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England, and on the breaking out of the Great



192 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

Rebellion appointed him Lientenant-General of
the Royal Forces in the North. His son and
successor, Sir Thomas, having taken a leading
part in bringing about the Restoration, was made
by Charles II. Treasurer of the Navy and Lord
High Treasurer of the Kingdom, and was also
raised to the English and Scottish Peerage as
Lord Kiveton, Viscount Dunblane, and Earl of
Dan by. His lordship took a leading part as
chairman of the committee of the House of Peers
which, on the abdication of James II., in 1688,
declared the throne vacant, and in that capacity
warmly advocated the bestowal of the crown on
the Prince and Princess of Orange conjointly ;
he was consequently raised in 1689 to the Mar-
quisate of Carmarthen, and five years later to
the Dukedom of Leeds, which thus crowned the
fortunes of the lineal descendants and repre-
sentatives of that Edward Osborne who, just a
century before, had left his native town of Ash-
ford to enter as an " apprentice " the household
of Sir William Hewitt.

The ducal house of Leeds still continues to
thrive and flourish, and its members to this day
hold that the adventure of Edward Osborne on
London Bridge was the first of a series of successes
which retrieved the at one time doubtful pro-
spects of the old Kentish family whom I



TIJE DUCAL HOUSE OF LEEDS. 193

mentioned at the beginning of this paper. Since
that day, as generation after generation has
succeeded, the Dukes of Leeds have absorbed
into their line the representation, in part or
entire, of the noble houses of Conyers, D'Arcy,
and Godolphiu, to say nothing of more than one
descent from the royal house of Plantagenet.
But who shall say that the honest and brave
apprentice who saved fair Mistress Anne Hewitt
from a watery grave is not well worthy to be
mentioned in the roll of the house of Osborne,
side by side with all and any of them, as one of
those ancestors of whom its members have good
reason still to be most proud ?



VOL. I.



194



AN EPISODE IN THE HISTORY OF THE
CATHCARTS.



IF any of my readers will turn to the Cathcart
title in the pages of " Bnrke's Peerage," he
will see that the grandfather of the first Earl Oath-
cart, who was comraander-in-chief of the expedi-
tion to Copenhagen in 1807, stands recorded as
having been Charles, the eighth holder of the
ancient Scottish Barony of Cathcart. This barony
was conferred in 1447 by James II , of Scotland,
on Sir Alan Cathcart. great-great-grandson of
another Sir Alan whose valour at the battle of
Loudoun Hill, in 1307, is thus immortalised in
the ballad :

" A knight that then was in his route,
Worthy and widht, stalwart and stout,
Courteous and fair, and of good fame,
Sir Ala i Cathcart was his name."



EPISODE IN THE HOUSE OF CATHCART. 195

Several of this Sir Alan Cathcart's descendants
fell on the battle field; for instance, one at
Flodden, and another at Pinkie, both of whom
were named Alan. In fact the first of the line
for four hundred years who was not named Alan
by his godfather and godmother at the font, was
Charles, the eighth baron, who died in 1740, in the
West Indies, whilst acting as commander-in-chief
of the British forces. Sir Bernard Burke tells us
that this nobleman was twice married ; but he is
very uncommunicative about his second matri-
monial union, saying merely that he "married
secondly no date is given Mrs Sabine, widow
of Joseph Sabine, Esq., of Tring, but by that lady
(who married after his decease Lieut. Col.
Maguire), he had no issue." In a foot-note he adds
" This is the lady of whom the extraordinary
story is told of her having been confined for
many years by her last husband, Col. Maguire, in
a lonely castle in the fastnesses of Ireland." The
details of this romantic story I am able to supply,
and I trust they will act as a warning to charm-
ing widows not to think of marrying more than
twice or thrice.

Lady Cathcart's Christian name I am unable
to give, but she was one of the four daughters of
a certain Mr. Malyn, or Malin, of Southwark, ap-
parently a prosperous tradesman, who had a

2



196 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

country villa at Battersea. I have ascertained
that she made no less than four adventures on
the stormy sea of matrimony, but still she rather
outwitted herself in one of her ventures. Her
first husband was a certain Mr. James Fleet, of
the City of London, who is generally thought to
have been the son and heir of Sir John Fleet,
the same who filled the civic chair as Lord Mayor
in 1693. All that I know about him is that he
was lord of the manor of Tewing or Tewin, in
Hertfordshire probably confused by Burke with
Tring, in the same county; and that on his
death, while still young, she took as her second
" lord and master " one of his and her own near
neighbours, a Capt. Sabine, younger brother to
Gen. Joseph Sabine, of Queenhoo Hall, in Tewin.
In 1738 I find her left again a widow, and quite at
her own disposal ; for she had no children or
other incumbrances ; and, as both of her husbands
had been fairly well off, it is clear that the widow
was not a bad speculation, even for

" A lord, with a coronet of gold
And garter below the knee."

Accordingly, in 1739, she accepted the proposals
of Lord Cathcart, who died, as I have said, before
the end of the following year whilst in command
of our troops in Dominica. It would have been



EPISODE IN THE HOUSE OF CATHCART. 197

well indeed for her if on his death she had re-
solved to give up all further thoughts of conjugal
felicity.

But this was not to be. For three long years
she wore widow's weeds, and no doubt wore them
very becomingly, added to which she was only a
little over five and thirty; and, as everybody
knows, few women will own to that being " any
age at all." But at the end of three years she
met with a certain Irish gentleman, who so far
captivated her fancy that, although he held, or
said he held, a commission in the army of the
Queen of Hungary, she bought for him a commis-
sion as Lieutenant-Colonel in the British service.

I am able to record her motives for entering into
these four successive connections. Her first mar-
riage she contracted in order to please her
parents, the second for money, and the third for
a coronet and title. As for the fourth marriage,
she would often say late in life, when she could
afford to jest on such a subject, that she supposed
that " the devil owed her a grudge, and wished
to punish her for her sins." It may be pre-
sumed from what follows that in this supposition
she was not very far wrong. It was also said
that she managed to rule Lord Cathcart, but that
in Colonel Hugh Maguire she at last met with her
match, and perhaps something more. The



198 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

Hibernian fortune-hunter, like others of our
own day, wanted only her money. She had
not been married to him many weeks when she
found out that he cared not a straw for her, but
only for her purse, her jointure, and her dia-
monds. Apprehending that he had made a plan
for carrying her off forcibly, or to put her into a
madhouse in order to possess himself of her
property, she resolved to be " on the safe side,"
and accordingly contrived to secret some of her
jewels in the tresses of her long dark hair, which
she plaited rather carefully. Others she, "quilted"
in the lining of her petticoats, and constantly
wore them on her body, though in daily danger
of losing them thereby. The colonel had a
clever friend at hand to help him, a chdre amie of
tender years, whom he had trained for his own
purposes ; and this young lady contrived so far to
insinuate herself into the lady's confidence as to
discover where her will was kept, and to reveal
its whereabouts to the colonel, who of course got
a sight of it, and, finding that it was not wholly in
his own favour, drew out a pistol and threatened
once and again to shoot her.

She now lived in constant fear and dread of
her caro sposo, though she does not seem to have
plucked up enough courage to bolt off from him,
and to appeal to her relatives for protection.



EPISODE IN THE HOUSE OF CA.THCART. 199

In fact, she grew awfully nervous whenever
he approached her presence, and life began to be
a burden to her.

One day her apprehensions proved not to be
altogether groundless, for when the loving pair
went out to take their daily airing in the family
coach, and she proposed that the coachman should
turn the horses' heads homewards, her husband
showed his dissent in a rather demonstrative
manner, and desired John to drive on further.
On and on the coachman drove, and the horses
trotted ; and in vain she remonstrated that they
should never be back at Tewin for dinner, though
she had a lady coming to dine. At length the
colonel, pulling out a pocket pistol, told her that
she might make herself quite easy about dining
at home ; for " My dear, we are on our way to
Chester, and to Chester you shall go with me,
whether you like or no." Her expostulations
were in vain, and vain too were her efforts, for
the servants were in league with their master,
who had bribed them with some of her gold.

Day after day passed by, and neither coach
nor horses, nor the colonel, nor his lady appeared
at Tewin. The neighbours began to suspect
that something was wrong, and made inquiry.
It was ascertained that on the evening of the day
when they were missed, the colonel and his wife



200 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

were seen twelve or fifteen miles from home,
with the horses' heads turned to the north, and
the colonel gesticulating as if in a passion with
his wife. So they consulted a magistrate in the
neighbourhood, who advised that an attorney
should be sent after him, armed with one of
those legal weapons known as writs of "Habeas
corpus," and "Xe exeat regno." The attorney,
accompanied by his clerk, was soon upon their
track ; and as they had travelled with their own
horses and by easy stages, he came up with the
fugitives before they reached Chester. At a
wayside inn, where they were baiting their
horses, he presented himself to the landlord, and
asked for the room where the runaway couple
were lunching. But the colonel was not deficient
in expedients. The attorney was admitted by
the gentleman, who at first refused to let him see
his lady, and threatened him with personal
violence. But soon cooling down, on finding
that the man of law did not know the lady by
sight, he said that if he waited a few minutes
he should see her and speak to her, adding
" she is going to Ireland with me with her free
consent." It did not take many minutes for the
colonel to tutor the pretty chambermaid of the
inn to personate his wife. On coming into the
room, she bowed graciously, and inquired what



EPISODE IN THE HOUSE OF CATHCART. 201

the lawyer wanted of her. The attorney, as
instructed by his employers, asked the supposed
captive whether she was going off to Ireland of
her own free will ? " Perfectly so," said the
woman, "what more do you want ?" "Nothing,
madam," was the answer of the limb of the law,
who was glad enough to escape from the room,
and beg and obtain her pardon for making such
a mistake ; and in another half hour he was off
on his way back to Hertfordshire, if not having
done his business, at all events having earned his
pay. So at least he thought.

But the colonel was not so easily satisfied. It
struck him that possibly the attorney might re-
cover his senses and find out how he had been
deceived, and so turn up again " like a bad
penny," and perhaps delay or even stop his
progress towards the sister isle ; so, in order to
make assurance doubly sure, he sent after him
two or three stout fellows armed with bludgeons,
telling them at the same time to plunder him not
only of his purse, but also, above all, of the
papers in his pocket. They followed Mr.
Attorney, caught him up in a lonety part of the
road, and faithfully executed their commission,
for they knocked him about severely, and with
threats of further injury carried off in triumph



202 TALES OP OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

the pieces of parchment, which they speedily
brought back to the inn.

When the colonel found the two writs actually
in his possession, he knew that at length he was
safe ; and so he pursued his journey, not to
Gretna. but to Ireland, the lady not daring to
open her lips or show any further sign of an
untractable nature.

Poor woman. At Holyhead she was taken on
board a fishing smack, and landed after a stormy
passage in one of the lesser Irish seaports, where
there were no police or Custom House officers to
make awkward inquiries or to take notes; and
as there were no telegraphs or newspapers, or
other means of rapid communication between
the two sides of the Channel, the colonel had no
difficulty in completing his journey and bringing
the lady to the abode which he had destined for
her reception. This was a lonely and moated
mansion, far away from a town, and well out of
the reach of inquisitive and inconvenient neigh-
bours. Indeed it is said that except the
butcher's cart, which visited the place about once
in ten days, nothing on feet or on wheels ever
entered its gates, and that the grass grew thick
upon the drive leading up to the front door.
Two trusty keepers, a man and his wife, kept
watch and ward night and day, upon the un-



EPISODE IN THE HOUSE OF CATHCART. 203

fortunate lady, who was regarded by them as
a sort of amiable lunatic, and treated according! 3%
though with extreme politeness.

That she was not, however, quite a lunatic
Lady Cathcart showed in a very marked way ; or,
if she was insane, there was " method " and some-
thing more " in her madness." Whilst in this
state of confinement she was occasionally allowed
to walk about the grounds, though the park gates
were closed upon her, and she could not scale the
park walls. One poor old woman came once a
week to dig up the weeds which grew along the
garden path ; and of her she contrived to make
a friend. Through this crone she managed to
send the jewels which she had worn in her hair
and in the quilting of her petticoats to an
acquaintance of former years, by whom they were
carefully and honestly preserved.

At last after several years, namely, in 1764,
a release came to the unhappy prisoner. The
colonel had a fit in the night, and was found at
daybreak dead in his bed. That morning saw her
a free woman. It was necessary to communicate
his death to his kith and kin in order that ar-
rangements might be made for his funeral. They
came to the house, and found his widow anxious
and ready to quit the spot where she had been so
long immured ; and they, on their part, were



204 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

glad to come into a bit of property, even if it
were only the lease of a lonely and tumble-down
old grange. So she found her way to Dublin,
where her jewels were restored to her, and the
sale of one of them was sufficient to pay the
expense of her journey by ship and the " stage
waggon " back to Hertfordshire. She made her
way to her former residence at Tewin ; but the
dinner to which she and her husband were to
have sat down on the eventful day of their flight
was, of course, no longer on the table ; indeed
during her forced absence in Ireland the place
had been let on lease by the colonel to a " re-
sponsible" tenant; arid this gentleman declined
to turn out until forced to do so by a writ of
ejectment, which she brought at the next Hert-
fordshire assizes. She attended these assizes in
person, and the news of the success of her suit
was greeted with cheers by large crowds of the
good people of Tewin, who insisted on taking
the horses out of her carriage and drawing
her in triumph through the streets of Hert-
ford.

She lived on for many years at Tewin, where
she kept, open house for her neighbours, and
played a rubber at whist with all and any of them.
Late in life she wore a sort of turban, which,
though eccentric in its make, suited her features



EPISODE IN THE HOUSE OF CATHCART. 205

well ; and it is among the traditions of the county
that when long upwards of eighty, she danced a
minuet at the Assembly Rooms at Welwyu with
the spirit of a young woman of a quarter of that
age. What is better authenticated is that, in
1783, Lady Cathcart gave an annuity of 5 to
Tewin School, and that she died in 1780 in
the ninety-ninth year of her age. She lies
buried in Tewin Church, and the property,
which once was her own, now belongs to Lord
Cowper.

It will be remembered by readers of Miss
Edgworth's novels, that the story of Lady Oath-
cart's imprisonment is introduced by her under
another name, into her humorous Irish tale of
"Castle Rackrent." They will not forget how
the scapegrace, Sir Kit Rackrent, marries a
yonng English lady for the sake of her fortune,
and brings her to Ireland, where he affects to
quarrel with her because she professes to dislike
sausages, and cannot endure to see pork on the
table : the real cause of offence, however, being
that she refuses to let him have possession of a
diamond trinket, which she keeps about her per-
son. In his well-feigned rage on the score of
the sausages, he locks the lady up in her room,
and keeps her in close confinement, until one
day Sir Kit is brought home dead on a barrow,



206 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

having been killed in a duel, when the lady re-
gains her liberty.

The story of Lady Cathcart has also been
told by Dr. W. Chambers, in a little topogra-
phical book, entitled " A Week at Welwyn."



207



AN EPISODE IN THE NOBLE HOUSE
OF HASTINGS.



IN the whole compass of the history of the
British aristocracy it would be a difficult task
to find a more strange and eccentric personage than
the Hon. Henry Hastings hermit, sportsman,
and centenarian in one the second son of George,
fourth Earl of Huntingdon, a cotemporary of
Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I. The main
facts of his life, and the leading features of his
character were for a long time to be found only
among the musty manuscripts of Anthony
Ashley Cooper, the celebrated Earl of Shaftes-
bury, in the British Museum. Some of them,
however, are pourtrayed in the " Biographia
Britannica," and others are to be found in the
" Fragment of an Autobiography " by Lord
Shaftesbury, published a few years since by Mr.



208 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

W. D. Christie ; while for the rest, again, we
must have recourse to the pages of that scarce
aud curious book, " The Eccentric."

Mr. Hastings is described by Lord Shaftes-
bury as being "of Woodlands," a mansion and
estate in Dorsetshire, which he appears to have
owned. But, instead of residing like a gentle-
man, on his own property, he preferred, as I have
already hinted, the life of a hermit, combining
with it that of a sportsman, and accordingly fixed
his abode in the New Forest, over which King
James gave him a forester's rights, assigning him
also a lodge in its green glades to dwell in. In
all probability the reason of his strange hermit
life was a disappointmeut in love, which had
thrown a dark shadow over his early years. As
he died in A.D. IGoi), he must have first seen the
light of day in 1529, if there be any truth in the
assertion that he was a hundred and ten years
old at the date of his decease. Of this fact, how-
ever, there is no certain proof, for the parish
registers in the days of our Stuart sovereigns
were kept but carelessly at best ; and I have no
wish to take up the cudgels and fight over again
the vexed question of " centenarianisin."

It may be supposed that, singing as he did the
good old song, " A life in the woods for me,"
Henry Hastings kept clear of politics, and blessed



EPISODE IN THE HOUSE OF HASTINGS. 209

his stars that he had not been born an eldest son,
and so forced to wear a coronet. His business
and tactics lay in quite another direction ; and
Lord Shaftesbury gives us an amusing peep into
the interior of the Hampshire forester's lodge.
He says : " His home was of the old fashion, in
the midst of a park well-stocked with deer, and
near the house rabbits to serve his kitchen ; many
fish ponds too, and a great store of wood and
timber. ... He kept all manner of sport-hounds
that ran buck, fox, hare, otter, and badger ; and
hawks, long and short-winged ; he had also all
sorts of nets for fishing ; he had a walk in the
New Forest, and the manor of Christ Church.
This last supplied him with red deer and river
fish, but all his neighbours' grounds and royalties
were free to him." In fact, he seems pretty well
to have realised in his person Pope's idea of the
" noble savage" ranging free " in the woods." We
are sorry to add, however, that, in spite of his
lonely life, he did not bear the very best of cha-
racters.

His hall was strewn with marrow-bones, full of
hawks' perches, hounds, spaniels, and terriers,
and his walls were hung around with the skins
of foxes, polecats, rats, and other vermin, which
he nailed to the panels. There always stood two
large arm-chairs near his fire-place, and it was

VOL. i. p



210 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

seldom that they were not occupied with litters
of puppies and kittens, which he would on no
account allow to be disturbed while in possession.
At table he always took a very spare and frugal
meal, limiting himself to a single glass of beer
or wine. But he never dined unattended by
his dogs and cats, to keep which in order he
always had laid before his "trencher" a little
white stick or wand some fourteen inches long.
The windows and corners of his room, Lord
Shaftesbury tells us, were filled up with arrows,
cross-bows, hunting poles, hawks' hoods and
bells, and last (not least) with rows of old green
and greasy hats, with their crowns thrust in so
as to hold ten or a dozen pheasants' eggs. He
made it a point of duty and honour to have
at dinner daily all the year round a plate of
oysters, which came to him from the neighbouring
town of Poole. At the end of the apartment,
which served as his parlour and primitive dining
hall, there were two doors, the one of which led
to his beer and wine closet, and the other into a
a room which had been designed as a chapel.
But, although a fine Bible, and Foxe's " Book
of Martyrs " both lay there in due form, he did
not use the place for the purposes of devotion;
indeed, if the truth must be told, it was no un-
common thing to find a hen turkey sitting in



EPISODE IN THE HOUSE OF HASTINGS. 211

what ought to have served as a pulpit. When
the pulpit was not required for the hen turkey's
wants, he would use it as a storehouse for a gam-
mon of bacon, a venison past) 7 , or a baked apple-
pie, of which he was particularly fond.

The rest of the furniture of the house was as
old and as strange as its master ; and, as he kept
no wife or servants, he could " do as he pleased
with his own." He liked, however, a friend of
his own sphere and rank of life to "drop in"
upon him occasionally, especially on a Friday,
when " he had the best of sea and fresh water
fish," and a " London pudding " by way of cheer.
Occasionally, too, he would leave his solitude and
go over to Hanley to play bowls with Lord
Shaftesbury and other Dorsetshire gentlemen.
This, however, did not often happen ; for, nearly
related though he was to him, Lord Shaftesbury
held principles quite opposed to his own, so that
they seldom met except to quarrel. In fact, as a
writer in the " Eccentric" remarks, " two men
could not be more opposite in their dispositions
and pursuits ; for Henry Hastings, though king-
appointed, was an independent character to the
backbone, and Lord Shaftesbury used to declare
that he never could bear the brutality of his
manners, for he was fit only to live by himself
as a hopeless misanthrope."

P 2



212 TALES OF OUR GREAT FAMILIES.

In the inclosure which he fenced off from the
surrounding park and forest, though he lived so
solitary a life, he contrived to make a bowling-
green, where he would play for hours by himself,
chalking up the scores of " right against left ;"
and he must have kept himself au courant with
the fashions of the day, if it be true that his
footpaths were strown with the fragments of old
tobacco pipes, since the " noxious weed" was
scarcely known in England when he was a boy.
To keep up the pleasant delusion that he had
company with him, he built in his garden a
banqueting room, where, seated by himself, he
would give out imaginary toasts, and drink
glasses of real wine to imaginary beauties. At


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