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of. I watched the post ; that failed; I wrote and wrote, but no answer. Oh, my friend, judge what I endured, terrified with dreams, tormented by my apprehensions. I abandoned myself to despair, and remained inconsolable.
“ The anxiety of my spirits occasioned such an effervescence of my blood, as threw me into so violent a fever, that my life was despaired of; when a letter came from my spouse, reproving my womanish credulity, and assured me all was well, and the child in perfect health : on which I mended daily, and recovered my wonted state of casc; till about six weeks after the fatal day, I received an eclaircissement from Mr. Dryden, with a full account of the whole truth, which belike he feared to acquaint me with, till the danger was over. It was this: in the month of August, being Charles's anniversary, it happened that Lord Berkshirc had made a general hunting-match, to whiclı were invited all the adjacent gentlemen : Mr. Dryden being at his house, and his brother-in-law, could not be dispensed with from appcaring.
“I have told you, that Mr. Dryden, either through fear of being thought superstitious, or thinking it a science beneath his study, was extremely cautious in letting any one know that he was a dabbler in astrology; therefore could not excuse his absence from the sport ; but hic took care to set the boy a double exercise in the Latin tongue, (which he taught his children himself,) with a strict charge not to stir out of the room till his return, well knowing the task he had set him would take up longer time. Poor Charles was all obedience, and sat close to his duty; when, as ill fate ordained, the stag nade towards the house. The noise of the dogs, horns, &c. alarmed the family to partake of the sport ; and one of the servants coming down stairs, the door being open, saw the child hard at his exercise without being moved: Master,' cried the fellow, 'why do you sit there? Come down, come down, and see the sport.' ..No,' replied Charles,' my papa has forbid me, and I dare not.' • Pishi,' quoth the clown, vather shall never know it :' so takes the child by the hand, and leads him away ; when just as they came to the gate, the stag, being at bay with the dogs, cut a bold stroke, and leaped over the court-wall, which was very low and very old ; and the dogs following, threw down at once a part of the wall ten yards in length, under which my dear child lay buried. He was as soon as possible dug out ; but, alas ! how mangled ! his poor little head being crushed to a perfect mash.
“In this miserable condition he continued above six weeks, without the least hope of life. Through the divine Providence, he recovered ; and in process of time, having a most advantageous invitation to Rome from my uncle, Cardinal Howard, we sent over our two sons, Charles and John, having through the grace of God been ourselves admitted into the true Catholick faith. They were received suitable to the grandeur and generosity of his
" to mentio
In 20 my dear M
Eminence, and Char:es immediately planted in a post of honour, as Gentleman-Usher to his Holi. ness; in which he continued about nine years. But what occasions me to mention this, is in allusion to my dear Mr. Dryden's tou fatal prediction. In his twenty-third year, being in perfect healthi, he had attended some ladies of the palace, his Holiness's nieces, as it was his place, on a party of pleasure : his brother John and he lodged toge. ther, at the top of an old round tower belonging to the Vatican, with a well staircase, much like the Monument; when he knew his brother Charles was returned, he went up, thinking to find hiin there, and to go to bed. But, alas! no brother was there : on which he made a strict enquiry at all the places he used to frcquent; but no news, more, than that he was seen by the centinel to go up the staircase. On which he got an order for the door of the foundation of the tower to be opened, where they found my poor unfortunate son Charles mashed to a nummy, and weltering in his own blood. How this happened, he gave no farther account when he could speak, than that the heat of the day had been most excessive, and as he came to the top of the tower, he found himself seized with a megrim, or swimming in his head, and leaning against the iron rails, it is to be supposed, tipp'd over, five stories deep. Under this grievous mischance, his Holiness, (God bless him !) omitted nothing that might conduce to his recovery; but as he lay many months without hopes of life, so
when he did recover his hcalth, it was always very imperfect, and he continues still to be of a hectick disposition.
“ You see here, (continued Lady Elsabeth,) the too true fulfilling of two of my dear husband's fatal predictions. But, alas ! my friend, there is a third to comc, which is, that in his thirty-third or thirty-fourth year, he or I shall dic a violent death; but he could not say which would go first : | heartily pray it may be myself. But as I have ten thousand fears [from] the duily challenges Charles sends to Lord Jefferies, on his ungenerous treatment of my dear Mr. Dryden's corpsc, and as he has some value for you, I beg, my dearest friend, that you would dissuade him as much as you can from taking that sort of justice on Lord Jefferies, lest it should fulfil his dear father's prediction.'
“ Thus far Lady Elsabeth's own words. :
« This, if required, I can solemnly attest was long before Mr. Charles dicd: to the best of my remembrance it was in 1701 or 1702, I will not be positive, which. But in 1703, Lady Elsabeth was seized with a nervous fever, which deprived her of her memory and understanding, (which surely may be termed a moral death,) though she lived some years after. But Mr. Charles, in August, 170.1, was unhappily drowned at Windsor, as before recited. He had, with another gentleman, swum twice over the Thames; but venturing a third time, it was supposed he was taken with the cramp, because he called out for help, though too late."
- An observation' made by Dr. Johnson on our author, is extremely applicable to Corinna : “ Give her but matter for her words, and she never wants words for her matter." If the course of her nare rative require a speech to be made, she is never at a loss, but always has one ready, and to the purpose. Whatever the age, situation, or other circumstances, of the parties concerned may be, whether they be children or at years of discretion, of sound mind or insane, they still are sure to talk rationally, and to say what is most proper for the occasion: and' so retentive was her memory, that it never failed to supply her with the very words they uttered. ;
On the absurd incongruitics of her second tale a very few remarks will suffice. It is clear from this narrative, that she conceived that. Charles Dryden, at the time of his death, was either thirtythrce or thirty-four years old, and of course that he was born in 1670 or 1671: for she knew that he was drowned in the month of August, 1704. She knew also, it appears, that his birthday was in that month; and probably she had heard from his parents, that some accident had happened to him, when he was about eight years old ; and that he had suffered some injury by a fall at Rome, in the year 1693 or 1694. On these data she constructed her tale of predictions wonderfully fulo: filled; which a very slight examination will shew, to have been her own clumsy amplification of a, VOL. I.