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this transaction. When they asked for his money, he would give them no answer till they had assured him that his servant, who was a great favorite, was safe:-he then delivered them the key of a drawer in which was fifty guineas. But they knew, too well, he had much more in the house, and again threatened his life, without he discovered where it was deposited. At length he showed them the place, and they turned out a large drawer, where were seven-and-twenty hundred guineas. This they packed up in two large baskets, and actually carried off. A robbery which, for quantity of specie, was perhaps never equalled. On quitting him, they told him they should leave a man behind, who would murder him if he moved for assistance. On which he very coolly, and with some simplicity, took out his watch which they had not asked for, and said, “ Gentlemen, I do not want to take any of you, therefore, on my honor, I will give you twenty minutes for your escape : after that time, nothing shall prevent me from seeing how my servant does.” He was as good as his word: when the time expired, he went and untied the man; but though some search was made by the village, the robbers were not discovered.
When they were taken up some years afterwards for other offences, and were known to be the men who robbed Sir Harvey, he would not appear against them. · Mr. Harrington, of Clare, who was his lawyer, pressed him to go to Chelmsford to identify their persons; but nothing could persuade him. “ No, no,” said he, “I have lost my money, and now you want me to lose my time also.”
Of what temperance can do, Sir Harvey was an instance. At · an early period of life he was given over for a consumption, and he lived till betwixt eighty and ninety years of age.
· Amongst the few acquaintances he had, was an occasional club at his own village of Stoke--and there were members of it, two baronets besides himself, Sir Cordwell Firebras and Sir John Barnardiston. However rich they were, the reckoning was always an object of their investigation. As they were one day settling this difficult point, an odd fellow, who was a member, called out to a friend who was passing-—" For heaven's sake step up stairs and assist the poor ! here are three baronets worth a million of money quarreling about a farthing."
When Sir Harvey died, the only tear that was dropped on his grave, fell from the eye of his servant, who had long and faithfully attended him. To that servant he bequeathed a farm of 50l. per annum, “to him and to his heirs.”
In the chastity and abstinence of his life, Sir Harvey Elwes was a rival to Sir Isaac Newton-for he would have held it unpardon
able to have given even his affections. And, as he saw no lady whatever, he had but little chance of bartering them matrimonially for money.
When' he died, he lay in state, such as it was, at his seat at Stoke. Some of the tenants observed, with more humor 'than decency, - that it was well Sir Harvey could not see it."
On his death, his fortune, which had now become immense, fell to his nephew, Mr. Meggot, who, by will, was ordered to assume the name and arms of Elwes.
Thus lived, and thus died, the uncle to old Mr, Elwes, whose possessions, at the time of his death, were supposed to be, at least two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, and whose annual expenditure was about one hundred and ten pounds!
However incredible this may appear, it is yet strictly true; his clothes cost him nothing, for he took them out of an old chest, where they had lain since the gay days of Sir Jervaise...
He kept his household chiefly on game, and fish which he had in his own ponds; and the cows which grazed before his own door furnished milk, cheese, and butter, for the little economical household. What fuel he did burn, his woods supplied. · Those who have wished to find an excuse for the penury of Sir Harvey, have urged, that he had passed so long a period of his life alone, in recovering the estate, that he could not again encounter the world, and that his shyness was so extremę, that company gave him no pleasure.
To those who are continually courting the bustle of society, and the fever of public scenes, it may be curious to learn, that here was a man who had the courage to live nearly seventy years alone!
That this was done without former scenes to afford matter for reflection, or books to entertain, but in pursuing one ruling passion--the amassing unused wealth,
To the whole of this property Mr. Elweş succeeded; and it was imagined, that of his own, was not at that time very inferior. He got too an additional seat-but he got it, as it had been most religiously delivered down for ages past. The furniture was most sacredly antique ; not a room was painted, nor a window repaired; the beds above stairs were all in canopy and state ; where the worms and moths held their undisturbed reign; and the roof of the house was inimitable for the climate of Italy.
In short, the whole verified what was said that nobody would live with Sir Harvey Elweş if they could nor could if they would."
CHAP. III. The contemplation of such a character as that of Sir Harvey Elwes, affords a very mortifying and melancholy picture of human infirmity. The contrast of so much wealth, and so much abuse of it, is degrading to the human understanding. But in return, it yet has its uses. For let those who fancy there is a charm in riches, able to fix happiness, here view all their inability, and all their failure ; and acknowlege, that the mind alone " makes or mars” our felicity. For who almost would credit, that while the comforts, if not the luxuries of life, are supposed to confer happiness, and be the foundation of our pleasures-who would credit that Sir Harvey Elwes, possessed of two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, should live for above sixty years in solitude, to avoid the expense of company !-should deny himself almost fire and candle !-Should wear the cast-off clothes of his predecessor, and live in a house where the wind was entering at every broken casement, and the rain descending through the roof-voluntarily imposing on himself a condition little better than the pauper of an alms-house ! · To this uncle, and this property, Mr. Elwes succeeded, when he had advanced beyond the fortieth year of his age. And for fifteen years previous to this period, it was, that he was known in the fashionable circles of London. He had always a turn for play, and it was only late in life, and from paying always, and not always being paid, that he conceived disgust at the inclination.
The acquaintances which he had formed at Westminster School and at Geneva, together with his own large fortune, all conspired to introduce him into whatever society he best liked. He was admitted a member of the club at Arthur's, and various other clubs of that period. And, as some proof of his notoriety at that time, as a man of deep play-Mr. Elwes, the late Lord Robert Bertie, and some others, are noticed in a scene in the Adventures of a Guinea, for the frequency of their midnight orgies. Few men, even from his own acknowledgment, had played deeper than himself : and with success more various. I remember hearing him say, he had once played two days and a night without intermission : and the room being a small one, the party were nearly up to the knees in cards. He lost some thousands at that sitting. The late Duke of Northumberland was of the partywho never would quit a table where any hope of winning remained.
Had Mr. Elwes received all he won, he would have been the richer by some thousands, for the mode in which he passed this part of his life : but the vowels of I. O. U. were then in use,
himself : and had once play being a fost som
and the sums that were owed him, even by very noble names, were not liquidated. On this account he was a very great loser by play; and though he never could, or perhaps would, ascertain the sum, I know from circumstances since, that it was very considerable. The theory which he professed, “ that it was impossible to ask a gentleman for money,” he perfectly confirmed by the practice; and he never violated this feeling to the latest hour of his life. . On this subject, which regards the manners of Mr. Elwes, gladly I seize an opportunity to speak of them with the praise that is their due. They were such so gentle, so attentive, so gentlemanly, and so engaging, that rudeness could not ruffle them, nor strong ingratitude break their observance. He retained this peculiar feature of the old court to the last : but he had a praise far beyond this; he had the most gallant disregard of his own person, and all care about himself, I ever witnessed in man. The instances in younger life, in the most imminent personal hazard, are innumerable: but when age had despoiled him of his activity, and might have rendered care and attention about himself natural, he knew not what they were. He wished no one to assist him-" He was as young as ever--he could walk-he could ride, and he could dance; and he hoped he should not give trouble, even when he was old.”
He was, at that time, seventy-five.
As an illustration of this, an anecdote, however trivial, may be pardoned. He was at this time seventy-three, and he would walk out a shooting with me to see whether a pointer, I at that time valued much, was as good a dog as some he had had in the time of Sir Harvey. After walking for some hours, much unfatigued, he determined against the dog, but with all due ceremony. A gentleman who was out with us, and who was a very indifferent shot, by firing at random, lodged two pellets in the cheek of Mr. Elwes, who stood by me at the time. The blood appeared, and the shot certainly gave him pain; but when the gentleman came to make his apology and profess his sorrow-"My dear Sir," said the old man, “ I give you joy on your improvementI knew you would hit something by and by.”
In this part of his character, nothing could be more pleasant than was Mr. Elwes : it was the pecuniary part, which ruined, as the Dramatist would say, “ the stage effect of the whole thing."
· Recurring, however, from this momentary digression, to the subject which we left (the scenes of play in which Mr. Elwes had been formerly engaged), it is curious to remark, how he then contrived to mingle small attempts at saving, with objects of the most unbounded dissipation. After sitting up a whole night at
play for thousands, with the most fashionable and profligate men of the time, amidst splendid rooms, gilt sofas, wax lights, and waiters attendant on his call, he would walk out about four in the morning, not towards home, but into Smithfield! to meet his own cattle, which were coming to market from Thaydon-hall, a farm of his in Essex. There would this same man, forgetful of the scenes he had just left, stand, in the cold or rain, bartering with a carcass-butcher for a shilling! Sometimes when the cattle did not arrive at the hour he expected, he would walk on in the mire to meet them; and, more than once, has gone on foot the whole way to his farm without stopping, which was seventeen miles from London, after sitting up the whole night. .
Had every man been of the mind of Mr. Elwes, the race of innkeepers must have perished, and post-chaises have been returned to those who made them; for it was the business of his life to avoid both. He always travelled on horseback. To see him setting out on a journey was a matter truly curious: his first care was to put two or three eggs, boiled hard, into his greatcoat pocket, or any scraps of bread which he found—baggage he never took—then, mounting one of his hunters, his next attention was to get out of London, into that road where turnpikes were the fewest. Then, stopping under any hedge where grass presented itself for his horse, and a little water for himself, he would sit down and refresh himself and his horse together. Here presenting a new species of bramin, worth five hundred thousand pounds.
The chief residence of Mr. Elwes, at this period of his life, was in Berkshire at his own seat in Marcham. Here it was he had two sons born, who inherit the greatest part of his property, by a will made about the year 1785. He failed not, however, at this time, to pay very frequent visits to Sir Harvey, his uncle, and used to attend him in his daily amusement of partridge-setting. Mr. Elwes was then supposed to have some of the best setting-dogs in the kingdomtheir breed and color were peculiar--they were of a black tan, and more resembled a hound than a setter. As a proof of their strength and speed, Mr. Elwes once told me, that one of them, in following him to London, hunted all the fields adjoining the road a distance of sixty miles.
On the death of his uncle, Mr. Elwes then came to reside at Stoke, in Suffolk. Bad as was the mansion-house he found here, he left one still worse behind him at Marcham, of which the late Colonel Timms, his nephew, used to mention the following proof. A few days after he went thither, a great quantity of rain fell in the night—he had not been long in bed before he felt himself wet through; and putting his hand out of the clothes, found the rain