Page images
PDF
EPUB

doubt, that at least one of his family was implicated ; that letters from his daughter had been found amongst Emmett’s papers; and that an order had been issued from the Lord Lieutenant, to have his house and correspondence examined! As Mr. Curran was conscious of his own innocence, he only felt as a father whose eyes were thus suddenly opened to domestic injury and affliction. Without taking time to inquire into the extent of his misfortune, he pronounced sentence of banishment for ever from the paternal roof, on the innocent cause of his temporary vexation. Amongst Emmett's papers were found various letters from Sarah Curran, all warning him against his fatal design, and pointing out to him its folly and impracticability. There was also one letter refusing the offer of his hand, and giving, as her reason, the impossibility of leaving a father she so fondly loved. For a short time after the explosion of the plot, Emmett was concealed in a safe retreat in Dublin — his passage secured on board an American vessel — and the last time I saw my friend happy, she believed him to be “far away on the billow,” beyond the power of his enemies, and destined to reach in safety the more hospitable shores of America. That very day he was arrested! I shall not attempt to describe her feelings, on receiving a letter from Emmett, informing her that, as she had refused to accompany him, he was determined to remain in Ireland, and abide his fate. Thus, if possible, was another barb added to the arrow that smote these hapless lovers;

nor could my poor friend ever forgive herself for being, as she thought, the certain though innocent cause of Emmett's unhappy end. Her arguments were not wholly disregarded by him, as, in one of his replies, he remarks : “I am aware of the chasm that opens beneath my feet ; but I keep my eyes fixed on the visions of glory which fit before them, and I am resolved to clear the gulf, desperate as may be the attempt.”

The circumstances of Emmett’s trial and condemnation are too well known to render it necessary for me to recapitulate them in this place. After the delivery of his animated and affecting defence, Lord Norbury pronounced sentence of death upon him; and the ill-fated man was executed the following day, in Thomas Street; near the spot on which he had established the revolutionary depôt of arms and ammunition. Before his death (when removed to Newgate, after his trial) he authorised a gentleman to announce to government, as his own declaration, that he was the chief mover and instigator of the insurrection; and, out of the sum of 2,5001. which he had received on the death of his father, had expended 1,4001. in the preparatory outlay.

A loss of reason, of some months' continuance, spared my poor friend the misery of travelling, step by step, through the wilderness of woe which Emmett's trial and execution would have proved to her; and when she recovered her senses, her lover had been for some time numbered with the dead. As soon as her health permitted, she left the residence of her father, whose heart remained untouched by those misfortunes and sufferings which excited the pity and sympathy of every one beside. Mr.Curran refused to see his daughter after her recovery; and she was again thrown on the world, which, with more than poetic truth, had proved a broken reed, and pierced her to the heart. But God raised up friends to this stricken deer ; and, in a letter of hers now before me, written at the time, she says-speaking of that kind and amiable family, who received her when deserted by her father, -_“I find a pleasure in reflecting, that my father introduced me to the dear Penroses, as if it were to atone for his continued severity towards me.” I received several letters from her, during her residence at Woodhill, near Cork, the seat of Mr. Cowper Penrose; of whose tenderness and affection, as well as the kindness of the whole family, she makes constant mention. While under the protection of this gentleman's roof, she again became the object of an ardent and disinterested attachment. Among the many who met and admired her, was Colonel Sturgeon,* a person of peculiarly engaging manners and deportment; and who, with the “gay good-humour” of the military profession, possessed discernment and sensibility enough to appreciate and esteem merits such as hers; and, had not her heart been sered by early grief and disappointment, one who could not have failed to have experienced the most flattering reception. When he first made his proposals, Miss Curran did everything in her power to induce him to desist from a pursuit, that, she assured him, could only terminate in disappointment. She confided to him every particular of her sad and eventful life,—her love, and her devotedness to Emmett,--and the utter impossibility of her ever being able to return any other affection, however it might deserve the best efforts of her heart; while, at the same time, she was not insensible to Colonel Sturgeon's merits, -well calculated, under other circumstances, to make the impression he desired. : In vain did she employ all the eloquence of grief,— unfold the secret recesses of a heart, where one image reigned supreme,- and plead his own cause for him, by proving how little he deserved, at least, but a divided affection.

* Colonel Henry Sturgeon was the son of Lady Anne Wentworth; and grandson, by his maternal descent, of the cele- . brated Marquis of Rockingham.

The constancy and tenderness of her attachment to Emmett, seemed to have rendered her the more interesting to Colonel Sturgeon; and as he continued a welcome guest at Mr. Penrose's, an intimacy still subsisted between them. She had hoped that his passion had subsided into the more placid sentiment of friendship, when a sudden call of military duty in a distant land, proved to her how fallacious had been her hopes. The peaceful, but deceitful calm of her expectations, was suddenly interrupted by Colonel Sturgeon's arrival, in haste, at Woodhill, and

announcement that in four days he must leave Cork for London, and thence for immediate foreign service. He again renewed his suit, with all the energy of despair. He had a friend in every member of the Penrose family; all of whom were anxious that the union of two persons so calculated to make each other happy, should not be deferred. They united their entreaties to Miss Curran to give a favourable answer ; and, in three days, she became the wife of a gallant soldier, than whom no second suitor could better deserve her hand.

After yielding thus, as it were, a surprised consent, her heart failed her; and, the morning of her weddingday, she implored her kind friends to allow her to proceed no further. They remonstrated with her, and told her she would be trifling with the feelings of one of the most amiable of men, should she manifest such a disposition. She was married at Glanmire church, near Woodhill; and was, in truth, a mourning bride. One of four female friends who accompanied her in the coach to Glanmire, told me, that she knew not who shed most tears upon the road. After a year's residence in England, Colonel Sturgeon was ordered to Sicily, where my poor friend endeavoured to make him happy, and herself cheerful. Some, perhaps, who have casually met her, both before and after her marriage, have not considered her so remarkable a person as she really was; forgetful that the refinement of true genius is opposed to all intellectual ostentation; that talents, in one so afflicted as

« PreviousContinue »