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lately put forth by her ladyship and her friend Mr. Campbell, on this subject. The poet put on the airs of a schoolmaster, in reproving his friend Moore. It appears to us that there must have been some sad mistake in this business, from the beginning to the end, and that it is much to be lamented that Lady Byron's family did not afford some opportunity for a personal explanation from his lordship, that would perhaps have removed the impressions under which her ladyship acted.
It is with unfeigned concern we add, that the ingenious and well-disposed man from whose notes this volume has been prepared, died in Jamaica of the yellow fever, in the autumn of 1827, a year remarkably fatal to our troops on the West India station. Although we differ widely from some of the views which he has taken of Christianity, we cannot deny that he in general supported those views with distinguished energy and eloquence. The book though necessarily imperfect is interesting, and well calculated to turn the attention of the indifferent to the most important subject that can occupy the thoughts of a human being. We should take the liberty of recommending those who begin their studies in religion with this work, by no means to end with it. It contains and enforces many serious errors, which it is not within the province of a literary journal to point out or refute.
ART. II.-Personal Memoirs: or Reminiscences of Men and Manners at Home and Abroad during the last half century, with occasional Sketches of the Author's Life: being Fragments from the portfolio of Pryse Lockhart Gordon, Esq. 2 vols. 8vo. London: Colburn and Bentley. 1830.
PERHAPS it is as good a reason as a man can give for publishing the history of his life, that a review of the events of it has pleased and interested himself. Such a motive at least is an innocent one, and to be prized beyond all comparison before most of those, which, of late, have so enormously contributed to swell the number of our autobiographies. Few men, we repeat for the thousandth time, of any observation, can have sojourned for fifty or sixty years on the surface of this planet, without having seen or heard something which others would be glad to know, and if this be the fact with respect to mankind in general, it is particularly so in the case of one who, like Mr. Gordon, has been from his youth upwards an actor or sufferer in some of the busiest of the ever shifting scenes of life.
A person, however, who has had the good fortune to know a great deal of the world, will not only have observed much that is worth remembering, but necessarily also many things that belong to the most ordinary class of circumstances; and we could have wished that Mr. Gordon had remembered that it was not a very striking peculiarity in his history, to have had a father and a mother,
to have gone to school at a proper age, and to have sailed in a ship when he was able to take care of himself. We can assure him that such events do very often take place now-a-days, and that it is only in very rare instances indeed that the public ever busy themselves about such matters. The objection, then, which we are implying to Mr. Gordon's work is, that the really good and pleasant matter which it contains, is immersed in almost an overwhelming mass of minute details of not the smallest interest. We are not sure either that some exception may not be taken to the morality, or perhaps the good taste, of some of the personal anecdotes. doubt very much if a gentleman ought ever to feel himself relieved from that obligation of decent reserve, which he contracts when he takes a chair at the table of another. That the unreserved communion which takes place at the dinner table should never be taxed for the purposes of history and philosophy, we are far from proposing or wishing; but we cannot shut our eyes to the pernicious consequences which must arise from an impression, now so justifiable, in the mind of every person, at least of eminence, that he can scarcely on any occasion participate in the hospitalities of any of his acquaintance, except at the risk of sitting for a bad portrait, if not for a malignant caricature. Of all the outrages which the libertinism of the press in modern times has committed, that which we most deprecate is the holding up to public contempt the character and conduct of persons, who never obtruded upon the limits of public life. Men who have volunteered an appearance before the world, must take the consequences of the inquisitive inspection which their more conspicuous station invites; but to deny to the infirmities of those who never courted the reward of eminence, the benefit of their privilege of obscurity, is one of the harshest abuses of the advantage which a living man has over a dead one.
Mr. Gordon's book is not a bad practical representation of busy life; various,-one thing clashing against another, now he is at Naples, then at Cork, back to Naples, and again he returns to Cork, via Scotland. This species of whimsical rambling may no doubt be very pleasant to some, but the generality of readers, we fancy, are better pleased with more evidences of care and preparation in an author. It may cost us some trouble to search for what is good in these two volumes, but we are happy to think that our extracts will be found to be worth any labour that we could employ in their discovery. Mr. Gordon, a Scotchman, and the son of a clergyman, early showed a propensity for the sword. From Aberdeen he started at a proper period of life to begin the world as a recruiting officer. His destination was Cork, and as the most convenient course that was open to him, he came to London in a smack. The following is highly dramatic, and almost reminds us of some of the graphic sketches in the Waverley Novels.
The crowded population of the environs of London, and the approach
to it by Westminster, struck me with astonishment; though fifty years ago, there were but few houses in St. George's fields, and the number of stage coaches and private carriages was not a tenth of what it is now. I had a letter to a Scotch grocer in Piccadilly, from a relation at Aberdeen, and I thought it would be a prudent measure to deliver my credentials to the vender of figs. On my presenting my letter, he gave me a great many bows, and when he had perused it, he begged me to walk into a small dark room behind his shop, which stunk of bacon, Hamburgh sausages, and rotten cheese, uniting an effluvia as insufferable as the bilge water of the smack. "Weel," said my new friend in a most perfect Buchan accent, "what can I do for ye, Captain?-(this was speedy promotion). My cousin tells me he kens your family-I have several of your name my customers."-"I want,' I replied, a lodging for a day or two, before I go to visit a relation at Enfield."- "An what may his name be, if you please?—I serve twa families there." When I satisfied him, and added that he was master of an academy, and had three-score of boarders, his eye glistened, and he rejoined, "I ha' a relation by the mither's side o' the name of Morison, may be yeare of the same kin; at any rate I would be greatly obleeged if you wud mention to your uncle that I sell tea and sugar, and a' kind o' groceries as cheap as any man within the city of London or Westminster, and wud be obleeged to you to tak a caird o' my shop-he'll find it to his advantage to deal wi' me. I'm sorry I canna ge ye a bed myself, for I ha' unluckily let my first stage, and am raither hampered for room, for I ha' a sick mither; but I will introduce you to an honest man, and a country man, and vary ceevil; he lives in Suffolk Street, near Charing Cross-but as ye dinna ken Lunnun I'll send my shop-boy to show you the road; its No. 6. The man's name is Mitchel, and he keeps a tailor's shop-you'll be wanting new claiths, and you canna do better than get them fra him-he's an honest man.' I had tact enough to perceive that Mr. Mackey, from his discourse, seemed to have his own and his friend's interest at heart more than mine; nevertheless I thanked him for his kindness, and would accept of his offer by giving me a few lines to the tailor, and I would get into a hackney-coach, and save him the trouble of sending his lad with me. "Na, na," replied he, "that will cost ye a shilling-keep your siller in your pouch-ye'll ha' occasun for it, I'se warrant.-Suffolk Street is nae a quarter of a mile off." I told him that I had left my baggage in the smack, and that I had nothing to carry but what was on my back. Mr. Ogilvie, a gentleman whose acquaintance I had formed on the passage, and had brought me to town, at this moment passed in his carriage and spoke to me. "He seems a ceevil-like gentleman," rejoined the grocer; "fat's his trade ?"—" I believe," said I, "he is a West India merchant." 66 In ye had interest with him," continued Mr. Mackey, "I wish ye would speak a guid word for me. I wu'd serve him wi' his ain commodities, and may be buy from him." But on my saying that I had never seen or heard of him till yesterday, he gave up the case as hopeless.
The introductory note being written, my worthy friend presented me with a dozen of figs in a paper, "saying, "I dare say ye have a sweet tooth in your head-prie thae figs, they are very frash, and let your uncle taste ane or twa o' them they are particularly guid for the bairns, and when you come back frae Enfield call in and tak your breakfast—I ha
guid honey, and noo and then a yellow haddock that the skippers wha' deal wi' me bring up." On promising that I would see him again, we shook hands and parted, his last words being, see fat ye can do with your uncle for me."-vol. i. pp. 72-75.
Our author seems to have partaken largely of the hospitality which he met with in the South of Ireland; he was very happy at the time, and seems to have been very grateful afterwards. No event in which he was engaged, however, and no person whom he encountered, are to be compared in interest with the renowned Father O'Leary and the anecdotes of him.
Father O'Leary resided at Sundays Well, a hamlet on the river, a mile from the town. He invited Joe and myself one day to share his dinner, which we joyfully accepted. It was on It was on a lovely summer's day, when we entered through a wicket, into the holy father's premises, concealed from the public eye by a high quickset hedge. In the centre of an area of half an acre of shrubbery and flower ground, stood a thatched cottage of one story, covered completely with Irish ivy, intermixed with honey-suckle and roses. Passing through a small vestibule, we were ushered into an apartment of twelve feet square, in which was seated our reverend host at his desk. After the usual salutations, we walked into the shrubbery, impervious to the sun. "This," said the father, is my drawing-room; the cabin you have quitted I call my library."-I observed, "that it was a little paradise."-" To me," he replied, "it is so, for contentment is better than wealth, and a man may be as happy in a cottage as in a palace. The bit of ground on which my nest stands, was given to me by a dear and departed friend, a lover of nature, and of flowers, like myself. There was a sheeling on it, but tempus edax rerum, as the doctor would say. It was found unserviceable, and my friend pulled it down, and built this; which consists of four rooms, or rather closets en suite; but you shall see it, for I am very proud of it. We must first, however,
consult Katheline, in case my dormitory should not be in proper order." The dame was summoned from the rear, where was the kitchen; and finding "that every thing was clane and dacent, though not grand," according to her report, we visited the salle-ù-manger, a well-proportioned room, with a bow window, from whence was a peep of the river, and a view of the city. It was furnished with great simplicity, the chairs and table, and sideboard, being of black Irish oak. Over the mantel-piece was a fine portrait, which on my admiring, he said, "That is the portrait of a celebrated person, who probably you may have heard of; it is Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, and esteemed a fine picture. It is by a Spanish artist, and was an heirloom in my family; on this account I highly prize it, but I am not an admirer of the character of the original; for though I am a priest, I am not a bigot." There were two other portraits in the room, which he told us were those of his benefactor and his wife." The library, into which we had first entered, was filled with books, and the cases were ornamented with busts of eminent persons: two gothic windows of ancient stained glass gave an air of seclusion to this apartment, extremely pleasing. "My library," said our host, "is small, but select; many of the books are the gifts of friends, which add to their value; but the chief part belonged to my father, who was a scholar. In
this little room I am never at a loss for company; yet books are but dull companions, if not relieved occasionally by men. There is no enjoyment in life without some society; we ought to be contented however with a few friends. I am too fond of company; and if I was not poor and a priest, I should never sit down to a meal alone: the presence of a friend is the best sauce to a dinner, however highly it may be seasoned by cookery. If I had the means, I would be an epicure; I am a disciple of Apicius as it is, and you will see by an omelette soufflée, which Katheline prepares admirably from a receipt of my grandmother's, that I understand something of the noble art of cookery. Doctor Johnson, who I understand is a gourmand, says, that a man thinks more of his dinner than of anything else.' I do not go so far as this, but eating is a serious opera. Do not, however, from this harangue, look for delicacies here,non omnia possumus omnes, as the doctor would say; but if I was a bishop instead of a poor priest, you should fare better." During the conversation we had returned to the summer drawing-room, for the weather was sultry; at the bottom of the miniature shrubbery was a kind of grotto, where stood a round table and three chairs. "We will drink our punch here," said our host, "if agreeable, al fresco, and be saluted with the song of the thrush and the blackbird, my tenants. The nectar is already prepared, and is cooling in Katheline's well, for she has the merit of discovering this spring."
"I am a bit of a botanist, and though I cannot afford to raise exotics, I can boast of as fine indigenous evergreens as the bishop. Look at those arbutus trees-I brought them from Killarney ten years ago. In a few weeks I will shew you my carnations and pinks, and my moss-roses; they are worthy of adorning the parterres of a queen!"
While he was thus descanting on the beauties of Flora, Katheline announced that dinner was served. Salmon was removed by a corned shoulder of mutton, smothered in onions; to which succeeded jugged hare, and the promised omelette: the two latter dishes were truly admirable!
These luxuries were washed down first by a glass of poteen, (sauce to salmon as well as to goose!)-then came Katheline's home-brewed, and with the desert a bottle of Frontignac. On our praising these beverages, the father observed: "they are all," said he, "from the vintage of my farm. The soi-disant French wine is manufactured from gooseberries; the beer is home-brewed; and the whiskey is distilled in a black iron pot, and is hence called poteen."
'No beverage could be more grateful in a hot day, especially when seasoned by the conversation of two such men, and drank in a cool grot, accompanied by the evening song of birds.'-vol. i. pp. 110–114.
Our author returned to England to join his regiment, and staid some time at Bristol, where he met with Dean Tucker and the father of Lady Holland, Mr. Vassal, a gentleman whose characteristic propensity to practical jokes was often indulged by him to the great amusement of Mr. Gordon. The following anecdote, which we suppose may be relied on, goes a great way in solving the doubts which have of late been so angrily agitated respecting the inventor of the manoeuvre for breaking the enemy's line.