Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

66

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

measures which, after his demise, po one, period. Some idea of the nature of the rightly or wrongly, thought it worth while building may be gathered from a survey to sustain.

of the present stablings, which form a The heirs of Charles Brandon, in the considerable portion of the “ fair strucreigo of Queen Elizabeth, sold Arbury ture ” erected by Sir Edmund Anderson. Hall and the estates to Sir Edmund An. From each front of the house there were derson, chief justice of the common pleas. piles of projecting chimneys, and these, He, possibly out of respect for the stern together with the uosightly chambers and Protestantism of his royal mistress, and bare brick walls, could not fail to offend with a desire to win her favor, demolished the fastidiously cultivated eye of Sir Roger the old mookish house, and built from the Newdigate, Italianized as it was by many ruins what Dugdale called, “a fair struc- years of foreign travel. So the baronet ture of quadrangular form." No sooner set about converting the old and uncouth was this building completed, which it was Arbury Hall into the Cheveral Manor of in the twenty-eighth year of Queen Eliza. to-day. He laboriously drew up his own beth's reign, than the legal knight fostered designs – which for an amateur architect a dislike to it, and passed the estate away were considered to be extremely clever, in exchange to John Newdegate for the in spite of the mixture of ecclesiastic and manor of Harefield in Middlesex, where richly ornate styles and entered into a the Newdegate family had been located contract with a well-known builder to since the days of Edward III.. The carry out the scheme. Newdegates thus made Arbury Hall their At that time, which would be about the family seat, and began to spell their name year 1770, there was a young man emwith an i.

ployed on the ground, evidently a sort of In 1734 the estates descended to Sir right-hand man to Sir Roger, for in the Roger Newdigate, who acquired the title renovation and remodelling of the Hall he from an ancestor. He seems to have been was eminently useful and constantly in a gentleman of much note, attached very request. This young man's name was strongly to literature and the fine arts, and Robert Evans, the subsequent father of particularly devoted to the study of archæ- George Eliot; and it was well for Sir ologian architecture. He, as George Roger Newdigate, in more ways than one, Eliot points out in “Mr. Gilfil's Love that he had so trusty a servant upon om Story,” had made the “grand tour” of he could rely in his hour of need. Before European cities, and returned, doubtless, the unsightly chambers were bidden by deeply in love with the mansions of Italy, turrets the beautiful mullioned windows and rather ashamed of the “fair structure put in, the outer walls cased with stone, of quadrangular form" at Arbury, to the vast courtyard environed with a cloiswhich he had succeeded when only sixteen ter - in short, some time before Arbury

Hall was metamorphosed into its present Sir Roger, indeed, would seem in many attractive shape, the man who had conrespects to have been endowed with extracted to build the place became a bankceptional abilities. He was born in 1718, rupt, and brought a sudden cessation to presumably at Harefield, for in the very the active work then in progress. Sir year

of his majority he was elected mem- Roger, for the moment, was in a state of ber of Parliament for Middlesex in the great perturbation, but the remarkable Tory interest. At Oxford, where he won tact and ability of Robert Evans stood him the highest honors, and formed the most in good stead, and the Cheveral Manor as distinguished friendships, Sir Roger New- it appears to-day was finished under the digate secured enviable popularity. After watchful eyes of the titled architect and being the Parliamentary representative of his excellent steward. Middlesex for six years, he was elected Arbury Hall was probably finished in member for the University, and held the or about 1773, as in that year Sir John position for thirty years. During that Astley, of the adjoining Astley Castle, period he made the “grand tour" already made Sir Roger Newdigate a present of spoken of, and in conjunction with Sir the famous painting depicting the celeHorace Walpole, to whom he was much brated exploits of Sir John de Astley, who attached, worked energetically to revive Aourished in the early part of the fifteenth the beauties of the Gothic style in archi. century. The outside of the mansion tecture.

with its castellated grey-tinted front and Scarcely a better building for the titled mullioned windows is easily recognized by architect to try his hand upon could have all readers of " Mr. Gilfil's Love Story; been found than the Arbury Hall of that it is in the inside, however, that the de

years old.

[graphic]

scriptions of George Eliot force them- | an air of conservatism about it as rigid as selves upon the mind, as the visitor looks that possessed by its owner. It was, with with a curious eye upon the ecclesiastical the smallest variations, the same room as and other adornments, placed in their re that so carefully described in “Mr. Gilfil's spective positions by the lavish hand of Love Story." Sir Roger. The saloon ornaments are Sir Roger Newdigate, the man of culticopied from the fan tracery in Henry vated mind and exquisite taste, died in VII.'s Chapel at Westminster. In a sim- 1806 at the age of eighty-eight. With his ilar manner the ceiling of the drawing death the title became extinct. In his room is elaborately carved with tracery, will Sir Roger bequeathed Arbury Hall in which are inserted different armorial and the estates to Mr. Francis Parker, on bearings on small shields. The room condition that he adopted the name of next to the saloon contains the picture Newdigate; and with a reversion to the before alluded to. It commemorates the father of the late C. N. Newdigale, who exploits of Sir John de Astley, a famous had then come into possession again of knight who vanquished in a duel at Paris the estates at Harefield, and who was enone Peter de Maise, and in the thirtieth joined to add the old spelling of the name year of Henry VI.'s reign fought with, of “ Newdegate to that of the Charles and defeated, at Smithfield, an Aragonian Newdigate received at the baptismal font. knight, named Sir Philip Boyle, who The name of the late owner of Arbury seems to have been a kind of Don Quixote, Hall therefore was Charles Newdegate anxious to cross lances with some great Newdigate. fighter. A replica of this painting is pre- The little village of Griff, in the vicinity served at Patshull, the seat of the Earl of of which George Eliot was born, and in Dartmouth, a descendant of the Astleys which, as already written, lived her brothof Arbury.

er, Isaac Pearson Evans, late agent to Mr. Here and there, in the adjacent rooms, Newdigate, to Lord Aylesford, and to the are many evidences of Sir Roger Newdi-governors of Chamberlain's Charity at gate's classical tastes. There are niches Bedworth, and afterwards agent to the alled with casts from the antique, all Dowager Countess of Aylesford, was at the breathing of the days when the Gothic Conquest survey involved with Chilvers loving baronet was drinking in the archi- Coten. In the third year of the reign of tectural inspirations of Florence. You Queen Elizabeth, Griff was purchased by can see the Venus de Medici under an John Giffard, whose grandson, in Dugelaborate Gothic canopy; and the top of dale's time, passed it on to Sir John a sarcophagus, brought from Rome by Sir Newdigate, father of Sir Roger; it thus Roger, upon which is finely sculptured became the property of the Newdigates, the marriage of Bacchus and Ariadne. and the little parish has continued in

George Eliot has herself well described their family to the present time. the dining-room. In her day it was so Mining has been the chief industry carbare of furniture that it impressed one ried on at Griff. For more than two with its architectural beauty like a cathe-centuries coal mines have been known dral. “The slight matting and a side and worked in this neighborhood; Bed. board in a recess did not detain the eye worth being spoken of by Dugdale as "a for a moment from the lofty groined ceil. place very well known in regard to the ing, with its richly carved pendants, all of coal mines there.” When the father of the creamy white, relieved here and there by late Charles N. Newdigate settled at Artouches of gold. On one side this lofty bury he went energetically into the mining ceiling was supported by pillars and work, and appointed John Evans, uncle to arches, beyond which a lower ceiling, a George Eliot, as his colliery agent. That miniature copy of the higher one, covered was a golden time for the Warwickshire the square projection which with its three coal-owners. Railways had not then pointed windows formed the central fea- stretched their feelers into "the heart of ture of this building. The room looked England," as Michael Drayton calls Warless like a place to dine in than a piece of wickshire ; indeed the only railway near space inclosed simply for the sake of Griff or in the shire was one known as the beautiful outline; and the small dining Stratford and Moreton Railway, which table seemed a small and insignificant extended from Stratford-on-Avon in Waraccident, rather than anything connected wickshire Moreton-in-the-Marsh in with the original purpose of the apart- Gloucestershire. Even this one was not ment.” During the long lifetime of the for passengers; so that our good ances. late Charles N. Newdigate, this room had I tors, as can be seen in George Eliot's

[ocr errors]

66

to

“Silas Maroer,” only a little more than Mr. Newdigate was so strongly imhalf a century ago, were obliged to travel pressed with the idea that canals were to chiefly by stage coach and packhorse. be the future travelling courses of the The Stratford and Moreton Railway Com- world that he had a communication with pany was incorporated in 1821. The the Grand Junction cut right up to his length of the main line was about sixteen hall at Arbury; and it is said that upon miles, and the branch lines two and a half more than one occasion he has travelled miles. The capital embarked in this en- to and from London by boat. This was a terprise was £50,000. The principal use piece of good humor about wbich the late made of this railway was the supplying Charles N. Newdigate chose to be silent with coal, brought from the Griff and as much as possible, and when he did Bedworth pits, of Moreton, Stow-on-theo speak of it he sought to convey the imWold, and other parts of the country pression that in cutting it his father bad through which it passed, and for convey: the drainage of his coal mioes in view; ing back to Strailord-on-Avon stone and but among those old Griff miners the agricultural produce.

story is still current of how “Old Char. This was the only enterprise, in the ley's feyther went to Lunnon up the cut.” shape of a railway, then in use in War. Perhaps Mr. Newdigate may only have wickshire. It is still to be seen, but it is been a few decades in advance of his time, now disused and overgrown with grass though the incident at that period was and weeds; a striking instance of a work certainly one worthy to be noted down by that soon served its purpose and became the hand of George Eliot; but having obsolete.

already described the foibles of one memThough taking a great interest in the ber of the family, the gifted novelist prob. work of railways as a means of carrying ably deemed it prudent to stay her hand. the coal from his Griff collieries into the To the commercial interests of Warwick. world in and beyond the shire, Mr. New shire, however, canals are of the greatest digate, father of the late member for value, and one cannot think of the many North Warwickshire, was also keenly advantages which have been gained to alive to the importance of canals, which mankind by the use of these well-planned at that time were being introduced. The water-courses that glide through our fields miles upon miles of navigable water and streets without thanking ibeir con. courses that flow so placidly through this structors, and wondering why the canals beautiful and classic shire tell of the fore are not more generally used. sight, knowledge, and skilful engineering If the Griff miner, or the Bedworth rib. abilities of our forefathers. Something bon weaver, or the Astley worker in bead may be said of a canal that passes near and jet embroidery were at all bookish, George Eliot's neighborhood, which was and would read George Eliot's “Scenes constructed in 1830, and in which the old of Clerical Life,” they would be disposed Mr. Newdigate took a large share of in. to say, when next visiting Chilvers Coten terest. During the Parliamentary session Church, "Eh! inna it like;" for during of 1829 the Oxford Canal Company ob- the tenure of the Rev. Mr. Chadwick, the tained powers to improve that part of present vicar, the church is being their canal which lies between Braunston stored ” back to something like the old in Warwickshire and Longford in North- condition of Shepperton Church. amptonshire, and which communicated The little village of Chilvers Coten, in with the Grand Junction and Coventry the parish of which George Eliot was canals. The construction of the works in born, is about one mile from Griff. In this canal was upon the most approved the Conquest survey it was rated at eight methods in the practice of civil engineer hides; the woods were one mile and a ing: The bridges and tunnels were made half in length, and one mile in breadth ; sufficiently capacious to admit of a towing the whole parish being valued at fifty path on either side, and two boats to pass. shillings. At the Dissolution Chilvers The canal passed through the highlands Coten came to the crown, and was sold to at Brinkloi — the nearest point to Bed. John Fisher and Thomas Dalbridgecourt worth and Griff — and Newbold, by means in the fourth year of Queen Elizabeth's of tunnels twenty-four feet inside diam- reign. These gentlemen, in 1630, ob. eter, and over the turnpike road from tained a grant of Court Leet to be held Rugby to historic Lutterworth upon an there, so that in those days it must have aqueduct of cast iron. A considerable been a somewhat important parish. In portion of these works was completed and course of time Chilvers Coten, along with navigable in 1831.

the village of Griff, came into the hands

re

[graphic]

pf the Newdigates. The Rev. Henry fault concerning his next move, must not Hake, who died at Leamington a few years make the mistake of inquiring for Cheve. ago, at a very advanced age, became vicar rai Manor, or Shepperton, or he will be of Chilvers Coten in 1844, when George met with the truly George Eliot reply of Eliot was in her twenty-fifth year, and he “ You mun be cum wrong; I hanna may have, in some particulars, suggested heered o' them places." Mr. Gilsl. At that time the population of

GEORGE MORLEY. Chilvers Coten, was 2,612, the patron of the living being the lord chancellor. Mr. Hake buried his first wife in the little graveyard there, and resigned the living in the spring of 1859.

From Temple Bar. That Bedworth coal-master who calls

MY SECOND MARRIAGE. George Eliot “a monstrously clever I AM one of those people who have woman” one day met Mr. John Evans, made a mistake in life, and thinking that first cousin to Mary Ann, the novelist, and a short account of this mistake may be spoke to him to the following effect. Mr. profitable and interesting to others, now Evans, who was then foreman at the Griff that I have in a measure recovered from collieries, the date being some time in the effects thereof, I am going to narrate, 1858, when returning from the pits one as briefly as possible, all that happened to evening met Mrs. Newdigate, mother of me during those miserable months of my the late "Old Charley," as the miners second marriage. always called him, driving along in her I was born of humble parents, who, carriage. She called to the coachman to after emigrating from Ireland, met with a stop, and beckoned John Evans to her fair share of success in the New World ; side. “Evans,” she said, " I have got a and, when I was but little over sixteen, i book here – it is called ' Adam Bede was married to a well-to-do farmer in and I want you to take it home and read Michigan, U.S.A., who treated me very it to your father.” John Evans replied well during the five years of our married that his father “dinna tek much account life, and left me, at his death, quite como' books 'cept the Bible,” but if it was fortably off, and with two tiny children to the lady's wish that he should read it to look after. I grieve to say that I never his father, he would do so. He did take properly lamented my first husband's the book home and began to read it, and death until the misery into which I was so clearly had George Eliot drawn her plunged by my subsequent folly made me characters that the old man, even as his realize how much I had lost when he was son read, perfectly identified the people taken from me. I enjoyed my freedom, in his own neighborhood, and every now my money, and the attention that my good and then called them out by name. It looks secured for me, but I don't think I was this book which the Griff, Bedworth, should ever for a moment have thought and Chilvers Coten people made so much of again plunging into the risks of matriof at that time, and there is not the shadow mony, had not a handsome young fellow, of a doubt but that all the characters in whom they called Mr. Kelly, come to our " Adam Bede," lived, moved, and had village and taken my heart by storm with their being in this little circle.

his fair face and lying lips. At Corley, a pretty little village upon It never struck me in those days of my an elevation, close to Packington Magna, ignorance, that it was odd that Mr. Kelly, the ancient seat of the Aylesford family, who was a Greek by birth, should have an is to be found the “ Hall Farm,” in which Irish name; what koew I of names or Martin Poyser took such pride, and at geography? I had some vague idea that which Adam Bede was always a welcome Greece was a much grander country to guest. Indeed every village within a six- belong to than the States. and that I mile ring of Griff is instinct with the life might be called Mrs. Kelly just as well as to be found in the works of George Eliot. anything else ; and it was not until I actuWhich village is “ Raveloe” it would be ally got to this country, and heard every. difficult to say, as any one of the pretty body call him Kallicrates that I knew my cluster to be met with there might pass second husband's real name. All my refor it; and although linen weaving, in lations were much opposed to the mar. cottages is almost at an end, the ribbon riage; my mother cried, and my

father weaver is still busy with his tireless loom. remonstrated, but Mr. Kelly spoke so But the stranger amid those interesting much of his lovely palace on Lemnos, his scenes, should he by any chance be at vineyards, and his extensive property,

LIVING AGE, VOL. LXXIII. 3748

that he fairly turned my head, and it re- | business it appeared to me would never quired but little of his soft persuasion to be finished. make me promise to become his wife. All that I know is that during this pe.

Just three months after I had first known riod all my money went, and that Kelly him, we were quietly married ; and, when spent his time in the gambling hells of we had realized all my property, packed Pera with young Zaphyros, a Greek wbo up all that he represented as necessary for also had been in America, and whose real me in my future palatial home, we four, history I only learned when I was on my Mr. and Mrs. Kelly, and my two dear little way home; and, as he is a fair type of his mites, set off on a Cunarder on our way to race, I cannot do better than tell you the Turkey, and I think the only thing that gossip I beard about him. Zaphyros, it annoyed me was having to call my hus- appeared, was the most expert gambler in band Kelly, for he represented that, in his Constantinople, and lived on what he made country, only one name was necessary ; the gambling hells where all my money and, though I longed to call him Jack or was lost. He was a wonderful linguist, as Tom, yet I could not help reflecting that, the Greeks all are, speaking five languages if his one name had been like my maiden well, and fourteen sufficiently for all ordiname, O'Shaughnessy, it would not bave nary purposes, and he was capable of sounded half so affectionate as Kelly, and assuming any character or nationality that would have been a terrible mouthful to he chose. At the age of seventeen he hurl at one's husband every time one ad. had married a woman of thirty-five, but dressed him.

soon left her to seek his fortunes in When once we had left America bebind America. There he won the heart of a us I felt a little nervous about my future girl as foolish and ignorant as myself; she for the first time, and sad when I thought eloped with him and they got married, but of the comfortable home and dear faces her relations followed her and caught her that I had left behind, probably forever. at Havre and took her home. UnforKelly saw this, and gaily described the tunately for me, Kelly had not another beauty of his home in the mountains of wife, and my relatives were not energetic his native isle, the perpetual summer, and enough to look after me when I had left how I should love his sisters, and his them. brothers, and the dear simple people Zaphyros had seen better days, and amongst whom we should live. In those came of a respectable Greek family. His days Kelly was very kind, and would play two sisters, who lived at Constantinople, with Katie and Alfred on the deck, keep- were devoted to him, and really, I believe, ing them amused, when I was below not thought him honest. They have twice feeling well. Also he tried to give me a been into mourning for him, when it was few lessons in the language I should have found necessary to circulate well-authenti. to speak; but I am always stupid and lazy cated reports of his death, and at one at sea, and was glad to accept his theory, time, too, he had quite a respectable callthat it would all come quickly enough ing, namely, that of selling Nordenfeldt when I got there.

guns to the Turkish government; but on At Liverpool we transferred ourselves one occasion, as he was coming on an on to another vessel of the Cunard line, Austrian Lloyd steamer from Varna to comfortable enough, but very inferior to Constantinople in pursuit of his calling, the magnificent liner we had left, and on the ship was storm-stayed for five days, this we ultimately reached Constantinople cards were produced, and Zaphyros won in safety, and I was straight away plunged all before him, until his chief forbade him into my new life and strange scenes. to play any more. But the silly Grecks

Kelly took us a room at a miserable inn and Bulgarians on board clamored for down by the Golden Horn, as they call the revenge, until Zaphyros was constrained harbor, which was full of vermin and hor- to come out of his cabin and play; he rible smells. This was my first shock, for cleared out everybody and won piles of hitherto on our journey we had travelled gold, and then he bought up all the cham. first class, and I could not help saying pagne on the ship, with which he and that I thought this accommodation be- his victims beguiled the hours till they neath our position, and very disagreeable; reached their destination. Needless to but Kelly laughed, and said it would not say, when this conduct was reported to be for long, and in this atrocious hole he his employers in Sweden, he got his dis. left me and my children during the greater missal, and his career as a respectable part of the day, putting off our departure man was at an end. for Lemnos on the plea of business, which Every night, that is to say, not every

« ElőzőTovább »