WHEN young Mr. Sheridan returned to Bath after his happy little journey to France with Miss Linley and back with Mr. Linley, he may have believed that the incident was closed. He had done all that—and perhaps a little more than—the most chivalrous man of experience and means could be expected to do for the young woman toward whom he had stood in the position of a protecting brother. He had conducted her to the convent at Lille, on which she had set her heart, and he had been able to explain satisfactorily to her father on his arrival at the hotel where he and Miss Linley were sojourning in the meantime, what his intentions had been when he had eloped with her from Bath. No doubt he had also acted as Miss Linley's adviser in respect of those negotiations with her father which resulted in the happy return of the whole family party to London.

In London he heard that Mathews, the scoundrel who had been pursuing Miss Linley in the most disreputable fashion, was in town also, and that, previous to leaving Bath, he had inserted in the Chronicle a defamatory advertisement regarding him (Sheridan); and on this information coming to his ears he put his pistols into his pocket and went in search of Mathews at the lodgings of the latter.

Miss Sheridan tells us about the pistols in the course of her lucid narrative, and states on her own responsibility that when he came upon Mathews the latter was dreadfully frightened at the sight of one of the pistols protruding from Sheridan's pocket. Mr. Fraser Rae, the competent biographer of Sheridan, smiles at the lady's statement. “The sight of the pistols would have alarmed Sheridan's sisters,” he says, “but it is in accordance with probability that he (Mathews) expected a hostile meeting to follow as a matter of course. He must have been prepared for it, and he would have been strangely ignorant of the world in which he lived if he had deemed it unusual.”


But Mr. Fraser Rae was not so strangely ignorant of the world in which Sheridan and Mathews lived as to fancy that there was nothing unusual in a gentleman's going to ask another gentleman whom he believed to have affronted him, for an explanation, with a pair of pistols in his pocket. In the circumstances a duel would have been nothing unusual; but surely Mr. Fraser Rae could not have fancied that Sheridan set out with the pistols in his pocket in order to fight a duel with Mathews in the man's lodgings, without preliminaries and without seconds. If Mathews caught sight of the butt of a pistol sticking out of Sheridan's pocket he had every reason to be as frightened as Miss Sheridan declared he was, for he must have believed that his visitor had come to murder him.

At any rate, frightened or not frightened, pistols or no pistols, Mathews, on being interrogated by Sheridan as to the advertisement in the Bath Chronicle, assured him that he had been grossly misinformed as to the character of the advertisement. It was, he affirmed, nothing more than an inquiry after Sheridan, which the family of the latter had sanctioned. He then, according to Miss Sheridan, expressed the greatest friendship for his visitor, and said that he would be made extremely unhappy if any difference should arise between them.

So young Mr. Sheridan, balked of his murderous intentions, returned with unsullied pistols to his hotel, and set out for Bath with Miss Linley and her father.

But if he fancied that Mathews had passed out of his life he was quickly undeceived. Before he had time to take his seat at the family table he had got a copy of the newspaper containing the advertisement, of the tenor of which Mathews had told him in London he had been misinformed; and now his sisters made him fully aware of the action taken by the same man on learning of the flight of Sheridan and Elizabeth Linley. The result was that he now perceived what every one should have known long before—namely, that Mathews was a scoundrel, who should never have been allowed to obtain the footing to which he had been admitted in the Sheridan and Linley families.

It appears that the moment Mathews heard that Miss Linley had been carried beyond his reach, he rushed to the Sheridans' house, and there found the girls and their elder brother, who had been wisely communicated with by the landlord, and had left his retirement in the farmhouse in the country to take charge of the sisters in the absence of their brother Richard. Mathews behaved like a madman—no unusual rôle for him—heaping reproaches upon the absent member of the family, and demanding to be told of his whereabouts. He seems to have been encouraged by Charles Sheridan, who had unwisely said something in disparagement of his brother. Mathews had the effrontery to avow his passion for Elizabeth Linley, and in the bitterest terms to accuse Richard Sheridan of having acted basely in taking her beyond his reach.

Then he hastened to Richard Sheridan's friend and confidant, a young man named Brereton, and to him he sent messages of friendship and, possibly, condolence to Mr. Linley, though his object in paying this visit was undoubtedly not to endeavour to exculpate himself as regards Mr. Linley, but to find out where the fugitives were to be found. He may have had visions of pursuing them, of fighting a duel with Richard Sheridan, and if he succeeded in killing him, of getting the girl at last into his power.

But Mr. Brereton not only did not reveal the whereabouts of his friend—he knew that Sheridan meant to go to Lille, for he wrote to him there—but he also refused to give his interrogator any sympathy for having failed to accomplish the destruction of the girl. Brereton, indeed, seems to have convinced him that the best thing he could do was to leave Bath as quickly as possible. Mathews had probably by this time discovered, as Brereton certainly had, that the feeling against him in Bath was profound. There can be little doubt that in the course of the day Charles Sheridan became aware of this fact also; he had only a few months before confessed himself to be deeply in love with Elizabeth Linley, and when he heard that his brother had run away with her he could not but have been somewhat incensed against him, for Richard had not taken him into his confidence. By the time his brother returned, however, any ill-feeling that Charles may have felt had disappeared, and as Charles always showed himself to be a cool and calculating gentleman—one who always kept an eye on the jumping cat—it is not going too far to assume that his change of tone in respect of his rather impetuous brother was due to his perception of the trend of public opinion on the subject of the elopement.

Brereton had persuaded Mathews that there was nothing left for him but to quit Bath; but before taking this step the latter had inserted in the Bath Chronicle the advertisement of which Richard had heard, but which he had not read when in London, thus leaving himself in no position to contradict Mathews' assertion as to its amicable wording.

But now the newspaper was put into his hands by Charles, and he had an opportunity of pronouncing an opinion on this point. It was dated Wednesday, April the 8th, 1772, and it ran as follows:

“Mr. Richard S———— having attempted in a letter left behind him for that purpose, to account for his scandalous method of running away from this place by insinuations derogating from my character and that of a young lady, innocent as far as relates to me, or my knowledge, since which he has neither taken any notice of letters or even informed his own family of the place where he has hid himself; I cannot longer think he deserves the treatment of a gentleman, and in this public method, to post him as a L———, and a treacherous S————.

“And as I am convinced there have been many malevolent incendiaries concerned in the propagation of this infamous lie, if any of them, unprotected by age, infirmities, or profession, they are to acknowledge the part they have acted, and affirm to what they have said of me, they may depend on receiving the proper reward of their villainy, in the most public manner. The world will be candid enough to judge properly (I make no doubt) of any private abuse on this subject for the future, as nobody can defend himself from an accusation he is ignorant of Thomas Mathews.” Such a piece of maundering imbecility as this had probably never before appeared in a newspaper. It must have been read in Bath with roars of laughter. But we do not hear that any of the ready writers of the time and the town yielded to the temptation of commenting upon the “malevolent incendiarism” of the composition. A man of the world, had it been written about himself, would possibly have thought that its illiteracy spoke for itself, and so would have refrained from making any move in regard to it or its author. But one can imagine what effect reading it would have upon a boy of Sheridan's spirit. For a youth of twenty to find himself posted as a Liar and a Scoundrel, to say nothing of a “malevolent incendiary,” and remain indifferent would be impossible. Sheridan did not take long to make up his mind what he should do in the circumstances.

The dramatic touch which his sister introduces in writing of Richard's perusal of the paragraph is intensely true to nature. He simply put a word or two to Charles relative to what Mathews had told him in London about his, Sheridan's, family sanctioning the insertion of the advertisement. Charles had no difficulty in vindicating his integrity on this point. Richard knew perfectly well that it is one thing to say that a man has acted too hastily, but quite another to suggest that that man is “a L——— and a S————.”

So apparently the matter ended, and Richard continued chatting with his sisters, giving no sign of what was in his mind. The girls went to their beds, suspecting nothing. The next morning their two brothers were missing!

Of course the girls were dreadfully alarmed. Some people in the house told them that they had heard high words being exchanged between the brothers after the girls had retired, and shortly afterwards the two former had gone out together. The sister, in her narrative, mentions that she received a hint or two of a duel between Richard and Charles, but she at once put these suggestions aside. The poor girls must have been nearly distracted. Certainly the house of Sheridan was passing through a period of great excitement. The estimable head of the family was himself expecting a crisis in his affairs as manager of the theatre in Dublin—Mr. Thomas Sheridan was never far removed from a crisis—and in his absence his young people were doing pretty much as they pleased. He had no power of controlling them; all that he had to do with them was to pay their bills. Neither of the sons was earning anything, and while one of them was living as a man of fashion, the other had thought it well to cut himself off from his sisters, taking lodgings at a farm some way out of Bath It is the girls of the house for whom one feels most. Alicia, the elder, was seventeen, Elizabeth was but twelve. They must have been distracted. So would their father have been if he had had a chance of learning all that was going on at Bath.

But, of course, when young gentlemen of spirit are falling in love with beauteous maidens, and retiring to cure themselves by mingling with pastoral scenes reminiscent of the gentle melancholy of Mr. Alexander Pope's shepherds and shepherdesses (done in Dresden), every one of whom murmurs mournfully and melodiously of a rejected suit—when young gentlemen are running away with afflicted damsels and returning to fight their enemies, they cannot be expected to think of the incidental expenses of the business, which are to be defrayed by their father, any more than of the distraction which takes possession of their sisters.

The two young gentlemen were missing, and had left for their sisters no explanation of their absence—no hint as to the direction of their flight. And there were other people in the house talking about the high words that had been exchanged between the brothers at midnight. It is not surprising that the poor girls should be distressed and distracted.

Considering that Miss Linley was the first cause of the excitement in the midst of which the family had been living for some weeks, it was only natural that the elder of the girls should send for her with a view to have some light thrown on this new development of the heroic incident in which Miss Linley had assisted. But Miss Linley, on being applied to, affirmed that she knew nothing of the disappearance of the brothers, that she had heard of nothing that should cause them to leave Bath at a moment's notice. She was, unfortunately, a young woman of imagination. In a crisis such a one is either very helpful, or very helpless. Poor Miss Linley was the latter. She had just come through a great crisis in her own life, and she had not emerged from it without suffering. It was too much to ask her to face another in the family of her friends. She went off in a fainting fit on hearing the news of the disappearance of the young men, and her father left her in the hands of a medical man, and turned his attention to the condition of Miss Sheridan, who was unable to walk back to her home, and had to be put into a chair, Mr. Linley walking beside her with her young sister. It is more than possible that Mr. Linley was beginning to feel that he had had quite enough of the Sheridan family to last him for the remainder of his life.

For two days nothing whatever was heard of the missing brothers. We have no means of knowing if Miss Sheridan communicated to their father in Dublin the mysterious story she had to tell; the chances are that she was advised by Mr. Linley to refrain from doing so until she might have something definite to tell him. Mr. Linley never had any particular regard for the elder Sheridan, and he had no wish to have him summoned from his theatre at Dublin to make his remarks about the dangerous attractiveness of Elizabeth Linley, and the culpable carelessness of her father in allowing her to be carried off to France by a young man without a penny except what he got from his own father.

At any rate, Tom Sheridan did not leave his theatre or his pupils in elocution, and there was no need for him to do so, for on Tuesday evening—they had been missing on the Sunday morning—Dick and his brother returned. They were both greatly fatigued, and said that they had not been in bed since they had left Bath. This meant that Dick had actually not slept in Bath since he had originally left the city in the company of Miss Linley. Between the Friday and the Tuesday he had posted from London to Bath with the Linleys, and had forthwith returned to London with his brother and then back once more to Bath without a pause. He, at least, had very good reason for feeling fatigued.

His first act was to hand his sister an apology which had been made to him by Mathews. This document is worthy of being reprinted. It ran thus:

“Being convinced that the expressions I made use of to Mr. Sheridan's disadvantage, were the effects of passion and misrepresentation, I intreat what I have said to that gentleman's disadvantage, and particularly beg his pardon for my advertisement in the Bath Chronicle. Th. Mathews.”

He handed this document to his sister, and then it may be supposed that he went to bed. He had certainly good need of a sleep.

Such is the drift of the story up to this point, as told by Mrs. Lefanu (Elizabeth Sheridan), and it differs in some particulars from that told by her brother Charles in a letter to their uncle, and, in a lesser degree, from the account given of the whole transaction by Richard Sheridan himself, who was surely in the best position to know exactly what happened upon the occasion of his first visit to Mathews in London, as well as upon the occasion of his second, made so hurriedly in the company of his brother.

His second visit was, as might have been expected, the more exciting. It included the fighting of a duel with Mathews. The humours of duelling have been frequently dealt with in prose and comedy, and, assuredly the most amusing of all is to be found in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Rivals. One must confess, however, that the serious account given by the same writer of his hostile meeting with Mathews, on his return from Bath, suggests a much more ludicrous series of situations than are to be found in his play.

In Sheridan's account he mentions that while still in France he received “several abusive threats” from Mathews, and these had such an effect upon him that he wrote to Mathews, swearing that he would not close his eyes in sleep in England till he had treated Mathews as he deserved. In order to carry out this vow he had actually sat up all night at Canterbury, where his party halted on their way from Dover to London. He called upon Mathews on arriving in London, at the latter's lodging in Crutched Friars; this was at midnight, and the key of the door being mislaid, he had to wait two hours before he was admitted. He found Mathews in bed, but he induced him to rise and dress, though, in spite of his compliance as regards his raiment, he complained bitterly of the cold. There does not seem to have been any great suffering on Sheridan's part through a lack of heat. Then, as his sister's narrative put it, the man declared that his visitor had been grossly misinformed in regard to the libel in the Chronicle; and so he left for Bath, as has already been stated.

And now comes the account given by Sheridan of the return visit, and, told in his own laconic style, it suggests such comic situations as border on farce.

“Mr. S.,” he wrote, “staid but three hours in Bath. He returned to London. He sent to Mr. M. from Hyde Parck. He came with Captain Knight his second. He objected frequently to the ground. They adjourned to the Hercules Pillars. They returned to Hyde Parck. Mr. M. objected to the observation of an officer. They returned to Hercules Pillars. They adjourned to the Bedford Coffee house by agreement. Mr. M. was gone to the Castel Tavern. Mr. S. followed with Mr. E. Mr. M. made many declarations in favour of Mr. S. They engaged. Mr. M. was disarmed, Captain Knight ran in. Mr. M. begged his life and afterwards denied the advantage. Mr. S. was provoked by the (really well-meant) interposition of Captain Knight and the illusion of Mr. M. He insisted since Mr. M. denied the advantage, that he should give up his sword. Mr. M. denied, but sooner than return to his ground he gave it up. It was broke, and Mr. M. offered another. He was then called on to retract his abuse and beg Mr. S.'s pardon. With much altercation and much ill grace he complied.”

The remainder of this remarkably succinct composition is devoted to the subsequent misrepresentations of the transaction by Mathews, and by the writer's appeal to the seconds to say if his version of the encounter was not correct.

But whatever Mathews' account may have been it could scarcely be more ludicrous than Sheridan's. The marching and countermarching of the four gentlemen—it appears that brother Charles, although accompanying Richard to London, thought it more prudent to remain under cover during the actual engagement; he waited at Brereton's lodgings—the excuses made by Mathews in order to get away without fighting, and then at the last moment, the carrying out (by agreement) of a manouvre which landed Mathews in one tavern and the rest of the party in another—the set-to of the principals immediately after the “declarations” of one of them in favour of the other, and the final catastrophe could hardly be surpassed by the actions of a pair of burlesque duellists in what is technically known as a “knockabout” entertainment.

And after all this scrupulousness of detail one is left in doubt as to the exact locale of the encounter. Did it take place in the coffee-room of the Castell Inn, or did the eager combatants retrace their steps to the “parck”? The document written by Sheridan, though dealing very fully with the forced marches of the army in the field, throws no light upon this question of the scene of the battle. In respect of the signing of the treaty of peace, and the payment of the indemnity, it is, however, moderately lucid. Sheridan must have told his sister that Mathews signed the apology immediately after the encounter; she states this in her narrative. But Mathews did not merely sign the apology, he wrote every word of it, as one may see by referring to the facsimile, thoughtfully given in Mr. Fraser Rae's Life of Sheridan, and it would be impossible to say that the caligraphy of the apology shows the least sign of that perturbation from which one must believe the writer was suffering at the moment. Its characteristic is neatness. It is in the fine old-fashioned Italian hand. Even an expert, who sees possibilities—when paid for it—in handwriting which would never occur to less imaginative observers, would scarcely venture to say that this neat little document was written by a man with another's sword at his throat.

This is another element in the mystery of the duel, and it cannot be said that when we read the letter which the elder of the brothers wrote to his uncle, giving his account of the whole business, we feel ourselves in a clearer atmosphere. It really seems a pity that Mr. Browning did not make another Ring and the Book series of studies out of this amazing duel. Charles Sheridan told his uncle that an apology was given to Richard by Mathews as a result of Richard's first visit to him in London, but when Richard read the advertisement in the Chronicle, which was the original casus belli, he considered this apology so inadequate that he set off for London to demand another. Charles also mentions, what neither his brother nor his sister had stated, that he himself, on reaching London on the Sunday evening, went to Mathews to endeavour to get a suitable apology—according to Richard's narrative Charles had good grounds for sending a challenge to Mathews on his own account—but “after two hours' altercation” he found that he had made no impression upon the man, so that his brother had no alternative but to call him out.

But however the accounts of the lesser details of this affair of honour may differ, there can be no question that public opinion in Bath was all in favour of young Mr. Sheridan. It was acknowledged on every hand that he had acted from the first—that is, from the moment he assumed the duties of the protector of Miss Linley—with admirable courage, and with a full sense of what honour demanded of him. In short he came back from London, after so many sleepless nights, covered with glory. He was a tall, handsome fellow of twenty, with brilliant eyes; he had run away with the most beautiful girl in the world to save her from the clutches of a scoundrel; he had had four nights without sleep, and then he had fought a duel with the scoundrel and had obtained from him an apology for insertion in the newspapers. Few young gentlemen starting life wholly without means attain to so proud a position of achievement before they reach their majority.

But of course all these feats of errantry and arms run up a bill. Young Mr. Sheridan's posting account must have been by itself pretty formidable, and, knowing that his father had never looked on him with the favour which he gave to his brother, Richard may now and again have felt a trifle uneasy at the prospect of meeting Mr. Sheridan. If his sister's memory is to be trusted, however, this meeting took place within a week or two of his duel, and no bones were broken. Mr. Sheridan had a few chiding words to say respecting the debts which his son had incurred, but these he paid, after obtaining from the boy the usual promise made under similar conditions before a like tribunal. The prodigal invariably acts up to his character for prodigality in the matter of promises of reform.

Richard Sheridan, being something of a wit, though we do not get many examples of his faculty in the accounts extant of his early life, and assuredly not a single example in any of his letters that came into the hands of his biographers, may have sworn to his father never to run away with a girl who might be anxious to enter upon a conventual life. At any rate, his father did not show any great displeasure when he was made aware of the boy's conduct, though it is worth noting that Mr. Sheridan took exception to the general conviction that his son's act had been prompted by the most chivalrous aspirations.

Mathews, however, had not yet been shaken off. He was back in Bath almost as soon as the Sheridans, and “malevolent incendiarism” was in the air. No slander was too base for him to use against Richard Sheridan, no insinuation too vile. But the popularity of the object of his calumny was now too firmly established in Bath to be shaken by the vaporous malevolence of his enemy. Mathews, finding himself thoroughly discredited in every quarter, did the only sensible thing recorded in his squalid history—he ran away to his home in Wales.

He was here unfortunate enough to meet with a man named Barnard, or Barnett, who acted upon him pretty much as Sir Lucius O'Trigger did upon Squire Acres, explaining to him that it was quite impossible that the affair between him and Sheridan should remain as it was. It was absolutely necessary, he said, that another duel should take place. All the “incendiarism” in Mathews' nature was aroused by the fiery words of this man, and the precious pair hurried to Bath, where a challenge was sent to Sheridan through the hands of his eldest sister, under the guise of an invitation to some festivity.

Sheridan was foolish enough to accept the challenge apparently without consulting with any one competent to advise him. According to his father the challenge had been preceded by several letters of the most scurrilous abuse. His wiser brother, who had just received an appointment as Secretary to the British Legation in Sweden, had gone to London with their father to make preparations for his departure for Stockholm, and immediately on hearing of the duel he wrote to Richard a typical elder brother's letter. It is dated July 3rd, 1772, so that, as the duel had only taken place the previous day, it cannot be said that he lost much time in expressing his deep sense of his brother's foolishness in meeting so great a scoundrel for the second time. “All your friends have condemned you,” he wrote. “You risked everything, where you had nothing to gain, to give your antagonist the thing he wished, a chance for recovering his reputation; he wanted to get rid of the contemptible opinion he was held in, and you were good-natured enough to let him do it at your expense. It is not a time to scold, but all your friends were of opinion you could, with the greatest propriety, have refused to meet him.”

Without going into the question as to whether this sort of letter was the ideal one for one brother to write to another who was lying on his bed with several wounds in his throat, it is impossible to question the soundness of the opinion expressed by Charles Sheridan in respect of Richard's acceptance of Mathews' challenge. The challenge was, however, accepted, and the duel took place on King's Down, at three o'clock in the morning. Mathews' friend was Barnett, and Sheridan's a young gentleman named Paumier, who, it was said, was quite unacquainted with the rules of the game, and had never even seen a duel being fought. The accounts which survive of this second meeting of Sheridan and Mathews make it apparent that, if the first was a scene of comedy, this one was a tragic burlesque. It is said that Sheridan, on the signal being given, at once rushed in on his antagonist, endeavouring to disarm him as he had done upon the former occasion of their meeting, but, tripping over something, he literally, and not figuratively, fell upon the other, knocking him down with such violence that he was not only disarmed, but his sword was broken as well. Sheridan's own sword was also broken, so that one might fancy that the meeting would have terminated here. It did nothing of the sort. The encounter was only beginning, and anything more savagely burlesque than the sequel could not be imagined.

The combatants must have rolled over, after the manner of the negro duellists on the variety stage, and when they had settled themselves each made a grab for the most serviceable fragment of his sword. Mathews being the heavier man contrived to keep uppermost in the scuffle, and, what gave him a decided advantage over his opponent, he managed to get his fingers on the hilt of his broken weapon. An appeal at this stage was made by the lad who was acting as Sheridan's second to put a stop to the fight; but the second ruffian, or the ruffian's second—either description applies to Barnett—declared that as both the antagonists were on the ground one could not be said to have any advantage over the other. This delicate question being settled, Mathews held the jagged, saw-like end—point it had none—of the broken sword at the other's throat and told him to beg for his life. Sheridan replied that he should refuse to beg his life from such a scoundrel, and forthwith the scoundrel began jabbing at his throat and face with the fragment of his weapon, a method of attack which was not robbed of its butchery by the appeal that it makes to a reader's sense of its comical aspect.

It is doubtful, however, if the comic side of the transaction appealed very forcibly to the unfortunate boy who was being lacerated to death. He just managed to put aside a thrust or two before the end of the blade penetrated the flesh of his throat and pinned him to the ground. With a chuckle and, according to Tom Sheridan's account, an oath, Mathews got upon his feet, and, entering the coach which was waiting for him, drove away from the scene of his butchery. Sheridan was thereupon raised from the ground, and driven in his chaise with his second to the White Hart Inn. Two surgeons were immediately in attendance, and it was found that his wounds, though numerous, were not such as placed his life in jeopardy. They were, however, sufficiently serious to prevent his removal to his home that day.

It does not appear that young Paumier told the sisters of the occurrence; but an account of the duel having appeared in the Bath Chronicle the same afternoon, every one in the town must have been talking of it, though Mrs. Lefanu says neither she nor her sister heard a word of the matter until the next day. Then they hastened to the White Hart, and prevailed upon the surgeons to allow them to take their brother home. In a surprisingly short time he had quite recovered. Indeed, although there was a report that Sheridan's life was despaired of, there was no excuse for any one taking so gloomy a view of his hurts, for the exact truth was known to Charles Sheridan and his father in London early on the day following that of the fight.

The pathetic part of the story of this ludicrous encounter is to be found in the story of the reception of the news by Elizabeth Linley. Her father had read in some of the papers that Sheridan was at the point of death, but, like the worldly-wise man that Mr. Linley was, he kept the news from his daughter. They were at Oxford together, and she was announced to sing at a concert, and he knew that had she learned all that the newspapers published, she might possibly not be able to do herself—and her father—justice. But, as one of the audience told his sister afterwards, the fact that every one who had come to hear Miss Linley sing was aware of the serious condition (as the papers alleged) of young Sheridan, and of her attachment to him, a feeling of sympathy for the lovely young creature added immeasurably to the interest of her performance.

At the conclusion of the concert her father set out with her for Bath; and it was not until they had almost reached their home that their chaise was met by a clergyman named Pauton, and he summoned all his tact to enable him to prepare Elizabeth Linley for the news which he was entrusted to communicate to her. It is said that under the stress of her emotion the girl declared that Richard Sheridan was her husband, and that her place was by his side.

Whatever truth there may be in this story it is certain that if she believed at that moment that Sheridan was her husband, she gave no sign of continuing in that belief, for though her numerous letters to him show that she was devoted to him, there is no suggestion in any of them that she believed herself to be his wife. On the contrary, there are many passages which prove that no idea of the sort was entertained by her.

The exertions of the heads of the two families were for long directed against the union of the lovers. Mr. Linley felt more forcibly than ever that he had had quite enough of the Sheridans, and Tom Sheridan doubtless wished never to hear again the name of Linley. The one made his daughter promise on her knees to give up Richard Sheridan, and Mr. Sheridan compelled his son to forswear any association with Elizabeth Linley. Jove must have been convulsed with laughter. Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Elizabeth Ann Linley were married on the 13th of April, 1773.

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