« ZurückWeiter »
She now entered upon a successful literary career and became a prominent figure in Dublin society. Croker, then a young barrister, paid his addresses to her, but she did not like or encourage him. Croker never forgave her, and when a few years later he became connected with the Quarterly never lost an opportunity to malign and abuse her. “Have we not seen this lady on stages and at fairs 2 ” he one time asked when reviewing one of her books in the Quarterly. Even Southey, who was a regular contributor to the Quarterly, expostulated with Gifford upon the asperity of Croker's reviews of Miss Owenson's books.
She was a woman, however, not disposed to receive affronts with meekness, and as Thackeray and Disraeli afterward did, she gibbeted Mr. Croker in her novel “Florence McCarthy.” In that very readable story he is Counsellor Con Crawley, the most detestable of all creatures, an Irish land agent. The likeness was readily recognized and universally applauded.
Her marriage was perhaps the most amusing event in her life. She was much liked by the Marquis and Marchioness of Abercorn and was a favorite guest with them. They took her to London and introduced her into fashionable
society. She sat for her portrait to Sir Thomas Lawrence and it was at this time that Lady Abercorn thought it was the proper thing for Glorvina to get married. She accordingly arranged a match for her with the family physician, Dr. Thomas Charles Morgan, a learned and estimable gentleman some four or five years Miss Owenson's junior. The doctor was in love with her and they were duly engaged, but Miss Owenson could not bring herself to name the day. Finally, when she was sitting one morning by the library fire, Lady Abercorn opened the door and said: “Glorvina, come up-stairs directly and be married; there must be no more trifling.” Thereupon Glorvina was led up-stairs to the drawingroom, where she found bridegroom and chaplain awaiting her and was at once married past redemption. While the engagement was pending Dr. Morgan was knighted through the influence of the Abercorns and became Sir Thomas Charles Morgan, and thus Glorvina became Lady Morgan. Indeed, it has been stated she made the knighthood one of the conditions of the marriage. Lady Morgan was given a pension of three hundred pounds by the Grey administration in 1830 and in 1837 removed permanently to London, where, in a pleasant residence near the fashionable district, she had a salon for the next twenty years. Here were to be seen in her modest drawing-room the most brilliant men and women of the time—such as Rogers, Moore, Disraeli, Macaulay, Bulwer, Thackeray and Dickens. Her nieces added to the attractions of the place, being beautiful and accomplished young women.
Lady Morgan survived until 1859, when she died at the age of eighty-two. She possessed some womanly weaknesses, but she was a woman of genius having many admirable traits. She had a horror of debt and from her girlhood kept free from it and earned an honest living. Her novels and her books on France and Italy are now seldom read, but several of the novels are well worth reading.
TWO OLD NOVELS.
I LIKE to read occasionally certain of the oldfashioned novels that once delighted the hearts of our grandfathers and grandmothers. They have a twofold interest. One as showing the taste of the readers of that time, the other as exhibiting the literary art of the writers. And besides, many of them have considerable merit as stories —not a bad feature in novels.
There is “ Frankenstein,” for instance. Most people who know anything at all of the literature of the nineteenth century, know that novel by name at least. There have been so many allusions to it in one way or another, that one cannot help knowing that it is a weird and ghastly story that has something to do with a monster; but whether Frankenstein is the monster or not, some apparently well-read people do not know. As, for instance, Mrs. Deland, in her admirable novel, “Sidney,” permits Major Lee to speak of “Christianity as a Frankenstein.” If the
Major meant anything, it was that it was a Frankenstein's monster. So Chauncey Depew, in his fine oration on the centennial of Washington's inauguration, says that the fathers looked upon the “Union as a Frankenstein.” Charles Sumner was more accurate when he compared the Southern Confederacy to “the soulless monster of Frankenstein, the wretched creation of mortal science without God.” The story was written by Mary Godwin, or Shelley, as she became, when she was living with the poet in Switzerland after their elopement. Lord Byron was their neighbor, and they spent much time together, reading, writing and conversing. Byron one day proposed that each should write a ghost story, and thereupon they all set to work. Both Byron and Shelley failed, but Mary persevered, and at last presented her story for the consideration of the poets. They greatly admired it, and it was sent to London for publication. It met with instantaneous and wide success. This was in 1817. In these days of innumerable novels there are not many persons that pick up this story, but it is quite worth while to do so. Frankenstein, the hero, relates the story. He is a Swiss youth, educated at the University of