Peg Plunkett's Memoirs - CHAP. XXVII.

Memoirs of Mrs. Margaret Leeson


I SHALL now give a farther account of a few more of my fair friends, whom to neglect would be unpardonable, and then proceed with the remainder of my chequered and whimsical memoirs: The following ladies, who should not be passed by, particularly graced this masquerade with their presence: Mary Fagan, who was a foundling, was taken out of the hospital in the year 1775 by Mrs. H覧, who finding her a smart girl took her apprentice to herself (being a mantua maker) she behaved herself very well for some time, and got a tolerable knowledge of her business; Mary being red haired, and consequently prone to venery earlier than girls of a different colour, at the age of fifteen years, stole into the bed of Mrs. H覧's youngest son, who was prevailed upon though unwillingly to gratify her passion;葉ime passed imperceptibly to the fond couple, who repeated their joys clandestinely for three years, 'till at length discovered by the mother, she was turned out of doors, when destitute and friendless she walked about the streets for some time, and at length fortunately met with a Mr. Hone, son to the Creole who shot himself at Kitty Cut-a-Dash's House in Grafton-street, who prevailed on her to go with him to Mrs. Orde's Great Britain-street, where they remained for three months, but at last his cash being spent, he was compelled to go to the country to shun his creditors; and in the interim, Mary remained at Orde's, but not getting remittances from her gallant, she prostituted herself to every honest fellow who offered: Fortune threw in her way a Mr. C覧 of the College, who liking her, and having plenty of cash, took lodgings for her at a Mr. H覧, apothecary, in Capel-street, where they lived for three years in as much amity as man and wife; unfortunately for her, T覧 H覧, who at this time was serving his apprenticeship to a druggist, visited her, and being discovered in her apartments by C覧, he kicked him down stairs, and next morning reluctantly discarded his angel, though he passionately adored her; Mary Crosbie, for so we must now call her, again bereft of friends, went to board with a Mrs. Moore, a celebrated b覧d in Capel-street, where she exercised her natural powers with the best subjects that offered. Poor H覧, considering himself the original cause of her misfortunes, scraped up by every industry a few guineas, and took lodgings for her in Aungier-street, where he visited her occasionally, and unable himself to support her extravagancies, brought her some good culls, particularly Mr. R覧 H覧 of Capel-street, T覧 A覧, Alex覧 Mc M覧, Dan. M覧, Mich. D覧, J覧 U覧, C覧 W覧, &c. &c. in this way she procured means delectable for her lover and herself; but happiness alas! is seldom permanent幽覧's friends being acquainted with the proceedings, checked him severely and prevailed on him to swear he'd never see her more. Again destitute of a protector, she went and lodged with a Miss Boyd of Longford-street, of detested memory, who was the cause of a Mr. Barlow's death, son of the widow Barlow; here she passed some miserable days, 'till she met with a Captain Misset, who took a house for her in Mecklenburgh-street, where they remained 'till she deprived him of the last guinea, and then gave his creditors information that they might arrest him with ease at her house; the unfortunate Misset was accordingly pinned and lodged in the Sheriffs Gaol, where he remained for two years in the greatest distress, after which he was removed to the Four Courts Marshalsea by Habeas Corpus, where he still continues.

Incautious youth beware of Mary Crosbie! who now rolls in every luxury, at the expense of the distracted Misset.

Elinor West was a merry begotten, of R覧 A覧 of Capel-street, who when nine years old bound her to a ribbon-weaver, with whom she lived for three years, but being ill treated by her mistress, she went to her father, who, unnatural man, refused her every protection; upon which she repaired to a register-office and was employed by a Mrs. West as children's maid, with whom she lived for two years and behaved remarkably well柚rs. West's eldest son, an attorney, by many presents and persuasions won her affections, and by repeated promises of marriage gained his end. Poor Nelly thus deprived of what virgins hold most dear, languished away, after reminding him of the vows he made, with a determined resolution never to perform; at length, the ungrateful West told her he was married謡hereupon she, in a distracted fit quit the house, and went to a house of resort in Capel-street, where she met with a Mr. N覧, a grocer, who, captivated with her youth and smartness, supplied her with every necessary ornament of dress, &c. and then brought her to Multifarnham in the county Westmeath, where they lived in harmony for sixteen months; unfortunately a Mr. James O'R覧 of Ba覧s覧na, visited at his lodgings, where he remained a few days, and seduced my poor Nelly, brought her with him to his country seat, where they remained until examinations at college, when he and she came to town and lodged at my house, where she behaved with the greatest candour and honour to her protector, until a Mr. C覧 who sung remarkably well, paid a visit to Pitt-street during the absence of Mr. O'R覧, and having spent a few nights with her, she was so captivated with his music and fine parts that she eloped with him, though at that time 50l. in my debt; however the honest girl in two months later, sent me enclosed a 60l. note, with an account, that she was forsaken by C覧, who on leaving her gave her debentures to the amount of 300l. 柚r. West came to town shortly after, and though the cause of her mishap she doted on him, and passed some pleasant hours in his company, he being engaged. Elinor West, the name she had gone by ever since, having made away with the debentures given her by Mr. C覧, determined to get another protector, which she could not expect to find in private lodgings; she therefore went to Mrs. Orde's, where she met with a Mr. Eife, who ensnared by her agreeable manners and actions, offered to marry her and lay his whole property at her disposal; however she being naturally fond of liberty, and a volunteer in heart, declared she would rather be his mistress than wife, and as long as he behaved worthy her attachment, she would act with honour towards him; this candid declaration overwhelmed him with joy, and redoubled his love towards her; he accordingly took a house for her in Great Britain-street, where the reader may have an opportunity of hearing this narrative from her own delectable mouth.

Mrs. Ottiwell謡as the daughter of William Atkinson of Belfast, flax-dresser, mathematician and wool-comber; her mother was a mantua-maker, in all which branches, she herself excelled; beautiful and good humoured, she behaved herself virtuously and modestly until that monster the Rev. Mr. B覧, under the specious veil of sanctity, invited her to his own house, where she remained as it were, to instruct his children, but he like a demon of darkness, despising the earthly functions he was ordained to discharge, and taking advantage of the innocent fair, when his family went abroad to spend the evening, committed a rape upon her body; horrid! horrid! in one of God's representatives!!! Mary用oor girl, reduced to the last extremity with shame (the transaction being discovered by an old woman who lay concealed in a cradle bed in the next closet;) and hearing that Mr. Edward B覧, afterwards Kingsmill, next morning was resolved to travel post to Dublin, solicited a seat in his carriage, which being granted, she packed up all her movables (though small) they were her only treasure. I shall now leave the reader to judge what passed between the fair one and this old well-known gallant; suffice it to say, they arrived at the Belfast Hotel, at four o'clock in the morning, where the good old man ordered a bed for himself and his lady, and then finished what he had attempted to begin two days before, which though well-inclined, his age and infirmities prevented him to accomplish: The old gentleman being gratified, left poor Mary in a strange house, without friends or money; unfortunate girl! what now to do was paradoxical; lamenting her situation, she was overheard by a gentleman in the next room, a Mr. Henry O覧, who offered his assistance, which being accepted by the unfortunate fair, he gave her a fifty pound note, and told her he'd take lodgings for her;預ll his proposals being admitted, he hired apartments for her opposite the hotel, at a druggist's house, where they remained for some time. O覧 was profuse in his presents, until she had been discovered coming out of the druggist's room, one night as he returned home from the gaming table, where he had met with some hands as knowing as himself Incensed at losing his money, and the inconstancy of his mistress, he almost murdered her: Her shrieks being heard by K覧y (that was the druggist's name;) he courageously broke open the door, which was bolted by the cowardly O覧; and here a bout of boxing commenced;憂ohnson and Mendoza could not take their ground with more skill or agility; the contest remained doubtful for some time; K覧y taking courage being at home (a dunghill cock) tipped O覧 a Mendoza over the left eye, which levelled him with the ground, and left a mark on that part ever since. The unfortunate fair lay speechless during the contest, and Tom thinking himself victorious, took her in his arms, and swore by the Holy G覧 she should be his alone; and as soon as O覧 recovered the blow, coward like, he took his hat and run away, and never since paid K覧y. Mary's misfortunes now commenced; Mrs. K覧, who was out on a visit, returning and finding a beautiful stranger in her apartments, ran distracted about the house; poor Ottiwell, now her name, knowing good manners, in imitation of Mrs. K覧y, ran mad also, and poor Tom, though master of his profession, was now more thunderstruck than ever on any like occasion; what was to be done was the question, he called for his man to bring him two straight waistcoats, which being fitted to the two unfortunate women, they were led in triumph, amidst the acclamations of the multitude, to the mad-house at Drumcondra用oor Tom no doubt must have been distracted, or he would have thought of a coach. Here Mrs. Ottiwell, the subject of my story, lay for six months, during which time the infamous Harry never sent her any money. K覧y thinking he had paid very well for his amour, sent deputies to Mr. O to request his interference on this trying occasion: O hardened to every delicate feeling, desired he'd turn her out, and let her 'fish for herself'; both brutes alike, unfeeling and inhuman.裕he distracted Mrs. Ottiwell was turned out on the town, without either guide or protector庸ortunately for her, I in my carriage passing by, could not bear to see so much beauty unnoticed, and accordingly invited her to my house, which she gladly accepted: I brought her home, and during the course of eighteen months which she spent with me, I never in my life discovered better manners, more upright integrity, or more correct morals in any woman; at length she left me, through the influence of Ald覧 J覧, and now I believe lives at Mrs. M'Clean's, Eustace-street.

Mrs Bridget Orde, of whom I often made mention, with her father John West, kept a house of lodgers in Cook-street; she was the only person to attend the gentlemen and take care of every other domestic duty; at the age of fourteen she was seduced by a Mr. Fetherstone of the county of Westmeath, who lived with her for three years at Mr. W覧's, Bride-street, in the greatest love and harmony; at last she unfortunately bestowed some favours on honest Charley, which being discovered by her friend, she was dismissed with a present of 50l. with which she purchased a small house in Queen-street, where she commenced procuress.柚r. S覧 was a great friend to her, and who being fond of variety, frequently changed his miss once a week, and for every such purchase he paid her 10l. Passing smoothly on in this line a few years, and thinking a more extensive trade more eligible; assisted by a Mr. G覧, she took a large house in Britain-street, where she commenced nocturnal plays and amusements of every sort; at this time she was called Biddy Fetherstone. A Mr. Orde was the next who offered; a good natured man, but young and giddy, who in the course of a very short time spent his paternal property, and was compelled to go abroad to recover a fortune in the West Indies, which was left him by his uncle, which getting possession of, he returned, and still enjoys his loving though inconstant Biddy溶ow called Orde. During his absence she employed a Mr. W覧, attorney, to settle her affairs, and allowed him a handsome salary, as she was this time in affluence; Mr. W覧 was very attentive to his trust, and living always with her, obtained by every means foul and fair, large sums of money from every man who unfortunately became her debtor.宥raham all this time in the country, at his mother's in the county Cavan, now resolved on returning to town, when he prevailed on the silly Biddy to call an auction, sell off her property, and convert every moveable (except two suits of clothes) into cash; he pretending to be afraid of bailiffs, took lodgings on George's-quay, where she visited him; the time drawing near for their departure, he took her trunk, which contained her all, on board the packet, telling her he would return in a hour, but alas! was never since heard of. Poor creature again distressed, applied to her friend Orde, who as usual, good natured fellow, purchased another house in Great Britain-street, where they live amicably until this day, and where she and her beautiful nymphs, may be inspected by the supposed continent Priest or lecherous Archbishop; she owes me 10l. which I request she will give to the Friary of Denmark-street, for the purpose of masses for the salvation of my soul.

Maria Ford, another priestess of the little God, was the daughter of a respectable merchant of this city; being well educated and accomplished, she resorted every public place of amusement; one night at the Exhibition-house William-street, she danced with a Mr. R覧 W覧 an handsome gallantman who sung very pleasingly; the innocent Maria was enamoured of him, and in a very little time became a sacrifice to his desires; being discovered by her mother, she was turned out of doors; however the constant Bob (this puts me in mind of my poor Bob) had neat lodgings furnished for her in Irish-town, and lived with her while his circumstances permitted; but cursed poverty, the inveterate enemy to many constant lovers, urged her to come to my house, where she behaved with every politeness to all who visited her; there was a B覧y Y覧n, who was very attentive to her and gave her large sums of money, with which she rigged herself to the best advantage, and without flattery, she was simply beautiful. In this manner a few years passed, 'till the luckless Ford, through some unforeseen mischance became much addicted to gin drinking, by which means she was neglected by her friends,揚etting also into debt, she was compelled to go to Liverpool in defence of her liberty, where she lived for two years, saved some money, returned home, and honestly and generously paid me 100l. which she owed me:耀eeing her so well principled, I made her a present of the one-half; telling the circumstance to a Mr. W覧n, he became so captivated by her beauty and honest principles, that he took her into keeping, and now lives with her in the same lodgings Walsh originally hired for her. I dined with her a few days ago, and was much gratified on seeing the happy pair live in such excessive harmony. As some of the prime characters and geniuses in the kingdom were at this ball; my readers may judge it passed with great eclat and much celebrity, and as it was given in my house, the merit of the entire was bestowed to Peg, to dashing Peg. Amyas Griffith (who after he was ruined by a certain inveterate party, set up a paper called the Phoenix, of which he was sole proprietor and editor) gave a flourishing account of that whimsical entertainment, with all his own hyperbolical embellishments, and an addition of the late Buck English's (of murderous memory) impotent attempt, to enjoy me in one of the recesses, and my being heard to declare that, that infamous assassin was the SIXTH who had served me so:


"Eager to sin, though destitute of joy."

The late poor Ned Nowlan, author of, "Sure thou wert born to please me," editor and doer of the Freeman's Journal, was also there; and being much elevated, attempted to be happy with me, and served me in the same manner as the Buck: I was also honoured with the company of gimlet-eyed Andy A覧, alias Henry Harmless, the wretched C覧h, my late poor namesake Jack Plunket, of innocent inoffensive memory; Daly, of the kingdom of Kerry, who came from the Devil's A覧e-a-Peak; Scot, of diabolical memory; Mrs. M覧e the authoress, Captain K遥, Peter S覧g覧n, that unfortunate premature politician; the limping I覧 P覧 S覧, of p覧p覧g memory; the over-reaching Captain R覧ts, that African hero, who can play on all instruments of music, was master of languages, could cut anterchois better than the little devil himself, was a much greater poet than Milton, a better orator than the renegado K覧, a greater hero than the immortal Wolfe, and a finer gentleman than Chesterfield; this great officer, who pretended to everything and knew nothing (the very counter-part of Mrs. M覧) must also crack of my favours; may B覧lz覧b carry off the impotent quartetto: these were the only men in the room who did not pay for their admission, except poor 覧 C覧h, F覧x, and A覧g, not one of whom in all their lives, could ever say he was worth a crown, much less two guineas: poor John M覧, the late worthy honest Bell of the Herald, of transmigrating memory; and my intimate friend Jack G覧d were also there, as were indeed every man in the literary line in the metropolis, from Preston of tragedy memory, to poor blind Bartle Corcoran, the famous balad composer, on the Inn's-quay.


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