Ennui, or Memoirs of The Earl of Glenthorn
by Maria Edgeworth
Bred up in luxurious indolence, I was surrounded by friends, who
seemed to have no business in this world but to save me the trouble of
thinking or acting for myself; and I was confirmed in the pride of
helplessness by being continually reminded, that I was the only son and
heir of the Earl of Glenthorn. My mother died a few weeks after I was
born, and I lost my father when I was very
young. I was left to the care of a guardian, who in hopes of
winning my affection never controlled my wishes, or even my whims; I
changed schools and masters as often as I pleased, and consequently
learned nothing: at last I found a private tutor, who suited me
exactly, for he was completely of my own opinion, "that every thing,
which the young Earl of Glenthorn did not know by the instinct of
genius, was not worth his learning." Money could purchase a reputation
for talents, and with money I was immoderately supplied; for my
guardian expected to bribe me with a part of my own fortune, to forbear
inquiring what had become of a certain deficiency in the remainder.
This tacit compact I perfectly understood; we were consequently on the
most amicable terms imaginable, and the most confidential, for I
thought it better to deal with my guardian than with Jews. Thus at an
age when other young men are subject to some restraint, either from the
necessity of their circumstances, or the discretion of their friends, I
became completely master of myself, and of my fortune. My companions
envied me; but even their envy was not sufficient to make me happy.
Whilst yet a boy I began to feel the dreadful symptoms of that mental
malady, which baffles the skill of medicine, and for which wealth can
purchase only temporary alleviation. For this complaint there is no
precise English name,———but, alas! the foreign term is now naturalized
in England.———Among the higher classes, whether in the wealthy, or the
fashionable world, who is unacquainted with ennui?———At first I was
unconscious of being subject to this disease; I felt that something was
the matter with me, but I did not know what: yet the symptoms were
sufficiently marked. I was afflicted with frequent fits of fidgetting,
yawning, and stretching, with a constant restlessness of mind and body,
an aversion to the place I was in, or the thing I was doing, or rather
to that which was passing before my eyes, for I was never doing any
thing; I had an utter abhorrence, and an incapacity of voluntary
exertion. Unless roused by external stimulus, I sunk into that kind of
apathy, and vacancy of ideas, vulgarly known by the name of a brown
study. If confined in a room for more than half an hour by bad weather,
or other contrarieties, I would pace backwards and forwards, like the
restless cavia in his den, with a fretful, unmeaning pertinacity. I
felt an insatiable longing for something new, and a childish love of
My physician and my guardian, not knowing what else to do with me,
sent me abroad. I set out upon my travels in my eighteenth year,
attended by my favourite tutor as my companion. We perfectly agreed in
our ideas of travelling; we hurried from place to place as fast as
horses and wheels, and curses and guineas, could carry us. Milord
Anglois rattled over half the globe without getting one inch farther
from his ennui. Three years were to be consumed before I should be of
age. What sums did I spend during this interval in expedition-money to
Time! but the more I tried to hasten him, the slower the rogue went. I
lost my money and my temper.
At last the day for which I had so long panted arrived. I was
twenty-one! and I took possession of my estate. The bells rang the
bonfires blazed, the tables wore spread, the wine flowed, huzzas
resounded, friends and tenants crowded about me, and nothing but the
voice of joy and congratulation was to be heard. The bustle of my
situation kept me awake for some weeks; the pleasure of property was
new, and, as long as the novelty lasted, delightful. I cannot say that
I was satisfied, but my mind was distended by the sense of the
magnitude of my possessions. I had large estates in England; and in one
of the remote maritime counties of Ireland, I was lord over an immense
territory, annexed to the ancient castle of Glenthorn. A noble pile of
antiquity! worth ten degenerate castles of modern days. It was placed
in a bold romantic situation; at least as far as I could judge of it by
a picture, said to be a striking likeness, which hung in my hall at
Sherwood Park in England. I was born in Ireland, and nursed, as I was
told, in an Irish cabin; for my father had an idea, that this would
make me hardy: he left me with my Irish nurse till I was two years old,
and from that time forward neither he nor I ever revisited Ireland. He
had a dislike to that country, and I grew up in his prejudices. I
declared that I would always reside in England. Sherwood Park, my
English country seat, had but one fault. It was completely finished.
The house was magnificent, and in the modern taste; the furniture
fashionably elegant, and in all the gloss of novelty. Not a single
luxury omitted; not a fault could be found by the most fastidious
critic. My park, my grounds, displayed all the beauties of nature and
of art, judiciously combined. Majestic woods, waving their dark
foliage, overhung———But I will spare my readers the description, for I
remember falling asleep myself whilst a poet was reading to me an ode
on the beauties of Sherwood Park. These beauties too soon became
familiar to my eye; and even the idea of being the proprietor of this
enchanting place soon palled upon my vanity. Every casual visitor, all
the strangers, even the common people, who were allowed once a week to
walk in my demesne, enjoyed it a thousand times more than I could. I
remember, that, about six weeks after I came to Sherwood Park, I one
evening escaped from the crowds of friends who filled my house, to
indulge myself in a solitary, melancholy walk. I saw at some distance a
party of people, who were coming to admire the grounds, and to avoid
meeting them I took shelter under a fine tree, the branches of which,
hanging to the ground, concealed me from the view of passengers. Thus
seated, I was checked in the middle of a desperate yawn, by hearing
one among the party of strangers exclaiming——— How happy the owner of
this place must be! Has he any want, or any care?
Yes: had I known how to enjoy the goods of life, I might have been
happy; but want of occupation, and antipathy to exertion, rendered me
one of the most miserable men upon Earth. Still I imagined, that the
cause of my discontent proceeded from some external circumstance. Soon
after my coming of age, business of various sorts required my
attention; papers were to be signed, and lands were to be let: these
things appeared to me terrible difficulties. Not even that minister of
state, who so feelingly describes his horrour at the first appearance
of the secretary with the great portfolio, ever experienced sensations
so oppressive as mine were, when my steward began to talk to me of my
own affairs. In the peevishness of my indolence, I declared, that I
thought the pains overbalanced the pleasures of property. Captain
Crawley, a friend———a sort of a friend——— an humble companion of mine,
a gross, unblushing, thorough-going flatterer, happened to be present
when I made this declaration: he kindly undertook to stand between me
and the shadow of trouble. I accepted this offer.
Aye, Crawley, said I, do see and settle with these people.
I had not the slightest confidence in the person into whose hands,
to save myself from the labour of thinking, I thus threw all my
affairs; but I satisfied my understanding, by resolving that, when I
should have leisure, I would look out for an agent, upon whom I could
I had now been nearly two months at Sherwood Park; too long a time,
I thought, to remain in any place, and I was impatient to get away. My
steward, who disliked the idea of my spending my summers at home, found
it easy to persuade me, that the water on my estate had a brackish
unwholesome taste. The man who told me this stood before me in perfect
health, though he had drunk this insalubrious water all his life; but
it was too laborious a task for my intellects to compare the evidence
of my different senses, and I found it most easy to believe what I
heard, though it was in direct opposition to what I saw. Away I hurried
to a watering-place, after the example of many of my noble
contemporaries, who leave their delightful country seats to pay, by the
inch, for being squeezed up in lodging houses, with all imaginable
inconvenience, during the hottest months in summer. I whiled away my
time at Brighton, cursing the heat of the weather, till the winter
came, and then cursing the cold, and longing for the London winter.
The London winter commenced, and the young Earl of Glenthorn, and
his entertainments, and his equipages, and his extravagance, were the
conversation of all the world, and the joy of the newspapers. The
immense cost of the fruit at my desserts was recorded; the annual
expense of the vast nosegays of hot-house flowers worn daily by the
footmen, who clung behind my coach, was calculated; the hundreds of
wax-lights, which burned nightly in my house, were numbered by the idle
admirers of folly; and it was known by the servants of every genteel
family in town, that Lord Glenthorn suffered nothing but wax to be
burned in his stables; that his servants drank nothing but claret and
champagne; that his liveries, surpassing the imagination of
ambassadors, vied with regal magnificence, whilst their golden
trappings could have stood even the test of Chinese curiosity. My
coachmaker's bill for this year, if laid before the public, would amuse
and astonish sober-minded people, as much as some charges which have
lately appeared in our courts of justice for extraordinary coaches and
very extraordinary landaus. I will not enter into the detail of my
extravagance in minor articles of expense; these, I thought, could
never be felt by such a fortune as that of the Earl of Glenthorn: but,
for the information of those who have the same course to run or to
avoid, I should observe, that my diurnal visits to jewellers' shops
amounted, in time, to sums worth mentioning. Of the multitude of
baubles that I bought, the rings, the seals, the chains, I will give no
account; it would pass the belief of man, and the imagination of woman.
Those who have the least value for their time have usually the greatest
number of watches, and are the most anxious about the exactness of
their going. I and my repeaters were my own plagues, and the profit of
all the fashionable watchmakers, whose shops I regularly visited for a
lounge. My history, at this period, would be a complete lounger's
journal; but I will spare my readers this diary. I wish, however, as I
have had ample experience, to impress it on the minds of all whom it
may concern, that a lounger of fortune must be extravagant. I went into
shops merely to pass an idle hour, but I could not help buying
something; and I was ever at the mercy of tradesmen, who took advantage
of my indolence, and who thought my fortune inexhaustable. I really had
not any taste for expense; but I let all who dealt with me, especially
my servants, do as they pleased, rather than be at the trouble of
making them do as they ought. They assured me, that Lord Glenthorn must
have such and such things and must do so and so, and I quietly
submitted to this imagnary necessity.
All this time I was the envy of my acquiantance, but I was more
deserving of their compassion. Without anxiety or exertion, I possesed
every thing they wanted; but then I had no motive———I had nothing to
desire; I had an immense fortune, and I was the Earl of Glenthorn; my
title and wealth were sufficient distinctionc; how could I be anxious
about my boots, or the cape of my coat, or any of those trifles which
so happily interest and occupy the lives of fashionable young men, who
have not the misfortune to possess a large estate? Most of my
companions had some real or imaginary grievance, some old uncle or
father, some cursed profession to complain of, but I had none. They had
hopes and fears, but I had none. I was on the pinnacle of glory, which
they were endeavouring to reach, and I had nothing to do but to sit
still, and enjoy the barrenness of the prospect.
In this recital I have communicated, I hope, to my readers, some
portion of that ennui which I endured, otherwise they cannot form an
adequate idea of my temptation to become a gambler. I really had no
vice, nor any of those propensities which lead to vice; but ennui
produced most of the effects, that are usually attributed to strong
passions or a vicious disposition.
Gaming relieved me from that insuperable listlessness by which I
was oppressed. I became interested———became agitated; in short, I found
a new kind of stimulus, and I indulged in it most intemperately. I grew
immoderately fond of that which supplied me with sensations. My days
and nights were passed at the gaming table. I remember once spending
three days and three night in the hazard room of a well-known house in
St. James's-street: the shutters were closed, the curtains down, and we
had candles the whole time; even in the adjoining rooms we had candles,
that when our doors were opened to bring in refreshments, no obtrusive
gleam of day-light might remind us how the hours had passed. We were
knee-deep in cards which had been thrown on the floor by those who had
quarrelled with fortune. How human nature supported the fatigue I know
not. We scarcely allowed ourselves a moment's pause to take the
sustenance our bodies required. At last one of the waiters, who had
been in the room with us the whole time, declared that he could hold
out no longer, and that sleep he must. With difficulty he obtained an
hour's truce: the moment he got out of the room he fell asleep,
absolutely at the very threshold of our door. By the rules of the house
he was entitled to a bonus on every transfer of property at the hazard
table, and he had made, in the course of these three days, upwards of
three hundred pounds. Sleep and avarice had struggled to the utmost,
but, with his vulgar habits, sleep prevailed. We were wide awake. I
never shall forget the figure of one of my noble associates, who sat
holding his watch, his eager eyes fixed upon the minute hand, whilst he
exclaimed continually, "This hour will never be over." Then he listened
to discover whether his watch had stopped; then cursed the lazy fellow
for falling asleep, protesting that, for his part, he never would again
consent to such waste of time. The very instant the hour was ended, he
ordered "that dog" to be wakened, and to work we went. At this sitting
35000l. were lost and won. I was very fortunate, for I lost a mere
trifle———ten thousand pounds; but I could not expect to be always so
lucky.———Now we come to the old story of being ruined by play. My
English John-o'-the-Scales warned me, that he could advance no more
money; my Irish agent, upon whom my draughts had indeed been
unmerciful, could not oblige me any longer, and he threw up his agency,
after having made his fortune at my expense. I railed, but railing
would not pay my debts of honour. I inveighed against my grandfather
for having tied me up so tight: I could neither mortgage nor sell: my
Irish estate would have been sold instantly, had it not been settled
upon a Mr. Delamere. The pleasure of abusing him, whom I had never
seen, and of whom I knew nothing, but that he was to be my heir,
relieved me wonderfully. He died, and left only a daughter, a mere
child. My chance of possessing the estate in fee-simple increased: I
sold this increased value to the Jews, and gamed on.———Miss Delamere,
some time afterwards, had the small-pox. Upon the event of her illness
I laid bets to an amazing amount.
She recovered. No more money could be raised, and my debts were to
be paid. In this dilemma I recollected, that I once had a guardian, and
that I had never settled accounts with him. Crawley, who continued to
be my factotum, and flatterer in ordinary and extraordinary, informed
me, upon looking over these accounts, that there was a mine of money
due to me, if I could but obtain it by law or equity. To law I went,
and the anxiety of a law-suit might have, in some degree, supplied the
place of gambling; but all my business was managed for me by Crawley,
and I charged him never to mention the subject to me till a verdict
should be obtained.
A verdict was obtained against me. It was proved in open court by
my own witnesses, that I was a fool; but as no judge, jury, or
chancellor could believe, that I was so great a fool as my carelessness
indicated, my guardian stood acquitted in equity of being so great a
rogue as he really was. What was now to be done? I saw my doom. As a
highwayman knows, that he must come to the gallows at last, and acts
accordingly, so a fashionably extravagant youth knows, that sooner or
later he must come to matrimony. No one could have more horrour of this
catastrophe than I felt; but it was in vain to oppose my destiny. My
opinion of women had been formed from the common-place jests of my
companions, and from my own acquaintance with the worst part of the
sex. I had never felt the passion of love, and of course believed it to
be something that might have existed in former ages, but that was in
our days quite obsolete, at least among the knowing part of the world.
In my imagination, young women were divided into two classes, those
who were to be purchased, and those who were to purchase. Between these
two classes, though the division was to be marked externally by a
certain degree of ceremony, yet I was internally persuaded, that there
was no essential difference. In my feelings towards them there was some
distinction; of the first class I was tired, and of the second I was
afraid.———Afraid! Yes——— afraid of being taken in. With these fears,
and these sentiments, I was now to choose a wife. I chose her by the
numeration table. Units, tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands,
hundreds of thousands. I was content, in the language of the
newspapers, to lead to the hymeneal altar any fashionable fair one,
whose fortune came under this sixth place of figures. No sooner were my
dispositions known, than the friends of a young heiress, who wanted to
purchase a coronet, settled a match between us. My bride had one
hundred wedding dresses, elegant as a select committee of mantuamakers
and milliners, French and English, could devise. The least expensive of
these robes, as well as I remember, cost fifty guineas; the most
admired came to about five hundred pounds, and was thought, by the best
judges in these matters, to be wonderfully cheap, as it was of lace
such as had never before been trailed in English dust, even by the lady
of a nabob. These things were shown in London as a spectacle for some
days, by the mantuamaker, who declared, that she had lost many a
night's rest in contriving how to make such a variety of dresses
sufficiently magnificent and distinguished. The jewellers also
requested and obtained permission to exhibit the different sets of
jewels; these were so numerous, that Lady Glenthorn scarcely knew them
all. One day, soon after her marriage, somebody at court, observing
that her diamonds were prodigiously fine, asked where she bought them.
"Really," said she, "I cannot tell. I have so many sets I declare! I
don't know whether it's my Paris, or my Hamburgh, or my London set."
Poor young creature! I believe her chief idea of happiness in
marriage was the possession of the jewels and paraphernalia of a
countess———I am sure it was the only hope she could have, that was
likely to be realised, in marrying me. I thought it manly and
fashionable to be indifferent, if not contemptuous to my wife: I
considered her only as an incumbrance, that I was obliged to take along
with a fortune. Beside the disagreeable ideas generally connected with
the word wife, I had some peculiar reasons for my aversion to my Lady
Glenthorn. Before her friends would suffer me to take possession of her
fortune, they required from me a solemn oath against gambling; so I was
compelled to abjure the hazard table and the turf, the only two objects
in life that could keep me awake. This extorted vow I set down entirely
to my bride's account, and I therefore became even more averse from her
than men usually are who marry for money. Yet this dislike subsided.
Lady Glenthorn was only childish———I, of an easy temper- I thought her
ridiculous, but it was too much trouble to tell her so continually. I
let the occasions pass, and even forgot her ladyship, when she was not
absolutely in my way. She was too frivolous to be hated, and the
passion of hatred was not to be easily sustained in my mind. The habit
of ennui was stronger than all my passions put together.
After my marriage, my old malady rose to an insupportable height.
The pleasures of the table were all that seemed left to me in life.
Most of the young men of any ton, either were, or pretended to be,
connoisseurs in the science of good eating. Their talk was of sauces
and of cooks———what dishes each cook was famous for, whether his fort
lay in white sauces or brown, in soups, lentilles, fricandeaus,
bechemel, matelotes, daubes, Then the history and genealogy of the
cooks came after the discussion of the merit of their works; who my
Lord C———'s cook lived with formerly———what my Lord D——— gave his
cook———where they met with these great geniuses, I cannot boast that
our conversation at these select dinners, from which the ladies were
excluded, was very entertaining; but true good-eaters detest wit at
dinner-time, and sentiment at all times. I think I observed, that
amongst these cognoscenti there was scarcely one to whom the delicacy
of taste did not daily prove a source of more pain than pleasure. There
was always a cruel something that spoiled the rest; or if the dinner
were excellent, beyond the power of the most fastidious palate to
condemn, yet there was the hazard of being placed far from the
favourite dish, or the still greater danger of being deputed to carve
at the head or foot of the table. How I have seen a heavy nobleman, of
this set, dexterously manoeuvre to avoid the dangerous honour of
carving a haunch of venison. But, good heavens, said I, when a
confidential whisper pointed this first to my notice———why does he not
like to carve?———he would have it in his power to help himself to his
mind, which nobody else can do so well———No! if he carves he must give
the nice bits to others, every body here understands them as well as
he———each knows what is upon his neighbour's plate, and what ought to
be there, and what must be in the dish. I found that it was an affair
of calculation———a game at which nobody can cheat without being
discovered and disgraced———I emulated, and soon equalled my experienced
friends. I became a perfect epicure, and gloried in the character, for
it could be supported without any intellectual exertion, and it was
fashionable. I cannot say, that I could ever eat as much as some of my
companions———One of them I once heard exclaim, after a monstrous
dinner, "I wish my digestion was equal to my appetite." I would not be
thought to exaggerate, therefore I shall not recount the wonders I have
seen performed by these capacious heroes of the table. After what I
have beheld, to say nothing of what I have achieved, I can believe any
thing that is related of the capacity of the human stomach. I can
credit even the account of the dinner which Madame (de Bavière) affirms
she saw eaten by Lewis the Fourteenth, viz. "quatre assiettes de
differentes soupes; un faisan tout entier; un perdrix; une grande
assiette pleine de salade; du mouton coupé dans son jus avec de l'ail;
deux bons morceaux de jambon; une assiette pleine de pâtisserie; du
fruit et des confitures. Nor can I doubt the accuracy of the historian
who assures us, that a Roman Emperor [Note: Clodius Albinus.], one of
the most moderate of those Imperial gluttons, took for his breakfast,
500 figs, 100 peaches, 10 melons, 100 beccaficoes, and 400 oysters.
Epicurism was scarcely more prevalent during the decline of the
Roman Empire, than it is at this day amongst some of the wealthy and
noble youths of Britain. Not one of my select dinner party but would
have been worthy of a place at the turbot consultation, immortalized by
the Roman satirist [Note: A friend of mine, a bishop, one day went into
his kitchen, to look at a large turbot, which the cook was dressing.
The cook had found it so large, that he had cut off the fins———"What a
shame!" cried the bishop; and immediately calling for the cook's apron,
he spread it before his cassock, and actually sewed the fins again to
the turbot with his own episcopal hands.]. If I might judge from my
own experience, I should attribute: fashionable epicurism in a great
measure to ennui. Many affect it, because they have nothing else to do;
and sensual indulgences are all that exist for those who have not
sufficient energy to enjoy intellectual pleasures. I dare say, that if
Heliogabalus could be brought in evidence in his own case, and could be
made to understand the meaning of the word ennui, he would agree with
me in opinion, that it was the cause of half his vices. His offered
reward for the discovery of a new pleasure is stronger evidence than
any confession he could make. I thank God that I was not born an
Emperor, or I might have become a monster. Though not in the least
inclined to cruelty, I might have acquired the taste for it, merely
from desire of the emotion, which real tragedies excite. Fortunately, I
was only an Earl and an epicure. My indulgence in the excesses of the
table injured my health; violent bodily exercise was necessary to
counteract the effects of intemperance. It was my maxim, that a man
could never eat or drink too much, if he would but take exercise
enough. I killed fourteen horses [Note: I was not the nobleman who laid
a wager, that he could ride a fine horse to death in fifteen minutes.
Indeed, I must do myself the justice to say, that I rejoiced at this
man's losing his bet. He blew the horse in four minutes, and killed it;
but it did not die within the time prescribed by the bet.] and
survived; but I grew tired of killing horses, and I continued to eat
immoderately. I was seized with a nervous complaint, attended with
extreme melancholy. Frequently the thoughts of putting an end to my
existence occurred, and I had many times determined upon the means, but
very small, and apparently inadequate and ridiculous motives, prevented
the execution of my design. Once, I was kept alive by a piggery, which
I wanted to see finished. Another time, I delayed destroying myself,
till a statue, which I had just purchased at a vast expense, should be
put up in my Egyptian salon. By the awkwardness of the unpacker, the
statue's thumb was broken. This broken thumb saved my life; it
converted ennui into anger. Like Montaigne and his sausage, I had now
something to complain of, and I was happy. But at last my anger
subsided, the thumb would serve me no longer as a subject of
conversation, and I relapsed into silence and black melancholy. I was
"a'weary of the sun;" my old thoughts recurred. At this time I was just
entering my twenty-fifth year. Rejoicings were preparing for my
birth-day. My Lady Glenthorn had prevailed upon me to spend the summer
at Sherwood Park, because it was new to her. She filled the house with
company and noise; but this only increased my discontent. My birth-day
arrived——— I wished myself dead———and I resolved to shoot myself at the
close of the day. I put a pistol into my pocket, and stole out towards
evening, unobserved by my jovial companions. Lady Glenthorn and her set
were dancing, and I was tired of these sounds of gayety. I took the
private way to the forest which was near the house, but one of my
grooms met me with a fine horse, which an old tenant had just sent as a
present on my birth-day. The horse was saddled and bridled, the groom
held the stirrup, and up I got. The fellow told me the private gate was
locked, and I turned as he pointed to go through the grand entrance. At
the outside of the gate sat upon the ground, huddled in a great red
cloak, an old woman, who started up and sprung forwards the moment she
saw me, stretching out her arms and her cloak with one and the same
"Ogh! is it you I see?" cried she, in a strong Irish tone.
At this sound and this sight my horse, who was shy, backed a
little. I called to the woman to stand out of my way.
"Heaven bless your sweet face! I'm the nurse that suckled yees when
ye was a baby in Ireland. Many's the day I've been longing to see you,"
continued she, clasping her hands, and standing her ground in the
middle of the gateway, regardless of my horse, which I was pressing
"Stand out of the way, for God's sake, my good woman, or I shall
certainly ride over you."
"So! so! so!" said I, patting my restless horse.
"Oh! he's only shy, God bless him; he's as quite now as a lamb, and
kiss one or other of yees I must," cried she, throwing her arms about
the horse's neck.
The horse, unaccustomed to this mode of salutation, suddenly
plunged, and threw me. My head fell against the pier of the gate. The
last sound I heard was the report of a pistol; but I can give no
account of what happened afterwards. I was stunned by my fall, and
senseless. When I opened my eyes, I found myself stretched on one of
the cushions of my landau, and surrounded by a crowd of people, who
seemed to be all talking at once: in the buzz of voices I could not
distinguish any thing that was said, till I heard Captain Crawley's
voice above the rest, saying,
"Send for a surgeon instantly; but it's all over! it's all over!
Take the body the back way to the banquetting-house; I must run to Lady
I perceived that they thought me dead. I did not at this moment
feel that I was hurt. I was curious to know what they would all do; so
I closed my eyes again before any one perceived that I had opened them.
I lay motionless, and they proceeded with me, according to Captain
Crawley's orders, to the banquetting-house. When we arrived there, my
servants laid me on one of the Turkish sofas, and the crowd, after
having satisfied their curiosity, dropped off one by one, till I was
left with a single footman and my steward.
"I don't believe he's quite dead," said the footman, "for his heart
"Oh, he's all as well as dead, for he does not stir hand or foot,
and his scull, they say, is fractured for certain; but it will all be
seen when the surgeon comes. I am sure he will never do. Crawley will
have every thing his own way now, and I may as well decamp."
"Ay, and amongst them," said the footman, "I only hope I may get my
"What a fool that Crawley made of my lord!" said the steward.
"What a fool my lord made of himself," said the footman, "to be
ruled, and let all his people be ruled, by such an upstart. With your
leave, Mr. Turner, I'll just run to the house to say one word to James,
and be back immediately."
"No, no, you must stay, Robert, whilst I step home to lock my
places, before Crawley begins to rummage."
The footman was now left alone with me. Scarcely had the steward
been gone two minutes, when I heard a low voice near me saying, in a
tone of great anxiety, "Is he dead?"
I half opened my eyes to see who it was that spoke. The voice came
from the door, which was opposite to me, and whilst the footman turned
his back, I raised my head, and beheld the figure of the old woman, who
had been the cause of my accident. She was upon her knees on the
threshold———her arms crossed over her breast. I never shall forget her
face, it was so expressive of despair.
"Is he dead?" she repeated.
"I ten you yes," replied the footman.
"For the love of God let me come in, if he is here," cried she.
"Come in then, and stay here whilst I run to the house [Note: If
any one should think it improbable, that a man of Lord Glenthorn's
consequence should, at the supposed moment of his death, be thus
neglected, let them recollect the scenes that followed the death of
Tiberius———of Henry the Fourth of France———of William Rufus, and of
George the Second.]."
The footman ran off, and my old nurse, on seeing me, burst into an
agony of grief. I did not understand one word she uttered, as she spoke
in her native language; but her lamentations went to my heart, for they
came from hers. She hung over me, and I felt her tears dropping upon my
forehead. I could not refrain from whispering, "Don't cry———I am
"Blessings on him!" exclaimed she, starting back; she then dropped
down on her knees to thank God. Then calling me by every fondling name
that nurses use to their children, she begged my forgiveness, and
alternately cursed herself, and prayed for me.
The strong affections of this poor woman touched me more than any
thing I had ever yet felt in my life; she seemed to be the only person
upon Earth, who really cared for me, and in spite of her vulgarity, and
my prejudice against the tone in which she spoke, she excited in my
mind emotions of tenderness and gratitude. "My good woman, if I live, I
will do something for you; tell me what I can do," said I. "Live! live!
God bless you, live; that's all in the wide world I want of you, my
jewel; and, till you are well, let me watch over you at nights, as I
used to do when you were a child, and I had you in my arms all to
Three or four people now ran into the room, to get before Captain
Crawley, whose voice was heard at this instant at a distance. I had
only time to make the poor woman understand that I wished to appear to
be dead; she took the hint with surprising quickness. Captain Crawley
came up the steps, talking in the tone of a master to the steward and
people, who followed.
"What is this old hag doing here: Where is Robert? Where is Thomas:
I ordered them to stay till I came. Mr. Turner, why did not you stay?
What! has not the coroner been here yet? The coroner must see the body,
I tell you. Good God! What a parcel of blockheads you all are! How many
times must I tell you the same thing? Nothing can be done till the
coroner has seen him; then we'll talk about the funeral, Mr.
Turner———one thing at a time. Every thing shall be done properly, Mr.
Turner. Lady Glenthorn trusts every thing to me———Lady Glenthorn wishes
that I should order every thing."
"To be sure———no doubt———very proper———I don't say against that."
"But," continued Crawley, turning towards the sofa upon which I
lay, and seeing Ellinor kneeling beside me, "What keeps this old Irish
witch still here? What business have you here pray, and who are you or
what are you?
"Please you honour, I was his nurse formerly, and so had a nat'ral
longing to see him once again before I would die."
"And did you come all the way from Ireland on this wise errand."
"Troth, I did———every inch of the way from his own sweet place."
Why, you are little better than a fool, I think," said Crawley.
"Little better, plase your honour; but I was always so about them
childer that I nursed."
"Childer! Well, get along about hour business now, you see your
nursing is not wanted here.'
"I'll not stir out of this, while he is here," said my nurse,
cathing hold of the leg of the sofa and clinging to it.
"You'll not stir, you say!" cried Captain Crawley: "Turn her out."
"Oh, sure you would not have the cru'lty to turn his old nurse out
before he's even cowld. And won't you let me see him buried?"
"Out with her! out with her, the old Irish hag! We'll have no
howling here. Out with her, John!" said Crawley to my groom.
The groom hesitated, I fancy; for Crawley repeated the order more
imperiously. "Out with her, or go yourself."
"May be it's you that will go first yourself," said she.
"Go first myself!" cried Captain Crawley, furiously; "are you
insolent to me?"
"And are not you cru'l to me, and to my child I nursed, that lies
all as one as dead before you, and was a good friend to you in his day,
Crawley seized hold of her; but she resisted with so much energy,
that she dragged along with her the sofa to which she clung, and on
which I lay.
"Stop!" cried I, starting up. There was sudden silence. I looked
round, but could not utter another syllable. Now, for the first time,
I was sensible that I had been really hurt by the fall. My head grew
giddy, and my stomach sick. I just saw Crawley's fallen countenance,
and him and the steward looking at one another; they were like hideous
faces in a dream. I sunk back.
"Ay, lie down my darling, don't be disturbing yourself for such as
them," said my nurse. "Let them do what they will with me; it's little
I'd care for them, if you were but once in safe hands.
I beckoned to the groom who had hesitated to turn out Ellinor, and
bid him go to the housekeeper, and have me put to bed. "She," added I,
pointing to my old nurse, "is to sit up with me at night." It was all I
could say. What they did with me afterwards, I do not know; but I was
in my bed, and a bandage was round my temples, and my poor nurse was
kneeling on one side of the bed, with a string of beads in her hand,
and a surgeon and physician, and Crawley and my Lady Glenthorn were on
the other side, whispering together. The curtain was drawn between me
and them; but the motion I made on wakening was instantly observed by
Crawley, who immediately left the room. Lady Glenthorn drew back my
curtain, and began to ask me how I did; but when I fixed my eyes upon
her, she sunk upon the bed, trembling violently, and could not finish
her sentence. I begged her to go to rest, and she retired. The
physician ordered that I should be kept quiet, and seemed to think I
was in danger. I asked what was the matter with me? and the surgeon,
with a very grave face, informed me, that I had an ugly contusion on my
head. I had heard of a concussion of the brain; but I did not know
distinetly what it was, and my fears were increased by my ignorance.
The life which, but a few hours before, I had been on the point of
voluntarily destroying, because it was insupportably burdensome, I was
now, the moment it was in danger, most anxious to preserve; and the
interest which I perceived others had in getting rid of me, increased
my desire to recover. My recovery was, however, for some time doubtful.
I was seized with a fever, which left me in a state of alarming
debility. My old nurse, whom I shall henceforward call by her name of
Ellinor, attended me with the most affectionate solicitude during my
"For fostering, I did never hear or read, that it was in use or reputation in any country, barbarous or civil, as it hath been, and yet is in Ireland. In the opinion of this people, fostering hath always been a stronger alliance than blood; and the foster-children do love, and are beloved of their foster-fathers and their sept (or clan), more than of their natural parents and kindred; and do participate of their means more frankly, and do adhere unto them, in all fortunes, with more affection and constancy. Such a general custom in a kingdom, in giving and taking children to foster, making such a firm alliance as it doth in Ireland, was never seen or heard of in any other country of the world beside."
she scarcely stirred from my bed-side, night or day: and, indeed,
when I came to the use of my senses, she was the only person whom I
really liked to have near me. I knew that she was sincere, and, however
unpolished her manners, and however awkward her assistance, the
good-will with which it was given made me prefer it to the most
delicate and dexterous attentions, which I believed to be interested.
The very want of a sense of propriety, and the freedom with which she
talked to me, regardless of what was suited to her station, or due to
my rank, instead of offending or disgusting me, became agreeable;
besides, the novelty of her dialect, and of her turn of thought,
entertained me as much as a sick man could be entertained. I remember
once her telling me, that "if it plased God she would like to die on a
Christmas-day, of all days; because the gates of Heaven, they say, will
be opened all that day; and who knows but a body might slip in
unknownst." When she sat up with me at nights, she talked on eternally;
for she assured me there was nothing like talking, as she had always
found, to put any one asy asleep. I listened or not, just as I liked;
any way she was content. She was inexhaustible in her anecdotes of my
ancestors, all tending to the honour and glory of the family; she had
also an excellent memory for all the insults, or traditions of insults,
which the Glenthorns had received for many ages back, even to the times
of the old kings of Ireland; long and long before they stooped to be
lorded; when their "names, which it was a pity and a murder, and
moreover a burning shame, to change, was O'Shagnasee." She was well
stored with histories of Irish and Scottish chiefs. The story of
O'Neill, the Irish black-beard, I am sure I ought to remember, for
Ellinor told it to me at least six times. Then she had a large
assortment of fairies and shadowless [Note: In Ireland it is a belief
among the vulgar, that witches have no shadows.] witches, and banshees;
and besides, she had legions of spirits and ghosts, and haunted castles
without end, my own castle of Glenthorn not excepted, in the
description of which she was extremely eloquent; she absolutely excited
in my mind some desire to see it. "For many a long year," she said, "it
had been her nightly prayer, that she might live to see me in my own
castle; and often and often she was coming over to England to tell me
so, only her husband, as long as he lived, would not let her set out on
what he called a fool's errand; but it pleased God to take him to
himself last fair-day, and then she resolved that nothing should hinder
her to be with her own child, against his birth-day; and now could she
see me in my own Castle Glenthorn, she would die contint———and what a
pity but I should be in it! I was only a lord, as she said, in
England; but I could be all as one as a king in Ireland."
Ellinor impressed me with the idea of the sort of feudal power I
should possess in my vast territory over tenants, who were almost
vassals, and amongst a numerous train of dependants. We resist the
efforts made by those, who we think exert authority or employ artifice
to change our determinations, whilst the perverse mind insensibly
yields to those, who appear not to have power, or reason, or address
sufficient to obtain a victory. I should not have heard any human being
with patience try to persuade me to go to Ireland, except this ignorant
poor nurse, who spoke, as I thought, merely from the instinct of
affection to me and to her native country. I promised her that I would,
sometime or other, visit Glenthorn Castle: but this was only a vague
promise, and it was but little likely that it should be accomplished.
As I regained my strength, my mind turned, or rather was turned, to
One morning———it was the day after my physicians had pronounced me out
of all danger, Crawley sent me a note by Ellinor, congratulating me
upon my recovery, and begging to speak to me alone for half an hour. I
refused to see him, and said, that I was not yet well enough to do
business. The same morning Ellinor came with a message from Turner, my
steward, who, with his humble duty, requested to see me for five
minutes, to communicate to me something of importance. I consented to
see Turner. He entered with a face of suppressed joy and affected
"Sad news I am bound in duty to be the bearer of, my lord. I was
determined, whatever came to pass, however, not to speak till your
honour was out of danger, which, I thank Heaven, is now the case, and I
am happy to be able to congratulate your lordship upon looking as well
"Never mind my looks. I will excuse your congratulations, Mr.
Turner," said I, impatiently; for the recollection of the
banquetting-house, and the undertaker, whom Turner was so eager to
introduce, came full into my mind———"Go on, if you please; five minutes
is all I am at present able to give to any business, and you sent me
word you had something of importance to communicate."
"True, my lord; but in case your lordship is not at present well
enough, or not so disposed, I will wait your lordship's leisure."
"Now or never, Mr. Turner. Speak, but speak at once."
"My lord, I would have done so long ago, but was loath to make
mischief; and besides, could not believe what I heard whispered, and
would scarce believe what I verily saw; though now, as I cannot
reasonably have a doubt, I think it would be a sin, and a burden upon
my conscience, not to speak; only that I am unwilling to shock your
lordship too much, when but just recovering, for that is not the time
one would wish to tell or to hear disagreeable things."
"Mr. Turner, either come to the point at once, or leave me, for I
am not strong enough to bear this suspense."
"I beg pardon, my lord: why, then, my lord, the point is Captain
"What of him? I never desire to hear his name again."
"Nor I, I am sure, my lord; but there are some in the house might
not be of our opinion."
"Who? you sneaking fellow; speak out, can't you?"
"My lady———my lord———Now it is out. She'll go off with him this
night, if not prevented."
My surprise and indignation were as great, as if I had always been
the fondest and the most attentive of husbands. I was at length roused
from that indifference and apathy into which I had sunk; and though I
had never loved my wife, the moment I knew she was lost to me for ever
was exquisitely painful. Astonishment, the sense of disgrace, the
feeling of rage against that treacherous parasite, by whom she had been
seduced, all combined to overwhelm me. I could command my voice only
enough to bid Turner leave the room, and tell no one that he had
spoken to me on this subject.———"Not a soul," he said, "should be told,
or could guess it."
Left to my own reflections, as soon as the first emotions of anger
subsided, I blamed myself for my conduct to Lady Glenthorn. I
considered, that she had been married to me by her friends, when she
was too young and too childish to judge for herself; that from the
first day of our marriage I had never made the slightest effort to win
her affections, or to guide her conduct; that, on the contrary, I had
shown her marked indifference, if not aversion. With fashionable airs,
I had professed, that provided she left me at liberty to spend the
large fortune which she brought me, and in consideration of which she
enjoyed the title of Countess of Glenthorn, I cared for nothing
farther. With the consequences of my neglect I now reproached myself in
vain. Lady Glenthorn's immense fortune had paid my debts, and had for
two years supplied my extravagance, or rather my indolence: little
remained, and she was now, in her twentieth year, to be consigned to
public disgrace, and to a man whom I knew to be destitute of honour and
feeling.——— I pitied her, and resolved to go instantly and make an
effort to save her from destruction.
Ellinor, who watched all Crawley's motions, informed me, that he
was gone to a neighbouring town, and had left word that he should not
be home till after dinner. Lady Glenthorn was in her dressing-room,
which was at a part of the house farthest from that which I now
inhabited. I had never left my room since my illness, and had scarcely
walked farther than from my bed to my armchair; but I was so much
roused by my feelings at this instant, that, to Ellinor's great
astonishment, I started from my chair, and, forbidding her to follow
me, walked without any assistance along the corridor, which led to the
back-stairs, and to Lady Glenthorn's apartment. I opened the private
door of her dressing-room suddenly———the room was in great
disorder———her woman was upon her knees packing a trunk: Lady Glenthorn
was standing at a table, with a parcel of open letters before her, and
a diamond necklace in her hand. She started at the sight of me as if
she had beheld a ghost: the maid screamed, and ran to a door at the
farther end of the room, to make her escape, but that was bolted. Lady
Glenthorn was pale and motionless, till I approached, and then
recollecting herself, she reddened all over, and thrust the letters
into her table drawer. Her woman, at the same instant, snatched a
casket of jewels, swept up in her arms a heap of clothes, and huddled
them altogether into the half-packed trunk.
"Leave the room," said I to her stemly. She locked the trunk,
pocketed the key, and obeyed.
I placed a chair for Lady Glenthorn, and sat down myself. We were
almost equally unable to stand. We were silent for some moments. Her
eyes were fixed upon the ground, and she leaned her head upon her hand
in an attitude of despair. I could scarcely articulate, but making an
effort to command my voice, I at last said——— "Lady Glenthorn, I blame
myself more than you for all that has happened."
"For what?" said she, making a feeble attempt at evasion, yet at
the same time casting a guilty look towards the drawer of letters.
"You have nothing to conceal from me," said I.
———"Nothing," said she, in a feeble voice.
"Nothing!" said I, "for I know every thing"———She started———"and am
willing to pardon every thing."
She looked up in my face astonished. "I am conscious," continued I,
"that you have not been well treated by me. You have had much reason to
complain of my neglect. To this I attribute your errour.———Forget the
past ———I will set you the example.———Promise me never to see the man
more, and what has happened shall never be known to the world."
She made me no answer, but burst into a flood of tears. She seemed
incapable of decision, or even of thought. I felt suddenly inspired
"Write this moment," continued I, placing a pen and ink before
her,———"write to forbid him ever to return to this house, or even more
to appear in your presence. If he appears in mine, I know how to
chastise him, and to vindicate my own honour. To preserve, your
reputation, I refrain, upon these conditions, from making my contempt
of him public."
I put a pen into Lady Glenthorn's hand; but she trembled so that
she could not write. She made several ineffectual attempts, then tore
the paper, and again giving way to tears, exclaim'd——— "I cannot
write———I cannot think———I do not know what to say. Write what you
will, and I will sign it."
"I write to Captain Crawley! Write what I will!" "Lady Glenthorn,
it must be your will to write, not mine. If it be not your will, say
"Oh! I do not say so———I do not say that. Give me a moment's time.
I do not know what I say. I have been very foolish———very wicked. You
are very good———but it is too late: it will all be known. Crawley will
betray me; he will tell it to Mrs. Mattocks: so whichever way I turn I
am undone.———Oh! what will become of me?"
She wrung her hands and wept, and was for an hour in this state, in
all the indecision and imbecility of a child. At last she wrote a few
scarcely legible lines to Crawley, forbidding him to see or think of
her more. I dispatched the note, and she was full of penitence, and
gratitude, and tears. The next morning, when I wakened, I in my turn
received a note from her ladyship.
"Since I saw you, Captain Crawley has convinced me, that I am his
wife, in the eye of Heaven, and I therefore desire a divorce, as much
as your whole conduct, since my marriage, convinces me you must in your
heart, whatever may be your motives to pretend otherwise. Before you
receive this I shall be out of your way, and beyond your reach; so do
not think of pursuing one who is no longer
After reading this note, I thought not of pursuing or saving Lady
Glenthorn. I was as anxious for a divorce as she could be. ———Some
months afterwards the affair was brought to a public trial. When the
cause came on, so many circumstances were brought in mitigation of
damages, to prove my utter carelessness respecting my wife's conduct,
that a suspicion of collusion arose. From this imputation I was clear
in the opinion of all who really knew me, and I repelled the charge
publicly, with a degree of indignation that surprised all who knew the
usual apathy of my temper. I must observe, that during the whole time
my divorce bill was pending, and whilst I was in the greatest possible
anxiety, my health was perfectly good. But no sooner was the affair
settled, and a decision made in my favour, than I relapsed into my old
nervous complaints. Illness was a sort of occupation to me, and I was
always sorry to get well. When the interest of being in danger ceased,
I had no other to supply its place. I fancied that I should enjoy my
liberty after my divorce; but "even freedom grew tasteless." I do not
recollect anything that wakened me from my torpor, during two months
after my divorce, except a violent quarrel between all my English
servants and my Irish nurse. Whether she assumed too much, upon the
idea that she was a favourite, or whether national prejudice was alone
the cause of the hatred that prevailed against her, I know not; but
they one and all declared, that they could not, and would not, live
with her. She expressed the same dislike to consorting with them; "but
would put up with worse, aye, with the devils themselves, to oblige my
honour, and to lie under the same roof wid my honour."
The rest of the servants laughed at her blunders. This she could
bear with good humour; but when they seriously affected to reproach her
with having, by her uncouth appearance at her first presenting herself
at Sherwood Park, endangered my life, she retorted.
"And who cared for him in the wide world but I, amongst you all,
when he lay for dead? I ask you that," said she.
To this there was no reply; and they hated her the more for their
having been silenced by her shrewdness. I protected her as long as I
could; but, for the sake of peace, I at last yielded to the combined
forces of the steward's room and the servants' hall, and dispatched
Ellinor to Ireland, with a renewal of the promise, that I would visit
Glenthorn castle this year or the next. To comfort her at parting, I
would have made her a considerable present; but she would take only a
few guineas, to bear her expenses back to her native place. The
sacrifice I made did not procure me a peace of any continuance in my
own house; ruined by indulgence, and by my indolent, reckless temper,
my servants were now my masters. In a large, ill-regulated
establishment, domestics become, like spoiled children, discontented,
capricious, and the tyrants over those who have not the sense or
steadiness to command. I remember one delicate puppy parted with me,
because, as he informed me, the curtains of his bed did not close at
the foot; he had never been used to such a thing, and had told the
housekeeper so three times, but could obtain no redress, which
necessitated him to beg my permission to retire from the service.
In his stead another coxcomb came to offer himself, who, with an
incomparably easy air, begged to know whether I wanted a man of figure
or a man of parts? For the benefit of those to whom this fashionable
classification of domestics may not be familiar, I should observe, that
the department of a man of figure is specially and solely to announce
company on gala days; the business of the man of parts is multifarious:
to write cards of invitation, to speak to impertinent tradesmen, to
carry confidential messages, et cetera. Now, where there is an et
cetera in an agreement, there is always an opening for dispute. The
functions of the man of parts not being accurately defined, I unluckily
required from him some service, which was not in his bond: I believe it
was to go for my pocket handkerchief ———"He could not possibly do it,
because it was not his business;" and I, the laziest of mortals, after
waiting a full quarter of an hour, whilst they were settling whose
business it was to obey me, was forced to get up and go for what I
wanted. I comforted myself by the recollection of the poor king of
Spain and the brazier. With a regal precedent I could not but be
satisfied. All great people, said I to myself, are obliged to submit to
these inconveniences. I submitted with so good a grace, that my
submission was scarcely felt to be a condescension. My bachelor's house
soon exhibited, in perfection, "High Life below Stairs."
It is said, that a foreign nobleman permitted his servants to take
their own way so completely, that one night he and his guests being
kept waiting an unconscionable time for supper, he at last went down
stairs to inquire into the cause of the delay: he found the servant,
whose business it was to take up supper, quietly at cards with a large
party of his friends. The man coolly remonstrated, that it was
impossible to leave his game unfinished. The master candidly
acknowledged the force of the plea; but insisted upon the man's going
up stairs to lay the cloth for supper, whilst he took his cards, sat
down, and finished the game for him.
The suavity of my temper never absolutely reached this degree of
complaisance. My home was disagreeable to me: I had not the resolution
to remove the causes of the discontents. Every day I swore I would part
with all these rascals the next morning; but still they staid. Abroad I
was not happier than at home. I was disgusted with my former
companions; they had convinced me, the night of my accident at Sherwood
Park, that they cared not whether I was alive or dead: and ever since
that time I had been more and more struck with their selfishness, as
well as folly. It was inexpressibly fatiguing and irksome to me to keep
up a show of good fellowship and joviality with these people, though I
had not sufficient energy to make the attempt to quit them. When these
dashers and loungers found that I was not always at their disposal,
they discovered that Glenthorn had always something odd about him; that
Glenthorn had always had a melancholy turn; that it ran in the family,
Satisfied with these phrases, they let me take my own way, and forgot
my existence. Public amusements had lost their charm; I had sufficient
steadiness to resist the temptation to game: but, for want of stimulus,
I could hardly endure the tedium of my days. At this period of my life,
ennui was very near turning into misanthropy. I balanced between
becoming a misanthrope and a democrat.
Whilst I was in this critical state of ineptitude, my attention was
accidentally roused by the sight of a boxing match. My feelings were so
much excited, and the excitation was so delightful, that I was now in
danger of becoming an amateur of the pugilistic art. It did not occur
to me, that it was beneath the dignity of a British nobleman, to learn
the vulgar terms of the boxing trade. I soon began to talk very
knowingly of first rate bruisers, game men, and pleasing fighters,
making play———beating a man under the ropes———sparring
———rallying———sawing———and chopping. What farther proficiency I might
have made in this language, or how long my interest in these feats of
prize-fighters might have continued, had I been left to myself, I
cannot determine; but I was unexpectedly seized with a fit of national
shame, on hearing a foreigner of rank and reputation express
astonishment at our taste for these savage spectacles. It was in vain
that I repeated the arguments of some of the parliamentary panegyrists
of boxing and bull-baiting; and asserted, that these diversions render
a people hardy and courageous. My opponent replied, that he did not
perceive the necessary connexion between cruelty and courage; that he
did not comprehend how the standing by in safety to see two men bruise
each other almost to death could evince or inspire heroic sentiments or
warlike dispositions. He observed, that the Romans were most eager for
the fights of gladiators during the reigns of the most effeminate and
cruel emperors, and in the decline of all public spirit and virtue.
These arguments would have probably made but a feeble impression on an
understanding like mine; unaccustomed to general reasoning, and on a
temper habituated to pursue, without thought of consequences, my
immediate individual gratification; but it happened that my feelings
were touched at this time by the dreadful sufferings of one of the
pugilistic combatants. He died a few hours after the battle. He was an
Irishman: most of the spectators being English, and triumphing in the
victory of their countryman, the poor fellow's fate was scarcely
noticed. I spoke to him a little while before he died, and found that
he came from my own county. His name was Michael Noonan. He made it his
dying request, that I would carry half a guinea, the only money he
possessed, to his aged father, and a silk handkerchief he had worn
round his neck to his sister. Pity for this unfortunate Irishman
recalled Ireland to my thoughts. Many small reasons concurred to make
me now desirous of going to that country. I should get rid at once of a
tormenting establishment, and of servants, without the odium of turning
them away; for they all declined going into banishment, as they called
it. Beside this, I should leave my companions, with whom I was
disgusted. I was tired of England, and wanted to see something new,
even if it were to be worse than what I had seen before. These were
not my ostensible reasons: I professed to have more exalted motives for
my journey. It was my duty, I said, to visit my Irish estate, and to
encourage my tenantry, by residing some time among them. Duties often
spring up to our view at a convenient opportunity. Then my promise to
poor Ellinor. It was impossible for a man of honour to break a promise,
even to an old woman. In short, when people are determined upon any
action, they seldom fail to find arguments capable of convincing them,
that their resolution is reasonable. Mixed motives govern the conduct
of half mankind; so I set out upon my journey to Ireland.
I was detained six days by contrary winds at Holyhead; sick of that
miserable place, in my ill humour I cursed Ireland, and twice resolved
to return to London: but the wind changed, my carriage was on board the
packet, so I sailed, and landed safely in Dublin. I was surprised by
the excellence of the hotel at which I was lodged. I had not conceived,
that such excellent accommodation could have been found in Dublin. The
house had, as I was told, belonged to a nobleman: it was fitted up and
appointed with a degree of elegance, and even magnificence, beyond what
I had been used to in the most fashionable hotels in London.
"Ah! sir," said an Irish gentleman, who found me in admiration upon
the staircase, "this is all very good, very fine, but it is too good
and too fine to last; come here again in two years, and I am afraid you
will see all this going to rack and ruin. This is too often the case
with us in Ireland; we can project, but we can't calculate: we must
have every thing upon too large a scale. We mistake a grand beginning
for a good beginning. We begin like princes, and we end like beggars."
I rested only a few days in a capital, in which, I took it for
granted, there could be nothing worth seeing by a person who was just
come from London. In driving through the streets, I was however
surprised to see buildings, which my prejudices could scarcely believe
to be Irish. I also saw some things, which recalled to my mind the
observations I had heard at my hotel. I was struck with instances of
grand beginnings and lamentable want of finish, with mixtures of the
magnificent and the paltry; of admirable and execrable taste: some
which reminded me of the Elector of Brandenburgh's gilt coach [Note:
The gate of Brandenburgh-house, in Berlin, built in the model of the
Athenian Propyleum.], stuck up over one of the finest modern imitations
of Grecian architecture. Though my understanding was wholly
uncultivated, these things struck my eye. Of all the faculties of my
mind, my taste had been most exercised, because its exercise had given
me least trouble.
Impatient to see my own castle, I left Dublin. I was again
astonished by the beauty of the prospects, and the excellence of the
roads. I had in my ignorance believed, that I was never to see a tree
in Ireland, and that the roads were almost impassable. With the
promptitude of credulity, I now went from one extreme to the other: I
concluded that we should travel with the same celerity as upon the Bath
road; and I expected, that a journey for which four days had been
allotted might be performed in two. Like all those who have nothing to
do any where, I was always in a prodigious hurry to get from place to
place; and I ever had a noble ambition to go over as much ground as
possible in a given space of time. I travelled in a light barouche, and
with my own horses. My own man, an Englishman, and my cook, a
Frenchman, followed in a hackney chaise; I cared not how, so that they
kept up with me; the rest was their affair. At night, my gentleman
complained bitterly of the Irish post carriages, and besought me to let
him follow at an easier rate the next day; but to this I could by no
means consent: for how could I exist without my own man and my French
cook? In the morning, just as I was ready to set off, and had thrown
myself back in my carriage, my Englishman and Frenchman came to the
door, both in so great a rage, that the one was inarticulate, and the
other unintelligible. At length the object of their indignation spoke
for itself. From the inn yard came a hackney chaise, in a most
deplorably crazy state; the body mounted up to a prodigious height, on
unbending springs, nodding forwards, one door swinging open, three
blinds up, because they could not be let down, the perch tied in two
places, the iron of the wheels half off, half loose, wooden pegs for
linch-pins, and ropes for harness. The horses were worthy of the
harness; wretched little dog-tired creatures, that looked as if they
had been driven to the last gasp, and as if they had never been rubbed
down in their lives; their bones starting through their skin; one lame,
the other blind; one with a raw back, the other with a galled breast;
one with his neck poking down over his collar, and the other with his
head dragged forward by a bit of a broken bridle, held at arms' length
by a man dressed like a mad beggar, in half a hat and half a wig, both
awry in opposite directions; a long tattered great coat, tied round
his waist by a hay-rope; the jagged rents in the skirts of this coat
showing his bare legs, marbled of many colours; while something like
stockings hung loose about his ankles. The noises he made, by way of
threatening or encouraging his steeds, I pretend not to describe.
In an indignant voice I called to the landlord ———"I hope these are
not the horses———I hope this is not the chaise, intended for my
The innkeeper, and the pauper who was preparing to officiate as
postillion, both in the same instant exclaimed———
"Sorrow better chaise in the county!"
"Sorrow!" said I———"what do you mean by sorrow?"
"That there's no better, plase your honour, can be seen. We have
two more to be sure———but one has no top, and the other no bottom. Any
way there's no better can be seen than this same [Note: Verbatim.]."
"And these horses," cried I———"why this horse is so lame he can
"Oh, plase your honour, tho' he can't stand, he'll go fast enough.
He has a great deal of the rogue in him, plase your honour. He's
always that way at first setting out."
"And that wretched animal with the galled breast!"
"He's all the better for it, when once he warms; it's he that will
go with the speed of light, plase your honour. Sure, is not he
Knockecroghery? and didn't I give fifteen guineas for him, barring the
luck penny, at the fair of Knockecroghery, and he rising four year old
at the same time?"
I could not avoid smiling at this speech; but my gentleman,
maintaining his angry gravity, declared, in a sullen tone, that he
would be cursed if he went with such horses; and the Frenchman, with
abundance of gesticulation, made a prodigious chattering, which no
"Then I'll tell you what you'll do," said Paddy; "you'll take four,
as becomes gentlemen of your quality, and you'll see how we'll powder
And straight he put the knuckle of his fore-finger in his mouth,
and whistled shrill and strong; and, in a moment, a whistle somewhere
out in the fields answered him.
I protested against these proceedings, but in vain; before the
first pair of horses were fastened to the chaise, up came a little boy
with the others fresh from the plough. They were quick enough in
putting these to; yet how they managed it with their tackle, I know
not. "Now we're fixed handsomely," said Paddy.
"But this chaise will break down the first mile."
"Is it this chaise, plase your honour? I'll engage it will go the
world's end. The universe wouldn't break it down now; sure it was
mended but last night."
Then seizing his whip and reins in one hand, he clawed up his
stockings with the other; so with one easy step he got into his place,
and seated himself, coachman-like, upon a well-worn bar of wood, that
served as a coach-box. "Throw me the loan of a trusty Bartly, for a
cushion," said he. A frieze coat was thrown up over the horse's
heads——— Paddy caught it. "Where are you, Hosey," cried he. "Sure I'm
only rowling a wisp of straw on my leg," replied Hosey. "Throw me up,"
added this paragon of postillions, turning to one of the crowd of idle
by-standers. "Arrah, push me up, can't ye?"
A man took hold of his knee, and threw him upon the horse; he was
in his seat in a trice; then clinging by the mane of his horse, he
scrambled for the bridle which was under the other horse's
feet———reached it, and well satisfied with himself, looked round at
Paddy, who looked back to the chaise door at my angry servants, "secure
in the last event of things." In vain the Englishman in monotonous
anger, and the Frenchman in every note of the gamut, abused Paddy;
necessity and wit were on Paddy's side: he parried all that was said
against his chaise, his horses, himself, and his country, with
invincible comic dexterity, till at last both his adversaries,
dumb-founded, clambered into the vehicle, where they were instantly
shut up in straw and darkness. Paddy, in a triumphant tone, called to
my postillions, bidding them "get on, and not be stopping the way any
Without uttering a syllable, they drove on; but they could not, nor
could I refrain from looking back to see how these fellows would
manage. We saw the fore-horses make towards the right, then to the
left, and every way but straight forwards; whilst Paddy bawled to
Hosey———"Keep the middle of the road, can't ye? I don't want ye to
draw a pound at all."
At last, by dint of whipping, the four horses were compelled to set
off in a lame gallop; but they stopped short at a hill near the end of
the town, whilst a shouting troop of ragged boys followed, and pushed
them fairly to the top. Half an hour afterwards, as we were putting on
our drag-chain to go down another steep hill, to my utter astonishment,
Paddy, with his horses in full gallop, came rattling and chehupping
past us. My people called to warn him that he had no drag, but still he
cried———"Never fear!"——— and shaking the long reins, and stamping with
his foot, on he went thundering down the hill. My Englishmen were
"The turn yonder below, at the bottom of the hill, is as sharp and
ugly as ever I see," said my postillion, after a moment's stupified
silence. "He will break their necks, as sure as my name is John."
Quite the contrary; when we had dragged and undragged, and came up
with Paddy, we found him safe on his legs, mending some of his tackle
"If that breeching had broke as you were going down the steep
hill," said I, "it would have been all over with you, Paddy."
"That's true, plase your honour; but it never happened me going
down hill———nor never will, by the blessing of God, if I've any luck."
With this mixed confidence in a special providence, and in his own
good luck, Paddy went on, much to my amusement. It was this glory to
keep before us, and he rattled on till he came to a narrow part of the
road, where they were rebuilding a bridge. Here there was a dead stop.
Paddy lashed his horses, and called them all manner of names; but the
wheel horse, Knockecroghery, was restive, and at last began to kick
most furiously. It seemed inevitable that the first kick which should
reach the splinter bar, at which it was aimed, must demolish it
instantly. My English gentleman and my Frenchman both put their heads
out of the only window which was pervious, and called most manfully to
be let out. "Never fear," said Paddy. To open the door for themselves,
was beyond their force or skill. One of the hind wheels, which had
belonged to another carriage, was too high to suffer the door to be
opened, and the blind at the other side prevented their attempts, so
they were close prisoners. The men who had been at work on the broken
bridge came forward, and rested on their spades to see the battle. As
my carriage could not pass, I also was compelled to be a spectator of
this contest between man and horse.
"Never fear," reiterated Paddy; "I'll engage I'll be up wid him.
Now for it Knockecroghery! Oh the rogue, he thinks he has me at a
nonplush, but I'll show him the differ."
After this brag of war, Paddy whipped, Knockecroghery kicked, and
Paddy, seemingly unconscious of danger, sat within reach of the kicking
horse, twitching up first one of his legs, then the other, and shifting
as the animal aimed his hoofs, escaping every time as it were by
miracle. With a mixture of temerity and presence of mind, which made us
alternately look upon him as a madman and a hero, he gloried in the
danger, secure of success, and of the sympathy of the spectators.
"Ah! didn't I compass him cleverly then? Oh the villain, to be
browbating me! I'm too cute for him yet. See, there now, he's come to;
and I'll be his bail he'll go asy enough wid me. Ogh! he has a fine
spirit of his own, but it's I that can match him; 'twould be a poor
case if a man like me couldn't match a horse any way, let alone a mare,
which this is, or it never would be so vicious."
After this hard-fought battle, and suitable rejoicing for the
victory, Paddy walked his subdued adversary on a few yards to allow us
to pass him; but to the dismay of my postillions, a hay-rope was at
this instant thrown across the road, before our horses, by the
road-makers, who, to explain this proceeding, cried out, "Plase your
honour, the road is so dry, we'd expect a trifle to wet it."
"What do these fellows mean?" said I.
"It's only a tester or a hog they want, your honour, to give 'em to
drink your honour's health," said Paddy.
"A hog to drink my health?"
"Ay, that is a thirteen, plase your honour; all as one as an
I threw them a shilling; the hay-rope was withdrawn, and at last we
went on. We heard no more of Paddy till evening. He came in two hours
after us, and expected to be doubly paid for driving my honour's
gentlemen so well."
I must say that on this journey, though I met with many delays and
disasters; though one of my horses was lamed in shoeing by a smith, who
came home drunk from a funeral; and though the back pannel of my
carriage was broken by the pole of a chaise; and though one day I went
without my dinner at a large desolate inn, where nothing was to be had
but whiskey; and though one night I lay in a little smoky den, in which
the meanest of my servants in England would have thought it impossible
to sleep; and though I complained bitterly, and swore it was
impracticable for a gentleman to travel in Ireland; yet I never
remember to have experienced, on any journey, less ennui. I was out of
patience twenty times a day, but I certainly felt no ennui; and I am
convinced, that the benefit some patients receive from a journey is in
an inverse proportion to the ease and luxury of their mode of
travelling. When they are compelled to exert their faculties, and to
use their limbs, they forget their nerves, as I did. Upon this
principle I should recommend to wealthy hypochondriacs a journey in
Ireland, preferably to any country in the civilized world. I can
promise them, that they will not only be moved to anger often enough to
make their blood circulate briskly, but, they will even, in the acmé of
their impatience, be thrown into salutary convulsions of laughter, by
the comic concomitants of their disasters; besides, if they have
hearts, their best feelings cannot fail to be awakened by the warm,
generous hospitality they will receive in this country, from the cabin
to the castle.
Late in the evening of the fourth day, we came to an inn on the
verge of the county where my estate was situate. It was one of the
wildest parts of Ireland. We could find no horses, nor accommodations
of any sort, and we had several miles farther to go. For our only
comfort, the dirty landlady, who had married the hostler, and wore gold
drop ear-rings, reminded us, that, "Sure, if we could but wait an hour,
and take a fresh egg, we should have a fine moon."
After many fruitless imprecations, my French cook was obliged to
mount one of my saddle-horses; my groom was left to follow us the next
day; I let my gentleman sit on the barouche box, and proceeded with my
own tired horses. The moon, which my landlady had promised me, rose,
and I had a full view of the face of the country. As we approached my
maritime territories, the cottages were thinly scattered, and the trees
had a stunted appearance; they all slanted one way, from the prevalent
winds that blew from the ocean. Our road presently stretched along the
beach, and I saw nothing to vary the prospect but rocks, and their huge
shadows upon the water. The road being sandy, the feet of the horses
made no noise, and nothing interrupted the silence of the night, but
the hissing sound of the carriage wheels passing through the sand.
"What o'clock is it now, think you, John?" said one of my
postillions to the other.
"Past twelve for sartain," said John; "and this bees a strange
Irish place," continued he, in a drawling voice; "with no possible way
o'getting at it, as I see." John, after a pause, resumed———"I say,
Timothy, to the best of my opinion, this here road is leading on us
into the sea." John replied, "that he did suppose there might be such a
thing as a boat farther on, but where he could not say for sartain.
Dismayed and helpless, they at last stopped to consult whether they had
come the right road to the house. In the midst of their consultation
there came up an Irish carman, whistling as he walked beside his horse
"Honest friend, is this the road to Glenthorn Castle?"
"To Glenthorn, sure enough, your honour."
"Whereabouts is the castle?"
"Forenent you, if you go on to the turn."
"Forenent you!" As the postillions pondered upon this word, the
carman, leaving his horse and car, turned back to explain by action,
what he could not make intelligible by words.
"See, isn't here the castle?" cried he, darting before us to the
turn of the road, where he stood pointing at what we could not possibly
see, as it was hid by a promonory of rock. When we reached the spot
where he was stationed, we came full upon the view of Glenthorn Castle;
it seemed to rise from the sea, abrupt and insulated, in all the
gloomy grandeur of ancient times, with turrets and battlements, and a
huge gateway, the pointed arch of which receded in perspective between
the projecting towers.
"It's my lord himself, I'm fond to believe!" said our guide, taking
off his hat"I had best step on and tell 'em at the castle."
"No, my good friend, there is no occasion to trouble you farther;
you had better go back to your horse and car, which you have left on
"Oh! they are used to that, plase your honour; they'll go on very
quite, and I'll run like a redshank with the news to the castle."
He ran on before us with surprising velocity, whilst our tired
horses dragged us slowly through the sand. As we approached, the
gateway of the castle opened, and a number of men, who appeared to be
dwarfs, when compared with the height of the buildin, came out with
torches in their hands: by their bustle, and the vehemence with which
they bawled to one another, one might have thought that the whole
castle was in flames; but they were only letting down a draw-bridge.
As I was going over this bridge, a casement window opened in the
castle, and a voice, which I knew to be old Ellinor's, exclaimed, "Mind
the big hole in the middle of the bridge. God bless yeas!"
I passed over the broken bridge, and through the massive gate,
under an arched way, at the farthest end of which a lamp had just been
lighted: then I came into a large open area, the court of the castle.
The hollow sound of the horses feet and of the carriage rumbling over
the draw-bridge was immediately succeded by the strange and eager
voices of the people, who filled the court with variety of noises,
contrasting, in the most striking manner with the silence, in which we
had travelled over the sands. The great effect that my arrival
instantaneously produced upon the multitude of servants and dependants
who issued from the castle, gave me an idea of my own consequence
beyond anything which I had ever felt in England. These people seemed
"born for my use:" the officious precipitation with which they ran to
and fro; the style in which they addressed me: some crying, "Long life
to the Earl of Glenthorn!" some blessing me for coming to reign over
them; altogether gave more the idea of vassals than of tenants, and
carried my imagination centuries back to feudal times.
The first person I saw on entering the hall of my castle was poor
Ellinor; she pushed her way up to me——— "'Tis himself!" cried she.
Then turning about suddenly, "I've seen him in his own castle———I've
seen him———and if it pleases God this minute to take me to himself, I
would die with pleasure."
"My good Ellinor," said I, touched to the heart by her affection,
"my good Ellinor, I hope you will live many a happy year; and if I can
contribute"———"And himself to speak to me so kind before them all!"
interrupted she. "Oh! this is too much———quite too much!" She burst
into tears; and hiding her face with her arm, made her way out of the
The flights of stairs which I had to ascend, and the length of
galleries through which I was conducted, before I reached the apartment
where supper was served, gave me a vast idea of the extent of my
castle; but I was too much fatigued to enjoy fully the gratifications
of pride. To the simple pleasures of appetite I was more sensible: I
ate heartily of one of the most profusely hospitable suppers, that ever
was prepared for a noble baron, even in the days when oxen were roasted
whole. Then I grew so sleepy, that I was impatient to be shown to my
bed. I was ushered through another suite of chambers and galleries;
and, as I was traversing one of these, a door of some strange dormitory
opened, and a group of female heads were thrust out, in the midst of
which I could distinguish old Ellinor's face; but, as I turned my head,
the door closed so quickly, that I had no time to speak: I only heard
the words ———"Blessings on him! that's he!"
I was so sleepy, that I rejoiced having escaped an occasion where I
might have been called upon to speak, yet I was really grateful to my
poor nurse for her blessing. The state tower, in which, after
reiterated entreaties, I was at last left alone to repose, was hung
with magnificent, but ancient tapestry. It was so like a room in a
haunted castle, that if I had not been too much fatigued to think of
any thing, I should certainly have thought of Mrs. Radcliffe. I am
sorry to say, that I have no mysteries, or even portentous omens to
record of this night; for the moment that I lay down in my antiquated
bed, I fell into a profound sleep.
When I awoke, I thought that I was on shipboard; for the first sound I
heard was that of the sea booming against the castle walls. I arose,
looked out of the window of my bed-chamber, and saw that the whole
prospect bore an air of savage wildness. As I contemplated the scene,
my imagination was seized with the idea of remoteness from civilized
society: the melancholy feeling of solitary grandeur took possession of
From this feeling I was relieved by the affectionate countenance of
my old nurse, who at this instant put her head half in at the door.
"I only just made bold to look in at the fire to see did it burn,
because I lighted it myself, and would not be blowing of it for fear of
"Come in, Ellinor, come in," said I. "Come quite in."
"I will, since you've nobody with you——— that I need be afraid
of———" said she, looking round satisfied, when she saw my own man was
not in the room.
"You need never be afraid of any body, Ellinor, whilst I am alive,"
said I, "for I will always protect you. I do not forget your conduct,
when you thought I was dead in the banquetting-room."
"Oh! don't be talking of that: thanks be to God there was nothing
in it. I see you well now. Long life to you. Sure you must have been
tired to death last night, for this morning early you lay so quite,
sleeping like a an angel; and I could see a great likeness in yees, to
what you were when you were a child in my arms."
"But sit down, sit down, my good Ellinor," said I, "and let us talk
a little of your own affairs."
"And are not these my own affairs," said she, rather angrily.
"Certainly; but I mean, that you must tell me now you are going on
in the world, and what I can do to make you comfortable and happy."
"There's one thing would make me happy," said she.
"Name it," said I.
"To be let light your fire myself every morning, and open your
I could not help smiling at the simplicity of the request. I was
going to press her to ask something of more consequence, but she heard
a servant coming along the gallery, and starting from her chair, she
ran and threw herself upon her knees before the fire, blowing it with
her mouth with great vehemence.
The servant came to let me know that Mr. M'Leod, my agent, was
waiting for me in the breakfast-room.
"And will I be let light your fire then every morning?" said
Ellinor eagerly, turning as she knelt.
"And welcome," said I.
"Then you won't forget to speak about it for me," said she, "else
may be I won't be let up by them English. God bless you, and don't
forget to speak about it," said I; but I went down stairs and forgot
Mr. M'Leod, whom I found reading the newspaper in the
breakfast-room, seemed less affected by my presence than any body I had
seen since my arrival. He was a hard-featured, strong-built,
perpendicular man, with a remarkable quietness of deportment: he spoke
with deliberate distinctness, in an acoent slightly Scotch; and, in
speaking, he made use of no gesticulation, but held himself
surprisingly still. No part of him, but his eyes, moved; and they had
an expression of slow, but determined good sense. He was sparing of his
words, but the few that he used said much, and went directly to the
point. He pressed for the immediate examination and settlement of his
accounts: he enumerated several things of importance, which he had done
for my service; but he did this without pretending the slightest
attachment to me; he mentioned them only as proofs of his having done
his duty to his employer, for which he neither expected nor would
accept of thanks. He seemed to be cold and upright in his mind as in
his body. I was not influenced in his favour even by his striking
appearance of plain dealing, so strong was the general abhorrence of
agents, which Crawley's treachery had left in my mind. The excess of
credulity, when convinced of its errour, becomes the extreme of
suspicion. Persons not habituated to reason often argue absurdly,
because, from particular instances, they deduce general conclusions,
and extend the result of their limited experience of individuals
indiscriminately to whole classes. The labour of thinking was so great
to me, that having once come to a conclusion upon any subject, I would
rather persist in it, right or wrong, than be at the trouble of going
over the process again, to revise and rectify my judgement.
Upon this occasion national prejudice heightened the prepossession,
which circumstances had raised. Mr. M'Leod was not only an agent, but a
Scotchman; and I had a notion that all Scotchmen were crafty: therefore
I concluded, that his blunt manner was assumed, and his plain dealing
but a more refined species of policy.
After breakfast, he laid before me a general statement of my
affairs; obliged me to name a day for the examination of his accounts;
and then, without expressing either mortification or displeasure at the
coldness of my behaviour, or at my evident impatience of his presence,
he, unmoved of spirit, rang for his horse, wished me a good morning,
By this time my castle-yard was filled with a crowd of
"great-coated suitors," who were all come to see———could they see my
lordship? or waiting just to say two words to my honour. In various
lounging attitudes, leaning against the walls, or pacing backwards and
forwards before the window, to catch my eye, they, with a patience
passing the patience of courtiers, waited, hour after hour, the
live-long day, for their turn, or their chance of an audience. I had
promised myself the pleasure of viewing my castle this day, and of
taking a ride through my demesne, but that was totally out of the
question. I was no longer a man with a will of my own, or with time at
my own disposal.
"Long may you live to reign over us!" was the signal, that I was
now to live, like a prince, only for the service of my subjects. How
these subjects of mine had contrived to go on for so many years in my
absence, I was at a loss to conceive; for, the moment I was present, it
seemed evident that they could not exist without me.
One had a wife and six childer, and not a spot in the wide world to
live in, if my honour did not let him live under me, in any bit of a
skirt of the estate that would feed a cow.
Another had a brother in jail, who could not be got out without me.
Another had three lives dropped in a lase for ever; another wanted
a renewal; another a farm; another a house; and one expected my lard
would make his son an exciseman; and another that I would make him a
policeman; and another was racked, if I did not settle the mearing
between him and Corny Corkran; and half a hundred had given in
proposials to the agent for lands that would be out next May; and half
a hundred more came with legends of traditionary promises from the old
lord, my lordship's father that was: and for hours I was forced to
listen to long stories out of the face, in which there was such a
perplexing and provoking mixture of truth and fiction, involved in
language so figurative, and tones so new to my English ears, that, with
my utmost patience and strained attention, I could comprehend but a
very small portion of what was said to me.
Never were my ears so weary any day of my life as they were this
day. I could not have endured the fatigue, if I had not been supported
by the agreeable idea of my own power and consequence; a power
seemingly next to despotic. This new stimulus sustained me for three
days that I was kept a state prisoner in my own castle, by the crowds
who came to do me homage, and to claim my favour and protection. In
vain every morning was my horse led about saddled and bridled: I never
was permitted to mount. On the fourth morning, when I felt sure of
having dispatched all my tormentors, I was in astonishment and despair
on seeing my levee crowded with a fresh succession of petitioners. I
gave orders to my people to say that I was going out, and absolutely
could see nobody. I supposed that they did not understand what my
English servants said, for they never stirred from their posts. On
receiving a second message, they acknowledged that they understood the
first; but replied, that they could wait there till my honour came back
from my ride. With difficulty I mounted my horse, and escaped from the
closing ranks of my persecutors. At night I gave directions to have the
gates kept shut, and ordered the porter not to admit any body at his
peril. When I got up, I was delighted to see the coast clear; but the
moment I went out, lo! at the outside of the gate, the host of
besiegers were posted, and in my lawn, and along the road, and through
the fields, they pursued me; and when I forbade them to speak to me
when I was on horseback, the next day I found parties in ambuscade, who
laid wait for me in silence, with their hats off, bowing and bowing,
till I could not refrain from saying, "Well, my good friend, what do
you stand bowing there for?" Then I was fairly prisoner, and held by
the bridle for an hour.
In short, I found that I was now placed in a situation, where I
could hope neither for privacy nor leisure; but I had the joys of
power: my rising passion for which would certainly have been
extinguished in a short time by my habitual indolence, if it had not
been kept alive by jealousy of Mr. M'Leod.
One day, when I refused to hear an importunate tenant, and declared
that I had been persecuted with petitioners ever since my arrival, and
that I was absolutely tired to death, the man answered———"True, for ye,
my lard; and it's a shame to be troubling you this way. Then, may be
it's to Mr. M'Leod I'll go? Sure the agent will do as well, and no
more about it. Mr. M'Leod will do every thing the same way as usual."
"Mr. M'Leod will do every thing!" said I hastily: "no, by no
"Who will we speak to then?" said the man.
"To myself," said I, with as haughty a tone as Lewis XIV could have
assumed, when he announced to his court his resolution to be his own
minister. After this intrepid declaration to act for myself, I could
not yield to my habitual laziness. So much had my pride been hurt, as
well as my other feelings, by Captain Crawley's conduct, that I
determined to show the world I was not to be duped a second time by an
When, on the day appointed, Mr. M'Leod came to settle accounts with
me, I, with an air of self-important capability, as if I had been all
my life used to look into my own affairs, sat down to inspect the
papers; and, incredible as it may appear, I went through the whole at a
sitting, without a single yawn; and, for a man, who never before had
looked into an account, I understood the nature of debtor and creditor
wonderfully well: but, with my utmost desire to evince my arithmetical
sagacity, I could not detect the slightest errour in the accounts; and
it was evident, that Mr. M'Leod was not Captain Crawley; yet, rather
than believe that he could be both an agent and an honest man, I
concluded, that if he did not cheat me out of money, his aim was to
cheat me out of power; and fancying that he wished to be a man of
influence and consequence in the county, I transferred to him instantly
the feelings that were passing in my own mind, and took it for granted,
that he must be actuated by a love of power in every thing that he did
apparently for my service.
About this time I remember being much disturbed in my mind, by a
letter which Mr. M'Leod received in my presence, and of which he read
to me only a part: I never rested till I saw the whole. The epistle
proved well worth the trouble of deciphering: it related merely to the
paving of my chicken-yard. Like the King of Prussia [Note:
Mirabeau———Secret Memoirs.], who was said to be so jealous of power,
that he wanted to regulate all the mouse-traps in his dominions, I
soon engrossed the management of a perplexing multiplicity of minute
insignificant details. Alas! I discovered, to my cost, that trouble is
the inseparable attendant upon power: and many times, in the course of
the first ten days of my reign, I was ready to give up my dignity from
Early one morning, after having passed a feverish night, tortured in
my dreams by the voices and faces of the people who had surrounded me
the preceeding day, I was wakened by the noise of somebody lighting my
fire. I thought it was Ellinor, and the idea of the disinterested
affection of this poor woman came full into my mind, contrasted in the
strongest manner with the recollection of the selfish encroaching
people by whom, of late, I had been worried.
"How do you do, my good Ellinor?" said I; "I have not seen any
thing of you this week past."
"It's not Ellinor at all, my lord," said a new voice.
"And why so? Why does not Ellinor light my fire?"
"Myself does not know, my lard."
"Go for her directly."
"She's gone home these three days, my lard."
"Gone! is she sick?"
"Not as I know on, my lard. Myself does not know what ailed her,
except she would be jealous of my lighting the fire. But I can't say
what ailed her; for she went away without a word good or bad, when she
seen me lighting this fire, which I did by the housekeeper's orders."
I now recollected poor Ellinor's request, and reproached myself for
having neglected to fulfil my promise, upon an affair which, however
trifling in itself, appeared of consequence to her. In the course of my
morning's ride I determined to call upon her at her own house, and make
my apologies: but first I satisfied my curiosity about a prodigious
number of parks and towns which I had heard of upon my estate. Many a
ragged man had come to me, with the modest request that I would let him
one of the parks near the town. The horse-park, the deer-park, and the
cow-park, were not quite sufficient to answer the ideas I had attached
to the word park: but I was quite astonished and mortified when I
beheld the bits and corners of land near the town of Glenthorn, on
which these high-sounding titles had been bestowed:———just what would
feed a cow is sufficient in Ireland to constitute a park.
When I heard the names of above a hundred towns on the Glenthorn
estate, I had an exalted idea of my own territories; and I was
impatient to make a progress through my dominions: but, upon visiting a
few of these places, my curiosity was satisfied. Two or three cabins
gathered together were sufficient to constitute a town, and the land
adjoining thereto is called a town-land. The denominations of these
town-lands having continued from generation to generation, according to
ancient surveys of Ireland, it is sufficient to show the boundaries of
a town-land, to prove that there must be a town, and a tradition of a
town continues to be satisfactory, even when only a single cabin
remains. I turned my horse's head away in disgust from one of these
traditionary towns, and desired a boy to show me the way to Ellinor
"So I will, plase your honour, my lard; sure I've a right to know,
for she's my own mother."
The boy, or, as he was called, the gossoon, ran across some fields
where there was abundance of fern and of rabbits. The rabbits, sitting
quietly at the entrance of their holes, seemed to consider themselves
as proprietors of the soil, and me and my horse as intruders. The boy
apologized for the number of rabbit holes on this part of the estate:
"It would not be so, my lard, if I had a gun allowed me by the
gamekeeper, which he would give me, if he knew it would be plasing to
your honour." The ingenuity, with which even the young boys can
introduce their requests in a favourable moment, sometimes provoked me,
and sometimes excited my admiration. This boy made his just at the time
he was rolling out of my way a car that stopped a gap in the hedge, and
he was so hot and out of breath with running in my service, that I
could not refuse him a token to the game keeper that he might get a gun
as soon as I understood what it meant.
We came to Ellinor's house, a wretched-looking, low, mud-walled
cabin; at one end it was propped by a buttress of loose stones, upon
which stood a goat reared on his hind legs, to browze on the grass that
grew on the housetop. A dunghill was before the only window, at the
other end of the house, and close to the door was a puddle of the
dirtlest of dirty water, in which ducks were dabbling. At my approach
there came out of the cabin, a pig, a calf, a lamb, a kid, and two
geese, all with their legs tied; followed by cocks, hens, chickens, a
dog, a cat, a kitten, a beggar-man, a beggar-woman, with a pipe in her
mouth; children innumerable, and a stout girl, with a pitchfork in her
hand; altogether more than I, looking down upon the roof as I sat on
horseback, and measuring the superficies with my eye, could have
possibly supposed the mansion capable of containing. I asked if Ellinor
O'Donoghoe was at home; but the dog barked, the geese cackled, the
turkeys gobbled, and the beggars begged with one accord, so loudly,
that there was no chance of my being heard. When the girl had at last
succeeded in appeasing them all with her pitchfork, she answered, that
Ellinor O'Donoghoe was at home, but that she was out with the potatoes;
and she ran to fetch her, after calling to the boys, who was within in
the room smoking, to come out to his honour. As soon as they had
crouched under the door, and were able to stand upright, they welcomed
me with a very good grace, and were proud to see me in the kingdom. I
asked if they were all Ellinor's sons.
"All entirely," was the first answer.
"Not one but one," was the second answer. The third made the other
"Plase your honour, we are all her sons-in-law, except myself, who
am her lawful son."
"Then you are my foster-brother."
"No, plase your honour, it's not me, but my brother, and he's not
"Not in it?"
"No," plase your honour, "becaase he's in the forge up above. Sure
he's the blacksmith, my lard."
"And what are you?"
"I'm Ody, plase your honour;" the short for Owen.
"And what is your trade?"
"Trade, plase your honour, I was bred to none, more than another;
but expects, only that my mother's not willing to part me, to go into
the militia next month; and I'm sure she'd let me, if your honour's
lordship would spake a word to the colonel, to see to get me made a
As Ody made his request, all his companions came forward in sign of
sympathy, and closed round my horse's head to make me sinsible of their
expectations; but at this instant Ellinor came up, her old face
colouring all over with joy when she saw me.
"So, Ellinor," said I, "you were affronted, I hear, and left the
eastle in anger?"
"In anger! And if I did, more shame for me———but anger does not
last long with me any way; and against you, my lord, dear how could it?
Oh, think how good he is, coming to see me in such a poor place!"
"I will make it a better place for you, Ellinor," said I. Far from
being eager to obtain promises, she still replied, that "all was good
enough for her." I desired that she would come and live with me at the
castle, till a better house than her present habitation could be built
for her; but she seemed to prefer this hovel. I assured her that she
should be permitted to light my fire.
"Oh it's better for me not!" said she; "better keep out of the way.
I could not be asy if I got any one ill-will."
I assured her that she should be at liberty to do just as she
liked, and whilst I rode home I was planning a pretty cottage for her
near the porter's gate. I was pleased with myself for my gratitude to
this poor woman. Before I slept, I actually wrote a letter, which
obtained for Ody the honour of being made a sergeant in the———militia;
and Ellinor, dazzled by this military glory, was satisfied that he
should leave home, though he was her favourite.
"Well, let him leave me then," said she; "I won't stand in his
light. I never thought of my living to see Ody a sergeant. Now Ody,
have done being wild, honey-dear, and be a credit to your family, and
to his honour's commendation———God bless him for ever for it! From the
very first I knew it was he than had the kind heart."
I am not sure, that it was a very good action to get a man made a
sergeant, of whom I knew nothing, but that he was my foster brother.
Self-complacency, however, cherished my first indistinct feelings of
benevolence Though not much accustomed to reflect upon my own
sensations, I think I remember, at this period, suspecting that the
feeling of benevolence is a greater pleasure than the possession of
barouches, and horses, and castles, and parks———greater even than the
possession of power. Of this last truth, however, I had not as yet a
perfectly clear conception. Even in my benevolence I was as impatient
and unreasonable as a child. Money, I thought, had the power of
Aladdin's lamp, to procure with magical celerity the gratification of
my wishes. I expected that a cottage for Ellinor should rise out of the
earth at my command. But the slaves of Aladdin's lamp were not
Irishmen. The delays, and difficulties, and blunders, in the execution
of my orders, provoked me beyond measure; and it would have been
difficult for a cool spectator to decide, whether I or my workmen were
most in fault; they for their dilatory habits, or I for my impatient
"Well, plase your honour, when the pratees are set, and the turf
cut, we'll fall-to at Ellinor's house."
"Confound the potatoes and the turf! you must fall-to, as you call
"Is it without the lime, and plase your honour? Sure that same is
not drawn yet, nor the stones quarried, since it is of stone it will
be———nor the foundations itself dug, and the horses were all putting
Then after the bog and the potatoes came funerals and holidays
innumerable. The masons were idle one week waiting for the mortar, and
the mortar another week waiting for the stones, and then they were at a
stand for the carpenter when they came to the door-case, and the
carpenter was looking for the sawyer, and the sawyer was gone to have
the saw mended. Then there was a stop again at the window-sills for the
stone-cutter, and he was at the quarter sessions, processing his
brother for tin and tinpence, hay-money. And when, in spite of all
delays and obstacles, the walls reached their destined height, the roof
was a new plague; the carpenter, the slater, and the nailer, were all
at variance, and I cannot tell which was the most provoking rogue of
the three. At last, however, the house was roofed and slated: then I
would not wait till the walls were dry before I plastered and papered
and furnished it. I fitted it up in the most elegant style of English
cottages, for I was determined that Ellinor's habitation should be such
as had never been seen in this part of the world. The day when it was
finished, and when I gave possession of it to Ellinor, paid me for all
my trouble; I tasted a species of pleasure that was new to me, and
which was the sweeter from having been earned with some difficulty. And
now, when I saw a vast number of my tenants assembled at a rural feast,
which I gave on Ellinor's installation, my benevolence enlarged, even
beyond the possibility of its gratification, and I wished to make all
my dependants happy, provided I could accomplish it without much
trouble. The method of doing good, which seemed to require the least
exertion, and which I, therefore, most willingly practised, was giving
away money. I did not wait to inquire, much less to examine, into the
merits of the claimants; but, without selecting proper objects, I
relieved myself from the uneasy feeling of pity, by indiscriminate
donations to objects apparently the most miserable.
I was quite angry with Mr. M'Leod, my agent; and considered him as
a selfish, hardhearted miser, because he did not seem to sympathize
with me, or to applaud my generosity. I was so much irritated by his
cold silence, that I could not forbear pressing him to say something.
"I doubt, then," said he, "since you desire me to speak my mind, my
lord, I doubt whether the best way of encouraging the industrious, is
to give premiums to the idle."
"But, idle or not, these poor wretches are so miserable, that I
cannot refuse to give them something; and, surely, when one can do it
so easily, it is right to relieve misery Is it not?"
"Undoubtedly, my lord; but the difficulty is to relieve present
misery, without creating more in future. Pity for one class of beings
sometimes makes us cruel to others. I am told that there are some
Indian Brahmins so very compassionate, that they hire beggars to let
fleas feed upon them; I doubt whether it might not be better to let the
I did not in the least understand what Mr. M'Leod meant; but I was
soon made to comprehend it, by crowds of eloquent beggars, who soon
surrounded me: many who had been resolutely struggling with their
difficulties, slackened their exertions, and left their labour for the
easier trade of imposing upon my credulity. The money I had bestowed
was wasted at the dram-shop, or it became the subject of family
quarrels; and those whom I had relieced, returned to my honour, with
fresh and insatiable expectations. All this time my industrious tenants
grumbled, because no encouragement was given to them; and, looking upon
me as a weak good-natured fool, they combined in a resolution to ask me
for long leases, or reduction of rent.
The rhetoric of my tenants succeeded, in some instances; and again,
I was mortified by Mr. M'Leod's silence. I was too proud to ask his
opinion. I ordered, and was obeyed. A few leases for long terms were
signed and sealed; and when I had thus my own way completely, I could
not refrain from recurring to Mr. M'Leod's opinion.
"I doubt, my lord," said he, "whether this measure may be as
advantageous as you hope. These fellows, these middle men, will
underset the land, and live in idleness, whilst they rank a parcel of
"But they said they would keep the land in their own hands, and
improve it; and that the reason why they could not afford to improve
before was, that they had not long leases."
"It may be doubted whether long leases alone will make improving
tenants; for in the next county to us there are many farms of the
dowager Lady Ormsby's land, let at ten shillings an acre, and her
tenantry are beggars: and the land now, at the end of the leases, is
worn out, and worse than at their commencement."
I was weary listening to this cold reasoning, and resolved to apply
no more for explanations to Mr. M'Leod; yet I did not long keep this
resolution: infirm of purpose, I wanted the support of his approbation,
at the very time I was jealous of his interference.
At one time I had a mind to raise the wages of labour; but Mr.
M';Leod said———"It might be doubted whether the people would not work
less, when they could with less work have money enough to support
I was puzzled, and then I had a mind to lower the wages of labour,
to force them to work or starve———Still, provoking Mr. M'Leod
said———"It might be doubted whether it would not be better to leave
I gave marriage portions to the daughters of my tenants, and
rewards to those who had children; for I had always heard that
legislators should encourage population.
Still Mr. M'Leod hesitated to approve: he observed, "that my estate
was so populous, that the complaint in each family was, that they had
not land for the sons. It might be doubted whether, if a farm could
support but ten people, it were wise to encourage the birth of twenty.
It might be doubted whether it were not better for ten to live, and be
well fed, than for twenty to be born, and to be half-starved."
To encourage manufactures in my town of Glenthorn, I proposed
putting a clause in my leases, compelling my tenants to buy stuffs and
linens manufactured at Glenthorn, and no where else. Stubborn M'Ledo,
as usual, began with——— "I doubt whether that will not encourage the
manufacturers at Glenthorn to make bad stuffs and bad linen, since
they are sure of a sale, and without danger of competition."
At all events, I thought my tenants would grow rich and
independent, if they made every thing at home that they wanted: yet Mr.
M'Ledo perplexed me by his
"Doubt whether it would not be better for a man to buy shoes, if he
could buy them cheaper than he could make them." He added something
about the division of labour, and Smith's Wealth of Nations. To which I
could only answer———Smith's a Scotchman.
I cannot express how much I dreaded Mr. M'Leod's I doubt———and———It
may be doubted.
From the pain of doubt, and the labour of thought, I was soon most
agreeably reprieved by the company of a Mr. Hardcastle, whose visits I
constantly encouraged by a most gracious reception. Mr. Hardcastle was
the agent of the dowager Lady Ormsby, who had a large estate in my
neighbourhood: he was the very reverse of my Mr. M'Leod in his
deportment and conversation. Talkative, self-sufficient, peremptory, he
seemed not to know what it was to doubt; he considered doubt as a proof
of ignorance, imbecility, or cowardice. "Can any man doubt?" was his
usual beginning. On every subject of human knowledge, taste, morals,
politics, economy, legislation; on all affairs, civil, military, or
ecclesiastical, he decided at once in the most confident tone. Yet he
"never read, not he!" he had nothing to do with books; he consulted
only his own eyes and ears, and appealed only to common sense. As to
theory, he had no opinion of theory; for his part, he only pretended to
understand practice and experience———and his practice was confined
steadily to his own practice, and his experience uniformly to what he
had tried at New-town-Hardcastle.
At first I thought him a mighty clever man, and I really rejoiced
to see my doubter silenced. After dinner, when he had finished speaking
in his decisive manner, I used frequently to back him with a———Very
true——— very fair———very clear———though I understood what he said, as
little as he did himself; but it was an ease to my mind to have a
disputed point settled———and I filled my glass with an air of triumph,
whilst M'Leod never contradicted my assertions, or controverted Mr.
Hardcastle's arguments. There was still an air of content and quiet
self-satisfaction in M'Leod's very silence, which surprised and vexed
One day, when Hardcastle was laying down the law upon several
subjects, in his usual dictatorial manner, telling us how he managed
his people, and what order he kept them in, I was determined that
M'Leod should not enjoy the security of his silence, and I urged him to
give us his general opinion, as to the means of improving the poor
people in Ireland.
"I doubt," said M'Leod, "whether any thing effectual can be done,
till they have a better education."
"Education!———Pshaw!———There it is now; these book-men," cried
Hardcastle———"Why, my dear sir, can any man alive, who knows this
country, doubt, that the common people have already too much education,
as it is called———a vast deal too much? Too many of them know how to
read, and write, and cipher, which I presume is all you mean by
"Not entirely," said M'Leod———"a good education comprehends
"The more the worse," interrupted Hardcastle. The more they know,
the worse they are, sir, depend on that: I know the people of this
country, sir; I have a good right to know them, sir, being born amongst
them, and bred amongst them; so I think I may speak with some
confidence on these matters. And I give it as my decided humble
opinion, founded on irrefragable experience, which is what I always
build upon, that the way to ruin the poor of Ireland would be to
educate them, sir. Look at the poor scholars, as they call themselves;
and what are they? a parcel of young vagabonds in rags, with a book
under their arm instead of a spade or a shovel, sir. And what comes of
this? that they grow up the worst-disposed, and the most troublesome
seditious rascals in the community. I allow none of them about
New-town-Hardcastle; none———banished them all. Useless
vagrants———hornets———vipers, sir: and show me a quieter, better-mannged
set of people, than I have made of mine. I go upon experience, sir; and
that's the only thing to go upon; and I'll go no farther than
New-town-Hardcastle: if that won't bring conviction home to you,
"I never was at New-town-Hardcastle," said M'Leod drily.
"Well, sir, I hope it will not be the case long. But in the mean
time, my good sir, do give me leave to put it to your own common sense,
what can reading or writing do for a poor man, unless he is to be a
bailiff or an exciseman? and you know all men can't expect to be
bailiffs or excisemen. Can all the book-learning in the world, sir, dig
a poor man's potatoes for him, or plough his land, or cut his turf?
Then, sir, in this country, where's the advantages of education, I
humbly ask? No, sir, no, trust me———keep the Irish common people
ignorant, and you keep 'em quiet; and that's the only way with them;
for they are too quick and smart as it is naturally. Teach them to read
and write, and it's just adding fuel to fire———fire to gunpowder, sir.
Teach them any thing, and directly you set them up: now, it's our
business to keep them down, unless, sir, you'd wish to have your throat
cut. Education! sir; Lord bless your soul, sir! they have a great deal
too much; they know too much already, which makes them so refractory to
the laws, and so idle. I will go no farther than New-town-Hardcastle,
to prove all this. So, my good sir," concluded he, triumphantly,
"education, I grant you, is necessary for the rich; but tell me, if you
can, what's the use of education to the poor?"
"Much the same, I apprehend, as to the rich," answered M'Leod. "The
use of education, as I understand it, is to teach men, to see clearly,
and to follow steadily, their real interests. All morality, you know,
is comprised in this definition; and———"
"Very true, sir; but all this can never apply to the poor in
"Why, sir, are they not men?"
"Men, to be sure; but not like men in Scotland. The Irish know
nothing of their interests; and as to morality, that's out of the
question: they know nothing about it, my dear sir."
"That is the very thing of which I complain," said M'Leod. "They
know nothing; because they have been taught nothing."
"They cannot be taught, sir."
"Did you ever try?"
"I did, sir, no later than last week. A fellow that I caught
stealing my turf, instead of sending him to jail, I said to him, with
a great deal of lenity, My honest fellow, did you never hear of the
eighth commandment, 'Thou shalt not steal?' He confessed he had; but
did not know it was the eighth. I showed it to him, and counted it to
him myself; and set him, for a punishment, to get his whole catechism.
Well, sir, the next week I found him stealing my turf again! and when I
caught him by the wrist in the fact, he said, it was because the priest
would not let him learn the catechism I gave him, because it was a
protestant one. Now you see, sir, there's a bar for ever to all
Mr. M'Leod smiled, said something about time and patience, and
observed, "that one experiment was not conclusive against a whole
nation." Any thing like a general argument, Mr. Hardcastle could not
comprehend. He knew every blade of grass within the reach of his
tether, but could not reach an inch beyond. Any thing like an appeal to
benevolent feelings was lost upon him; for he was so frank in his
selfishness, that he did not even pretend to be generous. ———By sundry
self-complacent motions, he showed, whilst his adversary spoke, that
he disdained to listen almost as much as to read: but, as soon as
M'Leod paused, he said——— "What you observe, sir, may possibly be very
true; but I have made up my mind." Then he went over and over again his
assertions, in a louder and a louder voice: ending with a tone of
interrogation that seemed to set all answer at defiance.
"What have you to answer to me now, sir? Can any man alive doubt
M'Leod was perfectly silent. The company broke up; and, as we were
going out of the room, I maliciously asked M'Leod, why he, who could
say so much in his own defence, had suffered himself to be so
completely silenced. He answered me, in his low deliberate voice, in
the words of Moliere ———"Qu'est-ce que la raison avee un filet de voix
contre une gueule comme celle-la? At some other time," added Mr.
M'Leod, "my sentiments shall be at your lordship's disposal."
Indolent persons love positive people when these are of their own
opinion; because they are saved the trouble of developing their
thoughts, or supporting their assertions: but the moment the positive
differs in sentiment from the indolent man, there is an end of the
friendship. The indolent man then hates his pertinacious adversary as
much as he loved his sturdy friend. So it happened between Mr.
Hardcastle and me. This gentleman was a prodigious favourite with me,
so long as his opinions were not in opposition to my own; but an
accident happened, which brought his love of power and mine into direct
competition, and then I found his peremptory mode of reasoning and his
ignorance absurd and insufferable.
Before I can do justice to my part of this quarrel, I must explain
the cause of the interest which I took in behalf of the persons
aggrieved. During the time that my first hot fit of benevolence was on
me, I was riding home one evening, after dining with Mr. Hardcastle,
and I was struck with the sight of a cabin, more wretched than any I
had ever before beheld: the feeble light of a single rush candle
through the window revealed its internal misery.
"Does any body live in that hovel?" said I.
"Ay sure does there: the Noonans, please your honour," replied a
man on the road. Noonans! I recollected the name to be that of the
pugilist, who had died in consequence of the combat at which I had been
present in London; who had, with his dying breath, besought me to
convey his only half guinea, and his silk handkerchief, to his poor
father and sister. I alighted from my horse, asking the man, at the
same time, if the son of this Noonan had not died in England.
"He had, sir, a son in England, Mick Noonan, who used to send him
odd gaineas, I mind, and was a good lad to his father, though wild; and
there's been no account of him at all at all this long while: but the
old man has another boy, a sober lad, who's abroad with the army in the
East Indies; and it's he that is the hope of the family. And there's
the father———and old as he is, and poor, and a cripple, I'd engage
there is not a happier man in the three counties at this very time
speaking: for it is just now I seen young Jemmy Riley, the daughter's
bachelor, go by with a letter. What news? says I. Great news! says he:
a letter from Tom Noonan to his father; and I'm going in to read it for
By the time my voluble informant had come to this period, I had
reached the cabin door. Who could have expected to see smiles, and
hear exclamations of joy, under such a roof?
I saw the father, with his hands clasped in ecstasy, and looking up
to Heaven, with the strong expression of delight in his aged
countenance. I saw every line of his face; for the light of the candle
was full upon it. The daughter, a beautiful girl, kneeling beside him,
held the light for the young man, who was reading her brother's letter.
I was sorry to interrupt them.
"Your honour's kindly welcome," said the old man, making an attempt
"Pray don't let me distrub you."
"It was only a letter from a boy of mine that's over the seas we
was reading," said the old man. "A better boy to an ould father, that's
good for nothing now in this world, never was, plase your honour. See
what he has sent me: a draught here for ten guineas, out of the little
pay he has. God for over bless him———as he surely will."
After a few minutes' conversation, the old man's heart was so much
opened towards me, that he talked as freely as if he had known me for
years. I led to the subject of his other son Michael, who was
mentioned in the letter as a wild chap. "Ah! your honour, that's what
lies heaviest on my heart, and will to my dying day, that Mick, before
he died, which they say he did surely a twelvemonth ago, over there in
England, never so much as sent me one line, good or bad, or his sister
a token to remember him by even!"
"Had he but sent us the least bit of a word, or the least token in
life, I had been content," said the sister, wiping her eyes: "we don't
so much as know how he died."
I took this moment to relate the circumstances of Michael Noonan's
death: and when I told them of his dying request about the half guinea
and the silk handkerchief, they were all so much touched, that they
utterly forgot the ten-guinea draught, which I saw on the gound, in the
dirt, under the old man's feet, whilst he contemplated the half guinea
which his poor Michael had sent him: repeating, "Poor fellow! poor
fellow! 'twas all he had in the world. God bless him!——— Poor Michael!
he was a wild chap! but none better to his parents than he while the
life was in him. Poor Michael!"
In no country have I found such strong instances of filial
affection as in Ireland. Let the sons go where they may, let what will
befall them, they never forget their parents at home: they write to
them constantly the most affectionate letters, and send them a share of
whatever they earn.
When I asked the daughter of this Noonan, why she had not married?
the old man answered, "That's her own fault———if it be a fault to abide
by an old father. She wastes her youth here, in the way your honour
sees, tending him that has none other to mind him."
"Oh! let alone that," said the girl, with a cheerful smile, "we be
too poor to think of marrying yet, by a great deal; so, father dear,
you're no hindrance any way. For don't I know, and doesn't Jemmy there
know, that it's a sin and a shame, as my mother used to say, for them
that have nothing to marry and set up house-keeping, like the rogue
that ruined my father?"
"That's true," said the young man, with a heavy sigh: "but times
will mend, or we'll strive and mend them, with the blessing of God."
I left this miserable hut in admiration of the generosity of its
inhabitants. I desired the girl to come to Glenthorn Castle the next
day; that I might give her the silk handkerchief which her poor brother
had sent her. The more I inquired into the circumstances of this
family, the more cause I found for pity and approbation. The old man
had been a good farmer in his day, as the traditions of the aged, and
the memories of the young, were ready to witness; but he was
unfortunately joined in copartnership with a drunken rogue, who ran
away, and left and arrear of rent, which ruined Noonan. Mr. Hardcastle,
the agent, called upon him to pay it, and sold all that the old man
possessed; and this being insufficient to discharge the debt, he was
forced to give up his farm, and retire, with his daughter, to this
hovel; and soon afterwards he lost the use of his side by a paralytic
I was so much pleased with the goodness of these poor people, that,
in despite of my indolent disposition, I bestirred myself the very next
day to find a better habitation for them on my own estate. I settled
them, infinitely to their satisfaction, in a small farm; and the girl
married her lover, who undertook to manage the farm for the old man.
To my utter surprise I found, that Mr. Hardcastle was affronted by the
part I took in this affair. He complained that I had behaved in a very
ungentlemanlike manner, and had spirited away the tenants from Lady
Ormsby's estate, against the regulation which he had laid down for all
the tenants not to emigrate from the estate. Jemmy Riley, it seems, was
one of the cotters on the Ormsby estate, a circumstance with which I
was unacquainted; indeed I scarcely at that time understood what was
meant by a cotter. Mr. Hardcastle's complaint, in matter and manner,
was unintelligible to me; but I was quite content to leave off visiting
him, as he left off visiting me———but here the matter did not stop.
This over-wise and over-busy gentleman took upon him, amongst other
offices, the regulation of the markets in the town of Ormsby; and as he
apprehended, for reasons best and only known to himself, a year of
scarcity, he thought fit to keep down the price of oats and potatoes.
He would allow none to be sold in the market of Ormsby, but at the
price which he stipulated. The poor people grumbled, and to remedy the
injustice, made private bargains with each other. He had information
of this, and seired the corn that was selling above the price he had
fixed. Young Riley, Noonan's son-in-law, came to me to complain, that
his little oats was seized and detained. I remonstrated ———Hardcastle
resented the appeal to me, and bid him wait and be damned. The young
man, who was rather of a hasty temper, and who did not much like either
to wait or be damned, seized his own oats, and was marching off, when
they were recaptured by Hardcastle's bailiff, whom young Riley knocked
down; and who, as soon as he got up again, went straight and swore
examinations against Riley. Then I was offended, as I had a right to
he, by the custom of the country, with the magistrate, who took an
examination against my tenant without writing first to me. Then there
was a race between the examinations of my justice of peace and his
justice of peace. My indolence was conquered by my love of power: I
supported the contest: the affair came before our grand jury: I
conquered, and Mr. Hardcastle was ever after, of course, my enemy. To
English ears the possessive pronouns my and his may sound
extraordinary, prefixed to a justice of peace; but, in many parts of
Ireland, this language is perfectly correct. A great man talks of
making a justice of the peace with perfect confidence: a very great man
talks with as much certainty of making a sheriff; and a sheriff makes
the jury; and the jury makes the law. We must not forget, however,
that, in England, during the reign of Elizabeth, a member of parliament
defined a justice of peace to be "an animal who, for half a dozen
chickens, will dispense with half a dozen penal statutes." Time is
necessary to enforce the sanctions of legislation and civilization———
But I am anticipating reflections, which I made at a much later period
of my life. To return to my history.
My benevolence was soon checked by slight disappointments.
Ellinor's cottage, which I had taken so much pains to build, became a
source of mortification to me. One day I found my old nurse sitting at
her wheel in the midst of the wreck and litter of all sorts of
household furniture, singing her favourite song of
"There was a lady lov'd a swine,
Honey! says she,
I'll give ye a silver trough.
Hank! says he!"
Ellinor seemed, alas! to have as little taste for the luxuries with
which I had provided her, as the pig had for the silver trough. What I
called conveniences, were to her incumbrances: she had not been used to
them; she was put out of her way; and it was a daily torment to one of
her habits, to keep her house clean and neat.
There may be, as some philosophers assure us that there is, an
innate love of order in the human mind; but of this instinctive
principle my poor Ellinor was totally destitute. Her ornamented
farm-house became, in a wonderfully short time, a scene of dirt,
rubbish, and confusion. As the walls were plastered and papered before
they were quite dry, the paper grew mouldy, and the plaster fell off.
In the hurry of finishing, some of the wood-work had but one coat of
paint. In Ireland they have not faith in the excellent Dutch proverb,
"Paint costs nothing." I could not get my workmen to give a second
coat of paint to any of the sashes, and the wood decayed: divers panes
of glass in the windows were broken, and their places filled up with
shoes, an old hat, or a bundle of rags. Some of the slates were blown
off one windy night: the slater lived ten miles off, and before the
slates were replaced, the rain came in, and Ellinor was forced to make
a bed-chamber of the parlour, and then of the kitchen, retreating from
corner to corner as the rain pursued, till, at last, when "it would
come every way upon her bed," she petitioned me to let her take the
slates off and thatch the house; for a slated house, she said, was
never so warm as a tatched cabin; and as there was no smoke, she was
kilt with the cowld.
In my life I never felt so angry. I was ten times more angry than
when Crawley ran away with my wife. In a paroxysm of passion, I
reproached Ellinor with being a savage, an Irishwoman, and an
"Savage I am, for any thing I know; and fool I am, that's certain;
but ungrateful I am not," said she, bursting into tears. She went home
and took to her bed; and the next thing I heard from her son was,
"that she was lying in the rheumatism, which had kept her awake many a
long night, before she would come to complain to my honour of the
house, in dread that I should blame myself for sending of her into it
afore it was dry."
The rheumatism reconciled me immediately to Ellinor; I let her take
her own way, and thatch the house, and have as much smoke as she
pleased, and she recovered. But I did not entirely recover my desire to
do good to my poor tenants. After forming, in the first enthusiasm of
my benevolence, princely schemes for their advantage, my ardour was
damped, and my zeal discouraged, by a few slight disappointments.
I did not consider, that there is often, amongst uncultivated
people, a mixture of obstinate and lazy content, which makes them,
despise the luxuries of their richer neighbours; like those
mountaineers, who, proud of their own hard fare [Note: See
Philosophical Transactions, vol. lxvii, part 2, Sir George Shuckburgh's
observations to ascartain the height of mountains———for a full account
of the cabin of a couple of Alpine shepherdesses.], out of a singular
species of contempt, call the inhabitants of the plain mange-rotis,
"eaters of roast meat." I did not consider, that it must take time to
change local and national habits and prejudices; and that it is
necessary to raise a taste for comforts, before they can be properly
In the pettishness of my disappointment, I decided, that it was in
vain to attempt to improve or civilize such people as the Irish. I did
not recollect, perhaps at that time I did not know, that even in the
days of the great Queen Elizabeth, "the greatest part of the buildings
in the cities and good towns of England consisted only of timber, cast
over with thick clay to keep out the wind. The new houses of the
nobility were indeed either of brick or stone; and glass windows were
then beginning to be used in England [Note: See Harrison.]:" and clean
rushes were strewed over the dirty floors of the royal palace. In the
impatience of my zeal for improvement, I expected to do the work of two
hundred years in a few months: and because I could not accelerate the
progress of refinement in this miraculous manner, I was out of humour
with myself and with a whole nation. So easily is the humanity of the
rich and great disgusted and discouraged! as if any people could be
civilized in a moment, and at the word of command of ignorant pride or
I have not thought it necessary to record every visit, that I received
from all my country neighbours; but I must now mention one, which led
to important consequences; a visit from Sir Harry Ormsby, a very young
dashing man of fortune, who, in expectation of the happy moment when he
should be of age, resided with his mother, the dowager Lady Ormsby. Her
ladyship had heard, that there had been some disagreement between her
agent, Mr. Hardcastle, and my people: but she took the earliest
opportunity of expressing her wishes, that our families should be on an
Lady Ormsby was just come to the country, with a large party of her
fashionable friends ———some Irish, some English: Lord and Lady Kilrush;
my Lady Kildangan and her daughter; the Lady Geraldine———; the knowing
widow O'Connor; the English dasher, Lady Hauton; the interesting Mrs.
Norton, separated but not parted from her husband; the pleasant Miss
Bland; the three Miss Ormsbys, better known by the name of the
Swadlinbar Graces; two English aide-decamps from the castle, and a
brace of brigadiers; beside other men of inferior note.
I perceived that Sir Harry Ormsby took it for granted, that I must
be acquainted with the pretensions of all these persons to celebrity;
his talkativeness and my taciturnity favoured me so fortunately, that
he never discovered the extent of my ignorance. He was obligingly
impatient to make me personally acquainted "with those of whom I must
have heard so much in England." Observing that Ormsby Villa was too far
from Glenthorn Castle for a morning visit, he pressed me to wave
ceremony, and to do Lady Ormsby and him the honour of spending a week
with them, as soon as I could make it convenient. I accepted this
invitation, partly from a slight emotion of curiosity, and partly from
my habitual inability to resist any reiterated importunity.
Arrived at Ormsby Villa, and introduced to this crowd of people, I
was at first disappointed by seeing nothing extraordinary. I expected
that their manners would have been as strange to me as some of their
names appeared: but whether it was from my want of the powers of
discrimination, or from the real sameness of the objects, I could
scarcely, in this fashionable flock, discern any individual marks of
distinction. At first view, the married ladies appeared much the same
as those of a similar class in England, whom I had been accustomed to
see. The young ladies I thought, as usual, "best distinguished by
black, brown, and fair:" but I had not yet seen Lady Geraldine———; and
a great part of the conversation, the first day I was at Ormsby Villa,
was filled with lamentations on the unfortunate tooth-ache, which
prevented her ladyship from appearing. She was talked of so much, and
as a person of such importance, and so essential to the amusement of
the society, that I could not help feeling a slight wish to see her.
The next day at breakfast she did not appear; but, five minutes before
dinner, her ladyship's humble companion whispered, "Now Lady Geraldine
is coming, my lord." I was always rather displeased to be called upon
to attend to any thing or any body, yet, as Lady Geraldine entered, I
gave one involuntary glance of curiosity. I saw a tall, finely shaped
woman, with the commanding air of a person of rank; she moved well; not
with feminine timidity, yet with ease, promptitude, and decision. She
had fine eyes and a fine complexion, yet no regularity of feature. The
only thing that struck me as really extraordinary was her indifference
when I was introduced to her. Every body had seemed extremely desirous
that I should see her ladyship, and that her ladyship should see me;
and I was rather surprised by her unconcerned air. This piqued me, and
fixed my attention. She turned from me, and began to converse with
others. Her voice was agreeable, though rather loud: she did not speak
with the Irish accent; but, when I listened maliciously, I detected
certain Hibernian inflections; nothing of the vulgar Irish idiom, but
something that was more interrogative, more exclamatory, and perhaps
more rhetorical, than the common language of English Indies,
accompanied with infinitely more animation of countenance and
demonstrative gesture. This appeared to me peculiar and unusual, but
not affected. She was uncommonly cloquent, and yet, without action,
her words were not sufficiently rapid to express her ideas. Her manner
appeared fereign, yet it was not quite French. If I had been obliged to
decide, I should, however, have pronounced it rather more French than
English. To determine which it was, or whether I had ever seen any
thing similar, I stood considering her ladyship with more attention,
than I had ever bestowed on any other woman. The words
striking———fascinating ———bewitching, occurred to me as I looked at her
and heard her speak. I resolved to turn my eyes away, and shut my ears;
for I was positively determined not to like her; I dreaded so much the
idea of a second Hymen. I retreated to the farthest window, and looked
out very soberly upon a dirty fish-pond. Dinner was announced. I
observed Lady Kildangan manoeuvring to place me beside her daughter
Geraldine, but Lady Geraldine counteracted this movement. I was again
surprised and piqued. After yielding the envied position to one of the
Swadlinbar Graces, I heard Lady Geraldine whisper to her next
neighbour, "Baffled mamma!"
It was strange to me to feel piqued by a young lady's not choosing
to sit beside me. After dinner, I left the gentlemen as soon as
possible, because the conversation wearied me. Lord Kilrush, the chief
orator, was a courtier, and could talk of nothing but Dublin Castle,
and my lord lieutenant's levees, things of which I, as yet, knew
nothing. The moment that I went to the ladies, I was seized upon by the
officious Miss Bland: she could not speak of any thing but Lady
Geraldine, who sat at so great a distance, and who was conversing with
such animation herself, that she could not hear her proneure, Miss
Bland, inform me, that "her friend, Lady Geraldine, was extremely
clever: so clever, that many people were at first a little afraid of
her; but that there was not the least occasion; for that, where she
liked, nobody could be more affable and engaging." This judicious
friend, a minute afterwards, told me, as a very great secret, that Lady
Geraldine was an admirable mimic; that she could draw or speak
caricatures; that she was also wonderfully happy in the invention of
agnomens and cognomens, so applicable to the persons, that they could
scarcely be forgotten or forgiven. I was a little anxious to know
whether her ladyship would honour me with an agnomen. I could not learn
this fom Miss Bland, and I was too prudent to betray my curiosity: I
afterwards heard it, however. Pairing me and Mr. M'Leod, whom she had
formerly seen together, her ladyship observed, that Sawney and Yawneé
were made for each other: and she sketched, in strong caricature, my
relaxed elongation of limb, and his rigid rectangularity. A slight
degree of fear of Lady Geraldine's powers of satire kept my attention
alert. In the course of the evening, Lady Kildangan summoned her
daughter to the music-room, and asked me to come and hear an Irish
song. I exerted myself so far as to follow immediately; but though
summoned Lady Geraldine did not obey. Miss Bland tuned the harp, and
opened the music books on the piano; but no Lady Geraldine appeared.
Miss Bland was sent backwards and forwards with messages; but Lady
Geraldine's ultimatum was, that she couldn't possibly sing, because she
was afraid of the toothache. God knows, her mouth had never been shut
all the evening. "Well, but," said Lady Kildangan, "she can play for
us, cannot she?" No, her ladyship was afraid of the cold in the
music-room. "Do my Lord Glenthorn, go and tell the dear capricious
creature, that we are very warm here,"
Very reluctantly I obeyed. The Lady Geraldine, with her circle
round her, heard and answered me with the air of a princess.
"Do you the honour to play for you,my Lord! Excuse me: I am no
professor———I play so ill, that I make it a rule never to play but for
my own amusement. If you wish for music there is Miss Bland; she plays
incomparably; and I dare say, will think herself happy to oblige your
lordship." I never felt so silly, or so much abashed, as at this
instant. "This comes," thought I, "of acting out of character. What
possessed me to exert myself to ask a lady to play; I that have been
tired to death of music? Why did I let myself be sent ambassador, when
I had no interest in the embassy?"
To convince myself and others of my apathy, I threw myself on a
sofa, and never stirred or spoke the remainder of the night. I presume
I appeared fast asleep, else Lady Geraldine would not have said, within
my hearing, "Mamma wants me to catch somebody, and to be caught by
somebody; but that will not be; for, do you know, I think somebody is
I was offended as much as it was in my nature to be offended, and I
began to meditate apologies for shortening my visit at Ormsby Villa:
but, though I was shocked by the haughtiness of Lady Geraldine, and
accused her, in my own mind, of want of delicacy and politeness, yet I
could not now suspect her of being an accomplice with her mother in any
matrimonial designs upon me. From the moment I was convinced of this,
my conviction was, I suppose, visible to her ladyship's penetrating
eyes, and from that instant she showed me that she could be polite and
agreeable. Now, soothed to a state of ease and complacency, I might
have sunk to indifference and ennui, but fresh singularities in this
lady struck me, and kept my attention awake and fixed upon her
character. If she had treated me with tolerable civility at first, I
never should have thought about her. High-born and high-bred, she
seemed to consider more what she thought of others, than what others
thought of her. Frank, candid, and affable, yet opinionated, insolent,
and an egotist: her candour and affability appeared the effect of a
naturally good temper; her insolence and egotism only those of a
spoiled child. She seemed to talk of herself purely to oblige others,
as the most interesting possible topic of conversation; for such it had
always been to her fond mother, who idolized her ladyship as an only
daughter, and the representative of an ancient house. Confident of her
talents, conscious of her charms, and secure of her station, Lady
Geraldine gave free scope to her high spirits, her fancy, and her turn
for ridicule. She looked, spoke, and acted, like a person privileged to
think, say, and do, what she pleased. Her raillery, like the raillery
of princes, was without fear of retort. She was not ill-natured, yet
careless to whom she gave offence, provided she produced amusement; and
in this she seldom failed; for, in her conversation, there was much of
the raciness of Irish wit, and the oddity of Irish humour. The
singularity that struck me most about her ladyship, was her
indifference to flattery. She certainly preferred frolic. Miss Bland
was her humble companion; Miss Tracey her butt. Her ladyship appeared
to consider Miss Bland as a necessary appendage to her rank and person,
like her dress or her shadow; and she seemed to think no more of the
one than of the other. She suffered Miss Bland to follow her; but she
would go in quest of Miss Tracey. Miss Bland was allowed to speak; but
her ladyship listened to Miss Tracey. Miss Bland seldom obtained an
answer; but Miss Tracey never opened her lips without being honoured by
In describing Miss Tracey, Lady Geraldine said,
"Poor simpleton! she cannot help imitating all she sees us do; yet,
would you believe it, she really has starts of common sense, and some
tolerable ideas of her own. ———Spoiled by bad company! In the language
of the bird-fanciers, she has a few notes nightingale, and all the rest
It was one of Lady Geraldine's delights, to humour Miss Tracey's
rage for imitating the fashions of fine people.
"Now you shall see Miss Tracey appear at the ball to-morrow, in
every thing that I have sworn to her is fashionable. Nor have I cheated
her in a single article: but the tout ensemble I leave to her better
judgment; and you shall see her, I trust, a perfect monster, formed of
every creature's best: Lady Kilrush's feathers, Mrs. Moore's wig, Mrs.
O'Connor's gown, Mrs. Lighton's sleeves, and all the necklaces of all
the Miss Ormsbys. She has no taste, no judgment; none at all, poor
thing; but she can imitate as well as those Chinese painters, who, in
their drawings, give you the flower of one plant stuck on the stalk of
another, and garnished with the leaves of a third."
Miss Tracey's appearance the ensuing night justified all Lady
Geraldine's predictions, and surpassed her ladyship's most sanguine
hopes. Even I, albeit unused to the laughing mood, could not forbear
smiling at the humour and ease, with which her ladyship played off this
girl's credulous vanity.
At breakfast the next morning, Lord Kilrush, in his grave manner
(always too solemn by half for the occasion), declared, "that no, man
was more willing than himself to enter: into a jest in proper time, and
season, and measure, and so forth; but that it was really, positively,
morally unjustifiable, in his apprehension, the making this poor girl
so publicly ridiculous."
"My good lord," replied Lady Geraldine, "all the world are
ridiculous some way or other: some in public, some in private. Now,"
continued she, with an appealing look to the whole company, "now, after
all, what is there more extravagant in my Miss Tracey's delighting, at
sixteen, in six yards of pink ribbon, than in your courtier sighing, at
sixty, for three yards of blue ribbon? or what is there more ridiculous
in her coming simpering into a ball-room, fancying herself the mirror
of fashion, when she is a figure for a print-shop, than in the courtier
rising solemnly in the House of Lords, believing himself an orator, and
expecting to make a vast reputation, by picking up, in every debate,
the very worst arguments that every body else let fall? There would be
no living in this world, if we were all to see and oppose one another's
ridicules. My plan is much the best———to help my friends to expose
themselves, and then they are infinitely obliged to me."
Satisfied with silencing all opposition, and seeing that the
majority was with her, Lady Geraldine persisted in her course; and I
was glad she was incorrigible, because her faults entertained me. As to
love, I thought I was perfectly safe; because, though I admired her
quickness and cleverness, yet I still, at times, perceived, or fancied
I perceived, some want of polish, and elegance, and tact. She was not
exactly cut out according to my English pattern of a woman of fashion;
so I thought I might amuse myself without danger, as it was partly at
her ladyship's expense. But about this time I was alarmed for myself by
a slight twinge of jealousy. As I was standing lounging upon the steps
at the hall-door, almost as ennuyé as usual, I saw a carriage at a
distance, between the trees, driving up the approach; and, at the same
instant, I heard Lady Geraldine's eager voice in the hall——— "Oh! they
are coming; he is coming; they are come. Run, Miss Bland, run, and give
Lord Craiglethorpe my message before he gets out of the
carriage———before any body sees him."
Afraid of hearing what I should not hear, I walked down the steps
deliberately, and turned into a shrubbery walk, to leave the coast
clear. Out ran Miss Bland: and then it was that I found the
twinge———very slight, however. "Who is this Lord Craiglethorpe, with
whom Lady Geraldine is on such familiar terms? I wonder what kind of
looking man he is; and what could the message mean? ———but, at all
events, it cannot concern me; yet I am curious to see this Lord
Craiglethorpe. I wonder any woman can like a man with so strange a
name: but does she like him, after all?———Why do I plague myself about
As I returned from my saunter, I was met fore-right by Miss
Bland——— "A charming day, ma'am," said I, endeavouring to pass on.
"A charming day, my lord! But I must stop your lordship a
moment.———Oh, I am so out of breath———I went the wrong way———"
"The wrong way! Indeed! I am sorry, I am concerned you should have
had so much trouble."
"No trouble in the world. Only I want to beg you'll keep our
secret———my Lady Geraldine's secret."
"Undoubtedly, madam———a man of honour ———Lady Geraldine cannot
doubt———her ladyship's secret is perfectly safe."
"But do you know it? You don't know it yet, my lord?"
"Pardon me; I was on the steps just now. I thought you saw me."
"I did, my lord———but I don't understand———"
"Nor I, neither," interrupted I, half laughing; for I began to
think I was mistaken in my suspicions; "pray explain yourself, my dear
Miss Bland: I was very rude to be so quick in interrupting you."
Miss Bland then made me the confidant of a charming scheme of Lady
Geraldine's, for quizzing Miss Tracey.
"She has never, in her life, seen Lord Craiglethorpe, who is an
English lord travelling through Ireland," continued Miss Bland. "Now,
you must know, that Miss Tracey is passionately fond of lords, let them
be what they may. Now, Lord Craiglethorpe, this very morning, sent his
groom with a note and excuse to Lady Ormsby, for not coming to us to
day; because, he said, he was bringing down in the chaise with him a
surveyor, to survey his estate near here; and he could not possibly
think of bringing the surveyor, who is a low man, to Ormsby Villa. But
Lady Ormsby would take no apology, and wrote by the groom to beg that
Lord Craiglethorpe would make no scruple of bringing the surveyor; for
you know she is so polite and accommodating, and all that. Well, the
note was scarcely gone, before Lady Geraldine thought of her charming
scheme, and regretted, of all things, she had not put it into it."
"It into it!" repeated I to myself. "Ma'am!" said I, looking a
"But," continued my clear narrator, "I promised to remedy all that,
by running to meet the carriage, which was what I ran for when you saw
me, my lord, in such a hurry."
I bowed———and was as wise as ever.
"So, my lord, you comprehend, that the surveyor, whose name, whose
odious name, is Gabbitt, is to be my Lord Craiglethorpe, and my Lord
Craiglethorpe is to be passed for Mr. Gabbitt upon Miss Tracey; and,
you will see, Miss Tracey will admire Mr. Gabbitt prodigiously, and
call him vastly genteel, when she thinks him a lord. Your lordship will
keep our secret: and she is sure Lord Craiglethorpe will do any thing
to oblige her, because he is a near connexion of hers. But, I assure
you, it is not every body could get Lord Craiglethorpe to join in a
joke; for he is very stiff, and cold, and high. Of course your lordship
will know which is the real lord at first sight. He is a full head
taller than Gabbitt."
Never was explanation finally more satisfactory: and whether the
jest was really well contrived and executed, or whether I was put into
a humour to think so, I cannot exactly determine; but, I confess, I was
amused with the scenes that followed, though I felt that they were not
quite justifiable even in jest.
The admiration of Miss Tracey for the false Craiglethorpe, as Lady
Geraldine called Mr. Gabbitt; the awkwardness of Mr. Gabbitt with his
title, and the awkwardness of Lord Craiglethorpe without it, were fine
subjects for her ladyship's satirical humour.
In another point of view, Lord Craiglethorpe afforded her ladyship
amusement——— as an English traveller, full of English prejudices
against Ireland and every thing Irish. Whenever Miss Tracey was out of
the room, Lady Geraldine allowed Lord Craiglethorpe
to be himself again; but he did not fare the better for this
restoration to his honour Lady Geraldine contrived to make him
ridiculous in his real, as in his assumed character. Lord Craiglethorpe
was, as Miss Tracey had described him, very stiff, cold, and high. His
manners were in the extreme of English reserve; and his ill-bred show
of contempt for the Irish was sufficient provocation and justification
of Lady Geraldine's ridicule. He was much in awe of his fair and witty
cousin: she could easily put him out of countenance, for he was
His lordship had that sort of bashfulness which makes a man surly
and obstinate in his taciturnity; which makes him turn upon all who
approach him, as if they were going to assault him; which makes him
answer a question as if it were an injury, and repel a compliment as if
it were an insult. Once, when he was out of the room, Lady Geraldine
exclaimed, "That cousin Craiglethorpe of mine is scarcely an agreeable
man: the awkwardness of mauvaise-honte might be pitied and pardoned,
even in a nobleman, continued her ladyship, "if it really proceeded
from humility; but here, when I know it is connected with secret and
inordinate arrogance, 'tis past all endurance. Even his ways of sitting
and standing provoke me, they are so self-sufficient. Have you observed
how he stands at the fire? Oh, the caricature of 'the English
firè-side' outdone! Then, if he sits, we hope that change of posture
may afford our eyes transient relief; but worse again: bolstered up,
with his back against his chair, his hands in his pockets, and his legs
thrown out, in defiance of all passengers and all decorum, there he
sits, in magisterial silence, throwing a gloom upon all conversation.
As the Frenchman said of the Englishman, for whom even his politeness
could not find another compliment, 'Il faut avouer que ce Monsiour a un
grand talent pour le silence:'———he holds his tongue, till people
actually believe that he has something to say———a mistake they could
never fall into if he would but speak."
Some of the company attempted to interpose a word or two in favour
of Lord Craiglethorpe's timidity, but the vivacious and merciless lady
"I tell you, my good friends, it is not timidity; it is all pride.
I would pardon his dulness, and even his ignorance; for one, as you
say, might be the fault of his nature, and the other of his education:
but his self-sufficiency is his own fault, and that I will not, and
cannot pardon. Somebody says, that nature may make a fool, but a
coxcomb is always of his own making. Now, my cousin ———(as he is my
cousin, I may say what I please of him)———my cousin Craiglethorpe is a
solemn coxcomb, who thinks, because his vanity is not talkative and
sociable, that it's not vanity. What a mistake! his silent
superciliousness is to me more intolerable than the most garrulous
egotism, that ever laid it, self open to my ridicule. For the honour of
my country, I am determined to make this man talk, and he shall say all
that I know he thinks of us poor Irish savages. If he would but speak,
one could answer him: if he would find fault, one might defend: if he
would laugh, one might perhaps laugh again: but here he comes to
hospitable, open-hearted Ireland, eats as well as he can in his own
country; drinks better than he can in his own country; sleeps as well
as he can in his own country; accepts of all our kindness, without a
word or a look of thanks, and seems the whole time to think, that,
'Born for his use, we live but to oblige him.' There he is at this
instant: look at him, walking in the park, with his note-book in his
hand, setting down our faults, and conning them by rote. We are even
with him. I understand my bright cousin Craiglethorpe means to write a
book, a great book, upon Ireland! He! with his means of acquiring
information——— posting from one great man's house to another——— what
can he see or know of the manners of any rank of people, but of the
class of gentry, which in England and Ireland is much the same? As to
the lower classes, I don't think he ever speaks to them? or, if he
does, what good can it do him? for he can't understand their modes of
expression, nor they his; and if he inquire about a matter of fact, I
defy him to get the truth out of them, if they don't wish to tell it;
and, for some reason or other, they will, nine times in ten, not wish
to tell it to an Englishman. There is not a man, woman, or child, in
any cabin in Ireland, who would not have wit and, cuteness enough to
make my lard believe just what they please. So, after posting from.
Dublin to Cork, and from the Giants' Cause-way to Killarney: after
travelling east, west, north, and south, my wise cousin Craiglethorpe
will know just as much of the lower Irish, as the cockney who has never
been out of London, and who has never, in all his born days, seen an
Irishman, but on the English stage, where the representations are
usually as like the originals, as the Chinese pictures of lions, drawn
from description, are to a real lion, which they never beheld. Yes,
yes, write on, write on, my good cousin Craiglethorpe, and fill the
little note-book, which will soon, heigh! presto! turn to a ponderous
quarto, I shall have a copy, bound in Morocco, no doubt, from the
author, if I behave myself prettily; and I will earn it, by supplying
valuable information. You shall see, my friends, how I'll deserve well
of my country, if you'll only keep my counsel and your own
Presently Lord Craiglethorpe entered the room, walking very
pompously, and putting his note-book up as he advanced.
"O, my dear lord, open the book again, I have a bull for you."
Lady Geraldine, after putting his lordship in good humour by this
propitiatory offering of a bull, continued to supply him, either
directly or indirectly, by some of her confederates, with the most
absurd anecdotes, incredible facts, stale jests, and blunders, such as
never were made by true-born Irishmen; all which my Lord Craiglethorpe
took down with an industrious sobriety, at which the spectators could
scarcely refrain from laughing. Sometimes he would pause, and exclaim,
"A capital anecdote! a curious fact! May I give my authority? may I
quote your ladyship?" "Yes, if you'll pay me a compliment in the
preface," whispered Lady Geraldine: "and now, dear cousin, do go up
stairs and put it all in ink."
When she had dispatched the noble author, her ladyship indulged her
laughter. "But now," cried she, "only imagine a set of sober English
readers studying my cousin Craiglethorpe's new view of Ireland, and
swallowing all the nonsense it will contain!"
When Lord Kilrush remonstrated against the cruelty of letting the
man publish such stuff, and represented it as a fraud upon the public,
Lady Geraldine laughed still more, and exclaimed, "Surely you don't
think I would use the public and my poor cousin so ill. No, I am doing
him and the public the greatest possible service. Just when he is going
to leave us, when the writing box is packed, I will step up to him, and
tell him the truth. I will show him what a farrago of nonsense he has
collected as materials for his quarto; and convince him, at once, how
utterly unfit he is to write a book, at least a book on Irish affairs.
Won't this be deserving well of my country and of my cousin?"
Neither on this occasion, nor on any other were the remonstrances
of my Lord Kilrush of power to stop the course of this lady's flow of
spirits and raillery.
Whilst she was going on in this manner with the real Lord
Craiglethorpe, Miss Tracey was taking charming walks in the park with
Mr. Gabbitt, and the young lady began to be seriously charmed with her
false lord. This was carrying the jest farther than Lady Geraldine had
intended or foreseen; and her good-nature would probably have disposed
her immediately to dissolve the enchantment, had she not been provoked
by the interference of Lord Kilrush, and the affected sensibility of
Miss Clementina Ormsby, who, to give me an exalted opinion of her
delicacy, expoetulated incessantly in favour of the deluded fair one.
"But, my dear Lady Geraldine, I do assure you it really hurts my
feelings. This is going too far———when it comes to the heart. I can't
laugh, I own———the poor girl's affections will be engaged———she is
really falling in love with this odious surveyor."
"But now, my dear Clementinn, I do assure you, it really hurts my
feelings to hear you talk so childishly. When it comes to the heart!
affections engaged! You talk of falling in love as if it were a
terrible fall: for my part, I shold pity a person much more for falling
down stairs. Why, my dear, where is the mighty height from which Miss
Travers could fall? She does not live in the clouds, Clementina, as you
do. No ladies live there now———for the best of all possible reasons———
because there are no men there. So, my love, make haste and come down,
before you are out of your teens, or you may chance to be left there
till you are an angel or an old maid. Trust me, my dear, I, who have
tried, tell you, there is no such thing as falling in love now-a-days:
you may slip, slide, or stumble, but to fall in love, I defy you."
I saw Lady Kildangan's eyes fix upon me as her daughter pronounced
the last sentence.
"Geraldine, my dear, you do not know what you are talking about,"
said her ladyship. "Your time may come, Geraldine. Nobody should be too
courageous. Cupid does not like to be defied."
Lady Kildangan walked away, as she spoke, with a very well
satisfied air, leaving a party of us young people together. Lady
Geraldine looked haughtily vexed. When in this mood, her wit gave no
quarter; spared neither sex nor age.
"Every body says," whispered she, "that mamma is the most artful
woman in the world; and I should believe it, only that every body says
it: now, if it were true, nobody would know it."
Lady Geraldine's air of disdain towards me was resumed. I did not
quite understand. Was it pride? was it coquetry? She certainly blushed
deeply, and for the first time that I ever saw her blush, when her
mother said, "Your time may come, Geraldine."
My week being now at an end, I resolved to take my leave. When I
announced this resolution, I was assailed with the most pressing
entreaties to stay a few days longer———one day longer. Lady Ormsby and
Sir Harry said every thing that could be said upon the occasion:
indeed, it seemed a matter of general interest to all, except to Lady
Geraldine. She appeared wholly indifferent, and I was not even
gratified by any apparent affectation of desiring my departure.
Curiosity to see whether this would be sustained by her ladyship to the
last, gave me resolution sufficient to resist the importunities of Sir
Harry; and I departed, rejoicing that my indifference was equal to her
ladyship's. As Tasso said of some fair one, whom he met at the carnival
of Mantua, I ran some risk of falling in love. I had been so far roused
from my habitual apathy, that I actually made some reflections. As I
returned home, I began to perceive, that there was some difference
between woman and woman, beside the distinctions of rank, fortune, and
figure. I think I owe to Lady Geraldine my first relish for wit, and my
first idea that a woman might be, if not a reasonable, at least a
companionable animal. I compared her ladyship with the mere puppets
and parrots of fashion, of whom I had been wearied: and I began to
suspect, that one might find, in a lady's "lively nonsense," a relief
from ennui. These reflections, however, did not prevent me from
sleeping the greatest part of the morning on my way home; nor did I
dream of any thing that I can remember.
At the porter's gate I saw Ellinor sitting at her spinning wheel,
and my thoughts took up my domestic affairs, just where I had left them
the preceding week.
In vain I attempted to interest myself in my domestic affairs; the
silence and solitude of my own castle appeared to me intolerably
melancholy, after my return from Ormsby Villa. There was a blank in my
existence during a week, in which I can remember nothing that I did,
said, or thought, except what passed during one ride, which Mr. M'Leod
compelled my politeness to take with him. He came with the same face to
see me, and the same set of ideas, as those he had before I went to
Ormsby Villa. He began to talk of my schemes for improving my tenantry,
and of my wish, that he should explain his notions relative to the
education of the poor of Ireland, which, he said, as I now seemed to be
at leisure, he was ready to do as concisely as possible. As concisely
as possible were the only words of this address that I heard with
satisfaction; but of course I bowed, said I was much obliged, and
should be happy to have the advantage of Mr. M'Leod's opinions and
sentiments. What these were I cannot recollect, for I settled myself in
a reverie soon after his voice began to sound upon my ear; but I
remember at last he wakened me, by proposing that I should ride with
him to see a school-house and some cottages, which he had built on a
little estate of his own in my neighbourhood: "for," said he, "'tis
better my lord to show you what can be done with these people, than to
talk of what might be effected."
"Very true," said I, agreeing readily; because I wanted to finish a
conversation that wearied me, and to have a refreshing ride. It was a
delightful evening, and when we came on M'Leod's estate, I really could
not help being pleased and interested. In an unfavourable situation,
with all nature, vegetable and animal against him, he had actually
'created a Paradise amid the wilds.' There was nothing wonderful in any
thing I saw around me, but there was such an air of neatness and
comfort, order and activity, in the people, and in their cottages, that
I almost thought myself in England, and I could not forbear
exclaiming———"How could all this be brought about in Ireland!"
"Chiefly by not doing and not expecting too much at first," said
M'Leod. "We took time, and had patience. We began by setting them the
example of some very slight improvements, and then, lured on by the
sight of success, they could make similar trials themselves. Then my
wife and I went among them, and talked to them in their cottages, and
took an interest in their concerns, and did not want to have every
thing our own way; and when they saw that, they began to consider which
way was best: so by degrees we led where we could not have driven; and
raised in them, by little and little, a taste for conveniences and
comforts. Then the business was done, for the moment the taste and
ambition were excited to work, the people went to gratify them; and
accordingly as they exerted themselves, we helped them. Perhaps it was
best for them and for us, that we were not rich, for we could not do
too much at a time, and were never tempted to begin grand schemes that
we could not finish. There," said M'Leod, pointing to a cottage with a
pretty porch covered with woodbine, and a neat garden, in which many
children were busily at work, "that house and that garden were the
means of doing all the rest; that is our school-house. We could not
expect to do much with the old, whose habits were fixed; but we tried
to give the young children better notions, and it was a long time
before we could bring that to bear. Twenty-six years we have been at
this work, and in that time if we have done any thing, it was by
beginning with the children; a race of our own training has now grown
up, and they go on in the way they were taught, and prosper to our
hearts' content, and what is better still to their hearts' content."
M'Leod, habitually grave and taciturn, seemed quite enlivened and
talkative this day; but I verily believe, that not the slightest
ostentation or vanity inspired him, for I never before or since heard
him talk or allude to his own good deeds; I am convinced his motive was
to excite me to persevere in my benevolent projects, by showing what
had been done by small means. He was so truly in earnest, that he never
perceived how tired I was; indeed he was so little in the habit of
expecting sympathy or applause, that he never missed even the ordinary
expressions of concurrent complaisance.
"Religion," continued he, "is the great difficulty in Ireland. We
make no difference between protestants and catholics; we always have
admitted both into our school. The priest comes on Saturday morning,
and the parish minister on Saturday evening, to hear the children
belonging to each church their catechisms, and to instruct them in the
tenets of their faith. And as we keep to our word, and never attempt
making proselytes, nor directly, or indirectly, interfere with their
religious opinions, the priests are glad to let us instruct the
catholic children in all other points, which they plainly see must
advance their temporal interests."
Mr. M'Leod invited me to go in and look at the school. "In a hedge
or ditch-school," said he, "which I once passed on this road, and in
which I saw a crowd of idle children, I heard the schoolmaster cry out,
'Rehearse! rehearse! there's company going by:' and instantly all the
boys snatched up their books, and began gabbling as fast as ever they
could, to give an idea to the passenger of their diligence in repeating
their lessons. But here, my lord," continued M'Leod, "you will not see
any exhibitions got up for company. I hate such tricks. Walk in my
lord, if you please."
I walked in, but am ashamed to say, that I observed only that every
thing looked as if it had been used for many years, and yet not worn
out; and the whole school appeared as if all were in their places, and
occupied and intent upon their business: but this general recollection
is all I have retained. The enthusiasm for improvement had subsided in
my mind, and, though I felt a transient pleasure in the present picture
of the happiness of these poor people and their healthy children, yet,
as I rode home, the images faded away like a dream. I resolved, indeed,
at some future period, to surpass all that Mr. M'Leod had done, or all
that with his narrow income he could ever accomplish; and to this
resolution I was prompted by jealousy of Mr. M'Leod, rather than by
benevolence. Before I had arranged, even in imagination, my plans,
young Ormsby came one morning, and pressed me to return with him to
Ormsby Villa. I yielded to his solicitations, and to my own wishes.
When I arrived, the ladies were all at their toilettes, except Miss
Bland, who was in the book-room with the gentlemen, ready to receive me
with her perpetual smile. Wherever Miss Bland went, she was always
l'amie de la maison, accustomed to share with the lady of the house the
labour of entertaining her guests. This double of Lady Ormsby talked to
me most courteously of all the nothings of the day, and informed me of
the changes which had taken place in the ever-varying succession of
company at Ormsby Villa. The two brigadiers and one of the
sides-de-camp were gone, but Captain Andrews, another castle
aide-de-camp was come, and my Lord O'Toole had arrived. Then followed a
by-conversation between Miss Bland and some of the gentlemen about the
joy and sorrow which his lordship's arrival would create in the hearts
of two certain ladies, one of whom, as I gathered from the inuendoes,
was Lady Hauton, and the other Lady O'Toole. As I knew nothing of
Dublin intrigues and scandal, I was little attentive to all this. Miss
Bland, persisting in entertaining me, proceeded to inform me, that my
Lord O'Toole had brought down with him Mr. Cecil Devereux, who was a
wit and a poet, very handsome and gallant, and one of the most
fashionable young men in Dublin. I determined not to like him———I
always hated a flourish of trumpets; whoever enters, announced in this
parading manner, appears to disadvantage. Mr. Cecil Devereux entered
just as the flourish ceased. He was not at all the sort of person I was
prepared to see; though handsome, and with the air of a man used to
good company, there was nothing of a coxcomb in his manner; on the
contrary, there was such an appearance of carelessness about himself,
and deference towards others, that, notwithstanding the injudicious
praise that had been bestowed on him, and my consequent resolution to
dislike him, I was pleased and familiar with him before I had been ten
minutes in his company. Lord Kilrush introduced him to me with great
pomposity, as a gentleman of talents, for whom he and his brother
O'Toole interested themselves much. This air of patronage, I saw,
disgusted Mr. Devereux, and instead of suffering himself to be shown
off, he turned the conversation from his own poems to general subjects.
He asked me some questions about a curious cavern, or subterraneous
way, near Castle Glenthorn, which stretched from the sea-shore to a
considerable distance under the rock, and communicated with an old
abbey near the castle. Mr. Devereux said, that such subterraneous
places had been formerly used in Ireland as granaries by the ancient
inhabitants; but a gentleman of the neighbourhood who was present
observed, that these caverns on this coast had, within his memory, been
used as hiding places by smugglers; on this hint Lord Kilrush began a
prosing dissertation upon smugglers and contraband traders, and talked
to me a prodigious deal about exports and imports, and bounties, and
the balance of trade. Not one word he said did I comprehend, and I
question whether his lordship understood the subjects upon which he
spoke so dictatorially; but he thought he succeeded in giving me an
opinion of his wisdom and information. His brother, O'Toole, appeared
next; he did not look like a man of gallantry, as I had been taught to
expect from the hints thrown out respecting Lady Hauton; his lordship's
whole soul seemed devoted to ambition, and he talked so much of great
men, and state affairs, and court intrigues, and honours and
preferments, that I began to fancy I had been buried alive, becauese I
knew little of these things. I was tired of hearing him, yet mortified
that I could not speak exactly in the same manner, and with same air of
being the best possible authority, I began to wish, that I also had
some interest at court. The cares and troubles of the ambitious man, so
utterly repugnant to the indolence of my disposition, vanished in this
moment of infatuation from my view, and I thought only of the pleasures
of power. Such is the infectious nature of ambition!
Mr. Devereux helped me to throw off this dangerous contagion,
before it did me any injury. He happened to stay in the room with me a
quarter of an hour after the other gentleman went to dress. Though not
often disposed to conversation with a stranger, yet I was won by this
gentelman's easy address; he politely talked of the English fashionable
world, with which he knew that I was well acquainted; I, with equal
politeness, recurred to the Irish great world; we fastened together
upon Lord O'Toole, who took us to Dublin Castle, and I began to regret
that I had not yet been at the Irish court, and that I had not earlier
in life made myself of political consequence. "Ambition," said I,
"might help to keep a man awake and alive; all common pleasures have
long since ceased interest to me. They really cannot make a stir."
"My lord," said Mr. Devereux, "you would do better to sit or lie
still all your life, than toil for such vain objects.
"Full little knowest thou that hast not tried,
What Hell it is in sueing long bide
"Your lordship may remember Spencer's description of that Hell?"
"Not exactly," said I, willing to lower the good opinion this
gentleman seemed to have taken for granted of my literature. He took
Spencer's poems out of the book-case, and I actually rose from my seat
to read the passage; for what trouble will not even the laziest of
mortals take to preserve the esteem of one, by whom he sees that he is
over estimated. I read the following ten lines without yawning!
"Full little knowest thou that hast not tried,
What Hell it is in sueing long to bide.
"To lose good days, that might be better spent,
To waste long nights in pensire discontent,
To speed to day, to be put back to morrow,
To feed on hope, to pine with fear and sorrow,
To fret thy sould with crosses and with cares,
To eat thy heart through comfortless despairs,
To fawn, to crouch, to wait, to ride, to run,
To spend, to give, to want, to be undone."
"Very strong, indeed," said I, with a competent air, as if used to
judge of poetry.
"And it comes with still greater force, when we consider by whom it
was written. A man, you know, my lord, who had been secretary to a Lord
I felt my nascent ambition die away within me. I acknowledged it
was better to spend an easy life. My determination was confirmed at
this instant by the appearance of Lady Geraldine. Ambition and love, it
is said, are incompatible passions. Neither of them had yet possession
of my heart, but love and Lady Geraldine had perhaps a better chance
than ambition and Lord O'Toole. Lady Geraldine appeared in high
spirits; and though I was not a vain man, I could not help fancying,
that my return to Ormsby Villa contributed to her charming vivacity.
This gratified me secretly and soberly, as much as it visibly
delighted her mother. Miss Bland, to pay her court to Lady Kildangan,
observed, that Lady Geraldine was in uncommonly fine spirits this
evening. Lady Geraldine threw back a haughty frown over her left
shoulder; this was the only time I ever saw her notice, in any manner,
any thing that fell from her obsequious friend. To avert the fair one's
displeasure, I asked for Miss Tracey and Mr. Gabbitt.
"Mr. Gabbitt," said her ladyship, resuming her good humour
instantly; "Mr. Gabbitt is gone off the happiest man in Ireland, with
the hopes of surveying my Lord O'Toole's estate; a good job, which I
was bound in honour to obtain for him, as a reward for taking a good
joke. After mocking him with the bare imagination of a feast, you know
the Barmecide in the Arabian Tales gave poor Shakabac a substantial
dinner, a full equivalent for the jest."
"And Miss Tracey?" said I, "what did your ladyship do for her?"
"I persuaded her mamma, that the sweet creature was falling into an
atrophy. So she carried the forlorn damsel post haste to the Black
Rock for the recovery of her health, or her heart. Clementina, my dear,
no reproachful looks; in your secret soul do not you know, that I could
not do a young lady a greater favour, than to give her a plausible
excuse for getting away from home."
I was afraid that Lady Geraldine would feel the want of her butt;
however, I found that Miss Tracey's place was supplied by Captain
Andrews, one of the castle aides-de-camp; and when Captain Andrews was
out of the way, Lord Kilrush, and his brother O'Toole, were good marks.
High and mighty as these personages thought themselves; and
respectfully, nay obsequiously, as they were treated by most others, to
this lady their characters appeared only a good study; and to laugh at
them seemed only a good practice.
"Perhaps, my lord," said she to me, "you do not yet know my Lord
"I had the honour to be introduced to him to day."
"That's well; for he thinks that,
'Not to know him, argues yourself unknown.'
"But as your lordship is a stranger in this country, you may be
pardoned; and I will make you better acquainted with him. I suppose you
know there are many Toole's in Ireland, some very ancient, respectable,
and useful: this, however, is but a mere political tool, and the worst
of all tools, a cat's paw. There's one thing to the credit of these
brothers, they agree vastly well; for one delights in being always on
the stage, and the other always behind the scenes. These brothers, with
Captain Andrews———I hope they are none of them within hearing———form a
charming trio, all admirable in their way. My Lord O'Toole
is———artifice without art. My Lord Kilrush———importance without power.
And, Captain Andrews———pliability without case. Poor Andrews! he's a
defenceless animal———safe in impenetrable armour. Give him but
time———as a man said, who once showed me a land tortoise———give him but
time to draw his head into his shell, and a broad-wheeled waggon may go
over him without hurting him. Lord Glenthorn, did you ever observe
Captain Andrews's mode of conversation?"
"No; I never heard him converse."
"Converse! nor I indeed; but you have heard him talk."
"I have heard him say———Very true———and Of course."
"Lord Glenthorn is quite severe this evening," said Mrs. O'Connor.
"But though your lordship", continued Lady Geraldine, "may have
observed Captain Andrews's wonderful economy of words; do you know
whence it arises? Perhaps, you think from his perception of his own
want of understanding."
"Not from his perception of the want," said I.
"Again! again!" said Mrs. O'Connor, with an insulting tone of
surprise; "Lord Glenthorn's quite witty this evening."
Lady Geraldine looked as if she was fully sensible of the
unpoliteness of Mrs. O'Connor's mode of praising. "But, my lord,"
pursued she, "you wrong Captain Andrews, if you attribute his
monosyllabic replies either to stupidity or timidity. You have not yet
guessed the reason why he never gives on any subject more than half an
"It was in the diplomatic school he was taught that," said Mr.
"You must know," pursued Lady Geraldine, "that Captain Andrews is
only an aide-de-camp till a diplomatic situation can be found for him;
and to do him justice he has been so well trained in the diplomatic
school, that he will not hazard an assertion on any subject; he is not
certain of any thing, not even of his own identity."
"He assuredly wants," said Devereux, "the only proof of existence
which Descartes would admit, I think, therefore I am."
"He has such a holy horrour of committing himself," continued Lady
Geraldine, "that if you were to ask him if the sun rose this morning,
he would answer with his sweet smile———So I am told———or———So I am
"Begging your ladyship's pardon," cried Mr. Devereux, "that is much
too affirmative. In the pure diplomatic style, impersonal verbs must
ever be used in preference to active or passive. So I am told, lays him
open to the dangerous questions———Who told you?———or———By whom were you
informed? Then he is forced into the imprudence of giving up his
authorities; wherens he is safe in the impersonality of———So it is
said———or——— So it is reported."
"How I should like to see a meeting between two perfectly finshed
diplomatists!" cried Lady Geraldine.
"That is demonstrably impossible," said Mr. Devereux; "for in
certain political, as well as in certain geometrical lines, there is a
continual effort to approach, without a possibility of meeting."
Lady Geraldine's raillery, like all other things, would, perhaps,
soon have become tiresome to me; but that there was infinite variety in
her humour. At first I had thought her merely superficial, and intent
solely upon her own amusement; but I soon found that she had a taste
for literature, beyond what could have been expected in one who lived
so dissipated a life; a depth of reflection that seemed inconsistent
with the rapidity with which she thought; and, above all, a degree of
generous indignation against meanness and vice, which seemed
incompatible with the selfish character of a fine lady, and which
appeared quite incomprehensible to the imitating tribe of her
I mentioned a Mrs. Nortion and Lady Hauton amongst the company at
Ormsby Villa. These two English ladies, whom I had neve met in any of
the higher circles in London; who were persons of no consequence, and
of no marked character in their own country, made, it seems, a
prodigious sensation when they came over to Ireland, and turned the
heads of half Dublin by the extravagance of their dress, the
impertinence of their airs, and the audacity of their conduct. Fame
flew before them to the remote parts of the country, and when they
arrived at Ormsby Villa, all the country gentlemen and ladies were
prepared to admire these celebrated fashionable belles. All worshipped
them present, and abused them absent, except Lady Geraldine, who
neither joined in the admiration, nor inquired into the scandal. One
morning Mrs. Norton and Lady Hauton had each collected her votaries
round her. One group begging patterns of dress from Lady Hauton, who
stood up in the midst of them, to have every thing she wore examined
and envied. The other group sat on a sofa apart, listening to Mrs.
Norton, who, sottovoce, was telling interesting anecdotes of an
English crim con., which then occupied the attention of the fashionable
world. Mrs. Norton had letters from the best authorities in London,
which she was entreated by her auditors to read to them. Mrs. Norton
went to look for the letters, Lady Hauton to direct her woman to
furnish some patterns of I know not what articles of dress; and, in the
meantime, all the company joined in canvassing the merits and demerits
of the dress and characters of the two ladies who had just left the
room. Lady Geraldine, who had kept aloof, and who was examining some
prints at the farther end of the room, at this instant laid down her
book, and looked upon the whole party with an air of magnanimous
disdain; then smiling, as in scorn, she advanced towards them, and, in
a tone of irony, addressing one of the Swadlinbar graces:
"My dear Theresa," said her ladyship, "you are absolutely ashamed,
I see, of not being quite naked; and you, my good Bess, will, no doubt,
very soon be equally scandalized, at the imputation of being a
perfectly modest woman. Go on, my friends; go on, and prosper; beg and
borrow all the patterns and precedents you can collect of the newest
fashions of folly and vice. Make haste, make haste; they don't reach
our remote island fast enough. We, Irish, might live in innocence half
a century longer, if you didn't expedite the progress of profligacy; we
might escape the plague that rages in neighbouring countries, if we
didn't, without any quarantine, and with open arms, welcome every
suspected stranger; if we didn't encourage the importation of whole
bales of tainted fineries, that will spread the contagion from Dublin
to Cork, and from Cork to Galway!"
"La!" said Miss Ormsby, "how severe your ladyship is; and all only
for one's asking for a pattern?"
"But you know," pursued Mrs. O'Connor, "that Lady Geraldine is too
proud to take pattern from any body."
"Too proud am I? Well, then, I'll be humble; I'll abase
'Proud as I am, I'll put myself to school'; and I'll do what the
Ladies Hauton and Norton shall advise, to heighten my charms and
preserve my reputation. I must begin, must not I, Mrs. O'Connor, by
learning not to blush? for I observed you were ashamed for me
yesterday at dinner, when I blushed at something said by one of our
fair missionaries. Then, to whatever lengths flirtations and gallantry
may go between unmarried or married people, I must look on. I may shut
my eyes, if I please, and look down; but not from shame———from
affectation I may as often as I please, or to show my eyelashes.
Memorandum———to practise this before Clementina Ormsby, my mirror of
fashion. So far, so good, for my looks; but now for my language. I must
reform my barbarous language, and learn from Mrs. Norton, with her
pretty accommodating voice, to call an intrigue an arrangement, and a
crim. con. an affair in Doctor's Commons, or that business before the
Lords. As to adultery, it is an odious word; found only in the prayer
book, and fit only for our gross grandmothers.
'We never mention Hell to cars polite.'
"How virtuous we shall be when we have no name for vice. But stay,
I must stick to my lessons———I have more, much more to learn. From the
dashing Lady Hauton I may learn, if my head be but strong, and my
courage intrepid enough, 'to touch the brink of all we hate,' without
tumbling headlong into the gulf. And from the interesting Mrs. Norton,
as I hear it whispered amongst you ladies, I may learn how, with the
assistance of a humane society, to save a half-drowned reputation. It
is, I understand, the glory of one class of fashionable females, to
seem worse than they are; and of another class the privilege, to be
worse than they seem."
Here clamorous voices interrupted Lady Geraldine———some justifying,
some attacking Lady Hauton and Mrs. Norton.
"O! Lady Geraldine, I assure you, notwithstanding all that was said
about General ———and Mrs. Norton, I am convinced there was nothing in
"And, my dear Lady Geraldine, though Lady Hauton does go great
lengths in coquetting with a certain lord, you must sec that there's
nothing wrong; and that she means nothing, but to provoke his lady's
jealousy. You know his lordship is not a man to fall in love with."
"So, because Lady Hauton's passion is hatred instead of love, and
because her sole object is to give pain to a poor wife, and to make
mischief in families, all her sins are to be forgiven. Now, if I were
forced to forgive any ill-conducted female, I would rather excuse the
woman who is hurried on by love, than she who is instigated by hatred."
Miss Bland now began to support her ladyship's opinion, that "Lady
Hauton was much the worst of the two;" and all the scandal that was in
circulation was produced by the partisans of each of these ladies.
"No matter, no matter, which is the worst," cried Lady Geraldine;
"don't let us waste our time in repeating or verifying scandalous
stories of either of them. I have no enmity to these ladies; I only
despise them, or, rather, their follies and their faults. It is not the
sinner, but the sin we should reprobate. O! my dear countrywomen,"
cried Lady Geraldine, with increasing animation of countenance and
manner———"O! my dear countrywomen, let us never stoop to admire and
imitate these second-hand airs and graces, follies and vices. Let us
dare to be ourselves."
My eyes were fixed upon her animated countenance, and I believe, I
continued gazing even after her voice ceased. Mrs. O'Connor pointed
this out, and I was immediately embarrassed, Miss Bland accounted for
my embarrassment by supposing, that what Lady Geraldine had said of
English crim. cons. had affected me. From a look and a whisper among
the ladies I guessed this; but Lady Geraldine was too well bred to
suppose I could suspect her of ill-breeding and ill-nature, or that I
could apply to myself what evidently was not intended to allade to my
family misfortunes. By an openness of manner, and sweetness of
expression, which I cannot forget, she, in one single look, conveyed
all this to me: and then resuming her conversation——— "Pray, my lord,"
said she, "you who have lived so much in the great world in England,
say, for you can, whether I am right or wrong in my suspicion, that
these ladies, who have made such a noise in Ireland, have been little
heard of in England?"
I confirmed her ladyship's opinion by my, evidence. The faces of
the company changed. Thus, in a few seconds, the empire of Lady Hauton
and of Mrs. Norton seemed shaken to the foundation, and never recovered
from this shock.
The warmth of Lady Geraldine's expressions on this, and many other
occasions, wakened dormant feelings in my heart, and made me sensible
that I had a soul, and that I was superior to the puppets, with whom I
had been classed.
One day, Lady Kilrush, in her mixed mode, with partly the graces of
a fine lady, and partly the airs of a bel-esprit, was talking of Mr.
Devereux, whom she affected to patronize and produce.
"Here, Devereux!" cried she, "Cecil Devereux! What can you be
thinking of? I am talking to you. Here's this epitaph of Francis the
First upon Petrarch's Laura, that you showed me the other day: do you
know, I doat upon it; I must have it translated: nobody can do it so
well as you: I have not time; but I shall not sleep to night if it is
not done: and you are so quick; so sit down here, there's a dear man,
and do it in your elegant way for me, whilst I go to my toilette.
Perhaps you did not know that my name was Laura," said she, leaving the
room with a very sentimental air.
"What will become of me!" cried Devereux. "Never was a harder task
set by cruel patroness. I would rather turn a Persian tale for half a
crown. Read this, my lord, and tell me whether it will be easy to turn
my Lady Kilrush into Petrarch's Laura."
"This sonnet, to be sure, is rather difficult to translate, or at
least to modernize, as bespoke," said Lady Geraldine, after she had
perused the sonnet [Note:
'En petit compris vous pouvez voir
Ce qui comprend beaucoup par renommé,
Plume, labeur, la langue, et le devoir
Furent vaincus par l'amant de l'aimée.
O gentille ame, étant toute estimée!
Qui to pourra louer qu'en se taisant?
Car In parole est toujours réprimée
Quand le sujet surmonte le distant.']:"
"but I think, Mr. Devereux, you brought this difficulty upon
yourself. How came you to show these lines to such an amateur, such a
fetcher and carrier of bays, as Lady Kilrush?"
"You might have been certain, that, had they been trash, with the
name of Francis the First, and with your fashionable approbation, and
something so say about Petrarch and Laura, my Lady Kilrush would talk
for ever, et se pameroit d'affectation."
"Mr. Devereux," said I, "has only to abide by the last lines, as a
good and sufficient apology to Lady Kilrush for his silence.
'Qui te pourra louer qu'en se taisant?
Car la parole est toujours réprimée
Quand le sujet surmonte le disant,'
"There is no way to get out of my difficulties," said Mr. Devereux,
with a very melancholy look; and, with a deep sigh, he sat down to
attempt the translation of the poem. In a few minutes, however, he rose
and left the room, declaring that he had the bad habit of not being
able to do any thing in company.
Lady Geraldine now, with much energy of indignation, exclaimed
against the pretensions of rich amateurs, and the mean and presumptuous
manner in which some would-be-great people affect to patronize genius.
"O! the baseness, the emptiness of such patronizing ostentation,"
cried she. "I am accused of being proud myself; but I hope——— I
believe———I am sure, that my pride is of another sort. Persons of any
elevation or generosity of mind never have this species of pride; but
it is your mean, second-rate folk, who imagine that people of talents
are a sort of raree-show for their entertainment. At best, they
consider men of genius only as artists formed for their use, who, if
not in a situation to be paid with money, are yet to be easily
recompensed by praise———by their praise———their praise! Heavens! what
conceit! And these amateur-patrons really think themselves judges, and
presume to advise and direct genius, and employ it to their petty
purposes! Like that Piedro de Medicis, who, at some of his
entertainments, set Michael Angelo to make a statue of snow. My lord,
did you ever happen to meet with les Mémoires de Madame de Staël?"
"No; I did not know that they were published."
"You mistake me: I mean Madame de Stael of Lewis the Fourteenth and
the Rogent's time, Mademoiselle de Launay."
I had never heard of such a person, and I blushed for my ignorance.
"Nay, I met with them myself only yesterday," said Lady Geraldine:
"I was struck with the character of the Duchesse de la Ferté, in which
this kind of proud patronizing ignorance is admirably painted from the
life. It is really worth your while, my lord, to look at it. There's
the book on that little table; here is the passage. You see, this
Duchesse de la Ferté is showing off to a sister duchess a poor girl of
genius, like a puppet or an ape."
'Allons mademoiselle, parlez———Madame, vous allez voir comme elle
parle———Elle vit que j'hésitois à repondre, et pensa qu'il falloit
m'aider comme une chanteuse à qui l'on indique ce qu'on désire
d'entendre———Parlez un peu de religion mademoiselle, vous direz ensuite
"This speech, Mr. Devereux tells me, has become quite proverbial in
Paris," continued Lady Geraldine; "and it is often quoted, when any one
presumes in the Duchesse de Ferté's style."
"Ignorance, either in high or low life, is equally
self-sufficient, I believe," said I, exerting myself to illustrate her
ladyship's remarks. "A gentleman of my acquaintance lately went to buy
some razors at Packwood's. Mrs. Packwood alone was visible. Upon the
gentleman's complimenting her on the infinite variety of her husband's
ingenious and poetical advertisements, she replied, 'La! sir, and do
you think husband has time to write them there things his-self? Why,
sir, we keeps a poet to do all that there work.'"
Though Lady Geraldine spoke only in general of amateur-patrons, and
of men of genius, yet I could not help fancying, from the warmth with
which she expressed herself, and from her dwelling on the subject so
long, that her feelings were peculiarly interested for some individual
of this description. Thus I discovered, that Lady Geraldine had a
heart; and I suspected, that her ladyship and Mr. Devereux had also
made the same discovery. This suspicion was strengthened by a slight
incident, which occurred the following evening.
Lady Geraldine and Cecil Devereux, as we were drinking coffee, were
in a recessed window, whilst some of the company stood round them,
amused by their animated conversation. They went on from repartee after
repartee, as if inspired by each other's spirits.
"You two," said a little girl of six years old, who was playing in
the window, "go on singing to one another like two nightingales; and
this shall be your cage," added she, drawing the drapery of the window
curtains across the recessed window. "You shall live always together in
this cage: will you, pretty birds?"
"No, no; some birds cannot live in a cage, my dear," cried Lady
Geraldine, playfully struggling to get free, whilst the child held her
"Mr. Devereux seems tolerably quiet and contented in his cage,"
said the shrewd Mrs. O'Connor.
"I can't get out! I can't get out!" cried Devereux, in the
melancholy tone of the starling in the Sentimental Journey.
"What is all this?" said my Lady Kildangan, sailing up to us.
"Only two birds," the child began.
"Singing birds," interrupted Lady Geraldine, catching the little
girl up in her arms, and stopping her from saying more, by beginning to
sing most charmingly.
Lady Kildangan returned to the sofa without comprehending one word
of what had passed. For my part, I now felt almost certain of the
justice of my suspicions: I was a little vexed, but not by any means in
that despair into which a man heartily in love would have been thrown
by such a discovery.
Well, thought I, it is well it is no worse: it was very lucky, that
I did not fall quite in love with this fair lady, since, it seems, that
she has given her heart away. But am I certain of this? I was mistaken
once. Let me examine more carefully.
Now I had a new motive to keep my attention awake.
To preserve the continuity of my story, and not to fatigue the reader
with the journals of my comings and goings from Ormsby Villa to
Glenthorn Castle, and from Glenthorn Castle to Ormsby Villa, I must
here relate the observations I made, and the incidents that occurred,
during various visits at Sir Harry Ormsby's, in the course of the
After the incident of the birds and cage, my sagacity was for some
time at a fault. I could not perceive any further signs of intelligence
between the parties: on the contrary, all communication seemed abruptly
to cease. As I was not well versed in such affairs, this quieted my
suspicions, and I began to think, that I had been entirely mistaken.
Cecil Devereux spent his days shut up in his own apartment, immersed,
as far as I could understand, in the study of the Persian language. He
talked to me of nothing but his hopes of an appointment, which Lord
O'Toole had promised to procure for him, in India. When he was not
studying, he was botanizing or mineralogizing with O'Toole's chaplain.
I did not envy him his new mode of life. Lady Geraldine took no notice
of it. When they did meet, which happened as seldom as possible, there
was an air of haughty displeasure on her part; on his, steady and
apparently calm respect and self- satisfaction. Her spirits were
exuberant, but variable; and, at times, evidently forced: heis were not
high, but even and certain. Towards me, her ladyship's manners were
free from coquetry, yet politely gratifying, as she marked, by the sort
of conversation she addressed to me, her opinion that I was superior in
ability and capability to what I had always thought myself.
Mr. Devereux, though with more effort, treated me with distinction,
and showed me a constant desire to cultivate my friendship. On every
occasion he endeavoured to raise my opinion of myself; to give me
ambition and courage to cultivate my mind. Once when I was arguing in
favour of natural genius, and saying, that I thought no cultivation
could make the abilities of one man equal to those of another, he,
without seeming to percieve that I was apologizing at once for my own
indolence and my intellectual inferiority, anwered in general terms:———
"It is difficult to judge what are the natural powers of the mind,
they appear so different in different circumstances. you can no more
judge of a mind in ignorance, than of a plant in darkness. A
philosophical friend told me, that he once thought he had discovered a
new and strange plant growing in a mine. It was common sage, but
degenerated so and altered, that he could not know it: he planted it in
the open air and in the light, and gradually it resumed its natural
appearance and character."
Mr. Devereux excited, without fatiguing my mind by his
conversation; and I was not yet sufficiently in love to be seriously
jealous. I was resolved, however, to sound him upon the subject of Lady
Geraldine. I waited for a good opportunity; at length, as we were
looking together over the prints of Buerger's Lenore, he led to the
sort of conversation that I desired, by telling me an anecdote relative
to the poet, which he had lately heard from a German baron.
Buerger was charmed with a sonnet, which an unknown fair one
addressed to him, in praise of his poetry: he replied in equal strains;
and they went on flattering one another, till both believed themselves
in love. Without ever having met, they determined to marry: they at
length met and married: they quarelled and parted: in other words, the
gentleman was terribly disappointed in his unknown mistress, and she
consoled herself by running away from him with another lover. The
imprudence of this poetic couple led us to reflections on love and
marriage in general. Keeping as far away from all allusion to Lady
Geraldine, I rallied Mr. Devereux about the fair Clementina, who was
evidently a romantic admirer of his.
"Who, except Cupid, would barter his liberty for a butterfly?" said
he; "and Cupid was a child. Men now-a-days are grown too wise to
enslave themselves for women. Love occupies a vast space in a woman's
thoughts, but fills a small portion of a man's life. Women are told,
that, 'The great, th' important business of their life, is love;' but
men know, that htey are born for something better than to sing mournful
ditties to a mistress's eyebrow. As to marriage, what a serious,
terrible thing! Some quaint old author says, that man is of too smooth
and oily a nature to climb up to Heaven, if, to make him less slippery,
there be not added to his composition the vinegar of marriage. This may
be; but I will keep as long as possible from the vinegar."
Really, Devereux," said I, smiling "you talk so like a cynic and an
old bachelor, and you look so little so little like either, that is
"A man must be ridiculous sometimes," said he, "and bear to be
thought so. No man ever distinguished himself, who could not bear to be
Mr. Devereux left the room singing,
"No more for Amynta fresh garlands I wove
Ambition, I said, will soon cure me of love."
I was uncertain what to think of all this. I inclined to believe,
that ambition was his ruling passion, notwithstanding the description
of that Hell which he showed me in Spencer. His conduct to his patron
lords, by which a surer judgement of his character could be formed than
by his professions, was not, however, that of a man merely intent upon
rising in the world.
I remember once hearing Lord O'Toole attack a friend of this
gentleman's calling him, in a certain tone, a philosopher. Mr. Devereux
replied, "that he could not consider that as a term of reproach: that
where a false or pretended philosopher was meant, some other name
should be used, equivalent to the Italian term of reproach
Lord O'Toole would by no means admit of this Italianism: he would
make no distinctions: he deemed philosophers altogether a race of
beings dangerous and inimical to states.
"For states read statesmen," said Devereux, who persisted in the
vindication of his friend, till Lord O'Toole grew pale with anger,
whilst Lord Craiglethorpe smiled with ineffable contempt at the
political béoue: Lady Geraldine glowed with generous indignation.
Afterwards, in speaking to me of Lord O'Toole, Devereux said, "His
lordship's classification of men is as contracted as the savages'
classification of animals: he divides mankind into two classes, knaves
and fools; and when he meets with an honest man, he does not know what
to make of him."
My esteem for Mr. Devereux was much increased by my daily
observations upon his conduct: towards Lady Geraldine I thought it
particularly honourable: when her displeasure evidently merged in
esteem; when her manners again became most winning and attractive, his
continued uniformly the same; never passing the bounds of friendly
respect, or swerving, in the slightest degree, form the line of
conduct, which he had laid down for himself. I thought I now understood
him perfectly. That he liked Lady Geraldine I could scarcely doubt; but
I saw, that he refrained from aiming at the prize, which he knew he
ought not to obtain: that he perceived her ladyship's favourable
dispositions towards him, yet denied himself not only the gratification
of his vanity, but the exquisite pleasure of conversing with her, lest
he should stand in the way of her happier prospects. He frequently
spoke to me of her ladyship in terms of the warmest approbation. He
said, that "all the world saw and admired her talents and beauty, but
that he had had opportunities, as a relation, of studying her domestic
life. With all her vivacity, she has a heart formed for tenderness,"
said he, "a high sense of duty, the best security for a woman's
conduct; and in generosity and magnanimity, I never found her superior
in either sex. In short, I never saw any woman, whose temper and
disposition were more likely to make a man of sense and feeling
I could not forbear smiling, and asking Cecil Devereux how all this
accorded with his late professions of hatred to marriage.
"My professions were sincere," said he. "It would be misery to me
to marry any inferior woman, and I am not in circumstances to marry as
I could wish. I could not think of Lady Geraldine, without a breach of
trust, of which your lordship, I hope, cannot suspect me. Her mother
places confidence in me. I am not only a relation, but treated as a
friend of the family. I am not in love with Lady Geraldine. I admire,
esteem, respect her ladyship; and I wish to see her united to a man, if
such a man there be, who may deserve her. We understand one another
now. Your lordship will have the goodness never more to speak to me on
this subject." He spoke with much emotion, but with steadiness, and
left me penetrated with feelings, that were entirely new to me.
Much as I admired his conduct, I was yet undecided as to my own; my
aversion to a second marriage was not yet conquered: I was amused, I
was captivated by Lady Geraldine, but I could not bring myself to think
of making a distinct proposal. Lord Craiglethorpe himself was not more
afraid of being committed, than I was upon this tender subject. To gain
time, I now thought it necessary to verify all the praises Mr. Devereux
had bestowed on her ladyship. Magnanimity was a word, that particularly
struck my ear as extraordinary when applied to a female. However, by
attending carefully to this lady, I thought I discovered what Mr.
Devereux meant. Lady Geraldine was superior to manoeuvring little arts,
and petty stratagems, to attract attention. She would not stoop, even
to conquer. From gentlemen she seemed to expect attention as her right,
as the right of her sex; not to beg or accept of it as a favour: if it
were not paid, she deemed the gentleman degraded, not herself. Far from
being mortified by any preference shown to other ladies, her
countenance betrayed only a sarcastic sort of pity for the bad taste of
the men, or an absolute indifference and look of haughty absence. I saw
that she beheld with disdain the paltry competitions of the young
ladies her companions: as her companions, indeed, she hardly seemed to
consider them; she tolerated their foibles, forgave their envy, and
never exerted any superiority, except to show her contempt of vice and
meanness. To be in any degree excepted from the common herd; to be in
any degree distinguished by a lady so proud, and with so many good
reasons to be proud, was flattering to my self-love. She gave me no
direct encouragement; but I never advanced far enough to require
encouragement, much less to justify repulse. Sometimes I observed, or I
fancied, that she treated me with more favour when Mr. Devereux was
present, than at other times; perhaps, for she was a woman, not an
angel———to pique Devereux, and try it she could move him from the
settled purpose of his soul. He bore it all with surprising constancy;
his spirits, however, and his health, began visibly to decline.
"If I do not intrude too much on your valuable time, Mr.
Devereux," said her lady ship to him one evening, in her most
attractive manner, "may I beg you to read to us some of these beautiful
poems of Sir William Jones?"
There was a seat beside her ladyship on the sofa: the book was held
out by the finest arm in the world.
"Nay," said Lady Geraldine, "do not look so respectfully miserable;
if you have any other engagements, you have only to say so; or if you
cannot speak, you may bow - a bow, you know, is an answer to every
thing. And here is my Lord Glenthorn ready to supply your place: pray,
do not let me detain you prisoner. You shall not a second time say, I
can't get out."
Devereux made no further effort to escape, but took the book and
his dangerous seat. He remained with us, contrary to his custom, the
whole evening. Afterwards, as if he felt that some apology was
necessary to me for the pleasure in which he had indulged him self,
"Perhaps, my lord," said he, "another man in my situation, and with
my feelings, would think it necessary to retreat, and prudent to
secure his safety by flight; but flight is unworthy of him who can
combat and conquer: the man, who is sure of himself, does not sculk
away to avoid danger, but advances to meet it, armed secure in
This proud and rash security in his own courage, strength of mind,
and integrity, was the only fault of Cecil Devereux. He never prayed
not to be led into temptation, he thought himself so sure of avoiding
evil. Unconscious of his danger, even though his disease was at its
height, he now braved it most imprudently: he was certain, that he
should never pass the bounds of friendship; he had proved this to
himself, and was satisfied: he told me, that he could with
indifference, nay, with pleasure, see Lady Geraldine mine. In the
meantime, upon the same principle that he deemed flight inglorious, he
was proud to expose himself to the full force of Love's artillery. He
was with us almost all day, and Lady Geraldine was more charming than
ever. The week was fixed for her departure. Still I could not decide. I
understood that her ladyship would pass the ensuing winter in Dublin,
where she would probably meet with new adorers; and even if Mr.
Devereux should not succeed, some adventurous knight might win and
wear the prize. This was an alarming thought. It almost decided me to
hazard the fatal declaration: but then I recollected, that I might
follow her ladyship to town the next winter, and that if the impression
did not, as might be hoped, wear off during the intervening autumn, it
would be time enough to commit myself, when I should meet my fair one
in Dublin. This was at last my fixed resolution. Respited from the
agonies of doubt, I now waited very tranquilly for that moment, to
which most lovers look forward with horrour, the moment of separation.
I was sensible that I had accustomed myself to think about this lady so
much, that I had gradually identified my existence with hers, and I
thus found my spirit of animation much increased. I dreaded the
departure of Lady Geraldine less than the return of ennui.
In this frame of mind I was walking one morning in the
pleasure-grounds with Lady Geraldine, when a slight accident made me
act in direct contradiction to all my resolutions, and, I think,
inconsistently with my character. But such is the nature of man! and I
was doomed to make a fool of myself, even in the very temple of
Minerva. Among the various ornamental buildings in the grounds at
Ormsby Villa, there was a temple dedicated to this goddess, from which
issued a troop of hoyden young ladies, headed by the widow O'Connor and
Lady Kilrush, all calling to us to come and look at some charming
discovery, which they had just made in the Temple of Minerva. Thither
we proceeded, accompanied by the merry troop. We found in the temple
only a poetical inscription of Lady Kilrush's, pompously engraved on a
fine marble tablet. We read the lines with all the attention usually
paid to a lady's poetry in the presence of the poetess, and Lady
Geraldine and I turned to pay some compliments on the performance, when
we found that Lady Kilrush, and all her companions, were gone.
"Gone! all gone!" said Lady Geraldine, "and there they are, making
their way very fast down to the Temple of Folly! Lady Kilrush, you
know, is so ba-a-ashful, she could not possibly stay to receive nos
hommages. I love to laugh at affectation. Call them back, do, my lord,
and you shall see the fair author go through all the evolutions of
mock humility, and end by yielding quietly to the notion that she is
the tenth muse. But run, my lord, or they will be out of our reach.
I never was seen to run on any occasion, but, to obey Lady
Geraldine, I walked as fast as I could to the door, and, to my
surprise, found it fastened.
"Locked, I declare! some of the witty tricks of the widow O'Connor,
or the hoyden Miss Call well's!"
"How I hate hoydens!" cried Lady Geraldine; "but let us take
patience, they will be back presently. If young ladies must perform
practical jokes, because quizzing is the fashion, I wish they would
devise something new. This locking-up is so stale a jest. To be sure it
has lately to boast the authority of high rank in successful practice:
but these bungling imitators never distinguish between cases the most
dissimilar imaginable. Silly creatures! We have only to be wise and
Her ladyship sat down to reperuse the tablet. I never saw her look
so beautiful. ———The dignified composure of her manner charmed me; it
was so unlike the paltry affectation! of some of the fashionable
ladies by whom I had been disgusted. I recollected the precedent to
which she alluded. I recollected, that the locking up ended in
matrimony, and as Lady Geraldime made some remarks upon the verses. I
suppose my answers showed my absence of mind.
"Why so grave, my lord? why so absent? I assure you I do not
suspect your lordship of having any hand in this vulgar manoeuvre. I
acquit you honourably, therefore you need not stand any longer like a
What decided me at this instant I cannot positively tell: whether
it was the awkwardness of my own situation, or the grace of her
ladyship's manner, but all my prudential arrangements were forgotten,
all my doubts vanished. Before I knew that the words passed my lips, I
replied, "That her ladyship did me justice by such an acquittal; but
that, though I had no part in the contrivance, yet I felt irresistibly
impelled to avail myself of the opportunity it afforded of declaring my
real sentiments." I was at her ladyship's feet, and making very serious
love, before I knew where I was. In what words my long-delayed
declaration was made I cannot recollect, but I well remember Lady
"My lord, I assure you, that you do not know what you are saying:
you do not know what you are doing. This is all a mistake, as you will
find half an hour hence. I will not be so cruelly vain as to suppose
"Not serious! no man ever was more serious."
"No, no———No, no, no."
I swore, of course, most fervently.
"O! rise, rise I beseech you, my lord, and don't look so like a
hero; though you have done a heroical action, I grant. How you ever
brought yourself to it I cannot imagine. But now, for your comfort, you
are safe———Vous voila quitte pour la peur!———Do not, however, let this
encourage you to venture again in the same foolish manner. I know but
few, very few young ladies, to whom Lord Glenthorn could offer himself
with any chance or reasonable hope of being refused. So take warning:
never again expect to meet with such another as my whimsical self."
"Never, never, can I expect to meet with any thing resembling your
charming self," cried I. This was a new text for a lover's rhapsody. It
is not necessary, and might not be generally interesting, to repeat all
the ridiculous things I said, even if I could remember them.
Lady Geraldine listened to me, and then very calmly replied———
"Granting you believe all that you are saying at this minute, which I
must grant from common gratitude, and still more, common vanity;
nevertheless, permit me to assure you, my lord, that this is not love,
it is only a fancy———only the nettlerash, not the plague. You will not
die this time. I will insure your life. So now jump out of the window
as fast as you can, and unlock the door———you need not be afraid of
breaking your neck———you know your life is insured. Come, take the
lover's leap, and get rid of your passion at once."
I grew angry.
"Only a cloud," said Lady Geraldine——— "it will blow over."
I became more passionate———I did not know the force of my own
feelings, till they met with an obstacle; they suddenly rose to a
"Now, my lord," cried Lady Geraldine; with a tone and look of comic
vexation, "this is really the most provoking thing imaginable; you have
no idea how you distress me, nor of what exquisite pleasures you
deprive me———all the pleasures of coquetry; legitimate pleasures, in
certain circumstances, as I am instructed to think them by one of the
first moral authorities. There is a case——— I quote from memory, my
lord, for my memory, like that of most other people, on subjects where
I am deeply interested, is tolerably tenacious———there is a case, says
the best of fathers, in his legacy to the best of daughters———there is
a case where a woman may coquet justifiably to the utmost verge, which
her conscience will allow. It is where a gentleman purposely declines
making his addresses, till such time as he thinks himself perfectly
sure of her consent. Now, my lord, if you had had the goodness to do
so, I might have made this delightful case my own; and what charming
latitude I might have allowed my conscience. But now, alas! it is all
over, and I must be as frank as you have been under pain of forfeiting
what I value more, even than admiration———my own good opinion.
She paused, and was silent for a few moments; then suddenly
changing her manner, she exclaimed, in a serious energetic tone,
"Yes, I must, I will be sincere; let it cost me what it may, I will
be sincere.———My lord, I never can be yours. My lord, you will believe
me, even from the effort with which I speak;" her voice softened, and
her face suffused with crimson as she spoke, "I love another———my heart
is no longer in my own possession; whether it will ever be in my power,
consistently with my duty and his principles, to be united with the man
of my choice, is doubtful———more than doubtful——— but this is certain,
that with such a prepossession, such a conviction in my mind, I never
could nor ought to think of marrying any other person."
I pleaded, that however deserving of her preference the object of
her favour might be, yet that if there were, as her own prudence seemed
to suggest obstacles, rendering the probability of her union with that
person more than doubtful, it might be possible that her superior
sense and strength of mind, joined to the persevering affection of
another lover, who would spare no exertions to render himself worthy of
her, might, perhaps, in time——— "No, no," said she, interrupting me;
"do not deceive yourself. I will not deceive you. I give you no hopes
that my sentiments may change. I know my own mind———it will not change.
My attachment is founded on the firm basis of esteem; my affection has
grown from the intimate knowledge of the principles and conduct of the
man I love. No other man, let his merits be what they may, could have
these advantages in my opinion. And when I say that the probability of
our being united is more than doubtful, I do not mean to deny, that I
have distant hope that change of circumstances might render love and
duty compatible. Without hope I know love cannot long exist. You see I
do not talk romantic nonsense to you. All that you say of prudence, and
time, and the effect of the attentions of another admirer, would be
perfectly just and applicable, if my attachment were a fancy of
yesterday———if it were a mere young lady's commonplace first love; but
I am not a very young lady, nor is this, though a first love,
commonplace. I do not, you see, in the usual style, tell you that the
man I adore is an angel, and that no created form ever did, or ever can
resemble this angel in green and gold, but on the contrary do justice
to your lordship's merit; and believing, as I do, that you are capable
of a real love, nay, still more, believing that such an attachment
would rouse you to exertion, and bring to life and light a surprising
number of good qualities, yet I should deceive you unpardonably,
fatally for my own peace of mind, if not for yours, were I not frankly
and decidedly to assure you, that I never could reward or return your
affection. My attachment to———I trust entirely where I trust at all———
my attachment to Mr. Devereux is for life."
"He deserves it———deserves it all," cried I, struggling for
utterance; "that is as much as a rival can say."
"Not more than I expected from you, my lord."
"But your ladyship says there is hope of duty and love being
compatible. Would Lady Kildangan ever consent?"
She looked much disturbed.
"No, certainly not; unless———Lord O' Toole has promised———not that
I depend on courtiers promises. But Lord O'Toole is a relation of ours,
and he has promised to obtain an appointment abroad, in India, for Mr.
Devereux. If that were done, he might appear of more consequence in the
eyes of the world. My mother might then, perhaps, be propitious. My
lord, I give you the strongest proof of my esteem, by speaking with
such openness. I have had the honour of your lordship's acquaintance
only a few months; but without complimenting my own penetration, I may
securely trust to the judgment of Mr. Devereux, and his example has
taught me to feel confidence in your lordship. Your conduct now will, I
trust, justify my good opinion, by your secrecy, and by desisting from
useless pursuit you will entitle yourself to my esteem and gratitude.
These, I presume, you will think worth securing."
My soul was so completely touched, that I could not articulate.
Mr. Devereux is right———I see, my lord, that you have a soul that
can be touched."
"Kissing hands! I protest," exclaimed a shrill voice at the window;
we turned and saw Mrs. O'Connor, and a group of tittering faces peeping
in. "Kissing hands, after a good hour's tête-à-tête! O pray, Lady
Kildangan, make haste here," continued Mrs. O'Connor; "make haste,
before Lady Geraldine's blushes are over."
"Were you ever detected in the crime of blushing, in your life,
Mrs. O'Connor?" said I.
"I never was found out looked up with so fine a gentleman," replied
"Then it only hurts your conscience to be found out, like all the
rest of the vast family of the Surfaces," said Lady Geraldine, resuming
"Found out!———Locked up!———Bless me! bless me! What is all this?"
cried Lady Kildangan, puffing up the hill. "For shame! young ladies;
for shame!" continued her ladyship, with a decent suppression of her
satisfaction, when she saw, or thought she saw, how matters stood.
"Unlock the door, pray. Don't be vexed, my Geraldine. Fie! fie! Mrs.
O'Connor. But quizzing is now so fashionable ———nobody can be angry
with any body. My Geraldine, consider we are all friends."
The door unlocked, and, as we were going out, Lady Geraldine
whispered to me:
"For mercy's sake, my lord, don't break my poor mother's heart!
Never let her know, that a coronet has been within my grasp, and that I
have not clutched it."
Lady Kildangan, who thought that all was now approaching that happy
termination she so devoutly wished, was so full of her own happy
presentiments, that it was impossible for me to undeceive her ladyship.
Even, when I announced before her, to Sir Harry Ormsby, that I was
obliged to return home immediately on particular business, she was, I
am sure, persuaded that I was going to prepare matters for marriage
settlements. When I mounted my horse, Mr. Devereux pressed through a
crowd assembled on the steps at the hall-door, and offered me his hand,
with a look and manner that seemed to say———Have you sufficient
generosity to be still my friend? "I know the value of your friendship,
Mr. Devereux," said I, "and I hope to deserve it better every year that
For the effort which it cost me to say this I was rewarded. Lady
Geraldine, who, at this instant, had retired behind her companions,
approached with an air of mingled grace and dignity, bowed her head,
and gave me a smile of grateful approbation. This is the last image
left on my mind, the last look of the charming Geraldine———I never saw
After I got home, I never shaved for two days, and scarcely ever
spoke. I should have taken to my bed to avoid seeing any human
creature, but I knew, that if I declared myself ill, no power would
keep my old nurse, Ellinor, from coming to moan over me; and I was not
in a humour to listen to stories of the Irish Black Beard, or the ghost
of King O'Donoghoe; nor could I, however troublesome, have repulsed the
simplicity of her affection. Instead of going to bed, therefore, I
continued to lie stretched upon a sofa, ruminating sweet and bitter
thoughts, after giving absolute orders, that I should not be disturbed
on any account whatever. Whilst I was in this state of reverie, one of
my servants, an odd Irish fellow, who, under pretence of being
half-witted, took more liberties than his companions, bolted into my
"Plase your lordship, I thought it my duty, in spite of 'em all
below to come up to advertise your lordship that's going throught the
county. That they are all upside down at Ormsby Villa, all mad
entirely———fighting and setting off throught hte kingdom, every one
their own way; and they say, it's all on account of something that Miss
Clemmy Ormsby told, that Lady Geraldine said about my Lord O'Toole's
being no better than a cat's paw, or something that way, which made his
lordship quite mad; and he said, in the presence of Lord Craiglethorpe,
and my lady Kildangan, and Lady Geraldine, and all that were in it,
somehting that vexed Lady Geraldine, which made Mr. Cecil Devereux mad
next, and he said something smart in reply, that Lord O'Toole could not
digest he said, which made his lordship madder than ever, and he
discharged Mr. Devereux from his favour, and he is not to get that
place that was vacant, the Lord Lieutenancy of some place in the Indies
that he was to have had; this made Lady Geraldine mad, and it was found
out she was in love with Mr. Devereux, which made her mother mad, the
maddest of all they say so that none can hold her and she is crying
night and day how her daughter might have had the first coronet in the
kingdom, maning you, my lord, it it had not been that she had prefarred
a beggar-man, maning Mr. Cecil Devereux, who is as poor, they say as a
Connaughtman———and he's forbid to think of her, and she's forbid, under
pain of bread and water, ever to set her eyes upon him the longest day
ever she lives; so they are all to be off with the first light for
Dublin; and that's all my lard, and all truth, not a word of lies I'm
I was inclined not to credit a story so oddly told; but, upon
inquiry, I found it true in its material points. My own words to Mr.
Devereux, and the parting look of Lady Geraldine, were full in my
recollection; I was determined, by an unexpected exertion, to surprise
both the lovers, and to secure for ever their esteem and gratitude. The
appointment, which Mr. Devereux desired, was not yet given away; the
fleet was to sail in a few days. I started up from my sofa———ordered my
carriage instantly———shaved myself sent a courier on before to have
horse ready at every stage to carry me to Dublin———got there in the
shortest time possible———found Lord O'Toole but just arrived. Though
unused to diplomatic language and political negociation, I knew pretty
well on what they all hinge. I went directly to the point, and showed,
that it would be the interest of the party concerned, to grant my
request. By expressing a becoming desire, that my boroughs, upon a
question where a majority was desired, should strengthen the hands of
government, I obtained for my friend the favour he deserved. Before I
quitted Lord O'Toole, his secretary, Captain Andrews, was instructed to
write a letter announcing to Mr. Devereux his appointment. A copy of
the former letter of refusal now lay before me; it was in his
lordship's purest diplomatic style———as follows: Private.
"Lord O'Toole is concerned to inform Mr. Devereux, that he cannot
feel himself justified in encouraging Mr. D., under the existing
circumstances, to make any direct application relative to the last
conversation his lordship had the honour to hold with Mr. Devereux."
To Cecil Devereux, Esq.
The letter which I obtained, and of which I took possession, ran as
"Lord O Toole is happy to have it in command to inform Mr.
Devereux, that his lordship's representations on the subject of their
last conversation have been thought sufficient, and that an official
notification of the appointment to India, which Mr. D. desired, will
meet the wishes of Mr. Devereux.
"Captain Andrews has the honour to add his congratulations."
To Cecil Devereux, Esq.
Having dispatched this business with a celerity, that surprised all
the parties concerned, and most myself, I called at the lodgings of Mr.
Devereux, delivered the letter to his servant, and left town. I could
not bear to see either Mr. Devereux, or Lady
Geraldine. I had the pleasure to hear, that the obtaining this
appointment was followed by Lady Kildangan's consent to their marriage.
Soon after my return to Glenthorn Castle, I received a letter of warm
thanks from Devereux, and a polite postscript from Lady Geraldine,
declaring that, though she felt much pleasure, she could feel no
surprise in seeing her opinion of Lord Glenthorn justified; persuaded,
as she and Mr. Devereux had always been, that only motive and
opportunity were wanting, to make his lordship's superior qualities
known to the world, and, what is still more difficult, to himself. They
left Ireland immediately afterwards, in consequence of their
appointment in India.
I was raised in my own estimation———I revelled a short time in my
self-complacent reflections; but when nothing more remained to be done,
or to be said———when the hurry of action, the novelty of generosity,
the glow of enthusiasm, and the freshness of gratitude were over, I
felt that, though large motives could now invigorate my mind, I was
still a prey to habitual indolence, and that I should relapse into my
former state of apathy and disease.
I remember to have heard, in some prologue to a tragedy, that the tide
of pity and of love, whilst it overwhelms, fertilizes the soul. That it
may deposit the seeds of future fertilization, I believe; but some time
must elapse before they germinate: on the first retiring of the tide
the prospect is barren and desolate. I was absolutely inert, and almost
imbecile for a considerable time, after the extraordinary stimulus, by
which I had been actuated, was withdrawn. I was in this state of
apathy, when the rebellion broke out in Ireland; nor was I roused in
the least by the first news of the disturbances; the intelligence,
however, so much alarmed my English servants, that, with one accord,
they left me; nothing could persuade them to remain longer in Ireland.
The parting with my English gentleman affected my lethargic selfishness
a little. His loss would have been grievous to such a helpless being as
I was, had not his place been immediately supplied by that half-witted
Irishman, Joe Kelly, who had ingratiated himself with me by a mixture
of drollery and simplicity, and by suffering himself to be continually
my laughing stock, at the same time when, in imitation of Lady
Geraldine, I thought it necessary to have a butt. I remember he first
caught my notice by a strange answer to a very simple question. I
asked, "What noise is that I hear?"———"My lard," said he, "it is only
the singing in my ears; I have had it these six months." This fellow,
the son of a brick-layer, had originally been intended for a priest,
and he went, as he told me to the College of Maynooth, to study his
humanities; but, unluckily, the charms of some Irish Heloise came
between him and the altar. He lived in a cabin on love, till he was
weary of his smoke-dried Heloise, and then thought it convanient to
turn sarving man, as he could play on the flute, and brush a coat
remarkably well, which he larned at Maynooth, by brushing the coats of
the superiors. Though he was willing to be laughed at, Joe Kolly could
in his turn laugh; and he now ridiculed, without mercy, the
pusillanimity of the English renegadoes, as he called the servants who
had just left my service. He assured me that, to his knowledge, there
was no manner of danger, except a man prefarred being afraid of his own
shadow, which some did, rather than have nothing to talk of, or enter
into resolutions about, with some of the spirited men in the chair.
Unwilling to be disturbed, I readily believed all that lulled me in
my security. I would not be at the trouble of reading the public
papers, and when they were read to me, I did not credit any paragraph
that militated against my own opinion. Nothing could awaken me. I
remember, one day, lying yawning on my sofa, repeating to Mr. M'Leod,
who endeavoured to open my eyes to the situation of the country,
"Pshaw, my dear sir; there is no danger, be assured———none at
all———none at all. For mercy's sake! talk to me of something more
diverting, if you would keep me awake; time enough to think of these
things, when they come nearer to us."
Evils that were not immediately near me had no power to affect my
imagination. My tenantry had not yet been contaminated by the epidemic
infection, which broke out soon after with such violence, as to
threaten the total destruction of all civil order. I had lived in
England———I was unacquainted with the causes and the progress of the
disease, and I had no notion of my danger; all I knew was, that some
houses had been robbed of arms, and that there was a set of desperate
wretches, called defenders; but I was annoyed only by the rout that was
now made about them. Having been used to the regular course of justice,
which prevailed in England, I was more shocked at the summary
proceedings of my neighbours, than alarmed at the symptoms of
insurrection. Whilst my mind was in this mood, I was provoked by the
conduct of some of the violent party, which wounded my personal pride,
and infringed upon my imagined consequence. My foster-brother's forge
was searched for pikes, his house ransacked, his bed and bellows, as
possible hiding-places, were cut open; by accident, or from private
malice, he received a shot in his arm, and, though not the slightest
cause of suspicion could be found against him, the party left him with
a broken arm, and the consolation of not being sent to jail as a
defender. Without making any allowance for the peculiar circumstances
of the country, my indignation was excited in the extreme, by the
injury done to my foster-brother; his sufferings, the tears of his
mother, the taunts of Mr., now Captain Hardcastle, and the opposition
made by his party, called forth all the faculties of my mind and body.
The poor fellow, who was the subject of this contest, showed the best
disposition imaginable; he was excessively grateful to me for
interesting myself to get him justice; but as soon as he found that
parties ran high against me, he earnestly dissuaded me from persisting.
"Let it drop, and plase your honour; my lord, let it drop, and
don't be making of yourself inimies for the likes of me. Sure, what
signifies my arm; and, before the next assizes, sha'n't I be as well as
ever, arm and all," continued he, trying to appear to move the arm
without pain. "And there's the new bellows your honour has give me; it
does my heart good to look at 'em, and it won't be long before I will
be blowing them again as stout as ever; and so God bless your honour,
my lord, and think no more about it———let it drop entirely, and don't
be bringing yourself into trouble."
"Ay, don't be bringing yourself into trouble, dear," added Ellinor,
who seemed half-distracted between her feelings for her son, and her
fears for me; "it's a shame to think of the way they've treated
Christy——— but there's no help now, and it's best not to be making bad
worse; and so, as Christy says, let the thing drop, jewel, and don't be
bringing yourself into trouble; you don't know the natur of them
people, dear———you are too innocent for them entirely, and myself does
not know the mischief they might do yees."
"True for ye [Note: Too true!]," pursued Christy; "I wouldn't for
the best cow ever I see, that your honour ever larn't a sentence about
me or my arm; and it is not for such as we to be minding every little
accident———so God lend you long life, and don't be plaguing yourself to
death; let it drop, and I'll sleep well the night, which I did not do
the week, for thinking of all the trouble you got, and would get, God
This generous fellow's eloquence produced an effect directly
contrary to what was intended; both my feelings and my pride were now
more warmly interested in his cause. I insisted upon his swearing
examinations before Mr. M'Leod, who was a justice of the peace. Mr.
M'Leod behaved with the utmost steadiness and impartiality; and in this
trying moment, when "it was infamy to seem my friend," he defended my
conduct calmly but resolutely, in private and in public, and gave this
unequivocal testimony, in few but decided words, in favour of my
injured tenant. I should have respected Mr. M'Leod more, if I had not
attributed this conduct to his desire of being returned for one of my
boroughs at the approaching election. He endeavoured with persevering
goodness, to convince me of the reality of the danger in the country.
My eyes were with much difficulty forced open so far as to perceive,
that it was necessary to take an active part in public affairs to
vindicate my loyalty, and to do away the prejudices that were
entertained against me; nor did my incredulity, as to the magnitude of
the peril, prevent me from making exertions essential to the defence of
my own character, if not to that of the nation. How few act from
purely patriotic and rational motives! At all events I acted, and acted
with energy; and certainly at this period of my life I felt no ennui.
Party spirit is an effectual cure for ennui; and, perhaps, it is for
this reason, that so many are addicted to its intemperance. All my
passions were roused, and my mind and body kept in continual activity.
I was either galloping, or haranguing, or fearing, or hoping, or
fighting; and so long as it was said, that I could not sleep in my bed,
I slept remarkably well, and never had so good an appetite, as when I
was in hourly danger of having nothing to eat. The rebels were up, and
the rebels were down———and Lord Glenthorn's spirited conduct in the
chair, and indefatigable exertions in the field, were the theme of
daily eulogium amongst my convivial companions and immediate
dependants. But, unfortunately, my sudden activity gained me no credit
amongst the violent party of my neighbours, who persisted in their
suspicions; and my reputation was now still more injured, by the
alternate charge of being a trimmer or a traitor. Nay, I was further
exposed to another danger, of which, from my ignorance of the country,
I could not possibly be aware. The disaffected themselves, as I
afterwards found, really believed, that, as I had not begun by
persecuting the poor, I must be a favourer of the rebels; and all that
I did to bring the guilty to justice, they thought was only to give a
colour to the thing, till the proper moment should come for my
declaring myself. Of this absurd and perverse mode of judging I had not
the slightest conception; and I only laughed when it was hinted to me.
My treating the matter so lightly confirmed suspicion on both sides. At
this time all objects were so magnified and distorted by the mist of
prejudice, that no inexperienced eye could judge of their real
proportions. Neither party could believe the simple truth, that my
tardiness to act arose from the habitual inertia to my mind and body.
Whilst prepossessions were thus strong, the time, the important
time, in Ireland the most important season of the year, the assizes,
arrived. My foster-brother's cause, or, as it was now generally called,
Lord Glenthorn's cause, came on to be tried. I spared no expense, I
spared no exertions: I feed the ablest counsel; and not content with
leaving them to be instructed by my attorney, I explained the affair to
them myself with indefatigable zeal. One of the lawyers, whom I had
seen, or by whom I had been seen, in my former inert state of
existence, at some watering-place in England, could not refrain from
expressing his astonishment at my change of character: he could
scarcely believe that I was the same Lord Glenthorn, of whose indolence
and ennui he had formerly heard and seen so much.
Alas! all my activity, all my energy, on the present occasion,
proved ineffectual. After a dreadful quantity of false swearing, the
jury professed themselves satisfied; and, without retiring from the
box, acquitted the persons who had assaulted my foster-brother. The
mortification of this legal defeat was not all that I had to endure;
the victorious party mobbed me, as I passed some time afterwards
through a neighbouring town, where Captain Hardcastle and his friends
had been arousing. I was hooted, and pelted, and narrowly escaped with
my life. I who, but a few months ago, had imagined myself possessed of
nearly despotic power: but opinions had changed; and, on opinion,
almost all power is founded. No individual, unless he possesses
uncommon eloquence, joined to personal intrepidity, can withstand the
combination of numbers, and the force of prejudice.
Such was the result of my first public exertions! Yet I was now
happier and better satisfied with myself than I had ever been before. I
was not only conscious of having acted in a manly and generous manner;
but the alarms of the rebels, and of the French, and of the loyalists;
and the parading, and the galloping, and the quarrelling, and the
continual agitation in which I was kept, whilst my character and life
were at stake, relieved me effectually from the intolerable burden of
Unfortunately for me, the rebellion in Ireland was soon quelled; the
nightly scouring of our county ceased; the poor people returned to
their duty and their homes; the occupation of upstart and ignorant
associators ceased, and their consequence sunk at once. Things and
persons settled to their natural level. The influence of men of
property, and birth, and education, and character, once more prevailed.
The spirit of party ceased to operate: my neighbours wakened, as if
from a dream, and wondered at the strange injustice, with which I had
been treated.——— Those who had lately been my combined enemies were
disunited, and each was eager to assure me, that he had always been
privately my friend, but that he was compelled to conceal his
sentiments: each exculpated himself, and threw the blame on others: all
apologized to me, and professed to be my most devoted humble servants.
My popularity, my power, and my prosperity, were now at their zenith,
unfortunately for me: because my adversity had not lasted long enough
to form and season my character. I had been driven to exertion by a
mixture of pride and generosity: my understanding being uncultivated, I
had acted from the virtuous impulse of the moment, but never from
rational motive, which alone can be permanent in its operation. When
the spur of the occasion pressed upon me no longer, I relapsed into my
former inactivity. When the great interests and strong passions, by
which I had been impelled to exertion, subsided, all other feelings,
and all less objects, seemed stale, flat, and unprofitable. For the
tranquillity, which I was now left to enjoy, I had no taste; it
appeared to me a dead calm, most spiritless and melancholy.
I remember hearing, some years afterwards, a Frenchman, who had
been in imminent danger of being guillotined by Robespierre, and who,
at last, was one of those who arrested the tyrant, declare, that when
the bustle and horrour of the revolution were over, he could hardly
keep himself awake; and that he thought it very insipid to live in
quiet with his wife and family. He further summed up the catalogue of
Robespierre's crimes, by exclaiming, "d'ailleurs c'etoit ungrand
philantrope!" I am not conscious of any disposition to cruelty, and I
heard this man's speech with disgust; yet, upon a candid
self-examination, I must confess, that I have felt, though from
different causes, some degree of what he described. Perhaps ennui may
have had a share in creating revolutions. A French author pronounces
ennui to be "a moral indigestion, caused by a monotony of situations!"
I had no wife or family to make domestic life agreeable; nor was I
inclined to a second marriage, my first had proved so unfortunate, and
the recollection of my disappointment with Lady Geraldine was so
recent. Even the love of power no longer acted upon me: my power was
now undisputed. My jealousy and suspicions of my agent, Mr. M'Leod,
were about this time completely conquered, by his behaviour at a
general election. I perceived, that he had no underhand design upon my
boroughs; and that he never attempted or wished to interfere in my
affairs, except at my particular desire. My confidence in him became
absolute and unbounded; but this was really a misfortune to me, for it
became the cause of my having still less to do. I gave up all business,
and from all manner of trouble I was now free: yet I became more and
more unhappy, and my nervous complaints returned. I was not aware, that
I was taking the very means to increase my own disease. The
philosophical Dr. Cullen observes, that
"Whatever aversion to application of any kind may appear in
hypochondriacs, there is nothing more pernicious to them than absolute
idleness, or a vacancy from all earnest pursuit. It is owing to wealth
admitting of indolence, and leading to the pursuit of transitory and
unsatisfying amusements, or exhausting pleasures only, that the present
times exhibit to us so many instances of hypochondriacism."
I fancied that change of air and change of place would do me good;
and, as it was fine summer weather, I projected various parties of
pleasure. The Giant's Causeway, and the Lake of Killarney, were the
only things I had ever heard mentioned as worth seeing in Ireland. I
suffered myself to be carried into the county of Antrim, and I saw the
Giant's Causeway. From the description given by Dr. Hamilton of some of
these wonders of nature, the reader may judge how much I ought to have
been astonished and delighted.
In the bold promontory of Bengore, you behold, as you look up from
the sea, a gigantic colonnade of basaltes, supporting a black mass of
irregular rock, over which rises another range of pillars, "forming
altogether a perpendicular height of one hundred and seventy feet, from
the base of which the promontory, covered over with rock and grass,
slopes down to the sea, for the space of two hundred feet more; making,
in all, a mass of near four hundred feet in height, which, in the
beauty and variety of its colouring, in elegance and novelty of
arrangement, and in the extraordinary magnificence of its objects,
cannot be rivalled."
Yet I was seized with a fit of yawning, as I sat in my
pleasure-boat, to admire this sublime spectacle. I looked at my watch,
observed that we should be late for dinner, and grew impatient to be
rowed back to the place where we were to dine: not that I was hungry,
but I wanted to be again set in motion. Neither science nor taste
expanded my view; and I saw nothing worthy of my admiration, or capable
of giving me pleasure. The watching a straw floating down the tide was
the only amusement I recollect to have enjoyed upon this excursion.
I was assured, however, by Lady Ormsby, that I could not help being
enchanted with the lake of Killarney. The party was arranged by this
lady, who, having the preceding summer seen me captivated by Lady
Geraldine, and pitying my disappointment, had formed the obliging
design of restoring my spirits, and marrying me to one of her near
relations. She calculated, that, as I had been charmed by Lady
Geraldine's vivacity, I must be enchanted with the fine spirits of Lady
Jocunda Lawler. So far were the thoughts of marriage from my
imagination, I only was sorry to find a young lady smuggled into our
party, because I was afraid she would be troublesome: but I resolved to
be quite passive upon all occasions, where attentions to the fair sex
are sometimes expected.
My arm, or my hand, or my assistance, in any manner, I was
determined not to offer: the lounging indifference, which some
fashionable young men affect towards ladies, I really felt; and,
besides, nobody minds unmarried women! This fashion was most convenient
to my indolence. In my state of torpor I was not, however, long left in
peace. Lady Jocunda was a high-bred romp, who made it a rule to say and
do whatever she pleased. In a hundred indirect ways I was called upon
to admire her charming spirits.
I hated to be called upon to admire any thing. The rattling voice,
loud laughter, flippant wit, and hoyden gaiety of Lady Jocunda,
disgusted me beyond expression. A thousand times on the journey I
wished myself quietly asleep in my own castle. Arrived at Killarney,
such blowing of horns, such boating, such seeing of prospects, such
prosing of guides, all telling us what to admire. Then such
exclamations, and such clambering. I was walked and talked till I was
half dead. I wished the rocks, and the hanging woods, and the glens,
and the water-falls, and the arbutus, and the myrtles, and the upper
and lower lakes, and the islands, and Mucruss, and Mucruss Abbey, and
the purple mountain, and the eagle's nest, and the grand Turk, and the
lights, and the shades,
and the echoes, and, above all, the Lady Jocunda, fairly at the
A nobleman in the neighbourhood had the politeness to invite us to
see a stag hunt upon the water. The account of this diversion, which I
had met with in my guide to the lakes [Note: The stag is roused, from
the woods that skirt Glenaa mountain, in which there are many of these
animals that run wild; the bottoms and sides of the mountains are
covered with woods, and the deellvities are so long and steep, that no
horse could either make his way to the bottom, or climb, these
impracticable hills. It is impossible to follow the hunt, either by
land or on horseback. The spectator enjoys the diversion on the lake,
where the cry of hounds, the harmony of the horn, resounding from the
hills on every side, the universal shouts of joy along the valleys and
mountains, which are often lined with foot people, who come in vast
numbers to partake and assist at the diversion, roecho from hill to
hill, and give the highest glee and satisfaction, that the imagination
can conceive possible to arise from the chase, and perhaps can nowhere
be enjoyed with that spirit and sublime elevation of soul, that a
thorough bred sportsman feels at a stag-hunt on the lake of Killarney.
There is, however, one imminent danger, which awaits him, that in his
raptures and ecstasies he may forget himself, and jump out of the boat.
When hotly pursued, and weary with the constant difficulty of making
his way with his ramified antlers through the woods, the stag,
terrified by the cry of his open-mouthed pursuers, almost at his heels,
now looks towards the lake as his last resource———then pauses and looks
upwards; but the hills are insurmountable, and the woods refuse to
shelter him———the hounds roar with redoubled fury at the sight of their
victim———he plunges into the lake. He escapes but for a few minutes
from one merciless enemy to fall into the hands of another——— the
shouting boatmen surround their victim, throw cords round his majestic
antlers———he is haltered and dragged to shore; while the big tears roll
down his face, and his heaving sides and panting flanks speak his
agonies, the keen searching knife drinks his blood, and savages exult
at his expiring groan.], promised well. I consented to stay another
day: that day I really was revived by this spectacle, for it was new.
The sublime and the beautiful had no charms for me: novelty was the
only power, that could waken me from my lethargy; perhaps there was in
this spectacle something more than novelty. The Romans had recourse to
shows of wild beasts and gladiators to relieve their ennui. At all
events, I was kept awake this whole morning, though I cannot say, that
I felt in such ecstasies, as to be in any imminent danger of jumping
out of the boat.
Of our journey back from Killarney I remember nothing, but my being
discomfited by Lady Jocunda's practical jests and overpowering gayety.
When she addressed herself to me, my answers were as constrained and as
concise as possible; and, as I was afterwards told, I seemed, at the
close of my reply to each interrogative of her ladyship's, to answer
with Oden's prophetess,
"Now my weary lips I close; Leave me, leave me to repose." This
she never did till we parted; and at that moment, I believe, my
satisfaction appeared so visible, that Lady Ormsby gave up all hopes of
me. Arrived at my own castle, I threw myself on my bed quite exhausted.
I took three hours' additional sleep every day, for a week, to recruit
my strength, and rest my nerves, after all that I had been made to
suffer by this young lady's prodigious animal spirits.
I could now boast that I had travelled all over Ireland, from north to
south, but, in fact, I had seen nothing of the country, or of its
inhabitants. In these commodious parties of pleasure, every thing had
been provided to prevent the obstacles, that roused my faculties.
Accustomed by this time to the Hibernian tone, I fancied that I knew
all that could be known of the Irish character; familiarized with the
comic expressions of the lower class of people, they amused me no
longer. On this journey, however, I recollect making one observation,
and once laughing at what I thought a practical bull. We saw a number
of labourers at work in a bog, on a very hot day, with a fire lighted
close to them. When I afterwards mentioned, before Mr. M'Leod, the
circumstance by which I had been so much amused, he informed me, that
the Irish labourers often light fires, that the smoke may drive away or
destroy those myriads of tiny insects, called midges, by which they
are often tormented so much, that, without this remedy, they would, in
hot and damp weather, be obliged to abandon their work. Had I been
sufficiently active during my journey to pen a journal, I should
certainly, without further inquiry, have noted down, that the Irish
labourers always light fires in the hottest weather to cool themselves,
and thus I should have added one more to the number of cursory
travellers, who expose their own ignorance, whilst they attempt to
ridicule local customs, of which they have not inquired the cause or
discovered the utility.
A foreigner, who has lately written letters on England, has given a
laughable instance of this promptitude of misapprehension.
He says, he had heard much of the venality of British parliament,
but he had no idea of the degree to which it extended, till he actually
was an eye-witness of the scene. The moment the minister entered the
house, all the members ran about exclaiming, Places! places! which
means, Give us places———give us places.
My heavy indolence fortunately preserved me from exposing myself,
like these volatile tourists. I was at least secure from the danger of
making mistakes in telling what I never saw.
As to the mode of living of the Irish, their domestic comforts, or
grievances; their habits and opinions; their increasing or decreasing
ambition to better their condition; the proportion between the
population and the quantity of land cultivated, or capable of
cultivation; the difference between the profits of the husbandman and
the artificer; the relation between the nominal wages of labour, and
the actual command over the necessaries of life: these were questions
wholly foreign to my thoughts, and, at this period of my life,
absolutely beyond the range of my understanding. I had travelled
through my own country, without making even a single remark upon the
various degrees of industry and civilization visible in different parts
of the kingdom. In fact, it never occurred to me, that it became a
British nobleman to have some notion of the general state of that
empire, in the legislation of which he has a share; nor had I the
slightest suspicion, that political economy was a study requisite or
suitable to my rank in life or situation in society. Satisfied with
having seen all that is worth seeing in Ireland, the Giant's Causeway
and the Lake of Killarney, I was now impatient to return to England.
During the rebellion, I could not, with honour, desert my post; but now
that tranquillity was apparently restored, I determined to quit a
country, of which my partial knowledge had in every respect been
unfortunate. This resolution of mine to leave Ireland threw Ellinor
into despair, and she used all her eloquence to dissuade me from the
journey. I was quite surprised by the agony of grief, into which she
was thrown by the dread of my departure. I felt astonished, that one
human being could be so much attached to another, and I really envied
her sensibility. My new man, Joe Kelly, also displayed much reluctance
at the thoughts of leaving his native country; and this sentiment
inclined Ellinor to think more favourably of him, though she could not
quite forgive him for being a Kelly of Ballymuddy. By various petty
attentions, this man contrived to persuade me of the sincerity of his
attachment: chiefly by the art of appearing to be managed by me in all
things, he insensibly obtained power over my pride; and, by saving me
daily trouble, secured considerable influence over my indolence. More
than any one whom I had ever seen, he had the knack of seeming
half-witted: too simple to overreach, and yet sufficiently acute and
droll to divert his master. I liked to have him about me, as
uncultivated kings like to have their fools. One of our ancient
monarchs is said to have given three parishes to his joculator; I gave
only three farms to mine. I had a sort of mean pride in making my
favourite an object of envy: besides, I fell into the common mistake of
the inexperienced great, who fancy that attachment can be purchased,
and that gratitude can be secured, by favours disproportioned to
deserts. Joe Kelly, by sundry manoeuvres too minute for description,
contrived to make me delay, from day to day, the preparations for my
journey to England. From week to week it was put off, till the autumn
was far advanced. At length Kelly had nothing left to suggest, but that
it would be best to wait for answers from my English steward, to the
letters, that had been written to inquire whether every thing was ready
for my reception. During this interval, I avoided every human creature
(except Joe Kelly), and was in great danger of becoming a misanthrope
from mere indolence. I did not hate my fellow-creatures, but I dreaded
the trouble of talking to them. My only recreation, at this period, was
sauntering out in the evening beside the sea shore. It was my regular
practice to sit down upon a certain large stone, at the foot of a rock,
to watch the ebbing of the tide. There was something in the
contemplation of the sea and of the tides, which was fascinating to my
mind. I could sit and look at the ocean whole hours together; for,
without any exertion of my own, I beheld a grand operation of nature,
accompanied with a sort of vast monotony of motion and sound, which
lulled me into reverie.
Late one evening, as I was seated on my accustomed stone, my
attention was slightly diverted from the sea by the sight of a man
descending the cragg above me, in rather a perilous manner. With one
end of rope coiled round his body, and the other fastened to a stake
driven into the summit of the rock, he let himself half way down the
terrible height. One foot now rested on a projecting point, one hand
held the rope, and hanging thus midway in the air, he seemed busy
searching in the crevices of the rock for the eggs of water fowl. This
dangerous trade I had seen frequently plied on this coast, so that I
should scarcely have regarded the man, if he had not turned, from time
to time, as if to watch me. When he saw that he had fixed my eye, he
threw down, as I thought, a white stone, which fell nearly at my feet.
I stooped to examine it; the man waited till he saw it in my hands,
then coiled himself swiftly up his rope to the summit of the rock, and
quickly disappeared. I found a paper tied round the stone, and on this
paper, in a hand-writing that seemed to be feigned, was written these
words:——— "Your life and caracter, one or t'other——— say both, is in
denger. Don't be walking here any more late in the evening, near them
caves, nor don't go near the old abbey any time———And don't be trusting
to Joe Kelly any way———Lave the kingdom entirely; the wind sarves.
"So prays your true well-wisher.
P. S. "Lave the castle the morrow, and say nothing of this to Joe
Kelly, or you'll repent when it's all over wid you."
I was startled a little by this letter at first, but in half an
hour I relapsed into my apathy. Many gentlemen in the country had
received anonymous letters: I had been tired of hearing of them during
the rebellion. This, I thought, might be only a quiz, or a trick to
hurry me out of the kingdom, contrived-by some of those who desired my
absence. In short, the labour of thinking about the matter fatigued me.
I burned the letter as soon as I got home, and resolved not to puzzle
or plague myself about it any more. My steward's answer came the next
morning from England: Kelly made no difficulty, when I ordered him to
be ready to set out in three days. This confirmed me in my opinion,
that the letter was malicious, or a jest. Mr. M'Leod came to take leave
of me. I mentioned the circumstance to him slightly, and in general
terms: he looked very serious, and said——— "All these things are
little in themselves, but are to be heeded, as marking the unsettled
minds of the people———straws, that show which way the wind blows. I
apprehend we shall have a rough winter again, though we have had so
still a summer. The people about us are too hush and too prudent———it
is not their natures———there's something contriving among them: they
don't break one another's heads at fairs as they used to do; they keep
from whiskey; there must be some strong motive working this change upon
them ———good or bad, 'tis hard to say which. My lord, if we consider
the condition of these poor people, and if we consider the causes———"
"Oh! for Heaven's sake, do not let us consider any more about it
now; I am more than half asleep already," said I, yawning, "and our
considering about it can do no good, to me at least; for you know I am
going out of the kingdom; and when I am gone, M'Leod, you, in whom I
have implicit confidence, must manage as you always used to do, you
know, and as well as you can."
"True," said M'Leod calmly, "that is what I shall do, indubitably;
for that is my duty; and, since your lordship has implicit confidence
in me, my pleasure. I wish your lordship a good night and a good
"I shall not set out in the morning———not till the day after to
morrow, I believe," said I, "for I feel consumedly tired to night: they
have plagued me about so many things to day; so much business always
before one can get away from a place; and then Joe Kelly has no head."
"Have a care he has not too much head, my lord, as your anonymous
correspondent hints———he may be right there———I told you from the first
I would not go security for his honesty; and where there is not strict
honesty, I conceive there ought not to be implicit confidence."
"O, hang it! as to honesty, they are none of them honest; I know
that: but would you have me plague myself till I find a strictly honest
servant? Joe's as honest as his neighbours, I dare say: the fellow
diverts me, and is attached to me, and that's all I can expect. I must
submit to be cheated, as all men of large fortunes are, more or less."
Mr. M'Leod listened with stubborn patience, and replied, That if I
thought it necessary to submit to be cheated, he could make no
objection, except where it might come under his cognizance, and then he
must take the liberty to remonstrate, or to give up his agency to some
of the many, who could play the part better than he could of the dog
in the fable, pretending to guard his master's meat.
The cold ungracious integrity of this man, even in my own cause, at
once excited my spleen, and commanded my respect. After shaking my leg
as I sat for two minutes in silence, I called after M'Leod, who moved
towards the door,
"Why, what can I do, Mr. M'Leod? What would you have me do? Now,
don't give me one of your dry answers, but let me have your notions as
a friend: you know, M'Leod, I cannot help having the most perfect
confidence in you."
He bowed, but rather stiffly.
"I am proud to hear you cannot help that, my lord," said he. "As to
a friend, I never considered myself upon that footing till now: but as
you at present honour me so far as to ask my counsel, I am free to give
it. Part with Joe Kelly to night; and whether you go or stay, you are
safer without him. Joe's a rogue: he can do no good, and may do harm."
"Then," said I, "you really are frightened by this anonymous
"Cannot a man take prudent precautions without he is frightened?"
"But have you any particular reason to believe———in short to———to
think, there can be any real danger of my life?"
"No particular reason, my lord; but the general reasons I have
mentioned, the symptoms among the common people lead me to apprehend
there may be fresh risings of the people soon, and you, as a man of
fortune and rank, must be in danger. Captain Hard-castle says, that he
has had informations of seditious meetings; but he being a prejudiced
man, I don't trust altogether to what he says."
"Trust altogether to what he says!" exclaimed I: "no, surely; for
my part, I do not trust a word he says: and his giving it as his
opinion, that the people are ill-inclined, would decide me to believe
the exact contrary."
"It would hardly be safe to judge that way either," said M'Leod;
"for that method of judging by contraries might make another's folly
the master of one's own sense."
"I don't comprehend you now. Safe way of judging or not, Captain
Hardcastle's opinion shall never lead mine. When I asked for your
advice, Mr. M'Leod, it was because I have a respect for your
understanding; but I cannot defer to Captain Hardcastle's. I am now
decided in my own opinion, that the people in this neighbourhood are
perfectly well disposed: and as to this anonymous letter, it is a mere
trick, depend upon it, my good sir. I am surprised that a man of your
capacity should be the dupe of such a thing. I should not be surprised
if Hardcastle himself, or some of his people, wrote it."
"I should," said M'Leod, coolly.
"You should!" cried I, warmly. "Why so? And why do you pronounce so
decidedly, my good friend? Have not I the same means of judging as you
have? unless, indeed, you have some private reason with which I am
unacquainted. Perhaps," cried I, starting half up from the sofa on
which I lay, charmed with a bright idea, which had just struck me,
"perhaps, M'Leod, you wrote the letter yourself for a jest. Did you?"
"That's a question, my lord," said M'Leod, growing suddenly red,
and snatching up his hat with a quicker motion than I ever saw from him
before, "That's question, my lord, which I must take leave not to
answer: a question, give me leave to add, my Lord Glenthorn," continued
he, speaking in a broader Scotch accent than I had ever heard from him
before, "which I should knock my equal doon for putting to me. A
M'Leod, my lord, in jest or in earnest, would scorn to write to any man
breathing that letter, to which he would not put his name: and more, a
M'Leod would scorn to write or to say that thing, to which he ought not
to put his name. Your humble servant, my Lord Glenthorn," said he, and,
making a hasty bow, departed.
I called after him, and even followed him to the head of the
stairs, to explain and apologize; but in vain: I never saw him angry
"It's very weel, my lord, it's very weel; if you say you meant
nothing offensive, it's very weel; but, if you think fit, my lord, we
will sleep upon it before we talk any more. I am a wee bit warmer than
I could wish, and your lordship has the advantage of me, in being cool.
A M'Leod is apt to grow warm, when he's touched on the point of honour;
and there's no wisdom in talking when a man's not his own master."
"My good friend," said I, seizing his hand as he was buttoning up
his coat, "I like you the better for this warmth: but I won't let you
sleep upon your wrath: you must shake hands with me before that
hall-door is opened to you."
"Then so I do, for there's no standing against this frankness: and
to be as frank with you, my lord, I was wrong myself to be so testy———I
ask pardon too. A M'Leod never thought it a disgrace to crave a pardon
when he was wrong."
We shook hands, and parted better friends than ever. I spoke the
exact truth when I said, that I liked him the better for his warmth:
his anger wakened me, and gave me something to think of, and some
emotion for a few minutes. Joe Kelly presently afterwards came, with
the simplest face imaginable, to inquire what I had determined about
"To put it off till the day after to morrow," said I. "Light me to
He obeyed, but observed, that "it was not his fault now if there
was puttings-off; for his share every thing was ready, and he was
willing and ready to follow me, at a moment's warning, to the world's
end, as he had a good right to do, let alone inclination; for, parting
me, he could never be right in himself; and though loth to part his
country, he had rather part that nor [Note: Than] me."
Then, without dwelling upon these expressions of attachment, he
changed to a merry mood, and, by his drolleries, diverted me all the
time I was going to bed, and at last fairly talked me asleep.
When the first gray light of morning began to make objects
indistinctly visible, I thought I saw the door of my apartment open
very softly. I was broad awake, and kept my eyes fixed upon it———it
opened by very slow degrees; my head was so full of visions, that I
expected a ghost to enter———but it was only Ellinor.
"Ellinor," cried I, "is it you, at this time in the morning?"
"Hush! hush!" said she, shutting the door with great precaution,
and then coming on tiptoe close to my bed-side; "for the love of God
speak softly, and make no stir to wake them that's asleep near and too
near you. It's unknown to all that I come up; for, may be, when them
people are awake and about, I might not get the opportunity to speak,
or they might guess I knew something by my looks."
Her looks were full of terrour———I was all amazement and
expectation. Before she would say a word more, she searched the
closets carefully, and looked behind the tapestry, as if she
apprehended that she might be overheard; satisfied that we were alone,
she went on speaking, but still in a voice that, with my utmost
strained attention, I could but just hear.
"As you hope to live and breathe," said she, "never go again, after
nightfall, any time walking in that lone place by the sea-shore. It's a
mercy you escaped as you did, but if you go again you'll never come
back alive———for never would they get you to do what they want, and to
be as wicked as themselves———the wicked villains!"
"Who?" said I———"What wicked villains? I do not understand you; are
you in your right senses?"
"That I am, and wish you was as much in yours; but it's time yet,
by the blessing of God! What wicked villains am I talking of? Of three
hundred that have sworn to make you their captain, or, in case you
refuse, to have your life this night. What villains am I talking of? Of
him, the wickedest of all, who is now living in the very house with
you, that is now lying in the very next room to you."
"That same———from the first minute I saw him in the castle, I
should have hated him, but for his causing you to put off the journey
to England. I never could abide him; but that blinded me, or I am sure
I would have found him out long ago."
"And what have you found out concerning him?"
"That he is (speaking very low) a united man, and stirring up the
rubbles again here; and they have their meetings at night in the great
cave, where the smugglers used to hide formerly, under the big rock,
opposite the old abbey———and there's a way up into the abbey, that you
used to be so fond of walking to, dear."
"Good Heavens! can this be true!"
"True it is, and too true, dear."
"But how did you find all this out, Ellinor?"
"It was none of I found it, nor ever could any such things have
come into my head———but it pleased God to make the discovery of all by
one of the childer———my own grandson———the boy you gave the gun to,
long and long ago, to shoot them rabbits. He was after a hare
yesterday, and it took him a chase over that mountain, and down it went
and took shelter in the cave, and in went the boy after it, and as he
was groping about, he lights on an old great coat, and if he did he
brought it home with him, and was showing it, as I was boiling the
potatoes for their dinner yesterday, to his father forenent me, and
turning the pockets inside out, what should come up but the broken head
of a pike; then he sarches in the other pocket, and finds a paper
written all over———I could not read it——— thank God, I never could read
none of them wicked things, nor could the boy———by very great luck he
could not, being no scholar, or it would be all over the country before
"Well, well! but what was in the paper after all? Did any body read
"Ay, did they———that is, Christy read it——— none but Christy———but
he would not tell us what was in it———but said it was no matter, and
he'd not be wasting his time reading an old song———so we thought no
more, and he sent the boy up to the castle with a bill for smith's
work, as soon as we had cat the potatoes, and I thought no more about
any thing's being going wrong, no more than a child; and in the
evening Christy said he must go to the funeral of a neighbour, and
should not be home till early in the morning, may be; and it's not two
hours since he came home and wakened me, and told me where he had been,
which was not to the funeral at all, but to the cave where the coat was
found; and he put the coat and the broken head of the pike, and the
papers, all in the pockets, just as we found it in the cave———and the
paper was a list of the names of them rubbles that met there, and a
letter telling how they would make Lord Glenthorn their captain, or
have his life; this was what made Christy to try and find out more———so
he hid himself in a hole in the side of the cave, and built hisself up
with rubbish, only just leaving a place for hisself to breathe———and
there he staid till nightfall, and then on till midnight, God help us!
So, sure enough, them villains all come filling fast into the cave. He
had good courage, God bless him for it———but he always had———and there
he heard and saw all——— and this was how they were talking:———First,
one began by saying, how they must not be delaying longer to show
themselves; they must make a rising in the country———then named the
numbers in other parts that would join, and that they would not be put
down so asy as afore, for they would have good leaders——— then some
praised you greatly, and said they were sure you favoured them in your
heart, by all the ill-will you got in the county the time of the last
'ruction. But, again, others said you was milk and water, and did not
go far enough, and never would, and that it was not in you, and that
you was a sleepy man, and not the true thing at all, and neither beef
nor vael. Again, thim that were for you spoke and said you would show
yourself soon———and the others made reply, and observed you must now
spake out, or never spake more; you must either head 'em, or be tramped
under foot along with the rest, so it did not signify talking, and Joey
Kelly should not be fribbling any more about it; and it was a wonder,
said they, he was not the night at the meeting. And what was this about
your being going off for England———what would they do when you was
gone, with M'Leod the Scotchman, to come in over them again agent, who
was another guess sort of man from you, and never slept at all, and
would scent 'em out, and have his corps after 'em, and that once
M'Leod was master, there would be no making any head again his head;
so, not to be tiring you too much with all they said, backward and
forward, one that was a captain, or something that way, took the word,
and bid 'em all hold their peace, for they did not know what they was
talking on, and said that Joey Kelly and he had settled it all, and
that the going to England was put off by Joe, and all a sham, and that
when you would be walking out to morrow at nightfall, in those lone
places by the sea-side or the abbey, he and Joe was to seize upon you,
and when you would be coming back near the abbey, to have you down
through the trap-door into the cave, and any way they would swear you
to join and head them, and if you would not, out with you and shove you
into the sea, and no more about it, for it would be give out you drown'
yourself in a fit of the melancholic lunacy, which none would question,
and it would be proved too you made away wid yourself, by your hat and
gloves lying on the bank———Lord save us! What are you laughing at in
that, when it is truth every word, and Joe Kelly was to find the body,
after a great search. Well, again, say you would swear and join them,
and head them, and do whatever they pleased, still that would not save
you in the end, for they would quarrel with you at the first turn,
because you would not be ruled by them as captain, and then they would
shoot or pike you (God save the mark, dear), and give the castle to Joe
Kelly, and the plunder all among 'em entirely. So it was all laid out,
and they are all to meet in the cave to-morrow evening——— they will go
along, bearing a funeral, seemingly, to the abbey ground. And now you
know the whole truth, and the Lord preserve you! and what will be done?
My poor head has no more power to think for you no more than an
infant's, and I'm all in a tremble ever since I heard it, and afraid to
meet any one lest they should see all in my face. Oh, what will become
of yees now———they will be the death of you, whatever you do!"
By the time she came to these last words, Ellinor's fears had so
much overpowered her, that she cried and sobbed continually,
repeating——— "What will be done now! What will be done! They'll surely
be the death of you, whatever you do." As to me, the urgency of the
danger wakened my faculties; I rose instantly, wrote a note to Mr.
M'Leod, desiring to see him immediately on particular business. Lest my
note should by any accident be intercepted or opened, I couched it in
the most general and guarded terms, and added a request, that he would
bring his last settlement of accounts with him; so that it was natural
to suppose my business with him was of a pecuniary nature. I gradually
quieted poor Ellinor by my own appearance of composure; I assured her,
that we should take our measures so as to prevent all mischief
———thanked her for the timely warning she had given me———advised her to
go home before she was observed, and charged her not to speak to any
one this day of what had happened. I desired that as soon as she should
see Mr. M'Leod coming through the porter's gate, she would send Christy
after him to the castle, to get his bill paid; so that I might then,
without exciting suspicion, talk to him in private, and we might learn
from his own lips the particulars of what he saw and heard in the
Ellinor returned home, promising to obey me exactly, especially as
to my injunction of secrecy———to make sure of herself she said "she
would go to bed straight, and have the rheumatism very bad all day, so
as not to be in a way to talk to none who would call in." The note to
M'Leod was dispatched by one of my grooms, and I was now left at full
leisure to finish my morning's nap.
Joe Kelly presented himself at the usual hour in my room; I turned
my head away from him, and, in a sleepy tone, muttered that I had
passed a bad night, and should breakfast in my own apartment.
Some time afterwards Mr. M'Leod arrived, with an air of sturdy
pride, and produced his accounts, of which I suffered him to talk, till
the servant who waited upon us had left the room; I then explained the
real cause of my sending for him so suddenly. I was rather vexed, that
I could not produce in him, by my wonderful narrative, any visible
signs of agitation or astonishment. He calmly observed——— "We are
lucky to have so many hours of day-light before us. The first thing we
have to do is to keep the old woman from talking."
I answered for Ellinor.
"Then the next thing is for me, who am a magistrate, to take the
examinations of her son, and see if he will swear to the same that he
Christy was summoned into our presence, and he came with his bill
for smith's work done; so that the servants could have no suspicion of
what was going forward. His examinations were taken and sworn to in a
few minutes; his evidence was so clear and direct, that there was no
possibility of doubting the truth. The only variation between his story
and his mother's report to me was as to the numbers he had seen in the
cavern——— her fears had turned thirteen into three hundred.
Christy assured us, that there were but thirteen at this meeting,
but that they said there were three hundred ready to join them.
"You were a very bold fellow, Christy," said I, "to hazard yourself
in the cave with these villains; if you had been found out in your
hiding-place, they would have certainly murdered you."
"True for me," said Christy; "but a man must die some way, please
your honour; and where's the way I could die better? Sure, I could not
but remember how good you was to me that time I was shot, and all you
suffered for it! It would have been bad indeed if I would stay quiet,
and let 'em murder you after all. No, no, Christy O'Donoghoe would not
do that———any way. I hope, if there's to be any fighting, your honour
would not wrong me so much as not to give me a blunderbush, and let me
fight a bit along wid the rest for yees."
"We are not come to that yet, my good fellow," said Mr. M'Leod, who
went on methodically; "if you go on precipitately, you will spoil all.
Go home to your forge, and work as usual, and leave the rest to us; and
I promise, that you shall have your share if there is any fighting."
Very reluctantly Christy obeyed. Mr. M'Leod then deliberately
settled our plan of operations. I had a fishing-lodge at a little
distance, and a pleasure-boat there: to this place M'Leod was to go, as
if on a fishing-party with his nephew, a young man, who often went
there to fish. They were to carry with them some yeomen in coloured
clothes, as their attendants, and more were to come as their guests to
dinner. At the lodge there was a small four-pounder, which had been
frequently used in times of public rejoicing; a naval victory,
announced in the papers of the day, afforded a plausible pretence for
bringing it out. We were aware, that the rebels would be upon the
watch, and therefore took every precaution to prevent their suspecting,
that we had made any discovery. Our fishing-party was to let the
mock-funeral pass them quietly, to ask some trifling questions, and to
give money for pipes and tobacco. Towards evening the boat, with the
four-pounder on board, was to come under shore, and at a signal given
by me was to station itself opposite to the mouth of the cave.
At the same signal a trusty man on the watch was to give notice to
a party hid in the abbey, to secure the trap-door above. The signal was
to be my presenting a pistol to the captain of the rebels, who intended
to meet and seize me on my return from my evening's walk. Mr. M'Leod at
first objected to my hazarding a meeting with this man; but I insisted
upon it, and I was not sorry to give a public proof of my loyalty, and
my personal courage. As to Joe Kelly, I also undertook to secure him.
Mr. M'Leod left me, and went to conduct his fishing-party. As soon
as he was gone I sent for Joe Kelly to play on the flute to me. I
guarded my looks and voice as well as I could, and he did not see or
suspect any thing———he was too full of his own schemes. To disguise his
own plots he affected great gayety, and to divert me, alternately
played on the flute, and told me good stories all the morning. I would
not let him leave me the whole day. Towards evening I began to talk of
my journey to England, proposed setting out the next morning, and sent
Kelly to look for some things, in what was called the strong closet———a
closet with a stout door, and iron-barred windows, out of which no
mortal could make his escape. Whilst he was busy searching in a drawer,
I shut the door upon him, locked it, and put the key into my pocket. As
I left the castle, I said in a jesting tone to some of the servants who
met me———"I have locked Joe Kelly up in the strong room; if he calls to
you to let him out, never mind him; he will not get out till I come
home from my walk———I owe him this trick." The servants thought it was
some jest, and I passed on with my loaded pistols in my pocket. I
walked for some time by the sea-shore, without seeing any one. At last
I espied our fishing-boat, just peering out, and then keeping close to
the shore. I was afraid that the party would be impatient at not seeing
my signal, and would come out to the mouth of the cave, and show
themselves too soon. If Mr. M'Leod had not been their commander, this,
as I afterwards learned, would have infallibly happened; but he was so
punctual, cool, and peremptory, that he restrained the rest of the
party, declaring that, if it were till midnight, he would wait till the
signal agreed upon was given. At last I saw a man creeping out of the
cave———I sat down upon my wonted stone, and yawned as naturally as I
could; then began to describe figures in the sand with my stick, as I
was wont to do, still watching the image of the man in the water as he
approached. He was muffled up in a frieze great coat; he sauntered
past, and went on to a turn in the road, as if looking for some one. I
knew well whom he was looking for. As no Joe Kelly came to meet him, he
returned in a few minutes towards me. I had my hand upon the pistol in
"You are my Lard Glenthorn I presume," said he.
"Then you will come with me, if you plase, my lord," said he.
"Make no resistance, or I will shoot you on the spot," cried I,
presenting my pistol with one hand, and seizing him by the collar with
the other. I dragged him (for I had force enough, now my energy was
roused) to the spot appointed for my signal. The boat appeared opposite
the mouth of the cave. Every thing answered my expectation.
"There," said I, pointing to the boat, "there are my armed friends:
they have a four-pounder———the match is ready lighted——— your plot is
discovered. Go in to your confederates in that cave; tell them so. The
trap-door is secured above; there is no escape for them: bid them
surrender: if they attempt to rush out, the grape-shot will pour upon
them, and they are dead men."
I cannot say, that my rebel captain showed himself as stout as I
could have wished, for the honour of my victory. The surprise
disconcerted him totally: I felt him tremble under my grasp. He obeyed
my orders——— went into the cave to bring his associates to submission.
His parley with them, however, was not immediately successful: I
suppose there were some braver fellows than he amongst them, whose
counsel might be "for open war." In the meantime our yeomen landed, and
surrounded the cave on all sides, so that there was no possibility of
escape for those within. At last they yielded themselves our prisoners.
I am sorry I have no bloody battle for the entertainment of such of my
readers as like horrours; but so it was, that they yielded without a
drop of blood being spilled, or a shot fired. We let them out of their
hiding place one by one, searching each as he issued forth, to be
secure that they had no concealed weapons. After they had given up the
arms which were concealed in the cave, the next question was, what to
do with our prisoners. As it was now late, and they could not be all
examined and committed with due legal form to the county gaol, Mr.
M'Leod advised, that we should detain them in the place they had chosen
for themselves till morning. Accordingly, in the cave we again stowed
them, and left a guard at each entrance, to secure them for the night.
We returned to the castle. I stopped at the gate to tell Ellinor and
Christy that I was safe. They were sitting up, watching for the news.
The moment Ellinor saw me, she clasped her hands in an ecstasy of joy,
but could not speak. Christy was voluble in his congratulations; but,
in the midst of his rejoicing, he could not help reproaching me with
forgetting to give him the blunderbush, and to let him have a bit of
the fighting. "Upon my honour," said I, "there was none, or you should
have been there."
"Oh, don't be plaguing and gathering round him now," said Ellinor;
"sure, he is tired, and look how hot———no wonder———let him get home and
to bed: I'll run and warm it with the pan myself, and not be trusting
She would not be persuaded; that I did not desire to have my bed
warmed, but, by some short cut, got in before us. On entering the
castle hall, I found her, with the warming-pan in her hand, held back
by the inquisitive servants, who were all questioning her about the
news, of which she was the first; and not very intelligible enunciator.
I called for bread and water for my prisoner in the strong-room,
and then I heard various exclamations of wonder.
"Ay, it is all true! it is no jest! Joe is at the bottom of all. I
never liked Joe Kelly ———I always knew Joe was not the right thing
———and I always said so; and I, and I, and I. And it was but last week
I was saying so: and it was but yesterday I said so and so."
I passed through the gossiping crowd with bread and water for my
culprit. M'Leod instantly saw and followed me.
"I will make bold to come with you," said he; "a pent rat's a
I thanked him, and acquiesced; but there was no need for the
precaution. When we opened the door, we found the conscience or
terrour-struck wretch upon his knees, and, in the most abject terms, he
implored our mercy. From the windows of the room, which looked into the
castle yard, he had heard enough to guess all that had happened. I
could not bear to look at him. After I had set down his food, he clung
to my knees, crying and whining in a most unmanly manner. M'Leod, with
indignation, loosened him from me, threw him back, and locked the
"Cowardice and treachery," said he, "usually go together."
"And courage and sincerity," said I. "And now we'll go to supper,
my good friends. I hope you are all as hungry as I am."
I never ate any meal with so much appetite.
"'Tis a pity, my lord," said M'Leod, "but what there was a
conspiracy against you every day of your life, it seems to do you so
"What new wonders? What new misfortunes, Ellinor?" said I, as Ellinor,
with a face of consternation, appeared again in the morning in my room,
just as I was going down to breakfast: "What new misfortunes, Ellinor?"
"Oh! the worst that could befall me!" cried she, wringing her
hands; "the worst, the very worst!———to be the death of my own child!"
said she, with inexpressible horrour. "Oh! save him! save him! for the
love of Heaven, dear, save him! If you don't save him, 'tis I shall be
She was in such agony, that she could not explain herself further
for some minutes.
"It was I gave the information against them all to you. But how
could I ever have thought Owen was one of them? My son, my own son, the
unfortunate cratur; I never thought but what he was with the militia
far away. And how could it ever come into my head, that Owen could
have any hand in a thing of the kind?"
"But I did not see him last night," interrupted I.
"Oh! he was there! One of his own friends, one of the military that
went with you saw him among the prisoners, and came just now to tell me
of it. That Owen should be guilty of the like! Oh! what could have come
over him! He must have been out of his rason. And against you to be
plotting! That's what I never will believe, if even I'd hear it from
himself. But he's among them that were taken last night. And will I
live to see him go to gaol———and will I live to sea ———No, I'd rather
die first, a thousand and a thousand times over. Oh! for mercy's sake!"
said she, dropping on her knees at my feet, "have pity on me, and don't
let the blood of my own child be upon me in my old days."
"What would you have me do, Ellinor?" said I, much moved by her
"There is but one thing to do," said she. "Let him off: sure, a
word from you would be enough for the soldiers that are over them on
guard. And Mr. M'Leod has not yet seen him; and if he was just let
escape, there would be no more about it; and I'd engage he shall fly
the country, the unfortunate cratur! and never trouble you more. This
is all I ask; and sure, dear, you can't refuse it to your own Ellinor;
your old nurse, that carried ye in her arms, and fed ye with her milk,
and watched over ye many's the long night, and loved ye: ay, none ever
loved, or could love ye, so well."
"I am sensible of it; I am grateful," interrupted I: "but what you
ask of me, Ellinor, is impossible———I cannot let him escape; but I will
do my utmost."
"Troth, nothing will save him, if you would not say the word for
him now. Ah! why cannot you let him off then?"
"I should lose my honour; I should lose my character. You know that
I have been accused of favouring the rebels already———you saw the
consequences of my protecting your other son, though he was innocent
and injured, and bore an excellent character."
"Christy; ay, true: but poor Owen, unlucky as he is and misguided,
has a better claim upon you."
"How can that be? Is not the other my foster-brother in the first
"True for him."
"And had not I proofs of his generous conduct and attachment to
"Owen is nat'rally fonder of you by a great deal," interrupted she;
"I'll answer for that."
"What! when he has just been detected in conspiring against my
"That's what I'll never believe," cried Ellinor, vehemently: "that
he might be drawn in may be, when out of his rason——— he was always a
wild boy———to be a united-man, and to hope to get you for his captain,
might be the case, and bad enough that; but jewel, you'll find he did
never conspire against you: I'd lay down my life upon that."
She threw herself again at my feet, and clung to my knees.
"As you hope for mercy yourself in this world, or the world to
come, show some now, and do not be so hard-hearted as to be the death
of both mother and son."
Her supplicating looks and gestures, her words, her tears, moved me
so much, that I was on the point of yielding; but recollecting what was
due to justice and to my own character, with an effort of what I
thought virtuous resolution I repeated,
"It is impossible: my good Ellinor, urge me no farther: ask any
thing else, and it shall be granted, but this is impossible."
As I spoke, I endeavoured to raise her from the ground; but, with
the sudden force of angry despair, she resisted.
"No, you shall not raise me," cried she. "Here let me lie, and
break my heart with your cruelty! 'Tis a judgment upon me———it's a
judgment, and it's fit I should feel it as I do. But you shall feel
too, in spite of your hard heart. Yes, your heart is harder than the
marble: you want the natural touch, you do; for your mother has knelt
at your feet, and you have denied her prayer."
"And what was her prayer? to save the life of your brother."
"My brother! Good heavens! what do I hear!"
"You hear the truth: you hear that I am your lawful mother. Yes,
you are my son. You have forced that secret from me, which I thought to
have carried with me to my grave. And now you know all: and now you
know how wicked I have been, and it was all for you; for you that
refused me the only thing ever I asked, and that, too, in my greatest
distress, when my heart was just breaking: and all this time too,
there's Christy———poor good Christy; he that I've wronged, and robbed
of his rightful inheritance, has been as a son, a dutiful good son to
me, and never did he deny me any thing I could ask, but in you I have
found no touch of tenderness. Then it's fit I should tell you again,
and again, and again, that he who is now slaving at the forge, to give
me the earnings of his labour; he that lives, and has lived all his
days upon potatoes and salt, and is content; he who has the face and
the hands so disguised with the smoke and the black, that yourself
asked him t'other day, did he ever wash his face since he was born———I
tell ye, he it is who should live in this castle, and sleep on that
soft bed, and be lord of all here ———he is the true and real Lord
Glenthorn, and to the wide world I'll make it known. Ay, be pale and
tremble, do, it's your turn now: I've touched you now; but it's too
late. In the face of day I shall confess the wrong I've done; and I
shall call upon you to give back to him all that by right is his own."
Ellinor stopped short, for one of my servants at this instant came
into the room.
"My lord, Mr. M'Leod desires me to let you know the guard has
brought up the prisoners, and he is going to commit them to gaol, and
would be glad to know if you choose to see them first, my lord."
Stupified by all I had just heard, I could only reply, that I would
come presently. Ellinor rushed past the servant———"Are they come?"
cried she. "Where will I get a sight of them?" I staid for a few
minutes alone, to decide upon what I ought to say and do. A multitude
of ideas, more than had ever come into my mind in a twelve-month,
passed through it in these few minutes. As I was slowly descending the
great stair-case, Ellinor came running, as fast as she could run, to
the foot of the stairs, exclaiming,
"It's a mistake! it's all a mistake, and I was a fool to believe
them that brought me the word. Sure Ody's not there at all! nor ever
was in it. I've seen them all, face to face, and my son's not one of
them, nor ever was; and I was a fool from beginning to end; and I beg
your pardon entirely," whispered she, coming close to my ear. "I was
out of my reason at the thought of that boy's being to suffer, and I,
his mother, the cause of it. Forgive all I said in my passion, my own
best jewel: you was always good and tender to me, and be the same
still, dear. I'll never say a word more about it to any one living; the
secret shall die with me. Sure, when my conscience has borne it so
long, it may strive and bear it a little longer for your sake: and it
can't be long I have to live, so that will make all easy. Hark! they
are asking for you. Do you go your ways into the great parlour, to Mr.
M'Leod, and think no more of any thing at all but joy. My son's not one
of them! I must go to the forge and tell Christy the good news."
Ellinor departed, quite satisfied with herself, with me, and with
all the world. She took it for granted, that she left me in the same
state of mind, and that I should obey her injunctions, and think of
nothing but joy. Of what happened in the great parlour, and of the
examinations of the prisoners, I have but a confused recollection. I
remember that Mr. M'Leod seemed rather surprised by my indifference to
what concerned me so nearly; and that he was obliged to do all the
business himself. The men were, I believe, all committed to gaol, and
Joe Kelly turned king's evidence; but as to any further particulars, I
know no more than if I had been in a dream. The discovery, which
Ellinor had just made to me, engrossed all my powers of attention.
"Le vrai n'est pas toujours vraisemblable," says an acute observer of
human affairs. The romance of real life certainly goes beyond all other
romances; and there are facts, which few writers would dare to put into
a book, as there are skies which few painters would venture to put into
When I had leisure to reflect, I considered, that as yet I had no
proof of the truth of Ellinor's strange story, except her own
assertions. I sent for her again to examine her more particularly. I
was aware, that, if I alarmed her, I should so confuse her imagination,
that I should never obtain the truth; therefore I composed myself, and
assumed my usual external appearance of non-chalance. I received her
lelling upon my sofa, as usual, and I questioned her merely as if to
gratify an idle curiosity.
"Troth, dear," said she, "I'll tell you the whole story how it was,
to make your mind asy, which, God knows, mine never was, from that
minute it first came into my head, till this very time being. You mind
the time you got the cut in your head——— no, not you, jewel; but the
little lord that was then, Christy there below that is.——— Well, the
cut was a terrible cut as ever you seen, got by a fall on the fender
from the nurse's arms, that was drunk, three days after he was born."
"I remember to have heard my father talk of some accident of this
sort, which happened to me when I was an infant."
"Ay, sure enough it did, and that was what first put him in the
notion of taking the little lord out of the hands of the Dublin
nurse-tenders, and them that were about my Lady Glenthorn, and did not
know how to manage her, which was the cause of her death: and he said
he'd have his own way about his son and heir any way, and have him
nursed by a wholesome woman in a cabin, and brought up hardy, as he,
and the old lord, and all the family, were before him. So with that he
sends for me, and he puts the young lord, God bless him, into my arms
himself, and a donny thing he was that same time to look at, for he
was but just out of the surgeon's hands, the head just healed and
scarred over like; and my lord said, there should be no more doctors
never about him. So I took him, that is, Christy, and you, to a house
at the sea, for the salt water, and showed him every justice; and my
lord often came to see him whilst he was in the country; but then he
was off, after a time, to Dublin, and I was in a lone place, where
nobody came, and the child was very sick with me, and you was all the
time as fine and thriving a child as ever you see; and I thought, to be
sure, one night, that he would die wid me. He was very bad, very bad
indeed; and I was sitting up in bed, rocking him backwards and forwards
this ways: I thought with myself, what a pity it was the young lord
should die, and he an only son and heir, and the estate to go out of
the family, the Lord knows where; and then the grief the father would
be in: and then I thought, how happy he would be if he had such a fine
babby as you; dear; and you was a fine babby to be sure; and then I
thought, how happy it would be for you, if you was in the place of the
little lord: and then it came into my head, just like a shot, where
would be the harm to change you? for I thought the real lord would
surely die; and then, what a gain it would be to all, if it was never
known, and if the dead child was carried to the grave, since it must
go, as only poor Ellinor O'Donoghoe's, and no more about it. Well, if
it was a wicked thought, it was the devil himself put it in my head, to
be sure; for, only for him, I should never have had the sense to think
of such a thing, for I was always innocent like, and not worldly given.
But so it was, the devil put it in my head, and made me do it, and
showed me how, and all in a minute. So, I mind, your eyes and hair were
both of the very same colour, dear; and as to the rest, there's no
telling how those young things alter in a few months, and my lord would
not be down from Dublin in a hurry, so I settled it all right; and as
there was no likelihood at all the real lord would live, that quieted
my conscience; for I argued, it was better the father should have any
sort of child at all than none. So, when my lord came down, I carried
him the child to see, that is you, jewel. He praised me greatly for all
the care I had taken of his boy; and said, how finely you was come on;
and I never see a father in greater joy; and it would have been a sin,
I thought, to tell him the truth, after he took the change that was put
upon him so well, and it made him so happy like. Well, I was afeard of
my life he'd pull off the cap to search for the scar, so I would not
let your head be touched any way, dear, saying it was tinder and soft
still with the fall, and you'd cry if the cap was stirred, and so I
made it out, indeed, very well; for, God forgive me, I twitched the
string under your chin, dear, and made you cry like mad, when they
would come to touch you. So there was no more about it, and I had you
home to myself, and, all in good time, the hair grew, and fine thick
hair it was, God bless you; and so there was no more about it, and I
got into no trouble at all; for it all fell out just as I had laid it
out, except that real little young lord did not die as I thought; and
it was a wonder but he did, for you never saw none so near death, and
backwards and forwards, what turns of sickness he took with me for
months upon months, and year after year, so that none could think, no
more than me, there was any likelihood at all of rearing of him to
man's estate. So that kept me easier in my mind concerning what I'd
done; for, as I kept saying to myself, better the family should have an
heir to the estate, suppose not the right, than none at all; and if the
father, nor nobody, never found it out, there was he and all the family
made happy for life, and my child made a lord of, and none the wiser or
the worse. Well, so I down-argued my conscience; and any way I took to
little Christy, as he was now to be called———and I loved him, all as
one as if he was my own———not that he was ever as well-looking as Ody,
or any of the childer I had, but I never made any differ betwixt him
and any of my own———he can't say as I did, any how, and he has no
reason to complain of my being an unnat'ral mother to him, and being my
foster-child I had a right to love him as I did, and I never wronged
him any way, except in the one article of changing him at nurse, which
he being an infant, and never knowing, was never a bit the worse for,
nor never will, now. So all's right, dear, and make your mind asy,
jewel; there's the whole truth of the story for you."
"But it is a very strange story, Ellinor, after all, and———and I
have only your word for it, and may be you are only taking advantage of
my regard for you to make me believe you."
"What is it, plase your honour?" said she, stepping forward, as if
she did not hear or understand me.
"I say, Ellinor, that after all I have no proof of the truth of
this story, except your word."
"And is not that enough, and where's the use of having more; but if
it will make you asy, sure I can give you proof———sure need you go
farther than the scar on his head? If he was shaved to morrow, I'd
engage you'd see it fast enough; but, sure, can't you put your hand up
to your head this minute, and feel there never was no scar there, nor
if all the hair you have, God save the mark, was shaved this minute,
never a bit of a scar would be to be seen; but proof is it you
want———why there's the surgeon that dressed the cut in the child's
head, before he ever came to me, sure he's the man that can't forget
it, and that will tell all; so to make your mind asy, see him, dear,
but for your life don't let him see your head to feel it, for he'd
miss the scar, and might suspect something by your going to question
"Where does he live?" interrupted I.
"Not above twelve miles off."
"Is he alive?"
"Ay, if he been't dead since Candlemas."
At first I thought of writing to this man, but afterwards, being
afraid of committing myself by writing, I went to him; he had long
before this time left off business, and had retired to enjoy his
fortune in the decline of life. He was a whimsical sort of character;
he had some remains of his former taste for anatomy, and was a
collector of curiosities. I found him just returned from a lake which
he had been dragging for moose-deer's horns, to complete the skeleton
of a moose-deer, which he had mounted in his hall. I introduced myself,
desiring to see his museum, and by mentioning to him the thigh-bone of
a giant found in my neighbourhood, and by favour of this bone I
introduced the able cure, that he had made of a cut in my head, when I
was a child.
"A cut in your head, sir? Yes, my lord, I recollect perfectly well,
it was a very ugly cut, especially in an infant's head; but I am glad
to find you feel no bad effects from it. Have you any cicatrice on the
place? Eleven feet high, did you say; and is the giant's skeleton in
I humoured his fancy, and by degrees he gave me all the information
I wanted, without in the least suspecting my secret motives. He
described the length, breadth, and depth of the wound to me; showed me
just where it was on the head, and observed that it must have left an
indelible mark, but that my fine hair covered it. When he seemed
disposed to search for it, I defended myself with the giant's
thigh-bone, and warded off his attacks most successfully. To satisfy me
upon this point, I affected to think that he had not been paid; he said
he had been amply paid, and he showed me his books to prove it. I
examined the dates, and found that they agreed with Ellinor's
precisely. On my return home, the first thing I did was to make Christy
a present of a new wig, which I was certain would induce him to shave
his head, for the lower Irish agree with the beaux and belles of London
and Paris, in preferring wigs to their own hair. Ellinor told me, that
I might safely let his head be shaved, because, to her certain
knowledge, he had scars of so many cuts, which he had received at fairs
upon his scull, that there would appear nothing particular in one more
or less. As soon as the head was shaved, and the wig was worn, I took
an opportunity one day of stopping at the forge to have one of my
horse's shoes changed, and whilst this was doing, I took notice of his
new wig, and how well it fitted him; as I expected, he took it off to
show it me better, and to pay his own compliments to it.
"Sure enough, you are a very fine wig," said he, apostrophising it
as he held it up on the end of his hammer, "and God bless him that give
it me, and it fits me as tight as if it was nailed to my head."
"You seem to have had a good many nails in your head already,
Christy," said I, "if one may judge by all these scars."
"Oh yes, plase your honour, my lord," said he, "there's no harm in
them neither; they are scratches got when I was no wiser than I should
be, at fairs, fighting with the boys of Schrawd-na-scool."
Whilst he fought his battles o'er again, I had leisure to study
his head, and I traced precisely all the boundary lines. The situation,
size, and figure of the cicatrice, which the surgeon and Ellinor had
described to me, were so visible and exact, that no doubt could remain
in my mind of Christy's being the real son of the late Lord and Lady
Glenthorn. This conviction was still more impressed upon my mind a few
days afterwards. I recollected having seen a pile of family pictures in
a lumber-room in the castle, and I rummaged them out to see if I could
discover amongst them any likeness to Christy: I found one, the picture
of my grandfather, I should say of his grandfather, to which Christy
bore a striking resemblance, when I saw him with his face washed, and
in his Sunday clothes.
My mind being now perfectly satisfied of the truth of Ellinor's
story, I was next to consider how I ought to act. To be or not to be
Lord Glenthorn; or in other words, to be or not to be a villain, was
now the question. I could not dissemble to my conscience this plain
state of the case, that I had no right to keep possession of that which
I knew to be another's lawful property: yet, educated as I had been,
and accustomed to the long enjoyment of those luxuries, which become
necessaries to the wealthy; habituated to attendance as I had been, and
even amongst the dissipated and idle, notorious for extravagance the
most unbounded and indolence the most inveterate, how was I at once to
change my habits, to abdicate my rank and power, to encounter the evils
of poverty? I was not compelled to make such sacrifices; for though
Ellinor's transient passion had prompted her to threaten me with a
public discovery, yet I knew that she would as soon cut off her own
right hand, as execute her threats. Her affection for me, and her pride
in my consequence were so strong, that I knew I might securely rely
upon her secrecy. The horrid idea of being the cause of the death of
one of her own children had for a moment sufficient power to balance
her love for me; yet there was but little probability, that any similar
trial should occur, nor had I reason to apprehend, that the reproaches
of her conscience should induce her to make a voluntary discovery; for
all her ideas of virtue depended on the principle of fidelity to the
objects of her affection, and no scrupulous notions of justice
disturbed her understanding, or alarmed her self-complacency. Conscious
that she would willingly sacrifice all she had in the world for any
body she loved, and scarcely comprehending that any one could be
selfish, she, in a confused way, applied the maxim of———'Do as you
would be done by,' and was as generous of the property of others, as of
her own. At the worst, if a law-suit commenced against me, I knew that
possession was nine tenths of the law. I also knew, that Ellinor's
health was declining, and that the secret would die with her. Unlawful
possession of the wealth I enjoyed, could not, however, satisfy my own
mind; and, after a severe conflict between my love of ease, and my
sense of right———between my tastes and my principles, I determined to
act honestly and honourably, and to relinquish what I could no longer
maintain without committing injustice and feeling remorse. I was,
perhaps, the more ready to do rightly, because I felt that I was not
compelled to it. The moment when I made this virtuous decision was the
happiest I had at that time ever felt; my mind seemed suddenly relieved
from an oppressive weight; my whole frame glowed with new life, and
the consciousness of courageous integrity elevated me so much in my
opinion, that titles, and rank, and fortune, appeared as nothing in my
estimation. I rang my bell eagerly, and ordered, that Christy
O'Donoghoe should be immediately sent for. The servant went instantly,
but it seemed to me an immoderately long time before Christy arrived. I
walked up and down the room impatiently, and at last threw myself at
full length upon a sofa——— the servant returned.
"The smith is below in the hall, my lord."
"Show him up."———He was shown up into the antichamber.
"The smith is at the door, my lord."
"Show him in, cannot you? What detains him?"
"My brogues my lord! I'd be afraid to come in with 'em on the
carpet." Saying this, Christy came in, stepping fearfully, astonished
to find himself in a splendid drawing-room.
"Were you never in this room before, Christy?" said I.
"Never mind, my lord, plase your honour, barring the day I mended
"It is a fine room, is not it Christy?"
"Troth it is, the finest ever I see, sure enough."
"How should you like to have such a room of your own, Christy?"
"Is it I? plase your honour," replied he, laughing, "what should I
do with the like?"
"How should you feel if you were master of this great castle?"
"It's a poor figure I should make, to be sure," said he, turning
his head over his shoulder towards the door, and resting upon the lock,
"I'd rather be at the forge by a great dale."
"Are you sure of that, Christy? Should not you like to be able to
live without working any more, and to have horses and servants of your
"What would I do with them, plase your honour, I that have never
been used to them? sure they'd all laugh at me, and I'd not be the
better o'that, no more than of having nothing to do; I that have been
always used to the work, what should I do all the day without it? But
sure, my lord," continued he, changing his voice to a more serious
tone, "the horse that I shod yesterday for your honour did not go
lame, did he?"
"The horse is very well shod, I believe; I have not rid him
since———I know nothing of the matter."
"Because I was thinking, may be, it was that made your honour send
for me up in the hurry———I was afeard I'd find your honour mad with me,
and I'd be very sorry to disoblige you, my lord; and I'm glad to see
your honour looking so well after all the trouble you've been put to by
them rubbles, the villains, to be consarting against you underground
———But thanks be to God, you have 'em all in gaol now———I thought my
mother would have died of the fright she took, when the report came,
that Ody was one of them. I told her there could not be no truth in it
at all, but she would not mind me———It would be a strange unnateral
thing indeed of any belonging to her to be plotting against your
honour. I knew Ody could not be in it, and be a brother of mine, and
that's what I kept saying all the time; but she never heeded me, for
your honour knows, when the women are frighted, and have taken a thing
into their heads, you can't say get it out again."
"Very true; but to return to what I was saying———Should not you
like to change places with me, if you could?"
"Your honour, my lord, is a very happy jantleman, and a very good
jantleman, there's no doubt, and there's few but would be proud to be
like you in any thing at all."
"Thank you for that compliment; but now, in plain English, as to
yourself, would you like to be in my place———to change places with me?"
"In your honour's place———I! I would not my lord, and that's the
truth now," said he, decidedly. "I would not, no offence, your honour
bid me to speak the truth, for I've all I want in the world, a good
mother and a good wife, and good childer, and a reasonable good little
cabin, and my little pratees, and the grazing of the cow, and work
enough always, and not called on to slave, and I get my health, thank
God, for all; and what more could I have if I should be made a lord to
morrow? Sure, my good woman would never make a lady, and what should I
do with her? I'd be griev'd to see her the laughing-stock of high and
low, besides being the same myself, and my boy after me. That would
never answer for me, so I am not like them that would overturn all to
get uppermost; I never had any hand, art or part, in a thing of the
kind; I always thought and knew I was best as I am; not, but what if I
was to change with any, it is with you, my lord, I would be proud to
change, because if I was to be a jantleman at all, I'd wish to be of a
ra-al good ould family born."
"You are then what you wish to be," said I.
"Och!" said he, laughing, and scratching his head, "your honour's
jesting me about them kings of Ireland, that they say the O'Donoghoe's
was once, but that's what I never think on, that's all idle talk for
the like of me, for sure that's a long time ago, and what use going
back to it, one might as well be going back to Adam, that was the
father of all, that makes no differ now."
"But you do not understand me," interrupted I, "I am not going back
to the kings of Ireland, I mean to tell you, that you were born a
gentleman———nay, I am perfectly serious, listen to me."
"I do, plase your honour, though it is mocking me, I know you are,
I would be sorry not take a joke as well as another."
"This is no joke; I repeat, that I am serious; you are not only a
gentleman, but a nobleman———to you this castle and this great estate
belongs, and to you they shall be surrendered."
He stood astonished, and his eyes opening wide, showed a great
circle of white in his black face.
"Eh!" cried he, drawing that long breath, which astonishment had
suppressed, "But how can this be?"
"Your mother can explain better than I can———your mother, did I
say? she is not your mother, Lady Glenthorn was your mother."
"I can't understand it at all———I can't understand it at all. I'll
lave it all to your honour," said he, making a motion with his hands,
as if to throw from him the trouble of comprehending it.
"Did you never hear of such a thing as a child's being changed at
"I did, plase your honour; but my mother would never do the like,
I'll answer for her, any way; and them that said any thing of the kind
belied her, and don't be believing them, my lord."
"But Ellinor was the person who told me this secret."
"Was she so? Oh, she must have been draaming: she was always too
good a mother to me to have sarved me so. But," added he, struggling to
clear his intellects, "you say it's not my mother she is? but whose
mother is she then? can it be that she is yours? 'tis not possible to
think such a great lord was the son of such as her, to look at you
both: and was you the son of my father Johnny Donoghoe? How is that
He rubbed his forehead, and I could scarcely forbear laughing at
his odd perplexity, though the subject was of such serious importance.
When he clearly understood the case, and thoroughly believed the truth,
he did not seem elated by this sudden change of fortune: he really
thought more of me than of himself.
"Well, I'll tell you what you will do then," continued he, after a
pause of deep reflection; "say nothing to nobody, but just keep asy on,
even as we are. Don't let there be any surrendering at all, and I'll
speak to my mother, that is, Ellinor O'Donoghoe, and settle it so; and
let it be so settled, in the name of God, and no more about it; and
none need never be the wiser; 'tis so best for all. A good day to your
honour, and I'll go shoe the mare."
"Stay," said I; "you may hereafter repent of this sudden
determination: I insist upon your taking four-and-twenty hours———no,
that would be too little———take a month to consider of it coolly, and
then let me know your final determination."
"Oh! plase your honour, I will say the same then as now. It would
be a poor thing indeed of me, after all you done for me and mine, to be
putting you to more trouble. It would be a poor thing of me to forget
how you liked to have lost your life all along with me at the time of
the 'rection. No, I'll not take the fortin from you any how."
"Put gratitude to me out of the question," said I. "Far be it from
me to take advantage of your affectionate temper. I do not consider you
as under any obligations to me; nor will I be paid for doing justice."
"Sure enough, your honour desarved to be born a gentleman," said
"At least I have been bred a gentleman," said I. "Let me see you
again this day month, and not till then."
"You shall not———that is, you shall, plase your honour: but for
fear any one would suspect any thing, I'd best go shoe the mare any
"What riches give us, let us then inquire——— Meat, fire, and
clothes———What more?———Meat, clothes, and fire. The philosophy we
learn from books makes but a faint impression upon the mind, in
comparison with that which we are taught by our own experience: and we
sometimes feel surprised to find that what we have been taught as
maxims of morality prove true in real life. After having had, for many
years, the fullest opportunities of judging of the value of riches,
when I reflected upon my past life, I percieved that their power of
conferring happiness is limited, nearly as the philosophic poet
describes: that all the changes and modifications of luxury must, in
the sum of actual physical enjoyment, be reduced to a few elementary
pleasures, of which the industrious poor can obtain their share: a
small share, perhaps, but then it is enjoyed with a zest that makes it
equal in value, perhaps, to the largest portion offered to the sated
palate of ennui. These truths are as old as the world, but they
appeared quite new to me, when I discovered them by my own experience.
During the month which I had allowed to my foster-brother for
reflection, I had leisure to philosophise, and my understanding made a
rapid progress. I foresaw the probability of Christy's deciding to
become Earl of Glenthorn; notwithstanding that his good sense had so
clearly demonstrated to him in theory, that, with his education and
habits, he must be happier working in his forge, than he could be as
Lord of Glenthorn Castle. I was not dismayed by the idea of losing my
wealth and rank; I was pleased with myself for my honest conduct, and
conscious of a degree of pleasure from my own approbation, superior to
what my riches had ever procured.
The day appointed for Christy's final determination arrived. I
knew, by the first motion of his shoulder as he came into the room,
what his decision would be.
"Well, Christy," said I, "you will be Earl of Glenthorn, I
perceive. You are glad now that I did not take you at your word, and
that I gave you a month's time for consideration."
"Your honour was always considerate: but if I'd wish now to be
changing my mind," said he, hesitating, and shifting from leg to leg,
"it is not upon my own account any way, but upon my son Johnny's."
"My good friend," said I, "no apology is necessary. I should be
very unjust if I were offended by your decision, and very mean if,
after the declarations I have made, I could, for an instant, hesitate
to restore to you that property, which it is your right and your choice
Christy made a low bow, and seemed much at a loss what he was to
"I hope," continued I, "that you will be as happy when you are Earl
of Glenthorn, as you have been as Christy O'Donoghoe."
"May be not, please your honour; but, I trust, my childer will be
happy after me; and it's them and my wife I'm thinking of, as in duty
bound. But it is hard your honour should be astray for want of the
fortin you've been bred to; and this weighs with me greatly on the
other side. If your honour could live on here, and share with us———But
I see your honour's displeased at my naming that. It was my wife
thought o'that; I knew it could not do. But then, what I think is, that
your honour should name what you would be pleased to keep to live upon;
for, to be sure, you have a right to live as a gentleman, that have
always lived as one, as every body knows, and none better than I. Would
your honour be so kind, then, as just to put down on a bit of paper,
what you'd wish to keep, and that same, whatever it is, none shall
touch but yourself; and I would not own a child for mine that would
begrudge it you. I'll step down and wait below, while your honour
writes what you plase."
The generosity of this man touched me to the heart. I accepted from
him three hundred a-year; and requested, that the annuity I allowed to
the unfortunate Lady Glenthorn might be continued; that the house which
I had built for Ellinor, and the land belonging to it, might be secured
to her rentfree for life; and that all my debts should be paid. I
recommended Mr. M'Leod in the strongest manner, as an agent whose
abilities and integrity would be to him an invaluable treasure.
Christy, when I gave him the paper on which I had stated these
requests, took a pen instantly, and would have signed his name without
reading it; but to this I absolutely objected.
"Well then," said he, "I'll take it home, and read it over, and
take time, as you desire, to consider. There's no danger of my changing
my mind about this: I hope your honour can't think there is."
The next day, on returning it to me, he observed, that it was
making very little of him to put down only such a trifle, and he
pressed me to make the hundreds thousands: this I refused.
"But I hope your honour won't object to what I'm going to propose.
Is not there a house in London? and is not there another in England, in
the country? and, sure, I and mine can't live there and here and every
where at once: if you'd just condescend to occupy one of them, you'd do
me a great pleasure, and a great sarvice too; for every thing would be
right, instead of going wrong, as it might under an agent, and me at a
distance, that does not know well how to manage such great estates. I
hope you'll not refuse me that, if it's only to show me I don't lose
your honour's good-will."
The offer was made with so much earnestness, and even delicacy,
that I could not abruptly refuse it at the moment, though one of these
magnificent houses could be of no use to me with an income of 300l. per
"As to the annuity," continued Christy, "that shall be paid as
punctual as the day: Mr. M'Leod will pay it; and he shall have it all
settled right, and put upon a stamp, by the lawyers, in case any thing
should happen me. Then, as to Ellinor, sure, she is my mother, for I
never can think of her any other way; and, except in that single
article of changing me at nurse, was always the best of mothers to me.
And even that same trick she played me, though very wicked, to be sure,
was very nat'ral———ay, very nat'ral——— to prefar her own flesh and
blood if she could: and no one could be more sorry for the wrong she
did me than she is now: there she is crying at home, ready to break her
heart: but, as I tell her, there's no use in repenting a thing when
once it is done; and as I forgive her, none can ever bring it up
against her: and as to the house and farm, she shall surely have that,
and shall never want for any thing. So I hope your honour's mind will
be asy on that matter; and whatever else you recollect to wish, that
shall be done, if in my power."
It is with pleasure that I recollect and record all these instances
of goodness of heart in poor Christy, which, notwithstanding the odd
mixture of absurdity and sense in his language and ideas, will, I make
no doubt, please my readers, though they cannot affect them as much as
they affected me.
I now prepared for my departure from Glenthorn Castle, never more
to return. To spare me from unnecessary mortification, Christy had the
wonderful self-command to keep the secret faithfully, so that none of
the people in the neighbourhood, nor even my servants, had the
slightest idea of the truth. Having long talked of returning to
England, the preparations for my journey excited no surprise. Every
thing went on as usual, except that Christy, instead of being at the
forge, was almost every day at the ale-house.
I thought it proper to speak openly of my affairs to Mr. M'Leod: he
was the only person, who could make out a correct list of my debts.
Besides, I wished to recommend him as agent to the future earl, to
whom an honest and able agent would be peculiarly necessary, ignorant,
as he was, both of the world and of business; and surrounded, as he
must probably be, on his accession to his estate, by a herd of vulgar
and designing flatterers.
Albeit not easily moved to surprise, Mr. M'Leod really did, for an
instant, look astonished, when I informed him, that Christy O'Donoghoe
was Earl of Glenthorn. But I must resolve not to stop to describe the
astonishment, that each individual showed upon this occasion, else I
shall never have finished my story.
It was settled, that Mr. M'Leod should continue agent; and, for his
credit, I must observe, that after he was made acquainted with my loss
of rank and fortune, he treated me with infinitely more respect and
regard, than he had ever shown me whilst he considered me only as his
employer. Our accounts were soon settled; and, when this was done, and
they were all regularly signed, Mr. M'Leod came up to me, and, in a low
voice, of great emotion, said——— "I am not a man of professions, but
when I say I am a man's friend, I hope I shall ever be found to be so,
as far as can be in my power; and I cannot but esteem and admire the
man who has acted so nobly as you have done."
M'Leod wrung my hand as he spoke, and the tears stood in his eyes.
I knew that the feeling must indeed be strong, which could extort from
him even these few words of praise, and this simple profession of
regard: but I did not know, till long afterwards, the full warmth of
his affections, and energy of his friendship. The very next day,
unfortunately for me, he was obliged to go to Scotland, to his mother,
who was dying, and at this time I saw no more of him.
In due legal form I now made a surrender of all claim upon the
hereditary property of the Earl of Glenthorn, and every thing was in
readiness for my journey. During this time, poor Ellinor never appeared
at the castle. I went to see her, to comfort her about my going away;
but she was silent, and seemingly sullen, and would not be comforted.
"I've enough to grieve me," said she: "I know what will be the end
of all; I see it as plain as if you'd told me. There's no hiding
nothing from a mother: no, there's no use in striving to comfort me."
Every method which I tried to console her seemed to grieve her more.
The day before that which was fixed for my departure, I went to
desire to see her. This request I had repeatedly made, but she had,
from day to day, excused herself, saying, that she was unwell, and that
she would be up on the morrow. At last she came, and though but a few
days had elapsed since I had seen her, she was so changed in her
appearance, that I was shocked the moment I beheld her countenance.
"You don't look well, Ellinor," said I: "sit down."
"No matter whether I sit or stand," said she, calmly. "I'm not long
for this world: I won't live long after you are gone, that's one
Her eyes were fixed and tearless; and there was a dead unnatural
tranquillity in her manner.
"They are making a wonderful great noise-nailing up the boxes, and
I see them cording the trunks as I came through the hall. I asked them,
could I be of any use: but they said I could be of none, and that's
true; for, when I put my hand to the cord to pull it, I had no more
strength than an infant. It was seven and twenty years last
Midsummer-day since I first had you an infant in my arms. I was strong
enough then, and you was a sweet babby. Had I seen that time, all that
would come to pass this day! But that's over now. I have done a wicked
thing; but I'll send for Father Murphy, and get absolution before I
She sighed deeply, then went on speaking more quickly.
"But I can do nothing until you go. What time will you go in the
morning, dear? It's better go early. Is it in the coach you'll go? I
see it in the yard. But I thought you must leave the coach, with all
the rest, to the rightful heir. But my head's not clear about it all, I
believe———and no matter."
Her ideas rambled from one subject to another in an unconnected
manner. I endeavoured in vain to recall her understanding, by speaking
of her own immediate interests; of the house that was secured to her
for life; and of the promise that had been made me, that she should
never want for any thing, and that she should be treated with all
possible kindness. She seemed to listen to me, but showed that she did
not comprehend what I said, by her answers; and, at every pause I made,
she repeated the same question.
"What time will you go in the morning, dear?"
At last I touched her feelings, and she recovered her intellects,
when I suddenly asked, if she would accompany me to England the next
"Ay, that I will!" cried she; "go with you through the wide world."
She burst into tears, and wept bitterly for some time.
"Ah! now I feel right again," said she; "this is what I wanted; but
could not cry this many a day———never since the word came to me, that
you was going, and all was lost."
I assured her, that I now expected to be happier than I had ever
"Oh!" cried she, "and have you never been happy all this time? What
a folly it was for me, then, to do so wicked a thing! and all my
comfort was, the thinking you was happy, dear. And what will become of
you now? And is it on foot you'll go?"
Her thoughts rambled again.
"Whatever way I go, you shall go with me," said I. "You are my
mother; and now that your son has done what he knows to be honest and
just, he will prosper in the world, and will be truly happy: and so may
you be happy, now that you have nothing more to conceal."
She shook her head——— "It's too late," said she, "quite too late.
I often told Christy I would die before you left this place, dear, and
so I will, you will see. God bless you! God bless you! and pray to him
to forgive me! None that could know what I've gone through would ever
do the like; no, not for their own child, was he even such as you, and
that would be hard to find. God bless you, dear; I shall never see you
more! The hand of death is upon me——— God for ever bless you, dear!"
She died that night; and I lost, in her, the only human being who
had ever shown me warm disinterested affection. Her death delayed, for
a few days, my departure from Glenthorn Castle. I staid to see her laid
in the grave. Her funeral was followed by crowds of people; by many,
from the general habit of attending funerals; by many, who wished to
pay their court to me, in showing respect to the memory of my nurse.
When the prayers over the dead were ended, and the grave closed,
just as the crowd were about to disperse, I stood up on a monument
belonging to the Glenthorn family; and the moment it was observed, that
I wished to address the multitude, the moving waves were stilled, and
there was a dead silence. Every eye was fixed upon me with eager
expectation. It was the first time in my life, that I had ever spoken
before numbers; but, as I was certain that I had something to say, and
quite indifferent about the manner, words came without difficulty.
Amazement appeared in every face, when I declared myself to be the son
of the poor woman, whom we had just interred. And when I pointed to the
real Earl of Glenthorn, and when I declared, that I relinquished to him
his hereditary title and lawful property, my auditors looked
alternately at me and at my foster-brother, seeming to think it
impossible, that a man, with face and hands so black as Christy's
usually were known to be, could become an earl.
When I concluded my narrative, and paused, the silence still
continued, all seemed held in mute astonishment.
"And now, my good friends," continued I, "let me bid you farewell;
probably you will never see or hear of me more; but whether he be rich
or poor, or high or lowborn, every honest man must wish to leave behind
him a fair character. Therefore, when I am gone, and, as it were, dead
to you, speak of me, not as of an impostor, who long assumed a name,
and enjoyed a fortune that was not his own; but remember, that I was
bred to believe myself heir to a great estate, and that, after having
lived till the age of eight and twenty, in every kind of luxury, I
voluntarily gave up the fortune I enjoyed, the moment I discovered,
that it was not justly mine."
"That you did, indeed," interrupted Christy; "and of that I am
ready to bear witness for you in this world and in the next. God bless
and prosper you wherever you go and sure enough he will, for he cannot
do other than prosper one that deserves it so well. I never should have
known a sentence of the secret," continued he, addressing his
neighbours, "if it had not been for his generosity to tell it me; and
even had I found it out by any maracle, where would have been the gain
of that to me, for you know he could, had he been so inclined, have
kept me out of all by the law———ay, baffled me on till my heart was
sick, and till my little substance was wasted, and my bones rotten in
the ground; but, God's blessing be upon him! he's an honest man, and
done that which many a lord in his place would not have done; but a
good conscience is a kingdom in itself, and that he cannot but have,
wherever he goes———and all which grieves me is that he is going away
from us. If he'd be prevailed with by me, he'd stay where he is, and
we'd share and share alike; but he's too proud for that———and no
wonder———he has a right to be proud; for no matter who was his mother,
he'll live and die a gentleman, every inch of him. Any man, you see,
may be made a lord; but a gentleman a man must make himself. And
yourselves can witness, has not he reigned over us like a gentleman,
and a raal gentleman; and shown mercy to the poor, and done justice to
all, as well as to me; and did not he take me by the hand when I was
persecuted, and none else in the wide world to befrind me; and did not
he stand up for me against the tyrants that had the sway then; ay, and
did not he put himself to trouble, day and night, go riding here and
there, and spaking and writing for me? Well, as they say, he loves his
case, and that's the worst can be said of him; he took all this pains
for a poor man, and had like to have lost his life by it. And now,
wherever he is and whatever, can I help loving and praying for him? or
could you? And since you will go," added he, turning to me with tears
in his eyes, "take with you the blessings of the poor, which, they say,
carry a man straight to Heaven, if any thing can."
The surrounding crowd joined with one voice in applauding this
speech: "It is he that has said what we all think," cried they,
following me with acclamations to the castle. When they saw the chaise
at the door, which was to carry me away, their acclamations suddenly
ceased———"But is he going?———But can't he stay?———And is he going this
minute? troth it's a pity, and a great pity!"
Again and again these honest people insisted upon taking leave of
me, and I could not force myself away without difficulty. They walked
on beside my carriage, Christy at their head; and in this species of
triumph, melancholy indeed, but grateful to my heart, I quitted
Glenthorn Castle, passed through that demesne which was no longer mine,
and at the verge of the county shook hands, for the last time, with
these affectionate and generous people. I then bid my postillion drive
on fast; and I never looked back, never once cast a lingering look at
all I left behind. I felt proud of having executed my purpose, and
conscious I had not the weak, wavering, inefficient character, that had
formerly disgraced me. As to the future I had not distinctly arranged
my plans, nor was my mind during the remainder of the day sufficiently
tranquil for reflection. I felt like one in a dream, and could scarcely
persuade myself of the reality of the events, that had succeeded each
other with such astonishing rapidity. At night I stopped at an inn
where I was not known, and having no attendants or equipage to command
respect from hostlers, waiters, and innkeepers, I was made immediately
sensible of the reality, at least, of the change in my fortune; but I
was not mortified———I felt only as if I were travelling incognito. And
I contrived to go to bed without a valet-de-chambre, and slept soundly,
for I had earned a sound sleep by exertion both of body and mind.
In the morning I awoke with a confused notion, that something
extraordinary had happened; but it was a good while before I
recollected myself sufficiently, to be perfectly sensible of the
absolute and irrevocable change in my circumstances. An inn may not
appear the best possible place for meditation, especially if the
moralizer's bed-chamber be next the yard where carriages roll, and
hostlers swear perpetually; yet, so situate, I, this morning as I lay
awake in my bed, thought so abstractedly and attentively, that I heard
neither wheels nor hostlers. I reviewed the whole of my past life; I
regretted bitterly my extravagance, my dissipation, my waste of time; I
considered how small a share of enjoyment my wealth had procured,
either for myself or others; how little advantage I had derived from my
education, and from all my opportunities of acquiring knowledge. It had
been in my power to associate with persons of the highest talents, and
of the best information in the British dominions; yet I had devoted my
youth to loungers, and gamesters, and epicures, and knew that scarcely
a trace of my existence remained in the minds of those selfish beings,
who once called themselves my friends. I wished, that I could live my
life over again, and I felt that, were it in my power, I should live in
a manner very different from that in which I had fooled away existence.
In the midst of my self-reproaches, however, I had some consolation in
the idea, that I had never been guilty of any base or dishonourable
action. I recollected, with satisfaction, my behaviour to Lady
Glenthorn, when I discovered her misconduct; I recollected that I had
always shown gratitude to poor Ellinor for her kindness; I recollected
with pleasure, that when trusted with power I had not used it
tyrannically. My exertions in favour of my foster-brother, when he was
oppressed, I remembered with much satisfaction; and the steadiness with
which I behaved, when a conspiracy was formed against my life, gave me
confidence in my own courage; and, after having sacrificed my vast
possessions to a sense of justice, no mortal could doubt my integrity;
so that upon the whole, notwithstanding my past follies, I had a
tolerably good opinion of myself, or rather good hopes for the future.
I was certain, that there was more in me than the world had seen; and I
was ambitious of proving, that I had some personal merit independent of
the adventitious circumstances of rank and fortune. But how was I to
Just as I came to this difficult question, the chambermaid
interrupted my reverie, by warning me in a shrill voice, that it was
very late, and that she had called me above two hours before.
Where's my man? send up my man? O! I beg your pardon———nothing at
all; only, my good girl, I should be obliged to you if you could let me
have a little warm water, that I may shave myself.
It was new and rather strange to me to be without attendants, but I
found, that when I was forced to it, I could do things admirably well
for myself, that I had never suspected I could perform without
assistance. After I had travelled two days without servants, how I had
travelled with them was the wonder. I once caught myself, saying of
myself, "that careless blockhead has forgot my night-cap." For some
time I was liable to make odd blunders about my own identity; I was apt
to mistake between my old and my new habits, so that when I spoke in
the tone and imperative mood in which Lord Glenthorn had been
habituated to speak, people stared at me as if I was mad, and I in my
turn was frequently astonished by their astonishment, and perplexed by
their case of behaviour in my presence.
Upon my arrival in Dublin, I went to a small lodging which Mr.
M'Leod had recommended to me; it was such as suited my reduced
finances; but, at first view, it was not much to my taste; however, I
ate with a good appetite my very frugal supper, upon a little table,
covered with a little table cloth, on which I could not wipe my mouth
without stooping low: the mistress of the house, a north country woman,
was so condescending, as to blow my fire, remarking at the same time,
that coals wore a very scarce article; she begged to know whether I
would choose a fire in my bed-room, and what quantity of coals she
should lay in; she added many questions about boarding and small-beer,
and tea and sugar, and butter, and blankets, and sheets, and
washerwomen, which almost overwhelmed my spirits.
And must I think of all these things for myself? said I, in a
lamentable tone, and I suppose with a most deplorable length of face,
for the woman could not refrain from laughing; as she left the room, I
heard her exclaim, "Lord help him! he looks as much astray as if he was
just new from the Isle of Sky."
The cares of life were coming fast upon me, and I was terrified by
the idea of a host of petty evils; I sat ruminating with my feet on the
bars of the grate, till past midnight, till my landlady, who seemed to
think it incumbent upon her to supply me with common sense, came to
inform me that there was a good fire burning to waste in the bed-room,
and that I should find myself a deal better there than sitting over the
cinders. I suffered myself to be removed to the bed-chamber, and again
established my feet upon the upper bar of the grate.
"Lack! sir, you'll burn your boots," said my careful landlady, who,
after bidding me good-night, put her head back into the room, to beg I
would be sure to rake the fire, and throw up the ashes safe before I
went to bed. Left to my own meditations, I confess I did feel rather
forlorn. I reflected upon my helplessness in all the common business of
life; and the more I considered, that I was totally unfit for any
employment or profession, by which I could either earn money, or
distinguish myself, the deeper became my despondency. I passed a
sleepless night, vainly regretting the time that never could be
In the morning, my landlady gave me some letters, which had been
forwarded for me from Glenthorn Castle: The direction, to the Earl of
Glenthorn, scratched out, and in its place inserted my new address, "C.
O'Donoghoe, Esq., No. 6, Duke Street, Dublin." I remember, I held the
letters in my hand, contemplating the direction for some minutes, and
at length read it aloud repeatedly, to my landlady's infinite
amusement: she knew nothing of my history, and seemed in doubt whether
to think me extremely silly or mad. One of my letters was from Lord
Y———, an Irish nobleman, with whom I was not personally acquainted, but
for whose amiable character, and literary reputation, I had always,
even during my days of dissipation, peculiar respect. He wrote to me,
to make inquiries respecting the character of a Mr. Lyddell, who had
just proposed himself as tutor to the son of one of his friends. Mr.
Lyddell had formerly been my favourite tutor, the man who had
encouraged me in every species of ignorance and idleness. In my present
state of mind, I was not disposed to speak favourably of this
gentleman; and I resolved, that I would not be instrumental in placing
another young nobleman under his guidance. I wrote an explicit,
indignant, and I will say eloquent letter, upon this occasion; but,
when I came to the signature, I felt a repugnance to signing myself, C.
O'Donoghoe, and I recollected, that as my history could not yet be
public, Lord Y——— would be puzzled by this strange name, and would be
unable to comprehend this answer to his letter. I therefore determined
to wait upon his lordship, and to make my explanations in person;
besides my other reasons for determining on this visit, I had a strong
desire to become personally acquainted with a nobleman, of whom I had
heard so much. His lordship's porter was not quite so insolent as some
of his brethren, and though I did not come in a showy equipage, and
though I had no laced footmen to enforce my rights, I gained admission.
I passed through a gallery of fine statues, to a magnificent library,
which I admired till the master of the house appeared, and from that
moment he commanded, or rather captivated, my attention.
Lord Y——— was at this time an elderly gentleman. In his address,
there was a becoming mixture of ease and dignity; he was not what the
French call maniéré; his politeness was not of any particular school,
but founded on those general principles of good-taste, good-sense, and
good nature, which must succeed in all times, places, and seasons. His
desire to please evidently arose, not from vanity, but benevolence. In
his conversation, there was neither the pedantry of a recluse, nor the
coxcombry of a man of the world: his knowledge was select, his wit
without effort, the play of a cultivated imagination: the happiness of
his expressions did not seem the result of care; and his allusions were
at once so apposite and elegant, as to charm both the learned and the
unlearned; all he said was sufficiently clear and just, to strike every
person of plain sense and natural feeling, whilst, to the man of
literature, it had often a further power to please, by its less obvious
meaning. Lord Y———'s superiority never depressed those with whom he
conversed; on the contrary, they felt themselves raised by the magic of
politeness to his level; instead of being compelled to pay tribute,
they seemed invited to share his intellectual dominion, and to enjoy
with him the delightful preeminence of genius and virtue.
I shall be forgiven for pausing in my own insignificant story; to
dwell on the noble character of a departed friend. That he permitted me
to call him my friend, I think the greatest honour of my life. But let
me, if I can, go on regularly with my narrative.
Lord Y——— took it for granted, during our first half hour's
conversation, that he was speaking to the Earl of Glenthorn; he thanked
me with much warmth for putting him on his guard against the character
of Mr. Lyddell; and his lordship was also pleased to thank me, for
making him acquainted, as he said, with my own character; for
convincing him how ill it had been appreciated by those who imagined,
that wealth and title were the only distinctions, which the Earl of
Glentborn might claim. This compliment went nearer to my heart than
Lord Y——— could guess.
"My character," said I, "since your lordship encourages me to speak
of myself with freedom, my character has, I hope, been much changed and
improved by circumstances; and perhaps those, which might at present be
deemed the most unfortunate, may ultimately prove of the greatest
advantage by urging me to exertion.———Your lordship is not aware of
what I allude to: a late event in my singular history," continued I;
taking up the newspapers which lay on his library table———"my singular
history, has not yet, I fancy, got into the public newspapers. Perhaps
you will hear it most favourably from myself."
Lord Y——— was politely, benevolently attentive, whilst I related to
him the sudden and singular change in my fortune: when I gave an
account of the manner in which I had conducted myself after the
discovery of my birth, tears of generous feeling filled his eyes; he
laid his hand upon mine when I paused.
"Whatever you have lost," said he, "you have gained a friend. Do
not be surprised," continued he, "by this sudden declaration. Before I
saw you this morning, your real character was better known to me than
you imagine. I learnt it from a particular friend of mine, of whose
judgment and abilities I have the highest opinion, Mr. Cecil Devereux;
I saw him just after his marriage, and the very evening before they
sailed. I remember, when Lady Geraldine and he were talking of the
regret they felt in leaving Ireland, among the friends whom they
lamented that they should not see again, perhaps for years, you were
mentioned with peculiar esteem and affection. They called you their
generous benefactor, and fully explained to me the claim you had to
this title———a title which never can be lost. But Mr. Devereux was
anxious to convince me, that he was not influenced by the partiality of
gratitude in his opinion of his benefactor's talents. He repeated an
assertion, that was supported with much energy by the charming Lady
Geraldine, that Lord Glenthorn had abilities to be any thing he
pleased; and the high terms in which they spoke of his talents, and the
strong proofs they adduced of the generosity of his character, excited,
in my mind, a warm desire to cultivate his acquaintance; a desire,
which has been considerably increased within this last hour. May I
hope, that the Irish rapidity, with which I have passed from
acquaintance to friendship, may not shock English habits of reserve,
and may not induce you to doubt the sincerity of the man, who has
ventured with so little hesitation or ceremony, to declare himself your
I was so much moved by this unexpected kindness, that, though I
felt how much more was requisite, I could answer only with a bow; and I
was glad to make my retreat as soon as possible. The very next day, his
lordship returned my visit, to my landlady's irrecoverable
astonishment; and I had increasing reason to regard him with admiration
and affection. He convinced me, that I had interested him in my
concerns, and told me, I must forgive him if he spoke to me with the
freedom of a friend; thus I was encouraged to consult him respecting
my future plans. Plans, indeed, I had none regularly formed; but Lord
Y———, by his judicious suggestions, settled, and directed my ideas,
without overpowering me by the formality of advice. My ambition was
excited to deserve his friendship, and to accomplish his predictions.
The profession of the law was that, to which he advised me to turn my
thoughts: he predicted, that, if for five years I would persevere in
application to the necessary preparatory studies, I should afterwards
distinguish myself at the bar, more than I had ever been distinguished
by the title of Earl of Glenthorn. Five years of hard labour! the idea
alarmed, but did not utterly appal my imagination; and to prevent my
dwelling upon it too long at the first, Lord Y——— suddenly changed the
conversation, and in a playful tone, said, "Before you immerse yourself
in your studies, I must, however, claim some of your time. You must
permit me to carry you home with me to day, to introduce you to two
ladies of my acquaintance. The one prudent and old———if a lady can ever
be old; the other, young, and beautiful, and graceful, and witty, and
wise, and reasonable. One of these ladies is much prepossessed in your
favour, the other strongly prejudiced against you———for the best of all
possible reasons, because she does not know you."
I accepted Lord Y———'s invitation; not a little curious, to know,
whether it was the old and prudent, or the young, beautiful, graceful,
witty, wise, and reasonable lady, who was much prepossessed in my
favour. Notwithstanding my usual indifference to the whole race of very
agreeable young ladies, I remember trying to form a picture in my
imagination of this all-accomplished female.
Upon my arrival at Y——— House, I found two ladies in the drawing-room,
in earnest conversation with Lady Y———. In their external appearance,
they were nearly what my friend had described; except that the beauty
of the youngest infinitely surpassed my expectations. The elegance of
her form, and the charming expression of her countenance, struck me
with a sort of delightful surprise, that was quickly succeeded by a
most painful sensation.
"Lady Y———, give me leave to introduce to you Mr. O'Donoghoe."
Shocked by the sound of my own name, I was ready to recoil abashed.
The elderly lady turned her eyes upon me for an instant, with that
indifference with which we look at an uninteresting stranger. The young
lady seemed to pity my confusion; for though so well and so long used
to varieties of the highest company, when placed in a situation that
was new to me, I was unaccountably disconcerted. Ah! thought I, how
differently should I be received were I still Earl of Glenthorn!
I was rather angry with Lord Y——— for not introducing me, as he had
promised, to this fair lady; and yet the repetition of my name would
have increased my vexation. In short, I was unjust, and felt an
impatience and irritability quite unusual to my temper. Lady Y———
addressed some conversation to me, in an obliging manner, and I did my
best to support my part till she left me: but my attention was soon
distracted, by a conversation that commenced at another part of the
room, between the elderly lady and Lady Y———.
"My dear Lady Y———, have you heard the extraordinary news? the most
incredible thing that ever was heard! For my part, I cannot believe it
yet, though we have the intelligence from the best authority. Lord
Glenthorn, that is to say, the person we always called Lord Glenthorn,
turns out to be the son of the lord knows who———they don't mention the
At this speech I was ready to sink into the earth. Lord Y——— took
my arm, and led me into another room. "I have some cameos," said he,
"which are thought curious; would you like to look at them?"
"Can you conceive it!" continued the elderly lady, whose voice I
still heard, as the folding doors of the room were open: "Changed at
nurse! One hears of such things in novels, but, in real life, I
absolutely cannot believe it. Yet here, in this letter from Lady
Ormsby, are all the particulars: and a blacksmith is found to be Earl
of Glenthorn, and takes possession of Glenthorn Castle, and all the
estates. And the man is married, to some vulgarian, of course: and he
has a son, and may have half a hundred, you know; so there is an end of
our hopes; and there is an end too of all my fine schemes for Cecilia."
I felt myself change colour again. "I believe," said I, to Lord
Y———, "I ought not to hear this. If your lordship will give me leave, I
will shut the door."
"No, no," said he, smiling, and stopping me, "you ought to hear it,
for it will do you a great deal of good. You know I have undertaken to
be your guide, philosopher, and friend; so you must let me have my own
way; and, if it should so happen, hear yourself abused patiently. Is
not this a fine bust of Socrates?"
Some part of the conversation in the next room I missed, whilst his
lordship spoke.——— The next words I heard were——— "But, my dear Lady
Y———, look at Cecilia. Would not any other girl be cast down and
miserable in Cecilia's place? yet see how provokingly happy and well
"Yes," replied Lady Y———, "I never saw her appear better: but we
are not to judge of her by what any other young lady would be in her
place, for I know of none at all comparable to Miss Delamere."
"Miss Delamere!" said I, to Lord Y———.
"Is this the Miss Delamere who is heir at law to———"
"The Glenthorn estate. Yes———do not let the head of Socrates fall
from your hands," said his lordship, smiling.
I again lost something that was said in the next room; but I heard
the old lady going on with——— "I only say, my dear, that if the man
had: been really what he was said to be, you could not have done
"Dearest mother, you cannot be serious, replied the sweetest voice
I ever heard. "I am sure that you never were in earnest upon this
subject: you could not wish me to be united with such a man as Lord
Glenthorn was said to be."
"Why? what was he said to be, my dear?———a little dissipated, a
little extravagant only: and if he had a fortune to support it, child,
what matter?" pursued the mother: "all young men are extravagant
now-a-days ———you must take the world as it goes."
"The lady who married Lord Glenthorn, I suppose, acted upon that
principle, and you see what was the consequence."
"O, my dear, as to her ladyship, it ran in the blood: let her have
married whom she would, she would have done the same: and I am told
Lord Glenthorn made an incomparably good husband. A cousin of Lady
Glenthorn's assured me, that she was present one day, when her ladyship
expressed a wish for a gold chain to wear round her neck, or braid her
hair, I forget for what, but that very hour Lord Glenthorn bespoke for
her a hundred yards of gold chain, at three guineas a yard. Another
time she longed for an Indian shawl, and his lordship presented her
next day with three dozen real Indian shawls. There's a husband for
"Not for me, mamma," said Cecilia, laughing.
"Ah, you are a strange, romantic girl, and never will be married
after all, I fear."
"Never to a fool, I hope," said Cecilia.
"Miss Delamere will, however, allow," said Lady Y———, "that a man
may have his follies without being a fool, or wholly unworthy of her
esteem; otherwise, ,what a large portion of mankind she would deprive
"As to Lord Glenthorn, he was no fool, I promise you," continued
the mother; "has not he been living prudently enough these last few
years? we have not heard of late of any of his extraordinary landaus."
"But I have been told," said Cecilia, "that he is quite uniformed,
without any taste for literature, and absolutely incapable of
exertion———a victim to ennui. How miserable a woman must be with such a
"But," said Lady Y———, "what could be expected from a young
nobleman, bred up as Lord Glenthorn was?"
"Nothing," said Cecilia; and that is the very reason I never wish
to see him."
"Perhaps Miss Delamere's opinion might be changed if she had known
him," said Lady Y———.
"Ay, for he is a very handsome man, I have, heard," said the
mother. "Lady Jocunda Lawlor told me so, in one of her letters; and
Lady Jocunda was very near being married to him herself, I can tell
you, for he admired her prodigiously."
"A certain proof, that he never would have admired me," said
Cecilia; "for two women, so opposite in every respect, no man could
"Lord bless you, child! how little you know of the matter! After
all, I dare say, if you had been acquainted with him, you might have
been in love yourself with Lord Glenthorn."
"Possibly," said Cecilia, "if I had found him the reverse of what
he is reported to be."
Company came in at this instant. Lord Y——— was called to receive
them, and I followed; glad, at this instant, that i was not Lord
Glenthorn. At dinner the conversation turned upon general subjects: and
Lord Y———, with polite and friendly attention, drew me out, without
seeming to do so, in the most friendly manner possible.
I had the pleasure to perceive, that Cecilia Delamore did not find
me a fool. I never, even in the presence of Lady Geraldine, exerted
myself so much to avoid this disgrace.
After all the company, except Mrs. and Miss Delamere, were gone,
Lord Y——— called me aside.
"Will you pardon." said he, "the means I have taken to convince you
how much superior you are to the opinion that has been commonly formed
of Lord Glenthorn? Will you forgive me for convincing you, that when a
man has sufficient strength of mind to rely upon himself, and
sufficient energy to exert his abilities, he becomes independent of
common report and vulgar opinion? he secures the suffrages of the best
judges; and they, in time, lead all the rest of the world. Will you
permit me now to introduce you to your prudent friend and your fair
enemy? Mrs. Delamere———Miss Delamere, give me leave to introduce to you
the late Earl of Glenthorn."
Of the astonishment in the opening eyes of Mrs. Delamere I have
some faint recollection. I can never forget the crimson blush, that
instantaneously spread over the celestial countenance of Cecilia. She
was perfectly silent, but her mother went on talking with increased
"Good Heavens! the late Lord Glenthorn! Why, I was talking———but he
was not in the room." The ladies exchanged looks, which seemed to say,
"I hope he did not hear all we said of him."
"My dear Lord Y———, why did not you tell us this before? Suppose we
had spoken of his lordship, you would have been answerable for all the
"Certainly," said Lord Y———
"But, seriously," said the old lady, "have I the pleasure to speak
to Lord Glenthorn, or have I not? I believe I began, unluckily, to talk
of a strange story I had heard; but perhaps all this is a mistake, and
my county correspondant may have been amusing herself at the expense of
my credulity. I assure you I was not imposed upon, I never believed
half the story."
"You may believe the whole of it, madam," said I; "the story is
"O! my good sir, how sorry I am to hear you say it is all true! And
the blacksmith is really Earl of Glenthorn, and has taken possession of
the castle, and is married, and has a son! Lord bless me, how
unfortunate! Well, I can only say, sir, I wish, with all my heart, you
were Earl of Glenthorn still."
After hearing from Lord Y——— the circumstances of what he was
pleased to call my generous conduct, Mrs. Delamere observed, that I had
acted very generously, to be sure, but that few in my place would have
thought themselves bound to give up possession of an estate, which I
had so long been taught to believe was my own. To have and to hold, she
observed, always went together in law; and she could not help thinking
I had done very injudiciously and imprudently not to let the law decide
I was consoled for Mrs. Delamere's reprehensions by her daughter's
approving countenance. After this visit, Lord Y——— gave me a general
invitation to his house, where I frequently saw Miss Delamere, and
frequently compared her with my recollection of Lady Geraldine ———.
Cecilia Delamere was not so entertaining, but she was more interesting
than Lady Geraldine; the flashes of her ladyship's wit, though always
striking, were sometimes dangerous; Cecilia's wit, though equally
brilliant, shone with a more pleasing and inoffensive light. Cecilia
had humour, but it played rather upon things than upon persons: she had
not the dexterity of Lady Geraldine in drawing caricature, but in
favourable likenesses she excelled: she had neither the powers of
mimickry, nor the satirical talents, of Lady Geraldine; but Cecilia's
general observations on life and manners showed more impartiality, and
juster discrimination, if not so wide a range of thought. With as much
generosity as Lady Geraldine could show in great affairs, she had more
forbearance and delicacy of attention on every-day occasions. Lady
Geraldine had much pride, and it often gave offence: Cecilia, perhaps,
had more pride, but it never appeared, except upon the defensive:
without having less candour, she had less occasion for it than Lady
Geraldine seemed to have; and Cecilia's temper had more softness and
equability. Perhaps Cecilia was not so fascinating, but she was more
attractive. One had the envied art of appearing to advantage in
public———the other, the more desirable power of being happy in private.
I admired Lady Geraldine long before I loved her; I loved Cecilia long
before I admired her.
Whilst I possibly could, I called what I felt for Miss Delamere
only esteem; but when I found it impossible to conceal from myself that
I loved, I resolved to avoid this charming woman. How happy, thought I,
would the fortune I once possessed now make me! but in my present
circumstances what have I to hope? Surely my friend Lord Y——— has not
shown his usual prudence, in exposing me to such a temptation; but it
is to be supposed, he thinks, that the impossibility of my obtaining
Miss Delamere would prevent my thinking of her; or, perhaps, he depends
on the inertness and apathy of my temper. Unfortunately for me, my
sensibility has increased since I have become poor; for many years,
when I was rich, and could have married easily, I never wished to
marry, and now that I have not enough to support a wife, I immediately
fall desperately in love.
Again and again I pondered upon my circumstances; three hundred
a-year was the amount of all my worldly possessions; and Miss Delamere
was not rich, and she had been bred expensively; for it had never been
absent from her mother's mind, that Cecilia would be heiress to the
immense Glenthorn estate. The present possessor was, however, an
excellent life, and he had a son stout and healthy, so all these hopes
of Mrs. Delamere's were at an end; and as there was little chance, as
she said (laughing), of persuading her daughter to marry Johnny, the
young lord and heir apparent, it was now necessary to turn her views
elsewhere, and to form for Cecilia some suitable alliance. Rank and
large fortune were, in Mrs. Delamere's opinion, indispensable to
happiness. Cecilia's ideas were far more moderate; but though perfectly
disinterested and generous, she was not so romantic, or so silly, as to
think of marrying any man, without the probability of his being able to
support her in the society of her equals; nor, even if I could have
thought it possible to prevail upon Miss Delamere to make an unbecoming
and imprudent choice, would I have taken advantage of the confidence
reposed in me by Lord Y———, to destroy the happiness of a young friend,
for whom he evidently had a great regard. I resolved to see her no
more——— and for some weeks I kept my resolution; I refrained from going
to Y——— house. I deem this the most virtuous action of my life; it
certainly was the most painful sacrifice I ever made to a sense of
duty. At last, Lord Y——— came to me one morning, and after reproaching
me, in a friendly manner, for having so long absented myself from his
house, declared, that he would not be satisfied with any of those
common excuses, which might content a mere acquaintance; that his
sincere anxiety for my welfare gave him a right to expect from me the
frankness of a friend. It was a relief to my mind to be encouraged in
this manner. I confessed with entire openness my real motive. Lord Y———
heard me without surprise:——— "It is gratifying to me," said his
lordship, "to be convinced, that I was not mistaken in my judgment,
either of your taste, or your integrity; permit me to assure you, that
I foresaw exactly how you would feel, and precisely how you would act.
There are certain moral omens, which old experience never fails to
interpret rightly, and from which, unerring predictions of the future
conduct, and consequently of the future fate of individuals, may be
formed. I hold that we are the artificers of our own fortune. If there
be any whom the gods wish to destroy, these are first deprived of
understanding; whom the gods wish to favour, they first endow with
integrity, inspire with understanding, and animate with activity. Have
I not seen integrity in you? and shall I not see activity? Yes———that
supineness of temper or habit, with which you reproach yourself, has
arisen, believe me, only from want of motive; but you have now the most
powerful of motives, and, in proportion to your exertions, will be your
success. In our country, you know, the highest offices of the state are
open to talents and perserverance; a man of abilities and application
cannot fail to secure independence, and obtain distinction. Time and
industry are necessary to prepare you for, the profession, to which you
will hereafter be an honour, and you will courageously submit.
'Time and industry the mighty two, Which bring our wishes nearer
to our view.' As to the probability that your present wishes may be
crowned with success, I can judge only from my general knowledge of the
views and disposition of the lady whom you admire. I know that her
views with respect to fortune are moderate, and that her disposition
and excellent understanding will, in the choice of a husband, direct
her preference to the essential good qualities, and not to the
accidental advantages of the candidates for her favour. As to the
mother's influence, that will necessarily yield to the daughter's
superior judgment. Cecilia possesses over her mother not only that
power, which strong minds always have over weak ones, but she further
exercises the witchcraft of gentle manners, which in the female sex is
always irresistible, even over violent tempers. Prudential
considerations have a just, though not exclusive claim to Miss
Delamere's attention. The present possessor of the Glenthorn estate may
possibly, though ten years older than she is, survive her; but Miss
Delamere's relations, I fancy, could find means of providing against
any pecuniary embarrassments, if she should think proper to unite
herself to a man who can be content, as she would be, with a
competence, and who should have proved himself able, by his own
exertions, to maintain his wife in independence. On this last condition
I must dwell with emphasis, because it is indispensable, and I am
convinced, that, without it, Miss Delamere's consent, even after she is
of age, and at liberty to judge for herself, could never be obtained.
You perceive then, how much depends upon your own exertions; and this
is the best hope, and the best motive that I can give to a strong and
generous mind. Farewell———Persevere and prosper."
Such was the general purport of what Lord Y——— said to me; indeed,
I believe, that I have repeated his very words, for they made a great
and ineffaceable impression upon my mind. From this day I date the
commencement of a new existence. Fired with ambition, I hope generous
ambition, to distinguish myself among men, and to win the favour of the
most amiable and the most lovely of women; all the faculties of my
soul were awakened———I became active, permanently active. The
enchantment of indolence was dissolved, and the demon of ennui was cast
out for ever.
If, among those who may be tempted to peruse my history, there should
be any mere novel-readers, let me advise them to throw the book aside
at the commencement of this chapter, for I have no more wonderful
incidents to relate, no more changes at nurse, no more sudden turns of
fortune. I am now become a plodding man of business, poring over
law-books from morning till night, and leading a most monotonous life;
yet occupation, and hope, and the constant sense of approaching nearer
to my object, rendered this mode of existence, dull as it may seem,
infinitely more agreeable than many of my apparently prosperous days,
when I had more money, and more time, than I knew how to enjoy. I
resolutely persevered in my studies.
About a month after I came to town, the doors of my lodgings were
blockaded by half a dozen cars, loaded with huge packing-cases, on
which I saw, in the hand-writing I remembered often to have seen in my
blacksmith's bills, a direction to Christopher O' Donoghoe,
Esquire———this side upwards, to be kept dry.
One of the carmen fumbled in what he called his pocket, and at last
produced a very dirty note.
"My dear and honourable foster-brother, larning from Mr. M'Leod,
that you are thinking of studde-ing, I sind you inclosed by the bearer,
who is to get nothing for the carrige, all the bookes from the big
bookeroom at the castle, which I hope, being of not as much use as I
could wish to me, your honour will not scorn to accept, with the true
"Your ever-loving foster-brother, and grateful humble servant, to
P. S. No name needful, for you will not be astray about the hand."
This good-natured fellow's present was highly valuable and useful
Among my pleasures at this studious period of my life, when I had
few events to break the uniform tenour of my days, I must mention
letters which I frequently received from Mr. Devereux and Lady
Geraldine, who still continued in India. Mr. Devereux was acquainted
with almost all the men of eminence at the Irish bar; men who are not
mere lawyers, but persons of literature, of agreeable manners, and
gentlemanlike habits. Mr. Devereux wrote to his friends so warmly in my
favour, that, instead of finding myself a stranger in Dublin, my only
difficulty was how to avoid the numerous invitations, which tempted me
from my studies.
Those gentlemen of the bar, who were intimate with Mr. Devereux,
honoured me with particular attention, and their society was peculiarly
useful, as well as agreeable to me: they directed my industry to the
best and shortest means of preparing myself for their profession; they
put into my hands the best books; told me all that experience had
taught them of the art of distinguishing, in the mass of law
precedents, the useful from the useless, instructed me in the methods
of-indexing and common-placing, and gave me all those advantages,
which solitary students so often want, and the want of which so often
makes the study of the law appear an endless maze without a plan. When
I found myself surrounded with books, and reading assiduously day and
night, I could scarcely believe in my own identity; I could scarcely
imagine, that I was the same person, who, but a few months before this
time, lolled upon a sofa half the day, and found it an intolerable
labour to read or think for half an hour together. Such is the power of
motive! During the whole time I pursued my studies, and kept my terms
in Ireland, the only relaxation I allowed myself was in the society at
Lord Y———'s house in Dublin, and, during my vacations, in excursions
which I made with his lordship to different parts of the country. Lord
Y——— had two country seats in the most beautiful parts of Ireland, one
in the county of Wicklow, and one in the Queen's County. How
differently the face of nature appeared to me now! with what different
sensations I beheld the same objects!
'No brighter colours paint th' enamell'd fields,
No sweeter fragrance now the garden yields;
Whence then this strange increase of joy?
Is it to love these new delights I owe?'
It was not to love that I owed these new delights, for Cecilia was
not there; but my powers of observation were wakened, and the
confinement and labour to which I had lately submitted gave value to
the pleasures of rest and liberty, and to the freshness of country air,
and the beautiful scenes of nature. So true it is, that all our
pleasures must be earned, before they can be enjoyed. When I saw on
Lord Y———'s estates, and on those of several other gentlemen, which he
occasionally took me to visit, the neat cottages, the well-cultivated
farms, the air of comfort, industry, and prosperity, diffused through
the lower classes of the people, I was convinced, that much may be done
by the judicious care and assistance of landlords for their tenantry. I
saw this with mixed sensations of pleasure and of pain———of pain, for I
reflected how little I had accomplished, and how ill I had done even
that little, whilst the means of doing good to numbers had been in my
power. For the very trifling services I did some of my poor tenants, I
am sure I had abundant gratitude, and I was astonished and touched by
instances of this gratitude shown to me after I had lost my fortune,
and when I scarcely had myself any remembrance of the people who came
to thank me. Trivial as it is, I cannot forbear to record one of the
many instances of gratitude I met with from a poor Irishman.
Whilst I was in Dublin, as I was paying a morning visit to Lord
Y———, sitting with him in his library, we heard some disturbance in the
inner court, and looking out of the window, we saw a countryman with a
basket on his arm, struggling with the porter and two footmen.
"He is here, I know to a certainty he is here, and I shall see him,
say what you plase now!"
"I tell you my lord is not at home," said the porter.
"What's the matter?" said Lord Y———, opening the window.
"See, there's my lord himself at the window; are not you ashamed of
yourself now," said the footman.
"And why would I be ashamed that am telling no lies, and hindering
no one," said the countryman, looking up to us with so sudden a motion,
that his hat fell off. I knew his face, but could not recollect his
"Oh! there he is, his own honour; I've found him, and axe pardon
for my boldness; but it's because I've been all day yesterday, and this
day, running through Dublin after yees, and when certified by the lady
of the lodgings you was in it here, I could not lave town without my
errand, which is no more than a cheese from my wife, of her own making,
to be given to your honour's own hands, and she would not see me if I
did not do it."
"Let him come up," said Lord Y———; "this," continued his lordship,
turning to me, "reminds me of Henry the Fourth; and the Gascon peasant,
with his fromages de boeuf."
"But our countryman brings his offering to an abdicated monarch,"
The poor fellow presented his wife's cheese to me with as good a
grace as any courtier could have made his offering. Unembarrassed, his
manner and his words gave the natural and easy expression of a
grateful heart. He assured me, that he and his wife were the happiest
couple in all Ireland; and he hoped I would one day be as happy myself
in a wife as I desarved, who had made others so, and there were many on
the estate remembered as well as he did the good I did to the poor
during my reign.
Then stepping up closer to me, he said, in a lower voice, "I'm
Jimmy Noonan, that married ould Riley's daughter; and now that it is
all over I may tell you a bit of a sacret, which made me so eager to
get to the speech of your honour, that I might tell it to your own ear
alone———no offence to this gentleman before whom I'd as soon say it as
yourself, because I see he is all as one as another yourself. Then the
thing is———does your honour remember the boy with the cord round his
body, looking for the bird's eggs in the rock, and the 'nonymous bit of
a letter that you got? 'Twas I wrote it, and the gossoon that threw it
to your honour was a cousin of my own that I sent, that nobody, nor
yourself even, might not know him; and the way I got the information I
never can tell till I die, and then only to the priest, because I swore
I would not never. But don't go for to think it was by being a
rubble-any way; no man can, I thank my God, charge me with an
indifferency. So, rejoiced to see you the same, I wish you a good
morrow, and a long life, and a happy death———when it comes."
About this time I frequently used to receive presents to a
considerable amount, and of things which were most useful to me, but
always without any indication by which I could discover to whom I was
indebted for them; at last, by means of my Scotch landlady, I traced
them to Mr. M'Leod. This kindness was so earnest and peremptory, that
it would admit neither thanks nor refusals; and I submitted to be
obliged to a man for whom I felt such high esteem. I looked upon it as
not the least of his proofs of regard, that he gave me what I knew he
valued more than any thing else———his time. Whenever he came to Dublin,
though he was always hurried by business, so that he had scarcely
leisure to eat or sleep, he used constantly to come to see me in my
obscure lodgings; and when in the country, though he hated all letter
writing, except letters of business, yet he regularly informed me of
every thing that could be interesting to me. Glenthorn Castle he
described as a scene of riotous living, and of the most wasteful vulgar
extravagance. My poor foster-brother, the best natured and most
generous fellow in the world, had not sufficient prudence or strength
of mind to conduct his own family; his wife filled the castle with
tribes of her vagabond relations; she chose to be descended from one of
the kings of Ireland, and whoever would acknowledge her high descent,
and whoever would claim relationship with her, were sure to have their
claims allowed, and were welcome to live in all the barbarian
magnificence of Glenthorn Castle. Every instance that she could hear of
the former Lady Glenthorn's extravagance, or of mine——— and, alas!
there were many upon record, she determined to exceed. Her diamonds,
and her pearls, and her finery, surpassed every thing but the
extravagance of some of the Russian favourites of fortune. Decked out
in the most absurd manner, this descendant of kings often, as Mr.
M'Leod assured me, indulged in the pleasures of the banquet, till, no
longer able to support the regal diadem, she was carried by some of the
meanest of her subjects to her bed. The thefts committed during these
interregnums were amazing in their amount, and the jewels of the crown
were to be replaced as fast as they were stolen. Poor Christy all this
time was considered as a mean spirited cratur, who had no notion of
living like a prince, and whilst his wife and her relations were
revelling in this unheard-of manner, he was scarcely considered as the
master of the house; he lived by the fireside, disregarded in winter,
and in summer he spent his time chiefly in walking up and down his
garden, and picking fruit. He once made an attempt to amuse himself by
mending the lock of his own room-door, but he was detected in the fact,
and exposed to such loud ridicule by his lady's favourites, that he
desisted, and sighing said to Mr. M'Leod———"And isn't it now a great
hardship upon a man like me to have nothing to do, or not to be let do
any thing? If it had not been for my son Johnny's sake, I never would
have quit the forge; and now all will be spent in coshering, and
Johnny, at the last, will never be a penny the better, but the worse
for my consinting to be lorded; and what grieves me more than all the
rest, she is such a negre, [Note: An Irishman in using this word has
some confused notion that it comes from negro; whereas it really means
niggard.] that I haven't a guinea I can call my own to send, as I'd
always laid out to do at odd times, such little tokens of my love and
duty, as would be becoming to my dear foster-brother there in Dublin.
And now, you tell me, he is going away too, beyond sea to England, to
finish making a lawyer of himself in London; and what friends will he
find there, without money in his pocket? and I had been thinking this
while past, ever since you gave me notice of his being to quit Ireland,
that I would go up to Dublin myself to see him, and wish him a good
journey kindly before he would go; and I had a little compliment here,
in a private drawer, that I had collected unknownst to my wife, but
here last night she lit upon it, and now that her hand has closed upon
it, not a guinea of it shall I ever see more, nor a farthing the better
of it will my dear foster-brother ever be, for it or for me; and this
is what grieves me more than all, and goes to the quick of my heart."
When Mr. M'Leod repeated to me these lamentations of poor Christy,
I immediately wrote to set his heart at ease, as much as I could, by
the assurance that I was in no distress for money, and that my three
hundred a-year would support me in perfect comfort and independence,
whilst "I was making a lawyer of myself in London." I further assured
my good foster-brother, that I was so well convinced of his
affectionate and generous dispositions towards me, that it would be
quite unnecessary ever to send me tokens of his regard. I added a few
words of advice about his wife and his affairs, which, like most words
of advice, were, as I afterwards found, absolutely thrown away.
Though I had taken care to live with so much economy, that I was
not in any danger of being in pecuniary embarrassments, yet I felt much
distress of another kind in leaving Ireland. I left Miss Delamere
surrounded with admirers; her mother using her utmost art and parental
influence to induce Cecilia to decide in favour of one of these
gentlemen, who was a person of rank and of considerable fortune. I had
seen all this going on, and was bound in honour the whole time to
remain passive, not to express my own ardent feelings, not to make the
slightest attempt to win the affections of the woman, who was the
object of all my labours, of all my exertions. The last evening that I
saw her at Lord Y———'s, just before I sailed for England, I suffered
more than I thought it was in my nature to feel, especially at the
moment when I went up to make my bow, and take leave of her with all
the cold ceremony of a common acquaintance. At parting, however, in the
presence of her mother and of Lord Y———, Cecilia, with her sweet smile,
and, I think, with a slight blush, said a few words, upon which I lived
for months afterwards.
"I sincerely wish you, sir, the success your perseverance so well
The recollection of these words was often my solace in my lonely
chambers at the Temple; and often, after a day's hard study, the
repeating them to myself operated as a charm that dissipated all
fatigue, and revived at once my exhausted spirits. To be sure there
were moments, when my fire was out, and my candle sinking in the
socket, and my mind over-wearied saw things in the most gloomy point of
view; and at these times I used to give an unfavourable interpretation
to Cecilia's words, and I fancied, that they were designed to prevent
my entertaining fallacious hopes, and to warn me that she must yield to
her mother's authority, or perhaps to her own inclinations, in favour
of some of her richer lovers. This idea would have sunk me into utter
despondency, and I should have lost, with my motive, all power of
exertion, had I not opposed to this apprehension the remembrance of
Lord Y———'s countenance, at the moment Cecilia was speaking to me. I
then felt assured, that his lordship, at least, understood the words in
a favourable sense, else he would have suffered for me, and would not
certainly have allowed me to go away with false hopes. Reanimated by
this consideration, I persevered——— for it was by perseverance alone
that I could have any chance of success.
It was fortunate for me, that, stimulated by a great motive, I thus
devoted my whole time and thoughts to my studies, otherwise, I must, on
returning to London, have felt the total neglect and desertion of all
my former associates in the fashionable world; of all the vast number
of acquaintance, who used to lounge away their hours in my company,
and partake of the luxuries of my table and the festivities of my
house. Some whom I accidentally met in the streets, just at my
reappearance in town, thought proper, indeed, to know me again at
first, that they might gratify their curiosity about the paragraphs
which they had seen in the papers, and the reports which they had heard
of my extraordinary change of fortune; but no sooner had they satisfied
themselves, that all they had heard was true, than their interest
concerning me ceased. When they found, that, instead of being Earl of
Glenthorn, and the possessor of a large estate, I was now reduced to
three hundred a year, lodging in small chambers at the Temple, and
studying the law, they never more thought me worthy of their notice.
They affected, according to their different humours, either to pity me
for my misfortunes, or to blame me for my folly in giving up my estate;
but they unanimously expressed astonishment at the idea of my becoming
a member of any active profession, They declared, that it was
impossible that I could ever endure the labour of the law, or succeed
in such an arduous profession. Their prophecies intimidated me not; I
was conscious, that these people did not in the least know me, and I
hoped and believed, that I had powers and a character, which they were
incapable of estimating: their contempt rather excited than depressed
my mind, and their pity I returned with more sincerity than it was
given. I had lived their life, knew thoroughly what were its pleasures
and its pains, I could compare the ennui I felt when I was a
Bond-street lounger, with the self-complacency I enjoyed now that I was
occupied in a laborious but interesting and honourable pursuit. I
confess, I had sometimes, however, the weakness to think the worse of
human nature, for what I called the desertion and ingratitude of these
my former companions and flatterers; and I could not avoid comparing
the neglect and solitude in which I lived in London, where I had
lavished my fortune, with the kindness and hospitalities I had received
in Dublin, where I lived only when I had no fortune to spend. After a
little time, however, I became more reasonable and just; for I
considered, that it was my former dissipated mode of life, and
imprudent choice of associates, which I should blame for the
mortifications I now suffered from the desertion of companions, who
were, in fact, incapable of being friends. In London I had lived with
the most worthless, in Dublin, with the best company; and in each place
I had been treated as, in fact, I deserved. But, leaving the history of
my feelings, I must proceed with my narrative.
One night, after I had dined with an Irish gentleman, a friend of
Lord Y———'s, at the west end of the town, as I was returning late to my
lodgings, I was stopped for some time by a crowd of carriages, in one
of the fashionable streets. I found that there was a masquerade at the
house of a lady, with whom I had been intimately acquainted. The
clamours of the mob, eager to see the dresses of those who were
alighting from their carriages, the gaudy and fantastic figures which I
beheld by the light of the flambeaux, the noise and the bustle, put me
in mind of various similar nights of my past life, and it seemed to me
like a dream or a reminiscence of some former state of existence. I
thought my present self preferable, and without casting a longing
lingering look behind on the scenes of vanity, or, as they are called,
of pleasure, I passed on as soon as the crowd would permit, and took
my way down a narrow street, by which I hoped to get, by a shorter way
than usual, to my quiet lodgings. The rattling of the carriages, the
oaths of the footmen, and the shouts of the mob, still sounded in my
ears; and the masquerade figures had scarcely faded from my sight, when
I saw, coming slowly out of a miserable entry, by the light of a few
wretched candles and lanterns, a funeral. The contrast struck me; I
stood still to make way for the coffin, and I heard one say to another,
"What matter how she's buried! I tell you, be at as little expense as
possible, for he'll never pay a farthing." I had a confused
recollection of having heard the voice before; as one of the bearers
lifted his lantern, I saw the face of the woman who spoke, and had a
notion of having seen her before. I asked whose funeral it was, and I
was answered, "It is one Mrs. Crawley's———Lady Glenthorn that was,"
added the woman. I heard no more, I was so much shocked, that I believe
I should have fallen in the street, if I had not been immediately
supported by somebody near me. When I recovered my recollection, I saw
the funeral had moved on some paces, and the person who supported me,
I now found, was a clergyman. In a mild voice, he told me that his duty
called him away from me at present, but he added, that if I would tell
him where I could be found, he would see me in the morning, and give me
any information in his power, as he judged that I was interested for
this unfortunate woman. I put a card with my address into his hands,
thanked him, and got home as well as I could. In the morning, the
clergyman called upon me——— a most benevolent man,———unknown to fame!
but known to all the wretched within the reach of his consolatory
religion. He gave me a melancholy account of the last days of the
unhappy woman, whose funeral I had just seen. I told him who I was, and
what she had been to me. She had, almost in her last moments, as he
assured me, expressed her sence of, what she called, my generosity to
her, and deep contrition for her infidelity. She died in extreme
poverty and wretchedness, with no human being who was, or even seemed,
interested for her, but a maid-servant (the woman whose voice I
recollected), whose services were purchased to the last, by presents
of whatever clothes or trinkets were left from the wreck fo her
mistress's fortune. Crawley, it seems, had behaved brutally to his
victim. After having long delayed to perform his promise of marrying
her, he declared, that he could never think of a woman who had been
divorced, in any other way than as a mistress: she, poor weak creature,
consented to live with him on any terms; but, as his passions and his
interest soon turned to new objects, he cast her off without scruple,
refusing to pay any of the tradesmen, who had supplied her while she
bore his name. He refused to pay the expenses even of her funeral,
though she had shared with him her annuity, and every thing she
possessed. I paid the funeral expenses, and some arrears of the maid's
wages, together with such debts for necessaries, as I had reason to
believe were justly due: the strict economy with which I had lived for
three years, and the parting with a watch and some other trinkets too
fine for my circumstances, enabled me to pay this money without
material inconvenience, and it was a satisfaction to my mind. The good
clergyman, who managed these little matters for me, became interested
for me, and our acquaintance with each other grew every day more
intimate and agreeable. When he found that I was studying the law, he
begged to introduce me to a brother of his, who had been one of the
most eminent special pleaders in London, and who now, on a high salary,
undertook to prepare students for the bar. I was rather unwilling to
accept of this introduction, because I was not rich enough to become a
pupil of this gentleman's; but my clergyman guessed the cause of my
reluctance, and told me, that his brother had charged him to overrule
all such objections. "My brother and I," continued he, "though of
different professions, have, in reality, but one mind between us; he
has heard from me all the circumstances I know of you, and they have
interested him so much, that he desires, in plain English, to be of any
service he can to you."
This offer was made in earnest; and if I had given him the largest
salary that could have been offered by the most opulent of his pupils,
I could not have met with more attention, or have been instructed with
more zeal than I was, by my new friend, the special pleader. He was
also so kind as to put me at ease, by the assurance, that whenever I
should begin to make money by my profession, he would accept of
remuneration. He jestingly said, that he would make the same bargain
with me, that was made by the famous sophist Protagoras of old with his
pupil, that he should have the profits of the first cause I should
win———certain that I would not, like his treacherous pupil Evathlus,
employ the rhetorician's arms against himself, to cheat him out of his
promised reward. My special pleader was not a mere man of forms and law
rigmaroles; he knew the reason for the forms he used: he had not only a
technical but a rational knowledge of his business; and what is still
more uncommon, he knew how to teach what he had learnt. He did not
merely set me down at a desk, and leave me skins after skins of
parchment to pore over in bewildered and hopeless stupidity; he did not
use me like a mere copying machine, to copy sheet after sheet for him,
every morning from nine till four, and again every evening, from five
till ten. Mine was a lawtutor of a superior sort. Wherever he could, he
gave me a clew to guide me through the labyrinth of the law; and when
no reason could be devised for what the law directs, he never puzzled
me by attempting to explain what could not be explained; he did not
insist upon the total surrender of my rational faculties, but, with
wonderful liberality, would allow me to call nonsense, nonsense; and
would, after two or three hours hard scrivening, as the case might
require———for this I thank him more than all the rest———permit me to
yawn, and stretch, and pity myself, and curse the useless repetitions
At other times, my judicious special pleader was in the habits of
cheering my spirits, sinking under the weight of declarations, and
replications, and double pleas, and dilatory pleas;
"Of horse pleas, traverses, demwrers,
Jeofails, imparlances, and errours,
Averments, bars, and protestandoes."
O! Cecilia, what pains did I endure to win your applause! Yet, that
I may state the whole truth, let me acknowledge, that even these my
dullest, hardest tasks were light, compared with the burden I formerly
bore of ennui. At length, my period of probation in my pleader's
office was over; I escaped from the dusty desk, and the smell of musty
parchments, and the close smoky room; I finished eating my terms at the
Temple, and returned, even as the captain of the packet swore, "in the
face and teeth of the wind," to Dublin.
But, in my haste to return, I must not omit to notice, for the sake
of poetical equity, that, just when I was leaving England, I heard that
slow but sure paced justice at last overtook that wretch, Crawley. He
was detected and convicted of embezzling considerable sums, the
property of a gentleman in Cheshire, who had employed him as his agent.
I saw him, as I passed through Chester, going to prison, amidst the
execrations of the populace.
As I was not, as formerly, asleep in my carriage on deck, when we came
within sight of the Irish shore, I saw, and hailed with delight, the
beautiful bay of Dublin. The moment we landed, instead of putting
myself out of humour, as before, with every thing at the Marine Hotel,
I went directly to my friend, Lord Y———'s. I made my sortie from the
hotel with so much extraordinary promptitude, that a slip-shod waiter
was forced to pursue me, running or shuffling after me the whole length
of the street, before he could overtake me, with a letter, which had
been "waiting for my honour, at the hotel, since yesterday's Holyhead
packet." This was a mistake, as the letter had never come or gone by
any Holyhead packet; it was only a letter from Mr. M'Leod, to welcome
me to Ireland again; and to tell me, that he had taken care to secure
good well-aired lodgings for me: he added an account of what was going
on at Glenthorn Castle. The extravagance of my lady had, by this time,
reduced the family to great difficulties for ready-money, as they could
neither sell nor mortgage any part of the Glenthorn estate, which was
settled on the son. My poor foster-brother had, it seems, in vain,
attempted to restrain the wasteful folly of his wife, and to persuade
Johnny, the young heir apparent, to larn to be a jantleman: in vain
Christy tried to prevail on his lordship, to refrain drinking whiskey
preferably to claret; the youth pleaded both his father and mother's
examples; and said, that as he was an only son, and his father had but
a life-interest in the estate, he expected to be indulged; he repeated
continually, "a short life and a merry one for me." Mr. M'Leod
concluded this letter, by observing, "that far from its being a merry
life, he never saw any thing more sad than the life this foolish boy
led; and that Glenthorn Castle was so melancholy and disgusting a scene
of waste, riot, and intemperance, that he could not bear to go there."
I was grieved by this account, for the sake of my poor foster-brother;
but it would have made a deeper impression upon me at any other time. I
must own, that I forgot the letter, and all that it contained, as I
knocked at Lord Y———'s door.
Lord Y——— received me with open arms, and, with all the kindness of
friendship, anticipated the questions I longed, yet feared, to ask.
"Cecilia Delamere is still unmarried——— Let these words be enough
to content you for the present; all the rest is, I hope, in your own
In my power!———delightful thought! yet how distant that hope! For I
was now, after all my labours, but just called to the bar; not yet
likely, for years, to make a guinea, much less a fortune, by my
profession. Many of the greatest of our lawyers have gone circuit, for
ten or twelve years, before they made a hundred a year by their
profession; and I was at this time four and thirty. I confessed to my
Lord Y———, that these reflections alarmed and depressed me exceedingly:
but he encouraged me by this answer——— "Persevere———deserve success,
and trust the rest, not to fortune, but to your friends. It is not
required of you to make ten thousand, or one thousand a year, at the
bar, in any given time; but it is expected from you to give proofs,
that you are capable of conquering the indolence of your disposition,
or of your former habits. It is required from you, to give proofs of
intellectual energy and ability. When you have convinced me, that you
have the knowledge and assiduity that ought to succeed at the bar, I
shall be certain, that only time is wanting to your actual acquisition
of a fortune equal to what I ought to require for my fair friend and
relation. When it comes to that point, it will, my dear sir, be time
enough for me to say more. Till it comes to that point, I have promised
Mrs. Delamere, that you will not even attempt to see her daughter. She
blames me for having permitted Cecilia and you to see so much of each
other, as you did in this house when you were last in Ireland. Perhaps
I was imprudent, but your conduct has saved me from my own reproaches,
and I fear no other. I end where I began, with 'Persevere———and may the
success your perseverance deserves be your reward.' If I recollect
right, these were nearly Miss Delamere's own words at parting with
In truth, I had not forgotten them; and I was so much excited by
their repetition at this moment, and by my excellent friend's
encouraging voice, that all difficulties, all dread of future labours
or evils, vanished from my view. I went my first circuit, and made two
guineas, and was content; for Lord Y——— was not disappointed: he told
me it would, it must be so. But though I made no money, I obtained
gradually, amongst my associates at the bar, the reputation for
judgment and knowledge. Of this they could judge by my conversation,
and by the remarks on the trials brought on before us. The elder
counsel had been prepared in my favour, first by Mr. Devereux, and
afterwards by my diligence in following their advice, during my studies
in Dublin: they perceived that I had not lost my time in London, and
that my mind was in my possession. They prophesied that, from the
moment I began to be employed, I should rise rapidly at the bar.
Opportunity, they told me, was now all that I wanted, and for that I
must wait with patience. I waited with as much patience as I could. I
had many friends; some among the judges, some among the more powerful
class of men, the attorneys. Some of these friends made for me by Mr.
Deveréux and Lady Geraldine; some by Lord Y———; some, may I say it, by
myself. Yet the united and zealous endeavours, direct and indirect, of
partisans more powerful and more numerous than mine, had failed to push
on, or push up, several barristers, who were of much longer standing
than myself. Indeed the attempts to bring them forward had, in some
instances, been rather injurious than serviceable. The law is a
profession in which patronage can do but little for any candidate.
Every man, in his own business, will employ him whom he believes to
have the most knowledge and ability. The utmost that even the highest
patronage from the bench can do for a young barrister is, to give him
an opportunity of distinguishing himself in preference to other
competitors. This was all I hoped; and I was not deceived in this hope.
It happened, that a cause of considerable moment, which had come on in
our circuit, and to the whole course of which I had attended with great
care, was removed, by an appeal, to the courts above, in Dublin. I
fortunately, I should say, prudently, was in the habit of constant
attendance at the courts: the counsel, who was engaged to manage this
cause, was suddenly taken ill, and was disabled from proceeding. The
judge called upon me; the attorneys, and the other counsel, were all
agreed in wishing me to take up the business, for they knew I was
prepared, and competent to the question. The next day the cause, which
was then to be finally decided, came on. I sat up all night to look
over my documents, and to make myself sure of my points. Ten years
before this, if any one had prophesied this of me, how little could I
have believed them!
The trial came on———I rose to speak. How fortunate it was for me,
that I did not know my Lord Y——— was in the court. I am persuaded, that
I could not have spoken three sentences, if he had caught my eye in the
exordium of this my first harangue. Every man of sensibility———and no
man without it can be an orator———every man of sensibility knows, that
it is more difficult to speak in the presence of one anxious friend,
for whose judgment we have a high opinion, than before a thousand
auditors who are indifferent, and are strangers to us. Not conscious
who was listening to me, whose eyes were upon me, whose heart was
beating for me, I spoke with confidence and fluency, for I spoke on a
subject, of which I had previously made myself completely master; and I
was so full of the matter, that I thought not of the words. Perhaps
this, and my having the right side of the question, were the causes of
my success. I heard a buzz of thanks and applause round me. The decree
was given in our favour. At this moment I recollected my bargain, and
my debt to my good master, the special pleader. But all bargains, all
debts, all special pleaders, vanished the next instant from my mind;
for the crowd opened, Lord Y——— appeared before me, seized my hand,
congratulated me actually with tears of joy, carried me away to his
carriage, ordered the coachman to drive home———fast! fast!
"And now," said he to me, "I am satisfied. ———Your trial is
over———successfully over——— You have convinced me of your powers and
your perseverance. All the hopes of friendship are fulfilled: may all
the hopes of love be accomplished. You have now my free and full
approbation to address my ward and relation, Cecilia Delamere. You will
have difficulties with her mother, perhaps; but none beyond what we
good and great lawyers shall, I trust, be able to overrule. Mrs.
Delamere knows, that, as I have an unsettled estate, and but one son, I
have it in my power to provide for her daughter as if she were my own.
It has always been my intention to do so: but, if you marry Miss
Delamere, you will still find it necessary to pursue your profession
diligently, to maintain her in her own rank and style of life; and now
that you have felt the pleasures of successful exertion, you will
consider this necessity as an additional blessing. From what I have
heard this day, there can be no doubt, that, by pursuing your
profession, you can secure, in a few years, not only ease and
competence, but affluence and honours.——— Honours of your own
earning.———How far superior to any hereditary title!"
The carriage stopped at Lord Y———'s door. My friend presented me to
Cecilia, whom I saw this day for the first time since my return to
Ireland. From this hour I date the commencement of my life of real
happiness. How unlike that life of pleasure, to which so many give
erroneously the name of happiness. Lord Y———, with his powerful
influence, supported my cause with Mrs. Delamere, who was induced,
though with an ill-grace, to give up her opposition.
"Cecilia," she said, "was now three and twenty, an age to judge for
herself; and Lord Y———'s judgment was a great point in favour of Mr.
O'Donoghoe, to be sure. And no doubt Mr. O'Donoghoe might make a
fortune, since he had made a figure already at the bar. In short, she
could not oppose the wishes of Lord Y———, and the affections of her
daughter, since they were so fixed. But, after all," said Mrs.
Delamere, "what a horrid thing it will be to hear my girl called Mrs.
O'Donoghoe! Only conceive the sound of———Mrs. O'Donoghoe's carriage
there!———Mrs. O'Donoghoe's carriage stops the way!"
"Your objection, my dear madam," replied Lord Y———, "is fully as
well founded as that of a young lady of my acquaintance, who could not
prevail on her delicacy to become the wife of a merchant of the name of
Sheepshanks. He very wisely, or very gallantly, paid five hundred
pounds to change his name. I make no doubt that your future son-in-law,
Mrs. Delamere, will have no objection to take and bear the name and
arms of Delamere; and I think I can answer for it, that a king's letter
may be obtained, empowering him to do so. With this part of the
business allow me to charge myself."
I spare the reader the protracted journal of a lover's hopes and
fears. Cecilia, convinced by the exertions in which I had so long
persevered, that my affection for her was not only sincere and ardent,
but likely to be permanent, did not torture me by the vain delays of
female coquetry. She believed, she said, that a man capable of
conquering habitual indolence could not be of a feeble character; and
she therefore consented, without hesitation, to-intrust her happiness
to my care.
I hope my readers have, by this time, too favourable an opinion of
me to suspect, that, in my joy, I forgot him who had been my steady
friend in adversity. I wrote to M'Leod as soon as I knew my own
happiness, and assured him, that it would be incomplete without his
sympathy. I do not think there was at our wedding a face of more
sincere, though sober joy, than M'Leod's. Cecilia and I have been now
married above a twelvemonth, and she permits me to say, that she has
never, for a moment, repented her choice. That I have not relapsed into
my former habits, the judicious and benevolent reader will hence infer:
and yet I have been in a situation to be spoiled; for I scarcely know a
wish of my heart that remains ungratified, except the wish that my
friend Mr. Devereux, and Lady Geraldine, should return from India, to
see and partake of that happiness, of which they first prepared the
foundation. They first wakened my dormant intellects, made me know that
I had a heart, and that I was capable of forming a character for
myself. The loss of my estate continued the course of my education,
forced me to exert my own powers, and to rely upon myself. My passion
for the amiable and charming Cecilia was afterwards motive sufficient,
to urge me to perservering intellectual labour: fortunately my marriage
has obliged me to continue my exertions, and the labours of my
profession have made the pleasures of domestic life most delightful.
The rich, says a philosophic moralist, are obliged to labour; if they
would be healthy or happy; and they call this labour exercise.
Whether, if I were again a rich man, I should have sufficient
voluntary exertion to take a due portion of mental and bodily exercise,
I dare not pretend to determine, nor do I wish to be put to the trial.
Desiring nothing in life but the continuance of the blessings I
possess, I may here conclude my memoirs, by assuring my readers, that,
after a full experience of most of what are called the pleasures of
life, I would not accept of all the Glenthorn and Sherwood estates, to
pass another year of such misery as I endured whilst I was "stretched
on the rack of a too easy chair."
————————— The preceding Memoirs were just ready for publication,
when I received the following letter:
To C. O'Donoghoe, Esq.
"Since the day I parted yees, nothing in life but misfortins has
happened me, owing to my being overruled by my wife, who would be a
lady, all I could say again it. But that's over, and there's no help;
for all and all that ever she can say will do no good. The castle's
burnt down all to the ground, and my Johnny's dead, and I wish I was
dead in his place. The occasion of his death was owing to drink, which
he fell into from getting too much money, and nothing to do——— and a
snuff of a candle. When going to bed last night, a little in liquor,
what does he do but takes the candle, and sticks it up against the head
of his bed, as he used oftentimes to do, without detriment, in the
cabin where he was reared against the mud-wall. But this was close to
an ould window curtain, and a deal of ould wood in the bed, which was
all in a smother, and he lying asleep after drinking, when he was ever
hard to wake, and before he wakened at all, it appears the unfortunit
cratur was smothered, and none heard a sentence of it, till the ceiling
of my room, the blue bed-chamber, with a piece of the big wood cornice
fell, and wakened me with terrible uproar, and all above and about me
was flame and smoke, and I just took my wife on my back, and down the
stairs with her, which did not give in till five minutes after, and
she screeching, and all them relations she had screeching and running
every one for themselves, and no thought in any to save any ting at
all, but just what they could for themselves, and not a sarvant that
was in his right rason. I got the ladder with a deal of difficulty, and
up to Johnny's room, and there was a sight for me———he a corpse, and
how even to get the corpse out of that, myself could not tell, for I
was bewildered, and how they took me down, I don't well know. When I
came to my sinses, I was lying on the ground in the court, and all
confusion and screaming still, and the flames raging worse than ever.
There's no use in describing all———the short of it is, there's nothing
remaining of the castle, but the stones; and it's little I'd think o'
that, if I could have Johnny back———such as he used to be in my good
days; since he's gone I am no good. I write this to beg you, being
married, of which I give you joy, to Miss Delamere, that is the hare at
law, will take possession of all immediately, for I'm as good as dead,
and will give no hindrance. I will go back to my forge, and, by the
help of God, forget at my work what has passed, and as to my wife, she
may go to her own kith and kin, if she will not abide by one, I shall
not trouble her long. Mr. M'Leod is a good man, and will follow any
directions you send, and may the blessing of God attind, and come to
reign over us again, when you will find me, as heretofore,
"Your loyal foster-brother,
Glenthorn Castle is now rebuilding; and, when it is finished, and
when I return thither, I will, if it should be desired by the public,
give a faithful account of my feelings. I flatter myself that I shall
not relapse into indolence; my understanding has been cultivated ———I
have acquired a taste for literature, and the example of Lord Y———
convinces me, that a man may at once be rich and noble, and active and