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Bachygraig, where it stood, newly gilt by Mr. Piozzi, two years ago (1813).
My father was lineally descended from this pair, and died possessed of dear old Bachygraig, while Sir John Salusbury's family soon finished in a daughter Hester, who, marrying Sir Robert Cotton of Combermere, gave him, and all her progeny by him, the name of Salusbury Cotton. She was immediate grandame to my dear mother ; and thus in your little friend the two families remain united.
Will it amuse you to be told that Katherine de Berayne, after Sir Richard Clough's death, married Maurice Wynne, of Gwydir, whose family and fortune merged in that of the Berties? He was not, however, her last husband. She wedded Thelwall, of Plasyward, after she was quite an old woman. But the Berayne estate she left to my mother's great-grandfather, as heir to her first husband, Sir John Salusbury of Lleweney. My uncle sold it to Lord Kirkwall's father.*
But it will bring matters nearer home to tell you that my mother, who had 10,000l., an excellent fortune in those days, besides an annuity for her mamma's life of 1251. per annum, who was living gaily with her brother, Sir Robert Salusbury Cotton, and his wife, Lady Betty Tollemache, refused all suitors attracted by
* Lord Kirkwall sold the property to the Rev. Edward Hughes, whose son, William Lewis Hughes, the present possessor, was created Baron Dinorben, in 1831, of Kinmel Park, Denbighshire. The house was burnt down in 1840. Sir J. F. Lord Dinorben was succeeded in his estates by his nephew, Hugh Robert Hughes, Esq.
her merits and beauty for love of her rakisk cousin, John Salusbury of Bachygraig. He, unchecked by care of a father who died during the infancy of his sons, ran out the estate completely to nothing. So completely that the 10,000l. would scarcely pay debts and furnish them out a cottage in Caernarvonshire, where - after two or three dead things—I was born alive, and where they were forced by circumstances to remain, till my grandmother Lucy Salusbury - an exemplary creature should die, and leave them free at least to mortgage or to sell, or to do something towards reinstating themselves in a less unbecoming situation.
Meanwhile I was their joint plaything, and although education was a word then unknown as applied to females, they had taught me to read and speak and think and translate from the French, till I was half a prodigy*; and my father's brother Thomas, who was bred up for the ecclesiastical courts with poor papa's money, and who lived in London among the gay and great, said how his friends the Duke of Leeds, Lord Halifax, &c., would be delighted could they but see little Hester. My mother, however, thought it would be best to conciliate her own relations, and made me, I know not at how early an age, write a letter to my uncle Robert who had lately lost Lady Betty. The scheme prospered: grandmamma Salusbury
* There is a tradition in the Cotton family that she could repeat the names of most of the rivers in the world, but when asked the name of the river at the bottom of the garden (the Thames) she could not tell it.
of Bachygraig was dead, and Sir Robert Salusbury Cotton said he longed to kiss his sister and the little girl; to whom he was perhaps more willing to attach himself, as he had no progeny, and his only brother had married, not much to please him, a portionless cousin of his own; Miss Cotton, of Etwall and Belleport, by whom he had many children, among which two only were favourites at Lleweney. An invitation followed, and we came to the Old Hall hung round with armour, which struck my infant eyes with wonder and delight.
My uncle soon began to dote on Fiddle, as he called me in fondness; and I certainly did not obtain his love by flattery, as I remember well this odd tête-à-tête conversation:
"Come now, dear," said he, "that we are quite alone, tell me what you expected to see here at Llewenney." "I expected," replied I, "to see an old baronet." "Well, in that your expectation is not much disappointed; but why did you think of such stuff?" "Why just because papa and mamma was always saying to me and to one another at Bodvel, what the old baronet would think of this and that: they did it to frighten me I see now; but I thought to myself that kings and princes were but men, and God made them you know, Sir, and they made old baronets." Incomparable Fiddle," exclaimed my uncle-"you will see a Mr. and Mrs. Clough at dinner to-day: do you know how to spell Clough ?" "No," was the reply; "I never heard the name; but if it had been spelt like buff, you would
not have asked me the question. They write it perhaps as we write enough-c, 1, o, u, g, h."
What baby anecdotes are these, you cry. 'Tis so, but your poor friend certainly ceased being in any wise a wonder after she was five years old, at which period we left Wales and came to my uncle's house in Albemarle Street, where he told my mother he should follow in less than two months; make a new will, and leave poor Fiddle 10,000l., having understood that my parents had by their marriage settlement agreed to entail the old Bachygraig Estate on Thomas Salusbury, brother to papa, and then a doctor in the Commons; and on his sons, rather than their own daughter, if they had no male heir. I fancy some rough words passed concerning this. My uncle certainly but ill brooked my father's pride, and he still less willingly endured being informed that, if his quality friends would provide him some distant establishment, my mother and myself should share the old baronet's fortune. "No, no, Sir Robert," was the haughty answer, "if I go for a soldier, your sister shall carry the knapsack, and the little wench may have what I can work for." I have heard that our parting soon followed this conversation, and scarce were my infantine tears dried for leaving dear Llewenney and my half-adored uncle, before the news reached London of his sudden death by an apoplectic fit; in consequence of which, his brother, Sir Lynch Salusbury Cotton, came into everything by a temporary will kept in case of accidents till one more copious and correct should be formed.
Some traces yet remain upon my mind of poor
mamma's anguish and of my father's violent expressions. She has related to me his desperate engagement with some quacks and projectors who pretended to find lead on his encumbered estate, whilst we remained in town, and I became a favourite with the Duke and Duchess of Leeds, where I recollect often meeting the famous actor Mr. Quin, who taught me to speak Satan's speech to the sun in "Paradise Lost." When they took me to see him act Cato, I remember making him a formal courtesy, much to the Duchess's amusement, perhaps to that of the player. I was just six years old, and we sate in the stage-box, where kept on studying the part with all my little power, not at all distracted by the lights or company, which they fancied would take The fireworks for the peace attention. my of Aix-la-Chapelle were the next sights my fancy was impressed with. We sate on a terrace belonging to the Hills of Tern-now Lord Berwick's family,—and David Garrick was there, and made me sit on his lap, feeding me with cates, &c.; because having asked some one who sate near why they called those things that blew up, Gerbes in the bill of fare, I answered," Because they are like wheat-sheaves, you see, and Gerbe is a wheatsheaf in French."
When Garrick was intimate at Streatham Park more than twenty years afterwards, he did not like that story: it made him look older, at least feel older, than he wished, I suppose.
Lord Halifax was now, or soon after, head of the Board of Trade, and wished to immortalise his name