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Lady Morgan’s Memoirs
Chapter V

Vol. I Contents.
Prefatory Address
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXV
Chapter XXXVI
Chapter XXXVII
Vol. I Index
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
‣ Chapter V
Chapter IV
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXV
Chapter XXXVI
Chapter XXXVII
Chapter XXXIX
Chapter XL
Vol. II Index
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On the 17th of June, 1817, Colburn wrote to Lady Morgan announcing that France was published, and that she was finely off, meaning on the swelling tide of his best puffs and preliminary paragraphs. The first edition was in two volumes, quarto; and Colburn expressed his firm assurance of being able to sell the whole of this first edition by the first of July.

The work on France made a great sensation It was so long since France had been open to the English, that it was fresh ground to that generation; indeed, it wore a new face to all the world; for the restored France of 1816 was a different world to what had been the France of the old régime, or the France of the Consulate and the Empire. Lady Morgan’s work was seized upon with avidity by readers of all classes, and provoked criticism as diverse as there were shades of opinion about Legitimacy, Bourbonism, Liberalism, and the Orthodox anti-Jacobin Church and State true blue intolerant Toryism.


The clamour of abuse was enough to have appalled a very stout heart. The praise and admiration, though quite as hearty, came from a less influential party. Lady Morgan was so thoroughly sincere in her liberal opinions that she did not at all realise the horror and obloquy her opinions caused. She had also the support and countenance of her husband, whom she both loved and reverenced; this was a protection and shelter which defended her from the storm to which she was exposed. The party critics treated her opinions as synonymous with all that was irreligious, unwomanly and detestable.

The work itself, which provoked all this clamour, is extremely brilliant and clever; the sketches of manners, opinions and people, are bright, vivid, and touched in with a life and vigour that impresses the reader with their truthfulness. The sketches of the French peasantry are excellent and graphic; her own experiences amongst the Irish peasants gave her a practical insight into the general conditions of this class. The notices of French society, both Royalist and Bonapartean, are charming and sparkling. She had keen perceptions, and admirable powers of narrative; but in France, her wit, for the first time in her published works, touches on flippancy, and she allows herself to expatiate, with more complacency than good taste, on the compliments and attentions she received. A Parisian succès de société such as she had achieved, was enough to turn the head of any woman, and especially of an Irish woman.

It was a pardonable vanity; but it gave her enemies a handle against her. It was easy to make “a hit, a
very palpable hit,” at her careless self-revelations of vanity; but the adverse party were blind and clumsy in their abuse, and in their zeal outran all truth and discretion. A more moderate style of abuse would have done
Lady Morgan more injury with her public, though it might have been less injurious to herself. She was fed on flattery and detraction; and she had to receive both, without any of the mitigating influences which usually interpose between the giver and the receiver. If she were coarsely abused, she was as coarsely flattered to her face; and those who in later life observed her, could trace the scars of these long bygone years. Her notoriety was beyond what any other woman has ever had to endure “who kept her fame.” That this notoriety had a scathing and deteriorating influence, cannot be denied; but in the heat of so much party scandal no aspersion was ever cast upon her personal character and prudent conduct as a woman.

The Quarterly assailed Lady Morgan in an article which has become almost proverbial for its virulence and bitterness. That article was eminently unjust; it was far-fetched in its criticism and unfair in its conclusions.

Lady Morgan was rather proud than otherwise of the commotion it made; and she amply avenged herself by putting John Wilson Croker, who had the credit of writing it, into her next novel, Florence Macarthy,—the novel being at least as likely to live and circulate as the article.

The following jeu d’esprit from the pen of her sister,
Lady Clarke, is an amusing and not unfair version of this once famous and formidable article.

The book we review is the work of a woman,
A fact which we think will be guessed at by no man,
Who notes the abuse which our virulent rage
Shall discharge on its author in every page.
And who is this woman—no recent offender,
A Jacobin, Shanavest, Whiteboy defender.
She who published “O’Donnel,” which (take but our word)
Is a monstrous wild“tissue of all that’s absurd”—
Indeed there’s a something in all her romances,
Which, to tell our opinion, does not hit our fancies.
No, give us a novel, whose pages unfold
The glories of that blessed era of old,
When Princes legitimate trod on the people,
And the Church was so high that it out-topped the steeple:
No, give us some Methodist’s maudling confusion,
Religion in seeming, in fact, persecution;
Some strange Anti-Catholic orthodox whining,
At this age of apostacy wildly repining!!
This woman!—we scarce could believe when we read,
Retorts all the charges we heaped on Her head;
And leads to rebellion young authors, by shewing,
That calling hard names is by no means reviewing.
She boasts that we’ve not spoilt her market in marriage,
That vainly her morals and wit we disparage;
But surely that man is the boldest in life,
Who, in spite of our ravings, could take her for wife;
And therefore we now set him down without mercy
As the slave of enchantment, “the victim of Circe.”
Now to come to the matter in hand—we advance
’Tis “an impudent lie,” when she calls her book “France;”
A title that would not be characteristic,
Unless for a large Gazetteer or Statistic.
For we hold that it is not allow’d in a work,
To form our opinions by Ex pede Here.
She ought to have visited Lyons, Bordeaux,
And peeped into Marseilles, and Strasburgh, and Meaux;
For though the design of the Congress miscarries,
And Jacobins kick against Louis—at Paris,
Though Freedom lies bleeding and chain’d on the Seine,
And the emigrants there mould the state upon Spain,
In the rest of the kingdom, for what she can tell,
The impudent jade, things may go mighty well.
Next comes her arrangement!—(when this we denounce
We must eke out our charge with a bit of a bounce;
And o’erlook the confusion which reigns in our head,
To charge it at once, on her book in the stead)—
Of this book, my good readers, in vain you may hope
An account of its merits, its plan or its scope;
For the tale she relates does not chime with the view
Which we take of France in our loyal review.
And though we should rail till our paper were shrinking,
Alas! we should but set the people a thinking.
On the list of errata ’twere better to seize,
For thence we may conjure what blunders we please.
These mixed with the few, which the best author makes,
In a work of such length, and our own worse mistakes;
With some equivocation, and some “direct lies,”
Of abuse will provide our accustom’d supplies;
Which largely diluted with loyalty rant,
With much hypocritical methodist cant,
Mis-quotations, mis-statements, distortions of phrase,
Will set the half-thinkers (we judge) in amaze,
And this “worm most audacious,” this “woman so mad,”
This compound of all that’s presumptuous and bad—
(Tho’ we should not succeed in repressing her book,
And the youth of our land on its pages still look,)
Will perceive, with her friends, midst the people of fashion,
That the Quarterly scribe’s in a desperate passion.
Postscriptum—we’d near made a foolish omission,
And forgotten a slur on her Second Edition.
Though perhaps, after all, she may have the last word,
And reply to our “wholesome” remarks—by a Third—
And thus, like a sly and insidious joker,
The malice defeat of an hireling Croker!!

Looking to the correspondence of Lady Morgan, we pick our pleasant way through heaps of the friendly and familiar letters which, in those days, softened the warfare in which she was engaged with her enemies, and particularly with the malignant countryman of her own who had once been her friend, and had possibly aspired to become her husband. We pass over many tempting notes—hearty, sympathetic, eloquent. Here, however, is something to arrest the eye from Alicia Lefanu, whose writings are ever welcome for her brother’s sake and for her own.

Poor, graceful, gracious Mrs. Lefanu! ill in body, anxious in mind, and worried in addition with bad Memoirs of her brother, Richard Brinsley Sheridan!

Mrs. Lefanu to Lady Morgan.
Ash Wednesday,
February 19, 1817.

Many thanks, dear Lady Morgan, for your frequent and kind inquiries. I am very ill, and hopeless of being better. My great anxiety about Joseph made me forget and neglect myself until severe pain forced me to resort to medical aid. A severe cold, caught on Christmas day, and great uneasiness of mind, have put me in a state of continual suffering.

I wish I was able to write any satisfactory account of my brother. Watkins’s history of him and my family is a tissue of falsehood. What satisfaction could it be to him to write the life of a man whom he evi-
dently hates and basely calumniates? Of my family history he knows nothing: he must be a very impertinent fellow to take the liberties he has done with a family he could know nothing of.

But S. White did worse; for he fabricated letters from my mother, &c., that she could not have written. He was the natural son of an uncle of my mother, who left him five hundred pounds, with which, and my father’s assistance, he set up a school; but he never was acknowledged as our relation,—we never were boarded with him or placed under his care, &c., &c.,—all lies.

My mother’s sketch of a comedy, unfinished, was put into my brother Richard’s hands by my father at Bath, when we were resident there; but my father never even hinted that he had made any use of it in The Rivals. Of my own knowledge I can say nothing, for I never read it.

I hope your labours will soon be over and amply rewarded. Much is expected from you; and I trust you will not disappoint expectation.

Believe me, affectionately yours,
Alicia Lefanu.

I beg my kind compliments to Sir Charles.

Our next letters are from Madame Patterson Bonaparte. With her airy manner, her beauty and her wit, she would have made an excellent princess, American as she was. One wonders that Napoleon should have been blind to her capabilities—he, whose motto was,
the “tools to him who can use them.” Mr. Moore is, of course,
Tom Moore, the poet.

There is no need to draw attention to the passage on “the loves of the Duke of Wellington.” Madame Bonaparte speaks of such things with the gaiety and ease of a perfect Parisienne.

Madame Patterson Bonaparte to Lady Morgan.
Paris, May 8, 1817.
My dear Lady Morgan,

Your kind letter by Mr. Moore reached me, and I have been prevented replying to it by a variety of circumstances. My health has become worse than it has been, and they now say it is a disease of the liver, added to debility of lungs. I know not what it is, but I am very tired of suffering, and must make a journey to procure present relief.

All your friends are well and anxious about you as ever. Madame Suard makes many inquiries of you and your work. I go once, par semaine, to Madame Rochefaucauld, where I find the same society you left. It is impossible to see Madame D’Houchin, as the hours generally appropriated to visits are spent by her in sleep. She dines at half-past nine. M. Dénon has been good enough to see me sometimes, which I attribute to the partiality with which you distinguished me. I know nothing more flattering than your regard, and am very grateful, I assure you.

Madame de Villette is to me what she has always
been,—a constant friend. She is equally faithful in her admiration and love of you; and never speaks of you but in the way every one who is not envious must do.

France is the country you should reside in, because you are so much admired and liked here. No Englishwoman has received the same attentions since you. I am dying to see your last publication. Public expectation is as high as possible; and if you had kept it a little longer, they would have purchased it at your own price. How happy you must be at filling the world with your name as you do! Madame de Stael and Madame de Genlis are forgotten; and if the love of fame be of any weight with you, your excursion to Paris was attended with brilliant success. I assure you, and you know I am sincere, that you are more spoken of than any other person of the present day. Mr. Moore seldom sees me,—I did not take with him at all. He called to show me the article of your letter which mentions the report of the Duke of Wellington’s loves. I am not the Mrs. —— the great man gives as a successor to Grassini.

You would be surprised if you knew how great a fool she is, at the power she exercises over the Duke; but I believe that he has no taste pour les femmes d’esprit; which is, however, no reason for going into extremes, as in this case. He gave her an introduction to the Prince Regent, and to every one of consequence in London and Paris. She had, however, no success in France, where her not speaking the language of the country was a considerable advantage to
her, since it prevented her nonsense from being heard. Do not tell what I have written to you of this affair, since I should pass for malicious and unfriendly towards my compatriot and relation. She writes, too, all the paragraphs you may have seen in the newspapers; and might revenge herself by saying some spiteful things of me through that channel.

The Prince de Beauveau asks me after you, and has, I believe written you. They are all going to Spa for the summer.

Madame de Genlis has had the daughter of the Duke of Orleans confided to her care for the purpose of education. I have heard this piece of intelligence, for the authenticity of which I cannot, however, vouch.

I know not a single syllable of the political news of France or any other country, nor do I even read the gazettes at present. My bad health and ennui more than occupy me, and deprive me of all interest in life.

Mr. Moore writes you everything you desire to know of your friends here. He goes often to Mrs. Bradshaw’s. Have you seen the voyage of Madame Clairvoyante?

Adieu, my dear Lady Morgan. Do not forget me. Write me sometimes, and believe me ever most affectionately attached to you.

How is Sir Charles? Pray give my love to him, and ask him what I must do to get well.

I shall write you a long letter when I am better. I am confined to the house at present.

Mrs. theMuse of Fable” has come back after a tour to the south of France. Did you know she was in
love with De C—e last summer, and that she attended his levees very regularly for the purpose of captivating him? I fancy, however, he scarcely knew she was in his salon, or dreamed of the ravage he made on her heart. His attentions did not flatter very much, it appears, by her falling in love with another person since. I seldom see her at present. Adieu once more.

Yours truly,
E. Patterson.
Madame Patterson Bonaparte to Lady Morgan.
Paris, August 11, 1817.
Dear Lady Morgan,

Sir Charles’s letter of which you inquire through Mr. Warden, was received by me a long time ago. Since then I have the pleasure of writing you a long letter with all the news of Paris. Your work on France has appeared through a French translation, in which they have suppressed what they thought best, and have arranged what they chose to give the public in the way best suited to their own purposes. I read it cursorily, in English, as the person who lent it me could permit me to keep it only six hours. It appeared to me, like everything you write, full of genius and taste. Its truths cannot at this moment be admitted here, but in all other countries it will have complete success. The violent clamour of the editors of the Paris gazettes proves that it is too well written; were it an insignificant production they would say less
about it. They are publishing it in America, where your fame has been as much extended as in Europe, and where your talents are as justly appreciated.

I have not seen Madame D’Houchin and M. Dénon for a long time. My health obliged me to spend some weeks in the country and Madame D’Houchin you know, wakes when other persons sleep, which renders it impossible to enjoy her society without paying the price of a night’s repose, and this to me is very difficult since I have lost my health. Your old friend and admirer, M. Suard, is dead of old age. I met him two weeks previous, at a party, where he enjoyed himself as much as any of us. His widow gave a dinner the day week after, because she was afraid of being triste, she said. Since then she receives as usual, and takes promenades on the Boulevards, because “bon ami m’a dit qu’il fallait vivre.” Her friends are encouraged to flatter themselves, that her great sensibility will not kill her; at the same time that it induces her to give them parties and attend their reunions. She grieves in the most agreeable way to all those who find her house convenient or her society desirable.

Madame de Villette is exactly as you left her. Mr. Warden and herself are my neighbours for the present; I shall bid them adieu in six weeks.

My desire to see my child is stronger than my taste for Paris. I really am of your opinion, the best thing a woman can do is to marry. It appears to me that even quarrels with one’s husband are preferable to the ennui of a solitary existence. There are so many hours besides those appropriated to the world, that one does
not know how to get rid of (at least one like me has, who have no useful occupation), that I have sometimes wished to marry from ennui and tristesse. You never felt ennui in any state, because, when absent from society, you cultivate talents which will immortalize you. I know no person so happy as yourself.
Madame de Stael died regretting a life, which she had contrived to render very agreeable in everyway. Her marriage with Mr. Rocca is thought very superfluous. The liberal system she pursued through life forbids us to attribute other motives to her last matrimonial experiment,—unless that of tranquillizing the conscience of her young lover may be added. All her most intimate friends were ignorant that a marriage existed, and unless her Will had substantiated the fact, would have treated her marriage ceremony as a calumny. Marrying a man twenty years younger than herself, without fortune or name, is a ridicule in France, pire qu’un crime. Her son, by him, is called one of her posthumous works. What think you of the Manuscript of St. Helena being attributed to her and Benjamin Constant? Is it possible to carry absurdity and the desire of rendering her inconsistent further? I have heard persons gravely assert that she wrote it.

Adieu, my dear Lady Morgan; do not forget me when I shall be at a greater distance from you. Your recollection accompanies me to the New World, where I wish I may meet any one half as agreeable. My son is like you; they write me he is pétri d’esprit, and promises to develope great talents. I believe difficilement that any good awaits me, because I am constantly disap-
pointed and distressed. Do you think it easy to judge of the future capacity of a boy of twelve years? I fear he may not justify what his teachers now predict of him, and that after exciting my hopes he will become like the generality of people, médiocre and tiresome. I hope
Sir Charles likes me always, and that my most affectionate regards, will be accepted with as much pleasure as I offer them through you. How is the bel esprit, Bess Sweeney? She was a successful impostor with many persons in Cheltenham, where she passed herself for your friend, for a wit, and for the object of Mr. North’s preference, all at the same time. She was a lofty pretender.

Yours, affectionately and sincerely,
E. P.

PS.—Write me addressed to my banker here. After my departure, Warden will send you my address, dans l’autre monde.

The next letter is from Lady Charleville. The letters of Madame Bonaparte and Lady Charleville are in as great a contrast as the writers in their personal appearance, characters and fortunes. Lady Charleville was large, stately, and imposing, with magnificent grey eyes, a courtly, formal manner, and a deeply-toned voice, which made her most trifling observations impressive—rendered all the more so by her habit of addressing every one as “Ma’am,” or “Sir.” Madame Bonaparte was fair, dodu, and piquant, with particularly beautiful arms. She had
been flattered and spoiled—the idol and queen of her native city, Baltimore. She made a brilliant marriage with the
brother of the First Consul, then on the point of becoming Emperor; but instead of sharing the rising fortunes of her young husband, she had been subject to the bitterest insult and outrage that could be offered to a woman. Her marriage was broken; her child made illegitimate; her prospects in life killed; and she herself, stripped of her husband’s protection when little more than a girl, flung upon the world to sink or swim as she could. It is no wonder that her letters bear the impress of a life run to waste, and a heart turned to bitterness. Napoleon trampled down many things in his march through life, but the ravage made in the hearts and souls of those whose interest stood in the way of his plans, was more cruel and fatal in their effects than the mere loss of life and limbs on his fields of battle.

Lady Charleville’s letters, like those of Madame Bonaparte, contain some of the news going about society, but none of the scandal of the period; there is an absence of the cruel keenness and bitter dissatisfaction—one might almost call it jealousy—that mark similar topics in the letters of Madame Bonaparte. Lady Charleville’s life had been that of an invalid, and, in other respects, not free from the ills that every one born of woman is heir to in this world. When she was a young woman—not more than thirty—she lost the use of her limbs, and during the remainder of her life had to be carried or wheeled about in a large chair. Never being seen, except
sitting, she had the appearance of a queen upon her throne. It will be seen from the following letter, that her strictures on men and morals were as dignified as her appearance. Whatever personal news may come to light in these old letters, is so old that it has now become historical, and merely illustrates the spirit of the time. If there be any survivors, we can only quote Lady Teazle, and say, that “Scandal, like death, is common to all.”

Lady Charleville had been a steady protectress to Lady Morgan when she needed friends, and was her admirer now she had obtained a distinguished position in the eyes of the world. Madame Bonaparte’s friendship for Lady Morgan was more for her own sake. She found in her a friend with some substance of character, and one who could sympathize with the romantic discomforts of her position.

Lady Charleville to Lady Morgan.
14, Terrace, Piccadilly,
November 24, 1817.

I never was more pleased to hear from you, dear Lady Morgan, than in the receipt of yours of 27th of October, as the explanation you gave me of Perney’s name sliding (through natural confidence in a decent man’s catalogue) into your work, did away a cruel prohibition of the higher powers, who, on their arrival at Worthing, said they knew that author to have written only indecent blasphemy! and that they who approved
of it could not be my correspondent. Thank God, you did not do so; such a heart and such talents as yours should not be exposed through the idle vain-glory of seeming to have read everything, to so dreadful an imputation; and it is in the fulness of good-will and admiration for your talent, which is superior and improving every year, that I rejoice all these stern readers can now say is, that you relied too hastily on the bland and decent manners of Frenchmen, and could not conceive, with a pure and honest heart, that any one could recommend an unvarnished tale of indecency to your consideration.
Lord Charleville says this wicked man has never written but against religion and decency, and that one line of his principal work contains more shocking impiety than the folios of all the encyclopedists; he will not allow that Voltaire’s Pucelle (giving it up as a work too free, yet rather calculated for the Romish abuses of religion than to impugn the basis of all), or Chaucer’s loose tales, should do away their fame, since Voltaire’s other works are highly beneficial to mankind, and highly moral; and, at least, old Geoffrey, though a libertine, is not an impious one! The parallel, therefore, he thinks unjust, and yet he would wish, in praising either Voltaire or Chaucer, that a woman should mark something of disapprobation of the loose parts of their writings. Such is the result of all he said to me; and once more your letter of the 27th has set all to right again, and I trust in heaven that your warm and amiable feelings may no more be tortured by the disapprobation of good and stupid men, or the slanders of ruffians.


I received your letter of the 7th; you now know why it remained unacknowledged. I knew before I received it that Mr. Croker was the author of the article, in which, some say, he was assisted by Mr. Barrow, Secretary to the Admiralty; but of that I doubt, as hitherto this gentleman has kept to the investigation of science only. I am quite of your opinion that Mr. Croker deserves all the reprobation of candid, honourable men; but I don’t think squibs will touch him—his mail of brass, and his heart of adamant secure him; and though I sincerely wish him every mortification, I don’t see what can afford it to such a man. I sent the lines to Scotland* to some clever people, who think as I do, about the general merits of France. I am sure all the newspaper mention of it was in its favour, for people do love controversy. 1 hope the next edition may, somehow or other, do away with the mention of Perney’s name! which is of more import than you can well believe in respect to society.

The Danish Ambassador, who speaks English as well as we do, said to me the other day, “We, in Denmark, cannot impeach Lady Morgan’s politics as being dazzled with Napoleon!”

I agree in toto with your feelings of what true religion should be, “to visit the sorrower in affliction, and keep one’s self unspotted from the world;” this, with a firm acknowledgment of the great truths of Christianity, would be the perfection of all doctrine!!! To persecute is horrible, and every species of protection

* See ante, p. 58.

that law, and liberty, and property inviolable, can bestow, is the indefeasible right of a subject of these realms; but what has that to do with the question of giving legislative rights to Romish persons, insomuch as their fatal superstition has established deism on the continent in all thinking men. We should dread and deplore to encourage a worship of such baleful effect; nor ever give them power to sap the foundations of a pure and holy form of worship, which, allowing of the finest system of ethics for our guide, requires no sacrifice of the understanding.

* * * * *

I have heard since I came into town yesterday, that Walter Scott has given Rob Roy to the press as his own, and says he has another novel ready. Sir J. B. Burgess is publishing The Dragon Knight (a poem epic). Mr. Ellis has disappointed all his friends by his dull narrative about China.

Sir William Gell is gone back to the Princess of Wales, and those anxious for her honour and security are glad of it, as the wretches in whose hands she is, have already contrived to load her with debt as well as dishonour.—She, who in England (dearer than in any other spot on the globe), did not leave a debt, and refused an augmentation of income. Mr. Brougham tried, but could not break the spell; but Gell has more power with her, and equal goodwill.

M. Charleville.

Early in July, Colburn had sold the first edition of France, and, on July the 14th, wrote impatiently
for the new preface, that he might bring out the second edition, which was to be in octavo. The preface was to explain how the same errors were in that as in the first. He says, “I have announced the work by numerous paragraphs and advertisements, and it shall be well advertised everywhere.” Colburn had always more faith in his own advertisements for the success of a work than in the genius of the author. Since furnishing the work on France,
Lady Morgan had been busy on a new Irish novel which she had now three-parts finished. Sir Charles had also written a scientific work in his own department. These they offered, in the first instance, to Colburn, who declared he would be charmed to publish them, as he considered “the solidity of Sir Charles would qualify the any lightness and badinage of Lady Morgan;” but he wanted to have the MS. at a bargain, and offered a thousand pounds for the two. Lady Morgan resented the idea. She hated a bargain, except when she drove it for herself, and she threatened to go to some other publisher. Colburn complained that it would be a bad return for all his exertions, and there was a good deal of haggling, the result of which was that he agreed to give one thousand two hundred pounds for the two. This they accepted. Sir Charles’s work has not remained in memory; but the novel, which Colburn called Florence Macarthy, is still read and admired.

It is not so romantic as O’Donnel; but it hits much harder upon the social and political abuses in Irish Government. In this book, Lady Morgan embodies
her own views in the heroine, who is as wild, fascinating, romantic and extravagant as ever trod the stage of theatre or page of romance. Florence Macarthy appears always in disguise and masquerade—flits about like a will-of-the-wisp, mystifying everybody—setting the wrong to rights, “confounding the politics and frustrating the knavish tricks,” of all who mean wrong to Ireland. Like all Lady Morgan’s heroines, she is endowed with very little money, but no end of beauty, good sense, wit, and the representative of a real ould Irish noble family of decayed fortunes.

It is curious that whilst the story is wildly improbable, the accessories are all true, not only in spirit, but in the letter. The heroine, Florence Macarthy, has the mission, (self-imposed and followed, con amore) of arousing a charming young Irishman to a sense of what he owes to his country, and to stimulate his indignation against the oppressions and abuses especially crying for redress.

The sketches of character, the pictures of fashionable society in Dublin, the English fine ladies and dandies of the period, the Irish characters, both of the good and of the despicable class—in short, all the shades and varieties of the moral and social influences at work in Ireland at the time, are given with a subtlety and vividness which is wonderful; they are dashed off with vigour; they live, and move, and bear their truth to nature stamped upon them in every line. Mr. Crawley, the Castle hack, and all his tribe, the toadies and servile tools of Government, embody what
were then the worst evils of English rule in Ireland. All the Crawley sketches are supreme and inimitable for the racy humour, the genuine fun Lady Morgan has thrown into their portraits. They are etched with a sarcasm that bites like aquafortis; but the humour tempers and mellows the malice. In this family sketch she paid her debt to
Croker, who, rightly or wrongly, had the credit of being the author, not only of the attack on France, but of all the other assaults upon her in the Quarterly.

Lady Morgan was, before all things, an artist, and she did not hate Croker too much to be able to make him amusing to the general reader, who had no cause of offence against him. There was nothing impotent in her revenge; no wish to wound beyond her power to strike; the strokes of her weapon were clear, keen, incisive, and effectual. She got the laugh on her side; she left her critic transfixed on the point of her diamond pen, and she could afford to forgive him, for she had, as children say, “paid him off,” and kept a balance in hand against the future.

In the end, the conversion of the hero is rewarded by marrying Florence Macarthy, whom he has loved hopelessly all along, and who has been at once his guardian angel, guide, philosopher, and friend. All Lady Morgan’s novels are characterised by the same theatrical construction. Her theatrical descent and early associations account for her use of stage effects and melo-dramatic expedients. This love of mystery, disguise, and rapid changes of scene (for the heroines are all gifted, if not with ubiquity, at least with the
power of being in one place in a miraculously short space of time, after having been seen in another, a long way off) give an element of romance to Lady Morgan’s novels, which remove them from real life or “the light of common day.” It perhaps enables readers to go patiently through political discussions and statistical details of the then existing state of things in Ireland, which otherwise would not have been tolerated, but it gives an air of trick and mannerism which, to say the best, is meretricious; but in spite of criticism and sober judgment, it makes them extremely entertaining.