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the University, merely to save a certain number of terms at Lincoln's Inn. But turn to his masterly speech for Stockdale :- What book-worm could have spun so varied and beauteous a tissue of moral and political reflection, of lofty and sublime imagery? His rays were native and unborrowed, but of the sun of his own imagination.
Curran, the boast of the Irish bar, came three or four successive Saturdays to the King of Clubs. It was during a very short visit to London. On one occasion, Erskine and Curran met there. I augured, perhaps too sanguinely, from the accident that brought together two men, considered as prodigies in their respective countries, and the conflict of two minds of equal, but very different powers; and I expected to see, with a delight partaking of awe, the confluence of those mighty streams of pleasantry and talent.
I was disappointed. Curran was evidently not amongst congenial wits. At first, he was obsti. nately mute. Towards the close of the evening, however, he told us some amusing anecdotes of the Four Courts. At first, his utterance was slow and drawling; but I remarked, with asto
nishment, how the most apish of human countenances, whose teeth and lips chattered, so as to make out a complete case for Lord Monboddo's hypothesis, how that countenance was lighted up, while its sunk and diminutive eyes, whose quick, wandering glances, indicated, to a superficial observation, an unfixed and unconcentrated intellect, gleamed, all at once, in flashes vivid as lightning, when he indignantly reverted to the wrongs of Ireland, whom he compared to Niobe, palsied with sorrow and despair over her freedom and her prosperity, struck dead before her. Then I began to perceive (not without shame for the temerity of my judgment) how imperfect an index his countenance exhibited of his intellectual character; and I could easily imagine how such a being might have been the orator, whose resistless and overwhelming powers of eloquence and reason were wielded, not indeed successfully, yet triumphantly, in behalf of Hamilton Rowan, and fulmined upon the hoary-headed and titled adulterer,* whose unextinguishable lust he so
* In the well-known crim. con. case of the Rev. Mr. Massey against the Marquis of Headfort.
finely compared to a volcano, blazing among the snows of Etna.
Several barren witticisms, attributed to Curran, having, about this time, found their way into newspapers, and even into jest-books, he most vehemently disclaimed the greater part of them. To some (it was his phrase) he pleaded guilty; and repeated a few of them, pointing out, with great accuracy, the names of persons, as well as the occasions, that called them forth. He also gave us some entertaining sketches of Lord Avonmore, Chief Justice of Ireland (Yelverton), the earliest friend of his youth, and companion of his studies.
Lord Avonmore was subject to perpetual fits of absence, and was frequently insensible to the conversation that was going on. He was once wrapped in one of his wonted reveries; and, not hearing one syllable of what was passing, (it was at a large professional dinner given by Mr. Bushe), Curran, who was sitting next to his Lordship, having been called on for a toast, gave “ All our absent friends," patting, at the same time, Lord Avonmore on the shoulder, and telling him that they had just drank his health. Quite unconscious of any thing that had been said for the last hour, and taking the intimation as a serious one, Avonmore rose, and apologizing for his inattention, returned thanks to the company for the honour they had done him by drinking his health.
There was a curious character, a Sergeant Kelly, at the Irish bar. He was, in his day, a man of celebrity. Curran gave us some odd sketches of him. The most whimsical peculiarity, however, of this gentleman, and which, as Curran described it, excited a general grin, was an inveterate habit of drawing conclusions directly at variance with his premises. He had acquired the name of Counsellor Therefore. Curran said that he was a perfect human personification of a non sequitur. For instance, meeting Curran one Sunday near St. Patrick's, he said to him, " The Archbishop gave us an excellent discourse this morning. It was well written and well delivered; therefore, I shall make a point of being at the Four Courts tomorrow at ten.” At another time, observing to a person whom he met in the street, What a delightful morning this is for walking !” he finished his remark on the weather, by saying, “ therefore, I will go home as soon as I can, and stir out no more the whole day.”
His speeches in Court were interminable, and his therefores kept him going on, though every one thought that he had done. The whole Court was in a titter when the Sergeant came out with them, whilst he himself was quite unconscious of the cause of it.
This is so clear a point, gentlemen,” he would tell the jury, “ that I am convinced you felt it to be so the very moment I stated it. I should pay your understandings but a poor compliment to dwell on it for a minute; therefore, I shall now proceed to explain it to you as minutely as possible.” Into such absurdities did his favourite " therefore” betray him.
Curran seemed to have no very profound respect for the character and talents of Lord N-, and omitted no opportunity of expressing what he thought of him. He deemed him a man, whose good qualities, and they, he said,