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of 9000 catalogues, at one guinea each, were sold before the day of sale; on the day preceding which, to the surprise and mortification of the public, notice was given that the estate of Fonthill, with all its immense treasures was sold to Mr. Farquhar for 300,0001. This gentleman afterwards employed Mr. Pbillips to sell the whole of the effects.
We are told the possessor of this splendid treasure left it almost without a pang. His first resolution was to build a cottage lower down in the demesne, near the fine pond, and let the Abbey go to ruin. "I cau live here," he said he to his woodman, “ in peace and retirement for four thousand a year-why should I tenant that structure with a retinue that costs me vear thirty thousand?" Subsequently, however, he resolved to part with the entire, and announced his intention without a sigh. “ It has cost me,” said he (gazing at it), “ with what it contains, near a million. Yet I must leave it, and I can do so at once. Public surprise will be created, but that I am prepared for. Beckford, they will say, has squandered his large fortune: to me it is a matter of perfect in. difference.”
It would much exceed our limits to attempt even a description of Fonthill.
On one occasion, whilst the tower was rearing its lofty crest towards Heaven, an elevated part of it caught fire, and was destroyed. The sight was sublime; it was a spectacle, it is said, which the owner of the mansion enjoyed with as much composure as if the flames had not been devouring what it would have cost a fortune to repair. This occasioned but small delay in its re-erection, as the building was carried on by Mr. Beckford with an energy and enthusiasm, of which duller minds can form but a poor conception. At one period, it is said, that every cart and waggon in the district was pressed into the service, though all the agricultural labours of the country stood still. At another, even the royal works o St. George's Chapel, Windsor, were abandoned, that 460 men might be employed, night and day, on Footbill Abbey. These men relieved each other by regular watches, and during the longest and darkest nights of winter, the astonisher traveller might see the tower rising under their bands, the trowel and torch being associated for that purpose. This must have had a very extraordinary appearance, and it is said, was another of those exhibitions wbich Mr. Beckford was fond of contemplating.-He is represented as surveying the work tbus expedited, the busy levy of the masons, the high and giddy dancing of the lights, and the strange effects produced on the woods and architecture below, from one of those eminences in the walks, of which there are several; and wasting the coldest hours of December's darkness, in feasting his senses with this display of almost super-human power. He had, for a long time, more than four hundred persons employed at both, who were regularly paid every week. The works went constantly on; there have been instances of individuals paid for sixteen days' work during a week, including Sunday as a double day. Mr. Beckford superintended all himself. He stood amid torch-light, urging on the growth of the Abbey towers, and rode during the day among his labourers to see the plantations made. These trajts of character will not surprise those who have made mankind their study: the minds most nearly allied to genius, are the most apt to plunge into extremes, and no man at present in existence, can make higher pretensions to a mind of this cast, than the fuunder of Fonthill Abbey.
Mr. Beckford's style of living, as described by persons who bad daily opportunities of witnessing it, is calculated to excite surprise and astonishment. The gorgeous array of the banquet he provided for Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton has long since been detailed with all its splendid attributes of pomp; but his ordinary mode of living, which regarded only himself and his solitary foreign guest, was costly and luxurious beyond what the most extravagant Englishman could possibly imagine. He allowed his cook 8001, a year, and appropriated 20001. a month to supply provisions for his kitchen. He has been known on frequent occasions to sit down with Franchi, (for there was scarcely ever a third person at table) to . à dinner consisting of twenty covers served upon gold plate. Meanwhile the servants were all stationed in a line of communication between the dining room, the pantry, and the kitchen, so that they were in constant readi. ness to pass his orders from one to another. With him the words servant and slave were synonymous, and he considered it derogatory to his dignity not to have a train of
ials waiting his commands at all hours. Never was any man more liberal to his servants. They not only enjoyed his bounty, but shared his magnificence, and while
they trembled at his nod, they feasted on viands with which the first potentates of the earth might regale themselves.
Mr. Beckford, it is generally supposed, possesses little now beyond the remnant of what he acquired by the sale of Fonthiu. His once magpificent income has fallen to almost nothing. He lost a large portion of his West India estates from defect of title, after a most expensive legal contest of several years, and was subjected to the heavy arrears of produce while he held them. Few visitors were ever seen within the Abbey gates, and his own habits were most temperate. The Chevalier Franchi had been his companion for years. He acted for several years as comptroller of the household at Foothill; he is said to be a man of very cultivated mind, and is now with Mr. Beckord at Balb, who took from the Abbey 16 or 18 servants.
The silly and mischievous stories which from time to time have been propagated respecting this gentleman, af. fords a lamentable proof of the unsuspecting credulity of the English people. Mr. Beckford's immense wealth, in his earlier years begat him a host of enemies, and their asperity is not likely to wear off with time.
He is now building a magnificent Saxon tower at Bath, which, there is every reason to imagine, will furnish additional proof of his highly cultivated taste,
O place and greatness, millions of false eyes
ARLISS’S LITERARY COLLECTIONS,
KENILWORTH CASTLE, JIKE most others of antiquity, has often been celebrated in the annals of history : in olden times, as one possessing great strength; and in latter days, as having been the scene of one of the most sumptuous entertainments ever
offered by a subject to bis sovereign. In fact, will had it no other claim to votice than being the u principal scene of that beautiful novel from
pri ihe pen of the “Great Unknown,' the name of Kenilworth has such intense interest in its sound, that few can be displeased with a relation of its origin.
It was built about the year 1120, hy Geoffry de Clinton, a Norman, who was lord chamberlain and treasurer to Henry the First, and of whom he obtained a grant of land for this purpose.
Jo the beginning of king John's reign, Henry de Clinton, grandson to the founder, released to the king all his rights to the castle, &c. aud it remained in possession of the crown till granted by Henry the Third to Simon Montford, earl of Leicester, to whom he gave his daughter in marriage. In 1267, Montford granted it to his son Edmund, who, two years after, was created earl of Lancaster. lo uninterrupted tranquillity Edmund and his successors enjoyed the estate and its privileges, till the reign of Edward the Second, when a rebellion burst forth, which proved fatal to its owner.
Henry, (brother to the late Earl, was, in 1327, restored to the earldoms of Lancaster and Leicester, the castle, and
all his brother's property. This son, who in the same reign was made duke of Lancaster, dying without male issue, and leaving only two daughters, John of Gauut, fourth son of Edward 'the Third, married ope of them, and obtained the castle for a dower. He died in 1399, and left issue, Henry, (surnamed Bolingbroke,) who was afterwards Henry the fourth : the castle came a third time into the hands of the crown.
Henry the Seventh united it to the dukedom of Cornwall; and his son Henry the Eight, was at considerable expence in repairing and ornamenting it. It descended after his death regularly to his son Edward the Sixth, queen Mary, and her sister Elizabeth, who, in 1561, gave it, with all the royalties belonging to it, to Robert Dud. ley, third son to the duke of Northumberland, whom she soon afterwards created earl of Leicester. It was under this haughty favourite that Kenilworth reached tbe summit of its grandeur. In 1571, be erected that large pile of building on the south side of the inner court, which bears his uame and the great gate house on the north ; this he made the principal entrance, and changed the front of the castle, which before was towards the lake. He likewise built a tower at each end of the tilt yard, from whence the ladies had an opportunity of seeing the noble diversion of tilting and barriers; and greatly enlarged the lakes, the chase, and the parks, which now extended over near twenty miles of country. He is said to have expended 60,0001. (an immense sum in those days) in these magnificent improvements. · Lord Leicester left this castle by will to his brother Am. brose, earl of Warwick, for his life, and after his death, to Sir Robert Dudley. It was then bought by Prince Henry, eldest son of James I, who was succeeded by his brother Charles, in whose possessiou it remained until he came to the crown, when he granted it to Sir Robert Carey and his sons. In their hands it rested during the reign of Charles; bat, after his death, Oliver Cromwell gave the whole manor to several of his officers, who stripped and partly demolished the castle, drained the lake, cut down the woods, and destroyed the chase. King Charles the Second renewed the lease granted by his father to the earl of Monmouth's daug bter; but it being again almost expired, he granted the reversion of the whole manor to Laurence Lord Hyde, (second son of lord chancellor Clarendon,) whom he created baron of Kenilworth castle.
partly demolished throved the chase,
ker to the earl