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of Mr Carleton's literary career.
neighbourhood. In his seventeenth year he went to assist a distant relative, a priest, who had opened a classical school near Glasslough, county of Monaghan, where he remained two years. A pilgrimage to the far-famed Lough-derg, or St Patrick's Purgatory, excited his imagination, and the description of that performance, some years afterwards, “not only, he says, “constituted my debut in literature, but was also the means of preventing me from being a pleasant strong-bodied parish priest at this day; indeed it was the cause of changing the whole destiny of my subsequent life.' About this time chance threw a copy of Gil Blas in his way, and his love of adventure was so stimulated by its perusal, that he left his native place, and set off on a visit to a Catholic clergyman in the county of Louth. He stopped with him a fortnight, and succeeded in procuring a tuition in the house of a farmer near Corcreagh. This, however, was a tame life and a hard one, and he resolved on precipitating himself on the Irish metropolis, with no other guide than a certain strong feeling of vague and shapeless ambition. He entered Dublin with only 2s. 9d. in his pocket. From this period we suppose we must date the commencement In 1830 appeared his “Traits and Stories, two volumes, published in Dublin, but without the author's name. Mr Carleton, in his preface, “assures the public, that what he offers is, both in manufacture and material, genuine Irish; yes, genuine Irish as to character, drawn by one born amidst the scenes he describes—reared as one of the people whose characters and situations he sketches —and who can cut and dress a shillaly as well as any man in his majesty's dominions; ay, and use it too; so let the critics take care of themselves.” The critics were unanimous in favour of the Irish sketcher. His account of the northern Irish—the Ulster creachts—was new to the reading public, and the “dark mountains and green vales’ of his native Tyrone, of Donegal, and Derry, had been left untouched by the previous writers on Ireland. A second series of these tales was published by Mr Carleton in 1832, and was equally well received. In 1839 he sent forth a powerful Irish story, Fardorougha the Miser, or the Convicts of Lisnamond, in which the passion of avarice is strikingly depicted, without its victim being wholly dead to natural tenderness and affection. Scenes of broad humour and comic extravagance are interspersed throughout the work. Two years afterwards (1841) appeared The Fawn of Spring Vale, The Clarionet, and other Tales, three volumes. There is more of pathetic composition in this collection than in the former; but one genial lighthearted humorous story, “The Misfortunes of Barney Branagan,’ was a prodigious favourite. The collection was pronounced by a judicious critic to be calculated “for those quiet country haunts where the deep and natural pathos of the lives of the poor may be best read and taken to heart. Hence Mr Carleton appropriately dedicates his pages to Wordsworth. But they have the fault common to other modern Irish novels, of an exaggerated display of the darker vicissitudes of life: none better than the Rydal philosopher could teach the tale-writer that the effect of mists, and rains, and shadows, is lost without sunbreaks to relieve the gloom.' The great merit, however, of Mr Carleton, is the truth of his delineations and the apparent artlessness of his stories. If he has not the passionate energy—or, as he himself has termed it, “the melancholy but indignant reclamations' of John Banim, he has not his party prejudices or bitterness. He seems to have formed a fair and just estimate of the character of his countrymen, and to have drawn it as it actually appeared to him at home and abroad—in feud and in festival—in the
various scenes which passed before him in his native district and during his subsequent rambles. In examining into the causes which have operated in forming the character of the peasantry, Mr Carleton alludes to the long want of any fixed system of wholesome education. The clergy, until lately, took no interest in the matter, and the instruction of the children (where any instruction was obtained) was left altogether to hedge schoolmasters, a class of men who, with few exceptions, bestowed “such an education upon the people as is sufficient almost, in the absence of all other causes, to account for much of the agrarian violence and erroneous principles which regulate their movements and feelings on that and similar subjects.' The lower Irish, too, he justly remarks, were, until a comparatively recent period, treated with apathy and gross neglect by the only class to whom they could or ought to look up for sympathy or protection. Hence those deep-rooted prejudices and fearful crimes which stain the history of a people remarkable for their social and domestic virtues. “In domestic life,’ says Mr Carleton, “there is no man so exquisitely affectionate and humanised as the Irishman. The national imagination is active, and the national heart warm, and it follows very naturally that he should be, and is, tender and strong in all his domestic relations. Unlike the people of other nations, his grief is loud, but lasting; vehement, but deep; and whilst its shadow has been chequered by the laughter and mirth of a cheerful disposition, still, in the moments of seclusion, at his bed-side prayer, or over the grave of those he loved, it will put itself forth, after half a life, with a vivid power of recollection which is sometimes almost beyond belief.” A people thus cast in extremes—melancholy and humorous—passionate in affection and in hatred —cherishing the old language, traditions, and recollections of their country—their wild music, poetry, and customs—ready either for good or for evil—such a people certainly affords the novelist abundant materials for his fictions. The field is ample, and it has been richly cultivated.
[Picture of an Irish Village and School-house.]
The village of Findramore was situated at the foot of a long green hill, the outline of which formed a | low arch, as it rose to the eye against the horizon. This hill was studded with clumps of beeches, and sometimes enclosed as a meadow. In the month of July, when the grass on it was long, many an hour have I spent in solitary enjoyment, watching the wavy motion produced upon its pliant surface by the sunny winds, or the flight of the cloud shadows, like gigantic phantoms, as they swept rapidly over it, whilst the murmur of the rocking trees, and the glancing of their bright leaves in the sun, produced a heartfelt pleasure, the very memory of which rises in my imagination like some fading recollection of a brighter world.
At the foot of this hill ran a clear deep-banked river, bounded on one side by a slip of rich level meadow, and on the other by a kind of common for the village geese, whose white feathers during the summer season lay scattered over its green surface. It was also the play-ground for the boys of the village school; for there ran that part of the river which, with very correct judgment, the urchins had selected as their bathing-place. A little slope or wateringground in the bank brought them to the edge of the stream, where the bottom fell away into the fearful depths of the whirlpool under the hanging oak on the other bank. Well do I remember the first time I ventured to swim across it, and even yet do I see in imagination the two bunches of water flagons on
which the inexperienced swimmers trusted themselves in the water. About two hundred yards above this, the boreen" which led from the village to the main road crossed the river by one of those old narrow bridges whose arches rise like round ditches across the road—an almost impassable barrier to horse and car. On passing the bridge in a northern direction, you found a range of low thatched houses on each side of the road; and if one o'clock, the hour of dinner, drew near, you might observe columns of blue smoke curling up from a row of chimneys, some made of wicker creels plastered over with a rich coat of mud, some of old narrow bottomless tubs, and others, with a greater appearance of taste, ornamented with thick circular ropes of straw sewed together like bees’ skeps with the peel of a brier; and mahy having nothing but the open vent above. But the smoke by no means escaped by its legitimate aperture, for you might observe little clouds of it bursting out of the doors and windows; the panes of the latter being mostly stopped at other times with old hats and rags, were
now left entirely open for the purpose of giving it a
the very beau ideal of luxury, giving occasionally a
long luxuriant grunt, highly expressive of his enjoyment; or perhaps an old farrower, lying in indolent repose, with half a dozen young ones jostling each other for their draught, and punching her belly with their little snouts, reckless of the fumes they are creating; whilst the loud crow of the cock, as he confidently flaps his wings on his own dunghill, gives the warning note for the hour of dinner. As you advance, you will also perceive several faces thrust out of the doors, and rather than miss a sight of you, a o visage peeping by a short cut through the paneless windows, or a tattered female flying to snatch up her urchin that has been tumbling itself heels up in the dust of the road, lest “the gintleman's horse might ride over it; and if you happen to look behind, you may observe a shaggy-headed youth in tattered frize, with one hand thrust indolently in his breast, standing at the door in conversation with the inmates, a broad grin of sarcastic ridicule on his face, in the act of breaking a joke or two upon yourself or your horse; or perhaps your jaw may be saluted with a lump of clay, just hard enough not to fall asunder as it flies, cast by some ragged gorsoon from behind a hedge, who squats himself in a ridge of corn to avoid detection. Seated upon a hob at the door you may observe a toil-worn man without coat or waistcoat, his red muscular sunburnt shoulder peering through the remnant of a shirt, mending his shoes with a piece of twisted flax, called a lingel, or perhaps sewing two
* A little road.
footless stockings, or martyeens, to his coat, as a substitute for sleeves. In the gardens, which are usually fringed with nettles, you will see a solitary labourer, working with that carelessness and apathy that characterise an Irishman when he labours for himself, leaning upon his spade to look after you, and glad of any excuse to be idle. The houses, however, are not all such as I have described—far from it. You see here and there, between the more humble cabins, a stout comfortable-looking farm-house with ornamental thatching and wellglazed windows; adjoining to which is a hay-yard with five or six large stacks of corn, well-trimmed and roped, and a fine yellow weather-beaten old hayrick, half-cut—not taking into account twelve or thirteen circular strata of stones that mark out the foundations on which others had been raised. Neither is the rich smell of oaten or wheaten bread, which the good-wife is baking on the griddle, unpleasant to your nostrils; nor would the bubbling of a large pot, in which you might see, should you chance to enter, a prodigious square of fat, yellow, and almost transparent bacon tumbling about, to be an unpleasant object; truly, as it hangs over a large fire, with well-swept hearthstone, it is in good keeping with the white settle and chairs, and the dresser with noggins, wooden trenchers, and pewter dishes, perfectly clean, and as well polished as a French courtier. As you leave the village, you have, to the left, a view of the hill which I have already described, and to the right a level expanse of fertile country, bounded by a good view of respectable mountains peering decently into the sky; and in a line that forms an acute angle from the point of the road where you ride, is a delightful valley, in the bottom of which shines a pretty lake; and a little beyond, on the slope of a green hill, rises a splendid house, surrounded by a park well-wooded and stocked with deer. You have now topped the little hill above the village, and a straight line of level road, a mile long, goes forward to a country town which lies immediately behind that white church with its spire cutting into the sky before you. You descend on the other side, and having advanced a few perches, look to the left, where you see a long thatched chapel, only distinguished from a dwelling-house by its want of chimneys, and a small stone cross that stands on the top of the eastern gable; behind it is a grave-yard, and beside it a snug public-house, well white-washed; then, to the right, you observe a door apparently in the side of a clay bank, which rises considerably above the pavement of the road. What you ask yourself, can this be a human habitation? But ere you have time to answer the question, a confused buzz of voices from within reaches your ear, and the appearance of a little gorsoon with a red closecropped head and Milesian face, having in his hand a short white stick, or the thigh-bone of a horse, which you at once recognise as ‘the pass’ of a village school, gives you the full information. He has an ink-horn, covered with leather, dangling at the buttonhole (for he has long since played away the buttons) of his frize jacket—his mouth is circumscribed with a streak of ink—his pen is stuck knowingly behind his ear—his shins are dotted over with fire-blisters, black, red, and blue—on each heel a kibe—his “leather
cellaneous poems, and a metrical tale in the style of
Scott, entitled Christine, the Maid of the South Seas, founded on the discovery of the mutineers of the Bounty. In 1823 was produced her effective and striking tragedy of Julian, dedicated to Mr Macready the actor, ‘for the zeal with which he befriended the production of a stranger, for the judicious alterations which he suggested, and for the energy, the pathos, and the skill with which he more than embodied its principal character.' Next year Miss Mitford published the first volume of Our Village, Sketches of Rural Character and Scenery, to which four other volumes were subsequently added, the fifth and last in 1832. “Every one,’ says a lively writer,” “now knows Our Village, and every one knows that the nooks and corners, the haunts and the copses so delightfully described in its pages, will be found in the immediate neighbourhood of Reading, and more especially around Three-Mile Cross, a cluster of cottages on the Basingstoke road, in one of which our authoress has now resided for many years. But so little were the peculiar and original excellence of her descriptions understood, in the first instance, that, after having gone the round of rejection through the more important periodicals, they at last saw the light in no worthier publication than the Lady's Magazine. But the series of rural pictures grew, and the venture of collecting them into a separate volume was tried. The public began to relish the style so fresh, yet so finished, to enjoy the delicate humour and the simple pathos of the tales; and the result was, that the popularity of these sketches outgrew that of the works of
* Mr Chorley–The Authors of England.
loftier order proceeding from the same pen; that young writers, English and American, began to imitate so artless and charming a manner of narration; and that an obscure Berkshire hamlet, by the magic of talent and kindly feeling, was converted into a place of resort and interest for not a few of the finest spirits of the age.” Extending her observation from the country village to the markettown, Miss Mitford published another interesting volume of descriptions, entitled Belford Regis. also gleaned from the new world three volumes of Stories of American Life, by American Writers, of which she remarks—“The scenes described and the personages introduced are as various as the authors, extending in geographical space from Canada to Mexico, and including almost every degree of civilisation, from the wild Indian and the almost equally wild hunter of the forest and prairies, to the cultivated inhabitant of the city and plain.' Besides her tragedies (which are little inferior to those of Miss Baillie as intellectual productions, while one of them,
Miss Mitford has written numerous tales for the annuals and magazines, showing that her industry is equal to her talents. It is to her English tales, however, that she must chiefly trust her fame with posterity; and there is so much unaffected grace, tenderness, and beauty in these rural delineations, that we cannot conceive their ever being considered obsolete or uninteresting. In them she has treasured not only the results of long and familiar observation, but the feelings and conceptions of a truly poetical mind. She is a prose Cowper, without his gloom or bitterness. In 1838 Miss Mitford's name was added to the pension list—a well-earned tribute
and embellishment of her country.
countess OF BLESSINGTON.
literature, is a native of Ireland, daughter of Edward Power, Esq., late of Curagheen, county Waterford. At the age of fifteen she became the wife of Captain Farmer of the 47th regiment, after whose death, in 1817, she was united to Charles John Gardiner, Earl of Blessington. In 1829 she was again left a widow. Lady Blessington now fixed her residence in London, and, by her rank and personal tastes, succeeded in rendering herself a centre of literary society. Her first publication was a volume of Travelling Sketches in Belgium, very meagre and illwritten. The next work commanded more attention: it was her Conversations with Lord Byron, whom she had met daily for some time at Genoa. In 1833 appeared The Repealers, a novel in three volumes, but containing scarcely any plot, and few delineations of character, the greater part being filled with dialogues, criticism, and reflections. Her ladyship is sometimes sarcastic, sometimes moral, and more frequently personal. One female sketch, that of Grace Cassidy. a young Irish wife, is the only one of the characters we can remember, and it shows that her ladyship is most at home among the scenes of her early days.
To “The Repealers' succeeded The Two Friends, The Confessions of an Elderly Gentleman, The Confessions of an Elderly Lady, Desultory Thoughts, The Belle of a Season, The Governess, The Idler in Italy (three volumes, 1839-40), The Idler in France (two volumes,
1841), The Victims of Society, and Meredith. Her recollections of Italy and France are perhaps the
best of her works, for in these her love of anecdote,
epigram, and sentiment, has full scope, without any
of the impediments raised by a story.
to one whose genius has been devoted to the honour
This lady, well known in the world of fashion and
Rienzi, has been highly successful on the stage),
England, and it was some time before she revisited her native country; but the scenes which were familiar to her as a child have made such a vivid and lasting impression on her mind, and all her sketches evince so much freshness and vigour, that her readers might easily imagine she had spent her life among the scenes she describes. To her early absence from her native country is probably to be traced one strong characteristic of all her writings— the total absence of party feeling on subjects connected with politics or religion.” Mrs Hall's first work appeared in 1829, and was entitled Sketches of Irish Character. These bear a closer resemblance to the tales of Miss Mitford than to the Irish stories of Banim or Griffin, though the latter may have tended to direct Mrs Hall to the peculiarities of Irish character. They contain some fine rural description, and are animated by a healthy tone of moral feeling and a vein of delicate humour. The coquetry of her Irish girls (very different from that in high life) is admirably depicted. Next year Mrs Hall issued a little volume for children, Chronicles of a SchoolRoom, consisting also of a series of tales, simple, natural, and touching. The home-truths and moral observations conveyed in these narratives reflect great credit on the heart and the judgment of the writer. Indeed good taste and good feeling may be said to preside over all the works of our authoress. In 1831 she issued a second series of “Sketches of Irish Character,’ fully equal to the first, and was well received. The Rapparee is an excellent story, and some of the satirical delineations are hit off with great truth and liveliness. In 1832 she ventured on a larger and more difficult work—a historical romance in three volumes, entitled The Buccaneer. The scene of this tale is laid in England at the time of the Protectorate, and Oliver himself is among the
characters. The plot of “The Buccaneer’ is well
managed, and some of the characters (as that of
Barbara Iverk, the Puritan) are skilfully delineated; but the work is too feminine, and has too little of energetic passion for the stormy times in which it is cast. In 1834 Mrs Hall published Tales of Woman's Trials, short stories of decidedly moral tendency,
Mrs Hall's residence, Brompton.
written in the happiest style of the authoress. In 1835 appeared Uncle Horace, a novel, and in 1838 “Lights and Shadows of Irish Life,' three volumes. The latter had been previously published in the New Monthly Magazine, and enjoyed great popu
larity. The principal tale in the collection, The Groves of Blarney, was dramatised at one of the theatres with distinguished success. In 1840 Mrs
* Dublin University Magazine for 1840.
Hall issued what has been styled the best of her novels, Marian; or a Young Maid's Fortunes, in which her knowledge of Irish character is again displayed. Katey Macane, an Irish cook, who adopts Marian, a foundling, and watches over her with untiring affection, is equal to any of the Irish portraitures since those of Miss Edgeworth. The next work of our authoress was a series of Stories of the Irish Peasantry, contributed to Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, and afterwards published in a collected form. In 1840, Mrs Hall aided her husband in a work chiefly composed by him, and which reflects credit upon his talents and industry, Ireland, its Scenery, Character, &c. Topographical and statistical information is here blended with the poetical and romantic features of the country—the legends of the peasantry—scenes and characters of humour or pathos—and all that could be gathered in five separate tours through Ireland, added to early acquaintance and recollection of the country. The work was highly embellished by British artists, and extended to three large volumes. In tasteful description of natural objects, and pictures of everyday life, Mrs Hall has few superiors. Her humour is not so broad or racy as that of Lady Morgan, nor her observation so pointed and select as Miss Edgeworth's; her writings are also unequal, but in general they constitute easy delightful reading, and possess a simple truth and purity of sentiment that is ultimately more fascinating than the darker shades and colourings of imaginative composition.
[Depending Upon Others.] [From ‘Sketches of Irish Character."]
“Independence "—it is the word, of all others, that Irish-men, women, and children—least understand; and the calmness, or rather indifference, with which they submit to dependence, bitter and miserable as it is, must be a source of deep regret to all who “love the land,' or who feel anxious to uphold the dignity of human kind. Let us select a few cases from our Irish village, such as are abundant in every neighbourhood... Shane Thurlough, as dacent a boy, and Shane's wife, as ‘clane-skinned a girl, as any in the world. There is Shane, an active handsome-looking
fellow, leaning over the half-door of his cottage, kick
ing a hole in the wall with his brogue, and picking up all the large gravel within his reach to pelt the ducks with—those useful Irish scavengers. Let us speak to him. ‘Good-morrow, Shane Och the bright bames of heaven on ye every day! and kindly welcome, my lady ; and wont ye step in and rest—it's powerful hot, and a beautiful summer, sure—the Lord be praised.’ ‘Thank you, Shane. I thought you were going to cut the hay-field to-day; if a heavy shower connes, it will be spoiled; it has been fit for the scythe these two days.” Sure it's allowing to that thief o' the world Tom Parrel, my lady. Didn't he promise me the loan of his scythe ; and, by the same token, I was to pay him for it; and depinding on that, I didn't buy one, which I have been threatening to do for the last two years.” “But why don't you go to Carrick and purchase one?’ ‘To Carrick!’ Och, 'tis a good step to Carrick, and my toes are on the ground (saving your presence), for I depinded on Tim Jarvis to tell Andy Cappler, the brogue-maker, to do my shoes; and, bad luck to him, the spalpeen I he forgot it. “Where's your pretty wife, Shanet’ “She's in all the wo o' the world, ma’am dear. And she puts the blame of it on me, though I’m not in the faut this time, anyhow. The child's taken the small-pox, and she depinded on me to tell the doctor to cut it for the cow-pox, and I depinded on Kitty Cackle, the limmer, to tell the doctor's own man, and thought
•policy he supported as a member of the House of
she would not forget it, becase the boy's her bachelor; but out o' sight out o' mind—the never a word she tould him about it, and the babby has got it nataral, and the woman's in heart trouble (to say nothing o' myself); and it the first, and all.” “I am very sorry, indeed, for you have got a much better wife than most men.” “That's a true word, my lady, only she's fidgetty like sometimes, and says I don't hit the nail on the head quick enough ; and she takes a dale more trouble than she need about many a thing.” “I do not think I ever saw Ellen's wheel without flax before, Shane?’ ‘Bad cess to the wheel —I got it this morning about that too. I dopinded on John Williams to bring the flax from O'Flaharty's this day week, and he forgot it; and she says I ought to have brought it myself, and I close to the spot. But where's the good says I ; sure he’ll bring it next time.” “I suppose, Shane, you will soon move into the new cottage at Clurn Hill I passed it to-day, and it looked so cheerful; and when you get there you must take Ellen's advice, and depend solely on yourself.” “Och, ma’am dear, don't mintion it; sure it’s that makes me so down in the mouth this very minit. Sure I saw that born blackguard Jack Waddy, and he comes in here quite innocent like—“Shane, you’ve an eye to squire's new lodge,” says he. “Maybe I have,” says H. “I am yer man,” says he. “How so?” says 1. “Sure I’m as good as married to my lady's maid,” said he “ and I'll spake to the squire for you my own self.” “The blessing be about you,” says I, quite grateful— and we took a strong cup on the strength of it—and, depinding on him, I thought all safe; and what d'ye think, my lady! Why, himself stalks into the place —talked the squire over, to be sure—and without so much as by yer lave, sates himself and his new wife on the laase in the house; and I may go whistle.' " It was a great pity, Shane, that you didn't go yourself to Mr Clurm.’ ‘That's a true word for ye, ma'am dear; but it's hard if a poor man can't have a frind to dopind on.’
sir Edward LYTTON BULwen.
SIR Edward Lytton BULwer is the youngest son of the late General Bulwer of Haydon Hall, county of Norfolk. He is said to have written verses when only five or six years old, but he has certainly never attained to the higher honours of the lyre. His poetry is in general stift and artificial At Cambridge, Mr Bulwer (his baronetcy was conferred upon him by the Whig government, whose
Commons) was the successful competitor for the prize poem, and his first appearance as an author was made in 1826, when he published a volume of miscellaneous poems bearing the juvenile title of Weeds and Wild Flowers. In the following year he issued a poetical tale, O'Neill, or the Rebol, something of the style of Byron's Corsair, and echoing the tone of feeling and sentiment most characteristic of the noble poet. The following lines will illustrate our remark:—