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“Faith, my dear fellow, I have been, as you properly suspect, the victim of a too sensitive heart, and have suffered accordingly. But here goes to make a clear confession, and give you the leading incidents of my amatory adventures. I omit, of course, skirmishes of love with femmes de chambre, dress-makers, gentlewomen wayfaring in stage-coaches, or encountered gipsying a mile or two from Islington or the Elephant,-appertaining to the corps de ballet, or met with at a conventicle in the afternoon-sheltering in July, under a portico, from a shower, or lost in November, in a fog. I shall pass over all diurnal notices in The Times, beginning with “ Should this meet the eye,” and affairs transacted by the agency of twopenny postage. detain you ? Fill, gentlemen-I fear you'll find the story very long, and, what is worse, very melancholy and affecting.”
CONFESSIONS OF MAJOR FITZMAURICE,
“ Say I love many'-well, dear soul, I do ;
I have, as thy sweet lips complain,
I HAVE ever been romantic. At twelve I wrote poetry–for by that name my grandmother was pleased to designate my melodies—and at sixteen was regularly in love. In two years more, I left “England, home, and beauty,"" to seek the bubble reputation." Need I say what agony that parting with the fair one caused ?
How convulsively Člara sobbed, and how awfully I swore in return, when I received from her hand a ringlet—hue, sunny-binding, violetcoloured silk—which was duly deposited over the fourth rib- left side with a solemn adjuration, that there the said ringlet should abide and dwell until the heart it covered had ceased to beat, and the lungs adjacent should exercise their expiring functions, in murmuring warm but feeble prayers for the happiness of the donor.
At nineteen I carried the colours of the —th into action at Salamanca, but I lament to say, that the honour of carrying them out was reserved for another gentleman of the sword.
“There's a d-d ill-looking tirailleur, covering me dead,” observed a brother ensign, to whom “the king's banner” had been entrusted
“I'm devilish glad to hear it," I responded, "for I thought the scoundrel was levelling at myself.”*
My supposition was, unfortunately, correct ; for before I had done speaking, a bullet broke the colour-staff
, passed through the arm that held it, and took temporary possession of my person exactly opposite the spot, where the gage d'amour of my absent Clara had been deposited. I dropped--two rear-rank men picked me up instanterand, though the action was particularly hot at the moment, they insisted on bearing me from the field. The anxiety which these worthy men expressed for the safety of their officer was astonishing, and I think they would have never halted until we had been out of range of the Cadiz mortar, had the same mortar been in battery at Salamanca.
“ Where the devil are ye going with the lad?” exclaimed an eightyeighth man, who was hobbling on as fast as a wounded leg would allow him, to try, as he termed it, to overtake his “ darling Faugh-aballaghs." “ To obtain medical assistance,” responded both my
Samaritans. } “ Then ye had better return,” said the Ranger. « Devil a doctor's within a mile of you, except an assistant surgeon, who is lying under yon wall in mortal alarm.
My humane friends at once decided upon employing the gentleman lying under the wall, and I was accordingly committed to his care. “Faint the din of battle bray’d,” and the doctor recovered his selfpossession as the roll of musquetry became feebler and more distantthe ball was extracted—I was removed to the house of a gentleman immediately beside—confided to the tender mercies of any who would undertake them ; while my deliverers—the greatest cowards who had ever been inflicted on a fighting regiment-considering the plundering had commenced, set out to try what industry would acquire ; and, as I verily believe, the assistant surgeon “bore them company."
Upon my conscience, into a nicer family circle an Irish ensign never contrived to drop himself. The senhor was a steady, sober, respectable gentleman, who went regularly to mass, and never drank in the morning. His lady managed him, the farm, and the domainrent of the latter not excessive and the daughter-oh, murder ! three years have passed, and as yet I have never managed to forget Agatha's foot and ancle! But then her eyes-St. Senanus could have never stood a second glance ; her teeth would have put a foxhound's to the blush ; and, as the old song goes,
“ Her hair was as black as the devil.” Well, she nursed me—her mother offering at matins and vespers a prayer for my recovery and conversion, and her father spending the morning in asking after news, and putting the evening in, by giving me the result of his inquiries.
A fortnight passed and as one wound healed, another opened. Agatha was ignorant of French, I innocent of Spanish. With the
* True anecdote,
exception of a monk or two in Salamanca, not a soul (out of the army) spoke Irish ; and hence, poor girl! from a neglected education, we were rather puzzled to explain the rapid growth of mutual affection. In time we might have succeeded—but one fine morning in August, a field officer, accompanied by a staff surgeon, dropped into a neighbouring village where some sixty lazy vagabonds were malingering. Of course, they were all ordered to their regiments, and I, with a senior officer, desired to look after the scoundrels.
“ Agatha !” I said, as I held her to my bosom the morning that I marched, “ Agatha, would that I could remain in this sweet thraldom to eternity.--Curse that bugle! I wish to God the fellow had been shot through the lungs instead of the arm-Agatha !" Here sobs broke in
Pat, Pat. Do you really regret to leave me ? and will you—" “Return in a month, and make ye Mrs. Patrick Fitzmaurice.”
She flung herself upon my breast-placed a little billet in my handinquired how many days in England we reckoned for September; when a gruff voice exclaimed behind, “Mr. Fitzmaurice, Major Oldham is waiting to see the detachment march off, and if you're not at his elbow in a pig's whisper, why, he swore by the eternal frost ! he'll report you to the general to-morrow morning."
Agatha, my own Agatha !” “ Pat, my darling Pat!"
A long, last, kiss (vide the Corsair, for a particular account of a kiss of this description) succeeded—“Fall in, men,” said the sergeant, and in another minute poor Agatha was on the sofa, and I in the street.
“ Agatha !" I exclaimed, as I passed the window whence, “like Niobe, all tears,” she watched the detachment move off, “ Agatha, on that festival you named, expect me.” 66 And that's Tib's eve,
,'* said an incredulous scoundrel, who overheard the promise--The bugler played Paddy Carey-an angle of the street intervened. It was the last I saw of Agatha. When we halted for the night, I took the little packet from my
breast and examined its contents. It contained a billet that professed eterna constancy, and a tress of glossy hair, black as the raven's wing.
“ Yes, Agatha, this memorial of our love shall rest beside that heari which is all thine own. But softly, Mr. Fitzmaurice! Is there noi already a tenant in possession? Pshaw! Poor Clara! What fool: boys are! Ha, ha, ha! and I really did fancy I was in love ? One cannot help laughing at the recollection. Let me see-light brownWell, the hair is pretty hair enough—but, shafts of Cupid ! to compare brown with black !—the very thought is high treason in love's calendar. Still will I preserve a memorial of thee, my sweet blondeand therefore, sunny ringlet, I'll commit thee to—my writing desk !"
The transfer was effected, and the tress of glossy black promoted to the secret pocket of the jacket, in front of fourth rib-left side-vice light brown, “placed on the retired list.”
* An Irish festival, which is said to fall“ neither before nor after Christmas.".
A year rolled over-the anniversary of my birth came round. It was a sweet October evening, and I stole out from the crowded hall o my father's mansion to meet my gentle Lucy. All around was so calm, so quiet, and so lovely, that the coldest heart would own its influence, and even a professed woman-hater, for once renounce his heresy, and “plead for pardon.” And who was Lucy? The sweetest girl in Roscommon! Her father was the village curate, not “passing rich on forty pounds a year ;" but half starved with a wife and six children upon a hundred. Lucy was the eldest child, and when I left England three years before, she had promised to grow up particularly handsome. I returned—we met by accident--for her father's circumstances were too humble, and his spirit too high, to allow him to maintain terms of intimacy with my family. It was in one of those sweet green lanes, bounded by hawthorn hedges and overspread with apple trees, whose boughs bent under the load they bore, that I saw her for the first time after my return. If ever rustic beauty was calculated to ruin a man's peace, it was such as Lucy Delmer's. A lovelier face I never looked at—but it was its expression that did the mischief. The deep blue eye, that turned on the ground “ from man's approval ;” the cheek, which one whispered word reddened to the very brow; those lips, which Suckling poetized and Cupid might have sworn by—but why dwell on the loveliness of Lucy Delmer ? I came, I saw-reversed the proverb-and was conquered.
The locality of my father's liouse was exceedingly remote, and so was the parsonage—and hence, though Lucy had numbered seventeen summers, the tale of love had never yet been heard. No wonder, then, that to my ardent suit her young heart was not indifferent. She did not tell me so—but, without much difficulty, I guessed the secret.
She was punctual to the hour.—The lane was made for lovers-s0 sweet—so unfrequented.
“ Ten thousand thanks, my sweetest Lucy, I feared this lonely spot might have alarmed you, and made you change your resolutions."
" Oh no ; with your protection, what had I to fear ? But why were you so desirous to see me? I know there is a dinner party at the hall !"
“ It is my birth-day, Lucy — and before my last one, we carried Badajoz, by assault. From a soldier I purchased this chain, and have kept it as a memorial of that eventful passage in my nameless history." I threw it round her neck : “ And now, my sweet Lucy, the spoil of war becomes the bond of love.” “Dear Pat," said the blushing girl, in reply; "would that I had " ,
6 some token to offer in return ;-I ain poor
“ Rich, beyond Potosi,” I exclaimed ; "ay, and throw El Dorado into the bargain. These nut-brown tresses would manacle Dan Cupid if he came on earth, and replace Berenice's in heaven afterwards. Give me one lock !
“ Hush-I hear footsteps.-Farewell, dear--dear Pat.” “ Adieu — dearest, dearest Lucy.”
We separated. A villanous whistle was perpetrated at a short distance. It was a herd-boy of my father's—and as he passed me in
the lane, I rewarded his melody with a thundering box, that changed “Nora Crina” into “a lament” that might have been heard a mile off.
That night, when I retired I found a letter on my table, and broke the seal. Lucy's fair hand had indited the billet-and within was enclosed a lock of “nut-brown” hair, which Mr. Truefit of the Burlington Arcade (I forget the number) would have knelt to and worshipped incontinently.
“Lucy-my loved Lucy!" I exclaimed ; “little did I fancy, that from thee love's influence was to be learned for the first time.-The first ?-Easy-Lieutenant Fitzmaurice, Saints and angels ! 'tis the 'festival of the blessed Agatha—the very evening you promised, a year ago, to return to
Ah ! Pat-Pat— What have you to say for yourself ?”
What a special-pleader love makes man ! In ten minutes, I had ascertained to my own perfect satisfaction, that in Agatha's case I had jumbled up gratitude with friendship, merely made a mistake, and called the mixture by a wrong name. It was quite certain that my feeling for Agatha was only brotherly after all—and that night the secret drawer of my writing-case contained a second treasure ; for the jet-black tress was safely deposited beside the brown one. This
my third liason was short, but very ardent, while it lasted. Mr. Delmer discovered that we met-instituted inquiries—and learned the secret of our love. Well aware that an alliance with one whose only dower was innocence and beauty, would be objectionable to a family aristocratic in every feeling like mine, he delicately hinted the state of affairs to Sir Edward Fitzmaurice, and removed- his daughter to the house of a distant relative. I had written for renewed leave of absence, as the original term had expired—and to my surprise received a refusal, point blank, from Colonel Markham, accompanied with a peremptory order to rejoin. The truth was, my loving father had written privately to the commander, and told him that I meditated matrimony with the daughter of a curate ; and to that holy estate, the Colonel being an inveterate enemy, he readily became a consenting party to disturb our course of love.
For a week after I rejoined at Gort, I rejected invitations to tea, left the mess sober, and refused to be comforted. By night, Lucy's ringlet lay underneath my pillow-and by day, rested on a breast within which, as I religiously believed, the image of the loved one was enshrined to eternity. This extraordinary change on my part, excited a general inquiry.—some opining that I had rats in the garret, and would require a gentle restraint and antiphlogistic regimen-while others asserted that I was about to turn Methodist, and were anxious to know whether I had attended field preachings, or been heard to swear since my return. Still my melancholy remained unabated, and I levanted before the third pint of wine-a proceeding in a corps of sharp drinkers, considered totally unregimental. Various were the surmises as to the ruinous results which this unhappy alteration in my habits must occasion. The assistant-surgeon suspected I might drop into a decline ; and the red-nosed major added, that I would drop into Pandemonium afterwards.