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Maubreuil, who made some figure under the Emperor, but whom the latter had denounced as a treacherous ingrate, and driven from his presence as one in whom no generosity could ensure faithful service. In such estimates Napoleon was never wrong; and, indeed, the dark sinister look of Maubreuil, the subdued expression of his fierce blood-shot eyes, and the sinuous quiescence, if one may so express it, of his whole deportment, were quite enough for me. He spoke English very indifferently, and probably wrote French as bad, for he was continually worrying Ireland, amidst all his own literary schemes and labours, to translate letters, forward memorials, concoct documents; (I only conjecture this;) and as all this was to be done without fee, Ireland soon grew tired of the fun, and strongly recommended him to go abroad, -anywhere,to which Maubreuil at length acceded. But a much more interesting person was young Las Cases, son of the old Count Las Cases. The former, Baron Las Cases, on arriving in London after the St. Helena affairs were terminated by the death of the Emperor, soon found out Ireland, and various secret conferences no doubt took place. It was on the subject,—to me a very interesting one,-as to the best means of giving Sir Hudson Lowe a sound horsewhipping for his uiterly vulgar tyranny, and then escaping from the legal consequences, to await at Calais or Boulogne the result in other respects. The plan was constructed very well by General Ireland, who danced again at the thought. The only misgiving the latter had about the entire success was, that whereas the said gaoler was a long, raw-boned man, and young Baron Las Cases of small figure and delicate constitution, it might so fall out that the former would wrest the whip from his hand, and administer the condign upon his intended executor. Ireland, after sounding what sort of interest I felt about the general bearings, in so careful and inch-by-inch a manner that I can never think of it without shaking with laughter, at length communicated the proposed plan of flagellation. He also mentioned his doubt. I said I had too much faith in the spirit of young Las Cases to have any doubt; nay, that it would be an offence to hint the chance of such a miscarriage. “That's true, sir,' answered Ireland; ‘still, bone is bone.' Here he paused, and looked metaphysical. Then,' said I, you had better attend in person; you must be his godfather in the combat.' I have turned that over in my mind,' replied he, cautiously. “And no doubt it has alighted the right end upwards? If the gaoler should seize Las Cases with a strong grip, you will then interpose your hand, and deposit the former in the gutter ?' *I have also thought of my family, resumed Ireland; no, no, sir, if Las Cases should be likely to get the worst of it in a struggle, I shall step in as a private gentleman, a passer-by, absolutely astonished at such proceedings on the part of Sir Hudson! The day arrived. A post-chariot stood at a short distance; Las Cases coiled up a horsewhip in his pocket, Ireland strolled about the neighbourhood like a gentleman in search of the picturesque,' and your humble servant set his back against a corner near the ex-gaoler's house, intently perusing a most interesting newspaper.
All (laughing). Ha! ha! ha! go on, Harry, go on.
HARRY OF NEWMARKET. After being hissed in the public streets, Sir Hudson had thought it advisable never to walk. This was what had caused the first difficulties in the arrangements. It had been finally determined that the punishment should be administered as he stepped out of his carriage. I saw nothing at all of Ireland during the half-hour or more that elapsed; but the impatience of Las Cases occasioned him to pass and repass the door of the ex-gaoler's house several times. No sooner did the carriage appear, than I descried Ireland walking in the same direction, very, very deep in thought, with one hand in his pocket, and the other gently sawing the air, as though he was composing a verse or sentence. Excessive laughter was thoroughly superseded in me by excitement, and by admiration at Ireland's 'masterly handling' in his personation of a private gentleman fortuitously passing that way. No sooner had Sir Hudson alighted on the pavement than the young Baron stepped nimbly up to him, and saluted him with a cut over the shoulders, and then presented his card. The ex-gaoler started a little on receiving the former, but, recognising Las Cases, he shuffled quickly onwards, refusing to take the proffered card. Whereupon Las Cases followed him up the steps, and, administering a second salute with the whip, threw another card into the passage after him, and the door closed. Just as Las Cases was ascending the steps, Mr. Shakspeare Ireland leisurely passed the door-so accurately had he calculated the distance. It really seemed as if he had made a mathematical estimate of the time the affair would occupy, and had previously counted the requisite steps. Certainly no barrister ever took more pains in ' getting up a case’ than he did on all occasions. They joined one another near the post-chariot, and drove off into the country. They returned by a different conveyance the same night, the chariot driving on like the devil; walked quietly arm in arm into town; and repaired to Ireland's chambers in Clement's Inn, where we supped. I never ate such a supper in my life, before or since ! It only wanted the presence of the Emperor. About two o'clock Baron Las Cases started for the sea-port, and arrived in Calais or Boulogne, I forget which, where he remained some time; but Sir Hudson declined all his invitations to cross the Channel.
Mrs. ALBION. Really this Mr. Ireland must have been a most amusing person.
MR. ALBION. Did he not compile one or two volumes called • Anecdotes of Napoleon ?'
All (laughing). Ha! ha! ha! anecdotes !
HARRY OF NEWMARKET. To be sure he did-half a dozen, or more.
MR. ALBION (gravely). But surely a great many historical anecdotes of Napoleon are easily to be collected from authentic sources?
HARRY OF NEWMARKET (laughing). Doubtless, doubtless; but the joke was, that Ireland agreed to furnish volumes of Napoleon Anecdotes as long as people would buy them. And this he most certainly did, for a vast quantity were sold. It was no fault of his that they eventually ceased to be found, depend upon it.
Mrs. Albion. I suppose then he was chary of his authentic stories, and only threw them in here and there, to give an authentic colour to the rest ?
HARRY OF NEWMARKET. Perhaps so; but let me tell you he had the art of combining authentic details with fiction in such a way that few can tell who's whọ. Besides, he could relate the same story in different volumes, in such different ways—giving
all the authorities' different also—that it is scarcely possible to contend with him. But he latterly committed a grievous mistake, and grievously heavy were the consequences it entailed upon him. I call it a mistake, because, from the very nature of it, there would be hundreds of living witnesses who would rise up and controvert it in a moment. I allude to the last of his publications I ever heard of, • The History of Kent. Speaking of a certain river, or piece of water, he somehow or other took it into his head to make a statement about a particular bridge that ran across it at a particular part. This fact he considered not sufficiently interesting, and perhaps, miserabile dictu! he wanted to fill up a certain space of print for a Sunday's dinner.
Whether he had never visited that unlucky spot, or his memory did not serve him, and no book would help him out of the dilemma, certain it is he suffered his imagination to lead him into an account of all the details, • dates, wood-work, stone-work, builders' bills,' even to putting a toll upon it ; and a very interesting account he made. No bridge at all had ever existed ! No sooner did the number of the said history arrive in Kent, than letter after letter, from the oldest inhabitants,' came pell-mell up to the astounded publisher! The sheet--the whole number, I think-was immediately cancelled. The expense of this cancel fell upon poor Ireland. "In vain he protested that it was a venial error anybody might have fallen into--that he had read somewhere or other of a bridge; though he had mistaken the place, &c. The expense fell upon him. This was a blow of ruin—he had received many before, but then he was a younger man. In various misdirected struggles to extricate himself, he only got inextricably deeper. In short, he never recovered it, and, having despair in his heart, put the enemy into his mouth,' that his mind might be stolen away from the contemplation.
Mrs. Albion. Poor man! indeed this is very melancholy. It forms a pathetic contrast with the boyish love of fun and roguery which appears
to have been natural to him, and not at all associated with any idea of doing mischief.
HARRY OF NEWMARKET. Nor was it. He meant no harm : all his literary tricks were for the sake of enjoying the joke, and profiting, i. e. living by it.
MR. ALBION. I never saw him but once. I thought he had very much the look of an old General; not merely on account of his braided coat, high black stock, and dark weather-beaten look; —there was a cut about him.
HARRY OF NEWMARKET. He had been a very fine handsome man, of bold and imposing features, with a dark, red, sanguine complexion. When he sat at home by the fire-light on a winter's evening, in a loose dressing gown, with his long black hair flying wildly about, he gave the best impersonation I can conceive for å beau ideal of a king of the gipsies. If Scott had seen him he would have used him to a certainty. In his melancholy moods he reminded me, in expression, of Sir Joshua's head in the Angerstein Gallery, called the Banished Lord. It was one summer's evening that I found him sitting alone in this mood with a tumbler of sugar and water before him. The conversation took a melancholy turn-very unusual with him or me-and he said, “I am sick of my life, sir.
The more I struggle, the further I am pushed back. The more I work, the less I get. Had it not been for my family, I should have wished there had been an end of me long since. But now, Mr. Newmarket, what with one thing and the other, I am so completely worn out, that even that feeling is ground down in me, and I do not care how soon I am boxed
wonder at my defending this man?
Mrs. Albion. Poor fellow !--and from this time I suppose his circumstances got worse and worse?
HARRY OF NEWMARKET. No doubt; for he vanished with his family from the cottage, and I only met him accidentally once or twice after. He related to me, with a laugh that was half anguish, that unlucky affair of the bridge in Kent. When I asked him where he lived, he shrugged his shoulders. There was no mistaking the melancholy answer.
ANGUS. And now the name of William Henry Ireland-he who when a boy made dupes of nearly all the learned men of the day, and subsequently of the intellectual public at large in various ways, many of which are not even now so much as suspectedwherein he has shown a most versatile ingenuity, however our selflove and vanity may be exasperated at such proofs of our want of real judgment—now his name is to gain a second popularity, lasting about a month, while his grave is to be hooted over and spit upon by those sorely-angered fools who feel that they were never a match for his Protaan rogueries.
Father Zodiac. His chief literary offence, and a great one i
must be felt to be by the majority, consists in having given the names of dead authors to productions which the learned, as well as the public at large, have not been able to distinguish from the originals.
Mrs. ALBION. But surely the difference is plain enough; otherwise he must have been a man of most extraordinary genius?
Father Zodiac. Not so plain, it would seem, except in the case of Shakspeare; he never flew so high afterwards, but there the hoax is plain enough.
Harry Of NewMARKET. Only to a ' learned spirit,' I fancy.
MR. ALBION (looking at his watch). Of course it is plain enough to every body now. It is getting late.
SYRIUS. Mists arise-shades thicken-I see a glow-worm !
Angus. But, after all, what is there worse in this illusive lamp, as a principle, than the hoax of Chatterton, whose name is always spoken of with admiration and pity ?
Mr. Albion. And is it not said that Michael Angelo made a statue, and then buried it, first breaking off a limb, which he kept privately? He, of course, manæuyred to have it found in due season, and after he had suffered all the best judges to proclaim it a fine antique, probably by the hand of Phidias, from the Parthenon, he then produced the broken limb, to show them how little they knew of the matter.
Father Zodiac. The cases are different. Chatterton's deception gave no offence, because he did not attack a high and uni. versal reputation, (respect for Shakspeare's name must be taken into the account in favour of the public ;) and because great scholars did not make themselves so prominently ridiculous on the occasion. The feeling towards Chatterton is chiefly owing to his untimely end; but partly because his productions possess considerable original beauty, though their merit is over-rated. As to Michael Angelo, his inherent greatness entitled him to adopt such means of correcting presumption and prejudice, and it came in the shape of a severe moral lesson. Michael Angelo knew his own inferiority, as a sculptor, to Phidias; but he was willing to prove to his critics that they did not know the difference.
Angus. How grand the shadows stride across yonder field, with the moon just rising over the trees in the outskirts! The adumbrations of Phidias and Michael Angelo rise from the grave of ages at Father Zodiac's mention of their names.
FATHER ZODIAC (rising). Mother earth renews the mighty past, and all the glory it produced, in the imaginations of all the worthy of subsequent generations. Our day is closed; but it will not have been passed in vain if the noble hopes that have sunned our hearts lead us to actions that may promote the fertility of future times.