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"Lissy begins to be tormented again with the toothache; otherwise, we are all well.

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I am, Sir, your sincerely dutiful and affectionate son,
Friday, Feb. 29.

"R. B. SHERIDAN. “I beg you will not judge of my attention to the improvement of my hand-writing by this letter, as I am out of the of a better pen. way

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Charles Sheridan, now one-and-twenty, the oldest and gravest of the party, finding his passion for Miss Linley increase every day, and conscious of the imprudence of yielding to it any further, wisely determined to fly from the struggle altogether. Having taken a solemn farewell of her in a letter, which his youngest sister delivered, he withdrew to a farm-house about seven or eight miles from Bath, little suspecting that he left his brother in full possession of that heart, of which he thus reluctantly and hopelessly raised the siege. Nor would this secret perhaps have been discovered for some time, had not another lover, of a less legitimate kind than either, by the alarming importunity of his courtship, made an explanation on all sides necessary.

Captain Mathews, a married man and intimate with Miss Linley's family, presuming upon the innocent familiarity which her youth and his own station permitted between them, had for some time not only rendered her remarkable by his indiscreet attentions in pub-. lic, but had even persecuted her in private with those unlawful addresses and proposals, which a timid female will sometimes rather endure, than encounter that share of the shame which may be reflected upon herself by their disclosure. To the threat of self-destruction, often tried with effect in these cases, he is said to have added the still more unmanly menace of ruining, at least, her reputation, if he could not undermine her virtue. Terrified by his perseverance, and dreading the consequences of her father's temper, if this violation of his confidence and hospitality were exposed to him, she at length confided her distresses to Richard Sheridan; who, having consulted with his sister, and, for the first time, disclosed to her the state of his heart with respect to Miss Linley, lost no time in expostulating with Mathews, upon the cruelty, libertinism, and fruitlessness of his pursuit. Such a remonstrance, however, was but little calculated to conciliate the forbearance of this professed man of gallantry, who, it appears by the following allusion to him under the name of Lothario, in a poem written by Sheridan at the time, still counted upon the possibility of gaining his object, or, at least, blighting the fruit which he could not reach :

Nor spare the flirting Cassoc'd rogue,

Nor antient Cullin's polish'd brogue;

Nor gay Lothario's nobler name,

That Nimrod to all female fame.

In consequence of this persecution, and an increasing dislike to her profession, which made her shrink more and more from the gaze of the many, in proportion as she became devoted to the love of one, she adopted, early in 1772, the romantic resolution of flying secretly to France, and taking refuge in a convent,-intending, at the same time, to indemnify her father, to whom she was bound till the age of 21, by the surrender to him of part of the sum which Mr. Long had settled upon her. Sheridan, who, it is probable, had been the chief adviser of her flight, was, of course, not slow in offering to be the partner of it. His sister, whom he seems to have persuaded that his conduct in this affair arose solely from a wish to serve Miss Linley, as a friend, without any design or desire to take advantage of her elopement, as a lover, not only assisted them with money out of her little fund for house-expenses, but gave them letters of introduction to a family with whom she had been acquainted at St. Quentin. On the evening appointed for their departure, while Mr. Linley, his eldest son, and Miss Maria Linley, were engaged at a concert, from which the young Cecilia herself had been, on a plea of illness, excused,-she was conveyed by Sheridan in a sedan-chair from her father's house in the Crescent, to a post-chaise which waited for them on the London road, and in which she found a woman whom her lover had hired, as a sort of protecting Minerva, to accompany them in their flight.

It will be recollected that Sheridan was at this time little more than twenty, and his companion just entering her eighteenth year. On their arrival in London, with an adroitness which was, at least very dramatic, he introduced her to an old friend of his family (Mr. Ewart, a respectable brandy-merchant in the city), as a rich heiress who had consented to elope with him to the Continent;in consequence of which the old gentleman, with many commendations of his wisdom, for having given up the imprudent pursuit of Miss Linley, not only accommodated the fugitives with a passage on board a ship, which he had ready to sail from the port of London to Dunkirk, but gave them letters of recommendation to his córrespondents at that place, who with the same zeal and dispatch facilitated their journey to Lisle.

On their leaving Dunkirk, as was natural to expect, the chivalrous and disinterested protector degenerated into a mere selfish lover. It was represented by him, with arguments which seemed to appeal to prudence as well as feeling, that after the step which they had taken, she could not possibly appear in England again but as his wife. He was, therefore, he said, resolved not to deposit her in a convent, till she had consented, by the ceremony of a inarriage, to conûrm to him that right of protecting her, which he

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had now but temporarily assumed. It did not, we may suppose, require much eloquence, to convince her heart of the truth of this reasoning; and, accordingly, at a little village, not far from Calais, they were married about the latter end of March, 1772, by a priest well known for his services on such occasions.

They thence immediately proceeded to Lisle, where Miss Linley, as she must still be called, giving up her intention of going on to St. Quentin, procured an apartment in a convent, with the determination of remaining there, till Sheridan should have the means of supporting her as his acknowledged wife. A letter which he wrote to his brother from this place, dated April 15, though it throws but little additional light on the narrative, is too interesting an illustration of it to be omitted here.

"Dear Brother,

"Most probably you will have thought me very inexcusable for not having writ to you. You will be surprized, too, to be told that, except your letter just after we arrived, we have never received one line from Bath. We suppose for certain that there are letters somewhere, in which case we shall have sent to every place almost but the right, whither, I hope, I have now sent also. You will soon see me in England. Every thing on our side has at last succeeded. Miss L-is now fixing in a convent, where she has been entered some time. This has been a much more difficult point than you could have imagined, and we have, I find, been. extremely fortunate. She has been ill, but is now recovered; this, too, has delayed me. We would have wrote, but have been kept in the most tormenting expectation, from day to day, of receiving your letters: but, as every thing is now so happily settled here, I will delay no longer giving you that information, though probably I shall set out for England, without knowing a syllable of what has happened with you. All is well I hope, and I hope, too, that though you may have been ignorant for some time, of our proceedings, you never could have been uneasy lest any thing should tempt me to depart, even in a thought, from the honour and consistency which engaged me at first. I wrote to M-- above a week ago, which I think was necessary and right. I hope he has acted the one proper part which was left him; and, to speak from my feelings, I cannot but say that I shall be very happy to find no further disagreeable consequence pursuing him; for, as Brutus says of Cæsar, etc.-if I delay one moment longer, I lose the post.

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“I have writ now, too, to Mr. Adams, and should apologize to you for having writ to him first and lost my time for you. Love to my sisters, Miss L--to all:

Ever, Charles, your affec. Brother,

"R. B. SHEridan.

"I need not tell you that we altered quite our route."

The illness of Miss Linley, to which he alludes, and which had been occasioned by fatigue and agitation of mind, came on some

Mathews.

days after her retirement to the convent; but an English physician, Dr. Dolman of York, who happened to be resident in Lisle at the in Lisle at the time, was called in to attend her; and in order that she might be more directly under his care, he and Mrs. Dolman invited her to their house, where she was found by Mr. Linley, on his arrival in pursuit of her. After a few words of private explanation from Sheridan, which had the effect of reconciling him to his truant daughter, Mr. Linley insisted upon her returning with him immediately to England, in order to fulfil some engagements which he had entered into on her account; and, a promise being given that, as soon as these engagements were accomplished, she should be allowed to resume her plan of retirement at Lisle, the whole party set off amicably together for England.

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On the first discovery of the elopement, the landlord of the house in which the Sheridans resided had, from a feeling of pity for the situation of the young ladies,-now left without the protection of either father or brother,-gone off, at break of day, to the retreat of Charles Sheridan, and informed him of the event which had just occurred. Poor Charles, wholly ignorant till then of his brother's attachment to Miss Linley, felt all that a man may be supposed to feel, who had but too much reason to think himself betrayed, as well as disappointed. He hastened to Bath, where he found a still more furious lover, Mr. Mathews, enquiring at the house every particular of the affair, and almost avowing, in the impotence of his rage, the unprincipled design which this summary step had frustrated. In the course of their conversation, Charles Sheridan let fall some unguarded expressions of anger against his brother, which this gentleman, who seems to have been eminently qualified for a certain line of characters indispensable in all romances, treasured up in his memory, and, as it will appear, afterwards availed himself of them. For the four or five weeks during which the young couple were absent, he never ceased to haunt the Sheridan family, with enquiries, rumours, and other disturbing visitations; and, at length, urged on by the restlessness of revenge, inserted the following violent advertisement in the Bath Chronicle :—

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"Mr. Richard S******* having attempted, in a letter left behind him for that purpose, to account for his scandalous method of running away from this place, by insinuations derogating from my character, and that of a young lady, innocent as far as relates to me, or my knowledge; since which he has neither taken any notice of letters, or even informed his own family of the place where he has hid himself; I can no longer think he deserves the treatment of a gentleman, and therefore shall

trouble myself no further about him than, in this public method, to post him as a L*** and a treacherous S********, 2

"And as I am convinced there have been many malevolent incendiaries concerned in the propagation of his infamous lie, if any of them, unprotected by age, infirmities, or profession, will dare to acknowledge the part they have acted, and affirm to what they have said of me, they may depend on receiving the proper reward of their villainy, in the most public manner. The world will be candid enough to judge properly (I make no doubt) of any private abuse on this subject for the future; as nobody can defend himself from an accusation he is ignorant of. "THOMAS MATHEWS."

On a remonstrance from Miss Sheridan upon this outrageous proceeding, he did not hesitate to assert that her brother Charles was privy to it;-a charge which the latter with indignation repelled, and was only prevented by the sudden departure of Mathews to London from calling him to a more serious account for the falsehood.

At this period the party from the Continent arrived; and as a detail of the circumstances which immediately followed has been found in Mr. Sheridan's own hand-writing,-drawn up hastily, it appears, at the Parade Coffee-house, Bath, the evening before his second duel with Mr. Mathews,-it would be little better than profanation to communicate them in any other words.

"It has ever been esteemed impertinent to appeal to the public in concerns entirely private; but there now and then occurs a private incident which, by being explained, may be productive of public advantage. This consideration, and the precedent of a public appeal in this same affair, are my only apologies for the following lines:

"Mr. T. Mathews thought himself essentially injured by Mr. R. Sheridan's having co-operated in the virtuous efforts of a young lady to escape the snares of vice and dissimulation. He wrote several most abusive threats to Mr. S., then in France. He laboured, with a cruel industry, to vilify his character in England. He publicly posted him as a scoundrel and a liar. Mr. S. answered him from France (hurried and surprized), that he would never sleep in England till he had thanked him as he deserved.

"Mr. S. arrived in London at 9 o'clock at night. At 10 he is informed, by Mr. S. Ewart, that Mr. M. is in town. Mr. S. had sat up at Canterbury, to keep his idle promise to Mr. M.-He resolved to call on him that night, as, in case he had not found him in town, he had called on Mr. Ewart to accompany him to Bath, being bound by Mr. Linley not to let any thing pass between him and Mr. M. till he had arrived thither. Mr. S. came to Mr. Cochlin's, in Crutched Friars, (where Mr. M. was lodged,) about half after twelve. The key of Mr. C.'s door was lost; Mr. S. was denied admittance. By two o'clock he got in. Mr. M. had been previously down to the door, and told Mr. S. he should be admitted, and had retired to bed again. He dressed, complained of the cold, endea

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