William Makepeace Thackeray.

The memoirs of Barry Lyndon, esq., and, A little dinner at Timmin's online

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THE MEMOIRS



BARRY LYNDON



A LITTLE DINNER AT TIMMINS'S



ISAAC FOOT
LIBRARY



THE MEMOIRS



BARRY LYNDON, Esq.



A LITTLE DINNER AT TIMMINS'S



BY

WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY



T,ONDON

SMITH, ELDER, ,\ CO., 15 WATERLOO TLACE

1886



f 88C



^tf-u 1 i n. J-»JA1VJ_».-H\i\



CONTENTS.



THE MEMOIRS OF BARRY LYXDOX, ESQ.

CHAP. PAGE
I. MY PEDIGREE AND FAMILV— UNDERGO THE IN-

TLUENCE OF THE TENDER PASSION ... 7
II. IN WHICH I SHOW MYSELF TO KE A MAN OF SPIRIT 33
in. I .MAKE A FALSE START IN THE GENTEEL WORLD 48
IV. IN WHICH BARRY TAKES A NEAR VIEW OF MILI-
TARY GLORY 61

V. IN WHICH BARRY TRIES TO REMOVE AS FAR FROM

MILIT.\RY GLORY AS POSSIBLE . . . . 71

VI. THE CRIMP W.\GGON— MILITARY EPISODES . . 85
VII. BARRY LEADS A GARRISON LIFE, AND FINDS MANY

FRIENDS THERE I02

VIII. BARRY BIDS ADIEU TO THE MILITARY PROFESSION 112
IX. I APPEAR IN A MANNER BECOMING .MY NAME AND

LINEAGE 119

X. MORE RUNS OF LUCK 13I

XI. IN WHICH THE LUCK GOES .\GAINST BARRY . . I46
XII. CONTAINS THE TR.VGICAL IHSTOUY OF THE PRIN-
CESS OF X 154

XIII. I CONTINUE .MY CAREER AS A MAN OF FASHION . 173

XIV. I RETURN TO IRELAND, AND EXHIBIT MY SPLEN-

DOUR .\ND GENEROSITY IN THAT KINGDO.M . l83

XV. I P.\V COURT TO -MY LADY LYNDON . . . 199
XVI. 1 PROVIDE NOBLY FOR MY FA.MILY, AND ATTAIN

THE HEIGHT OF MY (SEEMING) GOOD FORTUNE. 212

.WII. I .\PPEAR .\S .\N ORNA.MENT OF ENGLISH SOCIETY 228

XVIII. IN WHICH MY GOOD FORTUNE BEGINS TO WAVER . 247

XIX. CONCLUSION 270



VI COXTENTS.

A LITTLE DISXER AT TB[M!XS'S.

CHAP. PAGE

' 303

n 308

II' 3"

IV 3'6

V 320

VI 325

VII 330



^



THE MEMOIRS



BARRY LYNDON, Eso.



CHAPTER I.

My Pedigree and Family — Undergo the Injlucncecf the Tender
Passion.

SINCE tlie days of Adam, there has been hardly a mischief
done in this world but a woman has been at the bottom
of it. Ever since ours was a family (and that must be very fiear
Adam's time,— so old, noble, and illustrious are the Barrys, as
everybody knows) women have played a mighty part with the
destinies of our race.

I presume that there is no gentleman in Europe that has not
heard of the house of Barry of Barryogue, of the kingdom of
Ireland, than which a more famous name is not to be found in
Gwillim or D'Hozier ; and though, as a man of the world, I
have learned to desiJise heartily the claims of somQ preicndcrs to
high birth who have no more genealogy than the lacquey who
cleans my boots, and though I laugh to utter scorn the boasting
of many of my countrymen, who are all for descenJnig from
kings of Ireland, and talk of a domain no bigger than would
feed a pig as if it were a principality ; yet truth compels me to
assert that my family .\;is the noblest of the island, and, perhaps,
of the universal world ; wliile their possessions, now insignificant
and torn from us by war, by treachery, by the loss of time, by
ancestral extravagance, by adhesion to the old faith and mon-
arch, were formerly prodigious, and embraced many counties,
at a time when Ireland was vastly more prosperous than now.
I would assume the Irish crown over my coat-of-arms, but that



8 THE MEMOIRS OF BARRY LYNDON, ESQ..

there are so many silly pretenders to that distinction who bear
it and render it common.

Who knows, but for the fault of a woman, I might have been
wearing it now? You start with incredulity. I say, why not?
Had there been a gallant chief to lead my countrymen, instead
of puling knaves who bent the knee to King Richard II., they
might have been freemen ; had there been a resolute leader to
meet the murderous ruiifian Oliver Cromwell, we should have
shaken off the English for ever. But there was no Barry in the
field against the usurper ; on the contrary, my ancestor, Simon
de Bary, came over with the first-named monarch, and married
the daughter of the then King of Munster, whose sons in battle
he pitilessly slew.

In Oliver's time it was too late for a chief of the name of Barry
to lift up his war-cry against that of the murderous brewer. We
were princes of the land no longer ; our unhappy race had lost
its possessions a century previously, and by the most shameful
treason. This I know to be the fact, for my mother has often
told me the story, and besides had worked it in a worsted pedi-
gree which hung up in the yellow saloon at Barrj-ville where we
lived.

That very estate which the Lyndons now possess in Ireland
was once the property of my race. Rory Barry of Barryogue
owned it in Elizabeth's time, and half Munster beside. The
Barry was always in feud with the O'Mahonys in those times ;
and, as it happened, a certain English colonel passed through
the former's country with a body of men-at-arms, on the very
day when the O'Mahonys had made an inroad upon our terri-
tories, and carried off a frightful plunder of our flocks and herds.

This young Englishman, whose name was Roger Lyndon,
Linden, or Lyndaine, having been most hospitably received by
the Barry, and finding him just on the point of carr>ing an
inroad into the O'Mahonys' land, offered the aid of himself and
his lances, and behaved himself so well, as it appeared, that the
O'Mahonys were entirely overcome, all the Barry's property
restored, and with it, says the old chronicle, twice as nuich of
the O'Mahonys' gootls and cattle.

It was the setting in of the winter season, and the young
soldier was pressed by the Barry not to quit his house of
Barr)'0guc, and remained there during several months, his men
being quartered with Barry's own gallowglasses, man by man



MY ANCESTORS. 9

in the cottages round about. They conducted themselves, as is
tlieir wont, witli the most intolerable insolence towards the Irisli ;
so much so, that fights and murders continually ensued, and the
people vowed to destroy them.

The Barry's son (from whom I descend) was as hostile to the
English as any other man on his domain ; and, as they would
not go when bidden, he and his friends consulted together and
determined on destroying these English to a man.

But they had let a woman into their plot, and this was the
Barry's daughter. She was in love with the English Lyndon,
and broke the whole secret to him ; and the dastardly English
prevented the just massacre of themselves by falling on the Irish,
and destroying Phaudrig Barry, my ancestor, and many hundreds
of his men. The cross at Barrycross near Carrignadihioul is the
spot where the odious butchery took place.

Lyndon married the daughter of Roderick Barry, and claimed
the estate which he left : and though the descendants of Phaudrig
were alive, as indeed they are in my person,* on appealing to
the English courts, the estate was awarded to the Englishman,
as has ever been the case where English and Irish were con-
cerned.

Thus, had it not been for the weakness of a woman, I should
have been born to the possession of those very estates which
afterwards came to me by merit, as you shall hear. But to pro-
ceed with my family history.

My father was well known to the best circles in this kingdom,
as in that of Ireland, under the name of Roaring Harry Barry.
He was bred like many other young sons of genteel families to
tlie profession of the law, being articled to a celebrated attorney
of Sackville .Street in the city of Dublin ; and, from his great
genius and aptitude for learning, there is no doubt he would
Iiave made an eminent figiire in his profession, had not his social
cjualities, love of field-sjx)rts, and extraordinary graces of manner,
marked him out for a higher sphere. While he was attorney's
clerk he kept seven race-horses, and hunted regularly both with
the Kildare and Wicklow hunts ; and rode on his grey horse
Endymion that famous match against Captain Punter, which is

* As wc have never been able to find proofs of the marriage of my
ancestor Phaudrig with his wife, I make no doubt that Lyndon destroyed
the contract, and murdered the priest and witnesses of the marriage. — •
B. L.

A 2



10 THE MEMOIRS OF BARRY LYNDON, ESa.

Still remembered by lovers of the sport, and of which I caused
a splendid picture to be made and hung over my dining-hall
mantelpiece at Castle Lyndon. A year afterwards he had the
honour of riding that very horse Endymion before his late
Majesty King George II. at Newmarket, and won the plate
there and the attention of the august sovereign.

Although he was only the second son of our family, my dear
father came naturally into the estate (now miserably reduced to
j^400 a year) ; for my grandfather's eldest son Cornelius Barry
(called the Chevalier Borgne, from a wound which he received
in Germany) remained constant to the old religion in which our
family was educated, and not only served abroad with credit,
but against His Most Sacred Majesty George II. in the unhappy
Scotch disturbances in '45. We shall hear more of the Chevalier
hereafter.

For the conversion of my father I have to thank my dear
mother, Miss Bell Brady, daughter of Ulysses Brady of Castle
Brady, county Kerry, Esquire and J. P. She was the most beau-
tiful woman of her day in Dublin, and universally called the
Dasher there. Seeing her at the assembly, my father became
l^assionately attached to her ; but her soul was above marrying
a Papist or an attorney's clerk ; and so, for the love of her, the
good old laws being then in force, my dear father slipped into
my uncle Cornelius's shoes and took the family estate. Besides
the force of my mother's bright eyes, several persons, and of the
gcntcelest society too, contributed to this happy change ; and I
have often heard my mother laughingly tell the story of my
father's recantation, which was solemnly pronounced at the
tavern in the company of Sir Dick Ringwood, Lord Bagwig,
CajHain Punter, and two or three other young sparks of the
town. Roaring Han-y won 30c pieces that very night at faro,
and laid the necessary information the next morning against his
brother ; but his conversion caused a coolness between him and
my uncle Corney, who joined the rebels in consequence.

Tiiis great difficulty being settled, my Lord Bagwig lent my
father liis own yacht, then lying at the Pigeon House, and the
handsome Ik;ll Brady was induced to run away with him to
England, althougii her parents were against the match, and her
lovers (as I have heard her tell many thousands of times) were
among tlie most numerous and the most wealthy in all the
kingdom of Ireland. They were married at the Savoy, and my



1 AM LEFT AN ORPHAN. II

grandfather dying very soon, Harry Barry, Esquire, took posses-
sion of his paternal property and supported our illustrious name
with credit in London. He pinked the famous Count Tiercelin
behind Montague House, he was a member of " White's," and
a frequenter of all the chocolate-houses ; and my mother,
likewise, made no small figure. At length, after his great day
of triumph before His Sacred Majesty at Newmarket, Harry's
fortune was just on the point of being made, for the gracious
monarch promised to provide for him. But alas ! he was taken
in charge by another monarch, whose will will have no delay
or denial, — by Death, namely, who seized upon my father at
Chester races, leaving me a helpless orphan. Peace be to his
ashes ! He was not faultless, and dissipated all our princely
family property ; but he was as brave a fellow as ever tossed
a bumper or called a main, and he drove his coach-and-six
like a man of fashion.

I do not know whether His gracious Majesty was much affected
by this sudden demise of my father, though my mother says
he shed some royal tears on the occasion. But they helped
us to nothing : and all that was found in the house for the wife
and creditors was a purse of ninety guineas, which my dear
mother naturally took, with the family plate, and my father's
wardrobe and her own ; and putting them into our great coach,
drove off to Holyhead, whence she took shipping for Ireland.
My father's body accompanied us in the finest hearse and
plumes money could buy ; for though the husband and wife
iKid quarrelled repeatedly in life, yet at my father's death his
high-spirited widow forgot all her differences, gave him the
grandest funeral that had been seen for many a day, and erected
a monument over his remains (for which I subsequently paid),
which declared him to be the wisest, purest, and most affec-
tionate of men.

In performing these sad duties over her deceased lord, the
widow spent almost every guinea she had, and, indeed, would
have spent a great deal more, had she discharged one-third of
the demands which the ceremonies occasioned. But the people
around our old house of Barrj'ogue, although they did not like
ray father for his change of faith, yet stood by him at this
moment, and were for exterminating the mutes sent by Mr.
Plumer of London with the lamented remains. The monument
and vault in the church were then, alas ! all that remained of



12 THE MEMOIRS OF BARRY LYNDON, ESQ..

my vast possessions ; for my father had sold every stick of the
property to one Notley, an attorney, and we received but a cold
welcome in his house — a miserable old tumble-down place it
was.*

The splendour of the funeral did not fail to increase the
widow Barry's reputation as a woman of spirit and fashion ; and
when she wrote to her brother Michael Brady, that worthy
gentleman immediately rode across the country to fling himself
in her arms, and to invite her in his wife's name to Castle Brady.

Mick and Barry had quarrelled, as all men will, and very
high words had passed between them during Barry's courtship
of IMiss Bell. When he took her off, Brady swore he would
never forgive Barry or Bell ; but coming to London in the year
'46, he fell in once more with Roaring Harry, and lived in his
fine house in Clarges Street, and lost a few pieces to him at
play, and broke a watchman's head or two in his company, —
all of which reminiscences endeared Bell and her son very much
to the good-hearted gentleman, and he received us both with
open arms. Mrs. Barry did not, perhaps wisely, at first make
known to her friends what was her condition ; but arriving in
a huge gilt coach with enormous armorial bearings, was taken
by lier sister-in-law and the rest of the county for a person of
considerable property and distinction.

I'or a time, then, and as was right and proper, Mrs. Barry
gave the law at Castle Brady. She ordered the servants to and
fro, and taught them, what indeed they much wanted, a little
London neatness; and "English Redmond," as I was called,
was treated like a little lord, and had a maid and a footman to
himself; and honest Mick paid their wages, — which was much
more than he was used to do for his own domestics, — doing all in
bis j)0\ver to make his sister decently comfortable under her afflic-
tions. Mamma, in return, determined that, when her af{;rirs were
arranged, she would make her kind brother a handsome allow-
ance for her son's maintenance antl her own ; and promised
to have her handsome furniture brought over from Clarges Street
to adorn the somewhat dilapidated rooms of Castle Brady.

* In aiiollicr part of his memoir Mr. Rariy will ho fouiKl to describe
this iiiaiision as oile of thu most spleiulid palaces in ICurope ; but this
is a practice not unusual with his nation ; and with respect to the Irish
principality claimed by him, it is known that Mr. Barry's grandfather
was an attorney and maker of his own fortune.



MY WIDOWED MOTHER. I3

But it turned out that the rascally landlord seized upon every
chair and table that ought hy rights to have belonged to the
widow. The estate to which I was heir was in the hands ef
rapacious creditors ; and the only means of subsistence remain-
ing to the widow and child was a rent-charge of ^50 upon my
Lord Bagwig's property, who had many turf-dealings with the
deceased. And so my dear mother's liberal intentions towards
her brother were of course never fulfilled.

It must be confessed, very much to the discredit of Mrs. Brady
of Castle Brady, that when her sister-in-law's poverty was thus
made manifest, she forgot all the respect which she had been
accustomed to pay her, instantly turned my maid and man-ser-
vant out of doors, and told Mrs. Barry that she might follow
them as soon as she chose. Mrs. Mick was of a low family,
and a sordid way of thinking ; and after about a couple of years
(during which she had saved almost all her little income) the
widow complied with Madam Brady's desire. At the same time,
giving way to a just though prudently dissimulated resentment,
she made a vow that she would never enter the gates of Castle
Brady while the lady of the house remained alive within them.

She fitted up her new abode with much economy and consider-
able taste, and never, for all her poverty, abated a jot of the
dignity which was her due and which all the neighbourhood
awarded to her. How, indeed, could they refuse res[)ect to a
lady who had lived in London, frequented the most fashionalile
society there, and had been presented (as she solenmly declared)
at Court ? These advantages gave her a right which seonis to
be pretty unsparingly exercised in Ireland by those natives who
have it, — the right of looking down with scorn upon all persons
who have not had the opportunity of quitting the mother-country
and inhabiting England for a while. Thus, whenever Madam
Brady appeared abroad in a new dress, her sister-in-law would say,
" Poor creature ! how can it be expected that she should know
anything of the fashion?" And though pleased to be called
the handsome widow, as she was, Mrs. Barry was still better,
pleased to be called the Etiglish widow. ^

Mrs. Brady, for her part, was not slow to reply : she used to
say that the defunct Barry was a bankrupt and a beggar ; and
as for the fashionable society which he saw, he saw it from my
Lord Bagw ig's side-table, w hose flatterer and hanger-on he was
known to be. Regarding Mrs. Barry, the lady of Castle Brady



14 THE MEMOIRS OF BARRY LYNDON, ESQ.

would make insinuations still more painful. However, why
should we allude to these charges, or rake up private scandal of
a hundred years old ? It was in the reign of George II. that the
above-named personages lived and quarrelled ; good or bad,
handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now ; and do
not the Sunday papers and the courts of law supply us every
week with more novel and interesting slander?

At any rate, it must be allowed that Mrs. Barry, after her
husband's death and her retirement, lived in such a way as to
defs- slander. For whereas Bell Brady had been the gayest girl
in the whole county of Wexford, with half the bachelors at her
feet, and plenty of smiles and encouragement for every one of
them, Bell Barry adopted a dignified reserve that almost amounted
to pomposity, and was as starch as any Quakeress. Many a
man renewed his offers to the widow, who had been smitten by
the charms of the spinster ; but Mrs. Barry refused all offers of
marriage, declaring that she lived now for her son only, and for
the memory of her departed saint.

"Saint forsooth!" said ill-natured Mrs. Brady. "Harry
Barry was as big a sinner as ever was known ; and 'tis notorious
that he and Bell hated each other. If she won't marry now.
depend on it, the artful woman has a husband in her eye for all
that, and only waits until Lord Bagwig is a widower."

And suppose she did, what then ? Was not the widow of a
Barry fit to marry with any lord of England ? and was it not
always said that a woman was to restore the fortunes of the Barry
family? If my mother fancied that she was to be that woman, I
think it was a perfectly justifiable notion on her part; for the
Earl (my godfather) was always most attentive to her : I never
knew how deeply this notion of advancing my interests in the
world had taken possession of mamma's mind, until his Lord-
ship's marriage in the year '57 with Miss Goldmore, the Indian
nabob's rich daughter.

Meanwhile we continued to reside at Barryville, and, consider-
ing the smallness of our income, kept up a wonderful state. Of
the half-dozen families that formed the congregation at Brady's
Town, there was not a single person whose appearance was so re-
spectable as that of the widow, who, though she always dressed
in mourning, in memory of her deceased husband, took care
that her garments should be made so as to set off her handsome
person to the greatest advantage ; and, indeed, I think, spent



MY WIDOWED MOTHER. 1 5

six hours out of every day in tlic week in cutting, trimming, and
altering them to tiie fashion. She had the largest of hoops and
the handsomest of furbelows, and once a month (under my Lord
Bagwig's cover) would come a letter from London containing
the newest accounts of the fashions there. Her complexion was
so brilliant that she had no call to use rouge, as was the mode
in those days. No, she left red and white, she said (and hence
the reader may imagine how the two ladies hated each other) to
Madam Brady, whose yellow complexion no plaster could alter.
In a word, she was so accomplished a beauty, that all the women
in the country took pattern by her, and the young fellows from
ten miles round would ride o\er to Castle Brady church to have
the sight of her.

But if (like every other woman that ever I saw or read of) she
was proud of her beauty, to do her justice she was still more
proud of her son, and has said a thousand times to me that I
was the handsomest young fellow in the world. This is a matter
of taste. A man of sixty may, however, say what he was at four-
teen without much vanity, and I must say I think there was some
cause for my mother's opinion. The good soul's pleasure was
to dress me ; and on Sundays and holidays I turned out in a
velvet coat with a silver-hilted sword by my side and a gold
garter at my knee, as fine as any lord in the land. My mother
worked me several most splendid waistcoats, and I had plenty
of lace for my ruffles, and a fresh riband to my hair, and as we
walked to church on Sundays, even envious Mrs. Brady was found
to allow that there was not a prettier pair in the kingdom.

Of course, too, tlie lady of Castle Brady used to sneer, be-
cause on these occasions a certain Tim, who used to be called
my valet, followed me and my mother to church, carrying a
huge prayer-book and a cane, and dressed in the livery of one
of our own fine footmen from Clarges Street, which, as Tim
was a bandy-shanked little fellow, did not exactly become him.
But, though poor, we were gentlefolks, and not to be sneered
out of these becoming appendages to our rank ; and so would
march up the aisle to our pew with as much state and gravity
as the Lord Lieutenant's lady and son might do. When
there, my mother would give the responses and amens in a
loud dignified voice that was delightful to hear, and, besides,
Iiad a fine loud voice for singing, which art she had perfected
in London under a fashionable teacher ; and she would exercise



l6 THE MEMOIRS OF BARRY LYNDON, ESQ.

her talent in such a way that you would hardly hear any other
voice of the little congregation which chose to join in the psalm.
In fact, my mother had great gifts in every way, and believed
herself to be one of the most beautiful, accomplished, and
meritorious persons in the world. Often and often has she
talked to me and the neighbours regarding her own humility
and piety, pointing them out in such a way that I would defy
the most obstinate to disbelieve her.

^^'hen we left Castle Brady we came to occupy a house in
Brady's Town, which'mamma christened Barryville. I confess
it was but a small place, but, indeed, we made the most of it.
I have mentioned the family pedigree which hung up in the
drawing-room, which mamma called the yellow saloon, and
my bedroom was called the pink bedroom, and hers the orange-
tawny apartment (how well I remember them all!); and at
dinner-time Tim regularly rang a great bell, and we each had
a silver tankard to drink from, and mother boasted with justice
that I had as good a bottle of claret by my side as any squire
of the land. So indeed I had, but I was not, of course, allowed
at my tender years to drink any of the wine ; which thus at-
tained a considerable age, even in the decanter.

Uncle Brady (in spite of the family quarrel) found out the
above fact one day by calling at Barryville at dinner-time, and
unluckily tasting the liquor. You should have seen how he
sputtered and made faces ! But the honest gentleman was
not particular about his wine, or the company in which he
drank it. He would get drunk, indeed, with the parson or tlie



Online LibraryWilliam Makepeace ThackerayThe memoirs of Barry Lyndon, esq., and, A little dinner at Timmin's → online text (page 1 of 32)