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of his day. Walpole answered, when asked if he was a Freemason, that he never had been any thing, and probably most of the men of the time would, if they had had the honesty, have said the same. They were not atheists professedly, but they neither believed in nor practiced Christianity.

His love for children has been called one of his eccentricities. It would be a hard name to give it if he had not been a club-lounger of his day. I have sufficient faith in human nature to trust that two thirds of the men of this country have that most amiable eccentricity. But in Selwyn it amounted to something more than in the ordinary pater-familias: it was almost a passion. He was almost motherly in his celibate tenderness to the little ones to whom he took a fancy. This affection he showed to several of the children, sons or daughters, of his friends; but to two especially, Anne Coventry and Maria Fagniani.

The former was the daughter of the beautiful Maria Gunning, who became Countess of Coventry. Nanny, as he called her, was four years old when her mother died, and from that time he treated her almost as his own child.

But Mie-Mie, as the little Italian was called, was far more favored. No picture can better display the vice of the age than that of two men of the highest fashion, one of them the Duke of Queensberry, the greatest libertine and most disgusting profligate that ever disgraced the British peerage (which is saying much), vying for the honor of being the father of this poor little girl, while a reverend doctor attempted to decide the question, and advised one of them actually to marry her; and her own shameless mother encouraged each in his fancy, and alternately assured the one or the other that he was really its progenitor. The doubt of the paternity may afford a pleasant subject of investigation to certain precisionists of our day, but we beg to decline entering on such an inquiry. Whoever may have been the child's father, her mother was a rather beautiful and very immoral woman, the wife of the Marchese Fagniani. She seems to have desired to make the most of her daughter out of the extraordinary rivalry of the two English "gentlemen," and they were admirably taken in by her. Whatever the truth may have been, Selwyn's love for children showed itself more strongly in this case than in any other; and, oddly enough, it seems to have begun when the little girl was at an age when children scarcely interest other men than their fathers-in short, in infancy. Her parents allowed him to have the sole charge of her at a very early age, when they returned to the Continent; but in 1777, the marchioness, being then in Brussels, claimed her daughter back again;

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though less, it seems, from any great anxiety on the child's account, than because her husband's parents, in Milan, objected to their granddaughter being left in England; and also, not a little, from fear of the voice of Mrs. Grundy. Selwyn seems to have used all kinds of arguments to retain the child; and a long correspondence took place, which the marchesa begins with "My very dear friend," and many affectionate expressions, and concludes with a haughty "Sir," and her opinion that his conduct was "devilish." The affair was, therefore, clearly a violent quarrel, and Selwyn was obliged at last to give up the child. He had a carriage fitted up for her expressly for her journey; made out for her a list of the best hotels on her route; sent his own confidential man-servant with her, and treasured up among his "relics" the childish little notes, in a large scrawling hand, which Mie-Mie sent him. Still more curious was it to see this complete man of the world, this gambler for many years, this club-lounger, drinker, associate of well-dressed blasphemers, of Franciscans of Medmenham Abbey, of women of morals as loose as their petticoats, devoting, not his money only, but his very time to this mere child, leaving town in the height of the season for dull Matson, that she might have fresh air. Quitting his hot club-rooms, his nights spent at the piquet-table and the rattle of the dice, for the quiet, pleasant terraces of his country-house, where he would hold the little innocent Mie-Mie by her tiny hand, as she looked up into his shriveled dissipated face; quitting the interchange of wit, the society of the Townshends, the Walpoles, the Williamses, the Edgecumbes; all the jovial, keen wisdom of Gilly, and Dick, and Horace, and Charles, as they called one another, for the meaningless prattle, the merry laughter of this half-English, half-Italian child. It redeems Selwyn in our eyes, and it may have done him real good: nay, he must have felt a keen refreshment in this change from vice to innocence; and we understand the misery he expressed, when the old bachelor's one little companion and only pure friend was taken away from him. His love for the child was well known in London society; and of it did Sheridan's friends take advantage, when they wanted to get Selwyn out of Brookes's, to prevent his black-balling the dramatist. The anecdote is given in the next Memoir.

In his later days Selwyn still haunted the clubs, hanging about, sleepy, shriveled, dilapidated in face and figure, yet still respected and dreaded by the youngsters, as the "celebrated Mr. Selwyn." The wit's disease-gout-carried him off at last, in 1791, at the age of seventy-two.

He left a fortune which was not contemptible: £33,000 of



it were to go to Mie-Mie-by this time a young lady-and as her "other papa," at his death, left her no less than £150,000, Miss was by no means a bad match for Lord Yarmouth,* who was too little apprehensive on points of "legitimacy" to look closely into the doubt between Selwyn, Queensberry, and the marchese. See what a good thing it is to have three papas, when two of them are rich! The duke made Lord Yarmouth his residuary legatee, and between him and his wife divided nearly half a million.

People who pass by a certain house in Regent's Park have generally some scandalous tale to tell you of "the late marquis." The story of the marchioness's three papas is quite scandalous enough to make us think we have said enough, and had better close this sketch of George Selwyn-only remembering that, wit, gambler, drinker, profaner, club-lounger, gallows-lover, and worse, though he was, he had yet two points to redeem him from utter condemnation-a good heart and a fondness for children.

*Afterward the well-known and dissolute Marquis of Hertford.


POOR Sherry! poor Sherry! drunkard, gambler, spendthrift, debtor, godless and worldly as thou wert, what is it that shakes from our hand the stone we would fling at thee? Almost, we must confess it, thy very faults; at least those qualities which seem to have been thy glory and thy ruin; which brought thee into temptation; to which, hadst thou been less brilliant, less bountiful, thou hadst never been drawn. What is it that disarms us when we review thy life, and wrings from us a tear when we should utter a reproach? Thy punishment; that bitter, miserable end; that long battling with poverty, debt, disease, all brought on by thyself; that abandonment in the hour of need, more bitter than them all; that awakening to the terrible truth of the hollowness of man and rottenness of the world! surely this is enough: surely we may hope that a pardon followed. But now let us view thee in thy upward flight-the genius, the wit, the monarch of mind.

This great man, this wonderful genius, this eloquent senator, this most applauded dramatist was-hear it, oh, ye boys! and fling it triumphantly in the faces of your pedagogues-Sheridan, at your age, was a dunce! This was the more extraordinary, inasmuch as his father, mother, and grandfather were all celebrated for their quick mental powers. The last, in fact, Dr. Sheridan, was a successful and eminent schoolmaster, the intimate friend of Dean Swift, and an author. He was an Irishman and a wit, and would seem to have been a Jacobite to boot, for he was deprived of a chaplaincy he held under Government, for preaching, on King George's birthday, a sermon having for its text "Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.”


Sheridan's mother, again—an eccentric, extraordinary woman-wrote novels and plays; among the latter "The Discovery," which Garrick said was one of the best comedies he ever read;" and Sheridan's father, Tom Sheridan, was famous, in connection with the stage, where he was so long the rival of David Garrick.

Born of such parents, in September, 1751, Richard Brinsley Sheridan was sent in due course to Harrow, where that famous old pedant, Dr. Parr, was at that time one of the masters. The Doctor has himself described the lazy boy, in whose face he discovered the latent genius, and whom he attempted to in

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