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He returns soon to Margate to pay the last duties in the manner desired by my father. His feelings have been severely tried, and earnestly I pray he may not suffer from that cause, or from the fatigue he has endured. His tenderness to me I never can forget. I had so little claim on him, that I still feel a degree of surprise mixed with my gratitude. Mrs. Sheridan's reception of me was truly affectionate. They leave me lo myself now as much as I please, as I had gone through so much fatigue of body and mind that I require some rest. I have not, as you may suppose, looked much beyond the present hour, but I begin to be more composed. I could now enjoy your society, and I wish for it hourly. I should think I may hope to see you sooner in England than you had intended; but you will write to me very soon, and let me know every thing that concerns you. I know not whether you will feel like me a melancholy pleasure in the reflection that my father received the last kind offices from my brother Richard, whose conduct on this occasion must convince every one of the goodness of his heart and the truth of his filial affection. One more reflection of consolation is, that nothing was omitted that could have prolonged his life or eased his latter hours. God bless and preserve you, my dear love. I shall soon write more to you, but shall for a short time suspend my journal, as still too many painful thoughts will crowd upon me to suffer me to regain such a frame of mind as I should wish when I
* In a letter, from which I have given an extraet in the early part of this work, written by the elder sister of Sherilan a short time after his death, in referring to the differences that existed between him and his father, she says“and yet it was that son, and not the object of his partial fondness, who al last closed his eyes.” It generally happens that the injustice of such partialities is revenged by the ingralitude of those who are the objects of them ;
and the present instance, as there is but too much reason to believe, was not altogether an exception to the remark.
write to you.
- Ever affectionately your
66 E. SHERIDAN."
in another letter, dated a few days after, she gives an account of the domestic life of Mrs. Sheridan, which, like every thing that is related of that most interesting woman, excites a feeling towards her memory little short of love.
“ MY DEAR LOVE, Dibden, Friday, 22. 66 I shall endeavour to esume my journal, though my anxiety to hear from you occupies my mind in a way that unfits me for writing. I have been here almost a week in perfect quiet. While there was company in the house, I stayed in my room, and since my brother's leaving us to go to Margate, I have sat at times with Mrs. Sheridan, who is kind and considerate; so that I have entire liberty. Her poor sister's* children are all with her. The girl gives her constant employment, and seems to profit hy being under so good an instructor. Their father was here for some days, but I did not see him. Last night Mrs. S. showed me a picture of Mrs. Tickell, which she wears round her neck. The thing was misrepresented to you:- it was not done after her death, but a short time before it. The sketch was taken while she slept, by a painter at Bristol. This Mrs. Sheridan got copied by Cosway, who has softened down the traces of illness in such a way that the picture conveys no gloomy idea. It represents her in a sweet sleep, which must have been soothing to her friend, after seeing her for a length of time in a state of constant suffering.
* Mrs. Tickell.
My brother left us Wednesday morning, and we do not expect him to return for some days. He meant only to stay at Margate long enough to attend the last melancholy office, which it was my poor father's express desire should be performed in whatever parish he died.
"Sunday “ Dick is still in town, and we do not expect him for some time. Mrs. Sheridan seems now quite reconciled to these little absences, which she knows are unavoidable. I never saw any one so constant in employing every moment of her time, and to that I attribute, in a great measure, the recovery of her health and spirits. The education of her niece, her music, books, and work, occupy every minute of the day. After dinner, the children, who call her “Mamma-aunt," spend some time with us, and her manner to them is truly delightful. The girl, you know, is the eldest. The eldest boy is about five years old, very like his father, but extremely gentle in his manners. The
three. The whole sel then retire to the music-room. As yet I cannot enjoy their parties; - a song from Mrs. Sheridan affected me last night in a most painful manner. I shall not try the experiment soon again. Mrs. S. blamed her. self for putting me to the trial, and, after tea, got a book, which she read to us till supper. This, I find, is the general way of passing the evening.
They are now at their music, and I have retired to add a few lines. This day has been more gloomy than we have been for some days past;
- it is the first day of our getting into mourning. All the servants in deep mourning inade a melancholy appearance, and I found it very difficult to sit out the dinner. But, as I have dined below since there has been only Mrs. Sheridan and Miss Linley here, I would not suffer a circumstance, to which I must accustom myself, to break in on their comfort."
These children, to whom Mrs. Sheridan thus wholly devoted herself, and continued to do so for the remainder of her life, had lost their mother, Mrs. Tickell, in the year 1787, by the same complaint that afterwards proved fatal to their aunt. The passionate attachment of Mrs. Sheridan to this sister, and the deep grief with which she mourned her loss, are expressed in a poem of her own so touchingly, that, to those who love the language of real feeling, I need not apologise for their introduction here. Poetry, in general, is but a cold interpreter of sorrow; and the more it displays its skill, as an art, the less is it likely to do justice to nature. In writing these verses, however, the workmanship was forgotten in the subject; and the critic, to feel them as he ought, should forget his own craft in reading them.
“ Written in the Spring of the Year 1788. - The hours and days pass on; - sweet Spring
" With tender woe sad memory woos back time, And paints the scenes when youth was in its prime ; The craggy hill, where rocks, with wild flow'rs
crown'd, Burst from the hazle copse or verdant ground; Where sportive Nature every
form assumes, And, gaily lavish, wastes a thousand blooms; Where oft we heard the echoing hills repeat Our untaught strains and rural ditties sweet, Till purpling clouds proclaim'd the closing day, Wbile distant streams detain’d the parting ray. Then, ou some mossy stone we'd sit us dowu, And watch the changing sky and shadows brown, That swiftly glided o'er the mead below, Or in some fancied forin descended slow. How oft, well pleas'd each other to adorn, We stripp'd the blossoms from the fragrant thorn, Or caught the violet where, in humble bed,