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M'Curragh, worse nor nothin.' Why the sarra do you be spakin' about the sickness, the Lord protect us, whin you know I'm so timersome of itp
« But considher,' said another, edging off from Jemmy, however, that he's a poor scholar, an' that there's a great blessin' to thim that assists the likes of him.'
6Ay is there that, sure enough, Dan; but you see-blur-an-age, what's to be done? He can't die this a-way, wid nobody wid him but himself.'".
“ Irishmen, however, are not just that description of persons who can pursue their usual avocations, and see a fellow-creature die, without such attentions as they can afford him ; not precisely so bad as that, gentle reader! Jemmy had not been two hours on his straw, when a second shed much larger than his own, was raised within a dozen yards of it. In this a fire was lit; a small pot was then procured, milk was sent in, and such other little comforts brought together, as they supposed necessary for the sick boy. Having accomplished these matters, a kind of guard was set to watch and nurse-tend him; a pitchfork was got, on the prongs of which they intended to reach him bread across the ditch; and a long-shafted shovel was borrowed, on which to furnish him drink with safety to themselves. That extinguishable vein of humour, which in Ireland mingles even with death and calamity, was also visible here. The ragged half-starved creatures laughed heartily at the oddity of their own inventions, and enjoyed the ingenuity with which they made shift to meet the exigencies of the occasion, without in the slightest degree having their sympathy and concern for the afflicted youth lessened.
“ When their arrangements were completed, one of them (he of the scythe) made a little whey, which, in lieu of spoon, he stirred with the end of his tobacco knife; he then extended it across the ditch upon a shovel, after having put it in a tin por ringer,
16. Do you want a taste o' whay, avourneen?
“ There it is, a bouchal, on the shovel. Musha if myself rightly knows what side you're lyin' an, or I'd put it as near your lips as I could. Come, man, be stout, don't be cast down at all at all; sure, bud-an'-age, we're shovellin' the whay to you, any how.'
" I have it,' replied the boy-'oh, I have it. May God never forget this to you whoever you are.'
In this way the working hours are spent, and now comes the cream of the jest :
« When the hour of closing the day's labour arrived, Major - came down to inspect the progress which his mowers had made, and the goodness of his crop upon his meadows. No sooner was he perceived at a distance, than the scythes were instantly resumed, and the mowers pursued their employment with an appearance of zeal and honesty that could not be suspected.
« On arriving at the meadows, however, he was evidently startled at the miserable day's work they had performed..
66" Why, Connor,' said he, addressing the nurse-tender, how is this? I protest you have not performed half a day's labour! This is miserable and shameful.'
6 Bedad, Major, it's thrue for your honour, sure enough. It's a poor day's work, the never a doubt of it. But be all the books that never was opened or shut, busier men nor we wor since mornin' couldn't be had for love or money. You see, Major,
these meadows- bad luck to them God pardon me for cursin' the harmless cra. • thurs, for sure 'tisn't their fau't. Sir; but you see, Major, I'll insinse you into it. Now look here, your honour. Did you ever see deeper meadow, nor that same, since you war foal-hem-since you war born, your honour? Maybe, your honour Major, 'ud just take the scythe an' sthrive to cut a swaythe?
« Nonsense, Connor; don't you know I cannot.'
«• Thin, be Gorra, Sir, I wisht you could thry it. I'd kiss the book, we did more labour, an' worked harder this day, nor any day for the last fortnight. If it was light grass, Sir-see here, Major, here's a light bit-now, look at how the scythe runs throngh it! Thin look at here agin-jist observe this, Major-why murdher alive, don't you see how slow she goes through that where the grass is heavy! Bedad, Major, you'll be made up this sason wid your hay, any how. Divil carry the finer meadow ever I put scythe in nor the same meadow, God bless it !
“ Yes, I see it, Connor. I agree with you as to its goodness. But the reason of that is, Connor, that I always direct ny steward myself in laying it down for grass. Yes, you're right, Connor; if the meadow were light, you could certainly mow comparatively a greater space in a day.'
« « Be the livin' farmer, God pardon me for swearin', it's a pleasure to have dalins wid a gentleman like you, that knows things as cute as if you war a mower your self, your honour. Bedad, I'll go bail, Sir, it wouldn't be hard to tache you that game.'
«« Why, to tell you the truth, Connor, you have hit me off pretty well. I'm beginning to get a taste for agriculture.'
«But,' said Connor, scratching his head, “won't your honour allow us the price of a glass, or a pint o' porther, for our hard day's work. Bad cess to me, Sir, but this meadow, 'ill play the puck wid us afore we get it finished. Atween ourselves, Sir-if it would'nt be takin' freedoms-if you'd look to your own farmin' yourself. The steward, Sir, is a dacent kind of a man, but, sow, he couldn't hould a candle to your honour in seein' to the best way of doing a thing, Sir. Won't you allow us glasses a-piece, your honour ? Faix, we're kilt entirely, 30 we are."
" Here is half-a-crown among you, Connor; but don't get drunk.
«• Dhrunk! Musha, long may you reign, Sir! Be the scythe in my hand, I'd rather-och, faix you're one o' the ould sort, Sir--the raal Irish gintleman, your honour. An' sure you're name's far an near for that, any how.'
“ Connor's face would have done the heart of Brooke or Cruickshank good, had either of them seen it charged with humour so rich as that which beamed from it, when the Major left them to enjoy their own comments upon what had happened.
" Oh, be the livin' farmer,' said Connor, are we alive at all afther doin' the Major! Oh, thin, the curse o' the crows upon you, Major darlin' but you are a Manus! The damn' rip o' the world, that wouldn't give the breath he breathes to the poor for God's sake, an' he'll threun a man half-a-crown that'll blarney him for farmin', an' him doesn't know the differ atween a Cork red an'a Yallow leg!”
« Faith he's the boy that knows how to make a Judy of himself, any way, Pether,' exclaimed another. "The devil a hapurth asier nor to give these Quality the bag to hould, so there isn't-an' they think themselves so cute, too!'
666 Augh !' said a third, 'couldn't a man find the soft side o' them, as asy as make out the way to his own nose widout bein' led to it. Devil a sin it is to do them any way. Sure he thinks we wor tooth an' nail at the meadow all day; an' me thought I'd never recover it, to see Pether here--the rise he tuck out of him! Ha, ha, ha--och, och--murdher, oh??
" Faith,' exclaimed Connor, ' 'twas good, you see, to help the poor scholar; only for it we could'nt get shkamin' the half crown out of him. I think we ought to give the crathur half of it, an' him so sick--he will be wantin' it worse nor,ourelves.' 4. Oh, be Gorra, he's fairly entitled to that. I vote him fifteen pince.'
« Surely !/they exclaimed unanimously-tundher-an'-turf, wasn't he the manes of gettin' it for us?"
* • Jemmy, a bouchal,' said Connor, across the ditch to M'Evoy, are you sleepin'?'
« • Sleepin'! Oh, no,' replied Jemmy, I'd give the wide world for one wink of asy sleep."
" Well, aroon, here's fifteen pince for you, that we shkam--will I tell him how we got it?'
«* No don't,' replied his neighbours, the boy's given to devotion, an', maybe, might scruple to take it.'
«• Here's fifteen pince, avourneen, on the shovel, that were givin' you for God's sake. If you over * this, won't you offer up a prayer for us? Won't you, avick ?!
“ I can never forget your kindness,' replied Jemmy; I will always pray for you, an' may God for ever bless you an' yours.
« • Poor crathur! May the heavens above have posthration on him. Upon my sowl, it's good to have his blessin' an' his prayer. Now don't fret, Jemmy; we're lavin' you wid a lot o'neighbours here. They'll watch you time about, so that whin you want any thing, call, avourneen, an' there'll still be some one here to answer. God bless you, an' restore you, till we come wid the milk we'll stale for you, wid the help o' God. Bad cess to me, but it 'ud be a mortual sin, so it would, to let the poor boy die widout help. For, as the Catechiz says, "There is but one Faith, one Church, and one Baptism! Well, the readin' that's in that Catechiz is mighty improvin', glory be to God!'”
With this nursing, the Poor Scholar recovers ; but, in the meanwhile, his nurse-tenders ứndergo a cross examination, out of which they extri
cate themselves handsomely. Two gentlemen in black are riding past the hospital ditch, who thus interrogate Connor:
“How did you provide him with drink at such a distance from any human ha. bitation ?
". Throth, hard enough we found it, Sir, to do that same; but sure, whether or not my Lord, we couldn't be such nagers as to let him die all out, for wint o' somethin' to moisten his throath wid.'
“ I hope,' inquired the other, ' you had nothing to do in the milk-stealing which has produced such an outcry in this immediate neighbourhood ?"
6. Milk-stalin'! Oh, bedad, Sir, there never was the likes known afore in the counthry. The Lord forgive them that did it! Be Gorra, Sir, the wickedness o' the people's mighty improvin', if one 'ud take warnin' by it, glory be to God!'
""Many of the farmer's cows have been milked at night, Connor, perfectly drained—even my own cows have not escaped ; and we who have suffered are certainly determined, if possible, to ascertain those who have committed the theft. I, for my part, have gone even beyond my ability in relieving the wants of the poor, during this period of sickness and famine ; I therefore deserved this the less'
6. By the powdhers, your honour, if any gintleman desarved to have his cows unmilked, it's yourself. But, as I said this minute, there's no end to the wickedness o the people, so there's not, although the Catechiz is against them--for, says it, there is but one Faith, one Church, an' one Baptism.' Now, Sir, isn't it quare that people, wid such words in the book afore them, won't be guided by it? I suppose they thought it only a white sin, Sir, to take the milk, the thieves o' the worla.'
“Maybe, your honour,' said another, that it was only to keep the life in some poor sick crathur that wanted it more nor you or the farmers, that they did it. There's some o' the same farmers desarve worse, for they're keepin' up the prices on their male an' praties upon the poor, an' did so all along, that they might make money by our outher distitution.
6. That is no justification for theft,' observed the graver of the two. Does any one among you suspect those who committed it in this instance ? If you do, I command you, as your Bishop, to mention them.'
« « How, for instance,' added the other, 'were you able to supply this sick boy with whey during his illness?
" Oh thin, gintlemen,' replied Connor, bit it's a mighty improvin' thing to see our own Bishop,—God spare his Lordship to us!-an' the Protestant minister o' the parish joinin' together to relieve an' give good advice to the poor! Bedad, it's settin' a fine example, so it is, to the Quality, if they'd take patthern by it.'"
The length of our account of this collection of national tales, manifests the esteem in which we hold their general purpose, and our admiration of the talent and happy humour in which that excellent object is accomplished. In no portraiture of Irish character and manners have we met greater fidelity, or more trustworthy resemblance. Nor is this their highest merit. While laying bare before us the hearts and lives of our fellow-subjects, the writer indirectly, but powerfully, teaches us self-distrust; with indulgence for the errors, and esteem and affection for the many amiable and ill-appreciated qualities of a people more sinned against than sinning. In the beginning of the century it was thought a good stroke of policy for the different countries to exchange their militia. This was to soften national antipathies, remove prejudices, and amalgamate Irish, English, and Scots, into one true brotherhood. Next to this, or it may be before it, is the exchange of truthful fictions, faithfully embodying national character and condition. We have sent the Irish our Scotch novels, and thank them sincerely for their national tales, among which the Traits and Stories, though last, are assuredly not least in our good love.
It was in the first dumb hour that creeps
From midnight towards the dawn, When closest o'er the eye that sleeps,
The dream-embroidered veil is drawn ;
Of distant carols in my ear,
Awoke a new-born year.
Even at the porch of sleep,
Away-away-with breathless sweep !
Of stars that gleamed athwart the blue ;
Shook meteors as we flew.
Starless, and vague, and pale ;
Like billows in an Arctic gale,
In circling piles of vaulted gloom,
A dim, stupendous dome.
Each in his place of state,
In myriads, grey and moveless, sate :-
The robes of others gleamed : of some
Some veil'd, and all were dumb.
Unpeopled circles roll'd, Descending from the dubious light
To depths of nether gloom nntold. High in the midst, sublime, alone,
A broad-winged shadow, hoary-browed,
Down on the silent crowd.
I saw the phantom rise ;
Unclosed their dull, reluctant eyes.
Was heard a voice,_" Departed Year,
Thy task is done-Appear!”.
Uprose a shrouded form,
Hath kissed, and still the blood is warm :
The ruler spake-6 dead Year, declare Thine earthly works of good or crime,
Then join the voiceless there!"
Slow answer gave the bidden corse,
With tuneless accents cold,
Unconscious, passionless, unsouled :-
Around my bier were Wrath and blood, The ancient feud of life with life,
And Evil stifling Good.
On earth my sickle threw :-
Rained on her shivering crowds, and slew.
Amidst the rush of coming years; The traces of my feet are wet
With streams of bitter tears !
A race of heroes fell,
Through godlike hearts :-the Scythian's yell Rang through the land ;-his trampling hoofs
With virgins' gore were dabbled red; O'er wasted fields and blazing roofs,
Night howled as Freedom bled ! “ Afar, her Island-throne beneath,
She raised her fettered hands;
The chain was burst, like flaxen bands Fire-scorched :—the growth of rooted wrongs
Fell, withered by my bright career; The triumph of ten million tongues
Pealed in my dying ear! “ I quenched, within a sickly frame,
Paired with a sluggish mind, The mockery of a giant's name,
Who shook the world he could not bind. And errant monarchs made me sport,
Some grasping at a bandit's sway, Some wandering with an outlawed court,
Some banished, some at bay.
The stately and the strong
The lords of heaven-descended song,
And hailed me with a loving vow, I folded in the grave; and earth
Wails o'er their ashes now!
I taught the sons of care,
The fitting joys, the keen despair ;
The shade or sun of many a lot, The bliss, the grief consumed apart,
Of such thou askest not!
Above my place of rest,
Inscribed o'er every silent guest
Thy weary slave, o Time! release,
I fain wonld be at peace!".