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prompted by the very reasonable and proper love which honorable men are not ashamed to avow for the women whom they think endowed with peculiar charms. The young lady had a susceptible heart, and was formed every way to love and be loved. After Swift had been for some time bestowing attentions more particular than would be prompted by ordinary friendship, she intimated to him the state of her affections. Instead of acting the honorable part, and promptly acknowledging his relations with Stella, Swift, true to the instincts of his nature, preferred a more tortuous course, and at first met the young lady's avowal with railery, and then offered her a “devoted and everlasting friendship, founded on the basis of virtuous esteem.”
We do not learn that this cool proposal of a virtuous friendship had any effect in lessening the assiduity of the platonic swain. He wrote out a metrical narrative of the progress of this affair with Miss Vanhomrigh, in some very voluminous and prosaical lines entitled, “Cadenus and Vanessa.” The Journal to Stella contains no intimation of this new attachment. He mentions his “Vanessa” two or three times as “Mr. Vanhomrigh's eldest daughter.” Stella is left to imagine what she may from the colder atmosphere which gradually envelopes the correspondence.
Disappointed in his expectation of a bishopric, but having obtained promotion to the Deanery of St. Patrick, as we have seen, Swift returned to Ireland. He procured lodgings for Stella and Mrs. Dingley near his own residence in Dublin. The death of Vanessa's parents, and the embarrassed condition of her estate in England, gave her a pretext for going to Ireland, where she had a small property near Cellbridge.
The arrival of Vanessa in Dublin placed Swift in a most difficult dilemma. He could not break off his intimacy with her without doing great violence to her feelings. Consequently he visited her frequently, and allowed the continuance of a correspondence, in which she made the most emphatic expressions of affection.
Swift's attentions to Vanessa, now in the immediate neighborhood of her rival, aroused a very natural jealousy in the heart of Stella. The man for whom she had abandoned her friends and country, and even clouded her fair fame, was giving
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XIII.—7
attentions to another which might lead to total estrangement from her. This feeling prayed upon her health, and threatened the most melancholy consequences. Dr. Swift requested his early friend, the Bishop of Clogher, to discover the cause of her melancholy, which doubtless his own conscience had long before revealed. The bishop candidly told his friend that there was but one remedy. He must put it beyond the power of any tongue to say aught against the unfortunate lady by taking her hand in marriage. He replied by presenting two frivolous resolutions which he had formed many years before: first, that he would not marry until possessed of a competent fortune; and, second, that event should take place at a time of life which would give him a reasonable prospect of seeing his children settled in the world. Notwithstanding these insuperable difficulties, he would relieve Miss Johnson's mind by going through the ceremony provided it should remain an inviolable secret from the world, and they should live in the same guarded manner as before! The Bishop of Clogher performed this unmeaning ceremony in the garden of the deanery in the year 1716.
Had Swift given his heart and hand in earnest to either of the ladies, though the consequences might have been fatal to the other, perhaps an ingenious biographer could have framed some kind of apology for him; but he blundered along in his misguided and crafty course in such a manner that both fell victims to his folly. In 1717 Vanessa retired from Dublin to Cellbridge, where, in her solitude, she was left with nothing to relieve her from the effects of her unhappy passion. Swift feared the effects of this retirement, and urged her to mingle in society; but the world had no charms for her apart from the idol of her worship.
At length, wearied with long uncertainty as to her true position and prospects, she wrote a letter to Stella asking the nature of the relation which subsisted between her and Dr. Swift. Stella was indignant that her husband had given any woman cause for making such an inquiry. She immediately put the letter in his hands, and retired to a country-seat near the city. Swift became greatly enraged, and mounting his horse, rode immediately to Cellbridge. Vanessa was so much alarmed at his angry appearance when he entered her house, that she could scarcely find voice to ask him to be seated. He said not a word, but glared at her fiercely, threw the packet containing her letter on the table and rode hastily away. Poor Vanessa's heart was broken. She never lifted her head afterward. She died in three weeks, and the grave's “ tranquilizing mould” buried her away from the world where her only lot was disappointment.
Scarcely a happier fate awaited Stella. She endured the bondage of matrimony without the sympathies and joys which pertain to a well-ordered married life.
With no motive that with a common man would have had a feather's weight, Swift persisted in not acknowledging his wife. A short time before her death she addressed him in the most earnest and pathetic terms. “As the ceremony of marriage had passed between them, in order to put it out of the power of slander to be busy with her fame after death, she besought him to let her have the satisfaction of dying at least, though she had not lived, his acknowledged wife.” Swift made no reply, but turned on his heel and left the room.
She still had hope that she might gain her wish, and extort this last poor return for a life of disappointment. It is said that they had another interview. Swift stood by the bed where Stella lay almost exhausted. She found words again to utter her request, but in so weak a voice that they could not be distinguished by any save him to whom they were addressed. He was heard to say, “Well, my dear, if you wish it it shall be owned;" to which she answered with a sigh, “It is too
Strange as it may appear, this promise, extorted when his victim was almost in her last agonies, was not kept. He never wrote or spoke a single word that reached the public ear concerning the marriage, which, if acknowledged even after her untimely death, would have gone far to vindicate the character of the unfortunate Stella.
The years in Swift's life which followed the death of Stella were unmarked by incident. They were years of great unhappiness. Though he nowhere expresses regret for his treatment of his victims, nor grief for their melancholy fate, yet, if he had a particle of humanity in his composition, the recollection of these things must have made an ingredient of his misery. Disappointment in his aspirations after power and grandeur was the chief element in his unhappiness. His closing years were shrouded with gloom. In 1736 his mental faculties showed symptoms of decay. The last years of his life were spent in wretched imbecility. He lingered in this most pitiable state until the 19th of October, 1745, when his unsatisfied heart ceased to beat.
In a future number we may delineate his literary life and character.
ART. VI.—THE USE AND ABUSE OF EYESIGHT.
THERE are few persons to whom the eyes are not about their most valuable possession. Of those who are committed to a literary or professional life this is eminently true. Could these organs be converted into diamonds, how poor would be the exchange? How valueless the monster gems would appear to their unfortunate possessor. What the muscular right arm is to the mechanic, or the nimble foot to the courier, such is the eye to the man of books. The scholar has spent, it may be, the best years of his life in acquiring knowledge. He has perhaps enjoyed high health, and the most unusual advantages; still upon these little, often abused optics depends his power of usefully employing his varied knowledge. The returned Californian who should carelessly expose his bags of gold dust, for the acquisition of which he has spent the best part of his life and endured much toil and privation, would act wisely, compared to the student who subjects his eyes to injury by abuse or neglect. The art of printing has increased the value of eyesight. The promise is, in a sense, fulfilled, that “the child shall be born a hundred years old.” A much higher amount of professional attainment is necessary now than in the days of our fathers. We have reached a book-making and a book-reading age. In no former period were the eyes so valuable. That they are so much used, may help to account for the unusual prevalence of diseases of the eye in our time.
Beer, the great German oculist, thus remarks: “As man is to be considered a little world [microcosm] in relation to the
earth upon which he lives, even so must the eye be considered a microcosm in regard to the individual man."
THE EYE A REPRESENTATIVE ORGAN. Almost every tissue of the body is here represented, muscle, ligament, gland, serous, mucous, and fatty tissues, bone, hair, follicles, nerves, bloodvessels, and fluid. As a mere piece of mechanism, the world nowhere furnishes such a beautiful and complete piece of machinery in so small a space. It is an epitome of the whole human system.
The intimate relationship of the eyes to the rest of the human structure, and the cause of the remarkable sympathy of these organs with structures dissimilar and remote, may be explained by the aid of the following diagram.*
* The figures indicate the pairs of nerves which supply the eye with power. 2, the second pair which supplies the power of vision. 3, called “motorius oculi," because it supplies the power of MOTION. As will be perceived it indirectly supplies NUTRITION. 4 takes care of the oblique or pulley muscle, which 3 leaves out: this is the only example in the eye of this force; all the mechanical forces find example in the apparatus of vision. 5 furnishes the power of ADJUSTMENT, and some to FEELING, taking care of the lachrymal reservoirs, and affording something to NUTRITION. 6 takes care of the straight muscle that draws the eye out. 7 is devoted to the eyebrows, and renders most important service. 3, 4, 6, and 7 are all nerves of MOTION.