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flight from one commercial fellow to another, But it will be a relief to turn for awhile who has no more business with it than I have from those gloomy scenes. All his efforts with-any thing that I have too much of al- were not doomed to disappointment. By slow ready, and don't know what to do with-say degrees, and after failures which would have common sense and modesty.”—p. 122. struck down many a stronger mind, he obtain
And this, while he was writing to his sick ed a footing as a contributor to the periodical brother at home, fearful lest they should think literature of the day. It is much to be reof suspecting that he was in want. “At gretted that nothing approaching to an aupresent let me distinctly say, that I am not in thentic record his contributions has been want of money, and the furthest inconvenience preserved. Their number must have been which I apprehend, is the being obliged for prodigious, and if we judge of their excelsome time to remain in statu quo”! lence from his other productions at the same
His brother's account of him during those period, they must be well worthy of being days of bitterness is most affecting.
collected and republished as a sequel to the
complete edition of his works. The account “ Notwithstanding all I have stated, it
of his first connection with the News of
may appear extraordinary, that when his affairs be- Fashion is not uninteresting. gan to wear such a gloomy aspect, he did not explain the state of them clearly and plainly to “I am in statu quo with one exception, that his brother, who would have been shocked at the is, that I have got an engagement on a paper thought of his allowing matters to run to such |( The News of Fashion) of which you've seen a an extremity; and I believe he would readily number. I sent the editor a couple of essays or have done so, if it had not been for the unfortu- sketches of London life, or some trash of the nate occurrence of that illness to which he al- kind, anonymously. He begged to know my ludes in his letters, aud which he was sensible name. I did not tell, but offered to continue would in a professional person have a natural them gratuitously. He wrote to say he would tendency to lead to embarrassment. All the cir- be glad to pay for them. I had no objection cumstances I have mentioned; the depth and whatever, and he gives me a pound per pageearnestness with which he felt his vocation; his fair enough. I am furnishing him now with a observation, that his partial success had been regular series, of which he has had six in numdue to himself alone, and his delicacy about tres- ber already. "I generally get in from thirty passing further on his brother; his many distress- shillings to two pounds per week in this way, ing efforts to obtain employment, together with which, if it continue, is pleasant enough, conthe wasting anxiety which such a state of things sidering that it does not interfere with my other naturally engendered in a mind like his—seem occupations. The gentleman, however, is conto have made him adhere only the more strongly foundedly apt to slip a column or so in the to his early determination, and when his diffi- reckoning, which is not agreeable. culties thickened, and his necessities became “ This editor of the News has dealt handmore urgent, induced him to push those feelings somely enough too. He made out several artito an extremity; to shrink entirely within him-cles which I had published anonymously in his self; and to reject even the commonest offices paper, before I dreamed of asking him for an of friendship ; those little favors which it de- engagement, and paid me liberally for each of lights to bestow ; which are often the very tests them. This I took as an inducement to make of its truth, and without the exersise of which me do my best. It is pleasant, too, inasmuch as on proper occasions its professions would be the rest of the paper is furnished by the first peworthless, and itself a mere shade that follows riodical hands of the day. By the way, he don't wealth or fame. It is perhaps one of the charac- know me as it is. He sends the money to my teristics of all minds endowed with much sensi- address every week by a livery servant, who bility, and with a high feeling of independence, never says a word, but slips the note to a servant to have this sensibility exalted, and to become -touches his lips and mum! presto! off he is. quick and irritable beyond what is rational, in cir- All very romantic, isn't it? A good illustration cumstances such as those I am about to men- of a remark I made to you concerning patronage tion. We all remember the indignation with in the literary world is this. I applied openly to which Johnson in his poverty, flung away a pair this same gentleman about a year since through of new shoes, which some unknown but kind his publisher. He wouldn't have any thing to friend, as related by Boswell, had left at his do with me. Latterly, however, he determined door. The difficulty which friendship has to it seems, to find me out, though I gave a wrong overcome in these instances, is not so much to name, and I was a little surprised one day to bestow the favor, which it is always willing to see here in my room a tall stout fellow with do cheerfully; but to bestow it in such a man- mustachio'd lips and braided coat, announcing ner as not to rouse a very universal feeling, himself as Mr. W—, after I had three or four which is seldom dormant, and is at such times times declined invitations to his country seat
than usually watchful. The careful wishing to keep incog.) I went there yesterconsideration of this difficulty during the ex- day, and had a long chat with him. He has a ercise of such favors, is perhaps one of the perfect palace there, with Corinthian piazzas, surest trials of its sincerity and depth.”—pp. garden, vines, and the Lord knows what be126-7.
sides; a magnificent apartment with low win
dows going to the garden, &c. On one side Jover, it is so very rapid. Nothing can equal the a splendid double-action harp, for which he variety of colors the woods exhibit in the latter gave, as he says, three hundred guineas. On part of the year. They look very beautiful inanother, a grand piano-his wife a pleasing deed, though I suppose I shall not admire them woman-no great shakes of a musician aster so much this season as I did the last, they are all. We settled that he should give me £100 a so associated in my mind with the approach of year, paid weekly, according to what I sent. I winter, which I do not like, notwithstanding it have just been scribbling off' now two hundred is the season of amusement to all the people lines of an epistle to Liston on his return to here, who are continually sleighing about, and London-poetry of course.”—pp. 160-61. go hundreds of miles to visit their friends. The It was not till his prospects began to Yankees, as they call the people of New Eng.
place about us is pretty thickly inhabited by the brighten somewhat, that he could bring him- land. They are decent and obliging, and self to write to his mother, who was still in seem to take an interest in showing us the easiAmerica. The following simple but charm- est mode of doing farming business, as theirs is ing letter from her in reply is not unworthy in many things different from ours.' They have the notice of such a son. It must have been but their peculiar application of words is some
an agreeable accent, and are very intelligent; a balm to him in his trials; but his family times very diverting. A man called here the and American friends were never able to ob- other day, who was going to Chenango, a town tain his address during his difficulties, and about nine miles off. He told me that if I had hence this is the first letter which he re- got any little notions to send for, he would bring ceived from them after his removal to Lon them for me with great pleasure. I have obdon.
served some others use the word in the same
way since. May God bless my dearest Gerald, “Mrs. Griffin to her Son.
prays his fond mother, "Fairy Lawn, Susquehanna County,
Ellen GRIFFIN."—pp. 151-53. “ Dec. 26th, 1825. * MY EVER BELOVED GERALD-We were sit
By degrees his circumstances improved, ting with a little party of friends on Christmas eve, when your letter reached me, and a
and he again began to mix a little in the somore welcome visitor, unless indeed it were the ciety from which he had for a time withdear writer himself
, could hardly have appeared drawn. It may not be uninteresting to have amongst us. It was unlucky that I could not his opinions on a few of the literary characprocure your address since you left Ireland. I ters of his day ;—not the stars, for to them did all that writing could do to obtain it, and yet there are few allusions ; but the minor lumifailed. The sympathy of his family would have naries, especially those whose walk, like his been some comfort to my poor Gerald under the alverse course which his probation as an author own at that time, lay chiefly in periodical has subjected him to. It is an ordeal, however, literature. The following letter throws some which some of our greatest writers have been curious light on certain matters, which the obliged to pass through.
readers of Blackwood about the time to which "I have, dear Gerald, travelled with you it refers may possibly remember :through your mortifying difficulties, and am proud of my son-proud of his integrity, talents, Gerald Griffin to his Brother. prudence, and above all, his appearing superior
“ London, Nov. 10th, 1824. to that passion of common minds, revenge; “My DEAR WILLIAM, -Since my last I have though I must own, fully provoked to by ***'s visited Mr. J— several times. The last time, conduct. I hope, however, they may soon have he wished me to dine with him, which I hapto seek you, not you them. Perhaps, after all, pened not to be able to do, and was very sorry for it may have been as well that we did not know it
, for his acquaintance is to me a matter of great at the time what you were to endure on your importance, not only from the engine he wields first outset. We should in that case have been -and a formidable one it is, being the most advising you to come out here, which, perhaps, widely circulated journal in Europe-but also would have been turning your back on that because he is acquainted with all the principal fame and fortune, which I hope will one day literary characters of the day, and a very reward your laudable perseverance and indus- pleasant kind of man. He was talking of Matry. When the very intention you mention of ginn, who writes a good deal for Blackwood, and paying us a visit delights me so much, what spoke in high terms of his talents: nevertheless, should I feel if Providence should have in re- though he is his friend, he confessed he did not serve for me the blessing of once again embrac- think him a very considerate critic, and thought ing my Gerald.
there was something unfeeling in his persecuWe have had one of the finest summers, tion of Barry Cornwall
, who, by the way, is an and most delightful autumns you can imagine; acquaintance of my Spanish friend. You may the latter I like best here, the woodland seenery have seen those letters to Bryan Proctor, in is so beautiful, tinged with a thousand dyes at Blackwood's Magazine. Barry Cornwall is, he that season: the air so still and so serene, that says, one of the mildest, modestest young felif you come to visit us, your muse will surely be lows he ever knew, and does any thing but asinspired. It is very interesting to witness the sume. Maginn, however, imagines that those progress of vegetation here, after the winter is he attacke think as little of the affair as him
May, 1844. 7
self, which is by no means the case. The other reading as if he would devour it-completely day, he attacked Campbell's Ritter Bann most absorbed-absent and drinking it in like mortal happily, and at the same time cuttingly, and poison. The instant he observed any body near afterwards wanted J— to get up a dinner, and him, however, he would throw it by, and begin bring Canıpbell and him together. — beg- to talk of some indifferent matter. The book ged leave to decline. He is a singular looking displays great genius, but unfortunately it afbeing, Dr. Maginn. A young man about twenty- torded one or two passages capable of being, six years of age, with grey hair, and one of the twisted to the purpose of a malignant wretch of most talented eyes, when he lets it speak out, 1 a reviewer, such as Gifford is, with much effect.” ever beheld. Banim, who is his bosom crony, -p. 190. says, he considers him the most extraordinary
Apropos of reviewers, we must enter our man he ever knew. He attacked Banim, too, before they were acquainted, but that's all for protest against the following being taken as got long since. Hazlitt praised Banim in the a specimen of the style in which we perform London Magazine, and of course rendered it our work of “critical dissection." imperative on Blackwood to abuse him. Have
“ He was often highly amused at receiving you seen Campbell's late poems, any of them? from the editor of some periodical, three volumes I have been told that the volume of his, which of a newly published novel, accompanied by a is coming out shortly, Theodric, &c., is very request that he would not cut the leaves. This, poor indeed—lamentably so. Campbell is the which he at first conceived so very ridiculous, most finical, exact kind of fellow in the whole and so apparently impossible with any justice world. As an instance, I have heard that he to the author, he eventually found was almost a was asked to write a little poem some time since matter of necessity with many of the publicafor the occasion of Burns' monument, which was tions sent to him. They were of so trashy a then in agitation, and in which my informant description, that no one of ordinary taste could took great interest. Campbell consented, but possibly get through even the first few chapters. directed that proofs should be sent to him to the His usual plan was to glance through the early country, and before the poem appeared, had part of a work, so as to obtain some notion of the actually sent five or six messengers back and plot; a peep here and there in the second volume forward, to and from town, with revisions of gave him an idea of the skill with which it was commas and semicolons !! There is a young developed, and a slight consideration of the latwriter here, Miss Landon, the authoress of The ter end of the third, or slaughter-house, as he Improvisatrice, a poem which has made some used to call the concluding part of a disastrous noise lately, who has been brought out by J
story, or fifth act of a tragedy, satisfied him both and to be sure he does praise her. She sent as to the genius of the author, and the merits of some pieces to the Literary Gazette, a few the performance. He, no doubt, made a more years since, and through that journal (without intimate acquaintance with his subject, when intending any insinuations as to desert), has his first hasty supervision gave him reason to few editions. J has asked me to meet Alaric ordinary talent; and did not appear to feel con
it Watls, at his house, when the latter comes to scious of having done any injustice during the town, which he intends shortly. Watts is a very short period he was engaged as a professional sweet writer in his own way, and rather a fa- critic."-pp. 205-6. vorite. I have got, a few days since, a note from my friend Banim, to know what has be
It would be an act of gross injustice to come of me?' and he adds, as a spur, that Dr. our worthy friends of the printing desk, to Maginn has just been with him, and said that Mr. suppress Griffin's humorous panegyric of
— expressed himself highly pleased with the their almost preternatural sagacity in disseries I am at present furnishing him. I dined the covering the meaning of a manuscript to all other day-at least, about a month since—with else illegible. him and a friend of his, an artist of the name of Foster (to whom, if you recollect, Madame de “You tax me with my illegible writing; but Genlis dedicated one of her works, and express- 1 fear I cannot amend it, for I must not stay to es her gratitude for his assistance in some of shape my letters, and I have, I believe, got a her literary labors). He is one of the most de- bad habit from the facility with which the print- 1 lightful
, facetious fellows I ever saw. My dearers here make it out. I verily believe, if I shut William, ever affectionately yours,
my eyes, or flung the pen at the paper, so as to “ GERALD GRIEFin.”—pp. 180–2. make any kind of mark, the London printers Perhaps, for the honor of our craft, we
would know what I intended to say. They al- ! should gloss over this indignant allusion to poor printed proofs for correction, and I actually have
ways send me back my manuscript with my Keats, the victim of a malignant reviewer.
repeatedly been unable to make out what I had “Keats, you must know was in love, and the written, until I had referred to the same articles lady whom he was to have married, had he sur- in print. What a dull, mechanical, imperfect vived Gifford's (the butcher) review, attended mode of communication this is though, of writhim to the last. She is a beautiful young crea- ing, and reading, and speaking! Why cannot ture, but now wasted away to a skeleton, and will we invent some more rapid and vivid means of follow him shortly, I believe. She and her sister transferring our ideas? Why cannot we comsay they have oft found him, on suddenly en- mune in spirit, or by intelligence? I suppose I tering the room, with that review in his hand, | must give myself a lady's reason in reply. It is
because we can't. Well! we shall do better in character as a novelist of the very highest Heaven.”—pp. 155-156.
order. But it is time to return to the history. turn his thoughts to an historical novel,
The success of this work induced him to Once established, as we have seen, in per- founded on some story in our national hismanent, though humble and ill-requited occupation, his after success, though purchased sion, in 1828 ; but, in his anxiety to become
tory. He commenced this work, The Invawith a hard struggle, was eventually secure. His letters, through this later period of his fully conversant with the manners and charliterary life, are full of interest; particularly till 1832, issuing, in the meantime, a new
acters of the time, he deferred its completion a correspondence which arose out of a misunderstanding with his friend Banim, and series of Tales of the Munster Festivals. which, though removed by a short explana- eral years longer without interruption. But,
His literary occupations continued for sevtion, was for a long time a source of great about this period, a change came over all his uneasiness to Griftin. But we have already views and feelings, which deadened, if it did extracted so liberally, that we must content
not destroy, the relish which he had formerly ourselves with a reference to them.
felt for those pursuits, and ended, a few years Disappointed in his hopes from the drama, * later, in his abandoning them altogether. and feeling that his precarious contributions The reflections of his biographer on this subto periodical literature were, at best, but a frittering away of his energies, as well as of his feelings as a Catholic, no less than as a
ject are very just, and extremely creditable to his time, he was induced to try his powers brother : but we shall transcribe, in preferin a wider field of fiction; and, accordingly, ence, Gerald's own account of the change of without discontinuing his other labors (on his opinions, given in a letter addressed to which, indeed, he was dependent for his live
his father, in 1833. lihood), he commenced the series of tales afterwards published under the title of Holland-tide. His application at this time was wish I had leisure to write, but at present I have
“I owe many letters to America, which I absolutely beyond all belief. After an early more to do than my health will suffer me to disbreakfast, he wrote without interruption till charge with the necessary expedition. There dinner, except that, before sitting down to is one subject, however, my dear father, which I table, he took a turn round the park : after a wish no longer to defer speaking of. I mean short walk in the evening, he resumed his the desire which I have for a long time enterpen, and continued his labors till late in the tained of taking orders in the Church. God
only knows whether I may ever live to carry the night. All this time, he was suffering from wish into execution. I have good reason to severe palpitation of the heart. In order to judge, however, that at least I do not act rashly avoid the attack, which invariably awaited in entering on the preparatory studies. They him if he retired early to bed, his practice must take some time, and under the uncertainty was to recline on a sofa, or upon chairs, till in which one must always continue of this being the usual hour of visitation had passed, when truly a merciful vocation from God, I have the (about two or three o'clock in the morning) is nothing lost by my acting as if it were. My
satisfaction of knowing that at all events there he arose, undressed, and retired to bed for time is divided between my college course of the brief remainder of the night. He arose study and my usual pursuits, and I have no inrariably at five, and, after a cold shower- doubt that the Almighty, who sees that with a bath, resumed his ordinary occupations. thousand faults I have a sincere desire to exeHis first essay in regular fiction, in 1827, cute his will
, in his own time will not fail to
make it known to me. was entirely successful, and so complely es
To say nothing of the tablished his character with the “trade,” life in which a man can do so much good, both
» arguments of faith, I do not know any station in that although he left London immediately to others and himself, as in that of a Catholic after its publication, and returned to reside priest, and it gave me great satisfaction to find with his family, the very men who for years that my dear friends in America were of the had been deaf to all his solicitations for the same mind with me on this point. Mary Anne humblest literary employment, now vied with says truly, that there need be no reserve upon each other in their efforts to secure his ser- such subjects, yet for a long time the idea gave vices. The Tales of the Munster Festivals me so much to think of, and debate about in my
own mind, that I felt unwilling to say any thing soon followed; and The Collegians, the most about it. 'It could not have found a being more successful of his works, completely fixed his unwilling than myself, nor one more entirely re
luctant to make the trifling sacrifices it required ; He wrote one or two successful pieces for the but, thank God! I can shake my head at them English Opera House ; but although it appeared all now, and look upon them as literally nothing. to open a sure and easy road to competense, he But enough, dear father, on that very serious abandoned it after almost the first trial.
subject, only let all my dear friends pray for me,
that I may not be deceived. I feel a great se- 1 their faith, if I supposed they did not well know curity in the approval of so many friends, and how far the claim of God was before all others, how much indeed in the words of my poor mo- and that it would be to wrong his goodness and ther (so like herself in their discretion and hu- mercy, to delay entering on his service through mility), which E- - W— mentioned to an apprehension of worldly evils which he may me in his last letter. I dread myself so much, never mean to send, and which he has it in his that I am unwilling to pay all that I could wish, power to send, in spite of all our worldly precauwhile I have yet advanced so short a way tions. But surely, all this is obvious, and it is towards this great object, but I hope, before trilling to dwell upon it. My dear sisters will many months have gone by, to be able to talk forgive me for concluding this spiritless letter as freely as dear Mary Anne can wish. How without writing to them. When I get home, I well our Saviour knew us, when he advised hope to say something more than asking them those who were about building a tower, to cal- to pray for me; and that I hope will be within culate beforehand, whether they should be able the next fortnight, for the book, though ready to finish it! Such flashes of thought as this are for press, is not to be published till next season. enough to startle one, and make him work a Ever my dear father's affectionate, little harder than he might be inclined to do, if
“Gerald Griffin.”—pp. 252-54. left to himself. My dear father, pray for me that I do not miscalculate-that I may be able neither sudden nor indeliberate. From a let
This change in his views and opinions was to finish the tower which I have begun.
“ March 17th, 1833. The above was written, ter to Banim, and another to a friend, whose my dear father, as you perceive, nearly three name is not given, it would appear that he months ago, and on looking it over now, it had for a time yielded to doubts regarding seems to me so lukewarm, so wavering and un- religion, though they do not seem to have worthy of one who had any reason to believe gone the length of positive unbelief. These, himself called to the service of God, that I am however, were soon dissipated; and perhaps ashamed to send it. I have, however, no longer the reaction may have carried him onward any doubt that it is my duty to devote myself to religion-to the saving my own soul, and the more generously, than if he had never wasouls of others. This letter alone, my dear vered in his faith. However this may be, his father, may show you in some degree, that this first thought, as we find in the above and sevis not a conviction hastily adopted ; nor can I eral similar letters, was to devote himself to suppose it necessary to enter into any full expla- the sacred ministry; and he actually comnation of all that has passed in my own mind on menced his preparation for entrance into St. the subject, in order to save myself from any Patrick's College, Maynooth, and continued imputation of rashness, for giving up the affairs of time, and embracing those of eternity. To regularly to devote a portion of each day to a compare the two for an instant is enough. To revision of the entrance examination course say that Gerald the novel writer is, by the grace of that college. of God really satisfied to lay aside for ever all The years which he spent among his famhope of that fame, for which he was once sacri- ily were among the happiest of their lives. ficing health, repose, and pleasure, and to offer Among the few friends whom his retiring himself as a laborer in the vineyard of Jesus habits permitted him to cultivate, was a famChrist—that literary reputation has become a worthless trifle to him, to whom it once was ily of the Society of Friends, who resided in almost all-and that he feels a happiness in the his neighborhood. The letters which he thought of giving all to God-is such a merciful addressed to them form a large section of his favor, that all the fame and riches in the world published correspondence. They could not dwindle into nothing at the thought of it. But be judged, and indeed might possibly be misthis is talking of myself, and my own happiness apprehended, from a few specimens ; but duties connected with my hopes in literature, they are almost necessary, as an illustration which cannot equally be answered in this new of the gayer shades of the writer's character, vocation. It is true, my dear father, scarcely which they exhibit in a very pleasing light. any circumstance connected with my success in But it is already time to draw to a close, those pursuits could have given me greater and we have left the most important portion satisfaction, than the reflection that I was at the of his life untouched. There do not appear same time an instrument in the hands of God, to be any data whence the time of his relinfor adding any thing to the temporal happiness of even a few; bui, generally speaking, I fear quishing the idea of the Church can be satisthe world is at the bottom of too great precau- factorily inferred. But the pleasure which tion on this point. If I serve God well, have I he began to take, about the period of which not his own promise, that he will not forsake my we are writing, in instructing poor children, friends or me. I feel great pain in speaking on would seem to indicate that he already looked this subject, for I fear it may look as if I wanted towards the project which he eventually sympathy for friends, whom God is pleased to realized, of devoting himself to the Institute try with worldly visitations. God knows such is not my feeling; and I trust I shall always be of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.* ready to do my duty when it is made clear to * For a full account of this admirable institute, me-but I should wrong their affection, and see “ Dublin Review," vol. ix. p. 331, et seq.