Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

not but

go the round), I packed their respective little sighs into one great sigh, as I turned round on my heel. My old friend and handmaid Betty, perceiving me in motion, got her hip under the strong box with my seven shirts, which she had rested against the rails during the delay, and screwed up her face into a most rueful caricature, that might provoke a laugh at another time; while her young son Denny, grasping his waistband in one hand, and a basket of sea-provision in the other, took the lead in the procession; and so we journeyed on to George's Quay,* where the ship was just ready to sail. When I entered, I found my fellow-passengers seated round a large table in the cabin: we were fourteen in number. A young Highland lord had taken the head of the table and the conversation, and, with a modesty peculiar to himself, gave a history of his travels, and his intimate connections with the princes of the empire. An old debauched officer was complaining of the gout, while a woman, who sat next to him (good heaven! what a tongue), gave a long detail of what her father suffered from that disorder. To do them all justice, they exerted themselves most zealously for the common entertainment. As for my part, I had nothing to say; nor, if I had, was any one at leisure to listen to me; so I took possession of what the captain called a bed, wondering with Partridge, how they could play so many different tunes at the same time without putting each other out.' I was expecting that the sea-sickness would soon give those restless mouths different employment, but in that I was disappointed; the sea was so calm that one only was sick during the passage, and it was not my good fortune that the lot should fall on that devil who never ceased chattering. There was no cure but patience; accordingly, I never stirred from my tabernacle (unless to visit my basket) till we arrived at Parkgate. Here, after the usual pillage at the custom-house, I laid my box down

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

• In Cork.-M.

+ Parkgate, in Cheshire, was the usual port of debarcation, for Irish voyagers to Eng. land, in the last century.-M.

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

ល្អ ។

on the beach, seated myself upon it, and, casting my eyes west-
ward over the Welsh mountains towards Ireland, I began to
reflect on the impossibility of getting back without the precarious
assistance of others. Poor Jack! thought I, thou wert never till
now so far from home but thou mightest return on thine own legs.
Here now must thou remain, for where here canst thou expect the
assistance of a friend? Whimsical as the idea was, it had power
to affect me; until, at length, I was awakened from this reverie
by a figure which approached me with the utmost affability;
methought his looks seemed to say, 'Why is thy spirit troubled ?'
He pressed me to go into his house, and to eat of his bread,' and
to drink of his drink. There was so much good-natured solici-
tude in the invitation, 't was irresistible. I arose, therefore, and
followed him, ashamed of my uncharitable despondence. Surely,
thought I, there is still humanity left among us,' as I raised my
eyes to the golden letters over his door, that offered entertainment
and repose to the wearied traveller. Here I resolved to stay for
the night, and agreed for a place in his coach, next morning, to
Chester; but, finding my loquacious fellow-passenger had agreed
for one in the same vehicle, I retracted my bargain, and agreed
for
my box only. I perceived, however, when I arose next morn-

my
box was not sent, though the coach was gone.

I thinking how I should remedy this unlucky disappointment, when my friendly host told me that he could furnish me with a chaise ! Confusion light upon him! what a stroke was this! It was not the few paltry shillings that vexed me, but to have my philanthropy till that moment running cheerily through my veins, and to have the current turned back suddenly by the detection of his knavery! Verily, Yorick, even thy gentle spirit, so meekly accustomed to bear and forbear, would have been roused on such an occasion. I paid hastily for my entertainment, and, shaking the dust from my feet at his gate, I marched with my box on my shoulder to a waggoner's at the other end of the town, where I entered it for London, and sallied forth towards Chester on foot.

ing, that

was

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

I was so nettled at being the dupe of my own credulity, that I was almost tempted to pass an excommunication on all mankind, and resolved never more to trust my own skill in physiognomy. Wrapt up in my speculations, I never perceived at what a rate I was striding away, till I found myself in the suburbs of Chester, quite out of breath, and completely covered with dust and dirt. From Chester, I set out that evening in the stage: I slept about four hours next day at Coventry, and the following evening, at five o'clock, was in view of near a hundred and twenty spires, that are scattered from one side of the horizon to the other, and seem almost bewildered in the mist that perpetually covers this prodigious capital. 'T would be impossible for description to give any idea of the various objects that fill a stranger, on his first arrival, with surprise and astonishment. The magnificence of the churches, hospitals, and other public building, which everywhere present themselves, would alone be ample subject of admiration to a spectator, though he were not distracted by the gaudy display of wealth and dissipation continually shifting before his eyes in the most extravagant forms of pride and ostentation, or by a hurry of business that might make you think this the source from which life and motion are conveyed to the world beside. There are many places here not unworthy of particular inspection; but as my illness prevented me from seeing them on my first arrival, I shall suspend my curiosity till some future time, as I am determined to apply to reading this vacation with the utmost diligence, in order to attend the Courts next winter with more advantage. If I should happen to visit Ireland next summer, I shall spend a week, before I go, in seeing the curiosities here (the king and queen, and the lions); and, if I continue in my present mood, you will see a strange alteration in your poor friend. That cursed fever erer brought me down so much, and my spirits are so reduced, that, faith, I don't remember to have laughed these six weeks. Indeed, I never thought solitude could lean so heavily on me as I find it does: I rise, most commonly, in the morning between five

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[graphic]

and six, and read as much as my eyes will permit me till dinnertime; I then go out and dine, and from that till bed-time, I mope about between my lodgings and the Park. For heaven's sake, send me some news or other (for, surely, Newmarket cannot be barren in such things) that will teach me once more to laugh. I never received a single line from any one since I came here! Tell me if you know anything about Keller; I wrote twice to that gentleman without being favored with any answer. You will give my best respects to Mrs. Aldworth and her family; to Doctor Creagh's; and do n't forget my good friends Peter and Will Connel.

"Yours sincerely,

“J. P. C.

[ocr errors]

“P.S.—I will cover this blank edge with intreating you to write closer than you commonly do when you sit down to answer this, and don't make me pay tenpence for a halfpenny-worth of white paper."

[Curran's correspondence with Mr. Weston was collected and published in 1819, but is only slightly known. It extends over only a year and a half (1773–4), when Curran was yet very young, but contains some passages too characteristic not to be added to this life of him. Here is a lively bit of description :

"No doubt Keller has informed you of Schoole's exploit in the matrimonial way, with the daughter of the widow Craigan in Limerick. It seems the whole posse comitatus was hunting the fugitives for three or four days; but Schoole made a valiant running fight of it, and bas the dear creature here in London. I have the bonor of being introduced as a particular friend of Mr. Schoole's, though I fancy the desire of showing me the prize was the chief ground of the particularity. She is a curious little puppet, smart and chattering, and looks upon her good man as an oracle of taste and erudition. By her means I have got acquainted with a Miss Hume, who is also an original in her way. She is a relation of the celebrated David Hume; and, I suppose, on the strength of the kindred, sets up for a politician as well as a sceptic ; she has heard his

[graphic][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Essays recommended, and shews her own discernment by pronouncing them unanswerable ; and talks of the famous Burke, by the familiar appellation of Ned. Then she is so romantic and so sentimental--nothing for her but grots, and purling streams, and piping shepherds; and to crown all, it sings like a nightingale. As I have not the best command of my muscles, I always propose putting out the candles, before the song begins, for the greater romanticality of the thing. This is an expedient I used to have recourse to in the college, wben I had the honor of teaching Nixon to sing. 'Tis a miserable thing when a poor girl is so mistaken in her qualifications, as to display only her absurdities, and studiously conceal everything that she ought not to be ashamed of. Even this being wants not common sense, if she would but use it. But what bave you or I to do with the text or comment ?''

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Here, after an unfavorable character of the English boor, is Curran's panegyric on his own countrymen :

write

this rhite

" Their fondness for genealogy, so much despised here, and not without reason, yet gives them an advantage they could derive from no other source. When each poor individual is supposed to contain in his own person the accumulated honors of many generations, they are led to treat each other with a politeness and respect proportioned to this imaginary merit, and to cultivate a friendly intercourse that contributes not a little to reclaim, and even to refine the sentiments of the illiterate; and I have often thought, their manner of lamenting over their dead, co-operates strongly to preserve and improve this untutored sort of politeness, by keeping alive something like a taste for composition in a language, that wants neither expression nor extent, and by preventing that language from a decay, into which it must otherwise have fallen : and to these you add the severe political grievances, and the still more cruel miserable inducement to a strict association, the community of affliction and wretchedness, more than can be found in either France or Germany, and yet fostered in the bosom of a constitution boasted to be free. You will smile, no doubt, at these observations as being unseasonable as well as exaggerated. To the first I must plead guilty : but for the latter, there certainly is some truth in it; would to Heaven there was not so much!"

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

There is life, spirit and vivacity in this account of his visit to

« ÖncekiDevam »