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amounting to wire-drawing, of many of the stories. The author is not, however, prolix in the ordinary fashion of that besetting sin ; a word must be coined to convey a'true idea of his offences against time and or. dinary patience. He is intolerably repetitive. Goethe supposed that Sir Walter Scott employed some inferior hand to supply the chaff to his wheat ; and till the public have the discrimination to accept the ingredients in literary composition, served up separately concocted, bulk, we acknowledge, must often supply the place of quality, if authors would live, and booksellers thrive. Our author has another fault, which amounts to sin against his own better genius. Having started a good original idea, he is not contented with running it handsomely down, but actually exhausts, worries, tears it to pieces, and then against all rules of sport, sets it up a-new for a fresh bout. His first stroke is lusty and vigorous, and tells ; but he reiterates the blow, loses wind, and sinks into mere child's play at last. Our final objection to these admirable stories, extends to nearly all contemporary Irish fictions. It is to their jargon and uncouth orthography, and tiresome parrot-like repetition of some bald Irish word or phrase, regularly explained at the bottom of the page, till the pages look more like mis-pronouncing dictionaries, than composi. tions intended to be made descriptive or racy by the use of piquant phrases and picturesque native words, illustrating the genius of a people through their language. We humbly submit that there is neither wit, humour, nor feeling in lots of superfluous h'es, in g's lopped away, or double ees broadened into a's. Miss Edgeworth was the first sinner in this sort. Mr. Banim is by far the most flagrant. Ignorant of the spoken language of the lower classes of Ireland and Scotland, every word to which Miss Edgeworth was unaccustomed, struck her ear and her fancy as something original and wonderful; and a stray Scotch word or phrase, as forenent, childre, sorrow one! &c., &c., is as carefully set down by her, and as elaborately explained, as if two-thirds of the people of Britain were not as familiar with them as with any other words of our spoken language. It is not to national idioms we object, and still less to the strong and peculiar language in which the men of different countries, by embodying their deepest and most lively feel. ings, give us a sure clew to national distinctions of character, but to the corrupt and absurd orthography which overloads whole pages, and often gives an absolutely ludicrous effect to the most pathetic passages in the Irish tales. In the Scotch novels a language is spoken. We have real Scotch or English words, not barbarisms and distortions forming an unintelligible jargon. Every body knows that the Irish, like the Welsh, Bretons, and Scotch Highlanders, heave up most words of Saxon origin from the depths of their throats, as if a mill-stone were pressed upon their stomachs; and this knowledge is surely sufficient of itself without signifying the fact, by inundations of h's and of afhters, stranghers, misthresses, dhry bittherness, &c. &c. &c.. to the intolerable tedium of the reader, to say nothing of the corruption of the King's English. But these are venial transgressions, which must correct themselves shortly, were it only by the facility of imitation. There are few writers can give us Irish fictions of the same excellence as the author of Crohoore, the Nouluns, and the Traits and Stories ; but thousands who very successfully copy the ivs and uds, and broad a's, and lopped and superfluous letters that are substituted for wit and humour, in the vulgar, slang Irish tales with which literature is at present overloaded. It is time, however, that we were at the business on hand.
The three thick volumes of this new series, contain eleven stories, of which there are some deeply serious or tragic. The others exhibit the alternate play of the cloud and sunshine of Irish life, and in general il. lustrate some trait of national character. The first, the Midnight Mass, paints revenge, implacable and treacherous, as it is too frequently ex. hibited in Ireland. The moral depravity of the villain hero, is traced to his connexion with secret societies, and unlawful combinations. But his frank unsuspecting victim is also a member of these societies, and his sworn brother White-boy.
We do not observe that this writer, who so eloquently and successfully points out the danger and guilt of those atrocious associations which are the fruitful root of much of the depravity, and many of the worst mi. series of Ireland, ever once mentions with approbation the grand moral and political regeneration which O'Connell has attempted, by converting the secret Ribbonman, the midnight incendiary and murderer, into the peaceful citizen, acting calmly and openly, but like a man resolutely determined to obtain and to preserve his rights. The late organizations appear truly formidable as political instruments, but how much more majestic, when considered as moral agencies and influences, which, if well directed, may produce the happiest effects, and which, in the worst event, must be an improvement on the anarchy and disorder that has constantly prevailed in Ireland. As we cannot enter into the story, which, like all the other tales, is more rich in character and description than incident, we give as a specimen the observation of Midnight Mass.
« The night in question was very dark, for the moon had long disappeared; and as the inhabitants of the whole parish were to meet in one spot, it may be supposed that the difficulty was very great of traversing, in the darkness of midnight, the space between their respective residences and the place appointed by the priest for the cele. bration of mass. This difficulty they contrived to surmount. From about eleven at night till twelve or ove o'clock, the parish presented a scence singularly picturesqne, and, to a person unacquainted with its causes, altogether mysterious. Over the surface of the surrounding country were scattered myriads of blazing torches, all converging to one point; whilst at a distance, in the central part of the parish, which lay in a valley, might be seen a broad focus of red light, quite stationary, with which one or more of the torches that moved across the fields mingled every moment. These torches were of bog-fir, dried and split for the occasion ; all persons were accordingly furnished with them, and by their blaze contrived to make way across the country with comparative ease. This Mass having been especially associated with festivity and enjoyment, was always attended by such excessive numbers, that the ceremony was in most parishes celebrated in the open air, if the weather were at all farourable. Altogether, as we have said, the appearance of the country at this dead hour of the night, was wild and impressive. Being Christmas, every heart was up, and every pocket replenished with money, if it could at all be procured. This general elevation of spirits was no where more remarkable than in contemplating the thousands of both sexes, old and young, each furnished, as before said, with a blazing flambeau of bog. fir, all streaming down the mountain sides, along the roads, or across the fields, and settling at last into one broad sheet of fire. Many a loud laugh might then be heard ringing the night echo into reverberation ; mirthful was the gabble in hard guttral Irish; and now and then a song from some one whose potations had been rather copious, would rise on the night breeze, to which a chorus was subjoined by a dozen voices from the neighbouring groups."
“ When they had arrived at the cross-roads beside which the chapel was situated, the first object that presented itself so prominently as to attract observation was Darby More, dressed out in all his paraphernalia of blanket and horn, in addition to which he held in his hand an immense torch, formed into the figure of a cross. He was seated upon a stone, surrounded by a ring of old men and women, to whom he sang and sold a variety of Christmas carols, many of them rare curiosities in their way, inasmuch as they were his own composition. A little beyond them stood Mike Reillaghan and Peggy Gartland, towards both of whom he cast from time to time a flance of latent humour and triumph. He did not simply confine himself to singing one,
his carols ; but, during the pauses of the melody, addressed the wondering and atten. tive crowd as follows:
“ "Good Christians- This is the day—howandiver, it's night now, glory be to God that the angel Lucifer appeared to Shud'orth, Meeshach, an' To-bed-we-go, in the village of Constantinople, near Jerooslem. The heavens be praised for it, 'twas a blessed an' holy night, an' remains so from that day to this–Oxis doxis glorioxis, Amin! Well; the sarra one of him but appeared to thim at the hour o' nidnight, but they were asleep at the time, you see, and didn't persave him. So wid that he pulled out a horn like mine—an', by the same token, it's lucky to wear horns about
from that day to this-an' he put it to his lips, an' tuck a good dacent-I mane, gave a good dacent blast that soon roused them. Are yees asleep ?' says he, when they awoke : 'why then, bud-an'-age!' says he, isn't it a burnin' shame for able stout fellows like yees to be asleep at the hour o' midnight of all hours o' the night. Tare-an-age!' says he, get up wid yees, you dirty spalpeens ! There's St. Pathrick in Jerooslem beyant ; the Pope's signin' his mittimus to Ireland, to bless it in regard that neither corn, nor barley, nor phaties will grow an the land in quensequence of a set of varmint that ates it up; an' there's not a glass o' whiskey to be had in Ireland for love or money,' says Lucifer. • Get up wid yees,' says he, an' go in an' get his blessin'; sure there's not a Catholic in the country, barrin? Swaddlers, but's in the town by this,' says he ; ay, an' many of the Protestants themselves, and the blackmouths, an' blue-bellies, are gone in to get a share of it. And now,' says he, bekase you wor so heavy-headed, I ordher it from this out, that the present night is to be obsarved in the Catholic church all over the world, an' must be kep holy; an' no thrue Catholic ever will miss from this pariod an opportunity of bein' awake at midnight,' says he, 'glory be to God!' - An' now, good Christians, you have an account o' the blessed carol I was singin' for yees. They're but hapuns a-piece; an'any body that has the grace to keep one o' these about them, will never meet wid sudden deaths or accidents, sich as hangin', or drownin', or bein' taken suddenly wid a configuration inwardly.'
This Darby More, the main agent in the plot, is so exquisite a rogue, that we must shew the reader a little more of him. We have met with something reminding us of him in sundry heroes,-in Gil Blas' pious friend the mit, in Edie Ochiltree, and even in Sir John Falstaff; yet is Darby More, every inch an original Irish Gaberlunyie and voteen; somewhat sensual, it must be owned, but more arch than sly; roguish rather than knavish ; flattering and friendly, though fond of power obtained by trick, stratagem, and address; a kind of Irish personification of Simmie and his Brother, and altogether an inimitable fellow. But here, at full length, we have
“ Darby More, whose person, naturally large, was increased to an enormous size by the number of coats, blankets, and bags, with which he was encumbered. A large belt, buckled round his body, contained within its girth much more of money, meal, and whiskey than ever met the eye ; his hat was exceedingly low in the crown ; his legs were cased in at least three pairs of stockings; and in his hand he carried a long cant, spiked at the lower end, with which he slung himself over small rivers and dikes, and kept dogs at bay. He was a devotee, too, notwithstanding the whiskey hurn under his arm ; attended wakes, christenings, and weddings ; rubbed for the rose and king's evil, (for the varlet insisted that he was a seventh son,) cured toothaches, cholics, and head-aches by charms; but made most money by a knack which he possessed of tattooing into the naked breast the representation of Christ upon the cross. This was a secret of considerable value, for many of the superstitious people believed that by having this stained in upon them, they would escape unnatural deaths, and be almor sure of heaven.
“ When Darby ap, anached Reillaghan's house, he was considering the propriety of disclosing to his son the fact of his having left his rival with Peggy Gartland. He ultimately determined that it would be proper to do so ; for he was shrewd enough to suspect that the wish Frank had expressed of seeing him before he left the country, was but a ruse to purchase his silence touching his appearance in the village. In this, however, he was mistaken.
66 God save the house!' exclaimed Darby, on entering— God save the bouse, an' all that's in it! God save it to the north ! and he formed the sign of the cross in
• A scrofulous swelling.
that direction; God save it to the south! X to the aiste ! and to the waiste! Save it upwards !and save it downwards! Save it backwards! and save it forwards ! Save it right ! and save it left! Save it by night! save it by day! Save it here ! save it there ! Save it this way! an' save it that way! Save it atin'!
Xan' save it drinkin'! XXXXXXX. Oxis Doxis Glorioxis-Amin. An' now that I've blessed the place, in the name of the nine Patriarchs, how are yees all, man, woman, and child ? An'a merry Christmas to yees, says Darby More !
« Darby, in the usual spirit of Irish hospitality, received a sincere welcome, placed up near the fire, a plate filled with the best food on the table laid before him, and requested to want nothing for the asking.
« «Why Darby,' said Reillaghan, “we expected you long ago; why didn't you come sooner ?
6. "The Lord's will be done! for ev'ry man has his throubles,' replied Darby, stuffing himself in the corner like an Epicure; "an’ why should a sinner like me, or the likes ome, be widout thim? 'Twas a dhrame I had last night that kep me. They say, indeed, that dhrames go by contraries, but not always, to my own kuox. ledge.'
" "An' what was the dbrame about, Darby?' inquired Reillaghan's wife.
« «Why, Ma'am, about some that I see on this hearth, well, an' in good health ; may they long live to be so ! Oxis Doxis Glorioxis-Amin!
" • Blessed Virgin! Darby, sure it would be nothin' bad that's to happen ? Would it Darby ??
« • Keep yourself asy on that head. I have widin my own mind the power of makin' it come out for good- I know the prayer for it. Oxis Doxis !
“ "God be praised for that, Darby: sure it would be a terrible business, all out, if any thing was to happen. Here's Mike that was born on Whissle Monday, of all days in the year, an' you know they say that any child born on that day is to die an unnatural death. We named Mike after St. Michael, that he might purtect him.'
“ Make yourself asy, I say; don't I tell you I have the prayer to keep it backhach! hach !-why, there's a bit stuck in my throath, some way! Wurrah dheelish, what's this! Maybe, you could give nie a sup o' dhrink-wather, or any thing to moisten the morsel I'm atin'? Wurrah, Ma'am dear, make haste, it's goin' agin the breath wid me!'
“Oh, the sorra taste o' wather, Darby,' said Owen; sure this is Christmas Eve, you know ; so you see, Darby, for ould acqnaintance sake, an' that you may put up an odd prayer noir an' thin for us, jist be thryin' this.'
Darby honoured the gift by immediate acceptance.
« « Well, Owen Reillaghan,' said he, you make me take more o* this stuff nor any man I know; and particularly by rason that bein' given,-wiů a blessin', to the ranns, an' prayers, an' holy charms—I don't think it so good; barrin', indeed, as Father Dannellan towld me, when the wind, by long fastin', gets into my stomach, as was the case to-day, I'm often throubled, God help me, wid a configuration in the -hugh! ugh ! —and thin it's good for me-a little of it.'
« « This would make a brave powdher-horn, Darby More,' observed one of Reil. laghan's sons, 'if it wasn't so big. What do you keep in it, Darby?'
“Why, a villish, nothin' indeed, but a sup o' Father Donnellan's holy wather, that they say by all accounts it costs him great trouble to produce, by rason that he must fast a long time, and pray by the day, afore he gets himself holy enough to consecrate it.'
“It smells like whiskey, Darby,' said the boy, without any intention, however of offending him: it smells very like poteen.'
6 Hould your tongue, Risthardy said the elder Reillaghan; "what 'ud make the honest man have whiskey in it? Didn't he tell you what's in it?
“« The gorsoon's right enough,' replied Darby? I got the horn from Barny Dal. ton a couple o' days agone ; 'twas whiskey he hall in it, an' it smells of it sure enough, an' will, indeed, for some time longer. Och, och! the heavens be praised, I've made a good dinner! May they never know want that gave it to me! Osis Doxis Glorioxis-Amin!'*XX
“Darby, thry this agin,' said Reillaghan, offering him another bumper.
"Throth, an' I will, thin, for I find myself a great dale the betther of the one I tuck. Well, here's health an' happiness to us, an' may we all meet in heaven! Risthard, hand me that horn till I be goin' out to the barn, in ordher to do somethin' for my sowl. The holy wather's a good thing to have about one.'
«« But the dhrame, Darby ?' inquired Mrs. Reillaghan. “Won't you tell it to us ?' The dhrame is Darby's cunning way of giving warning of approaching mischief. We have him here again making the murderer submit to the popular ordeal.
« Don't say a word. We'll take him by surprise ; I'll call upon him to ToU CH
Make them women-an' och its hard to expect it-make them stop clappin' their hands, an' cryin'; an' let there be a dead silence, if you can,'
«« I say amin to that,' replied Darby: Oris Doris Glorioris ! So far, that's right, if the blood of him's not an you. But there's one thing more to be done ; will you walk over, undher the eye of God, AN TOUCH THE CORPSE ? Hould back, neighbours, an' let him come over alone : I an' Owen Reillaghan will stand here wid the lights, to see if the corpse bleeds.'
6 • Give me, too, a light,' said M‘Kenna's father, my son must get fair play, any way: I must be a witness myself to it, an' will, too.'
65It's but rasonable,' said Owen Reillaghan ; ' come over beside Darby an' myself: I'm willın' that your son should stand or fall by what'll happen.'
66 Frank's father, with a taper in his band, immediately went, with a pale face and trembling steps, to the place appointed for him beside the corpse, where he took his stand.
“ When young M.Kenna heard Darby's last question, he seemed as if seized by an inward spasm : the start which he gave, and his gaspings for breath were visible to all present. Had he seen the spirit of the murdered man before him, his horror could not have been greater; for this ceremony had been considered a inost decisive test in cases of suspicion of murder-an ordeal, indeed, to which few murderers wished to submit themselves. In addition to this we may observe, that Darby's knowledge of the young man's character was correct : with all his crimes, he was weak-minded and superstitious.
He stood silent for some time after the ordeal had been proposed to him ; his hair became literally erect with the dread of this formidable scrutiny; his cheeks turned white, and the cold perspiration fell from him in large drops. All his strength appeared to have departed from him ; he stood, as if hesitating, and even the energy necessary to stand seemed to be the result of an effort.
“ * Remember,' said Darby, pulling out the large crucifix which was attached to his beads, that the eye of God is upon you. If you've committed the murdher, thrim. ble; if not, Frank, you've little to fear in touchin' the corpse.'
“ He inmediately walked towards the corpse, and stooping down, touched the body with one hand, holding the gun in the other. The interest of that moment was in. tense, and all eyes were strained towards the spot. Behind the corpse, at each shoul. der-for the body lay against a small snow wreath, in a recumbent position—stood the father of the deceased, and the father of the accused, each wound up by feelings of a directly opposite character to a pitch of dreadful excitement. Over them, in his fantastic dress, and white beard, stood the tall mendicant, who held up his crucifix to Frank, with an awfulmenace upon his strongly marked countenance. At a little distance to the left of the body stood the other men who were assembled, having their torches held aloft in their hands, and their forms bent towards the corpse, their faces indicating expectation, dread and horror. The female relations of the deceased stood nearest his remains, their torches extended in the same direction, their visages exhi. biting the passions of despair and grief in their wildest characters, but as if arrested by some supernatural object, immediately before their eyes, that produced a new and more awful feeling than grief. When the body was touched, Frank stood as if himself bound by a spell to the spot. At length he turned his eyes to the mendicant, who stood silent and motionless with the crucifix still extended in his hand.
“Are you satisfied now ?' said he.
“Frank hesitated a moment, but immediately stooped again, and touched it twice in succession ; but it remained still and unchanged as before. His father broke the silence by a fervent ejaculation of thanksgiving to God for the vindication of his son's character which he had just witnessed.
«Now!' exclaimed M‘Kenna, in a loud exulting tone, you all see that I did not murdher him!'
«« YOU DID !' said a voice, which was immediately recognised to be that of the deceased."