The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1 No. 46, May 15, 1841

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Title: The Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1 No. 46, May 15, 1841

Author: Various

Release date: August 14, 2017 [eBook #55357]

Language: English

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[Pg 361]


Number 46. SATURDAY, MAY 15, 1841. Volume I.
Dangan Castle


The ruins of Dangan Castle, situated about two miles of the village of Summerhill, in the county of Meath, stand in the centre of an extensive demesne, once richly wooded, and within which, formerly spread the placid waters of a small but handsome lake, since drained. The grounds have been almost entirely deprived of their ancient timber, but still retain some traces of their former beauty. The remains of this once noble mansion, of which our engraving represents the rere, consist of a massive keep, which, with outworks long since destroyed, formed the ancient fortress: attached to this is the mansion built in the Italian style, the front of which is surmounted by a heavy and richly-moulded cornice. Of this part of the building (apparently erected about the beginning of the last century) nothing but the outer walls remain, and the interior space, once formed into ample hulls and chambers, has been converted into a flower garden.

It would perhaps be impossible now to determine with any degree of certainty the age to which the original erection of this castle should be referred, its ancient architectural peculiarities having been completely destroyed in the endeavour to make it harmonize with the buildings of more recent erection, which have been appended to it, and the property having changed masters so often; but it is doubtless of no small antiquity.

Dangan was anciently part of the possessions of the Fitz-Eustace family, who were long distinguished for loyalty and valour, as a reward for which the title of Baron of Portlester was bestowed upon Rowland Fitz-Eustace in the year 1462, by King Edward IV. In the fifteenth century it came into the possession of the Earl of Kildare, by marriage with Anne, the daughter and heiress of Sir Nicholas Fitz-Eustace of Castle-martin; but in the same century a daughter of this earl married Christopher Plunket, son of the Baron of Killeen, and in her right he succeeded to this and several other estates.[1]

Dangan afterwards (but at what time we are uncertain) became the property of the De Wellesleys or Westleys, alias Posleys, a family of the greatest antiquity and of Saxon origin, who had settled in the county of Sussex in England, one of whom was standard-bearer to King Henry II., in which capacity he accompanied that monarch into Ireland, and was rewarded for his services with large grants of lands in the counties of Meath and Kildare. From this illustrious ancestor sprang a numerous and respectable family, who received several distinguished marks of royal favour: and we find that in the year 1303 “Wulfrane de Wellesley and Sir Robert Percival were slain the second day before the calends of November” fighting against the Irish; and that John de Wellesley, who received from King Edward II. a grant of the custody of the Castle of Arden, was the first of the family created a Baron of Parliament, these honours being conferred on him as a reward for having in the year 1327 overthrown the Irish of Wicklow in a battle in which their leader David O’Toole was taken prisoner.

But it is the modern, not the ancient history of Dangan Castle, which gives to it a more than ordinary degree of interest. Within those now silent chambers and tottering walls, on the 1st of May 1769, the great Duke of Wellington, the illustrious hero of Waterloo, commenced that auspicious life which was afterwards so replete with honour and renown. The grandfather of this truly great man, Richard Colley, succeeded to the possession of this castle and estate by bequest from his cousin Garrett Wesley or Wellesley, in the year 1728. He was descended from the Colleys of the county of Rutland, of whom[Pg 362] the first who came to Ireland was Walter Colley, who migrated hither in the reign of King Henry VIII., and he settling at Kilkenny, was in the year 1537 appointed Solicitor-General, which office he resigned in 1546, but was soon after created Surveyor-General of Ireland. Richard Colley with the estate also took the name of Wesley or Wellesley, and was created Baron of Mornington in the year 1746. His son and successor Garret Colley Wellesley was on the 20th of October 1760 created Viscount Wellesley of Dangan, and Earl of Mornington. This nobleman died on the 22d of May 1781, leaving seven sons, the eldest of whom, Richard, second Earl of Mornington, was created Marquis Wellesley on the 2d day of December 1799; and the fifth was no less a person than the present Arthur Duke of Wellington, who was born (an extraordinary coincidence) in the same year which gave birth to Napoleon Bonaparte. In the year 1788 he received his first commission as ensign in the 73d regiment, and after going through the regular gradation he was presented with the lieutenant-colonelcy of the 33d regiment in 1793. Step by step he advanced, till, raised to the high pinnacle of rank on which he now stands, he commanded the British army in twenty-eight victoriously fought fields, the final one of which was the glorious battle of Waterloo, which victory added the last and most illustrious military laurel to the wreath which crowns his noble brow. In the year 1811 he was made Earl and Marquis of Wellington, and Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo and Vittoria, and in 1814 he was created Duke of Wellington and Marquis of Douro, and received from Parliament a grant of £300,000. All subjects bordering on religion or politics being forbidden in our publication, we must say nothing of the subsequent life of the Duke of Wellington; and shall only add, that there exists not an unprejudiced man in Ireland of any sect or party who does not feel a pride in the honour of being a fellow-countryman of the hero of Waterloo.

While the most eminent descendant of its ancient noble owners was thus progressing to distinction and renown, Dangan Castle was as fast hastening to decay and desolation; it was sold by the Marquis Wellesley to Colonel Burrows, by whom it was underlet to Mr Roger O’Connor, during whose tenancy it was completely destroyed by a conflagration, not supposed to be accidental; and if report be true, it was converted (at no distant period) into a place of concealment for plunder, and a resort of thieves.

J. G. S. P.

[1] The preceding statement of our correspondent appears to be somewhat erroneous; Dangan was the seat of the Wellesley family at an earlier period.—Ed.


The author of a “Tour in Connaught” has some curious and interesting remarks and notes concerning the almost universal belief of the inhabitants of the West, that not only in former ages was this our native island much more extensive than at present, but that the land of Erin itself is but a mere corner, a little slice as it were of that which was once an immense continent. He adduces in support of this, and gravely and seriously too, by the bye, many most ingenious proofs; nor does he at all discard or hesitate to bring forward the more “circumstantial evidence” of tradition to his aid. He relates too the popular story about O’Brassil, or the Enchanted Island, and another of the island of the “Bo-Fin,” (or “Fiune,”) the fair cow, which had lain beneath the waves spell-bound.

There are points in which all these traditions concerning the islands undoubtedly agree; but there is one among them remarkable on many accounts, which has excited my own curiosity more than once; and as it certainly confirms rather than invalidates the opinions of “C. O.” on the subject, I will relate it, perhaps with less hesitation.

But, oh ye geologists! who by a single word (if ye should so will it) can overset all our theories—who have but to say “it is impossible,” when all our speculations, nay, even our firmly rooted belief, would be scattered, like the Atlantic wave, against the cliffs of Moher—oh, spare us! Let not the delicious, the hallowed lands of “legendarie lore” be invaded by one of you heartless monsters! Let us but picture to ourselves the sturdy figure of this investigator of pyrogeneous and heterogeneous stratifications, hammer in hand, attending to the account of some magic island or delightful land which once stretched out far and wide before him; he listens with apparent earnestness. But beware!—suddenly he is seen to stoop; he cracks off with his execrable instrument a little “specimen” of some overhanging romantic-looking cliff; anon he shakes his head portentously, and out comes an awful volley from his well-stored vocabulary of Greek derivatives, and Latin or German jaw-smashers. Out upon him, the horrid creature!

Our tale, nevertheless, may be as geologically true as the strictest of the Bucklands or Sedgwicks could desire; we hope so too; but may he, if one should do us the honour to read our story, at least dissemble for the nonce, and pretend to be as ignorant and as happy as ourselves!

The land of Kylestafeen extended in former ages more than a hundred miles to the westward of the present boundary of Ireland. There was also contiguous to it, to the northward, the far-famed island of O’Brassil, besides others of inferior note. But Kylestafeen surpassed them all, not only in superior extent, but in the fertility of its soil, and in the number and capacity of its magnificent harbours; near which, under the wise and gentle sway of its beneficent monarch, flourished splendid cities. Its lovely valleys were watered by the clearest rivers, and in the grandeur of its mountains, and the beauty of its plains, by no other country under heaven could it be rivalled.

We have mentioned the character of that king who at the period of our tale ruled in Kylestafeen. At this time King Loydann was extremely old, and wished to relieve his mind, for the remainder of his life, from the cares of royalty. So, on a certain day, he made a formal abdication of his throne and power to his two sons, pursuant to an old-established law in that country, which ordained, that in case the king should leave behind but two sons, they were to reign conjointly.

But ere the king finally gave up the important charge to his sons, he called them to him, and bound them by the most solemn vows to conform to the following promise:—That if at any moment one of them should by any act of his own incur the displeasure of his brother, he should at once be chained, and his sides pierced by two daggers. “This dreadful oath I now exact from you, my sons,” said Loydann, “in order that you never may be liable to the slightest disagreement, for the remembrance of it will for ever hold you both united; and if, in whatsoever you do, you consult each other, the most remote possibility of such a contingency will be avoided.”

Though the strict propriety of this act may be considered questionable, Loydann did it from the best motives; and this too will be apparent, if we consider the respective characters of the two brothers Fahune and Niall; the elder, Fahune, being of a remarkably fiery, and, as his father feared, unforgiving disposition, whilst the younger was famed for gentleness; both were brave and impetuous, yet of dissimilar tempers and habits.

Now, at the time this act of abdication was performed, a series of rejoicings took place at the court of Kylestafeen, which were conducted with great magnificence. The days were spent in the manly recreations of the chase, while the dance and the strains of music enlivened their evenings’ entertainments.

Amidst a number of lovely forms which graced the court of Kylestafeen, the daughter of the Prince of O’Brassil was peculiarly conspicuous. The inhabitants of both countries had ever been on the most amicable terms, and by the request of Teartha, the young and graceful sister of the princes, Corgeana had been invited to pass the pleasant hours of summer at Kylestafeen, and to be present at the festivities.

Corgeana was dangerously beautiful. Both brothers had frequent opportunities of converse with her; both admired her, struck with the elegance of her manners, and her many accomplishments; each, in short, wished her for his own! Yet it was only towards Niall, that, on her part, a corresponding affection existed; the imperious spirit of Fahune was uncongenial to her. But unfortunately Fahune thought even now that she was his, and that he had but to signify his intention, and her compliance would succeed, while at the same time she had already listened to and favourably received the solicitations of his brother!

But now the dreary winter approached, and the time came when Corgeana should depart from the hospitable shores of Kylestafeen. Their galleys were prepared, and all being ready, they took their farewell of her, and she sailed for the island of O’Brassil.

Not many days elapsed, ere from the distant horizon a vessel was seen approaching the harbour. It anchored, and bore the distressing intelligence that a horde of Northern pirates were daily expected to land at the island of O’Brassil, while the messenger delivered a most earnest request that both the[Pg 363] brothers would immediately send assistance to his master, and help to drive away the treacherous Northmen from their coasts.

But this duty the brothers resolved to execute themselves. Accordingly, the numerous galleys of war belonging to Kylestafeen were speedily equipped, and the full number of warriors allotted to each. The evening before the fleet set sail, a conference was held, and the plans of action arranged, after which the brothers separated, each to his galley; for it had been determined at the council that the larger number of the ships, commanded by Fahune, should scour the seas in pursuit of the enemy, while that portion headed by Niall should proceed at once to O’Brassil, to join forces with the king. This duty too did Niall undertake the more willingly, as it gave him hope of a more speedy meeting with his beloved Corgeana.

On the third day after the last-mentioned division of the fleet had sailed from Kylestafeen, two strange sails were plainly observed from the deck of Niall’s galley, and it soon became too evident that the ship in which Corgeana had sailed had been taken by the Northmen, and that she was even now in their power; for one of the vessels was hers, and the other was also well known, for it was the favourite galley of Froskos, the most rapacious and cruel savage of them all!

Fearful was the suspense and the agony of mind which Niall endured, till he had overtaken this hostile ship and its prize; for though sure of success, and that the pirate would be captured, yet he knew not what the crafty chief might have already perpetrated. However, having surrounded them with his vessels, the pirates at once perceived the futility of resistance, and accordingly surrendered to Niall. And who can imagine the mutual joy experienced by these lovers, when they saw that each was safe! In triumph did Niall at once make sail for O’Brassil, and land with his precious freight, where he was received by the old king with every demonstration of gratitude and joy.

“And why,” said Niall to Corgeana, “why now should we delay our nuptials? Shall they not at once be celebrated? Oh, return with me as one of the Queens of Kylestafeen!”

But the king her father would have overruled this, in his opinion, too precipitate determination, and would at least have waited till the arrival of Fahune and his squadron; but Niall would not listen, and it was then determined that if Fahune made not his appearance for the space of seven days, the marriage should take place.

“And, surely,” said Niall to himself, “the vow which I have made can never interfere with this! How could my marriage, at which he would rejoice, possibly be displeasing to him? When he considers the circumstances of the case, he will, even though I do infringe the strict letter of the oath in not consulting him, cheerfully forgive me.”

Seven days had now passed, but Fahune was even then chasing and capturing numerous fleets of pirates. At length the day arrived, and the ceremonies of marriage were performed amidst banquetings and joyful celebrations.

And now it was judged prudent that they should set sail for Kylestafeen; and a great feast having been given to Niall and Corgeana, and to the whole of the squadron, they took their departure and put to sea.

O’Brassil was but three short days’ sail at farthest from Kylestafeen, and they hoped soon to reach their destination, when lo! a dreadful tempest suddenly sprang up, which dispersed the fleet in all directions. The most expert seamen were completely foiled in all their efforts; the vessel laboured and creaked as if she would each moment fall to pieces, and was driven, being quite unmanageable, far away out to sea, and for many days and nights were they drifted onwards with irresistible fury.

But at length the storm abated, the waves gradually subsided, and after another day the wind was completely gone. The gallant vessel, which had heretofore been impelled with terrific violence, now, with all her sails unfurled, hardly crept along; and the men, who had been almost all constantly employed during the hurricane, had retired below.

And now the grey dawn was just apparent in the east, when all on board were suddenly aroused by the cries of the watchman, who proclaimed that a vessel with the flag of Kylestafeen was rapidly approaching, and would almost immediately be alongside. Niall arose, and looking forth, saw with the rest that it was the galley of his brother, while he fondly anticipated a joyful reunion with Fahune, when they could relate their several exploits and dangers. But how were these hopes about to be realised?

The vessels neared each other, and greetings were exchanged. A boat was now lowered from the side of Niall’s galley, and he went on board that of his brother. After some inquiries and salutations, Fahune questioned Niall concerning his voyages and adventures. This Niall commenced, and Fahune seemed to rejoice, and a smile, as if of triumph, crossed his features when he learnt that Corgeana was safe; but when Niall proceeded, and told of the nuptials, the countenance of Fahune became as pale as death.

“Miserable man,” said he, “prepare to die! You have broken through our solemn vow; you have taken this step without having consulted me; this alone would have condemned you, but to this dreadful dereliction you have added a still greater insult—you have supplanted me in the affections of one to whom I was engaged. But she”——he could utter no more; he was convulsed with passion. Niall was now about to reply, but Fahune shouted, “Let him be gagged! Let me not hear a word from him whom once I loved; for the sound of his voice might tempt me to relent. Executioners, at once bind him to the mast.” It was done; and in another moment, by Fahune’s directions, his sides were deeply pierced by the fatal daggers!

When the dreadful tale was related to the bereaved Corgeana, she lay for some hours insensible; but when at length she awoke, it was but to be compelled to endure still greater miseries. The sentence of Fahune was at once put in execution, namely, that Corgeana should be turned adrift in a small open boat, with a scanty supply of food, and left to perish, while the body of her husband should also be cast along with her into the boat.

But whilst the implacable Fahune was sailing towards the shores of Kylestafeen, and even now repented of his cruelty and rashness to those who were once beloved by him, Corgeana was wafted over the trackless ocean in her frail bark, alone, and wretched; yet still that bark was guided by myriads of fairy beings, who were even then conducting her to a haven of safety.

When the seventh weary night had passed, and daylight appeared, Corgeana found herself quite close to shore, but in what part of the world she was, she knew not. Her little boat was quietly drifted to the beach. She landed, and walking forth, soon found herself in view of a palace of magnificent appearance, to which she bent her steps.

Now, on entering this beautiful structure, which appeared to be ornamented with the utmost splendour, she was surprised exceedingly when she heard sounds of lamentation and loud wailing issuing from the apartments and halls. Advancing, she discovered an immense multitude of chieftains of noble mien, together with a number of youths and attendants, who, wearied, exhausted, and covered with wounds, reclined on couches; many, who seemed more severely hurt, uttering piercing shrieks, while others appeared binding up their wounds, and administering the comforts of medicine.

She watched these proceedings, unnoticed, for some time, and her attention was more particularly attracted to one venerable personage, who, going round to all, and bathing their wounds, at once relieved them from their agony; and, strange to say, she remarked many who appeared to possess but few signs even of existence, at once restored to the use of their faculties.

At length she was perceived by him who was apparently a king or chief, who demanded her history, and an account of her adventures. This she commenced. Her great beauty, the violence of her grief, as well as the interest which the relation of her sufferings occasioned, caused the emperor (for so he was) to take compassion on her, and he listened intently to her narrative. But when Corgeana came to that part of her mournful tale in which she spoke of the cruelty of Fahune, and how her husband had been, as she supposed, inhumanly murdered, the emperor manifested signs of extreme impatience, and summoning his attendants—“Hasten,” said he, “to the beach, and bring hither, without delay, the body of the prince.” This was at once done, and they returned, bearing Niall in their arms.

“And now,” said the emperor, “we will leave him with our venerable physician, whose skill was never known to fail, and whom we have remembered often to recall to existence many who have been considered for ever as lost to us.”

When the physician was taken to the apartment in which the body of Niall lay, a smile of hope might have been seen upon his countenance, and he proceeded to exert his utmost skill. After he had himself applied his far-famed remedies,[Pg 364] he left for a moment, to deliver his opinion to the emperor his master.

But in that moment had Niall recovered! Faintly and slowly his eyes opened, and he looked around. But what were then his thoughts? Remembering the dreadful scene in the galley of his brother, even then he saw the executioners plunging the daggers into his side, and the words of Fahune still rang in his ears: again he looked, and thought he was in another world—that region, where he had often heard the spirits of the brave would congregate. And then of Corgeana!—but was this her voice he heard? Was she too murdered?

The physician now entered, and all was soon explained; his great skill had indeed been successful. Who can picture the joy experienced by Niall and Corgeana when they found themselves so unexpectedly re-united!

The recovery of Niall was exceedingly rapid; he frequently expressed his gratitude to his benefactors, and on one particular day, being engaged in conversation with the emperor, he ventured to address him thus. “How comes it, oh king, that you, the undisputed sovereign of this magnificent and powerful empire, are so frequently dejected, and that the nobles of your court give way to melancholy in your presence? Your very musicians appear to have forgotten the strains of gladness, and the raven of despondency seems to overshadow the royal court with its foreboding wings! Is it thus, oh king? No; it must be my own gloomy thoughts which possess me, and render me insensible to happiness!”

“That which you now remark is but too true,” said the emperor; “how can we be otherwise, when our dominions though extensive, and our army though possessed of courage, are each moment assailed by a cruel and still more powerful enemy, who live in an adjoining island, and against whom we have never been able to obtain any decided victory? If we attack them, we are repulsed with disgrace and shame, while they are continually making inroads, and devastating our beautiful country. Even the day which brought you in so extraordinary a manner to our shores, was the last of our encounters with them, and on which most of our bravest commanders were dreadfully mangled by our cruel opponents, and I myself was wounded; to-morrow, however, we intend to renew our armaments against them; but, alas! all will be unavailing, for ever since I came to this throne, and even in the reign of my father, have we been thus oppressed. It is true, we possess an elixir of inestimable value, the effect of which is almost immediately to heal the most dreadful wound, and to which, applied by our chief physician, you doubtless owe the preservation of your life; but on the other hand, our enemies have on their side auxiliaries still more powerful; so that, while we are all but invulnerable, they are completely invincible; and though our commanders are preparing with all possible alacrity, and seem confident of success, I for one already too well know the result!”

“Nay, speak not thus, oh king!” said Niall; “I myself, for I am now recovered, will accompany you; I perhaps was accounted brave in my own country, and will not spare my blood, if occasion require, in your service; allow me then a number of men under my command, and, with the help of the gods, we will certainly cause these formidable foes to yield to our superior prowess.”

“Niall,” answered the emperor, “your words are as those of the brave; but did you know, or could you catch a single glance of our enemy, your utterance would be frozen with dread; horror would be on your countenance; and if you were not immediately overwhelmed, you would turn and fly as we do.”

“And wherefore, oh king?” said Niall.

“Listen!” said the emperor. “These giants, for they far exceed us in ordinary stature, are commanded by one who excels them in even a greater degree in height, in strength, and in the awfulness of his appearance: he marches at the head of the army to the accompaniment of music—oh, accursed music!—the first sound of which, though at a distance, has the dreadful effect of at once stupifying us, and causing an unnatural drowsiness to come over us; we fall, and he, marching up with his men, cuts us to pieces like sheep. But, oh Niall! how can I describe or give you the slightest idea of the horrid hag, this giant’s wife? One sight of her is sufficient to unnerve the most courageous mortal; afar off she is seen; her eyes are as glowing coals; her feet like enormous plough-shares, tearing up the earth before her as she walks; whilst her hair, trailing far behind her, is like as many harrows following in her track; lurid flames issue from her nostrils! Frightful indeed is she to behold; but should a glance of her accursed eye meet yours, no earthly power could for an instant save you from immediate death! She is followed by a horde of demons, who I hear are her children, imps that spare no life, but revel in slaughter and mischief. Such are our enemies!”

“Your description horrifies me,” said Niall; “nevertheless, let us summon all our energies to the encounter, and I trust I may bear my part in the struggle with fortitude.”

And now the day arrived when this resolution was to be tested. The emperor himself took Niall into his armoury, and bade him choose any kind of weapon which that place could afford; but of all the implements of war collected there, none seemed to suit his purpose but one small sword with a sharp point, with which having equipped himself, he prepared for the engagement. They embarked, and soon reached the hostile island, where immediately the giants collected, headed by the chief and his wife, who now seemed invested with double their usual horrors. As they advanced, his friend the emperor frequently called on Niall to retrace his steps, but this he firmly refused. The fatal languor was now fast overcoming him, but, drawing his small sword, he continued pricking himself in various places, which prevented his sinking altogether to sleep. Meantime the giant came on, trusting as usual for conquest to the power of the music; however, he was for once mistaken. Feigning sleep, Niall lay still, in the best position for his purpose; and when the giant, confidently marching on, had come up, and stooped over to kill him, he seized his opportunity, and at one blow severed his head from his shoulders.

Fortunately this brave act was not witnessed by the old hag his wife, who had delayed by the way; it is enough for us to know that the same success here also attended him, and she fell a sacrifice also to his valour. Nor was this all: the emperor came up with his army, and an easy conquest soon decided the long-continued hostilities. Niall was immediately given by the emperor the sovereignty of the island, and took possession of the giant’s palaces, where he and Corgeana long lived in mutual love, and, crowned with the enjoyment of all happiness, dwelt in perfect amity with the emperor their benefactor. He built an immense number of the most beautiful galleys, and maintained an army disciplined and instructed completely in all the arts of war.

But we must now hasten to the conclusion of our legend, though volumes might be filled by a recital of the well-remembered acts of Niall the good, and Corgeana his queen.

They held, then, frequent conversations about Fahune, and were accustomed to recount the many dangers they had experienced, when on a certain day Niall appeared to be engaged in the deliberation of some affair of more than ordinary importance. His brows were bent as in earnest thought, and even tears were observed on his cheek. This was remarked by Corgeana, who gently demanded what new design he was arranging.

To this Niall answered, “Oh, Corgeana, my awful parting from Fahune my brother frequently recurs to me; I begin to fear his life is most unhappy; he thinks me dead, and the injustice of his mad decree must certainly be fearfully apparent to him also; it is therefore my intention, shouldst thou approve of it, to prepare an expedition to revisit the land of my birth, my beloved Kylestafeen; and wouldst thou not also wish to see again the lovely O’Brassil? I am now powerful, and would go attended by a large fleet; so that if Fahune should still be vindictive, I might be supported; nor should I dread his power, or that of any other monarch.”

To this Corgeana most willingly assented, and resolved herself to accompany the squadron, which having been made ready in an extraordinarily short space of time, put to sea.

Niall well remembered the direction that dreadful tempest had taken which had conveyed him to Fahune, and accordingly sailed onwards. Not many days elapsed ere the men reported with joy that land was in sight. It was true; and all assembled on the decks of their galleys, hailing with shouts their near approach.

But lo! what is that which now rivets their attention, and causes them to stand like men bereft of reason, gazing on the mountains of Kylestafeen? And nearer and nearer they approached, and fixed their eyes in silent wonder on the awful scene; those hills, the shapes of which were at once recognized by Niall and Corgeana, were too apparently sinking into the ocean! Still nearer they sailed, and the noble bay at the head of which was the city, lay before them.[Pg 365] They came close to the shore, and now was their astonishment intense. That beautiful valley through which the gentle stream took its course was quickly enlarging its boundaries; and while it sank, the waters from the ocean were madly rushing in, causing devastation to all. Hundreds of human forms were wildly rushing to and fro, and those who were able to reach the shore screamed loudly for assistance, or for boats to carry them away; while all who could not profit by this mode of escape climbed the summits of the highest mountains, and escaped immediate death, only to endure a protraction of their sufferings.

In the midst of this confusion and these dreadful scenes, many galleys, densely crowded with beings, put off from shore. Niall anxiously looked for his brother; nor was he destined to be disappointed, for Fahune, observing the strange ships, immediately directed his course to the galley of his brother, where a reconciliation having at once taken place, all re-assembled to witness the consummation of this most dreadful catastrophe.

Gradually, yet continually, did the waves close round thousands of the helpless inhabitants, and innumerable multitudes of animals were buried beneath them, while all who could avail themselves of boats took to the sea, though these could hardly tell in what direction to proceed, and hundreds miserably perished.

Soon did night veil the awful vision from the eyes of the fleet; and next morning, a wild waste of turbulent waters was all that could be perceived where once was the glorious and happy land of Kylestafeen, and a long dark line of frowning cliffs was the only boundary visible in the direction of that lovely country.

We may add the general belief, that a remnant of those saved were cast on shore, and from their descendants we still can learn even the modes of government once practised in Kylestafeen.

But where now is Kylestafeen?

It remains under a spell—its inhabitants are still employed in constructing fleets and armaments; even now,

“In the wave beneath you shining,”

the “towers of other days” may yet be seen. Every seven years, “this delightful land” may be seen in all its primeval beauty, as it appeared before it sank; and if, reader, at that critical moment when all smileth before thee, thou canst drop but one particle of earth on any portion of it, it will be for ever re-established.

And this, reader, is the legend of Kylestafeen, from which thou canst draw thine own moral.



Third Article.

Dr Keating and his cotemporary Gratianus Lucius have asserted, on the authority of the ancient Irish MSS, that family names or surnames first became hereditary in Ireland in the reign of Brian Boru, in the beginning of the eleventh century. “He [King Brian] was the first who ordained that a certain surname should be imposed on every tribe, in order that it might be the more easily known from what stock each family was descended; for previous to his time surnames were unfixed, and were discoverable only by tracing a long line of ancestors.”[2]

This assertion has been repeated by all the subsequent Irish writers, but none of them have attempted either to question or prove it. It seems, however, generally true, and also that in the formation of surnames at this period, the several families adopted the names of their fathers or grandfathers. It would appear, however, from some pedigrees of acknowledged authenticity, that in a few instances the surnames were assumed from remoter ancestors, as in the families of the O’Dowds and O’Kevans in Tireragh, in which the chiefs from whom the names were taken were cotemporary with St Gerald of Mayo, who flourished in the seventh century, and in the family of O’Neill, who took their surname from Niall Glunduv, monarch of Ireland, who was killed by the Danes in the year 919. It is obvious also from the authentic Irish annals, that there are many Irish surnames now in use which were called after ancestors who flourished long subsequent to the reign of Brian. But it is a fact that the greater number of the more distinguished Irish family names were assumed from ancestors who were cotemporary with this monarch; and though we have as yet discovered no older authority than Dr Keating for showing that surnames were first established in Ireland in his time, I am satisfied that authorities which would prove it, existed in the time of Keating, for that writer, though a very injudicious critic, was nevertheless a faithful compiler. Until, however, we discover a genuine copy of the edict published by the monarch Brian, commanding that the surnames to be borne should be taken from the chieftains who flourished in his own time,—if such edict were ever promulgated, we must be content to relinquish the prospect of a final decision of this question. At the same time it must be conceded that the evidences furnished by the authentic annals and pedigrees in behalf of it are very strong, and may in themselves be regarded as almost sufficient to settle the question.

It appears, then, from the most authentic annals and pedigrees, that the O’Briens of Thomond took their name from the monarch Brian Boru himself, who was killed in the battle of Clontarf in the year 1014, and that family names were formed either from the names of the chieftains who fought in that battle, or from those of their sons or fathers:—thus, the O’Mahonys of Desmond are named from Mahon, the son of Kian, King of Desmond, who fought in this battle; the O’Donohoes from Donogh, whose father Donnell was the second in command over the Eugenian forces in the same battle; the O’Donovans from Donovan, whose son Cathal commanded the Hy-Cairbre in the same battle; the O’Dugans of Fermoy from Dugan, whose son Gevenagh commanded the race of the Druid Mogh Roth in the same battle; the O’Faelans or Phelans of the Desies from Faolan, whose son Mothla commanded the Desii of Munster in the same memorable battle, as were the Mac Murroghs of Leinster from Murrogh, whose son Maelmordha, King of Leinster, assisted the Danes against the Irish monarch.

The Mac Carthys of Desmond are named from Carrthach (the son of Saerbhreathach), who is mentioned in the Irish annals as having fought the battle of Maelkenny, on the river Suir, in the year 1043; the O’Conors of Connaught from Conor or Concovar, who died in the year 971; the O’Molaghlins of Meath, the chiefs of the southern Hy-Niall race, from Maelseachlainn or Malachy II, monarch of Ireland, who died in the year 1022; the Magillapatricks or Fitzpatricks of Ossory from Gillapatrick, chief of Ossory, who was killed in the year 995, &c. &c.

From these and other evidences furnished by the Irish annals, it appears certain then that the most distinguished surnames in Ireland were taken from the names of progenitors who flourished in the tenth or beginning of the eleventh century. But there are instances to be met with of surnames which had been established in the tenth century having been changed to others which were called after progenitors who flourished at a later period, as O’Malroni of Moylurg, to Mac Dermot, and O’Laughlin, head of the northern Hy-Niall, to Mac Laughlin. There are also instances of minor branches of great families having changed the original prefix O to Mac and Mac O, or Mac I, when they had acquired new territories and become independent families, as O’Brien to Mac I-Brien, and Mac Brien in the instances of Mac I-Brien Arra, Mac Brien Coonagh, and Mac Brien Aharlagh, all off-shoots from the great family of Thomond; and O’Neill to Mac I-Neill Boy, in the instance of the branch of the great Tyrone family who settled in the fourteenth century eastward of the river Bann, in the counties of Down and Antrim.

This is all that we know of the origin of Irish surnames. Sir James Ware agrees with Keating and Gratianus Lucius that surnames became hereditary in Ireland in the tenth or beginning of the eleventh century; and adds, that they became hereditary in England and France about the same period.

Irish family names or surnames then are formed from the genitive case of names of ancestors who flourished in the tenth century, and at later periods, by prefixing O, or Mac, as O’Neill, Mac Carthy, &c. O literally signifies grandson, in which sense it is still spoken in the province of Ulster; and in a more enlarged sense any male descendant, like the Latin nepos: and Mac literally signifies son, and in a more extended sense any male descendant. The former word is translated nepos by all the writers of Irish history in the Latin language, from Adamnan to Dr O’Conor, and the latter, filius; from which it is clear that it is synonymous with the Welsh prefix Map (abbreviated to Ap), and with the Anglo-Norman Fitz,[Pg 366] which Horne Tooke has proved to be a corruption of the Latin filius. Giraldus Cambrensis latinizes the name of the King of Leinster, Dermot Mac Murchadh, Dermitius Murchardides, from which it may be clearly perceived that he regarded the prefix Mac as equivalent to the Greek patronymic termination ides. The only difference therefore to be observed between O and Mac in surnames is, that the family who took the prefix of Mac called themselves after their father, and those who took the prefix O formed their surname from the name of their grandfather. Ni, meaning daughter, was always prefixed to names of women, as O and Mac meant male descendants; but this usage is now obsolete.

It is not perhaps an unlikely conjecture that at the period when surnames were first ordered to be made hereditary, some families went back several generations to select an illustrious ancestor on whom to build themselves a name. A most extraordinary instance of this mode of forming names occurred in our own time in Connaught, where John Mageoghegan, Esq. of Bunowen Castle, in the west of the county of Galway, applied to his Majesty King George IV. for licence to reject the name which his ancestors had borne for eight hundred years from their ancestor Eochagan, chief of Kinel Fiacha, in the now county of Westmeath, in the tenth century, and to take a new name from his more ancient and more illustrious ancestor Niall of the Nine Hostages, monarch of Ireland in the fourth century. His majesty granted this licence, and the son of John Mageoghegan now called John Augustus O’Neill, that is, John Augustus, DESCENDANT of Niall of the Nine Hostages. The other branches of the family of Mageoghegan, however, still retain the surname which was established in the reign of Brian Boru as the distinguishing appellative of the race of Fiacha, the son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, and the ancestor from whom the Mageoghegans had taken their tribe name.

From the similarity and almost complete identity of the meanings affixed to the words O and Mac in surnames, it might be expected that they should be popularly considered as conferring each the same respectability on the bearer; yet this is far from being the case, for it is popularly believed in every part of Ireland that the prefix O was a kind of title among the Irish, while Mac is a mark of no distinction whatever, and that any common Irishman may bear the prefix Mac, while he must have some claims to gentility of birth before he can presume to prefix O to his name. This is universally the feeling in the province of Connaught, where the gentry of Milesian descent are called O’Conor, O’Flahertie, O’Malley, &c.; and the peasantry, their collateral relatives, Connor, Flaherty, Malley. All this, however, is a popular error, for the prefix O is in no wise whatever more respectable than Mac, nor is either the one or the other an index to any respectability whatever, inasmuch as every single family of Firbolgic, Milesian, or Danish origin in Ireland, is entitled to bear either O or Mac as the first part of their surname. It is popularly known that O’Neill was King of Ulster, and O’Conor King of Connaught, and hence it is assumed that the prefix O is a title of great distinction; but it is never taken into consideration that O’Hallion was the name of the Irish Geocach or beggar who murdered O’Mulloy of Feara-Keall in the year 1110, or that Mac Carthy was King of Desmond or Mac Murrough was King of Leinster! It is therefore a positive fact that the prefixes O and Mac are of equal import, both meaning male descendant, and that neither is an indication of any respectability whatever, except where the pedigree is proved and the history of the family known. To illustrate this by an example: The O prefixed to my own name is an index of my descent from Donovan, the son of Cathal, Chief of the Hy-Figeinte, who was killed by Brian Boru in the year 977; but the Mac prefixed in the surname Mac Carthy is an indication of higher descent, namely, from Carrthach, the great-grandson of Callaghan Cashel, King of Munster, whose descendants held the highest rank in Desmond till the civil wars of 1641.

It would be now difficult to show how this popular error originated, as the meanings of the two prefixes O and Mac are so nearly alike. It may, however, have originated in a custom which prevailed among the ancient Irish, namely, that, for some reason which we cannot now discover, the O was never prefixed in any surname derived from art, trade, or science, O’Gowan only excepted, the prefix Mac having been always used in such instances, for we never meet O’Saoir, O’Baird; and surnames thus formed, of course never ranked as high among the Irish as those which were formed from the names of chieftains.

It may be here also remarked, that the O was never prefixed to names beginning with the word Giolla. I see no reason for this either, but I am positive that it is a fact, for throughout the Annals of the Four Masters only one O’Giolla, namely, O’Giolla Phadruig, occurs, and that only in one instance, and I have no doubt that this is a mere error of transcription.

Another strange error prevails in the north of Ireland respecting O and Mac, viz. that every name in the north of Ireland of which Mac forms the first part, is of Scotch origin, while those to which the O is prefixed is of Irish origin; for example, that O’Neill and O’Kane are of Irish origin, but Mac Loughlin and Mac Closkey of Scotch origin. But it happens in these instances that Mac Loughlin is the senior branch of the family of O’Neill, and Mac Closkey a most distinguished offshoot from that of O’Kane. This error had its origin in the fact that the Scotch families very rarely prefixed the O (there being only three instances of their having used it at all on record), while the Irish used O tenfold more than the Mac. This appears from an index to the genealogical books of Lecan, and of Duald Mac Firbis, in the MS. library of the Royal Irish Academy, in which mention is made of only three Scotch surnames beginning with O, while there are upwards of two thousand distinct Irish surnames beginning with O, and only two hundred beginning with Mac.

Another strange error is popular among the Irish, and those not of the lowest class, namely, that only five Irish families are entitled to have the O prefixed; but what names these five are is by no means agreed upon, some asserting that they are O’Neill, O’Donnell, O’Conor, O’Brien, and O’Flaherty; others that they are O’Neill, O’Donnell, O’Kane, O’Dowd, and O’Kelly; a third party insisting that they are O’Brien, O’Sullivan, O’Connell, O’Mahony, and O’Driscoll; while others make up the list in quite a different manner from all these, and this according to the part of Ireland in which they are located; and each party is positive that no family but the five of their own list has any title to the O. None of them would acknowledge that even the O’Melaghlins, the heads of the southern Hy Niall race, have any claims to this prefix, nor other very distinguished families, who invariably bore it down to a comparatively late period. On the other hand, it is universally admitted that any Irish family from Mac Carthy and Mac Murrough, down to Mac Gucken and Mac Phaudeen, has full title to the prefix Mac; and for no other reason than because it is believed to have been a mark of no distinction whatever among the ancient Irish. This error originated in the fact that five families of Irish blood were excepted by the English laws from being held as mere Irishmen. But of this hereafter.

There is another error prevalent among the Irish gentry of Milesian blood in Ireland (which is the less to be excused, as they have ample opportunities of correcting it), namely, that the chief or head of the family only was entitled to have the O prefixed to his name. This is the grossest error of all, for there is not a single passage in the authentic annals or genealogical books which even suggests that such a custom ever existed amongst the ancient Irish chieftain families, for it is an indubitable fact that every member of the family had the O prefixed to his surname, as well as the chief himself. But a distinction was made between the chief and the members of his family, in the following manner:—In all official documents the chief used the surname only, as O’Neill, O’Donnell, &c. In conversation also the surname only was used, but the definite article was frequently prefixed, as the O’Neill, the O’Brien, &c., while in annals and other historical documents in which it was found necessary to distinguish a chief from his predecessors or successors, the chief of a family was designated by giving him the family name first, and the christian or baptism name after it in parenthesis. But the different members of the chief’s family had their christian names always prefixed as at the present day.

I have thus dwelt upon the errors respecting surnames in Ireland, from an anxious wish that they should be removed, and I trust that it will be believed henceforward that the Mac in Irish surnames is fully as respectable as the O, and that, instead of five, there are at least two thousand Irish families who have full title to have the O prefixed to their surnames.

[2] Translation from original Latin MS.

Many men would have more wisdom if they had less wit.

Women are like gold, which is tender in proportion to its purity.

Excessive sensibility is the foppery of modern refinement.

[Pg 367]


Oh do not call our country poor,
Though Commerce shuns her coast;
For still the isle hath treasures more
Than other lands can boast.
She hath glorious hills and mighty streams,
With wealth of wave and mine,
And fields that pour their riches forth
Like Plenty’s chosen shrine.
She hath hands that never shrink from toil,
And hearts that never yield,
Who reap the harvests of the world
In corn or battle field.
She hath blessings from her far dispersed
O’er all the earth and seas,
Whose love can never leave her—yet
Our land hath more than these.
Her’s is the light of genius bright,
Among her children still;
It shines on all her darkest homes,
Or wildest heath and hill.
For there the Isle’s immortal lyre
Sent forth its mightiest tone;
And starry names arose that far
On distant ages shone.
And want among her huts hath been;
But never from them past
The stranger’s welcome, or the hearts
That freely gave their last.
She hath mountains of eternal green,
And vales for love and health,
And the beautiful and true of heart—
Oh these are Ireland’s wealth!
And she is rich in hope, which blest
Her gifted ones and brave,
Who loved her well, for she had nought
To give them but a grave.
Through all her clouds and blasted years,
That star hath never set;
Will not our land arise and shine
Among the nations yet?
F. B.



Scarcely the most youthful reader needs now to be informed that for an indefinite period our country has unfortunately seldom been without bands of misguided men, more or less numerous, combined for illegal purposes, and who have from time to time wrought much ruin and misery to themselves and others, whether they went under the denomination of rapparees, defenders, peep-o’-day-boys, steelboys, whiteboys, united Irishmen, carders, houghers, thrashers or ribbonmen, the last of the species—may they prove the last indeed! The manifold causes that produced those lawless and destructive combinations the nature of this Journal wisely precludes us from meddling with; their objects were perfectly apparent. We therefore pass both by with a single remark, namely, that since the disastrous and desolating insurrection and invasion of ’98, there has been no person of weight or property connected with any of the numerous confederacies that have continued unceasingly to distract the country, with the exception of that which involved the fate of the wild but amiable visionary Robert Emmett—certainly not in Connaught; nor would it appear that in any one of them since was any serious opposition to government contemplated. In fact, the conspirators being, with but few exceptions, invariably of the very lowest class, their object, however guilty, was limited to the obtainment of personal advantage, the gratification of private revenge, or petty opposition to tithes and the local authorities.

In 1806, the combinators were designated in Connaught, thrashers. Their vengeance seemed to be chiefly wreaked on the haggards of such gentlemen or middlemen as excited the wrath or suspicions of the brotherhood; and frequently, where at evening had been seen a large and well-filled haggard, nought was visible in the morning but empty space, the wasted grain and the then valuable hay being scattered over the adjacent fields and roads, often to a considerable distance.

Tirawley, the northern barony of Mayo, was at this period infested with a gang of thrashers of peculiar daring and activity, the most prominent of whom was Murtagh Lavan, usually termed “Murty the Shaker,” a soubriquet which he derived from his remarkable dexterity in scattering the contents of the various haggards; and for a considerable period this reckless gang was a terror to the entire barony. But there is, fortunately, neither union nor faith among the wicked. After having been the principal in numberless acts of destruction and lawlessness, Murty became a private informer against guilty and innocent, in consequence of the large rewards offered by government for the detection of the offenders, and had given in the names of a large number of accomplices, as well as of those who he knew were likely to be suspected, when his career was cut short by a violent death.

Secretly as his informations were given, it appears it was discovered that he had become an informer; and in consequence, a band of the most desperate of his former accomplices planned and accomplished his murder in a singularly daring manner. His wife and himself were guests at a christening when he was called out: she followed him, and in her presence he was assailed by a number of blackened and partly armed men, one of whom felled him with a hatchet like an ox in the slaughter-house. He was never allowed to rise, for the others trampled on him when down, and struck him with various weapons. The wretched woman fled into a corner, and remained there an unharmed spectatress of the whole murderous scene, and, what has rarely occurred in similar circumstances, without making any attempt to fling herself between her husband and the murderers.

Immediately on information being forwarded to the government of the audacious murder of the informer, proclamations offering large rewards for the discovery and conviction of the perpetrators were issued; great activity was exhibited by the magistrates and the yeomanry, put under permanent pay, as is well remembered in the localities where they were stationed, the inhabitants of which were soon left minus their geese and hens with miraculous rapidity, after the arrival of their defenders. The yeomen! God forgive us: dark as is our theme, so strangely does levity mingle with gloom and even with sorrow in our national temperament, that a host of humorous recollections come rushing on us, called up by the name, as we recall our boyish enjoyment in witnessing some of their inspections. Their motley dress—their arms—the suggaun often binding a dislocated gun—and their discipline—oh, their discipline! Why, reader, believe us or not as you please, we knew of a captain of yeomanry standing in front of his corps, during an inspection of all the yeomen in the district by a distinguished general officer, with his drawn sword held with great gallantry in his left hand, till his serjeant-major besought him in a whisper to change it to the other hand, until the general should have passed him. But we say avaunt to the evil temptation that has beset us at so awkward a time, to descant on yeomanry frolics, though we promise the readers of the Journal a laugh at them on some more fitting occasion.

Five of the murderers were apprehended and executed together in 1806; and, some years afterwards, one of them, named M’Ginty, whose troubled conscience would not permit him to remain in England, whither he had fled after the commission of the crime, and who was apprehended the very night after his return to this country, died a fearful death. Indeed, in our experience of public executions we never witnessed a more terrible one. He was a man of a large, athletic frame, and when on the lapboard ramped about with frightful violence, got his fingers several times between the rope and his neck, and attempted to pull down the temporary beam, and drag out the executioner with him, the latter of which objects he nearly effected. He spurned at all exertions to induce him to forgive his prosecutors and captors, and was in the act of denouncing vengeance against them, dead or alive, when he was flung off.

We remember a curious point was saved in this man’s favour after conviction, when an arrest of judgment was moved on the ground that the principal evidence against him (an accomplice) was himself, after having been tried, and sentenced to capital punishment, and, therefore, being dead in law, could not be received as a competent witness. The objection was, however, overruled by the judges in Dublin, on[Pg 368] the ground that the man had received a pardon, and could be, therefore, considered a living witness again.

It was twenty-four years after the murder of Murty, namely, in the spring of 1830, that a woman was making her way across a stream running through a gentleman’s grounds in the county of Sligo, when she was prevented by a caretaker, who obliged her to turn back.

Skirria snivurth,” exclaimed the woman with bitter earnestness, “but don’t think, durneen sollagh (dirty Cuffe) but I know you well; an, thank God, any way ye can’t murther us, as ye did Murty Lavan long ago.”

Her words were heard by a policeman who chanced to be angling along the stream, and who promptly brought her into the presence of a magistrate, where, after the policeman had stated what he heard, she attempted at first to draw in her horns and retract her words.

“Well, my good woman,” said the magistrate, “what expressions were those you used just now?”

“Ou, only some ramask (nonsense), yer honour.”

“Did you not accuse a man of murder?”

“In onough, I dunno what I sed when the spalpeen gev us the round, and the vexation was upon us.”

“You must speak to the point, woman.”

“Wethen sure yer honour wouldn’t be after mindin’ what an oul’ hag sed when she was in the passion.”

“Policeman, repeat the expressions exactly.”

The policeman repeated his former statement.

“Now swear the hag, and I warn her if she doesn’t tell the whole truth, I will myself see her transported.”

The woman, now thoroughly frightened, admitted that she knew the person who prevented her from crossing the stream to be Cuffe or Durneen, who was charged with having been the principal in the murder of Murty the Shaker. Cuffe was accordingly apprehended, and having been fully identified by Murty’s wife, who was still in existence, having continued a pensioner of the Mayo grand jury since her husband’s murder, was committed to the Mayo jail, to the astonishment and regret of his employer.

The extraordinary part of Cuffe’s case seems to us not by any means that he should have been detected after the lapse of twenty-four years, but it does seem a singular fact indeed, that, notwithstanding a description of him in the Hue and Cry as the person who had struck the mortal blow with the hatchet, and the large rewards offered for his apprehension, he should have remained undiscovered for such a protracted period, so immediately adjacent to the scene of his crime. Most of our readers are aware that Sligo adjoins Mayo—nay, the barony of Tirawley, in which the murder was perpetrated, is only separated by the river Moy from the county of Sligo, so that one portion of the town of Ballina is in Mayo, and the other in Sligo; and yet, in all probability, were it not that Providence directed the steps of the woman to that stream for the first and last time in her life, he might have remained there undiscovered to the end of his natural life, which could not then be far distant, his head being completely silvered at the time of his apprehension.

While in prison, both before and after conviction, Cuffe’s conduct, as it had been all along prior to his detection, was peaceful, obliging, and amenable, comporting much better with a pleasant and rather benevolent countenance, in which there did not seem to be a single line indicative of an evil disposition, than with the terrible crime he had been the principal in committing.

On the morning after M’Gennis had committed the extraordinary suicide detailed in a former number, in the same cell with him, Cuffe’s gaze continued to be fastened, as if by fascination, on the body while it remained in the cell, and his countenance wore an expression resembling a smile of gratified wonder, as he frequently exclaimed in an under tone, “didn’t he do it clever?” He strongly denied, however, as was before stated, having witnessed the suicide, or known anything of its being intended.

His own death was calm and easy: in fact he seemed to have died without a struggle; and so little did his punishment after such a lapse of years seem to be considered as a necessary atonement to justice, that we heard, during his execution, Murty’s own brother, who was among the spectators, use the expression, that it was a pity so many lives should be lost for such a rascal.

We should have remarked that on the morning of his execution he requested of the benevolent and intelligent inspector to allow him a tea breakfast. Indeed, it is a curious consideration that animal gratification seems to be the predominant object with a large proportion of persons on the eve of execution, when hope becomes as nearly extinct as it can become while life remains. In general, in such cases among the lower class, there is a petition for a meat dinner, or a tea breakfast, or both—a petition which, we need scarcely say, is in Ireland generally granted.

We recollect an instance where two persons under sentence were breakfasting together, just previous to their execution, having, among other materials, three eggs between them, when one of them, having swallowed his first egg rapidly, seized upon the other with the utmost greediness, while his companion eyed him with a sickly smile that seemed to say “you have outdone me to the last.”

On another occasion we remember to have seen two convicts on a cart with the ropes about their necks, who were to be executed about fourteen miles from the prison, one of them bearing with him in his fettered hands the remains of a loaf he had been unable to finish at his breakfast, but still begged permission to take with him, as he purposed to eat it, and did so, on his way to the gallows.


Evil Influence of Fashion.—Never yet was a woman really improved in attraction by mingling with the motley throng of the fashionable world. She may learn to dress better, to step more gracefully; her head may assume a more elegant turn, her conversation become more polished, her air more distinguished; but in point of attraction she acquires nothing. Her simplicity of mind departs; her generous confiding impulses of character are lost; she is no longer inclined to interpret favourably of men and things; she listens, without believing, sees without admiring; has suffered persecution without learning mercy; and been taught to mistrust the candour of others by the forfeiture of her own. The freshness of her disposition has vanished with the freshness of her complexion; hard lines are perceptible in her very soul, and crows-feet contract her very fancy. No longer pure and fair as the statue of alabaster, her beauty, like that of some painted waxen effigy, is tawdry and meretricious. It is not alone the rouge upon the cheek and the false tresses adorning the forehead which repel the ardour of admiration; it is the artificiality of mind with which such efforts are connected that breaks the spell of beauty.—Mrs Gore.

Impossibility of Forgetting.—In these opium ecstacies, the minutest incidents of childhood, or forgotten scenes of later years, were often revived. I could not be said to recollect them; for if I had been told of them when waking, I should not have been able to acknowledge them as parts of my past experience. But, placed as they were before me, in dreamlike intuitions, and clothed in all their evanescent circumstances and accompanying feelings, I recognised them instantaneously. I was once told by a near relative of mine, that having in her childhood fallen into a river, and being on the very verge of death but for the critical assistance which reached her, she saw in a moment her whole life, in its minutest incidents, arrayed before her simultaneously, as in a mirror, and she had a faculty developed as suddenly, for comprehending the whole and every part. This, from some opium experiences of mine, I can believe. I have indeed seen the same thing asserted twice in modern books, and accompanied by a remark which I am convinced is true, viz, that the dread book of account which the Scriptures speak of, is in fact the mind of each individual. Of this at least I feel assured, that there is no such thing as forgetting possible to the mind; a thousand accidents may and will interpose a veil between our present consciousness and the secret inscriptions on the mind; accidents of the same sort will also rend away this veil; but alike, whether veiled or unveiled, the inscription remains for ever; just as the stars seem to withdraw before the common light of day, whereas, in fact, we all know that it is the light which is drawn over them as a veil, and that they are waiting to be revealed when the obscuring daylight shall have withdrawn.—Confessions of an Opium Eater.

There are few roses without thorns, and where is the heart that hides not some sorrow in its secret depths?

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