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I were talking over this event, I determined to make the experiment in England. I selected some of my best boys, and they performed the OEdipus Tyrannus, and the Trachinians of Sophocles. I wrote some Greek lambics to vindicate myself from the imputation of singularity, and grieved I am that I did not keep a copy of them. Milton, you may remember, recommends what I attempted.

“I saw much of Sheridan's father after the death of Sumner, and after my own removal from Harrow to Stanmer. I respected him,-he really liked me, and did me some important services,--but I never met him and Richard together. I often enquired about Richard, and, from the father's answers, found they were not upon good terms,—but neither he por I ever spoke of his son's talents but in terms of the highest praise."

In a subsequent letter Dr. Parr says:

“I referred you to a passage in the Gentleman's Magazine, where I am represented as discovering and encouraging in Richard Sheridan those intellectual powers, which had not been discovered and encouraged by Sumner. But the stalement is incorrect. We both of us discovered talents, which neither of us could bring into action while Sheridan was a school-boy. He gave us few opportunities of praise in the course of his schoolbusiness, and yet he was well aware that we thought highly of him, and anxiously wished more to be done by him than he was disposed to do.

“ I once or twice met his mother,—she was quite celestial. Both her virtues and her genius were highly esteemed by Robert Sumner. I know not whether Tom Sheridan found Richard tractable in the art of speaking,

and, upon such a subject, indolence or indifference would have been resented by the father as crimes quite inexpiable. One of Richard's sisters now and then visited Harrow, and well do I remember that, in the house where I lodged, she triumphantly repeated Dryden's Ode upon St. Cecilia's Day, according to the instruction given to her by her father. Take a sample :

" None but the brave,

None but the brave,

None but the brave deserve the fair." Whatever may have been the zeal or the proficiency of the sister, naughty Richard, like Gallio, seemed to care nought for these things.

“In the later periods of his life Richard did not cast behind him classical reading. He spoke copiously and powerfully about Cicero. He had read, and he had underslood, the four orations of Demosthenes read and taught in our public schools. He was at home in Virgil and in Horace. I cannot speak positively about Ilomer,

- but I am very sure that he read the Iliad now and then; not as a professed scholar would do, critically, but with all the strong sympathies of a poet reading a poet. Richard did not, and could not forget what he once knew, but his path to knowledge was his own, his steps were noiseless, -his progress was scarcely felt by himself,—his movements were rapid but irregular.

“Let me assure you that Richard, when a boy, was

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* It was not one of the least of the triumphs of Sheridan's talent, to have been able to persuadc so acute a scholar as Dr. Parr, that the extent of his classical acquirements was so great as is bere represented, and to have thus impressed with the idea of his remembering so much, the person who best knew how little he had learned.

by no means vicious. The sources of his infirınities were a scanty and precarious allowance from the father, the want of a regular plan for some profession, and, above all, the act of throwing him upon the town, when he ought to have been pursuing his studies at the University. He would have done little

among

mathematiciaus at Cambridge ;—he would have been a rake, or an idler, or a trifler, at Dublin ;—but I am inclined to think that at Oxford he would have become an excellent scholar.

“ I have now told you all that I know, and it amounts to very little. I am very solicilous for justice to be done to Robert Sumner. He is one of the six or seven persops among iny own acquaintance, whose taste I am accustomed to consider perfect, and were he living, his admiration

*

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During the greater part of Richard's stay at Harrow, his father had been compelled by the embarrassment of his affairs to reside with the remainder of the family in France, and it was at Blois, in the September of 1966, that Mrs. Sheridan died, leaving behind her that best kind of faine, which results from a life of usefulness and purity, and which it requires not the aid of art or eloquence to blazon. She appears to have been one of those rare women, who, united to men of more pretensions but less real intellect than themselves, meekly conceal this superiority even from their own hearts, and pass their lives,

+ The remainder of the letter relates to other subjects.

without a remonstrance or murmur, in gently endeavouring to repair those evils which the indiscretion or vanity of their partners has brought

upon them.

As a supplement to the interesting communication of Doctor Parr, I shall here subjoin an extract from a letter, which the eldest sister of Sheridan, Mrs. E. Lefanu, wrote a few months after his death to Mrs. Sheridan, in consequence of a wish expressed by the latter, that Mrs. Lefanu would communicate such particulars as she remembered of his early days. It will show, too, the feeling which his natural good qualities, in spite of the errors by which they were obscured and weakened, kept alive to the last, in the hearts of those connected with him, that sort of retrospective affection, which, when those whom we have loved become altered, whether in inind or person, brings the recollection of what they once were, to mingle with and soften our impression of what they are.

After giving an account of the residence of the family in France, she continues :

6. We returned to England, when I may say I first became acquainted with my brother—for faint and imperfect were my recollections of him, as might be expected from my age. I saw him; and my childish attachment revived with double force. He was handsome, not merely in the eyes of a partial sister, but generally allowed to be so. His cheeks had the glow

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of health, his eyes — the finest in the world — the brilliancy of genius, and were soft as a tender and affectionate heart could render them. The same playful fancy, the same sterling and innoxious wit, that was shown afterwards in his writings, cheered and delighted the family circle. I admired—I almost adored him. I would most willingly have sacrificed my life for him, as I, in some measure, proved to him at Bath, where we resided for some time, and where events that

you must have heard of engaged him in a duel. My father's displeasure threatened to involve me in the denunciations against him, for committing what he considered as a crime. Yet I risked every thing, and in the event was made happy by obtaining forgiveness for my brother. * You may perceive, dear sister, that

very

little indeed have I to say on a subject so near your heart, and near nine also. That for years I lost sight of a brother whom I loved with unabated affection- a love that neither absence or neglect could chill,-1 always consider as a great misfortune."

On his leaving Harrow, where he continued till near his eighteenth year, he was brought home by his father, who, with the elder son, Charles, had lately returned from France, and taken a house in London. Here the two brothers for some time received private tuition from Mr. Lewis Ker, an Irish gentleman, who had formerly practised as a physician, but having, by loss of health, been obliged to give up his profession, supported himself by giving lessons in Latin and Mathematics. They attended also the fencing and ridingschools of Mr. Angelo, and received instructions

VOL.I.

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