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Monthly Journal of Fashion.
LONDON, April 1, 1839.
acknowledge that it well deserves the name of a love-story and that there is no denying that Sir Walter is its hero."
THE STORY OF GOOD SIR WALTER. GOOD SIR WALTER.
Sir Walter Meynell was born in the last year of the “I have been looking," said I to Mr. St. John, “ with seventeenth century, and was an only son, although he had great delight, at the picture of a middle-aged gentleman, of several sisters. He went through the education which was about the date, and nearly in the costume, of 'Squire then becoming fixed as the course proper for the Meynells, Western—but, judging from physiognomy, as unlike that and which, in fact, has descended as regularly as the familyworthy in other respects as can well be conceived. The | plate ever since. Eton, Oxford, and the Grand Tour formed utmost good humour and single-mindedness pervades his this worthy system of training, which was continued unrewhole countenance. He has the most benevolent eye pos mittingly till the French revolution, together with one or sible, and the merriest mouth, ready alike to imbibe a two other slight changes that it wrought, took away from bumper, or to utter a joke. Who is the worthy baronet ? the rising Meynell of the day the power of travelling with for I am sure he was the head of the house of his day, he a bear-leader through the principal parts of Europe. looks so like a man of lands and beeves."
But no such naughty doings existed in the days of Sir “There is no mistaking which picture you mean,” answer Walter's adolescence. He was accordingly presented at ed St. John. " It is that of one who is called now by tra- | the court of the Regent, Duke of Orleans, where nothing dition, as he was always most deservedly during his life- naughty was ever heard of, and thence duly performed the Good Sir Walter. He was the most popular man in the whole of that itinerary which has been named the Grand country, the favourite companion of his equals, and the be Tour, from the circumstance, I suppose, of the traveller loved benefactor of the poor. He was, indeed, as you have going straight on end, and returning almost precisely the surmised, most single-hearted and kind-natured ; but try way he came. Sir Walter, however, brought but little of your physiognomical skill a little farther, and see whether foreign fashions back with him to England. He returned you can discover in what fashion he figures in the pen-and the same hearty, bright-spirited fellow he went with some ink portrait I have drawn of him."
additional cultivation, indeed-for his mental qualities were “Come to the gallery, then, that I may look at him again." keen and sound—but in no degree warped or made foreign
We went, accordingly—and I placed myself in a due by his residence abroad. attitude of investigation before the excellent gentleman's Not long after his return, he succeeded to his title and picture. The hair was a little thin on the brow, and in the estate. His mother had been dead some years; and he mildness of the eye, upon looking very minutely, I every came and settled at Arlescot, retaining his eldest sister at now and then thought I traced a slight expression of softer the head of his household, as she had been in their father's feeling; and yet the general aspect of the countenance time, and all the others remaining exactly as they had then collectively was happy, even to the very English quality. been. Sir Walter was not the man to put forth his sisters heartiness : while its bland, as well as frank, good humour because they ceased to be daughters of the house—he loved prevented it from being, in the least, coarse.
them all dearly, and delighted to have them around him. “I am rather puzzled," I said, turning to St. John-“I
“ Arlescot," said he, in answer to his man of business, who should take him to have been a man most benevolent in his spoke to him on the subject, “shall ever be their home till nature, lively and social in his habits, and of a strong affec they marry." I wish, in every respect, to fill my poor tion towards his family, and extreme enjoyment of his father's place as much as possible." And, indeed, if it had home.”
not been that the face at the head of the table was some "All that is perfectly true--but still you do not in the thirty years younger than that which had been there so least divine the nature of the tale I am about to give you. lately, one would scarcely have known that any change had And, indeed, I do not wonder : you have read all that ap taken place at Arlescot-hall. pearance gives—but a man's biography is not always written There was a very considerable difference between the age on his brow. What think you of good Sir Walter being of the eldest and the youngest of Sir Walter's five sisters, the hero of one of the daintiest love-stories in my whole so that he continued to have a lady-house (and the word, collection ?"
though I coin it for the purpose, carries with it a most com“Truly, I should not have guessed it: for though I doubt prehensive signification ) for many years. There was not he loved strongly, as well as fondly and truly, yet I 1 none of that loneliness which so often sheds its chill over a should have taken him to have married a daughter of some bachelor's dwelling. There were always smiling faces and old friendly family, he being seven, and she one, and twenty | merry voices, to welcome his return home ;-and all those -and to have then passed his life in the midst of a happy elegancies and amenities, which exist in no society among family, increasing in number and in size every year." which there are not women, constantly graced, and at the “ You are quite out," answered St. John-" but, as I said
same time gave added animation to, the circle that congrebefore, I do not wonder at it. I will send you up my gated within the walls of Arlescot. Indeed, celebrated as manuscript, as soon as I get home; and I think you will that venerable pile has always been for its hospitality and
joyous society, the days of Sir Walter and his sisters have | indulgent towards her, the effect produced upon her was come down in tradition as the most brilliant and festive of scarcely more than to render her affection for him every day all. The numerous Christmas party seldom broke up till stronger and more fond, while it left untouched the admirit belied its name, and was treading on the heels of Lent; able temper, and generous character, which were hers and the beautiful woods of green Arlescot, as they waved in already. the full pride of summer, ever saw bright and happy groups It was a year or two later, just after the marriage of their beneath their shade, and echoed to the sounds of springing only remaining sister, and when Elizabeth and Sir Walter voices and young laughter.
were left alone, that a particularly esteemed friend of the In a word, Sir Walter lived during these years a most latter, who lived in the near neighbourhood of Arlescot, happy life. He had around him those whom he loved best had the calamity to lose his wife. Mr. Adair—so he was in the world: he not only saw them happy, but he helped named-was left with an only child, a daughter, about a to make them so. Indeed, so thoroughly did the milk of year younger than Elizabeth, who had thus become motherhuman kindness pervade his heart, that he drew his own less. Sir Walter had been in the constant habit of going chief enjoyment from conferring it. To the poor, he was, to Mr. Adair's, and had always remarked the extreme indeed, a benefactor. Not contented with an alms hastily beauty and animation of this child. Accordingly, after the given, or a dole regularly meted out at the gate, he would first burst of sympathising sorrow, for the loss his friend personally enter into their interests--assist the beginner, had sustained, and it was no common one, for Mrs. Adair encourage the rising man, and protect and provide for the had been a woman of a degree of merit indeed rare—Sir destitute, the aged, and the sick. He would give his at Walter's mind turned upon the thought of what the depritention to their representations, and deal to them a merciful vation of such a mother must be to such a child !—“ Poor, justice. He would speak a kind word, as the flower of that poor Lucy!" he exclaimed, “what will become of her beautiful tree of charity of which the kind action was the now !-I pity her from the bottom of my soul. Such a fruit. Before he was thirty years old, he had acquired disposition as hers needs most a mother's guidance; and among the peasantry around Arlescot, the epithet of “Good now, at these tender years, she is left without female help. Sir Walter." If any one met with injustice-“ Go to good direction, or support !”. Sir Walter, and he will see you righted”-if any one fell And justly was Sir Walter's pity bestowed. What, ininto distress—“ Go to good Sir Walter, and he will set you deed, can deserve pity more than a girl, who, at eleven on your legs again.”
years old, has a precocity which increases her age by at And among persons of his own station, Sir Walter was least half of its real amount with the promise of an eager equally popular. He had, shortly after his coming into and wild temperament, and of singular yet great beautythe country, been the means of reconciling a most distress who has lost her mother ? Such a being as this may escape ing quarrel between two of his neighbours of the highest great misfortunes—but the chances are sadly the other consideration-and this attracted the attention of the neigh way. bourhood towards him. His constant good humour as a Lucy Adair had been a great play fellow of Elizabeth companion-his extreme hospitality-the delightful footing Meynell's. The difference of age between the latter and upon which the society of Arlescot was placed-his readi her sisters had caused far more companionship to exist beness to perform a friendly office, and the excessive reluct tween these two, than Elizabeth had ever enjoyed in her ance with which he refused a favor,--all combined to make own family. Their tendencies of disposition were widely the gentry adopt the language of the poor, and say-"They different, and yet their attachment to each other was exhave given him the right name—he is, indeed, Good Sir
treme. Elizabeth was mild and sweet in temper, firm as Walter."
well as decided in principle, and possessed, as yet almost One very natural consequence of the position in which unknown to herself, a strong and vivid energy, which it Sir Walter was placed, was that he remained a bachelor. needed only some fitting occasion to call forth. Lucr, on The smile of woman constantly cheered his home, while the other hand, was all animation, and wildness, and fireher accomplishments gave to it all the advantages of refine playful as are the most playful of her age, yet occasionally ment and taste. In short, even the most manœuvring ma displaying a burst of violence of mingled temper and feelmas in — —-shire had given up the matter as a bad job ing which was far, far beyond it. In fact, to any one who --and set Sir Walter down as a man that would not marry. observed her minutely, she formed a subject for metaphy
The youngest of his sisters was very much younger than sical study and prophecy, rather than of that sweet and any of the family; and, indeed, there were almost twenty simple contemplation which beautiful children of her age years between his-age and her's. At the time this sister, commonly afford. whose name was Elizabeth, was about ten years old, there It was in consequence of the peculiar intimacy subsisting was only one of the others left unmarried, and Sir Walter between these young people, that, when he went to pay his began to feel, with sorrow, how much their happy family visit of condolence to Mr. Adair, Sir Walter took Elizabeth circle was diminished. This circumstance drew his affec with him. He felt, moreover, and with pride and joy, that tions most vividly towards the little Elizabeth. He felt she was one who, even now so young, was eminently fitted that she was his last stay--that when she left him, he to administer such consolation as can be administered on an would be widowed quite-and, accordingly, his kindness occasion like this. “Lucy, I am sure, suffers deeply,"-said towards her increased so greatly, that she would have gone Sir Walter to his sister—" it will be for you, dear Elizabeth, near to become a spoiled child-if it had not been that her to bring her mind to a state of calm, and to infuse into it nature was of a most excellent disposition, and that that that resignation which is alike our duty and our refuge when nature had been directed, originally, by her eldest sister, those we love are removed from us by death." towards the best and most beautiful issues. Accordingly, When they arrived at Wilmington, they found Mr. Adair when at about ten years old, her brother began to be over alone. The warm and cordial grasp of Sir Walter's hand