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: The House of Egremont by Seawell Molly Elliot Relyea C M Charles M Illustrator - Historical fiction; France History Louis XIV 1643-1715 Fiction; British France Fiction; Great Britain History William and Mary 1689-1702 Fiction; Exiles Fiction
@FreeBooksSat 25 Nov, 2023
"HERE ARE PENS, INK, AND PAPER" 40
THEN, WALKING DOWN THE STAIRWAY, CAME THE POOR KING 218
THEY WAIT TO BID THE PRINCESS GOOD-NIGHT 296
DICKY WHISTLED TO BOLD, WHO CAME AND LICKED HIS HAND 334
ROGER RAISED THE PISTOL AND FIRED 400
HOUSE OF EGREMONT
IN WHICH ROGER EGREMONT MAKES HIS BOW TO THE WORLD
THE fortunes of the House of Egremont had their first great bloom through the agency of a platter of beans; and through a platter of beans more than a hundred years later the elder branch was ousted from one of the greatest estates in England, became wanderers and gentlemen adventurers throughout Europe, fought in quarrels not their own, served sovereigns of foreign countries, knew the dazzling heights of glory, and fell into the mire of penury and disrepute. An Egremont had the ear of kings, and another Egremont mounted the gallows. They mated sometimes with princes and dukes, and sometimes they were thought fit to mate with the daughters of their gaolers. Some of them were great at play, and met and vanquished the best players of Europe on the field of the cloth of green; other Egremonts were ascetics and wore hair shirts next their skins, and fasted and prayed extremely. They seemed the favorite playthings of destiny, which had a showman's way of exhibiting them in all the ups and downs, the glories and shames, of human vicissitudes.
The Egremonts seemed to be gifted with the art of pleasing kings. They were as much in favor with James the First as they had been with the mighty princess whose mantle fitted Scotch James as well as royal robes fit a sign-post. He played the fool with them as he did with all his favorites, but put money in their purses for it, and their estates grew. Poor stubborn Charles the First found the Egremonts loyal to him in his endeavors to rule the English people as they did not wish to be ruled; and, although they suffered somewhat at the hands of Cromwell, the second Charles found them to his heart's liking, and repaid them twice over.
There were many Egremonts then, younger sons of younger sons, and they held together strongly in certain things, and differed angrily and loudly upon others. They were not a race of milksops, but sinewy men and women, red-blooded like their Elizabethan ancestor. Their motto was, "Fear God, and take your own part." Some of them feared God, but all of them took their own part with firmness and determination. Although they held firmly to their religion, they frequently took liberties with the Decalogue; but having received great benefits from their sovereigns, repaid it with a handsome loyalty.
The head of the house in the merry days of Charles the Second was a certain John Egremont, comely and debonair, like his forbears, but cold of heart and a calculator. Like most men of that type, his loves were few and strange. He footed it at court with the best of them, was good at playing and at fighting, and thought with King Charles that God would not forever damn a man for taking a little pleasure out of the way. He was rather proud of his reputation as a sad dog, and it was in no way impaired during a brief married life. The yoke was light, and was soon lifted by death; so, within a year or two John Egremont was back at court, leaving a little motherless boy at Egremont. Then he took a notion to make the grand tour,--a quarrel with Lady Castlemaine rendering it very necessary that he should absent himself from England for a time. It was three years before he returned, but my Lady Castlemaine had not cooled off, nor did she during the remainder of John Egremont's life.
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