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those of happiness and gaiety are for- If they were' vicious, it was from gotten—Isabella, lost, was to be re- thoughtlessness; if honest, from acmembered for ever.
cident. Their conversation was so eas But these are recollections which sy, and yet (to themselves) so enterunhinge me for detail. I have a blow to taining. The jest so weak; the laugh strike, and almost within this hour, for so hilarious. Their belief, too, was so which every corporal and mental agent facile,- I did envy them that faculty! must be nerved. And my senses rush Not one of them ever doubted anyalong in tide as furious and rapid as thing that he was at all interested in my fate! I cannot dwell, amid this crediting: All about them was fudge; whirl of mind and fancy, upon the and yet they never seemed to be aware measures which, in seven years, dis- of it. Their Bond-Street dinners were possessed me of L.70,000.' I am not not good. They would talk all day lamenting that which I have done. Į about the fancied merits of particular began with a resolution to live while I dishes ; and yet at night be put off did live. Uncertain of the next mo- with such wine and cuisine as really ment, the passing hour was all to me. was sad stuff, and could not have What mattered it, since my course passed but upon men of fashion. must cease, whether it ceased sooner But the most striking feature in or later ; provided, while it lasted, I their characters was their utter want was in all things content ? I scorned of self-respect. I have seen a young the confined views of men who, pos- man literally begging for half-crowns, sessing means, submitted to let “I who but a few months before had dare not” wait upon “ I would;" and driven his curricle, and been distinvowed when I put myself at the head guished for his insolence. Another of my fortune, that no expenditure of would borrow small sums, and never wealth, no exposure of person, should pay them, until not even a servant was ever have weight to disappoint my in left who would lend him a shilling. clination.
Others would endure to be insulted Yet my estate lasted longer than, by their tradesmen ;- to be poisoned under such a resolution, might be ex- at coffee-houses where they could not pected. The rich, for the most part, pay their bills ;-to truck and barter either lavish their money without en- their clothes and valuables for ready joying it, or, to maintain what is call- money with waiters at hotels ;—and ed a certain “ state," suffer depends all this to obtain supplies which in ants to lavish it for them. As it hap- reality they did not want, and because pened that I had no wish for common- they knew no mode of dissipating place distinctions, nor was very desi- time, but in dissipating a certain quan. rous of anything which money alone tity of specie. could buy, I escaped all those rapidly These were the people who went to ruinous contests in which the longest fights—to races ; — wore large hats, purse is understood to carry the day. and garments of peculiar cut; with I saw something of the absurdities of little of taste or fancy in their devices; fashion, but I entered very little into and, of true conception of splendour them. Curiosity, want of employment, or of elegance, none. and that natural desire which even the Then their hangers on were a set of silliest man feels, to laugh at the fol- men fit to be classed per se in history. lies of those about him, made me as, Fellows culled from all ranks and stasociate sometimes with fine gentle- tions, but all rascals alike ;—their men; but I never became a fine gen- avocations various, but all infamous. tleman myself.
There were among them cashiered ofAnd yet it was amusing, in the ficers, or men who had left the army way of chasse ennui, to glide along to avoid that infliction; fraudulent with the frequenters of Bond Street, waiters, and markers from billiard tae and with the loungers at the opera; bles; shopkeepers' sons, black-leg atand to observe the excessive-themon- torneys, and now and then the brokenstrous self-delusion of men, who had down heir of a respectable name and been born to ample means, and were family. not incumbered much with under- I recollect one or two of these fels standing. Their talk was such fea- lows who were characters for posterither; and yet, even in what they ut- ty in their way. There was one Mr tered, they were generally mistaken. M'Grath in particular, a native of the
sister kingdom, with whose history in a deposit) for a curacy or a colonel's full it fell to my lot to be acquainted. commission. Then he dealt among I traced him back to his leaving Dub- the bankrupts; could indorse a bill; lin, where he had acted as collecting --get it cashed. He would arrange a clerk to a distiller ; and from whence, provision for a distressed lady ;-wait on account of some trifling embezzle- upon a betrayer at the hazard of bements, he had come over to England ing kicked down stairs ;--threaten law with about twenty pounds in his poc- proceedings ;-introduce a new face; ket. This man on his arrival had not in short, wherever there was distress a friend nor a connection to back him; and helplessness, there, as if by ing his address was bad ; his person not stinct, you were sure to find' M, prepossessing; and he had an uncon- Grath, querable aversion to anything like ho- I met with the gentleman under nest labour; but he began with a lit- circumstances (for him) peculiarly untle, and, by industry, rose.
lucky. He had been settling with a His first step in London was into a certain peer the terms upon which he second floor lodging in Jermyn Street, was to be freed from the importunity Piccadilly,—for he laid himself out as of a female, from whom importunity an appendage to men of fortune from ought not to have been necessary. I the beginning. The woman of the chanced, shortly afterwards, to fall in house dwelt herself in a single apart with the lady; and (she really had ment; waited upon her guests as a been unfortunate) to become interested servant; and fleeced them, because her for her. M'Grath in this case had house was “in a situation!”
gone to work with less than his usual This woman had a hump-backed prudence. He had received at the daughter, who stood a grade above her end of his negotiation L.500 from the mother. I saw her afterwards in a nobleman in question, upon a written workhouse, to which I went for the promise that the applicant should purpose of ascertaining the truth of trouble him no more ; of which L.500 M'Grath's history. She did the bet- he accounted for L.200 in cash, giter kind of labour, while her mother ving his own note to his client as se attended to the drudgery: and, by curity for the rest. This was a safe parsimony, and greatexertion, they had L.300 gained; but M'Grath was not acquired near L.2000.
content. Distress within a short time M'Grath's second step in life, ha« obliged the same woman to dispose of ving heard of the L.2,000, was to mar- some jewels and other personal prory his landlady's humpbacked daughperty which she possessed; and this ter; and, with part of the money, he property, with a fatuity apparently bought a commission in the Guards. unaccountable,-even after what had Here he remained but a short time, happened-she employed M‘Grath to his real character being discovered. find a purchaser for. The monstrous Within twelve months he deserted his apparent folly of such an act, made newly acquired wife. The furniture me doubt the truth of the whole story of the mother's house was next seized when I heard it. In heaven's name, for his debts. The two miserable wo- I asked, why had she trusted such a men then came for support upon the fellow as M'Grath even in the first parish ; and, with the wreck of the transaction?" And who but such a L.2000, M'Grath commenced gentle- man," was the answer, “would have
undertaken such an office ?" And, with the appointments of re- M'Grath, however, probably had spectable station about him, this fel- his necessities as well as other people; low had gone on for more than twen- for, on this occasion, he took a meaty years when by accident I met with sure of very questionable safety. Rehim ;-the most handy, and univer- lying upon the lady's dread of public sally applicable creature in the world. exposure, he pawned the whole of her Latterly he had found it convenient jewels, and converted the money to his to call himself a conveyancer; and un
I caused him merely to be took to act as an agent on all occa- arrested, although his offence was, I sions. He was a money lender ;-an believe, a criminal one; and eventuassistant in borrowing money, or in ally he was liberated from prison by investing it. He bought or sold a the Insolvent act; for he had judged horse ;-could obtain patronage (upon rightly so far--the exposure
of a pro
secudon could not be borne ; but, by ries were open to me. But, if it was a singular coincidence, I had after- much to be one of the few, I thought wards to kick him out of my own it would be even more to stand alone. house, on his calling for the particu- And therefore, although I kept fine lars (he did not know upon whom) of horses, I did not race them to death. a next presentation to a living adver- I had a handsomely furnished house; tised for sale.
but I refused to have a taste; that is Women, however, of course, among to say, I did not lie awake fourteen the true spendthrifts of my acquaint- nights together, imagining a new scroll ance, were the principal objects of dis- pattern for the edge of a sofa ; nor decourse and of attention. But their ar- cide, (still in doubt,) after six weeks rangements even upon this point were perplexity, which was the properest of so odd a description, that the ridicu- tint of two-and-twenty for the lining lous overpowers every other feeling of a window-curtain. In short, my when I think of them. I forget the private arrangements were - no way man's name who told a certain king guided by ambitious feeling ; whether that there was no royal road to the I rode, drove, drank, or dressed, I did knowledge of mathematics. I doubt the act merely because it was an act he would have failed to impress my gratifying to myself, not because it acquaintances with that truth. On ao had been done by Lord Such-a-one, chete le tout, seemed to be their con- or was to be done by Mr So-and-so; viction. One loved, in order that he and, although my fortune was small, might be affirmed a person in the compared with the fortunes of some world. Another, for the fashion of of my companions, yet, as it mattered a particular lady. A third, because not how soon the whole was expenda mistress was a good point to shew ed, I generally seemed, upon emer“ style” in. And a fourth, because it gency, to be the richest man of the was nécessary to have one. The non- circle I was moving in. chalance of this last set was the most And a race for some to envy has my exquisite thing in nature. They af- career been to this moment! If the fected (and I believe felt) a perfect in- last few months have shewn note of difference towards their protegées ; in- coming evil, that evil could not terrify troduced all their acquaintance, with- me when I was prepared to elude it. out a jot of jealousy, at their houses; If I have not enjoyed, in the posses, and I saw a letter from a peer to a sion of riches, that absolute convicFrench woman, who transacted love tion, (my solace under poverty,) that affairs for him, stating that he meant what tribute I did receive was paid to form an attachment of some dura- entirely to myself, yet the caution and tion when he came to town; and de- experience which poverty taught me scribing (as to person) the sort of la- has preserved me from gross and dedy upon whom he should wish to fix grading imposition. Let me keep up his affections.
my spirits, even with egotism, in a The nature of such connections may moment like this! I have not been well be imagined. No regard was quite an object to court imposition. ever dreamed of for the feelings of the The same faculties and powers, which women; the men were, of course, ap- availed me when I was without a preciated and abused. It was a sacri- guinea, continued at my command fice on both sides; but the sacrifice of throughout my high fortune. I have the man was merely a sacrifice of mo- not been, as an old man, wasting proney, of which he did not know the va- perty which I could not spend; I lue; and that sacrifice neither obtain- have not been a wretched pretender, ed nor deserved any gratitude ; for the by purchase, to place and to circumsame individual who would ruin him stance, to which desert gave me no self in keeping a splendid etat for his title ; I have not been the thing that mistress, would lavish nothing upon I am, to die, because I will not be. her that did not redound to his own Gold is worth something, inasmuch “ fashionable” notoriety.
as it gives certain requisites for contiFor myself, if I did not enter into nued enjoyment, which can be obthe spirit of what was called ton, it tained from no other source. Apart did not arise from any want of general from all pretension to severe moral good reception. As soon as it was found principle, I had ever this feeling, in that I cared about no coterie, all cute- its fullest extent--that the man was thrice a villain, a wretch thrice unfit and the treasures of the unfathomed to live, who could plunge any woman ocean could not bay them back. that trusted him into poverty, into Life of life-spirit of enjoymentdisgrace. To this principle, I would to what has it not fallen ! Does it still admit neither of exception nor era- spring in the heart, like the wild sion. I do not say that every man flower in the field--the native produce can command his passions ; but every of a vigorous soil, which asks no tilman can meet the consequences of lage, defies eradication, and rears its them. Again and again, in my days head alike amid the zephyr and the of necessity, did I fly from connexions storm? No; it is this no longer. It which seemed to indicate such termi- is an exotic now-a candle-light flower nation. Money, however, as society the sensitive plant with the hue of is constitutel, can do much-my sub- the rose; love is its sunshine-wine sequent wealth relieved me from all the dew that cherishes it; it blossoms obstacles.
beneath the ray of the evening star, Yet, let me redeem myself in one and blooms in the illuminated garden point, I shall not attempt it in many at midnight; but, in the cool breeze -my power was in no instance (as Í of morning, it droops and it withers; believe) employed cruelly. For my and day, which brings life to all else, fellow men, I had little consideration. destroys it for ever. I knew them merciless-I had felt Then, if I had the Indies still in them so. Still, upon man, if I recol- my grasp, would I endure to descend lect well, I never wantonly inflicted in the scale of creation ? Would I join pain ; and in no one instance--as the class of respectable old men ; and Heaven shall judge me!-did I ever sit spectator of a mellay which I am sacrifice the feelings of a woman. no longer able to engage in ? Would
A portion of my wealth was given I choose the more disgusting course of to relieve my father from debts which some I see around me; and let the he had incurred in expectation of the vices of manhood degenerate into the whole. Another portion, I trust, will weaknesses of age? Would I struggle have placed in security beings whose to maintain a field in which victory is happiness and safety form my latest past my hope ; dispute a palm which, wis
third portion, and a of necessity, must be wrested from my large one, has been consumed in idle hand? Would I endure to have men, dissipation; but, if I have often thrown whom I have been accustomed to see away a hundred guineas, I have some- as children, push me insolently from times given away ten.
the stage of life, and seize the post The whole, however, at last, is gone.' which I have occupied ? Parks, Iordships, manors, mansions- If I could not bear this, still less not a property is left. As my object could I endure the probable, the inewas always rather pleasure than pa- vitable consequences of living to exrade, this change in my circumstances treine old age. To be, if not distasteis little known to the world. I am ful to my own depraved and doting writing--and I shall die so-in elegant sense, conscious of being distasteful apartments; with liveried servants, to all the world beside! To die worn splendid furniture-all the parapher- out with pains and aches ! Helpless in nalia of luxury about me. The whole body-feebler still in mind! The totis disposed of, and the produce con- tering victim of decrepitude and idisumed. To-morrow gives the new otcy, cowering from that fate which by owner possession. A hundred persons no effort I can avoid ! make account to nod to me to-morrow. I will not come to this. I will not I have, for to-morrow, four invitations make a shirking, ignominious end of to dinner.-I shall die to-night. life, when I have the power, within
Let me not be charged with flying myself, to die as may become a man. this world, because I fear to meet the To this hour I have had strength to loss of fortune. Give me back the keep my station in the world. In a years that I have spent; and I can few moments it would be gone-but deem lightly of the money. But my I shall go before it. And what do I place-my station among my fellow lose by thus grappling with my fate ? men?-It totters; it trembles. Youth, A few years at most of uncertainty or hope, and confidence these are past; uneasiness. That man may die to
morrow, I know afflicts him little; One full glass more, and I am prebut let him reflect, in his triumph, pared. Wine is wanting only to aid that he must die on the next day, the nerve, not to stimulate the courage Let him remember, that when he bas or the will. My pistols lie loaded by borne to hear people inquire after his my side. I will seal this packet, nehealth, listen to his answer with im- vertheless, with a steady hand ; and patience, and go to be happy out of you who receive it shall bear witness his reach-when he has borne to close that I have done so. the eyes of the last friend of his youth, Now, within this half hour, I will to lose all his old connexions, and to forget even that care must be the lot find himself incapable of forming new of man. I will revel for a moment ones—when he has endured to be a in the influence of wine, and in the solitary, excommunicated wretch, and smile of beauty-I will live, for one to read, in the general eye, that he is moment longer, the being I could wish an intruder
earth-he is still but to live for ever. as a ball to which a certain impetus is The clock strikes eleven.-Friend, given; which, moving in a fixed track, whom I have selected to receive my can neither deviate nor pause; and parting words, I must conclude. I which has but (to an inch) a marked shall send this letter to you instantly. space to pass over, at the end of which You will receive it while I still exist; comes that fall from which the world's and yet you will be unable-the worldl worth cannot save it.
would be unable to prevent the act I I can write no more. My hour is meditate. Do me justice and farefast approaching.–Now am I greater, well! When the chimes tell twelve in my own holding, than an emperor! to-night, I shall be uppermost in your He would command the fate of others; mind. You will wonder-you will be but I command my own. This is, in troubled-you will doubt. And, when very choice, the destiny which I would you sit at breakfast to-morrow mornembrace. There is something sublime ing, some publie newspaper, recording in thus looking in the face of Death: my death, will give you perhaps the he sits over against me as I write; and real name of I view him without terror. If I have - a predominant feeling at this moment,
Titus. it is a feeling of curiosity.
LETTER FROM ODOHERTY. Dear North, I shall be obliged by your sinking scruples, and giving a place in your next Number to the enclosed paper, entitled, “ The Last Words of Charles Edwards, Esq." The production will of itself sufficiently explain who the writer was. I knew him in the Peninsula as a dashing fellow; and, notwithstanding all he says, he was a great favourite with his mess. Bad as he was, he did not want some good points: he was not a scoundrel to the core. He is gone ! May the history of his errors do good to one young and unhardened sinner ! I think it may well be expected to do good to hundreds of them.
Some people will say you act wrongly in giving publicity to such a record. Don't mind this—it is mere cant. The paper is a transcript-I have no doubt a faithful one, of the feelings of a man who had strong passions himself, who understood human passion, who understood the world, and who lived miserably, and died most miserably, because he could not, or would not, understand himself ; and therefore derived no benefits from his acute perceptions as to others. Is not this a lesson? I think it is not only a lesson, but a lesson of lessons ; and I request you to print the thing as it stands.
I received the paper from an old friend of mine, who at one time seryed in the same troop with Edwards. The packet was left at his house on Christmas night, 1822. He was from home at the time, and did not reach London until a week had elapsed. The hand-writing was disguised, but he recognized it notwithstanding; and the newspapers of the day sufficiently confirmed the import.--Yours truly,