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was a bright sunny afternoon, and people on foot, riding or driving, were enjoying the fine weather and the pleasant landscape. Mr. Rogers was compelled to hear us say repeatedly that we preferred the Irish Sunday to the English. In order to tease him, a lady belonging to our party walked up to a fruit-seller, who was praising her pears, and said, “ This gentleman thinks that it is wrong to sell pears on a Sunday."
“God bless your kind face,” was the answer, “ the gentleman is quite right. Six days shalt thou labour, and rest on the seventh. But we poor folk have no time for it. If your honour will not buy any pears, accept these two as a present from me."
The lady accepted the sweet fruit, and laid a few pence on the fruitseller's table.
“ God bless you, but I cannot take any money for the pears I gave you ; that would not be elegant."
" Well, then, sell me some.” “ With a heart and a half.”
From Kingstown to Dalkey is but a short drive along the sea-shore. The country is fresh, fertile, and rich in ancient ruins. We counted three forts, which we were told were built in the fourteenth century as a protection for traders. From a rock which was covered with pleasureseekers we had another glorious view of Dublin Bay and hills. Among the many chattering and laughing groups on the rock, a dozen merry children especially attracted our attention. They were the first neatlydressed children we had seen in Ireland. They were engaged with a game which seemed to delight them greatly, for their laughter echoed far and wide. We approached the tallest girl, who looked exactly like a growing English miss, and asked her the name of her game.
“We are playing a Sunday game: one of us is obliged to go aside, and we then think of a person in the Bible, and the one sent away has to guess it when called back. We have just chosen Jacob.”
A hearty laugh interrupted the explanation. The guesser, a lad at the most six years of age, had confessed that he did not know how many wives Jacob had. English children behave in the same way. If the ennui of the Sunday become too overpowering for them, they allow themselves a game, with which the Bible is cleverly interwoven. In this way the sin of playing assumes a religious tinge. According to English ideas!
Our Kingstown carman demanded rather more money than he was entitled to by the fare- list, but the fares are very low, and as we remembered an anecdote which we had read in an English paper, we did not dare to insist too strictly on our rights. A very stout gentlemanso the story went—who had been driven from one end of Dublin to the other, handed the carman a sixpence, the exaet fare. The carman first looked at the money and then at his fare, shook his head, and touched his hat politely: “I beg your honour's pardon for a moment, I will take the money directly.” After which, he fetched the nose-bag and covered his horse's head with it. “Will your honour give me the sixpence now?"
“Why did you put the nose-bag on?”
“ Well! I was ashamed to let the creature see that we only received sixpence for the long drive and such a weight."
Although the real fair has been done away with at Donnybrook, the
pleasure which has accompanied it since human memory still exists, and on one evening in this year's festival-the fair lasts, as we said, nine days -B0 less than ten thousand people were assembled, singing, dancing, and drinking, at Donnybrook, a village a mile and a half distant from Dablin. For us the drive thither constituted the greatest amusement, for it carried us right through the centre of the fun. All the Dublin cars are in motion, and many a carman drives twenty times out and in during the day, taking up everybody who is willing to pay twopence for the drive, and nowhere does a composite company so rapidly strike up an acquaintance as on the road to Donnybrook. All sit laughing side by side, all radiant with delight. Do the horses share the general rejoicing ? Our carman, at any rate, assured us that bis horse would gallop as if running for the Derby. We flew along, in truth, and could scarce notice the features of the people who, on both sides of the road, sitting on door-steps and posts, or leaning over hedges and walls, sought and found their amusement in looking on.
At Donnybrook the crowd is so great that the police, who maintain order on horseback and on foot, allow no vehicles to drive up to the village, they must all stop a quarter of a mile from it. On a large enclosed ground stand booths, with eatables and playthings, menageries, puppet-shows, and bazaars. Dancing is going on in tents and publics, frequently on the most limited space. This does not disturb the jig dancers in the slightest. We saw two pretty young girls dancing a man down, as it is termed. They relieved each other, while he was not allowed to stop for a moment, but always remain in motion, up and down, heel and toe, forwards, backwards, right and left. At one moment he chalked one sole, and then the other, but all in time—all wbile still dancing. He tumed pale a few times, but the smile of pleasure did not quit his face for an instant, and the girls never once lost the modest demeanour and virtuous manner which must be admired in Irish women, even of the poorest class. When excited by dancing and pleasure, their eye still retains its gentle expression, or falls modestly to the ground at any too audacious glance.
It was impossible for us to obtain a special vehicle for the return journey, as tou many were waiting, and so we shared ours voluntarily with several grown persons, and perforce with two trumpet-playing lads, whom our driver raised to his seat at the last moment as a children of a friend." But fifeing and trumpeting disturbed us as little as did singing and laughing; we were infected by the noisy merriment, and joined in the universal hurrah offered to Ireland-Erin-go-Bragh!
When we, the next morning, admired the Exchange, with its splendid Corinthian pillars, we learnt that the building was originally intended for the Irish Houses of Parliament, but was converted into an Exchange at the time of the Union.
We spent a few hours in going over Guinness's porter brewery. We saw there malt and hops going through the whole process of brewing and fermenting—saw boards become casks, casks washed and dried; and, finally, when we were fatigued with our wanderings through this gigantic building, we were refreshed by a draught of the splendid porter from a cask which contained two thousand hogsheads; it was one of the fiftytwo vats we saw arranged. Some of our party, who felt inclined to look at the top of the casks, mounted several ladders for this purpose.
We concluded our round of amusements with a visit to one of the music-halls with which Dublin is so richly endowed. We heard several highly comic songs, full of political allusions, and, finally, saw a jig danced. This it is impossible to escape in Ireland. But stay! in the heart of Dublin there is a street where it is not danced. It is the Devil's Ditch, a long narrow lane, also known as Cooke's-street. Along the rows of houses run cords, on which hang rags of every imaginable stuff and colour ; in addition, there were in front of, and inside the houses-whose doors all stand wide open-huge piles of rags, paper, and rubbish. In fifteen houses coffins were being made. Out of the windows project poles, on which wet clothes are hung out to dry. The atmosphere is polluted, and pale thin beings, covered with rags, walk or lie indolently about. Now and then they help their customers to fasten the rags they purchase on those portions of their clothing which most require them.
With this melancholy picture, which, however, once again realises the most characteristic part of the Irishman-his good temper-we bid farewell to green Erin.
A. von LESSING.
AMONG the Roman coffee-houses of the second-class, the Café Gnocchi is one of the most celebrated. It stands at the corner of the Via Felice and the Via di Porta Pinciana. In spite of this favourable position, in a quarter almost exclusively inhabited by foreigners, it is not greatly frequented either by these or by the better class of Romans. Only rarely does an artist, on his hasty walk to his studio, step into the gloomy bottega to swallow his café dolcissimo as rapidly as possible, and throw the bajocchi on the marble table. On the other hand, the café is greatly frequented by the countless swarm of models, who have their eyrie on the Monte Pincio. At any hour of the day you will find there white-bearded old men, who perform in turn St. Jerome and the street-beggar; redpetticoated Albanian women, with white head-dress and coral beads; pifferari, with bagpipes and peacock feather in their hats; and rogues of every description lounging on the leather-covered benches, and chattering, smoking, or sleeping.
Among the latter class of idlers, Luigi Pastone, or the Baffetto,* as he was generally called, from his long waving beard, played the most important part. His mother was a native of Genzano, and had married a shepherd of those parts. After Luigi's birth she had been summoned to the house of Prince Castrucci, in order to give the breast to the newborn representative of the family. After a while Anna Pastone settled in Rome, and distinguished herself at the distribution of the convent soup by the largest pot and the loudest voice.
Her son Luigi, or in abbreviation Gigi, the only fruit of her marriage and the hero of my story, grew up like the lily of the field, without toil
* From the diminutive of baffi, beard and whiskers.
ing or spinning, and yet clothed by the Heavenly Father-if not quite so brilliantly as that blooming symbol of virginity. His youth was much like that of all Roman street boys: he begged, pilfered—though only in cases of extreme necessity—ate, when he had anything to eat, and warmed himself on fast days with the dogs in the sunshine. We see our hero in his earlier years at one moment sliding down the railing of the Spanish steps, at another seeking during the carnival real confetti under the horses' hoofs and between the wheels. Sometimes he ran in procession by the side of the candle-bearing monks, and collected the dripping wax, either in a box or his bare hand, or acted as cross-bearer, when the boys of the quarter were driven to the parish church on Sundays. With these, and similar harmless avocations, Luigi attained his twentieth year, and had become tall and thin, strong and active; the only defect was that he continually suffered from a consuming hunger, à still more torturing thirst, and an almost fabulous dislike of hard work.
About this time it was that an English artist, who needed a true birbaecione for his genre picture, saw in the Piazza Barberina our Gigi lying on his stomach and playing at cards. He made him a proposition, whether he would stand or rather lie as his model for three pauls a day, a proposal which was joyfully accepted by the noble youth. Luigi followed the artist to his studio, laid himself at full length on the ground, had nothing to do except doing nothing, and received for his trouble a shining apostle piece. The affair pleased Pastone, and the resolution gradually ripened in him to devote himself entirely to this new calling. From this hour he let his hair and beard grow freely, took the cognomen of Baffetto, and removed his residence to the Café Gnocchi, which he only quitted to exchange it for a villegiatura in the surrounding wineshops.
We are bound to confess that Baffetto had made no mistake when he decided on the calling of a model : he combined the two chief requisites of a vagabond life-indolence, and gaining a livelihood without trouble. In a short time he was known by the artists, and sought by them whenever they had to paint Orlando Furiosos, bandits, or scamps and scoundrels generally. When there was no demand for malefactors, Baffetto would condescend to play the facchino, carry a letter to the post, shear a poodle, or undertake any job that cost him half an hour's time and brought him in half a paul. The day's work was then termipated--five bajocchi rattled in his pocket, and they were sufficient to procure at the Friggitore's a piece of paper piled up with steaming cauliflower, a foglietto of Albanian wine, and enough tobacco to keep his pipe a glow till nightfall. Sitting before the door of the Café Gnocchi, with his jacket thrown over his shoulders, comfortably puffing out the smoke, chaffing every pretty girl in the street, and chaffed by her in turn, Baffetto felt himself blessed, and would not have changed places with the senator of Rome. All the propositions made him to undertake some respectable business he responded to with a contemptuous and very meaning smile. At times he would deign to add that the corner post of the Via Felice was too old a friend for him to become unfaithful to it. He had lived by its side, and wished to die by its side. But Baffetto was destined to learn that all the hopes and determinations of man are vanity and vexation of spirit.
One afternoon a little boy shook Baffetto out of the sweetest of siestas,
and shouted in his ear that he must go home directly; his mother felt very queer, believed that she had not an hour more to live, and earnestly desired to speak to him once again ere she died. Although in the lower classes family ties are easily relaxed, this information very soon brought him on his legs. He panted up the narrow stairs, entered the low garret in which Madame Pastone was lying on a mattress stuffed with maizestraw, and cried to the sick woman with that semi-anger which, with rough temperaments, is meant to indicate, and at the same time conceal grief: “ But, mother, what an idea is this of yours! Want to die! Sanguinaccio di Dio! get rid of such thoughts.”
“No, no," the old woman sighed, in a faint voice; “ I feel very certain that I have arrived at the brink. But listen, Gigi; I must first confide a secret to you. Pay attention to this: you are not my son, but the Princess Castrucci's. ' I changed you in order to secure the rich inheritance for my child. Ah! Gigi, do not be angry with me—it is not too late yet to confess my sin—all will come right.”
Baffetto started back in amazement, and slowly shook his head, half doubting, half believing the possibility of the statement.“ Listen to me, old one,” he at length began ; “ in that case you played a cursedly stupid trick. I the son of a prince! Oh, nonsense--you are raving. And suppose that I really were so, who would believe me, eh?”
"Go to Father Tommaso, Gigi, at the monastery of Maria Sopra Minerva. He is the confessor of the old Principessa. Tell him he is to come here and receive my confession at once. Go, make haste, before it is too late."
“Well, if that will settle it, we'll soon have the father here. But listen, mother,” he cried, turning round once again in the doorway, " there is plenty of time for dying. Be patient till I return with the father, or else my entire principality will be lost.”
The Reverend Father Tommaso let his snuff-box fall in affright when he saw Baffetto rushing at him in the cloisters : he fancied, as he afterwards stated, that he had an escaped lunatic before him, when the latter explained with frightful bandit grimaces how he was the true Principe Castrucci, how his mother, who was not his mother though, was lying at death's door, and any quantity more of the same rigmarole stuff. The more the monk retired, the nearer Baffetto drew to him, for he was burning with impatience. Both yelled at the top of their lungs, the Dominican for help, the not yet confirmed principe for a witness. Every moment of delay might cost him a prince's crown, and for such a thing many a man had ere now made a greater disturbance. Half an hour at the least slipped away ere the shouting parties could come to an understanding through the intervention of foreign powers, another half hour ere the padre set out, and a third half hour, in spite of all the urging of the pretender to the crown, ere he reached the abode of the aged Anna Pastone, which was situated in the Via della Purificazione. Contrary to all expectation, the mother was not only still alive, but sufficiently conscious to be able to repeat her confession in the presence of Padre Tommaso and two witnesses. Yes, after she rolled this burden off her conscience, she seemed to obtain a fresh lease of life, for immediately after the confession she evinced a devouring longing for a dish of salt fish and pomidori, and, in defiance of all warpings, devoured the dish, which was handed her with great hesitation, with an astounding appetite.