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ferent theatres during this period, I have ascertained, with regret, that neither on the evening of the speech in the House of Commons, nor on any of the days of the oration in Westminster Hall, was there either at Covent-Garden, DruryLane, or Haymarket theatres, any piece whatever of Mr. Sheridan's acted.

The following passages of a letter from Miss Sheridan to her sister in Ireland, written while on a visit with her brother in London, though referring to a later period of the Trial, may without impropriety be inserted here :-

- Just as I received your letter yesterday, I was setting out for the trial with Mrs. Crewe and Mrs. Dixon. I was fortunate in my day, as I heard all the principal speakers--Mr. Burke I admired the least—Mr. Fox very much indeed. The subject, in itself, was nol particularly interesting, as the debate turned merely on a point of law, but the earnestness of his manner and the amazing precision with which he conveys his ideas is truly delightful. And last, not least, I heard my brother! I cannot express to you the sensation of pleasure and pride that filled my heart at the moment he rose. Had I never seen him or heard his name before, I should have conceived him the first man among them at once. There is a dignity and grace in his countenance and deportment, very striking—at the same time that one cannot trace the smallest degree of conscious superiority in his manner. His voice, too, appeared to me extremely fine. The speech itself was not much calculated to display the talents of an orator, as of course it related

the

only to dry matter. You may suppose I am not so lavish of praises before indifferent persons, but I am sure you will acquit me of partiality in wliat I have said. When they left the Hall we walked about some time, and were joined by several of the

managers among rest by Mr. Burke, whom we set down at his own house. They seem now to have better hopes of the business than they have had for some time; as the point urged with so much force and apparent success relates to very material evidence which the Lords have refused to hear, but which, once produced, must prove strongly against Mr. Hastings; and from what passed yesterday they think their Lordships must yield. - We sat in the King's box," etc.

VOL. II,

6

CHAPTER XII.

DEATH OF MR. SHERIDAN'S FATHER.–VERSES BY

MRS. SHERIDAN ON THE DEATH OF HER SISTER,

MRS. TICKELL.

In the summer of this year the father of Mr. Sheridan died. He had been recommended to try the air of Lisbon for his health, and had left Dublin for that purpose, accompained by his younger daughter. But the rapid increase of his malady prevented him from proceeding farther than Margate, where he died about the beginning of August, attended in his last moments by his son Richard.

We have seen with what harshness, to use no stronger term, Mr. Sheridan was for many years treated by his father, and how persevering and affectionate were the efforts, in spite of many capricious repulses, that he made to be restored to forgiveness and favour. In his happiest moments, both of love and fame, the thought of being excluded from the paternal roof came across him with a chill that seemed to sadden all his triumph.* When it is considered, too, that the father, to whom he felt thus amiably, had never distinguished him by any particular kindness, but, on the contrary, had always shown a marked preference for the disposition and abilities of his brother Charles—it is impossible not to acknowledge, in such true filial affection, a proof that talent was not the only ornament of Sheridan, and that, however unfavourable to moral culture was the life that he led, Nature, in forming his mind, had implanted there virtue as well as genius.

* See the letter written by him immediately after his marriage, page 103, vol. i. and the anecdote in page 147, vol. i.

of the tender attention which he paid to his father on his death-bed, I am enabled to lay before the reader no less a testimony than the letters written at the time by Miss Sheridan, who, as I have already said, accompanied the old gentleman from Ireland, and now shared with her brother the task of coinforting his last moments. And here it is difficult even for contempt to keep down the indignation, that one cannot but feel at those slanderers, under the name of biographers, who, calling in malice to the aid of their ignorance, have not scrupled to assert that the father of Sheridan died unattended by any of his nearest relatives !-Such are ever the marks that Dulness leaves behind, in its Gothic irruptions into the sanctuary of departed Genius-defacing what it cannot understand, polluting what it has not the soul to reverence, and taking revenge for its own darkness by the wanton profanation of all that is sacred in the eyes of others.

Immediately on the death of their father, Sheridan removed his sister to Deepden-a seat of the Duke of Norfolk in Surrey, which His Grace had lately lent him-and then returned, himself, to Margate, to pay the last tribute to his father's remains. The letters of Miss Sheridan are addressed to her elder sister in Ireland, and the first, which I shall give entire, was written a day or two after her arrival at Deepden.

66

6. MY DEAR LOVE, Dibden, August 18.

Though you have ever been uppermost in my thoughts, yet it has not been in my power to write since the few lines I sent from Margate. I hope this will find you, in some degree, recovered from the shock. you must have experienced from the late melancholy event. trust to your own piety and the tenderness of your worthy husband, for procuring you such a degree of calmness of mind as may secure your health from injury. In the midst of what I have suffered I have been thankful that you

did not share a scene of distress which you could not have relieved. I have supported myself, but I am sure, had we been together, we should have suffer

ed more.

“ With regard to my brother's kindness, I can scarcely express to you

how
great

it has been. He saw my father while he was still sensible, and never quitted him till the awful moment was past.—

I will not now dwell on particulars. My mind is not sufficiently recovered to enter on the subject, and you could only be distressed

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