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and with a taste for eloquence and discussion perfectly analogous to his own. By the account that is here given of them, they must have been a most loquacious and argumentative pair.
Shortly after their marriage, he brought Mrs Day to Northchurch to see us. Her person and conversation were pleasing, and the noble and generous sentiments which she expressed, and the conformity of all her conduct to these sentiments, entitled her to more than common admiration and respect. Mrs Edgeworth had been well accustomed to Mr Day’s habits of discussion and declamation : she observed that Mrs Day's replies, replete with sense and spirit, were always delivered in chosen language, and with appropriate emphasis. My friend proceeded towards his conclusions with unerring logic, and inflexible perseverance; but Mrs Day's eloquence won the hearers, at least for a time, to her opinions.-Notwithstanding the dryness of political and metaphysical subjects, which were usually those upon which we descanted, I was amused and instructed, and I wished most heartily to prevail upon Mr Day to settle in my neighbourhood in Hertfordshire; but he had an insurmountable objection to any situation near his former friends, lest, as I supposed, any opinions contrary to his system of connubial happiness might be' supported before his wife. He remained some time at Hampstead, being in no great haste to purchase a house ; as he thought, that, by living in inconvenient lodgings, where he was not known, and consequently not visited by any body except his chosen few, he should accustom his bride to those modes of life which he conceived to be essential to his happiness.—I never saw any woman so entirely intent upon accommodating herself to the sentiments, and wishes, and will of a husband. Notwithstanding this disposition, there still was a never-failing flow of discussion between them. From the deepest political investigation, to the most frivolous circumstance of daily life, Mr Day found something to descant upon; and Mrs Day was nothing loath to support upon every subject an opinion of her own : thus combining in an unusual manner, independence of sentiment, and the most complete matrimonial obedience.' I. 344-346.
These philosophers then bought an estate, and wasted an enormous sum of money in great experiments in agriculture; anak at last he got about building a house. He set the builders to work before he had fixed upon the plan, so that there was nothing but stoppages and alterations.
• One day he was deep in a treatise, written by some French agriculturist, to prove that any soil may be rendered fertile by sufficient ploughing, when the masons desired to know where he would have the window of the new room on the first floor. I was present at the question, and offered to assist my friend-- No-he sat immoveable in. his chair, and gravely demanded of the mason, whether the wall might not be built first, and a place for the window cut out afterwards ! The mason stared at Mr Day with an expression of the most unfeigned surprise. " Why, Sir, to be sure it is very possible ; but,
I believe, Sir, it is more common to put in the window-cases while the house is building, and not afterwards.” Mr Day, however, with great coolness, ordered the wall to be built without any opening for windows, which was done accordingly; and the addition, which was made to the house, was actually finished, leaving the room, which was intended for a dressing-room for Mrs Day, without any window whatsoever.' I. 318.
He lived happily, however, with his discursive partner, and was killed at last, in his forty-third year, by a fall from a horse which he was attempting to break for himself, without any of the harsh and cruel practices usually employed for that purpose. His Sandford and Merton is a work of great merit and genius. His poetry is verbose and heavy; his political effusions are of the same character; and his familiar letters, of which we are presented with several in these volumes, appear to us to be singularly diffuse and elaborate.
In the mean time Mr E. falls in love with Miss Honora Sneyd; and is sent off to Lyons by the virtue of his friend Mr Day; where he stays for two years, and makes himself very busy by : scheme for turning the course of the Rbine by embankments, and by various mechanical inventions. He has also recorded a good number of anecdotes of the Lyonese society-good, bad, and indifferent. The following appears to us among the most memorable.
• About this time a fatal catastrophe, that befel two lovers, made a great noise at Lyons. A young painter, of considerable eminence, came there, in company with a woman of uncommon beauty, who was his mistress. There was something remarkably attractive in both the man and the woman, and their company was sought for with the utmost enthusiasm by all the young men of that city. The urbanity, liveliness, and good nature of the young painter, were extolled in every company. Both he and the lady sang and played well on several instruments; and, by a variety of other talents, which they exercised without ostentation, they made what is called in France a great sensation. Their mutual fondness kept all pretenders to the lady's favour quite at a distance, while it excited a lively interest among their acquaintance. There was still, however, something mysterious in their conduct towards each other, that induced an indefinite kind of suspicion. In the midst of gaiety or mirth, a look, or a sigh, betrayed a secret anxiety. This anxiety gradually increased, notwithstanding the pains which were taken to conceal it. After some months, the stranger and his mistress invited all their acquaintance to a handsome supper, which they gave at taking leave of their friends, before their intended departure from Lyons. When they bade farewell, they showed great emotion, and hastily withdrew before their friends departed.
• There is, near a convent at Lyons, a place which was called the
tomb of the two lovers - On this spot the bodies of the stranger s were found the next morning. They had shot each other with pistols, the triggers of which were so connected by a red riband, as to go off at the same moment. At first no trace of their history, or motive for their conduct, could be discovered : but at length it was ascertained, that the man laboured under some incurable disease, to which the physicians had convinced him he must fall a sacrifice within a given period. His mistress had determined to live no longer than her lover : they had, therefore, converted whatever they possessed into ready money, which they agreed to spend in the manner most congenial to their tastes; and as soon as their funds should be ex. hausted, which they had calculated would last to the predicted period when his disease must end his life, they had resolved to destroy themselves.' I. 300-302.
Mrs E. then dies; and the widower returns to England, and marries Miss Sneyd. He then takes up his abode for some time on his estate in Ireland, but afterwards settles in the neighbourhood of London. The two following detached anecdotes show human nature in its extreme stages of simplicity and corruption; and, we think, are both very striking.
: One day, in one of the crowded streets, I met a poor young girl, who seemed utterly bewildered; she stopped me, to ask if I would tell her the name of the street she was in. Her accent was broad Scotch, and her look and air of perfect simplicity was, I perçeived, not assumed, but genuine. I gave her the information she wanted, and asked her where she lived, and if she was in search of any friend's house. She said she did not live any where in London ; she was but just arrived from Scotland, and knew nobody who had any house or lodging of their own in town, but she was looking for a friend of the name of Peggy; and Peggy was a Scotch girl, who was born within a mile of the place where she lived in Scotland. Peggy was in seryice in London, and had written her direction to some house in this street; but the number of the house, and the names of the master or mistress, had been forgotten. The poor girl was determined, she said, to try every house, for she had come all the way from Scotland to see Peggy, and she had no other dependence !
It seemed a hopeless case. I was so much struck with her sim. plicity and forlorn condition, that I could not leave her in this perplexity, an utteş stranger as she evidently was to the dangers of London. I went with her, though I own without the slightest hope of her succeeding in the object of her search ; knocked at every door, and made inquiries at every house. When we came near the end of the street, she was in despair, and cried bitterly ; but as one of the last doors opened, and as a footman was surlily beginning to answer my questions, she darted past him, exclaiming, “There's Peggy!” She few along the passage to a şervant girl, whose head had just appeared as she was coming up stairs. I never heard or saw stronger expressions of joy and affection than at this meeting and I scarcely
ever, for any service I have been able in the course of my life to do for my fellow-creatures, received such grateful thanks, as I did from this poor Scotch lassy and her Peggy for the little assistance I afforded her.
• Another time, about this period, one evening in summer I happened to be in one of those streets that lead from the Strand toward the river. It was a street to which there was no outlet, and consequently free from passengers. A Savoyard was grinding his disre. garded organ; a dark shade fell obliquely across the street, and there was a melancholy produced by the surrounding circumstances that excited my attention. A female beggar suddenly rose from the steps of one of the doors, and began to dance ludicrously to the tune which the Savoyard was playing. I gave the man some money; and I observed, that, for such an old woman, the mendicant danced with great sprightliness. She looked at me stedfastly, and, sighing, added, that she could once dance well. She desired the Savoyard to play a minuet, the steps of which she began to dance with uncommon grace and dignity. I spoke to her in French, in which language she replied fluently, and in a good accent; her language, and a knowledge of persons in high life, and of books, which she showed in the course of a few minutes' conversation, convinced me that she must have had a liberal education, and that she had been amongst the higher classes of society. Upon inquiry, she told me that she was of a noble family, whose name she would not injure by telling her own; that she had early disgraced herself; and that, falling from bad to worse, she had sunk to her present miserable condition. I asked her why she did not endeavour to get into some of those asylums wbich the humanity of the English nation has provided for want and wretchedness ; she replied, with a countenance of resolute despair. “ You can do nothing more for me than to give me half a crown :it will make me drunk, and pay for my bed !”. I, 354–358.
At the end of a few years Honora dies, and Mr E. marries her sister Elizabeth, and makes globes and chronometers with great diligence in a house in Cheshire ;-and here his own part of the history is suddenly broken off, after bringing it down to the year 1761.
Miss E.'s part of the story begins with the return of her family to their Irish home in 1782—from which period, to the end of his days, Mr E. was, with few and transent exceptions, a constant and exemplary resident. Miss E. first gives us a short account of the way in which he let and managed his estates, and then a brief summary of the politics of the famous year 1782; during which her father took part with the volunteers and reformers—though with a due regard to the constitutional supremacy of the existing Parliament. We have next a miscellany of letters, of no very great interest, about his scheme for re. claiming boys by the use of moveable railways and friction
rollers; and about planting-education-medicine and mechanics. Upon Mr Day's death, he had a project of writing his lifebut afterwards resigned that task into the hands of Mr Keir. He continued, however, through all changes of public and private fortune, to amuse himself with mechanical contrivances, and to set an example of prudence, temperance and fairness, in his ime mediate neighbourhood. The following short passage contains a picture of one, we trust, of the lost genera of the native Irish, Mr E. had, as executor, to settle the affairs of a deceased relative.
• In endeavouring to arrange with the creditors, he had of course some difficulties, and was ultimately at considerable loss; but when he attempted to collect what was due of arrears of rent on his relation's estate, the matter became not only difficult, but perilous; for it was his fate to have to deal with persons calling themselves gentleman tenants--the worst tenants in the world_middle-men, who relet the lands, and live upon the produce, not only in idleness, but in insolent idleness.
• This kind of half gentry, or mock gentry, seemed to consider it as the most indisputable privilege of a gentleman, not to pay his debts. They were ever ready to meet civil law with military brag of
Whenever a swaggering debtor of this species was pressed for payment, he began by protesting, or confessing, that “ he considered himself used in an ungentlemanlike manner; and ended by offering to give, instead of the value of his bond or promise, “ the satisfaction of a gentleman, at any hour or place.” Thus they put
Thus they put their promptitude to hazard their worthless lives, in place of all merit, especially of that virtue, by them most despised, perhaps because by them least known--erroneously called common honesty. It certainly was not easy to do business with those, whose best resource was to settle accounts by wager of battle with the representative of their deceased creditor; nor was it easy,
while inferior persons
felt it their interest and ambition to provoke their antagonist, to keep out of discreditable quarrels, by which nothing could be gained, and every thing might be lost. It required not only prudence and temper, but established character, with some weight of family connexions, and the united voice of good friends, to bear him out, at this time, in the cause of justice, when it was on the creditor side of the question.
My father has often since rejoiced in the recollection of his steadiness at this period of his life. As far as the example of an individual could go, it was of service in his neighbourhood. It showed, that such lawless proceedings as he had opposed, could be effectually resisted ; and it discountenanced that braggadocio style of doing business, which was once in Ireland too much in fashion, Such would no longer be tolerated in this part of the country ; but such has been: and persons of the sort I have described flourished some thirty years ago, and were among a certain set popular as many of undeniable spirit. II. 140, 141.