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The Tory Lover by Sarah Orne Jewett
A CHARACTER OF HONOR
"Sad was I, even to pain deprest,
Importunate and heavy load!
The comforter hath found me here
Upon this lonely road!"
"Your friend General Sullivan has had his defamers, but he goes to prove himself one of our ablest men," said Paul Jones to Hamilton. "I grieve to see that his old father, that lofty spirit and fine wit, is not with us to-night. Sullivan is a soldier born."
"There is something in descent," said Hamilton eagerly. "They come of a line of fighting men famous in the Irish struggles. John Sullivan's grandfather was with Patrick Sarsfield, the great Earl of Lucan, at Limerick, and the master himself, if all tales are true, was much involved in the early plots of the old Pretender. No, sir, he was not out in the '15; he was a student at that time in France, but I dare say ready to lend himself to anything that brought revenge upon England."
"Commend me to your ancient sage the master," said the captain. "I wish we might have had him here to-night. When we last dined here together he talked not only of our unfortunate King James, but of the great Prince of Conti and Louis Quatorze as if he had seen them yesterday. He was close to many great events in France."
"You speak of our old Master Sullivan," said Major Haggens eagerly, edging his chair a little nearer. "Yes, he knew all those great Frenchmen as he knows his Virgil and Tully; we are all his pupils here, old men and young; he is master of a little school on Pine Hill; there is no better scholar and gentleman in New England."
"Or Old England either," added Judge Chadbourne.
"They say that he had four countesses to his grandmothers, and that his grandfathers were lords of Beare and Bantry, and princes of Ireland," said the major. "His father was banished to France by the Stuarts, and died from a duel there, and the master was brought up in one of their great colleges in Paris where his house held a scholarship. He was reared among the best Frenchmen of his time. As for his coming here, there are many old stories; some say 't was being found in some treasonable plot, and some that 't was for the sake of a lady whom his mother would not let him stoop to marry. He vowed that she should never see his face again; all his fortunes depended on his mother, so he fled the country."
"With the lady?" asked the captain, with interest, and pushing along the decanter of Madeira.
"No," said the major, stopping to fill his own glass as if it were a pledge of remembrance. "No, he came to old York a bachelor, to the farm of the McIntires, Royalist exiles in the old Cromwell times, and worked there with his hands until some one asked him if he could write a letter, and he wrote it in seven languages. Then the minister, old Mr. Moody, planted him in our grammar school. There had been great lack of classical teaching in all this region for those who would be college bred, and since that early year he has kept his school for lads and now and then for a bright girl or two like Miss Mary Hamilton, and her mother before her."
"One such man who knows the world and holds that rarest jewel, the teacher's gift, can uplift a whole community," said the captain, with enthusiasm. "I see now the cause of such difference between your own and other early planted towns. Master Sullivan has proved himself a nobler prince and leader than any of his ancestry. But what of the lady? I heard many tales of him before I possessed the pleasure of his acquaintance, and so heard them with indifference."
"He had to wife a pretty child of the ship's company, an orphan whom he befriended, and later married. She was sprightly and of great beauty in her youth, and was dowered with all the energy in practical things that he had been denied," said the judge. "She came of plain peasant stock, but the poor soul has a noble heart. She flouts his idleness at one moment, and bewails their poverty, and then falls on her knees to worship him the next, and is as proud as if she had married the lord of the manor at home. The master lacked any true companionship until he bred it for himself. It has been a solitary life and hermitage for either an Irish adventurer or a French scholar and courtier."
"The master can rarely be tempted now from the little south window where he sits with his few books," said Hamilton. "I lived neighbor to him all my young days. Not long ago he went to visit his son James, and walked out with him to see the village at the falls of the Saco. There was an old woman lately come over from Ireland with her grandchildren; they said she remembered things in Charles the Second's time, and was above a hundred years of age. James Sullivan, the judge, thinking to amuse his father, stopped before the house, and out came the old creature, and fell upon her knees. 'My God! 't is the young Prince of Ardea!' says she. 'Oh, I mind me well of your lady mother, sir; 't was in Derry I was born, but I lived a year in Ardea, and yourself was a pretty boy busy with your courting!' The old man burst into tears. 'Let us go, James,' says he, 'or this will break my heart!' but he stopped and said a few words to her in a whisper, and gave the old body his blessing and all that was in his poor purse. He would listen to her no more. 'We need not speak of youth,' he told her; 'we remember it only too well!' A man told me this who stood by and heard the whole."
"'T was most affecting; it spurs the imagination," said the captain. "If I had but an hour to spare I should ride to see him once more, even by night. You will carry the master my best respects, some of you.
"One last glass, gentlemen, to our noble cause! We may never sit in pleasant company again," he added, and they all rose in their places and stood about the table.
"Haud heigh, my old auntie used to say to me at home. Aim high's the English of it. She was of the bold clan of the MacDuffs, and 't is my own motto in these anxious days. Good-by, gentlemen all!" said the little captain. "I ask for your kind wishes and your prayers."
They all looked at Hamilton, and then at one another, but nobody took it upon himself to speak, so they shook hands warmly and drank their last toast in silence and with deep feeling. It was time to join the ladies; already there was a sound of music across the hall in a great room which had been cleared for the dancing.
Upon this lonely road!: This stanza is from William Wordsworth (1770-1850), "LINES: Composed at Grasmere, during a walk one Evening, after a stormy day, the Author having just read in a Newspaper that the dissolution of Mr. Fox was hourly expected" (1806). (Research: Gabe Heller).
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Patrick Sarsfield ... plots of the old Pretender ... the '15: Irish struggles. See List of People for details about Sarsfield and James Frances Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender. The Jacobite (Jacobus is Latin for James) Rebellion of 1715 was an attempt by Scotland, aided by Ireland, to forestall union with Protestant Great Britain and restore the Catholic Old Pretender to the throne of England. According to Thomas Amory in The Life of James Sullivan (1859), it was not Master Sullivan's grandfather, but his father, Major Philip O'Sullivan, who served with Sarsfield in the defense of Limerick (8). (Research assistance: Gabe Heller).
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our unfortunate King James ... great Prince of Conti ... Louis Quatorze: The unfortunate James presumably is James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766), the Old Pretender (See List of People), who would be important both to nationalist Scots, like Jones, and Irish, like Sullivan. The Catholic King Louis XIV (Quatorze) of France (1638-1715) presided over "the golden age of France." England and France were at war during much of the 18th Century, and France actively supported the claims of the deposed Catholic Stuarts of England. Almost certainly, the great Prince of Conti referred to here is Louis-Francois I (1717-1776), a distinguished French general, who also associated with French Enlightenment literary and intellectual figures such as Rousseau.
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Virgil ... Tully ... little school on Pine Hill: Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro, 70-19 BC) was the author of The Aeneid. Cicero (Marcus Tullius), known also a Tully (106-43 B.C.) was a Roman author and statesman. Master Sullivan's school was at Pine Hill.
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banished to France by the Stuarts: Major Haggens's report is somewhat confusing. Haggens corrects Hamilton's identification of Master Sullivan's grandfather by saying that Sullivan's father was banished to France, but it seems odd that he attributes this exile to the Stuarts. Irish resistance to the rule of the Protestant William and Mary after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 made the Irish partisans of the deposed Stuart king, James II. As James II's daughter, Mary also was a Stuart. By the time of the American Revolution, the royal family were Hannoverians.
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Madeira: Wine from the Madeira Islands southwest of Portugal.
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the old Cromwell times: Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) was one of the generals on the Parliament side of the English Civil War (1640-1660) against King Charles I.
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Charles the Second's time: Charles II of England ruled 1660-1685.
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the young Prince of Ardea: The Castle of Ardea was one of the centers of the O'Sullivan family that ruled much of southern Ireland as chiefs and kings, from before 1170 until the 16th century. Master John Sullivan was a descendant of Daniel O'Sullivan Beare, a Prince of Ardea, and so might be identified by Irish locals as the Young Prince. Source: Thomas Amory, The Life of James Sullivan (1859), Chapter 1.
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MacDuffs: The MacDuff clan of Scotland was memorialized in William Shakespeare's Macbeth, where Macduff leads in the defeat of Macbeth, usurper of the Scottish throne. This play is based on historical events of the 11th century.
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