Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 34.djvu/387

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acknowledged. Dr. Parr, who had been his grandfather's friend and his mother's guardian, corresponded with him, and spoke of his intellectual promise with enthusiasm. While at Ealing he had a love affair with a girl, who was soon forced by her father to marry another man, and who died three years later, sending to Bulwer a letter from her deathbed describing her sufferings and continued devotion. The affair, to which he refers in various writings, is said to have ‘coloured the whole of his life’ (ib. i. 165). A visit to her grave in 1824 prompted a poem called ‘The Tale of a Dreamer,’ and the same incident is described in an adventure of Kenelm Chillingly in his last novel. In February 1826 he declares to a lady that ‘love is dead to him for ever,’ and that the freshness of his youth has been buried in the grave (ib. ii. 45). How far this Byronic sentiment was genuine or lasting must be matter of conjecture. For the time his passion made him depressed and indifferent. He let his mother decide that he should go to Cambridge. After learning some mathematics from a Mr. Thomson, who occupied his grandfather's old house at St. Lawrence, he began residence at Trinity College, Cambridge, as a pensioner in the Easter term of 1822. He disliked the lectures, thought himself insulted by a tutor, and persuaded his mother to allow him to remove to Trinity Hall, which he entered after the long vacation as a fellow-commoner. As fellow-commoner in a ‘non-reading college’ he was excused from lectures. He became intimate with Alexander Cockburn, afterwards chief justice, who was of the same college, and at Cockburn's suggestion joined the Union Society. He became a good speaker in the debates when W. M. Praed, Charles Buller, Maurice, and B. H. Kennedy also distinguished themselves (Macaulay, i. 22). He read a good deal of English history, and began to fill a series of commonplace books. He kept up the practice till they were ultimately almost as voluminous as his published works (Life, ii. 101). He published a small volume of poems, and he won the chancellor's medal by a poem on ‘Sculpture’ in 1825. He took the degree of B.A. in 1826, that of M.A. in 1835, and in 1864 received the honorary LL.D. degree from Cambridge, having previously received the same degree at Oxford. The Lent term of 1825 was the last which he kept. During a long vacation in his Cambridge career Bulwer made a tour in the Lakes, where he visited the grave of his first love, and afterwards in Scotland. The strange story of his adventures (ib. i. 273–326) can only be accepted as a fragment of an autobiographical romance. It includes some of the most conventional incidents of his novels, and some doubt is thrown upon the historical accuracy of his early love story by its connection with this apocryphal bit of autobiography. Bulwer afterwards had a strange flirtation with Lady Caroline Lamb. In the autumn of 1825 he went to Paris. At Boulogne he acted as second in a duel to his friend Frederick Villiers (ib. i. 331, 363), who was in some degree his model for Pelham. At Paris he was admitted to the society of the Faubourg St.-Germain, and made friends with the Abbé Kinsela, an Irish jesuit, who proposed to him a marriage with a daughter of the Marquise de la Rochejacquelein. His mother's horror of popery induced him to decline the honour and give up visiting the family.

Bulwer was soon at home in the fashionable circles both of London and Paris. He was ‘a finished dandy’ of the period, and significantly called ‘Childe Harold’ by an English lady at Paris, a Mrs. Cunningham, with whom he carried on an intimate correspondence. He retired occasionally from Paris to Versailles to work at literature. He printed privately some Byronic poems called ‘Weeds and Wild Flowers,’ and composed some other early books of similar tendency. One night he won a large sum at a gambling-house, which, says his son (ib. iii. 25), ‘may have founded a fund’ afterwards very useful. He was disgusted, however, by the experience, and never played again, although he became afterwards so good a whist player as to derive from his skill ‘an appreciable addition to his income’ at one period (ib. ii. 156). He was a good rider, fencer, and boxer, and in August 1826 he purchased an unattached ensigncy. He was never appointed to a regiment, however, and sold the commission in January 1829.

Meanwhile he had met in London Miss Rosina Doyle Wheeler, an Irish young lady of remarkable beauty, niece of General Sir John Doyle (1750?–1834) [q. v.] Her parents had separated, and she was living with her uncle. She was clever and accomplished, though of passionate character. Though Bulwer was still apt to consider himself as a blighted being, he liked her frankness, was touched by her unprotected position, and thought that he could repay the ‘quiet tender sympathy’ of a woman (ib. ii. 27). He was, however, dependent upon his mother, who strongly disapproved the match. His father's estates were entailed upon his eldest brother William, and Henry inherited a good estate from his maternal grandmother. Edward had inherited 200l. a year from his father, while his mother was free to dispose of the