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dents, and was once saved from death by a particular friend of the writer, who wrested the sword from the hand of his powerful antagonist, (the famous Buck English,) as he was about to plunge it in his back, after a hard chase, and at a most unfair advantage,for Fitzgerald was unarmed ;-still these quarrels were not of his own seeking, and it was not until a few years afterwards that his duelling propensities burst forth so luxuriantly.
Being compelled, according to the universal custom of Irish gentlemen of that period, to send a challenge to a person of the name of Swords, for a very slight offence in a public assembly, the latter gentleman, by the first discharge of his pistol, shot off a part of Fitzgerald's skull, and materially injured the fore part of his brain. The consequence was delirium for a considerable time ; but those who knew him intimately, are of opinion that he was affected by a certain aberration of intellect until the day of his death ; for, from the period of this wound, he became hot-headed, insolent, quarrelsome, cunning, and ferocious. Let modern phrenologists account for these phenomena as they can.
The next rencontre in which he was engaged was in the town of Galway, where he was with his regiment, having just been raised to the rank of Captain of Dragoons. He one day espied a pretty girl seated behind the counter of a tobacconist's shop in that town, and under pretence of buying snuff, got into conversation with her. Whilst she was delivering his box to him, our hero seized her by the arm and ravished a kiss. He was proceeding to farther liberties, when a tall, stout man, who had witnessed the whole transaction from his own shop on the other side
of the street, entered and arrested his arm as he was pulling off the young woman's handkerchief.
“Hollo ! ye villain of the world !” exclaimed the man, " that little girl is my own property, for I'm betrothed to her these five weeks ; and if any d-d raskal daurs to lay a finger on her, he shall fight me without any delay at all."
" That is not so certain !” replied Fitzgerald, eyeing his athletic opponent : “I am a Captain in His Majesty's service ; therefore, if I had given you offence, it is beneath the dignity of a gentleman to fight with a common shopkeeper, which I take you to be; therefore, I shall wish you good morning !”
“ Oh ! by J-s! shopkeeper here, or jontleman there !” returned the man, “that won't save ye, my darling. My name is Cornailius O'Brien ; I'm a leather-cutthur by thrade ; and I'll have satisfaction this minute, or I'll brake every bone in yer skin. So now, my dear," continued he, as he shut the door, and placed his back against it, “ye'll just be plaised to tell me yer good-looking name?”
“I am Captain Fitzgerald, Sir, and I desire you instantly to open that door."
“Captain Fitzgerald, or Captain Divil,” replied O'Brien, “I'll not do that same until ye promise to gi'e me satisfaction.”
“Upon my honour ! Sir," returned Fitzgerald, “I meant no affront either to you or the lady ; and if I have done so, I am sorry for it.”
“By J-s ! then, my dear,” said Cornelius, “ye convince me that
ye have no honour at all, at all ; for didn't I see ye ill-thrate the darling, with my own eyes? therefore, as ye have tould me a d-d lie, why,
d'ye see, I'll make ye conform to the rules of the little county Galway, by fighting me directly ; for I won't take yer promise to give me satisfaction, at no price.”
Fitzgerald, seeing that there was no alternative, set his invention to work how he should overcome the leather-cutter, or come off unhurt. Accordingly, haying adjourned to a room above-stairs, he received a pistol from his opponent. Having tossed up for the first shot, which fell to O'Brien, the latter seated himself across a table, and levelled his pistol so exactly at Fitzgerald's head, that there appeared little chance of his escaping instant death.
Watching his opportunity, therefore, when the tradesman was drawing the trigger, Captain Fitzgerald, at that instant, roared out “boh!" and the ball passed over his head into the ceiling. It was now Fitzgerald's turn, but he declined firing, on condition that O'Brien should ask his pardon ; which, after some hesitation, he agreed to do before the young lady in the shop, who had all this time been quivering with terror at the probable result of a duel so singularly conducted.
Captain Fitzgerald soon afterwards married a Miss Conolly, sister to the member for Londonderry, and cousin-german to the Duke of Leinster, and received with her a fortune of ten thousand pounds ; his father at the same time executing a deed of settlement, by which he was to pay him a thousand pounds a-year ; but as this annuity was paid very irregularly, or rather not at all, it became a bone of contention between father and son, and was ultimately the cause of Fitzgerald's ignominious death.
Soon after his marriage, he left his native country, and resided in various parts of France and England, for about ten years, during which time he led a life of dissipation and gambling, and fell into innumerable scrapes,-a specimen of which we have already given, -and from which he generally escaped with reputation to his valour, but to his disgrace as a member of society.
He became at length absolutely notorious, from certain disgraceful circumstances which arose out of an adventure at Vauxhall, in the summer of 1773. He had gone thither with the Honourable Mr. (afterwards Lord) Lyttleton, a Captain Croftes, and sevesal others, all of whom being inebriated with wine, conducted themselves in a very insolent and unbe. coming manner.
In the course of their perambulations round the gardens, they met a party of ladies, under the protec- : tion of the well-known Rev. Henry Bate, (afterwards Sir H. B. Dudley,) the proprietor and editor of the Morning Post newspaper. Our heroes commenced the attack, by leering, laughing aloud, and making impertinent remarks at the ladies ; one of whom, Mrs. Hartley the actress, being put completely out of countenance by the impudent stare of Fitzgerald, burst into tears. This was too much, and it very naturally called down upon him and his companions the severe reprehensions of Mr. Bate, who designated their conduct as most unmanly and ungentlemanlike. A reply followed of course; and this was Sweceeded by a most unhandsome retort from Captain Croftes, who made a very indecent and unjust re
mark on the reverend gentleman, in allusion to Mrs. Hartley.
Mr. Bate, who was highly irritated, now struck Croftes a violent blow, which was of course returned; but the Parson was more than a match for the Captain at fisty-cuffs, and would, no doubt, have given his antagonist a sound thrashing, had not the screams of the ladies, and the blustering and noise of the gentlemen, called around the combatants a host of persons eager to witness the fray. Fitzgerald, seeing that his friend had the worst of it, at length interposed ; suggesting that mutual satisfaction might be given and received in another place, and in a more agreeable manner to both parties, than before so many spectators. This advice was adopted, and cards were exchanged.
The belligerent parties met at the Cocoa-Tree, next morning, according to appointment, for the determination of their quarrel ; which very soon, by the interposition of friends, was happily adjusted ;-apologies being made on both sides.
At the very instant, however, that Bate and Croftes were reconciled, and were shaking hands, Fitzgerald strode into the room, and, in a very rude and insolent manner, demanded that the former should give immediate satisfaction to a Captain Miles, his friend, who, he said, had been grossly insulted by the clergyman the evening before.
Miles was now introduced, and a violent altercation arose between Bate and Fitzgerald ; the former declaring that he did not recollect ever seeing Captain Miles's face before, and that therefore he could not have in any way offended him ; whilst the latter de