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would have been madness for him to have aspired; justled, or kicked, or pushed along by a series of mere fortuitous impulses, blindly co-operating to his advancement. Walsh is habitually a legatee. In some corner of a will, there is almost sure to lurk a snug little bequest to Walsh; not, indeed, to any considerable extent, but constituting in the aggregate, a handsome addition to his substance. The Duke of Norfolk, the late Sir John Aubrey, are far from being the only names that have in this way
embalmed themselves in Walsh's remembrance.
This venerable Beef-Steaker lived through a great portion of the last century, and has dipped deeply into the present. It is a remarkable, and a meritorious part of his biography, that he began life in the humble condition of a domestic in the celebrated Lord Chesterfield's family, and that he accompanied, in the capacity of a valet, that nobleman's natural son, Mr. Philip Stanhope, on his tour through the continent. His name occurs once or twice in the Earl's Letters to his son. He was afterwards a messenger in the Secretary of State's Office, and at last a Commissioner in
the Custom-House. It was certainly not the advantages of a liberal education that gave the colour to Walsh's fortunes; nor has the circumstance been the slightest impediment to him. The late Sir Charles Bamfylde used to tell a story of Walsh with great glee. They who are versed in the criminal incidents of about forty years ago, must well remember the celebrated case of Captain Donellan, who was executed for the murder of Sir Theodosius Boughton. Donellan had been a man of gaiety and expense about town, and was embarrassed in his affairs. He had, unfortunately, a considerable reversion expectant on the baronet's demise ; and this circumstance probably urged him to the deed for which he suffered. Sir Theodosius was in a languid state of health, and Donellan, who assiduously attended his sick chamber, frequently gave him his medicines, and, on one of these occasions, contrived to administer to him a phial of distilled laurel-leaf, a most deadly poison, which he had been seen to prepare. The poor young man swallowed the whole contents, and expired in a few hours. Though there could be no doubt of Donellan's guilt, it was a case of the nicest circumstantial evidence; and Mr. Justice Buller, who tried it, is supposed to have pressed it too hardly against the prisoner. Walsh had been well acquainted with Donellan, and at his request went down to his trial, and attended him with great kindness from the goal to the CourtHouse. As Sir Charles was wont to relate the anecdote, Walsh placed himself close to the bar, where his unhappy friend was placed, and began explaining to him some of the ordinary solemnities that take place on these occasions. “There, Donellan,” said Walsh, “there's the jury! There is the judge! If you are found guilty, he will put on a black cap, and sentence you to be hanged. But it all depends on the jury; for they have only to say one single monosyllable, Guilty or not Guilty, and you will be hanged, or set at liberty."
Sir Charles was fond of relating, probably of inventing, these kind of slip-slops, and fastening them upon poor Walsh. I heard Bamfylde once say, that Walsh was seated at a dinner, when a John Dory was served up; upon which he turned round to a lady who was next to him, and asked her, if she could tell him the botanical name of the fish, for that its real name could not possibly be John Dory ?-At another party, Walsh was complaining that he had lately received an abusive letter, but could not tell from whom, as it had no signature. Some person inquired whether it was an anonymous letter ? Walsh, who, as Bamfylde observed, knew as much about the derivation of the word anonymous, as he did of his own begetting, instantly replied, “ Anonymous! Yes, very anonymous. It was the most anonymous letter I ever received !” For mine own part, I am inclined to suspect that these anecdotes should only be related, as specimens of the kind of banter, which Sir Charles was fond of exercising on his best friends, and in which there lurked not the smallest particle of ill-nature. During my acquaintance with Walsh, though he is by no means a lettered man, I never heard one illiterate mistake escape from his lips. He had picked up in the intercourses of a varied life enough of the idiom of good society, to qualify him for admission into it; and as the first lesson of a man of the world is to dissemble ignorance, I deem it highly improbable that he should have committed blunders, which would have excluded him from much lower associations than those which he frequented. No man was more versed in this important science. Ulysses himself did not better deserve the epithet of πολύτροπος. .
Opposite to the chair of the president, sits Harry Stephenson. His seat is prescriptive, for he is our secretary. He is a casual descendant from the late Duke of Norfolk, who educated him to the law; but that coyest of coquettes, probably, because she was not wooed with sufficient ardour, has scarcely deigned to smile upon him. It is difficult to pass him by; but to paint him as he is, would exceed the powers of any pencil, and would demand more varieties of tint, and stronger contrasts of colouring, than verbal description can summon to its aid.
Quo teneam nodo mutantem Protea vultus ?"
He is a
mass of excellent endowments, each contrasted with its corresponding fault. He is, however, chiefly remarkable for carrying the Beef-Steak style, of which the legitimate scope is most ample, to its farthest extreme of licen