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naged; but I trust he is perfectly convinced that this was not the case. He was severely afflicted at first. The dear babe's resemblance to her mother after her death was so much more striking, that it was impossible to see her without recalling every circumstance of that afflicting scene, and he was continually in the room indulging the sad remembrance. In this manner he indulged his feelings for four or five days; then, having indispensable business, he was obliged to go to London, from whence he returned, on Sunday, apparently in good spirits and as well as usual. But however he may assume the appearance of ease or cheerfulness, his heart is not of a nature to be quickly reconciled to the loss of any thing he loves. He suffers deeply and secretly ; and I dare say he will long and bitterly lament both mother and child."

The reader will, I think, feel with me, after reading the foregoing letters, as well as those of Mrs. Sheridan, given in the course of this work, that the impression which they altogether leave on the mind is in the highest degree favourable to the characters both of husband and wife. There is, round the whole, an atmosphere of kindly, domestic feeling, which seems to answer for the soundness of the hearts that breathed in it. The 'sensibility, too, displayed by Sheridan at this period, was not that sort of passionate return to former feelings, which the prospect of losing what it once loved might awaken in even the most alienated heart;-on the contrary, there was a depth and mellowness in his sorrow which could proceed froin long habits of affection alone. The idea, indeed, of seeking solace for the loss of the mother in the endearments of the children would occur only to one who had been accustomed to find happiness in his home, and who therefore clung for comfort to what remained of the wreck.

Such, I have little doubt, were the natural feelings and dispositions of Sheridan; and if the vanity of talent too often turned him aside from their influence, it is but another proof of the danger of that “ light which leads astray," and may console those who, safe under the shadow of mediocrity, are unvisited by such disturbing splendours.

The following letters on this occasion, from his eldest sister and her husband, are a further proof of the warm attachment which he inspired in those connected with him :

“ MY DEAREST BROTHER, “Charles has just informed me that the fatal, the dreaded event has taken place. On my knees I implore the Almighty to look down upon you in your affliction, to strengthen your noble, your feeling heart to bear it. Oh my beloved brother, these are sad, sad trials of fortitude. One consolation, at least, in mitigation of your sorrow, I am sure you possess,—the consciousness of having done all

you

could to preserve the dear angel you have lost, and to soften the last painful days of her mortal existence. Mrs. Canning wrote to me that she was in a resigned and happy frame of mind : she is assuredly among the blest; and I feel and I think she looks down with benignity at my feeble efforts to sooth that anguish I participate. Let me then conjure you, my dear brother, to suffer me to endeavour to be of use to you. Could I have done it, I should have been with

you

from the time of your arrival at Bristol. The impossibility of my going has made me miserable, and injured my health, already in a very bad state. It would give value to my life, could I be of that service I think I might be of, if I were near you; and as I cannot go you,

and as there is every reason for you quitting the scene and objects before you, perhaps you may let us have the happiness of having you here, and my dear Tom: I will write to him when my spirits are quieter. I entreat you, my dear brother, try what change of place can do for you : your character and talents are here held in the highest estimation; and you have here some who love you

beyond the affection any in England can feel for you. “Cuff-Street, 4th July.

" A. LEFANU."

to

66 MY DEAR GOOD SIR, Wednesday, 4th July, 1792.

" Permit me to join my entreaties to Lissy's to persuade you to come over to us. A journey might be of service to you, and change of objects a real relief to your mind. We would try every thing to divert your thoughts from too intensely dwelling on certain recollections, which are yet too keen and too fresh to be entertained with safety,—at least to occupy you too entirely. Having been so long separated from your sister, hardly have an adequate idea of her love for you. I, who on many occasions have observed its operation, can truly and solemnly assure you that it far exceeds any thing I could ever have supposed to have been felt by a

; you can

214 MEMOIRS OF R. B. SHERIDAN.
sister towards a brother. I am convinced you would
experience such soothing in her company and conversa-
tion as would restore you to yourself sooner than any
thing that could be imagined. Come then, my dear
Sir, and be satisfied you will add greatly to her comfort,
and to that of

your very
affectionate friend,

" J. LEFANU."

CHAPTER XVI.

DRURY-LANE THEATRE. SOCIETY OF THE

FRIENDS OF THE PEOPLE. -MADAME DE GEN

LIS-WAR WITH FRANCE, WHIG SECEDERS.

SPEECHES IN PARLIAMENT. DEATH OF TICKELL.

The domestic anxieties of Mr. Sheridan, during this year,

left but little room in his mind for public cares. Accordingly, we find that, after the month of April, he absented himself from the House of Commons altogether. In addition to his apprehensions for the safety of Mrs. Sheridan, he had been for some time harassed by the derangement of his theatrical property, which was now fast falling into a state of arrear and involvement, from which it never after entirely recovered.

The Theatre of Drury-Lane having been, in the preceding year, reported by the surveyors to be unsafe and incapable of repair, it was determined to erect an entirely new house upon the same site; for the accomplishment of which purpose a proposal was made, by Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Linley, to raise the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, by the means of three hundred debentures, of five hundred pounds each. This

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