project.
On ai-riving at the town, he was escorted by
Hardman to his gloomy destination, and there
consigned to the governor of the gaol, who was
immediately sent for, and apprised of the name
and quality of his prisoner. Harry, being known
to this functionary by name, was received and
treated with great kindness, and assured of
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 221
every attention being paid to his comfort which
the place admitted of; and in the turnkey, he
found an old servant of a near relation, who did
aU in his power to make him comfortable.
There was then, however, little distinction made
between debtors and criminal prisoners. One
common sitting or day-room being assigned to
each department, and a small cell to each pri-
soner, in which, at nine, they were locked up,
without any bell, or means of communication
with the turnkey in case of illness. Harry,
inured to hardships and cold, cared little for
luxuries of any kind, and his thoughts were too
much occupied with his wife and children, to
think about discomforts. The turnkey, feeling
for his evident distress and abstraction of thought,
procured all things necessary for his bed and
toilet, and having set before him a table with
wine, and a few biscuits from his own store,
was leaving him for the night, when Harry en-
quired where the bell was.
" Sorry to say, sir," replied the man, " bells
are not yet in fashion in our house ; but a man
sleeps close at hand in the next cell but one to
yours, who will be sure to hear if you call loudly."
222 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" That is, supposing he is not sound asleep
himself," said Harry, " which is a great consola-
tion to a person seized with sudden illness ; but
I hate to be locked in at night, and there is no
fear that I shall attempt to scale the walls in the
dark, so leave my door open, and I promise not
to turn the handle even, unless seriously ill."
"It's all against the rules, sir; but if you
will give me your word not to attempt any es-
cape, I will comply with your wish. You will
hear me lock your door with the others at half-
past nine, but mind, yours shall be open."
" Thank you, my friend," said Harry, shaking
him by the hand ; " and now, good night, your
kindness shall not be forgotten or unrequited."
We must now take a glance at poor Mary,
who was left to contend with the coarse and
brutal emissaries of that fiend. Roll, and witness
the sweeping away of all those little comforts
and elegancies which tend so much to a woman's
happiness at home. Fortunately, a list had been
prepared of Mrs. Howard's goods and furniture,
which Miss Harley producing, warned these
robbers to leave untouched, or nothing but the
bare walls would have remained, so intent and
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 223
eager was their cupidity for plunder. At last,
having ransacked every room, and pried into every
corner and cupboard, nothing more remained
which they could claim, and these harpies took
their leave, with Roll's drunken clerk at their head.
The moment they had quitted the house, the
doors were locked and barred, and Mary, roused
from her lethargy to a necessity for exertion,
and relieved from the surveillance of those cow-
ardly rogues, began superintending the arrange-
ment of what furniture was left for her and her
children. Alas ! how desolate looked that once
happy home ! Every little memento of love or
friendship swept away ! Books, work — even
her children's httle possessions, all, all, fallen
under the remorseless grasp of that inhuman
monster. Roll !
Even to the most wretched, occupation affords
some relief in the most poignant distress, and
the evening had far advanced before all these
new arrangements were completed, and Miss
Harley returned from her charitable mission —
but her looks, on Mary's rushing eagerly to
meet her, betrayed at once the failure of her
224 THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD.
" My dear friend," she said, " don't be dispi-
rited at my want of success. I wish I had suc-
ceeded, to have spared you and Mr. Howard a
few days of anxiety ; but we shall hear from your
dear mother, whose aifection has never failed
you in time of need."
On the third morning a letter arrived from
Mrs. Selwyn, offering at once to pay the sum
required, and only grieving she could not be
with her dear child in such a time of sorrow.
Miss Harley at once set off, to ascertain from
that villain Roll all the particulars of his de-
mand. The double-faced attorney was most
plausible and obsequious ; lamenting the neces-
sity he had been under, and what pain he felt
in being obliged by his client to act so harshly
towards Mr. Howard.
" I am fully acquainted, sir," replied Miss
Harley, " with all the circumstances, and your
conduct has not only been most unjustifiable to
Mr. Howard, but most cruel and unmanly to-
wards his wife. No excuse can possibly be
made for the rude and brutal behaviour of your
men to Mrs. Howard and her children, (of which
I was a witness,) in her defenceless situation."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 225
" I am indeed shocked to hear this," said the
cowardly Roll ; " but not being present myself,
I can scarcely be responsible for their conduct/'
" Your clerk was, sir. His conduct was
shameful in the extreme — but all I require
now, is to know the amount you choose to
claim, as due from Mr. Howard. That I am
prepared to pay at once, but not with his know-
ledge or consent."
Mr. Roll, seeing he had a lady to deal with,
swelled out the account to the very outside shil-
ling he could charge, determined to grasp all he
As soon as Harry's liberation was effected,
and the joyful communication conveyed to him
by the governor of the prison, the friendly
turnkey advised him to quit that instant without
waiting for the post. " Another detainer may
be lodged against you when that arrives, so
pray be quick, sir."
" Come this moment, then," said Harry, " I'll
leave all my thin gs under your care, and once
free, that scoundrel shall never touch me again."
Harry had no sooner left the prison, than
turning down a bye street, he hurried to a
VOL. III. Q
226 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
Stable keeper's recommended by his friend, and
hiring a light trap and pair of horses, set off
without delay, ordering the man to drive to a
certain place on an old road, then little used by
travellers. His features v^^ere concealed from
observation as they drove through the town ;
but when the last house and turnpike had been
passed, Harry, leaning forward, ordered the man
to drive as fast as his horses could go, which,
with the offer of a large bribe, set them off at
full speed. After having travelled about twenty
miles through bye roads, they arrived at a small
wayside public-house in the next county, where
Harry dismissed the driver, and taking his line
across country, over hedge and ditch, with a
good blackthorn stick in his hand, cut from the
first hedge he crossed, he walked rapidly for-
ward, enjoying the fresh air and hberty once
Darkness had nearly set in before he reached
Beechwood, and no tiger approached his prey
with more stealth and caution than did Harry
on that night the house which contained all dear
to him on earth. With the cunning of a back-
woodsman he stept silently and softly across the
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 22?
park, from tree to tree, to screen his shadow
from view, stopping and listening to the slightest
rustle among the leaves. The deer were feeding
close under one of the windows, which he knew
to be a proof that no man could be watching
there, and a hare darted across the lawn as he
approached. Emerging from his last friendly tree,
he tapped gently at the window ; no answer was
at first returned ; a louder knock was given and
repeated, which his dog hearing, rushed to the
window, and began barking and jumping about
in an ecstacy of delight.
'' It is his master !" exclaimed Mary ; and in
another moment she was folded in Harry's arms.
The rapture of that meeting no words of mine
can describe. The children clung round their
father, crying for joy at his return, and his faith-
ful dog would not be denied a share in his
caresses. It was a scene which none but a law-
yer could have looked upon with indifference.
228 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
Leaving this once more united family to the
full enjoyment and delight of Harry's returnhome,
I would venture a few remarks on that most
barbarous and unchristian law of arrest — a dis-
grace to the statute-book of any civilized nation.
We boast of an Englishman's birthright — Li-
berty — but what is that boast worth, when from
accident or misfortune, he may be seized by a
deep, malicious lawyer, or hard-hearted creditor,
and consigned without trial or investigation to
prison ? The greatest criminal, even a murderer,
experiences more leniency, and, I may add, more
commiseration, than the unhappy debtor. Of
whatever crime a man may be accused, or even
if caught in the very act of committing it, al.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 229
though taken temporarily into custody by the
constable, he cannot be consigned to prison
without a preliminary investigation before a ma-
gistrate ; but the man who has contracted a
debt, although with the most honest purpose of
paying it, but who may, by some sudden reverse
of fortune, or by one in a thousand of those un-
foreseen circumstances which are daily occurring,
be unable at once to meet it, is hurried off at
the suit of his creditor, who sits and acts in the
three characters of prosecutor, judge, and jury.
Can any law, conferring such cruel, unjusti-
fiable power as this, to a malignant, infuriated
adversary, be considered, by any dispassionate
person, in any other light than a remnant of
that bloody code which belonged to a dark and
uncivilised age ? It may be urged that, by the
present Insolvency and Bankrupt Laws, debtors
cannot now be confined at all, by first seeking
protection, or when imprisoned, be detained be-
yond a certain period, without a hearing of their
case. That may be true enough ; but still, I
maintain, that an Englishman's liberty is his
birthright, of which, under no pretence (except
for the commission of some grave offence against
230 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD*
the well-being of society), he should be liable to
be deprived ; much less should a man, who has
committed no crime whatever, be doomed to a
felon's fate, unheard and uncondemned.
What is the common practice now with regard
to criminals, who, after a fair trial, have been
condemned to penal servitude or long imprison-
ment, for serious offences against the commu-
nity ? Every effort is made, and wisely so, to
reform them, and on their good behaviour the
rigour of their sentence is abated ; a trade is
taught them, by which they may obtain a living
when set at liberty, and on their release a suffi-
cient sum of money to prevent their being cast
penniless on the world.
How fares it with the debtor, who has been
arrested and cast into prison, at the instance of
some inhuman creditor, or rapacious lawyer ? A
prisoner he must remain until the debt and costs
are paid ; or he has the option of applying to be
released under the Insolvent Act, in the latter
case (often the only resource left) he must re-
sign all he possesses in the world, property,
goods, &c., save a few excepted articles ; and if
a gentleman, be left dependant on the bounty of
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 231
his friends for his daily hread. On tradesmen
the law does not press with so much severity ;
for there are few instances in which, after passing
through the Court, with a first or second-class
certificate, a fair trader may not immediately on
his release recommence business, and obtain
credit for goods as before. The professional man,
also, can again resume his profession ; but for
the poor gentleman there is scarcely any escape
from poverty and ruin, in which, perhaps, a
helpless wife and family are also involved.
It may be urged, that a gentleman has no
right to incur debts which he cannot pay;
granted — by the same rule, neither has a trades-
man. But I maintain, that in ninety-nine cases
out of the hundred, a real gentleman does not,
and will not, incur liabilities which he has no
certain prospect of liquidating. I will even go
a point beyond this, and assert, that I do believe,
taking the community throughout, gentle and
simple, rich and poor, that the great and ruHng
principle in every man's heart is honestly and
fairly to discharge every just debt he may have
incurred, if time and opportunity are given him.
When once any man is believed, or reported
232 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
to be labouring under temporary difficulties,
down pounce the harpies of the law on his
devoted carcase ! Writs pour in upon him
which he cannot honestly defend ; and in case
of no defence, execution and arrest immediately
follow. Property and goods are sacrificed, and
the poor wretch, after being torn nearly limb
from limb by the legal limbs, is cast forth on the
wide world a beggar ! To the framers and en-
forcers of such a law as this, are not the words
of the Prophet Isaiah most truly applicable ? —
" Woe unto them that decree unrighteous
decrees, and write grievousness which they have
prescribed, to turn away the needy from judg-
ment, and to take away the right from the poor
of my people, that widows may be their prey, and
that they may rob the fatherless."
It may be asked, what remedy, then, would
you suggest for the protection of creditors ? My
proposition is this : — The law of arrest should
be entirely abolished ; and in lieu of this, a
creditor might obtain a writ of summons from
any judge in chambers or judge in County
Court, to cause his debtor to appear before him,
to answer his complaint for non-payment. The
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 233
first hearing should be private, as is now the
case with preliminary investigations before a
magistrate. The judge or magistrate (for such
power might safely be entrusted to a justice of
the peace) should fix a time for the payment.
No law expenses should be allowed, but simply
the cost of the summons, not to exceed a low,
fixed sum. Under suspicious circumstances, an
inventory of the debtor's goods and chattels
might be taken, and a man put in possession,
to prevent their removal from the premises. In
default of payment at the appointed time or
periods, as fixed by the judge or magistrate (in-
stalments being by the present law allowed in
county courts), a valuation should be made by
two appraisers, one appointed on either side, by
debtor and creditor, and after a lapse of time (if
not bought in by the debtor's friends) a sale to
take place, and from the proceeds a fifth part to
be paid to the debtor (in case no charge of a
serious nature can be proved against him), and
the remainder divided amongst the creditors.
I mention a valuation to be first made, to
ascertain the real value of the goods, and pre-
vent that shameful sacrifice of property which
234 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
invariably occurs under the present law. The
creditors might then have the option, at a fair
rate, of purchasing ; but on their declining, all
must equally bear the loss, on a public sale,
debtors and creditors alike.
" Man is born to trouble ;" and there are few,
except the very rich, who are not at some time
liable to embarrassments for want of ready mo-
ney on some unexpected demand. How is it to
be obtained by those in the middle or lower walk
of life, as a temporary assistance in time of
need ? Bankers are shy of such advances, and
friends equally so. The only resource is the
bill discounter or money-lender, unless deeds or
securities are available, and then the solicitor,
with his costs, exceeds even the bill-broker's
A warrant of attorney or judgment is gene-
rally required in the above cases ; and in the
event of the bill not being met at the stipulated
time, execution or arrest immediately follows.
A Jew or usurer, in dread of losing his money,
is like a bear robbed of her cubs. The daily
papers reveal the misery and degradation re-
sulting from these nefarious transactions, and
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 235
the niin entailed on helpless famihes in conse-
- Abolish arrest for debt, and this system of
usurious traffic must at once cease, and give way
to more honest and legitimate practice. There
is honour even among thieves ; and it is quite
notorious that with the blacklegs and bettors on
the turf, bets are duly paid, although not reco-
verable by law ; to be a defaulter in such cases
being considered the greatest disgrace. If cha-
racters of this description are so desirous of
fulfilling their engagements, can it reasonably
be doubted that an honest man would fail to use
every exertion in his power to do the same ?
It is related of Fox, the great Opposition
leader in the House of Commons, that one
morning, whilst looking over some accounts, a
creditor holding his acceptance to a large amount,
called for a settlement. Having been some time
overdue, the man pressed for immediate pay-
ment, threatening legal proceedings.
" You have your remedy, certainly," said Fox,
"and can use the power afforded you by law, if
you think proper, and in that case I shall not
pay you until obliged to do so."
236 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" But, sir/' replied the man, " I see plenty of
money on the table before you."
" Yes," said Fox, " that is to pay my debts
of honour to those who have no other resource
but in my integrity."
" Then here goes my bill," replied the holder
of it, throwing it into the fire. "Now, sir, I
have no legal claim upon you ; mine also is a
debt of honour."
" Then here is your money," said Fox, count-
ing and handing it over to him.
I am well aware that by proposing the aboli-
tion of arrest for debt, I shall bring down upon
me the whole host of lawyers — a formidable
body, forsooth ! numbering about ten thousand,
who reap a pretty good harvest from the service
of writs, and concomitant proceedings contingent
thereon ; but as wolves and other noxious ani-
mals, inimical to mankind, disappear on the
progress of civilization, so would the withdrawal
of these plunderers be hailed with acclamations
of delight by an oppressed people, who have too
long groaned under their iron dominion. The
country is sick of law — it requires justice — even-
handed justice, which ought to be the foundation
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 237
of every law — justice to the debtor as well as to
the creditor. Reform is as much, or more,
needed in the law, than it is in the military
department. But how is it to be obtained?
Hawks will not pick out hawks' eyes ; and the
great vultures who have soared to the top of the
rock, and now sit ennobled in the House of
Peers, snapping their beaks with dignified com-
placency, retain still a lingering sympathy with
the sparrow-hawks who once pandered to their
necessities. But even barristers (on whom no
reflections are intended) are gradually, although
perhaps not perceptibly to themselves, giving
V7ay to the Jesuitical encroachments of solicitors,
whose numbers and powers are daily increasing,
and they will, ere long, be thrust aside, and their
offices usurped by the crafty, pettifogging
It is a common and true saying, that there
are black sheep to be found in every flock ; but
here the whole flock is black, for it is rare to
find a white sheep among them. Some there
are, no doubt, men of good extraction, liberal
education, and honourable opinions ; but as long
as the list of attorneys is filled up by those of
238 THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD.
low birth and contracted ideas, dependent solely
on their wits and craft for a maintenance, so
long will black be the prevailing colour of the
It has been truly said, that law is a luxury in
which none but the rich man should indulge.
In fear of losing his custom, the attorney will
fawn and cringe, and do his bidding, whatever
it may be ; but to a poor man he is a perfect
tyrant, and sacrifices him without compunction,
to suit his own convenience. How often does
the poor man sit for hours in the lawyer's outer
den, waiting patiently and humbly, whilst the
great and rich man is admitted : and then, per-
haps, he is dismissed, after all, without a hear-
ing, and desired to call at ten o'clock the next
morning. What is it to the man of law, that
his humble chent has been brought so many
miles from the country to see him, with scarcely,
perhaps, the means of paying his night's lodging
and extra expenses ? " He cannot help it ; he
must wait, and call again to-morrow." At ten
punctually the poor client makes his appearance
in the great man's oiiices.
" Mr. Sharp at home ?"
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 239
" No, sir," replies the clerk ; " not come yet.
What name shall I say ?"
" Peaceless ; I have an appointment with
Mr. Sharp at ten."
" Very well, sir ; will you take a seat ? we
expect him every minute."
Peaceless waits impatiently, looking at his
watch every ten minutes, until eleven. He then
ventures to ask if Mr. Sharp has arrived ?
** Yes," rephes the clerk ; " but he is parti-
cularly engaged with a gentleman, and cannot
Another hour passes ; Peaceless walks about
the office in evident perturbation of mind, much
to the amusement of the officials, who wink and
laugh with each other. " Poor devil !" thinks
the head clerk ; " case urgent, but must wait."
Peaceless becomes excited, knowing that an exe-
cution will be put in his house that day, unless
a certain sum promised by the attorney is paid.
He cannot control himself any longer, and pas-
sionately exclaims, " I must see Mr. Sharpe im-
mediately ;" writes on a slip of paper, and hand-
ing it to the clerk, begs it may be taken to him
directly, as he cannot wait another moment.
240 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
The clerk returns with the answer, that Mr.
Sharp is deeply engaged on pressing business,
and that Mr. Peaceless had better call at three,
when he wall be sure to see him. Poor Peace-
less quits the office in a state of mind bordering
on distraction, but there is no help for it ; the
cunning lawyer has got hold already of his
poor client's deeds, and knows he has him in his
power. At three, Peaceless again approaches
the hateful office.
" Mr. Sharpe has just stepped out for two
minutes (always two minutes with those gentry,
which often means two hours) — be back di-
rectly, sir ; pray take a seat."
Peaceless throws himself into a chair in hope-
less despair, and covering his face with his hands,
groans audibly. The clerks titter, exchanging
significant glances. At four o'clock Mr. Sharp
is heard running up stairs ; and Peaceless, unable
to stifle his resentment, bursts out to meet him.
" Ah, my good sir !" exclaims Sharp, " how
are you ?"
'* Bad enough, Mr. Sharp, with waiting here
two days; and now you have got me into a
proper scrape, as you know."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 241
" Sorry to hear it, Mr. Peaceless ; pressing
business — could not see you before; but pray
walk into my room and take a chair. Now,
sir, what is this Httle affair of yours ?"
" Little affair, sir ! why, I am a ruined man,
unless that money is paid to Dodge this very day."
*' Ah — indeed ! I had quite forgotten all about
it. But are you quite sure this is the last day ?"
" Here's your own letter to that effect, Mr.
Sharp, and I came up yesterday morning at your
express desire to see it settled."
" Ah, yes — I see — very awkward indeed ! but
stay a moment — I will send my clerk over to
Filcher and Fleecer to stay further proceedings."
The clerk returns, saying that Mr. Filcher
having waited till three o'clock without any inti-
mation from Mr. Sharp, had acted according to
his client's instructions, and sent down an exe-
cution to be levied on Mr. Peaceless's goods and
" Ah !" exclaimed Sharp, " quick men of
business are Filcher and Fleecer."
*' But, sir," interrupted Peaceless, " am I to
be trifled with and robbed in this shameful
manner? You, Mr. Sharp, undertook, on my
VOL. III. R
242 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
handing you over my deeds, to settle this busi-
ness three months ago ; and now, having allowed
an action to be brought against me, am I to be
saddled with all these expenses, and an execu-
tion put into my house into the bargain ? I say,
sir, it is too bad ; you have ruined me by your
carelessness, or, what's worse, done it on pur-
pose, I believe, to get costs."
" Well, my good friend," replied Sharp, " it
is an unfortunate piece of business ; but money
is not to be got in London quite so easily as
blackberries on your hedges in the country. I
could not obtain the loan so readily as I ex-
"Then, sir, you should have told me so at
once ; but instead of that, you promised me you
would advance it yourself"
" Ah, well, perhaps I might ; but I will go
with you at once to Mr. Filcher, and undertake
to pay the amount, and the only inconvenience
to you will be to have the sheriff in possession
for a couple of days."
" Inconvenience, Mr. Sharp ! why, this alone
will be my ruin 1"
Sharp's undertaking to pay debts and costs
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 243
was not deemed quite satisfactory to Mr. Filcher,
who insisted on his draft for the amount, before
he would agree to give up his locus standi on
Peaceless's premises. After much discussion and
fighting between these two artful knaves, the
business was - at last settled, Sharp signing an
agreement to pay all the other expenses incurred
on the writ of fi.fa.
Poor Peaceless returned home dispirited and
broken-hearted, on finding the bailiffs in pos-
session. The news spread like wild-fire; bills
poured in directly, writs and county court sum-
monses following, without further notice, and
Peaceless's worst fears became realized — he was,
indeed, a ruined man. Mr. Sharp was apprized
of all these proceedings, and immediately hastened
down into the country, when, calling poor Peace-
less's creditors together, he represented his affairs
to be in a most deplorable state, and made an
offer of paying them ten shillings in the pound,
which was at once accepted. The costs attend-
ing all these proceedings amounted to a v.ery
large sum, which Peaceless being unable to pay,
he was left entirely at the mercy of this unprin-
244 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
cipled fellow, who had deliberately planned the
ruin of his client, to enrich himself.
Mr. Sharp having arranged all these little
matters entirely to his own satisfaction, returned
by railway to town. A military gentleman and
another lawyer (a friend of Sharp's) were travel-
ling in the same carriage. The lawyer suddenly
exclaimed, on reading a paragraph in the morn-
ing paper —
" Really, this is too barefaced !'*
" What is it, my good sir ?" inquired the other.
" Judge for yourself, sir," replied Mr. Sharp,
handing him the paper ; " just see that heading,
* A Lawyer Shot,' as if he were a highwayman !
That's the liberty of the press."
" And a devilish good joke, too, if half of them
were shot," said the captain ; " a lawyer, after all,
is only a licensed robber, and, in my opinion, a
highwayman is the more respectable character
of the two. He tells you openly he wants your
money, and must have it ; the other pretends to
be your friend, and robs you just the same."
" Then a soldier, sir, I suppose," retorted
Sharp, " by the same rule, may be called a legal
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 245
" Not exactly," replied the captain, in perfect
good humour ; ** but with this trifling distinc-
tion, we don't do business of that kind on our
own account ; we shed our blood and peril our
lives in defence of our country, and for so doing,
the pay of a captain is about equivalent to that
of a lawyer's head clerk."
" And very good pay too," replied the attor-
ney, "for the idle, nothing-to-do life military
men generally lead."
" I should like to have had you with us, sir, the
first winter we spent in the Crimea," retorted the
captain, " just to have given you a taste of what
a soldier's life is ; and but for these Ucensed
murderers, as you call us, the Emperor of
Russia, had he landed in England, would have
made short work with the lawyers, by hanging
one-half of that respectable body, and transport-
ing the other to the wilds of Siberia."
246 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
Harry Howard had been made the victim
of one of the most deep-laid, nefarious schemes
of spohation, which none but an unprincipled
attorney would have dared to perpetrate. But
Roll knew w^ell enough, that the news of his
imprisonment w^ould soon spread far and wide,
and deter his friends from rendering him any
assistance in such desperate circumstances ; and
he took care to represent his conduct to himself in
the worst possible light. It was truly remarked
by Lord John Russell, in the House of Commons,
that " when a man is rubbed by the world, his
friends and acquaintances soon look shy upon
Such was the case with Harry Howard, who.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 24?
like a stricken or hunted deer, was avoided or
butted at 'by the cowardly herd of his quondam
associates, and once boon companions. Not
even Harold, his own brother, (who now pos-
sessed the family living, within four miles of
Beech wood,) ever called or wrote one line of
sympathy to his wife in her distress ; although
to the husband of that wife he had been indebted
for all the property he then possessed. But
Harold Howard, or as he was now called (from
having taken that degree at Oxford,) Dr. How-
ard, was of too sanctimonious, saint-like pro-
fession, to hold any communication or intercourse
with such w^orldly-minded persons as poor Harry
and his afflicted wife. They were not good
enough for his strait-laced, canting, hypocritical
set, who " strain at a gnat and swallow a camel,"
and this was his hollow, miserable pretence for
deserting his own father's son in his misfortunes.
Dr. Howard (as he delighted in being called)
was at heart a thorough Pharisee, and of that
sect w^ho for a pretence make long prayers.
There is no real difference between the pharisees
and self-called saints of these latter days, against
whom so many woes were denounced. Their
248 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
characters are precisely the same, " For all their
works they do to be seen of men. They love
the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats
in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets,
and to be called of men — Rabbi — Rabbi."
But Dr. Howard is deserving of rather more
than a cursory notice in this place. The sickly
boy, who had now grown to man's estate, pre-
served still the same selfish character which had
been so early exhibited. He thought and dreamt
of nothing but himself. In personal appearance
the Doctor was the reverse of prepossessing, either
as to form, features, or manners. He was thin
and diminutive, with high shoulders, short neck,
and large head. Of a pale, haggard-looking
countenance, with deep sunken eyes; abrupt
and repulsive in his address to others, and yet^
notwithstanding these defects, his vanity was
Gifted with a good voice, he thundered forth
his anathemas from the pulpit; and what he
lacked in persuasive eloquence was made up by
violent declamation. His own particular party
pretended to be in raptures with his sermons,
which he was of course requested to publish ;
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 249
but, as none but his own very dear friends could
be persuaded to read more than the first half-
dozen pages, the whole expense of printing such
trash devolved upon his own shoulders, with about
nine hundred unsold copies of the work, which
could not be disposed of for love or money. This
aerial flight of the Doctor's having, Phaeton-like,
been productive of a very great fall, diminished
somewhat of his importance; and, as ill luck
seldom comes single-handed, a little bit of
scandal began to be whispered in the parish,
that the Doctor spent rather more time than
was consistent with decorum, with one of the
teachers of his day school, who happened to be
an extremely pretty girl, and generally considered
too youthful to fill such an office.
Gossip is like a snow-ball, which, once set
rolling, " vires acquirit eundo,'^ until it becomes
a formidable mass ; and the whole village was
soon in an uproar about the Doctor's dereliction.
Even Mrs. H. Howard (for he had married a
young lady of saint-like professions) became so
indignant at these scandalous reports, that she
quitted her husband's house, and sought refuge
with her mother.
250 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
Here was a pretty state of affairs ; and what
to do with them puzzled the Doctor exceedingly •
The church was nearly empty on the Sabbath-day,
and in vain he preached to his hearers on that
charity which he had never practised towards
others. His wife's absence also appeared to
afford proof positive of his guilt, and left him
in a most serious dilemma how to act. Thus
situated, he applied to a clerical neighbour for
advice, who recommended him to call in a jury
of clergymen to investigate the business, or to
exchange his living for one in a distant county.
Advice is not very palatable at any time, be
it ever so good or reasonable ; but here was a
choice only of being wrecked upon Scylla or
Charybdis, the selection of one of two evils,
which the Doctor not relishing, he resolved to
consult his brother Harry, although most reluc-
tantly, having for some time kept aloof from
him, on the assumed superiority of his own
sanctity, after the same fashion as the pharisee
and the publican. But knowing from experience
his brother's generosity and readiness to assist
those in difficulties or distress, he determined at
once to lay the whole case before him, and act
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 251
as he should suggest. (This happened before
Harry's own troubles had befallen him).
The Doctor having sought an interview with
his brother, explained how he was situated, and
the advice rendered him by his clerical friend,
asking which of the two courses he should
*' I might first ask you one question, Harold,"
said Harry, " and that would be — are you guilty
or not of the charge ? but that I shall decline,
leaving you to settle that point with your own
conscience ; but the advice offered by your
friend is foolish and absurd. Who are your
" I have none openly," replied the Doctor ;
"it is merely the talk and scandal of the
" Can you bring it home to any one individual
that he has propagated the report ?"
" I think I could."
" Very well, then this is your line of conduct.
Instruct your lawyer to commence an action
against him, without a day's delay, for defama-
tion of character ; and just write a line to your
loving wife, informing her that unless she returns
252 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
immediately to your house, she shall never set
foot in it again. No man is obliged to criminate
himself; and as you assert your innocence, others
must prove or withdraw the charge ; but as to
giving up yourself voluntarily to be tried by
a jury of parsons, or exchanging your living,
either of these acts would be considered as pre-
sumptive evidence of your guilt."
The Doctor felt greatly obliged and relieved
by his brother's advice, and expressed his deter-
mination to act upon his suggestions without
" Very well, Harold ; then, relying on your
own account of this story, I will order my horse,
and call upon one or two of the most influential
men in your parish, and read them such a lecture
on scandal, that I'll engage their pews are not
vacant next Sunday ; and I will also give you a
text for your sermon."
Harold, deriving comfort and resolution from
his brother having so kindly espoused his cause,
turned the tables on the village-gossips, and now
took a high tone as an injured man. He openly
told his wife of his interview with his brother,
and that he should most certainly follow his
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 253
advice, as he seemed the only person who had
taken a right view of the case.
Harry lost no time in calling on some of the
first farmers in the parish, ridiculing the idea of
the Doctor being tried by a jury of parsons, and
telling them candidly his opinion of the matter,
with a hint that the lawyers would be set to
work forthwith ; the fact, also, of Harry being
seen riding with the Doctor through the parish,
operated most favourably, as from the high moral
character of the former, against whom the tongue
of scandal had never dared to move from boy-
hood to maturer age, people drew the conclusion
that Harry was satisfied of his brother's inno-
Farmer Croaker, however (the greatest land-
holder in the parish), was not so easily convinced
by Harry's reasoning on the subject.
"All very likely, Master Harry," said he;
" but the old saying you know, ' there's no smoke
without some fire.' I've got my own opinion
about the Doctor, which I sha'n't give up, even
to please you, sir."
" Very well, farmer, then keep it by all means ;
but you don't think I should take my brother's
254 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
part unless I believed him innocent of the graver
" No, sir, I don't think you would ; but you
only hear one side of the story."
*' Then, Farmer Croaker, just have the good-
ness to favour me with the other."
" And get a lawyer's letter for my pains," in-
terposed Mr. Croaker.
" And do you really think, farmer, that Harry
Howard is the man to put a devil of that sort
on the back of a friend ?"
" No, no. Squire, don't'e be in such a temper
about it, but sit down a-bit, and you shall hear
all I knows, good, bad, and indifferent. Welh
sir, the young lady about whom all this fuss is
being made, is the youngest sister of those two
girls who used to set their caps at you so much,
living at the corner house in Back Lane, about
half a mile from the village. You remember
'em well enough, I'll warrant, and a hard trial
they made to catch you. Pretty girls, sir, very
pretty, smart, buxom lasses, as a man should
see anywhere ; but for all that, no better than
they should be. This was long afore ycu were
married, Mr. Harry, and 'twere no secret that
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 255
these girls tried hard for the young Squire ; but
there — you were always fonder of riding arter
the fox than running arter young women. Well
now, about this girl and the Doctor. He were
knowed to do things on the sly afore he took to
preaching and married ; and a dog that's once
given to worrying sheep can't be cured of his
love of mutton. So you see, Squire, putting
this and that together, people do say he has been
at the old trick again."
" Well, farmer, but all this amounts to nothing,
it is merely suspicion and surmise ; and, I dare
say, if the truth were known, you have kissed a
pretty girl before you were married, if not after."
" Iwon't deny it. Squire, afore I brought home
my missis, though not arterwards ; — but now I
be coming to the pith of the stick. This girl
weren't thought much of afore Doctor takes to
convert her like ; then he goes and sits with
her in her own house hours together, to gie her
spiritual consolation, and, all at once, out she
comes a reg'lar saint — 'tends church morning
and evening, and Doctor puts her up at the
head of the school. People will talk. Squire,
and my missis, a curous woman, smells a rat, so
'256 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
she goes and a listens at the door when Doctor
and she were together one evening ; and my
missis do say, and holds to't, that Doctor wasn't
talking Scripture; — there, that's all I've got to
say," with a knowing wink.
" But not enough, my good friend,*' rejoined
Harry, " to con\dct the Doctor of any malprac-
"Ah, Squire, I sha'n't say no more — least
said soonest mended ; but, I don't think I shall
hear more of the Doctor's discourses just yet
awhile. There's summut in the Bible about a
man's preaching to others, whilst he's a cast-
" Very true, farmer ; and there's another text
which you ought also to recollect, * the scribes
sit in Moses' seat ; whatever therefore they bid
you observe, that observe and do ;' and, I dare
say you may remember our Lord's saying to the
accusers of the woman, ' he that is without
sin among you, let him cast the first stone ;'
and again, 'charity thinketh no evil, but be-
lieveth all things, hopeth all things.' "
" Dang it, Squire ! you should ha' been a
parson yourself, and I'd warrant you'd ha' made
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 257
a better minister than our Doctor, who, to my
notion, ha' got a smart spice of the ould sarpent
in his natur."
"That's very doubtful, my friend," replied
Harry ; " but now I hope you will go to church
again, and I shall most likely meet you there
" Will ye though, Master Harry ? then you'll
see John Croaker there."
Thus was the Doctor, owing to his brother's
energetic interference, enabled to stem the torrent
which was running so violently against him ; but
when once more re-instated in the pulpit, the
hand which had placed him there was forgotten.
So much for brotherly love ! but the Doctor was
the very quintessence of selfishness and vanity —
carnal-minded, and totally devoid of every spark
of genuine charity. He indiilged in all the good
things of life ; kept his carriage and horses ; at-
tended Missionary and Bible societies, at which
he generally made a speech, that his name might
appear in print, and paraded his three-cornered
hat upon every available opportunity in public,
that he might be called of men Rabbi — Rabbi.
But let us turn from this hypocritical pha-
VOL. III. S
258 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
risee, to one who, although of the same cloth,
endeavoured humbly and meekly to follow in the
footsteps of his Divine Master.
No greater contrast could be found to Dr.
Howard, than the Reverend John Goodman, the
curate of an adjoining parish, who, although a
most faithful and zealous minister of the gospel,
was kind and atfectionate in his addresses to his
congregation, striving rather by earnest appeals
to their gratitude and love, to win souls back to
the straight and narrow path, instead of driving
them, by violent denunciations of God's wrath,
headlong to perdition. He would rather dis-
course on the unbounded benevolence and mercy
of the Almighty, than of his inexorable justice.
No sooner was he apprised of Harry's release,
than Goodman called at Beechwood to offer
every consolation to his afflicted friend. Harry,
it must be confessed, was in a state of great ex-
citement, and vehement in his abuse of the vil-
lain who, not content wdth robbing him in such
a bare-faced manner, had arrested and cast him
in prison, solely, as he believed, for the purpose
of breaking his wife's heart.
" But, my dear Harry," replied Goodman, to
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 259
his furious exclamations and threats of ven-
geance, " you forget that we are commanded to
love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do
good to them that hate us, and pray for them
that despitefuUy use and persecute us."
" Yes, Goodman, the commandment is true
enough, but it is difficult for any human being,
smarting under such injuries as I am now, to
forgive the man who, in cold blood, could plan
and perpetrate, I may say, the murder of my
poor wife. I do believe that scoundrel Roll is
at heart a murderer, as we are judged by our
intentions as much as by our acts."
" Well, then, Harry, w^ould you also be a
murderer, by slaying Mr. Roll?"
" No, Goodman, Heaven forbid I should har-
bour such implacable hatred against any man ;
but I must confess, I should feel exceedingly
gratified by horsewhipping that rascal, until he
cried for mercy."
" That is still revenge," replied Goodman ;
" when we are commanded to love our enemies,
instead of replying that nature forbids it, we
should recollect that God commands it. The
brute beasts that perish and have no under-
260 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
standing, may follow the law of nature, but
man must be conformed to a higher and nobler
practice ; and we must imitate the example of
our blessed Redeemer, who, with his dying
breath, prayed even for his murderers. It is
impossible," continued Goodman, "to read the
New Testament without being forcibly struck
with the multiplicity of cases in which this spirit
* of forgiveness of injuries' is inculcated. The
sincerity of our religious profession, as well as
our eternal salvation, is made to depend on our
performance of this duty. Our Saviour says,
* If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither
will your Father forgive your trespasses.' As
long, therefore, as w^e remain the slaves of pas-
sion or revenge, we must be utter strangers to
that grace which bringeth salvation. We must
bring our dispositions and tempers, as well as
our opinions and feelings, to the test of Scrip-
ture ; for what is that religion worth which does
not. sweeten the temper and regulate the heart ?
The wisdom which is from above is pure, peace-
able, and gentle ; but that which leaves bitter en-
vying and revenge in the heart, descendeth not
from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 261
" Well, Goodman," replied Harry, " then what
a monster of iniquity must that fellow Roll be,
who could harbour such malicious and revengeful
thoughts towards those who never injured him."
" It is dreadful, indeed," said Goodman, " to
see any man, professing Christianity, actuated by
such fiend-like hatred towards his fellow-man ;
but the punishment of his guilt must be left to
be awarded by that Judge who cannot err, and you
may rest assured his sin will find him out. But,
my dear Harry, afflictions, come from what
source they may, are sent to us in mercy from
the Father of all, to wean us from worldly
thoughts ; and I much fear the talents which
have been entrusted to your keeping, have not
been much improved ; your mind has been too
much occupied with earthly pleasures and amuse-
ments, to think, as you ought to think, of
heavenly ones. There is a sin of omission, as
well as commission ; and although I must admit
that your conduct as a young man at Oxford was,
as far as I could gather, almost irreproachable,
and has continued so since, wholly uninfluenced
by the temptations thrown in your way, yet have
you done little or nothing to the glory of God, or
in manifestation of your love to your Redeemer."
262 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" Goodman," replied Harry, *' I admit the
justice of your remarks ; I have, indeed, lived a
worthless, idle life, and the talent committed to
my charge has been hid in a napkin ; I may
only add, in extenuation, that although naturally
of strong and violent passions, I have been de-
terred from the commission of many sins, when
greatly tempted, by fear and reverence to God,
and respect for His commandments. I have
endeavoured also, from my earliest years, to keep
a conscience void of offence towards God and
man. More than this I shall not say."
" My dear Harry," said Goodman, " do not
for a moment suppose that I would detract from
your merit, in avoiding those quicksands in
which so many of your fellow-collegians and
friends have been engulfed, from indulging in
which your religious principles have kept you
back; young and inexperienced as you were
when thrown on the world, every credit is due to
you ; but still you must bear in mind, that * by
the grace of God we are what w^e are, not of
ourselves, lest any man should boast.' "
"Yes, Goodman, I quite subscribe to that
doctrine, and thankful indeed am I to God that
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 263
he has preserved me from the commission of
grosser sins, although in other respects I have
proved a most unprofitable servant ; but for the
future I will endeavour to lead a new life."
" Glad indeed am I to hear this confession,"
rejoined Goodman ; " and may the Almighty
strengthen and confirm you in such resolutions.
And now tell me how, with my feeble means, I
can aid or assist you in your present worldly
" That, I fear, my dear Goodman," replied
Harry, " is quite beyond your power ; but I shall
take the will for the deed, and thank you just
the same. We have, however, a most able and
considerate friend as well as mother in Mrs.
Selwyn, who will never allow my dear wife to
stand in need of any comfort or assistance as
long as she lives, and that is indeed one of the
greatest consolations to me under my present
difficulties. For the rest, I am alone respon-
sible, and must bear the brunt of the battle, and
pay the penalty of my folly and madness, in
trusting to such an unprincipled, ungrateful,
heartless fellow as my cousin Robert."
264 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
The persecution of Harry Howard was yet in
its infancy ; dark clouds were gathering rapidly
over, and the storm about to descend in merci-
less fury on his devoted head. Mr. Fussell, the
lawyer for the mortgagees, now insisted on the
little clause being enforced, by which the interest
was to be paid quarterly instead of half-yearly,
although perfectly aware that was an utter im-
possibility, from the rents being receivable only
twice a-year. This plan, however, suited Mr.
Fussell, as it would be the means of increasing
his costs and expenses, without the least consi-
deration being given to his own client's interests.
The common error with most people is, that
hey trust too implicitly in their legal advisers,
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 265
who in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred
make their clients' interests subservient to their
own. But such is the fact ; and it is by adopt-
ing the recommendations of these artful knaves,
that so many become involved in expensive
litigations, when a few minutes' cool reflection
would convince them of the absurdity of their
Fussell pointed out to his clients the excellent
sagacity he had displayed in introducing the
httle clause above alluded to, and that the time
had now arrived for enforcing it ; and quarterly
payments with five per cent, being eagerly caught
at by his deluded employers, he was, of course,
instructed to proceed accordingly, everything
being entrusted to his management.
Mr. Fussell therefore seeing a wide field open
for the display of his abilities, with the certainty
of reaping a magnificent harvest, both from
mortgagor and mortgagee, set his machinery in
motion without a moment's delay. The quar-
terly payments, as he had already foreseen, could
not be long continued by Harry Howard in his
present crippled situation. Then by another
little clause Mr. Fussell became receiver of the
266 THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD.
rents, but as Harry still occupied the house and
a considerable farm, his next step was of course
to dispossess him of these, and then the whole
property would fall under the control of this
crafty, unprincipled lawyer.
Proceedings of foreclosure and ejectment fol-
lowed in regular order ; but Mr. Fussell, re-
solving to have two strings to his bow, endea-
voured to take possession of Harry's person as
well as his property, by sending down three
officers from London to arrest him, not trusting
to country ones.
Thus, by a wise provision of our exemplary
laws, a man may not only be deprived of his
whole property but his liberty also at the same
time, although Harry Howard's landed estate
was nearly equivalent to double the amount of
Mr. Fussell's claims ; and yet not satisfied with
his being deprived of all control over this, he must
be subjected to imprisonment also. Such a
course, however, suited Mr. Fussell's views, and
the law sanctioned him; but it happened in
this, as it does in multitudes of similar cases^
that the evil intentions of man are defeated by
the dispositions of God.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 267
Harry Howard was warned of the fate threat-
ened him. Mr. Fussell, in his eagerness to
seize his victim, was not content with the usual
routine of action, but thinking, with his cockney
ideas, that a London officer possessed ten times
the sense of a country practitioner of the Hke
class, he at once employed three of those gentle-
men from Bow Street, who were, after a good
lecture from Mr. Fussell himself, sent down on
this nefarious mission.
Knowing Harry's influence with the middle
and lower classes, Mr. Fussell warned his agents
not to take up their quarters in the same parish,
and to pass themselves off for farmers in search
of land, and to call at Beechwood under this
pretence. The London detectives, dressed as
farmers, reached a village in the neighbourhood
late one evening, and taking up their quarters at
a public-house, set about making their arrange-
ments, inquiring of the landlord about a certain
farm they heard was to be let. Boniface at once
referred them to a young farmer, a great friend of
Harry's, who happened to be taking a glass of
grog in the pubHc room. The answers given by
these wolves in sheep's clothing to his questions,
268 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
and their inquiries about Harry Howard, excited
the young farmer's suspicions, who began plying
them with brandy-and-water, to glean a little
more of their true characters ; and after seeing
them " half seas over," or in such a state that
they were totally incapable of leaving the house
that evening, he took his leave, promising to see
them early the next morning; and immediately
mounting his horse, rode over to Beechwood.
Young farmer Rennol being admitted, soon
explained to Harry the object of his calling so
" Those men, sir," said he, " are Londoners,
by their talk, and heaks disguised, that's my
opinion of them ; but you mind and keep close
to-morrow, and they shall find Tom Rennol is
not quite such a country clown as they take
him for. Jack Larking and I will know more
of their movements by another night ; so good-
bye, and keep both your eyes open and the door
shut, until you see me again."
Early the next morning the Londoners found
their way to Beechwood, but the doors were
closed against them ; and the servant having
received his orders, told them from the window
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 269
that his master was not at home. Nothing
daunted, they tried again in the evening with
equal success, and then returned to their quar-
ters, where Rennol and Jack Larking were ready
to receive them. These two country bumpkins
got them on pretty w^ell with brandy-and-water,
until they became more communicative and
less on their guard, when Jack, taking out
the tray for another hot relay, adroitly slipped
in a few drops of soporific into the Lon-
doners' glasses, which he placed on the table
before them. The swells, as Jack called them,
soon became exceedingly drowsy, one of them
throwing himself at full length on the wooden
bench, and the others falling asleep in their
chairs. Jack (with a wink at his companion)
now took the Hberty of examining a strip of paper
w^hich just peeped from the pocket of the head
man, who was snoring loudly, and which proved
to be a warrant for Harry's apprehension.
" All right !" exclaimed Jack, in rather a
loud key ; ** we know the farmers now% Tom."
" Hollo l" said one of the officers, rousing
himself up, " w^iat's the row ?"
" Row enough," replied Jack, " with that con-
270 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
founded snorting of yours ; come, rouse up, we
don't like that sort of music."
" Then you would like to be knocked down
for your insolence, would you, farmer ?"
" No," repHed Jack, " I can't say that I should;
but as two can play at that game, just pull off
your jacket for ten minutes, and you shall have
summut to take back to Lunnun, besides your
The official surveyed Jack for a second with
a lowering and defiant look, which was returned
with interest, and seeing Jack nothing daunted,
he deemed it most prudent to draw in his horns,
not feeling quite sure of the issue of the combat
with the tall, active young countryman."
" Now, sir," said Jack, " when you're ready,
I'm waiting, and your friends can be accommo-
dated too, if they're in the humour."
" No — no," said the other ; " this won't do,
gentlemen ; we don't earn our money by fighting
and brawling, so let's have another glass together,
and part friends."
This proposition being acceded to, the two
young farmers soon after left their companions,
having obtained all the information they required.
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 271
The next morning Harry was apprised of these
particulars, by his young friend Rennol ; and the
news having spread in all directions, that the
London beaks were come down to carry off the
young Squire, every exertion was made by
Harry's numerous friends in the lower walks of
life, to defeat their purpose. Sentinels were
posted in every direction round the house (to
watch the movements of the Londoners) day
and night, which rendered them at last quite
furious. Every art, device, and disguise were
adopted without avail ; the country yokels laugh-
ing at the tricks of the cockneys, and outwitted
them ; so that, at last, these clever Bow-street
gentlemen gave up the game, and returned to
Fussell was maddened by their failure, as he
had to pay a heavy sum for expenses incurred
during the three weeks' sojourn of his emissaries
in the country, and upbraided them with cow-
ardice or treachery.
" It's no use blustering about it," said the
head-man ; "we did our best, and I've nabbed
scores of men in my time, but I never met with
such a bare-faced, artful dodger as that Mr.
272 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
Howard. He'd take his rides in our faces,
jump on his horse and gallop across country,
without saying, by your leave, or with your
" Then why didn't you borrow a horse^ and
ride after him ?" inquired Fussell.
" Just because we were smoked, sir, and no-
body would let us have one, and if they had (we
turned it over in our minds) neither of us could
have followed where he went without breaking
'^ Why didn't you wait his return then ?"
" And so we did often enough ; but what's
the use? there were two or three always waiting
on us, peering into every hedge and ditch, and
looking behind every tree or laurel bush, and
then they'd laugh and giggle and give such
shrill whistles from point to point, that Mr.
Howard know'd all about it, and 'ouldn't come
home 'till the coast w^as clear again."
Fussell was too much mortified by this first
defeat to give up his plans, and swore Harry
Howard should be arrested ; suggesting therefore
another mode of operation, with the offer of a
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 273
large sum for his capture, the officer once more
returned to the country ; but the bird had now
flown. Harry, knowing the vindictive spirit of
Fussell, and anticipating a stricter blockade, took
the opportunity of leaving home, and retiring
into the wildest part of Wales, where, by assum-
ing another name, he avoided all chance of de-
tection. Equipped as a fisherman, he took up
his abode at a small public-house among the
mountains, and there lived in solitude for several
weeks, until Fussell gave up the pursuit in
Harry's poor wife, in the interval, had taken
a house in the neighbourhood of her former
home, and Fussell having by ejectments obtained
possession of her husband's estate, advertised the
property for sale, more from spite and vexation
than from any well-founded hope of success,
knowing the difficulties attending such an off-
One morning, whilst pluming himself on the
victory he intended to achieve over the fallen
fortunes of Harry Howard, he was informed by
his clerk, that a gentleman, who gave his name
VOL. III. T
274 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
as Badger, wished to see Mr. Fussell on particular
" Show him in, by all means," said Fussell.
A quiet, demure-looking little man was ac-
cordingly ushered in, who, after the usual salu-
tations, drew a Times newspaper from his pocket,
and pointing with his finger to an advertisement
headed " Beechwood Estate,'' said, — " I presume
this, sir, originates from your office ?"
" Certainly, sir," replied Fussell, taken off his
guard, and thinking he saw a customer before
him, " we mean to sell immediately."
" Not immediately, I think," gravely replied
" And why not, sir ?" demanded Fussell, in
an excited tone.
" Simply because I am furnished with instruc-
tions to prevent any sale taking place."
"And pray, sir," enquired Fussell, turning
deadly pale, and trembUng with ill-suppressed
agitation, " who may I have the honour of ad-
" Badger is my name, sir, of Coleman Street,
and, I think, sir, these are the names of your
clients, who have claims on the Beechwood
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 275
estate?" handing him a list on a strip of
" Yes," replied Fussell, " the names are cor-
" Very well, sir ; then unless you consent to
accept service of summonses on their behalf, I
shall serve them personally, to put in their an-
swers to a bill I am now filing against them in
Chancery to prevent further attempts of the sale
of the Beechwood property."
Had a thunderbolt fallen through the ceiling
at Mr. Fussell's feet he could not have been
more electrified than at this sudden disclosure
from Mr. Badger, who, on taking leave, merely
informed him further, that he was employed by
a friend of Mr. Howard's children, during their
father's absence, they having a claim on the pro-
perty as well as his clients.
Badger had scarcely left the office, when
Smirke was announced, who having learnt what
was going on from a friend of Badger's, hastened
to see Fussell on the subject.
" Here's a pretty piece of business," exclaimed
Smirke, " you have made of it, by driving away
Mr. Howard from home, and advertising his
276 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
property ! I warned you of the consequences ;
but you would play your own foolhardy game,
and now we are all in for a Chancery suit."
" Well, Mr. Smirke, it is not my fault. I
had my instruction from my clients."
" And how much of the true state of affairs
do they know?" inquired Smirke; "just as
much as you thought proper to tell them, I
suppose, and that is little enough, I'll engage."
" Little or much, that is no business of yours,
Mr. Smirke," retorted Fussell.
" But it is some business of mine," replied
Smirke, " as I have an interest in Mr. Howard's
affairs as well as yourself."
"Not much, I should think— eh! Mr. Smirke?"
added Fussell, with an attempt at a smile.
"Then I can make it worth a httle more,
perhaps, by giving Badger a bit of information
I have picked up relative to his claims — that's
all, Mr. Fussell — so good morning."
" Stay a moment, my good sir," said Fussell,
hastily rising to prevent Smirke's exit ; "just
sit down a moment, and tell me what you advise."
" This first, then, sign your name to that
paper, which is an undertaking that you will
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 277
stay all proceedings against Mr. Howard for
two months from this day."
" I don't understand what you are driving at
Mr. Smirke, and cannot sign such a document,
which will debar me from my course of action."
" It will debar you from making a greater fool
of yourself than you have already, Mr. Fussell ;
but there, do as you please, only don't expect to
make a fool of me ;" saying which, Smirke
turned on his heel, and had placed his hand
on the door, when Fussell cried out —
" Stop, Smirke, give me the paper — I'll sign
it ; but now, what are your plans ?"
" First, to send this undertaking to Mrs.
Howard, begging her to forward it to her hus-
band immediately ; for, in this complicated state
of aifairs, we can't do w^ithout him, that's as
clear to me as the nose in your face. It's
childish work, your fussing and foaming about
arresting him, and all that sort of nonsense,
which may do very well for such a pig-headed
fool as Mr. Roll, who can't see ten yards before
him ; but we ought to know better. The pro-
perty cannot be sold without his willing consent,
and that I have told you before ; but you would
278 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
have your way, in sending that absurd advertise-
ment to the Times, and here's the upshot of it,
a suit in Chancery; — but I can't wait any
longer now, you shall see me again in a few
Lawyers have this peculiar privilege, which is
conceded to no other class of men, royalty ex-
cepted. They can do no wrong. They are, in
short, irresponsible agents ; and there is another
most monstrous fact, that they are absolutely
paid for getting their clients out of scrapes into
which they purposely lead them^ either to gratify
their own vindictive feelings, or put a few extra
pounds into their own pockets. Thus Mr. Fus-
sell, to vent his spleen against Harry Howard,
had dragged his clients recklessly and wantonly
into a Chancery suit. But what cared he ? it
was only bringing " grist to the mill," in the
shape of extra costs, which he well knew must
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 279
Harry Howard had now been an exile from
home for nearly three months, living among
the mountains, without a human being to speak
to, save the landlord of the public-house, or a
wandering fisherman, like himself, whom he
might chance to meet in his rambles. Dreading
a discovery of his retreat, and knowing a price
had been put on his head, he avoided every
public road or path, and spent the whole day,
either ])y the side of the streams, which run
through the ravines or on the hill tops, seldom
returning until late in the evening, when he re-
ceived his letters. It being now the middle of
May, an occasional traveller passed by Harry's
place of retreat, which was situated in the most
280 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
romantic part of the country ; and one morning>
having overslept himself, he was roused by the
sound of carriage wheels, driving rapidly up to
the door of the little inn. Springing out of bed,
Harry saw two gentlemen descending from the
carriage, and in the taller one recognised Sir
WiUiam Beaumont, and having hastily dressed
himself, he descended to the back-room, from
which he overheard Sir \yilliam ordering break-
fast, saying he should indulge in a stroll after-
wards, and probably take an early dinner, before
proceeding further on his journey.
Dreading discovery, even by his best friend,
Harry dispatched his morning meal without
much ceremony, and made his escape by the
back door, then winding up a narrow glen,
gained the summit of the nearest hill, from
which he could watch the movements of his
friend unobserved. He had not long taken up
this position, when Sir William was seen leaving
the house, and striking up the same track which
Harry had just before traversed. The impulse
to meet his friend once more proved irresistible
to our solitary wanderer, who approaching nearer,
resolved to intercept Sir William in his ramble
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 281
as soon as he should advance further up the
ravine. A little higher up, across the stream, a
few large stones formed a kind of foot-bridge to
the opposite side, over which Harry had passed
in his rustic nailed shoes, which secured a firm
footing on these otherwise slippery and dangerous
As Sir WilUiam approached the spot, he stood
for a moment irresolute which way to proceed,
when turning towards the pass, he made the
attempt to cross over, carefully stepping from
stone to stone. Harry guessing the result from
his friend's polished boots, rapidly descended the
hill side, when he beheld him suddenly lose his
footing and fall over into the pool below. In a
second Harry was in the water, and seizing his
friend by the arm, supported him to the bank.
" What ! Harry Howard," exclaimed Sir
William in amazement, " again my preserver !"
" Only from a ducking this time," cried Harry,
" for from rolling over on your back the place
appeared deeper than it really was ; but never
mind the bath, you will be all the fresher for it,
and I have a change of raiment at the inn
282 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" But what in the name of mystery can you
be doing here ?" asked Sir William.
" You see no longer Harry Howard, but Tom
Jones ; that is my present name, and I must not
now be called by any other."
Harry then explained the cause of his sojourn
amongst the Welsh mountains, and begged Sir
William to be careful before his companion
when he returned to the inn.
" Do not doubt my caution, my dear Harry,
although I am sadly grieved to hear such an
account of your misfortunes; and your poor
affectionate, true-hearted Mary, how she must
" Ah, Beaumont, that has been to me the
most severe trial of all; but, thank Heaven,
Mrs. Selwyn has shown every kindness in our
distress, so that she does not feel our temporary
separation so acutely as she otherwise would."
As the two friends returned to the inn, Sir
William reproached Harry for his long silence,
not having heard from him for several months,
which Harry combated by stating his reluctance
to inform him of his troubles, thinking he might
consider it as a hint for assistance.
THE SQUIRE OP BEECHWOOD. 283
" Ah ! Harry, ever the same," exclaimed Sir
William ; " always the first to risk life or money
to save friends, and the last to ask for assistance
in return ; but now you must really leave this
solitude, and take a seat in my carriage to my
friend's house a few miles distant, who is my
" No, Beaumont, that I cannot do, as I am
this very day expecting a letter from my dear
Mary, and I must first write her a few lines in
" Very well, Harry ; then we will wait till
your letter arrives, and afterwards pursue our
journey together ; for T am resolved you shall
accompany us, if only for one day, to break the
monotony of this dreadful life."
Sir William had just completed his toilet from
Harry's wardrobe, when the post came in with
the expected letter, containing the joyful intelli-
gence of a respite from his banishment (procured
through Smirke), with a few hasty lines from
Mary, begging his immediate return. Rushing
up stairs, Harry placed the letter in his friend's
hands, exclaiming —
" Thank God ! for this reprieve. I will now
284 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
gladly accept your offer, as your friend's house
lies in my road home."
" These are, indeed, good tidings," said Sir
William ; " but on one point I am resolved.
Master Harry, you shall never be subjected to
a repetition of such usage as this. More I shall
not say at present ; so now pack up your things
and join us below, when we will first have a dish
of your trout, which I saw in the larder, and then
order the carriage."
Little time was required by Harry in prepara-
tion for his departure, and on joining Sir William
in the parlour, he was agreeably surprised on
finding in his travelling companion an old college
acquaintance, whom he had not seen for many
years. The dish of trout was quickly dispatched,
and the three friends soon on their homeward
track, in a light travelling carriage, dashing
along as swiftly as a good pair of posters
could convey them.
Notv^ithstanding the luxury and convenience
of a first-class railway carriage, there is no mode
of travelling more agreeable to the tourist during
the spring or summer months than posting
through the country, in a light phaeton drawn
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 285
by a quick pair of horses. To men of business,
or those in hot haste to arrive at their journey's
end, railways present every attraction ; but to
those who wish to take a survey of the scenery
through which they are passing, the speed of
forty miles an hour affords little satisfaction.
Our travellers having time and pace under
their own control, halts were occasionally made
when any object of interest presented itself to
their view ; and as their route lay near Ragland
Castle, a deviation from the regular road was
proposed by Sir William, to view these far-famed
ruins, and having narrowly escaped a precipitous
descent from the old crumbling walls, across
which at intervals some very ricketty foot-bridges
had been constructed, curiosity being satisfied
nearly at the expense of a broken neck, the trio
resumed their seats in the carriage, and arrived
safely at Carrick Castle, the residence of Mr,
Meyrick, to a late dinner.
Lewellyn Merrick (for his father still lived) was
a character, whom to know it was impossible not
to love also. Although extremely handsome,
almost beautiful in features, which in their com-
plexion nearly approached to feminine, he was
286 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
devoid of all affectation ; gentle in manners, and
most affectionate in disposition, yet not deficient
in spirit or manly courage. Of firm religious
principles, he was one of the few who had passed
through the temptations of Oxford life unscathed,
and being an only son, was at once the pride and
comfort of his father's declining years.
The evening passed pleasantly and rapidly
away with these three friends, but no entreaties
could induce Harry to prolong his visit beyond
that night, for his heart was far away ; and as a
coach passed by the Lodge gates on the following
day about eleven o'clock, he had resolved to
avail himself of that conveyance. Before break-
fast on that morning, Sir William and Harry
walked out together, and a full explanation
was given by the latter as to the state of his
" Ah, Harry," said Sir William, " you have,
indeed, fallen among thieves ! but still there can
be no doubt that your property is more than
ample to pay all these incumbrances, and leave
you a handsome surplus besides ; and I will give
you a letter of introduction to my solicitors in
London, who, I am sure, will do everything in
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 287
their power to assist you out of your present
"And lead me into others, perhaps, Beau-
mont, for that is the practice with all of them.'*
" Not exactly, Harry," said Sir William ;
" there are some gentlemen in that profession,
although, I must admit, very few ; yet mine are
so, by birth and education, and, I will add, if
they can do you no good, they will do you no
" Well, Beaumont, that is a saving clause, at
any rate, and I will, with many thanks, avail
myself of your introduction ; but the rogues
with whom I have hitherto had to deal, having
forced us into the Court of Chancery, to which
we were obliged to appeal, to prevent their selling
the property, there is, I fear, little prospect of
our saving much from that quicksand, or yawn-
ing gulf, rather, in which so many are swal-
lowed up ; although at this moment my estate
is worth twenty thousand pounds over and above
the incumbrances upon it."
" Really, Harry," observed Sir William, *' this
is a fearful state of things ; but it is, I regret to
say, notoriously the case, that this boasted court
288 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
of equity has now become worse ten times than
any common law court, an Augean stable, which
requires a greater than Hercules to clean out ;
but take my advice, and endeavour to effect
some compromise, if possible, before you become
hopelessly committed to its wearisome and ex-
pensive formalities. Manly and Robertson will,
however, give you better counsel than I can ;
and if the worst happens, remember you have
one true friend in the world beyond your own
family connections. And now, my dear Harry,
as the secret is out, I shall expect for the future
a true and regular account of your proceedings,
and I shall see you again before my return to
Soon after breakfast, Harry Howard took
leave of his two friends and proceeded on his
journey. It were needless to attempt a descrip-
tion of the meeting between Harry and his wife
after their long separation ; suffice it to say, that
troubles only served to call forth fresh proofs of
their enduring affection for each other.
" The lamp that's lit by true love's light,
Bums brightest in affliction's night."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 289
And in adversity or sickness woman is a minis*
tering angel to man.
After a few days spent in the country, Harry
set out for London, in the hope of making some
arrangement with Mr. Fussell ; and having called
on Manly and Robertson, these gentlemen were
entrusted with the conduct of the negociations.
During his stay in town, Harry encountered his
cousin Robert, emerging from Smirke's den,
who appeared anything but gratified at the
meeting, as he had purposely avoided any in-
terview with Harry, since he heard of his
"Well, Master Harry, what brings you to
the mighty Babylon at this season of the year,
when I thought every farmer must be busy
in the country, growing turnips or making
"You know well enough," replied Harry,
" that I have no turnips or hay to look after, or
land either ; for in consequence of your double-
faced villany, my whole property has now been
seized upon, from my inability to pay the interest
due upon the money I was fool enough to bor-
row for you."
VOL. III. u
290 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
" Oh, indeed, Master Harry ! I know no-
thing of these matters — Smirke is my man of
business ; you must talk to him about it."
" I shall waste no more words on Smirke,"
replied Harry, " who has had instructions from
yourself; but now, as I find you are puffing
yourself off again in a certain quarter, I give you
fair notice, as I know something of that family,
I wHl expose your villanous behaviour not only
to the lady you are paying attention to, but also
at your grand club-house."
" Oh, very well, do it if you like ; but re-
member, one side of a story may seem very good
until the other is heard ; people won't believe
all you may choose to say — my word is as good
" Your word," said Harry, " or your oath
either, is not worth a straw ; and as I happen
to have your own handwriting to corroborate my
story of the money you have borrowed of me
and refuse to pay, people will perhaps believe
their own eyes in preference to your words ; and
1 will show these documents to every friend or
acquaintance you have, that's all. Master Robert
Howard ; so now, good morning."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 291
" Well, but stop a bit," said Robert ; " what
do you want f
" My money, or part of it, to pay off that in-
cumbrance of yours on my property ; that has
been my ruin, which both you and Smirke know
full well, so no more evasions ; for that very
sum have I now been driven from my wife and
family — hunted by hell-hounds from my home,
and forced to live, like Cain, among the wild
hills of Wales, shunning and shunned by every
human being. Even Smirke has felt for my
situation, and through his intervention I have
now been recalled from my banishment."
Robert appeared moved by Harry's recital of
these events, but it was in appearance only, and
because at this particular time he knew himself
to be in his power, he therefore promised to do
what he could to assist him.
" Promises will not do now," replied Harry,
" there must be performances ; and unless you
set about this business yourself, and without de-
lay, I shall expose you as you deserve. So now
name your day to meet me at Smirke's offices."
" Very well, then, this day week, at eleven
o'clock." And thus they parted.
292 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
Robert, having shaken off his cousin, returned
to Smirke, and upbraided him for his instru-
mentality in recalling Harry.
" What induced you to bring that fellow up
^0 town again,'* he inquired, in a furious pas-
sion, *'just to mar all my plans and prospects?"
" Because, my dear sir, it suited my plans to
do so," replied Smirke, with the greatest non-
" Oh, indeed, Mr. Smirke ! and pray what
may those plans be, which require the necessity
of this mad dog being let loose in the streets of
London, to bark and bite at me, whenever I
may chance to meet him ?"
" My plans are best confined to myself," re-
torted Smirke ; " and as for any little ebullitions
of temper between your cousin and yourself, my
dear sir, you must arrange them as you think
proper. He is a hardly-used man, which no one
knows better than yourself, and I will not be a
party to his being further persecuted ; independ-
ent of which, I cannot well do without his as-
" Very well, Smirke ; he wants his mo-
ney, and declares he will have it, or expose me."
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 293
" Then, my dear sir, you must try and borrow
it for him among your rich friends, that's all ;
so now you will excuse me, as I have some very
pressing business on hand ;" saying which,
Smirke pulled the bell, and desired Mr. Quill-
driver to admit Mr. Johnson to his sanctum, on
whose entrance Robert, hastily snatching up his
hat, vanished from the den, venting imprecations
deep, though not loud, upon Smirke, and all the
fraternity of lawyers,
" Ah !" he repeated to himself, *' borrow mo-
ney of my friends ! — Borrow five or six thousand
pounds, without a scrap of parchment to show
for it ! — a likely thing, indeed ! — But I see now,
Smirke is only laughing at me ! Confound the
rascal ! what a fool I have been ever to trust
him ! The cloven foot begins to show. Better —
far better, had I trusted Harry Howard and fol-
lowed his advice — but that is too late now ; and
yet there is some comfort in thinking that I
have dragged that fellow down with me to ruin,
wife, children, and all. Yes, that proud girl,
who once preferred Harry Howard to me." Such
were the amiable reflections of Mr. Robert How-
ard, as he sauntered up Regent Street.
294 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
To the rich, London during the season is a
delightful place of recreation ; they can roll about
in their carriages from one scene of amusement
to another, without let or hindrance (save when
at Temple Bar or in the crowded thoroughfares
of the City, where, perchance, an omnibus or two
may impede their rapid progress) ; but to the
poor man trudging along on foot during the
dog days through the dusty streets of the vast
metropolis (where even the sparrows assume the
hue of its murky atmosphere), it is far from
an enlivening place. The public conveyances
indeed, afford occasional relief to the wearied
pedestrian, but with so many stoppages, a person
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 295
on foot may almost outstrip in pace those heavy
Town life never possessed any attractions for
Harry Howard, even in his most prosperous and
happy days ; and he would have deemed it an
insult to his devoted wife to have indulged in any
of its gaieties at such a time, although retaining
many friends among the aristocracy, from whom
he received pressing invitations to dinner and
other parties. To all except the Earl of D ,
an old and true friend, excuses were made ; but
he was not so easily disposed of, for observing
Harry one day walking up Piccadilly, he stopped
his carriage and insisted on his taking a drive
" Well," said Harry, " as you are bent on my
taking an airing, which, by the way, on this
broiUng day is not to be declined, I am much
at your service, my Lord."
" Come, then, Harry, jump in ; we will first
take a look at TattersalFs, and then drive down
to the Horticultural Show at Chiswick."
As they entered the yard, HaiTy was recog-
nised by many of his sporting acquaintances, from
whom he received rather distant recognition;
296 THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD.
but the Duke of Belford, with the true impulse
of a generous and noble mind, came forward,
and shaking him cordially by the hand, expressed
deep concern for his reverse of fortune, and
hoped he would succeed in defeating his das-
Here was perceptible the wide difference be-
tween real and assumed gentiUty. The par-
venu is governed by the opinion of the world
and the worldly-minded ; the true gentleman is
influenced only by his own natural and generous
feelings. The former cannot afford to associate
or even converse in public with one who is lying
under the bann of adversity. " Poor fellow !*'
he exclaims, " no longer one of us ! can't afford
to keep his carriage and horses, or give a dinner-
party — not visitable now — must be cut — can't
help it." To the parvenu poverty is a crime,
which, if not punishable by the law of the land,
certainly is by the dictum of these money-made
men who ape gentility. To them, contact with
a poor man appears to be contamination —
" Fcenum habet in cornu longum fuge^
As Harry Howard stood talking with the
Duke of Belford, a wealthy neighbour, once
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 297
Harry's very dear friend, accosted Lord D ,
to whom he was very slightly known.
" Do you see the Duke, my Lord, speaking to
Mr. Howard ? Really, I am surprised at his
Grace condescending to notice such a person,
after what has occurred."
" And pray, sir," said Lord D , " may I
inquire what has occurred, that should justify
an alteration in the Duke's behaviour to Mr.
" Oh, I thought all the world knew he was a
" Well, sir, and supposing that to be the case,
which perhaps is not strictly true, there is more
cause for his true friends being kind to him, of
whom, sir, I have the honour to be one ;" saying
which, Lord D , with a low bow, turned
away, leaving the parvenu in a state of asto-
nishment, and considerably crest-fallen.
The man who has been raised to a certain
position in society by money, is always disposed
to measure every other person by his own golden
standard. To him high lineage, talents, or edu-
cation are as dross, when weighed in the balance
against gold. He knows and feels tliat by this
298 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
ladder he has ascended, and if knocked down
from under his feet, he would as rapidly descend,
and lie grovelling on the earth ; and it is parti-
cularly observable that these despicable ideas
prevail in the breasts of his descendants, even to
the third and fourth generation. We might
with as much reason expect to find the fire and
speed of a race- horse in one of the cart breed,
as to discover any noble or generous feelings in
the progeny of a low-bred, money-made man.
" Naturam expellas furcd tamen usque re-
currit." By low bred, I must not be supposed
to cast unjust reflections on the poor and hum-
ble, for among the labouring classes toiling for
their daily bread, there are many — very many —
who would share their last loaf with a friend or
even a neighbour in distress. True nobility of
mind is often found in the most humble cottage,
where virtue and self-denial flourish even on the
most barren-looking soil.
Harry Howard, to protect his wife's and chil-
dren's interests, was now forced into a Chancery
suit, which dragged its slow length along by the
contrivance and usual delays of lawyers, merely
to suit their own convenience and fill their own
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 299
pockets, for a period of six years, during which
he became an outcast from his home, dwell-
ing among strangers and changing his abode
from place to place, to recruit his shattered
nerves and a constitution almost broken up by
the constant wear and tear of mind.
"A wounded spirit who can bear?" And
Harry, feeling that all the misery and privations
brought upon his devoted wife and helpless chil-
dren were the result of his own mad folly, in try-
ing to rescue his heartless, unprincipled cousin
from ruin, sank into such despondency, that it
nearly brought him to his grave ; and for two
long years he appeared hovering between life
Roused at last from this lethargy by the
gentle and unremitting care of his beloved Mary,
and the necessity for exerting himself in her
cause and that of her children, he began gra-
dually to recover his lost strength, and assisted
in prosecuting their claims with an energy and
display of sound reasoning, which surprised even
the astute expounders of the law.
Mr. Fussell, fearful of the issue of the suit,
endeavoured to bribe Badger, by a large sum of
300 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
money, to throw over his client, which was
fortunately discovered by Harry, who, from that
time, watched over their proceedings most nar-
rowly, supplying materials for his defence, and
insisting on being present at the consultations
with their counsel. The cause was at last
pressed on for hearing by his indefatigable ex-
ertions ; and notwithstanding all the ingenuity
and even false swearing of Mr. Fussell and his
worthy partners (which the judge commented on
most severely in open court), the decree was
given in favour of Harry's ill-used wife and chil-
dren, which secured to them a sum of ten thou-
After this just decision, an overture was made
by Harry to take so much of his old ancestral
property in lieu of the money settled upon it,
and discharge the mortgages within a limited
time, and negociations were carried on for some
months between the several lawyers concerned, to
effect so desirable an arrangement ; but Harry's
solicitors. Manly and Robertson, became so tho-
roughly disgusted with the false evasive conduct
and base trickery of Fussell, that they declared
it impossible they could hold any further cor-
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 301
respondence with him on the subject, as they
felt assured not the slightest confidence could be
placed in his professions of bringing matters to
an amicable conclusion.
This low-born, cunning scoundrel, to serve
his own base purposes and gratify his still un-
sated vengeance against Harry Howard, insti-
gated his clients to refuse every proposal, and
an apphcation being made to the Court of
Chancery to enforce a sale, the property was
advertised in lots, according to the usual custom.
But Mr. Fussell having agreed with the auc-
tioneer to dispose of the whole to a wealthy
Liverpool tradesman for a consideration, much
to the surprise of all present, his hammer sud-
denly fell, and Mr. Owen was declared the pur-
chaser of Beechwood, at a sum far below its real
value, to the utter exclusion of its rightful pro-
prietor. Thus this artful scoundrel, to gratify
his revenge, sacrificed his clients also, who were
losers of several thousand pounds ; but what did
he care ? — He, of course, secured his costs, and
pocketed a large bribe into the bargain.
The rich Mr. Owen having made a bargain,
no matter by what trickery or at what sacrifice
302 THE SQUIRE OF BEECH WOOD.
of justice and truth (these terms being excluded
from his vocabulary), was eager to take posses-
sion of his purchase, heedless of the warning
tingling in his ears, " Cursed is he that removeth
his neighbour's land-mark." He had heard
much of Harry Howard ; his longing, earnest,
and natural desire to regain possession of that
property, which had belonged to his family for
so many generations, yet the allurement was too
tempting to resist. It was a good investment
for some spare cash he had grasped by a lucky
speculation just made, and what were the rights
or feelings of others to him ?
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 303
During the six years that passed in this
Chancery suit, Harry had refused repeated offers
of assistance from his kind and staunch friend
Sir William Beaumont, all of which, though
with heart-felt gratitude, he firmly declined.
That kind friend had passed most of this time
on the Continent, having been ordered to a
milder climate, on account of incipient symptoms
of consumption, which, alas ! were too fatally
confirmed ; and having insisted on his medical
advisers telling him the truth, they pronounced
there was little hope of ultimate recovery. Soon
after this, he, with his almost broken-hearted
mother, returned to Braybrook — his beloved
Braybrook — the scene of all his youthful hopes
304 THE SQUIRE OF EEECHWOOD.
and pleasures, and where he wished to end his
When settled there, after the fatigues of his
journey, he wrote to Harry, telling him that he
and his family must come and reside near him ;
that there was a place just suited to him, which
he had inquired about, and for the sake of their
long friendship, not to refuse to give him what
comfort and happiness he could, during the short
time he might be spared in this world. Deep was
the grief of both Mary and Harry on reading this
letter ; but seconded as it was by one from Lady
Beaumont to Mary, they never hesitated a mo-
ment in complying with the wish of so dear and
disinterested a friend as he had always proved.
Harry now became a constant attendant on
his friend, imparting all the consolation in his
power, and watching with tearful eyes the gradual
though sure decline of him he loved as a dear
" Oh, Harry !" exclaimed Sir William, one
day when they were sitting together, " do not
look so mournfully upon me ; you who are left
to struggle on, perhaps, for some few years
longer, in this wretched, heartless world, deserve
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 305
to be pitied more than I. I have enjoyed life,
such as it is, as much as any man, rationally
and temperately ; there was only one other hap-
piness I ever coveted — a dear, affectionate wife
and children like your own. That blessing has
been denied me, — in mercy, perhaps, as they
would have bound me more to eaith, and pre-
vented me fixing my whole thoughts on Heaven,
You and my dear adopted sister have, however,
supplied their place ; and now, Harry, you must
not refuse my last solemn request — will you
pledge your word to attend to my dying injunc-
tions, without which I cannot rest in peace ?"
" Oh, Beaumont, how could I refuse anything
which would give you comfort or consolation ?"
" Then you promise on your word to comply
with my wishes ?"
" Most solemnly I do," replied Harry, " if by
any power of mine they can be accomplished."
"Enough, Harry, I am satisfied with that,
assurance ; and now^ attend to what I have to
say, and do not interrupt me. This place and
all the landed property is entailed, and reverts to
a distant cousin, whom I have seen little of, as
our ideas have never agreed ; but I have also a
VOL. III. X
306 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
considerable sum of money in the funds at my
own disposal besides, which I have bequeathed
by will to my dear sister."
" Stay, Beaumont, that must not be," inter-
*' It shall and must be, Harry," rephed Sir
William; '^for you are pledged to fulfil my
wishes ; but more than this, you have no right
in the matter at all. Knowing your peculiarities,
and refusal at all times to accept my assistance
in money matters, and fearing you might even
refuse my legacy, I have bequeathed all my per-
sonal property to the sole and separate use of
my dearly loved sister and attentive nurse, to
which you cannot possibly make any objection.
It is hers, and hers only ; and therefore, if she
should choose to follow the example of Robert's
wife, and run away with a handsome gay Lo-
thario, now you are becoming an old cripple, she
will have the means of supporting him and her
children ; so you see, Harry, what you have lost
by your obstinacy."
" Ah, my dear Beaumont, I see lecarly
through your generous design — the disguise is
too light to conceal your real motives , but for
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 307
my dear Mary's sake I cannot object, and have-
not a word more to say against your kind be-
" Well, Harry, it gives me comfort to hear
you so express yourself; but now for your pro-
mise. Dear Mary is as fond of her garden as I
have been, and she must have some fixed place
of abode in the country, all her own, where she
may transplant my favourite rose-tree and other
shrubs, favourites of mine, which I have con-
signed to her care. Her heart still longs after
your old place, Beechwood, and now you must
promise me to use every exertion to recover pos-
session of this property for her ; recollect, not
for yourself, as it will be solely her own. Now,
Harry, you must promise to do this for me when
I am gone."
Harry's eyes filled with tears as he took his
friend's emaciated hand in his, but emotion
choked his utterance.
" Come," said Sir William, rising, " we will
dismiss this painful subject now, for I know you
will do as I desue. Let us go and join Mary
in the garden ; and yet, there is one other
thought hangs heavy on my mind — my dear,
308 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
devoted mother— will you be" — and his voice
faltered for a moment, with strong emotion —
"will you be a son to her ?"
" As true and fond as you have been a bro-
ther to me," replied Harry, earnestly.
" I thank you, my dear Harry ; I ought not
to have asked you that question : but now all
my earthly wishes are gratified."
It was now the month of July ; the invalid
became daily weaker, unable to walk without
the support of others, and generally took an
airing in a garden-chair, attended by his mother
and Mary on either side, and drawn by Harry
through the lawn and gardens, where they spent
many hours, Mary supplying him with tastefully-
arranged bouquets of those flowers he loved.
When returning to his couch in the drawing-
room, no other hand could adjust his cushions
so w'ell as his dear sister Mary, whose care and
anxiety were displayed by all those little though
welcome attentions which women only can render
so acceptable to an invalid.
Day by day Sir William declined in strength,
until no longer able to leave his own room,
where Lady Beaumont and Mary sat by his
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 309
side as ministering angels, to soothe the last
quickly-fleeting hours of him who now hovered
on the confines of the grave. Harry remained
with him the greater part of the night when he
was unable to sleep, reading those portions of
Scripture which would afford comfort and con-
solation to his dying friend.
" Oh, Harry !" said he, the night before his
death, " it is, indeed, an awful thing to die, and
appear before the Throne of that Almighty God
who is ' of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.'
Oh ! what can man expect, polluted as he is
v^ith so many sins, and the imagination of whose
heart has been, perhaps, evil continually."
" No man has ever lived without sinning,"
replied Harry ; " many most grievously, who
have been even the favourites of Heaven. You
have no grave sins to repent of; but were that
the case, remember that most consolatory invi-
tation of our blessed Redeemer, * Come unto me
all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest ;' and again, ' Verily, verily I
say unto you, he that heareth my word and
believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting
life, and shall not come into condemnation, but
310 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
is passed from death unto life.' Recollect also
the parable of the Prodigal Son, and these cheer-
ing words, ' I am not come to call the righteous,
but sinners to repentance.' In short, my dear
Beaumont, the life of our dear Redeemer was
spent, whilst on earth, in doing good to all, and
especially in redeeming sinners. ' It is not the
will of your Heavenly Father that one of these
little ones should perish.' "
" Oh, Harry, I cannot doubt Christ's willing-
ness to save, but the sense of my own unworthi-
ness depresses me."
" Let not such thoughts terrify or dismay
you. God knows of what we are made, and
remembers we are but dust ; and hear his own
declaration, ' Though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as snow ; though they be red like
crimson, they shall be white as wool.' "
" Yes, Harry, indeed, those are consoling
words ; and now leave me a little, that I may
compose my thoughts to prayer."
The next day Sir William remained in a kind
of stupor, but towards evening his faculties re-
turned, and feeling his end approaching, he took
a solemn and affecting farewell of those so dear
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 3 1 1
to him. His last act was to place his mother's
hand in Harry Howard's, and then desiring
Mary to approach nearer, as she leant over him,
in a voice almost inaudible, he said —
"May God be with you, my dearest sister,
until we all, I hope, shall meet in heaven."
The candle of life flickered yet a little longer
in its earthly socket, and then with a sigh the
spirit left its tenement of clay, and ascended to
its heavenly home.
Harry, seeing all was over, gently took Lady
Beaumont's hand and led her from the room,
consigning her to his wife's care, who attended
her to her apartment, where they gave way
to their grief in an uncontrollable burst of
We will draw a veil over the few mournful
days which intervened between the death of
Sir William Beaumont and his funeral, after
which Lady Beaumont, assisted by Mary (whom
she loved and regarded as her own daughter),
began to make preparations for leaving Bray-
brook, and retiring to Fairfield Lodge, a beautiful
place in the adjoining county, which was her own
312 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
By Sir William's will, a sum of fifty thousand
pounds was left at Mary's sole disposal, Lady
Beaumont and Harry being appointed executors.
Both Harry and his wife strongly objected to
accept this munificent legacy ; but aU their
remonstrances were obviated by Lady Beau-
mont declaring it was by her own desire as
well as her son's, that this disposition had been
'* I have enough, my dear children, for as such
1 shall ever consider you," said Lady Beaumont,
" and more than I shall ever spend on my future
estabhshment, and both my poor lost William
and myself have earnestly desired to see you
once more in possession of your family property.
You know also, dear Harry, your faithful pro-
mise to comply with his last wishes ; and besides
all these considerations, Mary has promised to
spend the summer with me at Fairfield, and I
am to trouble you with my company during the
winter months at Beechwood."
" Oh then, dear Lady Beaumont," replied
Harry, ** I have not another word to say ; my
happiness will be complete if we may be always
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 313
" Well, dear Harry, that is my sincere desire ;
and now you must go to London to-morrow,
and take what measures are requisite, without
delay, to recover your old place."
314 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
The next day, Harry set out for town, and
had a long conference with his solicitors, Manly
and Robertson, as to how their proceedings should
be conducted to regain his lost property.
'* I have a clue," said Harry, " which I think
I may be able to unravel, through a letter I have
received from a clerk who has lately been dis-
missed from Mr. Crocker's office, the auctioneer
who was employed in the disposal of the estate ;
and if I can prove any collusion between the
purchaser and these two rogues, Fussell and
Crocker, we shall have little difficulty in upsetting
" My dear sir," said Robertson, " if you can
establish these facts, or even a tangible case, we
THE SaUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 315
can certainly appeal to the House of Lords,
should the Court of Chancery refuse to re- open
Harry, therefore, immediately went in search
of Mr. Scribble, whom he found, after seeking
in various places, in the evening at his lodging
in a small alley leading out of Fleet Street,
smoking his pipe over a pot of stout."
" Oh ! Mr. Howard," exclaimed Scribble, as
his name was announced, " glad to see you, sir ;
pray walk in. Sorry I can't offer you a glass of
wine, but will you take a draught of double X. ?"
*' No, I thank you, Mr. Scribble, my visit must
be a short one, and on business. You recollect
writing me a letter about your late employer's
roguery in the disposal of my estate ?"
" Quite well, sir — it's all correct."
" Very well," replied Harry ; "just then give
me the particulars, and tell me how you
obtained this information."
" Easily enough, Mr. Howard ; being Crocker's
head clerk, it was my business to open letters in
his absence ; and one came to hand from Mr.
Owen, offering to pay the stipulated sum of
five hundred pounds, on condition of his becom-
316 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
ing the purchaser of the Beechwood estate ; and
a few other remarks, which show clearly the
nature of the transaction. Well, sir, knowing
you, and seeing there was some foul play going
on, I just made a copy of the letter verbatim,
and I have it now safe. Crocker was annoyed
to find I had read the contents, and said that of
course I must take no notice of what Mr. Owen
had written, being only in the way of business.
* Oh, of course not, sir,' I answered ; but now,
as he has treated me worse than a dog, that let-
ter, sir, is at your service, and also a little more
information I have picked up on the subject."
" Very well, Scribble — now then for my terms;
if, by this letter and other evidence you can pro-
duce, I am enabled to overturn the sale and again
obtain possession of my property, out of which I
have been so shamefully cheated by those scoun-
drels, Fussell and Crocker, I will give you down
two hundred pounds."
" What, sir ! you don't mean it ? do you ?"
" Yes, Scribble, I do, and there's my hand on
" Then there goes the pot of stout," kicking
over the table, " and now I'm off this minute to
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 317
find Parker, who attended Crocker on the
" Stay, Scribble, one moment. Meet me at
Manly and Robertson's to-morrow morning at
ten, and bring the letter."
" Safe as the bank, sir ; I'U be there to the
The letter produced by Scribble the next day,
with what he had gleaned from Parker the pre-
vious night, satisfied Harry's soHcitors that they
had a good case in hand, and an affidavit was
accordingly prepared and sworn to by Scribble,
which was sufficient to invaUdate any such pubUc
sale. Scribble was desired to obtain further
evidence, if possible ; and Robertson, with Harry
Howard, set out directly for Beechwood, and
arrived at an inn in the vicinity the same evening.
Early the next morning, as Mr. Owen, in all
the pomposity of monied pride, was standing at
the hall door, watching some workmen who were
preparing to cut down a large tree, which inter-
rupted his view to some distant hill, Mr. Robert-
son was seen quickly walking down the carriage
" What fellow is that ?" demanded the parvenu
318 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
of his bailiff ; '* why, he's going across to the
workmen ; go directly and see what he wants,
and tell him, this is not a public road/'
Robertson had in the mean time accosted
the men, told them he was employed by Mr.
Howard to recover the property which had been
illegally sold, and warned them not to cut down
or touch the tree.
" But is it true, sir ?" asked an old man lean-
ing on his axe ; " will the Squire come back
again once more ?"
" What, have you not heard, my friend, that
he has now become quite a rich man, by the
death of Sir William Beaumont, and is deter-
mined to recover the old property ?"
" Hurrah ! then, for the young Squire,"
shouted the old man ; "I won't cut another
chip, till he comes back again."
" Why, he's here now, on this very groimd,"
" Then I'll go and find un out — come along,
lads ;" saying which, they shouldered their axes,
and walked away.
Mr. Owen was so indignant, watching these
proceedings, that he did not wait his bailiff's
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 319
return, but walking rapidly up to Robertson,
demanded his business, and how he dared set
foot on his property, and interfere with his work-
" I have yet to learn, sir," replied Robertson,
" whether it is your property or not ; and my
impression is, most decidedly, that you have no
just and legal title to it."
" Indeed, sir ! and pray who may you be, that
presume to question my right to that which I
have purchased with my own money ?"
" My name sir, is Robertson, Mr. Howard's
solicitor ; and I have come down with that
gentleman, who is at this moment occupied in
looking over the estate, to see if any waste or
damage has been committed by you since you
have been in this illegal possession of it. I
have also to trouble you with these notices of
appeal, which, being ignorant of your solicitor's
name, I am under the necessity of serving per-
sonally on yourself."
" I shall accept no documents of that sort,"
said Mr. Owen, pale with rage, and trembling
with ill- suppressed agitation.
" Oh, very well, just as you please," returned
320 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
Robertson ; " then I will send across to the town
for the policeman to witness my leaving the
notices at your house, which will do quite as
Not liking the idea of being thus publicly
served, the parvenu thought it more prudent to
draw in his horns a little, and offered to take
the papers, adding — " You are quite welcome to
try the case, sir," drawing out his well-filled
purse, which he held tauntingly before Robert-
" Just what we like to see, " exclaimed the
lawyer, rubbing his hands with glee ; "we will
soon ease you of some of your spare cash,
" I don't think Mr. Howard has much of that
commodity," repHed the man of money, with a
" There I must beg to undeceive you, sir,"
retorted Robertson ; " he has lately succeeded
to a very large sum of ready money in the funds.
We have already retained the most leading coun-
sel, and have our affidavits and evidence all ready,
to prove your collusion with Fussell and Crocker,
in the purchase of this property. And now, sir,
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 321
I have the pleasure of wishing you good morn-
" Stay a moment !" said Mr. Owen, now
thoroughly alarmed ; " will you walk into the
house and talk the matter over ?"
" As Mr. Howard is now waiting for me, sir,"
replied Robertson, " I must decline that honour ;
but I can tell you in few words my instructions :
that Mr. Howard is prepared and willing to hand
over to you without a day's delay, the sum you
paid for this property, and he gives you a week
from this time to consider his proposal, and if it
be not accepted, we shall proceed with the utmost
vigour and dispatch, to establish his claim. That
is all I have to say, sir."
" But who is to pay me," inquired Mr. Owen,
" for all the improvements, and money I have
laid out here ?"
"Alterations are not always improvements,"
replied Robertson, " and cutting down timber is
considered in a very different light ; but I have
no instructions- on this point, and must consult
my client, who purposes remaining at the inn
to-night ; any proposals, therefore, can be ad-
dressed to him or myself, before ten o'clock to-
VOL. III. Y
322 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
morrow morning, and I have little doubt Mr.
Howard will consent to reimburse any fair and rea-
sonable sum you may have expended in real and
bond fide improvements, but nothing beyond."
Mr. Owen chafed and fumed the whole day,
venting imprecations on Crocker and Fussell, for
having betrayed him ; but the idea of a Chancery
suit cooled his anger, and the same evening, he
had an interview with Robertson, which ended
in his agreeing to give up the property on being
paid his purchase money, and a sum which Harry
had consented, with Robertson's advice, to offer
for some improvements he had made.
" We cannot be compelled, sir," remarked the
lawyer, " to pay you one shilling on this latter
account, and only consent to do so on condition
that immediate possession is given to Mr. How-
ard within one month from this time ; but I do
not wish to dt^al harshly, and if you prefer the
week to consult with your legal advisers, it is at
your service — only, with the understanding that
we do not wait one hour beyond it."
" No, thank you," replied Mr. Owen, *' my
mind is made up, and 1 shall resign the property
THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD. 323
At the expiration of the appointed time, Harry
Howard, with his beloved wife and children, en-
tered again under his paternal roof amid the
joyful acclamations of their poor neighbours,
who assembled and joined together in hearty
cheers at the return of the rightful owner of
My tale has now drawn to a close, and little
remains to be added.
Robert Howard, bereft of all his property, save
a small annuity, by his obliging and artful friend
Smirke, remains still the same heartless, frivolous
character ; unaffected by the afflictions he has
caused others, or the ruin brought upon himself
by his reckless and dishonest conduct, al-
though far advanced in years, he yet retains the
vanity of his early days, harbouring the delusive
idea, even now, of making some grand matri-
Lord and Lady Barnard have, alas ! both gone
to that " bourne, whence no traveller returns ;"
but Julia, whose young heart was so deeply lace-
rated by her first lover's cruel desertion, eschew-
ing all mankind, remains Julia Barnard still.
John Power, little changed by the hand of
324 THE SQUIRE OF BEECHWOOD.
time, devotes himself as formerly to his favourite
pastime of fox-hunting ; and Dr. Howard is, as
heretofore, thundering forth his anathemas from
the pulpit, and preaching that charity which he
Mrs. Selwyn survived her husband many
years, and with Lady Beaumont passed a great
part of her time at Beechwood.
Thirty years have now elapsed since Harry
Howard stood at the altar with his beloved
Mary, and though they have shared affliction
and deep sorrow, it has only served to draw
them closer together ; and they still continue as
fervently and devotedly attached to each other
as on the day when they first became man and
J. Billing, Printer, 103, Hatton Garden, London, and Guildford, Surrey.
' '^'' ., i
•v2/'^ "" J
. 'i'^di^iFif^^' '.• '•&. ' '3
t'"^-^''V/*P" ■■:^ f^W-p: ,s