The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1 No. 47, May 22, 1841

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Title: The Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1 No. 47, May 22, 1841

Author: Various

Release date: August 23, 2017 [eBook #55418]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Brownfox and the Online Distributed Proofreading
Team at (This file was produced from
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[Pg 369]


Number 47. SATURDAY, MAY 22, 1841. Volume I.
The “wisted stockin’” scene described below


“A merry morning to Father Connellan! Well, I dare north, south, east, and west, of our sweet county of Wexford, to produce such another comfortable domicile as this of your reverence; and the proof that it is so in every respect, is, that master, man, dog, cat, cow, and horse, have the same sleek sides and sleek looks. I wish I could say as much for some of the poor parsons.” “Alack! alack!” sighed Father Connellan in a lachrymose tone, “you speak of what we were rather than what we are. Poor things! neither biped nor quadruped here carries the same port as formerly. Now, how can you speak of sleek sides and sleek cheeks to me?—to me? Take another glance at me: fancy me with a pink jacket and black cap, and am I not just the cut, weight, and girth for a jockey? ‘Ah! what a falling off is here,’” pointing to a paunch that he asserted, with serio-comic phiz, was lamentably diminished.

“Oh, most lamentably!” cried I, entering into his humour. “Bless me! what is the matter? Oh, thou poor, poor disciple of holy mother church! black was the fast indeed that hath reduced thee to this pickle!”

Black it has been more than once, sure enough,” returned the priest, laughing; “and as I am a christianable man, this strict Lent has been for the sins and follies of others, and not for my own. But you shall know all.” Then raising his voice, he called, “Jimmy! Jimmy Delany!”

Thrice he shouted, and was still unanswered. “Ay,” continued his reverence, shaking his head and turning up his eyes, “this is the cut! Job’s boils and blisters were nothing to this! I may call and call, and have nothing but the echo of my own voice for my pains. Once more I’ll try, and if he doesn’t come then”—— and, placing his mouth close to the wall, he sang out, “Jimmy Delany!” so tremendously loud, that the delinquent must have heard it at half a mile’s distance. At this fourth summons, shuffling, lagging steps faltered up the hall, the parlour door opened, and the anatomy of a man presented itself—

So faint, so spiritless.
So dull, so dead in look, so woe begone.

While gazing on him, I thought that if such a man were to “draw my curtains in the dead of night,” he need not cry out “fire!” to appal me.

“Well, Misther Delany,” began Father Connellan, “since you have condescended to appear—(why don’t you make your obeisance, sirrah?—draw back your shovel foot, bob[Pg 370] forward your great mop-head, and bow to the lady—soh, that will do)—be plaised to explain how and why I, your spiritual pastor and lawful master, am reduced to half my natural dimensions, ‘clipt of my fair proportions.’ As some one says”——

But ere the priest could proceed with his quotation, I broke in with an exclamation of amazement.

That spectre—plump, grinning, mutton-headed Jimmy Delany! who used to wish for a gold chain but long enough to encircle the disc of his face twice, and it would be as long as the chain of my lord mayor of Dublin? Impossible! No, no! Reverend father, you may make me believe much; you are a man of mystery and mirth, potent and pleasant; but you will hardly bring me to believe that that shadow represents my plump and good-humoured old acquaintance Jimmy Delany.” “I have my doubts too,” said his reverence.

All this time the ghost-like subject of our observations stood mute and motionless, gazing at me with lack-lustre eyes, in which there was no beam of recognition. Indeed, he seemed dubious of his own identity; for when I refused to acknowledge him, he passed his hand deliberately and cautiously over his face and person, much in the way a blind man would do; and it was a considerable time before he ventured to assert “that he was Jimmy Delany still—if not in flesh and blood, at laist in skin and bone.”

“Alas! and has it come to this with thee, Jimmy? I recognise thy voice, though somewhat tremulous and less stentorian than of old, and I would fain inquire for what unheard of crime has this severe penance been imposed upon thee?—the direst that the dire church can inflict, it must have been! Hast thou made a pilgrimage with unboiled peas in your shoes, my poor, poor Jimmy?”

“Speak, sirrah!” cried the priest.

“Must I tell the thruth, sur?” asked the spectre, reddening, and scratching his head in a dilemma.

At this juncture I perceived that the person appealed to could hardly command gravity to answer the important query addressed to him, and, but that a fit of coughing came to his aid, alas for the decorum of Father Connellan!

“You are a good boy, Jimmy,” said his reverence with becoming sedateness, when the teasing cough had subsided; “a very good boy to apply to me ere you answered a question under circumstances which induce you to conceal the truth if you could. But, my poor, poor fellow, as I have said and thundered forth a hundred times from the pulpit, Truth should be spoken at all times, however painful to us; and it is especially necessary on this occasion, as I perceive a something like a fling at the discipline of our church; because, forsooth, you have dwindled from a mould four to a farthing candle! Tell the truth and shame the devil.”

Thus admonished, with a desperate effort poor Jimmy proceeded to inform me that the cause of all his woe and waste of flesh was “Betsy Kelly, an’ the urchint”—— Here he stuck fast, and I waited in vain for the finishing of the sentence. I next looked to the merry priest for an explanation, but I found that it was equally fruitless to expect one from him then. He had fallen back in his chair, in a fit of (to me inexplicable) laughter; and the confused Delany, still more confounded, took the opportunity to escape from the room, saying, as he retreated, “I’ll lave it all to his rivirince!—let him tell what he will—I won’t deny it.” “A fair stage for a fertile imagination, Father Connellan?” said I.

“Egad, there is no occasion for a fertile imagination in this case,” he replied. “Too true it is that the drama of every-day life surpasses that exhibited on the stage. Now, here is my poor Jimmy—fiddle-string I may call him, because I play upon him daily, and he is almost reduced to one. If an actor ever so clever were to show off his blunders and absurdities on the stage, he’d be pelted to a mummy, or hooted into a coal-hole for the rest of his days, for attempting (mind) to impose on a discerning public with an outrageous caricature of nature.

Baithershin! let them come to Father Connellan’s cabin for a week, and I’ll promise them more amusement for nothing than they could get at the theatre in a year, and pay dearly for it. But the farce is drawing to a conclusion now.”

Farce, call you it? My good sir, to look at poor Jimmy, I should suppose he has been enacting a very deep tragedy indeed, and that the bowl or dagger must end it.”

“Or a marl-hole, or his garters,” said his reverence laughing! “But is it possible,” continued he, “that you have not dived into the mystery yet? Is it possible that I, a poor secluded priest, dead to the world these twenty years, minding nothing but my breviary, the souls of my flock, the Pope’s bulls, and—and an occasional beef-steak and glass of punch, was up to the secret in a trice, while you, a gay member of society, are still in the dark? What direful, by me unmentionable disease, doth these four ugly, sinful capitals spell, L, O, V, E?”

“Love!—Ha! ha! ha! So Jimmy, poor Jimmy, is a lover! ‘Oh, Cupid, thou urchint,’ as thy woe-begone disciple calls thee, thou wert not blind, but blind-folded; thou stolest a peep, and the barbed dart that rankles in the heart of poor Jimmy was directed with laughter-loving malice! Pray tell me, reverend Father, was the heroine—for heroine she must have been, to have achieved such a victory over dullness—a living woman? or did she smite him through the pages of a book? for I recollect his reading mania at one time.”

“Arm yourself with the seven-fold fence of patience for half an hour, and I shall tell you all I know of the matter. But I must begin with the beginning, according to the method of all story-tellers. Now, a pinch of Lundy, a preliminary hem! and here goes:—

“About five years come Michaelmas, I buried my old house-keeper Nell Gray—I was going to say with military honours, for she was quite a trooper of a woman—but with the honours due to a faithful deserving servant which she was, and a treasure in a family, especially for dressing beef-steaks. But as I saw even in her a good deal of the tricks of the sex (excuse me), I was determined to have no more womenkind about me. I therefore set about searching for a good, quiet lad, who would be tractable enough to learn to do all the ordinary work of the house; and my wishes being made known to my flock, boys of all ages and sizes soon clustered about me like sparrows round a wheat stack. Out of twenty-five ’cute-looking chaps, I chose our friend Jimmy Delany, to the rapturous delight of his mother, a widow, who, as she brought her precious son to me, with a shining Sunday face, and a clean shirt—or at least a collar—assured me that though ‘her Jimmy was the laist taste slow at takin’ up the larnin’, yit wanst he got a hoult ov it, it was he that would take the hoult in airnest!’

‘Very well,’ said I, ‘he is slow, but sure; the very sort I want. Your quick people forget as soon as they learn.’

Well, Jimmy entered on his service, and, egad, ere the first day closed, I found that his mother had told truth to the letter! He was ‘slow,’ sure enough, and it was equally true that the hoult he took was a ‘hoult in airnest;’ but the pertinacious ‘hoult’ was a hold of any eatable that fell in his way, for he was a furious eater—God bless us! By and bye, I found out more of Jimmy’s perfections, and I lauded my sagacity in having discovered and appropriated such a treasure. ‘Happy old parish priest!’ ejaculated I in an ecstacy, ‘thou hast but one servitor in this teeming world, and the head of that chosen attendant admits but of one isolated idea for a time, which ‘idea,’ be it never so extravagant, rules his brains, words, and actions, as certainly and despotically as the moon rules the tides!’

Into that head, by dint of hammering at it day and night, his mother had instilled the ‘idea’ that he was to renounce his old habits, playmates, and plays, as surely as he was to fling away his old clothes, and henceforth to think of nothing but of being a faithful diligent man-of-all-works to his reverence the priest. In fine, in words suited to his capacity, he was told that he was to forget the idle gorsoon, and to put on the sarvint boy. For a week this song was sung to him in a variety of tones, without producing any other effect on Jimmy than causing a grin. At last, ‘Ov all works, mother?’ quoth he. ‘Bedad I thinks I’ll have somethin’ to do. Howsomdever, since I must be a sarvint, why it’s best to begin.’ And thenceforward he laid his whole soul to the task; and so earnest and anxious was he, that in little more than three months he could do a few things decently without having me perpetually pinned to his tail, and in a year he went through the routine of household affairs without a blunder, not one thought or wish interfering with his business. Like the churning-horse of my neighbour Giles, he plodded over the dull ground allotted for him without grumbling, and without being conscious that any other mode of life might produce equal happiness. Happy being! contented, stolid Jimmy Delany!

Things were going on thus smoothly with master and man, while the mother was inwardly and outwardly fretting. She expected by this time that her boy was taking a short cut[Pg 371] towards being a learned man, if not a janius all out; and great was her dismay when she heard the truth! So she comes to me with her humble petition ‘that I would be plaised to enlighten her gorsoon’s brains.’ ‘I fear that is what no mortal can do,’ said I, ‘but I will do my best for him.’ Indeed, I was attached to the creature, and I thought it my duty to endeavour to stretch his capacity if I could; and, accordingly, I bought a Primer, and set him to learn his letters. Oh! it was the unfortunate moment that I did so! From that hour the man has never been himself; the four walls of my quiet house have been eternally frightened with strange sounds; and I have never had a comfortable meal since. A new ‘idea’ displaced the old one:—‘he was no longer a sarvint, but a schollard;’ business was nearly suspended; and when strong custom, or my stronger reproofs, so far prevailed that he could not help going over the most urgent of the household employments, it was not with even-handed justice; for, let the left hand be occupied as it might, the right was sure to clutch the book; so that every day and every hour he might be taken for a clumsy leaden personification of Knowledge extending the volume to the uninitiated, till the strange sounds issuing from the blubber lips destroyed the illusion.

These strange sounds were first heard when he had surmounted the Alps of the alphabet, and attacked the A, B, abs; and from morning till night I could obtain no reply to any question I asked him, without having a string of abs and obs tacked to it, till my brains and patience could scarce bear the repetition. Soon after, still sailing away on the stream of learning, that notable piece of literature the ‘Read-a-made-aisy’ got into his hands, of which he made such excellent use, that in a few days he could append a sort of poetical illustration to his replies, according as my queries were shaped, and sometimes he let fly a squib at me through their medium. I’ll give you a sample of our colloquies:—

‘Ah, then, Jimmy, did you shoot any birds this morning?’

‘One big fella, sur, choke-full ov the currans,’ quoth Jimmy, bringing in as chorus, ‘A was an archer that shot at a frog.’

‘Well, what shall we have for dinner to-day, Jimmy?’

Mait to be sure, sur—B was a butcher that kept a big dog.’

‘Right, Jimmy, well thought of! Down with you as fast as you can to Doyle the butcher’s, and see what meat he has got. I think our friend the constable will dine with me to-day.’

‘I will, sur,’ said Jimmy. ‘C was a captain all covered with lace.’

‘And,’ continued I, ‘as my dinner won’t be very splendid, and I’m sure to have it very vilely cooked, I’ll bring forth a bottle or two of my supernaculum—the rale mountain dew.’

‘Ay, ay, sur,’ responds Jimmy. ‘D was a drunkard that had a red face.’

There was a good hit of stupidity! By the staff of St Patrick, the patron of drunkards, it was the keenest cut I ever received in my life, and the innocence with which it was spoken gave it double effect. I fairly blushed, and dropped my face over my breast like a great bursting peony whose stalk is too weak to support it. Ah! my friend, happy would I have been to endure those little embarrassments—however unbecoming for me to blush—did I foresee the losses, crosses, confusions and contusions which followed in the train of this comet, and which I might have expected, for I partly concur in the old opinion that the fiery prodigies of the heavens prognosticate dire disasters to man; and the eccentric course of this ‘hairy star’ in this little world of mine called Ballygrish was equally portentous. But hitherto he had kept within bounds. So long as he believed himself the schollard and I the schoolmaster, he conducted himself according to the belief; and the most fault-finding teacher could not complain of Jimmy’s want of diligence. Indeed, he rehearsed his lesson much oftener than necessary, in season and out of season, in bed and out of bed, and that in such a thundering tone, that I told him his constant petition to ‘hear him his task’ was unnecessary, as I always ‘heard’ him sufficiently well, though stone walls were betwixt us. But once he became independent of an instructor, once he was quit of my assistance, I do assure you severe chastisement was frequently necessary to restrain his lunacies, and I much wonder how his skull bore the thumps and cracks which from day to day I was obliged to inflict, in lieu of shaving and blistering, to moderate the brain fever of the imagination—of ‘the ascendant idea.’

I put up with various annoyances and inconveniences with admirable patience and temper, and which I shall not now stop to particularize; but one affair I cannot pass over, as it made a haul on my purse, and I’ll relate it.

Just about the time that he set up to study for himself, I was much in want of a pair of new inexpressibles. My velveteens were much the worse for wear, and I was determined to have a bran-new pair for the ensuing Sunday. So I sent, very thoughtlessly indeed, the said student Jimmy Delany with an order to Bryan the tailor to get the requisite stuff at a certain shop. Unfortunately I did not specify any particular colour or material, thinking naturally that all the world knew the colours and materials fitting for clergymen; but the shopkeeper and tailor—neither very much wiser than my messenger, I fancy—were quite astray, and in their dilemma they applied to my man-of-all-works for information. Alas! they knew little of poor Jimmy. They knew not that he was then under the dominion of ‘one idea’—that he was a learned schollard, and not a sarvint.

Now be it known to you that his then study was the Universal Spelling Book (I believe he had it in his pocket at the time), in which is the story of the town in danger of being besieged. The mason, the currier, and the carpenter, give their opinion as to the best method of fortifying it, and each, of course, with an eye to self-interest. The mason recommends stone, the carpenter oak, and the currier leather.

Well, at the instant of the shopkeeper’s and tailor’s deliberations on my wearables, Jimmy stood at the shop-door, staring up and down the street, as far as it was in his ken; and when the tailor appealed to him to know ‘what sort of inexpressibles did his masther ordher,’ honest Jimmy, thinking but of the ‘town in danger of being besieged,’ answered in the words of the currier, ‘take my word for it, there is nothing like leather.’

‘Leather!’ echoed the shopkeeper.

‘Leather!’ screamed the tailor.

‘Ay,’ repeated Jimmy decidedly, ‘there is nothing like leather!’

Well! patience is a virtue. Were it not that the gentle spirit had made my half-starved frame her tabernacle, I should have been a tenant for Bedlam on the succeeding Saturday night, when the rascal Bryan brought himself and his green bag, with a sort of grin, into my parlour, and untying it, shook out before my amazed eyes a dashing pair of—— you shall hear what, presently.

‘They’re a very neat piece of work, Bryan,’ said I, examining them without much interest, thinking they could not possibly be for me; ‘they seem to be well seamed and stitched for aught I know, and I only hope for your sake that they will fit him for whom you have made them.’

‘I hope so too, sur,’ quoth the tailor, smirking complacently. ‘Be plaised to thry them on sur, an’ I’ll engage they’ll fit to the peelin’ ov an ingin.’

‘Pooh, pooh,’ returned I, good humouredly, still in the dark, ‘what use in my trying them on? Indeed, if they had come in my way thirty years ago, and the red rogue in full chase, I wouldn’t say but I’d pop them on, priest or no priest; but now there’s no use in talking about them. Hand me out the velvets, and let me try them on.’

‘The velvets, yer rivirince?’

‘Ay, the velvets, Sir Tailor; and I hope those you bring me now are roomier than the last pair.’

‘Oh, faix, sur,’ cried the fellow, still shaking the unmentioned unmentionables at me, ‘those are roomy enough in all conscience, for I thought as how you wouldn’t like them quite to the skin.’ And there he stood, holding forth his wearables, and expatiating in their praise; and there I stood expecting my velvets—but in vain! I caught up the bag, and turning it inside out, I found I had nothing more to expect—those forbidden ones were for ME!

‘What colour are these in day-light?’ asked I, in that still calm that precedes the tempest.

‘An iligant yellow, sur!’ responded the stitcher with alacrity, his countenance brightening with hope.

‘And thou vile fraction of a man!’ thundered I in full storm, and darting a withering scowl that almost put the little animal into the earth, ‘hast thou no more reverence for thy church than that, to suit thy petty interests, thou wouldst see thy venerable parish priest, of seventy-six, figure in a pair of yellow buckskin breeches, like a huntsman or postilion? Away with them, sirrah, or by the soul of your grandmother in purgatory—where she shall stay those hundred years for your assurance—these same breeches shall case your own diminutive limbs to-morrow, and you placed upon the altar as an exhibition, with Tally-ho! in capitals upon your back. What a beautiful spectacle for the congregation!’

[Pg 372]

Soon I had the dismayed stitcher upon his knees, deprecating my wrath, and recounting the particulars I have already related in explanation; ending with ‘my backward blessing on Jimmy Delany!’ intending of course that all my ire should fall upon the real delinquent. And so it would, but that there is something in the very name ‘Jimmy Delany’ that invariably mollifies me. I knew he did nothing out of malice or mischief, but from the greatest simplicity; and when I demanded to see the book he was then busy with, and his thumb marks pointing to the ‘town in danger of being besieged,’ I was at home in the matter at once. But I had to pay for the leather, and the tailor for making the breeches, which I lost afterwards at a game of backgammon with Squire Hooligan.

About a month afterwards, a nephew of mine, a midshipman, came on a visit to me, bringing with him some volumes of Cook’s Voyages. These books seemed to have a fascinating charm for him, but it was nothing to the charm they had for Misther Delany. It was downright idolatry—he knelt to them, I believe—I know he slept with them, ate with them, and drank with them, and finally became so incorporated with the work—he was its hero! Yes! all the old ‘ruling passions’ were clean forgotten, and Captain Cook was lord of the ascendant. Oh! how the young seaman laughed, and roared, and flung himself on the ground again and again, in ecstacies of mirth, when he discovered what a jewel of a shipmate Providence had provided for him in an old priest’s house in the country, where he had expected little but long faces and long fasts!—how he kicked up his heels in all the obstreperousness of a sailor’s joy! Still the ludicrous perfections of my poor Jimmy unfolded themselves—still his matchless simplicity, his inconceivable infatuation under the dominion of the new ‘idea,’ became apparent! And no wonder; for surely his wholesale assumption of the renowned navigator, his pompous action, and conversations in character, and the total and absolute oblivion of all former ties and duties, altogether were enough to raise laughter under the ribs of Death, and was almost too much for the living. If I asked him, after several hours’ daily absences, where he had been, his prompt reply would be, ‘at New Zealand,’ or ‘Otaheite.’ And if I begged to know what he had been doing in these favoured places, I was instantly told, ‘getting in a supply of fresh water and provisions for the ship’s company,’ and this with an earnestness of look and manner absolutely irresistible. ‘So, so,’ I would then say, convinced of the infatuation, and letting things take their course, ‘I perceive I have got the illustrious Captain Cook in my house. I thought the great man had disappeared from earth long ago: but in this age of miracles, either through the power of steam, or a galvanic battery, here he is again, and I must make his stay as agreeable as possible. Pray be seated, captain; and if not too much trouble, I would be delighted to hear some of your adventures.’

Down would Jimmy seat himself, and out would come a fluent description of the different places he had ‘touched at,’ the customs and manners of the different islands, the ferocious looks of some savages, and the gentle countenances of others; the birds, beasts, fruits, flowers, &c. &c.; and I do declare to you I desired no higher entertainment. For whole hours would I sit listening to him; and the captain, gratified by my attention, and utterly unconscious of anything ludicrous, continued from day to day to pour forth his wonderful discoveries for my amusement.

Meanwhile I missed a fine bathing-tub, a fine spacious fellow, in which I could float as comfortably as in a little lake. I made various inquiries about it, but could hear nothing of it. I even spoke of it in the chapel, but all to no purpose. However, one day as I was returning from seeing a sick person, I came upon an unfrequented path that led by the side of a large and deep marl-hole, about half a mile from my house; and as I got on a height over it, what should I see but my bathing-tub floating majestically on the water, a pole stuck up in the middle, with a red handkerchief by way of a flag, and a person seated at one end with another pole for steering! With half an eye I saw who it was, and I took measures accordingly. I alighted from my horse, and, getting behind a clump of ash-trees, quite unnoticed by the navigator, who was enjoying the fineness of the day, I gathered up all the large stones I could find into a heap beside me, and, taking deliberate aim, I let fly two or three huge ones at the stern, in which the captain was seated. At the first assault he started, and looked about in every direction, quite thunderstricken and alarmed; at the second volley, as none of them had hit himself as yet, he shouted in character, ‘The natives! the natives are upon us!’ and began to paddle with might and main for shore; but as the stones flew thicker and faster, hopping off his head and shoulders, whacking, banging, cracking at all sides of him, he lost all self-command, dropped his oar, and finally, in floundering about, and starting from one end to the other, in his confusion to avoid the stones, the boat turned keel upwards, and the captain disappeared to the bottom, yelling all sorts of ‘murdher!’ And I can assure you, my gentleman forgot all ideas but that plain Jimmy Delany was on the point of being smothered, and no sailor with a shark in his wake ever showed more dexterity. Nobly did he buffet and plunge, and kick and puff for his life, till he got to dry land, where I was ready to receive him.

‘Are you safe, captain?’ inquired I in a tone of much commiseration.

‘Och, masther jewel!’ quoth Jimmy ruefully, his teeth chattering between fright and cold, ‘I never was so near death in my life! I was well-nigh smothered between the eels and the mud at the bottom of that curst marl-hole!’

‘Ah! my Jimmy,’ observed I pathetically, ‘we should never meddle with unknown elements. See how uncertain is the life of a sailor!—one moment floating majestically on the bosom of the ocean, and the next at the bottom with the fishes.’

‘Thrue for ye, masther darlint!’ replied my man, once more my man; and home I drove my man before me, covered with mud, as if he was preparing a cast of his beautiful person; and so efficacious were the stoning, the ducking, my lecture, and the shouts of laughter his appearance raised amongst the workmen and neighbours, that I had soon the pleasure to see him return to his original ‘idea’ that he was ‘sarvint man to the priest,’ and become undividedly attentive.

But I believe this life is to be one of change and crosses. No sooner had I sat myself down with the hope of peace and ease for the rest of my days, than there comes another, and the greatest of all annoyances, the more so that it was totally unexpected. No! I never dreamt that Jimmy Delany would become a lover! and when I did become aware of the state of affairs, I was as much a stricken deer as himself—paralyzed, bewildered what to do or say under the circumstances.

I will not trouble you with a detail of the first symptoms I observed, nor a description of the many outrageous blunders he committed under the influence of this worst of all ‘ideas’ but one—and here it is:—

It was on a Thursday: I had ordered a beef-steak for dinner. You know it is my favourite dish, and that I am particular to have it dressed to a turn. I had taught Jimmy the art; but warned by late failures and mistakes, I called in one of the neighbours’ wives to have an eye to Jimmy while dressing dinner. Well, at the hour appointed the dinner smoked on the table sure enough, and, tucking a napkin under my chin, I sat down ‘richly to enjoy;’ when lo! a loud scream, or rather yell, from the kitchen, startled me, and the next instant in rushed Mrs Flanagan, with outstretched arms, apparently panic-stricken.

‘Oh, holy Mary! did you ait any ov it yet, sir?’ she asked in breathless haste.

‘Eat what?’ demanded I, surprised.

‘That thing in the dish,’ screamed she.

‘No,’ said I gruffly, and angry at the unseasonable interruption.

‘Nor never shall, plaise God,’ exclaimed she, striding over, and advancing her profane hands to seize the dish, whilst I, holding it with one hand, motioned her off with the other, as I angrily desired her to leave the room, and leave me to my meal in peace.

‘Never, by the hob!’ exclaimed the determined vixen; ‘I’ll never quit till I get that thing in the dish; and here I’ll stay’—and there she staid in audacious determination. My mind began to misgive me that there was something the matter with what I was so pertinaciously defending; so I raised the cover of the dish. There lay a substance black as the ace of spades. ‘So, so!’ I began, ‘here is a fine morsel for a hungry man!—here’s frying with a vengeance! Woman, woman!’ cried I solemnly, and turning to my obtrusive companion with the dignity of a man who had received a mortal affront, but who yet hail some feeling of God-like charity—‘Woman, woman! is there never to be any dependence on your sex? I am wasted to a thread; I am worked to a skeleton; and I think this carcase hath need of a little indulgence on one day out of seven. I pay sixpence a pound for a tender, delicate rump-steak, and I call you in to superintend the dressing of it, decidedly telling you to have it done the colour of your own skin,[Pg 373] and no darker (dark enough in all conscience). But here it is now—neither Bedford-brown, Vandyke-brown, Adelaide-brown, nor Flanagan-brown, but a sapless, fatless, cinder black! Nevertheless, such is my resignation under all trials, I shall endeavour to make a meal of it, if possible: do you but leave me in peace—vanish!’ and I muttered some words in Latin, and gave two or three figurative flourishes with my hands, by way of letting her think I was performing some important ceremony of the church, at which her absence would be necessary. But she stuck fast.

‘Why, thin, indeed, sur,’ she persisted, ‘if you war to praich Latin an’ Greek from this till mornin’, you’ll never convart an ould black wisted stockin’ into a beef-staik!’

‘A what, woman, in the name of heaven!’

‘I said it, sur—a black wisted stockin’ into a beef-staik.’

I stuck my fork into the black substance plentifully covered with onion and gravy. I held it up: it was long, and, like Italy, shaped like a boot; and however it might appertain to the leg, it had nothing whatever to do with the rump-steak I had bought in the morning.

‘Ay,’ sighs Mrs Flanagan sentimentally, ‘sitch things comes ov love an’ larnin’! I was mendin’ a pair ov yer reverence’s black stockins at the kitchen-table, where Jimmy was dhressin’ the dinner. One of the workmen called me out in a hurry, an’ I threw the stockin’ out of my hands upon the table: it fell upon the dish. Jimmy turned his head about for a minnit, and the dog snapped up the mait, an’ carried it off. When Jimmy looked round agin, he seen a black thing lyin’ on the dish, an’ the crathur’s eyes, bein’ blinded with this same love an’ larnin’, he pours the gravy on the top ov it, an’ carries it off to table. So there’s the explanation.’

I still held up the black stocking on the point of my fork: I gazed on it in silence: but the blood was boiling in my veins, and I was on the eve of righteously overwhelming all that had animal life near me with a fearful burst of volcanic passion, when my frenzied eye caught a glimpse of a face at the half-opened door. It was a side-face: the mouth and chin had dropped as if in death, the goggle eyes were fixed and upturned in all the rigidity of despair—not drops, but streams of perspiration ran down the pallid jaws: motion seemed annihilated, the senses defunct; and one loud, angry word would have been a cannon-ball through the heart of poor Jimmy, had not Mercy or Momus tickled my risibilities at the critical moment, and a long, loud burst of irrepressible laughter closed the scene, and saved his life! At the first burst the delinquent fell on his knees, clasped his hands together, and looked imploringly at me, and in that humble posture remained till I got breath to say ‘I forgive you.’

Now, my friend, tell me can flesh and blood, especially dedicated to the service of the church, put up with such treatment long? Impossible. In addition to my fastings and mortifications on principle, is it not the deuce to be obliged to fast for folly? I have played many a trick on Jimmy, but he is ever more than even with me. I can get no good of him. But this I am resolved on: come weal come woe, Jimmy Delany and Betsy Kelly shall be man and wife on Monday next, and I bespeak your company at the wedding.”

“Agreed; and I think, reverend Father, this is the very best idea that has been struck out by you, or Jimmy Delany.”

M. G. R.


Of all the animals with which man has become acquainted, and over which he has succeeded in establishing his dominion, none have had greater cause to deprecate his tyranny, and to exclaim, had they the gift of speech, against his wanton barbarity, than the unfortunate creature whose simple and unoffending habits I have selected for the subject of the present paper.

With the appearance and form of this animal most of my readers are doubtless tolerably acquainted, as it is a pretty common inhabitant of this country, and would be still more abundant, were not its numbers checked by that barbarous and brutal amusement, badger-baiting, to which, despite the interference of the laws, hundreds yearly fall victims. In general appearance as well as internal structure the badger approximates closely to the bear, and may, I think not unaptly, be regarded as the existing representative of that once formidable denizen of the wilds of our native land. Like the bear, the badger walks upon his heels and his legs being very short, and his hair remarkably thick and long, his belly appears almost to touch the ground; a little observation is however sufficient to show that it does not actually do so. He is a nocturnal animal, that is to say, he sleeps during the day, and at the approach of evening leaves his habitation in search of food; yet nocturnal though his habits, and however closely he may in that respect resemble the predacious tribes, the food of the badger is of such a description that its appropriation injures no one, but is on the contrary productive of great benefit to the agriculturist, consisting as it does chiefly, if not solely, of roots and reptiles, as frogs, worms, grubs, beetles, &c. The badger is as far as I have been able to discover, monogamous, lives affectionately with his mate and little ones in his secluded burrow, and in his deportment to them displays feelings of ardent devotion and disinterested attachment which many of this poor creature’s biped persecutors would do well to imitate.

The common badger is about as large as a middle-sized dog, from two feet to two feet and a half in length, exclusive of the tail, and about a foot or fifteen inches high. He weighs from twenty to thirty-five pounds, sometimes even more—I saw a badger in Edinburgh about six years ago which weighed forty-seven pounds; such a growth is however very rarely attained. In coat the badger presents a remarkable peculiarity. Among nearly all mammiferous animals the dorsal region of the body is of a darker or deeper colour than the under parts, or ventral region. The colour of the badger is on the contrary greyish above and black underneath. The fur of the badger is thick, rough, and by no means glossy; the skin, with the hair on, is dressed and manufactured into pistol cases. The skin of the head and face may be frequently seen forming the “sporran” or purse which depends from the girdle of the Scottish highlander; and the hairs of the tail are in great request for the manufacture of paint and lather brushes. The badger is an inhabitant of all the temperate parts of Europe and Asia. In Great Britain and France it is scarcer, from the assiduity with which it is hunted and destroyed. Doctor Richardson has identified various new species in his account of the zoology of the arctic regions. As the object of the present paper is however a sketch of the European animal, I shall not notice any other at present, but merely refer such of my friends as may feel curious on the subject, to Doctor Richardson’s splendid work entitled “Fauna Boreali Americana.”

In his internal conformation the badger presents two remarkable features, namely, in the first place a peculiar formation of jaws, which not merely enables him to retain a firm hold of whatever object he seizes with his teeth, but absolutely lock in such a manner, that he himself does not always possess the power of instantaneously unclosing them; and, secondly, a pouch or bag placed just below the tail, whence exudes a thick and fetid substance. It is upon this that the strong smell given forth by this animal depends.

I had once a badger in my own possession, and the study of his habits afforded me much interest and gratification. He was more than half grown when I obtained possession of him, and I can assure my readers that the task of taming him was no sinecure. The first agent I employed for effecting his domestication was hunger. I kept him fasting for three whole days, allowing him only a little water in his bowl, which humanity would not suffer me to deny him. Starvation, however, did not produce any immediate good effects, and the animal remained as fierce and irreconcilable as ever. It would but needlessly occupy the readers’ time were I minutely to recount the process of taming him; let it suffice to refer them to my late papers in this Journal on the taming of animals. I followed the rules therein laid down, and I had the satisfaction of finding them ultimately successful, after from six to eight months of anxious care, enlivened occasionally by the variety of a severe bite, a casualty for which every practical zoologist must be prepared, and at which it would be ridiculous for him to grumble. I have only to observe, that were any one to present me with a hundred pounds for the mark of every gash received by its teeth, of which the scars still remain on my hands and legs, I should be tolerably rich.

After about eight months, however, he gave up his practice of constantly biting when attempted to be handled, unless under great provocation or excitement, and was not merely so gentle as to be with safety indulged with partial liberty, but would come and go when I called him or drove him from me, would feed from my hand or mount upon my knee, and was, moreover, soon afterwards entrusted with entire liberty without any danger of his running away. He was a very cleanly creature, carefully scraping into one end of his cage whatever unpleasant matters might collect in it, and he always contrived[Pg 374] as much as possible to keep his bed free of soil. Finding him so remarkably cleanly, I used to let him out morning and evening, on such days as my absence from home obliged me to keep him in a state of confinement.

I did not of course give him his liberty all at once, but according as he grew tame I used to let him out in a room or enclosed yard, according to the state of the weather, for an hour or two daily, and did not give him his liberty altogether until his increased tameness gave me confidence in his thorough domestication. This creature’s diet consisted of bread and milk, varied with oatmeal porridge or stirabout, and potatoes boiled soft and bruised down fine with milk, with occasionally a bit of raw butcher’s meat. He was singularly nice respecting his meat; indeed I suspect rather from the effects of good living in his easy state of captivity, than from an impulse of nature; for had a piece of meat once, and that no matter how slightly, known the fire, he would on no account touch it, unless indeed when very hungry, and no raw flesh to be had. Milk he appeared very fond of, and would drink freely; potatoes, especially if mashed up with butter or milk, he would always dine heartily off; but, which not a little surprised me, I frequently observed him devouring them raw, and that too in the absence of hunger, and while surrounded with what might naturally be supposed to be more palatable food. He had a very strong and by no means very agreeable smell. I had an old terrier named “Wasp,” who had been a good dog in his day, but, weighed down by a load of years, was fast hurrying onward towards the grave. Wasp’s teeth had failed him, his eyes had become dim, his clogged and tattered ears scarcely informed him when I called his name, yet his fondness for sport still remained, and he would lie for hours each day at the door of the little yard in which the badger was confined, as if resolved that, though his powers no longer admitted of his discovering and attacking his enemy, yet he would, while he could, inhale the (to him) delightful odour of his favourite game.

My badger passed nearly the whole of his days in sleep, and if I attempted to disturb him, he would be sulky and peevish, and in no humour for play. When evening drew near, however, he might be seen first stirring, then opening his eyes and stretching himself, with many a long and hearty yawn. The process of thoroughly awaking himself usually occupied about twenty minutes, commencing with the decline of day, and terminating with the arrival of darkness. The beginning of night usually found him regularly astir; he was then restless and active, pacing to and fro, examining every nook and cranny, climbing upon everything upon which he was able to mount, and seizing, if out of doors, upon worms, beetles, cockchafers, and snails, and if within, seeking for drowsy flies upon the walls, or for beetles or crickets about the kitchen hearth, or in the cellars when he could obtain access to them.

Many naturalists hold the opinion that the badger sleeps during the winter, or at all events hibernates partially, that is to say, sleeps, like the squirrel, for a few weeks, awakes, and takes a hearty meal of the store of food it had sagaciously laid by in its nest ere retiring to winter quarters, and then, coiling itself up in its nest, goes off to sleep again. Whether this be true or not, I cannot with certainty affirm; but this I can safely declare, that I endeavoured as much as possible to make my badger hibernate, by exposing him to the unmitigated cold of an unusually severe winter, by furnishing him with straw and wool to line his nest, and with a stock of bread, snails, and potatoes, to lay up for winter use. He did not, however, avail himself of my assistance, but remained wakeful as usual during the entire winter. A remarkable fact worthy of notice here is, that although this badger exhibited no inclination to hibernate or sleep during the winter, he did display considerable disposition to aestivate, or sleep during the hot months of summer, for during that season he became languid and drowsy, lost his appetite and flesh, became ragged and foul in the coat, and in short pined away so rapidly that I feared I should lose him altogether; he however revived completely as winter, and that a cold one, approached.

I made diligent inquiry of those who were in the habit of keeping badgers for baiting them, and also of the proprietors of several menageries, and learned from them that this disposition on the part of the badger to become weak and lose its condition in summer, is not confined to isolated individual cases, but is common to the entire tribe.

It is truly astonishing to observe with what quickness and dispatch the badger forms a burrow, for which task indeed he is admirably adapted by nature, in the construction of his anterior extremities. To give my readers some idea of these powers, I shall conclude the present sketch with the following anecdote of an individual in my possession:—Wishing to increase the happiness of my pet, I procured a female of his own species to keep him company, and while preparing a large enclosure for their reception, I shut them both up in an outhouse: I do not think I was half an hour absent, when on my return I found my new badger gone. A moment’s investigation discovered the place of her concealment: the animal had during my short absence formed a considerable burrow under the wall of the outhouse, which, I must observe, was built against a bank forming the side of a road. It was into that bank that the creature had worked its way, and on listening I could hear it delving and scraping at a great rate, about a yard from the back of the wall. I hastily procured the assistance of a mason, who pulled down part of the wall, and by working rapidly, succeeded in overtaking the badger just as she had worked her way across the road to within a foot of the Edinburgh Botanic Garden wall, beside which I lived. I may observe that the ground was by no means soft, the burrow being formed under a hard macadamised road.

H. D. R.



Some fourteen years ago there was living in the city of Galway a victualler named Hughes: he was not a Galwaygian by birth, nor originally a victualler by trade; but having settled there some years previously, and married a butcher’s daughter, he entered into the business, and throve apace. At the time we are now speaking of, there were few gentlemen in the county of Galway with whom his word would not be sufficient for a hundred pounds’ worth of cattle, and upwards; and the man who was the envy of all his brother victuallers bore strongly the apparent marks of prosperity, and a contented mind in his florid, good-humoured, open countenance. So little do appearances consort with character and circumstances at times!

He was a kind husband and father, and reared his family well and religiously; attending himself regularly to his devotions. He was also a hospitable, off-handed fellow, that would not higgle for a trifle, either in buying or selling; was equally ready to take or “stand a treat” at fairs and markets where his business frequently brought him, and was in consequence a general favourite with high and low. In short, every one said he was in the way of making a larger fortune than had been made in his business for many a year in the city; and every one said he deserved it, as he was an honest, a hard-working, and a worthy man. There were apparently but two drawbacks on his character, namely, a violent temper, which at times hurried him on with irresistible impetuosity, particularly when under the influence of liquor, and a habit of jeering and jibing in season and out of season. These defects, however, as they never led to anything serious, were rather pitied than censured, as being the only blemishes on an otherwise excellent disposition.

Hughes was standing one day at his stall, tapping his highly polished boots with his whip, and feeling his well-filled pocket, as he was preparing to set out on a journey for the purchase of cattle. He was in high spirits, and was liberally scattering about his jibing witticisms among his admiring brethren, when a travelling basket-maker entered the shambles. Instantly Hughes directed the current of his jeering towards the humble newcomer.

“You look as if a good beef steak would lie in your way this morning, friend.”

“Be goxty ye might sing that, sir, if ye had an air to it.”

“Well, it’s lucky there’s so many about you, any how, as, to tell you the thruth, I don’t much like your looks, and wouldn’t thrust yon with your own brogues to the brogue-maker’s.”

“Faix, may be you’d be right too, sir,” rejoined the stranger slowly, as he surveyed, with an eager and a half bewildered gaze, the jiber’s face, like one striving to recall portions of a half-forgotten dream, “though it isn’t every one that’s to be taken by his looks.”

“I wish, any way, I had as good a house as you’d rob. But how come you to be trading in twigs? You mistook your thrade surely; it’s in hemp you ought to be dealing.”

“Faix, if every man got his due,” said the basket-maker in a decided tone, “more nor me would be dailin’ in himp. But ye needn’t be so hard intirely on us, Mr M’Cann.”

[Pg 375]

On hearing this name, which had not met his ears for many a year, the victualler gave a convulsive start as if he had received a shot, while a fierce blaze deepened the hue of his cheek, flitted across his brow, and the next moment subsided into monumental paleness. He recovered himself, however, immediately; and, remarking laughingly how curiously people were often mistaken for others, took an opportunity of following the basket-maker, who had advanced into the shambles, and invited him to breakfast the next morning.

Accordingly, punctual to the hour, the rambling mechanic made his appearance at Hughes’s house, situated in one of those archways characteristic of the Spanish built city, and which strike the stranger so much in wandering through it for the first time. The breakfast was excellent and ample; and the basket-maker was received with great apparent cordiality and welcome, and pressed immoderately to consider himself at home, and partake plentifully of such fare as he was seldom regaled with—a request with which he complied to the utmost of his ability, notwithstanding that he discovered his entertainer several times scanning him with an expression of countenance he by no means liked. The breakfast over, Hughes invited his guest to take a walk, stating that he would show him part of the city; and accordingly they sallied forth from the archway, which was off Shop-street, immediately contiguous to the fine old church of St Nicholas, and within pistol shot of the house over the door of which is inserted the slab containing the far-famed death’s head and cross-bones.

“The Queen of Connaught” has been so often and so well described, particularly by her own gifted son James Hardiman, the distinguished antiquary, of whom she has such just reason to be proud; and has, these late years, been so much visited by tourists on their route to the wild territory of mountain, bog, and lake, Connemara, during the touring season, that her localities are generally known. Many of our readers will then, at once, understand the direction taken by the pair, and conceive Hughes’s probable motive for taking that, when we state that he led his guest to the eminence on the south-east side of the city, designated Fort-hill, which terminates in a precipice lashed by the waves when the tide is in, while scattered over its surface are several deep wells.

The victualler had made no allusion whatever, during the breakfast, to the basket-maker’s having called him M’Cann, nor to the county they both came from. As they went along, however, he began to make some inquiries as if to sound his companion. But the latter had become wary. In fact, as they left the crowded parts of the town behind, fear began to grow on him, on finding himself alone even in the day-light, and adjoining a bustling city, with one whom he knew to be a murderer; and that fear was strengthened by the manner of Hughes, who sometimes strode on a few steps rapidly, as if labouring under some excitement, and then halted to stammer out some observation to his companion, while he occasionally flung searching glances around, as if to ascertain who might be in view. So, after having twice or thrice expressed his wish to return to the city, on reaching the first of the wells, the basket-maker refused to proceed any farther, and turned to retrace his steps at an increased pace, though he did not venture to run. Calling on him in vain to return, Hughes now darted furiously after him with the intention of forcing him back; but he was restrained by the sight of approaching persons, and the basket-maker pursued his way back into the city with a step quickened by fear, though he still durst not run.

On regaining his humble lodgings the stranger lost no time in repairing to the abode of the mayor, Mr Hardiman Burke we think, an active, intelligent magistrate, to whom he accused Hughes, or M’Cann as his real name was, of having perpetrated a murder in the county of Down, eighteen years previously. The charge was so extraordinary and so utterly at variance with the peaceable, prosperous, and even humorous habits of the accused, that the mayor at first utterly scouted the tale, saving that the accuser must be completely mistaken as to the identity of M’Cann. But the basket-maker was so clear in his statement, recollected M’Cann so well while a journeyman baker (his original trade) before the commission of the murder, or his arrival in Galway, and was so intimately acquainted with everything connected with him, that, in a short time, after having detailed the morning’s proceedings, he satisfied the mayor of the well-groundedness of the charge, terrible as it was, and reluctant as he naturally was to believe it; and the magistrate proceeded forthwith to act on the information.

At that period the city of Galway containing probably nearly forty thousand inhabitants, some of them certainly not among the most peaceable in Ireland, did not possess even a single town constable for the protection of its peace. Indeed, some years subsequently, when we first visited it, it had no constabulary, though that force had been for years appointed in every other portion of the province, and was in consequence a peculiarly lawless place; so much so, that it was quite a risk for strangers or natives to venture abroad at all after dark, unless in numbers, as, were you foolhardy enough to do so, some of a gang of desperate and daring ruffians that infested the streets by night, and traversed them openly in the day-light, though branded with a hundred crimes, were sure to assault you, and take your money, if you carried any, and if you did not, to give you still worse usage for not having it. We learned one night while passing the West Bridge, a favourite haunt of those desperadoes, that the brother of a priest had been just flung into the river there. Galway is now, however, as efficiently protected and as well ordered as any town in her majesty’s dominions, west of the Shannon at least.

The mayor’s first step, then, was to obtain a file of soldiers whom he placed in his own house; after which he proceeded at once to the shambles, where he found M’Cann after having returned, not deeming, probably, that the basket-maker’s informations would be so rapidly given. The victualler was apparently engaged in his usual avocations, but as the mayor watched him attentively for a few moments, his motions were so irregular and so unlike his usual active, bustling habits, as if he was labouring under some spell, that they utterly put to flight any slight doubts the magistrate was still inclined to entertain of his being the guilty person. Accordingly, he proceeded to purchase a quarter of beef from M’Cann, whom he begged to come at once to his house and cut it up there. To this request M’Cann made some objections, stating that he could not then conveniently spare time, but would send an assistant: his reluctance arising probably from the connection in his mind between the terrors of discovered guilt and the mayor’s legal functions—of the latter’s having been made acquainted with his secret crime he had not then the least conception. After much persuasion, however, he assented, chiefly through the clever cajolery of the mayor, who stated that he never could get one to please him in cutting up beef but M’Cann himself and he accordingly accompanied Mr Burke to his house, on entering which he was instantly delivered to the military stationed there.

He was forthwith transmitted to Downpatrick, and at the ensuing assizes there, convicted of the murder of another journeyman baker with a peel (an instrument used for placing bread in the oven and drawing it when baked), eighteen years previously. His death, it would appear, was a torturing one, as the rope broke, and, previous to the consummation of his terrible fate he was obliged to be strengthened with a draught whilst seated on his coffin—this last receptacle of humanity being frequently placed at the gallows foot during an execution.

The singular detection of M’Cann created a great sensation from the extremity of the Claddagh to that of Bohermore. Yet was it not more extraordinary than the blameless and perseveringly industrious tenor of his life, and the apparently utter want of all compunction after the perpetration of the fearful deed; though these have been paralleled in numerous instances, as well as in the celebrated one of Eugene Aram; we allude to the real case, not to Bulwer’s magnificent fiction. His striking and sudden abstraction from among them, as if a thunderbolt had cleft him—though every thing connected with him and his family has long since disappeared from the city, forms still a frequent and exciting theme among the Galwaygians, who invariably seem to be of opinion that M’Cann’s object in leading the basket-maker to Fort-hill was for the purpose of adding another murder to his crimes, by pitching the stranger into a well, or hurling him over a precipice into the sea. In this opinion we also fully coincide, as we have little doubt that the murderer, but for the approach of the chance visitors, would have attempted, at all risks, to precipitate his companion into a well, where, entire stranger as he was, he might have remained long undiscovered; or to consign himself and his fearful secret for ever to those faithful preservers of innumerable dark secrets, the waves.


To produce as much happiness as we can, and to prevent as much misery, is the proper aim and end of all true morality and all true religion.

[Pg 376]


Few cities can boast of such a variety of beautiful scenery in its immediate vicinity as occurs within a short distance from Dublin. We need not allude to the objects of deep historical interest with which the natural beauties of Dublin are associated, as they have often been illustrated in these pages. The picturesque beauties of Dublin Bay and the county of Wicklow are known to all; but it is less generally known that the same localities abound in matters well calculated to excite the curiosity of the naturalist. From the great variety of rocks, and consequently of soil, around Dublin, we find a corresponding variety in its vegetable productions; and we believe we are pretty correct when we state that the botanist may collect specimens of nearly two-thirds of the indigenous plants of Ireland within the distance of a few miles from the capital. As regards Zoology, or the study of animals, our position is equally fortunate. The shores near Malahide are uncommonly rich in marine productions, especially shells; and the Bay of Dublin is not inferior to the coasts of Devonshire for the variety of its zoophytes and corallines. In the work of Ellis on British Corallines, we find that, although that admirable naturalist resided in London, he obtained many of his finest specimens from Dublin. In respect to mineralogical and geological pursuits, we are equally well situated. At Killiney and in the mines of Wicklow several interesting and some very rare minerals may be collected. In geology, in the strict sense of the word, there are many curious phenomena which should be repeatedly examined by the student, and he will find such a mode of proceeding infinitely more profitable than the more indolent method of confining his researches to such instruction as can be found in books and sections. At Howth, or the promontory of Bray, he may examine every diversity of stratification, and may observe all the upheavings and contortions to which rocks have been exposed, displayed as in a model, open to the contemplation of the man of science, and to the instruction of all. The granite veins of Killiney are also extremely curious, and well deserve to be repeatedly visited by the beginner in geological pursuits. It is true that the questions to which such phenomena gave rise have been long since set at rest; but it is also true that the questions must be mastered by every student, and we know of no place where this can be done to more advantage than at Killiney.

Every one is aware that rocks are formed in two very different ways, they may be produced either from the decayed materials of older rocks, carried down to the sea or lakes by the rivers, and subsequently consolidated by various processes, which geologists have explained, or they may be formed by the solidifying of liquid matter poured forth through some volcanic aperture from the deeper parts of the earth. The first kind of rocks are disposed in layers, beds, or strata, by the return of water, and hence are called stratified, and also aqueous or water-formed; the second, being liquid matters which have become hard from cooling, are called igneous, or fire-produced rocks. As volcanoes are at present confined to particular regions of the earth, some may imagine that such igneous rocks should only be found in volcanic regions. This, however, is a mistaken supposition, for geology assures us that igneous rocks are to be found in every mountain range. The mode of reasoning which they follow is equally simple and convincing. If we visit Howth, for example, we find many of the strata resting on their edges, or variously twisted. At the Killerys in the west of Ireland we find strata composed of rolled pebbles, elevated to a very considerable angle. It is impossible that strata of loose sand or gravel would have been originally deposited in such inclined positions, and we know of no natural power which would elevate them but that of the igneous agency, producing either a violent earthquake, or a long-continued upward pressure. This opinion is much strengthened, when we find in every country, whether volcanic or not, a series of rocks which appear to have been violently inserted among the strata, and which we can prove were once in a state of intense heat and fusion, like the lavas from a modern volcano.

The granite of Killiney is one of those igneous rocks, and the appearances which we detect in that interesting locality afford satisfactory evidence of its mode of formation. When we descend to the shore by the stairs, a little to the east of the Obelisk, we find ourselves in a little way bounded by perpendicular rocks. These rocks are of two kinds—granite, and a schistoze or slaty rock, of a bluish colour, which we may term mica-schist. We then observe that the mica-schist rests on its edges, on a pavement of granite, and also reclines against that rock. The junction of the two rocks may be seen with the utmost perspicuity; and there is no blending of their characters, even where they are in absolute contact. We may next observe a ledge of rock partly covered by the waves, and extending in nearly a north and south course along the shore. This is a granite vein of many feet in breadth, and several hundred yards in length, and may easily be traced for a considerable distance. This granite vein is bounded on both sides by mica-schist; and, what is still more important, we may follow the vein till it is lost in the general mass of granite of the hill. When we now remember that the water-formed rock (the mica-schist) is standing on edge, a suspicion arises that the granite is a fire-produced rock, and has been the agent of this elevation, and the large wall of granite may have been intruded in a molten state between the beds of mica-schist. If it be objected that the granite vein is merely a portion of the strata of mica-schist, and was like them deposited from water, an inspection will dissipate this illusion; for we observe that the great vein running parallel to the strata gives off a smaller vein at right angles to the direction of the strata. On examining this smaller vein, which may be seen a little to the north of the stairs, all doubts respecting its nature or origin are very soon removed. We are surprised to find that this vein contains fragments of the mica-schist. We may therefore conclude from this that originally fissures were produced in the schist, and these fissures were filled up by molten granite, which entangled fragments of the mica-schist which fell from the sides of the fissure. It is scarcely necessary to add, that we know of no agent capable of melting granite but heat.

When we examine this interesting spot a little more minutely, we detect many other granite veins, each affording some curious and minute fact in harmony with the preceding remarks. Every one knows that it is easier to split a piece of wood in the direction of the grain, than transversely to that direction. In the same way we may infer that it is easier for a liquid granite to insinuate itself between the strata than to force its way across them, and on examination we find this to have been the case. In the first place, the large vein first mentioned running in the course of the strata is broader than all the transverse veins put together. Secondly, when we examine the cross veins, we find they have had more difficulty in forcing their way: hence they frequently contain fragments. Perhaps, however, an examination at another point near the entrance of the abandoned lead-mine affords the most curious evidence of these remarks, for there we perceive that the vein does not hold a straight course, nor is it of equal thickness throughout, but, on the contrary, is of unequal breadth, and serpentine, as if the strata had been violently lacerated instead of being split. In this case the vein has cut across the strata, and includes fragments of the mica-schist. But the most curious circumstance in this example is, that the vein itself has been broken, and its fractured extremities a little displaced and detached, thus proving that the strata had been exposed to concussion and displacement at a period posterior to that when the vein was formed.

If this very brief description will induce any of our readers to visit the granite veins of Killiney, we are sure he will find that his excursion will not be an unimproving one, and he will perhaps be convinced that he has only to look about him to find sources of enjoyment which so many are ignorant of, but which are within the command of all.


Domestic Discipline of the Dutch.—There are two things of a peculiar character in Holland, which deserve to be noticed. One is the enactment authorising husbands, wives, and children to be imprisoned in a house of correction set apart for the chastisement of offences against the laws by which the relations of social life are governed—the other, a contrivance for compelling the incorrigibly idle to work. In one of the rooms is a pump, and a stream of water runs in from the ceiling; so that unless the prisoner labours continually, he must be inevitably drowned.

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Transcriber’s Note: The line “he accordingly accompanied Mr Burke to his house, on entering which he was instantly delivered to the military stationed there” was originally printed “he accordingly accompanied Mr Burke entering which he was instantly delivered to the military to his house, on stationed there”, which doesn’t seem to make sense, so has been re-ordered.