« ПредишнаНапред »
steam? But I said to my husband-goodness! but that would have been a wife for you. Why she'd ha' ploughed ! and they say she mows her own grass, and digs her own cabbage and potatoes! Ha! ha! well, we see some queer ’uns here. Wordsworth should write a poem on her. What was Peter Bell to a comicalist ?”
The good woman laughed outrageously at the images she had raised in her own mind, and infected by her mirth, as I had been by her melancholy, I bade her good-by. Her husband, a quiet man, sat all this time, and spite of all our talk, never for one moment looked up from his newspaper, nor uttered a syllable. Possibly he might be deaf; otherwise he was as impassive as an old Indian.
The warnings of failing health, which often operate insensibly on the mind, seemed now to draw Mrs. Hemans toward the society of her younger brother and his amiable wife, who were then settled in Ireland, and were living at the Hermitage near Kilkenny, where Colonel Browne was acting as a stipendiary magistrate. Here she joined them, and from this point visited Woodstock near Thomas-town, the residence of Mrs. Tighe, and where she is buried. At these places we must not linger. Her brother removed to Dublin, as Commissioner of Police, and she went there also. It was in 1831 that she took up her abode in Dublin. She first resided in Upper Pembroke-street; then removed to 36, Stephen's-green, and finally to 20, Dawsonstreet, still within a hundred yards of Stephen's-green or so. · It is needless to say that, in Dublin, Mrs. Hemans received all the respect that was due to her genius and virtues; but her health was so delicate, as to oblige her to live as quietly as possible. Her boys were now a good deal off her hands, or, rather, did not require her immediate attention. And she was enabled, the first autumn of her abode in Dublin, to make an excursion to the mountains of Wicklow. Dawson-street was well situated for quietness
penness. Here that no parece the pal
and airiness. Stephen's-green is one of the largest squares in the world, far larger than any London one. While she resided in it, she had a set of backrooms, the noise of Upper Pembroke-street having been too much for her.. The College grounds, of great extent, are at the bottom of Dawson-street, this spacious green at its top. And near, are Merrion-square, and the gardens of what was once the palace of the Duke of Leinster; so that no part of Dublin could offer more openness. Her lodgings in Dawson-street consisted of the apartments over the shop of the proprietor, Mr. Jolliffe, a very respectable tailor. These could, London fashion, be thrown into one drawing-room, but were generally used as two rooms; and in the backroom she nearly always sat and wrote.
In 1833, her sister and brother-in-law arrived in Dublin, and Mrs. Hemans and they met after a five years' separation. “The ravages of sickness," says her sister, “ on her worn and faded form, were painfully apparent to those who had not seen here for so long; yet her spirits rallied to all their wonted cheerfulness, and the powers of her mind seemed more vivid and vigorous than ever.” With all her own cordial kindliness, she busied herself in forming various plans for the interest and amusement of her visitors; and many happy hours of delightful converse, and old home communion were passed by her and her sister in her two. favorite resorts, the lawn of the once stately mansion of the Duke of Leinster, now'occupied by the Dublin Society, and the spacious gardens of Stephen's-green.
In the gardens of the Dublin Society, Mrs. Hemans took that cold, which, seizing on an already enfeebled frame, terminated fatally. She had one day taken a book with her, and was so much absorbed by it, that she was thoroughly chilled by the autumnal fog, and feeling a shudder pass through her frame, she hastened home, already filled with. a strong presentiment that her hours were numbered.
In her illness, by which she was gradually wasted to a
skeleton, she enjoyed all the consolations which affection can bestow. Her sister attended her assiduously till she was called away by the serious illness of her husband. Her place was then tenderly supplied by her sister-in-law, the lady of Colonel Browne; and her son Charles was with her the whole time; George, now a prosperous engineer, for some days; and Henry, then a school-boy at Shrewsbury, likewise, during the Christmas holydays. For a time, she was removed to Redesdale, a seat of the Archbishop of Dublin, about seven miles from the city ; but she returned, and died in Dawson-street, on the 16th of May, 1835. During her last illness, she wrote some of the finest poetry that she ever produced, especially that most soul-full effusion, Despondency and Aspiration; and the Sabbath Sonnet; which she dedicated to her brother, less than three weeks before her death, the last of her lays.
Her remains were interred in a vault beneath St. Ann's Church, but a short distance from her house, on the same side of the street; where, on the wall, under the gallery, on the right hand, as you enter, you observe a tablet, bearing this inscription "In the vault beneath are deposited the Mortal Remains of Felicia Hemans, who died, May 16, 1835.
“ Calm on the bosom of thy God,
Fair spirit, rest thee now;
His seal was on thy brow.
Soul to its place on high!
No more will fear to die.”
The same vault, as nearly as possible three years afterward, received the remains of her faithful and very superior servant, Anna Creer, a native of the isle of Man, who had lived with her seven years, and, after her death, married Mr. Jolliffe, the master of the house. The worthy man was much affected in speaking of the circumstance, and bore also the highest testimony to the character of Mrs. Hemans, saying, “it was impossible for any one to know her without loving her.” To such a tribute, what can be added? The perfection of human character is to excite at once admiration and lasting affection.
There is not much to be said about the homes and haunts of Mrs. Maclean, or, as I shall call her in this article, by her poetical cognomen, L. E. L. She was a creature of town and social life. The bulk of her existence was spent in Hans-place, Sloane-street, Chelsea. Like Charles Lamb, she was so molded to London habits and tastes, that that was the world to her. The country was not to her what it is to those who have passed a happy youth there, and learned to sympathize with its spirit, and enjoy its calm. In one respect she was right. Those who look for society alone in the country, are not likely to be much pleased with the change from London, where every species of intelligence concentrates ; where the rust of intellectual sloth is pretty briskly rubbed off, and old prejudices, which often lie like fogs in low still nooks of the country, are blown away by the lively winds of discussion. Though descended from a country family, and spending some time, as a child, in the country, she was not there long enough to cultivate those associations with places and things which cling to the heart in after-life. Her mind, naturally quick,