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THE HISTORY OF THE OLDCASTLE FAMILY.
AN ORIGINAL NOVEL.
[Continued from Vol. VII. First Series, Page 220.]
The disappointed pride of her father vented itself in the most bitter imprecations. Pushing her out of the house he locked: the door with his own hand behind her. Overwhelmed in tears, she was compelled to seek refuge from her inhuman father in the arms of her husband.
"Lionel and Lucilia had now no other hopes but that they should find the uncle of Lionel more favourable; but their expectations were completely blasted by a letter from him, expressing the most passionate resentment, and forbidding them ever to appear in his presence, or presume to write to him; adding, that he had forbidden his banker to accept in future the drafts of Lionel. Thus were this amiable pair cast upon the world without any other support than the slender income of an Eusigney.
"The father of Lucilia, and grandfather of your Edward, lived in a country town in Devonshire, where Lionel, the father of Edward, happened to be stationed with his regiment. Lionel was as yet but an Ensign. He saw Lucilia at an assembly, and became enamoured of her. Her father, a rigid Presbyterian, and one who hated the military, no sooner discovered their mutual regard than he forbad Lionel his house. Lionel, being an orphan under the protection of a wealthy uncle, wrote to this uncle, and requested his interposition in his favour. The uncle, on his part, had an abhorrence of Presbyterians, and no sooner understood the father of Luciliajected by the Lieutenants, agreeable to the rules of the army, the purchase was offered to Lionel for the regulation price. Lionel was cursing his fortune that his narrow finances prevented him from availing himself of this advantage, when he
"At this time, however, fortune ap. peared to smile upon them, by raising them a friend where they had but little cause to expect one. A company in the regiment became vacant, and being re
to belong to that sect, than he gave a positiye command that Lionel, as he valued his favour, should think no more of her; adding, that he had other views for him, and would never throw his fortune away
on a canting Presbyterian. Thus, unfor-received a letter from the Colonel of his tunately, were these two lovers situated.
regiment, intreating him to purchase the vacant company, and offering the loan of the necessary sum, Lionel eagerly em braced this friendly offer, and on the following day received the commission.
"It would be tedious to recount the various circumstances of the addresses of Lionel to Lucilia, which they were compelled to conduct with as much privacy as possible; suffice it to say, that unable to obtain the consent of either the father of Lucilia or his own uncle, both strenuously attached to their own prejudices, they formed the resolution of privately uniting themselves, in the expectation that the natural affection of their relatives would soon overcome their transient anger.
"This hope, however, soon failed; their marriage was discovered, and Lucilia was driven in disgrace from her father's house. No. I. Vol. I.-N. S.
"The Colonel was one of those tyrants who abuse the extensive power of military authority to the gratification of an arbitrary temper; he was in consequence hated by the Officers of his regiment, and it was the effect of a conspiracy against him that his Lieutenants had refused to purchase the vacant company; to defeat which conspiracy, and not from any friendly regard to Lionel, he had advanced him the necessary sum upon his bond, and C
with the condition that he should not leave || the virtue of his wife, Lionel might have the kingdom til the re-payment.
"Within a short time afterwards the regiment of Lionel was ordered to Dublin. Rejoiced to leave the neighbourhood of his revengeful father-in-law, Lionel, ac companied by his wife, rendered doubly dear to him by their narrow circumstances, repaired to that city, where for some months they lived in a state of perfect feli city, and by a prudent economy had a fair prospect of discharging his debt before the time expired. One afternoon they were sitting together in the utmost harmony of their mutual love, when Luciiia received a letter from a distant relation filled with the most bitter expressions, accusing her of the murder of her father, whose death was occasioned by grief for her conduct,|| and annexing the part of his will respecting her, in which, after giving the whole of his estate to this relation, he bequeathed Lucilia his eternal curse. The shock of such a letter was too much for the sensibility of the amiable Lucilia; it occasioned emotions which were followed by an illness of three months, during which she was confined to a bed from which she was never expected to rise with life. Youth, however, at length prevailed over the strength of the disease, and Lionel had the double happiness of her being pronounced out of danger and the birth of a boy, who was shortly afterwards, christened after the name of the happy father.
"Alas! this happiness was of short duPation. An order arrived from the Secre-letter; tary of War for the regiment immediately to march for Cork, and from thence to embark for America.
led a life of some disquietude. In a word the Colonel was passionately enamoured of Lucilia. Lionel therefore no sooner solicited the indulgence of his creditor than the Colonel offered readily to grant it, but under a condition which caused Lionel not only to reject it with horror, but produced a challenge. In the event Lionel was wounded, and the Colonel rendered his most bitter enemy. He informed him, upon the following day, that having occasion to make up a sum for a purchase, he had deposited the bond of Lionel in the hands of the agent; and that, if his circumstances required any indulgence, he must apply to him.
"Lionel now seemed to have no resource but in his uncle; reflecting on his former fondness for him, Lionel flattered himself that his affection was not yet so wholly stranged as to see him reduced to such an extremity of distress. Filled with these pleasing hopes, Lionel embraced his Lucilia with renovated spirits, and wrote a letter to his uncle, imploring his forgiveness in the most submissive terms, and stating his present situation; he conjured him by all the tender ties of nature, by the fond regard he had once expressed for him, and by the beloved memory of his deceased brother, not to suffer the son of that brother to perish in a prison, as if guilty of a crime which merited eternal execration. There, my Lucilia,' said he, smiling with hope as he concluded the I am persuaded that my uncle will relent, and that we shall be again happy.'
"Lionel waited impatiently for an an
"This at once put a period to their hap-swer, and at length received a most insultpiness; the additional expences occasioned ing letter, not from his uncle, but a by the long sickness of Lucilia had com- cousin, who had lived with him from the pelled Lionel not only to expend what time of Lionel's marriage; in which he money he had preserved towards the pay- exulted in his misery, and informed him ment of his bond, but had much involved that his uncle had thrown his letter unhim in other debts. The discharge of the opened into the flames. bond being the most essential point, and the condition of it that it should be paid before he left the kingdom, Lionel waited upon the Colonel to solicit his indulgence. From the day on which he had conferred the obligation on Lionel, the Colonel had been so constant a visitor in his family that had it not been for his just confidence in
"Having now no further prospect of preserving his company, Lionel endea. voured to secure his liberty, at least, by the disposal of it, and if possible procurei a subaltern commission in another regi.: ment. His evil genius, however, still fol ||lowed him. Unwilling to go upon such dangerous service, several Officers had ap1
length satisfied; we have ran the course of misfortune, and may now hope to commence that of peace and happiness. In the society of each other we shall spend the calm evening of our lives, and by the happiness of our future days be repaid for the sufferings of the past. With these words he again embraced his Lucilia, who, with tears of conjugal love, and maternal
plied for leave to sell their commissions, which had produced a peremptory order that no Officer in any regiment ordered for distant service should be permitted either to sell or exchange. On the application of Lionel, therefore, he received no other answer, than that he must either wholly resign or embark with his regiment. · “Lionel still made another effort. The Marquis of B― was at that time Lord-pride, put his boy, the infant Lionel, in his arms, adding,- Yes, my dear, we shall be happy; yet my heart is heavy. Oh my father! my dear, my beloved father! why did you so cruelly curse me? why did you consign to misery a daughter who would have died a thousand times to add to your happiness? This was a thought that always agonized the heart of Lucilia whenever it occurred to her, and Lionel had somewhat rashly recalled it to her remembrance; his affectionate consolation, however, soon banished from her memory the paternal curse, and in the contemplation of their new hopes, their returning happiness, they seated themselves by a cheerful fire, and partook of a supper with more appetite than they had long experienced.
"This letter produced an immediate answer from the Lord-Lieutenant himself, in which he expressed the utmost compassion for the situation of Lionel, but informed him that the circumstances of the time, and the jealousy of other Officers, would not permit him to comply with his request, as so many Officers had made theject of this unnatural execration. Yet let
"Alas! by what fatal necessity is it that the curse of a parent is always effectual, and that misery, uninterrupted misery, should ever be the lot of the innocent ob
Lieutenant of Ireland, and enjoyed a reputation for liberality, and every noble virtue, which has never been since rivalled; Lionel endeavoured to engage his huma nity iu his favour, and obtain from him that permission which could not be granted by any of inferior rank. He accordingly drew up a petition, in which he represent ed with all the eloquence of real feeling the true state of his case, and intreating him that he would permit him either wholly to sell his commission, or exchange it for that of a subaltern in another regiment.
same demand, that to comply with one and
us not reproach the justice of Heaven; can the cruelty of the inhuman parent be more severely punished than in the misery of his child? and if there is a state of separate souls, as most assuredly there is, what must be the feelings of a father like that of Lucilia, who looks down on the misery of a beloved, and now forgiven child, and has to reproach himself with being its cause? The ways of Heaven are just; remember this truth, Agnes, and let nothing ever erase it from your mind.
"Alas! the misery of Lionel and Lucilia was not yet at an end, Whether that the agent of the regiment was a creature of the Colonel's, as some subsequent events seem to prove, or that he was one of those hardened usurers whom no tears can soften from the prosecution of what they think their right, whatever might be the cause, Lionel was seized the same evening, and hurried to a spunging-house at the suit of this merciless harpy. Luci
lia clung to him in tears, and as the finan-which the Captain had furnished after his
Being re-seated in their coach, and commencing their return home, Lady Priscilla, at the request of Agnes, thus proceeded to the conclusion of her narrative:
"Upon her return to life and sensibility, Lucilia found herself upon a bed, in a strange but splendid apartment. Two females were in attendance, and appeared
Lady Priscilla was compelled to inter-watching impatiently her return to sensarupt her narrative of the unfortunate Li- tion. Lucilia again demanded her husonel and Lucilia in this place, as they had band in accents of despair; the women now reached the gate by which the coach in vain endeavoured to console her, entered the road to the house. It was scarcely could their utmost efforts confine seated in the midst of a spacious lawn, and her to the bed, and prevent her from rushin its beauty and decorations bore testi-ing forth in search of the unfortunate mony at once to the taste and wealth of its Lionel. Her agitation was too much The lawn was encircled by a for the weakness of her frame to support ; shrubbery as thick as verdant. The situa- again she sunk into insensibility, the duration was not indeed so beautiful as that of tion of which terrified her attendants lest Lady Priscilla, but the most was made of her spirit had taken its flight to the last and it, and it was reckoned one of the most sure refuge of the miserable. She rebeautiful spots in the county of Corn- covered, however, but her emotions had wall. caused the premature birth of a dead infant; and a physician being summoned he pronounced her recovery to be very doubtful, and not at all to be expected too sud
As Mrs. Beliasis was from home, Agnes had an opportunity of seeing the house; the spaciousness of the apartments, and the substance of the walls, recalled power-denly. fully to her imagination what she had read in her favourite romances. One of the apartments more particularly pleased her, it was a room of the whole breadth of the mansion, and immediately fronted the sea. The wainscot was oaken, and appeared to have outlasted more than one century. The general style of architecture was that of the reign of Henry VIII, and of the beginning of that of Elizabeth, before the Italian orders had supplanted the Gothic. Agnes had so little of the cognoscenti in her taste, that she preferred this style, heavy as it was, to the Grecian elegance; she knew that the Greeks studied nature and propriety, and inferred from thence that however suitable their orders to the climate of Asia, they would doubtless have governed themselves by other rules had their country been any of the kingdoms of Europe.
She was equally pleased with the library
"What in the meantime was become of the unfortunate Lionel? His situation was indeed a disgrace to the laws of his country; a man of birth and refined education, he was now the companion of fe lons, and compelled through the fear of ill treatment to hail the most base of mankind as his comrades. Being without money he had no other bed than the floor of his chamber, if the wretched hole so denominated merited that name. His eyes and ears were assailed by the infernal execrations, and abandoned profligacy, of his fellow-prisoners; who, having nothing further to fear, and thus released from all terror of punishment as well as from all restraint of conscience, put off all humanity, and dared the utmost wrath of Heaven. It would have been some consolation to his hours of bitterness could he have learned any thing of the situation of his wife; but his surly gaoler, knowing him to be without
money, replied to his questions only in the negative. Such was the situation of the unfortunate Lionel,—in one moment deprived of his beloved Lucilia, bis child, and all his former respectability; for such is the injustice of the world that, confounding misfortune with guilt, the infamy of a prison is a stain never to be erased.
"As this arrest of Lionel occurred in what the lawyers call the long vacation, that is to say, in the longest of the intervals between the sitting of the Courts, he had been already in his prison three months, and was to continue two more before his cause could come to a hearing. In this interval, as if to aggravate the bitterness of his sufferings, an act of insolvency was passed by the legislature, from the benefit of which Lionel was exempted only because his case had not as yet been heard.
"Lionel bad now reached the extremity of misery; the feelings of his mind preyed upon his body, and his health sunk under his affliction. His grief had now rendered him stupid; he shed no more tears, he looked no longer up to heaven, he appeared eveu to forget his wife and child; a fellowprisoner seeing him rest against the wall, and thinking his posture that of a man as ill in body as in mind, went up to his assistance, but found him-dead!"
"Merciful Heaven forgive his persecutor!" exclaimed Agnes, in tears. "My dear madam, can such wretches exist?" "Yes, my Agnes, there are indeed in the world wretches who would lead one into the opinion of a learned divine, that Heaven sometimes permitted devils to become incarnate in the bodies of men, to instruct the world how horrible is the nature of pure and unmixed vice. But pa. tience is required in every possible situation of life, and at every age. The infant may exercise it as soon as it is old enough to feel disappointments; and the older we grow the more will every hour of our existence teach us the value, as well as necessity, of that which soothes every suffering, and consoles under every sorrow. Patience, whether in trifles or things of consequence, puts a stop to the anxious uncertainty which so frequently in irri
table tempers destroys the whole enjoyment of expected but delayed satisfaction. Patience and a contented spirit carry us through many a misfortune, which at a distance we might have feared would cer tainly overcome our utmost endeavours; but patient resolution, determination to be satisfied, and, in short, whatever state we are in therewith to be content, is so sure a way of passing happily through this world, that it is mortifying to find how often people of the greatest merit, from their uncomplaining conduct, are stigmatized as cold-hearted characters, with neither feeling nor understanding enough. to be sensible of what eurages the angry declaimer; who, proud of his passionate temper thinks it a proof of refined sensibilities to be too easily irritated to endure what those of a different disposition have submitted to with calmness. Patience shews itself not only in sickness but in health; for the patient healthy person enjoying his own comfort is ready to assist a sufferer to obtain relief, and kindly to bear with the fretting, so commonly the companion of illness, in those who do not possess the happy talent of endurance:not only in poverty, but in riches; not only in sorrow, but in happiness, for the patient spirit is never hurried into that excess of delight which occasions wild demonstrations of pleasure, more like the expressions of drunkenness or insanity than the composed enjoyment of a reasonable being: not only in ill usage, but iu good usage; for a patient temper picsumes not upon kindness, so as to become a burthen upon the person who has contributed to comforts which cannot be received with too much gratitude, but are not to be made a plea for still farther indulgence. Of the powers of patience under afflic'i‚n no explanation is required; but under blessings where it is full as necessary a virtue, it is perhaps more difficult to exercise it with the force which it is our duty to exert, which of ourselves we cannot fully attain to, but which with divine assistance we need not despair of. Both sorrow and joy are such evident trials of the person to whom they are sent, that although most assuredly no one can be absurd enough to pretend that there is positive pleasure.