Catherine Hutton.

Oakwood Hall, a novel; including a description of the lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland, and a part of South Wales (Volume 2) online

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Online LibraryCatherine HuttonOakwood Hall, a novel; including a description of the lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland, and a part of South Wales (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 8)
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Arrc/wby Lodge.

THE evening after I wrote to you last,
I saw the sun set behind the mountains
of Westmoreland, and took leave of
them for ever. The next day we
arrived at this place. As Mrs. Douglas
has many guests, besides Miilichamp
and myself, each has an opportunity of
following the devices and desires of his
own heart; we have one party for
riding, one for walking, and another
for reading and needlework, in a




morning; and never less than two
card-tables in an evening.

Among the company here, are a
Mrs. and Miss Mornington. The
mother is a widow, very eloquent and
very positive ; and so firm a supporter
of sacred regal rights, that she declared,
at the beginning of the French revo-
lution, she would have sacrificed one
half of that people at a blow, to have
made the other submit quietly to their
king. She is a violent politician and
philosopher, and a keen player at whist,
which precludes every idea of an amiable
woman. The daughter is very pretty,
and not less vain j but in other respects
so like Millichamp, that they are always
of the same mind. When he chooses to
ride, so does she ; when he walks, so
does she ; when he reads, she is in the
humour to listen ; and when he plays
at whist, she either plays at the same


table, or overlooks his cards. I really
believe, if he were disposed to romp,
she would feel the same inclination :
but you may be easy, and I proud, for
whenever he has an opportunity he
seizes me ; and if Miss Mornington
seize him, he gives me half. She calls
him the Philosopher.

Our conversation, at dinner, generally
turns upon eating and wine ; and we
have a Mr. Temple, who displays much
learning on these subjects. He passes
his whole life between eating too much,
and doing penance for it ; and goes on,
shortening his time of enjoyment and
suffering. He is an epicure and a
valetudinarian ; ever studying his
health, and forming good resolutions,
which are broken by the first dish
he likes. For this week past, it has
been his daily determination to dine
upon one dish : he has always exceeded


it } but to-day he has made himself
ample amends for the little forbearance
he has exercised. After having
crammed down as much sole as he
could eat, he has taken two pigeons
out of a pye, and a proportionable
quantity of rich crust. He is now ill.
To-morrow he will do better till to-
morrow come. When I first came, I
endeavoured to confirm his prudent
resolves, and recalled them to his mind,
when he wished to forget them. I now
charitably advise him to sin on, without
giving himself the trouble of repenting;
since he has not strength to conquer,
and only makes himself uneasy by the
contest. Millichamp and he regard
each other with mutual contempt.

Such characters as this are common.
Hundreds daily drop into a grave dug
by their palate. We have a lady here,
who has accelerated her progress in a


more unusual manner ; who is now an
old woman of thirty-five years of age.
She is the only daughter of a merchant
of Nantz, and, with her mother, was
driven into this country by the horrors
of the French revolution in 1791.
I am going to tell you her own story.

When she was a child, her parents
found it impossible to make her
learn to read ; and when she wanted a
few months of completing her seventh
year, she only knew her letters. Her
father represented to her his sorrow
for her ignorance, and promised her a
crown, if she would read her book, by
her birth-day. Thus stimulated by
shame and* interest, she applied to it,
without any instructor, and on the
appointed day read it through to her
father. She was many years attended
by a writing-master ; but she would not
learn to write, because she did not like
B 3


his person. At fourteen she was rich
and handsome, and sang and danced
well. This she thought sufficient to
secure the admiration of all mankind,
which was the object she had in view,
and she disdained all other acquire-
ments. She made such use of the
latter of these accomplishments, during
the absence of her father and mother,
that on their return they fouim lie?
reduced to a skeleton. Dancing was
prohibited in consequence. Mademoi-
selle scorned to be COntrouled, and
CCTmnued the amusement night and
day, as before ; but to prevent her
mother's discovering it, by her languid
looks, she took the precaution of
dipping her head in a bucket of cold
water, as soon as she had finished. By
this practice she changed her com-
plexion, which was very beautiful, to
green and purple ; and brought on so


violent an illness, that she kept her bed
six months, during which time she never

At last she recovered a tolerable
degree of health ; but her com-
plexion never resumed its former lustre,
and she found she mus,t have something
else to trust to. She read with the
same avidity she had danced, and
acquired the English language without
a master. She speaks it as well as a
native ; and assures me, that she spoke
it as well as she does now, except rather
slower, when she had been only three
months in the country. She regards
the loss of her beauty as a fortunate
circumstance, as it put her upon
improving her mind, and made her, as
she emphatically says, find a friend in
herself. She profited so well by her
application, that the last year she was
in France, which was the nineteenth of
B 4


her age, she was at the head of her
father's counting-house. 'She still
retains her fondness pour la danse.
She still dances when she has an
opportunity, though she feels it de-
stroys her, and declares she would
die, rather than be controuled.

If you think this account exagger-
ated; my dear Margaret, I can only
repeat that it is her own. I have not
altered one tittle, and have frequently
given you her very words. At her
saying that she had passed six months
without sleep, I looked incredulous.
She perceived it, /and appealed to her
mother, across the table, who confirmed
the fact, with great earnestness.

Another of our fellow-guests is an
elderly gentleman, a Captain Murray,
formerly of the Navy ; sensible, easy,
and well-bred. He turns every thing
he touches into gold : and makes even


the soles and sauces of Mr. Temple
delicious morsels. This gentleman
met the immortal navigator, Captain
Cook, at St. Helena, as he was returning
from his first voyage in the Endeavour j
and frequently dined at the same table
with him. He represents him as a
heavy unpleasant man in conversation,
with something coarse and vulgar in
his manner ; respected by his officers,
on account of his abilities, but not
beloved by them. He says his soul
was wholly absorbed in the great
enterprise he had engaged in, and he
had neither time nor inclination to
make himself agreeable. This, I dare
say, has its foundation in truth.
Neither Captain Cook's education, nor
situation in life, could give him polished
manners. His pursuits were such as
no other man's whole faculties would
have been equal to j and it is probable,
B 5


that by continually keeping his eye
fixed upon the great, he might over-
look the little. I would as soon find
fault with the majestic organ, for not
having the soft tones of the musical

Are you tired of our company ? or
shall I tell you, that we have two
animals of my own species, old maids ?
One is a Miss Rennel, verging upon
forty, with a red face, and a nose that
would not disgrace Bardolph's. This
prominent feature, at first, gave me
some disgust ; but I found the lady so
unaffected in her manners, so ingenuous,
and so well informed, that its size di-
minished every day ; and now, I am
not sensible that it is either larger or
redder than other people's. Her com-
panion is a Miss Rookwood, something
younger, disagreeable in her person,
and more so in her manner ; not de-


ficient in sense, but formal, precise,
inquisitive, affected, and loquacious.
Such is my natural antipathy to this
lady, that I never reply to any thing
she says, unless it be immediately ad-
dressed to myself; and I have forborne
to inquire after some of my friends
whom she has mentioned, lest my ques-
tions should engage me in a conversa-
tion with her. I could not live in
paradise with Miss Rookwood.

You have done well, my dear Mar-
garet, to visit Miss Caradine during my
absence. I shall meet you with much
pleasure on my return.





Arroivby Lodge-

IT was not my intention to have re-
mained here longer than a month ;
but I shall leave Mrs. Douglas some-
thing sooner, in consequence of a let-
ter I have received from Mr. Oakwood.
Our nephew, Charles Oakwood, has
asked my brother's permission to pass
a few months with him at Oakwood
Hall 5 and my brother tells me, that
if I can return, he will invite Miss
Oakwood, his sister. Charles has been
a frequent visitor at the Hall, and is
not a great favourite with his uncle :


Barbara is quite a stranger. I have
not seen either of them since they
quitted school : but I fear their habits
and ours will not mingle well together.

Our two emigrants have left Arrowby
Lodge. I pity them sincerely. Ac-
customed to affluence reduced to bare
necessaries and every tie which held
them to the world cut asunder ! If it
were my misfortune" to be an inhabit-
ant of a country agitated by such con-
vulsions, unless I were personally en-
dangered, either by the government
or the people, I would abide the storm,
and settle down quietly with the mass,
when the fermentation was over.

Millichamp has been playing the
knight-errant, or rather the knight
divant, in the rescue of a distressed
damsel. We were five of us sailing in
& small boat, on a lake in Mrs. Dou-
glas's grounds, when Miss Morning-


ton took a fancy to sit on the top of
the boat, and to set her feet on the
seat. She was warned by Mr. Mur-
ray that she was in some danger ; but
as she was certain there was none, and
Mr. Murray himself did not think
there was much, he did not choose to
contest the point with her. I have the
faculty of sometimes seeing people's
motives when they think them wholly
hidden from observation, and I believe
Miss Mornington had two ; the first,
to attract the notice of Millichamp ;
the second, to alarm him for her safety.
In both these objects she completely
failed j for he viewed her person, and
her little movements, calculated to
excite an apprehension of her falling,
with perfect indifference if, indeed,
he saw them at all j but I suspect
that he was thinking of his blacl


At length a gun was fired very near
us, in the wood which borders on the
lake. This put Miss Mornington off
her guard ; she really started, and she
fell overboard. Millichamp started in
his turn : his attention was now drawn
towards the lady, and to jump after her
was the work of a moment. The lake
was not of a drowning depth ; and the
gallant knight soon caught the lovely
water nymph in his arms, and bore her
safely to the shore. Here he seemed
much disposed to set her down, but the
water had entirely deprived her of the
use of her feet, and he carried her to a
neighbouring cottage, whither Mrs.
Douglas and I followed. I sent Milli-
champ home, with instructions to
change his streaming garments: and
Miss Mornington was arrayed in the
Sunday clothes of the cottager's
daughter. Mrs. Douglas would then


have ordered the carriage ; but the
lady was now so far recovered, that she
was quite able to walk home.

At dinner I thought the ^ cold bath
had given a freshness to Miss Mor-
nington's complexion ; but she now
angled for the compassion of Milli-
champ, and declared that she was very
faint and languid : she cast down her
eyes, and attempted to blush : she
called Millichamp her preserver, and
said that she could never be sufficiently
grateful to him, for having risked his
life to save her's. He was too generous
to remember the service, and too dis-
interested to wish for a reward. Fear
her not, Margaret : her little arts are
so far from making an impression upon
your lover, that they are not even seen
by him : he carries a talisman about
him which preserves him, not from the
influence of evil, but of good eyes.


Mrs. Douglas, who is a Scotch
woman, was well acquainted with the
Lismahago of Humphrey Clinker, and
says that Smollett has drawn his cha-
racter faithfully. He was a Colonel
Cochrane, a relation of Smollett's, and
a very worthy man ; but he was so
highly exasperated at Smollett, for hav-
ing exhibited him in a ridiculous light
to the world, that he never forgave
him. Mrs. Douglas says, that Colonel
Cochrane dined with her one day,
when Mrs. Smollett of Loch Lomond,
wife of the doctor's brother, was pre-
sent ; and, taking up his glass after
dinner, he said to her, " All our
friends, but the devil take our rela-
tions." Mrs. Douglas shewed me the
portrait of the colonel, sketched, un-
known to him, by a gentleman at her
house, as they were sitting at her table.
It is the most frightful human face I


ever saw : I could scarcely be per-
suaded that it was not a caricature ;
but she and Mr. Murray, who also
knew him well, both assured me it was
an exact likeness. Lismahago was not
so unfortunate as to be married to
Tabitha Bramble : he died a bachelor,
about the year 1787> at about the age
of sixty-five.

We dined yesterday at the house of
a gentleman in this neighbourhood,
whose brother afforded us a very ex-
traordinary degree of entertainment,
though of a species I can hardly
describe to you, and which, upon re-
flection, I am a little ashamed of. He
is a younger brother, turned of thirty j
possessing only a rent-charge on the
estate, and living chiefly in his bro-
ther's house. He is handsome, and,
while he continues >silent, respectable:
the moment he opens his mouth he


betrays such a poverty of understand-
ing as I never beheld in any person
above an idiot. He is almost incapa-
ble of uttering a single sentence ; two
in succession are absolutely beyond
his powers, for he loses one before the
other is finished. How could such a
being afford entertainment ? how ex-
cite mirth?- Would it not be mon-
strous to laugh at him for a natural
defect ? That is the point I wish to
make you comprehend. This gentle-
man possesses the risible faculties in a
degree proportioned to his want of all
others : his attempts to speak always
end in a laugh, and a laugh so hearty,
so sincere, and good humoured, that it
is impossible not to join him. Though
it was only his mirth which provoked
ours, it seemed to him, and almost to
ourselves, that his- and our cause of


laughter were the same. If a person
born deaf had witnessed his merriment,
he must have caught the infection from
his features.

The elder brother of this gentleman,
whom we have often seen here, resem-
bles him in nothing but his person :
he knows every thing ; and is so kind
as to be always informing us of every
thing: He is as fond of argument as
Millichamp : every reply begins with a
but: or if it be to a lady, as he is very
polite, it is, " What you say is very
right, ma'am, but " He argues in a
clear, decisive manner ; and with his
Ihus, and his therefore, not only con-
vinces us of what we might have
doubted, but of what nobody could
have denied. Millichamp frequently
enters the lists with him : but the mo-
desty and simplicity of the one is too


hard for the imposing, reasoning, sen-
tentious gravity of the other, who does
not like him for an opponent.

You will think me severe, Margaret :
but forgive me. If I have eyes that
discover the ridiculous in my fellow-
creatures, they j3ire not less quick in
seizing the amiable and the estimable ;
and I have a heart to love and prize
them as they deserve. To doubt this,
would be doubting my love for your-
self. I have put the philosophy of
Millichamp to the proof: he is impa-
tient to be with you.





I HAVE been at the Lakes, of which I
will give you no account, because you
have seen them. On my arrival at
Arrowby Lodge, I found it full of
company, and I determined to ramble,
till the largest family had left the place.
Mrs. Douglas likes society, and never
goes abroad for it. Her fortune enables
her to assemble a number of people
round her, and she is not very difficult
in her selection ; persons of wit and
sense entertain, and folly amuses her.
She is herself good-humoured and


agreeable ; the soul of the company ;
the maker of parties j what poor Paul
of Russia offered to be, the rallying
point. Though her conversation is
chiefly matter of fact, her language is
so correct, that it would bear commit-
ting to paper. She is never at a loss for
a word ; never repeats one ; and
hardly ever makes use of one that is

I hastened my return to Oakwood.
at my brot.hpr' ^^-oc j as tie ex-
pected the son and daughter of our
brother Charles ; and I arrived only
one day before them. Millichamp was
impatient to see Margaret ; and as he
is above disguise, he asked my per-
mission to ride forward on his horse,
the last day's journey ; while James
drove me home at my leisure.

This short absence has appeared
longer to my brother and myself than


our long separation before. He wishes
me to let my house at Belmont, and
live with Jiim entirely; but I cannot
give up your society, and that of a few
other friends; and, at my age, one
ought not to be without a spot, of which
one can say, it is my own ; a spot we
can call by that name which conveys
the ideas of comfort and independence,
Home. Our mutual inclination, how-
ever, will induce me to pass the greater
pai LVC^, ^y. y. oar O f our remaining lives
at Oak wood.

You know the circumstance which
kept the late Charles Oakwood at a
distance fromhis family; his wifebeing
a woman of low breeding, not only
ignorant, but insolent. His death left
his son and daughter under the care of
their mother, badly educated and ill
provided for. My nephew is a man of
common understanding, who, from very

limited prospects, has suddenly arrived
at affluence ; a distant relation of his
mother's having left him his fortune,
because his family was more respectable
than that of those who had a better title
to it.

He may now reasonably look forward
to the time when .Oakwood shall be
added ; as my brother has remained so
long unmarried. Such possessions and
prospects might turn a strong head.
Charles Oakwood's is not a strong one ;
I can give you an anecdote that will
prove it.

When he found himself in possession
of a large fortune, he thought it incum-
bent upon him to fit up a library. He
sent for the catalogue of one of the
principal booksellers in London ; and,
as he was ignorant of books, he
naturally judged of their value by their
price. He had the penetration to



discover that those which had no price
marked, were above all price. These
he bought; and among them many
early printed books, and such as were
valuable only on account of their

For about six months, Charles
Oakwood was very vain of his library,
and boasted of it in all companies.
This book was scarce, that was curious ;
this was rare, and that unique; as he
had seen them characterised in his
catalogue ; till, one day, a man of
acknowledged taste and genius hap-
pened to say that they were all good
for nothing ; that the only books worth
having, were the History of England
and the Bible ; and that these might be
illustrated to any extent. My sagacious
nephew caught at the idea, which he
retailed as his own. He returned his
Caxtons, Pynsons, and Wynkyn de


Wordes, to his bookseller, and found to
his cost, that they were indeed good for
nothing, being assured by the book-
seller that " Nobody bought them

In the place of these, Charles bought
Rapin's History of England, with
Houbraken's Heads, and the largest
folio Bible he could find. You may
possibly imagine that his library is very
small. No such thing ; it is neither
small, nor of little value. Lest you
should not understand the technical
term illustrate, I will explain it.

The Bible would be taken to pieces,
and every scripture print of merit that
could be purchased, would be bound
up with the letter-press, opposite to
the page that it illustrated. And as
most of the first masters painted from
Holy Writ, and many of their works
have been ' engraved, the volumes
c 2


would be rather a collection of prints,
of which the text would be an expla-
nation, than a Bible illustrated by
the engravings. If the print were too
large, its margin must submit to be
pared down to the size of the book ; if
too small, it must be let into fine
paper of the proper dimensions,-
So by the History of England. Every
book that contained prints relating to
the persons and events mentioned in
the history, would be ransacked and
despoiled of all that were worth taking.
And when to these were added all
single historical prints, such as the
Dissolving of the Long Parliament, the
Landing of Charles the Second, the
Battle of the Boyney and a countless
et cetera j you would think the con-
noisseur guilty of no great exaggeration,
when he said that these books might be
illustrated to any extent.


Charles Oakwood has been proposing
his precious library as a model worthy
the imitation of his uncle. " I wonder,
sir," said he, " that you should take
the trouble to collect such a variety of
books, when there is nothing in the
world worth having, but the History of
England and the Bible !"

This hit John Freeman's taste
exactly. " Sir," cried John, " you are
a man of judgment ! There are few
young gentlemen now-a-days who
v/ould be content with the Bible and
the History of England ! When I was
young, I read nothing else j and now,
I read them every day of my life."

" Read them !" repeated Charles,
with a look of ineffable contempt.
*' They are the last books I should
think of reading ! but every gentleman
ought to have them j and when they
are properly illustrated, they are a


library of themselves, and he need
have nothing more."

" I cannot argue against the merits
of the Bible and the History of
England," said my brother ; " but I
have singular notions, and I collect
books for an uncommon purpose I do
read them."

My niece, Barbara Oakwood, - is
very beautiful, and has a larger portion
of sense than her brother ; but she has
a confident manner, which -is very
unpleasing in a young woman. Indeed
there is no time of life at which a
woman may be intrepid. Barbara has
seen little of the world, but she has
read many novels j and finding in
herself more spirit than tenderness, she
has unfortunately copied the pert and
flippant manners of some of the second
rate heroines, who, whatever may be their
pretensions to wit, deserve chastisemeut


for their want of good breeding. The
mother of Barbara, vain of her daughter's
person and vivacity, has regarded them
as the means of herfuture establishment.
These young people are thrown into
an unknown element at Oakwood.
My brother digs in a morning,
and reads in an afternoon ; and my
dressing-room door never opens, unless
I bid it. Charles is reduced to the
necessity of driving his sister in his
curricle, conversing with his groom,
and seeing his hunters exercised in
leaping. One of his horses has
luckily flung the servant over his head,
and he has been laughing ever since

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Online LibraryCatherine HuttonOakwood Hall, a novel; including a description of the lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland, and a part of South Wales (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 8)