« ForrigeFortsæt »
victim to an epidemic then prevailing in the country. I had never been friendly to the choice of profession made for me by my parents; and now, having become my own master at the early age of eighteen, I selected physic for my future pursuit.
A circumstance occurred at this time that marked Frederic's character, and in a great measure decided his professional selection. A younger brother of his deceased father, who had been, I believe, a captain in the Irish Brigade, was returning from France. When within a day's journey of home, he accidentally met some military persons: a quarrel and duel ensued, and unfortunately Captain O'Hara fell (as it was generally supposed) unfairly. I remember the evening he was interred in the burying-ground of the Castle Carra family. I saw a message delivered to Frederic O'Hara, who acted as chief mourner; and, to the astonishment of all, he left the funeral while the clergyman was still engaged in the solemn service of the dead. All were conjecturing the cause of this extraordinary departure, when we saw the object of our surmises riding hastily along the shores of the lake, followed by his groom. Three hours dispelled the mystery-the antagonist of his uncle had rested at the town of Newbridge, and O'Hara hastily rode off to meet him. An immediate duel was the consequence; it was fought by candlelight in the parlour of the inn. One discharge of pistols decided all. O'Hara was slightly wounded, but Mackinnon (I think that was the name) was killed upon the spot.
Frederic O'Hara came to visit me, and we freely communicated on our respective affairs; he told me his father had made a lamentable inroad into what had escaped the casualties of former days; and that he had determined on entering the army, as the remaining pro
perty was too trifling to support so expensive an establishment as that of Castle Carra. To his only surviving uncle, he proposed consigning the arrangement of his shattered inheritance, and as he was an opposite to his late brother, O'Hara hoped every thing from his arrangement. We took leave then, never to meet again. He hastened to London, and I to the Irish capital, where, after residing the necessary time, I took my degrees, and went to finish my studies at Leyden; with the remainder of my common-place kind of life you are sufficiently acquainted. I went professionally to India; and there the meridian of my days was spent. If I was not the most skilful of physicians, I was certainly an attentive one: I was lucky enough to make a name, and that name made my fortune. I returned to England after an absence of thirty-five years, and, on inquiry, learned that not even the remotest of my relatives was in existence. Some had emigrated, and others died, in the long period of my absence: the few friends of my youth were next sought after, and I found myself equally bereft of all. Doctor Graham had written for several years to me; but death, in common course, deprived me of my venerated correspondent. From Frederic O'Hara I had heard twice or thrice: the last letter acquainted me with his marriage, and the newspapers with his going on foreign service. From that period, I only occasionally saw his name in the columns of the public journals—sometimes mentioned with applause, at others loaded with abuse, according to the tem
per of the times, or the political com
plexion of the paper. As he advanced in life, I remarked him more frequently brought forward; and at length becom
ing fatally conspicuous as a revolutionary leader, and in the eventful year of 1798, his death, and the exile of his only son, seemed to have concluded the history and the existence of his family; for excepting some few casual notices of the latter, I never saw the name again recorded. I conjectured that the fortunes of the O'Haras had been sadly reduced; but on my return to Europe, I found my worst fears for the child of my quondam friend confirmed :-the ancient house had fallen, the very name was annihilated, and the buildings which had sheltered them for ages, was now a ruined pile.
From some of my countrymen, whom I met occasionally in London, I learned many particulars, and among others, that the existence of the younger O'Hara was still a matter of uncertainty. He had, after the death of his father, openly declared against the Government, and held Vol. I.