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the severity of truth alone might compel the writers to do so, and therefore the fictitious narrative founded on such circumstances never perfectly awakened my sympathy, because, like the out-pouring of Byronic feeling, it has been to me untrue to nature.

Besides, a harshly governed childhood almost necessarily rears up a harsh, unkindly, sordid disposition, and few creatures such as novels describe, filled with love, beauty, virtue, truth and joy, can ever issue forth from the nursery of discontent, meanness, injustice, or cruelty. The commonest plant requires its kindred soil.

Dreary days of an unhappy childhood !-We at least knew nothing of such days. The error may have been on the other side; but it was an error which helped us to sustain a future, which it was not meant to prepare us to meet. Strangely free and wildly happy was our childhood. For us there was no confinement, no school-room hours, no tutors, governesses, or prescribed lessons; we were never punished; we never shed tears; restraint was unfelt-discipline unknown.

The birds were not freer to waken up to the glimmer of the sun-beam; nor did their flight from their nightly neșts ever much precede our own. As lightly have we run out to watch from the wooded promontory of our father's domain, the sun rising up from the sea it overlooked, and gradually reddening the sky, while Phæbus, we actually believed, really did drive his fiery chariot up along the glowing horizon, until the ascent being gained, the charioteer sprang with a bound to his seat, and then the glowing sun was up! and we thought he must drive on and on the live long day, until at night he got round the whole sky again, and laid up his chariot and horses to rest in the sea.

Unbelief had no part in our nature; scepticism had no place in our minds. The childish question is it true ?' was seldom put by us. We believed in the reality of all our old traditions: we had not more faith in the histories of Greece and Rome, than we had in their mythologies. Our mother told us stories from these, and they were truth to us; and our nurse told us fairy tales and giant histories, and we doubted them no less.

Sunset might find us where sunrise saw us. Days might be spent in running through fields, leaping over ditches, wandering where fancy led us; no fear of being blamed for spoiling a jacket or tearing a new frock to pieces. If the children were tired, a green bank could repose them, if hungry the cabin door stood open : the finest mealy potatoe was held out in the hand of the owner, the carefully-saved-fresh egg was roasted in the turf ashes on the open hearth. An expostulation against 'such waste' would bring the expostulation in answer—"Ah! then sure ye wouldn't

go for to be talking that way? and it's the blessing from heaven just to see the light of your faces coming in at the door.”

The Irish were a happier people then than they are now. Why was this; or is it, that they seemed to be so only to those who were happy themselves ? No; childhood remembers misery and sorrow quite as intensely as happiness and joy. The scenes then common in Ireland are now no longer beheld : the proverbial gaiety of the people is gone: their very gladness seems to be of that species when in the midst of mirth there is heaviness.

Why do I talk of Ireland ? of that land which is so under the ban of society that the scene even of a novel must be laid in any other if the book is to be published ? I talk of it because our young years were spent in it. Our father, unhappily, inherited a large estate in that unfortunate country, and on the banks of one of its most beautiful rivers the brightest of our young days were spent.

Yes, it is a fact, that before Emancipation bills were passed, or “Agitation' and the ‘rint' were thought of, or the clash of controversy heard, Ireland was a gayer and happier land than it may

be again.

Our village, I suppose, exists still, but is it the same ?—the same beautiful scenery is there, but are the cottages as white, are the people as lightsome? Is the grave yet extravagant dance as frequently seen in the middle of the public road -do the dancers make way for the carriage to pass, and continue the figure when it has passed ?

That singular figure in which the healthy, rosycheeked maiden in her thick-soled shoes and with one arm a-kimbo, moves backwards and

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forwards and sideways, to her freize-coated partner who carries the long, and useless, but much honoured skirt of his immense coat turned over his arm, like a court lady's train, performing the most singular capers with his feet, and keeping the spare arm flourishing in the air; while his partner with one hand resting on her side, and the other arm laid flat across her back, exhibits the most fantastic steps with a countenance of the deepest gravity, and eyelids never raised from the ground.

And there, in that old churchyard which hangs on the side of the hill, the tower alone of the old building still standing, and looking like one great ivy tree; there, where curiously cut paper garlands, the rude wooden cross, or the fresh blooming flower shew the treasure place of the heart of love—there sits the young, happy village maid meditating on him or on her who rests below. There, too, sits the old man, or the old woman, there too sits the child. Each will meditate there, each will say there a prayer—and then each will join the gayer group below.

Are these sights to be seen now? are graves decked and visited now as in olden time?


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