Peg Plunkett's Memoirs - CHAP. XXXIII.

Memoirs of Mrs. Margaret Leeson




Written by a gentleman on Mrs. Margaret Leeson's retiring to the country for the benefit of her health.


Why droops the head, why languishes the eye?
What means the flowing tear, the frequent sigh?
Where are the lenient medicines to impart,
Their balmy virtues to a bleeding heart.
Fancy no sweet ideas can suggest,
To lull the raging tumult in my breast;
In vain, or Wit invites, or Friendship calls,
Wit dies a jest, and conversation palls.
No scenes amuse me that amused before,
Since what delighted once, delights no more;
The budding plants of variegated hue,
The blossoms opening with the morning dew,
The vernal breeze that gently fans the bowers,
The laughing meadows and enlivening flowers,
Th' enamelled garden where the roses bloom,
And gaudy pinks so pregnant with perfume,
All, all in vain with charms united glow,
Since Leeson's gone, they but increase my woe.
'Twas she enliven'd Nature all around,
And made the heart with every joy abound:
'Twas she illumined all, with brightening rays,
The feathered Choir to her addressed their lays.
But stop, Oh man! thy plaintive strains suppress,
Since they can never make thy griefs the less.
Perhaps some power divine may yet create,
Some beams to brighten up thy present state;
May yet restore unto thy longing arms,
Thy much loved Peg with renovated charms.
Then songs of gratitude, and joy, and praise,
As thankful tributes to that power raise.


TRUTH and FALSHOOD; a Fable.
Addressed to Mrs. Margaret Leeson, who had been given to understand the Author had written something against her.


Soon as the Iron Age on Earth began,
And vice found easy entrance into Man;
Forth from her cave infernal Falsehood came,
Falsehood the hate of Gods, of Men the same.
A silken robe she wore of various hue,
The colour changing with each different view.
Studious to cheat, and eager to beguile,
She mimick'd Truth and ap'd her heav'nly smile.
At length she saw celestial Truth appear,
Serene her brow, and cheerful was her air.
A lily robe was girt about her waist,
And o'er her arms a radiant mantle cast.
Thus Truth advanced unknowing of deceit,
And Falsehood bowing low began the cheat.
"Hail charming maid, bright as the morning star,
Daughter of Jove, and heaven's peculiar care.
Why walk we thus regardless of our ease,
Exposed beneath the sun's meridian blaze.
Let us repair to yonder river's side,
To bathe and sport our limbs within the tide."
Thus spoke the Phantom, and with friendly look
Supporting what she said, approach'd the brook,
Truth followed, artless unsuspicious Maid,
And in an evil hour the voice obeyed.
The Fiend upon the margin lingering stood,
The Goddess naked leaped into the flood.
Sporting she swam the liquid surface o'er,
Unmindful of the matchless robe she wore.
Not Falsehood so祐he hasty seized the vest,
And in the beauteous spoils herself she dressed.
Hence Falsehood cheats us in the fair disguise,
And seems Truth's self to all unwary eyes;
With safety dares to flatter, fawn and sooth,
For who knows falshood when array'd like truth?
Therefore dear Leeson let no slanders bias
Your honest heart against your friend Amyas.

N .B . The above produced the Author a guinea each for ten Tickets for his benefit at the Theatre Royal.


Addressed to Mrs. Leeson, when Miss Plunket, by her first Seducer.


Air, Nancy Dawson.

Of all the last and beauteous race,
Which Jove did give, this Earth to grace,
Not one has such a heavenly face
As charming Peggy Plunket.
The Sun is deadened by her eyes,
A swimming brightness from them flies,
Like constellations in the skies,
So bright is Peggy Plunket.


Nature looks gay when she appears,
And Winter too refrains from tears;
A golden age the world shares,
When blessed with Peggy Plunket.
So chearful, affable and gay,
The gods take pleasure to array
This lovely Maid like fragrant May,
And call her Peggy Plunket.


Blessed happy Man! doomed to untie
Her zone, and with transporting joy
In sweet ecstatic raptures die
On lovely Peggy Plunket.
And when from paradise he'll wake
A second blissful draught to take,
A heaven like this no one can make
On earth but Peggy Plunket.

The Town Major of Dublin, one N覧n, who squints most horribly, called at my house in Pitt-street with an intent to treat Jenny Neilson and I with some excellent Champagne, that Ferns had then just imported, half a dozen cases of which he sent me. And after drinking a couple of flasks, he asked us could we hide another bottle? undoubtedly was the answer. "Well then Peg, call for one." "Oh! by G覧" said I, "N覧n I see a cast in your eye." "Then send for a cast," cried N覧n laughing very heartily, "or two if you are equal to them."

As my readers have often heard me mention the Kingdom of Kerry, it may not be incurious to know why that county was first called a kingdom. A great number of people from that county having been obliged to emigrate for bread to France, the late poor Lewis when he used to ask from whence that General, that Admiral, that Bishop, or that Abbe came, was generally answered; "may it please your Majesty, from Kerry." "Pray then," replied the ill-fated Lewis, "What part of the Kingdom of Kerry is Ireland in?"

The following humorous ballad, was written by a friend of mine in consequence of a grand Fandango, which Squire Crupper gave us at his Villa, at which most of the Filles des Joys of the City were assembled.


The Crupper-making Squire of White-Hall
A new Ballad.


Tune宥alloping dreary Dun.

Galloping dreary Mick,
A Crupper-making squire I certainly am,
With my old auctioneer called slippery Sam.
With my haily gaily, cheat away daily,
Jockeying, cantering, auctioning, mortaring,
Saddling, dreary Mick.


I'm lord of White-hall, and drive my own gig,
Galloping dreary Mick,
I'm lord of White-hall and drive my own gig, And for those I have cheated I care not a fig.
With my haily, gaily, &c. &c.


A Brother I have, called poor Cockney Jack,
Galloping dreary Mick,
A brother I have, called poor Cockney Jack,
A swindler, a cheat, and a Munster crack,
With my haily, gaily, &c. &c.


I've converted White-Hall to a Mansion so fine,
Galloping dreary Mick,
I've converted White-Hall to a Mansion so fine,
Where Jockeys and Fillies drink, gamble and dine.
With my haily, gaily, &c. &c.


Sure Achmet's famed baths to mine can't compare,
Galloping dreary Mick,
Sure Achmet's famed baths to mine can't compare,
Where there's such an assemblage of black, brown and fair,
With my haily, gaily, &c. &c.


The famed widow Shee, squire Walpole's own dear,
Galloping dreary Mick,
The famed widow Shee, squire Walpole's own dear,
And sweet Kitty Doran[see note 1] shall also be there
With my haily, gaily, &c. &c.


Peg Plunket shall honour my board at White-Hall,
Galloping dreary Mick;
Peg Plunket shall honour my board at White-hall,
And Buxom Joan Driscoll, shall lead up the ball,
With my haily, gaily, &c. &c.


Squire Edgeworth is always at my table D'Hote,
Galloping dreary Mick,
Squire Edgeworth is always at my table D'Hote,
And many adventurers not worth a groat,
With my haily, gaily, &c. &c.


The brave Colonel S覧y, once of the Police,
Galloping dreary Mick,
The brave Colonel S覧y, once of the Police,
And Lamprey the chandler, because we're not nice,
With my haily, &c. &c.


You know I once kept a capital ride,[see note 2]
Galloping dreary Mick:
You know I once kept a capital ride,
Where all kinds of Quadrupeds were duly tried,
With my haily, &c. &c.


To Bipeds I now have turn'd my mind,
Galloping dreary Mick:
To Bipeds I now have turn'd my mind,
And at White-hall you'll find them gentle and kind,
With my haily, &c. &c.


The Cyprian Temples must go to decay,
Galloping dreary Mick:
The Cyprian Temples must go to decay,
As White-Hall from them all will carry the sway,
With my haily, &c. &c.


The Sentimental Mag. [see note 3] will inform you more,
Galloping dreary Mick:
The Sentimental Mag. will inform you more,
Where I've got an engraving behind and before,
With my haily, gaily, cheat away daily,
Jockeying, cantering, auctioning, mortaring,
Galloping dreary Mick.


[Note 1. This lady was formerly kept by Henry Langley, of Lismerock, and afterwards lawfully married to squire Walpole, Lord C-様l's cousin german.]

[Note 2. In Exchequer-street, it was called the Menage.]

[Note 3: We by no means mean a Magpie, but a publication replete with wit and sentiment; printed by Jones, of Grafton-street; and conducted by the very ingenious Mr. Lewis, corrector of the press, &c.悠n which the CRUPPER-MAKING SQUIRE has published a view of this Temple, dedicated to the PAPHIAN QUEEN.]

Taking a ride one day with a near relation of the late unfortunate Geo. Rob. F覧tz-G覧d, soon after his execution, and on passing by a luxuriant field of hemp, he enquired of me what that was, that looked so green and flourishing? "Only you'd be angry," said I, "I'd tell you." "Angry, madam, 'tis impossible anything you could say or do, would make me angry." "Then," replied I, "that's the very Salad that choked your cousin Fitz-G覧d;" he pretended to put it off with a laugh, but I am convinced he never forgave me, and certainly I was very much in error; for,


"Who for the short delight of being smart,
Wou'd lodge a sting within a brother's heart."

When poor Mrs. Jane E. M覧 of poetical memory, was waddling from shop to shop, and cellar to cellar, collecting subscriptions for her abominable trash, in which office she was indefatigable; she was frequently observed to sit for hours together in an eminent apothecary's shop in this city, as an amicus curiae, for that lady also dealt largely in nostrums, and took upon herself to cure every scrofulous complaint, King's evil, Leprosy; and in fact all incurable disorders; that witty, that elegant authoress Mrs. B覧tti覧r, being asked, if she ever met with Mrs. M覧e at Mr.覧's shop, as she frequently called there to see her friend Mr. Griff覧th, replied that "perhaps she might, but if so, she mistook her constantly for the great Mortar.""But where was the pestle," said Jonathan 覧, "Oh as for that, you must ask Mr. G覧ff覧th, I looked upon him as pestle to the great Mortar."

When the Dog in Office abused a late eminent and worthy Printer in this city, I laughingly said"Well what need they be surprised, sure 'tis very natural for hungry dogs to lick Pots on all occasions, when they meet with any."

Hearing that G覧dini, as Mrs. B覧r calls him in her Gibbonaid, was honoured with above one hundred black beans, when he had the effrontery to be proposed a member of the Lawyers' Club,悠 told him, on his calling to see me, that, "all he had to do, to live well the winter, was to lay in a good stock of bacon, as his brethren the Lawyers had contributed to supply him with plenty of beans."裕he son of the Dog sneaked off, as if in reality he had lost his tail, and by all accounts, jesting apart, young H覧y effectually made a singer of him, so that if one trade fails, he can't miss of bread among the Castrat of the Drama.

One morning meeting the celebrated Mr. G覧iff覧th on the Circular-road, I asked him what the devil made his legs so diabolically crooked?"S揚 one of my mother's maids standing," answered he, with the greatest sangfroid imaginable.悠 could not be angry, my question deserved the answer.

One night at Daly's Hell, Buck English, that sanguinary hero, happened to fall fast asleep, when a thought came into the heads of some gentlemen engaged at silver hazard, to frighten the Buck out of his wits, and accordingly, without the smallest noise, had the fire removed, and all the candles extinguished, after which they began to make a horrid racket with the dice, "Seven or eleven,""Seven's the main,""By G覧d, Sir, that's not fair,""I appeal to the groom porter," Rascal D覧p覧t, what did Lawler throw?""You lie, you lie you villain,""Damn your body, take that."裕hen swords were drawn, and a dreadful clashing and uproar ensued; all the while the dice rattling away. In the midst of all this tremendous din, the Buck awoke frightened out of his wits, fearing the Almighty to punish him for his murderous deeds had struck him blind, and falling on his knees, for the first time since his arrival to manhood, began to ejaculate in the most devout manner, all the prayers he could recollect, not omitting his old ave maria, for the Buck was reared a good Roman Catholic; and in this lamentable situation, he was removed quite in the dark, to a bed prepared for him in the house, where he remained in inconceivable agony, being certain he had lost his sight.輸 little before daylight he was visited by most of his companions, who were determined to carry the joke a little farther; they pretended it was noonday, began to condole with him on his misfortune, and recommended Mr. Rouviere the celebrated oculist to him; having no doubt but his ability would restore him to his sight. The Buck was assisted to dress by some of the servants (still in the dark) all the time bemoaning his misfortune and promising that if Heaven would be pleased to work a miracle in his favour, to immediately seclude himself from the world, and pass the remainder of his days in a, convent in France: But as soon as Sol's gladsome rays had convinced him of the trick played on him, he started (forgetting all his sanctity), and full of sentiments of revenge he jumped from his chair, with the pious determination to blow poor Peter D覧p覧t's (the groom-porter) brains out, and to call L覧r, D覧y, O'B覧, Charley S覧l, Jack P覧t, Major B覧r, Jack L覧y, Buck L耀s, land a number of other Dupes and Blacklegs to a severe account; in fact nothing but blood and slaughter was to be dealt around; however, by all accounts, the matter ended with poor D覧t's being knocked down and kicked by the Buck.


"The Duke of Brunswick and his mighty men,
Went up the hill, and then came down again."

I once by mere accident at an Inn in Cashel, happened to breakfast in company with three very remarkable ladies and their husbands, Moll Roe, Ally Croker, and Kate of Aberdeen, all celebrated beauties in their time, but then converted into old married ladies by the names, styles, and titles of Mrs. Walsh, wife to a captain Walsh of the county Tipperary, a virtuous worthy woman, notwithstanding that highly obscene and ridiculous song, beginning with,


"I met Moll Roe in the morning,
Her tail it was draggled with dew, &c."

which was composed on her out of mere fun by a Popish priest.柚rs. Langley, wife to Charles Langley, Esq; of Lisnerock in the county of Tipperary, also, was the famous Ally Croker, and a Mrs. Mercer the lady of Major Mercer, was the beautiful Kate of Aberdeen. To make up the peerless quartetto, I made bold to add the name of the celebrated Margaret Leeson, and I actually left the four names on a pane of glass in poor Bob Keating's parlour.

I recollect once I was in Belfast with my first love, at the time of Thurot's landing at Carrickfergus, a number of French officers were on their parole in that town, and were treated with the greatest attention, hospitality and politeness by the inhabitants.輸t a very large entertainment, given by the late worthy Joe Wallace, all the French gentlemen having been invited, one in particular (anxious to know as much of our language as he possibly could) went into the kitchen, and enquired of the surly cook the names of several dishes, and at length asking her the name of a plate, in English, the cook tired with his ridiculous interrogatories answered,"C覧Monsieur,"葉he Frenchman happy in being able to converse a little in English, happened to sit near a Miss T覧y, an old maiden tabby, who had finished the leg of a hare she had been help'd to, which the officious attentive polite Frenchman observing, said to her, "Mademoiselle T覧y, you have got no hare upon your C覧", meaning her plate, which occasioned Miss T覧y's precipitate retreat, to the no small diversion of the company, who were highly entertained with the Frenchman's blunder, and the old maid's confusion, which was the greater, as Monsieur by all accounts happened to stumble on the truth.悠t is worthy of remark that the identical officer mentioned here, when the fire of musketry was going on in the principal street in Carrickfergus, between the English troops under major Jennings and the French, a child of about 6 years of age, ran out among them to see what was going on, and narrowly escaped being shot; with great presence of mind he quitted the battle, took up the child in his arms, and carried him back to the house, and then rejoined the ranks.輸 piece of humanity that a modern Frenchman would blush to own. This anecdote though very little known now, was in great measure the cause of the very handsome reception the French officers met with afterwards in Belfast.

I once had the pleasure of the company, for one night, of the facetious Ned Townsend of White-hall in the county Cork, who told me the following anecdote: A French gentleman, Monsieur Le Roque, happened to be on a visit with him for several days, and his custom was the instant the cloth was removed, he retired to the garden to smoke his pipe, in consequence of which always on his return the ladies used to tease him by their enquiries of, "Captain where have you been?" "Where do you go always after dinner?" "You're certainly courting some of the tenants' daughters," &c. &c. &c. The poor Frenchman on these enquiries, not one of which he understood a syllable of was always mute, and on his telling the distress he felt, on not being able to satisfy the ladies, to his hospitable entertainer, Mr. Townsend replied,"Why Captain when those inquisitive girls ask you again, tell them the honest truth, that you were F覧g."裕he Frenchman highly pleased, that he knew how to answer the ladies, was impatient till he put his newly acquired learning into practice, and accordingly on his return the next day after taking his whiff, all the ladies were open mouthed with,"O! Captain where were you? what were you doing? &c. &c.""Me phas F覧g;" replied the innocent Captain. "Oh! fye, Captain," said one of the gentlemen, "don't say so.""Upon my vord I tell de truth; me phas only F覧g, and Mr. T覧d here can vouch for me if he pleases." This set the table in a roar, put La Roque into the greatest confusion, and obliged the ladies with a smothered laugh to withdraw; Ned T妖 vociferously roaring out,"The devil mend you girls, the devil mend you."

When in Tralee along with a gentleman, we happened to be at a horse race where was a most beautiful and charming young lady, Miss Eliza Paine, since married to a Mr. F覧r; this gentleman when courting her, among a variety of little jeu d'esprit that he addressed to her, and which he daily communicated to me (being on terms of great intimacy with my gentleman), was the following:


"Whilst some seek out for glory, others gain,
My wish is somewhat strange; to be IN Paine."

And sure enough he soon was to his heart's content, for they were shortly after married, and in nine months after, she was brought to bed of three children, who were all healthy, and lived.

The unfortunate prodigal and spendthrift Sir Henry Echlin, who ran through an estate of four thousand pounds a year, besides about ten thousand pounds in ready cash, by sheer eating and drinking, and afterwards was reduced to the sad alternative of a subaltern revenue employment, with a salary of about forty pounds a year, once at my house compared himself to an Earthquake: "An Earthquake, Sir Henry," said I, "how so?""because, Peg," replied he, "I have swallowed up above five thousand acres of land妖id you ever hear of any earth-quake doing much more?" If this was an extemporaneous thought, 'twas extremely witty; but were I to take notice of all the flashes of wit, and brilliant bon mots that passed in my presence, I could furnish my readers with a much larger, better and more genuine collection, than Joe Millar's and Edwin's Eccentricities, put together.

I had for a number of years a man and a maid servant, who were man and wife, and who served me very faithfully, but she happened to be so prolific, that regularly every year she was brought to bed in my house. I jocularly remonstrated with the man, why he brought such a continual expense and trouble on himself? When he answered with a true Cork brogue,"Yerrow why now my jewel now, how can we help it? I wish YOU, or some honest good natured Christian would cut out of us both, the means of getting any more, for 'pon my soul now I'm tired of the work, for it brings nothing but trouble and vexation, and runs away with all our earnings besides now."

This brings to my recollection an anecdote, told me by the late Sir John C覧t of Ardrum in the county of Cork; in presence of one of his tenants who came to pay him some rent, he desired his lady pro tempore, Miss C覧t覧es, to be exact in waking him early in the morning, to go on some very particular business; she protested it was not in her power, as she generally slept so sound, that 'twas late every day before she awoke; when they were interrupted by the well meaning countryman, who in the honest simplicity of his heart begged to be heard: "'Pon my soul my Lady, when I wants to get up at the first light, I houlds my water over night, and I never found it to fail, and if you will try yourself to night, I'll be bound for it you will wake Sir John early enough.'

For the honour of the lady's memory I cannot omit relating an anecdote heard of that suffering pattern of her sex, the late Mrs. Francis Gr覧ff覧th; soon after her unfortunate husband was liberated from a long confinement, by a nonsuit he obtained against his infamous plaintiff, who was afterwards disrobed for malpractices; a Doctor Kelso, of harmless memory, a near relation of the late Jos-called upon them, just as they were sitting down to a frugal meal of bacon and peas soup; Mr. Grif覧th, though generally hospitable in the extreme, on eyeing what was for himself, his wife, son and maid, and not thinking it quite enough, did not even ask the doctor to sit down; however, it was not so with his highly respected and admired wife, she asked the doctor to partake of what they had? And he "nothing loth," not having tasted a morsel for three successive days, sat down and greedily devoured, not only the bacon and soup, but all the bread, butter and cheese in the house, with two potted herrings into the bargain. With astonishment and hunger poor G覧ff覧th beheld the mighty havoc and devastation, and as soon as the learned Doctor had taken his leave, and as they sat down to tea and toast, to make up for the loss of dinner; he asked Mrs. G覧th, "Why then my dearest Fanny (considering we had such very short commons,) why could you think of asking that wretched hungry Doctor to dine with us?""For the very reason," replied the angelic woman, "that he was both wretched and hungry."有et this answer of hers be enrolled in the registry of Heaven. Did Sterne, the immortal Sterne, ever write or say anything half so sentimental? But she really was as the poet says:


"The best of mothers and the best of wives,
The best of friends,耀he led the best of lives."


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