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bosom, and finally enthrall his whole soul, made one vigorous and valiant effort to free himself from a hopeless and consuming attachment. My mother counseled him, I believe, for the best, and he left Dresden on an expedition of several weeks into a country he had long wished to see, though, in the main, it disappointed him ; and he started with young Colbourne (son of General Colbourne) as his companion. Some of his letters on this journey are before the public ; and in the agitation and eagerness he there described, on receiving and opening letters from us, and the tenderness in his replies, – the longing to be once more in the little Pavilion, to which we had moved in the beginning of the summer, — the letters (though carefully guarded by the delicacy of her who intrusted them to the editor, and alone retained among many more calculated to lay bare his true feelings), even fragmentary as they are, point out the truth. “Here is the key to the journey to Silesia, the return to Dresden, and, finally, to the journey from Dresden to Rotterdam in our company, first planned so as to part at Cassel, where Mr. Irving had intended to leave us and go down the Rhine, but subsequently could not find in his heart to part. Hence, after a night of pale and speechless melancholy, the gay, animated, happy countenance with which he sprang to our coachbox to take his old seat on it, and accompany us to Rotterdam. There even could he not part, but joined us in the steamboat; and, after bearing us company as far as a boat could follow us, at last tore himself away, to bury himself in Paris, and try to work. . . . “It was fortunate, perhaps, that this affection was returned by the warmest friendship only, since it was destined that the accomplishment of his wishes was impossible, for many obstacles which lay in his way; and it is with pleasure I can truly say that in time he schooled himself to view, also with friendship only, one who for some time past has been the wife of another.”


Upon the delicacy of this revelation the biographer does not comment, but he says that the idea that Irving thought of marriage at that time is utterly disproved by the following passage from the very manuscript which he submitted to Mrs. Foster: —

“You wonder why I am not married. I have shown you why I was not long since. When I had sufficiently recovered from that loss, I became involved in ruin. It was not for a man broken down in the world, to drag down any woman to his paltry circumstances. I was too proud to tolerate the idea of ever mending my circumstances by matrimony. My time has now gone by ; and I have growing claims upon my thoughts and upon my means, slender and precarious as they are. I feel as if I already had a family to think and provide for.”

Upon the question of attachment and depression, Mr. Pierre Irving says: —

“While the editor does not question Mr. Irving's great enjoyment of his intercourse with the Fosters, or his deep regret at parting from them, he is too familiar with his occasional fits of depression to have drawn from their recurrence on his return to Paris any such inference as that to which the lady alludes. Indeed, his ‘memorandum book’ and letters show him to have had, at this time, sources of anxiety of quite a different nature. The allusion to his having ‘to put once more to sea” evidently refers to his anxiety on returning to his literary pursuits, after a season of entire idleness.”

It is not for us to question the judgment of the biographer, with his full knowledge of the circumstances and his long intimacy with his uncle; yet it is evident that Irving was seriously impressed at Dresden, and that he was very much unsettled until he drove away the impression by hard work with his pen; and it would be nothing new in human nature and experience if he had for a time yielded to the attractions of loveliness and a most congenial companionship, and had returned again to an exclusive devotion to the image of the early loved and lost. That Irving intended never to marry is an inference I cannot draw either from his fondness for the society of women, from his interest in the matrimonial projects of his friends and the gossip which has feminine attractions for its food, or from his letters to those who had his confidence. In a letter written from Birmingham, England, March 15, 1816, to his dear friend Henry Brevoort, who was permitted more than per-. haps any other person to see his secret heart, he alludes, with gratification, to the report of the engagement of James Paulding, and then says: —

“It is what we must all come to at last. I see you are hankering after it, and I confess I have done so for a long time past. We are, however, past that period [Irving was thirty-two.] when a man marries suddenly and inconsiderately. We may be longer making a choice, and consulting


the convenience and concurrence of easy circumstances, but we shall both come to it sooner or later. I therefore recommend you to marry without delay. You have sufficient means, connected with your knowledge and habits of business, to support a genteel establishment, and I am certain that as soon as you are married you will experience a change in your ideas. All those vagabond, roving propensities will cease. They are the offspring of idleness of mind and a want of something to fix the feelings. You are like a bark without an anchor, that drifts about at the mercy of every vagrant breeze or trifling eddy. Get a wife, and she'll anchor you. But don't marry a fool because she has a pretty face, and don’t seek after a great belle. Get such a girl as Mary , or get her if you can ; though I am afraid she has still an unlucky kindness for poor , which will stand in the way of her fortunes. I wish to God they were rich, and married, and happy l’”

The business reverses which befell the Irving brothers, and which drove Washington to the toil of the pen, and cast upon him heavy family responsibilities, defeated his plans of domestic happiness in marriage. It was in this same year, 1816, when the fortunes of the firm were daily becoming

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