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as men and women do. 0! but you will say,
sure it is an attractive age, there is something
in the tender years of infancy that of itself
charms us. That is the very reason why I am
more nice about them. I know that a sweet
child is the sweetest thing in nature, not even
excepting the delicate creatures which bear
them ; but the prettier the kind of a thing is,
the more desirable it is that it should be pretty
of its kind. One daisy differs not much from
another in glory; but a violet should look
and smell the daintiest. I was always rather
squeamish in my women and children^

But this is not the worst : one must be
admitted into their familiarity at least, before
they can complain of inattention. It implies
visits, and some kind of intercourse. But if
the husband be a man with whom you have
lived on a friendly footing before marriage,
if you did not come in on the wife's side, if
you did not sneak into the house in her train,
but were an old friend in fast habits of inti-
macy before their courtship was so much as
thought on, look about you your tenure is
precarious before a twelvemonth shall roll
over your head, you shall find your old friend
gradually grow cool and altered towards you,
and at last seek opportunities of breaking with
you. I have scarce a married friend of my
acquaintance, upon whose firm faith I can
rely, whose friendship did not commence after
Ui.e period of his marriage. With some limi-
tations they can endure that : bat that the
good-man should have dared to enter into a
solemn league of friendship in which they
were not consulted, though it happened before
they knew him, before they that are now man
and wife ever met, this is intolerable to them.
Every long friendship, every old authentic
intimacy, must be brought into their office to
be new stamped with their currency, as a sov-
ereign prince calls in the good old money that
was coined in some reign before he was born
or thought of, to be new marked and minted
with the stamp of his authority, before he
will let it pass current in the world. You
may guess what luck generally befalls such a
rusty piece of metal as I am in these new mint-
ings.

Innumerable are the ways which they take



A BACHELOR'S COMPLAINT.



207



to insult and worm you out of their husband's
confidence. Laughing at all you say with a
kind of wonder, as if you were a queer kind of
fello\v that said good things, but an oddity, is
one of the ways ; they have a particular kind
of stare for the purpose; till at last the hus-
band, who used to defer to your judgment,
and would pass over some excrescences of
understanding and manner for the sake of a
general vein of observation (not quite vulgar)
which he perceived in you, begins to suspect
whether you are not altogether a humourist,
a fellow well enough to have consorted with in
his bachelor days, but not quite so proper to
be introduced to ladies. This may be called
the staring way; and is that which has often-
est been put in practice against me.

Then there is the exaggerating way, or the
way of iron} 7 : that is, where they find you an ob-
ject of especial regard with their husband, who
is not so easily to be shaken from the lasting
attachment founded on esteem which he has
conceived towards you ; by never-qualified ex-
aggerations to cry up all that you say or do,
till the good-man, who understands well enough
that it is all done in compliment to him, grows
weary of the debt of gratitude which is due to
so much candour, and by relaxing a little on
his part, and taking down a peg or two in his
enthusiasm, sinks at length to that kindly
level of moderate esteem, that "decent affec-
tion and complacent kindness" towards you,
where she herself can join in sympathy with
him without much stretch and violence to her
sincerity.

Another way (for the ways they have to
accomplish so desirable a purpose are infinite)
is, with a kind of innocent simplicity, contin-
ually to mistake what it was which first made
their husband fond of you. If an esteem for
something excellent in your moral character
was that which rivetted the chain which she is
to break, upon any imaginary discovery of a
want of poignancy in your conversation she
will cry, " I thought, my dear, you described
your friend, Mr. - -as a great wit." If, on
the other hand, it was for some supposed charm
in your conversation that he first grew to like
you, and was content for this to overlook some
trifling irregularities in your moral deport-
ment, upon the first notice of any of these she
as readily exclaims, " This, my dear, is your

good Mr. ." One good lady, whom I took

the liberty of expostulating with for not show-
ing me quite so much respect as I thought due
to her husband's old friend, had the candour
to confess to me that she had often heard
Mr. speak of me before marriage, and that



she had conceived a great desire to be acquain-
ted with me, but that the sight of me had very
much disappointed her expectations ; for from
her husband's representations of me she had
formed a notion that she was to see a fine, tall,
officer-like looking man (I use her very words);
the very reverse of which proved to be the
truth. This was candid ; and I had the civil-
ity not to ask her in return how she came to
pitch upon a standard of personal accomplish-
ments for her husband's friends which differed
so much from his own ; for my friend's dimen-
sions as near as possible approximate to mine;
he standing five feet in his shoes, in which I
have the advantage of him by about half an
inch ; and he no more than myself exhibiting
any indications of a martial character in his
air or countenance.

These are some of the mortifications which
I have encountered in the absurd attempt to
visit at their houses. To enumerate them all
would be a vain endeavour : I shall therefore
just glance at the very common impropriety of
which married ladies are guilty, of treating
us as if we were their husbands, and vice versa,.
I mean, when they use us with familiarity,
and their husbands with ceremony. Testacea,
for instance, kept me the other night two or
three hours beyond my usual time of supping,

while she was fretting because Mr. did

not come home, till the oysters were all spoiled,
rather than she would be guilty of the impolite-
ness of touching one in his absence. This was
reversing the point of good manners; for
ceremony is an invention to take off the uneasy
feeling which we derive from knowing ourselves
to be less the object of love and esteem with a
fellow-creature than some other person is. It
endeavours to make up, by superior attentions
in little points, for that invidious preference
which it is forced to deny in the greater. Had
Testacea kept the oysters back for me, and
withstood her husband's importunities to -go
to supper, she would have acted according to
the strict rules of propriety. I know no cere-
mony that ladies are bound to observe to their
husbands, beyond the point of a modest behav-
iour and decorum; therefore I must protest
against the vicarious gluttony of Cerasin, who
at her own table sent away a dish of Morellas,
which I was applying to with great good-will,
to her husband at the other end of the table,
and recommended a plate of less extraordinary
gooseberries to my unwedded palate in their
stead. Neither can I excuse the wanton affront
of .

But I am weary of stringing up all my mar-
ried acquaintance by Roman denominations.



208



AN IRISH PEASANTS HOME.



Let them amend and change their manners,
or I promise to record the full-length English
of their names, to the terror of all such des-
perate offenders in future.



AN IRISH PEASANT'S HOME.

BY WILLIAM ALLINGHAM. 1

Jack Doran's cottage, from a bare hillside,
Look'd out across the bogland black and wide,
Where some few ridges broke the swarthy soil,
A patch of culture, won with patient toil.
The walls were mud, around an earthen floor,
Straw-ropes held on the thatch, and by his door
A screen of wattles fenced the wind away,
For open wide from morn till dusk it lay,
A stool perhaps across, for barring out
The too familiar porker's greedy snout.
Thieves were undreamt-of, vagrants not repell'd,
The poor man's dole the pauper's budget swell'd,
A gift of five potatoes, gently given,
Or fist of meal, repaid with hopes of Heaven.

There Jack and Maureen, Neal their only son,
And daughter Bridget, saw the seasons run ;
Poor but contented peasants, warm and kind,
Of hearty manners, and religious mind ;
Busy to make their little corner good,
And full of health, upon the homeliest food.
They tasted flesh-meat hardly thrice a year,
Crock-butter, when the times were not too dear,
Salt herring as a treat, as luxury
For Sunday mornings and cold weather, tea;
Content they were if milk the noggins crown'd,
What time their oatmeal-stirabout went round,
Or large potatoes, teeming from the pot,
Descended to the basket, smoking hot,
Milk of its precious butter duly stript,
Wherewith to Lisnamoy young Biddy tripp'd.
Not poor they seem'd to neighbours poorer still,
As Doran's father was, ere bog and hill
Gave something for his frugal fight of years
'Gainst marsh and rock, and furze with all its
spears,



1 From Laurence Blnmvfleld in Ireland, or the New Land-
lord, a poem in twelve chapters (Macmillan & Co.)
In his preface to a new edition (1869) Mr. Allingham
Bays: ''Seven centuries are nearly finishd since the
politic-il connection began between ] ng and and
Ireland; and yet Ireland remains to this hour not a
well known country to the general British public. To
do something, however small, towards making it better
understood, is the aim of this little book " He adds
that since the poem "first appeared in Prater's Mag-
azine, the aspect of Irish affairs has changed in several
particulars " and refers, with satisfaction, to the in-
creased attention given to them by Parliament.



And round the cottage an oasis green
Amidst the dreary wilderness was seen.
Two hardy cows the pail and churn supplied,
Short-legg'd, big-boned, with rugged horns and

wide,

That each good spot amons< the heather knew,
And every blade that by the runnels grew,
Koved on the moor at large, but meekly came
With burden'd udders to delight the dame,
And in its turn the hoarded stocking swell'd
Which envious neighbours in their dreams be-
held ;

At thought whereof were bumpkins fain to cast
Sheep's eyes at comely Bridget as she pass'd
With napkin-shaded basket many a morn;
But every bumpkin Bridget laugh'd to scorn.

Who at an evening dance more blithe than

she?

With steps and changes, modest in their glee,
So true she foots it, and so hard to tire,
Whilst Phil the Fiddler's elbow jerks like fire,
That courting couples turn their heads to look,
And elders praise her from the chimney-nook
Amidst their pipes, old stories, and fresh news.
From twenty decent boys might Bridget choose;
For. put the jigs aside, her skill was known
To help a neighbour's work, or speed her own,
And where at kemp or kagtey* could be found
One face more welcome, all the country round?
Mild oval face, a freckle here and there,
Clear eyes, broad forehead, dark abundant hair,
Pure placid look that show'd a gentle nature,
Firm, unperplex'd, were hers; the Maiden's

stature

Graceful arose, and strong, to middle height,
With fair round arms, and footstep free and

light;

She was not showy, she was always neat,
In every gesture native and complete,
Disliking noise, yet neither dull nor slack,
Could throw a rustic banter briskly back,
Reserved but ready, innocently shrewd,
In brief, a charming flower of Womanhood.

The girl was rich, in health, good temper,

beauty,

Work to be done, amusement after duty,
Clear undistracted mind, and tranquil heart,
Well-wishers, in whose thoughts she had her

part,

A decent father, a religious mother,
The pride of all the parish in a brother,
And Denis Coyle for sweetheart, where the voice
Of Jack and Maureen praised their daughter's

choice.



y Kemp, a meeting of girls for sewing, spinning, or
other work, ending with a dance. Kayley, a casual
gathering of neighbours for gossip.



AN IRISH PEASANT'S HOME.



209



More could she ask for? grief and care not yet,
Those old tax-gatherers, dunn'd her for their

debt;

Youth's joyous landscape round herfootstepslay,
And her own sunshine made the whole world gay.

Jack and his wife, through earlier wedded

years,

Untroubled with far-sighted hopes and fears,
Within their narrow circle not unskill'd,
Their daily duties cautiously fulfill'd
Of .house and farm, of bargain and of pray'r;
And gave the Church and gave the Poor a share ;
Each separate gift by angels put in score
As plain as though 'twere chalk'd behind the

door.

The two themselves could neither write nor read,
But of their children's lore were proud indeed,
And most of Neal, who step by step had pass'd
His mates, and trod the master's heels at last.

When manly, godly counsels took the rule,
And open'd to her young a freer school,
Poor Erin's good desire was quickly proved ;
Learning she loves, as long ago she loved.
The peasant, sighing at his own defect,
Would snatch his children from the same neglect ;
From house and hut, by hill and plain, they pour
In tens of thousands to the teacher's floor;
Across the general island seems to come
Their blended voice, a pleasing busy hum.
Our little Bridget, pretty child, was there,
And Neal, a quick-eyed boy with russet hair,
Brisk as the month of March, yet with a grace
Of meditative sweetness in his face ;
To Learning's Temple, which made shift to stand
In cowhouse form on great Sir Ulick's land
(Who vex'd these schools with all his pompous

might

Nor would, for love or money, grant a site),
Each morn with merry step they cross'd the hill,
And soon could read with pleasure, write with

skill,

Amaze from print their parents' simple wit,
Decipher New-world letters cramply writ ;
"But Neal, not long content with primers, redd
"Rings round him," as his mother aptly said;
Sought far for books, devour'd whate'er he

found,
And peep'd through loopholes from his narrow

bound.

Good Maureen gazed with awe on pen and ink,
On books with blindest reverence. Whilst we

think

The Dark and Middle Ages flown away,
Their population crowds us round to-day ;
So slowly moves the world. Our dame believed,
Firmly as saints and angels she received,
In witchcraft, lucky and unlucky times,
Omens and charms, and fairy-doctors' rhymes
VOL. IV.



To help a headache, or a cow fall'n dry ;

Strong was the malice of an evil eye ;

She fear'd those hags of dawn, who skimm'd the

well,

And robb'd the churning by their May-day spell ;
The gentle race, whom youngsters now neglect,
From Mary never miss'd their due respect ;
And when a little whirl of dust and straws
Rose in her pathway, she took care to pause
And cross herself ; a twine of rowan-spray,
An ass's shoe, might keep much harm away;
Saint Bridget's candle, which the priest had

blest,

Was stored to light a sick-bed. For the rest,
She led a simple and contented life,
Sweet-temper'd, dutiful, as maid and wife ;
Her husband's wisdom from her heart admired,
And in her children's praises never tired.

Jack was a plodding man, who deem'd it best,
To hide away the wisdom he possess'd;
Of scanty word- 1 , avoiding <tll dispute ;
But much experience in his mind had root;;
Most deferential, yet you might surprise
A secret scanning in the small gray eyes;
Short, active, though with labour's trudge, his;

legs;

His knotted fingers, like rude wooden pegs,
Still firm of grip; his breath was slow and deep;
His hair r.nbleach'd with time, a rough black.

heap.

Fond, of a night to calmly sit and smoke,
While neighbours plied their argument or joke,
To each he listen'd, seldom praised or blamed,.
All party-spirit prudently disclaim'd,
Repeating, with his wise old wrinkled face,
"I never knew it help a poor man's case ;"
And when they talk'd of " tyrants," 'Doran said
Nothing, but suck'd his pipe and shook his head.

In patient combat with a barren soil,
Jack saw the gradual tilth reward his toil,.
Where first his father as a cottier came
On patch too poor for other man to claim.
Jack's father kept the hut against the hill
With daily eightpence earned by sweat and skill;
Three sons grew up ; one hasted over sea,
One married soon, fought hard with poverty,
Sunk, and died young; the eldest boy was Jack,
Young herd and spadesman at his father's back,
With every hardship sturdily he strove,
To fair or distant ship fat cattle drove,
(Not theirs, his father had a single cow),
And cross'd the narrow tides to reap and mow.
A fever burn'd away the old man's life ;
Jack had the land, the hovel, and a wife ;
And in the chimney's warmest corner sat
His good old mother, with her favourite cat.

Manus, now dead (long since, on "cottier- take, 1 *
Allow'd cheap lodgment for his labour's sake),
87



210



LUCY.



Contriving days and odd half-days to snatch,
By slow degrees had tamed the savage patch
Beside his hut, driven back the stubborn gorse,
Whose pounded prickles meanwhile fed his

horse ;

And crown'd the cut-out bog with many a sheaf
Of speckled oats, and spread the dark-green leaf
Where plaited white or purple blooms unfold
To look on summer with an eye of gold,
Potato-blossoms, namely. Now, be sure,
A larger rent was paid : nor, if secure
Of foot-sole place where painfully he wrought,
Would Manus grumble. Year by year he sought
A safeguard; but the Landlord still referr'd
Smoothly to Agent, Agent merely heard,
And answer' d "We'll arrange it by-and-by;
.Meanwhile, you're well enough, man ; let it

lie,"

Resolved to grant no other petty lease,
The ills of petty farming to increase.
Old Manus gone, and Bloomfield's father gone,
Sir Ulick Harvey's guardian rule came on ;
And so at last Jack found his little all
At Viceroy Pigot's mercy, which was small.
With more than passive discontent he look'd
On tenancies like Jack's, and ill had brook'd
The whisper of their gains. He stood one day,
Filling the petty household with dismay,
Within their hut, and saw that Paudeen Dhu,
The bailiff, when he called it "snug," spoke

true.

The patch'd, unpainted, but substantial door,
The well-fill'd dresser, and the level floor,
Clean chairs and stools, a gaily-quilted bed,
The weather-fast though grimy thatch o'erhead,
The fishing rods and reels above the fire,
Neal's books, and comely Bridget's neat attire,
Express'd a comfort which the rough neglect
That reign'd outside forbade him to expect.
Indeed, give shrewd old cautious Jack his way,
'The house within had shown less neat array,
Who held the maxim that, in prosperous case,
'Tis wise to show k miserable face ;
A decent hat, a wife's good shawl or gown
For higher rent may mark the farmer down ;
Beside your window shun to plant a rose
Lest it should draw the prowling bailiff's nose,
Nor deal with whitewash, lest the cottage lie
A target for the bullet of his eye ;
Rude be your fence and field if trig and trim
A cottier shows them, all the worse for him.
'To scrape, beyond expenses, if he can,
A silent stealthy penny, is the plan
"Of him who dares it a suspected man !
With tedious, endless, heavy-laden toil,
Judged to have thieved a pittance from the

soil.

But close in reach of Bridget's busy hand
Dirt and untidiness could scarcely stand ;



And Neal, despite his father's sense of guilt,
A dairy and a gable-room had built,
And by degrees the common kitchen graced
With many a touch of his superior taste

The peasant draws a low and toilsome lot;
Poorer than all above him? surely not.
Conscious of useful strength, untaught to care
For smiling masquerade and dainty fare,
With social pleasures, warmer if less bland,
Companionship and converse nigh at hand,
If sad, with genuine sorrows, well-defined,
His life brought closer to a simpler mind ;
He's friends with earth and cloud, plant, beast,

and bird ;

His glance, by oversubtleties unblurr'd,
At human nature, flies not much astray ;
Afoot he journeys but enjoys the way.
Th' instinctive faith, perhaps, of such holds best
To that ideal truth, the power and zest
Of all appearance; limitation keeps
Their souls compact; light cares they have,

sound sleeps ;

Their day, within a settled course begun,
Brings wholesome task, advancing with the sun,
The sure result with satisfaction sees,
And fills with calm a well-earn'd hour of ease.
Nay, gold, whose mere possession less avails,
Far-glittering, decks the world with fairy-tales.
Who grasp at poison, trigger, cord, or knife?
Seldom the poorest peasant tires of life.

Mark the great evil of a low estate;
Not Poverty, but Slavery, one man's fate
Too much at mercy of another's will.
Doran has prosper'd, but is trembling still.
Our Agent's lightest word his heart can shake,
The Bailiff's bushy eyebrow bids him quake.



LUCY.

She dwelt among the untrodden ways

Beside the springs of Dove,
A maid whom there were none to praise,

And very few to love.

A violet by a mossy stone

Half -hidden from the eye
Fair as a star, when only one

Is shining in the sky !

She lived unknown, and few could know

When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,

The difference to me !

WORDSWORTH.



TOMASO AND PEPINA.



211



TOMASO AND PEPINA.

[William Gilbert, born in London, 1806 a descend-
ant of an old Salisbury family. He is a member of
the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and M.D of
Paris; but he retired from the profei-sioii of medicine
about thirty-five years ago. In literature he has earned
a high reputation as a novelist. Critics have repeatedly
compared his style to that of Defoe, and occasionally
he displays some of those characteristics which most
distinguished Hawthorne. His chief works are : Sltirlei/
flail Asylum; De Frofundis; DI-. Auntin's Gue>tt ; The
Wizard nf the Mountain, &,c. From the last mentioned
work (published by Strahan & Co.) we quote the follow-
ing tale.]

On a small farm in the Bresciano lived an
old working couple, Tomaso and Pepina. They
were frugal, industrious, and pious. The few
inhabitants of the secluded village in which
they resided much respected them ; but beyond
it they were unknown. Besides their other
good qualities, they were very much attached
to each other ; and both being by nature
amiably disposed, their lives had passed very
happily in each other's society. Though not
poor, they were far from being rich, yet they
did not envy their richer neighbours, but were
content with what God had given them. They
had but one cause for anxiety. The little farm
on which they lived was not their own ; and
the landlord had frequently spoken of dispos-
sessing them, in order to add the land to his
own farm. But something or other had always
turned up to induce him to delay carrying his
idea into practice, prior to the date of our nar-
rative, when they received a peremptory notice
to quit within the space of a week.

By a singular coincidence, on the same day
they received this order, intelligence reached
them that a cousin of Tomaso' s, an old bachelor,
who resided near Menaggio, and whom he had
not seen for more than thirty years, was dead,
and had left Tomaso his farm, with the house
and furniture. The worthy couple, late in life
though it was for them to remove to a new
dwelling, determined to go and reside in it.
Many long and anxious debates took place,
however, before they came to this resolution.
Their principal objection was that they were
not acquainted with anyone in the neighbour-
hood of the new dwelling, and that they should
leave behind them friends whom they loved
and respected. They had but one alternative,
however they must remove, or starve ; and
they chose the former, sorely as it grieved them
to do so. As they had heard on good authority
that the house left them was amply furnished,



they sold all they had in their old dwelling
with the exception of a modest stock of cloth-
ing, which could be tied up in a bundle. After
a painful leave-taking with their friends, they
engaged the driver of a cart, who was return-
ing to Lecco, to carry them with him so far on
their journey, as they intended to make that
town their first halting-place.

For some time after they had quitted the
village both husband and wife gave full vent
to their tears ; while the driver of the cart,
prompted by a feeling of delicacy, pretended
not to see them, but walked quietly beside his
horse's head, looking straight along the road
before him. After they had been about an



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