Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

Englishmen who do not belong to the aristocracy, and are not very ch, usually travel, without a servant, by the mail or stage-coach, which posits them at the inn. The man .who waits on strangers to the coach, eans their boots, &c., has the universal appellation of “ Boots." It is, :cordingly," Boots” who brings your slippers, helps you to pull off your pots, and then departs, first asking at what time you will have, not as in ermany, your coffee, but your hot water to shave. He appears with it inctually at the appointed hour, and brings your clothes cleanly brushed. he traveller then hastens to dress himself, and to return to his beloved ffee-room, where the ingredients of breakfast are richly spread upon is table. To this meal, he seems to bring more animation than to any her, and, indeed, I think, more appetite ; for the number of cups of tea, e masses of bread and butter, eggs, and cold meat, which he devours, waken silent envy in the breast, or rather in the stomach, of the less apable foreigner. He is now not only permitted, but enjoined (by custom, is gospel,) to read. At every cup of tea, he unfolds a newspaper of the ze of a table cloth. Not a single speech, crim con., murder, or other atastrophe, invented by the “ accident maker,” in London, escapes him.' -vol. i. pp. 208–211.

This is nearly as good in its way as some of Washington Irving's rayon sketches. In his wanderings through the county of Wick»w, the author became accidentally acquainted with a young arson from Connaught, who gave him an invitation to that most ospitable, though least civilized part of Ireland. The scenery on he road thither reminded him of the Wendish districts of Lower Lusatia, with the exception that there thick woods abound, while ere they appear only to have been. Plains, stretching beyond he boundaries of the horizon, are covered with bog; the cabins of he inhabitants are wretched beyond description. On arriving at he house of his friend, who was reputed as one of the richest otables of the county, he describes it, we dare say very justly, as ot better than that of a German nobleman of moderate estate. of English elegance he saw nothing; wax lights were unknown; e had to drink nothing but port and sherry, and whisky punch, nd detestable coffee; but the living otherwise was excellent, nuritious and plentiful. The house,” he adds, 'is not over clean; he small establishment very respectable, from length of service, eal, and attachment, but of a somewhat unwashed and boorish -ppearance !' The rest of his description is worth transcribing.

• From my chamber windows I penetrate into all the mysteries of he domestic economy, which is too modest to spread out the dungills as chief “ point de vue," as in North Germany. The rain (for las ! it does rain) runs merrily through my windows, and falls in romantic ascades from the window-sill to the floor, where an old carpet thirstily rinks the stream. The furniture is rather tottering; but I have tables nough (a great matter to me with my multitude of things), and the bed seems -t least large and hard enough. In my chimney burns, or rather smouldrs, capital turf, which not only gives heat, but covers every thing with fine shes like an eruption of Vesuvius. All this does not sound brilliant;

but how largely are these trifles outweighed by the patriarchal hospitality, the cheerful, easy, unaffected kindness of the family.

It is as if my

visit were a distinguished favour, for which all seem to feel indebted to me as for some real service.

* September 6th. I like my host very much; he is seventy-two years old ; and still hale and vigorous as a man of fifty. He must have been very handsome, and has given the world twelve sons and seven daughters, mall by the same wife, who is still living, though just now too unwell for me to see her. Some of the sons and daughters have been long married, and the old man sees his grandsons of twelve at play with his youngest daughter, of fourteen. The greater part of the family is now here, which makes the abode rather a noisy one; this is increased by the musical talents of the daughters, who daily perform on an instrument horribly out of tune,-a circumstance which seems not to annoy them in the slightest degree. The men generally talk about horses and dogs, and are somewhat uninstructed. To-day a country squire of the neighbourhood searched long and patiently in a map of Europe for the United States ;—at last his brother-in-law gave him the fortunate suggestion of trying his luck on the map of the world. The occasion of the search was, that the old gentleman wanted to show me Halifax and B-town, which latter takes its name from him. He laid the first stone of both during the American war, in which he commanded seven hundred men, and loves to recall those days of his youth and importance. The scrupulous and chivalrous courtesy of his manners, the constant and ready sacrifice of his own convenience to others, are proofs of the education of times long passed by, and mark his age more snrely than his appearance does.'-vol. i.

pp.

221-223. The prince accompanied the family to the neighbouring church of Tuam, where, with his characteristic quickness, he seized at once upon all the repulsive and disagreeable portions of the “reformed” service, the long and tiresome sermon, the endless repetition of antiquated and contradictory prayers, occasionally re-echoed in singing from the choir, while certain phrases are repeated every minute, many of which are more characteristic of cringing slaves, prostrate in the dust before an Eastern tyrant, than of Christian freedom and dignity! There being an ordination of four clergymen, the traveller closely observed their deportment, which, he says, disgusted him exceedingly; "it was, he remarks, disgustingly hypocritical; they continually wiped their eyes with their pockethandkerchiefs, held them before their faces as if in the deepest emotion, answered with a broken voice ;-in short, Hernhuters could not have acted it better: la grace n'y etoit pas s ;”—of no kind.' 'I must frankly confess it,' he adds, I do not understand how a reflecting man can be edified by such a service.'

The reader will be much amused by the prince's humorous description of the Galway races, and of some Irish legends which he picked up in that part of the country. We fancy, also, that his more serious reflections, which he frequently mingles with his characteristic gaiety, will be equally acceptable. We have never seen the heavenly gift of “a good temper,” more happily delineated than it is in one of these interesting letters.

On our way home, my young friend discoursed largely on the perfections of Mrs. L - Among other things, he said, “ Never with all her vivacity did I see, even for an instant, the least trace of impatience or illhumour about her ; never had woman a sweeter ' temper.' This word is, like .gentle,' untranslatable. Only the nation, which invented 'comfort, was capable of conceiving 'good temper,' for good temper is to the moral what confort is to the physical man. It is the most contented, the most comfortable state of the soul; the greatest happiness both for those who possess it, and for those who feel its influence. Perhaps it is found in perfection in woman alone; for it is rather a passive than an active quality; and yet we must by no means confound it with mere apathy, which is either tedious or exasperates one's anger and contempt; whereas good temper,' soothes and tranquillizes all who approach it. It is a truly kind, loving and cheerful principle; mild and balmy as a cloudless May-day. With gentleness' in his own character, “comfort in his house, and good temper' in his wife, the earthly felicity of man is complete. · Good temper,' in the highest sense, is doubtless one of the rarest qualities ;-the consequence of an absolute harmony, or equilibrium of the moral powers, —the most perfect health of the soul. Great and striking single qualities cannot therefore be combined with it; for wherever one quality is predominant, the equilibrium is destroyed. It is possible to be most captivating, to inspire passionate love, admiration, or esteem, without 'good temper;'

- to be perfectly and lastingly amiable without it, is impossible. The contemplation of harmony in all things has a salutary effect on the mind; often unconscious of the cause, the soul is gladdened and refreshed by it, whatever be the sense through which it is communicated. A person, therefore, who is gifted with good temper,' affords us continual enjoyment, without ever awakening our envy, or exciting any vehement emotion. We gain strength from his tranquillity, courage from his cheerfulness, comfort from his resignation ; we feel our anger vanish before his loving patience, and are finally the better and the happier for listening to the spiritual music of his harmony." —vol. i. pp. 242-244.

Every where in Ireland, and especially in the county of Galway, beggars abound. A strange gentleman, and especially a foreigner, they look upon as their lawful prey. The prince could seldom stir abroad without being pestered by multitudes of them. Visiting the Caverns of Cong, he was followed, as usual, by a whole cortege; if he stooped to pick up a stone, a dozen scrambled for it, and then asked for money; if a gate were to be opened, forty hands were laid upon it at once, all expecting to be rewarded. Having exhausted all his small cash, he was obliged to refuse a supplicant, who insisted that he had performed some service for the prince. “Oh,” said the ready rogue, “ a gentleman's purse can never be empty-you look too much like a gentleman not to have money, but if you are so ungenerous as not to give any, you are not a true gentleman ; and, if you really have none, still less are you one.” The crowd laughed at this, until the prince purchased his deliverance.

He had frequent occasion to remark the furious religious bigotry which prevails, particularly amongst the Orangemen of Ireland.

of

We own, that when we have sometimes read, in the newspapers, of displays of this abominable feeling, we have been inclined to set the worst part of them down to the credit of party exaggeration. But Prince Pückler Muskau satisfies us that we have been in this respect, a great deal too charitable. He gives the essence of the conversation of a Mr. L-, the husband, we presume, of the “good tempered lady” already alluded to, than which the “ talks” of Indian savages, when discussing measures of revenge against a hostile tribe, contain nothing more truly fiendish.

•" I have served my king for nearly thirty years in almost every part the world, and want rest. Nevertheless, it is my most ardent wish, which I daily pray to God to grant, that I may live to see a 'good sound rebellion' in Ireland. If I were called out to serve again, or if I were to lay down my life the very day it broke out, I should make the sacrifice willingly, could I but be sure that the blood of five millions of Catholics would fow at the same time with my own. Rebellion ! that's the point at which I want to see them, at which I wait for them, and to which they must be led on, that we may make an end of them at once; for there can be no peace in Ireland till the whole race is exterminated, and nothing but an open rebellion, and an English army to put it down, can effect this !"'vol. i. p. 257.

It is a consolation to add, that the sons of this monster were as much horrified at this discourse, as the prince himself. He mentions, with due praise, the beautiful seat of Mount Bellew, the owner of which, however, is not a nobleman, as he supposes, but a plain country gentleman of the most excellent character; who, following the example of his virtuous and patriotic father, constantly resides on his own estate. He is the possessor of one of the handsomest collections of paintings, and of one of the most splendid private libraries to be found in Ireland. Our traveller, after taking leave of his Connaught friends, visited Limerick, where he was reported to be a natural son of Napoleon, (a mistake arising from a similarity of the title of Ney's eldest son) and, as such, he was greeted on his arrival, very much to his annoyance. He had scarcely seated himself in his chamber, when the Catholic sexton waited on him for ten shillings, for having set the bells ringing, to announce his royal highness's entry into Limerick. When this fellow was, as he deserved to be, sent about his business, the Protestant sexton made his appearance. The prince asked him what he wanted. to warn your royal highness against the impositions of the Catholics, who annoy strangers in the most shameless manner, and to beg that your royal higness will not give them any thing : at the same time I take the liberty to ask a small contribution to the Protestant poor-house.” “ Go to the d—1, Protestants and Catholics,” said I in a rage, and flung the door in his face.' He was not, however, yet rid of Limerick attentions. A deputatiou of Catholics immediately waited upon him, to present his royal highness with the “ Order of the Liberator,” which he declined, and with an invitation

6" Only

to dine with their club, from which he also, with much difficulty, escaped.

After seeing the unrivalled lakes of Killarney, our traveller proceeded to pay a visit to the great Agitator himself, Daniel O'Connell, at his bleak and rock-bound residence, in the wildest part of the county of Kerry. The description of the route which the prince pursued to Derrinane Abbey, though he might bave taken another road not quite so desperate, is frightful. We should suppose that such a savage accumulation of rocks, as our traveller ventured through upon this occasion, is to be found in no other part of the world. His journey was more than romantic. Having by rare good fortune obtained the loan of an old black cart horse, he set out upon this dangerous expedition, attended by a guide. It was raining water-spouts, and his umbrella was shivered to atoms at the first gust of the mountain whirlwinds. He rode on, drenched to the skin ; and being apprehensive that his valise would soon contain not a single dry article, he requested his guide to get something to cover it at the nearest cottage, and incautiously pursued his way alone, expecting the guide to follow every moment. The guide, however, preferred the solace of potheen, and never made his appearance until the journey was nearly over.

The road, which gradually grew worse and worse, lay for the most part close to the sea, which the storm threw into magnificent agitation ; sometimes across a dreary flat of bog, sometimes by the side of chasms and steep precipices, or through wide chaotic plains, in which masses of rock were thrown together in such wild confusion, that it seemed the spot from which the giants had stormed heaven.' It was, perhaps, the least of his difficulties, that he hardly knew whether the route which he followed was the right one or not.

• At length it began to grow dark just as I reached a part of the coast, which assuredly it would be difficult to parallel. Foreign travellers have probably never been thrown into this desolate corner of the earth, which belongs rather to owls and seamews than to men, and of whose awful wildness it is difficult to give an idea. Torn, jagged, coal-black rocks, with deep caverns, into which the sea breaks with a ceaseless thunder, and then again dashes over the top of the tower-like crags its white foam; which, drying, is borne by the wind in compact masses, like locks of wool, over the highest points of the mountains ;—the wailing cry of the restless fluttering sea-fowl, piercing through the storm with its shrill monotonous sound;—the incessant howl and roar of the undermining waves, which sometimes suddenly dashed over my horse's hoofs, and then ran hissing back again ;—the comfortless removal from all human help ;—the ceaseless pattering rain, and the coming-on of night, on an uncertain and entirely unknown road.

• I began really to feel uneasy in earnest,--not half in jest as the day before. Your eager search for the romantic will turn out as ill for you, as for the sorrowful knight, thought I, and urged on my tired horse to his utmost speed. He stumbled every moment over the loose stones, and with great difficulty I at length brought him into a heavy trot. My anxiety was

« ElőzőTovább »