« PreviousContinue »
XV. She receives a letter from Bolton-A new
-His behaviour in consequence of it, ... 478
xi. "A remarkable event in the history of Bolton 478
LAURENCE STERNE was one of those few authors who have anticipated the labours of the biographer, and left to the world what they desired should be known of their family and their life.
“ Roger Sterne* (says this narrative), grandson to Archbishop Sterne, Lieutenant in Handaside's regiment, was married to Agnes
• Mr Sterne was descended from a family of that name in Suffolk, one of which settled in Nottinghamshire. The following genealogy is extracted from Thoresby's Ducatus Leodinensis, p. 215.
Simon Sterne, of Mansfield.
Hebert, widow of a captain of a good family. Her family name was (I believe) Nuttle ;-though, upon recollection, that was the name of her father-in-law, who was a noted sutler in Flanders, in Queen Anne's wars, where my father married his wife's daughter, (N. B. he was in debt to him) which was in September 25, 1711, old style. This Nuttle had a son by my grandmother,—a fine person of a man, but a graceless whelp !—what became of him I know not. The family (if any left) live now at Clonmel, in the south of Ireland; at which town I was born, November 24, 1713, a few days after my mother arrived from Dunkirk.—My birth-day was ominous to my poor father, who was, the day of our arrival, with many other brave officers, broke, and sent adrift into the wide world, with a wife and two children ;-the elder of which was Mary. She was born at Lisle, in French Flanders, July 10, 1712, new style. This child was the most unfortunate:--She married one Weemans, in Dublin, who used her most unmercifully ;-spent his substance, became a bankrupt, and left my poor sister to shift for herself ; which she was able to do but for a few months, for she went to a friend's house in the country, and died of a broken heart. She was a most beautiful woman, of a fine figure, and deserved a better fate.-The regiment in which my father served being broke, he left Ireland as soon as I was able to be carried, with the rest of his family, and came to the family-seat at Elvington, near York, where his mother lived. She was daughter to Sir Roger Jacques, and an heiress. There we sojourned for about ten months, when the regiment was established, and our household decamped with bag and baggage for Dublin.— Within a month of our arrival, my father left us, being ordered to Exeter; where, in a sad winter, my mother and her two children followed him, travelling from Liverpool, by land, to Plymouth.—(Melancholy description of this journey, not necessary to be transmitted here.)—In twelve months we were all sent back to Dublin.—My mother, with three of us (for she lay-in at Plymouth of a boy, Joram) took ship at Bristol, for Ireland, and had a narrow escape from being cast away, by a leak springing up in the vessel.
At length, after many perils and struggles, we got to Dublin.— There my father took a large house, furnished it, and in a year and a half's time spent a great deal of money. In the year one thousand seven hundred and nineteen, all unhinged again ; the regiment was ordered, with many others, to the Isle of Wight, in order to embark for Spain, in the Vigo expedition. We accompanied the regiment, and were driven into Milford Haven, but landed at Bristol ; from thence, by land, to Plymouth again, and to the Isle of Wight;—where, I remember, we stayed encamped some time before the embarkation of the troops—(in this expedition, from Bristol to Hampshire, we lost poor Joram,-a pretty boy, four years old, of the small-pox)—my mother, sister, and myself, remained at the Isle of Wight during the Vigo expedition, and until the regiment had got back to Wicklow, in Ireland ; from whence my father sent for us.—We had poor Joram's loss supplied, during our stay in the Isle of Wight, by the birth of a girl, Anne, born September the twenty-third, one thousand seven hundred and nineteen. This pretty blossom fell at the age of three years, in the barracks of Dublin. She was, as I well remember, of a fine delicate frame, not made to last long,—as were most of my father's babes. We embarked for Dublin, and had all been cast away by a most violent storm ; but through the intercessions of my mother, the captain was prevailed upon to turn back into Wales, where we stayed a month, and at length got into Dublin, and travelled by land to Wicklow; where my father had for some weeks given us over for lost. We lived in the barracks at Wicklow one year-(one thousand seven hundred and twenty) when Devijeher (so called after Colonel Devijeher) was born; from thence we decamped to stay half a year with Mr Featherston, a clergyman, about seven miles from Wicklow ; who, being a relation of my mother's, invited us to his parsonage at Animo. It was in this parish, during our stay, that I had that wonderful escape in falling through a mill-race whilst the mill was going, and of being taken up unhurt; the story is incredible, but known for truth in all that part of Ireland, where hundreds of the common people flocked to see me. From hence we followed the regiment to Dublin, where we lay in the barracks a year. In this year (one thousand seven hundred and twenty-one) I learnt to write, &c. The regiment ordered in twenty-two to Carrickfergus, in the north of Ireland. We all decamped; but got no further than Drogheda ;--thence ordered to Mullengar, forty miles west, where, by Providence, we stumbled upon a kind relation, a collateral descendant from Archbishop Sterné, who took us all to his castle, and kindly entertained us for a year, and sent us to the regiment to Carrickfergus, loaded with kindnesses, &c. À most rueful and tedious journey had we all (in March) to Carrickfergus, where we arrived in six or seven days.- Little Devijeher here died; he was three years old; he had been left behind at nurse at a farm-house near Wicklow, but was fetched to us by my father the summer after :-another child sent to fill his place, Susan. This babe, too, left us behind in this weary journey. The autumn of that year, or the spring afterwards (I forget which) my father got leave of his colonel to fix me at school, which he did, near Halifax, with an able master; with whom I stayed some time, till, by God's care of me, my cousin Sterne, of Elvington, became a father to me, and sent me to the university, &c. &c. To pursue the thread of our story, my father's regiment was, the year after, ordered to Londonderry, where another sister was brought forth, Catherine, still living ; but most unhappily estranged from me by my uncle's wickedness and her own folly. From this station the regiment was sent to defend Gibraltar, at the siege, where my father was run through the body by Captain Phillips, in a duel (the quarrel began about a goose !) ; with much difficulty he survived, though with an impaired constitution, which was not able to withstand the hardships it was put to; for he was sent to Jamaica, where he soon fell by the country fever, which took away his senses first, and made a child of him ; and then, in a month or two, walking about continually without complaining, till the moment he sat down in an arm-chair, and breathed his last, which was at Port Antonio, on the north of the island. My father was a little smart man, active to the last degree in all exercises, most patient of fatigue and disappointments, of which it pleased God to give him full measure. He