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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-01-14 21:33:58
Typefacelarge in Small
Your Grace had better rectify it,” says Mr. Webb, holding out the letter; but he was five off his Grace the Prince Duke, who, besides, was higher than the General (being seated with the Prince of Savoy, the Electoral Prince of Hanover, and the envoys of Prussia and Denmark, under a baldaquin), and Webb could not reach him, tall as he was.

Chapter 1 An Account of the Family of Esmond of Castlewood Ha

As for the old Dowager of Chelsey, never was an old woman in all England more delighted nor more gracious than she. Esmond had his quarters in her ladyship’s house, where the domestics were instructed to consider him as their master. She bade him give entertainments, of which she defrayed the charges, and was charmed when his guests were carried away tipsy in their coaches. She must have his picture taken; and accordingly he was painted by Mr. Jervas, in his red coat, and smiling upon a bomb-shell, which was bursting at the corner of the piece. She vowed that unless he made a great match, she should never die easy, and was for ever bringing young ladies to Chelsey, with pretty faces and pretty fortunes, at the disposal of the Colonel. He smiled to think how times were altered with him, and of the early days in his father’s lifetime, when a trembling page he stood before her, with her ladyship’s basin and ewer, or crouched in her coach-step. The only fault she found with him was, that he was more sober than an Esmond ought to be; and would neither be carried to bed by his valet, nor lose his heart to any beauty, whether of St. James’s or Covent Garden.

I do not like to use bad words of a nobleman,” says Westbury; but if my Lord Mohun were a commoner, I would say, ’twas a pity he was not hanged. He was familiar with dice and women at a time other boys are at school being birched; he was as wicked as the oldest rake, years ere he had done growing; and handled a sword and a foil, and a bloody one, too, before he ever used a razor. He held poor Will Mountford in talk that night, when bloody Dick Hill ran him through. He will come to a bad end, will that young lord; and no end is bad enough for him,” says honest Mr. Westbury: whose prophecy was fulfilled twelve years after, upon that fatal day when Mohun fell, dragging down one of the bravest and greatest gentlemen in England in his fall.

Meanwhile, it has been said, that for Harry Esmond his benefactress’s sweet face had lost none of its charms. It had always the kindest of looks and smiles for him — smiles, not so gay and artless perhaps as those which Lady Castlewood had formerly worn, when, a child herself, playing with her children, her husband’s pleasure and authority were all she thought of; but out of her griefs and cares, as will happen I think when these trials fall upon a kindly heart, and are not too unbearable, grew up a number of thoughts and excellences which had never come into existence, had not her sorrow and misfortunes engendered them. Sure, occasion is the father of most that is good in us. As you have seen the awkward fingers and clumsy tools of a prisoner cut and fashion the most delicate little pieces of carved work; or achieve the most prodigious underground labors, and cut through walls of masonry, and saw iron bars and fetters; ’tis misfortune that awakens ingenuity, or fortitude, or endurance, in hearts where these qualities had never come to life but for the circumstance which gave them a being.

I cannot help my birth, madam,” he said, nor my other misfortune. And as for your boy, if — if my coming nigh to him pollutes him now, it was not so always. Good-night, my lord. Heaven bless you and yours for your goodness to me. I have tired her ladyship’s kindness out, and I will go;” and, sinking down on his knee, Harry Esmond took the rough hand of his benefactor and kissed it.

And the successes with which the French began the campaign of 1708 served to give strength to these reports of treason, which were in everybody’s mouth. Our general allowed the enemy to get between us and Ghent, and declined to attack him, though for eight and forty hours the armies were in presence of each other. Ghent was taken, and on the same day Monsieur de la Mothe summoned Bruges; and these two great cities fell into the hands of the French without firing a shot. A few days afterwards La Mothe seized upon the fort of Plashendall: and it began to be supposed that all Spanish Flanders, as well as Brabant, would fall into the hands of the French troops; when the Prince Eugene arrived from the Mozelle, and then there was no more shilly-shallying.

And thou wouldst be a fool for thy pains, kinsman,” said my lord. Tut, tut, man. Go and see the world. Sow thy wild oats; and take the best luck that Fate sends thee. I wish I were a boy again, that I might go to college, and taste the Trumpington ale.”


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