The History of Henry Esmond, by William Makepeace Thackeray

Chapter IX.

The Original of the Portrait Comes to England.

’Twas announced in the family that my Lord Castlewood would arrive, having a confidential French gentleman in his suite, who acted as secretary to his lordship, and who, being a Papist, and a foreigner of a good family, though now in rather a menial place, would have his meals served in his chamber, and not with the domestics of the house. The Viscountess gave up her bedchamber contiguous to her daughter’s, and having a large convenient closet attached to it, in which a bed was put up, ostensibly for Monsieur Baptiste, the Frenchman; though, ’tis needless to say, when the doors of the apartments were locked, and the two guests retired within it, the young viscount became the servant of the illustrious Prince whom he entertained, and gave up gladly the more convenient and airy chamber and bed to his master. Madam Beatrix also retired to the upper region, her chamber being converted into a sitting-room for my lord. The better to carry the deceit, Beatrix affected to grumble before the servants, and to be jealous that she was turned out of her chamber to make way for my lord.

No small preparations were made, you may be sure, and no slight tremor of expectation caused the hearts of the gentle ladies of Castlewood to flutter, before the arrival of the personages who were about to honor their house. The chamber was ornamented with flowers; the bed covered with the very finest of linen; the two ladies insisting on making it themselves, and kneeling down at the bedside and kissing the sheets out of respect for the web that was to hold the sacred person of a King. The toilet was of silver and crystal; there was a copy of “Eikon Basilike” laid on the writing-table; a portrait of the martyred King hung always over the mantel, having a sword of my poor Lord Castlewood underneath it, and a little picture or emblem which the widow loved always to have before her eyes on waking, and in which the hair of her lord and her two children was worked together. Her books of private devotions, as they were all of the English Church, she carried away with her to the upper apartment, which she destined for herself. The ladies showed Mr. Esmond, when they were completed, the fond preparations they had made. ’Twas then Beatrix knelt down and kissed the linen sheets. As for her mother, Lady Castlewood made a curtsy at the door, as she would have done to the altar on entering a church, and owned that she considered the chamber in a manner sacred.

The company in the servants’ hall never for a moment supposed that these preparations were made for any other person than the young viscount, the lord of the house, whom his fond mother had been for so many years without seeing. Both ladies were perfect housewives, having the greatest skill in the making of confections, scented waters, &c., and keeping a notable superintendence over the kitchen. Calves enough were killed to feed an army of prodigal sons, Esmond thought, and laughed when he came to wait on the ladies, on the day when the guests were to arrive, to find two pairs of the finest and roundest arms to be seen in England (my Lady Castlewood was remarkable for this beauty of her person), covered with flour up above the elbows, and preparing paste, and turning rolling-pins in the housekeeper’s closet. The guest would not arrive till supper-time, and my lord would prefer having that meal in his own chamber. You may be sure the brightest plate of the house was laid out there, and can understand why it was that the ladies insisted that they alone would wait upon the young chief of the family.

Taking horse, Colonel Esmond rode rapidly to Rochester, and there awaited the King in that very town where his father had last set his foot on the English shore. A room had been provided at an inn there for my Lord Castlewood and his servant; and Colonel Esmond timed his ride so well that he had scarce been half an hour in the place, and was looking over the balcony into the yard of the inn, when two travellers rode in at the inn gate, and the Colonel running down, the next moment embraced his dear young lord.

My lord’s companion, acting the part of a domestic, dismounted, and was for holding the viscount’s stirrup; but Colonel Esmond, calling to his own man, who was in the court, bade him take the horses and settle with the lad who had ridden the post along with the two travellers, crying out in a cavalier tone in the French language to my lord’s companion, and affecting to grumble that my lord’s fellow was a Frenchman, and did not know the money or habits of the country:—“My man will see to the horses, Baptiste,” says Colonel Esmond: “do you understand English?” “Very leetle!” “So, follow my lord and wait upon him at dinner in his own room.” The landlord and his people came up presently bearing the dishes; ’twas well they made a noise and stir in the gallery, or they might have found Colonel Esmond on his knee before Lord Castlewood’s servant, welcoming his Majesty to his kingdom, and kissing the hand of the King. We told the landlord that the Frenchman would wait on his master; and Esmond’s man was ordered to keep sentry in the gallery without the door. The Prince dined with a good appetite, laughing and talking very gayly, and condescendingly bidding his two companions to sit with him at table. He was in better spirits than poor Frank Castlewood, who Esmond thought might be woe-begone on account of parting with his divine Clotilda; but the Prince wishing to take a short siesta after dinner, and retiring to an inner chamber where there was a bed, the cause of poor Frank’s discomfiture came out; and bursting into tears, with many expressions of fondness, friendship, and humiliation, the faithful lad gave his kinsman to understand that he now knew all the truth, and the sacrifices which Colonel Esmond had made for him.

Seeing no good in acquainting poor Frank with that secret, Mr. Esmond had entreated his mistress also not to reveal it to her son. The Prince had told the poor lad all as they were riding from Dover: “I had as lief he had shot me, cousin,” Frank said: “I knew you were the best, and the bravest, and the kindest of all men” (so the enthusiastic young fellow went on); “but I never thought I owed you what I do, and can scarce bear the weight of the obligation.”

“I stand in the place of your father,” says Mr. Esmond, kindly, “and sure a father may dispossess himself in favor of his son. I abdicate the twopenny crown, and invest you with the kingdom of Brentford; don’t be a fool and cry; you make a much taller and handsomer viscount than ever I could.” But the fond boy, with oaths and protestations, laughter and incoherent outbreaks of passionate emotion, could not be got, for some little time, to put up with Esmond’s raillery; wanted to kneel down to him, and kissed his hand; asked him and implored him to order something, to bid Castlewood give his own life or take somebody else’s; anything, so that he might show his gratitude for the generosity Esmond showed him.

“The K— — HE laughed,” Frank said, pointing to the door where the sleeper was, and speaking in a low tone. “I don’t think he should have laughed as he told me the story. As we rode along from Dover, talking in French, he spoke about you, and your coming to him at Bar; he called you ‘le grand serieux,’ Don Bellianis of Greece, and I don’t know what names; mimicking your manner” (here Castlewood laughed himself)—“and he did it very well. He seems to sneer at everything. He is not like a king: somehow Harry, I fancy you are like a king. He does not seem to think what a stake we are all playing. He would have stopped at Canterbury to run after a barmaid there, had I not implored him to come on. He hath a house at Chaillot, where he used to go and bury himself for weeks away from the Queen, and with all sorts of bad company,” says Frank, with a demure look; “you may smile, but I am not the wild fellow I was; no, no, I have been taught better,” says Castlewood devoutly, making a sign on his breast.

“Thou art my dear brave boy,” says Colonel Esmond, touched at the young fellow’s simplicity, “and there will be a noble gentleman at Castlewood so long as my Frank is there.”

The impetuous young lad was for going down on his knees again, with another explosion of gratitude, but that we heard the voice from the next chamber of the august sleeper, just waking, calling out:—“Eh, La-Fleur, un verre d’eau!” His Majesty came out yawning:—“A pest,” says he, “upon your English ale, ’tis so strong that, ma foi, it hath turned my head.”

The effect of the ale was like a spur upon our horses, and we rode very quickly to London, reaching Kensington at nightfall. Mr. Esmond’s servant was left behind at Rochester, to take care of the tired horses, whilst we had fresh beasts provided along the road. And galloping by the Prince’s side the Colonel explained to the Prince of Wales what his movements had been; who the friends were that knew of the expedition; whom, as Esmond conceived, the Prince should trust; entreating him, above all, to maintain the very closest secrecy until the time should come when his Royal Highness should appear. The town swarmed with friends of the Prince’s cause; there were scores of correspondents with St. Germains; Jacobites known and secret; great in station and humble; about the Court and the Queen; in the Parliament, Church, and among the merchants in the City. The Prince had friends numberless in the army, in the Privy Council, and the Officers of State. The great object, as it seemed, to the small band of persons who had concerted that bold stroke, who had brought the Queen’s brother into his native country, was, that his visit should remain unknown till the proper time came, when his presence should surprise friends and enemies alike; and the latter should be found so unprepared and disunited, that they should not find time to attack him. We feared more from his friends than from his enemies. The lies and tittle-tattle sent over to St. Germains by the Jacobite agents about London, had done an incalculable mischief to his cause, and wofully misguided him, and it was from these especially, that the persons engaged in the present venture were anxious to defend the chief actor in it.9

9 The managers were the Bishop, who cannot be hurt by having his name mentioned, a very active and loyal Nonconformist Divine, a lady in the highest favor at Court, with whom Beatrix Esmond had communication, and two noblemen of the greatest rank, and a member of the House of Commons, who was implicated in more transactions than one in behalf of the Stuart family.

The party reached London by nightfall, leaving their horses at the Posting-House over against Westminster, and being ferried over the water, where Lady Esmond’s coach was already in waiting. In another hour we were all landed at Kensington, and the mistress of the house had that satisfaction which her heart had yearned after for many years, once more to embrace her son, who, on his side, with all his waywardness, ever retained a most tender affection for his parent.

She did not refrain from this expression of her feeling, though the domestics were by, and my Lord Castlewood’s attendant stood in the hall. Esmond had to whisper to him in French to take his hat off. Monsieur Baptiste was constantly neglecting his part with an inconceivable levity: more than once on the ride to London, little observations of the stranger, light remarks, and words betokening the greatest ignorance of the country the Prince came to govern, had hurt the susceptibility of the two gentlemen forming his escort; nor could either help owning in his secret mind that they would have had his behavior otherwise, and that the laughter and the lightness, not to say license, which characterized his talk, scarce befitted such a great Prince, and such a solemn occasion. Not but that he could act at proper times with spirit and dignity. He had behaved, as we all knew, in a very courageous manner on the field. Esmond had seen a copy of the letter the Prince had writ with his own hand when urged by his friends in England to abjure his religion, and admired that manly and magnanimous reply by which he refused to yield to the temptation. Monsieur Baptiste took off his hat, blushing at the hint Colonel Esmond ventured to give him, and said:—“Tenez, elle est jolie, la petite mere. Foi de Chevalier! elle est charmante; mais l’autre, qui est cette nymphe, cet astre qui brille, cette Diane qui descend sur nous?” And he started back, and pushed forward, as Beatrix was descending the stair. She was in colors for the first time at her own house; she wore the diamonds Esmond gave her; it had been agreed between them, that she should wear these brilliants on the day when the King should enter the house, and a Queen she looked, radiant in charms, and magnificent and imperial in beauty.

Castlewood himself was startled by that beauty and splendor; he stepped back and gazed at his sister as though he had not been aware before (nor was he very likely) how perfectly lovely she was, and I thought blushed as he embraced her. The Prince could not keep his eyes off her; he quite forgot his menial part, though he had been schooled to it, and a little light portmanteau prepared expressly that he should carry it. He pressed forward before my Lord Viscount. ’Twas lucky the servants’ eyes were busy in other directions, or they must have seen that this was no servant, or at least a very insolent and rude one.

Again Colonel Esmond was obliged to cry out, “Baptiste,” in a loud imperious voice, “have a care to the valise;” at which hint the wilful young man ground his teeth together with something very like a curse between them, and then gave a brief look of anything but pleasure to his Mentor. Being reminded, however, he shouldered the little portmanteau, and carried it up the stair, Esmond preceding him, and a servant with lighted tapers. He flung down his burden sulkily in the bedchamber:—“A Prince that will wear a crown must wear a mask,” says Mr. Esmond in French.

“Ah peste! I see how it is,” says Monsieur Baptiste, continuing the talk in French. “The Great Serious is seriously”—“alarmed for Monsieur Baptiste,” broke in the Colonel. Esmond neither liked the tone with which the Prince spoke of the ladies, nor the eyes with which he regarded them.

The bedchamber and the two rooms adjoining it, the closet and the apartment which was to be called my lord’s parlor, were already lighted and awaiting their occupier; and the collation laid for my lord’s supper. Lord Castlewood and his mother and sister came up the stair a minute afterwards, and, so soon as the domestics had quitted the apartment, Castlewood and Esmond uncovered, and the two ladies went down on their knees before the Prince, who graciously gave a hand to each. He looked his part of Prince much more naturally than that of servant, which he had just been trying, and raised them both with a great deal of nobility, as well as kindness in his air. “Madam,” says he, “my mother will thank your ladyship for your hospitality to her son; for you, madam,” turning to Beatrix, “I cannot bear to see so much beauty in such a posture. You will betray Monsieur Baptiste if you kneel to him; sure ’tis his place rather to kneel to you.”

A light shone out of her eyes; a gleam bright enough to kindle passion in any breast. There were times when this creature was so handsome, that she seemed, as it were, like Venus revealing herself a goddess in a flash of brightness. She appeared so now; radiant, and with eyes bright with a wonderful lustre. A pang, as of rage and jealousy, shot through Esmond’s heart, as he caught the look she gave the Prince; and he clenched his hand involuntarily and looked across to Castlewood, whose eyes answered his alarm-signal, and were also on the alert. The Prince gave his subjects an audience of a few minutes, and then the two ladies and Colonel Esmond quitted the chamber. Lady Castlewood pressed his hand as they descended the stair, and the three went down to the lower rooms, where they waited awhile till the travellers above should be refreshed and ready for their meal.

Esmond looked at Beatrix, blazing with her jewels on her beautiful neck. “I have kept my word,” says he: “And I mine,” says Beatrix, looking down on the diamonds.

“Were I the Mogul Emperor,” says the Colonel, “you should have all that were dug out of Golconda.”

“These are a great deal too good for me,” says Beatrix, dropping her head on her beautiful breast — “so are you all, all!” And when she looked up again, as she did in a moment, and after a sigh, her eyes, as they gazed at her cousin, wore that melancholy and inscrutable look which ’twas always impossible to sound.

When the time came for the supper, of which we were advertised by a knocking overhead, Colonel Esmond and the two ladies went to the upper apartment, where the Prince already was, and by his side the young Viscount, of exactly the same age, shape, and with features not dissimilar, though Frank’s were the handsomer of the two. The Prince sat down and bade the ladies sit. The gentlemen remained standing: there was, indeed, but one more cover laid at the table:—“Which of you will take it?” says he.

“The head of our house,” says Lady Castlewood, taking her son’s hand, and looking towards Colonel Esmond with a bow and a great tremor of the voice; “the Marquis of Esmond will have the honor of serving the King.”

“I shall have the honor of waiting on his Royal Highness,” says Colonel Esmond, filling a cup of wine, and, as the fashion of that day was, he presented it to the King on his knee.

“I drink to my hostess and her family,” says the Prince, with no very well-pleased air; but the cloud passed immediately off his face, and he talked to the ladies in a lively, rattling strain, quite undisturbed by poor Mr. Esmond’s yellow countenance, that, I dare say, looked very glum.

When the time came to take leave, Esmond marched homewards to his lodgings, and met Mr. Addison on the road that night, walking to a cottage he had at Fulham, the moon shining on his handsome serene face:—“What cheer, brother?” says Addison, laughing: “I thought it was a footpad advancing in the dark, and behold ’tis an old friend. We may shake hands, Colonel, in the dark, ’tis better than fighting by daylight. Why should we quarrel, because I am a Whig and thou art a Tory? Turn thy steps and walk with me to Fulham, where there is a nightingale still singing in the garden, and a cool bottle in a cave I know of; you shall drink to the Pretender if you like, and I will drink my liquor my own way: I have had enough of good liquor? — no, never! There is no such word as enough as a stopper for good wine. Thou wilt not come? Come any day, come soon. You know I remember Simois and the Sigeia tellus, and the praelia mixta mero, mixta mero,” he repeated, with ever so slight a touch of merum in his voice, and walked back a little way on the road with Esmond, bidding the other remember he was always his friend, and indebted to him for his aid in the “Campaign” poem. And very likely Mr. Under-Secretary would have stepped in and taken t’other bottle at the Colonel’s lodging, had the latter invited him, but Esmond’s mood was none of the gayest, and he bade his friend an inhospitable good-night at the door.

“I have done the deed,” thought he, sleepless, and looking out into the night; “he is here, and I have brought him; he and Beatrix are sleeping under the same roof now. Whom did I mean to serve in bringing him? Was it the Prince? was it Henry Esmond? Had I not best have joined the manly creed of Addison yonder, that scouts the old doctrine of right divine, that boldly declares that Parliament and people consecrate the Sovereign, not bishops, nor genealogies, nor oils, nor coronations.” The eager gaze of the young Prince, watching every movement of Beatrix, haunted Esmond and pursued him. The Prince’s figure appeared before him in his feverish dreams many times that night. He wished the deed undone for which he had labored so. He was not the first that has regretted his own act, or brought about his own undoing. Undoing? Should he write that word in his late years? No, on his knees before heaven, rather be thankful for what then he deemed his misfortune, and which hath caused the whole subsequent happiness of his life.

Esmond’s man, honest John Lockwood, had served his master and the family all his life, and the Colonel knew that he could answer for John’s fidelity as for his own. John returned with the horses from Rochester betimes the next morning, and the Colonel gave him to understand that on going to Kensington, where he was free of the servants’ hall, and indeed courting Miss Beatrix’s maid, he was to ask no questions, and betray no surprise, but to vouch stoutly that the young gentleman he should see in a red coat there was my Lord Viscount Castlewood, and that his attendant in gray was Monsieur Baptiste the Frenchman. He was to tell his friends in the kitchen such stories as he remembered of my Lord Viscount’s youth at Castlewood; what a wild boy he was; how he used to drill Jack and cane him, before ever he was a soldier; everything, in fine, he knew respecting my Lord Viscount’s early days. Jack’s ideas of painting had not been much cultivated during his residence in Flanders with his master; and, before my young lord’s return, he had been easily got to believe that the picture brought over from Paris, and now hanging in Lady Castlewood’s drawing-room, was a perfect likeness of her son, the young lord. And the domestics having all seen the picture many times, and catching but a momentary imperfect glimpse of the two strangers on the night of their arrival, never had a reason to doubt the fidelity of the portrait; and next day, when they saw the original of the piece habited exactly as he was represented in the painting, with the same periwig, ribbons, and uniform of the Guard, quite naturally addressed the gentleman as my Lord Castlewood, my Lady Viscountess’s son.

The secretary of the night previous was now the viscount; the viscount wore the secretary’s gray frock; and John Lockwood was instructed to hint to the world below stairs that my lord being a Papist, and very devout in that religion, his attendant might be no other than his chaplain from Bruxelles; hence, if he took his meals in my lord’s company there was little reason for surprise. Frank was further cautioned to speak English with a foreign accent, which task he performed indifferently well, and this caution was the more necessary because the Prince himself scarce spoke our language like a native of the island: and John Lockwood laughed with the folks below stairs at the manner in which my lord, after five years abroad, sometimes forgot his own tongue, and spoke it like a Frenchman. “I warrant,” says he, “that, with the English beef and beer, his lordship will soon get back the proper use of his mouth;” and, to do his new lordship justice, he took to beer and beef very kindly.

The Prince drank so much, and was so loud and imprudent in his talk after his drink, that Esmond often trembled for him. His meals were served as much as possible in his own chamber, though frequently he made his appearance in Lady Castlewood’s parlor and drawing-room, calling Beatrix “sister,” and her ladyship “mother,” or “madam” before the servants. And, choosing to act entirely up to the part of brother and son, the Prince sometimes saluted Mrs. Beatrix and Lady Castlewood with a freedom which his secretary did not like, and which, for his part, set Colonel Esmond tearing with rage.

The guests had not been three days in the house when poor Jack Lockwood came with a rueful countenance to his master, and said: “My Lord — that is the gentleman — has been tampering with Mrs. Lucy (Jack’s sweetheart), and given her guineas and a kiss.” I fear that Colonel Esmond’s mind was rather relieved than otherwise when he found that the ancillary beauty was the one whom the Prince had selected. His royal tastes were known to lie that way, and continued so in after life. The heir of one of the greatest names, of the greatest kingdoms, and of the greatest misfortunes in Europe, was often content to lay the dignity of his birth and grief at the wooden shoes of a French chambermaid, and to repent afterwards (for he was very devout) in ashes taken from the dust-pan. ’Tis for mortals such as these that nations suffer, that parties struggle, that warriors fight and bleed. A year afterwards gallant heads were falling, and Nithsdale in escape, and Derwentwater on the scaffold; whilst the heedless ingrate, for whom they risked and lost all, was tippling with his seraglio of mistresses in his petite maison of Chaillot.

Blushing to be forced to bear such an errand, Esmond had to go to the Prince and warn him that the girl whom his Highness was bribing was John Lockwood’s sweetheart, an honest resolute man, who had served in six campaigns, and feared nothing, and who knew that the person calling himself Lord Castlewood was not his young master: and the Colonel besought the Prince to consider what the effect of a single man’s jealousy might be, and to think of other designs he had in hand, more important than the seduction of a waiting-maid, and the humiliation of a brave man.

Ten times, perhaps, in the course of as many days, Mr. Esmond had to warn the royal young adventurer of some imprudence or some freedom. He received these remonstrances very testily, save perhaps in this affair of poor Lockwood’s, when he deigned to burst out a-laughing, and said, “What! the soubrette has peached to the amoureux, and Crispin is angry, and Crispin has served, and Crispin has been a corporal, has he? Tell him we will reward his valor with a pair of colors, and recompense his fidelity.”

Colonel Esmond ventured to utter some other words of entreaty, but the Prince, stamping imperiously, cried out, “Assez, milord: je m’ennuye a la preche; I am not come to London to go to the sermon.” And he complained afterwards to Castlewood, that “le petit jaune, le noir Colonel, le Marquis Misanthrope” (by which facetious names his Royal Highness was pleased to designate Colonel Esmond), “fatigued him with his grand airs and virtuous homilies.”

The Bishop of Rochester, and other gentlemen engaged in the transaction which had brought the Prince over, waited upon his Royal Highness, constantly asking for my Lord Castlewood on their arrival at Kensington, and being openly conducted to his Royal Highness in that character, who received them either in my lady’s drawing-room below, or above in his own apartment; and all implored him to quit the house as little as possible, and to wait there till the signal should be given for him to appear. The ladies entertained him at cards, over which amusement he spent many hours in each day and night. He passed many hours more in drinking, during which time he would rattle and talk very agreeably, and especially if the Colonel was absent, whose presence always seemed to frighten him; and the poor “Colonel Noir” took that hint as a command accordingly, and seldom intruded his black face upon the convivial hours of this august young prisoner. Except for those few persons of whom the porter had the list, Lord Castlewood was denied to all friends of the house who waited on his lordship. The wound he had received had broke out again from his journey on horseback, so the world and the domestics were informed. And Doctor A— — 10 his physician (I shall not mention his name, but he was physician to the Queen, of the Scots nation, and a man remarkable for his benevolence as well as his wit), gave orders that he should be kept perfectly quiet until the wound should heal. With this gentleman, who was one of the most active and influential of our party, and the others before spoken of, the whole secret lay; and it was kept with so much faithfulness, and the story we told so simple and natural, that there was no likelihood of a discovery except from the imprudence of the Prince himself, and an adventurous levity that we had the greatest difficulty to control. As for Lady Castlewood, although she scarce spoke a word, ’twas easy to gather from her demeanor, and one or two hints she dropped, how deep her mortification was at finding the hero whom she had chosen to worship all her life (and whose restoration had formed almost the most sacred part of her prayers), no more than a man, and not a good one. She thought misfortune might have chastened him; but that instructress had rather rendered him callous than humble. His devotion, which was quite real, kept him from no sin he had a mind to. His talk showed good-humor, gayety, even wit enough; but there was a levity in his acts and words that he had brought from among those libertine devotees with whom he had been bred, and that shocked the simplicity and purity of the English lady, whose guest he was. Esmond spoke his mind to Beatrix pretty freely about the Prince, getting her brother to put in a word of warning. Beatrix was entirely of their opinion; she thought he was very light, very light and reckless; she could not even see the good looks Colonel Esmond had spoken of. The Prince had bad teeth, and a decided squint. How could we say he did not squint? His eyes were fine, but there was certainly a cast in them. She rallied him at table with wonderful wit; she spoke of him invariably as of a mere boy; she was more fond of Esmond than ever, praised him to her brother, praised him to the Prince, when his Royal Highness was pleased to sneer at the Colonel, and warmly espoused his cause: “And if your Majesty does not give him the Garter his father had, when the Marquis of Esmond comes to your Majesty’s court, I will hang myself in my own garters, or will cry my eyes out.” “Rather than lose those,” says the Prince, “he shall be made Archbishop and Colonel of the Guard” (it was Frank Castlewood who told me of this conversation over their supper).

10 There can be very little doubt that the Doctor mentioned by my dear father was the famous Dr. Arbuthnot. — R. E. W.

“Yes,” cries she, with one of her laughs — I fancy I hear it now. Thirty years afterwards I hear that delightful music. “Yes, he shall be Archbishop of Esmond and Marquis of Canterbury.”

“And what will your ladyship be?” says the Prince; “you have but to choose your place.”

“I,” says Beatrix, “will be mother of the maids to the Queen of his Majesty King James the Third — Vive le Roy!” and she made him a great curtsy, and drank a part of a glass of wine in his honor.

“The Prince seized hold of the glass and drank the last drop of it,” Castlewood said, “and my mother, looking very anxious, rose up and asked leave to retire. But that Trix is my mother’s daughter, Harry,” Frank continued, “I don’t know what a horrid fear I should have of her. I wish — I wish this business were over. You are older than I am, and wiser, and better, and I owe you everything, and would die for you — before George I would; but I wish the end of this were come.”

Neither of us very likely passed a tranquil night; horrible doubts and torments racked Esmond’s soul: ’twas a scheme of personal ambition, a daring stroke for a selfish end — he knew it. What cared he, in his heart, who was King? Were not his very sympathies and secret convictions on the other side — on the side of People, Parliament, Freedom? And here was he, engaged for a Prince that had scarce heard the word liberty; that priests and women, tyrants by nature, both made a tool of. The misanthrope was in no better humor after hearing that story, and his grim face more black and yellow than ever.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 19:07