Page images

“ The French Revolution now broke out, “and with it å flame of liberty burnt in " the breast of the young Irishman. He “ paid this year a visit to Paris, where he “ formed an intimacy with Tom Paine, and “ came over with him to England.

“ There matters rested, till, dining one “ day at his regimental mess, he ordered “ the band to play " Ça ira,' the great re“volutionary air. A few days afterwards “ he received a letter from head-quarters, " to say that the King dispensed with his “ services.

“He now paid a second visit to America, “ where he lived for two years among the “ native Indians ; and once again crossing “ the Atlantic, settled on his family estate “ in Ireland, where he fulfilled all the du“ ties of a country-gentleman and magis“ trate. Here it was that he became ac“ quainted with the OʻConnors, and in “ conjunction with them zealously exerted “ himself for the emancipation of their “ country. On their imprisonment he was “ proscribed, and secreted for six weeks “ in what are called the liberties of Dub“ lin; but was at length betrayed by a “ woman.

“ Major Sirr and a party of the military “ entered his bed-room, which he always “kept unlocked. At the voices he started “ up in bed and seized his pistols, when “ Major Sirr fired and wounded him. Taken to prison, he soon after died of “his wound, before he could be brought “ to trial. Such was the fate of one who “ had all the qualifications of a hero and “ a patriot! Had he lived, perhaps Ire“ land had not now been a land of He“ lots.”

“ What did you mean," asked I one day, “ by that line in · Beppo,'

• Some play the devil, and then write a novel’? ”

“ I alluded,” replied he,“ to a novel “ that had some fame in consequence of “its being considered a history of my “ life and adventures, character and ex“ ploits, mixed up with innumerable lies “ and lampoons upon others. Madame “ de Staël asked me if the picture was “ like me,—and the Germans think it is “not a caricature. One of my foreign “ biographers has tacked name, place, and " circumstance to the Florence fable, and “ gives me a principal instead of a subor“ dinate part in a certain tragical history " therein narrated. Unfortunately for my “ biographers, I was never at Florence for “ more than a few days in my life; and “ Fiorabella's beautiful flowers are not so “ quickly plucked or blighted. Hence, “ however, it has been alleged that mur“ der is my instinct; and to make inno“cence my victim and my prey, part of “my nature. I imagine that this dark “ hint took its origin from one of my “ Notes in “The Giaour, in which I said " that the countenance of a person dying “ by stabs retained the character of fero“ city, or of the particular passion im“ printed on it, at the moment of dissolu" tion. A sage reviewer makes this com“ment on my remark :- It must have

“ been the result of personal observa“ tion!'

“ But I am made out a very amiable “ person in that novel! The only thing “ belonging to me in it, is part of a let“ter; but it is mixed up with much fic“titious and poetical matter. Shelley “ told me he was offered, by — the “ bookseller in Bond Street, no small sum “ if he would compile the Notes of that “ book into a story; but that he declined “ the offer.




* But if I know “ the authoress, I have seen letters of "hers much better written than any part “ of that novel. A lady of my acquaint“ance told me, that when that book was

« PreviousContinue »