The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1 No. 27, January 2, 1841

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Title: The Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1 No. 27, January 2, 1841

Author: Various

Release date: April 20, 2017 [eBook #54584]

Language: English

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[Pg 209]


Number 27. SATURDAY, JANUARY 2, 1841. Volume I.
Night, outside the cottage of the midwife Rose Moan; a man knocking at the door


The village of Ballycomaisy was as pleasant a little place as one might wish to see of a summer’s day. To be sure, like all other Irish villages, it was remarkable for a superfluity of “pigs, praties, and childre,” which being the stock in trade of an Irish cabin, it is to be presumed that very few villages either in Ireland or elsewhere could go on properly without them. It consisted principally of one long street, which you entered from the north-west side by one of those old-fashioned bridges, the arches of which were much more akin to the Gothic than the Roman. Most of the houses were of mud, a few of stone, one or two of which had the honour of being slated on the front side of the roof, and rustically thatched on the back, where ostentation was not necessary. There were two or three shops, a liberal sprinkling of public-houses, a chapel a little out of the town, and an old dilapidated market-house near the centre. A few little bye-streets projected in a lateral direction from the main one, which was terminated on the side opposite to the north-west by a pound, through which, as usual, ran a shallow stream, that was gathered into a little gutter as it crossed the road. A crazy antiquated mill, all covered and cobwebbed with grey mealy dust, stood about a couple of hundred yards out of the town, to which two straggling rows of houses, that looked like an abortive street, led you. This mill was surrounded by a green common, which was again hemmed in by a fine river, that ran round in a curving line from under the hunchbacked arch of the bridge we mentioned at the beginning. Now, a little behind, or rather above this mill, on the skirt of the aforesaid common, stood a rather neat-looking whitish cabin, with about half a rood of garden behind it. It was but[Pg 210] small, and consisted merely of a sleeping-room and kitchen. On one side of the door there was a window, opening on hinges; and on the outside, to the right as you entered the house, there was placed a large stone, about four feet high, backed by a sloping mound of earth, so graduated as to allow a person to ascend the stone without any difficulty. In this cabin lived Rose Moan, the Midwife; and we need scarcely inform our readers that the stone in question was her mounting-stone, by which she was enabled to place herself on pillion or crupper, as the case happened, when called out upon her usual avocation.

Rose was what might be called a flahoolagh, or portly woman, with a good-humoured set of Milesian features; that is to say, a pair of red, broad checks, a well-set nose, allowing for the disposition to turn up, and two black twinkling eyes, with a mellow expression that betokened good nature, and a peculiar description of knowing professional humour that is never to be met with in any but a Midwife. Rose was dressed in a red flannel petticoat, a warm cotton sack or wrapper, which pinned easily over a large bust, and a comfortable woollen shawl. She always wore a long-bordered morning cap, over which, while travelling, she pinned a second shawl of Scotch plaid; and to protect her from the cold night air, she enfolded her precious person in a deep blue cloak of the true indigo tint. On her head, over cloak and shawl and morning cap, was fixed a black “splush hat,” with the leaf strapped down by her ears on each side, so that in point of fact she cared little how it blew, and never once dreamed that such a process as that of Raper or Mackintosh was necessary to keep the liege subjects of these realms warm and waterproof, nor that two systems should exist in Ireland so strongly antithetical to each other as those of Raper and Father Mathew.

Having thus given a brief sketch of her local habitation and personal appearance, we shall transfer our readers to the house of a young new-married farmer named Keho, who lived in a distant part of the parish. Keho was a comfortable fellow, full of good nature and credulity; but his wife happened to be one of the sharpest, meanest, most suspicious, and miserable devils that ever was raised in good-humoured Ireland. Her voice was as sharp and her heart as cold as an icicle; and as for her tongue, it was incessant and interminable. Were it not that her husband, who, though good-natured, was fiery and resolute when provoked, exercised a firm and salutary control over her, she would have starved both him and her servants into perfect skeletons. And what was still worse, with a temper that was vindictive and tyrannical, she affected to be religious, and upon those who did not know her, actually attempted to pass herself off as a saint.

One night, about ten or twelve months after his marriage, honest Corny Keho came out to the barn, where slept his two farm servants, named Phil Hannigan and Barny Casey. He had been sitting by himself, composing his mind for a calm night’s sleep, or probably for a curtain lecture, by taking a contemplative whiff of the pipe, when the servant wench, with a certain air of hurry, importance, and authority, entered the kitchen, and informed him that Rose Moan must immediately be sent for.

“The misthress isn’t well, Masther, an’ the sooner she’s sint for, the betther. So mind my words, sir, if you plaise, an’ pack aff either Phil or Barny for Rose Moan, an’ I hope I won’t have to ax it again—hem!”

Dandy Keho—for so Corny was called, as being remarkable for his slovenliness—started up hastily, and having taken the pipe out of his mouth, was about to place it on the hob; but reflecting that the whiff could not much retard him in the delivery of his orders, he sallied out to the barn, and knocked.

“Who’s there? Lave that, wid you, unless you wish to be shotted.” This was followed by a loud laugh from within.

“Boys, get up wid all haste: it’s the misthress. Phil, saddle Hollowback and fly—(puff)—fly in a jiffy for Rose Moan; an’ do you, Barny, clap a back-sugaun—(puff)—an Sobersides, an’ be aff for the Misthress’s mother—(puff.)”

Both were dressing themselves before he had concluded, and in a very few minutes were off in different directions, each according to the orders he had received. With Barny we have nothing to do, unless to say that he lost little time in bringing Mrs Keho’s mother to her aid; but as Phil is gone for a much more important character, we beg our readers to return with us to the cabin of Rose Moan, who is now fast asleep; for it is twelve o’clock of a beautiful moonlight night, in the pleasant month of August. Tap-tap. “Is Mrs Moan at home?” In about half a minute her warm good-looking face, enveloped in flannel, is protruded from the window.

“Who’s that, in God’s name?” The words in italics were added, lest the message might be one from the fairies.

“I’m Dandy Keho’s servant—one of them, at any rate—an’ my Misthress has got a stitch in her side—ha! ha! ha!”

“Aisy, avick—so, she’s down, thin—aisy—I’ll be wid you like a bow out of an arrow. Put your horse over to ‘the stone,’ an’ have him ready. The Lord bring her over her difficulties, any way, amin!”

She then pulled in her head, and in about three or four minutes sallied out, dressed as we have described her; and having placed herself on the crupper, coolly put her right arm round Phil’s body, and desired him to ride on with all possible haste.

“Push an, avouchal, push an—time’s precious at all times, but on business like this every minute is worth a life. But there’s always one comfort, that God is marciful. Push forrid, avick.”

“Never fear, Mrs Moan. If it’s in Hollowback, bedad I’m the babe that’ll take it out of him. Come, ould Hack-ball, trot out—you don’t know the message you’re an, nor who you’re carryin’.”

“Isn’t your misthress—manin’ the Dandy’s wife—a daughter of ould Fitzy Finnegan’s, the schrew of Glendhu?”

“Faith, you may say that, Rose, as we all know to our cost. Be me song, she does have us sometimes that you might see through us; an’ only for the masther——but, dang it, no matther—she’s down now, poor woman, an’ it’s not just the time to be rakin’ up her failins.”

“It is not, an’ God mark you to grace for sayin’ so. At a time like this we must forget every thing, only to do the best we can for our fellow-creatures. What are you lookin’ at, avick?”

Now, this question naturally arose from the fact that honest Phil had been, during their short conversation, peering keenly on each side of him, as if he expected an apparition to rise from every furze-bush on the common. The truth is, he was almost proverbial for his terror of ghosts and fairies, and all supernatural visitants whatever; but upon this occasion his fears arose to a painful height, in consequence of the popular belief, that, when a midwife is sent for, the Good People throw every possible obstruction in her way, either by laming the horse, if she rides, or by disqualifying the guide from performing his duty as such. Phil, however, felt ashamed to avow his fears on these points, but still could not help unconsciously turning the conversation to the very topic he ought to have avoided.

“What war you looking at, avick?”

“Why, bedad, there appeared something there beyant, like a man, only it was darker. But be this and be that—hem, ehem!—if I could get my hands on him, whatsomever he”——

“Hushth, boy, hould your tongue: you don’t know but it’s the very word you war goin’ to say might do us harm.”

“—Whatsomever he is, that I’d give him a lift on Hollowback if he happened to be any poor fellow that stood in need of it. Oh! the sorra word I was goin’ to say against any thing or any body.”

“You’re right, dear. If you knew as much as I could tell you—push an—you’d have a dhrop o’ sweat at the ind of every hair on your head.”

“Be my song, I’m tould you know a power o’ quare things, Mrs Moan; an’ if all that’s said is thrue, you sartinly do.”

Now, had Mrs Moan and her heroic guide passed through the village of Ballycomaisy, the latter would not have felt his fears so strong upon him. The road, however, along which they were now going was a grass-grown bohreen, that led them from behind her cabin through a waste and lonely part of the country; and as it was a saving of better than two miles in point of distance, Mrs Moan would not hear of their proceeding by any other direction. The tenor of her conversation, however, was fast bringing Phil to the state she so graphically and pithily described.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Phil Hannigan, a son of fat Phil’s of Balnasaggart, an’ a cousin to Paddy who lost a finger in the Gansy (Guernsey) wars.”

“I know. Well, Phil, in throth the hairs ’ud stand like[Pg 211] stalks o’ barley upon your head, if you heard all I could mintion.”

Phil instinctively put his hand up and pressed down his hat, as if it had been disposed to fly from off his head.

“Hem! ahem! Why, I’m tould it’s wonderful. But is it thrue, Mrs Moan, that you have been brought on business to some o’ the”—here Phil looked about him cautiously, and lowered his voice to a whisper—“to some o’ the fairy women?”

“Husth, man alive—what the sorra timpted you to call them anything but the Good People? This day’s Thursday—God stand betune us an’ harm. No, Phil, I name nobody. But there was a woman, a midwife—mind, avick, that I don’t say who she was—may be I know why too, an’ may be it would be as much as my life is worth”——

“Aisey, Mrs. Moan! God presarve us! what is that tall thing there to the right!”—and he commenced the Lord’s Prayer in Irish as fast as he could get out the words.

“Why, don’t you see, boy, its a fir-tree, but sorra movin’ it’s movin.”

“Ay, faix, an’ so it is; bedad I thought it was gettin’ taller an’ taller. Ay!—hut! it is only a tree.”

“Well, dear, there was a woman, an’ she was called away one night by a little gentleman dressed in green. I’ll tell you the story some time—only this, that havin’ done her duty, an’ tuck no payment, she was called out the same night to a neighbour’s wife, an’ a purtier boy you couldn’t see than she left behind her. But it seems she happened to touch one of his eyes wid a hand that had a taste of their panado an it; an’ as the child grew up, every one wondhered to hear him speak of the multitudes o’ thim that he seen in all directions. Well, my dear, he kept never sayin’ anything to them until one day when he was in the fair of Ballycomaisy, that he saw them whippin’ away meal and cotton and butther, an’ everything that they thought serviceable to them; so you see he could hould in no longer, an’ says he to a little fellow that was very active an’ thievish among them, ‘Why duv you take what doesn’t belong to you?’ says he. The little fellow looked up at him”—“God be about us, Rose, what is that white thing goin’ along the ditch to the left of us?”

“It’s a sheep, don’t you see? Faix, I believe you’re cowardly at night.”

“Ay, faix, an’ so it is, but it looked very quare somehow.”

“—An’ says he, ‘How do you know that?’ ‘Bekase I see you all,’ says the other. ‘An’ which eye do you see us all wid?’ says he again. ‘Why, wid the left,’ says the boy. Wid that he gave a short whiff of a blast up into the eye, an’ from that day not a stime the poor boy was never able to see wid it. No, Phil, I didn’t say it was myself—I named nobody.”

“An’, Mrs Moan, is it thrue that you can put the dughaughs upon them that trate their wives badly?”

“Whisht, Phil. When you marry, keep your timper—that’s all.—You knew long Ned Donnelly?”

“Ay, bedad, sure enough; there was quare things said about”——“Push an, avick, push an; for who knows how some of us is wanted? You have a good masther, I believe, Phil? It’s poison the same Ned would give me if he could. Push an, dear.”

Phil felt that he had got his answer. The abrupt mystery of her manner and her curt allusions left him little indeed to guess at. In this way did the conversation continue, Phil feloniously filching, as he thought, from her own lips, a corroboration of the various knowledge and extraordinary powers which she was believed to possess, and she ingeniously feeding his credulity, merely by enigmatical hints and masked allusions; for although she took care to affirm nothing directly or personally of herself, yet did she contrive to answer him in such a manner as to confirm every report that had gone abroad of the strange purposes she could effect.

“Phil, wasn’t there an uncle o’ yours up in the Mountain Bar that didn’t live happily for some time wid his wife?”

“I believe so, Rose; but it was before my time, or any way when I was only a young shaver.”

“An’ did you ever hear how the reconcilement came betune them?”

“No, bedad,” replied Phil, “I never did; an’ that’s no wondher, for it was a thing they never liked to spake of.”

“Throth, it’s thrue for you, boy. Well, I brought about——Push an, dear, push an.—They’re as happy a couple now as breaks bread, any way, and that’s all they wanted.

“I’d wager a thirteen it was you did that, Rose.”

“Hut, gorsoon, hould your tongue. Sure they’re happy now, I say, whosomever did it. I named nobody, nor I take no pride to myself, Phil, out o’ sich things. Some people’s gifted above others, an’ that’s all. But, Phil?”

“Well, ma’am?”

“How does the Dandy an’ his scald of a wife agree? for, throth, I’m tould she’s nothing else.”

“Faix, but middlin’ itself. As I tould you, she often has us as empty as a paper lanthern, wid divil a thing but the light of a good conscience inside of us. If we pray ourselves, begorra she’ll take care we’ll have the fastin’ at first cost; so that you see, ma’am, we hould a devout situation undher her.”

“An’ so that’s the way wid you?”

“Ay, the downright thruth, an’ no mistake. Why, the stirabout she makes would run nine miles along a deal boord, an’ scald a man at the far end of it.”

“Throth, Phil, I never like to go next or near sich women or sich places, but for the sake o’ the innocent we must forget the guilty. So push an, avick, push an. Who knows but it’s life an’ death wid us? Have you ne’er a spur on?”

“The divil a spur I tuck time to wait for.”

“Well, afther all, it’s not right to let a messager come for a woman like me, widout what is called the Midwife’s Spur—a spur in the head—for it has long been said that one in the head is worth two in the heel, an’ so indeed it is,—on business like this, any way.”

“Mrs Moan, do you know the Moriartys of Ballaghmore, ma’am?”

“Which o’ them, honey?”

“Mick o’ the Esker Beg.”

“To be sure I do. A well-favoured dacent family they are, an’ full o’ the world too, the Lord spare it to them.”

“Bedad, they are, ma’am, a well-favoured[1] family. Well, ma’am, isn’t it odd, but somehow there’s neither man, woman, nor child in the parish but gives you the good word above all the women in it; but as for a midwife, why, I heard my aunt say that if ever mother an’ child owended their lives to another, she did her and the babby’s to you.”

The reader may here perceive that Phil’s flattery must have had some peculiar design in it, in connection with the Moriartys, and such indeed was the fact. But we had better allow him to explain matters himself.

“Well, honey, sure that was but my duty; but God be praised for all, for every thing depinds on the Man above. She should call in one o’ those newfangled women who take out their Dispatches from the Lying-in College in Dublin below; for you see, Phil, there is sich a place there—an’ it stands to raison that there should be a Fondlin’ Hospital beside it, which there is too, they say; but, honey, what are these poor ignorant cratures but new lights, every one o’ them, that a dacent woman’s life isn’t safe wid?”

“To be sure, Mrs Moan; an’ everyone knows they’re not to be put in comparishment wid a woman like you, that knows sich a power. But how does it happen, ma’am, that the Moriartys does be spakin’ but middlin’ of you?”

“Of me, avick?”

“Ay, faix; I’m tould they spread the mouth at you sometimes, espishily when the people does be talkin’ about all the quare things you can do.”

“Well, well, dear, let them have their laugh—they may laugh that win, you know. Still one doesn’t like to be provoked—no indeed.”

“Faix, an’ Mick Moriarty has a purty daughther, Mrs Moan, an’ a purty penny he can give her, by all accounts. The nerra one o’ myself but would be glad to put my comedher on her, if I knew how. I hope you find yourself aisey on your sate, ma’am?”

“I do, honey. Let them talk, Phil, let them talk; it may come their turn yet—only I didn’t expect it from them. You! but, avick, what chance would you have with Mick Moriarty’s daughther?”

“Ay, every chance an’ sartinty too, if some one that I know, and that every one that knows her, respects, would only give me a lift. There’s no use in comin’ about the bush, Mrs Moan—bedad it’s yourself I mane. You could do it. An’, whisper, betune you and me it would be only sarvin’ them right, in regard of the way they spake of you—sayin’, indeed, an’ galivantin’ to the world that you know no more than another woman, an’ that ould Pol Doolin of Ballymagowan knows oceans more than you do.”

This was perhaps as artful a plot as could be laid for engaging the assistance of Mrs Moan in Phil’s design upon[Pg 212] Moriarty’s daughter. He knew perfectly well that she would not, unless strongly influenced, lend herself to any thing of the kind between two persons whose circumstances in life differed so widely as those of a respectable farmer’s daughter with a good portion, and a penniless labouring boy. With great adroitness, therefore, he contrived to excite her prejudices against them by the most successful arguments he could possibly use, namely, a contempt for her imputed knowledge, and praise of her rival. Still she was in the habit of acting coolly, and less from impulse than from a shrewd knowledge of the best way to sustain her own reputation, without undertaking too much.

“Well, honey, an’ so you wish me to assist you? Maybe I could do it, and maybe—But push an, dear, move him an; we’ll think of it, an’ spake more about it some other time. I must think of what’s afore me now—so move, move, acushla; push an.”

Much conversation of the same nature took place between them, in which each bore a somewhat characteristic part; for to say truth, Phil was as knowing a “boy” as you might wish to become acquainted with. In Rose, however, he had a woman of no ordinary shrewdness to encounter; and the consequence was, that each after a little more chat began to understand the other a little too well to render the topic of the Moriartys, to which Phil again reverted, so interesting as it had been. Rose soon saw that Phil was only a plasthey, or sweetener, and only “soothered” her for his own purposes; and Phil perceived that Rose understood his tactics too well to render any further tampering with her vanity either safe or successful.

At length they arrived at Dandy Keho’s house, and in a moment the Dandy himself took her in his arms, and, placing her gently on the ground, shook hands with and cordially welcomed her. It is very singular, but no less true, that the moment a midwife enters the house of her patient, she always uses the plural number, whether speaking in her own person or in that of the former.

“You’re welcome, Rose, an’ I’m proud an’ happy to see you here, an’ it’ll make poor Bridget strong, an’ give her courage, to know you’re near her.”

“How are we, Dandy? how are we, avick?”

“Oh, bedad, middlin’, wishin’ very much for you of coorse, as I hear”——

“Well, honey, go away now. I have some words to say afore I go in, that’ll sarve us, maybe—a charm it is that has great vartue in it.”

The Dandy then withdrew to the barn, where the male portion of the family were staying until the ultimatum should be known. A good bottle of potteen, however, was circulating among them, for every one knows that occasions of this nature usually generate a festive and hospitable spirit.

Rose now went round the house in the direction from east to west, stopping for a short time at each of the windows, which she marked with the sign of the cross five times; that is to say, once at each corner and once in the middle. At each corner also of the house she signed the cross, and repeated the following words or charm:—

The four Evangels and the four Divines,
God bless the moon an us when it shines.
New moon,[2] true moon, God bless me,
God bless this house an’ this family.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, an’ John,
God bless the bed that she lies on.
God bless the manger where Christ was born,
An’ lave Joy an’ comfort here in the morn.
St Bridget an’ St Patrick, an’ the holy spouse,
Keep the fairies for ever far from this house. Amen.
Glora yea, Glora yea, Glora yea yeelish,
Glora n’ahir, Glora n’vac, Glora n’spirid neev. Amen.

These are the veritable words of the charm, which she uttered in the manner and with the forms aforesaid. Having concluded them, she then entered into the house, where we leave her for a time with our best wishes.

In the barn the company were very merry, Dandy himself being as pleasant as any of them, unless when his brow became shaded by the very natural anxiety for the welfare of his wife and child, which from time to time returned upon him. Stories were told, songs sung, and jokes passed, all full of good nature and not a little fun, some of it at the expense of the Dandy himself, who laughed at and took it all in good part. An occasional bulletin came out through a servant maid, that matters were just the same way; a piece of intelligence which damped Keho’s mirth considerably. At length he himself was sent for by the Midwife, who wished to speak with him at the door.

“I hope there’s nothing like danger, Rose?”

“Not at all, honey; but the truth is, we want a seventh son who isn’t left-handed.”

“A seventh son! Why, what do you want him for?”

“Why, dear, just to give her three shakes in his arms;—it never fails.”

“Bedad, an’ that’s fortunate; for there’s Mickey M’Sorley of the Broad Bog’s a seventh son, an’ he’s not two gunshots from this.”

“Well, aroon, hurry off one or two o’ the boys for him, and tell Phil, if he makes haste, that I’ll have a word to say to him afore I go.” This intimation to Phil put feathers to his heels; for from the moment that he and Barny started, he did not once cease to go at the top of his speed. It followed as a matter of course that honest Mickey M’Sorley dressed himself and was back at Keho’s house before the family believed it possible the parties could have been there. This ceremony of getting a seventh son to shake the sick woman, in cases where difficulty or danger may be apprehended, is one which frequently occurs in remote parts of the country. To be sure, it is only a form, the man merely taking her in his arms, and moving her gently three times. The writer of this, when young, saw it performed with his own eyes, as the saying is; but in his case the man was not a seventh son, for no such person could be procured. When this difficulty arises, any man who has the character of being lucky, provided he is not married to a red-haired wife, may be called in to give the three shakes. In other and more dangerous cases Rose would send out persons to gather half a dozen heads of blasted barley; and having stripped them of the black fine powder with which they were covered, she would administer it in a little new milk, and this was always attended by the best effects. It is somewhat surprising that the whole Faculty should have adopted this singular medicine in cases of similar difficulty, for in truth it is that which is now administered under the more scientific name of Ergot of rye.

In the case before us, the seventh son sustained his reputation for good luck. In about three quarters of an hour Dandy was called in “to kiss a strange young gintleman that wanted to see him.” This was an agreeable ceremony to Dandy, as it always is, to catch the first glimpse of one’s own first-born. On entering he found Rose sitting beside the bed in all the pomp of authority and pride of success, bearing the infant in her arms, and dandling it up and down, more from habit than any necessity that then existed for doing so.

“Well,” said she, “here we are all safe and sound, God willin’; an’ if you’re not the father of as purty a young man as ever I laid eyes on, I’m not here. Corny Keho, come an’ kiss your son, I say.”

Corny advanced, somewhat puzzled whether to laugh or cry, and taking the child up with a smile, he kissed it five times—for that is the mystic number—and as he placed it once more in Rose’s arms, there was a solitary tear on its cheek.

“Arra, go an’ kiss your wife, man alive, an’ tell her to have a good heart, an’ to be as kind to all her fellow-creatures as God has been to her this night. It isn’t upon this world the heart ought to be fixed, for we see how small a thing an’ how short a time can take us out of it.”

“Oh, bedad,” said Dandy, who had now recovered the touch of feeling excited by the child, “it would be too bad if I’d grudge her a smack.” He accordingly stooped, and kissed her; but, truth to confess, he did it with a very cool and business-like air. “I know,” he proceeded, “that she’ll have a heart like a jyant, now that the son is come.”

“To be sure she will, an’ she must; or if not, I’ll play the sorra, an’ break things. Well, well, let her get strength a bit first, an’ rest and quiet; an’ in the mean time get the groanin’-malt ready, until every one in the house drinks the health of the stranger. My sowl to happiness, but he’s a born beauty. The nerra Keho of you all ever was the aiquails of what he’ll be yet, plaise God. Troth, Corny, he has daddy’s nose upon him, any how. Ay, you may laugh; but, faix, it’s thrue. You may take with him, you may own to him, any where. Arra, look at that! My soul to happiness, if one egg’s liker another! Eh, my posey! Where was it, alanna? Ay, you’re there, my duck o’ diamonds! Troth, you’ll be the flower o’ the flock, so you will. An’ now, Mrs Keho, honey, we’ll lave you to yourself awhile, till we thrate these poor[Pg 213] cratures of sarvints; the likes o’ them oughtn’t to be overlooked; an’ indeed they did feel a great dale itself, poor things, about you; an’ moreover they’ll be longin’ of coorse to see the darlin’ here.”

Mrs Keho’s mother and Rose superintended the birth-treat between them. It is unnecessary to say that the young men and girls had their own sly fun upon the occasion; and now that Dandy’s apprehension of danger was over, he joined in their mirth with as much glee as any of them. This being over, they all retired to rest; and honest Mickey M’Sorley went home very hearty,[3] in consequence of Dandy’s grateful sense of the aid he had rendered his wife. The next morning Rose, after dressing the infant and performing all the usual duties that one expected from her, took her leave in these words:—

“Now, Mrs Keho, God bless you an’ yours, and take care of yourself. I’ll see you agin on Sunday next, when it’s to be christened. Until then, throw out no dirty wather before sunrise or afther sunset; an’ when Father Molloy is goin’ to christen it, let Corny tell him not to forget to christen it against the fairies, an’ thin it’ll be safe. Good bye, ma’am; an’ look you to her, Mrs Finnegan,” said she, addressing her patient’s mother, “an’ banaght lath till I see all again.”

[1] This term in Ireland means “handsome”—“good-looking.”

[2] If it did not happen to be new moon, the words were “good moon,” &c.

[3] Tipsy.

BY J. U. U.

(To the old Irish air of “Bidh mid a gol sa poga na mban.”)

Green hills of the west, where I carolled along
In the Mayday of life with my harp and my song,
Though the winter of time o’er my spirit hath rolled,
And the breast of the minstrel is weary and cold;
Though no more by those famous old haunts shall I stray,
Once the themes of my song, and the guides of my way,
That each had its story, and true-hearted friend,
Before I forget ye, life’s journey shall end!
Oh, ’twas joy in the prime of life’s morning to go
On the tracks of Clan Connell, led on by Hugh Roe,
O’er the hill of Keiscorran, renowned Ballimote,
By the Boyle, or by Newport, all passes of note,
Where the foe their vain armaments haughtily kept;
But the foot of th’ avenger went by while they slept:
The hills told no tale, but the night-cloud was red,
And the friends of the Sassenagh quaked at their tread.
By the plains of Rath Croghan, fields famous of yore,
Though stronghold and seat of the kingly no more,
By Tulsk and Tomona, hill, valley, and plain,
To grey Ballintubber, O’Connors’ domain;
While ages rolled backwards in lengthened array,
In song and old story, the long summer day;
And cloud-like the glories of Connaught rolled by,
Till they sank in the horrors of grim Athenry!
Through the heaths of Kiltullagh, kind, simple, though rude,
To Aeluin’s bright waters, where Willesborough stood,
Ballinlough then spoke welcome from many a door,
Where smiles lit kind faces that now smile no more;
Then away to the Moyne, o’er the moors of Mayo,
Still onward, still welcomed by high and by low,
Blake, Burke, and O’Malley, Lynch, Kirwan, and Browne,
By forest, lake, mountain, through village and town.
Then kind were the voices that greeted my way,
’Twas Cead mille failte at closing of day,
When young hearts beat lightly, and labour was done,
For joy tracked my steps, as light follows the sun;
I had tales for the hamlet, and news for the hall,
And the tune of old times, ever welcome to all,
The praise of thy glory, dear land of the west;
But thy praises are still, and thy kind bosoms rest!
My blessing rest with you, dear friends, though no more
Shall the poor and the weary rejoice at your door;
Though like stars to your homes I have seen you depart,
Still ye live, O ye live in each vein of my heart.
Still the light of your looks on my darkness is thrown,
Still your voices breathe round me when weary and lone;
Like shades ye come back with each feeling old strain,
But the world shall ne’er look on your equals again.

The difference between a rich man and a poor man is this—the former eats when he pleases, the latter when he can get it.—Sir W. Raleigh.


(Translated for the Irish Penny Journal.)


The last night of the year was about to expire; the winds, after a day of storminess, had subsided into slumber; the white earth lay outspread, like a shrouded map, under the moon; and innumerable stars arose out from the remotest abysses of heaven, twinkling as brightly as though they had but then begun their existence, and were never to suffer impairment. Eleven o’clock had tolled from the tower of an ancient Gothic church; and as the vibrations died away on the transparent air, an Old Man drew nigh to the window of a dark room in the desolate dwelling of which he had long been the solitary tenant, and cast his dull despairful eyes upwards towards the immoveable firmament, and from thence down on the blank waste of the earth, and then breathed a groaning prayer, that those eyes might never survey that firmament or that earth again. Wretched was he, in truth, that Old Man, beyond all parallel and beyond all consolation—for his grave lay open for him, as it seemed, by his side; it was thinly covered over, not by the flowers of Youth, but by the snows of Age; and when, heartsick of the sight, he looked away from it into himself, he saw that the sole fruits that he had gathered from a long and eventful life were sins, regrets, and maladies—a decayed body, a plague-smitten soul, a bosom full of bitterness, and an old age full of remorse. The beautiful days of his youth now came again before him like ghosts, and resummoned to his remembrance the cheerful morning upon which his venerable father had first placed him upon the great Cross-road of Life—a road which, trodden on the right hand, conducts the pilgrim along the noonday path of Virtue into a spacious, joyous land, abounding in sunbeams, harvests, and angelic spirits, but which, followed on the left, betrays him through lampless and miry ways, into the rueful wildernesses of Vice, where serpents for ever swarm, and pestilence chokes the atmosphere, and to quench his burning thirst the sluggish black rivers yield him but slime and poison.

Alas! the serpents were now coiled about him—the poison was rilling through his heart! Alas for him! he knew too well which road he had chosen—where he was—and what he must undergo—for eternity—for eternity!

With an anguish, with an agony, with a despair, that language cannot even faintly pourtray, he uplifted his withered arms towards heaven, clasped his hands, and cried aloud, O! give me back, give me back my youth! O! my father, lead me once more to the Cross-road, that I may once more choose, and this time choose with foreknowledge!

But his cries wasted themselves idly upon the frozen air, for his father was no more, and his youth was no more—both had alike long, long ago evanished, never to reappear. He knew this, and he wept—yes, that miserable old man wept; but his tears relieved him not; they were like drops of hot lava, for they trickled from a burning brain.

He looked forth, and he saw flitting lights—wills-o’-the-wisp—dancing over the morasses and becoming extinguished in the burial-grounds; and he said, Such were my riotous days of folly! He again looked forth, and he beheld a star fall from heaven to earth, and there melt away in blackness that left no trace behind, and he said, I am that star!—and with that woeful thought were torn open anew the leprous wounds in his bosom which the serpents that clung around him would never suffer to be healed.

His morbid imagination, wandering abroad till it touched on the confines of frenzy, showed him figures of sleep-walkers traversing like shadows the roofs of the houses:—the chimneys widened into furnaces vomiting forth flames and monsters—the windmills lifted up their giant arms, and threatened to crush him—and a forgotten spectre, left behind in a deserted charnel-house, glared on him with a horrible expression of malignity, and then mocked his terror by assuming his features.

On a sudden there flowed out upon the air a deep, rich, and solemn stream of music. It came from the steeple of the old Gothic church, as the bells announced the birth of the new year, for it was now the twelfth hour. Its cadences fell with a thrilling distinctness upon the ear and the heart of the Old Man; and every tone in the melody, through the agency of that mysterious power which sound possesses of re-assembling within the forsaken halls of the soul images long departed,[Pg 214] brought before his mind some past scene of his life, vivid as a panoramic picture. Again he looked round upon the lucid horizon and over the frosted earth; and he thought on the opportunities he had forfeited—the warnings he had slighted—the examples he had scoffed at. He thought upon the friends of his youth, and how they, better and more fortunate than he, were now good men, at peace with themselves—teachers of wisdom to others, fathers of blessed families, torchlights for the world—and he exclaimed, Oh! and I also, had I but willed it, I also might, like them, have seen with tearless eyes, with tranquil heart, this night depart into eternity! Oh, my dear father—my dear, dear mother! I, even I, might have been now happy, had I but hearkened to your affectionate admonitions—had I but chosen to profit by the blessings which on every returning New Year’s Morn like this your tenderness led you to invoke on my head!

Amid these feverish reminiscences of his youth, it appeared to him as though the spectre which had assumed his features in the charnel-house gradually approached nearer and nearer to him—losing, however, as it advanced, one trait after another of its spectral character—till at length, as if under the dominion of that supernatural influence which on the last night of the old year is popularly said to compel even the Dead to undergo a change of form, it took the appearance of a living young man—the same young man that he had himself been fifty years before.

He was unable to gaze any longer: he covered his face with his hands; and, as the blistering tears gushed from his eyes, he sank down, powerless and trembling, on his knees—and again he cried out, as if his heart would break, O! come back to me, lost days of my youth!—come back, come back to me once more!

And the supplication of the Penitent was not made in vain, for they came back to him, those days of his youth, but not yet lost! He started from his bed—the blue moonbeams were shining in through the windows—the midnight chimes were announcing the beginning of a new year. Yes!—all had been but an appalling dream—all, except his sins and transgressions: these, alas! were but too real, for conscience, even in sleep, is a faithful monitor. But he was still young—he had not grown old in iniquity—and with tears of repentance he thanked God for having, even by means of so terrific a vision, awakened in his heart a feeling of horror for the criminal career he had been pursuing, and for having revealed to him in that glimpse of a land full of sunbeams, harvests, and angelic spirits, the blissful goal in which, if he pleased, the path of his existence might yet terminate.

Youthful reader! on which of these two paths art thou? On the right-hand path? Go forward, then, with the blessing of thy Maker, and fear nothing! On the left-hand path? If so, pause: be forewarned—turn while yet thou mayest—retrace thy steps—make a happier choice! I will pray that the terrors of this ghastly Dream may not hereafter be arrayed in judgment against thee! Alas for thee, if the time ever come when thou shalt call aloud in thy despair, Come back, ye precious days of my youth!—unlike the dreamer, thou wilt but be mocked by the barren echo of thine own lamentation—the precious days of thy youth will never, never come back to thee!



It is not a little curious, and perhaps not a little amusing in its way, to mark the feelings with which these two very different classes contemplate each other. The introduction of teetotallism was a thing for which the toper was wholly unprepared. It was a thing of which, a priori, he could have formed no conception—a thing of which he never dreamt. It therefore took him quite by surprise; and when it came, his opinion of it was, and to this good hour is, that it is one of the most absurd and monstrous ideas that ever entered into the human head.

That a class of men should arise who would forswear the use of those exhilarating stimulants in which he himself so much delighted—that there should ever appear on the face of the earth such an ass as the man who would refuse a glass of generous liquor when offered him, is to him a thing surpassing belief; and in fact he does not, or rather will not, believe in it. He insists upon it that it is all humbug, and that its professors, the professors of teetotallism, may say what they please, but that they can and do take their drink as freely as he does; the only real difference being, that they take theirs secretly. No evidence whatever will convince him that it is otherwise, or at least will induce him to admit that it is so. He is, in short, determined not to believe in so monstrous a doctrine. But should conviction at any time be too strong for him, he then falls back on the consolatory belief that it cannot long prevail—that it will not, can not stand. An association whose rules should enjoin every member always to walk backwards instead of forwards, or which should enjoin any other equally ridiculous absurdity, might live and prosper; but teetotallism, the abstaining from the dear potations—no, no, that cannot stand any time—ridiculous, impossible—not in the nature of things.

As might be expected, the toper entertains a most cordial hatred of the teetotaller; he abhors him, and detests his principles—he in fact cannot hear him spoken of with any degree of patience. Oh, what a triumph to him when he catches a teetotaller tripping! With what delight he treasures up anecdotes of backsliding on the part of the professors of abstinence! And of such anecdotes he has a large store; for he is constantly on the look-out for them, and is not very particular on the score of authenticity. With what glee he relates these anecdotes to his club! and with what glee his club listens to the edifying and refreshing relation! They will chuckle over a story of this kind for a month. Nor, in the matter of anecdote, is the teetotaller a whit behind his unregenerated brother. The two parties, in fact, carry on a war of anecdote against each other—the teetotaller’s being stories of ruin and misery resulting from dissipation—the toper’s, facetious little tales of hypocrisy and backsliding. Both collect their anecdotes with great industry, and propagate them with great zeal and diligence.

The toper’s attitude, as regards the teetotaller, is of course a hostile one. But it is not a bold one. There is nothing of defiance in it, although he sometimes affects it. For although he hates the teetotaller, he also stands in awe of him; being oppressed with an awkward consciousness that the latter has the right side of the argument, and the weight of general opinion is on his side—that, in short, the teetotaller is right and he is wrong.

This consciousness gives to his hostility a sneaking and timid character, and induces him to confine himself in the matter of retaliation to the facetious joke and sly insinuation. On more open warfare he dare not venture. The teetotaller is thus the assailing party: he takes and keeps the field manfully, and with bold front and loud voice dares the toper to the combat. The latter, in conscious weakness, shrinks at the sound, as do the small animals of the forest when they hear the roar of the lion; and getting out of his way as fast as he can, retires to his fastnesses, the drinking-shops, and hedges himself round with bottles and quart-pots.

The toper always carefully eschews any thing like direct and open personal contact with the enemy, in the shape of discussions on the merits of the question of abstinence. There is, in fact, nothing he so much abominates as any attempt at reasoning on the subject, where such reasoning has for its object to show the advantages of temperance or intemperance. The toper thus at all times prefers keeping out of the teetotaller’s way, and, although professing the most entire disregard of him, will at any time go a mile about to avoid him. He has an instinctive dislike of him, and this because he is a living personified reflection on himself.

Turning now to the teetotaller, we find two or three things in his conduct, too, with reference to the toper, that are rather curious in their way. In the first place, it is curious to mark the deep interest he takes in what may be called the tippling statistics of his neighbourhood; and the amount of knowledge which he contrives to acquire on this subject is really amazing. He knows all the topers in his vicinity, and keeps a sharp eye on their proceedings. He knows every one of their haunts too—knows the different degrees of dissipation to which each has attained, and could almost tell on any given day what quantity each drank on the preceding night. In short, so vigilantly does he watch all the outgoings and incomings of these marked men, and yet without seeming to notice them, that they can hardly swallow a single cropper without his knowing it. The whole thing, in fact, is a sort of private study of his own, and one to which he devotes a great deal of quiet observation and secret reflection: he takes a deep interest in it, and hence the proficiency he makes out in the knowledge of its details.

But our teetotaller not only knows all the professed, undisguised topers of his locality; he knows—much more[Pg 215] striking proof of his vigilance—every man also whose habits, although not yet sufficiently intemperate to attract the attention of any one but a teetotaller, exhibit signs and symptoms of becoming gradually worse. The tippling progress of these persons he watches with the deepest interest, and keeps himself accurately informed regarding the extent and frequency of their debauches. The teetotaller, in short, keeps a vigilant eye over the entire drinking system of his neighbourhood, and professes an astonishing knowledge of what every one is doing in this way. If the teetotaller’s residence be in a small town, his surveillance then embraces its whole extent, and hardly can a single bumper be swallowed within its limits, of which he does not, somehow or other, obtain notice.

Abhorring dissipation itself, the teetotaller naturally extends that abhorrence to its signs and symptoms. On flushed and pimpled faces he looks with aversion and distrust, but on a red nose with absolute horror. We once saw a curious instance of this:—A gentleman with a highly illumed proboscis one evening entered a teetotal coffee-room in which we happened to be seated. The nose—for we sink the gentleman, its owner, altogether, as an unnecessary incumbrance—passed, although with deliberate movement, like a fiery meteor, up the entire length of the room, exciting in its progress the utmost horror and dismay amongst the teetotallers with whom the apartment was thronged. The sensation, in fact, created by the red nose was immense, although not noisy in its expression.

It was indicated merely by an extensive and earnest whispering, by a shuffling of feet, and a general fidgetty sort of movement, giving, though in an unobtrusive form, a very vivid idea of the presence of some exceedingly disagreeable object. The whole room, in short, was shocked by the red nose, although they refrained from expressing that feeling by any more marked demonstration than those we have mentioned. The red nose seemed for some time unconscious of the effects it was producing, but the detection of a number of horror-stricken faces peering eagerly over the edges and round the corners of boxes, to get a glimpse of the detestable object, betrayed the real state of the case. The red nose, however, evinced no emotion on making the discovery, but passed quietly into an unoccupied box, took up a paper, and ordered a glass of lemonade. The landlord looked queer at the nose as he tabled the order, but of course said nothing.

Now, we thought at the time, how different would have been the reception of the gentleman with the red nose by a club of topers! In such case, his nose, in place of being looked on with horror, would have been viewed with respect. It would have been a passport to the highest favour of the jolly fraternity, and would have at once admitted its owner to their confidence and good-fellowship. We do not know, indeed, that its entrance would not have been hailed by a shout of acclamation; for, viewed as one of the chief insignia of a boon companion, it was truly a splendid nose.



Man brings upon himself a thousand calamities, as consequences of his artifices and pride, and then, overlooking his own follies, gravely investigates the origin of what he calls evil:—

He compromises every natural pleasure to acquire fame among transient beings, who forget him nightly in sleep, and eternally in death; and seeks to render his name celebrated among posterity, though it has no identity with his person, and though posterity and himself can have no contemporaneous feeling.

He deprives himself and all around him of every passing enjoyment, to accumulate wealth that he may purchase other men’s labour, in the vain hope of adding happiness to his own.

He omits to make effective laws to protect the poor against the oppressions of the rich, and then wears out his existence under the fear of becoming poor, and being the victim of his own neglect and injustice.

He arms himself with murderous weapons; and on the slightest instigation, and for hire, practises murder as a science, follows this science as a regular profession, and honours its chiefs above benefactors and philosophers, in proportion to the quantity of blood they have shed, or the mischiefs they have perpetrated.

He disguises the most worthless of the people in showy liveries, and then excites them to murder men whom they never saw, by the fear of being killed if they do not kill.

He revels in luxury and gluttony, and then complains of the diseases which result from repletion.

He tries in all things to counteract or improve the provisions of nature, and then afflicts himself at his disappointments.

He multiplies the chances against his own life and health by his numerous artifices, and then wonders at their fatal results.

He shuts his eyes against the volume of truth as presented by Nature, and, vainly considering that all was made for him, founds on this false assumption various doubts in regard to the justice of eternal causation.

He interdicts the enjoyment of all other creatures, and regarding the world as his property, in mere wantonness destroys myriads on whom have been bestowed beauties and perfections.

He forgets that to live and let live is a maxim of universal justice, extending not only to his fellow creatures, but to inferior ones, to whom his moral obligations are greater, because they are more in his power.

He afflicts himself that he cannot live for ever, though his forefathers have successively died to make room for him.

He repines at the thought of losing that life, the use of which he so often perverts: and though he began to exist but yesterday, thinks the world was made for him, and that he ought to continue to enjoy it for ever.

He desires to govern others, but, regardless of their dependence upon his benevolence, is commonly gratified in displaying the power entrusted to him by a tyrannical abuse of it.

He makes laws, which, in the hands of mercenary lawyers, serve as snares to unwary poverty—but as shields to crafty wealth.

He acknowledges the importance of educating youth, yet teaches them any thing but their social duties in the political state in which they live.

He passes his days in questioning the providence of Nature, in ascribing evil to supernatural causes, in feverish expectation of results contrary to the necessary harmony of the world.

The Labour of Study.—It is impossible for any man to be a determined student without endangering his health. Man was made to be active. The hunter who roams through the forest, or climbs the rocks of the Alps, is the man who is hardy, and in the most robust health. The sailor who has been rocked by a thousand storms, and who labours day and night, is a hardy man, unless dissipation has broken his constitution. Any man of active habits is likely to enjoy good health, if he does not too frequently over-exert himself. But the student’s habits are all unnatural, and by them nature is continually cramped and restrained. Men err in nothing more than in the estimate which they make of human labour. The hero of the world is the man that makes a bustle—the man that makes the road smoke under his chaise-and-four—the man that raises a dust about him—the man that ravages or devastates empires. But what is the real labour of this man, compared with that of a silent sufferer? He lives on his projects: he encounters, perhaps, rough roads, incommodious inns, bad food, storms and perils; but what are these? His project, his point, the thing that has laid hold on his heart—glory—a name—consequence—pleasure—wealth—these render the man callous to the pains and efforts of the body. I have been in both states, and therefore understand them; and I know that men form this false estimate. Besides, there is something in bustle, and stir, and activity, that supports itself. At one period I preached and read five times on a Sunday, and rode sixteen miles. But what did it cost me? Nothing! Yet most men would have looked on, while I was rattling from village to village, with all the dogs barking at my heels, and would have called me a hero; whereas, if they were to look at me now, they would call me an idle, lounging fellow. “He gets into his study (they would say)—he walks from end to end—he scribbles on a scrap of paper—he throws it away and scribbles on another—he sits down—scribbles again—walks about!” They cannot see that here is an exhaustion of the spirit which, at night, will leave me worn to the extremity of endurance. They cannot see the numberless efforts of mind which are crossed and stifled, and recoil on the spirits like the fruitless efforts of a traveller to get firm footing among the ashes on the steep sides of Mount Etna.—Rev. John Todd—Student’s Guide.

Necessity of a Steadfast Character.—The man who is perpetually hesitating which of two things he will do first,[Pg 216] will do neither. The man who resolves, but suffers his resolution to be changed by the first counter-suggestion of a friend—who fluctuates from opinion to opinion, from plan to plan—and veers, like a weathercock, to every point of the compass, with every breath of caprice that blows—can never accomplish anything great or useful. Instead of being progressive in anything, he will be at best stationary, and more probably retrograde, in all. It is only the man who first consults wisely, then resolves firmly, and then executes his purpose with inflexible perseverance, undismayed by those petty difficulties which daunt a weaker spirit—that can advance to eminence in any line. Let us take, by way of illustration, the case of a student. He commences the study of the dead languages; but presently a friend comes, and tells him that he is wasting his time, and that, instead of obsolete words, he had much better employ himself in acquiring new ideas. He changes his plan, and sets to work at the mathematics. Then comes another friend, who asks him, with a grave and sapient face, whether he intends to become a professor in a college; because, if he does not, he is misemploying his time; and that, for the business of life, common mathematics is quite enough of mathematical science. He throws up his Euclid, and addresses himself to some other study, which in its turn is again relinquished, on some equally wise suggestion: and thus life is spent in changing his plans. You cannot but perceive the folly of this course; and the worse effect of it is, the fixing on your mind a habit of indecision, sufficient of itself to blast the fairest prospects. No—take your course wisely, but firmly: and having taken it, hold upon it with heroic resolution; and the Alps and Pyrenees will sink before you—the whole empire of learning will lie at your feet; while those who set out with you, but stopped to change their plans, are yet employed in the very profitable business of changing their plans. Let your motto be Perseverance. Practise upon it, and you will be convinced of its value by the distinguished eminence to which it will conduct you.—Wirt’s Essays.

Ill Temper.—Mankind are ignorant enough, both in the mass, about general interests, and individually, about the things which belong to their peace; but of all mortals none perhaps are so awfully self-deluded as the unamiable. They do not, any more than others, sin for the sake of sinning; but the amount of woe caused by their selfish unconsciousness is such as may well make their weakness an equivalent for other men’s gravest crimes. There are great diversities of hiding-places for their consciences—many mansions in the dim prison of discontent; but it may be doubted whether, in the hour when all shall be uncovered to the eternal day, there will be revealed a lower deep than the hell which they have made. They perhaps are the only order of evil ones who suffer hell without seeing and knowing that it is hell. But they are under a heavier curse even than this; they inflict torments, second only to their own, with an unconsciousness almost worthy of spirits of light. While they complacently conclude themselves the victims of others, or pronounce that they are too singular, or too refined, for common appreciation, they are putting in motion an enginery of torture whose aspect will one day blast their minds’ sight. The dumb groans of their victims will sooner or later return upon their ears from the heights of the heaven to which the sorrows of men daily ascend. The spirit sinks under the prospect of the retribution of the unamiable; if there be indeed an eternal record—an impress on some one or other human spirit—of every chilling frown, of every querulous tone, of every bitter jest, of every insulting word—of all abuses of that tremendous power which mind has over mind. The throbbing pulses, the quivering nerves, the wrung hearts, that surround the unamiable—what “a cloud of witnesses” is here! and what plea shall avail against them? The terror of innocents who should know no fear—the vindictive emotions of dependents who dare not complain—the faintness of heart of life-long companions—the anguish of those who love—the unholy exultation of those who hate—what an array of judges is here! and where can an appeal be lodged against their sentence? Is pride of singularity a rational plea? Is super-refinement, or circumstance from God, or uncongeniality in man, a sufficient ground of appeal, when the refinement of one is a grace granted for the luxury of all, when circumstance is given to be conquered, and uncongeniality is appointed for discipline? The sensualist has brutified the seraphic nature with which he was endowed—the depredator has intercepted the rewards of toil, marred the image of justice, and dimmed the lustre of faith in men’s minds—the imperial tyrant has invoked a whirlwind to lay waste, for an hour of God’s eternal year, some region of society. But the unamiable—the domestic torturer—has heaped wrong on wrong and woe on woe, through the whole portion of time that was given him, until it would be rash to say that there are any others more guilty than he. If there be hope or solace for the domestic torturer, it is that there may have been tempers about him the opposite of his own. It is matter of humiliating gratitude that there were some which he could not ruin, and that he was the medium of discipline by which they were exercised in forbearance, in divine forgiveness and love. If there be solace in such an occasional result, let it be made the most of by those who need it; for it is the only possible alleviation to their remorse. Let them accept it as the free gift of a mercy which they have insulted, and a long-suffering which they have defied.—From Deerbrook, a Tale, by Harriet Martineau.

Slander and Vindication.—Vindication in some cases partakes of the same qualities that Homer ascribes to prayer. Slander, “strong, and sound of wing, flies through the world, afflicting men;” but Vindication, lame, wrinkled, and imbecile, for ever seeking its object, and never obtaining it, follows after, only to make the person in whose behalf it is employed more completely the scorn of mankind. The charge against him is heard by thousands, the vindication by few. Wherever Vindication comes, is not the first thing it tells of the unhappy subject of it, that his character has been tarnished, his integrity suspected—that base motives and vile actions have been imputed to him—that he has been scoffed at by some, reviled by others, and looked at askance by all? Yes; the worst thing I would wish to my worst enemy is, that his character should be the subject of vindication. And what is the well-known disposition of mankind in this particular? All love the scandal. It constitutes a tale that seizes upon the curiosity of our species; it has something deep and obscure, and mysterious in it; it has been whispered from man to man, and communicated by winks, and nods, and shrugs, the shaking of the head, and the speaking motion of the finger. But Vindication is poor, and dry, and cold, and repulsive. It rests in detections and distinctions, explanations to be given to the meaning of a hundred phrases, and the setting right whatever belongs to the circumstances of time and place. What bystander will bend himself to the drudgery of thoroughly appreciating it? Add to which, that all men are endowed with the levelling principle, as with an instinct. Scandal includes in it, as an element, that change of fortune which is required by the critic from the writer of an epic poem or a tragedy. The person respecting whom a scandal is propagated is of sufficient importance, at least in the eyes of the propagator and the listener, to be made a subject for censure. He is found, or he is erected into, an adequate centre of attack; he is first set up as a statue to be gazed at, that he may afterwards be thrown down and broken to pieces, crumbled into dust, and made the prey of all the winds of heaven.—Godwin’s Mandeville.

The weather is not a safe topic of discourse; your company may be hippish; nor is health; your associate may be a hypochondriac; nor is money; you may be suspected as a borrower.—Zimmerman.

When all is done, human life is at the best but like a froward child, that must be played with and humoured a little to keep it quiet till it falls asleep, and then the care is over.—Sir W. Temple.

Time runs on, and when youth and beauty vanish, a fine lady who had never entertained a thought into which an admirer did not enter, finds in herself a lamentable void.

The poorest of all family goods are indolent females. If a wife knows nothing of domestic duties beyond the parlour or the boudoir, she is a dangerous partner in these times of pecuniary uncertainty.

Friendship, love, and piety, ought to be handled with a sort of mysterious secrecy; they ought to be spoken of only in the rare moments of perfect confidence—to be mutually understood in silence. Many things are too delicate to be thought—many more to be spoken.

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