Barry Lyndon
William Makepeace Thackeray

Part 6 out of 7

--all of whom figured in addresses and had the public voice in the
country; but there was no sympathy and connection between the upper
and the lower people of the Irish. To one who had been bred so much
abroad as myself, this difference between Catholic and Protestant
was doubly striking; and though as firm as a rock in my own faith,
yet I could not help remembering my grandfather held a different
one, and wondering that there should be such a political difference
between the two. I passed among my neighbours for a dangerous
leveller, for entertaining and expressing such opinions, and
especially for asking the priest of the parish to my table at Castle
Lyndon. He was a gentleman, educated at Salamanca, and, to my mind,
a far better bred and more agreeable companion than his comrade the
rector, who had but a dozen Protestants for his congregation; who
was a lord's son, to be sure, but he could hardly spell, and the
great field of his labours was in the kennel and cockpit.

I did not extend and beautify the house of Castle Lyndon as I had
done our other estates, but contented myself with paying an
occasional visit there; exercising an almost royal hospitality, and
keeping open house during my stay. When absent, I gave to my aunt,
the widow Brady, and her six unmarried daughters (although they
always detested me), permission to inhabit the place; my mother
preferring my new mansion of Barryogue.

And as my Lord Bullingdon was by this time grown excessively tall
and troublesome, I determined to leave him under the care of a
proper governor in Ireland, with Mrs. Brady and her six daughters to
take care of him; and he was welcome to fall in love with all the
old ladies if he were so minded, and thereby imitate his
stepfather's example. When tired of Castle Lyndon, his Lordship was
at liberty to go and reside at my house with my mamma; but there was
no love lost between him and her, and, on account of my son Bryan, I
think she hated him as cordially as ever I myself could possibly do.

The county of Devon is not so lucky as the neighbouring county of
Cornwall, and has not the share of representatives which the latter
possesses; where I have known a moderate country gentleman, with a
few score of hundreds per annum from his estate, treble his income
by returning three or four Members to Parliament, and by the
influence with Ministers which these seats gave him. The
parliamentary interest of the house of Lyndon had been grossly
neglected during my wife's minority, and the incapacity of the Earl
her father; or, to speak more correctly, it had been smuggled away
from the Lyndon family altogether by the adroit old hypocrite of
Tiptoff Castle, who acted as most kinsmen and guardians do by their
wards and relatives, and robbed them. The Marquess of Tiptoff
returned four Members to Parliament: two for the borough of
Tippleton, which, as all the world knows, lies at the foot of our
estate of Hackton, bounded on the other side by Tiptoff Park. For
time out of mind we had sent Members for that borough, until
Tiptoff, taking advantage of the late lord's imbecility, put in his
own nominees. When his eldest son became of age, of course my Lord
was to take his seat for Tippleton; when Rigby (Nabob Rigby, who
made his fortune under Clive in India) died, the Marquess thought
fit to bring down his second son, my Lord George Poynings, to whom I
have introduced the reader in a former chapter, and determined, in
his high mightiness, that he too should go in and swell the ranks of
the Opposition--the big old Whigs, with whom the Marquess acted.

Rigby had been for some time in an ailing condition previous to his
demise, and you may be sure that the circumstance of his failing
health had not been passed over by the gentry of the county, who
were staunch Government men for the most part, and hated my Lord
Tiptoff's principles as dangerous and ruinous, 'We have been looking
out for a man to fight against him,' said the squires to me; 'we can
only match Tiptoff out of Hackton Castle. You, Mr. Lyndon, are our
man, and at the next county election we will swear to bring you in.'

I hated the Tiptoffs so, that I would have fought them at any
election. They not only would not visit at Hackton, but declined to
receive those who visited us; they kept the women of the county from
receiving my wife: they invented half the wild stories of my
profligacy and extravagance with which the neighbourhood was
entertained; they said I had frightened my wife into marriage, and
that she was a lost woman; they hinted that Bullingdon's life was
not secure under my roof, that his treatment was odious, and that I
wanted to put him out of the way to make place for Bryan my son. I
could scarce have a friend to Hackton, but they counted the bottles
drunk at my table. They ferreted out my dealings with my lawyers and
agents. If a creditor was unpaid, every item of his bill was known
at Tiptoff Hall; if I looked at a farmer's daughter, it was said I
had ruined her. My faults are many, I confess, and as a domestic
character, I can't boast of any particular regularity or temper; but
Lady Lyndon and I did not quarrel more than fashionable people do,
and, at first, we always used to make it up pretty well. I am a man
full of errors, certainly, but not the devil that these odious
backbiters at Tiptoff represented me to be. For the first three
years I never struck my wife but when I was in liquor. When I flung
the carving-knife at Bullingdon I was drunk, as everybody present
can testify; but as for having any systematic scheme against the
poor lad, I can declare solemnly that, beyond merely hating him (and
one's inclinations are not in one's power), I am guilty of no evil
towards him.

I had sufficient motives, then, for enmity against the Tiptoffs, and
am not a man to let a feeling of that kind lie inactive. Though a
Whig, or, perhaps, because a Whig, the Marquess was one of the
haughtiest men breathing, and treated commoners as his idol the
great Earl used to treat them--after he came to a coronet himself--
as so many low vassals, who might be proud to lick his shoe-buckle.
When the Tippleton mayor and corporation waited upon him, he
received them covered, never offered Mr. Mayor a chair, but retired
when the refreshments were brought, or had them served to the
worshipful aldermen in the steward's room. These honest Britons
never rebelled against such treatment, until instructed to do so by
my patriotism. No, the dogs liked to be bullied; and, in the course
of a long experience, I have met with but very few Englishmen who
are not of their way of thinking.

It was not until I opened their eyes that they knew their
degradation. I invited the Mayor to Hackton, and Mrs. Mayoress (a
very buxom pretty groceress she was, by the way) I made sit by my
wife, and drove them both out to the races in my curricle. Lady
Lyndon fought very hard against this condescension; but I had a way
with her, as the saying is, and though she had a temper, yet I had a
better one. A temper, psha! A wild-cat has a temper, but a keeper
can get the better of it; and I know very few women in the world
whom I could not master.

Well, I made much of the mayor and corporation; sent them bucks for
their dinners, or asked them to mine; made a point of attending
their assemblies, dancing with their wives and daughters, going
through, in short, all the acts of politeness which are necessary on
such occasions: and though old Tiptoff must have seen my goings on,
yet his head was so much in the clouds, that he never once
condescended to imagine his dynasty could be overthrown in his own
town of Tippleton, and issued his mandates as securely as if he had
been the Grand Turk, and the Tippletonians no better than so many
slaves of his will.

Every post which brought us any account of Rigby's increasing
illness, was the sure occasion of a dinner from me; so much so, that
my friends of the hunt used to laugh and say, 'Rigby's worse;
there's a corporation dinner at Hackton.'

It was in 1776, when the American war broke out, that I came into
Parliament. My Lord Chatham, whose wisdom his party in those days
used to call superhuman, raised his oracular voice in the House of
Peers against the American contest; and my countryman, Mr. Burke--a
great philosopher, but a plaguy long-winded orator--was the champion
of the rebels in the Commons--where, however, thanks to British
patriotism, he could get very few to back him. Old Tiptoff would
have sworn black was white if the great Earl had bidden him; and he
made his son give up his commission in the Guards, in imitation of
my Lord Pitt, who resigned his ensigncy rather than fight against
what he called his American brethren.

But this was a height of patriotism extremely little relished in
England, where, ever since the breaking out of hostilities, our
people hated the Americans heartily; and where, when we heard of the
fight of Lexington, and the glorious victory of Bunker's Hill (as we
used to call it in those days), the nation flushed out in its usual
hot-headed anger. The talk was all against the philosophers after
that, and the people were most indomitably loyal. It was not until
the land-tax was increased, that the gentry began to grumble a
little; but still my party in the West was very strong against the
Tiptoffs, and I determined to take the field and win as usual.

The old Marquess neglected every one of the decent precautions which
are requisite in a parliamentary campaign. He signified to the
corporation and freeholders his intention of presenting his son,
Lord George, and his desire that the latter should be elected their
burgess; but he scarcely gave so much as a glass of beer to whet the
devotedness of his adherents: and I, as I need not say, engaged
every tavern in Tippleton in my behalf.

There is no need to go over the twenty-times-told tale of an
election. I rescued the borough of Tippleton from the hands of Lord
Tiptoff and his son, Lord George. I had a savage sort of
satisfaction, too, in forcing my wife (who had been at one time
exceedingly smitten by her kinsman, as I have already related) to
take part against him, and to wear and distribute my colours when
the day of election came. And when we spoke at one another, I told
the crowd that I had beaten Lord George in love, that I had beaten
him in war, and that I would now beat him in Parliament; and so I
did, as the event proved: for, to the inexpressible anger of the old
Marquess, Barry Lyndon, Esquire, was returned member of Parliament
for Tippleton, in place of John Rigby, Esquire, deceased; and I
threatened him at the next election to turn him out of BOTH his
seats, and went to attend my duties in Parliament.

It was then I seriously determined on achieving for myself the Irish
peerage, to be enjoyed after me by my beloved son and heir.



And now, if any people should be disposed to think my history
immoral (for I have heard some assert that I was a man who never
deserved that so much prosperity should fall to my share), I will
beg those cavillers to do me the favour to read the conclusion of my
adventures; when they will see it was no such great prize that I had
won, and that wealth, splendour, thirty thousand per annum, and a
seat in Parliament, are often purchased at too dear a rate, when one
has to buy those enjoyments at the price of personal liberty, and
saddled with the charge of a troublesome wife.

They are the deuce, these troublesome wives, and that is the truth.
No man knows until he tries how wearisome and disheartening the
burthen of one of them is, and how the annoyance grows and
strengthens from year to year, and the courage becomes weaker to
bear it; so that that trouble which seemed light and trivial the
first year, becomes intolerable ten years after. I have heard of one
of the classical fellows in the dictionary who began by carrying a
calf up a hill every day, and so continued until the animal grew to
be a bull, which he still easily accommodated upon his shoulders;
but take my word for it, young unmarried gentlemen, a wife is a very
much harder pack to the back than the biggest heifer in Smithfield
and, if I can prevent one of you from marrying, the 'Memoirs of
Barry Lyndon, Esq.' will not be written in vain. Not that my Lady
was a scold or a shrew, as some wives are; I could have managed to
have cured her of that; but she was of a cowardly, crying,
melancholy, maudlin temper, which is to me still more odious: do
what one would to please her, she would never be happy or in good-
humour. I left her alone after a while; and because, as was natural
in my case, where a disagreeable home obliged me to seek amusement
and companions abroad, she added a mean detestable jealousy to all
her other faults: I could not for some time pay the commonest
attention to any other woman, but my Lady Lyndon must weep, and
wring her hands, and threaten to commit suicide, and I know not

Her death would have been no comfort to me, as I leave any person of
common prudence to imagine; for that scoundrel of a young Bullingdon
(who was now growing up a tall, gawky, swarthy lad, and about to
become my greatest plague and annoyance) would have inherited every
penny of the property, and I should have been left considerably
poorer even than when I married the widow: for I spent my personal
fortune as well as the lady's income in the keeping up of our rank,
and was always too much a man of honour and spirit to save a penny
of Lady Lyndon's income. Let this be flung in the teeth of my
detractors, who say I never could have so injured the Lyndon
property had I not been making a private purse for myself; and who
believe that, even in my present painful situation, I have hoards of
gold laid by somewhere, and could come out as a Croesus when I
choose. I never raised a shilling upon Lady Lyndon's property but I
spent it like a man of honour; besides incurring numberless personal
obligations for money, which all went to the common stock.
Independent of the Lyndon mortgages and incumbrances, I owe myself
at least one hundred and twenty thousand pounds, which I spent while
in occupancy of my wife's estate; so that I may justly say that
property is indebted to me in the above-mentioned sum.

Although I have described the utter disgust and distaste which
speedily took possession of my breast as regarded Lady Lyndon; and
although I took no particular pains (for I am all frankness and
above-board) to disguise my feelings in general, yet she was of such
a mean spirit, that she pursued me with her regard in spite of my
indifference to her, and would kindle up at the smallest kind word I
spoke to her. The fact is, between my respected reader and myself,
that I was one of the handsomest and most dashing young men of
England in those days, and my wife was violently in love with me;
and though I say it who shouldn't, as the phrase goes, my wife was
not the only woman of rank in London who had a favourable opinion of
the humble Irish adventurer. What a riddle these women are, I have
often thought! I have seen the most elegant creatures at St. James's
grow wild for love of the coarsest and most vulgar of men; the
cleverest women passionately admire the most illiterate of our sex,
and so on. There is no end to the contrariety in the foolish
creatures; and though I don't mean to hint that _I_ am vulgar or
illiterate, as the persons mentioned above (I would cut the throat
of any man who dared to whisper a word against my birth or my
breeding), yet I have shown that Lady Lyndon had plenty of reason to
dislike me if she chose: but, like the rest of her silly sex, she
was governed by infatuation, not reason; and, up to the very last
day of our being together, would be reconciled to me, and fondle me,
if I addressed her a single kind word.

'Ah,' she would say, in these moments of tenderness--'Ah, REDMOND,
if you would always be so!' And in these fits of love she was the
most easy creature in the world to be persuaded, and would have
signed away her whole property, had it been possible. And, I must
confess, it was with very little attention on my part that I could
bring her into good-humour. To walk with her on the Mall, or at
Ranelagh, to attend her to church at St. James's, to purchase any
little present or trinket for her, was enough to coax her. Such is
female inconsistency! The next day she would be calling me 'Mr.
Barry' probably, and be bemoaning her miserable fate that she ever
should have been united to such a monster. So it was she was pleased
to call one of the most brilliant men in His Majesty's three
kingdoms: and I warrant me OTHER ladies had a much more flattering
opinion of me.

Then she would threaten to leave me; but I had a hold of her in the
person of her son, of whom she was passionately fond: I don't know
why, for she had always neglected Bullingdon her older son, and
never bestowed a thought upon his health, his welfare, or his

It was our young boy, then, who formed the great bond of union
between me and her Ladyship; and there was no plan of ambition I
could propose in which she would not join for the poor lad's behoof,
and no expense she would not eagerly incur, if it might by any means
be shown to tend to his advancement. I can tell you, bribes were
administered, and in high places too,--so near the royal person of
His Majesty, that you would be astonished were I to mention what
great personages condescended to receive our loans. I got from the
English and Irish heralds a description and detailed pedigree of the
Barony of Barryogue, and claimed respectfully to be reinstated in my
ancestral titles, and also to be rewarded with the Viscounty of
Ballybarry. 'This head would become a coronet,' my Lady would
sometimes say, in her fond moments, smoothing down my hair; and,
indeed, there is many a puny whipster in their Lordships' house who
has neither my presence nor my courage, my pedigree, nor any of my

The striving after this peerage I considered to have been one of the
most unlucky of all my unlucky dealings at this period. I made
unheard-of sacrifices to bring it about. I lavished money here and
diamonds there. I bought lands at ten times their value; purchased
pictures and articles of vertu at ruinous prices. I gave repeated
entertainments to those friends to my claims who, being about the
Royal person, were likely to advance it. I lost many a bet to the
Royal Dukes His Majesty's brothers; but let these matters be
forgotten, and, because of my private injuries, let me not be
deficient in loyalty to my Sovereign.

The only person in this transaction whom I shall mention openly, is
that old scamp and swindler, Gustavus Adolphus, thirteenth Earl of
Crabs. This nobleman was one of the gentlemen of His Majesty's
closet, and one with whom the revered monarch was on terms of
considerable intimacy. A close regard had sprung up between them in
the old King's time; when His Royal Highness, playing at battledore
and shuttlecock with the young lord on the landing-place of the
great staircase at Kew, in some moment of irritation the Prince of
Wales kicked the young Earl downstairs, who, falling, broke his leg.
The Prince's hearty repentance for his violence caused him to ally
himself closely with the person whom he had injured; and when His
Majesty came to the throne there was no man, it is said, of whom the
Earl of Bute was so jealous as of my Lord Crabs. The latter was poor
and extravagant, and Bute got him out of the way, by sending him on
the Russian and other embassies; but on this favourite's dismissal,
Crabs sped back from the Continent, and was appointed almost
immediately to a place about His Majesty's person.

It was with this disreputable nobleman that I contracted an unluckly
intimacy; when, fresh and unsuspecting, I first established myself
in town, after my marriage with Lady Lyndon: and, as Crabs was
really one of the most entertaining fellows in the world, I took a
sincere pleasure in his company; besides the interesting desire I
had in cultivating the society of a man who was so near the person
of the highest personage in the realm.

To hear the fellow, you would fancy that there was scarce any
appointment made in which he had not a share. He told me, for
instance, of Charles Fox being turned out of his place a day before
poor Charley himself was aware of the fact. He told me when the
Howes were coming back from America, and who was to succeed to the
command there. Not to multiply instances, it was upon this person
that I fixed my chief reliance for the advancement of my claim to
the Barony of Barryogue and the Viscounty which I proposed to get.

One of the main causes of expense which this ambition of mine
entailed upon me was the fitting out and arming a company of
infantry from the Castle Lyndon and Hackton estates in Ireland,
which I offered to my gracious Sovereign for the campaign against
the American rebels. These troops, superbly equipped and clothed,
were embarked at Portsmouth in the year 1778; and the patriotism of
the gentleman who had raised them was so acceptable at Court, that,
on being presented by my Lord North, His Majesty condescended to
notice me particularly, and said, 'That's right, Mr. Lyndon, raise
another company; and go with them, too!' But this was by no means,
as the reader may suppose, to my notions. A man with thirty thousand
pounds per annum is a fool to risk his life like a common beggar:
and on this account I have always admired the conduct of my friend
Jack Bolter, who had been a most active and resolute cornet of
horse, and, as such, engaged in every scrape and skirmish which
could fall to his lot; but just before the battle of Minden he
received news that his uncle, the great army contractor, was dead,
and had left him five thousand per annum. Jack that instant applied
for leave; and, as it was refused him on the eve of a general
action, my gentleman took it, and never fired a pistol again: except
against an officer who questioned his courage, and whom he winged in
such a cool and determined manner, as showed all the world that it
was from prudence and a desire of enjoying his money, not from
cowardice, that he quitted the profession of arms.

When this Hackton company was raised, my stepson, who was now
sixteen years of age, was most eager to be allowed to join it, and I
would have gladly consented to have been rid of the young man; but
his guardian, Lord Tiptoff, who thwarted me in everything, refused
his permission, and the lad's military inclinations were balked. If
he could have gone on the expedition, and a rebel rifle had put an
end to him, I believe, to tell the truth, I should not have been
grieved over-much; and I should have had the pleasure of seeing my
other son the heir to the estate which his father had won with so
much pains.

The education of this young nobleman had been, I confess, some of
the loosest; and perhaps the truth is, I DID neglect the brat. He
was of so wild, savage, and insubordinate a nature, that I never had
the least regard for him; and before me and his mother, at least,
was so moody and dull, that I thought instruction thrown away upon
him, and left him for the most part to shift for himself. For two
whole years he remained in Ireland away from us; and when in
England, we kept him mainly at Hackton, never caring to have the
uncouth ungainly lad in the genteel company in the capital in which
we naturally mingled. My own poor boy, on the contrary, was the most
polite and engaging child ever seen: it was a pleasure to treat him
with kindness and distinction; and before he was five years old, the
little fellow was the pink of fashion, beauty, and good breeding.

In fact he could not have been otherwise, with the care both his
parents bestowed upon him, and the attentions that were lavished
upon him in every way. When he was four years old, I quarrelled with
the English nurse who had attended upon him, and about whom my wife
had been so jealous, and procured for him a French gouvernante, who
had lived with families of the first quality in Paris; and who, of
course, must set my Lady Lyndon jealous too. Under the care of this
young woman my little rogue learned to chatter French most
charmingly. It would have done your heart good to hear the dear
rascal swear Mort de ma vie! and to see him stamp his little foot,
and send the manants and canaille of the domestics to the trente
mille diables. He was precocious in all things: at a very early age
he would mimic everybody; at five, he would sit at table, and drink
his glass of champagne with the best of us; and his nurse would
teach him little French catches, and the last Parisian songs of Vade
and Collard,--pretty songs they were too; and would make such of his
hearers as understood French burst with laughing, and, I promise
you, scandalise some of the old dowagers who were admitted into the
society of his mamma: not that there were many of them; for I did
not encourage the visits of what you call respectable people to Lady
Lyndon. They are sad spoilers of sport,--tale-bearers, envious
narrow-minded people; making mischief between man and wife. Whenever
any of these grave personages in hoops and high heels used to make
their appearance at Hackton, or in Berkeley Square, it was my chief
pleasure to frighten them off; and I would make my little Bryan
dance, sing, and play the diable a quatre, and aid him myself, so as
to scare the old frumps.

I never shall forget the solemn remonstrances of our old square-toes
of a rector at Hackton, who made one or two vain attempts to teach
little Bryan Latin, and with whose innumerable children I sometimes
allowed the boy to associate. They learned some of Bryan's French
songs from him, which their mother, a poor soul who understood
pickles and custards much better than French, used fondly to
encourage them in singing; but which their father one day hearing,
he sent Miss Sarah to her bedroom and bread and water for a week,
and solemnly horsed Master Jacob in the presence of all his brothers
and sisters, and of Bryan, to whom he hoped that flogging would act
as a warning. But my little rogue kicked and plunged at the old
parson's shins until he was obliged to get his sexton to hold him
down, and swore, corbleu, morbleu, ventrebleu, that his young friend
Jacob should not be maltreated. After this scene, his reverence
forbade Bryan the rectory-house; on which I swore that his eldest
son, who was bringing up for the ministry, should never have the
succession of the living of Hackton, which I had thoughts of
bestowing on him; and his father said, with a canting hypocritical
air, which I hate, that Heaven's will must be done; that he would
not have his children disobedient or corrupted for the sake of a
bishopric, and wrote me a pompous and solemn letter, charged with
Latin quotations, taking farewell of me and my house. 'I do so with
regret,' added the old gentleman, 'for I have received so many
kindnesses from the Hackton family that it goes to my heart to be
disunited from them. My poor, I fear, may suffer in consequence of
my separation from you, and my being hence-forward unable to bring
to your notice instances of distress and affliction; which, when
they were known to you, I will do you the justice to say, your
generosity was always prompt to relieve.'

There may have been some truth in this, for the old gentleman was
perpetually pestering me with petitions, and I know for a certainty,
from his own charities, was often without a shilling in his pocket;
but I suspect the good dinners at Hackton had a considerable share
in causing his regrets at the dissolution of our intimacy: and I
know that his wife was quite sorry to forego the acquaintance of
Bryan's gouvernante, Mademoiselle Louison, who had all the newest
French fashions at her fingers' ends, and who never went to the
rectory but you would see the girls of the family turn out in new
sacks or mantles the Sunday after.

I used to punish the old rebel by snoring very loud in my pew on
Sundays during sermon-time; and I got a governor presently for
Bryan, and a chaplain of my own, when he became of age sufficient to
be separated from the women's society and guardianship. His English
nurse I married to my head gardener, with a handsome portion; his
French gouvernante I bestowed upon my faithful German Fritz, not
forgetting the dowry in the latter instance; and they set up a
French dining-house in Soho, and I believe at the time I write they
are richer in the world's goods than their generous and free-handed

For Bryan I now got a young gentleman from Oxford, the Rev. Edmund
Lavender, who was commissioned to teach him Latin, when the boy was
in the humour, and to ground him in history, grammar, and the other
qualifications of a gentleman. Lavender was a precious addition to
our society at Hackton. He was the means of making a deal of fun
there. He was the butt of all our jokes, and bore them with the most
admirable and martyrlike patience. He was one of that sort of men
who would rather be kicked by a great man than not be noticed by
him; and I have often put his wig into the fire in the face of the
company, when he would laugh at the joke as well as any man there.
It was a delight to put him on a high-mettled horse, and send him
after the hounds,--pale, sweating, calling on us, for Heaven's sake,
to stop, and holding on for dear life by the mane and the crupper.
How it happened that the fellow was never killed I know not; but I
suppose hanging is the way in which HIS neck will be broke. He never
met with any accident, to speak of, in our hunting-matches: but you
were pretty sure to find him at dinner in his place at the bottom of
the table making the punch, whence he would be carried off fuddled
to bed before the night was over. Many a time have Bryan and I
painted his face black on those occasions. We put him into a haunted
room, and frightened his soul out of his body with ghosts; we let
loose cargoes of rats upon his bed; we cried fire, and filled his
boots with water; we cut the legs of his preaching-chair, and filled
his sermon-book with snuff. Poor Lavender bore it all with patience;
and at our parties, or when we came to London, was amply repaid by
being allowed to sit with the gentlefolks, and to fancy himself in
the society of men of fashion. It was good to hear the contempt with
which he talked about our rector. 'He has a son, sir, who is a
servitor: and a servitor at a small college,' he would say. 'How
COULD you, my dear sir, think of giving the reversion of Hackton to
such a low-bred creature?'

I should now speak of my other son, at least my Lady Lyndon's: I
mean the Viscount Bullingdon. I kept him in Ireland for some years,
under the guardianship of my mother, whom I had installed at Castle
Lyndon; and great, I promise you, was her state in that occupation,
and prodigious the good soul's splendour and haughty bearing. With
all her oddities, the Castle Lyndon estate was the best managed of
all our possessions; the rents were excellently paid, the charges of
getting them in smaller than they would have been under the
management of any steward. It was astonishing what small expenses
the good widow incurred; although she kept up the dignity of the TWO
families, as she would say. She had a set of domestics to attend
upon the young lord; she never went out herself but in an old gilt
coach and six; the house was kept clean and tight; the furniture and
gardens in the best repair; and, in our occasional visits to
Ireland, we never found any house we visited in such good condition
as our own. There were a score of ready serving-lasses, and half as
many trim men about the castle; and everything in as fine condition
as the best housekeeper could make it. All this she did with
scarcely any charges to us: for she fed sheep and cattle in the
parks, and made a handsome profit of them at Ballinasloe; she
supplied I don't know how many towns with butter and bacon; and the
fruit and vegetables from the gardens of Castle Lyndon got the
highest prices in Dublin market. She had no waste in the kitchen, as
there used to be in most of our Irish houses; and there was no
consumption of liquor in the cellars, for the old lady drank water,
and saw little or no company. All her society was a couple of the
girls of my ancient flame Nora Brady, now Mrs. Quin; who with her
husband had spent almost all their property, and who came to see me
once in London, looking very old, fat, and slatternly, with two
dirty children at her side. She wept very much when she saw me,
called me 'Sir,' and 'Mr. Lyndon,' at which I was not sorry, and
begged me to help her husband; which I did, getting him, through my
friend Lord Crabs, a place in the excise in Ireland, and paying the
passage of his family and himself to that country. I found him a
dirty, cast-down, snivelling drunkard; and, looking at poor Nora,
could not but wonder at the days when I had thought her a divinity.
But if ever I have had a regard for a woman, I remain through life
her constant friend, and could mention a thousand such instances of
my generous and faithful disposition.

Young Bullingdon, however, was almost the only person with whom she
was concerned that my mother could not keep in order. The accounts
she sent me of him at first were such as gave my paternal heart
considerable pain. He rejected all regularity and authority. He
would absent himself for weeks from the house on sporting or other
expeditions. He was when at home silent and queer, refusing to make
my mother's game at piquet of evenings, but plunging into all sorts
of musty old books, with which he muddled his brains; more at ease
laughing and chatting with the pipers and maids in the servants'
hall, than with the gentry in the drawing-room; always cutting jibes
and jokes at Mrs. Barry, at which she (who was rather a slow woman
at repartee) would chafe violently: in fact, leading a life of
insubordination and scandal. And, to crown all, the young scapegrace
took to frequenting the society of the Romish priest of the parish--
a threadbare rogue, from some Popish seminary in France or Spain--
rather than the company of the vicar of Castle Lyndon, a gentleman
of Trinity, who kept his hounds and drank his two bottles a day.

Regard for the lad's religion made me not hesitate then how I should
act towards him. If I have any principle which has guided me through
life, it has been respect for the Establishment, and a hearty scorn
and abhorrence of all other forms of belief. I therefore sent my
French body-servant, in the year 17--, to Dublin with a commission
to bring the young reprobate over; and the report brought to me was
that he had passed the whole of the last night of his stay in
Ireland with his Popish friend at the mass-house; that he and my
mother had a violent quarrel on the very last day; that, on the
contrary, he kissed Biddy and Dosy, her two nieces, who seemed very
sorry that he should go; and that being pressed to go and visit the
rector, he absolutely refused, saying he was a wicked old Pharisee,
inside whose doors he would never set his foot. The doctor wrote me
a letter, warning me against the deplorable errors of this young imp
of perdition, as he called him; and I could see that there was no
love lost between them. But it appeared that, if not agreeable to
the gentry of the country, young Bullingdon had a huge popularity
among the common people. There was a regular crowd weeping round the
gate when his coach took its departure. Scores of the ignorant
savage wretches ran for miles along by the side of the chariot; and
some went even so far as to steal away before his departure, and
appear at the Pigeon-House at Dublin to bid him a last farewell. It
was with considerable difficulty that some of these people could be
kept from secreting themselves in the vessel, and accompanying their
young lord to England.

To do the young scoundrel justice, when he came among us, he was a
manly noble-looking lad, and everything in his bearing and
appearance betokened the high blood from which he came. He was the
very portrait of some of the dark cavaliers of the Lyndon race,
whose pictures hung in the gallery at Hackton: where the lad was
fond of spending the chief part of his time, occupied with the musty
old books which he took out of the library, and which I hate to see
a young man of spirit poring over. Always in my company he preserved
the most rigid silence, and a haughty scornful demeanour; which was
so much the more disagreeable because there was nothing in his
behaviour I could actually take hold of to find fault with: although
his whole conduct was insolent and supercilious to the highest
degree. His mother was very much agitated at receiving him on his
arrival; if he felt any such agitation he certainly did not show it.
He made her a very low and formal bow when he kissed her hand; and,
when I held out mine, put both his hands behind his back, stared me
full in the face, and bent his head, saying, 'Mr. Barry Lyndon, I
believe;' turned on his heel, and began talking about the state of
the weather to his mother, whom he always styled 'Your Ladyship.'
She was angry at this pert bearing, and, when they were alone,
rebuked him sharply for not shaking hands with his father.

'My father, madam?' said he; 'surely you mistake. My father was the
Right Honourable Sir Charles Lyndon. _I_ at least have not forgotten
him, if others have.' It was a declaration of war to me, as I saw at
once; though I declare I was willing enough to have received the boy
well on his coming amongst us, and to have lived with him on terms
of friendliness. But as men serve me I serve them. Who can blame me
for my after-quarrels with this young reprobate, or lay upon my
shoulders the evils which afterwards befell? Perhaps I lost my
temper, and my subsequent treatment of him WAS hard. But it was he
began the quarrel, and not I; and the evil consequences which ensued
were entirely of his creating.

As it is best to nip vice in the bud, and for a master of a family
to exercise his authority in such a manner as that there may be no
question about it, I took the earliest opportunity of coming to
close quarters with Master Bullingdon; and the day after his arrival
among us, upon his refusal to perform some duty which I requested of
him, I had him conveyed to my study, and thrashed him soundly. This
process, I confess, at first agitated me a good deal, for I had
never laid a whip on a lord before; but I got speedily used to the
practice, and his back and my whip became so well acquainted, that I
warrant there was very little CEREMONY between us after a while.

If I were to repeat all the instances of the insubordination and
brutal conduct of young Bullingdon, I should weary the reader. His
perseverance in resistance was, I think, even greater than mine in
correcting him: for a man, be he ever so much resolved to do his
duty as a parent, can't be flogging his children all day, or for
every fault they commit: and though I got the character of being so
cruel a stepfather to him, I pledge my word I spared him correction
when he merited it many more times than I administered it. Besides,
there were eight clear months in the year when he was quit of me,
during the time of my presence in London, at my place in Parliament,
and at the Court of my Sovereign.

At this period I made no difficulty to allow him to profit by the
Latin and Greek of the old rector; who had christened him, and had a
considerable influence over the wayward lad. After a scene or a
quarrel between us, it was generally to the rectory-house that the
young rebel would fly for refuge and counsel; and I must own that
the parson was a pretty just umpire between us in our disputes. Once
he led the boy back to Hackton by the hand, and actually brought him
into my presence, although he had vowed never to enter the doors in
my lifetime again, and said, 'He had brought his Lordship to
acknowledge his error, and submit to any punishment I might think
proper to inflict.' Upon which I caned him in the presence of two or
three friends of mine, with whom I was sitting drinking at the time;
and to do him justice, he bore a pretty severe punishment without
wincing or crying in the least. This will show that I was not too
severe in my treatment of the lad, as I had the authority of the
clergyman himself for inflicting the correction which I thought

Twice or thrice, Lavender, Bryan's governor, attempted to punish my
Lord Bullingdon; but I promise you the rogue was too strong for HIM,
and levelled the Oxford man to the ground with a chair: greatly to
the delight of little Byran, who cried out, 'Bravo, Bully! thump
him, thump him!' And Bully certainly did, to the governor's heart's
content; who never attempted personal chastisement afterwards; but
contented himself by bringing the tales of his Lordship's misdoings
to me, his natural protector and guardian.

With the child, Bullingdon was, strange to say, pretty tractable. He
took a liking for the little fellow,--as, indeed, everybody who saw
that darling boy did,--liked him the more, he said, because he was
'half a Lyndon.' And well he might like him, for many a time, at the
dear angel's intercession of 'Papa, don't flog Bully to-day!' I have
held my hand, and saved him a horsing, which he richly deserved.

With his mother, at first, he would scarcely deign to have any
communication. He said she was no longer one of the family. Why
should he love her, as she had never been a mother to him? But it
will give the reader an idea of the dogged obstinacy and surliness
of the lad's character, when I mention one trait regarding him. It
has been made a matter of complaint against me, that I denied him
the education befitting a gentleman, and never sent him to college
or to school; but the fact is, it was of his own choice that he went
to neither. He had the offer repeatedly from me (who wished to see
as little of his impudence as possible), but he as repeatedly
declined; and, for a long time, I could not make out what was the
charm which kept him in a house where he must have been far from

It came out, however, at last. There used to be very frequent
disputes between my Lady Lyndon and myself, in which sometimes she
was wrong, sometimes I was; and which, as neither of us had very
angelical tempers, used to run very high. I was often in liquor; and
when in that condition, what gentleman is master of himself? Perhaps
I DID, in this state, use my Lady rather roughly; fling a glass or
two at her, and call her by a few names that were not complimentary.
I may have threatened her life (which it was obviously my interest
not to take), and have frightened her, in a word, considerably.

After one of these disputes, in which she ran screaming through the
galleries, and I, as tipsy as a lord, came staggering after, it
appears Bullingdon was attracted out of his room by the noise; as I
came up with her, the audacious rascal tripped up my heels, which
were not very steady, and catching his fainting mother in his arms,
took her into his own room; where he, upon her entreaty, swore he
would never leave the house as long as she continued united with me.
I knew nothing of the vow, or indeed of the tipsy frolic which was
the occasion of it; I was taken up 'glorious,' as the phrase is, by
my servants, and put to bed, and, in the morning, had no more
recollection of what had occurred any more than of what happened
when I was a baby at the breast. Lady Lyndon told me of the
circumstance years after; and I mention it here, as it enables me to
plead honourably 'not guilty' to one of the absurd charges of
cruelty trumped up against me with respect to my stepson. Let my
detractors apologise, if they dare, for the conduct of a graceless
ruffian who trips up the heels of his own natural guardian and
stepfather after dinner.

This circumstance served to unite mother and son for a little; but
their characters were too different. I believe she was too fond of
me ever to allow him to be sincerely reconciled to her. As he grew
up to be a man, his hatred towards me assumed an intensity quite
wicked to think of (and which I promise you I returned with
interest): and it was at the age of sixteen, I think, that the
impudent young hangdog, on my return from Parliament one summer, and
on my proposing to cane him as usual, gave me to understand that he
would submit to no farther chastisement from me, and said, grinding
his teeth, that he would shoot me if I laid hands on him. I looked
at him; he was grown, in fact, to be a tall young man, and I gave up
that necessary part of his education.

It was about this time that I raised the company which was to serve
in America; and my enemies in the country (and since my victory over
the Tiptoffs I scarce need say I had many of them) began to
propagate the most shameful reports regarding my conduct to that
precious young scapegrace my stepson, and to insinuate that I
actually wished to get rid of him. Thus my loyalty to my Sovereign
was actually construed into a horrid unnatural attempt on my part on
Bullingdon's life; and it was said that I had raised the American
corps for the sole purpose of getting the young Viscount to command
it, and so of getting rid of him. I am not sure that they had not
fixed upon the name of the very man in the company who was ordered
to despatch him at the first general action, and the bribe I was to
give him for this delicate piece of service.

But the truth is, I was of opinion then (and though the fulfilment
of my prophecy has been delayed, yet I make no doubt it will be
brought to pass ere long), that my Lord Bullingdon needed none of MY
aid in sending him into the other world; but had a happy knack of
finding the way thither himself, which he would be sure to pursue.
In truth, he began upon this way early: of all the violent, daring,
disobedient scapegraces that ever caused an affectionate parent
pain, he was certainly the most incorrigible; there was no beating
him, or coaxing him, or taming him.

For instance, with my little son, when his governor brought him into
the room as we were over the bottle after dinner, my Lord would
begin his violent and undutiful sarcasms at me.

'Dear child,' he would say, beginning to caress and fondle him,
'what a pity it is I am not dead for thy sake! The Lyndons would
then have a worthier representative, and enjoy all the benefit of
the illustrious blood of the Barrys of Barryogue; would they not,
Mr. Barry Lyndon?' He always chose the days when company, or the
clergy or gentry of the neighbourhood, were present, to make these
insolent speeches to me.

Another day (it was Bryan's birthday) we were giving a grand ball
and gala at Hackton, and it was time for my little Bryan to make his
appearance among us, as he usually did in the smartest little court-
suit you ever saw (ah me! but it brings tears into my old eyes now
to think of the bright looks of that darling little face). There was
a great crowding and tittering when the child came in, led by his
half-brother, who walked into the dancing-room (would you believe
it?) in his stocking-feet, leading little Bryan by the hand,
paddling about in the great shoes of the elder! 'Don't you think he
fits my shoes very well, Sir Richard Wargrave?' says the young
reprobate: upon which the company began to look at each other and to
titter; and his mother, coming up to Lord Bullingdon with great
dignity, seized the child to her breast, and said, 'From the manner
in which I love this child, my Lord, you ought to know how I would
have loved his elder brother had he proved worthy of any mother's
affection!' and, bursting into tears, Lady Lyndon left the
apartment, and the young lord rather discomfited for once.

At last, on one occasion, his behaviour to me was so outrageous (it
was in the hunting-field and in a large public company), that I lost
all patience, rode at the urchin straight, wrenched him out of his
saddle with all my force, and, flinging him roughly to the ground,
sprang down to it myself, and administered such a correction across
the young caitiff's head and shoulders with my horsewhip as might
have ended in his death, had I not been restrained in time; for my
passion was up, and I was in a state to do murder or any other
crime. The lad was taken home and put to bed, where he lay for a day
or two in a fever, as much from rage and vexation as from the
chastisement I had given him; and three days afterwards, on sending
to inquire at his chamber whether he would join the family at table,
a note was found on his table, and his bed was empty and cold. The
young villain had fled, and had the audacity to write in the
following terms regarding me to my wife, his mother:--

'Madam,' he said, 'I have borne as long as mortal could endure the
ill-treatment of the insolent Irish upstart whom you have taken to
your bed. It is not only the lowness of his birth and the general
brutality of his manners which disgust me, and must make me hate him
so long as I have the honour to bear the name of Lyndon, which he is
unworthy of, but the shameful nature of his conduct towards your
Ladyship; his brutal and ungentlemanlike behaviour, his open
infidelity, his habits of extravagance, intoxication, his shameless
robberies and swindling of my property and yours. It is these
insults to you which shock and annoy me, more than the ruffian's
infamous conduct to myself. I would have stood by your Ladyship as I
promised, but you seem to have taken latterly your husband's part;
and, as I cannot personally chastise this low-bred ruffian, who, to
our shame be it spoken, is the husband of my mother; and as I cannot
bear to witness his treatment of you, and loathe his horrible
society as if it were the plague, I am determined to quit my native
country: at least during his detested life, or during my own. I
possess a small income from my father, of which I have no doubt Mr.
Barry will cheat me if he can; but which, if your Ladyship has some
feelings of a mother left, you will, perhaps, award to me. Messrs.
Childs, the bankers, can have orders to pay it to me when due; if
they receive no such orders, I shall be not in the least surprised,
knowing you to be in the hands of a villain who would not scruple to
rob on the highway; and shall try to find out some way in life for
myself more honourable than that by which the penniless Irish
adventurer has arrived to turn me out of my rights and home.'

This mad epistle was signed 'Bullingdon,' and all the neighbours
vowed that I had been privy to his flight, and would profit by it;
though I declare on my honour my true and sincere desire, after
reading the above infamous letter, was to have the author within a
good arm's length of me, that I might let him know my opinion
regarding him. But there was no eradicating this idea from people's
minds, who insisted that I wanted to kill Bullingdon; whereas
murder, as I have said, was never one of my evil qualities: and even
had I wished to injure my young enemy ever so much, common prudence
would have made my mind easy, as I knew he was going to ruin his own

It was long before we heard of the fate of the audacious young
truant; but after some fifteen months had elapsed, I had the
pleasure of being able to refute some of the murderous calumnies
which had been uttered against me, by producing a bill with
Bullingdon's own signature, drawn from General Tarleton's army in
America, where my company was conducting itself with the greatest
glory, and with which my Lord was serving as a volunteer. There were
some of my kind friends who persisted still in attributing all sorts
of wicked intentions to me. Lord Tiptoff would never believe that I
would pay any bill, much more any bill of Lord Bullingdon's; old
Lady Betty Grimsby, his sister, persisted in declaring the bill was
a forgery, and the poor dear lord dead; until there came a letter to
her Ladyship from Lord Bullingdon himself, who had been at New York
at headquarters, and who described at length the splendid festival
given by the officers of the garrison to our distinguished
chieftains, the two Howes.

In the meanwhile, if I HAD murdered my Lord, I could scarcely have
been received with more shameful obloquy and slander than now
followed me in town and country. 'You will hear of the lad's death,
be sure,' exclaimed one of my friends. 'And then his wife's will
follow,' added another. 'He will marry Jenny Jones,' added a third;
and so on. Lavender brought me the news of these scandals about me:
the country was up against me. The farmers on market-days used to
touch their hats sulkily, and get out of my way; the gentlemen who
followed my hunt now suddenly seceded from it, and left off my
uniform; at the county ball, where I led out Lady Susan Capermore,
and took my place third in the dance after the duke and the marquis,
as was my wont, all the couples turned away as we came to them, and
we were left to dance alone. Sukey Capermore has a love of dancing
which would make her dance at a funeral if anybody asked her, and I
had too much spirit to give in at this signal instance of insult
towards me; so we danced with some of the very commonest low people
at the bottom of the set--your apothecaries, wine-merchants,
attorneys, and such scum as are allowed to attend our public

The bishop, my Lady Lyndon's relative, neglected to invite us to the
palace at the assizes; and, in a word, every indignity was put upon
me which could by possibility be heaped upon an innocent and
honourable gentleman.

My reception in London, whither I now carried my wife and family,
was scarcely more cordial. On paying my respects to my Sovereign at
St. James's, His Majesty pointedly asked me when I had news of Lord
Bullingdon. On which I replied, with no ordinary presence of mind,
'Sir, my Lord Bullingdon is fighting the rebels against your
Majesty's crown in America. Does your Majesty desire that I should
send another regiment to aid him?' On which the King turned on his
heel, and I made my bow out of the presence-chamber. When Lady
Lyndon kissed the Queen's hand at the drawing-room, I found that
precisely the same question had been put to her Ladyship; and she
came home much agitated at the rebuke which had been administered to
her. Thus it was that my loyalty was rewarded, and my sacrifice, in
favour of my country, viewed! I took away my establishment abruptly
to Paris, where I met with a very different reception: but my stay
amidst the enchanting pleasures of that capital was extremely short;
for the French Government, which had been long tampering with the
American rebels, now openly acknowledged the independence of the
United States. A declaration of war ensued: all we happy English
were ordered away from Paris; and I think I left one or two fair
ladies there inconsolable. It is the only place where a gentleman
can live as he likes without being incommoded by his wife. The
Countess and I, during our stay, scarcely saw each other except upon
public occasions, at Versailles, or at the Queen's play-table; and
our dear little Bryan advanced in a thousand elegant accomplishments
which rendered him the delight of all who knew him.

I must not forget to mention here my last interview with my good
uncle, the Chevalier de Ballybarry, whom I left at Brussels with
strong intentions of making his salut, as the phrase is, and who had
gone into retirement at a convent there. Since then he had come into
the world again, much to his annoyance and repentance; having fallen
desperately in love in his old age with a French actress, who had
done, as most ladies of her character do,--ruined him, left him, and
laughed at him. His repentance was very edifying. Under the guidance
of Messieurs of the Irish College, he once more turned his thoughts
towards religion; and his only prayer to me when I saw him and asked
in what I could relieve him, was to pay a handsome fee to the
convent into which he proposed to enter.

This I could not, of course, do: my religious principles forbidding
me to encourage superstition in any way; and the old gentleman and I
parted rather coolly, in consequence of my refusal, as he said, to
make his old days comfortable.

I was very poor at the time, that is the fact; and entre nous, the
Rosemont of the French Opera, an indifferent dancer, but a charming
figure and ankle, was ruining me in diamonds, equipages, and
furniture bills, added to which I had a run of ill-luck at play, and
was forced to meet my losses by the most shameful sacrifices to the
money-lenders, by pawning part of Lady Lyndon's diamonds (that
graceless little Rosemont wheedled me out of some of them), and by a
thousand other schemes for raising money. But when Honour is in the
case, was I ever found backward at her call: and what man can say
that Barry Lyndon lost a bet which he did not pay?

As for my ambitious hopes regarding the Irish peerage, I began, on
my return, to find out that I had been led wildly astray by that
rascal Lord Crabs; who liked to take my money, but had no more
influence to get me a coronet than to procure for me the Pope's
tiara. The Sovereign was not a whit more gracious to me on returning
from the Continent than he had been before my departure; and I had
it from one of the aides-de-camp of the Royal Dukes his brothers,
that my conduct and amusements at Paris had been odiously
misrepresented by some spies there, and had formed the subject of
Royal comment; and that the King had, influenced by these calumnies,
actually said I was the most disreputable man in the three kingdoms.
I disreputable! I a dishonour to my name and country! When I heard
these falsehoods, I was in such a rage that I went off to Lord North
at once to remonstrate with the Minister; to insist upon being
allowed to appear before His Majesty and clear myself of the
imputations against me, to point out my services to the Government
in voting with them, and to ask when the reward that had been
promised to me--viz., the title held by my ancestors--was again to
be revived in my person?

There was a sleepy coolness in that fat Lord North which was the
most provoking thing that the Opposition had ever to encounter from
him. He heard me with half-shut eyes. When I had finished a long
violent speech--which I made striding about his room in Downing
Street, and gesticulating with all the energy of an Irishman--he
opened one eye, smiled, and asked me gently if I had done. On my
replying in the affirmative, he said, 'Well, Mr. Barry, I'll answer
you, point by point. The King is exceedingly averse to make peers,
as you know. Your claims, as you call them, HAVE been laid before
him, and His Majesty's gracious reply was, that you were the most
impudent man in his dominions, and merited a halter rather than a
coronet. As for withdrawing your support from us, you are perfectly
welcome to carry yourself and your vote whithersoever you please.
And now, as I have a great deal of occupation, perhaps you will do
me the favour to retire.' So saying, he raised his hand lazily to
the bell, and bowed me out; asking blandly if there was any other
thing in the world in which he could oblige me.

I went home in a fury which can't be described; and having Lord
Crabs to dinner that day, assailed his Lordship by pulling his wig
off his head, and smothering it in his face, and by attacking him in
that part of the person where, according to report, he had been
formerly assaulted by Majesty. The whole story was over the town the
next day, and pictures of me were hanging in the clubs and print-
shops performing the operation alluded to. All the town laughed at
the picture of the lord and the Irishman, and, I need not say,
recognised both. As for me, I was one of the most celebrated
characters in London in those days: my dress, style, and equipage
being as well known as those of any leader of the fashion; and my
popularity, if not great in the highest quarters, was at least
considerable elsewhere. The people cheered me in the Gordon rows, at
the time they nearly killed my friend Jemmy Twitcher and burned Lord
Mansfield's house down. Indeed, I was known as a staunch Protestant,
and after my quarrel with Lord North veered right round to the
Opposition, and vexed him with all the means in my power.

These were not, unluckily, very great, for I was a bad speaker, and
the House would not listen to me, and presently, in 1780, after the
Gordon disturbance, was dissolved, when a general election took
place. It came on me, as all my mishaps were in the habit of coming,
at a most unlucky time. I was obliged to raise more money, at most
ruinous rates, to face the confounded election, and had the Tiptoffs
against me in the field more active and virulent than ever.

My blood boils even now when I think of the rascally conduct of my
enemies in that scoundrelly election. I was held up as the Irish
Bluebeard, and libels of me were printed, and gross caricatures
drawn representing me flogging Lady Lyndon, whipping Lord
Bullingdon, turning him out of doors in a storm, and I know not
what. There were pictures of a pauper cabin in Ireland, from which
it was pretended I came; others in which I was represented as a
lacquey and shoeblack. A flood of calumny was let loose upon me, in
which any man of less spirit would have gone down.

But though I met my accusers boldly, though I lavished sums of money
in the election, though I flung open Hackton Hall and kept champagne
and Burgundy running there, and at all my inns in the town, as
commonly as water, the election went against me. The rascally gentry
had all turned upon me and joined the Tiptoff faction: it was even
represented that I held my wife by force; and though I sent her into
the town alone, wearing my colours, with Bryan in her lap, and made
her visit the mayor's lady and the chief women there, nothing would
persuade the people but that she lived in fear and trembling of me;
and the brutal mob had the insolence to ask her why she dared to go
back, and how she liked horsewhip for supper.

I was thrown out of my election, and all the bills came down upon me
together--all the bills I had been contracting during the years of
my marriage, which the creditors, with a rascally unanimity, sent in
until they lay upon my table in heaps. I won't cite their amount: it
was frightful. My stewards and lawyers made matters worse. I was
bound up in an inextricable toil of bills and debts, of mortgages
and insurances, and all the horrible evils attendant upon them.
Lawyers upon lawyers posted down from London; composition after
composition was made, and Lady Lyndon's income hampered almost
irretrievably to satisfy these cormorants. To do her justice, she
behaved with tolerable kindness at this season of trouble; for
whenever I wanted money I had to coax her, and whenever I coaxed her
I was sure of bringing this weak and light-minded woman to good-
humour: who was of such a weak terrified nature, that to secure an
easy week with me she would sign away a thousand a year. And when my
troubles began at Hackton, and I determined on the only chance left,
viz. to retire to Ireland and retrench, assigning over the best part
of my income to the creditors until their demands were met, my Lady
was quite cheerful at the idea of going, and said, if we would be
quiet, she had no doubt all would be well; indeed, was glad to
undergo the comparative poverty in which we must now live for the
sake of the retirement and the chance of domestic quiet which she
hoped to enjoy.

We went off to Bristol pretty suddenly, leaving the odious and
ungrateful wretches at Hackton to vilify us, no doubt, in our
absence. My stud and hounds were sold off immediately; the harpies
would have been glad to pounce upon my person; but that was out of
their power. I had raised, by cleverness and management, to the full
as much on my mines and private estates as they were worth; so the
scoundrels were disappointed in THIS instance; and as for the plate
and property in the London house, they could not touch that, as it
was the property of the heirs of the house of Lyndon.

I passed over to Ireland, then, and took up my abode at Castle
Lyndon for a while; all the world imagining that I was an utterly
ruined man, and that the famous and dashing Barry Lyndon would never
again appear in the circles of which he had been an ornament. But it
was not so. In the midst of my perplexities, Fortune reserved a
great consolation for me still. Despatches came home from America
announcing Lord Cornwallis's defeat of General Gates in Carolina,
and the death of Lord Bullingdon, who was present as a volunteer.

For my own desires to possess a paltry Irish title I cared little.
My son was now heir to an English earldom, and I made him assume
forthwith the title of Lord Viscount Castle Lyndon, the third of the
family titles. My mother went almost mad with joy at saluting her
grandson as 'my Lord,' and I felt that all my sufferings and
privations were repaid by seeing this darling child advanced to such
a post of honour.



If the world were not composed of a race of ungrateful scoundrels,
who share your prosperity while it lasts, and, even when gorged with
your venison and Burgundy, abuse the generous giver of the feast, I
am sure I merit a good name and a high reputation: in Ireland, at
least, where my generosity was unbounded, and the splendour of my
mansion and entertainments unequalled by any other nobleman of my
time. As long as my magnificence lasted, all the country was free to
partake of it; I had hunters sufficient in my stables to mount a
regiment of dragoons, and butts of wine in my cellar which would
have made whole counties drunk for years. Castle Lyndon became the
headquarters of scores of needy gentlemen, and I never rode a-
hunting but I had a dozen young fellows of the best blood of the
country riding as my squires and gentlemen of the horse. My son,
little Castle Lyndon, was a prince; his breeding and manners, even
at his early age, showed him to be worthy of the two noble families
from whom he was descended: I don't know what high hopes I had for
the boy, and indulged in a thousand fond anticipations as to his
future success and figure in the world. But stern Fate had
determined that I should leave none of my race behind me, and
ordained that I should finish my career, as I see it closing now--
poor, lonely, and childless. I may have had my faults; but no man
shall dare to say of me that I was not a good and tender father. I
loved that boy passionately; perhaps with a blind partiality: I
denied him nothing. Gladly, gladly, I swear, would I have died that
his premature doom might have been averted. I think there is not a
day since I lost him but his bright face and beautiful smiles look
down on me out of heaven, where he is, and that my heart does not
yearn towards him. That sweet child was taken from me at the age of
nine years, when he was full of beauty and promise: and so powerful
is the hold his memory has of me that I have never been able to
forget him; his little spirit haunts me of nights on my restless
solitary pillow; many a time, in the wildest and maddest company, as
the bottle is going round, and the song and laugh roaring about, I
am thinking of him. I have got a lock of his soft brown hair hanging
round my breast now: it will accompany me to the dishonoured
pauper's grave; where soon, no doubt, Barry Lyndon's worn-out old
bones will be laid.

My Bryan was a boy of amazing high spirit (indeed how, coming from
such a stock, could he be otherwise?), impatient even of my control,
against which the dear little rogue would often rebel gallantly; how
much more, then, of his mother's and the women's, whose attempts to
direct him he would laugh to scorn. Even my own mother ('Mrs. Barry
of Lyndon' the good soul now called herself, in compliment to my new
family) was quite unable to check him; and hence you may fancy what
a will he had of his own. If it had not been for that, he might have
lived to this day: he might--but why repine? Is he not in a better
place? would the heritage of a beggar do any service to him? It is
best as it is--Heaven be good to us!--Alas! that I, his father,
should be left to deplore him.

It was in the month of October I had been to Dublin, in order to see
a lawyer and a moneyed man who had come over to Ireland to consult
with me about some sales of mine and the cut of Hackton timber; of
which, as I hated the place and was greatly in want of money, I was
determined to cut down every stick. There had been some difficulty
in the matter. It was said I had no right to touch the timber. The
brute peasantry about the estate had been roused to such a pitch of
hatred against me, that the rascals actually refused to lay an axe
to the trees; and my agent (that scoundrel Larkins) declared that
his life was in danger among them if he attempted any further
despoilment (as they called it) of the property. Every article of
the splendid furniture was sold by this time, as I need not say; and
as for the plate, I had taken good care to bring it off to Ireland,
where it now was in the best of keeping--my banker's, who had
advanced six thousand pounds on it: which sum I soon had occasion

I went to Dublin, then, to meet the English man of business; and so
far succeeded in persuading Mr. Splint, a great shipbuilder and
timber-dealer of Plymouth, of my claim to the Hackton timber, that
he agreed to purchase it off-hand at about one-third of its value,
and handed me over five thousand pounds: which, being pressed with
debts at the time, I was fain to accept. HE had no difficulty in
getting down the wood, I warrant. He took a regiment of shipwrights
and sawyers from his own and the King's yards at Plymouth, and in
two months Hackton Park was as bare of trees as the Bog of Allen.

I had but ill luck with that accursed expedition and money. I lost
the greater part of it in two nights' play at 'Daly's,' so that my
debts stood just as they were before; and before the vessel sailed
for Holyhead, which carried away my old sharper of a timber-
merchant, all that I had left of the money he brought me was a
couple of hundred pounds, with which I returned home very
disconsolately: and very suddenly, too, for my Dublin tradesmen were
hot upon me, hearing I had spent the loan, and two of my wine-
merchants had writs out against me for some thousands of pounds.

I bought in Dublin, according to my promise, however--for when I
give a promise I will keep it at any sacrifices--a little horse for
my dear little Bryan; which was to be a present for his tenth
birthday, that was now coming on: it was a beautiful little animal
and stood me in a good sum. I never regarded money for that dear
child. But the horse was very wild. He kicked off one of my horse-
boys, who rode him at first, and broke the lad's leg; and, though I
took the animal in hand on the journey home, it was only my weight
and skill that made the brute quiet.

When we got home I sent the horse away with one of my grooms to a
farmer's house, to break him thoroughly in, and told Bryan, who was
all anxiety to see his little horse, that he would arrive by his
birthday, when he should hunt him along with my hounds; and I
promised myself no small pleasure in presenting the dear fellow to
the field that day: which I hoped to see him lead some time or other
in place of his fond father. Ah me! never was that gallant boy to
ride a fox-chase, or to take the place amongst the gentry of his
country which his birth and genius had pointed out for him!

Though I don't believe in dreams and omens, yet I can't but own that
when a great calamity is hanging over a man he has frequently many
strange and awful forebodings of it. I fancy now I had many. Lady
Lyndon, especially, twice dreamed of her son's death; but, as she
was now grown uncommonly nervous and vapourish, I treated her fears
with scorn, and my own, of course, too. And in an unguarded moment,
over the bottle after dinner, I told poor Bryan, who was always
questioning me about the little horse, and when it was to come, that
it was arrived; that it was in Doolan's farm, where Mick the groom
was breaking him in. 'Promise me, Bryan,' screamed his mother, 'that
you will not ride the horse except in company of your father.' But I
only said, 'Pooh, madam, you are an ass!' being angry at her silly
timidity, which was always showing itself in a thousand disagreeable
ways now; and, turning round to Bryan, said, 'I promise your
Lordship a good flogging if you mount him without my leave.'

I suppose the poor child did not care about paying this penalty for
the pleasure he was to have, or possibly thought a fond father would
remit the punishment altogether; for the next morning, when I rose
rather late, having sat up drinking the night before, I found the
child had been off at daybreak, having slipt through his tutor's
room (this was Redmond Quin, our cousin, whom I had taken to live
with me), and I had no doubt but that he was gone to Doolan's farm.

I took a great horsewhip and galloped off after him in a rage,
swearing I would keep my promise. But, Heaven forgive me! I little
thought of it when at three miles from home I met a sad procession
coming towards me: peasants moaning and howling as our Irish do, the
black horse led by the hand, and, on a door that some of the folk
carried, my poor dear dear little boy. There he lay in his little
boots and spurs, and his little coat of scarlet and gold. His dear
face was quite white, and he smiled as he held a hand out to me, and
said painfully, 'You won't whip me, will you, papa?' I could only
burst out into tears in reply. I have seen many and many a man
dying, and there's a look about the eyes which you cannot mistake.
There was a little drummer-boy I was fond of who was hit down before
my company at Kuhnersdorf; when I ran up to give him some water, he
looked exactly like my dear Bryan then did--there's no mistaking
that awful look of the eyes. We carried him home and scoured the
country round for doctors to come and look at his hurt.

But what does a doctor avail in a contest with the grim invincible
enemy? Such as came could only confirm our despair by their account
of the poor child's case. He had mounted his horse gallantly, sat
him bravely all the time the animal plunged and kicked, and, having
overcome his first spite, ran him at a hedge by the roadside. But
there were loose stones at the top, and the horse's foot caught
among them, and he and his brave little rider rolled over together
at the other side. The people said they saw the noble little boy
spring up after his fall and run to catch the horse; which had
broken away from him, kicking him on the back, as it would seem, as
they lay on the ground. Poor Bryan ran a few yards and then dropped
down as if shot. A pallor came over his face, and they thought he
was dead. But they poured whisky down his mouth, and the poor child
revived: still he could not move; his spine was injured; the lower
half of him was dead when they laid him in bed at home. The rest did
not last long, God help me! He remained yet for two days with us;
and a sad comfort it was to think he was in no pain.

During this time the dear angel's temper seemed quite to change: he
asked his mother and me pardon for any act of disobedience he had
been guilty of towards us; he said often he should like to see his
brother Bullingdon. 'Bully was better than you, papa,' he said; 'he
used not to swear so, and he told and taught me many good things
while you were away.' And, taking a hand of his mother and mine in
each of his little clammy ones, he begged us not to quarrel so, but
love each other, so that we might meet again in heaven, where Bully
told him quarrelsome people never went. His mother was very much
affected by these admonitions from the poor suffering angel's mouth;
and I was so too. I wish she had enabled me to keep the counsel
which the dying boy gave us.

At last, after two days, he died. There he lay, the hope of my
family, the pride of my manhood, the link which had kept me and my
Lady Lyndon together. 'Oh, Redmond,' said she, kneeling by the sweet
child's body, 'do, do let us listen to the truth out of his blessed
mouth: and do you amend your life, and treat your poor loving fond
wife as her dying child bade you.' And I said I would: but there are
promises which it is out of a man's power to keep; especially with
such a woman as her. But we drew together after that sad event, and
were for several months better friends.

I won't tell you with what splendour we buried him. Of what avail
are undertakers' feathers and heralds' trumpery? I went out and shot
the fatal black horse that had killed him, at the door of the vault
where we laid my boy. I was so wild, that I could have shot myself
too. But for the crime, it would have been better that I should,
perhaps; for what has my life been since that sweet flower was taken
out of my bosom? A succession of miseries, wrongs, disasters, and
mental and bodily sufferings which never fell to the lot of any
other man in Christendom.

Lady Lyndon, always vapourish and nervous, after our blessed boy's
catastrophe became more agitated than ever, and plunged into
devotion with so much fervour, that you would have fancied her
almost distracted at times. She imagined she saw visions. She said
an angel from heaven had told her that Bryan's death was as a
punishment to her for her neglect of her first-born. Then she would
declare Bullingdon was alive; she had seen him in a dream. Then
again she would fall into fits of sorrow about his death, and grieve
for him as violently as if he had been the last of her sons who had
died, and not our darling Bryan; who, compared to Bullingdon, was
what a diamond is to a vulgar stone. Her freaks were painful to
witness, and difficult to control. It began to be said in the
country that the Countess was going mad. My scoundrelly enemies did
not fail to confirm and magnify the rumour, and would add that I was
the cause of her insanity: I had driven her to distraction, I had
killed Bullingdon, I had murdered my own son; I don't know what else
they laid to my charge. Even in Ireland their hateful calumnies
reached me: my friends fell away from me. They began to desert my
hunt, as they did in England, and when I went to race or market
found sudden reasons for getting out of my neighbourhood. I got the
name of Wicked Barry, Devil Lyndon, which you please: the country-
folk used to make marvellous legends about me: the priests said I
had massacred I don't know how many German nuns in the Seven Years'
War; that the ghost of the murdered Bullingdon haunted my house.
Once at a fair in a town hard by, when I had a mind to buy a
waistcoat for one of my people, a fellow standing by said, ''Tis a
strait-waistcoat he's buying for my Lady Lyndon.' And from this
circumstance arose a legend of my cruelty to my wife; and many
circumstantial details were narrated regarding my manner and
ingenuity of torturing her.

The loss of my dear boy pressed not only on my heart as a father,
but injured my individual interests in a very considerable degree;
for as there was now no direct heir to the estate, and Lady Lyndon
was of a weak health, and supposed to be quite unlikely to leave a
family, the next in succession-that detestable family of Tiptoff--
began to exert themselves in a hundred ways to annoy me, and were at
the head of the party of enemies who were raising reports to my
discredit. They interposed between me and my management of the
property in a hundred different ways; making an outcry if I cut a
stick, sunk a shaft, sold a picture, or sent a few ounces of plate
to be remodelled. They harassed me with ceaseless lawsuits, got
injunctions from Chancery, hampered my agents in the execution of
their work; so much so that you would have fancied my own was not my
own, but theirs, to do as they liked with. What is worse, as I have
reason to believe, they had tamperings and dealings with my own
domestics under my own roof; for I could not have a word with Lady
Lyndon but it somehow got abroad, and I could not be drunk with my
chaplain and friends but some sanctified rascals would get hold of
the news, and reckon up all the bottles I drank and all the oaths I
swore. That these were not few, I acknowledge. I am of the old
school; was always a free liver and speaker; and, at least, if I did
and said what I liked, was not so bad as many a canting scoundrel I
know of who covers his foibles and sins, unsuspected, with a mask of
holiness. As I am making a clean breast of it, and am no hypocrite,
I may as well confess now that I endeavoured to ward off the devices
of my enemies by an artifice which was not, perhaps, strictly
justifiable. Everything depended on my having an heir to the estate;
for if Lady Lyndon, who was of weakly health, had died, the next day
I was a beggar: all my sacrifices of money, &c., on the estate would
not have been held in a farthing's account; all the debts would have
been left on my shoulders; and my enemies would have triumphed over
me: which, to a man of my honourable spirit, was 'the unkindest cut
of all,' as some poet says.

I confess, then, it was my wish to supplant these scoundrels; and,
as I could not do so without an heir to my property, _I_ DETERMINED
TO FIND ONE. If I had him near at hand, and of my own blood too,
though with the bar sinister, is not here the question. It was then
I found out the rascally machinations of my enemies; for, having
broached this plan to Lady Lyndon, whom I made to be, outwardly at
least, the most obedient of wives,--although I never let a letter
from her or to her go or arrive without my inspection,--although I
allowed her to see none but those persons who I thought, in her
delicate health, would be fitting society for her; yet the infernal
Tiptoffs got wind of my scheme, protested instantly against it, not
only by letter, but in the shameful libellous public prints, and
held me up to public odium as a 'child-forger,' as they called me.
Of course I denied the charge--I could do no otherwise, and offered
to meet any one of the Tiptoffs on the field of honour, and prove
him a scoundrel and a liar: as he was; though, perhaps, not in this
instance. But they contented themselves by answering me by a lawyer,
and declined an invitation which any man of spirit would have
accepted. My hopes of having an heir were thus blighted completely:
indeed, Lady Lyndon (though, as I have said, I take her opposition
for nothing) had resisted the proposal with as much energy as a
woman of her weakness could manifest; and said she had committed one
great crime in consequence of me, but would rather die than perform
another. I could easily have brought her Ladyship to her senses,
however: but my scheme had taken wind, and it was now in vain to
attempt it. We might have had a dozen children in honest wedlock,
and people would have said they were false.

As for raising money on annuities, I may say I had used her life
interest up. There were but few of those assurance societies in my
time which have since sprung up in the city of London; underwriters
did the business, and my wife's life was as well known among them
as, I do believe, that of any woman in Christendom. Latterly, when I
wanted to get a sum against her life, the rascals had the impudence
to say my treatment of her did not render it worth a year's
purchase,--as if my interest lay in killing her! Had my boy lived,
it would have been a different thing; he and his mother might have
cut off the entail of a good part of the property between them, and
my affairs have been put in better order. Now they were in a bad
condition indeed. All my schemes had turned out failures; my lands,
which I had purchased with borrowed money, made me no return, and I
was obliged to pay ruinous interest for the sums with which I had
purchased them. My income, though very large, was saddled with
hundreds of annuities, and thousands of lawyers' charges; and I felt
the net drawing closer and closer round me, and no means to
extricate myself from its toils.

To add to all my perplexities, two years after my poor child's
death, my wife, whose vagaries of temper and wayward follies I had
borne with for twelve years, wanted to leave me, and absolutely made
attempts at what she called escaping from my tyranny.

My mother, who was the only person that, in my misfortunes, remained
faithful to me (indeed, she has always spoken of me in my true
light, as a martyr to the rascality of others and a victim of my own
generous and confiding temper), found out the first scheme that was
going on; and of which those artful and malicious Tiptoffs were, as
usual, the main promoters. Mrs. Barry, indeed, though her temper was
violent and her ways singular, was an invaluable person to me in my
house; which would have been at rack and ruin long before, but for
her spirit of order and management, and for her excellent economy in
the government of my numerous family. As for my Lady Lyndon, she,
poor soul! was much too fine a lady to attend to household matters--
passed her days with her doctor, or her books of piety, and never
appeared among us except at my compulsion; when she and my mother
would be sure to have a quarrel.

Mrs. Barry, on the contrary, had a talent for management in all
matters. She kept the maids stirring, and the footmen to their duty;
had an eye over the claret in the cellar, and the oats and hay in
the stable; saw to the salting and pickling, the potatoes and the
turf-stacking, the pig-killing and the poultry, the linen-room and
the bakehouse, and the ten thousand minutiae of a great
establishment. If all Irish housewives were like her, I warrant many
a hall-fire would be blazing where the cobwebs only grow now, and
many a park covered with sheep and fat cattle where the thistles are
at present the chief occupiers. If anything could have saved me from
the consequences of villainy in others, and (I confess it, for I am
not above owning to my faults) my own too easy, generous, and
careless nature, it would have been the admirable prudence of that
worthy creature. She never went to bed until all the house was quiet
and all the candles out; and you may fancy that this was a matter of
some difficulty with a man of my habits, who had commonly a dozen of
jovial fellows (artful scoundrels and false friends most of them
were!) to drink with me every night, and who seldom, for my part,
went to bed sober. Many and many a night, when I was unconscious of
her attention, has that good soul pulled my boots off, and seen me
laid by my servants snug in bed, and carried off the candle herself;
and been the first in the morning, too, to bring me my drink of
small-beer. Mine were no milksop times, I can tell you. A gentleman
thought no shame of taking his half-dozen bottles; and, as for your
coffee and slops, they were left to Lady Lyndon, her doctor, and the
other old women. It was my mother's pride that I could drink more
than any man in the country,--as much, within a pint, as my father
before me, she said.

That Lady Lyndon should detest her was quite natural. She is not the
first of woman or mankind either that has hated a mother-in-law. I
set my mother to keep a sharp watch over the freaks of her Ladyship;
and this, you may be sure, was one of the reasons why the latter
disliked her. I never minded that, however. Mrs. Barry's assistance
and surveillance were invaluable to me; and, if I had paid twenty
spies to watch my Lady, I should not have been half so well served
as by the disinterested care and watchfulness of my excellent
mother. She slept with the house-keys under her pillow, and had an
eye everywhere. She followed all the Countess's movements like a
shadow; she managed to know, from morning to night, everything that
my Lady did. If she walked in the garden, a watchful eye was kept on
the wicket; and if she chose to drive out, Mrs. Barry accompanied
her, and a couple of fellows in my liveries rode alongside of the
carriage to see that she came to no harm. Though she objected, and
would have kept her room in sullen silence, I made a point that we
should appear together at church in the coach-and-six every Sunday;
and that she should attend the race-balls in my company, whenever
the coast was clear of the rascally bailiffs who beset me. This gave
the lie to any of those maligners who said I wished to make a
prisoner of my wife. The fact is, that, knowing her levity, and
seeing the insane dislike to me and mine which had now begun to
supersede what, perhaps, had been an equally insane fondness for me,
I was bound to be on my guard that she should not give me the slip.
Had she left me, I was ruined the next day. This (which my mother
knew) compelled us to keep a tight watch over her; but as for
imprisoning her, I repel the imputation with scorn. Every man
imprisons his wife to a certain degree; the world would be in a
pretty condition if women were allowed to quit home and return to it
whenever they had a mind. In watching over my wife, Lady Lyndon, I
did no more than exercise the legitimate authority which awards
honour and obedience to every husband.

Such, however, is female artifice, that, in spite of all my
watchfulness in guarding her, it is probable my Lady would have
given me the slip, had I not had quite as acute a person as herself
as my ally: for, as the proverb says that 'the best way to catch one
thief is to set another after him,' so the best way to get the
better of a woman is to engage one of her own artful sex to guard
her. One would have thought that, followed as she was, all her
letters read, and all her acquaintances strictly watched by me,
living in a remote part of Ireland away from her family, Lady Lyndon
could have had no chance of communicating with her allies, or of
making her wrongs, as she was pleased to call them, public; and yet,
for a while, she carried on a correspondence under my very nose, and
acutely organised a conspiracy for flying from me; as shall be told.

She always had an inordinate passion for dress, and, as she was
never thwarted in any whimsey she had of this kind (for I spared no
money to gratify her, and among my debts are milliners' bills to the
amount of many thousands), boxes used to pass continually to and fro
from Dublin, with all sorts of dresses, caps, flounces, and
furbelows, as her fancy dictated. With these would come letters from
her milliner, in answer to numerous similar injunctions from my
Lady; all of which passed through my hands, without the least
suspicion, for some time. And yet in these very papers, by the easy
means of sympathetic ink, were contained all her Ladyship's
correspondence; and Heaven knows (for it was some time, as I have
said, before I discovered the trick) what charges against me.

But clever Mrs. Barry found out that always before my lady-wife
chose to write letters to her milliner, she had need of lemons to
make her drink, as she said; this fact, being mentioned to me, set
me a-thinking, and so I tried one of the letters before the fire,
and the whole scheme of villainy was brought to light. I will give a
specimen of one of the horrid artful letters of this unhappy woman.
In a great hand, with wide lines, were written a set of directions
to her mantua-maker, setting forth the articles of dress for which
my Lady had need, the peculiarity of their make, the stuff she
selected, &c. She would make out long lists in this way, writing
each article in a separate line, so as to have more space for
detailing all my cruelties and her tremendous wrongs. Between these
lines she kept the journal of her captivity: it would have made the
fortune of a romance-writer in those days but to have got a copy of
it, and to have published it under the title of the 'Lovely
Prisoner, or the Savage Husband,' or by some name equally taking and
absurd. The journal would be as follows:--

. . . . . . .

'MONDAY.--Yesterday I was made to go to church. My odious,
and red ribands, taking the first place in the coach; Mr. L. riding
by its side, on the horse he never paid for to Captain Hurdlestone.
The wicked hypocrite led me to the pew, with hat in hand and a
smiling countenance, and kissed my hand as I entered the coach after
service, and patted my Italian greyhound--all that the few people
collected might see. He made me come downstairs in the evening to
make tea for his company; of whom three-fourths, he himself
included, were, as usual, drunk. They painted the parson's face
black, when his reverence had arrived at his seventh bottle; and at
his usual insensible stage, they tied him on the grey mare with his
face to the tail. The she-dragon read the "Whole Duty of Man" all
the evening till bedtime; when she saw me to my apartments, locked
me in, and proceeded to wait upon her abominable son: whom she
adores for his wickedness, I should think, AS STYCORAX DID CALIBAN.'

. . . . . . .

You should have seen my mother's fury as I read her out this
passage! Indeed, I have always had a taste for a joke (that
practised on the parson, as described above, is, I confess, a true
bill), and used carefully to select for Mrs. Barry's hearing all the
COMPLIMENTS that Lady Lyndon passed upon her. The dragon was the
name by which she was known in this precious correspondence: or
sometimes she was designated by the title of the 'Irish Witch.' As
for me, I was denominated 'my gaoler,' 'my tyrant,' 'the dark spirit
which has obtained the mastery over my being,' and so on; in terms
always complimentary to my power, however little they might be so to
my amiability. Here is another extract from her 'Prison Diary,' by
which it will be seen that my Lady, although she pretended to be so
indifferent to my goings on, had a sharp woman's eye, and could be
as jealous as another:--

. . . . . . .

'WEDNESDAY.--This day two years my last hope and pleasure in life
was taken from me, and my dear child was called to heaven. Has he
joined his neglected brother there, whom I suffered to grow up
unheeded by my side: and whom the tyranny of the monster to whom I
am united drove to exile, and perhaps to death? Or is the child
alive, as my fond heart sometimes deems? Charles Bullingdon! come to
the aid of a wretched mother, who acknowledges her crimes, her
coldness towards thee, and now bitterly pays for her error! But no,
he cannot live! I am distracted! My only hope is in you, my cousin--
you whom I had once thought to salute by a STILL FONDER TITLE, my
dear George Poynings! Oh, be my knight and my preserver, the true
chivalric being thou ever wert, and rescue me from the thrall of the
felon caitiff who holds me captive--rescue me from him, and from
Stycorax, the vile Irish witch, his mother!'

(Here follow some verses, such as her Ladyship was in the habit of
composing by reams, in which she compares herself to Sabra, in the
'Seven Champions,' and beseeches her George to rescue her from THE
DRAGON, meaning Mrs. Barry. I omit the lines, and proceed:)--

'Even my poor child, who perished untimely on this sad anniversary,
the tyrant who governs me had taught to despise and dislike me.
'Twas in disobedience to my orders, my prayers, that he went on the
fatal journey. What sufferings, what humiliations have I had to
endure since then! I am a prisoner in my own halls. I should fear
poison, but that I know the wretch has a sordid interest in keeping
me alive, and that my death would be the signal for his ruin. But I
dare not stir without my odious, hideous, vulgar gaoler, the horrid
Irishwoman, who pursues my every step. I am locked into my chamber
at night, like a felon, and only suffered to leave it when ORDERED
into the presence of my lord (_I_ ordered!), to be present at his
orgies with his boon companions, and to hear his odious converse as
he lapses into the disgusting madness of intoxication! He has given
up even the semblance of constancy--he, who swore that I alone could
attach or charm him! And now he brings his vulgar mistresses before
my very eyes, and would have had me acknowledge, as heir to my own
property, his child by another!

'No, I never will submit! Thou, and thou only, my George, my early
friend, shalt be heir to the estates of Lyndon. Why did not Fate
join me to thee, instead of to the odious man who holds me under his
sway, and make the poor Calista happy?'

. . . . . . .

So the letters would run on for sheets upon sheets, in the closest
cramped handwriting; and I leave any unprejudiced reader to say
whether the writer of such documents must not have been as silly and
vain a creature as ever lived, and whether she did not want being
taken care of? I could copy out yards of rhapsody to Lord George
Poynings, her old flame, in which she addressed him by the most
affectionate names, and implored him to find a refuge for her
against her oppressors; but they would fatigue the reader to peruse,
as they would me to copy. The fact is, that this unlucky lady had
the knack of writing a great deal more than she meant. She was
always reading novels and trash; putting herself into imaginary
characters and flying off into heroics and sentimentalities with as
little heart as any woman I ever knew; yet showing the most violent
disposition to be in love. She wrote always as if she was in a flame
of passion. I have an elegy on her lap-dog, the most tender and
pathetic piece she ever wrote; and most tender notes of remonstrance
to Betty, her favourite maid; to her housekeeper, on quarrelling
with her; to half-a-dozen acquaintances, each of whom she addressed
as the dearest friend in the world, and forgot the very moment she
took up another fancy. As for her love for her children, the above
passage will show how much she was capable of true maternal feeling:
the very sentence in which she records the death of one child serves
to betray her egotisms, and to wreak her spleen against myself; and
she only wishes to recall another from the grave, in order that he
may be of some personal advantage to her. If I DID deal severely
with this woman, keeping her from her flatterers who would have bred
discord between us, and locking her up out of mischief, who shall
say that I was wrong? If any woman deserved a strait-waistcoat,--it
was my Lady Lyndon; and I have known people in my time manacled, and
with their heads shaved, in the straw, who had not committed half
the follies of that foolish, vain, infatuated creature.

My mother was so enraged by the charges against me and herself which
these letters contained, that it was with the utmost difficulty I
could keep her from discovering our knowledge of them to Lady
Lyndon; whom it was, of course, my object to keep in ignorance of
our knowledge of her designs: for I was anxious to know how far they
went, and to what pitch of artifice she would go. The letters
increased in interest (as they say of the novels) as they proceeded.
Pictures were drawn of my treatment of her which would make your
heart throb. I don't know of what monstrosities she did not accuse
me, and what miseries and starvation she did not profess herself to
undergo; all the while she was living exceedingly fat and contented,
to outward appearances, at our house at Castle Lyndon. Novel-reading
and vanity had turned her brain. I could not say a rough word to her
(and she merited many thousands a day, I can tell you), but she
declared I was putting her to the torture; and my mother could not
remonstrate with her but she went off into a fit of hysterics, of
which she would declare the worthy old lady was the cause.

At last she began to threaten to kill herself; and though I by no
means kept the cutlery out of the way, did not stint her in garters,
and left her doctor's shop at her entire service,--knowing her
character full well, and that there was no woman in Christendom less
likely to lay hands on her precious life than herself; yet these
threats had an effect, evidently, in the quarter to which they were
addressed; for the milliner's packets now began to arrive with great
frequency, and the bills sent to her contained assurances of coming
aid. The chivalrous Lord George Poynings was coming to his cousin's
rescue, and did me the compliment to say that he hoped to free his
dear cousin from the clutches of the most atrocious villain that
ever disgraced humanity; and that, when she was free, measures
should be taken for a divorce, on the ground of cruelty and every
species of ill-usage on my part.

I had copies of all these precious documents on one side and the
other carefully made, by my beforementioned relative, godson, and
secretary, Mr. Redmond Quin at present the WORTHY agent of the
Castle Lyndon property. This was a son of my old flame Nora, whom I
had taken from her in a fit of generosity; promising to care for his
education at Trinity College, and provide for him through life. But
after the lad had been for a year at the University, the tutors
would not admit him to commons or lectures until his college bills
were paid; and, offended by this insolent manner of demanding the
paltry sum due, I withdrew my patronage from the place, and ordered
my gentleman to Castle Lyndon; where I made him useful to me in a
hundred ways. In my dear little boy's lifetime, he tutored the poor
child as far as his high spirit would let him; but I promise you it
was small trouble poor dear Bryan ever gave the books. Then he kept
Mrs. Barry's accounts; copied my own interminable correspondence
with my lawyers and the agents of all my various property; took a
hand at piquet or backgammon of evenings with me and my mother; or,
being an ingenious lad enough (though of a mean boorish spirit, as
became the son of such a father), accompanied my Lady Lyndon's
spinet with his flageolet; or read French and Italian with her: in
both of which languages her Ladyship was a fine scholar, and with
which he also became conversant. It would make my watchful old
mother very angry to hear them conversing in these languages; for,
not understanding a word of either of them, Mrs. Barry was furious
when they were spoken, and always said it was some scheming they
were after. It was Lady Lyndon's constant way of annoying the old
lady, when the three were alone together, to address Quin in one or
other of these tongues.

I was perfectly at ease with regard to his fidelity, for I had bred
the lad, and loaded him with benefits; and, besides, had had various
proofs of his trustworthiness. He it was who brought me three of
Lord George's letters, in reply to some of my Lady's complaints;
which were concealed between the leather and the boards of a book
which was sent from the circulating library for her Ladyship's
perusal. He and my Lady too had frequent quarrels. She mimicked his
gait in her pleasanter moments; in her haughty moods, she would not
sit down to table with a tailor's grandson. 'Send me anything for
company but that odious Quin,' she would say, when I proposed that
he should go and amuse her with his books and his flute; for,
quarrelsome as we were, it must not be supposed we were always at
it: I was occasionally attentive to her. We would be friends for a
month together, sometimes; then we would quarrel for a fortnight;
then she would keep her apartments for a month: all of which
domestic circumstances were noted down, in her Ladyship's peculiar
way, in her journal of captivity, as she called it; and a pretty
document it is! Sometimes she writes, 'My monster has been almost
kind to-day;' or, 'My ruffian has deigned to smile.' Then she will
break out into expressions of savage hate; but for my poor mother it
was ALWAYS hatred. It was, 'The she-dragon is sick to-day; I wish to
Heaven she would die!' or, 'The hideous old Irish basketwoman has
been treating me to some of her Billingsgate to-day,' and so forth:
all which expressions, read to Mrs. Barry, or translated from the
French and Italian, in which many of them were written, did not fail
to keep the old lady in a perpetual fury against her charge: and so
I had my watch-dog, as I called her, always on the alert. In
translating these languages, young Quin was of great service to me;
for I had a smattering of French--and High Dutch, when I was in the
army, of course, I knew well--but Italian I knew nothing of, and was
glad of the services of so faithful and cheap an interpreter.

This cheap and faithful interpreter, this godson and kinsman, on
whom and on whose family I had piled up benefits, was actually
trying to betray me; and for several months, at least, was in league
with the enemy against me. I believe that the reason why they did
not move earlier was the want of the great mover of all treasons--
money: of which, in all parts of my establishment, there was a woful
scarcity; but of this they also managed to get a supply through my
rascal of a godson, who could come and go quite unsuspected: the
whole scheme was arranged under our very noses, and the post-chaise
ordered, and the means of escape actually got ready; while I never
suspected their design.

A mere accident made me acquainted with their plan. One of my
colliers had a pretty daughter; and this pretty lass had for her
bachelor, as they call them in Ireland, a certain lad, who brought
the letter-bag for Castle Lyndon (and many a dunning letter for me
was there in it, God wot!): this letter-boy told his sweetheart how
he brought a bag of money from the town for Master Quin; and how
that Tim the post-boy had told him that he was to bring a chaise
down to the water at a certain hour. Miss Rooney, who had no secrets
from me, blurted out the whole story; asked me what scheming I was
after, and what poor unlucky girl I was going to carry away with the
chaise I had ordered, and bribe with the money I had got from town?

Then the whole secret flashed upon me, that the man I had cherished
in my bosom was going to betray me. I thought at one time of
catching the couple in the act of escape, half drowning them in the
ferry which they had to cross to get to their chaise, and of
pistolling the young traitor before Lady Lyndon's eyes; but, on
second thoughts, it was quite clear that the news of the escape
would make a noise through the country, and rouse the confounded
justice's people about my ears, and bring me no good in the end. So
I was obliged to smother my just indignation, and to content myself
by crushing the foul conspiracy, just at the moment it was about to
be hatched.

I went home, and in half-an-hour, and with a few of my terrible
looks, I had Lady Lyndon on her knees, begging me to forgive her;
confessing all and everything; ready to vow and swear she would
never make such an attempt again; and declaring that she was fifty
times on the point of owning everything to me, but that she feared
my wrath against the poor young lad her accomplice: who was indeed
the author and inventor of all the mischief. This--though I knew how
entirely false the statement was--I was fain to pretend to believe;
so I begged her to write to her cousin, Lord George, who had
supplied her with money, as she admitted, and with whom the plan had
been arranged, stating, briefly, that she had altered her mind as to
the trip to the country proposed; and that, as her dear husband was
rather in delicate health, she preferred to stay at home and nurse
him. I added a dry postscript, in which I stated that it would give
me great pleasure if his Lordship would come and visit us at Castle
Lyndon, and that I longed to renew an acquaintance which in former
times gave me so much satisfaction. 'I should seek him out,' I
added, 'so soon as ever I was in his neighbourhood, and eagerly
anticipated the pleasure of a meeting with him.' I think he must
have understood my meaning perfectly well; which was, that I would
run him through the body on the very first occasion I could come at

Then I had a scene with my perfidious rascal of a nephew; in which
the young reprobate showed an audacity and a spirit for which I was
quite unprepared. When I taxed him with ingratitude, 'What do I owe
you?' said he. 'I have toiled for you as no man ever did for
another, and worked without a penny of wages. It was you yourself
who set me against you, by giving me a task against which my soul
revolted,--by making me a spy over your unfortunate wife, whose
weakness is as pitiable as are her misfortunes and your rascally
treatment of her. Flesh and blood could not bear to see the manner
in which you used her. I tried to help her to escape from you; and I
would do it again, if the opportunity offered, and so I tell you to
your teeth!' When I offered to blow his brains out for his
insolence, 'Pooh!' said he,--'kill the man who saved your poor boy's
life once, and who was endeavouring to keep him out of the ruin and
perdition into which a wicked father was leading him, when a
Merciful Power interposed, and withdrew him from this house of
crime? I would have left you months ago, but I hoped for some chance
of rescuing this unhappy lady. I swore I would try, the day I saw
you strike her. Kill me, you woman's bully! You would if you dared;
but you have not the heart. Your very servants like me better than
you. Touch me, and they will rise and send you to the gallows you

I interrupted this neat speech by sending a water-bottle at the
young gentleman's head, which felled him to the ground; and then I
went to meditate upon what he had said to me. It was true the fellow
had saved poor little Bryan's life, and the boy to his dying day was
tenderly attached to him. 'Be good to Redmond, papa,' were almost
the last words he spoke; and I promised the poor child, on his
death-bed, that I would do as he asked. It was also true, that rough
usage of him would be little liked by my people, with whom he had
managed to become a great favourite: for, somehow, though I got
drunk with the rascals often, and was much more familiar with them
than a man of my rank commonly is, yet I knew I was by no means
liked by them; and the scoundrels were murmuring against me

But I might have spared myself the trouble of debating what his fate
should be, for the young gentleman took the disposal of it out of my
hands in the simplest way in the world: viz. by washing and binding
up his head so soon as he came to himself: by taking his horse from
the stables; and, as he was quite free to go in and out of the house
and park as he liked, he disappeared without the least let or
hindrance; and leaving the horse behind him at the ferry, went off
in the very post-chaise which was waiting for Lady Lyndon. I saw and
heard no more of him for a considerable time; and now that he was
out of the house, did not consider him a very troublesome enemy.

But the cunning artifice of woman is such that, I think, in the long
run, no man, were he Machiavel himself, could escape from it; and
though I had ample proofs in the above transaction (in which my
wife's perfidious designs were frustrated by my foresight), and
under her own handwriting, of the deceitfulness of her character and
her hatred for me, yet she actually managed to deceive me, in spite
of all my precautions and the vigilance of my mother in my behalf.
Had I followed that good lady's advice, who scented the danger from
afar off, as it were, I should never have fallen into the snare
prepared for me; and which was laid in a way that was as successful
as it was simple.

My Lady Lyndon's relation with me was a singular one. Her life was
passed in a crack-brained sort of alternation between love and
hatred for me. If I was in a good-humour with her (as occurred
sometimes) there was nothing she would not do to propitiate me
further; and she would be as absurd and violent in her expressions
of fondness as, at other moments, she would be in her demonstrations
of hatred. It is not your feeble easy husbands who are loved best in
the world; according to my experience of it. I do think the women
like a little violence of temper, and think no worse of a husband
who exercises his authority pretty smartly. I had got my Lady into
such a terror about me, that when I smiled, it was quite an era of
happiness to her; and if I beckoned to her, she would come fawning
up to me like a dog. I recollect how, for the few days I was at
school, the cowardly mean-spirited fellows would laugh if ever our
schoolmaster made a joke. It was the same in the regiment whenever
the bully of a sergeant was disposed to be jocular--not a recruit
but was on the broad grin. Well, a wise and determined husband will
get his wife into this condition of discipline; and I brought my
high-born wife to kiss my hand, to pull off my boots, to fetch and
carry for me like a servant, and always to make it a holiday, too,
when I was in good-humour. I confided perhaps too much in the
duration of this disciplined obedience, and forgot that the very
hypocrisy which forms a part of it (all timid people are liars in
their hearts) may be exerted in a way that may be far from
agreeable, in order to deceive you.

After the ill-success of her last adventure, which gave me endless
opportunities to banter her, one would have thought I might have
been on my guard as to what her real intentions were; but she
managed to mislead me with an art of dissimulation quite admirable,
and lulled me into a fatal security with regard to her intentions:
for, one day, as I was joking her, and asking her whether she would
take the water again, whether she had found another lover, and so
forth, she suddenly burst into tears, and, seizing hold of my hand,
cried passionately out,--

'Ah, Barry, you know well enough that I have never loved but you!
Was I ever so wretched that a kind word from you did not make me
happy! ever so angry, but the least offer of goodwill on your part
did not bring me to your side? Did I not give a sufficient proof of
my affection for you, in bestowing one of the first fortunes in
England upon you? Have I repined or rebuked you for the way you have
wasted it? No, I loved you too much and too fondly; I have always
loved you. From the first moment I saw you, I felt irresistibly
attracted towards you. I saw your bad qualities, and trembled at
your violence; but I could not help loving you. I married you,
though I knew I was sealing my own fate in doing so; and in spite of
reason and duty. What sacrifice do you want from me? I am ready to
make any, so you will but love me; or, if not, that at least you
will gently use me.'

I was in a particularly good humour that day, and we had a sort of
reconciliation: though my mother, when she heard the speech, and saw
me softening towards her Ladyship, warned me solemnly, and said,
'Depend on it, the artful hussy has some other scheme in her head
now.' The old lady was right; and I swallowed the bait which her
Ladyship had prepared to entrap me as simply as any gudgeon takes a

I had been trying to negotiate with a man for some money, for which
I had pressing occasion; but since our dispute regarding the affair
of the succession, my Lady had resolutely refused to sign any papers
for my advantage: and without her name, I am sorry to say, my own
was of little value in the market, and I could not get a guinea from
any money-dealer in London or Dublin. Nor could I get the rascals
from the latter place to visit me at Castle Lyndon: owing to that
unlucky affair I had with Lawyer Sharp when I made him lend me the
money he brought down, and old Salmon the Jew being robbed of the
bond I gave him after leaving my house, [Footnote: These exploits of
Mr. Lyndon are not related in the narrative. He probably, in the
cases above alluded to, took the law into his own hands.] the people
would not trust themselves within my walls any more. Our rents, too,
were in the hands of receivers by this time, and it was as much as I
could do to get enough money from the rascals to pay my wine-
merchants their bills. Our English property, as I have said, was
equally hampered; and, as often as I applied to my lawyers and
agents for money, would come a reply demanding money of me, for
debts and pretended claims which the rapacious rascals said they had
on me.

It was, then, with some feelings of pleasure that I got a letter
from my confidential man in Gray's Inn, London, saying (in reply to
some ninety-ninth demand of mine) that he thought he could get me
some money; and inclosing a letter from a respectable firm in the
city of London, connected with the mining interest, which offered to
redeem the incumbrance in taking a long lease of certain property of
ours, which was still pretty free, upon the Countess's signature;
and provided they could be assured of her free will in giving it.
They said they heard she lived in terror of her life from me, and
meditated a separation, in which case she might repudiate any deeds
signed by her while in durance, and subject them, at any rate, to a
doubtful and expensive litigation; and demanded to be made assured
of her Ladyship's perfect free will in the transaction before they
advanced a shilling of their capital.

Their terms were so exorbitant, that I saw at once their offer must
be sincere; and, as my Lady was in her gracious mood, had no
difficulty in persuading her to write a letter, in her own hand,
declaring that the accounts of our misunderstandings were utter
calumnies; that we lived in perfect union, and that she was quite
ready to execute any deed which her husband might desire her to

This proposal was a very timely one, and filled me with great hopes.
I have not pestered my readers with many accounts of my debts and
law affairs; which were by this time so vast and complicated that I
never thoroughly knew them myself, and was rendered half wild by
their urgency. Suffice it to say, my money was gone--my credit was
done. I was living at Castle Lyndon off my own beef and mutton, and
the bread, turf, and potatoes off my own estate: I had to watch Lady
Lyndon within, and the bailiffs without. For the last two years,
since I went to Dublin to receive money (which I unluckily lost at
play there, to the disappointment of my creditors), I did not
venture to show in that city: and could only appear at our own
county town at rare intervals, and because I knew the sheriffs: whom
I swore I would murder if any ill chance happened to me. A chance of
a good loan, then, was the most welcome prospect possible to me, and
I hailed it with all the eagerness imaginable.

In reply to Lady Lyndon's letter, came, in course of time, an answer
from the confounded London merchants, stating that if her Ladyship
would confirm by word of mouth, at their counting-house in Birchin
Lane, London, the statement of her letter, they, having surveyed her
property, would no doubt come to terms; but they declined incurring
the risk of a visit to Castle Lyndon to negotiate, as they were
aware how other respectable parties, such as Messrs. Sharp and
Salmon of Dublin, had been treated there. This was a hit at me; but
there are certain situations in which people can't dictate their own
terms: and, 'faith, I was so pressed now for money, that I could
have signed a bond with Old Nick himself, if he had come provided
with a good round sum.

I resolved to go and take the Countess to London. It was in vain
that my mother prayed and warned me. 'Depend on it,' says she,
'there is some artifice. When once you get into that wicked town,
you are not safe. Here you may live for years and years, in luxury
and splendour, barring claret and all the windows broken; but as
soon as they have you in London, they'll get the better of my poor
innocent lad; and the first thing I shall hear of you will be, that
you are in trouble.'


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