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SINCE the remains of poor details of a life of most stirring Lever were laid in that lonely incident with an affectionate integrave at Trieste, seven years ago, rest that cannot fail to carry his every publishing season gave hope readers along with him. Charles that a life worthy of the man, his Lever was no saint, but an exceedfame, and his country, would be ingly agreeable sinner. The writer offered to the public. At one time of these lines knew him from the it was stated that his daughter, cradle to the grave. He had his Mrs. Neville, had a work in prepa- faults, his follies, his little vanities, ration. At another, that his life- and love of display ; but they were long friend, Major Dwyer, had all on the surface.
Underlying undertaken the duty; and later on, these was a most affectionate and that a literary man of mark was kindly nature, generous to men engaged on the task.
in need ; loving to his friends, These rumours or projects—if of whom, in a long life, he never projects they were—may be as- lost one, and with a broad tolerance sumed to have all fallen through, for the actions and principles of for at the close of the seven years those who differed from him. As there was
no outward or visible an honest biographer, it was Dr. sign of their existence. Perhaps Fitzpatrick's duty to paint the it was fortunate that it was even man as he was, and not as he ought so, for we believe that the under- to have been; not to ignore the taking could not have fallen into existence of frailties, but to touch better hands than those of Dr. them, as he has done, with a tender Fitzpatrick.+ Major Dwyer, Canon and considerate hand. The lives of Hayman, and other old friends of saints may be but dull reading, Lever who had gathered together though there is sometimes a grim valuable material for his biography, feeling of satisfaction that those all added their treasures to the good people have already gone to a cornucopia before us, and cordially better world, and that all danger bade Dr. Fitzpatrick
of meeting them here below is speed.” His own industry and re- removed. Some biographers have search have been most conscientious been so careful to paint out, or and painstaking. If he does not leave out, oddities of manner or prove himself at all times a cun- temper in their subjects, that an ning artist, he is at least an honest amiable abstraction is the result, historian, and he enters into the but “our old familiar friend,"
[* This paper comes to us from a near relative of Charles Lever, and, from its personal recollections and impressions, possesses peculiar interest. Lever, moreover, succeeded Isaac Butt as editor of the Dublin University Magazine, to the pages of which he contributed a number of his novels.-ED. U.M.]
+ “Life of Charles Lever," by W. J. Fitzpatrick, M.R.I.A. 2 vols. Chapman and Hall, London.
whom we loved and trusted, dis- were his books. He never took the appears altogether from the canvas. book by the cover ; but dipped It has been laid to the charge of pleasantly in, and invariably found Dr. Fitzpatrick, that he has not value where a more superficial allowed Lever to tell more of his inspector would have turned away own story by means of his letters, with contempt. His fellow men he which doubtless
read by the light of a keen observaenough, extending to several hun- tion seldom surpassed, and with a dreds. But the truth is, some of power of assimilation sometimes Lever's letters do not tell his startling. “Don't,” said a schoolstory at all. Letter writing is, fellow of Lever's, still living, in fact, a lost art; it died out don't let slip a word of this to with franks and double postages. Lever. He will suck your brains, Lever belonged to the more recent without leaving you a word, and generation of postage stamps and make them more like his brains telegrams, that have brought with
But, though Lever it that curt mode of correspondence learned little at school or college, fashioned on the models of the he acquired a great deal elserule of three, or the multiplication where from professors of a looser table. True it is that, “when an philosophy. The first of these epistle cost a shilling, people used men whom we may facetiously to make it worth a guinea, now style“ tutors," was named Hewet. that it costs a penny, it is seldom son Nixon, of a good Kilkenny worth a cent.” Our biographer has family, who, though born blind, expended considerable labour in was a successful horse-dealer and bringing before his readers much agriculturist. He was, as we well information connected with Lever's remember, a bold rider, hunted his school and college days. We think own hounds, and wrote and sang he has acted wisely and well, for songs so popular as to be printed in few cases could it be so safely in ballads, which were sold for a said that the boy is father to the halfpenny, and chanted at fairs man as in that of Lever. He took and markets. With this worthy by a sort of general consent the Lever formed an alliance. They first place amongst his fellows at wrote doggrel in joint account, school and college, where the ob- lampooned their neighbours, and ject to be obtained was fun, frolic, turned into ridicule all who had adventure, amusement, or what is not taste enough to admire the called in Ireland devilment, but we Brownsbarn barriers. The second grieve to say to the neglect of more of Lever's social “tutors important matters. Lever's father, John Ottiwell, whose family lived an architect and builder of ample at Beresford-place, Dublin, within means, placed him at an early age a short distance of Lever's father. in an excellent school in Dublin, Ottiwell was a sort of Admirable transferring him from time to time Crichton in his way, and somewhat to others of a higher grade, and older than Lever, who looked up finally to the University where he to him as a marvel of genius. took his A.B. degree in 1827. He He wrote verses sentimental and passed without discredit through humorous, ventriloquised, rode, school and college, but, as he ex- jumped, swam, altered his feapressed himself in reference to the tures, contracted his stature, and latter institutions, he brought little (it was whispered) made a Rope into Trinity and he took nothing of Sand, and even raised the out. In truth, human beings devil. He was, as the late Rev.
John Lever always declared, and and the deeper was the depression, many believed, the original of and the more difficult it was to Frank Webber in “Charles O'Mal- rouse him out of it. This, it will ley.” To enact the part of “Judy probably be said, is the common Macan” in Lever's novel was no lot of humanity, where good and doubt beyond even Ottiwell's mar- evil contrive to balance each other. vellous powers of transformation, We have heard the objection made for he was harsh featured ; 'but to that Lever is sometimes represented Lever this was no stumbling-block, as a spendthrift, but Dr. Fitzfor, if he could not suit the story Patrick was not writing—as he to the man, he could suit the man once did—the life of the ascetic to the story.
The third “tutor" Bishop Doyle; nor was he called was the Rev. W. H. Maxwell, upon to take a leaf from Canon author of “ Wild Sports of the Farrar in his recent valuable work West,” with whom Žever became on the Apostle Paul. Nevertheintimate in the north of Ireland less, it would appear, even from during his dispensary days. “ Pre- Dr. Fitzpatrick's showing, that bendary of Balla, thou art a wag,” Lever always contrived to pay his exclaimed O'Connell in a public way, and to make, with grace, a letter addressed to him. There modest provision for his family. is a remarkable resemblance between For Lever's wanderings and ponMaxwell and Lever, not only in derings in many lands, his advencharacter and manner of life, but in tures as a collegian, a bursch, a the actors they place upon the ballad singer, a medical student, a stage in several of their works, litterateur, a practical joker, a physi. which in many instances are sug;
cian, a magazine editor, a gamester, gestive of imitation. Lever and a cosmopolite, a consul, and a tableMaxwell concocted together prac- talker, we must refer our readers to tical jokes which set the half of the views furnished by Dr. FitzUlster by the ears, and convulsed Patrick. Through that big telescope with laughter the other. At the will also be got glimpses of Lever feet of these pleasant Gamaliels as a masquerader, a dancer, a Lever sat, no inattentive listener to militia officer, an equestrian evoluthe very varied experiences of his tionist, a charioteer, an amateur instructors in things high and low, player, a poet, a journalist, an made no doubt agreeable to the ear opium eater, a pugilist in gloves, by the wit and humour wherewith and an expert fencer! Sometimes their confessions were garnished. “the telescope" becomes quite Of Lever's conversational ability, a kaleidoscope of striking and on which a good deal of his local conglomerated particles fame rests, our biographer gives mechanical than artistic. The conus many interesting specimens. cluding chapters awaken conflicting Words of fun, of wit, and of wisdom emotions. Though interspersed flowed freely from his lips in those with bright ana, they are for the social gatherings which he loved so most part the melancholy record of well, and they lose nothing in the family and other misfortunes, animated narrative of Dr. Fitz- which fell heavily on Lever, when Patrick. But there was a side to with broken health and broken Lever's character which the public spirits he was badly able to bear
His high spirits were them. His only son, of whose always followed by a reaction; the future career his hopes were high, more furious the fun was, and the died suddenly. His wife, who had longer it continued, the more certain given him near forty years of
domestic happiness, and to whom declared, had lost its cunning. He he was more like a lover than a died, as Dickens and Thackeray husband, was wrenched from his died, in his sleep, parting with side by a merciless disease marked many in love and affection, with all by excruciating torture. Meantime in peace and charity. Dr. Fitzthe health of the strong man suc- Patrick's picture of a chequered life cumbed ; his constitution became -coloured with the unfading tints shattered under repeated attacks of of genius—cannot fail to arrest illness; his powers began to fail attention. him, and even his right hand, he
Silver and gold, silver and gold !-