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MARRIES MISS JOHNSON.
a thot dificulte, which alone to blame
sional communication with her, to prevent any catastrophe that might result from actual despair. But his thoughts for Vanessa's safety were inimical to Stella's repose. She pined and gradually sank under the alteration that had taken place in Swift's deportment towards her since his acquaintance with Vanessa. Swift, really anxious for the safety of his ward, requested a friend to ascertain the cause of her malady. It was not difficult to ascertain it. His indifference and public scandal, which spoke freely of their unaccountable connexion, were alone to blame for her sufferings. It was enough for Swift. He had passed the age at which he had resolved to marry, but he was ready to wed Stella provided the marriage were kept secret and she was content to live apart. Poor Stella was more than content, but she over-estimated her strength. The marriage took place, and immediately afterwards the husband withdrew himself in a fit of madness, which threw him into gloom and misery for days. What the motives may have been for the inexplicable stipulations of this wayward man it is impossible to ascertain. That they were the motives of a diseased, and at times utterly irresponsible, judgment, we think cannot be questioned. Of love, as a tender passion, Swift had no conception. His writings prove it. The coarseness that pervades his compositions has nothing in common with the susceptibility that shrinks from disgusting and loathsome images in which Swift revelled. In all his prose and poetical addresses to his mistresses there is not one expression to prove the weakness of his heart. He writes as a guardian -he writes as a friend—he writes as a father, but
of madness. What the month of
ives of ant, we think Swift had
not a syllable escapes him that can be attributed to the pangs and delights of the lover.
Married to Stella, Swift proved himself more eager than ever to give to his intercourse with Vanessa the character of mere friendship. He went so far as to endeavour to engage her affections for another man, but his attempts were rejected with indignation and scorn. In the August of the year 1717, Vanessa retired from Dublin to her house and property near Cellbridge. Swift exhorted her to leave Ireland altogether, but she was not to be persuaded. In 1720, it would appear that the Dean frequently visited the recluse in her retirement, and upon such occasions Vanessa 'would plant a laurel or two in honour of her guest, who passed his time with the lady reading and writing verses in a rural bower built in a sequestered part of her garden. Some of the verses composed by Vanessa have been preserved. They breathe the fond ardour of the suffering maid, and testify to the imperturbable coldness of the man. Of the innocence of their intercourse there cannot be a doubt. In 1720, Vanessa lost her last remaining relative her sister died in her arms.' Thrown back upon herself by this bereavement, the intensity of her love for the Dean became insupportable. Jealous and suspicious, and eager to put an end to a terror that possessed her, she resolved to address herself to Stella, and to ascertain from her own lips the exact nature of her relations with her so-called guardian. The momentous question was asked in a letter, to which Stella calmly replied by informing her interrogator that she was the Dean's wife. Vanessa's Jetter was forwarded by Stella to Swift himself, and
DEATH OF VANESSA.
it roused him to fury. He rode off at once to Cellbridge, entered the apartment in which Vanessa was seated, and glared upon her like a tiger. The trembling creature asked her visitor to sit down. He answered the invitation by flinging a packet on the table, and riding instantly away. The packet was opened; it contained nothing but Vanessa's letter to Stella. Her doom was pronounced. The fond heart snapped. In a few weeks the hopeless, desolate Vanessa was in her grave.
Swift, agonised, rushed from the world. For two months subsequently to the death of Vanessa his place of abode was unknown. But at the end of that period he returned to Dublin calmer for the conflict he had undergone. He devoted himself industriously again to affairs of State. His pen had now a nobler office than to sustain unworthy men in unmerited power. We can but indicate the course of his labours Ireland, the country not of his love, but of his birth and adoption, treated as a conquered province, owed her rescue from absolute thraldom to Swift's great and unconquerable exertions on her behalf. He resisted the English government with his single hand, and overcame them in the fight. His popularity in Ireland was unparalleled even in that excited and generous-hearted land. Rewards were offered to betray him, but a million lives would have been sacrificed in his place before one would have profited by the patriot's downfall. He was worshipped, and every hair of his head was precious and sacred to the people who adored him.
In 1726, Swift revisited England, for the first time since the death of Queen Anne, and published, anonymously as usual, the famous satire of Gulliver's Travels. Its immediate success heralded the universal fame that masterly and singular work has since achieved. Swift mingled once more with his literary friends, and lived almost entirely with Pope. Yet
sorrow. News reached him that Stella was ill. Alarmed and full of self-reproaches, he hastened home to be received by the people of Ireland in triumph, and to meet—and he was grateful for the sight—the improved and welcoming looks of the woman for whose dissolution he had been prepared. In March, 1727, Stella being sufficiently recovered, the Dean ventured once more to England, but soon to be resummoned to the hapless couch of his exhausted and most miserable wife. Afflicted in body and soul, Swift suddenly quitted Pope, with whom he was residing at Twickenham, and reaching his home, was doomed to find his Stella upon the verge of the grave. Till the last moment he continued at her bedside, evincing the tenderest consideration, and performing what consolatory tasks he might in the sick chamber. Shortly before her death part of a conversation between the melancholy pair was overheard. “Well, my dear,” said the Dean, “ if you wish it, it shall be owned.” Stella's reply was given in few words. “It is too late.” “On the 28th of January," writes one of the biographers of Swift, “ Mrs Johnson closed her weary pilgrimage, and passed to that land where they neither marry nor are given in marriage," the second victim of one and the same hopeless and consuming passion.
Swift stood alone in the world, and for his punish
subject indeed. Froteen
From 1740 1740, hee him a mo the poor him, and
ment was doomed to endure the crushing solitude for the space of seventeen years. The interval was gloomy indeed. From his youth the Dean had been subject to painful fits of giddiness and deafness. From 1736, these fits became more frequent and severe. In 1740, he went raving mad, and frenzy ceased only to leave him a more pitiable idiot. During the space of three years the poor creature was unconscious of what passed around him, and spoke but twice. Upon the 19th of October, 1745, God mercifully removed the terrible spectacle, from the sight of man, and released the sufferer from his misery, degradation, and shame.
The volumes which have given occasion to these remarks, are a singular comment upon a singular history. It is the work of a Frenchman who has ventured to deduce a theory from the data we have submitted to the reader's notice. With that theory we cannot agree : it may be reconcileable to the romance which M. de Wailly has invented, but it is altogether opposed to veritable records that cannot be impugned. M. de Wailly would have it that Swift's marriage with Stella was a deliberate and rational sacrifice of love to principle, and that Swift compensated his sacrificed love by granting his principle no human indulgences; that his love for Vanessa, in fact, was sincere and ardent, and that his duty to Stella alone prevented a union with Vanessa. To prove his case M. de Wailly widely departs from history, and makes his hypothesis of no value whatever, except to the novel reader. As a romance, written by a Frenchman, Stella and Vanessa is worthy of great commendation. It indicates a