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THE

Weird of the Wentworths;

A TALE OF GEORGE IV.'S TIME.

BY

JOHANNES SCOTUS.

All nations have their omens drear,
Their legends wild of woe and fear.

Sir Walter Scott.

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SAUNDERS, OTLEY, AND CO.,
66 BROOK STREET, HANOVER SQUARE.

1862.

2:30. n.157

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h. 151.

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LONDON: PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, STAMFORD STREET

AND CHARING CRO88.

PREFACE.

The objection may be raised that, as the major part of this Romance takes place during the Regency, such a title as :-“The Weird of the Wentworths; a Tale of George IV's Time,"—is inappropriate. When, however, it is considered that the Regent was king in all but name, and the mânners, customs, and habits differed little after his accession, the inadvertency will be explained.

In case of exception being taken to the language and sentiments of some characters introduced into the tale, the Author thinks it sufficient to say he utterly repudiates them! Oaths and ribaldry are, unfortunately, the concomitants of a depraved mind; and, in delineating faithfully the darker side of human nature, the Author felt himself compelled to sketch much that has passed under his own observation, and much that he has gleaned from the treatment of such characters by many distinguished novelists, not omitting our northern luminary, Sir Walter Scott.

The moral of the Romance being the triumph of virtue over vice, and truth over falsehood, he trusts that those fair readers, who may indulge his work with a perusal, will avoid the dark, and embrace the bright traits of the other sex; and, marking the gradual development of rectitude in the character of his heroine, magnify their own by adhering fixedly to the path of duty and moral conduct, amid all temptations to swerve from it.

The Author trusts that those noble families, whose names he has chosen as his beaux idéals, will kindly dismiss all personal associations from their minds, and simply give to the synonyms (which his not unpardonable preference led him to select) that weight which will ever attach itself in the eyes of the world, to the great, when also good.

There is one more point which may give rise to discussion—the rapid and violent deaths occurring in one family. The WEIRD, which, though kept in the background, is the mainspring of the tale, might explain this; but that such catastrophes are not beyond the region of possibility, the Author begs to remind his readers that in more than one family of rank, whose names both his sympathy and delicacy forbid any allusion to, such misfortunes and fates have actually happened.

Some of the death-scenes, and very many of the traditions and incidents embodied in the work, are taken from real life, which often far surpasses fiction.

Portobello, near EDINBURGH.

June 19th, 1862.

THE WEIRD OF THE WENTWORTHS;

A TALE OF GEORGE IV.'s TIME.

CHAPTER I.

" And a magic voice and verse

Hath baptized thee with a curse." -Manfred.

The extent of parents' influence on their offspring has long been a matter of dispute ; yet the fact remains incontestable that children do suffer for their parents' faults, that the sins of the father are visited not only to the third and fourth generation, but often to a distance that can scarcely be conceived. The leprosy of Naaman cleaved to Gehazi's seed for ever, and it is said many of these unhappy sufferers still trace their misery to their ancestor's mendacity. We read in Grecian history how Myrtilus, as he sank, cursed the faithless Pelops and his race for ever; and we see its dire effects in the misfortunes of Agamemnon and Iphigenia :

Atoning for her father's sin,

A joyless sacrifice." We might cite the Alcmaeonidae as another instance, and it is rather a singular thing that in nearly every case faithlessness, or sacrilege, has first armed the curse with its power. English annals present not a few examples, and perhaps no "weird” ever crushed a noble race of high name and lineage so cruelly, as that which is to be

VOL. J.

B

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