Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

going and threepence per mile returning. This, however, is only nominal. By making your bargain, you can always have a car at the rate of sixpence going and threepence returning, and often even less. When there are three or four persons travelling together, this comes exceedingly cheap, while it is the most pleasant of all modes of travelling. On one occasion, two friends and myself hired a car to go a distance of twelve miles. We were only asked nine shillings, being three shillings a-piece, or at the rate of three halfpence per mile, including the distance in returning. We were too, I ought to mention, allowed nearly three hours to see the place which we visited. If a car be engaged by the whole day, it can be had for twelve shillings.

Ilf, again, any one prefer riding on horseback, he can have an excellent pony, full of spirits and a rapid runner, for three shillings the entire day. In Dublin the charge is a little higher, but this is the general charge in the provinces. In some places, indeed, it is as low as two shillings per day.

And this is well nigh the whole of the expenses; for the horse's food will not cost more than from sixpence to ninepence. There are very few tolls in Ireland. You may travel in many parts of the country whole days together, without having anything to pay for tolls; and yet the roads are excellent. They are not, even in the most secluded parts of the south, inferior to those in the more populous districts of England.

In Ireland there are no assessed taxes, a fact which accounts for the exceeding cheapness of travelling in that country. If the Irish had to pay the same duty on their vehicles and the horses they let out for hire, it would be impossible for them to carry on coaching business at the very low charges I have specified.

The hotels throughout Ireland are, for the most part, comfortable. Here and there you meet with an exception; but I have travelled in no country where there is, generally speaking, so much comfort blended with equal cheapness. In the leading towns, the charge for a hed is two shillings. The same sum is the price of breakfast. Dinner varies from half-a-crown to three and sixpence, according to the town, the hotel, and the articles set before you. In most of the more respectable hotels in Ireland, the practice is to put down one shilling in your bill for servants. This includes the gratuities expected by chambermaid, waiters, and boots. It is an excellent plan : I wish it were universally adopted. It would save the annoyance which travellers too often meet with from grumbling discontented servants.

In the second class of hotels, the usual charge for a bed is eighteenpence. The price is the same for breakfast. Two chillings or half-a-crown is the price charged for dinner at these secondary establishments. I should here observe that the breakfasts given in the hotels in Ireland are of a very superior kind.

In addition to tea or coffee with two eggs, and bread in every variety of form, cold meat is set before you, of wbich you may take as much as you please. Should you prefer a steak to the cold meat, you can have one of the best quality-one for which two shillings (the price of your entire breakfast in Ireland) would be charged in England.

In many of the Irish hotels, especially those of the secondary class in the more remote parts of the country, you are amused with the drollery of the waiters; but no one can complain of incivility or want of attention. They are a happy race themselves, and it is evidently their wish to make their customers as comfortable as possible.

In Ireland, the common beverage after dinner, and at night, before going to bed, is whisky. It is remarkably cheap in all parts of the country: it is not much more than a third of what is charged for it in England, while it is of an incomparably better quality.

The cheapness and facilities of travelling in Ireland must be always very great recommendations to those who contemplate a tour in that country. There is in the minds of some persons an apprehension that it is not safe to travel in Ireland. This feeling has been caused by the reports which absentee landlords give of the state of the country. With the view of justifying their own absence from the estates whence they derive their means of living, these persons get up tales about the danger of living at home. Not only are they idle and utterly groundless tales, but they do infinite mischief to Ireland: they deter Englishmen from purchasing land and investing their capital in that country; and they also frighten weak-minded and ill-informed persons on this side the Channel from even paying a few weeks' journey of pleasure to it. There is not any country under heaven in which a stranger may travel with more perfect safety: indeed, not only so, but without the slightest annoyance of any description. The people are kind and civil in a degree exceeding any other people under the sun.

The only complaint I have ever heard from any Englishman who has travelled in Ireland, relates to the number and importunity of the beggars who crowd around the coaches, when they stop at the different stages. At first, the circumstance of so many fellow-creatures surrounding the vehicle by which you travel, and importunately soliciting charity from you, is far from agreeable; but as you proceed on your journey, the novelty of the thing wears away, and you feel less disturbed by their appearance and importunities. There is one thing which must be said in their favour-however earnest in their entreaties, they are never rude.

Being thus led to speak of Irish beggars, I may mention that the first thing that gives the stranger an idea of the poverty of Ireland, is the immense numbers of mendicants who besiege him for a few pence.

They meet him wherever he goes; they cross his path in all directions. They are generally most deplorably clad. Clothing, properly speaking, they have none. Your philosophy is puzzled to know how they continue to keep together the mass of rags which is attached to their persons. "You are afraid they will drop off their backs while soliciting your charity. I could not resist the suspicion, that many of the Irish mendicants are actually in love with their rags, and that to put them into a suit of new clothes would be to render them completely miserable. Of this I am quite certain, that they would never rest satisfied until they had made a number of holes in their coat; for a coat would seem to them incomplete without a few holes in it. You are struck with the fact, that many of the large perforations which you see in their apparel are easily susceptible of being mended, and that, if they were, the appearance of this class of persons would be greatly improved. The use of the needle, however, is comparatively unknown to the Irish mendicant. Nature has not made him a tailor, and he has no notion of attempting to improve on the purposes of nature. That, he thinks, would be a reflection on her. He seems to find a peculiar pleasure in his tattered garments. You will always see more holes in an Irish beggar's coat than buttons on it. And yet, amidst all his rags, there is the absence of that wretchedness in the Irish mendicant which you see in the English beggar. You are surprised at the jolly-looking, happy, and often ruddy countenance which you see associated with so much outward seeming wretchedness. No one can be half an hour in Ireland without being impressed with the conviction, that the Irish possess constitutionally all the elements of happiness, and that, if their social condition were but ameliorated, they would be the happiest people on the face of the earth.

BE THINE A TRANQUIL DEATH.

BY MRS. EDWARD THOMAS.

“I fain would mount some headlong steed,

And gallop o'er the cliff at speed,
Fall down a thousand fathoms there,
And leave my soul midway in air."

Sixty Poems, by V
I would not die as many dare to die,
Mocking the terrors of eternity ;
Each rank idea still unpurified-
What ! may man die as brutes have only died ?

And bear to heaven pollution and decay,
Tears of repentance should have wash'd away?
Oh! be my end calm as an infant's sleep;
So calm, affection would refrain to weep-
But kiss the placid brow, where yet the smile,
Death could not conquer, lingers to beguile
Its sorrow-smile, assuasive hope bestows,
To mitigate the lone bereft one's woes !
I would not grapple with the delegate
Endowed with power supreme by awful Fate;
Ambassador august ! whose mandate here,
The monarch, as the slave, must still revere.
Let not his herald be the cannon's roar,
Nor yet the tempest hurling from the shore;
Where, ere the heart conceives one hasty vow,
The icy surges lave the senseless brow.
Nor yet the frantic plunge of madden'd horse,
That tramples on the mutilated corse,
Forcing the gurgling blood to choke the

prayer
Breath'd less in piety than in despair.
No! let death ceremonious come to me
In all his pomp and grave solemnity;
As one to whom familiar by degrees
I may become, until his mission please.
I dread him now, as culprit dreads, alas !
The judge, who, cognizant each dire trespass,
Can but pronounce one doom, the fearful doom,
Where guilt must meet an ignominious tomb.
I would his image round my tranquil soul
Serene should spread, like glorious aureole ;
Such as encircle saints' and angels' brows,
When at the throne of God they offer vows;
Silent and balmy as a twilight breeze
That mutely kisses the unstirring trees,-
Heard not, but felt alone, a fragrance telling
The slumb'ring vi’lets od'rous breast is swelling:
So let me conscious be that death is near,
Not terror-clad, as painted still by fear,
But as a seraph come from realms of light,
To guide my spirit through the grave's dark night,
Where neither sun, nor moon, nor star is found,
But all is wrapp'd in mystery profound.
Safely conducted by his friendly hand,
The gates I reach of that eternal land
Whose glories mortal eye hath never seen,
For dissolution casts its shade between ;
Which is dissolv’d for aye, with our last breath.
Death conquers man—the Christian conquers death!

THE VIRTUOUS FAMILY.

A TALE OF RURAL LIFE.

If any man wish to behold human nature under the most attractive and most virtuous circumstances in which it exhibits itself, we would advise him to enter the cottages of the Scottish peasantry, and attentively study the principles and maxims by which their conduct is uniformly regulated. We are not sufficiently vain of our species to hold out to him the delusive hope of his there witnessing human nature in that virtuous and dignified aspect in which it has been erroneously represented by some of our poets, possessed of a much larger measure of imagination than of judgment; but we do, in sober seriousness, affirm, that in the lowly abodes of Scottish cottagers there are to be seen such scenes of moral virtue and Christian piety, and of all that is lovely in our common nature, as are not to be paralleled in any other country in the world.

We do not know if our countrymen in general feel an equally ardent attachment to the land of their birth; but on ruminating on those beautiful lines of the poet, we think we have felt something of the same passionate attachment to our country which glowed in his

bosom :

“ Lives there a man with soul so dead,

Who never to himself hath said
"This is my own-my native land.'”

And never have we felt more highly delighted than when listening to authentic narrations of the simple and harmless manners and virtuous actions of our national peasantry.

In an extremely beautiful and picturesque but secluded spot in the north of Scotland, are still to be seen the ruins of a cottage which was, for half a century, the humble residence of a family admired by all who knew them for their quiet and inoffensive habits.

About twenty years since, its happy inmates were five in number, consisting of husband and wife, two sons, and a daughter.

For a succession of years this secluded family spent their time in peace and happiness. They possessed uninterrupted health, with a competency of the necessaries of life; and more than this they had never aspired to. Limited as must necessarily have been their acquaintance with the world, they had, nevertheless, learned sufficient to convince them, from their own observation as well as from the doctrines of the religion they professed, that a man's happiness was by no means proportioned to the extent of his possessions ; but that, on the contrary, he who, in addition to the blessing of health, enjoyed as much of the bounties of Providence as provided him with daily bread, had generally the greatest share of this world's felicity.

« ZurückWeiter »