« AnteriorContinuar »
only what is vile and corrupt. When I am gone, Humphrey, and I don't think my course will be a very long one, remember my words to-night. Separate my better nature from my evil spirit, and believe that all the false and hard things I have said to you were Poor old spoken under the influence and promptings of the latter. fellow," added Basil, wringing his friend's hand, "don't I know that if you are a poor man to-night, it is because you have lent, or rather given, all you were worth to Basil Metham! Well, good. bye; if we never meet again, we have parted as friends."
"Basil!" said the cashier, who could hardly command his voice to speak, "I cannot advance you the sum you require to-night, but leave me your address in London, and you will either see or hear from me by the end of the week."
For a moment Basil hesitated. Perhaps he was balancing, in this his softer mood, as to whether he should further impoverish his friend. However, if so, necessity, either real or imagined, caused him to decide upon accepting the money, which he saw would be forthcoming; and he tore a leaf from his pocket-book, scrawled a line or two upon it, handed it to Humphrey, and then, without another word, took up his hat and quitted the room.
Long after this, when the large old room was all in darkness, except when an expiring flash of light shot up from the nearly consumed logs, Rose stole in, and found her brother still seated where Basil had left him, absorbed in a deep and painful reverie; for he never heard her enter, nor knew of her presence, till she stole her arm caressingly round his neck.
"How cold you are, Humphrey and sitting here all in the dark!"
"I did not notice how time had gone," answered the cashier, shading the light from his eyes, as the servant entered with a lamp. When she had gone he added, "Basil has been here tonight."
"I saw him," replied Rose, her voice betraying her emotion. Humphrey shook his head sadly, as he looked at her pale face and swollen eyes.
"My poor sister," he said, " my heart bleeds for you. Basil will, I fear, never reform. I cannot bid you hope; and yet, alas! there are moments in which one can see glimpses of a truly noble nature, perverted more by over indulgence from his too fond parents than by any other cause; and, later on, by the vitiated and corrupt teaching of the vile tutor who instructed him at the academy. The man was a professed deist, and from his teaching, when Basil was launched into life, he saw no kind of harm in frequenting the gaming-table, the cock-pit, or in duelling, drinking, or any other
fashionable accomplishment of the present day. Amongst them they have ruined him, I fear, body and soul."
"His father nigh on to four-score, and his poor sickly mother,” sighed Rose; "what will become of them, if he does not stop in his downward course?"
"It is a hard thing, perhaps, to say," said Humphrey, as he rose from his seat, and prepared to go with his sister to partake of their usual evening dish of tea; "but they themselves have much to answer for."
Yes," sighed Rose, "I have often seen in him germs of the better feeling you speak of."
"The parable of the sower and his seed may truly be applied to Basil," said Humphrey, thoughtfully; "and other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it, choked it."
CLERICAL LIFE IN IRELAND.1
THIS is a charming work of its kind, marred only by scenes of violence and horrors, which, alas, are but too characteristic of the country of which it treats. What can be more affecting than the sketch of the Squire of Ballyvourneen, living in a small cottage, consisting of a bedroom and sitting-room, with a kitchen leading off from the latter by a narrow passage? A few fowling-pieces on a rack; a salmon-rod in one corner; a whip and a couple of blackthorns; a small selection of books in a stand; and a comfortable arm-chair; the leading features of the parlour. "The big house is up yonder avenue, sir," said the man who was industriously brightening a powerful "bit," which seemed as though it would be suitable for an elephant. Himself never lives in it now, since the poor mistress went home. Ah, he's not like the man he was, when he had her with him; and oh, but she was the darlint of the country! He never enter the big house now!
What, again, can be more vivid in picturesque description than Vaughan's Court, one of those fine old houses which are so commonly met with in Ireland, erected some two hundred years ago, when labour was cheap, and when it was easier to live than now, a wide circular sweep forming the carriage drive before the high massive masonry of the hall door-steps, and in the middle of of the sweep a noble elm tree, the growth of ages. Then the old glebe-house, a long two-storied building, opening on one side into a flower garden, the windows all iron-plated and loop-holed, a formidable supply of guns in the vicar's study, and a black setter prowling about the habitation. The little church, with its square tower, and the quiet old churchyard, with many a moss-grown tombstone, all peacefully embosomed amid grand old trees on a spur of the Great Gualtee chain of mountains. But what a change comes over the scene, when the vicar, seated in his study on a still winter's night is disturbed by the little terrier's whining, and hears the continuous tramp of a large body of men marching in military order as they sweep down the mountain road upon Vaughan's Court and Vicarage. In a moment the parson with his doublebarrelled Mortimer, with his old servant, musket in hand, the wife
1 "Real Pictures of Clerical Life in Ireland." By J. Duncan Craig, D.D., Incumbent of the Molyneux Church, Dublin, sometime Vicar of Kinsale. London: James Nisbet and Co.
and dog (all the home staff), bringing up the rear, are on their way through the churchyard to the massively-built mansion beyond. There the Squire musters his forces, the assailants pour volley after volley upon the glass and iron-bound shutters-the village blacksmith-a broad-chested giant-batters at the door with a sledge of iron, hammering away with the regularity of steam. The hayricks are also fired, but all in vain. One of the assailants is tumbled from off the great old elm-tree, with a wild cry and crash through the branches, and discomfited and beaten the green uniforms and tufted shakoes take themselves off. Not the least characteristic part of a not uncommon incident, is the upshot of the attempted outrage. "The next day the squire rode over to the lonely smithy, some half dozen miles away, where the giant plied his calling, and found him blowing up his forge fire. 'I have come to thank you, Bryan Maguire,' cried Mr. Vaughan, 'for the double knocks you gave at the hall-door last night.' The giant blushed, and laid down his pipe. Troth, your honour, it was the hardest job I tried this long time; but I don't think you need any more visits.' 'I am glad to hear it,' said the squire, and rode off at a hard gallop, while Bryan lighted up his little black pipe, and discussed the probabilities and possibilities of absenting himself for a few months till matters were quiet. He's dacint, there's no denying it, and he comes from a good old stock, sassenach though he be,' quoth he, musingly. The squire made no stir about the matter, and many a day's work Bryan did afterwards for him at Vaughan's Court."
The old mansion, it is to be observed, stands nigh the meeting of three counties. On one side Limerick county displays its fields, on another the great Corkshire extends far and wide, and just over the ridge of some capped peeks in the blue mountains that tower around, Tipperary shows itself. The people hence partake of the mingled character of the men of these counties. Dr. Craig describes the Tipperary men as physically very tall and powerful. Anglo-Saxon and Norman blood, has, he says, almost swept away the Celtic from their veins; indeed, elsewhere he adds, "a strong infusion of the English blood into the Irish race is the prerogative of the midland county." The Irish Celt, he argues, contrary to the generally received opinion, is a quiet, well-behaved poor fellow. "He lives in perfection in Kerry, passionately addicted to learning, by nature a born orator, the Celt has really left to the Anglicised Irishman the pleasing task of ever keeping Ireland in disorder." If, as the whole tenor of Dr. Craig's book goes to show, the Irish Roman Catholic priesthood are at the bottom of all disorder, hostility and outrage are more the offspring of religious hatred and jealousy than a question of races. Believe me, there never
yet was trouble in Ireland but a priest was at the bottom of it," is a saying attributed to a very distinguished stipendiary magistrate, who possessed the implicit confidence of the Irish Executive during the troubles of 1848 and the Smith O'Brien insurrection. George Bond Lowe, J.P., as much feared by the peasantry as ever Graham of Claverhouse was by the Covenanters, and his negro servant, sharpening his knife upon a board over a prostrate rebel, is an amusing scene, but like the murder of the rector of Golden, it belongs to past times. Let us hope they will never come back again.
The Rev. Dr. Craig is scarcely, however, so hopeful as we are. He is exceedingly irate-as what lover of Church and State and all true friends to Ireland are not-at the impolitic disendowment and disestablishment of the Irish Church: 66 a sad error," he emphasises it, "whose fatal issues have already borne bitter fruit and must bear more bitter still." "The lonely Protestant settler," he remarks, "without a co-religionist within miles of him, surrounded by a population who hate his religion and detest his loyalty, has, indeed, a fiery ordeal to go through. Until the sacrilegious Irish Church Act, he had always the presence of his minister and his family to cheer and support him; he had always the little Church to resort to on the Sabbath-day, there was the little band of loyalists to be met with there; but now, in many a parish the church of God is closed. nettles and brambles are growing on its doorsteps, the windows with the panes of glass smashed in by the boys as they return from the National School, the bell that once called the little flock together now rusting away in the belfry tower, for months together no divine service of the Church of his fathers to be had, his children unbaptised, his sick unheeded, the Romish priest prowling about triumphantly. Alas! for the sad day when the well-tried loyalty of Irish Protestants was thus repaid by the sacrilegious act of disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Church. A friend of mine, a dignitary, while passing through the west of Ireland recently, was invited by his host, the squire of the parish, to perform divine service in the closed parish church. For many months,' said the squire, we have had no service at all in it.' Notice was sent, and the little congregation assembled; but around the church came a crowd of Roman Catholic peasants, and while service was going on, they hurled volleys of stones against the windows. The church was shut up,' they shouted, and we are determined it shall never be opened again.'
Speaking of the old church of Temple Breda, Dr. Craig pathetically remarks that "there is something indescribably affecting to the mind in seeing a church, in which once was preached the glad message of salvation to those who shall believe in their loving