Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/156

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


Burke was brought up in the Protestant faith of his father, and was never in any real danger of deviating from it; but I can not doubt that his regard for his Catholic fellow subjects, his fierce repudiation of the infamies of the penal code — whose horrors he did something to miti- gate — his respect for antiquity, and his historic sense, were all quickened by the fact that a tenderly loved and loving mother belonged through life and in death to an ancient and an outraged faith.

Burke came to London with a cultivated curi- osity, and in no spirit of desperate determination to make his fortune. That the study of the law interested him can not be doubted, for every- thing interested him, and particularly the stage. Like the sensible Irishman he was, he lost his heart to Peg Woffington on the first opportunity. He was fond of roaming about the country, during, it is to be hoped, vacation time only, and is to be found writing the most cheerful letters to his friends in Ireland (all of whom are per- suaded that he is going some day to be some- body, tho sorely puzzled to surmise what thing or when, so pleasantly does he take life), from all sorts of out-of-the-way country places, where he lodges with quaint old landladies who wonder maternally why he never gets drunk, and gener- al iv mistake him for an author until he pavs his bill.

When in town he frequented debating socie- ties in Fleet Street and Co vent Garden, and 132

�� �