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HANDY ANDY :
A TALE OF IRISH LIFE.
TWENTY-FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS ON STEEL.
THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE.
I HAVE been accused, in certain quarters, of giving flattering portraits of my countrymen. Against this charge, I may plead that, being a portrait-painter by profession, the habit of taking the best view of my subject, so long prevalent in my eye, has gone deeper, and influenced my mind :-and if to paint one's country in its gracious aspect has been a weakness, at least, to use the words of an illustrious compatriot,
"— the failing leans to virtue's side.' I am disinclined, however, to believe myself an offender in this particular. That I love my country dearly, I acknowledge, and I am sure every Englishman will respect me the more for loving mind, when he is, with justice, so proud of his—but I repeat my disbelief that I overrate my own.
The present volume, I hope, will disarm any cavil from old quarters on the score of national prejudice. The hero is a blundering servant. No English or any other gentleman would like him in his service; but still he has some redeeming natural traits : he is not made either a brute or a villain, yet his “ twelve months' character,” given in the successive numbers of this volume, would not get him a place upon advertisement, either in “ The Times” or “ The Chronicle.” So far am I clear of the charge of national prejudice as regards the hero of the following pages.
In the subordinate personages, the reader will see two “ Squires” of a different type-good and bad: there are such in all countries. And, as a tale cannot get on without villains, I have given some touches of villainy, quite sufficient to prove my belief in Irish villains, though I do not wish it to be believed the Irish are all villains.
I confess I have attempted a slight sketch, in one of the persons represented, of a gentleman and a patriot ;-and I conceive there is a strong relationship between the two. He loves the land that bore him-and so did most of the great spirits recorded in history. His own mental cultivation, while it yields him personal enjoyment, teaches him not to treat with contumely inferior men. Though he has courage to protect his honour, he is not deficient in conscience to frel for the consequences ; and when opportunity offers the means of amende, it is embraced. In a word, I wish it to be believed that, while there are knaves, and fools, and villains in Ireland, as in other parts of the world, nonest, intelligent, and noble spirits are there as well.
I cannot conclude without offering my sincere thanks for the cordial manner in which my serial offering has been received by the public and noticed by the critical press, whose valuable columns have been so often opened to it in quotation; and, when it is considered how large an amount of intellect is employed in this particular department of literature, the highest names migbt be proud of such recognition.
CHARLES STREET, BERNERS STREET, London.