2 20 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
in misfortune—a widow named Cronin—a woman of great personal attractions, but not of the most reputable character, for it was admitted that since the death of her first husband, a journeyman coach-builder, she had borne two illegitimate children, one of whom had been born on the 18th of March, 1806, as her marriage with Colonel Sergison took place, within the walls of the Dublin Prison, on the 30th of April following! The Colonel's first wife, too, had only died a few weeks previous to the ceremony, so that little else is needed to bear out the statement made on the trial that Colonel Francis Sergison was a hasty, passionate man, very fond of having his own way!
The newly-wedded couple soon after contrived to gain their liberty, but lived for some time in embarrassed circumstances in Dublin; and it was during this period that the events took place which were the subject of the trial at the Court of Queen's Bench in 1820—13 years afterwards.
During the temporary absence of Col. Sergison—sent out of the way, it would seem, by design, on a visit to one of his wife's illegitimate children—Mrs. Sergison represented that she had been confined, and presented to him, on his return, a female child as his own offspring. It was, to all appearance, accepted by him as such without suspicion, for he had believed his wife to be in the family way, and the child was brought up by him as his heiress. In the following year, 1808, the Colonel and his wife came to live in England, and in 1811, by the death of his elder brother, Mr. Warden Sergison, of Cuckfield Park, without issue, he came into the fine family property at Cuck-field, Sussex. And here he lived, with his wife and his reputed daughter, Eliza Ann Harriet, up to the time of his death, in 1812. Not only was the girl acknowledged as his heiress, but she also inherited a considerable fortune by the death of his mother, the heiress of the Wardens and Sergisons. For some years the widow of the late Colonel must have continued in the enjoyment of this, for the trial to decide the question of birth did not, as we have said,